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With Close Reference To The Text, Explore Shakespeare's Presentation Of Social Conventions In The Play. (Much Ado About Nothing)

892 words - 4 pages

With close reference to the text, explore Shakespeare’s presentation of social conventions in the play.

In Much Ado About Nothing, Hero’s defamation is the pivotal point of the plot in this “comedy”. Hero is a character who is talked about more in the play than has spoken herself; she is the embodiment of the silent woman.
The early 19th century critic William Hazlitt was a great admirer of Hero’s strong will. In his book “Characters of Shakespeare’s plays” in 1817 writing about Much Ado he noted that “The justification of Hero in the end, and her restoration to the confidence and the arms or her lover, is brought about by one of those temporary consignments to the grave of which ...view middle of the document...

She was robbed of the right to defend her reputation. Social convention is the reason why Hero had to temporarily die or be rejected forever. The social convention is closely linked to fashion to which Borachio refers to as the “deformed theif”. These words lead to a misunderstanding by Dogberry, who takes this to be a real person (with a capital letter on “deformed”). Borachio is confessing to Conrade his part in the defamation of Hero. He proves that it is very easy to make people mistake appearance for realty.
“Much Ado” harps on the word fashion in narrower and wider sense of the word all throughout the play. To the point where it becomes apparent that every character in one way or another is a fashion slave and this is even though of Beatrice and Benedick. At first, it looks like Beatrice behaves eccentrically at odds with the approved conventions and the rules of ladies’ good manners. In Act 3 Scene 1, on lines 72-73, Hero concluded about her best friend’s faults. “To be so odd and from all the fashions As Beatrice is, cannot be commendable.” Despite being unconventional, Beatrice eventually succumbs to marriage and social convention and admits to loving Benedick then marries him in the end. In this regard, Beatrice ironically most resembles the man she mocks with a fencing term “Signor Montano” which meant up thrust, in other words “Sir Stuck-up” He is Benedick, her partner in the cut and thrust of word-play and banter. Benedick is sarcastic...

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