Much Ado About Nothing | book review

12960Title: Much Ado About Nothing
Author: William Shakespeare
Series: None
Publisher: n/a
Publication Date: 1600
Genre(s): Fiction, Drama, Comedy

Opening Line:

“I learn in this letter that Don Pedro of Aragon comes this night to Messina.”

The Synopsis

When Prince Don Pedro comes to Messina after a successful battle, he brings with him his bastard brother (Don Jon), Signoir Benedick, and Count Claudio. Leonato, the governor of Messina, invites the Prince to stay with him. Claudio instantly falls in love with the governor’s daughter, Hero. Because Don Jon is a bitter human being, he decides to do whatever he can to prevent Claudio and Hero’s marriage. Meanwhile, with Benedick returned, Beatrice can once again resume her war of wits with the man. Don Pedro and company decide to trick Benedick and Beatrice into falling in love. Somehow, Don Jon manages to pretty much ruin everything.

The Plot

Finally, a Shakespeare play I actually enjoyed. The plot was fun, interesting, and unique. Sure, there were a couple interconnecting plots, but they actually connected in a logical way and they were easy to follow along. Another plus: no plays-within-plays. Well, there were no literal plays, that is. There was a lot of acting going on during the gulls, but I think those subtle hints are more creative and fun to read about than an actual and literal play. Much Ado is definitely a lot easier to follow than some of Shakespeare’s other plays.

The Characters

Thank you, Shakespeare, for only having a small handful of characters in this play. You even made the characters’ names different, as opposed to the Gremio and Grumio disaster in Taming of the Shrew! I enjoyed all the characters in this play. I loved following Benedick and Beatrice’s relationship, though I’m not quite sure what to make of it. Do they honestly love each other? I’m not sure. I could believe Benedick’s feelings, but Beatrice isn’t convincing enough. In fact, Beatrice kind of reminded me of Katharina in Taming of the Shrew. She is vocal and not very ladylike — she tries to be like “one of the guys,” though eventually realizes she is not. Beatrice isn’t necessarily a shrew, but some characters do see her as shrewish. Of course we also have the insta-love between Claudio and Hero, which is okay I guess. And Don Jon is just a jerk for no reason. All the characters are fun to read about, though, and I enjoyed it.

The Writing

Again, as I say with all my reviews of Shakespeare, I prefer to watch his plays than read them. Reading summaries and watching films always helps me to understand the play, too. However, I think this play is much easier to read than some of Shakespeare’s other plays, and I think many would enjoy reading it.

My Rating

4 star

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