Shakespeare uses the device of a masked dance in Act II Scene I for
many reasons, mainly for the entertainment value of an Elizabethan
audience these were the people Shakespeare intended the play to be
viewed by, and also to dramatically further the plot.
Using a masked dance allows for many characters to be in the same
place at the same time, allowing all of the different social classes
to mix and interact, something which would not normally have happened
in Elizabethan times.
This would have had a pleasing effect on the 'groundlings' watching
the performance and also one of amusement to the 'aristocrats' in the
audience who would take delight in seeing how much better they are
than the groundlings.
With all these people in the same place at the same time, confusion,
mistaken identity, misunderstanding, and deception I sure to occur,
which enable the plot to enhance and gain an eager interest from the
During the scene there is dancing, laughing, joking, music, fancy
dress, colourful masks and general light-heartedness. This has an
amusing, entertaining and stimulating effect on the whole audience, as
there is a lot to see and do throughout the scene.
All the colour, music and dancing means huge entertainment value for
the whole audience, as it not only amasses all the characters, but
reveals different sides to some of the main characters in the play,
which we may only have had a hint of before hand.
For example, in previous scenes, when talking about his love for Hero,
Claudio swore that his undying love f...
... middle of paper ...
...riage is like a Scotch Jig. Shakespeare intended Beatrice's
character to reflect Queen Elizabeth's mannerisms to entertain and
amuse the audience and she was the present Queen at the time this play
would have been on at the theatres.
We also learn a lot more about Claudio, that he is fickle and easily
led on by those around him and does not have much faith in the woman
he supposedly loves. He is quick to change his mind on how he feels as
one minute he is madly in love with her and then next he hates her.
Overall, the use of a masked dance in Act II Scene I of 'Much Ado
about Nothing' is a very effective way of providing humour, mixing
social classes, furthering the plot and most of all catering for the
entire range of people present in and Elizabethan audience, which was
Shakespeare's main aim when writing a play.
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