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Much Ado about Nothing; With Notes, Examination Papers, and Plan of Preparation

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This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1893 edition. Excerpt: ...count sent me; they are an excellent perfume. Beat. I am stuffed, cousin; I cannot smell. Marg. Stuffed! there's goodly catching of cold. Beat. Oh, G This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1893 edition. Excerpt: ...count sent me; they are an excellent perfume. Beat. I am stuffed, cousin; I cannot smell. Marg. Stuffed! there's goodly catching of cold. Beat. Oh, God help me! God help me! how long have you professed apprehension? 60 Marg. Ever since you left it. Doth not my wit become me rarely? Beat. It is not seen enough, you should wear it in your cap. By my troth. I am sick. Marg. Get you some of this distilled Carduus Benedictus and lay it to your heart; it is the only thing for a qualm. Hero. There thou prickest her with a thistle. Beat. Benedictus! why Benedictus? you have some moral in this Benedictus. 'Marg. Moral! no, by my troth, I have no 70 moral meaning; I meant, plain holy-thistle. You may think perchance that I think you are in love; nay, by 'r lady, I am not such a fool to think what I list, nor I list not to think what I can, nor indeed I cannot think, if I would think my heart out of thinking, that you are in love or that you will be in love or that you can be in love. Yet Benedick was such another, and now is he become a man: he swore he would never marry, and yet now, in despite of his heart, he eats his meat without grudging: and how you 80 may be converted I know not, but methinks you look with your eyes as other women do. Beat. What pace is this that thy tongue keeps? Marg. Not a false gallop. Re-enter URSULA. Urs. Madam, withdraw: the prince, the count, Signior Benedick, Don John, and all the gallants of the town are come to fetch you to church. Hero. Help to dress me, good coz, good Meg, good Ursula. 'Exeunt. SCENE V. Another room in LEONATO's house. Enter Leonato, with Dogberry and Verges. Leon. What would you with me, honest neighbor? Dog. Marry, sir, I would have some confidence with you that decerns you nearly. Leon....


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This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1893 edition. Excerpt: ...count sent me; they are an excellent perfume. Beat. I am stuffed, cousin; I cannot smell. Marg. Stuffed! there's goodly catching of cold. Beat. Oh, G This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1893 edition. Excerpt: ...count sent me; they are an excellent perfume. Beat. I am stuffed, cousin; I cannot smell. Marg. Stuffed! there's goodly catching of cold. Beat. Oh, God help me! God help me! how long have you professed apprehension? 60 Marg. Ever since you left it. Doth not my wit become me rarely? Beat. It is not seen enough, you should wear it in your cap. By my troth. I am sick. Marg. Get you some of this distilled Carduus Benedictus and lay it to your heart; it is the only thing for a qualm. Hero. There thou prickest her with a thistle. Beat. Benedictus! why Benedictus? you have some moral in this Benedictus. 'Marg. Moral! no, by my troth, I have no 70 moral meaning; I meant, plain holy-thistle. You may think perchance that I think you are in love; nay, by 'r lady, I am not such a fool to think what I list, nor I list not to think what I can, nor indeed I cannot think, if I would think my heart out of thinking, that you are in love or that you will be in love or that you can be in love. Yet Benedick was such another, and now is he become a man: he swore he would never marry, and yet now, in despite of his heart, he eats his meat without grudging: and how you 80 may be converted I know not, but methinks you look with your eyes as other women do. Beat. What pace is this that thy tongue keeps? Marg. Not a false gallop. Re-enter URSULA. Urs. Madam, withdraw: the prince, the count, Signior Benedick, Don John, and all the gallants of the town are come to fetch you to church. Hero. Help to dress me, good coz, good Meg, good Ursula. 'Exeunt. SCENE V. Another room in LEONATO's house. Enter Leonato, with Dogberry and Verges. Leon. What would you with me, honest neighbor? Dog. Marry, sir, I would have some confidence with you that decerns you nearly. Leon....

30 review for Much Ado about Nothing; With Notes, Examination Papers, and Plan of Preparation

  1. 5 out of 5

    Madeline

    Much Ado About Nothing, abridged. CLAUDIO: So, um, Hero, I sorta maybe like you a whole lot will you go to the prom with me? HERO: We should get married! Squeeeeeee! BEATRICE: Pfft. Love is for stupid losers who are stupid. BENEDICK: You know, you might get laid more often if you weren’t such a cynical bitch all the time. BEATRICE: Fuck you. BENEDICK: Get in line, sugartits. *audience is beaten over the head by sexual tension* DON PEDRO: Hey everybody, I had a great idea! Let’s make Beatrice and Bene Much Ado About Nothing, abridged. CLAUDIO: So, um, Hero, I sorta maybe like you a whole lot will you go to the prom with me? HERO: We should get married! Squeeeeeee! BEATRICE: Pfft. Love is for stupid losers who are stupid. BENEDICK: You know, you might get laid more often if you weren’t such a cynical bitch all the time. BEATRICE: Fuck you. BENEDICK: Get in line, sugartits. *audience is beaten over the head by sexual tension* DON PEDRO: Hey everybody, I had a great idea! Let’s make Beatrice and Benedick fall in love! EVERYONE: YAY! MEDDLING! PRINCE JOHN: So, I think I’m going to break up Claudio and Hero. BORACHIO: Really? That’s your dastardly scheme? How do we possibly benefit from that? PRINCE JOHN: No, see, I don’t like Claudio because my half-brother likes him, and I hate my half brother, so…wait. Okay, so it’s actually a really pointless plan that only serves to create conflict. But it’s the only way I get any good scenes in this thing, so MISCHIEF AHOY! BORACHIO AND CONRADE: YAY! BEATRICE: Hey Benedick, you still suck donkey balls. BENEDICK: I fart in your general direction! Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time! BEATRICE: I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty-headed animal food trough wiper! PRINCE JOHN: So guess what Claudio? Your woman totally cheated on you. I saw, I was there. CLAUDIO: OMG I HATE THAT WHORE. DON PEDRO: Despite the fact that he’s a bastard in all senses of the word and has no reason to be helping me or my friends, I think we should believe John without proof or even asking Hero’s side of the story. CLAUDIO: Hero, you’re a shameless whore and I hate your stupid face! EVERYONE: WTF?! PRIEST: Great job, now Hero’s dead from sad. CLAUDIO: OMG I AM SO REMORSEFUL. FORGIVE ME, DEAD HERO! HERO: Pysche! I’m really okay! BEATRICE: Luckily THIS time the priest’s idea to fake a girl’s death to solve all her problems actually worked, instead of backfiring horribly. BENEDICK: Hey, that’s pretty funny. You know, I guess you’re not that bad. I think I love you, and stuff. BEATRICE: Yeah, I guess I kind of love you too. ANTONIO: Close enough. Now off to kill Prince John! EVERYONE: YAY! THE END.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

    I don't think Much Ado ranks with Shakespeare's very best for three reasons: 1) the plot is weak, particularly the deception that moves things along during the first act (why does Don Pedro choose to woo by proxy en masque? What is to be gained by it except delay and confusion?), 2) Dogberry and Verges are second-rate clowns, and 3) Claudio, in his readiness to believe ill of Hero, is too unsympathetic a lover for a non-problem comedy. On the other hand, whenever Beatrice and Benedict are sparri I don't think Much Ado ranks with Shakespeare's very best for three reasons: 1) the plot is weak, particularly the deception that moves things along during the first act (why does Don Pedro choose to woo by proxy en masque? What is to be gained by it except delay and confusion?), 2) Dogberry and Verges are second-rate clowns, and 3) Claudio, in his readiness to believe ill of Hero, is too unsympathetic a lover for a non-problem comedy. On the other hand, whenever Beatrice and Benedict are sparring--which is much of the play--Much Ado is equal to anything Shakespeare had written up to this point. At last he has learned how to take the euphuistic preciousness of Love's Labor's Lost's dialogue, preserve all its wit and courtly delicacy and combine it in casual, idiomatic speech full of character, naturalness and humor. Later in the play, when the plot turns serious and Beatrice demands of Benedick Claudio's death, both she and Benedick embark on a journey toward growing wisdom and deeper love that makes the ending of the play very moving as well as formally complete.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Let's face it, there aren't too many of Shakespeare's females who kick ass. Yes, we all can name the four or five that don't quite suck (Kat, Portia, Viola, Emilia, etc) but good strong feminine characters were not, it seems, the bard's strong suit. So as you wade through the whiny, conniving, helpless throngs of man worshipping wenches that appear in nearly all Shakespeare plays, it can be tempting to just give up looking for redemption. But alas, it is this lack of strong feminine voice that m Let's face it, there aren't too many of Shakespeare's females who kick ass. Yes, we all can name the four or five that don't quite suck (Kat, Portia, Viola, Emilia, etc) but good strong feminine characters were not, it seems, the bard's strong suit. So as you wade through the whiny, conniving, helpless throngs of man worshipping wenches that appear in nearly all Shakespeare plays, it can be tempting to just give up looking for redemption. But alas, it is this lack of strong feminine voice that makes the discovery of a truly awesome character like Much Ado About Nothing 's Beatrice that much more thrilling. Beatrice is without a doubt my favorite of all Shakespeare's women. She is smart, sardonic, and fierce. And while many chide her for her decision to marry, a decision that some argue nullifies any feminist credit she may have accumulated throughout the play, I take issue with the idea that a woman must choose between love and identity. How sad to think that to be a strong woman, one must live her life utterly alone so as not to let a man infringe on her sense of self. Married or not, Beatrice definitely meets my requirements for a kick ass female!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    I am probably the last person in the whole history of the world to get it, but, just in case there's someone else left, it occurred to me yesterday that the title of this play had to be a rude pun. Five minutes on Google was enough to confirm my suspicions. From this page:In Shakespeare's time "nothing" was a euphemism for a woman's naughty bits. This gave the title three different yet equally appropriate meanings, as the main conflict over the play revolves around the false implication of Hero I am probably the last person in the whole history of the world to get it, but, just in case there's someone else left, it occurred to me yesterday that the title of this play had to be a rude pun. Five minutes on Google was enough to confirm my suspicions. From this page:In Shakespeare's time "nothing" was a euphemism for a woman's naughty bits. This gave the title three different yet equally appropriate meanings, as the main conflict over the play revolves around the false implication of Hero losing her virginity to another man while engaged to Claudio. Therefore it is "Much Ado about Nothing" as nothing was really going on, "Much Ado about Noting" as it's concerned with the views the characters have of each others' moral fiber (how they "note" each other), and "Much Ado about Nothing" as it was concerned with Hero's own naughty bits/her virginity.The Terry Pratchett quote at the top is also rather fine:Mind you, the Elizabethans had so many words for the female genitals that it is quite hard to speak a sentence of modern English without inadvertently mentioning at least three of them.With the help of a good online Shakespearian dictionary, I have been carrying out some experiments, and I'm afraid he's right. I have decided to remain mute for the rest of the morning to be on the safe side.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bookdragon Sean

