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Much Ado About Nothing [Paperback]

William Shakespeare
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 20 1994 Dover Thrift Editions
Imaginative, exuberant comedy contrasts two pairs of lovers in a witty and suspenseful battle of the sexes. Filled with suspense, clever turns of plot, vivacious displays of wit, and charming songs, this is one of the Bard's most beloved and performed works.

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Like Love's Labour's Lost, Much Ado about Nothing shows Shakespeare moving into a more complex and darker terrain through his exploration of an apparently harmless comical romance. The play revolves around the adventures of the two gallants Claudio and Benedick at the court of Sicily. Claudio falls in love with the governor's daughter Hero, and is eager for his more misanthropic friend Benedick to also find love. Benedick is introduced to the fiery, independent Beatrice, and sparks soon fly as they banter with each other in a more wittier version of Kate and Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew. Beatrice has some wonderful ripostes to marriage asking why should a woman marry "a clod of wayward marl", whilst Benedick grumbles that "She speaks poniards and every word stabs". Meanwhile, the jealous Don John convinces Claudio that Hero has in fact been unfaithful to him. When Claudio rejects Hero on their wedding day, she faints and is taken for dead. In the hectic final scenes the play moves towards reconciliation between Claudio and Hero, and the tentative admission of the love between Benedick and Beatrice. Famously filmed by Kenneth Branagh in the Tuscan countryside with a cast that included Keanu Reeves, Much Ado about Nothing remains one of Shakespeare's most successful comedies. --Jerry Brotton. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review


"Zitner has written one of the finest introductions to the play that I have seen. I hope that between this edition and Branaugh's film we can make the play come alive to the present generation of students."--Ronald J. Boling, Lyon College


"Handy, reliable, altogether excellent...with introductions that truly cover everything and notes that explain all that needs to be explained."--Bibliotheque d'Humanisme et Renaissance


--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings about this play. Sept. 8 2003
By MAB
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Much Ado About Nothing: With New and Updated Critical Essays and a Revised Bibliography" starts out with a plethora of information regarding information about Shakespeare, Elizabethan theatre, the writing style, controversy if Shakespeare wrote his plays and if he contributed to others, etc. Then, the play begins, and this is where I wonder if I truly enjoyed the play. I began thinking if I liked the play itself, or because it was written by Shakespeare. Which then led to my thinking of whether it would be deemed such praise, if it hadn't been written by him, and I leans towards "no." The wit is somewhat dry, but the plot around Hero and Claudio caught my attention. It showed me how women were regarded as objects and how easily they can be discarded. And, how quickly men would believe any fault about a woman, without hearing her side of the story. Scary, in my opinion. Otherwise, it was interesting, but I don't know if I'd recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A skirmish of wit May 29 2010
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
A man and a woman meet. They outwardly seem to despise each other (or at least find each other annoying), but we know that deep down they're in love and just need a jolt to realize it.

That's one of the more popular romance tropes -- everybody from Jane Austen to anime has used it. But the original feisty Will They Or Won't They couple was Beatrice and Benedick in William Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" -- and while the plot supposedly revolves around an evil plot to discredit Beatrice's cousin, it's more fun to watch the two B's slinging insults and falling in love.

Spanish prince Don Pedro has defeated his evil illegitimate brother Don John, and is coming to the estate of Leonato for a visit -- along with his entourage, his disgraced brother, and his officers Benedick and Claudio. Claudio soon falls in love with Leonato's daughter Hero, but Hero's cousin Beatrice has the opposite reaction -- "there is a kind of merry war betwixt Signior Benedick and her."

Soon Hero and Claudio are happily engaged, and Don Pedro decides to matchmake Beatrice and Benedick -- and after a tidy bit of manipulation, the acid-tongued pair fall madly in love. But Don John spins up a malicious deception that tears apart the love between Claudio and Hero, creates a rift between Leonato and Don Pedro, and leaves it doubtful that anyone will live happily ever after...

