How does William Shakespeare use disguise and deception to create action in Much Ado about Nothing?

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Much Ado About Nothing is full of duality, foils, doubles, and two-face deceivers.

  • In Act II, scene i there is a masquerade ball.  Don Pedro pretends to be Claudio and woo Hero for him.
  • Beatrice pretends to be another woman when she talks to Benedick in order to find out his true feelings for her.
  • Don John pretends to be a legitimate brother and soldier.  In reality, he is a villain and a bastard, a dispossessed son.
  • Don John and Borachio talk to Claudio, knowing he will pretend to be Benedick in order to hear their secrets.
  • Dogberry and the Watch pretend to be more ("more learned") than they really are.  Really, they are a bunch of clowns.
  • Borachio woos Margaret but says Hero's name to deceive Claudio and Don Pedro.
  • Ursula and Margaret bait Beatrice, saying that Benedick loves her.
  • Don Pedro, Claudio, and Leonato bait Benedick, saying the Beatrice loves him.
  • Leonato pretends that his daughter Hero is dead in order to investigate her slander.
  • Hero pretends to be her sister in order to test Claudio at the wedding.

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