Archive for the Much Ado About Nothing Category

Incoherent Notes on Much Ado About Nothing

Posted in Much Ado About Nothing, Uncategorized with tags on May 6, 2009 by Saera

Much Ado About Nothing seems preoccupied with inconstancy or deceit. Disdain is suddenly transformed into love, men and women’s marital unfaithfulness is often mentioned, and masks (which may be taken on or off suddenly) or disguises are also involved in the play’s plot.

Benedick, the ever changing, is convinced to love Beatrice once he learns of her  supposed love for him. And Beatrice, the constant, is convinced to love Benedick once she learns of his supposed love for her.  Both of them discontinue in their long-held war, and instead become fast friends (with a few squabbles here and there). Deceit is used by their friends to get both of them to like each other.

Balthasar’s song, especially the line “Men were deceivers ever,” speaks of this  prominent theme. The villain, Don John, also uses false appearances to hide his deceit and fickle attachment to his brother.

And at the play’s end, who should be taking off a mask, but Beatrice. This mask could be symbolic of the way that both she and Benedick had been fooled about the other, they were both wearing masks which hid their true character, in a sense, from each other.

And Leonarto draws attention to the fact that men are often inconstant in that they give advice, but rarely follow it. In his speech to Antonio, he states “‘Tis all men’s office to speak patience/ To those that wring under the load of sorrow,/But no man’s virtue nor sufficiency/ To be so moral when he shall endure/ The like himself.”

And Benedick, at the play’s end, summarizes: “For man is a giddy thing, and this is my conclusion.”

Quotes from Much Ado About Nothing

Posted in Much Ado About Nothing with tags , on May 6, 2009 by Saera

There are several noteworty quotes from this play. Because some of them need to be heard in context to be appreciated, I have included passages I especially liked.

BENEDICK…all women shall pardon me. Because I will not do them the wrong to mistrust any, I will do myself the right to trust none. And the fine is – for the which I may go the finer – I will live a bachelor.

BEATRICE: Not till God make men of some other mettle than earth. Would it not griee a woman to be overmastered with a piece of valiant dust? – to make an account of her life to a clod of wayward marl? No, uncle, I’ll none. Adam;s sons are my brethren, and truly I hold it a sin to match in my kindred.


Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no 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 lithe and bonny,/ Converting all your sounds of woe/ Into hey nonny, nonny.

Sing no more ditties, sing no more./ of dumps so dull and heavy./ The fraud of men was ever so/Since dummer first was leafy./ Then sigh not so, but let them go,/ And be you blithe and bonny,/Converting all your sounds of woe/ Into hey nonny, nonny.

BEATRICE: I love you with so much of my heart that non is left to protest.

LEONATO: No, no, ’tis all men’s office to speak patience/ To those that wring under the load of sorrow,/ But no man’s virtue nor sufficiency/To be so moral when he shall endure/ The like himself.


BENEDICK: And I pray thee now tell me, for which of my bad parts didst thou first fall in love with me?

BEATRICE: For them all rogether, which maintain so politic a state of evil that they will not admit any good part to intermingle with them. But for which of my good parts did you first suffer love for me?


BENEDICK: Thou and I are too wise to woo peacably.


BENEDICK: Here’s our own hands against our hearts. Come. I will have thee, but by this light, I take thee for pity.

BEATRICE: I would not deny you, but by this good day, I yield upon great persuasion, and partly to save your life, for I was told you were in a consupmtion.


BENEDICK: For man is a giddy thing, and this is my conclusion.




Much Ado About Nothing

Posted in Much Ado About Nothing with tags , , , on May 6, 2009 by Saera

I love this play!

It was the second play I ever read by Shakespeare, and I distinctly remember being surprised at its extremely sharp wit, expressly referred to as “skirmishes of wit” in the play. From the first dialogue between Beatrice and Benedick, I knew that I was in for some fun.

Now, I have not read the play in over two years, almost three. (But it is on my summer reading list.)

This was a play of “firsts” for me: the first time I encountered one of Shakespeare’s many strong women characters, the first time I experienced the biting sarcasm that I have grown to love, the first time I remember reading something I recognized as a famous Shakespeare quote.

About a year later, I watched the movie starring Emma Thompson and Denzel Washington. Although it was entertaining, I did not at all care to the portrayal of Benedick. I had pictured him as much different, but I cannot explain exactly how.

Anyway, I enjoyed my reading of the play better than the film version.

But I often wonder what exactly I think of when I think of characters. I always picture them in my mind when I am reading a book (or play), but it is an indefinite picture, blurry as in a dream. But for all that fogginess, I am always able to distinguish a film version’s portrayal of a character as being definitely wrong according to my definition of that character. I do not exactly know why this is, but it is one reason I prefer reading to viewing.

Some characters are admittedly more difficult to picture than others, but generally, it is not a problem for me to get caught up in the world of the characters, and so see them as living individuals.

Maybe that is what I so much enjoy about Much Ado About Nothing – its incredibly clear, incredibly alive characters. Their speech so completely distinguishes them, that one cannot help but feel that he or she has actually heard them deliever their speeches in person. Although Benedick’s actual physical appearance may be somewhat foggy, I can distinctly picture his attitude and mind with the words he speaks. For example, here is the first exchange between the two B’s in the play:

BEATRICE: I wonder that you will still be talking, Signor Benedick. Nobody marks you.

BENEDICK: What, my dear Lady Disdain! Are you yet living?

BEATRICE: Is it possible disdain should die while she hath such meet food to feed it as Signor Benedick? Courtesy itself must convert to disdain if you come in her presence.

BENEDICK: Then is courtesy a turncoat. But it is certain I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted. And I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart, for truly I love none.

Yes, these are clear characters, which one feels rather than sees. I can hear them speaking as I read, tell by the words they say how they say those words. This is not always the case with Shakespeare, so I will enjoy it when I can!