Explore the themes of deception in "Much Ado About Nothing". How are these themes developed and presented.

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Khazrul Kamaludin 12Q

Ms. Rupchand


Much Ado about Nothing

Explore the themes of deception in “Much Ado About Nothing”. How are these themes developed and presented.

        The plot of Much Ado About Nothing is based on the deliberate and intentional use of deceptions. Although some are malevolent, this play shows and tries to emphasize that deceit is not naturally bad or evil, but can sometimes be used as a means to good or bad ends. The duping of Claudio and Don Pedro is no doubt one of the malevolent deceptions in the play while in a more light-hearted vein, Beatrice and Benedick are fooled into thinking that they love each other and actually do fall in love as a result. This type of deception is described as benevolent as its intention is merely for good, fun and comical purposes.

        The play mainly follows the love lives of Claudio, Hero, Benedick and Beatrice. Nevertheless, Benedick and Beatrice’s relationship is seen as a sub-plot and the other characters’ aim is to build up their relationship. The use of deception cannot be successfully completed unless there were to be that one particular evil character whose intentions are bad enough that it creates tension. William Shakespeare realises this and therefore creates Don John as the character whom everybody loves to hate. From his name in the play, Don John, The Bastard, Shakespeare makes clear use of the pun to emphasize and distinguish the meaning behind the word ‘bastard’. There is, of course, the literal meaning behind, which is because he has no father and there is also another meaning behind it to suggest that he is a troublemaker. Another thing is that Shakespeare also makes it clear that he is an outsider and also uses animal imagery surrounding nature to describe the character.      

In the play, it is sometimes difficult to differ and distinguish between good and bad deception. When Claudio announces his desire to woo Hero, the Prince woos her for Claudio at the masked ball. However, Claudio then begins to mistrust the Prince, thinking he has been deceived. Additionally, Don John told Claudio that the Prince is wooing Hero for himself. This deception causes Claudio to become enraged and jealous. However, all ended well when Claudio found out that Don Pedro actually is wooing Hero for Claudio. At the same time, Benedick and Beatrice flirt caustically at the masked ball, each possibly aware of the other’s presence, and yet pretending not to know the person hiding behind the mask. This can be seen as a very minor piece of deception that Shakespeare uses in an attempt to create humour and light relief.  

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        Benedick and Beatrice’s deception plot is more comical and humorous while Claudio and Don Pedro’s is much more serious. The main plot in the play is that of Don John and Borachio’s deception plot. However, Shakespeare makes the readers engage so much in Benedick and Beatrice that they are likely to forget that their storyline is not the main plot. Additionally, notice how Shakespeare creates light relief by describing the ‘merry war’ between Benedick and Beatrice and the use of dramatic irony. Both of the characters lack self-knowledge, they pride themselves on being quick witted and yet they are ...

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