Essay about The Role of Deception in Much Ado About Nothing

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The Role of Deception in Much Ado About Nothing

Deception is the aspect of Much Ado About Nothing which enables Shakespeare to hold the interest of his audience. The play purports to be a light-humoured comedy full of fun and entertaining images. However, it has moments of gravity and, in places, a darker plot almost approaching tragedy, is exposed to the audience. It emerges as a story of a shallow world, full of weak characters. Deception is a pivotal part of the plot - it is what makes the story revolve and what keeps the attention of the audience.

The title of the play itself suggests the significance of deception in the play. In Elizabethan times, the word 'nothing' was pronounced
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This added to the audience's confusion of the plot.

Don John is responsible for much of the deception in the play and the deception which he causes leads to misery. In Elizabethan times, children born out of wedlock were thought to be out to challenge the claims of the legitimate heirs and were therefore perceived as evil and malicious. It is for this reason that Don John, (himself born out of wedlock), is so conveyed. Don John tries to deceive Leonato and others that he is really quite an honourable character. He is introduced into the play, being welcomed into Leonato's house with Don Pedro to which he responds, "I thank you, I am not of many words but I thank you." In his repetition of the thanks, despite being "not of many words", he tries to gives the impression to Leonato and his household that he is sincere and genuine. However, as the play unfolds, it becomes evident that he is one of the main "deceivers" within the play.

The masked ball sets the scene for the rest of the play. The idea of masking is implemented by Shakespeare as a symbol of the deception and the hidden reality of the circumstances within the play. This scene sees the first real deed of deception. Don John approaches Claudio, who is masked and asks him if he