Noting Much?

Much Ado About Nothing is, as the title for the Shakespearean play on offer at the moment, simultaneously straightforward and subtle. It is a complex pun, a playing with words that operates as a triple entendre and, reflects upon itself, since it means that there will be much action, business or fuss about nothing in particular. There will be no substance to slander, no hostility behind insults, no truthfulness in convictions. It is a romantic comedy, possibly even a farce, where two pairs of ‘star-crossed lovers’ make and unmake matches with each other and where ‘everything ends up happily ever after’. It involves many errors of perception, major deceptions and much misjudgement – Prince John’s reformation; the masked costume party; the staged ‘overhearings’ where Beatrice and Benedick learn of the other’s love; Borachio’s plot to blot Hero’s reputation; Leonato’s overreaction and then her ‘death’, amongst other features.


One of romantic love’s features is ‘whispering sweet nothings in your (lover’s) ear’ and this is as common today as it was then.


Moreover, since ‘nothing’ was, in Shakespeare’s day, pronounced ‘noting’ (rather like it would be in today’s Caribbean, ‘nothing/ noting’ is also music which Count Orsino in Twelfth Night declares is the ‘food of love’ and popular music on the theme of love is ageless and global.

June 27, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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