Much Ado About Nothing Reveals That the Genre of Romantic Comedy Can Present Serious Reflections on the Human Condition.

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In the romantic comedy play ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ by William Shakespeare, the human condition is reflected upon in a variety of ways. Shakespeare expands on several aspects of the human condition, such as the social, cultural and personal aspects, in particular the vices and virtue in human nature by exploring them through his characters. He is able to show serious reflections on the human condition by exploring a variety of themes which are used throughout the play, such as deception as a double edged sword, love as a transforming power and the value of honour. Dramatic devices and techniques such as that of a double plotline, irony and use of language are used to do this. Deception is a theme prevalent throughout the play and most of the main characters are deceived in both in positive and negative ways, showing it as a double edged sword. Nearly all the characters also deceive other characters, further showing it as a double edged sword as it can be used by or against someone. Much of the deception in the play occurs as a result of the events at the masked ball, as the masque represents the beginning of both plots of deception by the two princes- Don John starts to break apart the romance between Hero and Claudio and Don Pedro begins to match make Beatrice and Benedick. This is a motif which Shakespeare uses as a dramatic device to cause confusion. After the events of the ball, a dramatic device of a double plot is used to contrast how deception can be used against the human condition in both a malicious and benign manner. The main deception of the play is directed by Don John towards Claudio, although the main dramatic focus of the play is deceptions involving Beatrice and Benedick. To a great extent, the reasons for deceiving others and reactions to deception are able to reveal serious aspects of the human condition. Deception as a malevolent tool is used in part of the double plotline is used by Shakespeare to show the evil part of the human condition. In the play, Don John uses deception against Claudio. Don John’s main motivation of this revenge is stated in the lines ‘…this may prove food to my displeasure, that young start-up hath all the glory of my overthrow: if I can cross him any way; I bless myself every way.’ Shakespeare uses food imagery to show Don John’s anger towards Claudio and his desire for revenge against Claudio as the food will quench his hunger, which in this case is Don John’s displeasure. This is because Claudio had helped suppressed Don John’s rebellion. This quotation explores Don John by showing his personal character as a stereotype of the bastard son with the vices of anger, evil and bitterness in his nature. This shows a serious reflection on how the human condition can be wicked.

Deception as a corrupting tool within the double plotline also shows how the human condition can be made evil and corrupted. Twice Don John deceives Claudio, who proves to be a character that is easily corrupted and this shows aspects of his personal self. The first deception shows his impetuous nature through his soliloquy at the masked ball. In the line ‘which I mistrusted not: farewell therefore, Hero’ it shows that Claudio is such a corruptible character that he doubts his comradeship with the prince and misinterprets the actions of a masked Don Pedro based on only the words of Don John. The second deception utilizes costume, continuing the deception of Claudio using dramatic devices involving concealment of physical appearance. Margaret is dressed in Hero’s clothing and serenaded by Borachio, which leads Claudio to believe Hero was an unfaithful woman, which destroys their relationship as he did not believe in Hero and her good traits, he quite easily believes the lies that Don John tells him about Hero. This reflects the nature of relationships in Elizabethan times, when women were not trusted very much. Claudio’s easy deception shows his vice of his quick temper and impetuous nature, and this...
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