The Theme of Deception in Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

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The Theme of Deception in Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare It is clearly visible from the plot in Much Ado about Nothing that deception plays a large role in the social structure of Messina, the city in which the play is set. However, there is a clear distinction between the types of deception used. Malicious deception is used to shatter people's lives whereas benign deception is used to enrich the lives of others. In Act 1, Scene 1 we witness the 'skirmish of wit' between Beatrice and Benedick. Throughout the scene they continue their 'merry war' and a suggested reason for this is that Beatrice once gave 'a double heart for his single one' indicating he may have once broken her heart. This makes their later reunion more realistic. The first of the benign deceptions is in Act 2 scene 1 at the masqued ball. Everyone has their identities hidden by their masks, which is deception in itself. Don Pedro takes this opportunity to woo Hero, Leonato's only daughter and heir, for Claudio by pretending to be him. Don John uses this as an opportunity to begin his malevolent deception. In order to tarnish his rival brother, Don John pretends to think that Claudio is Benedick and confides in him that Don Pedro is wooing Hero for himself. 'my brother is in love, he is enamoured on Hero' Claudio is young and naïve and believes Don John, however he only finds out the information because he pretends to be Benedick. Not soon afterwards the situation is rectified and Don Pedro assures Claudio he was wooing Hero for him. At the end of scene 1, Don Pedro yet again intends to 'undertake one of Hercules' labours' but this time ... ... middle of paper ... ... their own ways, but for different purposes. Obviously, they will both gain from their deceptions. Don Pedro's kingdom will increase as couples get married and have children. However, he does this at the same time as fulfilling other people's lives. Don John has the opposite effect; by ruining other people's lives he enriches his life. However, to get what they want they both have to work against each other. Even when Don John was believed, his plot was revealed and Don Pedro's plans succeeded. The malevolent and benign deception run in parallel with each other so they can be compared as you watch the play. However, it is always the harmless deception which succeeds against the harmful deception. The theme of deception plays a major part in the plot of the play and without it the play would not have a story line.
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