Much Ado About Nothing Act (All Acts)

In Act 1 Scene 2 which two characters are talking? -Leonato and Antonio
During this conversation between these two characters, what other three characters are being talked about? -Claudio, Don Pedro and Hero
During the conversation one person overhears some juicy news? What is the news? -the Prince is in love with Hero and intends to ask Leonato for permission to marry her
Irony reflected in this scene is the eye dropper, although well intentioned, misinterprets what he overhears -true
What type of irony is reflected in this scene? -dramatic
Why do Claudio and Don Pedro decide upon public humiliation at the wedding? -Claudio and Don Pedro decide upon public humiliation in order to seek revenge against Hero. The Elizabethan standard of women was for them to be under man’s diminion, as commented on by Cornerlius a Lapide, “For the authority of men extends […] to reasonable creatures, that is women and wives.” The accusations against Hero present her as having no respect for Claudio, the ruling man in her life. Furthermoreby publicly humiliating Hero, the magnitude of the shaming will be increased as opposed to just leaving her. The guests present will be enlightened to the supposed treachery committed by Hero, with the possibility of her being outcast by her friends and family. The shaming will not affect only her, but will tar her family into humiliation.
How does Leonato react to Claudio’s accusation at the wedding? Why? -Leonato reacts in a way consistent with the style of the scene. His nature is true to the tragic nature, with elements of Bathos woven into his reaction of the shaming of Hero. “Hath no man’s dagger here a point for me?”. Leonato’s intense pride is bruised; his one child has shamed him and he begins to regret only having one daughter, “Grieved I, I had but one?” His family’s future lineage has been compromised due to Hero’s infidelity; no man will want to marry a disloyal woman.
How has Benedick’s allegiance shifted in this scene from what it had been before? Why? -Benedick’s allegiance has shifted from the men to Beatrice. This is made evident in his confession of his love for Beatrice towards the end of the scene, “I protest I love thee.” and later, his agreement to kill Claudio as an act of revenge against “I will challenge him.” Benedick’s apparent change in allegiance is due to his belief that Beatrice is in fact in love with him, “By my sword, Beatrice, thou lovest me.” This is a stark example of peripatia within the play. In previous scenes, such as 1.1, Benedick and Beatrice appeared to possess a slight hatred for each other, “Well, you are a rare parrot teacher.” “A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours.” Their continual sparring became one of the main sources of humour within the narrative, and also presented the pair of them as being anti-institutionalized love. In 4.1, the opinions held by each of the said protagonists have completely changed. The pair now conform to institutionalized love. 4.1 itself could be considered an example of peripeteia within the play, due to tragic conventions prevaling over those of a comedic style. In previous scenes, bawdiness and wit have been central to the prose, “A maid and stuffed! There’s a godly catching of a cold.” (3.4, 59-60) whilst in this particular scene wit and bawdiness are scarce. The shaming of Hero, coupled with Benedick and Beatrice’s confession of love are presented in a serious manner, befitting of Shakespeare’s tragedies.Furthermore, Benedick’s allegiance with Beatrice is typical of that of courtly love. Benedick and Beatrice cannot be together if Benedick still holds a strong relationship, or ‘love’, with the men. His commitment to Beatrice is solidified by his promise to challenge Claudio.
How does Leonato interpret Hero’s facial expression? How does Friar Francis? -Leonato interprets Hero’s facial expression as admittance to her guilt, and confirming Leonato’s belief that she has been unfaithful. Friar Francis’ interpretation is at a complete contrast to Leonato’s. He says that “in her eye there hath appeared fires, to burn the errors.” The defiance and anger in Hero’s eyes as described by the Friar show Francis’ trust in the young girl.
Who is the first to name Don John as the villain behind the plot? -Benedick is the first person to accuse Don John as the culprit, “The practice of it lives in John the bastard, Whose spirits toil in frame of villainies.”
What is the purpose of Friar Francis’ deception about Hero’s supposed death? -The purpose in the Friar’s deception is to provide a harsh wake up call to Claudio, who upon hearing about Hero’s death will cause “Th’idea of her life shall sweetly creep into his study of imagination.” By deceiving Claudio in believing that Hero has died, he will feel overwhelmed with guilt, and love her once more which in return will work against the shaming, removing any stigma from Leonato’s family.
What is the back up plan if Hero’s reputation cannot be salvaged? -The back up plan is to send Hero to a convent, “in some reclusive and religious life” as stated by the Friar.
How does the language change once Benedick and Beatrice are alone? Why? -The language changes from large monologues performed by the Friar to concise, blunt sentences. This evident change is a clear marker for the passion between Benedick and Beatrice. Previously, conversations between the pair had been comically hostile with a similar sentence length. In 4.1, Benedick and Beatrice have now spoke about their love for each other and for the first time in the play, are having a serious conversation. The blunt language, “Kill Claudio” is evidence for their emotional states after the tragic ‘wedding scene’ and their new found love for each other. Furthermore, the sentence length appears to be caused by fast paced interruptions, “Beatrice-“”In faith, I will go.”
