Redemption In Much Ado About Nothing

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William Shakespeare’s comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, features a wide cast of characters and follows a variety of plotlines that deal with love, loss, deception, and redemption. Within the scenes of the play, the old adage “you don’t know what you have got until you lose it” is clearly applicable, especially in the case of Hero and Claudio’s love story, but this sentiment can surely be changed to “you don’t know who you are until you lose it”. This changed aphorism constitutes as a motto for Benedick, a soldier who fought for Don Pedro and one of the central characters of the play. Using wit as an armor to protect his softer self, Benedick’s views on marriage seem steadfast and evident; he will never, ever marry. Benedick commits himself to…show more content…
“Is Signior Mountanto returned from the war or no,” (act one, scene one, lines 26-27) Beatrice inquiries of Benedick within the first thirty lines of Much Ado About Nothing, thus setting up an expectation for her relationship with Benedick before his character even arrives. There exists a “merry war” (act one, scene one, line 32) between the two that is fueled from the spite and passion leftover from a previous courtship that ended in failure. Undeniably, a deep bond connects Benedick and Beatrice together, but they choose to ignore it, swearing they will never marry. Both are in strong opposition to the institution of marriage, and Benedick seems to thrive on the single life, but in reality, he is protecting his heart through his bachelor lifestyle. Benedick resists marriage with such vehemence that he manages to convince himself that there is no way he will ever wed. There is not a woman on earth who could live up to his outrageous standards, and by setting these standards, he protects himself. Since no woman…show more content…
His surrender reveals his internal workings and mindset, but it also provides a deeper understanding of Much Ado About Nothing in quite a few different ways. Benedick’s deception of himself and subsequent sacrifice is evident of a major theme of the play. There are many kinds of deception. Some are easily labeled as evil, such as Don John’s plot to make Claudio mistake Margaret for Hero, but some are beneficent. While it might seem as if there is a dichotomy of good deception and evil deception, the reality is that there is a kind of grey-area. It is difficult to distinguish what is good and bad, and as a result, there is much confusion amongst the characters. Even Benedick deceiving himself is not clearly one or the other. While his protections are to keep his heart safe, he comes off as arrogant and plays into the stereotype of a typical single man. In protecting himself, he hurts others. Benedick constantly belittles Claudio for wanting to give up life as a stag soldier, and it is implied that Benedick had caused Beatrice pain in a previous courtship, perhaps turning her to her anti-marital sentiments. Deception being a grey-area subject matter leads the audience to the conclusion that many of the characters of Much Ado About Nothing are two-faced. Nothing is as simple as it seems; Benedick comes off as cruel because of the veil
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