In the contemporary world, rumors and
dishonesty tend to be the order of the day as people deliberately use deception
to achieve their evil plans regardless of who they hurt. In the play, Much Ado About Nothing by William
Shakespeare, the author addresses the evil plans of human kind and the extent
to which some people will go to ensure that they achieve their evil plans
through dishonest and deception means. The same theme is what is portrayed on the
film by Kenneth Branagh in which issues of betrayal, love, marriage,
friendship, and dishonesty is highly discussed. One of such character that
Shakespeare uses to play the veil character in this particular dramatic and
romantic play is Don John. Don John can therefore be described as a hurtles,
opportunistic and dishonest person who is ill-motivated and does not consider
the emotions or feelings of the victims by his
mischievous and dishonest deeds. In the play, Don John is an
evil character which is evident from the fact that he tries all
within his power to ensure that Hero and Claudio’s relationship is destroyed
using gossips and hatching evil plans for the two characters; also using
gossip, conversation and overhearing from important characters to show human
nature clearly.  

            Don John’s evil plan against hero and Claudio is
manifested in Act 2
of the play when Don John and his crew corners Claudio and suggest to him that
Don Pedro has gone ahead to woo Hero for himself (Shakespeare, 2.1.134-140).
This was against what Claudio and Don Pedro initially agreed on in which the
former agreed to sweet talk Hero on behalf of the later. To prove that Don John
was indeed a mischievous and dishonest man, he goes ahead to give Claudio false
information yet he knows very well that Don Pedro was still pursuing the
initial plan they had with Claudio. In 2.2, the
author portrays the true character of an evil man who is against the union of
hero and Claudio and therefore tries to set up the two friends, Claudio and Don
Pedro, against each other so that he may have an upper hand of wooing Hero for
himself. Luckily, his plan fails when Don Pedro announces that he has finished
his part of wooing Hero for Claudio; so
Claudio can make his preparation for marrying Hero.

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author portrays Don John’s motive of destroying the relationship between Hero
and Claudio is when Borachio and Don John orchestrate a malicious plan in which
Don John is to convince both Claudio and Don Pedro to come and stand in the
orchard just some distance outside Hero’s window on the night before Claudio is
to marry Hero. It is at this point in which Borachio is tasked with the role of
making love-talk with Hero’s servant, Margaret, who is to dress in one of
Hero’s clothes to make Claudio and Don Pedro think of the worse of Hero and
write her off as a disloyal lady. (Shakespeare, 2.2.25-40). One key issue that is evident in the
play and specifically on how Don John goes around planning and executing his
intentions of breaking Hero’s relationship with Claudio is the fact that
gossip, conversation and overhearing plays a significant role in influencing
the perception that individuals have towards each other. For instance, the
conversation between Claudio and Don John in which the former advices the later
of Don Pedro’s intention to woo Hero makes Claudio think the worse of his long
time and loyal friend. Don John intends to capitalize a gossip to make Claudio
break up with Hero.

            In this content
it always seems that it is impossible to get to the bottom of the truth because
what people in it think is so extraneous to what the truth is about. Following
a well-known popular saying, most of the roles in Much Ado are no one to
eavesdrop on the conversation, and most of the time is finally gossiped or misunderstood
what they hear (“Much Ado About Nothing”). Claudio, Heroes and Pedro are all
spreads of gossip, sometimes positive, and possibly negative. Benedick and
Beatrice are having difficulties in their relationship; Claudio and Don Pedro
decide to make a plan of uniting them. In 2.3, Benedick decides to hide when he
hears his name and Beatrice’s; so that he may listen to the conversation. However,
those who are talking know that Benedick is hiding and listening to their
conversation. Leonato goes ahead and tell his friends that Beatrice who is
Leonato’s niece made a confession to him that she is in love with Benedick.
Leonato says “she loves him with an enraged affection, it is past the infinite
of thought” (Shakespeare, 2.3.95-96). However, Beatrice fears telling Benedick
because for fears of being derided. While speaking, they do it in a manner for
Benedick to hear as they do not want to keep it as a secret. Benedick overhears
the conversation and decides to confess his love to Beatrice. Benedick says:
“they say the lady is fair; ’tis a truth, I can bear them witness. And virtuous;
‘I cannot reprove it. For I will be horribly in love with her” (Shakespeare,
2.3.203-08). Claudio goes ahead and tells Hero about the plan and hero decides to
tell Beatrice about the whole conversation. A whole situation can be turned
into a totally different way and may develop more things that people can’t imagine.
Actually, this is a usual social phenomenon because of gossip, conversation and
overhearing from human nature; not only can let people’s relationship being
broken but also can uniting anyone together. Shakespeare using them in a very
amazing way to show his thoughts through this play.     

            The plot of the play is centered around
gossip, where people overhear conversations and gossip. Leonato says to
Antonio: “Stop advising me; your words pass through my ears like water through
a sieve.” (Shakespeare, 5.1.3-4). It is an important thought to the whole plot
of the play Much Ado About Nothing. The book constantly uses characters who
eavesdrop on conversations, and this leads to misunderstandings due to
deception from most of the conversations. The book, the film, its’ spirit, the
actors’ play, and English humor expose common qualities of casual people such
as gossiping, and expose their unstable nature as well the unstable nature of
life itself.