Much Ado about “Noting”

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In the play “Much Ado About Nothing” both the characters and their actions are concerned with “noting” or visually perceiving the other characters and the situations they find themselves in; ironically these perceptions are usually based on false or misinterpreted information. The “noting” in Much Ado is used to great effect, in that it propels the plot and dominates the characters relationships. “Much Ado about Nothing is centrally concerned with problems of knowledge and perception,” this is the main point in Nova Myhill’s article “Spectatorship in/of Much Ado about Nothing”, we will see how characters rely on perception to gain what they believe to be truthful knowledge. How the characters think and view themselves are just as important, if not more so, than how we as an audience view them. We see this throughout the entire play, from the first scene all the way to the end. For example when Claudio asks Benedick “didst thou note the daughter of Signor Leonato?” (I, i, 130). We as an audience are immediately tied to visual perceptions. This is further carried on by Benedick’s response: “I can see yet without spectacles,” (I, i, 153). The eyes play a large role in how characters are perceived. “Eyes in Much Ado are not what one sees with, but what one sees through-the filters that lead characters to see people in particular, conventionalized ways,” (Myhill). We can see this take action in such characters like Hero. Hero is portrayed as the dutiful daughter, quite, modest, and obedient to her father’s will; she is the perfect picture of the conventional Messina women. Beatrice points this out when describing her cousin she states: “Yes, faith; it is my cousin’s duty to make curtsy, and say, ’Father, as it pleas... ... middle of paper ... ...ike Claudio also does not overcome her lack of voice, and we are left accepting Claudio’s apology along with Hero at the plays ending. In conclusion we can see how the noting in Much Ado is used to great effect, in that it propels the plot and dominates the characters relationships. We see this throughout the entire play, form the first scene right on through to the end. The ironic use of eavesdropping, and the switch of power positions, show how the misinterpretations as well as misperceptions move the piece in a fast paced, disastrously funny comedy. Works Cited 1. Myhill, Nova. “Spectatorship in/of Much Ado about Nothing”. Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900. Houston: Spring 1999. Vol. 39, Iss. 2; pg. 21 2. Shakespeare, William. “Much Ado about Nothing”, The Norton Shakespeare. Ed. Greenblatt, Cohen, Howard, Maus. New York, 1997
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