Saturday, 14 January 2012
Much Ado About Nothing - William Shakespeare
Out of all the Shakespeare plays I picked out this is the one I was probably least excited about. After reading the last two I had thought that the tragedies were going to be my favourite. I didn't know how the comedies could possibly compare. However, I was more than pleasantly surprised. No sooner had I started reading was I caught straight into the story. I was able to forget completely that I was reading a play. It was both funny and a fantastic tale.
Unsurprisingly the characters which stood out for me were Benedick and Beatrice, Benedick especially. Yes, their banter was funny. They both seemed to love baiting each other. Beatrice in particular seemed to very much enjoy giving Benedick the sharp side of her tongue. It amused me how easily they believed the stories they overheard of one being in love with the other. The image of Beatrice supposedly crying over her love of Benedick was especially funny since I couldn't actually picture her character doing that over anyone. Their change of hearts was extremely quick which makes you think their jabs at each other were really a cover for how they truly felt. Hidden even to themselves. The best part for me though was that Benedick had changed his mind so completely that he was even willing to kill someone for her.
The rest of the plot was a fun read too. I was also sucked into the story of Don John and his villainous plan. Even though I knew how it must turn out (for it's not a tragedy) I still found it exciting to read. I have to say though if I had been Hero Claudio would have got a punch in the face for believing the lies so readily despite the false proof. Her father too who wished she were dead rather than have this be true. Only the Friar and Beatrice seemed ready to believe her innocence. It made for an exciting ending though as the guards saved the day.
I feel a little guilty for this but I actually think I enjoyed this one a little more than I did Macbeth. Feel like I am betraying my favourite witches and Lady Macbeth. This one though was extremely entertaining without any of the deaths and I could actually rave about it all day. I think that this would be a good one for any beginner like myself as there was also a smaller cast. I didn't have to go back and forwards to the list of characters at the start. I also discovered that Joss Whedon of Firefly Fame has directed this as a film starring some a lot of actors who have worked with him before. Will be interesting to see what he does with it.
Read for Shakespeare month organised by Ellie of A Literary Odyssey.
You can read other posts by those who have signed up here.
Don't forget that I am giving away a copy of one of my favourite books, The Eyre Affair. All you need to do is leave a comment on the post.
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I know Whedon often invites his actors to come to his home on weekends to do readings of Shakespeare. No doubt, and judging by the cast I am all the more inclined to believe, this is how the idea came into being.ReplyDelete
You know, you don't necessarily have to choose one over the other. For me, there is a time and place for tragedy and a time and place for comedy. Have you seen the PBS version of Macbeth with Patrick Stewart? Every time I try to watch it, someone decides to surprise me with a phone call or by dropping by. It's absolutely uncanny. But I recently noticed it's available on netflix streaming so I may just make a date with myself and watch it with my phone off, naturally. I may even turn off all the lights in the house to make it look like nobody is home.
I haven't seen any version of Macbeth although I do like Patrick Stewart. Would be worth watching. True I don't need to choose one over the over but a part of me did like this one more than Macbeth.Delete
I do enjoy Shakespeare, but havent read this one. Thats funny how you say 'Feel like I am betraying my favourite witches and Lady Macbeth', since you like this one better than Macbeth :)ReplyDelete
True, I do feel like I am betraying the witches and Lady Macbeth. Although whilst I loved this one none of the characters could really come close to Lady Macbeth.Delete
I can absolutely relate to what you say. I had read the most famous of his tragedies and was very uninterested in the comedies because I thought they could never match up. But A Midsummer Night's Dream proved me wrong. your review of Much Ado... makes me want to read it. Lets see, maybe I will before the month is out.ReplyDelete
I was pleasantly surprised. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did.Delete
I had a similar experience with As You Like It. Wasn't expecting much, but could be one of my favorites! I'm ordering this one from the library right now, and it's officially in the queue after Macbeth!ReplyDelete
Hope you enjoy it too as well as Macbeth. Will have to add As You Like it to my list.Delete
I loved reading your review. I read this years ago, but now I am going to grab it off the shelf for a re-read! It has always been one of my favourites....so funny! The movie starring Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson is fantastic too if you are interested.ReplyDelete
I love Emma Thompson. One of my favourite actresses. Will have to look out for this.Delete
Yay for MAAN! I love this play, especially because of all the witty lines. I won't quote - I promise.ReplyDelete
Also, yay for Joss Whedon (me being a Buffy-nerd and all).
If you get a chance, do watch Kenneth Branagh's film version. It's really good (and not just because you get to see Keanu with his shirt off - really).
Quote away, I don't mind, lol. I am a Joss Whedon fan myself. Was gutted when Firefly was cancelled. Think it will be interesting though.Delete
Keanu shirtless you say? Now I really will have to look out for this.
I read Much Ado About Nothing this month too. Like you, I really enjoyed Benedick and Beatrice. I think I actually tend to lean more to his comedies than tragedies at least at this point in time.ReplyDelete
I will go and have a look at your review. I have only read this one comedy but as it's been my favourite to date I am leaning towards them too. I am in the middle of Hamlet but have another comedy lined up after.Delete