Much Ado About Nothing

Man Is a Giddy Thing

At the end of the play, Benedick reflects that "...man is a giddy thing." Referring in your answer to two or three key scenes in the play, explain why events in Messina might lead him to that conclusion.

In a play that so clearly focuses on the conflict between reason and emotion, it is a relief to find that the parallels so often drawn between these traits and men and women have been discarded. Shakespeare has turned the stereotypes on their heads to deliver to the audience a play that is not only insightful into the ways in which men and women interact, but that also challenges the audiences ill-founded preconceptions. Indeed, when Benedick refers to man as a "giddy" thing, this can be regarded not only as a reference to humankind, but to men in particular. The series of events that has previously unfolded has led him to believe that men, and not women, are the species that are fickle, reactive and emotional.

The world of Messina is, evidently, a self-contained one, concerned less with the outside world than the preservation of its own superficial values. In fact, the only glimpse we are given of the world outside Messina is in the opening scene, when Don Pedro and his companions return from war, and even...

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