Old and new comedy both appear during the play, they are only produced for entertainment purposes.Old comedy usually sees a plot with a problem to overcome. This is attempted with a absurd plan, often leading to satire and buffoonery.These key features of old comedy are shown when Hero has to fake her death in order for Claudio to marry her and dogberry and verges court case to gain respect and honour.New Comedy is also visible in the play, it ischaracterised by young man chasing a young woman, the protagonist has to overcome social difficulties in order to succeed in pursuit and eventually ends with restoration.
Claudio and Hero are clear examples of old comedy, however Benidick and Beatrice don’t fit into this typical mold but are key romantics. The defective Exchange is a conversation which breeches usual rules of conversation (Grice’s Maxims) which are:1.Be truthful 2. Be concise. 3. be clear. 4. be relevant. In Much Ado About Nothing, this is reflected through those who are out of step or disagree with society.
Dogberry and his companions of the middle-class are key characters of this.
The use of breeching Grice’s Maxims in Much ado about nothing cause the play to become a comedy without substance.Dogberry breaks the maxims by not being relevant as he says “Thou wilt be condemned into everlasting redemption for this”Shakespeare’s character Dogberry says “redemption” instead of “damnation”, this is a malapropism.The fact that he means precisely the opposite of what he so passionately exclaims makes this a comical use of irony.This technique specifically used here potrays this play to be a comedy without substance as this does not at all having any meaning behind it. However Grice Maxims are also broken by Benidick and Beatrice, “Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher” “A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours” “I would my horse had the speed of your tongue, and so good a continuer. But keep your way, i’ God’s name; I have done.” “You always end with a jade’s trick: I know you of old”. Shakespeare uses Bendick and Beatrices merry war for the audience to percieve the characters true feelings for one another, despite the characters not knowing so creating dramatic comedy.
They are breaking the Grice Maxim of be truthful. Shakespeare covers these characters true feelings and mixes between good and bad roles of characters. Therefore this shows Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy with substance as Shakespeare explores the geography of human soul. Shakespeare uses comic pairing to create comedy from their dialogue and interaction. Much ado about nothing therefore here is represented as only for entertainment so is a comedy without substance.Dogberry and his companions enter the play at a moment of high drama. “Come hither, neighbour Seacoal. God hath bless’d you with a good name. To be a well-favoured man is the gift of fortune, butto write and read comes by nature” “Both which, Master Constable– “You have. I knew it would be your answer. Well, for yourfavour, sir, why, give God thanks and make no boast of it; andfor your writing and reading, let that appear when there is no need of such vanity” Dogberry messes his words throughout all of his lines.He mistakes writing and reading as a sign of vanity which allows the audience to get a glimpse of exactly how Dogberry views the world. To him, being a learned man is a good way to show off how refined you are.
He attempts to use a wide range of speech to convince everyone that’s he’s a gentleman, even though he doesn’t really have a grasp of the vocabulary he employs, he is trying to decieve those of upper class. This is purely for laughs and entertainment without any kind of meaning behind it, therefore proving the play is a comedy without substance. However the Beatrice and Benidck are comically paired by Shakespeare to create comedy, however this shows Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy with substance as there is a key message behind this pairing.“Why, then your uncle, and the Prince, and Claudio Have been deceived; for they swore you did” “Do not you love me?” “Troth, no; no more than reason. “Why, then my cousin, Margaret, and Ursula.Are much deceiv’d; for they did swear you did”“They swore that you were well-nigh dead for me” Shakespeare potrays Benedick and Beatrice as having a view that everyone around them is deceived about their love for each other, but they’re only fooling themselves.Here Shakespeare expresses that despite Bendick and Beatrices clear intelligence and wit, they themselves are unable to show their true feelings. This shows the play is a comedy with substance.
Their clever wit is used to decive eachother, however this produces dramatic irony as the audience know this is not the case.“I would my horse had the speed of your tongue, and so good acontinuer. But keep your way, a God’s name! I have done” “You always end with a jade’s trick. I know you of old”.Shakespeare uses the two characters language as weapons, but they never seem to be able to end or resolve their fights. Benedick backs out first, this creates a comedy with substance as women in the Victorian times were supposed to be seen and not heard. Shakespeare uses characters so the audience to laughing with and laughing at them.The audience laughs openly at Dogberry and the townsmen whereas they do not laugh outright at the people of the court, except in the case of Beatrice and Benedick and the way they are deceived and deceive themselves which suggests more respect is given for the higher class.
