Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare as a Satire Essay

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Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare as a Satire

This essay will analyse the way in which Shakespeare makes this comedy bitterly satirical, and a comment on not only the pretentious style and swank of Spaniards, namely Don Pedro and his gang, but human stupidity as a whole. Much Ado About Nothing portrays the issues of sex, war, marriage and chivalric courtly love in an ironic and satirical way. On a topical level, the play satirises Spanish, Sicilian and Italian aristocrats in the 16th Century, and their comical dress sense, style of speech and general outlook and their anachronistic concepts. The appearance of Don Pedro's group of friends from the outset would be funny, as not only do
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Words like 'hare-finder' are obvious double-entendres with strong sexual implications, which Claudio seems to miss completely. Here we see that Benedick's tongue is just as sharp at Beatrice's, and the two witty and also wisest of characters are introduced. When Claudio mentions marriage with Hero, this disappoints Benedick, and he immediately launches into a stab at 'the married man'.

"In faith, hath not the world one man but he will wear his cap with suspicion?"

This is an obvious reference to cuckolding. A cuckold in Shakespearian times was always shown wearing two large horns on his head in theatre, like a yoked and chained bull. The regular references to horns also relate to this, and are of low sexual humour. Again later on, when Don Pedro and Claudio are persuading Benedick that he will get married, he replies with seeming horror.

"If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat and shoot at me, and he that hits me, let him be clapped on the shoulder and called Adam."

All this fiery wit and language may be obvious satire, but we wonder here if Benedick is not a 'professed tyrant to their sex', but merely afraid of relationships. Therefore Benedick himself is a victim of the playwright's satire.

The moment Benedick leaves, we see a new