Who declares love for the other, Benedick or Beatrice? Why? What is the compelling factor in this romantic climax between Beatrice and Benedick? -Benedick is the first to declare his love. “I do love nothing in the world as well as you.” His confession could be seen as his way of comforting Beatrice, or his new-found appreciation due to the destruction of Hero and Claudio’s relationship prior. The compelling factor within the romantic climax is Beatrice’s desire for the death of Claudio, “Kill Claudio.” Benedick submits to her request, after initially being in disbelief at the thought, “Ha, not for the wide world.”
How does the lecture explain the ferocity of Beatrice’s rage at line 300-325? -Beatrice’s rage is focussed upon the social restrictions placed upon her due to her gender. Her repetition of “O, that I were a man.”is evidence of her frustration. Her desire to act, but inability to do so is thus aimed at Benedick, when she asks him to Claudio. Beatrice’s fury at gender stereotypes is particularly ironic as just before this rage she admitted her love for Benedick, “I was about to protest I loved you.” places her within the stereotype for institutionalized love. Beatrice protests against gender stereotypes immediately after having conformed to them.
How does Benedick’s decision to challenge Claudio represent a major change for his character? -Benedick’s decision to challenge Claudio represents a major change for his character as it is the outcome of his confession of love for Beatrice, and her identical response. His love for Beatrice, and his defiance against Claudio’s slandering of Hero is a contrast to the man who pledged he would “die a bachelor.”
How does Dogberry confuse various criminal charges? -He prioritises the slander of Don John’s name opposed to the true crime which is the accusation against the Lady Hero. Dogberry refuses to hear of the true crime and dismisses it as he believes that the disgrace of Don John is a more important and relevant matter.
What event, reported here for the first time, tends to confirm the charges against the bad guys? -The confession of Borachio and Conrade’s involvement is a matter of payment on behalf of Don John ‘a thousand ducats’ this confirms Don John’s involvement in the crime but Dogberry dismisses this absurdly relevant statement as he is focused on the wrong crime entirely.
What is the worst crime, according to Dogberry, that the bad guys are guilty of? Why is it so important to Dogberry that the evidence of this crime is written down? How does Dogberry justify himself against this criminal slander? -The account of Don John being a villain seems to be the most heinous crime in Dogberry’s opinion and he want all of the evidence written down so he can be recognised for his part in this trial and therefore be praised for his involvement in bringing the men to justice. He does justify the criminal slander by talking highly of himself ‘everything handsome about him’.
What does Dogberry want about all to communicate to Leonato in this scene? Why? How does this impede the discovery of the crime against Hero? -ogberry wants to communicate to Leonato that under his supervision, his watch have captured two criminals. Dogberry’s motives seem to be personal glory and praise from Leonato, rather than seeking punishment for the apprehended. This impedes the discover of the crime against Hero, as Dogberry’s desire for gratitude prevents Leonato from taking him seriously. Dogberry’s incompetence induces boredom onto Leonato who, sick of hearing Dogberry’s antics, “
How has Beatrice changed in this scene from her previous behaviour? Identify two sexual jokes the girls make in this scene. -Beatrice’s change in personality is particularly evident in this scene. In Act 1, Scene 1, Beatrice’s stance against institutionalized love was presented through her treatment of Benedick, “a bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours.” Her refusal to conform to the idealized notion of love is at a stark contrast to what was expected from Elizabethan women, as commented on by Thomas Elyot in 1531, “good nature of a woman is to be mild.” However, Beatrice’s nature appears to have changed in this scene. Her lack of bawdiness and wit coupled with frustration of Margaret’s jokes, “How long have you professed apprehension?” is evidence of Beatrice’s conformity with the expectations of women in the time period.
How does Don John’s choice of language make the impact of his revelation about Hero all the more devestating to Claudio? -Don John’s chouce of language in revealing Hero’s “disloyalty” is particularly powerful as he presents Hero as being promiscuous with not only Boracchio, but other men. “Everyman’s Hero.” By presenting Hero in this way, Don John implies that Claudio is nothing special to Hero; he is simply another man on her list. Don John being the person to create such an impact on Claudio holds increased importance, as Don John struggles to communicate with fluidity unlike the other characters in the play. “I am not of many words.” Furthermore, Don John constructs the revelation to secure their trust in him. He enters the scene, seemingly apologetic, “My Lord and brother, God save you!”, “You may think I love you not.” allowing him to remain convincing in his deception of Claudio.
What one element of the “gulling scene” seems to convince Benedick that it is no trick? Wha effect does the news of Beatrice’s possible suicide have on Benedick? -Any doubts on Benedick’s part seem to be irradicated by Leonato’s inclusion in the conversation, “I should think this is a gull, but that the white-beared fellow speaks it.” The news of Beatrice’s possible suicide makes him react with the possibility of marriage, “They say too that she will rather die than give any sign of affection. I did never think to marry.”
What is Beatrice’s meaning in the message she delivers to Benedick between lines 243 – 252? What does Benedick think she means? -Beatrice means that it has not caused her any trouble calling Benedick in for dinner, and if it had then she wouldn’t have bothered (showing she has no affection towards him). Benedick takes her message as meaning that “Any pains that I take for you is as easyas thanks.”