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Deception

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 particular effects,
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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:
,

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

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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:

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Themes:
,

Figures of Speech:
,

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

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Spoken by:
, , , ,

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

Source Type:

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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

Source Type:
,

Spoken by:

Themes:
, , ,

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Now, Ursula, when Beatrice doth come

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Hero
Now, Ursula, when Beatrice doth come,
As we do trace this alley up and down,
Our talk must only be of Benedick.
When I do name him, let it be thy part
To praise him more than ever man did merit.

What fire is in mine ears?

My talk to thee must be how Benedick
Is sick in love with Beatrice.
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And may it be that you have quite forgot

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Luciana
And may it be that you have quite forgot
 A husband’s office? Shall, Antipholus,
Even in the spring of love thy love-springs rot?
 Shall love, in building, grow so ruinous?

Bear a fair presence, though your heart be tainted.
 Teach sin the carriage of a holy saint.
Be secret-false. What need she be acquainted?
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Who calls there?

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Malvolio
Who calls there?
Fool
Sir Topas the curate, who comes to visit Malvolio
the lunatic.
Malvolio
Sir Topas, Sir Topas, good Sir Topas, go to
my lady—

I say there is no darkness but ignorance,
in which thou art more puzzled than
the Egyptians in their fog.
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Source:
Act 4
Scene 2
Line 22

Source Type:

Spoken by:
, ,

Themes:
, ,

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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, , ,

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Connected Notes:
Appearance and Deception