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At the start of the play why is Don John not treated as a villian?At the start of the...

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pramodleo12 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 7, 2012 at 12:23 AM via web

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At the start of the play why is Don John not treated as a villian?

At the start of the play Don John is treated as a prince and with respect by Leonato and Pedro.Why is he not treated as a villian? It is really confusing because as the story progresses, he starts to develop vengeance against Don Pedro even though Pedro treated him with respect.

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kristenfusaro | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:18 AM (Answer #1)

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As denoted by Shakespeare, Don John is labeled as the "bastard" brother of Don Pedro. While Shakespeare does not explore the family backrgound between Don Pedro and Don John, we know that they were at war before the play began and Don Pedro decided to take Don John under his wing when Don Pedro defeated Don John in war. He is greeted graciously by Leonato because Don Pedro has given his honor to his brother after the war was over, and invited Don John over to Messina with him. 

Don John, though treated with respect by Don Pedro et. al., clearly still feels that there is unfinished business and defines himself as a "villain," and decides to seek revenge on Don Pedro by ruining the marriage between Claudio and Hero.

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