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Written by William Shakespeare in 1598-99, Much Ado About nothing is one of his 17 comedies. Much Ado About Nothing tells the tale of an Italian village and the stories which happened when soldier returned from a victorious battle.
MAIN CHARACTERS Benedick~ a witty intelligent man who is a sworn bachelour. However he is tricked into falling in love with Beatrice Beatrice~ A loud, argumentative, orphaned niece of Leonato. She too has sworn not to marry, but is tricked to fall in love with Benedick Don Pedro~ Prince of Arragorn, helps Claudio marry, Benedick fall in love and is there when the see supposidly Hero with another man Don John~ A bastard brother of Don Pedro, is a sinister man who claims he has no time for love, and he ruins Claudio's wedding Hero~ Daughter of Leonato and heir to his belongings a beautiful young woman, who is wrongly accused of sleeping woth other men and is disgraced at her wedding. Claudio~ A brave, young soldier, who false in love with Hero, but is tricked into thinking she was cheating on her, and he help Benedick fall in love Leonato~Governor of Messina, father of Hero and Uncle of Beatrice, was willing to let Hero die when she was said she was no longer a virgin
ACT 1 As this scene opens, the Governor of Messina, Leonato, his niece Beatrice and his daughter Hero are speaking with a messenger. The messenger has come to tell Leonato that Don Pedro, the Prince of Aragon, is visiting Messina following some sort of battle. The Prince will be coming with a brave young soldier, Claudio and Benedick, a witty man and a sworn bachelor. Beatrice asks the messenger about Benedick, a lord of Padua (these 2 have obviously had a history together) Benedick greets her by saying, 'my dear lady distain are you yet living?' The next scene Antonio tells his Brother Leonato that he overheard Claudio admitting he loves Hero and wants to marry her. The 3rd scene has Don John, the bastard brother of Don Pedro, with his 2 companions Borachio and Conrade, saying that he feels unwelcome in Messina and plans to cause unrest.
ACT 2 Hero, Leonato, Beatrice and Antonio are discussing Don John, Beatrice says he is a bitter man who never talks and makes her feel uneasy. Then all the other characters arrive in masks, Don Pedro who agreed to chat up Hero for Claudio, talks to Hero while Borachio and Margaret, Hero's servant, about their sexual desires, so to speak and Beatrice and Benedick talk about love, and say they will never say they love anyone. Don John and Borachio approach Claudio and ask him if he was Benedick, knowing fine well he was Claudio. Claudio said he was and Don John told him that Don Pedro was chatting up Hero for himself, so Claudio left in anger. Claudio returns with Beatrice, Leonato and Hero to question Don Pedro, he denied he was chatting her up for himself, and Hero and Claudio kiss and are a happy couple. Then Don Pedro asks Beatrice to marry him, but she says no and leaves, thats when Don Pedro says Benedick and Beatrice will be a great couple, so they all agree to try and get them to fall in love with each other. The next scene, which occurs in a room at Leonato's house, begins with Don John and Borachio talking. Borachio proposes a new to stop the marriage of Hero and Claudio, which Don John embraces with enthusiasm. The Plan was that Don John will get Claudio and the prince to Hero's chamber window where Borachio will be makin love with Margaret, but Don John will say to Claudio that Margaret is Hero. While Margaret is none the wiser about this. In the next scene, Benedick hides from Leonato, Claudio and Don Pedro, knowing he his hiding they lie about Beatrice's love for Benedick, in order to get them to fall in love.
ACT 3 A lot like the past scene but this time, Beatrice is hiding, while Hero, and her 2 servants, Ursula and Margaret, talk about Benedick's love for Beatrice, and how intelligent and witty he is. The next scene however is a much less light hearted one, although it starts off with Claudio and Don Pedro joking about Benedicks change in personality, because he is in love, eg. He shaved his beared and wearing perfume. But the towards the end of the scene Don John leads, Claudio and Don Pedro to Hero's chamber window, where they see Margaret and Borachio together, and Claudio leaves in disgust belieing it was Hero. The next scene is located in the street where Dogberry, the funny watchman, and his deputy Verges, are patroling the streets of Messina. They over hear Borachio boasting to Conrade about the event that has just happened. Overhearing this Dogberry places them under arrest. The next scene is in the morning of the wedding day, in Hero's bedroom, where she is having a discussion with her servants about what to wear for the wedding. Then Beatrice enters and they mock her because she is in love and her change of personality. The 5th scene was when Leonato was about to enter the church, Dogberry and Verges confront him and congradulate him about the wedding and tell him about what happened last night.
