An Analysis of the Role of Gossip in Much Ado About Nothing, a Play by William Shakespeare

Topics: Gossip

Can you recall, at one time or another, being approached by a good friend or possibly an acquaintance with these opening lines, Let me tell you what I heard. William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, isa play primarily about gossip. The characters are constantly overhearing or spying on other people. Occasionally they learn the truth, but more often they misunderstand what they see or hear, or they are tricked into believing what other people want them to believe. In order to unveil the full essence of the play, Shakespeare utilizes deception, disguises, and appearance,

Shakespeare utilizes deception in the two gulling scenes of the play.

Leonato, Claudio, and, Don Pedro work together to try to convince Benedick that Beatrice is in love with him. Benedick, in this case, is caught in the position of being the one deceived. Benedick believes that he is eavesdropping upon his friends, but they really know that he is there and are deliberately speaking so that he will hear them.

As a result of their plot, Benedick decides that there is no shame in changing his mind about marriage and itis not so difficult for him to find it in his heart to love Beatrice afterall. In addition, Hero and Ursula deceive Beatrice into believing that Benedict is in love with her in the same way that Benedict is deceived The two hold a conversation in the garden speaking in loud voices as Beatrice listens, supposedly in secret. After Hero and Ursula leave the garden (winking at one another, because they know they have caught Beatrice), Beatrice emerges from her hiding place among the trees.

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Just as Benedick is earlier, she is shocked at what she has heard. But, aso like Benedick, Beatrice swiftly realizes that it would not be so difficult to tame her wild heart to Benedick’s loving hand. (1:112)

Shakespeare uses disguises often throughout the play. The masked ball is one of the more interesting scenes because of the fact that nearly everyone is unmasked before it stars. But during the bal, the men wear masks and supposedly the women cannot tell who they are. Leonato and Hero know that Don Pedro will approach her, Beatrice and Benedick, although seemingly unaware of who the other is, could be quite aware of with whom they are speaking, and the other characters all recognize each other as well. Likewise, during the masked wedding scene, Claudio is marrying a woman who he thinks is Leonato’s niece, the supposed Hero look-alike, when the veiled woman is actually Hero in disguise. Claudio asks which lady he shall marry, and Antonio gives him Hero. She unmasks herself, causing Claudio to cry out, “Another Hero!” She replies, “Nothing certainer.”

Shakespeare’s use of appearance becomes evident when Borachio the servant of Don John and the lover of Hero’s serving woman, Margaret devise a plan to distupt the wedding of Claudio and Hero. He suggests that Don John go to Claudio and Don Pedro and tell them that Hero is no virgin, but is instead a slut. In order to prove this accusation, Don John brings Don Pedro and Claudio below the window of Hero’s room on the night before the wedding, where they hide and watch. On the balcony outside Hero’s room, Borachio makes love to Margaret. whom he convinced to dress up in Hero’s clothing. The three watchers look on and. see a woman who appears to be Hero making love to Borachio. Claudio’s suspicious nature has already been revealed, when he believed Don John’s lie that Don Pedro had betrayed him and now it pops up again, this time with the support of Don Pedro and what he believes he has witnessed with his own eyes.

The deceit, disguises and appearance in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing yields both Positive and negative outcomes. Often time, one thinks he hears or sees something and believes it to be true, This fact is especially applicable to the actions of the characters in the play. The plot of this play reveals evidence that what one hears and sees can often stand to be questioned. As someone once quoted, Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.

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An Analysis of the Role of Gossip in Much Ado About Nothing, a Play by William Shakespeare. (2022, Jun 12). Retrieved from

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