by William Shakespeare
First sentence: “I learn in this letter that Don Pedro of Arragon comes this night to Messina.”
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What does one say about this Shakespeare play? Good question.
It’s got some of the best bantering passages ever written in the dialogue between Beatrice and Benedick. One of my favorites, near the end:
Benedick: And I pray the now tell me, for which of my bad parts didst thou first fall in love with me?
Beatrice: For them all together, which maintain’d so politic a state of evil that they will not admit any good part to intermingle with them. But for which of my good parts did you first suffer love for me?
Benedick: Suffer love! a good epithite! I do suffer love indeed, for I love thee against my will.
Beatrice: In spite of your heart, I think. Alas, poor heart, if you spite it for my sake, I will spitie it for yours, for I will never love that which my friend hates.
Benedick: Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.
It’s a silly play, but not nearly as silly as some of Shakespeare’s other plays. Hubby’s always said Shakespeare had about 45 minutes of good material, and then had to write a play around that.
It’s pretty accessible as a play — and for reading a play, it wasn’t half-bad either — I watched a BBC version (I know: I adore the Branagh version, too, but I watched that separate from reading it), and by the end, both M and C were curious about what was going on.
The men in the play are infuriating. Absolutely infuriating. I was yelling at the book/movie at one point. I mean really: Hero’s own father didn’t believe that she was set up??
Don Juan is a thankless character. (Especially when Keanu plays him.) I don’t understand his motivations, and what he does is really low-brow rather than vindictive. A pox on him.
That said, it’s a fun play, an enjoyable play, and one definitely worth reading/seeing. Especially in the summertime.
5 thoughts on “Much Ado About Nothing”
I did see it performed once – in the open air and my thoughts were silly but fun – thanks so much for sharing your excellent review!
My husband produces professional theatre and his theatre company did this 5 summers ago in the Park — it was delightful, and silly enough, our then 4 year old acutally picked up on the banter.
My mother brought home film versions of Much Ado and Twelfth Night when I was still pretty small, so I have a soft spot for this play. And a years-long crush on Denzel Washington as Don Pedro.
Eee! My fave Shakespeare! I love this, flaws and all. B&B are one of my favorite couples in all of literature. Especially love how (as in the passage that you quoted) they don't go all gooshy when they fall in love, but continue sparring and flirting.
Oh yes. Much to love (and a shame that there is also some to be annoyed by, but I have yet to find the PERFECT Shakespeare 🙂