Much Ado About Nothing: Is the book better, or movie?  Why?

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Much Ado about Nothing is meant to be staged, not read or even seen as a movie.

Shakespeare wrote his plays for the stage only.  He did not intend to collect the assigned roles and publish them during his lifetime.  His actors did that later.

Whereas the Kenneth Branagh movie is good, it is not better than seeing a staged version of the play done by quality actors.  Shakespeare's language is meant to be heard, and his actors give breadth and depth to the words.

Not only this, but the movie version cuts up to 50% of the original text.  So, a two-movie is about half the text of a two-hour play.  The film substitutes image for word.  It focuses more on the Italian landscape than on the words.  As such, it's distracting and too easy.

A play keeps the verbal fireworks going better.  Benedick and Beatrice are funnier live than on screen.  There's more audience participation, more laugher.

Not only that, but the low comedy of dogberry and his slapstick watchmen is funnier live too.  The visual schtick can only be appreciated in the flesh.

So, the movie is not as good as reading it because half of the lines are cut.  Better than both is the live version of the full-length play.  The play's the thing.

little-alice | Student

Shakespear was never meant to be read aloud; as in "Reader's Theatre" or objects like it. William wrote his plays to be performed in "The Globe Theatre" of course he never intended his many wonderous plays to be on film, for in his time, Electricity wasn't even discovered yet. Shakespear isn't better read or seen on a Movie but "In the Theatre" as us theatre kids always say.

With Love and Care,


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Much Ado About Nothing

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