    I saw an absolutely brilliant version of this play today at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. It was Mexican themed, full of dancing, gunshots, high racing emotions and many moments of farcical humour. All in all, it was a great production of an imperfect play. If I’m ever critical of Shakespeare’s works it’s because I know how excellent Shakespeare can be. The Tempest is one of the best things ever written in the English language. Similarly, Richard II is pure poetry, beautiful and powerful, but i I saw an absolutely brilliant version of this play today at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. It was Mexican themed, full of dancing, gunshots, high racing emotions and many moments of farcical humour. All in all, it was a great production of an imperfect play. If I’m ever critical of Shakespeare’s works it’s because I know how excellent Shakespeare can be. The Tempest is one of the best things ever written in the English language. Similarly, Richard II is pure poetry, beautiful and powerful, but it is so unimpressive on the stage. At least, I’ve never seen a decent live version of it. There’s not much room for spectacle in the play. But here’s the tricky thing about Shakespeare, some of his plays are excellent to read and some of them are not. Some are perfect stage pieces, but boring on the page. Some manage to succeed in both realms, but not many. Much Ado About Nothing is a play that is meant to be performed. Like Twelfth Night (and all the comedies) the real genius of the writing does not come through until it is seen in action. Much Ado About Nothing has a simple plot and it’s built around two central characters, Beatrix and Benedict. Everybody else involved are mere plot devices crafted by Shakespeare. Hero, Claudio and Don Pedro, though playing major parts in the action, don’t really have much in the way of personality or inner-conflict. They are simply there to play off the two central characters against each other, and play each other they most certainly do. A relationship built on mutual hate sounds like an odd concept, but an apt one. Both Beatrix and Benedict have sworn never to marry, so when they finally stumble across their counterparts they are annoyed and in absolute denial about their own feelings. It’s easy for the audience to spot such a thing, and seeing the characters slowly realise it is wonderful to behold. It leads to many brilliant comedy moments, moments the version I watched was very quick to capitalise on. It was mischievous, witty and a very good piece of fun. The entire cast nailed it. Again, this is a play that really needs to be seen. If you find yourself in London this summer, I certainly recommend going to watch it. If not you could always try the DVD when it is eventually released if you’re really keen.

  6. 4 out of 5

    James

    Review 3 of 5 stars to William Shakespeare's play Much Ado About Nothing. We read this play in my 9th or 10th grade English course as a comparison to his more popular plays such as Macbeth, Othello, Romeo & Juliet and Hamlet, as well as something different from his historical fiction plays about various kings and queens. It was an opportunity to see his brilliance in writing something different and basically... about nothing. Well not really nothing, but you get the drift. It was a decent Review 3 of 5 stars to William Shakespeare's play Much Ado About Nothing. We read this play in my 9th or 10th grade English course as a comparison to his more popular plays such as Macbeth, Othello, Romeo & Juliet and Hamlet, as well as something different from his historical fiction plays about various kings and queens. It was an opportunity to see his brilliance in writing something different and basically... about nothing. Well not really nothing, but you get the drift. It was a decent play. And I can say that because I've read over 40 of his plays. It's not like I just picked a few up and said "Eh, it's decent," not having read enough to know. It's Shakespeare of course. Everyone loves/hates him, depending basically on whether you like this sort of thing or you do not. And scholars can argue for hours about what it all meant, who really wrote it, what was being hidden in the lines and characters. But for me... this was just a normal play. Given I tend to like very character-driven stories or complex plots, this one doesn't rank very high on my scale for what I've read. Yes, the plot is fairly low-key... some romance, some issues between couples... it didn't have a tremendous amount of magic for me... say as something like "As You Like It" or "Twelfth Night." Those were memorable characters whom you rooted for despite all odds. It's very strong in terms of language, innuendo, imagery and balance. But as far as a leisurely and enjoyable read, I didn't take a whole lot from it. Of course, all English majors should read it. But if you want some light re-exposure to Shakespeare, I wouldn't recommend this one as a starting place. About Me For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. [polldaddy poll=9729544] [polldaddy poll=9719251]

  7. 5 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon, in Spain, is coming to Messina, the capital of Sicily, for a little R&R, just having defeated his treacherous half- brother, in battle, (with few casualties, nobody important), Don John (the "Bastard"), they are now reconciled again ! His army needs it, Rest and Relaxation, the governor of that city is his good, longtime friend, Leonato. The time, is unstated, but Aragon, ruled that island, in the 15th century. Count Claudio, who gained glory in battle, in the Pr Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon, in Spain, is coming to Messina, the capital of Sicily, for a little R&R, just having defeated his treacherous half- brother, in battle, (with few casualties, nobody important), Don John (the "Bastard"), they are now reconciled again ! His army needs it, Rest and Relaxation, the governor of that city is his good, longtime friend, Leonato. The time, is unstated, but Aragon, ruled that island, in the 15th century. Count Claudio, who gained glory in battle, in the Prince's army, and a favorite of his royal boss, meets "Hero", lovely daughter of Leonato. No need to say they fall madly in love and are soon engaged. Claudio best friend is Benedick, another noble soldier, Hero has a cousin named Beatrice, the other two, don't love each other, quite the reverse. The sharp tongued, with wit, Beatrice, is known for causing her suitors, to quietly go into the night, meekly, dejectedly, and afraid. The battle of words between these people (Beatrice and Benedick), are electrifying, put downs, name calling, venomous insults, anything goes, they fly like trailers in a tornado. Don John hates his half- brother, Don Pedro, is jealous of his power and position, will always try to embarrass him, if he can't usurp the Prince... So Don John, his men, Borachio, and Conrade, conspire to wreck the marriage of Don Pedro's friend, Claudio. The Prince's brother, is a petty man, and arranges with Don Pedro, Claudio, and himself, to view the apparent, infidelity of Hero, the three secretly watching below her window , at night, with the recognized Borachio, in plain sight, but is the daughter of Leonato, there ? All is ruined, the distraught Claudio , breaks the engagement at the altar, with angry accusations, Hero faints dead away. Her father Leonato and his brother Antonio, are humiliated, shamed and later on very enraged, these ancient gentlemen want revenge, family honor demands it ! But what can they do ? In another strange turn of events, with the help of the Prince and a masquerade ball, Beatrice and Benedick, unknowingly dance together , soon after , start to really like each other! And the villains, Borachio and Conrade, are shortly arrested by the night watchmen of the city , overhearing them talking about some interesting secrets, information, that is vital to many people. Brought to their leaders, Dogberry, the chief and his deputy, Verges, both speak a kind of language, that only they can understand, their words mean exactly the opposite, of what is said, Dogberry says to his men, about the criminals, "Come, take away the plaintiffs" and "Don't you suspect my office ? ". The clownish, kindhearted, old men, have seen better days, will these friends, be able to find out the crimes of Don John, before it is too late? Shakespeare, the greatest writer who ever lived, has another superb play, one of many, in his illustrious and unequaled career....