"Much Ado About Nothing" is one of Shakespeare's finest comedies, mainly because it often hangs off his clever wordplay and zinger-filled dialogue ("I see, lady, the gentleman is not in your books." "No; and he were, I would burn my study"). There's even some hilarious scenes where Benedick bemoans the difficulty of writing rhyming poetry.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Humorous, interesting, and not hard to comprehend March 19 2006
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I'm an 8th grade student and most books we get assigned to read in school are very boring and confusing classics but this book was enjoyable and funny, our assignment was to read only two scenes but I went ahead and read it all
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3.0 out of 5 stars Probably not the best March 3 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
There are better translations out there. I would probably choose something else. This is readable, but it lacks the oomph that this play needs.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A little ado about not much Nov. 21 2003
Format:Paperback
I believe that the reading of this book/play shouls be encouraged for students across the country, because it shows a comical yet realistic view of love, and the effects it has on people.
When Shakespeare wrote this play, I believe that his purpose was to show the two differing sides of love. He uses two examples, the first being Hero and Claudio, who embody the spirit of romantic, superficial love. The two of them never seem to talk, and as far as the reader knows, they don't have a whole lot in common. Claudio puts so much stock in his "love" for Hero that he overreacts too easily. For example, at a party where Don Pedro agrees to woo Hero for Claudio, Don Pedro's bastard brother Don John tricks Claudio into believing Pedro wants Hero for his own. WIth this fresh in his mind, Claudio stomps off in a huff, without even checking the facts. This kind of love is based on gazing wistfully at the one's partner across the room, and sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.
The other kind of love that Shakespeare chooses to display in this play is the realistic kind of love that is displayed more often in society around us. This is shown in the couple of Benedick and Beatrice. These two quick wits are constantly bickering and at each other's throats, until they are tricked by their friends into each believing the otehr loves them. At this, all of their criticisms of love and claims to remain unmarried until death go right out the window. Suddenly, they are seized by a desire to be with each other, and their true feelings come out. It shows how love actually works in real lifeI would reccommend this play to anyone who enjoys a good comedy with just a twinge of love intrest in it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Remember...I am an ass. Nov. 21 2003
Format:Paperback
I believe that the reading of this book/play shouls be encouraged for students across the country, because it shows a comical yet realistic view of love, and the effects it has on people.
When Shakespeare wrote this play, I believe that his purpose was to show the two differing sides of love. He uses two examples, the first being Hero and Claudio, who embody the spirit of romantic, superficial love. The two of them never seem to talk, and as far as the reader knows, they don't have a whole lot in common. Claudio puts so much stock in his "love" for Hero that he overreacts too easily. For example, at a party where Don Pedro agrees to woo Hero for Claudio, Don Pedro's bastard brother Don John tricks Claudio into believing Pedro wants Hero for his own. WIth this fresh in his mind, Claudio stomps off in a huff, without even checking the facts. This kind of love is based on gazing wistfully at the one's partner across the room, and sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.
The other kind of love that Shakespeare chooses to display in this play is the realistic kind of love that is displayed more often in society around us. This is shown in the couple of Benedick and Beatrice. These two quick wits are constantly bickering and at each other's throats, until they are tricked by their friends into each believing the otehr loves them. At this, all of their criticisms of love and claims to remain unmarried until death go right out the window. Suddenly, they are seized by a desire to be with each other, and their true feelings come out. It shows how love actually works in real life.
By reading this book, I learned something I already knew, but this just solidified it. The lesson is that love makes people act stupid where they normally wouldn't.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Does love always win?
Much Ado About Nothing, a play written by William Shakespeare, is about two couples, who through a series of trials and schemes, fall in love with each other. Read more
Published on Nov. 20 2003 by Nicole
3.0 out of 5 stars much ado about nothing
I thought Much Ado About Nothing made no sense really because it seemed shorter than Antigone, and there was a little too much love going on. Read more
Published on Nov. 20 2003 by robert jepsky
4.0 out of 5 stars The piece that made me feel like dancing
I thought that the play "Much Ado about Nothing" was a very positive and a enjoyable play to read. Shakespeare's main point in the play is that Love makes you act weird. Read more
Published on Nov. 20 2003 by Erin Dorsey
4.0 out of 5 stars My Review
This story starts out as four people who don't really know how or that there fate lies with each other. Read more
Published on Nov. 19 2003 by Kristan K.
4.0 out of 5 stars Much Ado About Nothing
Much Ado About Nothing
This is a great story about two couples that like each other and will eventually marry each other, and the couple of Benedick and Beatrice tend to go... Read more
Published on Nov. 19 2003 by Dan Martin
4.0 out of 5 stars A Little Bit About Love
Much Ado About Nothing, written by William Shakespeare, was a well written play. It was, for the most part, very understandable. Read more
Published on Nov. 18 2003 by Heather Lowman
4.0 out of 5 stars about nothing except love
Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare is a romantic comedy about two kinds of love. Realistic love and romantic love are both illustrated by two different couples. Read more
Published on Nov. 17 2003 by m newkirk
5.0 out of 5 stars Much Ado About Theatre
Shakespeare's, Much Ado About Nothing, was cleverly composed and delivered in his Old English style of dialogue. Read more
Published on Nov. 16 2003 by M. Burdin
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