English 366C, Section F01
: Shakespeare's Comedies and Romances >
Much Ado About Nothing
> Notes (2)
: Notes (2)
Hearsay, Fashion and Calumny
Hearsay as healer: Benedick and Beatrice
Motivation? Where is the love-juice?
Are the conversions comical or farcical?
A sandwich: Benedick (1) "Her hair shall be of what colour it please God" (2.3.33)
He lists the qualities of the ideal woman -- and they fit Beatrice, apart from the requirement "mild."
The song: "Men were deceivers ever" (2.3.61 ff)
Comic business in the scene, as the men improvise
Sandwich, part two: Benedick (2) "This can be no trick" (2.3.217)
The splendid affirmation "She must be requited," and the comic rationalization: "the world must be peopled"
The disproportioned interlude, where Beatrice is her accustomed spiky self, but Benedick manages to "spy some signs of love" in her: 2.3.242 ff.
Beatrice's turn: what differences in the scene? (3.1) [
The scene is in verse, not prose -- more lyrical
Benedick is flattered by the alleged love of Beatrice for him; Beatrice is scolded for her pride and "self-endearment"
"What fire is in mine ears?" (3.1.107)
Hearsay as destroyer: "The lady is disloyal" (3.2.98) [video]
Branagh finds another way to make Claudio's brutality in the wedding scene understandable
Deformed Fashion: Dogberry and the Watch
Greenblatt on self-fashioning
Borachio on fashion -- the play's interest in change and the illogic of fashion
What is the function of the Dogberry scenes? [
The sign to the audience that all will go well -- but
The total ineptitude of the system to see that justice is done -- it is Borachio who confesses, not the Watch that finds out
Hearsay as destroyer (2): Claudio's public accusation
Rotten oranges (4.1.31): conventional misogyny?
The intensity of language in Claudio's denunciation -- similar to tragedy
The similar outburst of Leonato, again "self-endearment"
Motivation again: stereotype or characterization in Claudio and Hero?
Counterpoints: Benedick remains when the men leave
The Friar's plot (does it work?)
Benedick and the test of love: "Kill Claudio" (4.1.288) [videos]
A moment of astonishing unexpectedness: romantic love declared in the midst of what seems to be tragedy, and challenged by pushing the hero to kill his best friend
The responses of Don Pedro and Clauio to Hero's "death" (5.1.166)
Benedick challenges Claudio (5.1.143)
The news of Borachio's confession (5.1.208 ff)
The Wolves Have Preyed
Claudio recuperated: the tomb scene [
The original text (Quarto, in transcription)
the Folio (facsimile)
Beatrice and Benedick figure it out (5.4.71 ff): "I will stop your mouth" (5.4.96) [video]
How well-suited are the couples at the end?
This page last updated on 1 February 2009. © Michael Best, 2002.