Free «Brutality and Violence in "Much Ado About Nothing" by Shakespeare» Essay Sample
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In the play Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare extensively uses words that denote brutality and violence. The use of such words serves the purpose of indicating the tragic nature of the play and the existing social environment in which the play was taking place. By using such brutal and violent language, the playwright sought to represent the play as a reflection of social practices that were happening at that particular time. The story is about too much effort for nothing, which aptly describes the tendency to use force or brutality to promote one’s own interests. The purpose of this essay is to analyze speech and words that represent wounds and battles in the play and determine what the playwright and the characters accomplished by the use of words as weapons. The last section dwells on the significance of violent language in the play and the outer world.
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Analysis of Words and Speech Signifying Battles and Wounds in the Play
The use of speech and words that represent brutality and violence is dominant throughout the play. Even though the story is supposed to be about love, it is brutally executed given the way characters speak to each other and express their views and opinions. For instance, Claudio is accused of killing Hero with his words. Lenonato says to Claudio, “Thy slander hath gone through and through her heart” (Shakespeare 102). The use of brutal and violent speech is also evident during the confession by Borachio about his affair with Hero. To describe how this truth is going to hurt everyone, Don Pedro notes that in all its dark glory, the truth will act like a sword that will cut through the heart of Claudio. In Don Pedro’s words, the truth “Runs not this speech like iron through your blood?” The encounter between Benedick and Beatrice is said to be characteristic of a merry war of words “though the two never meets but maintain a skirmish of wit between them.” Skirmish denotes some form of war and disorganization, but the description serves to suit the reality of the encounter between the two antagonistic characters.
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The use of brutal and violent speech is also expressed through the use of metaphors that compare characters to animals. For instance, Beatrice vows to submit to the love of Benedick by taming her “wild heart” to his “loving hand” (Branagh 55). In most cases, ‘wild’ is used to refer to animals that are uncontrollable and sometimes dangerous to human beings. By using this word to describe her heart, Beatrice simply points to the struggle that exists between lovers when it comes to remaining with one person for the whole life. In this case, one must be prepared to struggle to tame that heart and resort to the master form of relationship. Another example of brutal and violent speech is when Don Pedro speaks to Benedick concerning his marriage. He compares him to a wild animal by the use of a common adage noting, “In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke” (Richters 37). The use of this adage referring to a savage bull implies that there comes a time when even those who consider themselves to be uncontrollable submit to some form of power. With all his savagery behavior, Benedick must submit to the taming power of love and marriage. At the end, when Benedick marries Beatrice, Claudio is quick to point to his mortified countenance and notes that it was just a matter of time “when he would play the noble beast in love” (Shakespeare 99).
What is Achieved by Shakespeare and His Characters by the Metaphoric Use of Words as Weapons?
The play Much Ado About Nothing demonstrates the struggles that people undergo to achieve things that they might not need. The effort and the input are sometimes not merited or commensurate with reward in the future. In this play, the use of violent and brutal language helps the playwright and the characters to reveal people’s effort to achieve things that are not so much important or needed. That form of language is used to heighten the tension and create the impression that whatever is at stake is crucial, whereas in reality they are talking about love and marriage based on deceit and cunning. Shakespeare manages to reveal the hypocritical nature of the society where people will fight and defend their positions only to end up losing everything or having not gained anything in the first place. The use of brutal language is also tactical in the sense that Shakespeare is able to attract attention of the audience while convey his message of a brutal, insensitive society.
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Concerning the characters, brutal language is used as a tool to avoid sexual slander and public shaming, which were very much abhorred during the time the play was written. By using brutal and violent language, they are able to introduce humor to serious matters for which they could be vilified by the society. Using these words makes the audience laugh at itself rather than point accusing fingers at the people involved in the play. They are also able to oppose their competitors and allow themselves to stand up for accusations and counter-accusations leveled against each other. The characters are also able to influence the perception that others have about them and, therefore, how they relate to them. By using speech that denotes violence, they are able to communicate their views forcefully and sometimes get what they want from their opponents.
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What does Violent Language Signify in the Play and the Outer World?
The use of violent language signifies seriousness of the theme that is explored by the playwright. From the start, there is a struggle for love between two couples laced with deception, accusations, and counter-accusations. In order to maintain their interests, the characters have to use a brutal approach to their relationships. It signifies a kind of relationship between men and women in the Elizabethan world, when the play was written.