As part of the Back to the Classics 2013 reading challenge, Kathy has read and reviewed William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing on her blog, Grown Up Book Reports. We have copied her review below (with her permission).
I really don’t understand what the big deal is about this play! Ha. I kid.
This was my first “Back to the Classics” challenge assignment – I decided to tackle them in chronological order, or something of that sort. Anyway, this was the most accessible to me, as we happen to own a huge, hardboundShakespeare collection, which has all his plays.
This is one of the comedies of Shakespeare. I chose this particular play because I have read most of the tragedies, and I’ve also read Midsummer Night’s Dream, and I frankly, wanted to see what the ado was all about. Oh, it’s just too easy.
There are two concurrent love stories going on. First, between Beatice and Benedick, who can’t stand the sight of each other. It’s like a playground crush – they make fun of each other all the time, she’s a total bitch to him, he puts her down, and yet they fall for each other due to some scheming by their friends. I guess if anything they will have a very lively relationship!
Then there’s Hero and Claudio. They like each other but due to some meddling, Claudio thinks she has cheated on him and goes off on her on their wedding day. She basically passes out and appears to die of embarrassment. Seriously.
There’s a lot of deception and wearing of masks that happens here, and it’s amazing that these people are stupid enough not to recognize each other when they have masks on. Beatrice thinks Benedick is someone else when he has a mask on, and she rips Benedick a new one to him. Then at the end, the women have masks on and – surprise – Hero isn’t dead, and her good name is restored, and Much Ado has been made about nothing.
I know that Shakespeare’s plots are borrowed and retooled for modern movies, books and the like, and I swear I’ve seen this whole masked misunderstanding plot on TV a bunch of times.
It’s been a while since I read Shakespeare, but I find it easier to get his quips and plays on words than I did when I was younger. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been watching too much Downton Abbey lately and I’m in an old fashioned British frame of mind.
I feel quite accomplished for reading one of old Bill’s plays as an adult. One of these days I’ll get around to reading the rest.