Much Ado About Nothing

Sample essay topic, essay writing: Much Ado About Nothing - 861 words

Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare emphasizes the three major themes of marriage, deception and gender power. There are two visions of marriage in the play: the first one, characterized by Hero and Claudio, is a positive vision: Although their story is supposed to be the main plot of the play, they are two passive characters in love, ready to get married to one another without any misunderstanding. Benedick and Beatrice characterize the second aspect the matrimonial institution takes. Their relationship is a lot more complex since they both have very strong personalities and they both fear marriage will trap their identities. Beatrice would "rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me"(I,1.123); and Benedick "will not be sworn but love may transform me to an oyster" (II, 3. 22,23).

Benedick and Beatrice's use of words is extremely clever and witty, which makes the reader take part of their story a lot more than Hero and Claudio's. The climax of the play can be described as "broken nuptials" (Neely Carol), when Claudio puts an end to the wedding, the day of the ceremony, transgressing the holiness of the institution. The theme of honor is strongly linked with the one of marriage. Claudio is a man of honor and he is humiliated when he thinks he sees Hero in a compromising situation with Borachio. He had wooed her in public therefore he had to take a public revenge to save his honor

Hero has been humiliated and unjustly accused. She is being reported as dead as a drastic measure to save her honor, and Claudio will repent and mourn Hero by accepting a substitute bride. Like in most comedies, the theme of deception is very present in the play. At the beginning of the play the ball scene is an introductory scene to the future deceptions happening in the text. The masks everyone are wearing help establish confusion, and the theme of deception of appearances is introduced.

The theme of deception in the play is beneficiary both for the comedy and for the tragedy. In the case of Don Pedro's attempt to unite Beatrice and Benedick, the effect is definitely comical. They are both being tricked the same way overhearing a set up conversation in the garden. This scene emphasizes the romantic setting, when Benedick says; "sigh no more, ladies sigh no more" which adds grace to the scene. The ridicule situation, which both Benedick and Beatrice find themselves thrown into, is no longer the result of an act of treason but more of a harmless farce.

The cruel deceptive scene plotted by Don John, however, feeds the tragic element of the play, disturbing the equilibrium of all the characters: Hero, Claudio, Leonato, but also Benedick and Beatrice when he later asks her lover to "kill Claudio" (IV,1. 285). The reader is tempted to believe that the comedy is turning into a tragedy. In the film, Don John's malevolent plans to disturb the harmony around him are always set at night, in a sort of dim and humid underground place. The use of deception as a tragic element is not only used by the bad characters though, the friar's idea to pretend hero as dead, is throwing Claudio in a state of grief that is changing his mind and making him realize his fault.

It is interesting to read, how Benedick takes part of the secret although he is one of the Prince's soldiers, and would be expected to believe the honorable Prince. Not only does he disagree with the Prince but also he is also ready to meet Claudio and kill him. The role of both men and women in the play is very paradoxal. We are dealing with a good number of contrasted characters. First of all, the characters of Hero and Beatrice: they are cousins but Beatrice is an orphan and therefore has no parental authority, which makes her a lot more independent in action as in spirit. Her witty prose makes her sound more interesting than Hero's versified speech.

Hero represents the submissive woman "daughter, remember what I told you. If the Prince do solicit you in that kind, you know your answer" (II, 1. 58-59-60), when Beatrice represents the educated lady who can stand for herself and who will do whatever pleases her, and when the Prince asks her if she would have him, she answers: "No, my lord, unless I might have another for working-days: your grace is too costly to wear everyday" (II, 1. 302-303-204-205). The men show their power when it comes to the wedding scene, showing no respect to Hero and not even allowing her a response to the accusations held against her.

However, in the rest of the play, the weaknesses of the male characters are contributing to the comical aspect of the play. Claudio is the character who according to Beatrice ' he that hath no beard is less than a man' (II, 1 . 31-32), he is very gullible, na"ive and romantic. The character of the Prince seems to be the only one that represents masculinity, and wisdom, although he is the only unmarried character.

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