In this section:
- Shakespeare’s Language
- Shakespeare’s Sentences
- Shakespeare’s Words
- Shakespeare’s Wordplay
- Shakespeare’s Dramatic Verse
- Implied Stage Action
Shakespeare’s language can create a strong pang of intimidation, even fear, in a large number of modern-day readers. Fortunately, however, this need not be the case. All that is needed to master the art of reading Shakespeare is to practice the techniques of unraveling uncommonly-structured sentences and to become familiar with the poetic use of uncommon words. We must realize that during the 400-year span between Shakespeare’s time and our own, both the way we live and speak has changed. Although most of his vocabulary is in use today, some of it is obsolete, and what may be most confusing is that some of his words are used today, but with slightly different or totally different meanings. On the stage, actors readily dissolve these language stumbling blocks. They study Shakespeare’s dialogue and express it dramatically in word and in action so that its meaning is graphically enacted. If the reader studies Shakespeare’s lines as an actor does, looking up and...
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The Commedie of much A doo about nothing a booke was entered in the Stationer's Register, the official record book of the London Company of Stationers (booksellers and printers), on August 4, 1600 as a play of My lord chamberlens men (Shakespeare's acting company) and stayed (not published) without further permission, to prevent unauthorized publication of this very popular play. This quarto text, generally regarded as having been set from Shakespeare's own manuscript, was the copy used for the First Folio of 1623, which is lightly annotated, with minimal and mostly typographic emendation. Since Will Kempe, the great comic actor who played Dogberry, left the Chamberlain's Men in 1599, it is generally agreed that Shakespeare completed this play no later than 1598-1599. Although scholars have attempted to trace the play's roots to Ariosto's tragedy, Orlando Furioso, to Bandello's twenty-second story from the Novelle, or to Spenser's poetic work, The Fairie Queen, in truth, no play ever existed quite like this one, with its interwoven plots, the wit and verve of Benedick and Beatrice, and the highly inventive comic element of Dogberry and his watch, which gives the Claudio-Hero plot most of its vitality. Much Ado About Nothing is a subtler version of Taming of the Shrew, transposed from farce to high comedy, and it is the scaffolding upon which Othello is built.
Well known and often presented to packed houses before its publication, Much Ado...
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Places Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Places)
Leonato’s house. Home of Leonato, the governor of Messina on the island of Sicily, which during the thirteenth century in which the play is set was an important European cultural center. The governor would have had rooms enough in his house lavishly to entertain and host nobles from the artistic and intellectual Italian cities of Florence and Padua, as well as the one of the most powerful independent kingdoms in medieval Spain, Aragon. Although most of the governor’s guests are Italians, they are regarded as foreigners in Messina, and as such, are easily duped.
The grounds around the house contain an elaborate orchard described in act 1, scene 2, as having a “thick-pleached alley” or an arched walkway lined with trees whose boughs are interwoven. The thickness of the boughs would hide anyone who wanted to overhear a conversation; in this way, Shakespeare could present secrecy and comedic intrigue.
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Act I, Scene 1 Questions and Answers
1. Who was victorious in the battle that preceded the opening of the play?
2. What is the relationship between Don Pedro, Claudio, and Benedick?
3. Why is the speech of Leonato, Don Pedro, and Claudio so rigid? What does their style tell us about their characters?
4. How does Beatrice cover up her concern for Benedick?
5. What simile does Beatrice use to describe Benedick's faith?
6. During their wordspar, what accusations do Benedick and Beatrice hurl on each other?
7. What is the greatest fear of Claudio and Benedick?
8. Have the characters met before?
9. What about Hero is of major concern to Claudio?
10. Which character reveals his misogyny? Is this misogyny real?
1. Prince Don Pedro of Aragon won the battle.
2. Both Claudio and Benedick fought bravely for the prince.
3. The speech of Leonato, Don Pedro, and Claudio shows their adherence to courtly manners and rituals. Their style betrays an addiction to convention.
