Never too Late to Read Classics discussion

Much Ado About Nothing
This topic is about Much Ado About Nothing
37 views
Archive 2021 Authors > 2018 April Shakespeare Much Ado about Nothing

Comments Showing 1-27 of 27 (27 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Lesle, Appalachain Bibliophile (last edited Apr 01, 2018 05:53AM) (new)

Lesle | 5590 comments Mod
Shakespeare's suggested read from the Group Poll:

Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy by William Shakespeare thought to have been written in 1598 and 1599, as Shakespeare was approaching the middle of his career. The play was included in the First Folio, published in 1623.

In Messina, a messenger brings news that Don Pedro, a prince from Aragon, will return that night from a successful battle, Claudio being among his soldiers. Beatrice, Leonato's niece, asks the messenger about Benedick, Don Pedro's companion, and makes sarcastic remarks about his ineptitude as a soldier. Leonato explains that "There is a kind of merry war betwixt Signor Benedick and her."

This edition looks interesting:
https://www.stmarys-ca.edu/sites/defa...


Inkspill (runinkspill) a few years back I saw a bit of this play on Sky Arts, l have been meaning to read it ever since. from what I saw I think this is a comedy and I'm looking forward to reading it


message 3: by Lesle, Appalachain Bibliophile (new)

Lesle | 5590 comments Mod
Anyone else reading this one?


message 4: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - added it

Rosemarie | 8276 comments Mod
I have started reading it, after having seen the play last year, and am enjoying the interactions between Beatrice and Benedick.
Parts of the play annoy me, but the title does give a clue as to how it will end since there was Much Ado about Nothing.


Phil Jensen | 83 comments I read this last year. It was okay. I liked it as a contrast to Othello. Both plays discuss the way a woman can be destroyed by rumors.

Rosemarie wrote: the title does give a clue as to how it will end since there was Much Ado about Nothing.

Shakespeare nerds love debating this title. The word "nothing" would have been pronounced with a hard t, making it a pun on the word "noting," as in "much ado about people noting things about each other."

Also, "nothing" was slang for "vagina," and there is indeed much ado about sex in the play.


message 6: by Lesle, Appalachain Bibliophile (new)

Lesle | 5590 comments Mod
Interesting Phil, totally a different thought process for sure.


message 7: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - added it

Rosemarie | 8276 comments Mod
I am now reading act 4 and remember why this play made me angry when I was watching it. Hero's father and Claudio,her betrothed, are quick to judge her and treat her horribly, who is a complete innocent.


message 8: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - added it

Rosemarie | 8276 comments Mod
Now that I have finished the play, I can think clearer about just how gullible some of the characters were, as Phil posted earlier. It made for some dramatic scenes and set up an unusual ending.
However, I really liked the two characters, Beatrice and Benedick, who are delightfully witty and cantankerous at times, as well as being the most intelligent characters in the play.

The scenes with Dogberry would be great on Audible, because he really mangles the English language in a unique way.

Happy reading everyone. This play has a little bit of everything, including poetry and a masqued ball.


Inkspill (runinkspill) Read the first act, I like the banter and how it sets up the players and the conflict.

Phil’s post was useful. From what I’ve read so far, it hints that a woman's chastity is man’s badge of honor. I’m wondering if today's audiences, compared to the ones in Shakespeare's own time, find this as edge of the seat stuff ???

Still reading this play, so for now I'm split between a yes and a no, and see Benedick is drawn differently from the other men.


message 10: by Phil (new) - rated it 3 stars

Phil Jensen | 83 comments Inkspill wrote: "I’m wondering if today's audiences, compared to the ones in Shakespeare's own time, find this as edge of the seat stuff ???"

I read this shortly after the Zoe Quinn/Gamergate controversy a few years ago, so it seemed very relevant to me. Here's a link for anyone who doesn't remember it:

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/events/...


message 11: by Phil (new) - rated it 3 stars

Phil Jensen | 83 comments Rosemarie wrote: "However, I really liked the two characters, Beatrice and Benedick, who are delightfully witty and cantankerous at times, as well as being the most intelligent characters in the play."

Benedick and Beatrice have been the audience favorites for centuries. They frequently received top billing over Hero and Claudio, even when the play was new.


Inkspill (runinkspill) Phil wrote: "Inkspill wrote: "I’m wondering if today's audiences, compared to the ones in Shakespeare's own time, find this as edge of the seat stuff ???"

I read this shortly after the Zoe Quinn/Gamergate cont..."


Interesting article, and yep theme of infidelity will always be current.

So far, my understanding of this play is this is more about cuckoldry than infidelity – I think, and could be wrong about this, the former (an outdated concept in western cultures) is not just about the man being cheated on, it's more about another man seducing his wife and, in the process, humiliating that man/husband, his name and his status (or standing in that society). From various plays I’ve read I get the sense men who are cuckolded are mocked by society.

