Trickery and Deceit in Much Ado About Nothing

891 Words4 Pages
In William Shakespeare's comedy, “Much Ado About Nothing” it is obvious throughout the play that the concept of deceit and trickery is a crucial element. These acts of deception and misleading motives help move the plot of the play smoothly, while also keeping the audience interested and entertained-- thus making it one of the play’s fundamental themes. There are numerous examples in the play where this theme manifests itself as being spiteful, deleterious and malicious; however, there are also moments that are amicable, well intentioned and benevolent. Deception and trickery is very apparent in the various interactions between Benedick and Beatrice, and influences every step of their relationship throughout the play—ultimately bringing them together at the end. From the very beginning of the play, Benedick and Beatrice’s attitude toward each other is a superb representation of this theme of deceit. The two menacingly fight with each other; both determined to better the other. In this “merry war” of witty insults, they are both deceiving themselves into believing they feel nothing for one another. This self-deception becomes even more obvious in masked ball scene, Act 2, Scene 1, in which Shakespeare uses physical deception by having Benedick disguise himself at the party. Benedick’s desire to know what Beatrice truly thinks of him is a sign of the love he feels for her, yet has chosen to not yet acknowledge it, even to himself. Benedick disguises himself so that he can freely talk to Beatrice and her opinions about himself—knowing that if he were to ask her as himself normally, he would not receive an accurate answer. Unbeknownst to him however, Beatrice realizes who he is and continues the witty war, relishing in insulting him once again, “He is the prince’s jester, a very dull fool”. Benedick’s response to this is quite important, because Shakespeare again uses
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