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William Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing

Roger Ebert described Shakespeare’s play, Much Ado about Nothing, as a comedy, in which the most important thing is the style: "A play like Much Ado about Nothing is all about style. I doubt if Shakespeare's audiences at the Globe took it any more seriously than we do. It is farce and mime and wisecracks, and dastardly melodrama which all come right in the end, of course, because this is a Comedy." Indeed, Much Ado about Nothing seems to be made exclusively of the pranks and games that the characters play on each other. As such, the play lacks any consistency in action or meaning, to the extent that it can not be taken seriously by the audience. In this sense, Shakespeare’s text is a pure comedy, with no tangible content. Nevertheless, the play does contain a few elements that can be considered tragic or at least serious enough to make its status as a pure comedy debatable. Inasmuch as the play is filled with witticisms and comic farces that all end well it can be maintained that it is written entirely as a comedy. However, the mere fact that everything turns out as good as possible, does not cover up the serious subjects in the text, which are emphasized at the end of the play. Thus, the interpretation of the play can begin with the title: Shakespeare himself indicates that the play is about “nothing”, that is, there are no real events in the text, no real action, only deceiving and misprision. The plot focuses on the two couples that are the main protagonists: Hero and Claudio, Berenice and Benedick. The dissembling, deceiving and misprisions in the play seem to form an endless chain. Berenice and Benedick exchange during the first three acts a long series of invectives and maledictions against one another and against the opposite sex in general, dissimulating thus the attraction between them. Their relationship is an example of the battle between the sexes, a common subject for the Elizabethan comedies. Claudio falls in lo...

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William Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 17:56, August 21, 2014, from