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Much Ado about Nothing (Cambridge School Shakespeare) Paperback – 8 Oct 1992

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; New Ed edition (8 Oct. 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521426103
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521426107
  • Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 1.1 x 22.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (288 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 762,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


Product Description

Amazon Review

Like Love's Labours 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

"A quite wonderful idea... So blindingly obvious, I can't understand why nobody had thought of it before. I will certainly use the texts myself" Peter Hall" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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LEONATO I learn in this letter, that Don Pedro of Arragon comes this night to Messina. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Old Flozer on 6 Oct. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
There are plenty of detailed critiques of the performances and production on here which I won't attempt to emulate; this review is rather for the casual browser who is hovering around the 'add to basket' button. So - Yes! I bought this at a price pretty much equivalent to rental - and I would heartily recommend it as great value and good entertainment. It has its weaknesses - the DVD transfer is not particularly high quality (I'd like to see a fully restored, Blu-Ray version) and has no supplementary material. Of the performances, only Keanu Reeeves' is really dubious - he brings to the part of John the Bastard an impressive physique and little else. There's also some of that rather cloying best buddies quality that accompanies Branagh's core troupe. However, overall it trips along with a light touch and is very entertaining - genuinely so on the strength of the play, not just for the interest of the interpretation. The cinematography and scenery are superb (though again, some colour restoration would have helped, and some of the cast had gone very pink in the Italian sun!). I enjoyed Keaton's perfomance as Dogberry, though I struggled to hear everything he said, and it did remind me of Beetlejuice. I'd forgotten how luminously beautiful and engaging the young Kate Beckinsale was before she became Hollywood Barbie (sigh..), and was very impressed by the naturalness of Denzel Washington's delivery, as Branagh's integration of US actors sometimes jars.

You don't have to be a Shakespeare fanatic to enjoy this, but there is equally plenty there to satisfy the enthusiast. Hit that button!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Budge Burgess on 5 Sept. 2005
Format: Paperback
By no means a well-known play compared to Shakespeare's tragedies, or even many of his history plays, "Much Ado About Nothing" remains a popular theatrical production, a play which offers dynamic, meaty parts and provides actors with challenging vehicles for the display of their talents. In a sense, it is a play driven by its players, its text bristling with wit and energy, its themes and concepts regularly re-interpreted and re-presented by the great actors and producers of succeeding ages.
"Much Ado" is a play about courtly society and its preoccupation with love and marriage, with 'form', and with the appropriateness of suitors and matches. Love is one thing, but marriage involves power, money, and property rights and succession. It's a play about rules - often unwritten, usually unspoken, but which are learned by social osmosis and which appear in the niceties of etiquette, manners, and social trivia, providing fragile bastions to status and breeding. Despite their apparently ephemeral nature, these are rules which are very real, and not without severe sanction.
But "Much Ado" is also a play about the breaking of rules, about their use and transformation, obeying, instead, the demands and commands of love. Much of the dynamic of the play lies in the contrast between the two couples, Beatrice & Benedick and Claudio and Hero. The former are the liberated archetypes, the latter a more classical pairing.
It's a play which has been repeatedly interpreted and reinterpreted in the light of changing social mores and tastes. Much of the difficulty in studying the play lies in teasing out Shakespeare's intent from the layers of meaning and interpretation with which it has been lacquered.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Spider Monkey HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 3 Nov. 2007
Format: Paperback
In some respects I think it'd be rather presumptuous of me to attempt to review Shakespeare. Someone so well known and influential wouldn't benefit from my opinions on their work, plus there are more scholarly and concise reviews out there. But I can comment on these Arden versions. Of all the Shakespeare I've read I've always found the Arden copies to be well laid out and to have excellent commentary and notes on the text. They really add to your understanding of Shakespeares outstanding plays and introduce you to the depth in his work. They have superb paper quality and are bound well, withstanding repeated readings and intensive study. For your collection of Shakespeare you can't do much better than Arden publications, some are quite hard to get hold of but it's worth the effort.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Cymro on 16 May 2010
Format: Paperback
An excellent edition of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. The introduction is long and very detailed helping you to understand the time and context of the piece though I would recommend reading the play first. Similarly, the text comes with copious notes, some of which can seem at times overly detailed but do help the modern reader to decipher some of the more complex passages. Again I would recommend reading the play fully before attempting to read with notes because they are so long that you will lose track of your place within the play if you attempt to read them all while following the story. This is a text which is most appropriate to someone new to Shakespeare or studying the text at school or university due to the large number of notes. The more experienced reader might prefer the RSC edition, for example, who's notes mainly consist of definitions rather than the longer dictionary/encyclopaedic notes of this edition.

As for the play itself, Much Ado About Nothing is in my opinion one of Shakespeare's greatest comedies. It tackles many subjects including love, deception, loyalty and loss and can be both tender, tagic and comic. It is mainly in prose, though there are some passages in verse.

Altogether a great buy.
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