  8. 5 out of 5

    Fionnuala

    In the 1906 preface to The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James described the book as ‘an ado about Isabel Archer’. That reference caught my attention, and since I'd never read Shakespeare’s 'Much Ado', and since I love to follow even the vaguest of book trails, I browsed my bookstore’s Shakespeare shelves as soon as I had an opportunity. Like most of you, I’d read some of the plays for study purposes but I’d never bought a Shakespeare play for pleasure. In my innocence, I presumed buying Shakespeare In the 1906 preface to The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James described the book as ‘an ado about Isabel Archer’. That reference caught my attention, and since I'd never read Shakespeare’s 'Much Ado', and since I love to follow even the vaguest of book trails, I browsed my bookstore’s Shakespeare shelves as soon as I had an opportunity. Like most of you, I’d read some of the plays for study purposes but I’d never bought a Shakespeare play for pleasure. In my innocence, I presumed buying Shakespeare would be a straight-forward business. As it turned out, my bookshop had multiple editions of the plays which was very impressive but left me with a dilemma: which edition to choose. To add to the dilemma, the more I looked at the books, the more I found myself wanting to read 'Measure for Measure' too, and 'The Taming of the Shrew', and 'All’s Well that Ends Well', and 'As You Like It', and more, and more. Perhaps a 'Complete Works' was the way to go, I thought. I took a large volume down from the shelf and immediately looked around for a chair. Just holding it required sitting down, it was so heavy. I couldn't imagine reading it in bed - and the bath was definitely out! The pages were very flimsy too, and the font was tiny. Poor quality print was a problem with single editions as well. I ruled out others because the introduction took up two-thirds of the book. And I was equally disappointed to see that some had so many footnotes, there was scarcely room for Shakespeare’s words - the only thing I wanted to read! I was getting more and more frustrated. Then I realised I was making a bigger fuss about choosing a book than I'd ever done before so I grabbed the least objectionable edition of 'Much Ado about Nothing' and headed for the cash desk. ……………………………………………………… The plot of 'Much Ado' revolves around a deception which causes temporary misunderstandings and frustrations amongst the main characters. Fortunately, it doesn't take long for the misunderstandings to be resolved and order to be restored. In that sense the play is literally much ado about nothing. But the ‘ado’ nevertheless gives us one of Shakespeare’s most interesting female characters: Beatrice. Beatrice has the wittiest lines and the cleverest insights - especially about marriage and what it means for women. She also has the clearest overall vision of what is happening in the play and may even be seen as the bravest character, ready to defend her cousin Hero’s honour when everyone else, even Hero’s father, immediately believes the lies spread about Hero by the villainous Don John. Beatrice’s bravery is particularly impressive given that the majority of the male characters are soldiers well used to engaging in combat, but they are all made to seem foolish or weak at one time or another. Only Beatrice retains our full respect. I’m tempted to imitate Henry James with his ‘ado about Isabel Archer’ and interpret the play as an ‘ado about Beatrice’. For me, it is all about her, as if Shakespeare used the plot simply as a frame for her speeches. I couldn't get enough of them. …………………………………………………… As I was reading and admiring Beatrice’s words and actions, a thought occurred to me. Perhaps there was more to HJ’s reference to an ‘ado’ than I'd previously thought. I began to see parallels between Beatrice and Isabel Archer. Both heroines live in their uncle’s houses, and both are unmarried though no longer in their teens. Somewhat trivial parallels, you might say, but there are more. When we first meet Beatrice and Isabel, their unconventional manners set them apart immediately. They both have a reputation for being originals. Beatrice is at her best when engaged in a battle of wits. Isabel too enjoys sparring with anyone who will engage her. We soon discover that they each have a strong sense of who they are and a radical dislike of anyone controlling their destiny. But they are not radical just for the sake of it. Isabel is not a reformer like her friend Henrietta Stackpoole, and Beatrice is not as intractable as Kate from 'The Taming of the Shrew'. The two women give priority instead to their own intellectual development and they disdain the pursuit of romantic love. Isabel refuses a marriage proposal from Lord Warburtin, the richest man in her circle. Beatrice refuses Don Pedro, the most powerful man in Messina. When Beatrice says, 'I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me', we can't but be reminded of Isabel who runs the other way whenever there is talk of love. So many parallels. When I started reading this play, I had no idea I'd find such comparisons. Unfortunately, the final comparison I found is the one that sets the two heroines completely apart: their destiny, the one happy, the other tragic. When Benedick says, “Beatrice is wise but for loving me,” we sadly remember that Isabel too was wise - but for choosing Gilbert Osmond. ………………………………………………………… Afterword. The Oxford World's Classics edition I reluctantly bought turned out to be perfect. Lovely cover, quality paper, a clear font and well-spaced lines. However, there were copious notes and a very long introduction. I mostly ignored the notes but read the introduction with pleasure once I'd finished the play. It included a history of the play's production, and engravings and photos of the various actresses who interpreted Beatrice down through the centuries. And I returned to the bookshop, where, without further ado, I bought Oxford editions of 'Measure for Measure', 'The Taming of the Shrew' and 'Romeo and Juliet', all of which I've since read. I can truly say that I'm finally reading Shakespeare for pleasure. Thank you, Henry.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ted

    Movie review at bottom This is the most enjoyable play I’ve yet read in my Shakespeare project. Aside from the Elizabethan words that required me to check the footnotes, it had a very modern feel to it. The complicated plot, the good and bad characters, the denouement, the happy ending all reminded me of light comedies that I’ve seen performed on the modern stage. The play was probably written in 1598. In my Complete Works it has been placed in between Henry IV Part II and Henry V. The Introduction Movie review at bottom This is the most enjoyable play I’ve yet read in my Shakespeare project. Aside from the Elizabethan words that required me to check the footnotes, it had a very modern feel to it. The complicated plot, the good and bad characters, the denouement, the happy ending all reminded me of light comedies that I’ve seen performed on the modern stage. The play was probably written in 1598. In my Complete Works it has been placed in between Henry IV Part II and Henry V. The Introduction states that the incident causing Claudio to renounce his love for Hero is a device used, in various forms, “not uncommonly” in the sixteenth century, citing two examples: one version in Spencer’s Faerie Queene (book II, Canto IV), another by Matteo Bandello in an Italian novel published in 1554. The final verdict is that the direct source for Much Ado is “quite likely some play that has now been lost.” Regardless of where Shakespeare got the general story of Claudio and Hero (who before his version of the play were no doubt the main characters, and even could be so-considered in his version) to this reader they were clearly upstaged by two other characters that are listed below them in the Dramatis Personae: Benedick and Beatrice. Not surprisingly, these characters are entirely of Shakespeare’s own invention (so far as we know), and they provide perhaps the main source of comedy in the play. Benedick, a young lord of Padua, is introduced as a man who disdains women, and disdains the very idea of marriage. Beatrice, Hero’s cousin, is introduced as a woman who disdains men, and, agreeing in this only with Benedick, disdains the very idea of marriage. Here’s the first repartee between these two, in the opening scene. BENE. If Signior Leonato be her (Hero’s) father, she would not have his head on her shoulders for all Messina, as like him as she is. BEAT. I wonder that you will still be talking, Signior Benedick. Nobody marks you. BENE. What, my dear lady Disdain! Are you yet living? BEAT. Is it possible Disdain should die while she hath such meet food to feed it as Signior Benedick? Courtesy itself must convert to disdain if you come in her presence. BENE. Then is courtesy a turncoat. But it is certain I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted. And I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart, for truly I love none. BEAT. A dear happiness to women. They would else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I thank God and my cold blood that I am of your humor for that. I had rather hear my dog barking at a crow than a man swear he loves me. BENE. God keep your ladyship still in that mind! So some gentleman or other shall ‘scape a predestinate scratched face. BEAT. Scratching could not make it worse an ‘twere such a face as yours were. BENE. Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher. BEAT. A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours. BENE. I would my horse had the speed of your tongue, and so good a continuer. But keep your way, ‘I God’s name. I have done. BEAT. You always end with a jade’s trick. [A jade being a bad-tempered horse]Are these two ready for prime time? You bet. Shakespeare then adds considerable dialogue among other members of the cast, completely outside the traditional story, in which other male characters conspire to trick Benedick into thinking that Beatrice loves him; while separately, Hero and her attendants decide they will trick Beatrice into believing Benedick has fallen for her. The other main source of comedy in the play is Dogberry, a constable who plays an important part in Shakespeare’s resolution of the traditional plot-line. But Dogberry, like many minor characters in his plays, is portrayed as a complete idiot, basically by having him spew out one malapropism after another (in fact “Dogberryism” is another term for malapropism). Here are examples of Dogberry’s Archie Bunker-like mix ups, from his first scene: (III.iii) Says allegiance when he means treachery Says desartless when he means deserving Says senseless when he means sensible Says comprehend when he means apprehend Says tolerable when he means intolerable Says present when he means represent Says statues when he means statutes All this, and more, in the space of less than a hundred lines (about half are his) while giving the Watch (a group of responsible citizens who would take turns patrolling the parishes of London at night) their instructions for the evening. Even when Dogberry manages to say what he means, what he means to say is often exceeding strange. When he is asked by the Watch what they should do if they command a vagrant to “stand”, and he will not: “Why, then take no note of him, but let him go, and presently call the rest of the watch together and thank God you are rid of a knave.” When he is asked what they should do if a drunkard does not obey them when told to go home: “Why, then let them alone till they are sober. If they make you not then the better answer, you may say they are not the men you took them for.” And, the Watch asks, when they apprehend a thief, “shall we not lay hands on him?” Dogberry replies with his own ruthless logic, “Truly, by your office you may, but I think they that touch pitch will be defiled. The most peaceable way for you, if you do take a thief, is to let him show himself what he is and steal out of your company.” 1993 movie Kenneth Branagh adapted the play for the screen, then produced and directed the movie for BBC Films. Branagh also starred as Benedick. Filming was done at a villa in Tuscany. Other cast included Emma Thompson (at that time married to Branagh) as Beatrice Robert Sean Leonard as Claudio Kate Beckinsale as Hero Denzel Washington as Don Pedro Keanu Reeves as Don John Michael Keaton as Dogberry The movie is splendid. Branagh and Thompson are superb in the lead roles, Reeves gives a solid performance as the bad guy, and Michael Keaton is way over the top as the buffoon Dogberry. The language is Shakespearean throughout, with unnoticeable cuts in the dialogue and only slight elision of Elizabethan archaisms. Everything a modern audience could ask for. The music is a wonderful plus in the production, and I found myself laughing out loud inordinately often. I’m at a loss to imagine how Shakespeare’s play could have been produced on film more enjoyably. 4 stars (out of four) from me. Here’s the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYj-2... (view spoiler)[There’s also on YouTube (as of now) a two part recording of the play (in a modern setting) done at Wyndham's Theatre, starring David Tennant as Benedick and Catherine Tate as Beatrice. Don’t know how long it will be there. Part I https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElbmD... Part II https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXts0... (hide spoiler)] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Previous review: Genius in Disguise Harold Ross of the New Yorker Random review: The Girl Who Played with Fire Next review: The Sound and the Fury Previous library review: The Life and Death of King John Next library review: As You Like It

