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Encyclopedia > Much Ado About Nothing
Much Ado About Nothing

Title page of the first quarto (1600)
Written by William Shakespeare
Date of premiere the winter of 1598-1599,[1]
Country of origin Flag of England England
Original language English
Genre comedy
Setting Messina, a coastal city on the island of Sicily
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Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy by William Shakespeare. First published in the era of 1600, it is likely to have been first performed in the autumn or winter of 1598-1599,[2] and it remains one of Shakespeare's most enduring and exhilarating plays on stage. Stylistically, it shares numerous characteristics with modern romantic comedies including the two pairs of lovers, in this case the romantic leads, Claudio and Hero, and their comic counterparts, Benedick and Beatrice. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1009x1741, 148 KB)Title page of the first quarto of Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare The two-dimensional work of art depicted in this image is in the public domain in the United States and in those countries with a... First quarto is a bibliographic term, usually encountered in the study of English literature in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, especially in regard to the early printings of the plays of English Renaissance theatre. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_England. ... For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... A comedy is a dramatic performance of a light and amusing character, usually with a happy conclusion to its plot. ... Messina, Italy Strait of Messina, Italy. ... Sicily ( in Italian and Sicilian) is an autonomous region of Italy and the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with an area of 25,708 km² (9,926 sq. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... A romantic comedy may be a film or novel, presenting a story about romance in a comedic style. ...

Contents

Performance and publication

The earliest printed text states that the play was "sundry times publicly acted" prior to 1600; but the earliest performances certainly known are two that were given at Court in the winter of 1612-13, during the festivities preceding the marriage of Princess Elizabeth with Frederick V, Elector Palatine (14 February 1613). The play was published in quarto in 1600 by the stationers Andrew Wise and William Aspley. This was the only edition prior to the First Folio in 1623. Elisabeth, Electress Palatine and Queen of Bohemia (born Princess Elizabeth Stuart of Scotland; 19 August 1596 – 13 February 1662) was the eldest daughter to James VI of Scotland and his Queen consort Anne of Denmark. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... is the 45th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... The size of a specific book is measured from the head to tail of the spine, and from edge to edge across the covers. ... 1600 was a leap year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Tuesday of the 10-day slower Julian calendar). ... Andrew Wise (fl. ... William Aspley (died 1640) was a London publisher of the Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Caroline eras. ... The title page of the First Folio with the famous engraved portrait of Shakespeare by Martin Droeshout The First Folio is the name given by modern scholars to the first published collection of William Shakespeares plays; its actual title is Mr. ... Year 1623 (MDCXXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 10-day slower Julian calendar). ...


The play was very popular in its early decades, as it would be later: in a poem published in 1640, Leonard Digges wrote "...let but Beatrice / And Benedick be seen, lo in a trice / The Cockpit galleries, boxes, all are full." Events December 1 - Portugal regains its independence from Spain and João IV of Portugal becomes king. ... Leonard Digges (1588 – 1635) was a seventeenth-century poet and translator, a member of the prominent Digges family of Kent—son of the astronomer Thomas Digges (1545-95), grandson of the mathematician Leonard Digges (1520-59), and younger brother of statesman Sir Dudley Digges (1583-1639). ... These plans, drawn by Inigo Jones probably around 1616 to 1618, may be for the Cockpit Theatre. ...


After the theatres had re-opened during the Restoration, Sir William Davenant staged The Law Against Lovers (1662), which inserted Beatrice and Benedick into an adaptation of Measure for Measure. Another adaptation, The Universal Passion, combined Much Ado with a play by Molière (1737). Meanwhile, Shakespeare's original text had been revived by John Rich at Lincoln's Inn Fields (1721). David Garrick first played Benedick in 1748, and would continue to play the role till 1776.[3] For other uses, see Restoration. ... William Davenant Sir William Davenant (February 28, 1606 - April 7, 1668), also spelled DAvenant, was an English poet and playwright. ... Events February 1 - The Chinese pirate Koxinga seizes the island of Taiwan after a nine-month siege. ... Claudio and Isabella (1850) by William Holman Hunt Measure for Measure is a play by William Shakespeare, written in 1603. ... For the 2007 film, see Molière (film). ... Events 12 February — The San Carlo, the oldest working opera house in Europe, is inaugurated. ... John Rich (1682 - 1761) was an important theater manager in 18th century London. ... Lincolns Inn Fields is the largest public square in London. ... Year 1721 (MDCCXXI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Sunday of the 11-day slower Julian calendar). ... David Garrick by Thomas Gainsborough. ... Year 1748 (MDCCXLVIII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Friday of the 11-day slower Julian calendar). ... For other uses, see 1776 (disambiguation). ...


