How has the theme of deception played an important part in the play Much Ado About Nothing?

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luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Deception is an integral component of this play as are many of Shakespeare's comedies.  Some of the deceptions that occur in the play are:  Don Pedro says he will woo Hero for Claudio in Act 1, Benedick talks to Beatrice while pretending to be someone else in Act 2, Don John talks to Claudio pretending to act like he believes he is talking to Benedick in Act 2, Don John tries to make Claudio believe that Don Pedro is wooing Hero for himself in Act 2, Don Pedro, Claudio, Leonato and others conspire to trick Benedick into believing that Beatrice loves him at the end of Act 2,  Hero and Ursula conspire to trick Beatrice into believing that Benedick loves her at the start of Act 3, Don John plots to make Claudio and Don Pedro think they are seeing Hero with Borachio (it's really Margaret) in Act 3, Leonato and others pretend that Hero died of a broken heart when Claudio spurned her at their wedding in Act 4, Claudio thinks he is marrying a cousin of Hero's in Act 5 when it is really Hero.  There are other examples of deception, but with so many examples, it's easy to see why deception is so important to the play.  The entire masked ball is a deception in that everyone hides his/her identity behind the mask being worn.  Beatrice and Benedick secretly care for one another from the beginning but each one hides her/his true feelings from the other behind a mask of indifference and even, sometimes, hostility.  Don John pretends to be a loyal, caring brother to Don Pedro but he secretly wants to bring down his half-brother because he is jealous of him.  Again, lots of deceptions.

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