Ado About Nothing Tragedies That Never Happened Term Paper

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¶ … Ado About Nothing

Tragedies that Never Happened in Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing

Shakespeare's play Much Ado about Nothing effectively combines the comic and tragic elements in its structure. The title is the point where the reading should begin: Shakespeare himself indicates that the play is about "nothing," that is, there are no real events in the text, no real action, only deceiving and misprision. The plot focuses on the two couples that are the main protagonists: Berenice and Benedick, Hero and Claudio. The dissembling, deceiving and misprisions in the play seem endless and are directly related to the tragic undertones of the text. Berenice and Benedick exchange during the first three acts a long series of invectives and maledictions against one another and against the opposite sex in general, dissimulating thus the attraction between them. Claudio falls in love with Hero, but lets Don Pedro woe her for him and only after does he propose. Don John, the most important negative character in the play, is the one who continues the series of plots and deceives Don Pedro and Claudio into believing that Hero has another lover with the help of Borachio and Margaret who impersonate the fake couple. Claudio then rejects Hero in front of the altar, with the entire congregation present, and leaves her there swooned. Friar Francis misinforms everyone by telling them Hero is dead, and finally, Don John's plot is discovered. The play can thus be considered tragic because the characters, the bad and the good as well, simulate and dissimulate, manufacture plots out of "nothing" and play with reality in a dangerous way that could have serious consequences for everyone.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Ado About Nothing Tragedies That Never Happened Assignment

First of all Much Ado about Nothing is not a genuine comedy, in spite of the abundant witticism and humor of the lines, because it has a truly negative character, Don John. John is neither a jester nor an innocent evil-doer but a purposeful, malefic character, who, as Shakespeare indicates, intends to play no less than an evil Cupid's role in the text: "If we can do this, / Cupid is no longer an archer: his glory shall be / ours, for we are the only love-gods. Go in with me, / and I will tell you my drift."(II.i.344-347) as Father Francis observes, Don John is the main cause of the misprision that ensues in Hero and Claudio's case: "There is some strange misprision in the princes."(IV.i.191)

The next obvious tragedy that doesn't actually happen but hovers over the text is related to Hero and Claudio's love affair. A part of the tragedy does take place since Hero is certainly wounded by Claudio's almost sadistic discourse about her in the church. He simply returns Hero to her father, at the same time emphasizing what he sees as the deceit- her innocence is not what it seems according to him:

There, Leonato, take her back again. / Give not this rotten orange to your friend: / She's but the sign and semblance of her honour. / Behold how like a maid she blushes here! / O, what authority and show of truth / Can cunning sin cover itself withal! / Comes not that blood as modest evidence / to witness simple virtue? Would you not swear, / All you that see her, that she were a maid, / by these exterior shows? But she is none.

She knows the heat of a luxurious bed; / Her blush is guiltiness, not modesty."(IV.i.32-43)

Also, Leonato's bitter rejection of his daughter after she had been accused by Claudio is equally painful for Hero. He actually wishes her death, and threatens to kill her himself if she does not die of shame:

Do not live, Hero; do not ope thine eyes: / for, did I think thou wouldst not quickly die, / Thought I thy spirits were stronger than thy shames, / Myself would, on the rearward of reproaches, / Strike at thy life."(IV.i.127-131)

Claudio's observation before he makes his accusation of Hero is very significant: it can be said to translate Shakespeare's intentions regarding the tragic undertones of the play. Claudio wonders about men's ignorance that leads them to unconscious acts everyday, referring of course to his so-called blindness to Hero's actual character: "O, what men dare do! what… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Ado About Nothing Tragedies That Never Happened" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Ado About Nothing Tragedies That Never Happened.  (2007, March 31).  Retrieved September 22, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Ado About Nothing Tragedies That Never Happened."  31 March 2007.  Web.  22 September 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Ado About Nothing Tragedies That Never Happened."  March 31, 2007.  Accessed September 22, 2020.