Deception In Much Ado About Nothing By William Shakespeare

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Deception is a tool that has been used throughout history to achieve power and political goals. It is used daily by people who desire to alter a situation in their favor, whether it be for good or bad. William Shakespeare wrote the play Much Ado About Nothing in 1599 for Queen Elizabeth I, someone who often interfered in the relationships among her courtiers and attendants. Shakespeare uses this play to comment on deception and how one may go about deceiving someone, by comparing Don Pedro and the Friar’s use of deception with Don John’s, it is clear that he believes deception has a place in society– but only if it is used for a good purpose. Through the contrast of Don Pedro, the Friar, and Leonato’s good intentions and his brother’s machinations …show more content…
Throughout the play, Don John is very candid about his yearning to ruin Claudio. In fact, while talking to Borachio about his plan to ruin Claudio’s marriage, Don John bluntly asserts, “If I can cross him any way, I bless myself every way” (I.iii.65-66). Shakespeare makes Don John’s intentions transparent in order to emphasize the pure wickedness of Don John’s desires to ruin Claudio’s life– he will go to any measure to achieve his goals, regardless of the consequences. Don John also neglects the possible effects on other people's reputations through his acts of deception. He assures Claudio that Hero is unfaithful, “I came hither to tell you;... she has been too long a-talking of, the lady is disloyal” (III.ii.95-97). Don John has the audacity to lie right to his face about Hero. Don John’s steadfastness creates a man who is dangerous to Claudio and Hero, especially because they are not aware of his evil schemes. After Don John’s successful attempt to alter Claudio’s beliefs about the latter, he finally lets out all of his internal tensions about Hero and his love life during the wedding: “Farewell, / Thou pure impiety and impious purity. / For thee I’ll lock up all the gates of love” (IV.i.108-110). Don John’s deception has brutally affected Claudio– not only does he say goodbye to Hero’s love, but he concludes …show more content…
Similarly to Benedict, Beatrice reveals her negative feelings about men and courtship. During her first meeting with Benedick, she states, “I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me” (129-130). By saying this, she puts herself out of reach for Benedick, hoping that a relationship with him will never happen. It is clear that Beatrice would prefer to have Benedick hate her. Shakespeare establishes her neglecting view on Benedick to show how influential the deception must be to bring her to accepting Benedick’s love. Furthermore, Don Pedro’s perfect approach to deception creates an influential effect on Beatrice. Like Benedick, Beatrice also overhears a conversation meant to persuade her thinking, and she reflects on what she heard: “And Benedick, love on; I will requite thee, / Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand” (III.ii.117-118). While Benedick’s line, when he overhears a similar conversation, and Beatrice’s line are in completely different sections of the play, they almost seem like a call and response. Shakespeare sets up this parallel to emphasize how the deception used on them has brought them together; they think and feel the same way–even when they are not in the same place. Soon after she admits her newfound love for Benedick, Beatrice states, “For others say thou dost deserve, and I /

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