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The play much ado about nothing by william shakespeare essay

Themes Deceit The play relies mainly on deceit for its effectiveness. For example, at the outset of the play, Don John pretends to be remorseful for rebelling against his brother. However, inwardly he seethes with hatred for his brother and looks for an opportunity gain revenge for his humiliating defeat on the battlefield. Also early in the play, Beatrice and Benedick pretend that they do not like each other, let alone love each other. Whenever circumstances bring them together, they spend their time exchanging insults.

In their first appearance together in Act 1, Benedick is enjoying a conversation with Leonato and Don Pedro when Beatrice interrupts and a verbal skirmish ensues.

Much Ado About Nothing: Theme Analysis

I wonder that you will still be talking, Signior Benedick: Is it possible Disdain should die while she hath such meet food to feed it as Signior Benedick? Courtesy itself must convert to disdain, if you the play much ado about nothing by william shakespeare essay in her presence. Then is courtesy a turncoat. But it is certain I am loved of [by] all ladies, only you excepted; and I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart; for, truly, I love none. A dear happiness to women: I thank God and my cold blood, I am of your humour for that [I also love no one]: I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me.

Meanwhile, Claudio confesses to Don Pedro that he has an eye for Leonato's daughter, the comely Hero. Don Pedro then proposes that he woo Hero for Claudio at a masked ball, saying, I know we shall have revelling to-night: After learning that Claudio—his hated battlefield foe—plans to marry Hero, he oversees a plan to break up the romance and thereby gain revenge against Claudio.

In the dark of night, Borachio appears at Hero's bedroom window and converses with Hero's attendant, Margaret, who is dressed in Hero's clothes. Don Pedro and Claudio are observing from an orchard a short distance away and think Margaret is Hero. Don John had previously poisoned their ears against Hero, saying she was a wanton and telling them they could witness her misbehavior themselves at night from the orchard.

What they see and hear suggests that Borachio and Hero have just made love. The deception works, and Claudio denounces Hero at the altar on the day of the wedding. But the good guys also use deceit. To save Hero's reputation from further damage, Friar Francis proposes to Leonato that they pretend Hero died of shock after Claudio verbally assailed her in the chapel.

As part of the plan, they pretend to entomb Hero. While she lies "dead," the friar says, information may surface proving that Hero is a victim of foul play. The scheme works, and Don John, Borachio and another partner in their evildoing, Conrade, are exposed as villains who plotted against Hero.

GCSE: Much Ado About Nothing

Claudio repents for having so readily condemned Hero in public as a whore and tells Leonato that he will submit to any punishment. Leonato replies, To-morrow morning come you to my house, And since you could not be my son-in-law, Be yet my nephew.

Give her the right you should have given her cousin, And so dies my revenge.

  • The disrespect Claudio exhibits for Hero after Don John impugns her virginity;
  • A malapropism is an unintentional misuse of a word because it sounds like or in some other way resembles the right word;
  • Use and Misuse of Language The use and misuse of language in the play help Shakespeare to develop his characters and themes, call attention to social conventions, and present comic episodes;
  • The respect Claudio exhibits for Hero after their betrothal;
  • Trouble brews, however, when the villainous Don John plots to slander the innocent Hero.

But Antonio's "daughter" is really Hero. The next morning, Hero carries the deception further by wearing a mask when she appears before Claudio. Leonato then makes Claudio take her hand and swear that he will be her husband. The bride-to-be then reveals herself as the real Hero and says, "Surely as I live I am a maid [virgin]" 5.

There are other examples of deceit, such as the rehearsed conversations meant to be overheard by Benedick and later Beatrice, and Antonio's concealment of his identity from Ursula at the masquerade party. Deceit, of course, is part of everyday life, and one of Shakespeare's talents is to hold a mirror to life to reflect it. The most obvious flaw is its unfairness. Those born into the aristocracy receive rights and privileges unavailable to commoners.

They also receive far more wealth and property, as well as benefits such as political power and favors resulting from their connections with fellow aristocrats.

  • In Shakespeare's time the theatre was very different because no females were allowed to act, so all the female roles, including Hero and Beatrice, were played by males;
  • For example, readers and audiences know that Don John, who supposedly has made peace with his brother, despises him;
  • No glory lives behind the back of such;
  • Write an essay comparing and contrasting Benedick and Claudio;
  • Remember, this is coursework, so you might be able to write a number of drafts, making each one better as you develop your answer;
  • All the while, readers and audiences suspect that both have the same hidden motive for their caustic criticism of each other—namely, that they are in love but regard love as a threat to their independence and freedom.

Consequently, a wide gap separates the upper classes from the commoners. Those born into the aristocracy usually have a prestigious title, such as count or countess, duke or duchess, lord or lady. Moreover, they generally receive a superior education that includes instruction in the fine arts and social graces. Most of those born into the lower classes lack the titles, privileges, and benefits of the upper classes and haveto work long hours to put a jingle in their pockets. Sometimes, though, the class system and its laws adversely affect aristocrats.

