Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Much Ado About Nothing

A.K.A Much Ado About Bochinche*

(*spanish for gossip)


BEATRICE: The "niece of Leonato and cousin of Hero". -- One of the most "modern" women you'll find in Shakespeare's works. She's witty, intelligent, funny, makes fun of everybody, including herself, and wants nothing to do with having a husband. In other words, the kind of woman who would intimidate most of the men in her time, (even our time), so of course, she is my FAVORITE.

BENEDICK: Described as a "gentleman" soldier who has been fighting under Don Pedro, and a close friend of Don Pedro and Claudio. -- Ditto on everything I said about Beatrice pretty much applies to Benedick, including him not wanting a wife. Mostly because he doesn't trust women. I wondered if Bill put the "DICK" in BeneDICK on purpose but in those times I don't think that slang term was around...

CLAUDIO: A young buck soldier who apparently did a good job in the war who also fought under Don Pedro. --- Nice enough guy, but also a gullible, and insecure shmuck you want to smack around.

HERO: "The beautiful young daughter" of Leonato with the unusual name. Seriously, Hero?! , and Beatrice's cousin. --- She's described as "gentle and innocent". Translation: young, stupid, and does everything her Daddy says.

DON PEDRO: A "very important nobleman from Aragon, often referred to as 'the Prince'. Longtime friend of Leonato, Hero's father. He is the most politically, and socially powerful character in the play". --- In other words, he cool, but don't fuck with him. He's the "Godfather".

LEONATO: the "father of Hero and the uncle of Beatrice. Governor of Messina." (where this all takes place). --- Another big honcho on the scene. Only comes second to Don Pedro.

DON JOHN: "Don Pedro's illegitimate half brother, sometimes referred to as 'the bastard'" --- and rightly so, he's the dirty, rotten, scoundrel who starts all this mess in the first place, just cuz he's hatin' on his brother.

MARGARET: "Hero's serving woman", a.k.a personal slave. --- She's the one who unknowingly helps the bastard brother and his dirtbag friend Borachio into deceiving Claudio into thinking Hero is a slut.

BORACHIO: (in Italian AND Spanish means "drunkard") "An associate of Don John, and lover of Margaret, Hero's serving woman." --- He's the dirtbag that's Don John's lackey.

CONRAD: "One of Don John's intimate associates" --- another lackey.

DOGBERRY: "The chief policeman of Messina" --- He's the sincere head Popo. He really tries, but he's an idiot. However, him and his homie Verges are funny.

VERGES: "The deputy to Dogberry" --- He's an idiot, too.

ANTONIO: Leonato's older brother, and Hero and Beatrice's uncle. --- He's okay, doesn't say too much in the play.

BALTHASAR: "a waiting man in Leonato's household, and musician" --- some assistant and entertainer who helps Leonato, Claudio, and Don Pedro trick Benedick into falling for Beatrice. The little song he sings that they keep singing throughout the play I will get into that...

URSULA: Some other personal assistant of Hero's, because apparently she needs more than one...


Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy by William Shakespeare about two pairs of lovers, Benedick and Beatrice, and Claudio and Hero. Benedick and Beatrice are engaged in a "merry war"; they both talk a mile a minute and proclaim their scorn for love, marriage, and each other. In contrast, Claudio and Hero are sweet young people who are rendered practically speechless by their love for one another. By means of "noting" (which sounds the same as "nothing," and which is gossip, rumor, and overhearing), Benedick and Beatrice are tricked into confessing their love for each other, and Claudio is tricked into rejecting Hero at the altar. However, Dogberry, a Constable who is a master of malapropisms, discovers—unbeknownst to himself—the evil trickery of the villain, the bastard Don John. In the end, Don John is captured and everyone else joins in a dance celebrating the marriages of the two couples.

~ wikipedia


So these soldiers come back from the war, Don Pedro, Don John, Claudio, and Benedick to the town of Messina. Big hero's welcome, etc, etc, etc. Claudio and Hero fall head over heals for each other at first sight, because that's the way it works, right? Yeah right. Stupid kids. Leonato seems to be more than a little too eager to give his daughter away to some dude he doesn't even know. I find that a little disturbing. Because what? He's a soldier? He could be some raging alcoholic who'll end up beating her ass later. Moving right along..

Benedick and Beatrice, who you can tell in my "cast of characters" are very much a like, so you know they will probably end up together in the end, because there has to be a "happy ending". Their banter reminds me of Bruce Willis and Cybil Shepard in "Moonlighting". I must say, they are my favorite part of the play. Beatrice, being a woman after my own heart, and dear old Benedick, as much as I would love to hate him but I can't. He's just too freakin' cute, maybe because he reminds me of myself. I feel ya' B, I don't trust my gender either.