4. Beatrice covers her concern for Benedick through her witty downgrading of him.
5. Beatrice states that Benedick wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat.
6. Benedict accuses Beatrice of being disdainful and Beatrice accuses Benedict of being a pernicious lover.
7. Both Claudio and...
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Act I, Scene 2 Questions and Answers
1. Who overheard the conversation between Claudio and Don Pedro, and where did he hear it?
2. Why does Antonio tell his brother about this conversation?
3. What is the misinformation conveyed in this scene?
4. How quickly does news travel in Messina and in what manner?
5. How did this misinformation probably come about?
6. How is "nothing" used as a pun in the title of this play?
7. Is there any other word used in the title of the play which might also be a pun?
8. What does the action of the scene tell us about hearsay?
9. Leonato prefers to treat the information he received in this scene as a dream. Why?
10. Who will tell Hero the news?
1. Antonio's servant overheard the information in the orchard.
2. Antonio tells Leonato about this conversation in order to prepare him for the situation and give him some time to prepare his answer.
3. The misinformation conveyed in this scene is that the prince is in love with Hero and will ask her hand in marriage for himself.
4. News travels very quickly in Messina and is spread by word-of-mouth.
5. The misinformation of the servant is most likely due to the fact that he heard only part of Don Pedro's and Claudio's conversation.
6. Nothing was pronounced like noting during...
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Act I, Scene 3 Questions and Answers
1. How is Don John related to Don Pedro?
2. What is Don John's mood in this scene?
3. Under what planet is Conrade born?
4. What kind of advice does Conrade give Don John?
5. How does Don John respond to Conrade's advice?
6. What information does Borachio bring to Don John?
7. What effect does this information have on Don John?
8. Why are Conrade and Borachio willing to assist Don John?
9. Where does Don John go at the end of the scene?
10. How does Shakespeare use repetition and contrast in this scene?
1. Don John is Don Pedro's illegitimate brother.
2. Don John's mood is foul, based on his willfulness and impatience.
3. Conrade is born under the planet Saturn.
4. Conrade, hoping to appeal to Don John's ambitions, advises him to stay within the prince's good graces until he is able to devise a solid plan to undo his brother and his court.
5. Don John tells Conrade he has no intention of following anyone's will, even for the sake of flatters other than his own.
6. Borachio informs Don John that the prince is being entertained at supper at Leonato's, where he will woo Hero for Claudio.
7. Don John, envious of Claudio because he bested him in battle, decides to cross him.
8. Conrade and Borachio...
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Act II, Scene 1 Questions and Answers
1. To what dances does Beatrice compare wooing, wedding and repenting?
2. Whom does Ursula dance with and how does she recognize him?
3. What statement of Benedick preceded Beatrice's put-down of him during the dance?
4. Whom does Don John purposefully mistake for Benedick?
5. Which characters have soliloquies in this act?
6. Would Benedick marry Beatrice if she were "endowed with all that Adam had left him before he transgressed"?
7. Was Don Pedro able to win Hero for Claudio?
8. When will Claudio and Hero's wedding take place?
9. Whom does Don Pedro think would be an excellent wife for Benedick?
10. Leonato predicts that Benedick and Beatrice, after one week of marriage, will be in what condition?
1. Beatrice compares wooing to a Scotch jig, wedding to a measure, and repenting to a cinquepace.
2. Ursula is dancing with Antonio, Leonato's brother. She recognizes him by the waggling of his head and the dryness of his hand.
3. Benedick told Beatrice that someone had told him that she
was disdainful and had her wit out of the Hundred Merry Tales.
4. Don John purposefully mistakes Claudio for Benedick.
5. Claudio and Benedick have soliloquies in this act.
6. No, Benedick would not marry Beatrice, even if she were...
(The entire section is 258 words.)
