How Important to “Much Ado About Nothing” is Act 3 Scene 4?
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Act three scene four is a highly important part of the overall play however it was not included in the film version of the Shakespearian production. The scene gives great opportunity for character development and female insight. Alternatively the scene may also lead to confusion of the viewers as many of the aspects included, like language, would not relate to a modern audience.
Through this scene, the main themes of the play are brought to the surface. This is a major reason as to how relevant the scene actually is because the themes are presented and explored here. One of the themes discussed is fashion and its importance to society. With reference to the stereotypical views of women being only obsessed with what they wear, ‘I like the new tire within excellently, if the hair were a thought browner; and your gown’s a most rare fashion i’faith’. It also shows how shallow women in general are as the women in the scene represent most of the classes: Ursula, lower class, Margaret, lower-middle class, Beatrice, upper-middle class, Hero, upper class. The quote displays exactly how shallow they are as it is the morning of the wedding and all Hero is talking about is hair and makeup. To add to this stereotypical view of women, the scene is set in a dressing room. Fashion in general used to determine the social status of people. Vibrant colours represented wealth and inheritance while dull colours represented the poor. This is exactly why the scene should be kept in the movie as it is based on fashion and social status.
This scene helps us understand the characters and relationships involved. Act 3 scene 4 completely reveals the true character of Hero seems as throughout the rest of the play Hero always like a very quiet, timid character so her true personality does not shine through at all. Hero seems more of a ‘bossy’ character as when her cousin is sleeping she does not simply wait for Beatrice to wake herself but orders her servant, Ursula, to ‘wake my[Hero] cousin Beatrice, and desire her to rise’. Hero is not the shy, polite girl the film makes her out to be but an inconsiderate person thinking of only herself over her cousin. This scene should have also been kept in the movie because we see a completely different side to Margaret. When Margaret is seen on the windowsill of Hero’s bedroom with Borachio, the audience views her character as being just a woman skillfully exploited by evil Borachio when the plan to rupture Claudio and Hero’s union took place. However through act 3 scene 4 Margaret’s innocent visage quickly vanishes.
She makes a number of crude, unneeded comments which shows exactly how she differs from her friends due to her rank in society. Hero discusses how her ‘heart is exceeding heavy’ and with that Margaret turns it into a sexual innuendo by talking about how ‘Twill be heavier soon by the weight of a man’ meaning that a man will soon be ‘on top’ of Hero sexually which shows how, because of her social status, Margaret is unable to determine the timing of comments made. This ‘coming out of character’ of Hero and Margaret may also confuse the audience as well as benefit them so for that reason this scene should not have been in the film. Beatrice’s character is shown to be ‘love sick’ in some ways throughout the scene which again gives light to the audience as to what her true feelings are. This scene is where Beatrice’s character first officially confesses to loving Bennedict when she mentions that she is ‘stuffed, cousin; I[ Beatrice] cannot smell’ admitting that she is ill due to her love for Bennedict.
Act 3 scene 4 helps to build up suspense in the play before the drama of the wedding. It also offers much needed comic relief to the play. The dramatic importance of this scene is very high as the main female characters of the play, as mentioned before, portray their unstereotypical characteristics. Beatrice actually acknowledges the relationship of her and Benedick when she is teased by Margaret about him she refers to the plant ‘benedictus, why benedictus?” which has a great similarity to her loves name. This scene also shows that the play is not only a comedy but also has a lot to do with the morals of people then. During the Elizabethan times, a woman’s honour depended greatly on whether or not they were virgins. The sexual innuendo’s mentioned by Margaret in this scene shows that she has absolutely no morals saying them on the day of Hero’s wedding. This scene should be kept in the play because without this scene, the theme of morality in the play would not have surfaced. However the points involved in this scene are not relevant to the main storyline so it may add to the confusion of the audience. This scene is a very important aspect of the play as all social classes are represented here. At the time there were different classes in the theatre which was mentioned before and women of all classes could relate to the scene.
Language used in this scene plays a very large part in the dramatic affect of it onto the play. The language creates a new view of the characters in the scene, Margaret the sexual predator, hero the bossy self obsessed cousin and Beatrice the love sick woman. When Beatrice mentions that she is ‘stuffed, I[Beatrice] cannot smell’ Margaret refers to how it is impossible for her to be a ‘maid and stuffed’ which shows that all Margaret thinks about is sex. This scene however does not do anything to develop the relationship between Hero and Claudio which is emphasized by the language used. In this scene, the ‘Duchess of Milan’s Gown’ is referred to and to a modern audience this language would not be understood as the period of time is completely off.
After looking into the importance of act 3 scene 4 to the plot and character development, I have come to the conclusion that the scene should have been kept in the play as this is the scene where Hero, Beatrice and Margaret’s true characters are shown.