Much Ado About Nothing

by

William Shakespeare

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Much Ado About Nothing: Alliteration 1 key example

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Definition of Alliteration
Alliteration is a figure of speech in which the same sound repeats in a group of words, such as the “b” sound in: “Bob brought the box of bricks to... read full definition
Alliteration is a figure of speech in which the same sound repeats in a group of words, such as the “b” sound in: “Bob brought... read full definition
Alliteration is a figure of speech in which the same sound repeats in a group of words, such as the... read full definition
Act 3, Scene 2
Explanation and Analysis:

Alliteration is used throughout Much Ado About Nothing to contribute to the lighthearted and comedic tone of the play. 

In Act 3, Scene 2, Claudio uses a metaphor that compares Beatrice and Benedick to bears. His use of alliteration in this metaphor foreshadows their future romantic coupling. After seeing Benedick leave with Leonato to ask for Beatrice's hand in marriage, Claudio says:

Hero and Margaret have by this played their parts with Beatrice, and then the two bears will not bite one another when they meet.

Claudio compares Beatrice and Benedick to "bears" because of their previous animosity toward each other. His use of alliteration with the /b/ sound draws attention to this comparison while also subtly highlighting the fact that both Beatrice and Benedick's names start with the same letter—a sly way of hinting at their imminent romantic coupling.

Act 3, Scene 4 features another use of alliteration for comedic effect in an exchange between Beatrice and Margaret: 

BEATRICE: ’Tis almost five o’clock, cousin. ’Tis time you were ready. By my troth, I am exceeding ill. Heigh-ho!

MARGARET: For a hawk, a horse, or a husband?

BEATRICE: For the letter that begins them all, H.

In this exchange, Margaret alliterates the /h/ sound to tease Beatrice about her love for Benedick. Beatrice calls attention to this use of alliteration by punning on the letter "H," which was pronounced "ache" in Shakespeare's day. Here, alliteration is used to enhance the witty and sarcastic tone of Beatrice and Margaret's conversation, as well as to accentuate Beatrice's state of lovesickness. 

Act 3, Scene 4
Explanation and Analysis:

Alliteration is used throughout Much Ado About Nothing to contribute to the lighthearted and comedic tone of the play. 

In Act 3, Scene 2, Claudio uses a metaphor that compares Beatrice and Benedick to bears. His use of alliteration in this metaphor foreshadows their future romantic coupling. After seeing Benedick leave with Leonato to ask for Beatrice's hand in marriage, Claudio says:

Hero and Margaret have by this played their parts with Beatrice, and then the two bears will not bite one another when they meet.

Claudio compares Beatrice and Benedick to "bears" because of their previous animosity toward each other. His use of alliteration with the /b/ sound draws attention to this comparison while also subtly highlighting the fact that both Beatrice and Benedick's names start with the same letter—a sly way of hinting at their imminent romantic coupling.

Act 3, Scene 4 features another use of alliteration for comedic effect in an exchange between Beatrice and Margaret: 

BEATRICE: ’Tis almost five o’clock, cousin. ’Tis time you were ready. By my troth, I am exceeding ill. Heigh-ho!

MARGARET: For a hawk, a horse, or a husband?

BEATRICE: For the letter that begins them all, H.

In this exchange, Margaret alliterates the /h/ sound to tease Beatrice about her love for Benedick. Beatrice calls attention to this use of alliteration by punning on the letter "H," which was pronounced "ache" in Shakespeare's day. Here, alliteration is used to enhance the witty and sarcastic tone of Beatrice and Margaret's conversation, as well as to accentuate Beatrice's state of lovesickness. 

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