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A review of society today through william shakespeares much ado about nothing

However, among the societal members of Messina, Don John particularly stands out as a villain, both in his behavior and in his position as an illegitimate son. Don John makes a name for himself and forces society to recognize him as a person, even a wicked one.

Due to his positions as a bastard, characters immediately reject Don John and regard him with suspicion. When Don John returns to Messina with his brother, the governor Leonato addresses him with immense hesitation: Indeed, Shakespeare informs the audience early on of the significance of the spoken word. The society of Messina shuns Don John not solely due to his illegitimacy, but also owing to his reticence.

Shakespeare induces feelings of sympathy for Don John in alluding to his overwhelming sadness.

Honor in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing

Thus far, the audience only knows Don John to be an outcast, a bastard, and nothing more. The audience relates to such an honest character, a person who so clearly admits that he can be no one but himself. Don John seems to accept himself, even if his position as an outsider does cause him pain.

  1. The scene where Benedick recites the poem and there's a the ten-second gaze at each other was as uncomfortable as any of Tim and Dawn's compromising situations.
  2. I couldn't flaw it at all. Nevertheless, I thought this was a good production and it may have even move me to read the book.
  3. Also, did I miss the explanation of why he dumped her the first time around? As such, all the males and females were engaged in doing their best to be honorable.
  4. Lewis played the fool just right, while still being believable and earning our empathy.
  5. It would be correct to conclude that William Shakespeare echoes the theme of honor all through the play.

Don John recognizes his overall lack of freedom, and his ill-meaning behavior stems from his initial state of being an outcast and never being given a chance to develop into a good person. However, his redeeming quality, the honesty which makes him so likeable, also represents his downfall.

  • Thus, it is not at all difficult to comprehend how reputation and honor was one of the most important attributes of a man in the Elizabethan era;
  • An Analysis of Comic Form;
  • His emotions shift from carrying out mere mischief to intending pure malice;
  • The acting was great, particularly from Sarah Parish and Damian Lewis.

Don John embraces his roots and his subsequent fate of being an outsider so entirely that he deems his behavior irreversible and furthermore, thinks himself incapable of change. At the same time, Don John cannot function in the society of Messina by acting like everyone else.

He cannot participate in rewarding social exchanges like his brother or become married to anyone respectable, like Claudio or Benedick. In fact, his alternative to interacting with society in an evil and manipulative way is not interacting with society at all. Initially, then, Don John searches for any kind of mischief to carry out; later, when he learns that Claudio is the husband-to-be, he becomes inflamed with anger and desires even more to enact ruin on the marriage.

His emotions shift from carrying out mere mischief to intending pure malice: Don John feels incensed, the audience learns, because Claudio, along with Don Pedro, defeated him in the war which ended just before the onset of the play. Don John subsequently longs to spoil the happiness of the people who rendered him a defeated outcast in the eyes of all Messina. Shakespeare does not provide Don John with many lines and instead, gives Borachio the chance to act the part of the scheming villain.

Essentially, Don John pays Borachio to act the part of the villain. He feels content to remain in the background, and his passive role in the plot against Hero reflects his lack of freedom and passivity in the society of Messina.

Interestingly, every character in the play deceives or intends to harm at least one other character in the play at some time. Later, the same Beatrice, out of immense anger, begs Benedick to challenge Claudio to a duel for his mistaken accusation of Hero. Moreover, at the end of the play, Leonato calls Claudio a villain and blames him for the feigned death of his innocent daughter, Hero: Indeed, the treatment of Hero after the supposed scandal comes to light echoes the treatment of Don John from his birth onwards.

He deems his brother evil through and through without ever considering the hardships which Don John confronts owing to his illegitimate birth.

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At the end of the play, all other characters appear completely excused from punishment and easily forgiven even when perhaps, they should not be; for instance, Margaret, who may or may not remain aware of her part in the scandal, is excused from any questioning or punishment.

Only Don John does not escape the wrath of the other characters. In other words, all the scandals and lies become resolved at the end of the play and celebration ensues. As always, however, Don John remains excluded from the festivities. He highlights the multi-faceted and quickly dismissed character of Don John, the marginalized victim of a society which only interacts with him in order to punish his wrongs, even while accepted characters act just as villainous at times and escape unpunished.

If Shakespeare ended the play with mere celebration and never mentioned Don John again, the play would indeed represent a true comedy.

A Second Look at Don John, Shakespeare's Most Passive Villain

However, by recalling the somber character of Don John, Shakespeare transforms his play into more of a tragedy. He reminds the audience that while all of the other characters may celebrate together and rejoice in their friendships, Don John will never be able to interact with society in a positive way. He will always be ostracized owing to his illegitimate roots. In the end, Don John makes a name for himself and forces society to recognize him as a person, even a wicked one.

Referencess Greenblatt, Stephen, et al. More By This Author: