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Branagh's Interpretation of Much Ado About Nothing Essays

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Branagh's Interpretation of Much Ado About Nothing

 
Shakespeare's wonderful comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, is an entertaining tale of the trials and tribulations of two pairs of lovers, who must face and overcome both malicious schemes plotted against them and also their own flaws and shortcomings before finding happiness together. Although clearly a comedy, the play is not without its darker moments. Don John plots to ruin Claudio's marriage; he nearly succeeds because Claudio, and most of the other men in the play, are too quick to judge Hero (and women in general) as innately deceitful. Naturally, true love wins through in the end, as the plot is exposed and foiled and Hero and Claudio are happily wed. Joining them at the altar are Beatrice and Benedick, the sharp-tongued pair who have (thanks to a little friendly intervention) discovered the mutual admiration previously hidden beneath their sarcasm.

It is possible for the director of a film based on the play to interpret the text in many ways. One option, for example, would be to emphasize the similarities between the deception perpetrated by Don John and that of the more friendly conspirators, and thus paint a darker picture of the intent and actions of those attempting to unite Beatrice and Benedick. Another treatment might instead choose to focus upon the differences between the two deceptions. The topic of Benedick and Beatrice's love for each other can be handled differently as well. Perhaps one director might portray this love as being created by the conspirators' acting, might portray Beatrice and Benedick as two proud individuals tricked into loving each other. Alternatively, another director could shoot the same scenes to show Benedick and Beatrice's love...


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...lt they had been duped into loving each other, our reaction could not have been as positive. Similarly, we laugh along with the conspirators, secure in the conviction that we are laughing at an innocent prank and not a malicious deception. Branagh's focus upon the lighter side of the play brings out its comic side without distancing us from the characters. On the contrary - this emphasis upon the joy and laughter brings us closer to the characters and allows us to rejoice with them.

Sources Cited and Consulted

Dawson, A. B. 'Much Ado About Signifying', Studies in English Literature 22, 211-21. 1982.

Humphreys, A. R. 1981; 'Introduction' to Much Ado About Nothing. London and New York: Routledge. repr. 1994.

Much Ado about Nothing. Dir. Kenneth Branagh. Perf. Emma Thompson, KennethBranagh, Denzel Washington, Michael Keaton, and Keanu Reeves. Goldwyn, 1993


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