The great nineteenth century stage team Henry Irving and Ellen Terry counted Benedick and Beatrice as their greatest tandem triumph, and Charles Kemble also had a great success as Benedick. John Gielgud made Benedick one of his signature roles between 1931 and 1959, playing the part opposite the Beatrice of Diana Wynward, Peggy Ashcroft, and Margaret Leighton. The longest running Broadway production is A.J. Antoon's 1972 staging starring Sam Waterston, Kathleen Widdoes and Barnard Hughes, and Derek Jacobi won a Tony Award for playing Benedick in 1984. Jacobi had also played Benedick in the Royal Shakespeare Company's highly-praised 1982 production. Director Terry Hands produced the play on a stage-length mirror, against an unchanging backdrop of painted trees. Sinéad Cusack played Beatrice. Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... Sir Henry Irving, as Hamlet, in an 1893 illustration from The Idler magazine John Henry Brodribb (February 6, 1838 – October 13, 1905), knighted in 1895, as Sir Henry Irving, was one of the most famous stage actors of the Victorian era. ... Dame Ellen Terry, GBE (February 27, 1848 – July 21, 1928) was an English stage actress. ... Charles Kemble (November 25, 1775 - November 12, 1854) was a British actor. ... Sir Arthur John Gielgud, OM, CH (14 April 1904 – 21 May 2000), known as Sir John Gielgud, was an English theatre and film actor. ... Year 1931 (MCMXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full 1931 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1959 (MCMLIX) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Dame Peggy Ashcroft DBE (22 December 1907 – 14 June 1991) was an acclaimed Academy Award-winning English actress. ... Margaret Leighton (February 26, 1922 – January 13, 1976) was an English actress. ... For other uses of Broadway, see Broadway. ... Year 1972 (MCMLXXII) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Samuel Atkinson Waterston (born November 15, 1940) is an Oscar nominated American actor noted particularly for his portrayal of Jack McCoy on the long-running NBC television series Law & Order. ... Kathleen Widdoes is an American actress best known as Emma Synder on As the World Turns. ... Barnard Hughes (July 16, 1915 – July 11, 2006), born Bernard Aloysius Kiernan Hughes[1], was an American character actor of theater and film. ... Sir Derek George Jacobi, CBE (IPA: ) (born 22 October 1938) is an English actor and director, knighted in 1994 for his services to the theatre. ... What is popularly called the Tony Award (formally, the Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre) is an annual award celebrating achievements in live American theater, including musical theater, primarily honoring productions on Broadway in New York. ... This article is about the year. ... Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is a British theatre company. ... Terence David (Terry) Hands (born 9 January 1941) is a leading British stage director. ... Actress Sinéad Cusack with husband Jeremy Irons. ...


Influences

Shakespeare was likely influenced by several works in his writing of Much Ado About Nothing. The “merry war” between Beatrice and Benedick resembles no specific source, but could have been inspired by Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, while the Claudio and Hero plot could have been based upon Canto V of Orlando Furioso or possibly Matteo Bandello’s Novella (1554). The ideal of the perfect courtier is likely from Baldassare Castiglione’s 1528 work The Book of the Courtier.[4] Beatrice’s playful criticism of men echoes the more violent misandry of Shakespeare’s earlier work, The Taming of the Shrew, while Don John’s spurious treachery and Hero’s victimization suggest his later work, the great tragedy Othello. Chaucer redirects here. ... Troilus and Criseyde is Geoffrey Chaucers poem in rhyme royal re-telling the tragic love story of Troilus, a Trojan prince, and Criseyde. ... Ruggiero Rescuing Angelica by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. ... Matteo Bandello (c. ... i love orange pekoe tea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ... Early Modern English cover of the Book of the Courtier. ... Taming of the Shrew by Augustus Egg The Taming of the Shrew is a comedy by William Shakespeare. ... For other uses, see Othello (disambiguation). ...


Setting

Much Ado About Nothing is set in Messina, a coastal settlement on the island of Sicily which is located next to the toe end of Italy. Even though Sicily was ruled by Spain at the time (setting) of the play, the characters clearly reflect a more Southern Italian heritage. The action of the play takes place mainly at the home and grounds of Leonato, although some scenes are set in the city itself. Messina, Italy Strait of Messina, Italy. ... Sicily ( in Italian and Sicilian) is an autonomous region of Italy and the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with an area of 25,708 km² (9,926 sq. ... Ruins of a temple at Solunto. ...


