Deception and Its Dramatic Effects in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing and Twelfth Night
Shakespeare uses deception and trickery in both "Twelfth Night" and
"Much Ado" to provide humour and dramatic irony for the audience. The
deception also furthers the plot or sub-plot. The dramatic effects of
this trickery are the irony, anticipation and empathy with the
characters. In the scene from "Much Ado", deception is used to create
a romance which turns out to be more than is intended by the
characters doing the deceiving. In "Twelfth Night" the purpose of the
deception is purely for fun and to provide humour for the audience.
Benedick is deceived by Claudio, Leonato and Don Pedro. Malvolio is
deceived by Olivia's uncle and his friend. Claudio, Leonato and Don
Pedro want to try and persuade him that he is in love with Beatrice
because they know that he has convinced himself he will never marry.
Benedick is not particularly interested in love and will refuse to
become "the argument of his own scorn" and when he describes his
ultimate lady it seems nobody that perfect would exist so Benedick
will always be single.
"Rich she'll beâ€¦wiseâ€¦virtuousâ€¦fairâ€¦mildâ€¦nobleâ€¦of good discourseâ€¦an
excellent musician, and her hair shall be of what colour it pleaseâ€¦"
Benedick also makes the point that Claudio swore he would never fall
in love and he is supposed to be wed by the end of the play.
"He was likeâ€¦an honest man and soldier, and now he is turned
He has previously been known as a woman hater and his constant match
of wits against Beatrice proves how little he wants to be involved
with them. In" Twelfth Night", Malvolio is found to be a man who loves
himself and believes that if someone does not like him, it is their
own fault. He is deceived by way of a letter from Maria (pretending to
be Olivia) which in fact says very little in direct terms. Maria and
her friends send the letter because they are sick of Malvoilio's "self
love". It is Malvolio himself who creates the deception by tricking
himself into creating a meaning for everything in the letter, however
cryptic. Malvolio is however; very capable of deceiving himself anyway
and frequently does so, making it easy for the letter to have meaning
Benedick is tricked into eavesdropping by a well planned conversation,
which involves Benedick overhearing his name in a conversation-a
typical way of intentionally getting someone to eavesdrop. He
eavesdrops because he hears his name and the conversation follows
through to the subject of romance, which captures Benedick's attention
and keeps it, meanwhile Benedick is determined to stay hidden from
"Monsieur Love". He is told that Beatrice has an undying love for him
but she would never tell him because it would ruin their constant wit