He is a bastard, a child born the play much ado about nothing by william shakespeare essay of marriage. Under English law, as well as the law of many other European countries, a bastard cannot inherit his father's property except in rare cases. Moreover, under unwritten law, a bastard often does not receive as much respect as a legitimate child. Don John's bastardy no doubt accounts in whole or in part for his hatred of his brother. It also probably accounts, at least in part, for his mean disposition.

Benedick takes note of Don John's status when he comments that Don Pedro and Claudio appear to have been deceived in regard to the accusations against Hero: If their wisdoms be misled in this, The practice of it lives in John the bastard, Whose spirits toil in frame of villanies. For example, the laws governing the system state that men, not women, should inherit property and wealth. Also, custom and tradition under this system dictate that a highborn young woman should to obey her father at all times, even when he commands her to marry a man of his choosing.

In the play, it is assumed that Hero will obey her father after he agrees with Don Pedro that Claudio would be a good match for her.

After all, Claudio is a count. His rank would enhance the standing of Hero. Moreover, it would assure the continuance of a noble family into the next generation. Beatrice, however, refuses to accept the traditional role of women. Whether Shakespeare's depiction of aristocrats and commoners in the play was his way of advocating changes in the social system is arguable.

Most likely, he simply wanted to present life as it was, not as it should or should not be. If audiences wanted to respond to what they saw and heard, advocating change or defending the status quo, all well and good. One suspects, though, that Shakespeare delighted in presenting bumbling commoners doing what their supposed superiors could not do: A woman was frowned on if she attempted to pursue a career as an architect, an attorney, a merchant, a diplomat, a politician, a law-enforcement officer, or even an actor.

In Shakespeare's day, men and boys acted all the parts in stage plays, even the parts of women. Women could not vote and were not entitled to a formal education, although upper-class women often learned under tutors.

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Lower-class women could become cooks, servants, washerwomen, midwives, and perform various menial tasks. Upper-class women were expected to remain in the home to carry out the following duties: Although an unmarried woman could own property, she had to yield it to a husband if she married.

A widow could inherit property but had to give it to the oldest son when he grew up. In Much Ado About Nothing, Hero is an example of a highborn Elizabethan woman who accepts her inferior status without complaint. Young men regard her almost as if she were an object to be bought, sold, or given away. For example, when Claudio asks Don Pedro for his opinion of Hero, Benedick replies, "Would you buy her, that you inquire after her?

Though Hero's father loves her, he treats her the same way—as an object to be guided by him. For example, when he is told that Don Pedro may ask for her hand, he tells her, "Daughter, remember what I told you: After Leonato learns that it is Claudio, not Don Pedro, who wants to marry Hero, Leonato readily approves of the match.

Beatrice, on the other hand, rebels against the established order, saying she will marry a man of her choice—but only if he measures up to her high standards. Her behavior may have shocked some members of Shakespeare's audience, but it may have heartened women yearning for more freedom. The fact that their queen was well-educated and independent-minded no doubt gave them hope that Beatrice was the wave of the future.

Use and Misuse of Language The use and misuse of language in the play help Shakespeare to develop his characters and themes, call attention to social conventions, and present comic episodes. Beatrice uses biting insults and witticisms to stand fast against the age-old belief that men are superior to women. She is a tigress who will claw at any man, especially Benedick, who tries to better her.

Benedick responds with insults and witticisms of his own. All the while, readers and audiences suspect that both have the same hidden motive for their caustic criticism of each other—namely, that they are in love but regard love as a threat to their independence and freedom.

Leonato and Don Pedro generally use gracious and elegant language the play much ado about nothing by william shakespeare essay reflect their generosity of soul and the refinement and nobility expected of highborn leaders, as in the following exchange: Good Signior Leonato, you are come to meet your trouble [the burden and expense of hosting me and my men]: Never came trouble to my house in the likeness of your Grace, for trouble being gone, comfort should remain; but when you depart from me, sorrow abides and happiness takes his leave.

You embrace your charge [your burden] too willingly. Margaret's language, on the other hand, is down to earth and at times vulgar. God give me joy to wear it [this dress]! Is not your lord honourable without marriage? I think you would have me say, "saving your reverence, a husband": The play much ado about nothing by william shakespeare essay there is a prize for misusing the language, Dogberry and his watchmen should win it handily for their malapropisms.

A malapropism is an unintentional misuse of a word because it sounds like or in some other way resembles the right word. An example is watchman Verges' misuse of salvation in the following lines, spoken when Dogberry is instructing his men. Are you good men and true? Yes, or else it were a pity but they should suffer salvation, body and soul. Verges means to say damnation. In the following passage are other examples of malapropisms. The speaker is Dogberry, who is addressing a watchman who has learned to read and write.