Characters

  • Don Pedro, An important nobleman from Aragon, sometimes referred to as “Prince.” Don Pedro is a longtime friend of Leonato, Hero’s father, and is also close to the soldiers who have been fighting under him—the younger Benedick and the very young Claudio. Don Pedro is generous, courteous, intelligent, and loving to his friends, but he is also quick to believe evil of others and hasty to take revenge. He is the most politically and socially powerful character in the play.
  • Benedick, Benedick is the willful lord, recently returned from fighting in the wars, who vows that he will never marry. He engages with Beatrice in a competition to outwit, outsmart, and out-insult the other, but to his observant friends, he seems to feel some deeper emotion below the surface. Upon hearing Claudio and Don Pedro discussing Beatrice’s desire for him, Benedick vows to be “horribly in love with her,” in effect continuing the competition by outdoing her in love and courtship (II.iii.207). Benedick is one of the most histrionic characters in the play, as he constantly performs for the benefit of others. He is the entertainer, indulging in witty hyperbole to express his feelings. He delivers a perfect example of his inflated rhetoric when Beatrice enters during the masked ball. Turning to his companions, Benedick grossly exaggerates how Beatrice has misused him, bidding his friends to send him to the farthest corners of the earth rather than let him spend one more minute with his nemesis: “Will your grace command me any service to the world’s end? I will go on the slightest errand now to the Antipodes that you can devise to send me on. I will fetch you a toothpicker from the furthest inch of Asia . . . do you any embassage to the pigmies, rather than hold three words’ conference with this harpy” (II.i.229–235). Of course, since Benedick is so invested in performing for the others, it is not easy for us to tell whether he has been in love with Beatrice all along or falls in love with her suddenly during the play. Benedick’s adamant refusal to marry does appear to change over the course of the play, once he decides to fall in love with Beatrice. He attempts to conceal this transformation from his friends but really might enjoy shocking them by shaving off his beard and professing undying love to Beatrice. This change in attitude seems most evident when Benedick challenges Claudio, previously his closest friend in the world, to duel to the death over Claudio’s accusation as to Hero’s unchaste behavior. There can be no doubt at this point that Benedick has switched his allegiances entirely over to Beatrice.
  • Claudio, A young soldier who has won great acclaim fighting under Don Pedro during the recent wars. Claudio falls in love with Hero upon his return to Messina. His unfortunately suspicious nature makes him quick to believe evil rumors and hasty to despair and take revenge.
  • Balthasar, A waiting man in Leonato’s household and a musician. Balthasar flirts with Margaret at the masked party and helps Leonato, Claudio, and Don Pedro trick Benedick into falling in love with Beatrice. Balthasar sings the song, “Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more” about accepting men’s infidelity as natural.
  • Don John, The illegitimate brother of Don Pedro; sometimes called “the Bastard.” Don John is melancholy and sullen by nature, and he creates a dark scheme to ruin the happiness of Hero and Claudio. He is the villain of the play; his evil actions are motivated by his envy of his brother’s social authority.
  • Borachio, An associate of Don John. Borachio is the lover of Margaret, Hero’s serving woman. He conspires with Don John to trick Claudio and Don Pedro into thinking that Hero is unfaithful to Claudio. His name means “drunkard” in Italian, which might serve as a subtle direction to the actor playing him.
  • Conrade, One of Don John’s more intimate associates, entirely devoted to Don John. Several recent productions have staged Conrad as Don John’s potential male lover, possibly to intensify Don John’s feelings of being a social outcast and therefore motivate his desire for revenge.
  • Leonato, A respected, well-to-do, elderly noble at whose home, in Messina, Italy, the action is set. Leonato is the father of Hero and the uncle of Beatrice. As governor of Messina, he is second in social power only to Don Pedro.
  • Hero, The beautiful young daughter of Leonato and the cousin of Beatrice. Hero is lovely, gentle, and kind. She falls in love with Claudio when he falls for her, but when Don John slanders her and Claudio rashly takes revenge, she suffers terribly.
  • Beatrice, Beatrice is the niece of Leonato, a wealthy governor of Messina. Though she is close friends with her cousin Hero, Leonato’s daughter, the two could not be less alike. Whereas Hero is polite, quiet, respectful, and gentle, Beatrice is feisty, cynical, witty, and sharp. Beatrice keeps up a “merry war” of wits with Benedick, a lord and soldier from Padua. The play suggests that she was once in love with Benedick but that he led her on and their relationship ended. Now when they meet, the two constantly compete to outdo one another with clever insults. Although she appears hardened and sharp, Beatrice is really vulnerable. Once she overhears Hero describing that Benedick is in love with her (Beatrice), she opens herself to the sensitivities and weaknesses of love. Beatrice is a prime example of one of Shakespeare’s strong female characters. She refuses to marry because she has not discovered the perfect, equal partner and because she is unwilling to eschew her liberty and submit to the will of a controlling husband. When Hero has been humiliated and accused of violating her chastity, Beatrice explodes with fury at Claudio for mistreating her cousin. In her frustration and rage about Hero’s mistreatment, Beatrice rebels against the unequal status of women in Renaissance society. “O that I were a man for his sake! Or that I had any friend would be a man for my sake!” she passionately exclaims. “I cannot be a man with wishing, therefore I will die a woman with grieving” (IV.i.314-320).
  • Antonio, an old man, brother of Leonato. Hero and Beatrice's uncle.
  • Margaret, Hero’s serving woman, who unwittingly helps Borachio and Don John deceive Claudio into thinking that Hero is unfaithful. Unlike Ursula, Hero’s other lady-in-waiting, Margaret is lower class. Though she is honest, she does have some dealings with the villainous world of Don John: her lover is the mistrustful and easily bribed Borachio. Also unlike Ursula, Margaret loves to break decorum, especially with bawdy jokes and teases.
  • Ursula, waiting-gentlewoman attendant on Hero
  • Friar Francis, a priest who is at the wedding of Claudio and Hero
  • Dogberry, The constable in charge of the Watch, or chief policeman, of Messina. Dogberry is very sincere and takes his job seriously, but he has a habit of using exactly the wrong word to convey his meaning. Dogberry is one of the few “middling sort,” or middle-class characters, in the play, though his desire to speak formally and elaborately like the noblemen becomes an occasion for parody.
  • Verges, the Headborough, Dogberry’s partner
  • A Sexton, the judge of the trial of Borachio
  • The Watch,watchmen of Messina
  • A Boy, serving Benedick
  • Attendants and messengers
  • Innogen, a ghost character included in early editions as Leonato's wife

In playwriting, a ghost character is a character that is mentioned as appearing on stage but neither says nor does anything but enter, and possibly exit. ...

Plot

Facsimile of the first page of Much Ado About Nothing from the First Folio, published in 1623
Facsimile of the first page of Much Ado About Nothing from the First Folio, published in 1623

At Messina, Don Pedro, an Italian prince from Arragon and his deputies, Claudio and Benedick have just returned from a successful battle. Leonato, the governor of Messina, welcomes them for passing by the city and invites them to stay for a month and to have a masked party. The title page of the First Folio with the famous engraved portrait of Shakespeare by Martin Droeshout The First Folio is the name given by modern scholars to the first published collection of William Shakespeares plays; its actual title is Mr. ...


Benedick and Leonato's niece, Beatrice, longtime adversaries, carry on their arguments. Claudio’s feelings for Hero, Leonato's young daughter, are kindled on his seeing her, and Claudio soon announces to Benedick his intention to court her. Benedick tries to dissuade his friend, but is unsuccessful in the face of Don Pedro’s encouragement. While Benedick teases Claudio, Benedick swears that he will never get married.


