Much to Do with Deception

“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.

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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.

. 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 Identity” rather than a “Comedy of Action” in that it shapes the identity of the characters in the play by how their environment and circumstance gives them identity and not their own actions. He says, “To be sure, Shakespeare has previously capitalized upon the humor of love’s mocker –becoming love’s victim. ” This uncovers the depth behind the role of deception in their character roles.What might be seen as an evil, mocking and malicious act has molded the way both Benedick and Beatrice see love and see each other. Deception has aided their development as lovers and believers of love though it is usually meant to destroy. Forever, Benedict is a “victim of love” based on deception and mockery.

It is a very clever way that Shakespeare uses tragedy’s weapon of deception as Benedick’s crutch here. Playwriting, now, isn’t limited to how deception can be used but can rather choose to use it for anything. The second instance of tragedy’s deception for character’s benefit is seen in Act Three.Hero, ironically the heroine in the play, and Ursula also attempt to fool Beatrice into accepting Benedick.

They boasted about how great he is “praise him more than ever man did merit” (3. 3. 19). Champion used this portion has a key to how the perception of others often shapes character’s perception of things. While she too was eavesdropping and overheard the words of Hero and Ursula, she accepts the idea of loving Benedick. In her soliloquy, she speaks about the idea of Benedick’s attraction to her and is willing to change her feelings so that they can be united.

Deception doesn’t destroy in Much Ado About Nothing but it shapes and discovers. Notice Beatrice’s submissiveness. It reveals her subliminal desires to have love. Champion speaks of the evolution of this mature romantic comedy and describes this scene as “transformational deception”.

Much Ado About Nothing begins to place drama and intrigue into comedy while developing the characters with plot and purpose. Beatrice finally uncovers her truth through the “dramatic interruption of deception”. Robert G.

Hunter labels Much Ado About Nothing as a “Comedy of Forgiveness” and notes that Beatrice quickly changed her feelings (shows forgiveness) toward Benedick once deception gave her the push she needed to accept him. This mature comedy resembles tragedy in that it is supplied with a role character’s intervention as a guide to the plot. The most shocking act of deception in Much Ado About Nothing was done to Claudio and Hero. Meredith Anne Skura mentions the utilization of what is known as “stock characters” in comedic plays.

These are normally young boys with their female partners.Our stock characters in this play are Hero and Claudio. The two of them, unlike Beatrice and Benedick, begin their relationship immediately. The deception begins when Borachio finds out about Don Pedro’s plan to influence Hero for Claudio cause. At the party, Borachio and Don John bump into Claudio and try to make him think that Don Pedro is only enticing Hero for himself: “Signor, you are very near my brother in his love. / He is enamored on Hero” (2.

1. 155-6). After Don John and Borachio’s plan works, Claudio gives the audience some proverbs of truth.He mentions friendship being “constant” (2. 1. 167) except when romance is involved. It is important to note that deception didn’t destroy love in the heart and mind of Claudio at that moment.

But perhaps it uncovers his true feelings about love. The more we see deception in the act, the more we find that it isn’t a destructive tool as much as it is truth serum for individuals. It often shows whether trust is found.

Tragic and mature comedic plays, alike, end up identifying the hero’s character with the hero’s own insecurities.But comedies implement changes in the plot, through the assistance of others and coincidence, which modifies the ending from negative to positive. Claudio’s soliloquy in Act Two proves that Much Ado About Nothing should be considered a tragicomedy because it uses the negative influence of deception in tragedy to give the character identity without altering the story’s comedic (happy) conclusion.

After Don Pedro tells Claudio that he has convinced Hero to marry him, he is thrilled and it is here that Don John develops a new plan to incriminate Hero in the eyes of Claudio.When Don John is successful, Claudio vocally attacks Hero: “She knows the heart of a luxurious bed; / Her blush is guiltiness, not modesty” (4. 1. 40-1). Her father, Leonato, wishes death upon her: “O Fate, take not away thy heavy hand! / Death is the fairest cover for her shame / That may be wished for. ” (4. 1. 113-5) A quick comparison with another Shakespearian stories shows how this comedic genre play follows basic tragic story structure.

The complexity of comedy has made its staple in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing by shattering the comedic mold.Irving Ribner explains how the patterns of tragic plays have scenes of anger due to deception, similar to this scene in Act Four of Claudio and Leonato’s frustration. Normally this would lead to death and then remorse due to mistaken aggression by the hero; similar to other Shakespearian tragedies. Yet the difference with those tragedies and this play is the coincidence of aid from outside sources. It’s the eavesdropping of guards that brings righteousness to a frenzied situation when Borachio confessed his actions of deception to Conrad.

The play reveals that he told his story “like a true drunkard,” (3. . 104) when two watchmen overheard him. They immediately arrest him.

Much Ado About Nothing is bursting with deception, whether the intentions are positive or negative. There are loads of misinterpretation, gossip and betrayal amongst the characters. But to truly determine whether these actions made this story a particular genre cannot be determined now because of how this play’s pattern alters from normal play patterns. Shakespeare’s mature comedy, as opposed to his tragedy, shows that though trusting in others can be their downfall, things tend to work itself out for the hero by circumstance.This leaves us to understand that comedy and tragedy is a lot alike. A tragedy can just as easily become a comedy by simply changing the fate of the hero through the works of an unassuming “white knight” to save the day. Much Ado About Nothing is a play that involves deceit to achieve a goal but it proves that deception isn’t the final authority on outcome. This play is unique and groundbreaking by its merging of two forms of dramatic theatre (tragedy and comedy) to provide conflict, intrigue as well as joy and satisfaction.

Quite honestly, the most influential piece in playwriting may actually be coincidence over deception.Coincidence is the ruler of fate in Shakespeare more than deception. And it can deem a hero’s fate destructive or joyous. But true love is something that has found its discovery with comedic coincidence. Without coincidence, the love of Hero and Claudio would have never rekindled.

How interesting is love subject to outside forces rather than inward decision in Shakespearian plays? Love isn’t as powerful as some may thing to overpower obstacles and withstand evil. The genre of tragedy and comedy are forever explicit about this fact it seems.This is more of a testament that Much Ado About Nothing stands as a unique tragicomedy as it is controlled by these “laws of drama” in tragedy and comedy. Deception, often used as a destructive tool, (with the help of circumstance) brought love and personal identity to Claudio, Benedick and Beatrice. For Claudio, the understanding that Hero was innocent empowered him more to love and trust her more. So deception was the mirror that allowed him to notice his deficiencies and (with coincidence of story) built him to be a better lover and person.Deception for Benedick and Beatrice was simply the “train track” that they needed to connect and bring them together.

Tragedy’s destructive tool is comedy’s joyful agent. So, in the play Much Ado About Nothing, deceit does not end up destroying the hero but aided him; which can make this play 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.As a tragicomedy, it reveals the truth about other important laws in theatre of love and morality; as it redefines their effect and outcome. Shakespeare has, in many ways, made a great contribution in the art of theatre by revolutionizing the way we can categorize productions as well as how we look at the depth of playwriting.

Author: Kim Torres


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