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Deception

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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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

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Themes:
,

O Dissembling courtesy!

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Imogen
O,
Dissembling courtesy! How fine this tyrant
Can tickle where she wounds! My dearest husband,
I something fear my father’s wrath, but nothing—
Always reserved my holy duty—what
His rage can do on me. You must be gone,
And I shall here abide the hourly shot
Of angry eyes, not comforted to live
But that there is this jewel in the world
That I may see again.  
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Source:
Act 1
Scene 1
Line 97

Source Type:

Spoken by:
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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

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,

Figures of Speech:
,

Never fear that

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Never fear that. If he be so resolv’d,
I can o’ersway him; for he loves to hear
That unicorns may be betray’d with trees,
And bears with glasses, elephants with holes,
Lions with toils, and men with flatterers;Ellipses

But when I tell him he hates flatterers
He says he does, being then most flattered.

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Source:
Act 2
Scene 1
Line 219

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Themes:
,

Figures of Speech:
,

Connected Notes:
The Snare of Vanity

I heard myself proclaimed

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I heard myself proclaimed,
And by the happy hollow of a tree
Escaped the hunt. No port is free; no place
That guard and most unusual vigilance
Does not attend my taking. Whiles I may ‘scape,
I will preserve myself, and am bethought
To take the basest and most poorest shape
That ever penury in contempt of man
Brought near to beast.
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Source:
Act 2
Scene 3
Line 1

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Themes:
,

Come, Balthasar, we’ll hear that song again

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Prince
Come, Balthasar, we’ll hear that song again.
Balthasar
O, good my lord, tax not so bad a voice
To slander music any more than once.
Prince
It is the witness still of excellency
To put a strange face on his own perfection.
I pray thee, sing, and let me woo no more.
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Source:
Act 2
Scene 3
Line 43

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I have deceived even your very eyes

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I have deceived even your very eyes. What your wisdoms could not discover, these shallow fools have brought to light.Irony
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Source:
Act 5
Scene 1
Line 242

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Appearance and Deception

Alas, poor fool, how have they baffled thee!

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Olivia, to Malvolio
Alas, poor fool, how have they baffled thee!
Fool
Why, “some are born great, some achieve greatness,
and some have greatness thrown upon them.”
I was one, sir, in this interlude, one Sir Topas, sir,
but that’s all one. “By the Lord, Fool, I am not
mad”—but, do you remember “Madam, why laugh
you at such a barren rascal;
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Source:
Act 5
Scene 1
Line 392

Source Type:
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Themes:
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