Don Pedro laughs at him and tells him that when he has found the right person he shall get married.


A masquerade ball is planned in celebration, giving a disguised Don Pedro the opportunity to woo Hero on Claudio’s behalf. Don John uses this situation to get revenge on his brother Don Pedro by telling young Claudio that Don Pedro is actually wooing Hero for himself. Claudio then becomes furious at Don Pedro and confronts him. The misunderstanding is quickly resolved and Claudio wins Hero's hand in marriage.


Don Pedro and his men, bored at the prospect of waiting a week for the matrimonial ceremony to take place, harbor a plan to matchmake Beatrice and Benedick. The men, led by Don Pedro, proclaim Beatrice’s love for Benedick while knowing he is eavesdropping on their conversation. The women, led by Hero, do the same likewise to Beatrice. Struck by the fact that they are apparently thought to be too proud to love each other, Beatrice and Benedick, neither willing to bear the reputation of pride, each decides to requite the love of the other.


Meanwhile Don John, Don Pedro's bastard brother, is a malcontent who plots to ruin Claudio and Hero’s wedding plans by casting aspersions upon Hero’s character. His follower Borachio courts Margaret, Hero's chambermaid, calling her “Hero”, at Hero’s open bedroom window while Don John leads Don Pedro and Claudio to spy below. The latter two, mistaking Margaret for Hero, are convinced by what is evidence of Hero's infidelity.


The next day, during the wedding at the church, Claudio climacticly refuses to marry Hero. He and Don Pedro humiliate Hero publicly before a stunned congregation. The two leave, leaving the rest in shock. Hero, who has fainted from shock, revives after Don Pedro and Claudio leave, only to be reprimanded by her father. The presiding Friar interrupts, believing Hero to be innocent, and he convinces the family to fake Hero's death in order to extract the truth and Claudio’s remorse.


Leonato and Antonio, Hero's uncle, subsequently blame Don Pedro and Claudio for Hero’s death, and both challenge Claudio to duels. Benedick, forcefully prompted by Beatrice, does the same.


Astonishingly, however, on the night of Don John's treachery, the local Watch has apprehended Borachio and his ally Conrade. Despite the Watch's comic ineptness (headed by constable Dogberry, a master of malapropisms), they have overheard the duo discussing their evil plans. The Watch arrest them and eventually obtain the villains' confession, whilst informing Leonato of Hero's innocence. Though Don John has meanwhile fled the city, a force is sent to capture him. Claudio, though maintaining he made an honest mistake, is repentant, he agrees to not only post a proper epitaph for Hero, but to marry a substitute, Hero's cousin, in her place.


During Claudio’s second wedding, however, as the dancers enter, the "cousin" is unmasked as Hero herself, to a most surprised and gratified Claudio. An impromptu dance is announced. Beatrice and Benedick, prompted by their friends’ interference, finally confess their love for each other. As the play draws to a close, a messenger arrives with news of Don John’s capture – but his punishment is postponed another day so that the couples can enjoy their new found happiness.


Themes, motifs, and symbolism

Infidelity

A theme common to Much Ado about Nothing and many other of Shakespeare’s works is cuckoldry, or infidelity of a wife. Several of the characters seem to be obsessed by the idea that a man has no way to know if his wife is unfaithful, and therefore women can take full advantage of that fact. Don John plays upon Claudio’s pride and fear of cuckoldry, which leads to the disastrous first wedding scene. Because of their mistrust of women’s sexuality, many of the males easily believe that Hero is impure, and even her father readily condemns her with very little proof. This motif runs through the play, most often in references to horns, which were a well-known symbol of cuckoldry. In literature, a theme is a broad idea in a story, or a message or lesson conveyed by a work. ... A cuckold is a man with an unfaithful wife. ...


Noting

Another motif occurring throughout the work is the play on the words nothing and noting, which, in Shakespeare’s day, were homophones (that is, pronounced the same way).[5] Taken literally, the title implies that a great fuss (“much ado”) is made of something which is insignificant (“nothing”), such as the unfounded claims of Hero’s infidelity. However, the title could also be understood as “Much Ado about Noting.” Indeed, much of the action of the play revolves around interest in and critique of others, written messages, spying, and eavesdropping. This is a theme throughout the play, and is mentioned multiple times aprticularly concerning "seeming," "fashion" and immediate outward impressions. Additionally, nothing is a double-entendre, as it was commonly used by Shakespeare as a euphemism for the female genitals. Thus the title could be read as "Much Ado about Female Genitalia".[6] In literature, a motif is a recurring element or theme that has symbolic significance in the story. ... Homonyms (in Greek homoios = identical and onoma = name) are words which have the same form (orthographic/phonetic) but unrelated meaning. ... A double entendre is a figure of speech similar to the pun, in which a spoken phrase can be understood in either of two ways. ... Euphemism is the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant to the listener; or in the case of doublespeak, to make it less troublesome for the speaker. ...


Examples of noting as noticing occur in the following instances: (1.1.131-132)

Claudio: Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of Signor Leonato?

Benedick: I noted her not, but I looked on her.

and (4.1.154-157).

Friar: Hear me a little,

For I have only been silent so long

And given way unto this course of fortune

By noting of the lady.

At (3.3.102-104), Borachio indicates that a man’s clothing doesn’t indicate his character:

Borachio: Thou knowest that the fashion of a doublet, or a hat, or a

cloak is nothing to

a man.

A triple play on words in which noting signifies noticing, musical notes, and nothing occurs at (2.3.47-52):

Don Pedro: Nay pray thee, come;

Or if thou wilt hold longer argument,

Do it in notes.

