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To What Extent is Much Ado About Nothing seen as a Satire?

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Introduction

Alex Ezrati 12*6 To What Extent is Much Ado About Nothing seen as a Satire? This essay will analyse the way in which Shakespeare makes this comedy bitterly satirical, and a comment on not only the pretentious style and swank of Spaniards, namely Don Pedro and his gang, but human stupidity as a whole. Much Ado About Nothing portrays the issues of sex, war, marriage and chivalric courtly love in an ironic and satirical way. On a topical level, the play satirises Spanish, Sicilian and Italian aristocrats in the 16th Century, and their comical dress sense, style of speech and general outlook and their anachronistic concepts. The appearance of Don Pedro's group of friends from the outset would be funny, as not only do they affect this aristocratic culture and lifestyle, but also they are complete travesties of it. Firstly, the targets of the plays satire should be studied. These are mostly Don Pedro and Don John, who display not only clear-cut humorous pretension and stupidity, but also a deeper, more worrying instability. This, while obvious to the reader, seems totally ignored and unimportant to the rest of the male clique. ...read more.

Middle

"But mine, and mine I lov'd, and mine I prais'd, And mine that I was proud on - mine so much That I myself was to myself not mine..." This public posturing statement from Leonato is ridiculous and makes him look like a conceited idiot. Not only does he not seem to know or care for his own daughter in the slightest, but even when she collapses and may be dead, all he can think about is himself and his honour. He even goes as far as to wish Hero were dead. This shows how the male code of honour can be twisted and warped so much as to completely blind people to the truth. Next. I will study the dark and ominous Don John, cunning and powerful villain. Or at least he'd like to think so. John the bastard is one of the play's anomalies as so much as he disappears without a trace when most of the other characters' fates are decided. He affects to the role of saturnine enemy of the peace, and has two sidekicks - Borachio and Conrade. He trusts them with all his devious plots and pays them handsomely, without realizing the pay is probably the only reason they help him. ...read more.

Conclusion

This in itself says a lot about male sexual paranoia, and the anxiety of being dominant in acting as well as everyday life. Later on in scene 1, the na�ve Claudio inquires after Hero, and asks Benedick what he thinks of her. He immediately mocks the way in which Claudio talks about her, and questions his amorous intentions. "...do you play the flouting Jack, to tell us Cupid is a good hare-finder, and Vulcan a rare carpenter?" This is a subtle satirical bite at courtly love. Words like 'hare-finder' are obvious double-entendres with strong sexual implications, which Claudio seems to miss completely. Here we see that Benedick's tongue is just as sharp at Beatrice's, and the two witty and also wisest of characters are introduced. When Claudio mentions marriage with Hero, this disappoints Benedick, and he immediately launches into a stab at 'the married man'. "In faith, hath not the world one man but he will wear his cap with suspicion?" This is an obvious reference to cuckolding. A cuckold in Shakespearian times was always shown wearing two large horns on his head in theatre, like a yoked and chained bull. ...read more.

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