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MonkeyNotes-Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
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Act V, Scene 4

Claudio and Don Pedro call on Leonato and Antonio as per the agreement. All the ladies of the house are masked. Leonato presents one of them to Claudio as Antonio's daughter whom he shall marry. Claudio accepts her hand. When she takes off her mask, he is shocked to find that she is Hero herself. Don Pedro and Claudio are glad that Hero is not indeed dead, as they had been made to believe. Benedick now announces his decision to get married, of course, to Beatrice. The play ends with the news that Don John has been captured and all the characters proceed to dance.


Notes

All the anxiety and sorrow clouding the play is finally eliminated. There are now two bridal pairs united in happy wedlock. The scene is filled with bubbling wit, too. Benedick defends his changed attitude toward marriage, and claims he has emerged a wiser man. Changes in attitudes and perspectives make for better human beings.

It is interesting to note the defense Benedick puts forward for his altered opinion of marriage. When Don Pedro taunts him on his decision to become "Benedick, the married man," Benedick replies that he is not going to be thwarted by sarcastic remarks which his friends might make about his decision to get married. He maintains that he has no reason to be ashamed of the change in his perspective because man is a "giddy thing." Man's views are subject to change and he cannot remain stubborn throughout.

The illusions of the play are focused in miniature in the final dance where masks are laid aside. The ladies unmask themselves. Finally identities are discovered. The pattern of the dance is one of celebration as the couples dance to the orderly rhythm of the music. The social order is restored, while the masked dance in an earlier scene had only been a confusion of identities and a maze of illusion.

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MonkeyNotes-Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
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