Balthasar: Note this before my notes:

There’s not a note of mine that’s worth the noting.

Don Pedro: Why, these are very crotchets that he speaks —

Note notes, forsooth, and nothing!

Don Pedro’s last line can be understood to mean, “Pay attention to your music and nothing else!”


The following are puns on notes as messages: (2.1.174-176), For other uses, see Pun (disambiguation). ...

Claudio: I pray you leave me.

Benedick: Ho, now you strike like the blind man — ‘twas the boy

that stole your meat, and you’ll beat the post.

in which Benedick plays on the word post as a pole and as mail delivery in a joke reminiscent of Shakespeare’s earlier advice “Don’t shoot the messenger”; and (2.3.123-126) Shooting the messenger is a phrase describing the act of lashing out at the (blameless) bearer of bad news. ...

Claudio: Now you talk of a sheet of paper, I remember a pretty

jest your daughter told us of.

Leonato: O, when she had writ it and was reading it over, she

found Benedick and Beatrice between the sheet.

in which Leonato makes a sexual innuendo concerning sheet as a sheet of paper (on which Beatrice’s love note to Benedick is to have been written) and a bedsheet. This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Significance of character names

Don Pedro: Pedro is the Spanish form of the Biblical name Peter, which means "stone." The significance of the name is that it immediately identifies him as Spanish — the Italian variant of the name is Pietro.


Benedick: Benedick means "blessed"; the root bene means "good." Note that Benedick and Beatrice have similar meanings. The name can also be interpreted as the two words bene (latin. bonus = good) and dicere (latin. to speak). This is a reference to his unusual eloquence.


Claudio: Claudio is derived from claudus, meaning "lame" or "crippled." Claudio is both the Spanish and Italian variant.


Don John: The name John is reminiscent of King John of England (known as Prince John), who had a reputation for treachery and usurpation of the throne. The Spanish variant is properly Juan, which would likely have been pronounced "djoo-en" in Shakespeare’s day. Also, see Don John, the illegitimate son of Charles I of Spain. John (French: Jean) (December 24, c. ... Don John of Austria (February 24, 1547 - October 1, 1578), also known as Juan De Austria and Don Juan de Austria, was the illegitimate son of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and a military leader whose most famous victory was at the Battle of Lepanto. ... For the Carlist claimant King Carlos V, see Infante Carlos, Count of Molina. ...


Borachio: Borachio is similar to the Spanish word "Borracho," which means "drunkard." Borachio is a type of beer bottle


Leonato: Leonato is derived from the Greek word for lion.


Hero: In Greek mythology, Hero was the lover of Leander. Each night Leander swam across the Hellespont to meet her. When he accidentally drowned while crossing, she threw herself in the water and drowned as well. The bust of Zeus found at Otricoli (Sala Rotonda, Museo Pio-Clementino, Vatican) Greek mythology is the body of stories belonging to the Ancient Greeks concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. ... The Last Watch of Hero by Frederic Leighton, depicting Hero anxiously waiting for Leander during the storm. ... The Helespont/Dardanelles, a long narrow strait dividing the Balkans (Europe) along the Gallipoli peninsula from Asia Anatolia (Asia Minor). ...


Beatrice: Beatrice means "the one that blesses." Note that Benedick and Beatrice have similar meanings.


Dogberry: The name Dogberry reflects Shakespeare’s common practise of giving fools ridiculous-sounding names. Dogberry is also the name of a type of North American wild gooseberry. Binomial name L. Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Ribes uva-crispa See Physalis peruviana for the tomato-like fruit commonly known as the Cape gooseberry and kiwifruit for the fruit sometimes known as the Chinese gooseberry. ...


Verges: Verges is derived from the word verge, a wand or staff of office. A staff of office is a staff and carrying it often denotes social rank or prestige. ...


Noteworthy performances

On stage

The Lord Chamberlains Men was the playing company that William Shakespeare worked for as actor and playwright for most of his career. ... William Kempe (also spelled Kemp) (fl. ... Richard Cowley (died 1619) was an actor in English Renaissance theatre, a colleague of William Shakespeare and Richard Burbage in the Lord Chamberlains Men and the Kings Men. ... David Garrick by Thomas Gainsborough. ... Sir Henry Irving, as Hamlet, in an 1893 illustration from The Idler magazine John Henry Brodribb (February 6, 1838 – October 13, 1905), knighted in 1895, as Sir Henry Irving, was one of the most famous stage actors of the Victorian era. ... Dame Ellen Terry, GBE (February 27, 1848 – July 21, 1928) was an English stage actress. ... Sir Arthur John Gielgud, OM, CH (14 April 1904 – 21 May 2000), known as Sir John Gielgud, was an English theatre and film actor. ... The Old Vic is a theatre in the Waterloo area of London. ... Year 1959 (MCMLIX) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play is awarded to the actress who was voted as the best actress in a play, whether a new production or a revival. ... Margaret Leighton (February 26, 1922 – January 13, 1976) was an English actress. ... A Tony Award for the Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play has been awarded since 1949. ... Barnard Hughes (July 16, 1915 – July 11, 2006), born Bernard Aloysius Kiernan Hughes[1], was an American character actor of theater and film. ... New York Shakespeare Festival is the traditional name of a sequence of shows organized by the Public Theater in New York City, most often being held at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. ... Kathleen Widdoes is an American actress best known as Emma Synder on As the World Turns. ... The Evening Standard Awards are presented annually for oustanding achievements in London Theatre. ... Sir Derek George Jacobi, CBE (IPA: ) (born 22 October 1938) is an English actor and director, knighted in 1994 for his services to the theatre. ... Sinéad Cusack (born 18 February 1948 at Dalkey) is an Irish actress. ... The Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play is awarded to the actor who was voted as the best actor in a play, whether a new production or a revival. ... Sir Derek George Jacobi, CBE (IPA: ) (born 22 October 1938) is an English actor and director, knighted in 1994 for his services to the theatre. ... Felicity Kendal in The Good Life. ... The Novello Theatre is a theatre on Aldwych in the West End of London. ... The Laurence Olivier Awards, previously known as The Society of West End Theatre Awards, were renamed in honour of British actor Laurence Olivier, Baron Olivier in 1984, having first been established in 1976. ... Mark Rylance (born January 18, 1960) is an internationally well-known actor and theatre director. ... Matthew Warchus (Director), studied music and drama at Bristol University. ... The musical Les Misérables transferred to the Queens Theatre in March 2004 after its run at the Palace Theatre The Queens Theatre is a theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue in the West End of London, next to the Gielgud Theatre, as whose twin it was designed by W. G... Tamsin Greig (IPA pronunciation ), born 12 July 1966)[1] is an English actress best known for her comedy performances. ... Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is a British theatre company. ... The Royal Shakespeare Theatre is a large theatre dedicated to British playwright William Shakespeare in his birthplace of Stratford-upon-Avon. ...

