How does Shakespeare maintain the balance between seriousness and comedy in the play "Much ado about nothing"?

Essay by threezeeHigh School, 11th grade March 2006

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Shakespeare balances seriousness and comedy in the play in two main respects, these are the types of characters, and the consistency in which both of these aspects are used, they are not over used but are uniformly spread throughout the play.

One place where this sense of balance can be seen is in Act II Scene 2 and 3; Don John and Borachio devise a cruel plot to deceive Claudio into thinking that Hero had betrayed him. In the very next scene Benedict and Beatrice are "duped", they are made to believe that they love each other but do not want to admit it. This scene brings humour immediately after we see a treacherous plot being conjured. Another example of the balance is in Act IV Scene 1 and 2. In the first scene, we see Hero accused of betrayal by Claudio, "She knows the heat of a luxurious bed", and this leads to Hero's death being faked.

In contrast the next scene has Dogberry and his comrades interrogate Conrade and Borachio. The comedy in this scene mainly comes through Dogberry especially after Conrad labels him "an ass". Dogberry wants this naming of him to be recorded so that Conrad will get a worse punishment. These two points show that the balance between seriousness and comedy is maintained by the use of both these points in conjunction with each other.

The various types of characters in the play allow for different elements to be carried out. For example Benedick, Beatrice and Dogberry add humour to the play, while Don John and Borachio include the evil aspects that occur in all plays. Claudio and Hero are the central figures in the play and major efforts are made to destroy their relationship. On the other hand there is Benedick and Beatrice...