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    What happened was, I hadn’t been paying close attention to my Netflix queue, and when Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing was released, I quickly flicked it to the top of the queue (like I do all new releases) without remembering that I had wanted to save it for when I actually read the play. (I was also saving Kenneth Branagh’s for the same occasion.) Then the red envelope arrived and I couldn’t let it sit there forever and I’m certainly not going to waste a few days sending it back unwatched, What happened was, I hadn’t been paying close attention to my Netflix queue, and when Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing was released, I quickly flicked it to the top of the queue (like I do all new releases) without remembering that I had wanted to save it for when I actually read the play. (I was also saving Kenneth Branagh’s for the same occasion.) Then the red envelope arrived and I couldn’t let it sit there forever and I’m certainly not going to waste a few days sending it back unwatched, so what is a fella to do other than to actually read the play? And what a play it is! Ostensibly about a guy named Claudio falling hot and heavy for a girl named Hero and a bastard villain who tries to thwart their romantic plans for no discernible gain (seriously, find me someone who can explain Don John’s motives here), this play is really about Beatrice and Benedick. Because as it turns out, Claudio is merely a puss-puss who has offered no contribution whatsoever to the Space Race. And people like that should never command one’s respect. Beatrice and Benedick, on the other hand, are pretty great, and this being a Shakespearean comedy, they happen to be pretty funny, too. Especially Beatrice. A master of wordplay and sarcasm, her insults are delivered with a stinging precision and the deftness of a ninja. Halfway through the play, her comedic match is met when we are introduced to Dogberry, whose humor is a little more...unintended? Yet it is nothing short of hilarious. This play probably has some deeper themes trying to elbow their way out—Beatrice is presumably an early model of feminism in literature and I am sure that angle could be explored more deeply—but this worked well enough for me as a breezy romantic comedy, and I look forward to seeing what Whedon does with it. Wow, did I just call Shakespeare breezy? I am such a puss-puss! Oh, and Branagh’s adaptation has been subsequently moved up in the queue, as well, and should already be waiting for me at home. It will be a Shakespeare movie weekend! (In between Red Sox games.)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Agnieszka

    Not much a review as some disjointed impressions from one of my favourite Shakespeare's comedies. Much ado about nothing is a display of wit and humour, from squabbles and cutting retorts between Beatrice and Benedick to the unrepeatable, full of malapropisms and nonsenses, humor presented by the the chief of the citizen-police in Messina, Dogberry and his bumbling sidekicks. In short: prince of Aragon, Don Pedro after defeating his half-brother Don John returns home, and surrounded by his court Not much a review as some disjointed impressions from one of my favourite Shakespeare's comedies. Much ado about nothing is a display of wit and humour, from squabbles and cutting retorts between Beatrice and Benedick to the unrepeatable, full of malapropisms and nonsenses, humor presented by the the chief of the citizen-police in Messina, Dogberry and his bumbling sidekicks. In short: prince of Aragon, Don Pedro after defeating his half-brother Don John returns home, and surrounded by his court and companions, including Benedick and Claudio, visits governer of Messina, Leonato to stay at his houshold. There are some intrigues here. The first, evil one, that had to put Leonato’s daughter Hero in disgrace and make her fiancé to dump her at the altar. The other one is the sweet intrigue really, and it’s aimed at Leonato’s niece Beatrice and Prince’s companion Benedick. Since they seem not to see love even if they look at its face they apparently need a little help here. And crème de la crème, our night constables in persons of Dogberry and Verges. They strike us as incompetent twits and helpless losers but let’s not leap into conclusion too fast. Here's the sample of Dogberry's flowery style: Marry, sir, they have committed false report; moreover, they have spoken untruths; secondarily, they are slanders; sixth and lastly, they have belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified unjust things; and, to conclude, they are lying knaves. Also, Dogberry is a man who in his own words would not hang a dog ..., much more a man who hath any honesty in him. So, now you know with whom you have an honour. This is a comedy though there was only one step from falling into tragedy. If only diabolic plan of prince's brother would have scored then Hero maliciously accused and spurned by her soon-to-be-husband Claudio, could easily be another from wide range of Shakespearean hapless heroines. Story between Hero and Claudio is picturesque yet a bit melodramatic but it doesn’t constitute the main frame of the play. They both are young and naïve, and cute but it’s not them who have my interest here. My attention is focused on other pair, Lady Disdain and Signiore Mountanto like they call themselves. Or just Beatrice and Benedick. They are older and more sophisticated than Hero and Claudio, more watchful and guarded thus less prone to admit they are head over heels in love. They seem to have a history between them, definitely have a feeling for themselves but constantly are deceiving themselves in believing not such a thing is even possible. They’re too afraid of rejection and being object of ridicule so they prefer to pretend that they hate each other guts and constantly challenge their witticism. I liked the chemistry between them, I liked the banter, the bickering. I liked them squabbling, I liked sharp tongue of Beatrice and bluster and buffoonery from Benedick’s part. Even their love vows have un undertone of their previous verbal skirmishes. Benedick: A miracle! here's our own hands against our hearts. Come, I will have thee; but, by this light, I take thee for pity. Beatrice: I would not deny you; but, by this good day, I yield upon great persuasion; and partly to save your life, for I was told you were in a consumption. Beatrice is such a wonderful character. She herself deserves an individual review. She's smart and feisty, independent and despite ( or apart ) her sharp wit she has a loving heart. I loved her unbending loyalty toward Hero, especially when the latter was really in deep water. I applauded her passionate O God, that I were a man! I would eat his heart in the marketplace directed towards treacherous evildoer. Did I mention she's beautiful? Apparently not but Benedick did when he confessed that she exceeds her (Hero) as much in beauty as the first of May doth the last of December. After watching movie adaptation of Much ado about nothing every time I return to that play I always see Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh as Beatrice and Benedick. And special props to Dogberry for saving the day, despite apparent lack of skills and being, well ass, what officially what stated ( though not written down) on his own demand. O that he were here to write me down an ass! But, masters, remember that I am an ass; though it be not written down, yet forget not that I am an ass. And since this is a comedy thus all's well that ends well, though it's just another story, and the final scene just vibrates with celebration of love and affirmation of life. So, sigh no more my ladies. Men were deceivers ever...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Much ado about nothing : a comedy, William Shakespeare (1564-1616) Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy by William Shakespeare thought to have been written in 1598 and 1599, as Shakespeare was approaching the middle of his career. The play was included in the First Folio, published in 1623. By means of "noting" (which, in Shakespeare's day, sounded similar to "nothing" as in the play's title, and which means gossip, rumour, and overhearing), Benedick and Beatrice are tricked into confessing their l ‎Much ado about nothing : a comedy, William‬ ‎Shakespeare (1564-1616) Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy by William Shakespeare thought to have been written in 1598 and 1599, as Shakespeare was approaching the middle of his career. The play was included in the First Folio, published in 1623. By means of "noting" (which, in Shakespeare's day, sounded similar to "nothing" as in the play's title, and which means gossip, rumour, and overhearing), Benedick and Beatrice are tricked into confessing their love for each other, and Claudio is tricked into rejecting Hero at the altar on the erroneous belief that she has been unfaithful. At the end, Benedick and Beatrice join forces to set things right, and the others join in a dance celebrating the marriages of the two couples. Characters:A boy, Hero, Ursula, Antonio, Don Pedro, Beatrice, Claudio, Benedick, Don John, Leonato, Dogberry, Friar Francis, Verges, Magaret, Balthazar, Borachio, Conrade, A Sexton, The Watch, Innogen Abstract:The action is set in Sicily, where Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon, has recently defeated his half-brother, the bastard Don John, in a military engagement. Apparently reconciled, they return to the capital, Messina, as guests of the Governor, Leonato. There Count Claudio, a young nobleman serving in Don Pedro's army, falls in love with Hero, Leonato's daughter, whom Don Pedro woos on his behalf. The play's central plot shows how Don John maliciously deceives Claudio into believing that Hero has taken a lover on the eve of her marriage, causing Claudio to repudiate her publicly, at the altar. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: پهارم ژانویه سال 1972 میلادی ‏عنوان: ه‍ی‍اه‍وی‌ ب‍س‍ی‍ار ب‍رای‌ ه‍ی‍چ‌، ک‍م‍دی‌ در دو ب‍خ‍ش‌؛ ت‍رج‍م‍ه‌ و ت‍ن‍ظی‍م‌: ع‍ب‍دال‍ح‍س‍ی‍ن‌ ن‍وش‍ی‍ن‌، نشر: ک‍ت‍اب‍خ‍ان‍ه‌ ای‍ران‌، 1329، در 128 ص‌؛ ‏يادداشت: ب‍ا ت‍رج‍م‍ه‌ ف‍ری‍ده‌ م‍ه‍دوی‌ دام‍غ‍ان‍ی‌ نیز ت‍وس‍ط ان‍ت‍ش‍ارات‌ ت‍ی‍ر، در س‍ال‌ 1378 و در 114 ص. چ‍اپ‌ ش‍ده‌ اس‍ت‌ دون پدرو، شاهزاده خوشنام و حاکم آراگون، پس از درگیری‌های تقریباً بدون خونریزی با برادرخوانده‌ اش دون ژوآن، همراه او به مسینا می‌آید تا چند روزی را میهمان عالیجناب لئوناتو، حکمران آن دوک نشین ساحلی باشند... این نمایش در پنج پرده تدوین شده و دارای شانزده شخصیت و تعدادی سیاهی لشکر است. شخصیت‌های اصلی نمایشنامه عبارت اند از: دون پدرو: شاهزاده خوش مشرب آراگون.؛ دون ژوآن: برادر ساکت، شوم، فتنه انگیز و حرام زاده ی دون پدرو. لئوناتو: ریش سفید جمع، فرماندار مسینا. کلودیو: رجل اعیانزاده فلورانسی، مسیو عشق، در خدمت دون پدرو. هِرو: دختر ریزنقش لئوناتو، همنام هِرو دختر زئوس پادشاه خدایان آتن. بندیک؛ بئاتریس؛ بوراکیو؛ کنراد؛ مارگارت؛ اورسولا؛ داگبری؛ ورجس؛ آنتونیو؛ بالتازار؛ کشیش فرانسیس؛ مستخدمان، قاصدان، خادم کلیسا، قبرکن، نگهبانان. ا. شربیانی

