In Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare the role of deceit is played to the fullest to achieve the farcical effect that Shakespeare intended to put on “true love. ” Nearly every character is effected in one way or another by this never ceasing deceit. Deceit is used to make characters fall into love, out of love, and back into love by the completion of the play. Much ado About Nothing is a play that involves an elaborate network of schemes, tricks, and deceit to achieve a satirical “true love” effect.
The first event of the deceit occurs in Act II Scene iii when Don Pedro, Claudio, and Leonato stage a conversation for Benedick to overhear. Leonato, Claudio, and Don Pedro realize Benedick’s stubbornness towards love when he states “man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviors to love” (II, iii, 9-10). Because of Benedick’s attitude the plan of having Benedick overhear their conversation is devised.
The three men accomplish this plan by waiting for Benedick to be in ear-shot when they raise the topic of Leonato’s niece, Beatrice. Don Pedro’s reference about “your niece Beatrice was in love with Signor Benedick” (II, iii, 96-97) helps to accomplish such manipulation of Benedick. As a result of the staged conversation Benedick decides that he loves Beatrice because she loves him. This same scheme is practiced on Beatrice to trick her into loving Benedick, with Hero and Ursala staging the conversation.
The most significant trick employed during this play is carried out in act IV Scene I when Don John and Borachio deceive Claudio and the Prince into believing that Hero was unfaithful on the night before she is to be wed. When Claudio believes that Hero truly has been unfaithful to him he makes a plan to disgrace Hero during the wedding in front of everyone. Claudio’s anger with Hero for cheating on him is clearly expressed in his saying: “Give not this rotten orange to your friend. ” (IV, I, 33)
The final act of deception comes from the Friar. The Friar, holding true to his Shakespearean character, “kills” Hero because she is so upset with her marriage. The Friar plans to keep Hero in hiding and tell Claudio that his false words killed her. This is done because the Friar is quite certain that Hero was true to Claudio, and he knows that Claudio will mourn of Hero’s death, realizing that he still loves her. The deception that the Friar presents is pivotal in the happy ending of this romantic comedy.
The happy ending being yet another trick where Claudio is led to believe that he is marrying Hero’s cousin but ends up marrying Hero herself: “Another Hero! ” (V, iv, 63) Much ado About Nothing is a play that involves an elaborate network of schemes, tricks, and deceit to achieve a satirical “true love” effect. The play is based around these tricks and schemes and is crucial for the plot development of Much Ado About Nothing to fit into the genre of romantic comedy providing only temporary harm to the characters and overall assisting the play.