In literature, music can be used both to enhance the mood of the plot and it can be used as an actual part of the plot or story line. In Shakespeare’s play ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ music is used in both scenarios: both to set the mood and also as part of the actual story, serving as an event in the play, a necessary part in the sequence of events. The mood that is set by the music in the play seems to play a significant role in the progression of the plot in helping the audience become more aware of the character’s feelings. Only with the combination of the motives of the music is the message of love able to be portrayed. It is quite obvious how music is able to have an effect on the mood or tone of an event.
By playing slow music the audience gets a more solemn picture that otherwise might not have been portrayed to such an extent without the enhancement of the music. Faster music creates a more excited or anticipatory mood. This type of music is used as a catalyst or a tool for effectiveness in order to trigger emotions or feelings from the audience. It also allows the audience to get in on the feelings of the characters that are not expressed with words. In Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ he uses the music as a part of the scenery in order to set the mood.
In act 1 scene 2 the stage description is: ‘[enter Antonio’s son with a Musician and Attendants. ]’ While this might be easy for a play director to portray in performing a play, while reading the play a large part of the effect can be lost. One can hypothesize what type of music would be playing at this point in the play when Leonato is telling his cousins what must be done so ‘that she may be better prepared for an answer (lines 22-23) ‘. He is trying to undermine the plan that he misunderstands.
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Leonato is told falsely that Don Pedro intends to pursuit his daughter, Hero. It is up to the reader to decipher what type of music should be played at this point of the play and through that what type of mood to set. It can be assumed that a mysterious, or conquering with notes of excitement, music should be played. Leonato seems to think he has figured out the mystery thanks to his brother and now he is able to decide on a plan in order to prevent what he believes will happen to happen. Aside from setting the mood, music plays a large role in the actual sequence of events, in the plot of the play. ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ is a play that is full of wooing, and pursuing women, a very musical time.
Whether it is at a dance or by singing love songs, music is always a part of the process, adding both to the mood and the actual conversation and plot. The music at the dance in act 2 scene 1 allows for a festive, relaxed atmosphere. The masks worn by most of the characters allow them to respond to the music and their feelings without reservations. Interestingly, while the masks do allow the characters to act as themselves, at the same time the characters also seem to be masking their own true selves. This dance marks a key point in the major theme of treachery and deceiving in the play. Being that the characters are wearing masks it allows for Claudio to hide while Don Pedro leads Hero to believe he is Claudio.
Without music and dancing the setting would not allow for all that goes on during this scene. A lot more would be revealed through the silence and lack of other distractions. As soon as the dancing ends, the crowd begins to disperse, the characters unmask, and the truths seem to unfold. Without the music to shield the sounds of deceit Claudio is told that Don Pedro ‘swore he would marry tonight’. Claudio is immediately ready to forget about his love despite the fact that it was not even his efforts that have failed.
... a two couple wedding which is usually in his plays. Claudio and Hero have a beautiful wedding and Benedick and Beatrice also ... the Bastard. I think this play is a great example of relationships and how people act and can change in them ... . It is amazing how Shakespeare writes this play as if it ... love doesn't change and people may always act this way when in love.
He has simply been a wallflower in the active pursuit of Hero, but he still feels very discouraged. Even with music and a mask he is unable to come out as himself and pursuit what he really desires. The setting only allows for someone else to act as he acts or how he wishes he could act. There is not enough masking in the music and physical masks to give Claudio the confidence to act as himself.
During act 2 scene 1 music serves as a sort of additional mask for the characters in the play. In line 68, Beatrice puts a lot of weight on the music. She says, ‘the fault will be in the music cousin, if you be not wooed in good time’. Hero’s success seems to be dependent on the music. Later Beatrice continues in line 71, ‘and so dance out the answer’ basically implying that a lot can be accomplished through music and dancing with no essential need for actual words and conversation. At this point in the play, as opposed to the music being a part of the scenery that subconsciously plays a significant role, here the music is a part of the conversation.
Music perhaps is the conversation. The idea of music and dancing being used to express conversation is proven immediately after Hero and Prince begin to dance. Hero says, ‘So you walk softly, and look sweetly and say nothing, I am yours for the walk, and especially when I walk away (lines 86-88) ‘. Hero seems to have made a decision about her feelings for Prince as soon as they started dancing, while they ‘say nothing’.
