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Why does Shakespeare use the dramatic device of a masked dance in Act 1 scene 2 of 'Much Ado about Nothing'?

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Why does Shakespeare use the dramatic device of a masked dance in Act 1 scene 2 of 'Much Ado about Nothing'? 'Much Ado About Nothing' by William Shakespeare was written between 1596- 1599 and is set in the 15th century in Italy. When this play was written, Italy was one of the world's main trading ports. People would travel there to sell jewellery, spices and precious metals. Italy was very popular and so many ideas were taken from Italy and introduced into different countries, this is how masques became so popular and spread throughout Europe. However, opera soon overtook the masques and many people went to the opera instead. Like all other comedies 'Much Ado About Nothing' is light-hearted, cheerful and humorous and, as you might expect, has a happy ending. The first reason for including a masked dance in the play is to engage and sustain the interest of the audience. A Shakespearean audience was extremely different from a modern day audience. There would be 3 different areas of the theatre; there would be the lower class that would have to stand up at the front, there were the middle class who had benches and then there were the upper class that had rooms along the wall. ...read more.


I have done' Benedick insults Beatrice by saying that she talks rapidly and constantly. Benedick ends the conversation by saying 'I have done' he would have said this decisively, surely and authoritatively. By using this short sentence, Shakespeare adds a more final tone to the conversation. Shakespeare wants the audience to think that Beatrice and Benedick are well suited, as he wanted them to marry at the end; therefore Beatrice needed to get her revenge so that they were even-handed and so that the audience did not like or feel sorry for one of the characters more than the other. Shakespeare uses this situation for Beatrice to get revenge and to embarrass Benedick so that they both become equal. When Benedick approaches Beatrice he pretends not to be himself and uses the mask to hide behind, but Beatrice can see right through him. Shakespeare makes a point to tell the audience that Beatrice knows it is Benedick; therefore she can control the conversation and have the upper hand. She can also say what she wants to Benedick as he is trapped behind the mask 'I am sure you know him well enough' The 'you' in this sentence would probably be said with more emphasis than the other words to communicate to the audience that she knows that it is Benedick. ...read more.


This would leave the audience with a cliffhanger and they would want to find out what happens next and how it is resolved. This scene starts off merry and cheerful but by the end the mood is heavy and sad this would keep the audience focused and interested in what was going on. For the plot to move on there had to be a masked dance, as mistaken identities are needed, a masked dance is the best way to do this. In the end, it does not matter how or why two people are drawn to each other. It does not matter what stumbling blocks are thrown in their way, whether those blocks be malicious plots of one's own stubborn will. Love conquers all, and any attempt to stand in love's path is simply a lot of fuss with no chance of success. (Much Ado About Nothing). So why does Shakespeare use the dramatic device of a masked dance? For three reasons, to engage and sustain the interest of the audience, create hidden and mistaken identities and to move the plot on. If Shakespeare had not incorporated a masked dance in 'Much Ado About Nothing' then it would have been extremely hard to maintain the audience's attention. I think the masked dance was a great idea and succeeded in catching and maintaining the attention of the audience. ...read more.

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