How Far Do the Characters Susceptibility to Deception Drive the Plot in Much Ado

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“How far would you agree that the characters’ susceptibility to deception is what drives the plot in this dramatic comedy?” Much Ado About Nothing is a dramatic comedy written by William Shakespeare. Its main themes include deception, social grace, honour, marriage and gender- with characters falling in love, falling out of love, being disgraced and being accepted once more; but what really drives the plot in this dramatic comedy? Many would argue that it is the characters’ susceptibility to deception as deceit is one of its main themes. I am going to argue for and against this and come to a conclusion of how far I’d agree that it is what drives the main plot. Much Ado is a play based around the theme of deliberate deception- sometimes this deception is malevolent and sometimes benevolent but much of the play hinges around them and their effect on the characters. An example of malevolent deception would be Don John trying to ruin Hero and Claudio’s marriage whereas an example of benevolent deception would be the gulling’s of Beatrice and Benedick in an attempt to get them to admit their true feelings for one another to get them to wed. The gulling scenes both rely on Beatrice and Benedick being persuaded into believing that they are in love with one another, this is dependent on them ‘accidentally overhearing’ the other characters talking about them whilst being within earshot but so as not to be seen. The majority of the subplot is dependent on these gulling scenes being successful as if they hadn’t worked or if Beatrice and Benedick hadn’t been so susceptible to this benevolent deception than there wouldn’t be much of a story. These gulling scenes provide comic relief in contrast to Don John’s malevolent deception and make Much Ado lean towards being a comedy rather than a tragedy as they use dramatic irony for humour. There are lots of examples of irony
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