An Exploration of the Use Shakespeare Makes of Misunderstanding and Deception in the Play Much Ado About Nothing

1470 Words Mar 11th, 2011 6 Pages
An exploration of the use Shakespeare makes of misunderstanding and deception in the play Much Ado About Nothing

Misunderstanding and deception in Much Ado About Nothing are key themes in the play. In Elizabethan times the word “Nothing” was pronounced “Noting” and so the title would have given the audience the initial clue that in this play the importance of noting, spying, appearance and eavesdropping will cause trouble throughout. It is important to define the difference between misunderstanding and deception. Instances of misunderstanding are very often simple mistakes. Misunderstanding means having an erroneous interpretation of the truth. Deception is to intentionally mislead or provide untruthful information.

Benedick is the
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Benedick has had a chance to reflect on his personality and is now changing his appearance (how he is “noted” by Beatrice). This criticism has also ensured Benedick’s silence so neither he nor Beatrice will suspect the gulling.

Hero also criticises Beatrice and condemns her attitudes towards Benedick and towards love. Hero is much more scathing towards Beatrice than Don Pedro and Leonato were towards Benedick. Hero says that Beatrice is “too disdainful” and “self-endeared”. She further attacks Beatrice by saying that “Distain and scorn ride sparkling in her eyes. Misprising what they look on and her wit. Values itself so highly”. It seems that these scornful words are more than just a way to hook Beatrice into feeling sorry for Benedick. I think that there is resentment behind them; Hero thinks that Beatrice values herself too highly and is releasing herself from Beatrice’s over-bearing influence. I also believe that what the audience witness is an exchange of roles in this deception. Hero is starting to exercise her opinion while Beatrice hides in the orchard somewhat speechless.

Beatrice’s deception is conveyed in blank verse as opposed to Benedick’s longer gulling, in prose. “No rather will I go to Benedick, and counsel him to fight against his passion..”. Shakespeare dramatises some of the deepest and highest sentiments in
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