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Kenneth Branagh's "Much Ado About Nothing" Essay

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The scene opens in the beautiful hills of Tuscany, Italy. Lying about on the slopes of grass are the humble townsfolk basking in the sunshine as a soft voice introduces; “Sigh no more ladies, sigh no more.” This dreamlike setting is the opening scene of the major motion picture Much Ado About Nothing as envisioned by film director Kenneth Branagh. A far cry from its Shakespearean origins, Branagh’s Much Ado has a look and feel all of its own. This film seeks to capture its audience with visual majesty as the characters and setting are transformed to reveal Branagh’s joyful rendition of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy. However, though Branagh’s vision is nothing short of cinematic genius, it neglects some of the deeper meaning that is illustrated within the original written play. Shakespeare’s subtle nuances and elaborate dialogue shape each character as the plot of the story unfolds. Branagh neglects the situational relevance of certain dialogue within scenes of the written play; relying more on visual effect rather than verbiage. Branagh’s use of editing creates a wistfully light-hearted adaptation of the play and hastens the pace of the drama. While Branagh succeeds in creating many parallels between his movie and Shakespeare's written play, his use of visual imagery, characterization, and setting deliver an interpretation that stands alone as one of joyful camaraderie and humor.

With its entangled double plots and eloquent use of words, Much Ado About Nothing is a story that has the ability to entertain the masses both young and old. Shakespeare’s use of figurative language along with situation creates such vivid imagery for which carries the drama from beginning to end. For example, when we look at Act 1 Scene 1 of the play ...


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...With its unforgettable characters and witty charm, this Much Ado entertains the masses and at the same time reveals the troubles and adversity of love and mistrust. Kenneth Branagh creates his own individualistic adaptation of this classic through the use of visual imagery, characterization, and setting. Branagh cut many lines and speeches from the text to better support his interpretation of a more open and informal society of warm-hearted, affectionate characters. Though Shakespeare's mood is more formal, Branagh remains true to the essence of the play as all of the same characters and most of the dialogue are justly included in the film. Although distinct differences can be made between Branagh’s film and Shakespeare’s written work, they both share a common denominator of good old-fashioned entertainment; and in the world of theater, nothing else really matters.



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