This shows it is a comedy with substance as it is shown here the difference in which classes are taken as.Dogberry, a watchman is comical relief for the comedy itself. He is memorable in that he constantly uses malapropisms, or incorrect uses of words, in his dialogue. “Goodman Verges, sir, speaks a little off the matter-an old man, sir, and his wits are not so blunt.” Shakespeare uses malapropism here, instead of sharp he says blunt, this creates dramatic comedy as we are laughing at Dogberrys dialogue mistakes. This is only seen in the lower class characters. Despite Dogberry sussing out Don John he is still considered to be the almost clown of the play.Another low class character is Margret,, in contrast with Dogberry she is not trying to gain higher respect, she has no respect for herself..“Of what, lady? of speaking honorably?” Whilst talking to Hero while she is having doubts she mentions the word ‘honourable’ this creates dramatic irony since the plot is about to turn into a question of honourbaility due to Margrets actions.This part of the play is purely for entertainment for the build up to the plot so therefore Much Ado about nothing is a comedy without substance. Shakespeare uses the upper class to allow the audience to laugh with them.
These characters are better educated and have more wit. Beatrice is one of these characters “I had rather hear my dog bark0` at a crow, than a man swear he loves me.” This creates dramatic comedy as men usually have that attitude towards love and women. Shakespeare uses Beatrice to portray a dominant,powerful woman who can fight her own battles compared to the steretypical woman role.This is purely just for entertainment to create comedy.However Bendick despite his higher education reads into things too much and is tricked into thinking Beatrice likes him which causes collusion “Ha! ‘Against my will I am sent to bid you come in to dinner.’There’s a double meaning in that. ‘I took no more pains for thosethanks than you took pains to thank me.’ That’s as much as to say, ‘Any pains that I take for you is as easy as thanks.’ If I do not take pity of her, I am a villain; if I do not love her, I am a Jew. I will go get her picture” Benedick convinces himself that there’s underlying romantic meaning in Beatrice’s words, even when that’s obviously not the case.
Love has the power to make us see what we want in conversation. Exclusion is taking place here as Shakespeare shows even higher classes are fooled and mistaken therefore,substance is clear as it shows there is not much difference between the two classes. Shakespeare uses trickery to make Much Ado about Nothing a comedy. Comedy has a substance here as it shows it does not expose evil just a lack of awareness.Hero tricked by Don Pedro as he is wooing Hero for Claudio.’Tis once, thou lovest,And I will fit thee with the remedy.I know we shall have revelling to-night.I will assume thy part in some disguise and tell fair Hero I am Claudio,And in her bosom I’ll unclasp my heartAnd take her hearing prisoner with the forceAnd strong encounter of my amorous tale”.Don Pedro here manipulates gullible and innocent Hero into falling in love with Claudio. It’s shady that Don Pedro will get Hero to fall in love with his words, thinking they’re Claudio’s words.
Claudio and Don Pedro don’t care if they manipulate Hero under falseness,as they’ve only got their eyes on the prize of winning her even if she is deceived into being won by a guy she doesn’t know and has never spoken to. Trickery creates substance as it potrays Shakspeares as evil being seen as a lack of awareness. Beatrice and Bendick are also tricked into loving eachother.Shakespeare creates this for the audience to laugh at their naivety and foolishness despite their typical wit.Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy with substance as the message behind this specific plot is anyone can be decieved and fooled since the wittiest and intelligent of characters get fooled. Don Pedro expresses this.“Benedick that, in despite of his quick wit and his queasy stomach, he shall fall in love with Beatrice.
If we can do this,Cupid is no longer an archer; his glory shall be ours, for we are”Don Pedro and Claudio create deception, but rather than tricking him into loving Beatrice, they are manipulating Benedick into making his own decision. Don Pedro also refers to them as being cupid despite lies and deciet taking place. This play is a comedy with substance as Shakespeare shows even the higher archery of society lie and deciet. Shakespeare critises marriage during the play through using the characters, yet the plot finishes its destination at the moment of resoultion where all is solved by marriage. This shows Much Ado about nothing is a play made purely for entertainment purposes with no substance.