Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare, is a play that entails several love stories that include themes of comedy, romance, suspense, and drama, that throughout the story they overcome impediments that affect the way they feel. Shakespeare’s use of irony demonstrates how deception in the play is malevolent, through different schemes and actions that manipulate the thoughts of the characters . He conveys how honesty is important to avoid conflicts from affecting relationships and friendships, since deception in the play tends to focus on love which has a profound effect on protagonists in the story, as seen between Claudio and Hero, Don John’s act of vengeance and the faking of Hero’s death.
The first act of deceit is during the masquerade ball, which sets a tone of ignorance throughout the play because people are not attentive to the truth. Out of hospitality, Don Pedro offers to help Claudio woo Hero in order to get her to marry him, which later causes rumors to be spread. As Don Pedro states in Act 1, “I will assume thy part in some disguise and tell fair Hero I am Claudio, and in her bosom I’ll unclasp my heart”, which expresses how Don Pedro was genuinely lending a hand, the concept of masks is executed by Shakespeare as a symbol to hide the reality and deceive their identity. Through an act of deceit made by Don John, Claudio assumed that Don Pedro wanted Hero for himself. Claudio felt miserable, as he believed Don John, even though it was already planned for him to marry Hero. He demonstrates his emotions towards the situation by “wishing him joy of her” giving up hope, which serves as a tone of defeat because he wasn’t gonna get what he wanted, and believed that his friend betrayed him. Although the outcome turned out as planned, he still decided to believe Don John over his friend.
After the failure that occurred during the ball, Don John out of despite used malevolent actions to try and ruin Claudio and Hero’s conjoinment. Don John makes Claudio believe that Hero is having an affair with another man, which leads him to shame her on their wedding day. In act 4 scene 1 friar asks if either of them know of any impediment, to say them now, Claudio responds “What man was he talked with you yesternight, out at your window betwixt twelve and one?,” hero responds, “I talked with no man at that hour, my lord”. Through the use of irony Shakespeare conveys that Hero tells nothing but the truth, however acquaintances including Claudio choose to doubt her and believe the men who witnessed it. If Claudio abandoned his ignorant attitude and listened to what Hero really had to say, they would’ve come to a realization that everything was a lie. Moreover, the play is full of dramatic irony where we know that characters are being deceived while they are not aware of what is really happening. In this case, we know that Hero has been disgraced, and it’s shown how the love between Claudio and Hero deteriorates.
Hero’s humiliation was enough to affect Leonato and his daughter, causing them to conduct an act of revenge towards Claudio. Friar proposed that Hero pretended to be dead, in the eyes of her friends and family to make Claudio grief. In act 5 scene 3, Leonato asked Claudio to write a epitaph, which stated “Give her fame which never dies, so the life that died with shame, lives in death with glorious fame”. Shakespeare utilizes an oxymoron to demonstrates what Claudio is feeling after finding out that he is guilty of Hero’s death, his love for Hero remains strong and he now desires to bring her back with a clean record.
To summarize, lies play a huge role in the play Much Ado About Nothing due to Shakespeare’s tendency to focus on love, relationships and friendships and how they are affected by deceit. Through the characters stories, the message he is trying to convey becomes apparent which is that honesty is the only way to avoid issues that may result in serious consequences. As the play progresses many cases of deceit are present, and characters respond differently.
...(download the rest of the essay above)