MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

By William Shakespeare
Probably written between 1598-1600

Comments by Bob Corbett
January 2009

General Note: In January 2009 I decided that Iíd like to go back and read all the plays of William Shakespeare, perhaps one a month if that works out. I hadnít read a Shakespeare play since 1959, 50 years ago! But I had read nearly all of them in college. I wanted to go back, start with something not too serious or challenging, and work my way through the whole corpus. Thus I began with The Two Gentlemen of Verona. At this time I have no idea how the project will go, nor if it will actually lead me through the entire corpus of Shakespeareís plays. However, I will keep a separate page listing each play Iíve read with links to any comments I would make of that particular play. See: List of Shakespeareís playís Iíve read and commented on

COMMENTS ON
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

Iím sad to say that for me the title was one of the best things about the play. It was quite descriptive of my experience in reading the play. We follow the fortunes and misfortunes of two sets of lovers, Benedick and Beatrice and Claudio and Hero.

The problematic for the first two is that they are both famed wits and their reputations require them to battle with one another and pretend to be enemies. They even seem to come to believe it, and are, in that sense, their own worst enemies. Claudio and Hero are more traditional young lovers, but the evil Don John wants to subvert their planned marriage for his own purposes.

As is typical of Shakespearean comedies there are lots of misunderstanding, mistaken identities and intentions, but all ends well and the two couples seem headed to live out their loves in happy marriages.

I wasnít particular pleased with the play. There were no particular line or speeches which I found memorable or special insights into the human conditions. The story was just too implausible for me to take seriously. It was just truly, much ado about nothing.

Bob Corbett corbetre@webster.edu

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Bob Corbett corbetre@webster.edu