Adaptations

There have been several notable adaptations of Much Ado About Nothing.


Television

There have been several screen adaptations of Much Ado About Nothing, and almost all of them have been made for television. In 2005 the BBC adapted the story by setting it in the modern-day studios of Wessex Tonight, a fictional regional news programme, as part of the ShakespeaRe-Told season, with Damian Lewis, Sarah Parish, and Billie Piper. For other uses, see BBC (disambiguation). ... ShakespeaRe-Told is the umbrella title for a series of four adaptions of William Shakespeares plays broadcast on BBC One through November 2005. ... Damian Lewis is an English actor of Welsh descent. ... Parish in The Wedding Date. ... Billie Paul Piper (born Leanne Paul Piper[1] on 22 September 1982) is an British actress. ...


In 2006 the American Music Theatre Project produced The Boys Are Coming Home, a musical adaptation by Berni Stapleton and Leslie Arden that sets Much Ado about Nothing in World War II America. The American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) was introduced in May 2005 by Northwestern University’s School of Communication, in collaboration with the School of Music, Kellogg School of Management, Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences, and the Graduate School. ... The Boys Are Coming Home is the second new musical to emerge from AMTP at Northwestern University. ... Musical theater (or theatre) is a form of theatre combining music, songs, dance, and spoken dialogue. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... For other uses of terms redirecting here, see US (disambiguation), USA (disambiguation), and United States (disambiguation) Motto In God We Trust(since 1956) (From Many, One; Latin, traditional) Anthem The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City National language English (de facto)1 Demonym American...


On film

The first cinematic version in English may have been the 1913 silent film directed by Phillips Smalley. The first major non-silent cinematic version in English was the highly acclaimed 1993 film by Kenneth Branagh. A silent film is a film which has no accompanying soundtrack. ... Phillips Smalley (Born: Brooklyn, NY August 7, 1875 - Died: Hollywood, CA May 2, 1939): Actor married to actress and film director Lois Weber. ... Much Ado About Nothing is a 1993 movie based on William Shakespeares play; it was adapted for the screen and directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also played the role of Benedick. ...


Other

Very recently, the Klingon Language Institute translated Much Ado Adout Nothing into Klingon, similar to the Klingon Hamlet. The Klingon Language Institute is an organization devoted to studying and teaching the human-made Klingon language from the Star Trek science fiction universe. ... This article is about the fictional race. ...


Another important adaptation is the 1973 New York Shakespeare Festival production, by Joseph Papp, shot on videotape and released on VHS and DVD, that presents more of the text than Kenneth Branagh's . The Papp production stars Sam Waterston, Kathleen Widdoes, and Barnard Hughes. Bottom view of VHS videotape cassette with magnetic tape exposed Videotape is a means of recording images and sound onto magnetic tape as opposed to movie film. ... Kenneth Charles Branagh (born December 10, 1960) is an Emmy Award-winning, Academy Award-nominated Northern Irish-born actor and film director. ... Samuel Atkinson Waterston (born November 15, 1940) is an Oscar nominated American actor noted particularly for his portrayal of Jack McCoy on the long-running NBC television series Law & Order. ...


References

  1. ^ See textual notes to Much Ado about Nothing in The Norton Shakespeare (W. W. Norton & Company, 1997 ISBN 0-393-97087-6) p. 1387
  2. ^ See textual notes to Much Ado about Nothing in The Norton Shakespeare (W. W. Norton & Company, 1997 ISBN 0-393-97087-6) p. 1387
  3. ^ F. E. Halliday, A Shakespeare Companion 1564-1964, Baltimore, Penguin, 1964; pp. 326-7.
  4. ^ See Stephen Greenblatt’s introduction to Much Ado about Nothing in The Norton Shakespeare (W. W. Norton & Company, 1997 ISBN 0-393-97087-6) pp. 1381-2
  5. ^ See Stephen Greenblatt’s introduction to Much Ado about Nothing in The Norton Shakespeare (W. W. Norton & Company, 1997 ISBN 0-393-97087-6) at p. 1383
  6. ^ See Gordon Williams "A Glossary of Shakespeare's Sexual Language" (Althone Press, 1997 ISBN 0-485-12130-1) at p.219: "As Shakespeare's title ironically acknowledges, both vagina and virginity are a nothing causing Much Ado."

