Much to Do with Deception

Topics: Comedy, Tragedy, William Shakespeare Pages: 6 (2356 words) Published: May 7, 2013
“Much To Do With Deception”
A Critical Research Paper about William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing, written by William Shakespeare, is a dramatic production that uses the tools of deception and humor under the category of comedy. As defined by Paul N. Siegel, “A comic play is usually accepted to be a light-hearted play with a happy conclusion.” Yet, Shakespearian tragic plays often use deception as a method to damage the role of the hero. In other Shakespearian tragedies like Othello and Richard III, deception is one of the main tools used to gain a victory over the hero. A Shakespearian tragedy is defined to be a hero afflicted with moral or emotional weight that ends in his or her destruction or discontent. But the use of deceit in this play is encouraged to discover “true love” and identity, which Shakespeare intended to do, and thus present a happy ending.In this play, deceit does not end up destroying the hero but aided him; which can make Much Ado About Nothing uniquely classified as a tragicomedy, in that it intermingles the standard subject matter and typical plot-forms of deceit in tragedy and happiness in comedy to ironically build a character’s identity while keeping a positive ending. Deception as an ingredient in Shakespeare's plays takes an assortment of styles. For most of Shakespeare's heroes, the dishonesty of their loved ones ends up destroying them. Other members deceive themselves and eventually believe they are something they are not. Although deception is commonly brought up through some type of cover up, it is more often given through language. It has the power to make characters act differently and subject themselves to pain and confusion while trying to battle moral and emotional conflict. Deception has always been a great tool to enhance the plot line of any story and give the audience someone to love as well as hate; which supplies better intrigue toward major and minor scenes and characters. Almost every personality in this play is affected in some way, shape or form, by deceit. It has become the driving force of this production. And though deceit is normally used to conquer the enemy, Shakespeare uses it to make characters fall deeper in love by the conclusion of the play. Much Ado About Nothing is a play that has a complex arrangement of schemes, activities, and deceit, not to accomplish ruin but to augment “true love” and happiness. The first example of deception to happiness is with the characters of Beatrice and Benedick. These two characters supply much wittiness throughout the play. Their banter and soliloquies have a tendency to leave the audience smiling and restless for more exchange between them. Benedick and Beatrice have had a connection before their wars of wit, to which she mentions to in Act 2: “Marry, once before he won it for me with false dice; / Therefore your grace may well say I have lost it” (2.1.265-7). They must have had, at one point, a romance with each other that went wrong. The deception of Beatrice and Benedick, though, was given by Don Pedro. In the play, Don Pedro (in clean fun) instructs Leonato and Claudio to bring them together. Leonato says: “If we can do this, Cupid is no / longer an archer; his glory shall be ours” (2.1.363-4). So in Act Two Scene Three, Don Pedro, Leonato, and Claudio find Benedick standing in a garden and try to con him into loving Beatrice. The deceitful friends talk about Beatrice and how much she loves Benedick to each other openly. While he is eavesdropping on their conversation, he ultimately believes them and shows the audience how he really feelings. “This can be no trick / I will be horribly in love with her” (2.3.210,223). Benedick makes the decision to fall in love and he allows himself to let love change his original bachelor stance. It is interesting here how deception, played by outside parties, became the aid of Benedick. Larry S. Champion labels Much Ado About Nothing as a “Comedy of...

Bibliography: Champion, Larry S. Evolution of Shakespeare 's Comedy; a Study in Dramatic Perspective. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1970. Print.
Hunter, Robert Grams. Shakespeare and the Comedy of Forgiveness. New York: Columbia UP, 1965. Print.
Lawrence, William Witherle. Shakespeare 's Problem Comedies. New York: Macmillan, 1931. Print.
Ribner, Irving
Shakespeare, William, Stephen Greenblatt, Walter Cohen, Jean E. Howard, Katharine Eisaman Maus, and Andrew Gurr. The Norton Shakespeare. New York: W.W. Norton, 2008. Print.
Siegel, Paul N. Shakespeare in His Time and Ours. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame, 1968. Print.
Skura, Meredith Anne
[ 2 ]. Larry S. Champion, Evolution of Shakespeare 's Comedy; a Study in Dramatic Perspective. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1970). 102.
[ 5 ]. Robert Grams Hunter. Shakespeare and the Comedy of Forgiveness. (New York: Columbia UP, 1965). 24.
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