Transformations inherently contain traces of the author’s social and cultural context. Much of the same can be applied to “Much ado about nothing”. It incorporates comical features, yet retains the sense of tragedy which is attached to almost all of Shakespeare’s plays. Brain Percival’s role as a director, was determining, understanding and distinguishing the social norms and the social structure of the society, and how the themes represented in the play can be transformed into a modern text. The Elizabethan society was typically a patriarchal society. Percival has used as well as transformed certain themes and textual features to ensure, that the film is more appealing and assessable to the critical modern audience.
In William Shakespeare's short play Much Ado About Nothing, he focuses on the social standings and the roles of women in 16th Century Europe. The female protagonist of the play, Beatrice, understands the restrictions placed upon her by society and how these restrictions should limit her as a woman, but she inexorably escapes them by refusing to succumb to the unifying hand of marriage. Throughout the play, Shakespeare displays his profound respect for woman as independent individuals who are fully capable of making their own decisions and suffering their own consequences. Through the plot, he proposes the idea that women who deviate away from the passivity that society expects them to perform attain a more active role in the determination of their future. Contrary to the roles of women of the 16th Century, Shakespeare depiction of Beatrice's independence is symbolic of his stance on the progression and transformation of women's reputation in society.
?Much Ado About Nothing'' is a postwar love story. Its principal subject is that of romance that may settle over the land after soldiers come home. I noticed that Much Ado is actually two love stories. One concerns sweetly innocent lovers who are driven apart by the plotting of enemies. The other involves very sarcastic lovers who are swept into each other's arms by the benign machinations of friends. I had a lot of trouble understanding the dialect, I grew up a country boy and we didn?t do much of this in my 14 persons graduating class. None the less I didn?t think it was a waste of time either. It was of very good quality as far as a plot is concerned. It had evil, jealousy, lust, love, romance, comedy and of course tragedy. If I were to do it over again I would go see the movie first, the play second. I was able to understand more from the movie than I did the play. I think that if I had done this I might have got more from the play.
Jensen, Samuel. "Much Ado About Nothing." Classics Defined. The midnightfaerie, n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2014. .
William Shakespeare is known for his use of dramatic irony and complicated story lines. In Much Ado About Nothing, he also adds in the element of disguise to what the characters know, or what they think they know. There are multiple characters trying to ensnare others in different facades, whether it be for better or for worse. The deception and illusion in the play can either assist the characters or completely shatter the situation, but in both cases, Shakespeare advises us to infer about what we hear or see before we jump to conclusions.
In Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, Beatrice and Benedict rant about marriage for most of the beginning of the play, while Claudio raves about how wonderful it will be being married to Hero. Yet in the end, Claudio exchanges his marriage to Hero for an opportunity to bash her in public, while Beatrice and Benedick marry despite that they were mortal enemies for most of the first three acts. How did the situation swing around to this degree? Beatrice and Benedick had been using the most extreme metaphors to demonstrate their scorn of each other and of marriage, and Claudio had been doing the same to demonstrate his love of Hero. Not only did none of these three characters mean what they were saying, but meant the reverse, and the people that plotted to bring them together or pull them apart plotted because they understood on some level what each really wanted.
"Much Ado About Nothing: Entire Play." Much Ado About Nothing: Entire Play. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2014. .
The Influence of Commedia dell’arte on Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare Commedia dell’arte had great influence of Shakespeare’s comedy “Much
The title of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing has sparked scholarly debates about its meaning for centuries. Some say it is a play on the term “noting”, revolving around the theme of all sorts of deceptions by all sorts of appearances (Rossiter 163). Others claim it has more to do with everyone making a fuss about things that turn out to be false, therefore, nothing (Vaughn 102). Regardless of these speculations, there is something rather profound going on in the play that is worth making a big deal about: four characters in the play learn about love, and eventually, how to love.
Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing is, on the surface, a typical romantic comedy with a love-plot that ends in reconciliation and marriage. This surface level conformity to the conventions of the genre, however, conceals a deeper difference that sets Much Ado apart. Unlike Shakespeare’s other romantic comedies, Much Ado about Nothing does not mask class divisions by incorporating them into an idealized community. Instead of concealing or obscuring the problem of social status, the play brings it up explicitly through a minor but important character, Margaret, Hero’s “waiting gentlewoman.” Shakespeare suggests that Margaret is an embodiment of the realistic nature of social class. Despite her ambition, she is unable to move up in hierarchy due to her identity as a maid. Her status, foiling Hero’s rich, protected upbringing, reveals that characters in the play, as well as global citizens, are ultimately oppressed by social relations and social norms despite any ambition to get out.
The scene opens in the beautiful hills of Tuscany, Italy. Lying about on the slopes of grass are the humble townsfolk basking in the sunshine as a soft voice introduces; “Sigh no more ladies, sigh no more.” This dreamlike setting is the opening scene of the major motion picture Much Ado About Nothing as envisioned by film director Kenneth Branagh. A far cry from its Shakespearean origins, Branagh’s Much Ado has a look and feel all of its own. This film seeks to capture its audience with visual majesty as the characters and setting are transformed to reveal Branagh’s joyful rendition of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy. However, though Branagh’s vision is nothing short of cinematic genius, it neglects some of the deeper meaning that is illustrated within the original written play. Shakespeare’s subtle nuances and elaborate dialogue shape each character as the plot of the story unfolds. Branagh neglects the situational relevance of certain dialogue within scenes of the written play; relying more on visual effect rather than verbiage. Branagh’s use of editing creates a wistfully light-hearted adaptation of the play and hastens the pace of the drama. While Branagh succeeds in creating many parallels between his movie and Shakespeare's written play, his use of visual imagery, characterization, and setting deliver an interpretation that stands alone as one of joyful camaraderie and humor.
Branaugh and the company director both made many choices, which influenced their performances. I enjoyed the movie more the play because it was not only full of funny lines and puns, but the actors and the setting were amazing. They movie seemed to flow more for me and I enjoyed being able to see the characters in a serene setting without having to visualize it all. Shakespeare's play Much Ado About Nothing can be interpreted, acted, read, and visualized in different ways, but I thought that Kenneth Branaugh brought together an amazing cast and performance.
Scott, Mark W., ed. "Much Ado About Nothing." Shakespeare Criticism. Vol. VIII. Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research Co., 1989.
Rossiter, A.P. "Much Ado About Nothing." William Shakespeare Comedies & Romances. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986.