Act II, Scene 2 Questions and Answers
1. What is the first thing that Borachio tells Don John?
2. Who is the architect of the plan to slander Hero?
3. What does Don John state would be medicinable to him?
4. What did Borachio tell Don John a year ago?
5. What role has been assigned to Don John in this plan?
6. Who will be mistaken for Hero?
7. What role will Borachio play?
8. What effect do the plotters expect to have on the prince, Claudio, Hero, and Leonato?
9. How is the only way the plan will succeed?
10. How much will Don John pay Borachio for his deceit?
1. The first thing Borachio tells Don John is that he can cross the marriage between Claudio and Hero.
2. Borachio is the architect of the plan to slander Hero.
3. Don John states that any cross, any impediment to the marriage of Claudio would be medicinable to him.
4. Borachio told Don John that he is in the favor of Margaret, Hero's waiting- gentlewoman.
5. Don John's role is to first plant the slander in Don Pedro's mind and then to offer him proof.
6. Margaret will be mistaken for Hero.
7. Borachio will play the role of Hero's lover.
8. The plotters intend to misuse the prince, to vex Claudio, to undo Hero, and to kill Leonato.
9. The plan will only succeed if Don...
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Act II, Scene 3 Questions and Answers
1. What is orthography? Who has turned orthography?
2. What graces does Benedick seek in a woman?
3. To what does Benedick liken Balthasar's singing?
4. When does Shakespeare reference the title of the play?
5. Why does Benedick dismiss the thought that he is being gulled?
6. From whom do the plotters claim to have received their information?
7. Who fears that Beatrice will die and why?
8. How in love with Beatrice does Benedick declare he will be?
9. Did Beatrice call Benedick into dinner on her own initiative?
10. At the end of the scene, what does Benedick spy in Beatrice?
1. Webster defines orthography as the art of writing words with the proper letters according to standard usage. Claudio has turned orthography.
2. Benedick expects a woman to be rich, wise, virtuous, mild, noble, of good discourse, and an excellent musician.
3. Benedick likens Balthasar's singing to a dog howling.
4. Shakespeare references the title of the play before gulling Benedick.
5. Benedick dismisses the thought that he is being gulled because he does not believe that an elder such as Leonato would be in on such a plot.
6. The plotters claim to have received their information from Hero.
7. Hero fears that Beatrice will die because...
(The entire section is 244 words.)
Act III, Scene 1 Questions and Answers
1. On whom do Hero and Ursula play the gull?
2. Where is Beatrice during this scene?
3. Who told Hero that Benedick was in love with Beatrice?
4. What character defects does Hero ascribe to Beatrice?
5. How would Beatrice treat a fair-faced man?
6. Why does Hero say it is useless to mention these defects of character to Beatrice?
7. What counsel does Hero intend to give to Benedick?
8. Which scene in the play does this one parallel?
9. How does Cupid kill?
10. Which faults does Beatrice willingly give up in her soliloquy?
1. Hero and Ursula play the gull on Beatrice.
2. Beatrice is hidden in the honeysuckle arbor.
3. Don Pedro and Claudio told Hero that Benedick was in love with Beatrice.
4. Hero states that Beatrice is disdainful, scornful, and full of intellectual pride.
5. Beatrice would swear that the gentleman be her sister.
6. Hero says that it is useless to mention these defects of character to Beatrice because Beatrice would respond with mockery.
7. Hero intends to counsel Benedick to fight against his passions.
8. This scene parallels the preceding scene, in which Benedick was similarly gulled.
9. Cupid kills some with arrows, some with traps.
10. Beatrice willingly...
(The entire section is 199 words.)
Act III, Scene 2 Questions and Answers
1. When does this scene take place?
2. What is Benedick's observation about grief?
3. Has anyone seen Benedick at the barber's?
4. What does Claudio say about Benedick's jesting spirit?
5. What malady does Benedick claim to have?
6. Who shall be buried with her face upwards?
7. Who invites Leonato to walk aside with him?
8. Why does Don John include Claudio in his conversation?
9. What does Don John tell Don Pedro and Claudio?
10. What invitation does Don John extend to Don Pedro and Claudio?
1. This scene takes place the night before the wedding.
2. Benedick observes that everyone can master a grief but he that has it.
3. No. But the barber's man has been seen with Benedick.
4. Claudio says that Benedick's jesting spirit is now crept into a lute string and now governed by stops.
5. Benedick claims to suffer from a toothache.
6. Beatrice will be buried with her face upwards.
7. Benedick invites Leonato to walk aside with him.
8. Don John includes Claudio in his conversation because the matter he speaks of concerns him.
9. Don John tells Don Pedro and Claudio that Hero is disloyal.
10. Don John invites Don Pedro and Claudio to witness Hero's disloyalty with their own eyes and...
(The entire section is 198 words.)
