How Does Shakespeare Show The Power Of Wit And Word Play

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How does Shakespeare exploit the comedic power of wit and wordplay in ‘Much Ado About Nothing’? It is my philosophy that wit and wordplay can be thought of as the cement that holds the building blocks of a good comedy together. Nowhere is this truer, than in ‘Much Ado About Nothing’. Comedic devices such as wit and wordplay are integral in capturing the audience’s attention and captivating them throughout the performance. Shakespeare exploits the power that wit and wordplay command to great effect, particularly through two of the main characters, Beatrice & Benedick. This is because a great deal of the dialogue that these two characters exchange is witty banter mixed with pun-heavy insults. Wordplay has such an important role in play that the title itself, ‘Much…show more content…
During the introduction to the play, before the characters of Benedick and Beatrice even meet on stage, the audience is informed immediately of their relationship by Leonato, during an exchange between Beatrice and a Messenger. “Leonato: There is a kind of merry war betwixt Signior Benedick and her: they never meet but there's a skirmish of wit between them.” (1.1.58) Their relationship is described using the metaphor a “skirmish of wit”, this metaphor is used due to both Benedick’s military occupation, and the antagonistic nature of the witty banter they share in. Nearly all of the exchanges between Benedick and Beatrice in the play are based upon their “skirmish of wit”, as most of the conversations they have will involve one character trying to outwit the other with intricate wordplay. “Benedick: Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher. Beatrice: A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours. Benedick: I would my horse had the speed of your tongue, and so good a continuer.

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