"Much Ado About Nothing": An Evaluation on the codes of value in Messina.

Essay by Fat-Albert September 2005

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In "Much Ado About Nothing" Shakespeare creates a vivid social structure of characters based upon different aspects of personality, and standards. The attitude of this community greatly influences events in the play, and often results in conflicting and disingenuous events, which embody the whole plot.

Shakespeare's characters are often composed of virtuous qualities, however, these are neutralised by various personality imperfections and flaws. The contrast and conflict between these different standards cause the materialisation of the complex social relationships between characters, which also play an essential part in the play's plot.

The characters are very often insensitive, and show a lack of regard for each other's feelings, which can result in tension and hurt. However, these displays of spite and tactless insults are not usually intentional, and the effects of these actions are not always intended.

An example of this would be Benedick , who is frequently a victim of such behaviour.

In the play he is both mocked by Beatrice, the woman he loves, and his two close friends, Don Pedro and Claudio. Beatrice uses her wit to mock Benedick, and does so light-heartedly, unaware of the offence she is causing.

'None but libertines delight in him, and the commendation is

not in his wit, but in his villainy.' (Act 2 Scene 1 Lines 125-126)

She continues to insult him with increasing unkindness throughout the play, still ignorant of the consequences of her actions.

Don Pedro and Claudio start to mock Benedick after the scene where Beatrice has demanded that he kill Claudio. Benedick clearly states his feelings of unhappiness towards his two friends, however, his comments are not taken seriously, and again he is made to feel a fool.

He hath bid me to a calf's head and a capon, the which if I do not carve...