Much Ado About Nothing—Romantic Comedy * Much Ado about Nothing * Love and War; Love as War—starts with soldiers coming back from war and wanting love; love becomes a battlefield * Young Lovers: Claudio and Hero * “Not(h)ing” Messina: Confusions of Appearance and Reality * Love and War; Love as War * 1. 1: World waiting for the return of youth and love * Learn of soldiers even before they enter scene: * Youthful Claudio, ll. 12-16 Benedick (older man) introduced by Beatrice, ll. 28-9—he is being introduced by mockery; Beatrice makes the joke and marks her different from the other women in the play—she is loud, jokes about men, able to fight with words, witty, and Benedick is the same way * Beatrice and Benedick’s “merry war,” ll. 56-9 * Martial world replaced by “merry” one * What happens when skills necessary for success on the field of battle enter domestic world? * Romantic Couples * Potential Lovers: Claudio and Hero (make up the main plot, but some of the least interesting characters in the play—relatively quiet) * Beatrice and Benedick (subplot—more mature, more worldly, and they are much more talkative/interesting) * Claudio and Hero: * Claudio’s first line in play introduces interest in Hero, l. l. 154-70; “Note”: * To take notice of; to consider or study carefully; to pay attention to; to mark (OED 5. a) * To become aware of; to notice or perceive mentally; to be struck by (OED 5. b) * Claudio and Hero * Nature of Claudio’s love? ll. 278-289 Contrast between affections prior to and post military action * Hesitancy to use the word “love” * Don Pedro’s plan (ll. 300-312): * Disguise (Pedro says he will disguise as Claudio for the ball and approach Hero) * seduction as military action * World of the Play: Messina * Place of propriety and hospitality: * Disguise, deceit runs rampant through play * Inability to distinguish between appearance and reality predominant feature of life in the world of play 1) “Not(h)ing” Messina: Confusion of Appearance and Reality 2) Educating Young Lovers: From Appearances to Faith ) Merry Warriors: Beatrice and Benedick * World of the Play: Messina * Gossip—Overhearing, mishearing, and eavesdropping—central to play * “Nothing” and “noting”: to take notice of; to consider or study carefully; to pay attention; to mark (OED 5. a) * Pedro’s plan to woo for Claudio sets off chain reaction of misapprehensions: * 1. 2: Antonio tells Leonato that Pedro plans to woo Hero for himself (when in reality, Claudio is trying to woo her) * 1. 3: Borachio overhears Pedro and Claudio discussing plan, tells Don John the Bastard (Don John gets the story right! * 2. 1: Wooing by proxy * Masquerade/Disguise (dance to welcome back the soldiers) * Deceiving Claudio: Don John and Borachio, ll. 155-63 (they pretend he is Benedick) * Claudio’s soliloquy ll. 164-74 * Does not question what he has been told: “Tis certain so. ” (The prince woos for himself) * Love as impediment to friendship * “Eye as lover (synecdoche: “A figure by which a more comprehensive term is used for a less comprehensive or vice versa; as whole for part or part for whole, genus for species or species for genus, etc. (OED)) * Goes simply by what he sees Valediction (or rejection) to Hero * Leonato (Hero’s father) gives Claudio Hero’s hand, ll. 285-299 * Couple silent, must be prompted to speak * Beatrice cues them to speak * Hero is silent: sense of youthful embarrassment or confusion * they are overwhelmed and ignorant * Educating Young Lovers: From Appearances to Faith * “False” Hero, Take Two: Don John’s spectacle of infidelity * Claudio’s problem with trust, 3. 2. 111-3 * Shame Hero publicly: In plain view of all * 4. 1: Broken Marriage Ceremony * Claudio returns bride to father ll. 29-41: The blush: sign of innocence or experience? * Innocence: “How could you say these things? ” * Experience: “Busted! ” * “[E]xterior shows” of virtue (39) * He takes it as guilt, not as innocence * He is completely wrong. She is innocent. * Claudio’s second valediction to Hero, ll. 99-107 * speaks to his youthfulness that he is so easily swayed by only outward appearances * Re-educating Claudio * 5. 1: Realization of mis-noting (He is wrong. Learns of Don John’s lies) * 5. 3: Mourning ceremony (spends night at tomb of Hero) * Agrees to marry Hero’s cousin without seeing or knowing her. Claudio publicly retracts slander ll. 3-10 * In death, shame transformed into fame (Hero has become a hero through death) * Night gives way to dawn (shifts from grieving to hope; cover of darkness or confusion to a wrapping up of the play) * 5. 4: Hero’s “Resurrection” * Scene re-works and reverses 2. 1 (masked ball): women’s identities concealed by masks * Ceremony corrects Claudio’s initial error, in which he identified and valued Hero by outward signs * Merry Warriors: Beatrice and Benedick * Beatrice: “I pray you, is Signor Montanto returned from the wars of no? (1. 1. 28-9) * Opening exchange between host and guests takes bawdy turn, ll. 90-106 * Joking suggests male suspicion of female sexual inconstancy * Doubting Women’s Constancy * “A woman’s gentle heart, but no acquainted / With shifting change, as is false women’s fashion” (Sonnet 20, 3-4) * Cuckold, ry: “A derisive name for the husband of an unfaithful wife” (OED 1) * Idea that deceived husband would grow horns which would reveal him to his community as a dupe of his wife and her lover * Fear of Being Cuckolded Horns (bovine rather than antlers) associated with visibility: make things seen * Cuckold is emasculated, not merely by having his place taken by another, but in being rendered vulnerable to representation * Husband becomes spectacle of ignorance to all around him * Verbal Energy of Warring Words * Public protestations against love: * Benedick vows to live as bachelor 1. 1. 227-256 * Beatrice against falling in love 2. 1. 5-17, 40-60 * Shared sentiments (and wit) mark Beatrice and Benedick as suited for one another * Gender and Speech Claudio on match with Hero 1. 1. 278-80 * Marriage as alliance * Economic concerns bind women * Parental (patriarchal—seems like there are only dads in Shakespeare’s plays) desires seem to govern women’s speech * Gulling the Reluctant Lovers * to pass the time prior to the wedding of Hero and Claudio, Don Pedro Proposes another theatrical interlude (trick) 2. 1. 342-366 * Tricking couple involves making them a spectacle, a form of comedic entertainment without their awareness * Matching Beatrice and Benedick involves form of structural cuckolding * 2. : Men “Hunt” Benedick * Tricksters pretend to speak truth, while Benedick “notes” their conversation (so he can listen in on their conversation) * Men describe Beatrice’s suffering from unrequited love, ll. 87-119 * to gull: to make a gull of ; to dupe, cheat, befool, “take in:, deceive (v. 3, def. 1) * Leonato’s authority and Hero’s virtue convince Benedick of “truth” * Benedick transformed, ll. 210-33 * Enumeration of Beatrice’s virtues contrasts Claudio’s interest in appearance * Converted into lover: “for I will be horribly in love with her” (l. 23) * 3. 1: Women Snare Beatrice * Actresses follow Don Pedro’s script (? —are they actually following the script) * Silent Hero? ll. 34-36, 47-56, 60-70, 72-80 * Focus on Beatrice’s faults rather than Benedick’s virtues * Beatrice to temper her voice to Benedick’s wishes, ll. 107017) * New Alliances: Repudiation scene (4. 1) * All doubt Hero but witty lovers (Beatrice and Benedick) * Beatrice tests Benedick’s love, ll. 262-289 * “Kill Claudio” (288)