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    This is it: the last classic for my 2016 Classics Bingo challenge! And I achieved blackout! Yes!! *pats self on back* This one filled the "Pre-1600" slot on my Bingo card, but just barely: it was written in about 1598. Much Ado about Nothing interweaves the story of two couples: The more interesting one is Benedick and Beatrice, who apparently have a romance in their past history. But now they devote all of their energy in their interactions to insulting each other as wittily as possible, each try This is it: the last classic for my 2016 Classics Bingo challenge! And I achieved blackout! Yes!! *pats self on back* This one filled the "Pre-1600" slot on my Bingo card, but just barely: it was written in about 1598. Much Ado about Nothing interweaves the story of two couples: The more interesting one is Benedick and Beatrice, who apparently have a romance in their past history. But now they devote all of their energy in their interactions to insulting each other as wittily as possible, each trying to one-up the other. Beatrice wins most of the time. The other romance is between Claudio, a count and military friend of Benedick's, and Beatrice's cousin Hero, a wealthy heiress. Claudio comes home from war, takes a look at Hero (and all of her father's huge tracts of land), decides he's in love, makes sure she's her father's only child and heir, and lets his commander, the Prince of Aragon, Don Pedro, propose to Hero on her behalf. It's kind of an odd thing, but then most of Hero's and Claudio's relationship plays out in an oddly public manner. So when Don Pedro's jealous and mean-spirited brother, Don John, decides to torpedo their romance, just because, it goes south in an equally public way. But meanwhile all of Beatrice and Benedick's friends have decided that the war of wits between them is hiding deeper feelings, and in one of the funnier plot developments, decide to trick both of them into thinking the other loves them but will never speak of it because they're too hard-hearted. When things go horribly off the rails between Hero and Claudio, Benedick has a choice to make: his old world of his male buddies or his newly discovered love for Beatrice. There's a lot of humor in this play, much of it very risqué if you know Elizabethan idioms. But as is typical of Shakespeare, about half of it went over my head, except where I took the time to read the explanatory footnotes in my Riverside Shakespeare volume (one of those books that I would want on my hypothetical desert island if I were stuck there alone for years). Dogberry the constable, who inadvertently discovers the plot against Hero but doesn't quite know what to do about it, is one of the highlights, with his constant use of the wrong-but-almost-right word, delightfully and obliviously butchering the English language. Deception is a running theme: Don John's deception of Claudio and Don Pedro, everyone's deception of Benedick and Beatrice, Hero's father's deception of Claudio and Don Pedro at the end, even Benedick and Beatrice hiding their true feelings. I very highly recommend the 1993 film version of this play, starring the wonderful Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson at their best, as well as Denzel Washington as Don Pedro, Michael Keaton as the hapless Dogberry, Keanu Reeves as the evil Don John, Robert Sean Leonard as Claudio, and a lovely young Kate Beckinsale as Hero, in her film debut.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bram

    I’ve always found feistiness attractive. It’s probably the only consistent trait in the girls I’ve fallen for since high school. The clever retort, the unimpressed eye roll, the sarcastic aside: for better or worse, these are the things the pique my interest and prepare me for that unique form of suffering known as love. On my own, I’m hardly confident or witty enough to succeed in one-on-one situations with women who are shy or generally unforthcoming. I need someone to throw down the gauntlet I’ve always found feistiness attractive. It’s probably the only consistent trait in the girls I’ve fallen for since high school. The clever retort, the unimpressed eye roll, the sarcastic aside: for better or worse, these are the things the pique my interest and prepare me for that unique form of suffering known as love. On my own, I’m hardly confident or witty enough to succeed in one-on-one situations with women who are shy or generally unforthcoming. I need someone to throw down the gauntlet and challenge me to emerge from my self-absorbed, overly-staid default setting. I need a Beatrice. Beatrice, Beatrice, Beatrice. She represents the most extreme range of feistiness that I’ve encountered in my romantic life; I’ve known two like her, and let’s just say that neither are my wife. I realize that, confined by the necessities of a comedic ending, Shakespeare ‘reforms’ both Beatrice and Benedick. In real life, however, there’s usually no such reformation, and while I shrink from suggesting that this type of extreme personality is antithetical to extended relationships, I have no doubt that it’s not for me in the long run. This isn’t to say that Beatrice’s personality no longer spins me around. It does and it has: I have a crush on Beatrice. So it’s a small, playful crush, you’re thinking. Ah! but she’s more than just a well-timed bon mot. She has layers and a past deftly intimated. She’s been hurt, but she doesn’t let this trap her into the usual insecurities and vulnerabilities of a stock character. She rises above it and, if we disallow some mean-spirited trickery from her friends, I have no doubt that she’d forget Benedick as easily as I’ve forgotten loves long past*. Regardless, I’m sure she continues abusing Benedick verbally for years to come while, if his friends’ jests are to be seen as prophecy, she ends up giving him the horns (with me) after he returns to his flighty, bacheloresque ways. And anyway, I’ve a suspicion that some of Shakespeare’s comedies are more enjoyable if you simply disregard or adjust the ending when it doesn’t quite feel appropriate. I’m not the only one in the room with a crush on Beatrice though. For starters, I need to compete with the Bard himself, who’s so enamored with his creation that he allows her to entirely overshadow (and occasionally speak for) the ironically named Hero. Plot-mover she may be; Hero is still a timid little thing who offers us very little personality or justification for compassion. In a way this is a smart move by Shakespeare, as it keeps the darker aspects of the play in check: without a large investment in either Hero or Claudio, we take their misfortunes in stride and are allowed the illusion of lightness in a play that’s brimming with calculated villainy. While I’m temporarily distracted from thoughts of Bea, I’ll go ahead and discuss another character worthy of mention, Dogberry. He plays the hit-or-miss role of the clown, but he rises above the cringing due to a goofy habit that's been inspirational for modern writers. Both David Foster Wallace and Jonathan Safran Foer have made a practice of substituting incorrect but generally more difficult words in the dialogue of ill-spoken characters for comedic effect, which is exactly what Shakespeare does with Dogberry. So I must apologize to William for failing to give credit where it’s due in past reviews. But where was I? Oh! Beatrice. Beatrice, Beatrice, Beatrice. *I’ve avoided the doghouse, right?

