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Foreshadowing in Much Ado About Nothing: Examples & Meaning

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In this lesson, we will examine William Shakespeare's use of foreshadowing in the play ''Much Ado About Nothing,'' the play where even the most determined bachelor finds love.

Background and Definitions

At the end of season 6 of 'The Walking Dead,' Negan has most of the major characters in a semi-circle before him as he swings his weapon just before the show ends leaving the fans to wait months for resolution. Cliffhangers like these foreshadow the beginning of the next season, ensuring that fans will tune in to find out what happens. Foreshadowing is when the author provides a hint that something is about to happen. It is most often used to build suspense and engage the reader or audience. In William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, foreshadowing is used to foresee that Benedick and Beatrice's combative relationship will end up turning into love, despite the fact that they both insist they are immune to it. It is also used to set up the moment when Don John tricks Claudio into thinking that his bride-to-be is having an affair. Let's look at some examples of foreshadowing from this play.

Benedick Will Fall in Love

While Benedick swears up and down that he will be a bachelor for life, his commanding officer, Don Pedro foreshadows something else. Don Pedro says, 'I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale with love.' Of course Don Pedro is right. Soon enough, Benedick realizes that he is madly in love with Beatrice.

Benedick also seems to foreshadow his own fate. While he is talking about Claudio in this next passage, he is also predicting what will happen to him. Benedick says, 'I do much wonder that one man, seeing how much another man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviors to love, will, after he hath laughed at such shallow follies in others, become the argument of his own scorn by falling in love--' There is no one that protests love more than Benedick. It's just a matter of time before he 'falls under the argument of his own scorn.'

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