"No Small Parts, Only Small Actors"
"There are no small parts, only small actors." Is this statement accurate? Minor characters, by simple definition, are characters who do not play a major role in a work of literature. However, every character serves a purpose. Simply because a character does not have many lines or appear in many scenes does not mean that he does not play a major part in the development of the plot. One such character is Borachio in William Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing. While Borachio appears in only six scenes, he is very important to the entire play. As a minor character, Borachio seems insignificant, but without his role in the play, there would be neither conflict nor a resolution.
Borachio's role is necessary for the development of the plot of Much Ado about Nothing. As a result of his friendship with Don John, Borachio tells him vital news about overhearing "it agreed upon that the Prince should woo Hero for himself, and having obtained her, give her to Count Claudio" (1.3.57-60). Borachio and Don John now know the real situation between Hero, Claudio, and Don Pedro: Claudio, and not Don Pedro, will get Hero for a wife; however, Borachio tells Claudio that Don Pedro "swore he would marry [Hero] tonight" (2.1.157). When Claudio hears this distortion of the truth, he becomes angry. After conflict arises, Borachio and Don John think that they have stopped the marriage of Claudio and Hero from taking place. Borachio has, by this action, already developed into a vital character in the play. Since Borachio is the only one who hears the truth about the expected marriage, only he is capable of corrupting the arrangement. Borachio acts directly to cause the conflict in the play, and his intention is to stop the future marriage of Claudio and Hero. It is for this reason that Borachio's role is necessary for the development of the plot of Much Ado about Nothing.
Though Borachio hears that Hero, Claudio, and Don Pedro settle the confusion and Claudio and Hero are still getting married, he still feels that there is time to create more conflict to prevent this seemingly inevitable marriage. Being the love interest of Margaret (Hero's waiting woman) allows Borachio to conjure up another plan to accomplish this task. After devising a plan to make it seem as though Hero is being unfaithful to Claudio, Borachio goes to Don John and advises him that Claudio and Don Pedro "will scarcely believe this without trial . . . hear me call Margaret Hero, hear Margaret term me Claudio" (2.2.40-44). Borachio and Margaret are at the window, and from Claudio's view, he cannot tell that it is Margaret, not Hero, in the window with Borachio. Henceforth, this mistaken identity causes the main conflict in the play, one where Borachio takes the role of the villain. Because Don John has a reason to hate his brother, Borachio's acts seem much more villainous because he has no direct motivation. Having the full...