Don John-That Bastard Essay, Research Paper
Don John-That BASTARD!
Johann Kasper Lavater once said, The jealous are possessed by a mad devil and dull spirit at the same time. In Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare, the portrayal of Don John, the bastard brother of Don Pedro, demonstrates the true meaning of jealousy. According to Webster s NewWorld Dictionary, jealousy means resentful envy. Don John exhibits envy towards Don Pedro and his property and even towards the happiness Claudio holds. Don John s jealousy leads to the deceitful acts around which the play revolves. Don John s horrendous acts deceive Claudio into believing that his fianc e, Hero, acted unfaithfully on the eve of their marriage. This act and the following events show how Don John takes pleasure in others pain, and pain in others pleasure. Shakespeare emphasizes the point that the causing of mischief comes naturally to those who have as much envy and jealousy as Don John.
First, Don John displays much envy and resent in his brother s (Don Pedro) property and authority and plans to cause misfortune as soon as possible. One can clearly see this in the conversations Don John has with his followers. Don John says, I had rather be a canker in a hedge than a rose in his grace (I, iii, 25). This demonstrates how Don John hates the fact that Don Pedro has more authority than he does. This also demonstrates that Don John despises the way Don Pedro casts a shadow over him. Don John goes on to say, If I had my mouth, I would bite; if I had my liberty, I would do my liking (I, iii, 32-34). Don John thinks himself robbed of freedom by his brother and makes up his mind to cause mishap on the village of Messina. This just emphasizes the fact that the thought of causing evil comes instinctively the wicked. Don John has it planted in his mind that at every possible chance he will cause some sort of cruelty onto those he despises.
Secondly, the automatic thought of causing pain and suffering onto others comes when he hears of the events of Claudio and Hero. Don John displays unhappiness with Claudio and plans to bring dim down. Don John waits for the perfect time and then just as a bullet from a gun; he explodes. After coming from the supper after the proposal of the marriage between Claudio and Hero, Borachio tells Don John, I came yonder for a great supper. The Prince your brother is royally entertained by Leonato, and I can give you intelligence of an intended marriage (I, iii, 40-43). Quickly Don John responds, Will it serve for any model to build mischief on? (I, iii, 44-45). This proves how quickly Don John thinks of creating havoc on Messina. The jealousy and envy of one instinctively villainous person caused all this evil. Proof of Don John s envy comes in the phrase,
Come, come, let us thither. This may prove food to my displeasure. That young start-up hath all the glory of my overthrow. If I can cross him in any way, I bless myself in every way. You are both sure, and will assist me? Let us to the great supper. Their cheer is the greater that I am subdued. Would the cook were o my mind! Shall we go proves what s to be done? (I, iii, 63-71)
Don John thrives at every opportunity to take down Claudio because Don John has much envy in the way that Claudio has the glory. Anything that can act as a catalyst for bringing out misfortune, Don John uses.
A major theme presented in this play pertains to knowledge and certainty. Don John plays heavily into this theme and the theme s introduction in the play. Knowledge and certainty refers to having new knowledge and being certain about this knowledge. When Don John slanders Claudio s wife to be, Hero, Claudio takes this false information and automatically mistakes it as the truth. Now Claudio possesses the knowledge therefore he possesses the certainty and believes that Hero acted unfaithfully (Act III, ii). This theme plays out many times in the play and Don John further complicates matters by falsely accusing Hero of unfaithfulness. With the help of his followers, Don John lies to Claudio and Don Pedro saying that Hero truly loves Borachio and makes love to him on a nightly basis. Borachio and Don John successfully trick Claudio and the Prince and this ultimately leads to the fake death of Hero. Basically, all the confusion boils down to the theme of knowledge and certainty. With the false knowledge comes false certainty. With the false certainty come false accusations. The false accusations cause the devastation of the village of Messina. This theme ultimately appears in the play because of the evil wit of an evil man.
In conclusion, one can see how a man like Don John thinks of malicious thoughts and ways in which to bring about turmoil constantly. In a mind that thinks these thoughts regularly, one can see how misfortunes can arise. Jealousy, envy, and the lack of respect for others cause these malevolent acts. Don John looses all respect for the other characters because of his own turmoil. For this, he receives harsh punishment at the play s conclusion because of the lack of respect and chaos that he showed. If Shakespeare lived today and wanted to cast the role of Don John with nowaday actors, Jeremy Irons could act the part out especially well. One might remember him from his hits, Man in the Iron Mask and Die Hard With a Vengeance. In the movie Die Hard With a Vengeance, he plays a bomb-crazy German terrorist and would likely epitomize the role of Don John. Jeremy Irons would out perform all others on the stage because he knows what it takes to have a sense of evilness and wickedness that all people know Don John had. In the Kenneth Branaugh version of, Much Ado About Nothing, Branaugh chose to use the actor Keanu Reeves as Don John. This actor played the role well, but people might not picture Keanu Reeves as an evil person. Whereas with the actor Jeremy Irons, everyone pictures the evilness Don John inherently possessed. Jeremy Irons could captivate the audience as a morose, sullen, and ill-conditioned rascal who enjoys others in agony.