Much ado about nothing is a romantic intriguing comedy written by William Shakespeare. By focusing on relationships, the author of the play highlights the impact of deception to unity, love and happiness. Deceitfulness is the device the characters use to either destroy or improve each other’s lives. The love relationships are either build or destroyed due to tricks, envy or mere bad luck.
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Similarly, some of the characters find joy in lying or playing tricks to their friends or lovers in order to achieve their personal selfish ambitions. Surprisingly, the aspect of self-deceitfulness arises among a few characters. Succinctly, the theme of deceit revolves around love relationships in the play.
Therefore, the elusive bonds created between different characters are weak mainly because they are build on the foundation of deceitfulness as expounded in the next discussion.
According to Shakespeare, a love relationship is like fate and therefore, only a self-deceptive person can separate two people who have a common interest. Set in a royal environment, Claudio announces his intention of courting and eventually, marrying Hero who has royal blood. Luckily, Don Pedro the Spanish prince encourages Claudio to go ahead with his plans.
Although Benedick is against Claudio’s intentions of dating Hero, Claudio puts him off by saying “in mine eye she is the sweetest lady that ever I looked on” (Shakespeare Act I scene I 135-137). Benedick deceives himself when he thinks that he can change Claudio’s mind/intentions not to date Hero. For instance, he says, “God forbid it should be so” (Shakespeare Act I scene I 140).
During his conversation with Don Pedro, Benedick’s announces that he does not intend to marry either. However, he does not know what lies ahead (fate carries). Therefore, Benedick’s compact mind or inability to accept other people’s opinions or intentions motivates him to lie continuously to himself. Benedick’s fights to change Claudio’s intentions to marry Hero but he does not succeed.
Similarly, Beatrice practices self-deceit, when she also proclaims that she is better of single than married. For example in Act II she says “Just if he sends me no husband; for the, which blessing I am upon my knees every morning and evening” (Shakespeare Scene I 137-140). Although Beatrice’s prayer is to remain single, she ironically goes against her wish and finally marries Benedick.
Thus, her prayer/wish is a proof of self-deceit among characters. Eventually, due to fate, Claudio and Hero embark on a love Journey and Benedick’s and Beatrice find themselves in a love relationship. Therefore, Shakespeare shows self-deceit is a behavior, which may encourage people to live in a denial, as it is the case with Benedick and Beatrice.
In addition, self-deceit can be the only the channel people can use to build strong bonds. More over, through focusing on self-deceit Shakespeare discourages people in the contemporary society against undermining their potential or God’s intention.
Another case of deceitfulness in the story arises when Don Pedro assigns himself the duty of wooing Hero for Claudio. However, Claudio does not trust Don Pedro mainly because of his earlier elusive interaction with Don John. Although Don John is Don Pedro’s brother, he lies to Claudio that his brother loves Hero. Eventually, a disagreement ensues between Don Pedro and Claudio.
Due to the constant practice of deceit among the characters, Claudio believes that Don Pedro is wooing Hero for himself. The constant practices of self-deceit among the characters push them to view all other people as deceitful. Nevertheless, Claudio’s relationship with Hero begins. Therefore, Shakespeare enlightens the contemporary society that deceit can lead to disunity, family break up and fights.
Furthermore, some people use the element of deceit to revenge or fulfill their self-ambitions, as it is the case with Don John. When Claudio starts dating Hero, it is a lesson to the audience or reader that people should not be quick to judge, believe or trust any negative thoughts/ words from friends, family members and partners.
People should not deny themselves happiness because of mere allegations from third parties. Therefore, sometimes deceit can be a form of encouragement to the affected parties and thus, people should use that chance to achieve their personal ambitions.
According to Shakespeare, deceit can be the only way to solve social problems. For instance, through lies/deception Don John achieves his intention of breaking the relationship or wedding between Claudio and Hero. Claudio humiliates Hero at the wedding when he realizes or believes that she is unfaithful (through deception).
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Don Pedro and Claudio also unite in the public humiliation of Hero while Margret the proprietor of the break up shamelessly watches the fall of Hero especially when she faints during the wedding. However, Leonato and the Friar fake Hero’s death in order to ascertain the truth. Through sympathy, Claudio accepts to marry Leonato’s niece (who actually is Hero).
Due to deception and its eventual impact, Claudio accepts to marry a stranger. Surprisingly, the congregation (women) appears in masks and Claudio has to wear a mask during the wedding. This form of deception is beneficial to both Claudio and Hero who end up establishing a solid relationship. During the wedding, Claudio asks, “Which is the lady I must seize upon” (Shakespeare Act V scene IV 53)?
This shows that Claudio is ready to marry any woman even if he does not love her. Consequently, the author shows that deceit is the only way, which can assist in solving challenging situations especially, which comes about due to deceit. Therefore, according to Shakespeare marriage is a social institution that may not necessarily be build on love.
Claudio’s decision to marry a stranger is to enable him socially fit in the society. Thus, guilt or remorseful may not necessarily be the main motivation behind his act.
Thus, deceit creates illusion that eventually, benefits both parties. In addition, the author also proves that most relationships especially marriages are broke or build based on deceit. However, the manner in, which an individual handles the lies/deceits may build or destroy his or her future.
In brief, the main theme highlighted in the play is deceit. Most of the relationships are either build or destroyed because of deceitfulness. However, behind any form of lie or deceit always a lasting solution to a conflict or problem emerges. When Shakespeare focuses on the element of self-deceit among his characters especially Beatrice and Benedick, he discourages the audience against living in self-denial.
Both Beatrice and Benedick do not believe in love or marriage relationship but eventually they end up marrying each other. Secondly, Shakespeare shows that through deceit individuals can solve their social problems especially regarding love relationships, as it is the case with Claudio and Hero.
Therefore, deceit is part of the society. However, people should learn to solve positively a problem build on basis of deceit. Finally, although deceit creates tension in the play, the relationship build on lies end up stronger.
Shakespeare, William. Much Ado about Nothing. New York: Penguin press, 1998. Print