In Act 2 Scene 3 music again plays a very significant role. Benedick is able to read Claudio’s feelings by what type of music he is listening to. Benedick is going on and on about how Claudio’s habits have changed, including his taste in music. He says in lines 13-15, ‘I have known when there was no music with him but the drum and the fife, and now had he rather hear the tabor and the pipe’.
Benedick is comparing the military music that Claudio listened to in the past to the dancing music he enjoys now. By Claudio’s taste in music Benedick realizes Claudio has ‘become the argument of his own scorn by falling in love’. Music is a pure indication of what Claudio is going through. Similarly, as the scene continues music continues to be a source of communication, and the topic of conversation. Balthasar and Prince speak of wooing in terms of music. Balthasar says, ‘note this before my notes: There’s not a note of mine that’s worth noting (lines 55-57) ‘.
... together was not true love. Bene*censored* and Beatrices love was stronger because ... true love. In conclusion, the love between Bene*censored* and Beatrice was much stronger than the love between Hero and Claudio. The way Hero and Claudio got ...
Balthasar uses ‘note’ as a pun referring both to music and taking notice. Perhaps he is suggesting that noting is somewhat dependent on the music, on what is playing in the air and what is playing in the heart. In act 5 scene 2, Benedick shows he is aware of this idea that wooing and love can be expressed through music but it doesn’t seem to work for him. He says, ‘No, I was not born under a rhyming planet, nor I cannot woo in festival terms (lines 40-41) ‘. Similar to his other views on life in general, Benedick takes the cynical approach. He thinks he sees through the artificial act of wooing through music.
He sings a famous love song mockingly. Benedick attempts to profess his love for Beatrice through speaking with words as opposed to speaking with notes. Obviously Benedick and Beatrice have a different relationship with each other than most people have. It takes some time for them to realize their love for each other despite their mocking, teasing love affair. Comparing their way of pursuing and wooing is strange considering one can never be too sure of their real intentions. Being that their relationship is unconventional from the start, it makes practical sense that the ways in which they eventually realize their love for each other is also not in the conventional way most couples profess their love.
With the announcement of their engagement Benedick can not help but to succumb to the conventional way in which music is associated with love. Benedick who originally said he would never marry is so in love that he can’t help but to dance. He says, ‘Let’s have a dance ere we are married… play music… thou are sad; get thee a wife, get thee a wife! (lines 120-125) ‘ Finally when he sees himself in true, admitted love he completely forgets about his cynical views and is able to see the connection between love and music.
... Hero, the daughter of Leonato, and Claudio. These two characters, unlike Beatrice and Benedick, fall in love after seeing each other for the first ... most of the play. The first example of deception we see is with the characters of Beatrice and Benedick. These two characters ... characters; it is the major theme that resonates throughout the play. Ironically, it is one of these themes that bring serenity ...
Interestingly, Hero and Claudio meet again in a similar manner in which they met originally. Although it was not truly Claudio the first time behind the mask, this time he is unable to hide. He is the one in the dark agreeing to love and marriage before any masks come off and true identities are revealed. There is no music or dancing in the setting at this time. Perhaps this allows for Claudio and Hero to fall in love again without any distractions, and without any masks.
This mood remains for the meeting, symbolic unmasking, and eventual revelation of long awaited love confessions of Benedick and Beatrice. They were aware from the beginning that the love can’t be as clear with the music in the background. It creates an environment too conducive to love. Both couples needed to realize their love without the picturesque scenery and music in the background, and only then can the music begin.
As Benedick says in the final line of the play, ‘Strike up, pipers!’ Although from the beginning Claudio and Hero seemed to best express their love through music and dancing it is clear that until love is accomplished in truth the music does not play with the same festivity and truthfulness as at the end of the play. The end of the play allows the characters to fall in love without the help of an outside source. They fall in love only with the help of each other. Both types of music that Shakespeare and his stage arrangers use have been significant throughout the play. Music as a part of the scenery allows the audience to be aware of feelings in the characters hearts that they would otherwise be unaware of.
The music that plays a role in the plot is essential in the progression of the character’s feelings of love. Without music being a part of the wooing, Benedick and Beatrice, and Claudio and Hero would not have realized and come to this higher level of true love for each other. They had to fall in love without the music and only after does the music never stop playing.