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Much Ado About Nothing
How is Dogberry the fool or jester of the play? What is the significance of Dogberry's discovery
about the plot against Hero? Do you think that Dogberry's ignorance is actually knowledge about
life? Support your answers with details from text.
"Marry, sir, they have committed false report; moreover, they have spoken untruths;
secondarily, they are slanders; sixth and lastly, they have belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified
unjust things; and, to conclude, they are lying knaves (5.1.225-233)." I don't think anyone could read
these lines without a smile. Not only Dogberry can't count, but he repeats the same accusation,
without realizing that it's all one crime. Dogberry's stupidness brings him a role of a jester in the
play, providing comic relief in the event of Hero's tragedy.
Dogberry has a great significance in the play. Although, Dogberry's presence is a lampoon
of authority, by uncovering the plot, he proves that even people like him can be somewhat of
importance, because their simple foolishness and "dumbness" can catch very important points. "What
your wisdoms could not discover, these shallow fools have brought to light...(5.1.242-244)." If
Dogberry has not had the control, Hero, most likely, would still carry the false accusations.
I think that Dogberry could be the real hero of the play because out of his ignorant, pompous
and stupid character comes an individual with the ability to discover the truth of deception of Claudio
and Hero. "Dost thou not suspect my place? Dost thou not suspect my years? O, that he were here
to write me down an ass! But masters, remember that I am an ass, though it be not written down,
yet forget not that I am an ass.--No, thou villain, thou are full of piety, as shall be proved upon thee
by good witness. I am a wise fellow and, which is more, an officer and, which is more, a householder
and, which is more, as pretty a piece of flesh as any is in Messina, and one that knows the law, go to,
and a rich fellow enough, go to, and a fellow that hath had losses, and one that hath two gowns and
everything handsome about him.--Bring him away.--O, that I had been writ down an ass!(4.2.76-89)"
We laugh at Dogberry because he is primitive and self-important - yet he commands the respect of
his underlings and knows when to defer to those above him. The watch listen to his order to pay
attention at the activity around Leonato's house, and consequently catch the villains. For Dogberry's
respect of those higher of him, he gets thanked and rewarded. ("I thank thee of thy care and honest
pains.(5.1.329)") Dogberry proves that we should listen to people like him, and, perhaps, sometimes
try to be people of lower class. We should try to see things from the "lower-class-point-of-view, we
can actually get rewarded, by others for seeing importance and rewarded with knowledge.
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