An Understanding Evil in Shakespeare´s Much Ado About Nothing

Decent Essays
An Understanding Evil Several of William Shakespeare’s plays focus on the presence of a characters public appearance in the eyes of spectatorship and observation, and the problems that result from misunderstandings. Although it is dark at times, Much Ado
About Nothing is a comedy that exemplifies this theme. As spectatorship is an action characters engage in, it becomes a challenge to keep up with the motives and truthful appearances of identities throughout the play. Due to Claudio’s ability to be easily manipulated, his motives behind rejecting Hero are masked by Don John’s evil attempt to destroy him and his marriage. In Much Ado About Nothing, Claudio is viewed as a victim of spectatorship and Don John as the perpetrator.
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That young start-up hath all the glory of my overthrow.
If I can cross him any way, I bless myself every way.
You are both sure, and will assist me?” (1.3.3). While Don John believes Claudio to be the reason he was overthrown by Don Pedro, he will stop at no limit to destroy whatever he can in Claudio’s life through manipulation and Claudio’s misunderstanding. In Much Ado About Nothing, the definition of nothing is crucial as it shapes the actions of characters. Nothing could be a reference to observation, literally nothing, or sexuality. In the play most actions are guided by the pursuit of sex. This is especially true in the case of Claudio, who unwillingly ends up rejecting the woman he loves. The idea of having a clean, honest woman (virgin) was a possession that all of these men desired and one that Don John wished to destroy for Claudio,
All you that see her, that she were a maid
By these exterior shows? But she is none.
She knows the heat of a luxurious bed.
Her blush is guiltiness, not modesty (4.1.2). The fine line between determining a comedy and tragedy lies behind who is manipulated and for what purpose. Don John makes Claudio believe that Don Pedro is after his love, Hero. Therefore Claudio was a means to Don John’s end, rather than the focus of his actions. Eventually Don John’s focus shifts to ruining Hero’s reputation in
Claudio’s eyes. This fails for two reasons; both the result of spectatorship. Claudio
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