From memory in Act 2 – Borachio comes up with the plot to suggest Hero is having an affair – but, from how I am reading it, I think it’s not just to hurt Claudio, but also her father and embarrass Don Pedro. I don’t fully understand the last bit – but maybe it will become apparent as I keep reading ... ummm, well, I'm hoping.


message 13: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - added it

Rosemarie | 8276 comments Mod
Phil, I can understand why the two B's receive top billing. They get all the good lines, whereas Hero is a generally passive victim and Claudio isn't a very sympathetic character overall.


message 14: by Phil (new) - rated it 3 stars

Phil Jensen | 83 comments Inkspill wrote: "from how I am reading it, I think it’s not just to hurt Claudio, but also her father and embarrass Don Pedro.."

You nailed it. If Claudio marries a "dishonest" woman, it will bring shame on both their parents and anyone who sponsored the marriage.


Inkspill (runinkspill) Phil wrote: "If Claudio marries a "dishonest" woman, it will bring shame on both their parents and anyone who sponsored the marriage.."

Oh, that explains why it would be embarrassing for Don Pedro.

The scenes between Benedick and Beatrice are dynamite 😊

I’ve read the first 3 acts and have a sense of the comedy (partly through all the eavesdropping) but I’m distracted by the social dynamics, though Phil explains it I’m struggling to grasp it as a conflict that drives this play. Maybe it’s just me.


message 16: by Phil (new) - rated it 3 stars

Phil Jensen | 83 comments Inkspill wrote: "PI’ve read the first 3 acts and have a sense of the comedy (partly through all the eavesdropping) but I’m distracted by the social dynamics, though Phil explains it I’m struggling to grasp it as a conflict that drives this play. Maybe it’s just me. "

I checked my review, and it looks like I aso felt a lack of urgency in Acts I-III. Here's my review:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

I am more enthusiastic about some of Shakespeare's other comedies, such as A Midsummer Night's Dream and As You Like It.


message 17: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - added it

Rosemarie | 8276 comments Mod
I recently read Twelfth Night and enjoyed it more than Much Ado About Nothing.


Inkspill (runinkspill) Phil wrote: "I aso felt a lack of urgency in Acts I-III. .."

I'm still wondering if today this play is harder for us to grasp? I don't think it's a bad play - and yeah, Shakespeare has used some ideas in his other plays, you mention Othello ... but there's another one (dark and tragic) where the man becomes incensed when he thinks his wife has been unfaithful. The name of this play escapes me right now.

Rosemarie wrote: "I recently read Twelfth Night and enjoyed it more than Much Ado About Nothing."

I also found Twelfth Night easier to - I was going say read - but maybe connect is a better word ??


I was puzzled how funny I found the extract I saw on Sky Art of Globe's 'Much Ado About Nothing', when reading it was a completely different experience. So, I watched it - and yes, from beginning to end, this is a very, very funny play to watch, and reading it definitely richen my viewing experience.

Maybe, some plays are just better to watch then read ??


message 19: by Catherine (last edited Apr 13, 2018 09:13AM) (new)

Catherine Habbie Is it Othello?


Inkspill (runinkspill) it was really bugging me, no not Othello Catherine but thanks for suggestion.

Winter's Tale - I think I've been over dosing on Shakespeare, when I writing my previous post I was mixing this story with the plot of Titus A. Seriously, how is that possible?

ewwww, I think I need a break


Lesserknowngems | 6 comments Honestly, I think Claudio gets the shaft in some of the readings. He is an idiot, but the play does state that he (though probably drunk) saw "Hero" confess her infidelity. I think people react so hard to what Claudio does because of the slut-shaming. He should have just told Don Pedro the wedding was off, and leave it at that. He hubris wasn't that he thought she was unfaithful, but how he dealt with the idea that she was unfaithful. That is a huge topic even today (just think of revenge porn). But, then again Claudio and Hero are based on the lovers commeda dell arte characters, which makes them dull as dirt and therefore uninteresting to follow. -.-


message 22: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - added it

Rosemarie | 8276 comments Mod
That was my problem with Claudio-he didn't give Hero a chance to explain her side of things and then treated her so badly at the altar. He could have been much more discreet, to put it mildly.


Inkspill (runinkspill) yeah, I was thinking as I was reading it that Claudio (and Hero), compared to the two Bs, is one-dimensional.

lesserknowngems, that's a good point about how Claudio handles it, maybe (just guessing here) we read this play with our ideas of sensitivity rather than how it was done back then ???


message 24: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - added it

Rosemarie | 8276 comments Mod
I like your point about sensitivity, but in Claudio's case he was acting cruelly, as we can see by the reactions of the other characters who did not know that he was going to do that during the wedding ceremony. He could have done it before the actual ceremony.


Tracey (traceyrb) | 728 comments I am playing catch up here and will be reading this later this month. I also have ordered the DVD of it starring Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh.


Inkspill (runinkspill) Branagh & Thompson, along with https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Much_... are 2 versions I'm hoping to see sometime

as I understand it, both have a very different interpretation of the text, the first has more emphasis on comedy and the second is a darker brooding version (it sounds like a Joss Whedon style with a twist)

so yeah, hoping to see both sometime ☺


message 27: by Audrey (new)

Audrey (niceyackerman) | 70 comments I’ve seen them both – very interesting to compare.


back to top