Shakespeare's Use Of Deception In Much Ado About Nothing

1728 words - 7 pages

Shakespeare's Use of Deception in Much Ado About Nothing

In the Play ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ the role of deceit is an
important one that is played to its fullest. The play is based upon
deliberate deceptions and numerous schemes that are used to manipulate
the thoughts of nearly every character and the characters deceive
themselves by putting on a different public facade instead of showing
their true feelings and personalities. The play also involves an
elaborate arrangement of trickery to achieve a humorous effect that
perhaps portrays deceit as something that is not necessarily corrupt,
but rather as a means to an end.

The first example of deception in Act 1, involves Beatrice and
Benedick. Although the main plot focuses on the drama between Claudio
and Hero, Beatrice and Benedick are vital characters that provide some
of the wittiest dialogue in the play. They are more worldly and both
of them protest that they never intend to marry. This makes the
audience enjoy even more, their rapid acceptance of each other’s
affection when they are tricked into falling in love with each other.

In the opening scene, Beatrice begins a sequence of insults by asking
Benedick why he is talking as no one listens to him. He responds "Lady
Disdain! Are you yet living?" and she replies by asking how could such
disdain die when Benedick is there to feed it? Through the dialogue of
these two characters, the audience can sense that there was once a
relationship between these characters, romantic or not, that went

This is proven in Act Two when Beatrice says ‘Indeed, my lord, he lent
it me awhile; and I gave him use for it, a double heart for his single
one: marry, once before he won it of me with false dice, therefore
your grace may well say I have lost it.’

The deception in this example is that both characters deceive
themselves. The audience can tell that they are well suited from the
beginning of the play and can probably guess the outcome of their

Benedick tries to present himself as a very masculine and proud man
that all women are attracted to. ‘It is certain I am loved by all
ladies’. When he talks about women with other male characters he
proudly acts as if he does not want to get involved with women
emotionally and calls himself ‘a professed tyrant to their sex’. He
criticises Claudio when he falls in love stating ‘You have no intent
of turning husband do you?’ and ‘Shall I never see a bachelor of
three-score again?’ although it is clear to the audience that he is
concealing his true feelings. Benedick maintains the belief that ‘he
will live a bachelor’, although as the play proceeds, his feelings
become clear and that he is ‘horribly in love’ with Beatrice.

Beatrice and Benedick deceive each other again at the masquerade ball.
While Beatrice...

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