Act III, Scene 3 Questions and Answers
1. Who gives the charge to the watch?
2. How does Dogberry instruct: the watch to handle a thief?
3. What is the meaning of the phrase, "my elbow itched"?
4. In what manner does Borachio utter all to Conrade?
5. What does Borachio call a thief?
6. From where did Don John, Don Pedro, and Claudio witness Borachio wooing Margaret in Hero's name?
7. Who believed the staged deceit?
8. What did Claudio swear to do and why?
9. Who charges Borachio and Conrade?
10. How does the watch describe Borachio and Conrade?
1. Dogberry gives the charge to the watch.
2. Dogberry instructs the watch to, if they take a thief, let him show himself what he is and steal away out of your company.
3. "My elbow itched" is a proverbial warning against questionable companions.
4. Borachio, like a true drunkard, utters all to Conrade.
5. Borachio calls fashion a thief.
6. Don John, Don Pedro, and Claudio were in the orchard when they witnessed Borachio woo Margaret in Hero's name.
7. Don Pedro and Claudio believed the staged deceit.
8. Claudio, enraged, swore to disgrace Hero before the congregation the next morning at their wedding ceremony.
9. Seacoal charges Borachio and Conrade.
10. The watch...
(The entire section is 210 words.)
Act III, Scene 4 Questions and Answers
1. Who does Hero send to wake up Beatrice?
2. What piece of clothing does Margaret try to talk Hero out of wearing?
3. Who does Hero call a fool?
4. Who is not feeling well?
5. Approximately what time is it?
6. What are Beatrice's symptoms?
7. Who attempts to wordspar with Beatrice in this scene?
8. What remedy does Margaret suggest for Beatrice's malady?
9. What is another name for benedictus?
10. What announcement does Ursula bring at the end of the scene?
1. Hero sends Ursula to wake up Beatrice.
2. Margaret tries to talk Hero out of wearing a specific rebato.
3. Hero calls both Margaret and her cousin, Beatrice, fools.
4. Beatrice is not feeling well.
5. It is approximately five o'clock.
6. Beatrice's symptoms are that she is stuffed and cannot smell.
7. Margaret attempts to wordspar with Beatrice in this scene.
8. Margaret suggests carduus benedictus as a remedy, lain on the heart.
9. Holy thistle is another name for benedictus.
10. Ursula announces that the wedding party has arrived to escort Hero to church.
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Act III, Scene 5 Questions and Answers
1. Where does this scene take place?
2. Who visits Leonato in this scene?
3. Why doesn't Leonato listen to them carefully? 4.When Dogberry describes Verges' wits as not so blunt, what did he really mean?
5.What is Dogberry's response when Leonato tells him he is tedious?
6. What is Leonato's response when he finally understands that they have apprehended two people?
7. What hospitality does Leonato offer Dogberry and Verges before he leaves?
8. What message is brought to Leonato?
9. What direction does Dogberry give to Verges?
10. Why does Dogberry want a learned writer?
1. This scene takes place in the hail of Leonato's house.
2. Constable Dogberry and Headborough Verges visit Leonato.
3. Leonato doesn't listen to them carefully because he is distracted with the wedding, and in a hurry to get there.
4. Dogberry meant that Verges' wits were not so sharp.
5. Dogberry, upon being told that he is tedious, returns the compliment.
6. Leonato tells them to take the examination and to bring it to him.
7. Leonato offers wine to Dogberry and Verges.
8. The messenger tells Leonato that the wedding party is waiting for him to give his daughter in marriage.
9. Dogberry directs Verges to go to Francis Seacoal...
(The entire section is 217 words.)
