Much Ado About Nothing- William Shakespeare. Discuss how Shakespeare's original script lays the foundations of Branagh's portrayal of the character Don John.

Essay by Muse October 2004

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*This essay is about the film "Much Ado About Nothing" directed by Kenneth Branagh, relating to William Shakespeares play of the same title.*

Don John is the main villain in "Much Ado About Nothing." He is the one who speaks little, but when he does, he creates an image of disease. He admits that he cannot be who he is not, not even to please others. This is an oxymoron in itself, an 'honest villain.' He would rather be himself then act happy in front of someone:

'It better fits my blood to be disdained of them all then to fashion a carriage to rob love from any.'

The imagery that Don John creates when he speaks are not of happy things. He uses the idea of trapped animals:

'I have decreed not to sing in my cage.'

Shakespeare uses these types of words to give us an idea as to what type of person Don John is.

Shakespeare tells us that he is an unhappy person that doesn't want to be a socialite like his brother, although he gets jealous when Pedro is so liked.

The language given to Don John by Shakespeare are of a certain type: his lines are never happy or positive; they generate an image of unnaturalness in natural things:

'I had rather be a canker in the hedge then a rose in his grace.'

The tone of Don John in Shakespeare's version is very dark and jealous. The only thing Shakespeare could use to portray Don John was words, while Branagh had visual effects and audio effects to help portray him. Shakespeare made the character of Don John into a villain by using such phrases as:

'If I had my mouth, I would bite.'

In the film, Branagh made his tone...