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102046, 104497 LIT14 R08 Masked Tragedy: An Embargoed Catharsis

Final Paper (Question 1)

Not all Shakespearean plays are what they seem to be. Much Ado About Nothing leaves its audience naturally puzzled on whether its plot is considered a tragedy or comedy. The omniscience that is granted to the reader of Much Ado About Nothing, through the birds eye view of its unfolding events, creates a repressed catharsis because of something that can be or might have been so tragic such as evil plots and elements that provoke disaster: an overall nightmarish experience that belongs to tragedy. However, Shakespeares ability to conceal and contain this experience in ways such as happy endings and a comedic approach give the lasting impression and picture of a comedy rather than a tragedy. Glimpses of this repressed catharsis can be felt in II, i, 159-168 when Don John carefully tricked Claudio to believe that Don Pedro courted Hero for himself. When Claudio falls in this evil scheme when he then grieves in II, i, 170-180, the initial tendency is for the reader to feel sorry for Claudio. However, this experience of the reader is postponed when scene II favourably concludes with Don Pedro revealing that Claudio is mistaken and Leonatos blessing for marriage is given, including in that concluding scene Beatrice and Benedicks witty wars, in order to finally suppress the tragic elements and outshine it with comedic elements. On the other hand, the real tragedy enters in III, ii when Don John devises a plot to suspend the marriage of Claudio and Hero the night before the wedding itself. Even before witnessing the scene of betrayal, Claudio says in If I see anything tonight why I should not marry her, tomorrow in the congregation, where I should wed, will I shame her (III, ii, 116-118). This statement leaves the audience gasping for the tragic result, the gravity even greater when it is finally revealed in Borachio and Conrades conversation in III, iii, 154-164 that Don Pedro and

Claudio witnessed the scene. However, despite the heavy scene, the introduction of Dogberry and his company of watchmen shifts the attention to what can be considered as the most comedic part of the play. Ironically, this scene can be interpreted as more tragic when the responsibility is given to, as portrayed, considerably careless and dumb Dogberry and his company but they become ignorable because they are funny. When Claudio finally embarrasses Hero publicly in the day of the wedding in IV, i, it is agreed upon the friars suggestion that Hero concealed to be dead. Death is one of the intrinsic identities of Shakespearean tragedy, evident in Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, and Othello. According to Aristotle, what matters more in tragedy is to show and not to tell. (http://www2.cnr.edu/home/bmcmanus/poetics.html) Although the death in the play is abstract, death performed its role the same way when Romeo and Juliet suffer in each others death, the same emptiness that Octavian feels after leading to Cleopatras death, the same envy that causes Claudius to kill King Hamlets wife, and the same self-sacrifice of Beatrice when Macbeth murders himself. (author, http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-

shakespeares-tragedies.htm) The essence of death is crafted in the play Much Ado About Nothing, although in the end, this false and short-term death is merely a component to create a catharsis in the greater resolution which is comedic in every way possible: not only one, but the marriage of Claudio and Hero, and Beatrice and Benedick, the arrestment of Don John, and the dancing and merriment to finally conclude the play. Other repressed tragic elements take place in the play. When Benedick gets in the dilemma when Claudio somehow disrespects Beatrice to challenge him to a duel, he faces the same uncertainty that Hamlet faces in his traitor and murderer uncle in the tragedy Hamlet. However, in the end, Benedick and Claudio do not need to duel because the issue is resolved.

The play stands as a comedy because of its comedic elements superseding the tragic ones. In the end, the catharsis for tragedy remains suppressed which diverts it in order to stay as comedy. Both low comedy and high comedy are used in the play. High comedy uses puns and wit and is about the criticism of life as seen in the verbal exchange of Beatrice and Benedick in Act I, Scene i, 115-140. Low comedy, on the other hand, is slapstick comedy, uses malapropisms wherein a character says something unintentionally and out of confusion as seen in Act III, Scene iii, 35, wherein Dogberry meant to say mingle instead of meddle and intolerable instead of tolerable. Low comedy also focuses on the embarrassment of the characters in a play. Without enough compensation for the tragic elements, the play cannot stand a comedy. In the end, an embargo is necessary to slow down the tragic elements from coming. Of course, we cannot measure the catharsis in each. But we know that the ultimate goal, the ultimate catharsis comes from comedy rather than tragedy. Because in all essence, the tragedy in Much Ado is a mere instrument in order to achieve this greater and more momentum to the long-term comedy. There remains an embargo in the catharsis for tragedy, because the catharsis for comedy is the main purpose. The telos of the play is comedy. In real life, the masking

BIBLIOGRAPHY The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes, Volume V. The Drama to 1642, Part One. New York: G.P. Putnams Sons; Cambridge, England: University Press, 190721. "Much Ado About Nothing." Shmoop: Study Guides & Teacher Resources. Web. 31 Dec. 2010. <http://www.shmoop.com/much-ado-about-nothing/>. "SparkNotes: Much Ado About Nothing: Context." SparkNotes: Today's Most Popular Study Guides. Web. 31 Dec. 2010. <http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/muchado/context.html>. "Introduction to Theatre -- Types of Drama -- Comedy." Nova Online Home Page. Web. 31 Dec. 2010. <http://novaonline.nvcc.edu/eli/spd130et/typecomd.htm>. Jamieson, Lee. "Tragedy, Comedy, History? A List of Shakespeares Plays by Tragedy, Comedy and History." Shakespeare Free Shakespeare Resources for Students and Teachers. About.com. Web. 31 Dec. 2010. <http://shakespeare.about.com/od/theplays/a/Tragedy_Comedy_History.htm>.