Act IV Scene 1 Questions and Answers
1. How does Claudio reject Hero?
2. What does Don Pedro call Hero?
3. What fate does Leonato wish upon his daughter, Hero, after she swoons away? And what extreme measure is he willing to take to bring it about?
4. Did Beatrice sleep with Hero the night before?
5. Who declares his belief that Hero is innocent?
6. Whom does Benedick intuit as the author of the slander?
7. What does Friar Francis direct Leonato to do?
8. For whom does Beatrice weep?
9. Who confess their love for each other?
10. Who will Benedick challenge?
1. Claudio rejects Hero contemptuously as a wanton.
2. Don Pedro calls Hero a common stale.
3. Leonato wishes his daughter dead and he is willing to kill her himself.
4. No, Beatrice did not sleep with Hero the night before.
5. Friar Francis declares his belief that Hero is innocent.
6. Benedick intuits Don John as the author of the slander.
7. Friar Francis directs Leonato to hide Hero away, to announce that she died upon being accused, and to hold public mourning for her.
8. Beatrice weeps for her cousin, Hero.
9. Beatrice and Benedict confess their love for each other.
10. Benedick will challenge his friend, Claudio.
(The entire section is 190 words.)
Act IV, Scene 2 Questions and Answers
1. Who is provided with a stool and a cushion?
2. Is Dogberry's examination of the prisoners direct and to the point?
3. Who moves the examination along and keeps it on point?
4. What does Dogberry whisper into Borachio's ear?
5. What is the testimony of the watch?
6. What is Dogberry's response upon hearing the watch testify that Count Claudio intended to accuse and refuse Hero?
7. Who confirms the testimony of the watch?
8. Who leaves to show Leonato the examination?
9. Does the news of Hero's death upon wrongful accusation have any effect on Conrade?
10. What does Dogberry want everyone to remember?
1. The sexton is provided with a stool and a cushion.
2. No. Dogberry's examination is extremely tangential and practically pointless.
3. The sexton moves the examination along and keeps it on point.
4. Dogberry whispers into Borachio's ear that "it is thought that you are false knaves."
5. The watch testifies that they heard Borachio call Don John a villain, who paid him a thousand ducats for slandering Hero and state that Count Claudio would disgrace and refuse Hero.
6. Upon hearing of Count Claudio's intention to accuse and refuse Hero, Dogberry tells Borachio that he will "be condemned into everlasting redemption for...
(The entire section is 253 words.)
Act V, Scene 1 Questions and Answers
1. What kind of philosopher does Leonato say never existed?
2. Which characters challenge Claudio?
3. What is Benedick's reply when asked by Claudio if he will use his wit?
4. What does Benedick tell Claudio and Don Pedro about Don John?
5. What does Borachio tell Don Pedro about the watch?
6. Does Leonato accept Borachio's claim to be solely responsible for Hero's death?
7. Does Borachio name Margaret as a co-conspirator in the slander of Hero?
8. What penance does Leonato give to Claudio and Don Pedro?
9. What does Dogberry want Leonato to remember when punishing Conrade?
10. Whom will Leonato talk with and why?
1. Leonato says," [t]here was never yet a philosopher that could endure the toothache patiently."
2. Claudio is challenged by Leonato, by Antonio, and by Benedick.
3. Benedick replies, "It is in my scabbard. Shall I draw it?"
4. Benedick tells Claudio and Don Pedro that Don John has fled Messina.
5. Borachio tells Don Pedro "[w]hat your wisdoms could not discover, these shallow fools have brought to light."
6. No. Leonato tells Borachio that Don Pedro, Claudio, and Don John had a hand in it.
7. No. Borachio declares Margaret innocent of any conspiracy in the slander of Hero.
(The entire section is 261 words.)