External links

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Much Ado About Nothing
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William Shakespeare and his works
General information Biography | Style | Influence | Reputation | Religion | Sexuality | Shakespeare authorship question
Tragedies Antony and Cleopatra | Coriolanus | Hamlet | Julius Caesar | King Lear | Macbeth | Othello | Romeo and Juliet | Timon of Athens | Titus Andronicus | Troilus and Cressida
Comedies All's Well That Ends Well | As You Like It | The Comedy of Errors | Cymbeline | Love's Labour's Lost | Measure for Measure | The Merchant of Venice | The Merry Wives of Windsor | A Midsummer Night's Dream | Much Ado About Nothing | Pericles, Prince of Tyre | The Taming of the Shrew | The Tempest | Twelfth Night | The Two Gentlemen of Verona | The Two Noble Kinsmen | The Winter's Tale
Histories King John | Richard II | Henry IV, Part 1 | Henry IV, Part 2 | Henry V | Henry VI, part 1 | Henry VI, part 2 | Henry VI, part 3 | Richard III | Henry VIII
Poems Sonnets | Venus and Adonis | The Rape of Lucrece | The Passionate Pilgrim | The Phoenix and the Turtle | A Lover's Complaint
Apocrypha and Lost Plays Edward III | Sir Thomas More | Cardenio (lost) | Love's Labour's Won (lost) | The Birth of Merlin | Locrine | The London Prodigal | The Puritan | The Second Maiden's Tragedy | Richard II, Part I: Thomas of Woodstock | Sir John Oldcastle | Thomas Lord Cromwell | A Yorkshire Tragedy | Fair Em | Mucedorus | The Merry Devil of Edmonton | Arden of Faversham | Edmund Ironside | Vortigern and Rowena
Other play information Shakespeare's plays | Shakespeare in performance | Chronology of Shakespeare plays | Oxfordian chronology | Shakespeare on screen | BBC Television Shakespeare | Titles based on Shakespeare | Lists of characters A-K · L-Z | Problem plays | List of historical characters | Ghost characters
Image File history File links Wikisource-logo. ... The original Wikisource logo. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Wikiquote is one of a family of wiki-based projects run by the Wikimedia Foundation, running on MediaWiki software. ... Image File history File links Commons-logo. ... Project Gutenberg, abbreviated as PG, is a volunteer effort to digitize, archive and distribute cultural works. ... Image File history File links Shakespeare2. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)[1] was an English poet and playwright. ... William Shakespeare (National Portrait Gallery), in the famous Chandos portrait, artist and authenticity unconfirmed. ... Detail from statue of Shakespeare in Leicester Square, London. ... William Shakespeares influence extends from theatre to literature to the English language itself. ... This article or section includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... William Shakespeare (National Portrait Gallery), in the famous Chandos portrait, artist and authenticity unconfirmed. ... The frontispiece of the First Folio (1623), the first collected edition of Shakespeares plays. ... Shakespeare wrote tragedies from the beginning of his career. ... Anthony and Cleopatra, by Lawrence Alma-Tadema. ... Venturia at the Feet of Coriolanus by Gaspare Landi Photo courtesy of The VRoma Project. ... For other uses, see Hamlet (disambiguation). ... Facsimile of the first page of Julius Caesar from the First Folio, published in 1623 Julius Caesar is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed written in 1599. ... King Lear and the Fool in the Storm by William Dyce (1806-1864) King Lear is a play by William Shakespeare, considered one of his greatest tragedies, based on the legend of King Lear of Britain. ... This article is about Shakespeares play. ... For other uses, see Othello (disambiguation). ... Romeo and Juliet in the famous balcony scene by Ford Madox Brown For other uses, see Romeo and Juliet (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Timon (disambiguation). ... Title page of the first quarto edition (1594) The Tragedy of Titus Andronicus may be Shakespeares earliest tragedy. ... For the Chaucer poem, see Troilus and Criseyde. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... For the Chiodos album, see Alls Well That Ends Well (album). ... Walter Deverell,The Mock Marriage of Orlando and Rosalind, 1853 William Shakespeares As You Like It is a pastoral comedy written in 1599 or early 1600. ... Poster for a performance The Comedy of Errors is one of William Shakespeares early plays, written between 1592 and 1594. ... Dame Ellen Terry as Imogen This article is about Shakespeares play. ... For the film, see Loves Labours Lost (2000 film). ... Claudio and Isabella (1850) by William Holman Hunt Measure for Measure is a play by William Shakespeare, written in 1603. ... Shylock and Portia (1835) by Thomas Sully The Merchant of Venice is one of William Shakespeares best-known plays, written sometime between 1596 and 1598. ... Title page of the 1602 quarto The Merry Wives of Windsor is a comedy by William Shakespeare featuring the fat knight Sir John Falstaff and is Shakespeares only play to deal exclusively with contemporary English life. ... For other uses, see A Midsummer Nights Dream (disambiguation). ... Title page of the 1611 quarto edition of the play Pericles, Prince of Tyre is a play written (at least in part) by William Shakespeare and included in modern editions of his collected plays despite some questions over its authorship. ... Taming of the Shrew by Augustus Egg The Taming of the Shrew is a comedy by William Shakespeare. ... For other uses, see The Tempest (disambiguation). ... Twelfth Night has at least three meanings: Twelfth Night (holiday), celebrated by some Christians Twelfth Night, or What You Will, a comedic play by William Shakespeare Twelfth Night (band), a progressive rock band This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the... The Two Gentlemen of Verona is a comedy by William Shakespeare from early in his career. ... The Two Noble Kinsmen is a play written in 1613 by John Fletcher and William Shakespeare in collaboration. ... Florizel and Perdita by Charles Robert Leslie. ... Traditionally, the plays of William Shakespeare have been grouped into three categories: tragedies, comedies, and histories. ... The Life and Death of King John is one of the Shakespearean histories, plays written by William Shakespeare and based on the history of England. ... Title page of Richard II, from the fifth quarto, published in 1615. ... Title page of the first quarto (1598) Henry IV, Part 1 is a history play by William Shakespeare. ... Henry IV part 2 is a history play by William Shakespeare, first published as part of Shakespeares First Folio. ... Title page of the first quarto (1600) Henry V, also known as The Cronicle History of Henry the fift, is a play by William Shakespeare based on the life of King Henry V of England. ... The First Part of King Henry the Sixth is one of Shakespeares history plays. