Deciet and Trickery in Shakespeare´s Much Ado About Nothing Essay
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Deceit and trickery play a huge part in the play Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare. Deception is a key theme in the play, it also moves the plot along. Trickery and deception is used in the love stories of couples Hero and Claudio, and Benedick and Beatrice, with opposite results. This play demonstrates two different kinds of deceit: the kind whose only purpose is to cause trouble, and the kind that is used to form a good outcome. In the relationship of Hero and Claudio, deception nearly succeeds in breaking them apart forever, while in the case of Benedick and Beatrice, it brings them closer together. The first use of trickery in Hero and Claudio's relationship is when Claudio's friend, Don Pedro, pretends to be…show more content…
Deceit and trickery play a huge part in the play Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare. Deception is a key theme in the play, it also moves the plot along. Trickery and deception is used in the love stories of couples Hero and Claudio, and Benedick and Beatrice, with opposite results. This play demonstrates two different kinds of deceit: the kind whose only purpose is to cause trouble, and the kind that is used to form a good outcome. In the relationship of Hero and Claudio, deception nearly succeeds in breaking them apart forever, while in the case of Benedick and Beatrice, it brings them closer together. The first use of trickery in Hero and Claudio's relationship is when Claudio's friend, Don Pedro, pretends to be Claudio to woo Hero for Claudio. After that, Don John uses deception as a tool to ruin the happiness of Hero and Claudio. Before the wedding, he tells Claudio: "I came hither to tell you, and, circumstances shortened—for she [Hero] has been too long a-talking of—the lady is disloyal." (3.2.96–98.) Don John brings Claudio to Hero's window and convinces him that he is seeing Hero being disloyal when it is actually Hero's servant, Margaret, with Borachio. Claudio accuses Hero at their wedding, and she faints as a result. Claudio leaves and the Friar, who was supposed to marry them, suggests that Hero's family should tell everyone that she is dead, which is another use of deception. Borachio confesses how Don John bribed him to join in on
Trickery and Deception in Much Ado about Nothing
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An exploration of Shakespeare’s presentation of trickery and deception in his play ‘Much Ado about Nothing.’
In William Shakespeare’s play ‘Much Ado about Nothing’, there are many instances of trickery and deception, which seem to surround the whole of the play.
These instances are as follows: Don Pedro wooing hero for Claudio, Don Pedro wooing hero for himself, Claudio pretending to be Benedick to find out information from Don John and Borachio, Don John and Borachio both know that Claudio is not Benedick but trick Claudio into thinking that they believe that Claudio is in fact Benedick, Benedick pretending to be somebody else whilst talking to Beatrice, Beatrice pretending to believe that she is in fact talking to Benedick, Beatrice having romantic feelings for Benedick, Benedick having romantic feelings for Beatrice, Beatrice not having romantic feelings for Benedick, Benedick not having romantic feelings for Beatrice, Hero is unfaithful with Borachio, Hero is dead, and Antonio having another daughter.
Don John plays an essential role for nearly all of the trickery and deception in this play. He acts like a catalyst and an instigator for trouble, whose sole aim is to marmalize the love and happiness between Claudio and Hero. Shakespeare uses foreshadowing of Don John’s villainy to display the trickery and deception:
’It better fits my blood to be distained of all
than to fashion a carriage to rob love from any, in this,
though I cannot be said to be a flattering honest man, it
must not be denied but I am a plain-dealing villain. I am
trusted with a muzzle and enfranchized with a clog:
therefore I have decreed not to sing in my cage. If I had
my mouth, I would bite, if I had my liberty, I would do
my liking. In the meantime, let me be that I am, and
seek not to alter me.’
- Don John.
o (Act I, Scene III: Lines: 22-30).
The first instance of trickery and deception is when Don Pedro tells Claudio that he will woo Hero for Claudio to marry her in Act I Scene I. Tricking her to believe that Don Pedro himself has feelings for Hero:
‘I will assume thy part in disguise,
and tell fair Hero that I am Claudio,
and in her bosom I’ll unclasp my heart,
and take her hearing prisoner with the force
and strong encounter of my amorous tale.
Then after, to her father will I break:
and the conclusion is, she shall be thine.’
- Don Pedro.
o (Act I, Scene I: Lines 276 - 282).
It is reported to Don John by Borachio that “…The Prince should woo Hero for himself, and having obtained her, give her to Count Claudio.
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Trickery Much Ado Deception Don John Essential Role Shakespeare’s Play Claudio Instances Benedick Pedro
” After hearing this, Don John proceeds in saying:
‘…If I can cross him in any way, I bless myself
in every way. You are both sure, and will assist me?’
- Don John.
o (Act I Scene III: Lines 54-55).
After this scene, both Don John and Borachio deceive Claudio into believing that Don Pedro himself is in love with Hero and that he is wooing her for himself “my brother is amorous on Hero”. Borachio and Don John more or less lead Claudio to attempt to deceive them by pretending to be Signoir Benedick in order to find out more information, although Borachio and Don John are deceiving him again since they in fact know that he isn’t Signior Benedick:
‘And that is Claudio, I know him by his bearing.’
o (Act II scene I: Line 136).
‘Are not you Signoir Benedick?’
- Don John.
o (Act II, Scene I: Line 137).
‘You know me well: I am he.’
o (Act II scene I: Line 138).
