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Deceit

Beatrice’s Sonnet

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Beatrice closes Act 3 scene 1 of Much Ado About Nothing, speaking a sonnet.* Shakespeare occasionally used sonnets in his plays, for example, in Romeo and Juliet and Richard III, which were examined in previous essays. He didn’t insert these sonnets arbitrarily. He intended to achieve effects,
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Richard, Romeo, Juliet and the Sonnet

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Two of Shakespeare’s earliest playsRichard III and Romeo and Juliet, open with sonnets and then employ variations on the sonnet’s structure for dramatic and poetic effect, which is not surprising. At this point in Shakespeare’s life he seems to have had dual career goals. First, he wanted to make money, which he could accomplish through theatre.
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The Snare of Vanity

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In Act 2, Scene 1 of Julius Caesar, Decius Brutus uses “betrayed” to mean fooled, tricked or misled. A person can escape a unicorn by hiding behind a tree; a bear can be misled by seeing itself in a mirror; an elephant can be tricked into falling into a hole; a lion caught in a trap; and men seduced by flatterers.
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Pandering, Contempt and the Masses

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Many of Shakespeare’s plays deal with political intrigue at court between political leaders. However, in Julius Caesar and Coriolanus, more than in other plays, the themes address the relationships between political leaders and the masses. Since both plays are set in historic Rome and not in Shakespeare’s England, they can deal with the themes of democracy and the wisdom of the populace to govern themselves through a republican form of representation.
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Richard III and the Sonnet

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“Now is the winter of our discontent” is nearly as familiar as Hamlet’s, “To be, or not to be” and Mark Antony’s, “Friends, Romans, countrymen”. Not one of these three passages is a dramatic dialogue. Mark Antony addresses a large Roman crowd in an extended speech. Hamlet muses to himself in a soliloquy while we the audience listen in.
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Appearance and Deception

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A recurring theme in many of Shakespeare’s plays, and central to Much Ado About Nothing, explores how easily people are deceived not just by the false testimony of others but even by their own senses. Claudio, believing he was deceived by Don John, learned to place no trust in the words of others. With “Let every eye negotiate for itself,”
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Friars, Friends and Deceivers

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Friar Francis in Much Ado About Nothing (4.1.221), like Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet, is a sympathetic character who aids the romantic interests of the young lovers. Both friars fashion a conspiracy whose central conceit is the fake death of the lady. Friars fare better than the Catholic hierarchy in Shakespeare’s plays, even though the friars are as devious in their means as cardinals and archbishops.
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Keeping Adultery Hidden

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In comedy or tragedy, Shakespeare’s characters advise the prudence of spouses keeping their dalliances hidden. In Comedy of Errors, Luciana advises Antipholus of Syracuse, who she thinks is her brother-in-lawto conceal from his presumed wife Adriana, Luciana’s sister, his apparent infidelity. Iago’s observation about the adulteries of Venetian women in Othello, is similar.
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Do you intend to stay with me tonight?

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Lord
Do you intend to stay with me tonight?
First Player
So please your Lordship to accept our duty.
Lord
With all my heart. This fellow I remember
Since once he played a farmer’s eldest son.—
‘Twas where you wooed the gentlewoman so well.
I have forgot your name, but sure that part
Was aptly fitted and naturally performed.
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Source:
Act Induction
Scene 1
Line 86

Source Type:

Spoken by:
,

Themes:
,

Now is the winter of our discontent

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NowHyperbaton is the winter of our discontentMetaphor
Made glorious summerMetaphor by this son of York,Paronomasia
And all the clouds that louredMetaphor upon our houseMetonymy
In the deep bosom of the ocean MetaphorburiedHyperbaton & Ellipsis.
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No, be assured you shall not find me, daughter,

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Queen
No, be assured you shall not find me, daughter,
After the slander of most stepmothers,
Evil-eyed unto you. You’re my prisoner, but
Your jailer shall deliver you the keys
That lock up your restraint.—For you, Posthumus,
So soon as I can win th’ offended king,
I will be known your advocate. Marry, yet
The fire of rage is in him,
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Source:
Act 1
Scene 1
Line 81

Source Type:

Spoken by:
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Themes:
, ,

Edmund, how now? What news?

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Gloucester
Edmund, how now? What news?
Edmund
So please your Lordship, none.
He puts a paper in his pocket.
Gloucester
Why so earnestly seek you to put up that letter?
Edmund
I know no news, my lord.
Gloucester
What paper were you reading?
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Source:
Act 1
Scene 2
Line 27

Source Type:

Spoken by:
,

Themes:
,

Brother, I advise you to the best

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Edmund
Brother, I advise you to the best. I am no
honest man if there be any good meaning toward
you. I have told you what I have seen and heard, but
faintly, nothing like the image and horror of it. Pray
you, away.
Edgar
Shall I hear from you anon?
Edmund
I do serve you in this business.
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Source:
Act 1
Scene 2
Line 180

Source Type:

Spoken by:
,

Themes:
,

Well, Brutus, thou art noble

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Well, Brutus, thou art noble; yet I see
Thy honorable mettle may be wrought
From that it is dispos’d; therefore it is meet
That noble minds keep ever with their likes;
For who so firm that cannot be seduc’d?Rhetorical Question and Ellipsis
Caesar doth bear me hard, but he loves Brutus.
If I were Brutus now and he were Cassius,
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Source:
Act 1
Scene 2
Line 320

Source Type:

Spoken by:

Themes:
,

Figures of Speech:
,

What is the gross sum that I owe thee?

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Falstaff
What is the gross sum that I owe thee?
Hostess
Marry, if thou wert an honest man, thyself
and the money too. Thou didst swear to me upon a
parcel-gilt goblet, sitting in my Dolphin chamber at
the round table by a sea-coal fire, upon Wednesday
in Wheeson week, when the Prince broke thy head
for liking his father to a singing-man of Windsor,
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Source:
Act 2
Scene 1
Line 87

Source Type:

Spoken by:
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Themes:
,

Never fear that

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Trebonius
’Tis time to part.
Cassius
But it is doubtful yet
Whether Caesar will come forth today or no,
For he is superstitious grown of late,
Quite from the main opinion he held once
Of fantasy, of dreams, and ceremonies.

I can o’ersway him, for he loves to hear
That unicorns may be betrayed with trees,
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Source:
Act 2
Scene 1
Line 209

Source Type:

Spoken by:
, , , ,

Themes:
,

Figures of Speech:
,

Connected Notes:
The Snare of Vanity

How is the King employed?

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Suffolk
How is the King employed?
Chamberlain
I left him private,
Full of sad thoughts and troubles.
Norfolk
What’s the cause?
Chamberlain
It seems the marriage with his brother’s wife
Has crept too near his conscience.
Suffolk
No, his conscience
Has crept too near another lady.

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My excellent good friends! How dost thou

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Hamlet
My excellent good friends! How dost thou,
Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do
you both?

Why, then, ’tis none to you, for there is nothing
either good or bad but thinking makes it so.

Rosencrantz
As the indifferent children of the earth.
Guildenstern
Happy in that we are not overhappy.
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Source:
Act 2
Scene 2
Line 242

Source Type:

Spoken by:
, ,

Themes:
, , , , ,

Connected Notes:
What a Difference a Word Makes