Much Ado About Nothing: The Power of Social Grace

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Gerard Huddleston
Ms. Penny O’Neal
English Comp 1302
12/05/2012
The Power of Social Grace
The importance of socialization during the Renaissance period is shown through the dialogue in the play Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare. The presence of feminine influence throughout the play displays the power and manipulation that the female characters possess. The significance of honor and the power of deception are also present through the plays content and play a major role in the demise and triumph of all of the characters. Although Beatrice and Hero come to find love in different ways their courtiers and the clever semantics that is deemed necessary when attempting to find love is the underlying source of the power of these two main characters. The play, through Hero’s engagement and repudiation scene, Beatrice’s witty banter with Benedick and the declaration of love scene between Beatrice and Benedick, argues that female power is gained through language.

I believe that it is first necessary to establish the importance of language in the play. This is because the words that are exchanged between the characters are relevant regardless of class or gender. In her analytical review, journalist Jackie Shead begins by giving a personal account of her own experience with the way the human mind comprehends things through words before what is physically presented and true. She then states “This, of course, is a major idea of Much Ado About Nothing--that what we are told profoundly influences our perceptions and judgements.” The author is referring to omnipresence of deception in the play and how through language some of the main characters were purposely deceived against their better judgment. Claudio was made to believe that Hero had defiled their engagement and her honor by participating in extramarital affairs. The influence of his words and the way he chose to publicly humiliate her and her honor suggest that even without proof, the chastity of young...
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