Much Ado About Nothing: Thoughts Specific and General

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Hello!

Below are the key scenes we’ll be focussing on when we start to look at Much Ado About Nothing next term:

I.i
II.i
II.iii
III.i
III.v
IV.i
V.iv

Note that these are the only scenes we’ll be reading (performing) in class.
You’ll find the first few lessons a lot more fun if you’re already familiar with the play and its characters, so do have a little look at it in advance. The Kenneth Branagh film is a triumph.

Additionally, below are the topics we’ll be focussing on once we’ve made our way through the set scenes:

1. Structure and Rom-com: Much Ado About Nothing and Anchorman
I.i, II.i, II.iii, III.i, IV.i, V.ii
In what way does the structure of Much Ado About Nothing contribute to its effectiveness as a comedy?

2. Dis/order in Much Ado About Nothing
II.i, II.iii (B&B) IV.i, IV. ii, V.i, V.iv
Explore the relationship beween order and chaos in Much Ado About Nothing.

3. Tragicomic? Links with Measure for Measure, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet and Othello.
I.iii, II.ii, II.iii, III.ii, IV.i, V.iv
Write about some of the connections between Much Ado About Nothing and Shakespeare’s other plays.

4. Language: Puns, Double-entendre and malapropism
I.i, III.v, IV.ii, V.ii
Explore Shakespeare’s use of language to create humour in Much Ado About Nothing.

5. Seriously funny: The darker side of Much Ado About Nothing
I.iii, IV.i, V.i, V.iv
Explore the effect of the above scenes on the play as a whole.

6. ‘Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.’ The Folly of Love in Much Ado About Nothing.
II.i (Benedick) II.iii (Benedick) III.i (Beatrice) III.ii (Benedick) V.ii, V.iv
Much Ado About Nothing suggests that ‘love makes fools of us all’. To what extent do you agree?

7. ‘Strike up, pipers!’ Revelry in Much Ado About Nothing.
II.i, II.iii, V.ii, V.iii, V.iv
Explore the ways in which music, dance and revelry contribute to the action of Much Ado About Nothing.

8. Practically hilarious: Slapstick and practical jokes in Much Ado About Nothing.
II.i, II.iii, III.i, V.iv
In what ways do practical jokes contribute to the action and humour of Much Ado About Nothing?

Brace yourselves.

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