Much Ado About Nothing | Sunday Observer

Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare is set in the house of Leonato who is the Governor of Messina in the island of Sicily in Southern Italy in the sixteenth century. The plot revolves around the personal lives of the characters Beatrice, Benedick, Claudio, Hero, Don Pedro and Don John. Don Pedro and Don John are brothers, but Don John is jealous of his brother Don Pedro and falsely accuses him. Claudio falls in love with Hero and Don Pedro offers to help him court her, but Don John tells Claudio a malicious lie that Don Pedro is courting Hero, and Claudio and Don Pedro have a misunderstanding.

The misunderstanding between Claudio and Don Pedro is resolved and Claudio and Hero decide to get married. But Don John who is jealous wants to prevent the marriage from taking place, and he tells Claudio and Don Pedro a malicious lie that Hero is having an affair with Borachio who is Don John’s friend. Don John tries to frame Hero by staging an encounter between Borachio and Hero’s maid Margaret, and making it appear as if the encounter is between Borachio and Hero, and arranges for Claudio and Don Pedro to watch the encounter. Claudio and Don Pedro fall for Don John’s plot and Claudio abandons Hero on their wedding day.

Fortunately, a guardsman Dogberry overhears the conversation between Don John and Borachio who were plotting to frame Hero and confronts and arrests the treacherous villain Don John. “Dost thou not suspect my place? Dost thou not suspect my years?... Though it be not written down... No, thou villain, thou art full of piety, as shall be proved upon thee by good witness. I am a wise fellow, and which is more, an officer, and which is more, a householder, and which is more, as pretty a piece of flesh as any is in Messina, and one that knows the law, go to . . . and one that hath two gowns, and everything handsome about him. Bring him away.” (ACT 4 Scene 1)

In Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare explores one of his favourite themes which is the discrepancy between appearance and reality, and that relatives are the most jealous, treacherous and your worst enemies.