Act V, Scene 2 Questions and Answers
1. Who does Benedick meet at the opening of the scene?
2. Was Benedict born under a rhyming planet?
3. Does Beatrice come when she is called by Benedick?
4. What news did Beatrice want to find out?
5. What does Benedick tell Beatrice about Claudio?
6. For which of Benedick's bad parts did Beatrice first fall in love with him?
7. Why does Benedick suffer love for Beatrice?
8. Why can't Benedick and Beatrice woo peaceably?
9. Who is Don Worm?
10. What news does Ursula bring?
1. Benedick meets Margaret at the opening of the scene.
2. Benedick was not born under a rhyming planet.
3. Beatrice comes when she is called by Benedick.
4. Beatrice wanted to find out if Benedick challenged Claudio.
5. Benedick tells Beatrice that Claudio undergoes his challenge.
6. Beatrice first fell in love with Benedick for all of his bad parts.
7. Benedick suffers love for Beatrice because he loves her against his will.
8. Benedick and Beatrice are too wise to woo peaceably.
9. Don Worm is the action of the conscience, traditionally described as the gnawing of a worm.
10. Ursula brings the news that "It has been proved my Lady Hero hath been falsely accused, the Prince and Claudio mightily abused,...
(The entire section is 208 words.)
Act V, Scene 3 Questions and Answers
1. Where does the action take place?
2. What is the action?
3. Who reads the epitaph to Hero?
4. After reading the epitaph, what does Claudio do with the scroll?
5. Who sings the hymn to Hero?
6. Who is the goddess of the night?
7. How often does Claudio vow to perform this rite?
8. At what time of day do they end their rite?
9. Who dismisses the mourning company?
10. What will Claudio and Don Pedro do next?
1. The action takes place at the tomb of Hero, in the monument of Leonato.
2. The action is a public rite of mourning.
3. Claudio reads the epitaph to Hero.
After reading the epitaph, Claudio hangs up the scroll. Balthasar sings the hymn to Hero.
6. Diana, the moon goddess and patroness of chastity, is the goddess of the night.
7. Claudio vows to do this rite yearly.
8. They end their rite at dawn.
9. Don Pedro dismisses the mourning company.
10. Claudio and Don Pedro will change their clothes and proceed to Leonato's.
(The entire section is 163 words.)
Act V, Scene 4 Questions and Answers
1. Who is declared innocent?
2. When Benedick asks Leonato for Beatrice's hand and Leonato reveals the double gull, what is Benedick's response?
3. Who is the masked lady that Claudio swore to marry and how does he respond when she unveils herself?
4. What paper does Claudio produce?
5. How does Benedick stop Beatrice's mouth?
6. What is Benedick's conclusion?
7. Who wants to dance and why?
8. What advice does Benedick give Don Pedro?
9. What news does the messenger bring?
10. Which plays of Shakespeare end with a dance?
1. Hero, the prince, and Claudio are declared innocent.
2. Benedick's response is, "[y]our answer, sir, is enigmatical."
3. Claudio is amazed to find the masked lady that he swore to marry is none other than Hero.
4. Claudio produces a paper containing a halting sonnet written by Benedick.
5. Benedick stops Beatrice's mouth with a kiss.
6. Benedick's conclusion is "man is a giddy thing."
7. Benedick wants to dance to lighten their hearts and their wive's heels.
8. Benedick advises Don Pedro to "[g]et thee a wife, get thee a wife."
9. The messenger brings the news that Don John is taken and will be brought back to Messina.
10. No other plays of Shakespeare...
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The War of the Sexes
The differences between men and women—how they relate to each other, misunderstand each other, love and repel each other, is a common theme in motion pictures, comics, television comedies, and world literature. It appears throughout Shakespeare's comedies as well, and Much Ado is no exception to the pattern. In Much Ado, much of the conflict between the sexes concerns Beatrice and Benedick, with their relentless disdain for each other. Each tries to outduel the other in crafting the most clever and most deflating remark, and the impression is given that their sparring has a long history which precedes the action of the play. The goal of each is not to deliver the most crushing, hot-blooded blast, but to offer the most coolly disdainful remarks possible. In Act I, and in Benedick's absence, Beatrice begins by likening him to a disease: "God help the noble Claudio, if he have caught the Benedick." The war of the sexes begins in earnest with Benedick's arrival, the two fencing verbally and giving the impression that each considers the other not worth noticing.