ACT 4 Everyone gathers inside the church to celebrate the wedding of Claudio and Hero. But when Friar Francis asks Claudio whether he wishes to marry Hero, Claudio breaks into an outraged speech. He tells Leonato that he sends Hero back to Leonato again. After Claudio finished calling her, Leonato, her own father, shouts at her, calling her slanderous names. Hero collapses and Claudio and Don Pedro leave. Benedick and Beatrice rush to offer her their assistance, while Leonato says she can die, for what she has done. Suddenly and unexpectedly, the friar comes out with a long speech saying Hero is innocent and they should pretend she is dead until they've found out what really happened. Then Benedick and a sobbing Beatrice are left in the church, Benedick questions her love for him but she is too sad to say she loves him. He asks what he has to do to get her to love him, she replies, 'Kill Claudio.' The next scene starts with Dogberry and Verges questioning Borahio and Conrade. Borachio confesses that he received money from Don John for pretending to make love to Hero and then lying about it to.
ACT 5 Leonato and Antonio are discussing their outrage about the wedding, until Claudio and Don Pedro enter. Leonato shouts at Claudio and accuses him of causing his daughters death, and Antonio says he will challenge them for what they have done. But then Benedick enters he says that Don John has fled Messina and he will challenge Claudio. This is the only time in the book when Benedick is serious, he is not making witty remarks or jokes. Suddenly Dogberry and Verges enter, dragging behind them the captured villains Conrad and Borachio. Dogberry tells Claudio and Don Pedro that Borachio has confessed to treachery and lying, and Borachio admits his crime again. Shocked Claudio and Don Pedro realized Hero was innocent when she died. Leonato offered a chance for Claudio to undo what he has done, Claudio had to write an epitaph on her tomb and sing it, then marry his niece. (it's actually Hero, but he'll only find out after they are married) Meanwhile, near Leonato's estate, Benedick asks Margaret to bring Beatrice to speak to him. He tries to write a poem, but finds it hard to rhyme now he is in love. When she arrives they flirt and joke until Ursula arrives telling them the news, that Hero has been proved to be innocent. The next scene at the tomb where Hero supposedly lies buried, Claudio carries out the first part of the punishment that Leonato has ordered him to perform Claudio wrote an epitaph and then sung it. The next scene was the second wedding, Leonato had Hero masked and was only allowed to be unmasked after she has been married. When she is married Claudio unmasks her and to his delight he saw Hero. Benedick stopped the celebrations to ask Beatrice to marry him, she agrees and the party continues after a messenger reported that Don John has been arrested.
Although i enjoyed the play it left a lot of loose ends, like what happened with Don John? and Don Pedro sees himself as a ladies man, but why is he still single by the end? etc. Nevertheless it was a great play. Another down part in the play is the racism and predjudice they all have. I know it was a long time ago and Jews were banned from Britain at the time, i still don't think a writer should write racist opinions about them, also Claudio states 'i would marry her even if she were an Ethiope,' this shows Africans at the time were seen as second class citizens alot like the women of the time.
The characters i thought were the best thing in the play each wit their own history and plots, eg. Don John, like most illegitimate people of the time, they were treated as second class, so that could have provoked him to become sinister and his role in the play is just to cause unrest and havack ampng the people in Messina, whereas Beatrice is an orphan, and is incredibly loud and argumentative for a woman of the times, never mind an orphan.
Before i read this play i've only read 'The Tempest' & 'Hamlet', and because of those plays i disliked Shakespeare's plays, probably because they are so farfetched, but after reading this play, i prefer Shakespeare's plays. I am currently studying it for my SATs in May and i had to play as Claudio when we performed the play. So that has given me a different perspective on the play but i still intend on seeing actors perform it live in Theatre. I have also seen 2 films of it, the one with Shakespearean language and original plots, starring Denzel Washington and Kenneth Branagh and the modern version, when they are newsreaders.
Of course like all Shakespeare plays, Much Ado is avalible from a number of publishers including New Folgers Library & arkangel and cost anything from £3-£10. I strongly recommend you buy or at least read this play, no matter if you've read a Shakespeare or not, it is a very good play