"There are no small parts, only small actors." Is this statement accurate? Minor characters, by simple definition, are characters who do not play a major role in a work of literature. However, every character serves a purpose. Simply because a character does not have many lines or appear in many scenes does not mean that he does not play a major part in the development of the plot. One such character is Borachio in William Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing. While Borachio appears in only six scenes, he is very important to the entire play. As a minor character, Borachio seems insignificant, but without his role in the play, there would be neither conflict nor a resolution.
Borachio's role is necessary for the development of the plot of Much Ado about Nothing. As a result of his friendship with Don John, Borachio tells him vital news about overhearing "it agreed upon that the Prince should woo Hero for himself, and having obtained her, give her to Count Claudio" (1.3.57-60). Borachio and Don John now know the real situation between Hero, Claudio, and Don Pedro: Claudio, and not Don Pedro, will get Hero for a wife; however, Borachio tells Claudio that Don Pedro "swore he would marry [Hero] tonight" (2.1.157). When Claudio hears this distortion of the truth, he becomes angry. After conflict arises, Borachio and Don John think that they have stopped the marriage of Claudio and Hero from taking place. Borachio has, by this action, already developed into a vital character in the play. Since Borachio is the only one who hears the truth about the expected marriage, only he is capable of corrupting the arrangement. Borachio acts directly to cause the conflict in the play, and his intention is t...
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...ll marry Hero. Borachio distorts this truth and causes conflict. When his first plan fails, he devises another plan in which he and his love, Margaret, can be seen so that it seems that Hero is cheating on Claudio. Borachio acts directly and spitefully throughout the entire play, and he has no direct motivation for his actions until after he devises the plan that misleads Claudo and Don Pedro. He is then offered compensation from Don John for his trouble in making Hero seem unfaithful. Borachio is a minor character, but his actions do affect the play significantly. Only because of his ideas and his actions can the plot be truly developed in Much Ado about Nothing. "There are no small parts." Borachio confirms this widely known statement without question.
Shakespeare, William. Much Ado about Nothing. Ed. A.R. Humphreys. New York: Routledge, 1994.
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