Much Ado Abt Nothing

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade July 2001

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Shakespeare's sly dig at human affairs and human meddling in Much Ado about Nothing is certainly something I enjoy very much. As the title proclaims, Much Ado about Nothing is a play which foregrounds the point that much of human affairs and busy scurrying around amounts to vain activity, albeit in a comic fashion and without the dark brooding misery that circulates around the "nothing[ness]" of Lear or Hamlet. Indeed, what I appreciate about the play is that it points out like Lear, though without the anguished moral vision, two central themes that runs through Shakespeare's plays (especially the later ones): the futility of much of human action as well as the gap between words and reality. The theme of the futility of human action (in this comedy limited to the villainous plotting of Don John and not his brother) certainly comes across after the repeated and quick failures of Don John's various plots.

Don John's attempt to create a rift between Claudio and Don Pedro is quickly foiled; whilst his later plot to foil Claudio's wedding plans is quickly defeated as well.

While my enjoyment of the play lies in my awareness that the play is imbued with serious themes, what creates the most enjoyment for me lies in the gap between reality and the words of the various actors of the drama and the pleasure which the various characters (and Shakespeare himself) evidently takes in words. Beatrice, the highly witty counterpoint to Benedict and in my view, the main figure around which the play revolves, charmingly and quickwittedly retorts to her uncle's discomforted explanation to the messenger of the verbal conflicts between Beatrice and Benedict: Alas! he gets nothing by that. In our last conflict four of his five wits went halting off, and...