Importance of Speech in Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Richard III

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Importance of Speech in Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Richard III


Speech is often the strongest indicator of personality and motivation in Shakespearean histories and comedies. Each turn of phrase is a small insight into the essence of the character. Stringing together each line from the mouth of the character allows the audience to discover each nuance created by Shakespeare. By connecting the actions to a manner of speech, which mirrors those actions, Shakespeare is able to create more believable and dynamic characters. Examining Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Richard III, certain archetypes emerge, each with a specific way of speaking. Villains with their quick and
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In Much Ado About Nothing, Don John, the established villain, claims "I am not a man of many words" (I.i). From this assertion, a certain amount of mystery arises in the audience. The other characters have long been conversing on their victories in war (and verbal battles) while Don John lurks in the background. By removing himself from the conversation, Don John becomes an observer, which automatically arouses suspicion regarding his motives. Throughout his interaction with the primary characters in the play, Don John keeps his word of not speaking often. Rarely does he speak to Don Pedro, his brother, or his brother's intimate friends, but he becomes much more verbal with speech with his lackies, Borachio and Conrade. Although he is never loquacious, Don John's tongue becomes looser as he relishes in his plans to both the audience and his followers. His speech still maintains the short, staccato-like phrases when makings his plans of "mischief" (I.i). This change of speech also indicates a hidden personality and possible ill will. The audience is expected to receive this quick transformation as evidence of Don John's evil nature. Those who missed the clues earlier in the scene are now able to fully understand the reasons behind Don John's reserved nature. Don John's delivery of speech varies so greatly between company that the audience could deduce his evil plot before it is fully revealed. Shakespeare uses the…