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Much Ado About Nothing Review

Paper type: Review
Pages: 7 (1600 words)
Categories: Book Review, Literature, Shakespeare Tragedies
Downloads: 5
Views: 1

Shakespeare constructs the characters of Don John and Claudio as characters with motives that are neither evil nor good, but only as a means to attain the aim.

Shakespeare’s play, Much Ado About Nothing was first published in 1600 and the play debuted in the period between autumn and winter of 1598 to 1599. The play was written, not only as a form of entertainment but also to stress Shakespeare’s belief of the importance of fidelity, noting and his view on the actions of society.

Claudio was portrayed as a good and noble Lord and Don John a manipulative and evil prince. Through the utilisation of allusion and metaphor, Shakespeare constructs the characters of Don John and Claudio as characters with motives that are neither evil nor good, but as a means to attain the aim. Shakespeare first employs diction and then uses metaphor to position the audience to establish Claudio and Don John as two characters with double intentions that contrast each other, thus leading to the conclusion that the intentions of the characters are neither malicious nor honourable, they are just a means to achieve the objective.

Shakespeare utilises diction to establish Claudio and Don John as characters that have underlying motives for their actions, thus proving their actions as neither of good nor bad intention, just a means to obtain what they want. Shakespeare first uses diction to position the audience to recognise that Claudio is a character whose intentions at first glance may seem to be noble, but have darker underlying intentions as well. This is most evident when Claudio and Don Pedro are first discussing the topic of Hero and Claudio’s feelings towards her. Although his conversation with Don Pedro is discussing the depth of his love in regards to Hero, he does however ask the “Hath Leonato any son, my lord?”- line 294, act 1, scene 1, This quote implies that Claudio’s intentions, even though part of him may “love” Hero, by marrying Hero is driven largely by the enormous amount of money she will acquire in the future. It is even implied that Claudio’s intentions of obtaining wealth are what drive him to “love” her. Shakespeare does this to position Claudio as a much more complex character with double intentions. The intentions of Claudio can be seen to have no effect on the actual outcome of his actions. That is, whether he wants to marry Hero because of money and status, because of his love for her or because of both reasons, does not alter the consequence as the result still leads to him marrying her. Shakespeare utilizes diction in this to show that the intentions of the character Claudio cannot be said to be wrong or right, just a means to achieve the objective, namely marrying Hero.

Like the character of Claudio, Shakespeare also employs diction to position the audience to set up Don John as a character whose intentions although seem malevolent on the surface, are able to be justified in a sense. When Don John is brooding and discussing his state of melancholy with Conrade he states “and it better fits my blood to be disdained of all than to/fashion a carriage to rob love from any.” – line 25, scene 3 act 1 That is, he would rather be hated by all than to pretend to be something he is not just to please others. Although his bitterness and his hate towards his brother can be seen as evil and malicious, it is implied that he does not want to be fake and that putting on a fa�ade to please other people, in his ideology, is worse than being a villain.

His philosophy in which he would rather be hated for what he is, than to be loved for something he is not constructs his character to be, in a sense, more honest than the other noblemen of that time. That is the idea of status climbing and outright flattery whether it be truthful or not towards those of a higher social rank, he sees as immoral, and his beliefs can be perceived as morally acceptable. This choice of diction constructs his character to be almost noble in his thinking, if not a little na�ve and shows how Don John’s intentions were not completely malevolent. Whether Don John’s character was malicious to his brother because he was a villain or because he believed the idea of social climbing through facades as immoral does not alter the end result. Thus through the application of diction, Shakespeare reveals the intentions of the character Don John to be seen as neither evil nor good, simply as a way to obtain the aim- that is, harming Don Pedro.

Shakespeare employs metaphor to establish Claudio and Don John as characters whose motives are not always what they seem initially, thus resulting in their actions being of neither of good nor bad intention, just a way to obtain their objective. Firstly Shakespeare utilizes metaphor to position the audience to see Claudio as a character whose has double contrasting intentions for each of his actions. In the beginning of the play, Claudio is introduced as a key member to Don Pedro’s success, the messenger stating “He hath borne himself beyond the/ promise of his age, doing, in the figure of a lamb, / the feats of a lion.” – line 11-12, act 1, scene 1 The use of the lamb and a lion as a paradox, suggests the different elements and the hidden complexities in his character. The metaphor implies two things, the first of which being that despite Claudio’s appearance as mild he was actually powerful and the second being that the character of Claudio is constructed to have more depth than what is shown on the surface.

The metaphor, by comparing Claudio to a lamb and a lion, sets a basis for his character by implying the contrast between the different elements, and in this case, intentions of his character. The use of the lamb as his external appearance symbolises the outward show of his intentions and what they are perceived to be. Whistle the use of the lion as what his true nature is, symbolises the inward show of his underlying motives and darker intentions. Through the exploitation of metaphor, Shakespeare is able to construct Claudio’s character as one of both gentle demeanour and an element of fierceness; thus suggesting that he has double contrasting intentions. However, despite the reason for his actions, the result does not change. Therefore the audience is positioned to realise that the intentions of the character, that being Claudio, whether gentle or fierce, does not affect the outcome of the situation, it is simply a method to achieve the purpose.

Similarly, Shakespeare applies metaphor to position the audience to view Don John as a character whose underlying reasons for his actions contrast to what is normally thought to be his intention. Whilst in his chambers, Don John and Conrade discuss the root of his melancholy, whereby Don John spits “I am trusted with a/muzzle and enfranchised with a clog;” – line 25-26, act 1, scene 3 The use of the term “dog” compares Don John to no more than a lowly animal. This implies that Don John is compared to a vicious animal that is trusted only after it has been muzzled by its master. This implies that, unlike the rest of the party, Don John does not have the same social standing. This is largely to do with the fact that he is of illegitimate birth. Because of this, his perception and the perception of the Elizabethan society is that he will be looked down upon.

His character is constructed to realise that although he may seemingly be treated like an equal, the society of that time would never see him as one and thus turn down their noses on him. The discrimination he feels is what largely contributes to the bitterness and contempt towards his brother, Don Pedro. The term “trusted with a muzzle” compare Don John to that of an animal, implying how on the surface it seems as if he is trusted by his master that is, trusted by Don Pedro, but he is actually not trusted at all. Though Don Pedro “welcomed” Don John back with open arms, Don John is bitter because he feels that it is all a fa�ade, and that his brother’s trust is counterfeit. Through this, the motives of Don John’s character, although are malevolent, can be justified to an extent as he has legitimate reasons for feeling the bitterness and resentment towards his brother. Whether his reasons for his actions were immoral or justified, they lead to the same result. Through this, Shakespeare has positioned the audience to realise that the morality of the intentions do not matter so much, as the same effect is acquired.

Claudio’s intentions which seem pure are tainted by darker tones his desire of money and status; whereas Don John’s intentions which seem evil, have the underlying tone of nobleness in that he does not want to be fake. The intentions of both characters whether good or bad, lead to the same result. Through the application of diction and metaphor, Shakespeare positions the audience to realise that the intention of the characters Claudio and Don Pedro are not important, as each leads to the same objective. Shakespeare allows the audience to realise that the intentions of both characters are neither malicious nor noble, and that the intentions did not matter so much as each intention was only a means to achieve the objective.

Cite this essay

Much Ado About Nothing Review. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/much-ado-about-nothing-review-essay

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