Making Order from Disorder in Much Ado About Nothing

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The play Much Ado About Nothing uses the concept of making order from disorder in a variety of ways, through the writings of its infamous author, William Shakespeare. The comedy is founded on a societal view of marriage, courting, hierarchy and ‘noting’. In the play, there are several main sources of disorder, the outstanding one being Claudio and Don Pedro being deceived into thinking Hero is unfaithful. Alongside this, there is the disorder of Dogberry’s enquiry, and also of Beatrice and Benedick being tricked into believing they are in love with one another. These three underlying disorders will be explained in this essay. This concept of contriving order from disorder is crucial to the core of this comedic play.

Don John, the illegitimate brother of Don Pedro – therefore a resentful and villainous man- accompanied by his followers Borachio and Conrade, deceives Claudio and Don Pedro into believing that Hero is unfaithful. This is the central crisis of the play as a whole, bringing in Shakespeare’s all-important irony that the nobility must depend on the commoners to restore order. This allows Dogberry, Verges, and the watchmen to bring about justice and clear Hero’s name, thus restoring the orderly world of Messina. In this central deception, Hero loses not only her prospect husband but also her father, and ironically must ‘die to live’ as Friar Francis states, to regain her honour as a marriageable young woman. This deception also rotates around Margaret’s humiliating disorder of being found as the woman pretending to be Hero, unbeknownst to her. Order is contrived by Leonato’s harsh yet forgiving revenge, but firstly through the examination undertaken by Dogberry and his fellows.

Dogberry’s examination is a true example of disorderliness. Shakespeare uses absurd malapropisms to expose Dogberry’s common education and status, and thus his inner disorder. However it is the strangely observant though somewhat unintelligent and pompous Dogberry that truly...
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