This moment in MAAN by Shakespeare is dramatic because of the destruction of Claudio and Hero’s newly-formed relationship. This first scene of Act 4 follows the scene where Don John informs Claudio of deception and announces the scene with Beatrice and Benedick’s logical thinking. The wedding is important as it represents the obstacle which must be resolved by the end of the comedy.
This scene is made captivating because of the continuous stream of questions and the dramatic irony used in this moment. Leonato and Hero constantly ask questions – almost everything they say is composed of interrogative statements – adding to the confusion. Leonato is first to ask a question “what do you mean, my Lord?” the use of “My Lord” shows a sign of respect – Leonato respects Claudio and indicates him as a person of importance. Both Leonato and Hero use words such as “my Lord” and “sweet prince” in order to convey the sense of respect – they want to understand what is going on, but also do not want to seem intrusive. The dramatic irony in that is because the audience already know the answers to the many questions asked. They are captivated by what is presented and are both eager and distraught to see the innocent Hero become slandered. The audience wonders if this play is truly a comedy as this moment is tragic and seems unfixable. However, each obstacle will be dealt with, uniting every character and signifying the end of a comedy.
Moreover, Claudio adds to the tension by answering the many questions with diction that provokes savage, animal-like imagery to describe Hero, contrasting with Hero’s innocent and modest image and adding to the dramatic irony; the audience is now held at a stand still. Hero is described as a “rotten orange” – something that was once round and perfect – or modest – but is now used, unwanted and should be thrown away. Claudio also picks on hero’s appearance ; in claiming that her “blush is guiltiness, not modesty”. And as appearances cannot be altered, Claudio is also saying that the fact that she is “rotten” cannot be resolved. This accusation against Hero captivates the audience because they can also see Hero’s blush but are unable to decide whether it is one of embarrassment or if she is guilty. This perplexity holds the audience – they are wanting to see what will happen next.
The dramatic irony is questioned – did the affair truly happen? The scene did not occur in the play so the audience are left wondering, yearning to see what happens next. They wonder what Hero will do – being accused of such a drastic thing – as she has never been intrusive or spoken out for long. When she does though – yet another question – “and seem’d I ever otherwise to you?” the audience is still captivated to see how the other characters react – Hero speaking is not a common occurrence. However because Hero has used the word “seem’d” Claudio yet again accuses Hero based on her appearances. Claudio admits that Hero is “as Dian in her orb” – a seemingly modest, beautiful woman – but has come to an ‘understanding’ . She is “more intemperate in her blood…” “blood” suggests here that she cannot rid herself of this sin and that her sin will run in the family; that is, that all her family will have their honour ruined. The audience feels dread at this point – they recognize that reputation is valued by Hero and are fearful for both her and for Leonato – adding to this already dramatic moment.
Lastly, this scene is even more radically dramatic when Hero and Leonato respond with grief and heartfelt emotion when they realize that their reputation is destroyed. The audience can do nothing but sit watching, terrified for Hero and Leonato’s sake. Hero responds to Benedick with “True! Oh God!” but the use of “True!” conveys the illusion that Hero is confessing to her “cunning sins” while “Oh God!” emphasizes a sense of hopelessness and shows that she has given up and does not know what to do. “Oh God” also represents a desperate plea for help – nothing but a miracle from “God” will save her. Leonato asks if “these things are spoken or do(es he) dream?” – this catastrophe is one of Leonato’s worst nightmares but it is apparently true; “spoken” gaining the audiences’ sympathy towards the victims. The audience is now extremely distraught and worried yet they can do nothing but watch – adding to the tense and dramatic atmosphere. The audience questions the characters and wonders whether the protagonists will be able to overcome this obstacle after the emotional vulnerable manner in which they have responded. However, the resolution of this obstacle is made even stronger as they later unite and overcome Don John’s maliciousness together, creating a happy ending for this comedy.
The beginning of Scene 1 in Act 4 is dramatic because of the dramatic irony used by Shakespeare in the way that the characters of Hero and Claudio constantly ask questions but ironic, because the audience already know the answer – building up their worry for hero, the questioning of whether the accused is guilty and distraught when Hero responds emotionally. This scene is used to present the dramatic obstacle needed to be overcome by the characters so they can finally unite at the end of this comical play – this scene is do dramatic, the audience can’t help but wonder if the conventional comedy will veer off into the abyss of a tragic conclusion.
Band 1 – confident understanding – carefully selected evidence – insightful, specific analysis – topic statements build on one another to create an overall sense of argument – connected meaningfully to the idea of genre and acknowledges the possible merging of the comic and tragic.