Masking Ends in Deception, Much Ado About Nothing

Masking Ends in Deception, Much Ado About Nothing
Shakespeare used many literary devices throughout his history to create timeless classics. Much Ado About Nothing is no exception. He used things such as themes, symbols and motifs to create this effect. Masking is the prominent motif in Much Ado About Nothing. It is seen many times over in this play. There are two kinds of masking that Shakespeare used in Much Ado. One is literal masking, this where a character actually wears a mask during the play. This is seen several times. There is also another form of masking that was used in Much Ado About Nothing, this is literary masking and this is when characters hide and/or makeup plots to put into others heads for a benefit or a cause.
In Act II, scene i, a ?masked ball? was underway in a hall in Leonato?s house. This is a prime example of literal masking. In the previous scene, Don Pedro learned of Claudio?s love for Hero. Since he is the ?cupid? of this story, he decides that at the ball he will mask himself as Claudio to determine if Hero?s love is returned. So while at the ball, Don Pedro, masked as Claudio, dances with Hero and says, ?Speak Low, if you Speak love.? Of course she agrees, and eventually she and Claudio plan to be married the following Friday.

During Act II, scene ii, Don John sets up a plan of yet another act of masking. His plan is set up so Borachio looks to be making love to Hero, yet he is really making love to Margaret. This is to take place the evening before the wedding and is set up so Claudio will see and believe that his wife-to-be is deceiving him. The actual act takes place offstage, but Don John runs off to get Claudio to show him how ?Hero? is deceiving him. This takes place during Act iii, scene ii. He becomes so upset by this, that he decides to slander Hero the next day in front of everyone. This leads to the next act of masking.

Yet another example of literal masking is when the ?so called? dead Hero pretends to be her cousin and plans on marrying Claudio. Because of the defamation of Hero?s character at the wedding, the Friar decides that they shall pretend that Hero is dead and that Claudio can now marry Leonato?s other heir, some unknown cousin. Claudio agrees, showing how little love really played a part in marriages at this time. On the day of the next wedding, Hero comes walking down the aisle in, of course, a mask. This mask of course is to hide the fact that she is really Hero, not this ?cousin? of hers. All of this drama occurs during Act V, Scene iii and eventually the mask is removed and Claudio and Hero live happily, as do Benedick and Beatrice.

Even though ?masking? is a form of deception, in the end, everything comes out fine and everyone lived happily ever after. Shakespeare uses masking in Much Ado About Nothing as the prominent motif. He uses both kinds of masking, literal and literary to create drama and excitement in the play. The confusion created because of the mask is what brought this play together and added interest to each of the mini-plots.

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