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Much Ado About Nothing


Much Ado About Nothing A Comedy By William Shakespeare Written around 1600. First printed as a play in 1623. Background Information Set in the town of Messina in ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing
  • A Comedy By William Shakespeare
  • Written around 1600.
  • First printed as a play in 1623.

Background Information
  • Set in the town of Messina in Sicily, Italy.
  • Tragicomedy or Comedy happy ending with the
    potential for ending in tragedy
  • The five acts follow two pairs of lovers and a
    strange man.
  • Claudio Hero The conventional young lovers who
    have a crisis that threatens their relationship,
    but reunite at the end.
  • Benedick Beatrice two battling, witty lovers
    who begin the play hating each other, and end up
    in a different kind of loving relationship.
  • Dogberry The bumbling policeman who, with his
    associates (the volunteer night watchmen), figure
    into the action when they catch the bad guys.

Romeo Juliet
Much Ado About Nothing
  • Impossible to define
  • Definite kinds, low to high
  • Reformation of a (ridiculous) character
  • Holiday spirit
  • Ritual element (marriage)
  • Comic diction

  • Tragedy is about the break-up of civilization.
  • Comedy is about the establishment of social
  • Both are dramatic terms of art thus tragedy is
    not the same as horrible and comedies can be
    bittersweet as well as funny.
  • Drama is not life, but ritual thus Shakespeare
    ends comedies in weddings as a sign, not a proof,
    of social stability 3 weddings in MSND 2 in
    Much Ado
  • (What happens after, who knows? Cf. the marital
    problems of Oberon and Titania but you need

What does the title mean?
  • Nothing/Noting homophones in Shakespeares day.
  • Definition
  • A great fuss (much ado) is made of something
    insignificant (nothing)
  • Unfounded claims of Heros infidelity
  • Got everything to do with spying
  • Interest in other peoples thoughts and lives,
    notes, letters, eavesdropping)
  • Noting singing (sight-reading)

Nothing/Nothing as the Ridiculous?
  • This is a play about nothing, scrutinizing for
    little signs of truth, relying on fallible eyes,
    as when Beatrice and Benedick ignore the others
    words and look for signs that the other loves
  • While B and B are examining minutia, Claudio is
    deceived by the overly obvious impersonation of
    Hero by Margaret. He is not at all interested in
    the signs of love but in marrying an heiress with
    the sought after qualities of beauty and meekness
    (neither one said to belong to Beatrice, whose
    name, rather, suggests beatitude, or cosmic
    happiness, while Benedick means blessed)

The language
  • Innuendo and bawdy language is part of the humor
    in this play.
  • Puns words that look alike but have different
  • A man to a man stuffed with all honorable
    virtues he is no less than a stuffed man.
  • Most of the language of the play is in prose.

Prose rather than verse
  • Verse spoken by the young lovers Claudio and
  • Verse expresses their lofty feelings of love
  • Verse spoken by those in authority Leonato
    (governor) and Friar Francis (priest).
  • Leonato and Friar expresses their formality of
    their roles governor and priest
  • Prose reflects the anti-romantic attitudes of the
    principal characters, their refusal to play the
    game of love
  • Benedick Ardent, poetic lover
  • Beatrice coy, flirtatious woman

Sigh no more
  • Sung just before men deceive Benedick
  • Balthasar says the song is about how men deceive
    women by wooing falsely.
  • But Don Pedro wants the music (Note, notes) and
    nothing of that meaning but rather, here, a
    set-up for the nothing noting by Benedick of
    their feigned conversation about how Beatrice
    loves him.
  • So the play harmonizes or softens male deception
    by turning it from a slander to a merry plot,
    re-enacting origins of comedy as a form.

Comedy Word play
  • Malapropism misusing words ridiculously
    confusion of words that are similar in sound.
  • Ex oderous (smelly) for odious (hateful)
  • Dogberry You are thought here to be the most
    senseless and fit man for the constable of the
  • Irony great comic irony is that with all of
    these bright people, the ones who uncover the
    villains plot are the dopey cops.

  • Sigh no more, ladies, sigh nor more
  • Men were deceivers ever
  • One foot in sea and one on shore,
  • To one thing constant never
  • Then sigh not so,
  • But let them go,
  • And be you blithe and bonny
  • Converting all your sounds of woe
  • Into. Hey nonny, nonny.
  • Sing no more ditties, sing no mo,
  • Or dumps so dull and heavy
  • The fraud of men was ever so,
  • Since summer first was leavy.
  • Then sigh not so,
  • But let them go,
  • And be you blithe and bonny,
  • Converting all your sounds of woe
  • Into. Hey, nonny, nonny.

Sigh No More (Hey Nonny, Nonny) By William
  • Road to marriage is often lined with pitfalls and
  • People often wear masks to hide their true
  • All is not what it seems
  • Love is NOT blind
  • Love IS blind
  • A womans chastity is a treasure no man should
    possess except in marriage
  • RUMOR IS BAD, mmmkay?

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