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    The most important thing to know about this play is that "nothing" used to be slang for vaginas. No, I know, you're like "This sounds like one of those things that people say because it's funny but then you look it up and it's totally not true," right? But it is true. So. Rather A Pickle About Pussies is what we're talking about here. The plot of this play, which is called A Bunch of Bother About Beavers, or Very Vexed About Vajayjays, is, oh god, who cares, everyone is confused and then they get The most important thing to know about this play is that "nothing" used to be slang for vaginas. No, I know, you're like "This sounds like one of those things that people say because it's funny but then you look it up and it's totally not true," right? But it is true. So. Rather A Pickle About Pussies is what we're talking about here. The plot of this play, which is called A Bunch of Bother About Beavers, or Very Vexed About Vajayjays, is, oh god, who cares, everyone is confused and then they get married. There's probably cross-dressing involved, when isn't there. (There isn't.) Ken Branagh's 1993 movie version of Mucho Mess About Muffs is his most successful Shakespeare adaptation. Although you could make a pretty convincing case for Hamlet. Because it's so great, wow, he used every single line? No, it is not so great, it's boring. And in the second half he starts piling on guest stars, right, because he knows it's boring and he's desperate. "Oh fuck, here's Robin Williams, does that help?" Of course it doesn't help. But here's the deep secret of Hamlet: you invite a girl over to watch it. (Or whoever, someone you want to make out with.) They're like oh man, you're so classy, this sounds great, and then they come over and then it's so fucking boring that they literally have no choice but to make out with you. This seriously worked for me twice, which might not sound like all that much but listen: no other thing has ever worked for me twice, including "being in a band" and "having a job," so relatively speaking for me, this is very successful indeed. Anyway, his version of Heaps of Hassle About Hoohas is bright and fun and terrific. Joss Whedon's 2012 version of Scads of Stress about Snatches, you really want it to be good, right? He's great, and the story on this is he basically threw a house party with all his friends where instead of Cards Against Humanity they played "Film Tons Of Trouble About Twats," and that sounds absolutely definitely like the best house party ever. But someone made the bizarre decision to make Benedick an irredeemable douchebag, and the movie can't really recover. Anyway, the actual play, which is called A Pretty Predicament About Punanis, is quite good. I'm not like the world's biggest fan of the man's comedies - I like tragedies better, sue me, so do you and if you say different you're lying - but one of his best is certainly this one, Quite A Commotion About Cooters.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    “Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more, Men were deceivers ever,- One foot in sea and one on shore, To one thing constant never.” Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare may easily be his most witty work for dialogue. “He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man. He that is more than a youth is not for me, and he that is less than a man, I am not for him.” The exchanges between Beatrice and Benedick are ageless. Like many of Shakespeare’s work, this play “Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more, Men were deceivers ever,- One foot in sea and one on shore, To one thing constant never.” Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare may easily be his most witty work for dialogue. “He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man. He that is more than a youth is not for me, and he that is less than a man, I am not for him.” The exchanges between Beatrice and Benedick are ageless. Like many of Shakespeare’s work, this play comes alive for the reader not just because of the erudite observations about human nature, but also because MAAN has been so influential that themes explored have been copied and provided inspiration by so many works since. “For which of my bad parts didst thou first fall in love with me?”

  17. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Edit 5/6/12 The perfect song to accompany a reading of this play would be Sigh No More by Mumford & Sons. There are several lyrics ripped straight from the text, not to mention similar themes. And it makes me oh so happy. :) There are spoilers here, but this is Shakespeare. No way am I putting up spoiler tags. According to the note in my copy, in Shakespeare's day the word "nothing" was pronounced "noting"-- so, "Much Ado About Noting", noting being synonymous with eavesdropping. That pretty m Edit 5/6/12 The perfect song to accompany a reading of this play would be Sigh No More by Mumford & Sons. There are several lyrics ripped straight from the text, not to mention similar themes. And it makes me oh so happy. :) There are spoilers here, but this is Shakespeare. No way am I putting up spoiler tags. According to the note in my copy, in Shakespeare's day the word "nothing" was pronounced "noting"-- so, "Much Ado About Noting", noting being synonymous with eavesdropping. That pretty much sums up this play... people putting way too much stock in second-hand information. There are two (possibly three) main plots, including a messed up marriage between Hero and Claudio, which is nearly thwarted by Don John, the evilish villain who ruins other people's lives to distract himself from his own misery. Also featured are the comically inarticulate policemen-types, Dogberry and Verges. The real center of the story, at least in the public's eye, was always the love-hate relationship between Beatrice and Benedick. Their journey is one that's seemingly copied in crappy books (adult or YA) even today! They begin by antagonizing each other, but by extremely contrived and insufficient means somehow end the play in each other's arms. The biggest difference is that Shakespeare is awesome and the present-day authors are just struggling. It helps that the silly game of eavesdropping isn't the true reason for Benedick and Beatrice to finally admit their feelings; it's hinted they had a romantic past and are probably still holding feelings for each other. It's also still funny, despite being written hundreds of years ago. I find that so surprising-- although I'm not sure why, this isn't the first Shakespeare I've read. What especially tickled my funny bone was Dogberry's continual struggle with the English language. For example, mixing up "odorous" for "odious", "exclamation" for "acclamation", and "comprehended" for "apprehended". My favorite part was the very end, when Beatrice and Benedick were in the process of admitting they loved each other. Beatrice is talking, insulting Benedick a little as per usual, and he just goes: "Peace, I will stop your mouth" and gives her a big ol' smooch. Absolutely awesome.

  18. 4 out of 5

    AleJandra

    Primer libro de Shakespeare que leo en inglés. Y wow es otro mundo, absurdamente genial o genialmente absurdo. Una historia divertidísima, simple y muy entretenida.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brad

    This is not a review. It is, instead, a call to all those people (who will probably never read these words because they aren't on goodreads) to teach Shakespeare young and often to the kids they love. Don't wait for high school teachers to bungle the job. Don't let your kids stress out. Never tell your kids how tough Shakespeare is "supposed" to be. Don't share your own fears of the Bard's writing. Do buy your family every filmed version or adaptation of Shakespeare's plays. Do, then, buy a book c This is not a review. It is, instead, a call to all those people (who will probably never read these words because they aren't on goodreads) to teach Shakespeare young and often to the kids they love. Don't wait for high school teachers to bungle the job. Don't let your kids stress out. Never tell your kids how tough Shakespeare is "supposed" to be. Don't share your own fears of the Bard's writing. Do buy your family every filmed version or adaptation of Shakespeare's plays. Do, then, buy a book copy of that play, leave it around and encourage them to pick it up. Do let your kids watch as much Shakespeare as they want. Actually encourage them to enjoy that guy from Titanic as Romeo, that girl from Sixteen Candles as a modern day Miranda, Gilderoy Lockhart and Professor Trelawney as Benedick and Beatrice, Gandalf as Richard III and on and on. Do let them use Shakespeare's tastiest insults without putting money in the vulgarity jar. Do take them to any live versions of Shakespeare -- no matter how community theatre poor they may be -- and fill in the blanks for them the best that you can. Do let them tell you what they think happened, and do let yourself learn a little about the greatest playwright in the English language from those who are enjoying it without fear and trepidation. Much Ado About Nothing is a great place to start if you're trying to introduce your kids to the world of the master storyteller. My six-year-olds spent the last three days diving into Much Ado (we watched Kenneth Branagh's fun film, read some stuff from the play itself, pretended we were the characters, played matching games to link the relationships in the play, talked a lot, and watched the movie a second time), and they came away today with an excellent understanding of what was happening and a love for the play. Milos is sure the play is about the love story of Benedick and Beatrice, but Bronte thinks they merely support the love story of Claudio and Hero, although she is not convinced that the latter pair are really in love. They are quoting Dogberry incessantly, and they are generally reveling in what they see as a fun, hilarious, positive experience. They can't wait to see Romeo and Juliet starting next weekend. It can be that way for your kids too. For all kids. It really can. Just take the time, enjoy it with them (even if it is not your forte ... all you have to do is fake it), and see where the journey takes the whole family. It will set them up with an appreciation for art and theatre that will help them in their future education and -- more importantly -- enrich their imaginations. "Psst! Shakespeare is good. Pass it on."

