Sunday, September 23, 2012

Too Many Characters!

This is my first time reading Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, so my blog is going to consist of important trends in the play!

In Act 1 we first meet a character named Benedick, a man recognized as ill-tempered and critical of women. He is not married and does not plan on it in the near future. He claims he will never be domesticated and if he gets married, he would rather have "bulls horns put through his forehead." After noting this down, it makes me wonder if Shakespeare created matching character pairs that we will decipher as the play goes on.

The next stand out character of Act 1 was Don John, an extremely gloomy personality that can darken any room he enters. He seems to perk up when he hears exciting news about people he knows. For example, Claudio and Hero's developing relationship sparked Don John's interest to create mischief and spoil a possible marriage. He seems to want to make everyone around him as miserable as he feels. 1.3.51-54 reads "Come, come let us hither. This may prove food to my displeasure. That young start up hath all the glory of my overthrow. If I cross him any way I bless myself every way."

Starting Act II, Beatrice (Benedick's female version) gives a speech of her extraordinary wits and her amazing criteria of men. 2.1.57-60 states "The fault will be in the music, cousin, if you be not wooed in good time. If the Prince be too important, tell him there is a measure in everything, and so dance out the answer." Beatrice does not want to associate with any man that is not the cream of the crop. Her surrounding characters believe she will never be married if she continues with this attitude. (Same as Benedick)

A prominent scene in Act II was the costume party. I feel Shakespeare creates so many characters in this play to confuse the reader and audience. I have confidence that by the end of the play, everything will come full circle, but the costume party is a foreshadow. All the different characters putting on masks really confused me because I had trouble keeping up with so many names, now everyone has a new face! I predict for further Acts for people to mix and match lovers. Considering Claudio expressed his love for Hero, then Don Pedro expressing Claudio's love to Hero for him, then Don John thinks Hero loves him, it seems to be a huge mess. I feel since the masks are now on, people won't know who they really are falling in love with!

1 comment:

Cyrus Mulready said...

You have a really interesting idea at the core of this post, Amanda--that Shakespeare is using Benedick and Beatrice as a pair, in a sense. We have seen this idea before in his plays, and I agree that the two are almost unimaginable separated from one another. Why do you think Shakespeare does that with these characters? Is this part of the strategy of comedy, would you say?