The ball scene is cute. Although part of me was saying,"Claudio, just talk to Hero yourself, you big wussy! You need someone else to 'whoo'her for you? You can be in a war, but you can't talk to some chick? Grow some cojones, kiddo."

And the song they keep singing and dancing to throughout the play, "Sigh no more ladies", basically telling women they need to accept men for being the filthy, cheating dogs that they are. Um, I don't think so.

Everything seems to be going just dandy when the bastard brother Don John decides he can't take anybody around him being happy so he schemes to ruin Claudio's mack on Hero. Now I can understand to a certain extent Don John being so bitter about being called "the bastard" because he was the love child, but he just makes it worse for himself so it's difficult to feel sorry for him. He uses his flunkies Borachio, and Conrad to do his dirty work for him, and poor dumb Margaret gets caught up in the whole disarray just because she got the hots for that loser Borachio. As soon as the plan starts going to shit, Don John skips town.

The "plan" is to make Hero look like a big hussy so Claudio won't love her anymore. Tsk, tsk, tsk. People and their gossip. I don't think things have changed much since then. Except now we have the tabloid magazines, TMZ, and the Wendy Williams Show.

First of all, if Claudio really loved her, he shouldn't be believing any of that crap in the first place. Second, when Claudio disgraces Hero in front of everyone at the wedding she shoulda punched him in the head for it. I woulda been like, "So, that's what you want to believe? and you say you don't love me anymore? Well, FUCK YOU then!"

Then the icing on the cake is when Hero's father Leonato believes the hype as well and turns on his daughter, wanting to beat her down in front of the whole town. You want to kill your only child because you think she's not a virgin? What the fuck is that about? When I went to see this play with some friends not too long ago, one of my fellow feminist friends that sat next to me, well, I could tell at some moments she was getting upset. Probably because I heard her mumbling about it. Another friend who was there attempted to console her by saying, "it's not real.It's a play." The sad fact is, there are women in today's day and age around the world that are STILL getting scolded, scorned, and stoned for their sexuality. That's happened here in the U.S. Now you see folks, this is exactly the type of bullshit that makes a lot of young female readers not like Shakespeare. Especially, young feminists. Why should they? Plenty of it is sexist, AND racist as well.

Speaking of that, I noticed some parts of it talking about how lighter is fairer, and dark is not, and blah, blah, blah. Say what?! I'd read those parts and think to myself, "wow, this is so wrong." I don't care what they say, I'll take a nice lookin' mocha chocolatta ya ya any day.

Meanwhile, Benedick and Beatrice get "tricked" into falling in love with each other with a little help from their friends. Honestly, I think that would have happened regardless of their friends' match-making shenanigans. Clearly, you can see the attraction from the start, and in spite of them fighting against it, you can see that iceberg coming from a mile away.

One of the ways Hero's delicate reputation is "saved" is by pretending she has passed away. Yes, everyone, she is no longer worthy for any man, so she might as well be dead, right? Whoa. That's a major, "damn, that is fucked up." But hey, it seems to work, Claudio is so jammed with guilt, especially when he discovers the truth, that he blindly agrees to marry someone who is supposed to be Hero's "relative" that LOOKS like her just to redeem himself. She then reveals herself to him like, "Voila, it's really me. I had to "die" so my whore image could die too, but I'm really here! Yay! Now we can get married!"

After all this "Three's Company" like misunderstanding and miscommunication, in the end the two young lovers wed and B & B involuntarily and accidently confess their love to each other and all is well, and everybody breaks into dancin' in the streets like nothin' ever happened.

The end.

SIDENOTE: In Shakespeare's time, women were not allowed to be actors, so the men played the women's roles. The play we saw had women playing men's roles i.e Dogberry, Verges, and Conrad. Sweet.


  1. testing 1, 2, 3. A friend said my comments section wasn't working, so I'm checking it out.

  2. Love this, Ms. C! Such nifty insights into this very nifty play. I am sure somewhere out there, Will S. is reading it, and cracking up. "If the word 'mack' had been around in my day, I SO would have used it, too." Things I particularly appreciate about this lovely post:

    1) It reveals to me that there is a character named "Dogberry" which I soooo didn't pick up on before. Awesome. Love him. So comical.
    2) Nice tearing apart of the RUBBISH that is the Hero plot. Valuing women only based on their sexual purity, fantastic.
    3) My favorite quote--that the "pure, sweet" Hero is "young, stupid, and does everything her Daddy says." Exactly. Team Beatrice!

  3. lol, thank you so much Holly! I was waiting for your comments! :)

    Much appreciated. This "deconstruction" is going to be such a fun ride! It has been so far, already!

    I am in the process of re- reading Romeo & Juliet. So that's what's up next! This should be interesting, lol...

  4. Hahaha feminism.