Shakespeare's Use of Deception in Much Ado About Nothing

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Shakespeare's Use of Deception in Much Ado About Nothing In the Play ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ the role of deceit is an important one that is played to its fullest. The play is based upon deliberate deceptions and numerous schemes that are used to manipulate the thoughts of nearly every character and the characters deceive themselves by putting on a different public facade instead of showing their true feelings and personalities. The play also involves an elaborate arrangement of trickery to achieve a humorous effect that perhaps portrays deceit as something that is not necessarily corrupt, but rather as a means to an end. The first example of deception in Act 1, involves Beatrice and Benedick. Although the main plot focuses on the drama between Claudio and Hero, Beatrice and Benedick are vital characters that provide some of the wittiest dialogue in the play. They are more worldly and both of them protest that they never intend to marry. This makes the audience enjoy even more, their rapid acceptance of each other’s affection when they are tricked into falling in love with each other. In the opening scene, Beatrice begins a sequence of insults by asking Benedick why he is talking as no one listens to him. He responds "Lady Disdain! Are you yet living?" and she replies by asking how could such disdain die when Benedick is there to feed it? Through the dialogue of these two characters, the audience can sense that there was once a relationship between these characters, romantic or not, that went awry. This is proven in Act Two when Beatrice says ‘Indeed, my lord, he lent it me awhile; and I gave him use for it, a double heart... ... middle of paper ... ... brother hath a daughter’. Leonato proposes that Claudio marries Antonio’s daughter as a way of redeeming himself, although it is Hero that will marry him. At the wedding the women come out wearing masks to hide their identities, believing that he is about to wed Antonio’s daughter, Claudio asks ‘Sweet, let me see your face’. This is a great scene because it builds up excitement within the audience, as they know that Hero will be the one to marry him instead. When Hero unmasks, Claudio is overjoyed to witness ‘another Hero!’ In ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ deception is used tactfully to manipulate the thoughts of nearly every character. It is ironic and a comical essential in the play that nearly every character is too distracted by trying to deceive other characters to realise that they are being deceived themselves.
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