Much Ado About Nothing

Don John in Much Ado About Nothing College

In Much Ado About Nothing, love is fickle and volatile. Several pairs of characters fall in and out of love at nearly a moment’s notice and a few accept their emotions without question. Many complex events cause these sudden emotional changes to come about. Each character in Much Ado About Nothing plays some part in changing the feelings of another, but one man, Don John, sets the events in motion that bring about the most drastic of these affairs.

Don John is the bastard brother of Don Pedro, the Prince of Aragon. The prince looks down upon him but respects him as a brother. Seeing this, many of the characters follow suit. Leonato tells Don John, “Being reconciled to the prince your brother, I owe you all duty” (Shakespeare, I.i.125-126). In this way, Don John easily slides around in the background of the play without the other characters interacting with him extensively. Thus, he plays a major role in the plot without actually appearing relatively often on stage. This means that each appearance is critical to his development as a character. Before the beginning of the play, the brothers fought a great battle in which Don John’s army was brutally defeated (I.i-iii.). Even with this to sadden him, he...

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