  20. 5 out of 5

    James

    One day I may find the time and the energy to prepare some well thought out, elegantly composed, insightful and informative reviews of Shakespeare’s greatest plays – affording them with at least a modicum of the respect that they justly deserve. In the meantime – I am offering a few very quickly thought through ideas on what are undoubtedly the greatest (English language) literary works for the stage ever written. The majority of Shakespeare’s 37 or 38 plays (depending on who you ask) are imbued One day I may find the time and the energy to prepare some well thought out, elegantly composed, insightful and informative reviews of Shakespeare’s greatest plays – affording them with at least a modicum of the respect that they justly deserve. In the meantime – I am offering a few very quickly thought through ideas on what are undoubtedly the greatest (English language) literary works for the stage ever written. The majority of Shakespeare’s 37 or 38 plays (depending on who you ask) are imbued with brilliance, but if asked to select the greatest, I would proffer the following: Hamlet King Lear Richard III Macbeth Much Ado About Nothing Othello Merchant of Venice These are plays that are all transcendent in their brilliance – and should be seen by all. I stress the word ‘seen’ as although these plays are widely read, studied, analysed and pored over - ultimately all works for the stage are not written to be read, but to be performed and watched and enjoyed. So why are these plays great? All human thought is here; everything concerning the nuances of the human condition in all its majestic glory and awful hideousness is captured, expressed and delineated here. Shakespeare runs the gamut from love to hate, from life to death and absolutely everything else in between – revenge, jealousy, avariciousness, ambition, vanity, mercy, passion, lust, deceit, humour, gluttony, pride, sorrow, despair, wrath, sloth, vainglory, religion, superstition, bravery and cowardice…to name but a few – and he does it with such clarity, such power, such poetry, such perfection. When ‘taught’ or rather ‘force-fed’ Shakespeare at school, I understood little and enjoyed even less. To give one small example – the purpose and effect of the iambic pentameter only becomes clear in performance and when performed well, as opposed to being read badly and taught tediously in the clinical confines of the English literature classroom. To enjoy and to be propelled by the rhythm and poetry of Shakespeare, one does not need to even be aware of the concept of the iambic pentameter. Neither does the learning and reciting of oft quoted (and misquoted) stock Shakespearian lines serve any real purpose – other than as a memory test. Whilst this is I’m sure not everyone’s experience of Shakespeare at school, but for me it certainly had the result of completely alienating me from, not only Shakespeare, but from any classical literature / drama whatsoever. It was only when I found myself at the age of 18 and unaccountably in the theatre at Stratford upon Avon, watching the RSC brilliantly perform ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ – where I was utterly absorbed and transported to I knew not where, that my outlook was utterly transformed. Since then (and it has taken me around 30 years) I have now finally watched all 38 of Shakespeare’s plays – some as many as a dozen or more times. The utter perfection of a play such as ‘Hamlet’ means that it can be seen endless times in endless ways and can be so very different dependent on the direction, the actors, the interpretation – and yet still remain faithful to the original brilliant play that Shakespeare wrote. There is quite simply just so much life in all of Shakespeare’s plays – as timeless and relevant today as they were when first written so very long ago. Shakespeare holds up a mirror to our very existence and challenges us to look, to see, to feel, to hear, to think, to enjoy, to be transported, to be part of something, to laugh, to cry, to be excited, to be invigorated, to wonder… To anyone who has had a similarly discouraging and alienating experience of Shakespeare’s written word – don’t give up, try again, go and watch a live performance if you possibly can do. Quite simply: These plays are towering poetic works of truly unassailable and staggering artistic and literary genius.

  21. 5 out of 5

    David Sarkies

    One of the bard's more boring works 29 July 2013 Once I went around church (and work), as I am prone to do, and asked as many people as possible what their favourite Shakespeare play was (assuming that they actually knew who Shakespeare was, and what plays he had written, and assuming that they had actually seen one) and what surprised me was that the most common answer was 'Much Ado About Nothing'. The reason that it surprised me is because it is not necessarily one of his most performed plays, One of the bard's more boring works 29 July 2013 Once I went around church (and work), as I am prone to do, and asked as many people as possible what their favourite Shakespeare play was (assuming that they actually knew who Shakespeare was, and what plays he had written, and assuming that they had actually seen one) and what surprised me was that the most common answer was 'Much Ado About Nothing'. The reason that it surprised me is because it is not necessarily one of his most performed plays, and is generally not one that is studied in High School (though I won't comment on university because while I studied three plays at Uni, the university that I went to seemed to steer away from Shakespeare's). I am not surprised that not many people picked Hamlet, Macbeth, or Romeo and Juliet, since those plays are generally rammed down our throats at High School, which can have quite an off putting effect. As for this particular play I must say that it is not really one of my favourites. Even though it is a comedy it seemed a little dull - there wasn't anything in the play that you could say was out of the ordinary in it (such as the fairy tale elements of A Midsummer Nights Dream, or the interesting relationships that arise in Twelfth Night and a Taming of the Shrew). Okay, it is a little more complicated because we have two romantic relationships going side by side, which demonstrates Shakespeare's mastery at writing plays with multiple plots that all come together at the end, but the play itself still somewhat bores me in the sense, as I have suggested, that there is nothing really all that interesting about it. One of the plots involves Benedick and Beatrice, who seem to both have a rather cold exterior. Their friends then decide that they want to try to set them up, and while they tend to be quite cold towards each other, it begins to come to light that they have deep seeded passions towards each other, so their friends decide to manipulate the situation to bring them both together. Obviously, as I and others have suggested, simply by reading the play (rather than watching it) does not necessarily draw out the intricacies that such a plot can show when performed by good actors. The other plot is a little more sinister in that Don John, the villain of the piece, decides that he wants to ruin the relationship between Claudio and Hero for no real reason than the fact that he is, well, a prick. Seriously, try as I might, I can't really find any reason why Don John actually wants to ruin a marriage, other than maybe because he is a bastard, and in those times being a bastard was not a very good thing. In fact, being a bastard (name you were conceived out of wedlock, not that you do mean things for the sake of doing mean things) generally led to a life of rejection and poverty. This is probably why the bastard in King Lear actually was one evil son of a bitch. Here Don John is simply laughable, but he does manage to ruin a wedding (based on flimsy evidence and word of mouth, which makes us wonder why anybody would have listened to him anyway) but then as can be expected in the end, everything works out well and everybody ends up getting married (which some people have suggested is a form of death anyway). For those who are interested, I have written some further thoughts on my blog after seeing a performance.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Anastasia

    4.5/5 stars I ended up reading this book I my Honors English class. Since I absolutely love Shakespeare and I haven't read or watched any of his comedies I was very excited going into Much Ado About Nothing. The characters were hilarious and I absolutely loved every second of reading and watching the actors, I watched a version with David Tennant as Benedick (he was amazing), portray them. If you are new to Shakespeare I would highly recommend this play to be your first. The language isn't ov 4.5/5 stars I ended up reading this book I my Honors English class. Since I absolutely love Shakespeare and I haven't read or watched any of his comedies I was very excited going into Much Ado About Nothing. The characters were hilarious and I absolutely loved every second of reading and watching the actors, I watched a version with David Tennant as Benedick (he was amazing), portray them. If you are new to Shakespeare I would highly recommend this play to be your first. The language isn't overly complicated and they only speak in iambic pentameter during tense and important scenes, which are few to none. Overall this is definitely one of my favorite Shakespeare plays! Full review to come.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mayy Wilde-Shakespeare

    "I can see he's not in your good books,' said the messenger. 'No, and if he were I would burn my library." ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Unfortunately, while I was at a amusement park with my friends OF COURSE we decided to go on a goddamn water slide. The people behind us were splashing us with water. My bag was not water proof. Neither are my books. Long story short: This book is ruined. I am working my way through all of Shakespeare’s works and I think it’s safe to say that I am having the time of my life. To be honest, "I can see he's not in your good books,' said the messenger. 'No, and if he were I would burn my library." ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Unfortunately, while I was at a amusement park with my friends OF COURSE we decided to go on a goddamn water slide. The people behind us were splashing us with water. My bag was not water proof. Neither are my books. Long story short: This book is ruined. I am working my way through all of Shakespeare’s works and I think it’s safe to say that I am having the time of my life. To be honest, there were times while I was reading where I kind of doubted that it was a comedy. Because there are some pretty dark aspects in this. But I still absolutely loved it. Beatrice and Benedick are everything. Claudio and Hero are just sweet, and the rest of the characters were amazing. Once again, Shakespeare has managed to blow me away and make me want to read his plays 24/7. I’m not kidding. I’m serious...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    “I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be buried in thy eyes" ― William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing, Act 5, Scene 2 Nothing /ˈnʌθɪŋ/ pronoun 1. (indefinite) no thing; not anything, as of an implied or specified class of things: I can give you nothing 2. no part or share: to have nothing to do with this crime 3. a matter of no importance or significance: it doesn't matter, it's nothing 4. Elizabethan slang for "vagina", evidently derived from the pun of a woman having "nothing" between her “I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be buried in thy eyes" ― William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing, Act 5, Scene 2 Nothing /ˈnʌθɪŋ/ pronoun 1. (indefinite) no thing; not anything, as of an implied or specified class of things: I can give you nothing 2. no part or share: to have nothing to do with this crime 3. a matter of no importance or significance: it doesn't matter, it's nothing 4. Elizabethan slang for "vagina", evidently derived from the pun of a woman having "nothing" between her legs. Word Origin: Old English naþing, naðinc, from nan "not one" (see none ) + þing "thing" (see thing ). Meaning "insignificant thing" is from c.1600. As an adverb from c.1200. As an adjective from 1961. A good, light Shakespeare comedy. Many of the usual Shakespeare tropes (mistaken identities, smart women, dumb men, fools, gender roles, marriage folies). It probably isn't top half of my favorites, but that is partially because I have a slight bias against Shakespeare's comedies. I prefer his tragedies and histories. But that is me. And there are plenty of ticket-buying people that disagree. 'Much Ado About Nothing' is still one of the more common plays of Shakespeare to see performing in schools, with Shakespeare companies, and in movies. It is a gambol that apparently plays. Favorite lines: “I can see he's not in your good books,' said the messenger. 'No, and if he were I would burn my library.” (Act 1, Scene 1) “He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man. He that is more than a youth is not for me, and he that is less than a man, I am not for him.” (Act 2, Scene 1) “Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.” (Act 3, Scene 1) “I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest.” (Act 4, Scene 1) “For it falls out That what we have we prize not to the worth Whiles we enjoy it, but being lacked and lost, Why, then we rack the value, then we find The virtue that possession would not show us While it was ours.” (Act 4, Scene 1)