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Henry VI Part III is the third of William Shakespeares plays set during the lifetime of King Henry VI of England, and prepares the ground for one of his best-known and most controversial plays: the tragedy of King Richard III (Richard III of England). ... Frontispage of the First Quarto Richard The Third. ... Dame Ellen Terry as Katherine of Aragon The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eighth was one of the last plays written by the English playwright William Shakespeare, based on the life of Henry VIII of England. ... Title page from 1609 edition of Shake-Speares Sonnets Dedication page from The Sonnets Shakespeares sonnets, or simply The Sonnets, is a collection of poems in sonnet form written by William Shakespeare that deal with such themes as love, beauty, politics, and mortality. ... Title page of the first quarto (1593) Venus and Adonis is one of Shakespeares three longer poems. ... The Earl of Southampton, painted in 1594, aged 21, the year that Shakespeare dedicated The Rape of Lucrece to him The narrative poem The Rape of Lucrece is the graver work promised by English dramatist-poet William Shakespeare in his dedication to his patron, Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton... The Passionate Pilgrim is a collection of poems, first published in 1599, attributed on the title-page to William Shakespeare. ... The Phoenix and the Turtle is a poem by William Shakespeare. ... A Lovers Complaint is a narrative poem usually attributed to William Shakespeare, although the poems authorship is a matter of critical debate. ... The Shakespeare Apocrypha is the name given to a group of plays that have sometimes been attributed to William Shakespeare, but whose attribution is questionable for various reasons. ... The Reign of King Edward III is a play attributed to William Shakespeare. ... Playtext from the 2005 Royal Shakespeare Company production. ... Publicity poster for the 2002 Los Angeles production of The Second Maidens Tragedy as The History of Cardenio is a lost play, known to have been performed by the Kings Men, a London theatre company, in 1613. ... Loves Labours Won, alternatively written Loves labours wonne, is the name of a play written by William Shakespeare before 1598. ... The Birth of Merlin, or, The Child Hath Found his Father is a Jacobean play, written in 1622. ... Locrine is an Elizabethan play depicting the legendary Trojan founders of the nation of England and of Troynovant (London). ... The London Prodigal is a city comedy set in London in which a prodigal son learns the error of his ways. ... Title page of the 1607 quarto The Puritan is a Jacobean comedy, published in 1607, generally considered to be written by Thomas Middleton. ... The Second Maidens Tragedy is a Jacobean play that survives only in manuscript. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Sir John Oldcastle is an Elizabethan play about John Oldcastle, a controversial 14th-15th century rebel and Lollard who was seen by some of Shakespeares contemporaries as a proto-Protestant martyr. ... Thomas Lord Cromwell is an Elizabethan play, published in 1602. ... A Yorkshire Tragedy is an early Jacobean era stage play, a domestic tragedy printed in 1608. ... Fair Em, the Millers Daughter of Manchester, is an Elizabethan comedy written ca. ... Mucedorus is a play at one time claimed to be one of Shakespeares. ... The Merry Devil of Edmonton is an Elizabethan comedy about a magician, Peter Fabel, nicknamed the Merry Devil. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Edmund Ironside is an anonymous Elizabethan play that depicts the life of Edmund II of England; however, at least two critics have suggested it is an early work by Shakespeare. ... Vortigern and Rowena, or Vortigern, an Historical Play is a play that was touted as a newly discovered work by William Shakespeare when it first appeared in 1796. ... Sir John Gilberts 1849 painting: The Plays of William Shakespeare, containing scenes and characters from several of William Shakespeares plays. ... Sir John Gilberts 1849 painting: The Plays of William Shakespeare, containing scenes and characters from several of William Shakespeares plays. ... The precise chronology of Shakespeares plays as they were first written and performed is impossible to determine, as there is no authoritative record and many of the plays were performed many years before they were published. ... The precise chronology of Shakespeares plays as they were first written is impossible to determine, as there is no authoritative record and many of the plays were performed many years before they were published. ... It has been suggested that this article be split into multiple articles. ... The BBC Television Shakespeare was a set of television adaptations of the plays of Shakespeare, produced by the BBC between 1978 and 1985. ... The following is a partially complete list of titles of works based on Shakespearean phrases. ... In Shakespeare studies, the term problem plays normally refers to three comedies that William Shakespeare wrote between the late 1590s and the first years of the seventeenth century: Alls Well That Ends Well, Measure for Measure and The Merchant of Venice, although some critics would extend the term to... This list contains the biographies of historical figures who appear in the plays of William Shakespeare. ... In playwriting, a ghost character is a character that is mentioned as appearing on stage but neither says nor does anything but enter, and possibly exit. ...

 
 

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