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Much Ado About Nothing Essay

3139 words - 13 pages

As a title, Much Ado About Nothing fits neatly with those of Shakespeare’s other plays written around the same time: the titles seem whimsical and even flippant. Twelfth Night was alternatively titled What You Will, and As You Like It seems a much less informative title than, say, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Still, the capricious titles are actually as reflective of their content as any history or tragedy title. The plot of Much Ado About Nothing centers on a lot of hubbub over little misunderstandings; there’s a whole lot of fuss about stuff that ultimately isn’t that important.

For the bigger issues in the play, though, we turn to the fact ...view middle of the document...

Hercules (2.1.253, 2.1.365, 3.3.136, 4.1.321)
Ate (2.1.256) – goddess of mischief and discord
Cupid (1.1.40, 1.1.184, 1.1.254, 1.1.271, 2.1.385, 3.1.22, 3.1.106, 3.2.10)
Diana (4.1.58)
Venus (4.1.60)
Adam (2.1.63, 2.1.252) – as in the Biblical Adam and Eve
Much Ado about Nothing Symbolism, Imagery & Allegory

Clothing as a symbol of status pops up quite a bit in the play. It often tells us about a person’s station in life. Interestingly, the play’s characters change their stances on love and...

Cuckold's Horns
Horns show up consistently in the play as a symbol of marriage (and the corollary notion of a husband being whipped in marriage). Remember, cuckolds were men who were married to unfaithful wives, a...

The title of the play, given that "nothing" was pronounced as "noting" in Shakespeare’s day, clues us in to the fact that noting is central to all of the action. Noting is a motif throughout...

Messina, a city on the island of Sicily in southern Italy, sometime in the 16th century
Messina is a bustling port city, but its climate makes it agricultural as well, meaning the men returning from battle with Don Pedro would likely view Messina as a welcome respite from the battlefield. The whole point of the soldiers coming to Messina is that they’re in an idyllic setting, away from the action of the war.

While most of the play occurs around Leonato’s house, Leonato’s orchard (or garden) figures as a central place of action as well. It’s where Benedick and Beatrice hear the conversations about each other's "love." Language about the beautiful garden gives us a good feeling for the whimsical romance that characterizes the play.

The setting is also bigger than its physical realm – we learn that Messina is a respite from the battlefield because it sets the scene for the play to take place in a holiday-like mood. While the play is not a true pastoral play in the sense that everyone is unfamiliar with Messina, the soldiers’ presence in Messina shakes things up – the space is suddenly set up for matchmaking and merriment. The soldiers are in a loving mood now that their minds have turned from war, and Leonato’s house is excited to have the soldiers visit. The mood, like the atmosphere, is generally festive.
Much Ado About Nothing Plot Analysis
Most good stories start with a fundamental list of ingredients: the initial situation, conflict, complication, climax, suspense, denouement, and conclusion. Great writers sometimes shake up the recipe and add some spice.
Initial Situation
Claudio likes Hero; Beatrice and Benedick hate each other.
Claudio announces that he noticed Hero before the war, but he was busy with war stuff. Now he can get busy with love stuff. Overall, he falls in love with Hero quickly. Beatrice and Benedick, by contrast, seem to have spent a long time developing their enmity towards each other. Beatrice alludes to some past interactions she may have had with Benedick that have...

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