102046, 104497 LIT14 R08 Violence

Final Paper (Question 3)

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me, an old saying goes. Indeed, ironic in itself, a lie and a denial that people forge in order to become stronger, but in reality, words hurt and can sometimes even kill. Language violence can come in many forms such as: lying, slandering, gossiping and verbal abuse. In the play Much Ado About Nothing, language is used as a form of violence. In Act 1, scene 1, 73-75; 78-81 and 84-88, violence, although mild, can be felt for the first time in the play through the sarcasm of Beatrice towards her feelings for Benedick wherein she makes fun of him. Beatrice gives an impression that she is annoyed by Benedick and shows how feisty she can be. This is an act of feminism for her, in a context where women are treated badly. On the other hand, Benedick shows how peevish his reactions can be when it comes to his feelings towards Beatrice during their first encounter in Act I, scene i, 116-141. Aside from Beatrice and Benedick, Don John also gives a hint that violence may be encountered in the play by saying that he is a plain-dealing villain in Act 1, scene 3, 25-35. In lines 44-46 and 63-67, Don John clearly states that he will indeed cause trouble. Don John first attempts to cause trouble in Act 2, scene i, 161-180 wherein he lies and tricks Claudio into believing that his brother, Don Pedro, instead is in love with Hero when the original plan was that Don Pedro would help Claudio woo Hero. Don Johns first attempt of causing trouble was a failure and therefore, tries again in Act 3, scene ii, 88-127 to ruin Claudios happiness by lying about Heros unfaithfulness, leaving Claudio in disdain, swearing that he would take revenge on Hero by putting her to shame. In Act 4, scene i, 30-113, Claudio indeed takes revenge on Hero by slandering her. He accuses her that

she is no longer a maiden, puts her to shame and refuses to marry her. In this scene, Heros fainting is indeed proof that words can hurt. Hero was so hurt that she could not bear the pain and therefore, fainted. Another instance of violence can be felt in Act 5, scene i, 65-111, wherein Leonatos fury towards Claudio and the Prince during their conversation regarding Heros death leads him to challenge them to a bloody sword fight. Language violence is a form of violence that is most used in the play, Much Ado About Nothing, due to the name-calling, lying, slandering, gossiping and verbal abuse of the characters as shown above. Not all people recognize how verbal abuse can affect a person greatly. Words can indeed hurt and sometimes even kill. The play contains violent scenes that are masked by love in most of the other scenes and is therefore, unnoticeable by the audience. However, if one looks closely at each of the events that occurred, he or she will notice that the actions of the characters have violence involved one way or another to the point that one of the plays themes could be violence. REMINDERS:

The violence of Claudio towards Hero: how it can be way an indication of repressed anger: an anger that can grow The feministic approach in violence; a battle of the genders Language is an important tool for expression, but at the same time, it can be an avenue for repression As a way to mitigate violence, how? By resorting to it, you cannot hurt the person physically.This can be seen in Claudios scandal on the day of the wedding. Considering that Claudio and Hero are persons of little words (this is stated by Beatrice in a scene)

Benedick and Beatrice use language violence in order to conceal their emotions The father of Hero, Leonato, love for her daughter (seen in the latter acts), is never greater and in the end, it was enough to trigger the happy ending and let Claudio accept the challenge (mitigates violence in order to create a comedic ending) -- > words are powerful, promises can be triggered by the guilt that fear in violence can create When Benedick challenges Claudio, only through words because sometimes words are enough in order to reveal and prove ones principles (that Benedick truly loves Beatrice) The secret evil plots of Don John are all verbal in nature, that in the end, misunderstanding of this verbal language can lead to disastrous effects A form of Resistance TANGIBLE IDEAS!!

BIBLIOGRAPHY "Chapter Four: (I) Much Ado about Nothing." Ray Hoole: Doctoral Thesis: D.Litt. Et Phil. University of South Africa 1989. Web. 31 Dec. 2010. <http://www.3quavers.co.uk/thesis/ch 41 ado.htm>. "SparkNotes: Much Ado About Nothing: Study Questions & Essay Topics." SparkNotes: Today's Most Popular Study Guides. Web. 31 Dec. 2010. <http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/muchado/study.html>. Anderson, Kerby. "Verbal Abuse." Leadership University. 14 July 2002. Web. 01 Jan. 2011. <http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/verbalabuse.html>.

Allen, Stacy. "Use of Language in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing." Associated Content from Yahoo! - Associatedcontent.com. 17 Nov. 2005. Web. 01 Jan. 2011. <http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/13284/use_of_language_in_shakespeares_mu ch.html?cat=38>.