Claudio proceeds in asking Don John “How know you he loves her?” then Don John lies to Claudio again by saying that he heard “him swear his affection”.
Another conspiracy is that of Benedick trying to deceive Beatrice into thinking that he is somebody else, so she talks to him differently in Act II scene I. It is debatable whether Beatrice knows that Benedick is the stranger behind the mask but if she does happen to know this then she is deceiving him to make a fool out of him.
Of all of deception and trickery that runs through ‘Much Ado’ one of the most prominent is the love affair between Beatrice. It starts of with ‘a merry war’, goes into both Benedick and Beatrice denying the fact that they have romantic feelings towards each other, and then after they are deceived by: Hero, Ursula, Don Pedro, Claudio and Leonato start to show their true feelings towards each other in their own soliloquies.
Another conspiracy which, again, involves Don John and Borachio trying to sabotage Claudio and Hero’s relationship is in Act II Scene II, when Borachio suggests to Don John that they should convince Claudio and Don Pedro that Hero is no longer a maiden and has been unfaithful to Claudio with Borachio, vexing Claudio whilst also “misusing the prince, to undo Hero, and kill Leonato”.
Don John approves of this idea and offers to pay Borachio for his part in the plan. Borachio tells Don John that Hero is in love with Borachio. “Tell them that you know that Hero loves me”. Don John then informs Borachio of his payment for his part in the plan “a thousands ducats”.
Don John leads Don Pedro and Claudio to under Hero’s window where they find Borachio and Margaret are having Sexual intercourse at the window of Hero’s bedroom. However, Don Pedro and Claudio are led to believe that the woman is in fact Hero.
This plan is carried out in Act III Scene II, when Don John approaches Don Pedro and Claudio saying:
‘You may think I love you not. Let that
appear hereafter, and aim better at me by that I now will
manifest. For my brother, I think he holds you well, and
in dearness of heart hath holp to effect your ensuing
marriage – surely suit ill spent, and labour ill bestowed!’
- Don John.
o (Act III, Scene II: Lines 81-85).
Don John then goes on to say ‘the lady is disloyal’ and refers to her as a whore by saying ‘Even she – Leonarto’s Hero, your Hero: every man’s Hero.’ He then advises Claudio to not disagree with his view before the ‘evidence’ is presented to him, and also advised that:
‘If you dare not trust what you see, confess not that you
know. If you will follow me, I will show you enough.
And when you have seen more and heard more,
- Don John.
o (Act III, Scene II: Lines 103-106).
This deception overlaps into Act IV Scene I (the wedding scene) where Count Claudio and Don Pedro proceed in shaming Hero for supposedly not being a virgin, causing Leonarto to be ashamed of his daughter and enraged by the situation.
Claudio starts to shame Hero during the wedding scene in Act IV Scene I by asking Leonarto if he is sure that Hero is actually a virgin:
‘Will you free an unconstrainèd soul,
Give me this maid, your daughter?’
o (Act IV Scene I: Lines 21-22).
As Leonarto still believes that his daughter is a maid and unconstrained ‘As freely, son, as God did give her me’ he tries to defend her by asking Claudio ‘what do you mean, my lord?’ This shows the reader how confused Leonato is at this point in the play.
Claudio and Don Pedro continue to shame Hero in front of all her family and all of their friends:
‘Not to be married,
Not to knit my soul to an approvèd wanton.’
o Act IV, Scene I (Lines 40 and 41).
Everybody at the congregation is deeply shocked by this revelation. Benedick shows that he is uncertain about the whole affair:
‘Two of them have very bent of honour,
And if their wisdoms be misled in this,
The practice of it lives in John the Bastard,
Whose spirits toil in frame of villainies.’
o Act IV, Scene I: (Lines 182-185).
It is later revealed that Don John and Borachio were solely responsible for the conspiracy that Hero had been adulterous with Borachio when she hadn’t by Dogberry and his watchmen in act III scene III, when Borachio was bragging about being paid by Don John for his part of dishonouring Hero to Conrade:
‘… But know that I have tonight, wooed
Margaret the Lady Hero’s gentlewoman, by the name of
Hero. She leans me out at her mistress’ chamber-
window, bids me a thousand times goodnight- I tell this
tale vilely – I should first tell thee how the Prince,
Claudio, and my master, planted, and placed, and
possessed, by my master Don John, saw afar off in the
orchard this amiable encounter.
o Act III, Scene III: (Lines: 129- 136).
Conrade helps the watchmen to find out more about this plot by unknowingly, by asking Borachio if ‘thought they Margaret was Hero?’ Borachio makes a grave error when he replies with in ear shot of the watchmen with:
‘Two of them did, the Prince and Claudio – but the devil
My master knew she was Margaret. And partly by his
oaths, which first possessed them, partly by the dark
night, which did deceive them, but chiefly by my
villainy, which did confirm any slander that Don John
had made, away went Claudio enraged: swore he
would meet her, as he was appointed, next morning at
the temple, and there, before the whole congregation,
shame her with what he saw o’ernight, and send her
home again without a husband.’
o Act III, Scene III: (Lines: 138-147).
After hearing this, the watchmen leap out from their hiding place, arrest both Borachio and Conrade:
(coming forward) ‘We charge you, in the Prince’s name,
- Watchman 1.
o Act III, Scene III: (Lines 148-149).
Borachio and Conrade are then led off to prison by the watch, where they confess everything about the plot to destroy the relationship between Claudio and Hero to