TOPIC OVERVIEW: A central theme in Much Ado About Nothing is trickery or deceit, whether for good or evil purposes. Good characters as well as evil ones engage in deceit as they attempt to conceal their feelings: Beatrice and Benedick mask their feelings for one another with bitter insults, and Don John spies on Claudio and Hero, etc. Who hides and what is hidden? Deception plays a major role in Much Ado About Nothing. Shakespearean scholar Nova Myhill notes that “Don Pedro, Claudio, Beatrice, and Benedick all observe and overhear scenes actually predicated on their presence, which they believe to be predicated on their absence; the deceptions are based on the victim’s assumption that he or she is seeing and hearing a private scene.” PAPER TOPIC: After carefully reading the overview above, write a literary paper in which you explore and discuss how deceit functions in the world of the play (choose one or two examples from the play), and whether it can also be viewed as a comment on life in general.
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