Much Ado About Nothing (Folger Shakespeare Library)

Much Ado About Nothing (Folger Shakespeare Library)

William Shakespeare, Barbara A. Mowat, Paul Werstine

Language: English

Pages: 246

ISBN: 0743482751

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Much Ado About Nothing includes two quite different stories of romantic love. Hero and Claudio fall in love almost at first sight, but an outsider, Don John, strikes out at their happiness. Beatrice and Benedick are kept apart by pride and mutual antagonism until others decide to play Cupid.

The authoritative edition of Much Ado About Nothing from The Folger Shakespeare Library, the trusted and widely used Shakespeare series for students and general readers, includes:

-Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play

-Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play

-Scene-by-scene plot summaries

-A key to the play’s famous lines and phrases

-An introduction to reading Shakespeare’s language

-An essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern perspective on the play

-Fresh images from the Folger Shakespeare Library’s vast holdings of rare books

-An annotated guide to further reading

Essay by Gail Kern Paster

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, is home to the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare’s printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs. For more information, visit

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Pedro Friar Francis Dogberry, a constable Verges, a headborough A Sexton A Boy Hero, daughter to Leonato Beatrice, niece to Leonato Messengers, Watch, Attendants, &c. Scene: Messina] Much Ado About Nothing [ACT 1 Scene I. Before Leonato’s house.] Enter Leonato, Governor of Messina, Hero his daughter, and Beatrice his niece, with a Messenger. Leonato. I learn in this letter that Don Pedro of Aragon comes this night to Messina. Messenger. He is very near by this. He

walk? Dinner is ready. [They walk away.] Claudio. If he do not dote on her upon this, I will never trust my expectation. Don Pedro. Let there be the same net spread for her, and that must your daughter and her gentlewomen carry.° The sport will be, when they hold one an opinion of another’s dotage, and no such matter. That’s the scene that I would see, which will be merely a dumb show.° Let us send her to call him in to dinner. [Exeunt Don Pedro, Claudio, and Leonato.] Benedick. [Advancing]

trial of a man.° I say thou hast belied mine innocent child. Thy slander hath gone through and through her heart, And she lies buried with her ancestors; O, in a tomb where never scandal slept, Save this of hers, framed° by thy villainy! Claudio. My villainy? Leonato. Thine, Claudio; thine I say. Don Pedro. You say not right, old man. Leonato. My lord, my lord, I’ll prove it on his body if he dare, Despite his nice fence° and his active practice, His May of youth and bloom of lustihood. 55

place where it was committed—Claudio’s own mind. Slander must change to remorse. Th’ idea of her life shall sweetly creep Into his study of imagination, ... Into the eye and prospect of his soul ... Then shall he mourn ... And wish he had not so accused her. (223-31) The reconciliation scene is as melodramatic as the denunciation. It too plays with the paradoxes of true love that transcends, or runs counter to, this world of shadows. The resurrected Hero presents the truth as a

of Shakespeare’s whole intention in the text. One can imagine what Gielgud, the greatest Benedick of our century and the director of what has been esteemed the greatest production of the play, would have thought of the northern Mexican version, or of A. J. Antoon’s version of 1971 (set in a small town in the United States, around 1900), or of John Barton’s version of 1976 (set in India). Antoon’s Much Ado, produced as part of the Shakespeare Festival in Central Park, New York, began and

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