Much Ado About Nothing

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Much Ado About Nothing was written between 1598 and 1599, it was first published in a good quarto in 1600. It is a mature romantic comedy, and has enjoyed considerable success in the theatre. This would make Much Ado one of Shakespeare's later comedies. This is a specific comedy because the humour of Much Ado about Nothing does not depend upon funny situations. Though it has some similarities with earlier plays, the comedy of Much Ado derives from the characters themselves and the manners of the highly mannered society in which they live. Much Ado is about many things: intrigue, gossip, remorse, trust, pride, graciousness, honour, love, cruelty, and loyalty - but it is certainly not about nothing. In this comedy, Shakespeare's drama ridicules love and human courtliness between two couples that take very different roads to reach the same goal: making the connection between inner and external beauty. Much Ado About Nothing shows different ways of how people are attracted to one another, and how their realization and definitions of "love" relate to their perceptions of inward and outward beauty. All of the main characters in "Much Ado About Nothing" are the victims of dishonesty, because they are deceived that they act in the ways that they do. Although the central trick is directed against Claudio in an attempt to destroy his relationship with Hero, it is the one involving Beatrice and Benedick, which gives the play's dramatic centre. Nearly every character in the play at some point has to make conclusion to what he or she sees, has been told or overheard. Moreover, every character in the play at some point plays a part of pretending to be what they are not. The characters challenge Love, and after all the difficulties they went through, they win and bring Shakespeare's most unlikely couple together, transforming Benedick's and Beatrice's sparks into a true and mature love. Even for Hero and Claudio's young, naïve romance, we can see that love is not so easily won. As "man is a giddy thing", we cannot master our emotions; yet, we can rise to meet them. Much Ado About Nothing concentrates on the activities of two war heroes and the women they love.

Shakespeare shifts back and forth between the stories of the couples, Benedick and Beatrice, Claudio and Hero—putting them into a unity. The play is unusual for Shakespeare in that the characters speak in prose rather than verse most of the time, even though this is a comedy. However, even when the passages are in prose, they contain the brilliant descriptions typical of Shakespeare.

The characters who speak most often in verse are Claudio and Hero, perhaps to express--and sometimes to mock--their weird feelings of love, Leonato and Friar Francis, to show the formality of their roles as governor and priest.

"How shall I my true know?" is the central question in all of Shakespeare's comedies. Shakespeare makes the question tricky by placing it at the centre of Much Ado About Nothing, in a world that depicts a glossy and sophisticated society that accepts everything by how things look and sound rather than how they actually are. The story follows two couples of lovers who must overcome a variety of difficulties and differences in order to discover and reveal their true feelings for each other. Filled with a variety of quirky characters, plot twists, quarrels and quaint situations Much Ado About Nothing is often considered to be one of William Shakespeare's funniest and most sophisticated comedies.

Algernon Swinburne, one of the most famous Victorian poets and critics in 1879 was talking about this book:

" If it is proverbially impossible to determine by selection the greatest work of Shakespeare, it is easy enough to decide on the date and name of his most perfect comic masterpiece. For absolute power of composition, for faultless balance and blameless rectitude of design, there is unquestionably no creation of his hand that will bear comparison with Much Ado...
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