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    This was a whole lotta rigmarole about diddly-squat...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Joe Valdez

    My game plan for revisiting Shakespeare was to stream video of a staging of the play, listening and watching while reading along to as much of the original text as was incorporated by the staging. Later, I read the entire play in the modern English version. The staging I chose for Much Ado About Nothing was the 2013 film adapted and directed by Joss Whedon. Whedon brought a low key touch, preserving Shakespeare's text while inexplicably staging the action in present day Santa Monica, California, My game plan for revisiting Shakespeare was to stream video of a staging of the play, listening and watching while reading along to as much of the original text as was incorporated by the staging. Later, I read the entire play in the modern English version. The staging I chose for Much Ado About Nothing was the 2013 film adapted and directed by Joss Whedon. Whedon brought a low key touch, preserving Shakespeare's text while inexplicably staging the action in present day Santa Monica, California, mainly because he'd always felt his own house would make a good film location. Rather than stars, the cast was comprised of many of Whedon's friends. Alexis Denisof as Benedick, Amy Acker as Beatrice, Fran Kranz as Claudio, Jillian Morgese as Hero, Reed Diamond as Don Pedro, Clark Gregg as Leonato and Nathan Fillion as Dogberry. Whedon has done a service for English teachers who can now screen a modern but faithful version of the play featuring cast members from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D as a teen's entry into Shakespeare. It is believed that Shakespeare wrote Much Ado About Nothing in mid-to-late 1598 as a vehicle for Will Kempe, an actor who would leave the Bard's theater company (The Lord Chamberlain's Men) in early 1599 anyway. Kempe's role was to have been the bumbling constable Dogberry. The first recorded performance may have been in May 1613, when the play was staged twice for Princess Elizabeth's engagement and marriage. At the time of its public unveiling, the play went by the title Benedicke and Betteris. The story takes place in the Sicilian city of Messina. Leonato, the governor, hosts Don Pedro, prince of Aragon, and the prince's men returned from war. Leonato's heir is his daughter, Hero, who one of Don Pedro's men, the humble Claudio, seeks to marry. There is, however, no love lost between Hero's cousin Beatrice, a sharp witted bachelorette, and Don Pedro's trusted aide Benedick, a devil tongued bachelor. Both Benedick and Beatrice delight making their distaste for each other public in a display that would make a 16th century nobleman roll his eyes and think, "Get a room, you two." Don Pedro's band includes his nefarious half-brother, the bastard Don John, who with his henchman Conrade has failed in a plot to overthrow the prince. When Don John's ardent follower Borachio brings news that Don Pedro plans to woo Hero on Claudio's behalf during a masked ball, the bastard seeks to sabotage the union. Benedick uses the costume party for more fun, pretending to be a stranger and asking Beatrice how she feels about Benedick; she refers to Benedick as the Prince's jester and a dull fool. Meanwhile, Don John pretends to be Benedick and tells Claudio that Don Pedro is romancing Hero. Don Pedro and Leonato's matchmaking efforts overcome Don John's ploy. With Claudio & Hero to be wed, the noblemen turn their attention to ending the bachelorhood of Benedick & Beatrice. They allow Benedick to eavesdrop on them talking about how much Beatrice secretly loves the rogue, while Hero and her servant Margaret allow Beatrice to eavesdrop on them discussing how much Benedick secretly loves Beatrice. Don John strikes back. He pays Borachio to seduce Margaret in Hero's bedroom and allow Claudio and Don Pedro to assume Hero has been unfaithful. Claudio accuses his bride of infidelity and calls off the ceremony, which threatens Benedick & Beatrice's blossoming romance as well. However, the dim-witted constable Dogberry and his watchmen overhear Borachio admit his subterfuge. The fate of every character rests in the hands of a man who'd make a 16th century nobleman think, "Dude doesn't have both his oars in the water." Much Ado About Nothing is a funny, fast and strong blend of misunderstanding that's both comic and unexpectedly, near tragic. The battle of wits between Benedick and Beatrice inspires some of the sharpest repartee in Shakespeare. I laughed out loud at material written in the late 16th century. Beatrice's insults are timeless. Messenger: "I can see he's not in your good books." Beatrice: "No, and if he were I would burn my library.” But the play becomes something else entirely when Hero, a virgin, is accosted by nearly every male in the play and shamed for her suspected sexual practices. Hero's treatment is so brutal it brings the play to a halt, at least the comic quotient. Benedick & Beatrice seem to disappear while Dogberry conducts his investigation, but with a modern version of the text revealing just how inane a character he is (Dogberry makes George W. Bush's command of English look Shakespearean) the play does maintain more levity than might appear otherwise. Simply wonderful.

  27. 4 out of 5

    amapola

    Quando Shakespeare gioca https://youtu.be/glnOybkdU5M Sotto un sole abbagliante Shakespeare mette in scena un tourbillon di passioni, intrighi, giochi, errori. Dialoghi brillanti, vivaci, arguti. Commedia sui malintesi dell’amore e perfetto spaccato dell’animo umano. https://youtu.be/-pq-qGgByt8 Molti amano le tragedie di Shakespeare, anch’io, ma poi mi rendo conto che, in fondo in fondo, preferisco le commedie. “Il silenzio è l'araldo più perfetto della gioia: sarei ben poco felice se fossi capace d Quando Shakespeare gioca https://youtu.be/glnOybkdU5M Sotto un sole abbagliante Shakespeare mette in scena un tourbillon di passioni, intrighi, giochi, errori. Dialoghi brillanti, vivaci, arguti. Commedia sui malintesi dell’amore e perfetto spaccato dell’animo umano. https://youtu.be/-pq-qGgByt8 Molti amano le tragedie di Shakespeare, anch’io, ma poi mi rendo conto che, in fondo in fondo, preferisco le commedie. “Il silenzio è l'araldo più perfetto della gioia: sarei ben poco felice se fossi capace di dire quanto”.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jillian

    Even if by some highly unlikely chance you don't happen to like this piece of glorious brilliance, you can at the very least thank the heavens and good old Will Shakespeare for the existence of this gif: And also this one. But that's just barely scratching the surface. I don't have any gifs on hand right now to adequately describe the pure sublimity of 1000 perfectly executed puns of varying degrees of ambiguity. 4.5/5

  29. 5 out of 5

    J. Sebastian

    Some believe that comedy is superior to tragedy. I would have scoffed at this notion earlier in life, always preferring a story like Macbeth to an As you like it, just as I prefer music in minor keys to anything in a major key. Though there are moments of tension in comedy where the protagonist's desires seem to be thwarted, and this can tug at the reader’s emotions, the entertainment is light and trivial, and later forgotten without regret. Tragedy, on the other hand, leaves a scar; Macbeth can Some believe that comedy is superior to tragedy. I would have scoffed at this notion earlier in life, always preferring a story like Macbeth to an As you like it, just as I prefer music in minor keys to anything in a major key. Though there are moments of tension in comedy where the protagonist's desires seem to be thwarted, and this can tug at the reader’s emotions, the entertainment is light and trivial, and later forgotten without regret. Tragedy, on the other hand, leaves a scar; Macbeth cannot be forgotten. Which is the greater experience? Which the more formative, the more valuable read? Having now read this play, I am no longer sure of asserting the superiority of tragedy. For Much ado about nothing I can say that the plot is complex and intricate, that it involves more than one romance, that in reading it I found it as difficult to put down as I had Macbeth, and that after reading it I feel I must return to it again to discover more of its secrets.

  30. 4 out of 5

    M.

    Bu edisyon için konuşuyorum, çeviriyi beğendim. Özellikle söz oyunları Türkçe'ye güzel ve kafiyeli uyarlanmış. Kelime dağarcığı zengin ve bununla birlikte akıcı ve duru.

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