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Research: Canada
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Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare)

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Literature: Critic
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By: Yalda Mahmoudi
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Much Ado About Nothing (William Shakespeare)
Analyzing it as a comedy?


William Shakespeare in The Renaissance produced Much Ado About Nothing, a play very unified than many other comedies from a technical point of the view. The dominant focus of this play is wide. The audience of a Shakespearean comedy is not led towards an intimate knowledge of a single character, but towards a wide view of the whole play, this permits them to make comparisons and contrasts between the characters as they are being represented almost all together. There are many other elements in this play as well, such as the plot. Elements are closely interdependent, romance comedy, wit comedy; the comedy between Beatrice and Benedick is so adoptable and intuitive, and whose tragedy of Hero and Claudio is rigid. The Theme has to do with love in society: usually with love saddened by a tyrannical society and succeeding only after that society has been changed. But for the purpose of this paper, I shall mostly concentrate on why this play is so strong as a comedy even though the reader doesn’t find out what the main dilemma of the story is going to be until almost halfway through the play. It almost seems that the play is about nothing.

Much Ado About Nothing opens and closes with Beatrice and Benedick, whose style thus describes the boundary of Shakespeare’s comic circle. As the reader is introduced to the characters, he or she is getting all the right feelings about them. Beatrice seems to be a head of her time, almost not liking any men, and thinking of so highly of herself. Keeping in mind that back in those days women were not as strong minded, as she appears to be. Later, when we see Beatrice, we know that he is what we may call a “player”, who does not commit to anything or anyone, and is looking for having a good time. The first interesting thing that we hear is the “merry war” between the two; “they never met”, Leonato explains to Don Pedro’s messenger, whom Beatrice has so much bewildered, “but there is a skirmish of wit between them”. And as soon as they see one another, they start their bickering.

Beatrice: I wonder that you will still be talking, seignior Benedick. Nobody makes you.
Benedick: What, my dear Lady Disdain! Are you yet living?

This itself sets the tone for the play. The reader is kept upon his/her toes about these two characters. We know what the author is setting them up for a treat. They don’t nor expect anything to happen between them, but we got a different feeling. We settle ourselves to see whether is to be amusingly worked out.

Shakespeare’s comedies have shown beyond doubt that he avoided superficiality. In the first place, I may say that he did this by submitting the material for each play to a governing theme or idea and by selecting shaping and emphasizing every detail of his writing in accordance with the idea. So one comedy may present generous and possessive loves, another deep and shallow loves, another the privacy and precariousness of all human idealisms. But this puts the matter in a way that sounds routine and intellectual. I might prefer to say that each comedy is an image of a world with idealisms, wit, humor, tensions and resolutions. An example would have been Dogberry, and the watch, if nothing else had directed the reader how to feel, and whether to feel deeply, the overwhelming presence of these simpletons would have done so. Only a comedy could contain such harmless and irrelevant officials, such senseless and fit men for constables of a solemn watch. The mood of this play is for the most part, easy and light. Shakespeare is more concerned with happiness of events than with their sorrow, but this essential artistry ensures that they have a unifying conception as little superficial as judgments, which so obviously underlines the histories and tragedies. In short comedies are great and enduring, because they are shaped by Shakespeare’s full imagination.

There are many senses in the play that humor is used very accordingly. It’s very smart and unexpected. One good example of this is Beatrice and Benedick’s “misprision” of each other has been exploited for maximum comic effect and their witty teasing had been played with a sophisticated sparkling charm. A desire to explain their situation had led to the casting of a more mature Beatrice and Benedick. “The main pretension in Much Ado About Nothing is that Beatrice and Benedick are exquisitely witty and amusing persons. They are, of course, nothing of the sort” (Seyler / Haggard 8). Another good example is the overhearing senses were paralleled in writing but strongly contrasted in mood. Both sets of plotters drew finely controlled comedy from their impression of unprepared performances relying heavily on hints and prompt each other. When left alone Benedick crept out cautiously, holding in front of him a frond of pampas grass as an unlikely and totally inadequate piece of camouflage, rendering the reader helpless with laughter with his perfectly timed, wide eyed innocence of “this can be no trick”. When he finds himself in love with Beatrice, he tries to be romantic, because he knows that Beatrice can be in love with a man, who is a poet all the time. Benedick never is. As soon as he tries to show his love in rhyme, he can think of nothing better than “baby” to go with “lady”, “horn” with “scorn”, and “fool” with “school”. “Very ominous endings,” he concludes. “No, I was not born under a rhyming planet, not I cannot woo in festival terms.” This is the highlight of this comedy seeing two people in love against their will.

In conclusion, Much Ado About Nothing is not an intellectual play in any sense of put forward ideologies, yet it is one in which, assured of their skills in strategy. Characters use their minds, not just floating on the unexpected progression of situations but organizing the future, or thinking to organize it. Hero, it is true, is understandably at a loss in the church scene, but even she has taken lively initiatives in the tricking of Beatrice, gentle though she is, in a good cause she is spirited user of her wits. Claudio, at first different and dependent on Don Pedro, also proves happily resourceful in measuring his powers of invention against Benedick’s, and then unhappily masterful, in denouncing Hero. This play starts with dance and music and it finishes with one. It is in a way like a modern fairy tale; much like Cinderella that has a happy ending this one in the same. The comedy in it is extensive; it makes the reader interested through out the play, beckoning the reader to read ahead to find out what will happen to the lovers in the story. The beauty of the book is that this romantic comedy was based on a mixed-up in events and confused identity of characters, particularly by disguise. It moved towards tragedy in that an important person might die and mix-up might never be unravel; but, in the nick of time something happens or someone appears and saves the day. It reflects the structure of myth by moving from happiness to despair to resurrection.

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Research: Critic, Speech, Novel

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