In their absence, Don Pedro and the newly betrothed Claudio and Hero decide to give the war an interesting twist by attempting to bring together Beatrice and Benedick as lovers. Their plans succeed, but upon the disgracing of Hero, love faces a cruel ordeal, turning from tenderness to heated, near-frantic rage on the part of Beatrice after...
(The entire section is 923 words.)
Three major aspects of Much Ado About Nothing can be related to contemporary life. The first is the idea of the innocent being wrongfully accused. Hero is accused of not being a virgin. False and very slight evidence is offered on the night before her wedding. The evidence is taken at face value and believed by a range of significant people in her life, including her fiancé, his influential friend, and her own father. These three individuals immediately believe the worst about Hero. They scarcely question what little evidence is offered. In fact, it is almost a case of one person's reputation and social standing weighed against another's. In addition to the swiftness and injustice of the reaction to Claudio's accusation, the reaction is also severe. Claudio and the prince publicly shame Hero on her wedding day at the ceremony itself. Hero's father utters a wish for her death. Modern audiences may recoil at the shaming scene and many find it almost baffling. For an Elizabethan woman, her value to society, to her family and to herself lay in her marriageability. This in turn was dependent on her physical and moral purity. Also, arranged marriages, or at least marriages where a go-between would play a role, were common. The go-between would be concerned about his own honor and public reputation in this dealing as in all his dealings. In spite of changed social attitudes on these particular points, many people experience the feeling of being accused of some deed...
(The entire section is 687 words.)
Bibliography (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Bloom, Harold, ed. William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing.” New York: Chelsea House, 1988. Contains eight significant articles from the 1970’s and 1980’s. See especially the essays by Richard A. Levin, who looks beneath the comedic surface to find unexpected, troubling currents, and Carol Thomas Neely, who contributes an influential feminist interpretation.
Evans, Bertrand. Shakespeare’s Comedies. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1960. Important critical study. Concludes that Shakespeare’s comic dramaturgy is based on different levels of awareness among characters and between them and the audience. The comedy in Much Ado About Nothing reflects an intricate game of multiple deceptions and misunderstandings that the audience enjoys from a privileged position.
Hunter, Robert Grams. Shakespeare and the Comedy of Forgiveness. New York: Columbia University Press, 1965. Argues persuasively that the thematic core of several Shakespeare comedies derives from the tradition of English morality plays. In Much Ado About Nothing, Claudio sins against the moral order by mistrusting Hero and is saved by repentance and forgiveness.
Macdonald, Ronald R. William Shakespeare: The Comedies. New York: Twayne, 1992. Compact introduction to Shakespeare’s comedy that is both critically...
(The entire section is 259 words.)
Bibliography and Further Reading
Quotations from Much Ado About Nothing are taken from the following translation.
Bevington, David, ed. Much Ado About Nothing. New York: Bantam Books, 1988. Foreword written by Joseph Papp.
Barish, Jonas A. Pattern and Purpose in the Prose of Much Ado About Nothing. Rice University Studies, 60:2, 1974, pp. 19-30.
Berry Ralph. Much Ado About Nothing: Structure & Texture. English Studies 52, 1971, pp. 211-223.
Fillmore, Charles. Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, Missouri: Unity, 1931.
Furness, Horace Howard, ed. Much Ado About: Nothing, A New Variorum Edition of Shakespeare. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1964.
Gaskell, G.A. Dictionary of all Scriptures and Myths. New York: Julian Press, Inc., 1973.
Hockey, Dorothy C. Notes Notes, Forsooth .... Shakespeare Quarterly 8, 1957, pp. 353-358. Delineates the pattern of misnoting or false noting as the thematic device of the play.
Holy Bible, Philadelphia: National Bible Press, conformable to the edition of 1611 commonly known as the King James Version.
Owen, Charles A., Jr. Comic Awareness, Style, and Dramatic Technique in Much Ado About Nothing. Boston University Studies in English, Vol. 5, No. 4, Winter 1961, pp. 193-207.
Quiller-Couch, Sir Arthur...
(The entire section is 278 words.)