What Is It About Shakespeare's Plays That Make Them so Adaptable to Contemporary Films?

Topics: 16th century, Much Ado About Nothing, Character Pages: 3 (869 words) Published: October 6, 2010
Much Ado About Nothing is yet another play created by renowned playwright William Shakespeare that has successfully maintained its relevance and adapted to a contemporary audience. The ability to relate to the characters, plot and the various themes continues to allow the audience to engage with these stories created over 400 years ago. Much Ado About Nothing revolves around two pairs of lovers; Beatrice and Benedick, and Claudio and Hero, and the obstacles they are faced with throughout the story. The character relationships that are built are a main component to the plot, and to the play. The universal themes of marriage and deceit carry an important role within both adaptations also. These elements within Much Ado About Nothing have been transformed into a contemporary film, hence proving the adaptability of Shakespeare’s work.

The universal themes used in Much Ado About Nothing have been tied to the sixteenth century, and as such would appear less relevant to a modern day audience; however, the particular theme of marriage is as relevant today as it was in the sixteenth century. Marriage is portrayed as the final outcome after a series of pitfalls and impediments structured throughout the play. It signifies a final conclusion and resolution to all problems that have since passed. Infidelity, as portrayed in the original play had greater social implications due to the values and morals of the time. The extreme measure of death was considered when Hero was accused of being unfaithful. As Hero’s father, Leonato, says of his daughter: “death is the fairest cover for her shame that may be wished for.” (4, i, 108.109, p107). By analysing both versions of Much Ado About Nothing, it is obvious that the themes within both stories, in particular the theme of marriage, is no different, thus showing how Shakespeare’s plays have successfully adapted to a more current audience.

The plot outline from the original play closely resembled that of its contemporary...
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