From The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature"
"Comedy in five acts by William Shakespeare, performed in 1598-99 and printed in a quarto edition from the author's fair papers in 1600. The play takes an ancient theme--that of a woman falsely accused of unfaithfulness--to brilliant comedic heights. Claudio is deceived by his jealous cousin into believing that his lover, Hero, is unfaithful--a plot unveiled by the bumbling constables Dogberry and Verges. Meanwhile, Beatrice and Benedick have "a kind of merry war" between them, matching wits in clever repartee that anticipates other playfully teasing literary couples. Each is tricked into believing that the other is in love, which allows the true affection between them to grow. Both couples are united at the end, after Hero's simulated resurrection from the dead. In this play Shakespeare eschewed devices of obvious magic or disguise of sex, which he employed in other comedies; the wit and ambiguity of the dialogue and the exquisite pacing of the action sustain the play, which remains popular in repertory."
Synopsis and theatrical critique plus more than adequate footnotes make this an excellent edition.
Contains some helpful essays and notes as well as the play itself
A classic! See the Kenneth Branagh movie first, then read the play!
One of my favorite plays of all time. The more times you read it the more you laugh! :)
A classic. "Much Ado" includes all the markings of a classic. Themes ring true despite the passage of time. The characters still feel the same passion, humor, love, and hate that people feel today. I love Shakespeare's comedies. Tragic but filled with such truth that it's hard not to want to finish the play.
Completely re-edited, the New Folger Library edition of Shakespeare's plays puts readers in touch with current ways of thinking about Shakespeare. Each freshly edited text is based directly on what the editors consider the best early printed version of the play. Each volume contains full explanatory notes on pages facing the text of the play, as well as a helpful introduction to Shakespeare's language. The accounts of William Shakespeare's life, his theater, and the publication of his plays present the latest scholarship, and the annotated reading lists suggested sources of further information. The illustrations of objects, clothing, and mythological figures mentioned in the plays are drawn from the Library's vast holdings of rare books. At the conclusion of each play there is a full essay by an outstanding scholar who assesses the play in the light of today's interests and concerns.
I'll begin by admitting my bias. I teach theatre. I'm an actress. I love Shakespeare. There.
Now, that being said, this is my absolute favorite Shakespeare play, if not play, period. The story is simple: Beatrice and Benedick love each other, but are too proud to admit it, so Beatrice's cousin and Benedick's best friend (who also happen to be in love and provide the subplot of the play) trick them into admitting their mutual affection. Along the way, there are twists and turns, with bumbling policemen, evil siblings, misunderstandings (of course!), and the inevitable happy ending.
If you've seen the beautiful Branagh movie, you are well-versed in the sunniness of the play. If you haven't, see it, then read the play. You'll understand the nuances WAY better after seeing the film.
This is a great edition of the play, with the text on one side and explanatory notes on the opposite page. This is especially helpful for beginning Shakespeareans and also serious studiers of the text.
Highly recommended, both for the play and the annotations.
This is a Shakespearean Comedy of Manners from before the genre was even really a fully developed thing, featuring love affairs, a revenge plot, some humorous incompetence, a faked death, and much more. I'm not a big comedy fan, but this is certainly a good example of the genre at the time from which it came, and I actually quite enjoyed it. As to the edition itself, I found it to be greatly helpful in understanding the action in the play. It has a layout which places each page of the play opposite a page of notes, definitions, explanations, and other things needed to understand that page more thoroughly. While I didn't always need it, I was certainly glad to have it whenever I ran into a turn of language that was unfamiliar, and I definitely appreciated the scene-by-scene summaries. Really, if you want to or need to read Shakespeare, an edition such as this is really the way to go, especially until you get more accustomed to it.
The classic tale of Shakespeares Much Ado About Nothing, a story of love, loss and betrayal at its emotional peak, has been recreated in the form of a manga. The tale follows Claudio and Heros relationship and the many obstacles that wish to break it apart (mainly Don John and his evil schemes) and Benedick and Beatrices gradual warming to each other through well-intended trickery. The imagery is well-received, though the visual likeness of the characters can be a bit confusing if one isnt familiar with the storys characters and intentions. There are also some emotional highlights (humorous, enlightening and saddening all) that arent reflected well in the imagery, and would be better understood and received in watching the Kenneth Branagh film of the same name(which, on a side note, I recommend highly). However, the story is retold well enough to arouse some interest of Shakespeares other works in the avid manga devourer.
- T.C. Robson
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