What Makes Much Ado About Nothing A


What Makes Much Ado About Nothing A Timeless Piece Of Literature? Essay, Research Paper

The play ?Much Ado

About Nothing? was written by William Shakespeare in the late 1600?s and over

400 years later is still a popular play with universal appeal. The play is one

of many themes including love, villainy, friendship, parent-child

relationships, society and customs. These six themes, among others which

Shakespeare explored throughout the play are all still very relevant in most

people?s lives today and many of them are frequently used as bases for story

lines on modern television and radio shows, as well as in magazines and best

selling plays and novels. ????????? In the play there

are also no dull moments to bore readers ? there is always something happening,

whether it is a new plot, an old conflict or songs and dancing. This is a key

factor in the popularity of the play. Although some would say that the double

and triple plots and storylines are too confusing, they do ensure that the

readers? or viewers? attention is always captured.One element of the

play which makes it appealing to people is the idyllic Italian town of Messina,

with large palaces, houses and beautiful cypress trees, scenery and warm

weather. At the time when Shakespeare wrote the play very few English people

would have visited Italy, but nowadays it is much easier and cheaper to do so,

so people can relate to the setting. Very few of Shakespeare?s original

audiences had visited Italy, but they could still relate to the friendly town

of Messina. Although the characters have foreign sounding names, the community

is very English sounding and the activities mentioned in the play include

eating, drinking, gambling, fighting and brothel-haunting ? all of which went

on in Elizabethan England and can still be related to today by many. The

community is also very close-knit and everybody seems to want to know what is

going on, which helps to link the many plots together. This is still a common

set-up in England, especially in more rural areas and the over-hearing and

misunderstanding of people?s conversations is a popular storyline in soaps

today such as ?Coronation Street?, which although fictional, is supposed to

represent a close-knit community of today in England.When Borachio

makes love to Margaret, she is mistaken for Hero, which was Don John?s plan,

but Borachio drunkenly confesses this to Conrade.? Borachio can?t help but boast ? ??I have earned of Don John a

thousand ducats? before telling Conrade the details of how he deceived Don

Pedro and Claudio ? ?she leans me out at her mistress? chamber window, bids me

a thousand times goodnight: I tell this tale vilely?? This kind of

villainy is also common today, and people such as Borachio seem to get caught

up in trouble, being bribed or otherwise convinced to do things that they are

unsure of. Deception, trickery and people being misled are common themes

throughout the play and are timeless elements, which are used in many

television programmes today, especially soap operas. Irony is also used

by Shakespeare in ?Much Ado About Nothing? and many successful stage shows

today. An example of both deception and dramatic irony in the play is when

Benedick recites his soliloquy about falling in love and the qualities of his

future wife, and then hides in the bushes when he sees Claudio, Don Pedro and

Leonato. The group of three know that Benedick is there; he knows that they are

there, but he doesn?t know that they know that he is there. Don Pedro begins

the deception of Benedick by saying ?Come hither Leonato, what was it you told

me of today, that your niece Beatrice was in love with Signor Benedick?? as the

group continue to talk of how much Beatrice loves Benedick. They then talk

about Benedick mocking Beatrice and Claudio says ?He would make a fine sport of

it, and torment the lady worse.? This is very effective, even today, especially

on a video or at the theatre, because the audience know the full story and none

of the characters seem to as Don Pedro is also ordering a similar trick to be

played on Beatrice by Hero and her attendant gentlewoman.???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Love is probably

the key theme in the play and is never straightforward in the relationship

between Beatrice and Benedick and also between Claudio and Hero. Love is a very

common theme in many books, plays, magazines, television programmes and in

every day conversations and there are always twists and turns in the plot to

keep the audience?s attention. Love is quite a serious theme, and so the deep

and meaningful conversations are balanced out with contrasting scenes full of

good- natured wit and repartee from the beginning of the play.These

good-natured, friendly conversations are common amongst the group of friends

who fought in the war together ? Don Pedro, Claudio and Benedick. The three men

play light heartedly with the subjects of love, marriage, allegiance, troth and

religion, which were very serious matters in Shakespeare?s time. Benedick jokes

that if he ever falls in love, they can mock him as much as they want, which is

also very ironic. He says ?If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat, and shoot

at me?? Some people are in Benedick?s situation today, for example, a young man

may have suffered rejection and tells his friends that he is no longer looking

for a girlfriend and never wants to get married, so Benedick is probably a

character who can easily be related to by some of today?s audiences. Another

one of Benedick?s situations with a modern counterpart is later in the same

conversation. Don Pedro says ?And I will fit thee with the remedy/I know we

shall have revelling tonight/I will assume thy part in some disguise.? A modern

day equivalent to this is when a man decides that he will ?pull? a girl for his

friend at a nightclub or party. Many events, such as these, could easily be

related to by the youth of today, and many modern television programmes such as

?Blind Date? are based on romance and finding a partner.Many other

television programmes and films that are popular today contain vulgar language

and bawdy humour, ? Men Behaving Badly? being an example of the latter. Bawdy

humour and sexual innuendoes are used by Shakespeare throughout the play. In

one conversation Benedick and Margaret?s remarks are full of double entendres.

Margaret says ?Give us the swords, we have bucklers of our own? and in response

Benedick says ?If you use them, Margaret, you must put in the pikes with a

vice, and they are dangerous weapons for maids.? The double meanings of both

sword and pike, in the time when the play was written, was penis and when

Benedick talks of using the vice, he is talking of gripping thighs. Such double

meanings are used in various conversations throughout the play, and even the

title can be interpreted in different ways.All pantomimes nowadays

have a ?baddy? and so does ?Much Ado About Nothing? ? Don John, Don Pedro?s

bastard brother. His role in the play was an important one, although he did not

appear in many scenes. His aim was to disrupt everyone?s happiness and it was

he who sent Borachio to make love to Margaret, in order to break up Claudio and

Hero?s relationship. The play does, however, have a happy ending, when Beatrice

and Benedick are content and so are Hero and Claudio. The very last lines of

the play are not spoken by Don John, but about him. Benedick says ?Think not on

him till tomorrow, I?ll devise thee brave punishments for him: strike up

pipers.? The dance at the end is a symbol of everyone?s happiness, as well as

Beatrice and Benedick?s kiss, although some people may think that this is a

sign that he has control of her and what she says and thinks.Overall, I think

that this Shakespeare play is timeless for a combination of reasons. Firstly,

because of the characters, which many people can relate to today. Secondly, the

themes, which are still very common in the media today and thirdly, the use of

dramatic tricks and styles, which make the play enjoyable to read and watch.

The only reason that I can think of why the play may not be enjoyed in the

future, is because of the changing English language. Many of the words and

phrases which were in common use in the 1600?s are not so common today and

therefore may put people off reading the play, although it has been adapted and

modernised by some theatre companies and has even been set on a 1930?s cruise



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