Much Ado About Nothing is a Comedy with Serious Incidents Essay

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"This play we must call a comedy, tho' some of the incidents and discourses are more in a tragic strain; and that of the accusation of Hero is too shocking for either tragedy or comedy" (Charles Gildon 1714)
How far do you accept this comment about the play's events and language?

"Much Ado About Nothing" is a play categorised as a comedy, and written by the dramatist William Shakespeare. A comic play is usually accepted to be a light-hearted play with a happy conclusion. A play classed as a tragedy is serious and sad, usually ending with the death of the main character. A tragicomedy is a play consisting of both tragic and comic elements. Much Ado is of the comedy genre as it contains humorous scenes and ends happily, however the play also includes serious incidents, which contributes to a tragic element in the play.

The sixteenth century period and the influence of the Elizabethan era would have affected the way Shakespeare wrote his plays. The technological advance since the sixteenth century is considerable. We believe Shakespeare's theatre relied on theatrical effects as minima, and that play's relied entirely on the language.

In Elizabethan society marriages were arranged, property and power were the main reason that influenced discussions for marriage. Daughters were often seen as a strain on family finances, although useful for making political connections, and often judged on their potential for breeding healthy children. Claudio asks Don Pedro if Leonato "hath…any son" to answer the question of inheritance, which a male heir would be left, supporting the Elizabethan view on marriage.

In the Elizabethan period, it was "forbidden" for women to appear on stage and considered "immoral", and so boys played...

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...rice and Bene*censored* with comic moments from Dogberry and The Watch. The public shame of Hero, the pretence death of Hero, and the Beatrice's request to kill Claudio are all tragic events in the play. The play also concludes with a happy ending which further confirms the play is a comedy. The serious moments of Much Ado are lightened with the comedy and happy scenes, but also work in the opposite way of accentuating the darker moments in the play.

 Shakespeare booklet -- for knowledge of the Elizabethan era and the Globe theatre.
 Henry Norman Hudson -- critical analysis of Much Ado, published in 1914
 Julia Stiles -- Shakespeare enthusiast and actress who starred in The Tempest and Macbeth
 Dr Colin Butler -- English Master at Borden Grammar School.
 Grant white -- theory on the title of Much Ado.

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