Shakespeare's Use of Deception in Much Ado About Nothing Essay

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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

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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