Much Ado About Nothing: A Comedy Without Substance by William Shakespeare

Topics: Much Ado About Nothing, Comedy, Irony Pages: 5 (1826 words) Published: February 6, 2013
]“Much Ado about Nothing is a comedy without substance” Discuss
Old and new comedy both appear during the play, they are only produced for entertainment purposes.Old comedy usually sees a plot with a problem to overcome. This is attempted with a absurd plan, often leading to satire and buffoonery.These key features of old comedy are shown when Hero has to fake her death in order for Claudio to marry her and dogberry and verges court case to gain respect and honour.New Comedy is also visible in the play, it ischaracterised by young man chasing a young woman, the protagonist has to overcome social difficulties in order to succeed in pursuit and eventually ends with restoration.Claudio and Hero are clear examples of old comedy, however Benidick and Beatrice don’t fit into this typical mold but are key romantics. The defective Exchange is a conversation which breeches usual rules of conversation (Grice’s Maxims) which are:1.Be truthful 2. Be concise. 3. be clear. 4. be relevant. In Much Ado About Nothing, this is reflected through those who are out of step or disagree with society.Dogberry and his companions of the middle-class are key characters of this. The use of breeching Grice's Maxims in Much ado about nothing cause the play to become a comedy without substance.Dogberry breaks the maxims by not being relevant as he says “Thou wilt be condemned into everlasting redemption for this”Shakespeare's character Dogberry says "redemption" instead of "damnation", this is a malapropism.The fact that he means precisely the opposite of what he so passionately exclaims makes this a comical use of irony.This technique specifically used here potrays this play to be a comedy without substance as this does not at all having any meaning behind it. However Grice Maxims are also broken by Benidick and Beatrice, “Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher” “A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours” “I would my horse had the speed of your tongue, and so good a continuer. But keep your way, i' God's name; I have done.” “You always end with a jade's trick: I know you of old”. Shakespeare uses Bendick and Beatrices merry war for the audience to percieve the characters true feelings for one another, despite the characters not knowing so creating dramatic comedy.They are breaking the Grice Maxim of be truthful. Shakespeare covers these characters true feelings and mixes between good and bad roles of characters. Therefore this shows Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy with substance as Shakespeare explores the geography of human soul. Shakespeare uses comic pairing to create comedy from their dialogue and interaction. Much ado about nothing therefore here is represented as only for entertainment so is a comedy without substance.Dogberry and his companions enter the play at a moment of high drama. “Come hither, neighbour Seacoal. God hath bless'd you with a good name. To be a well-favoured man is the gift of fortune, butto write and read comes by nature” “Both which, Master Constable-- “You have. I knew it would be your answer. Well, for yourfavour, sir, why, give God thanks and make no boast of it; andfor your writing and reading, let that appear when there is no need of such vanity” Dogberry messes his words throughout all of his lines.He mistakes writing and reading as a sign of vanity which allows the audience to get a glimpse of exactly how Dogberry views the world. To him, being a learned man is a good way to show off how refined you are. He attempts to use a wide range of speech to convince everyone that’s he’s a gentleman, even though he doesn’t really have a grasp of the vocabulary he employs, he is trying to decieve those of upper class. This is purely for laughs and entertainment without any kind of meaning behind it, therefore proving the play is a comedy without substance. However the Beatrice and Benidck are comically paired by Shakespeare to create comedy, however this shows Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy...
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