Deception In Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing

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Shakespeare excelled in the art of presenting complex themes in the most subtle ways. Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing presents the theme of deception. The plot of the play is woven around the traps of deceit, from the ends of both the antagonists as well as the protagonists. Thus, it shows deception in two forms- in its malevolence, driven by evil notions and motives; and also its benevolence, when employed for the better good. Either ways, all the characters are involved in deceit, sometimes employing it and at the other instances, falling victim to it. It is involvement, response and reaction of the characters to the lies and manipulations that wheels the plot forward. Thus, deception forms the basis of events in the play. Deception…show more content…
A clear example of this can be found in Claudio and Hero’s love for one another and how it varies as deceptive acts are undertaken. Upon his arrival at Leonato’s house, Claudio immediately falls in love with Leonato’s daughter, Hero, who he claims to be; “the sweetest lady that ever [he] looked on.” The significance of Shakespeare’s choice of words ‘looked on’ is evident: Claudio has fallen for a woman about whom he knows little and this demonstrates the importance of appearances - a vital theme during the play. Their love, which began under false pretences, through Don Pedro assuming Claudio’s disguise, continues to be subject to various deceptive acts. Claudio’s “love” for Hero is challenged when he accuses Hero of disloyalty and shames her in front of the whole congregation. “There, Leonato, take her back again. Give not this rotten orange to your friend” (4.1.31) Shakespeare uses this effective metaphor; comparing Hero to a rotten orange shows Claudio’s perception of the girl he had previously declared undying love for. The image of an orange, seemingly beautiful and ripe on the outside, yet internally corrupted – ‘rotten’ – reiterates the theme of appearances and reality, which extends over the entire work. We see how acts of deceit expose the frailty in the Hero-Claudio love plot.…show more content…
However, despite all the instances where this is proven, two characters’ love remains true and consistent; Hero’s and Beatrice’s. Raised as sisters, these two characters juxtapose each other with their contrasting personalities and opinions, yet, regardless of their differences, their relationship illustrates a nature of love disparate to the others throughout the play. None of the adversaries that they face destroys their love; Beatrice never once doubts her cousin’s chastity and honesty even when everyone else doubts her and Hero shows willingness to help her cousin in any way like aiding Beatrice in her path of
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