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Much Ado About Nothing

Written: 1598 Texts: Quarto 1600, First Folio 1623 (Comedy)
Source: Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533). Orlando Furioso (1516)(The English translation by John Harington in 1591); Bandello, Matteo (1485-1561) Novelle (1554-73) 22th story; Edmund Spenser (c.1552-99). The Faerie Queene (1590); Francois de Belleforest (1530-83). Histories Tragiques (1568) Book 3; Whetstone, George The Roke of Regard (1576) – Clauido's rejuction of Hero at her own wedding; Castiglione, Baldassare (1478-1529) The Book of the Courtier (1528)
Characters: Leonato, Claudio, Don Pedro, Benedick, Hero, Beatrice, Friar Francis, Dogberry, Don John, Borachio, Antonio, Ursala
Setting: Messina
Time: Undetermined

Xxx xxx

Appearance and Deception

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A recurring theme in many of Shakespeare’s plays, and central to Much Ado About Nothing, explores how easily people are deceived not just by the false testimony of others but even by their own senses. Claudio, believing he was deceived by Don John, learned to place no trust in the words of others. With “Let every eye negotiate for itself,”
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Friars, Friends and Deceivers

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Friar Francis in Much Ado About Nothing (4.1.221), like Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet, is a sympathetic character who aids the romantic interests of the young lovers. Both friars fashion a conspiracy whose central conceit is the fake death of the lady. Friars fare better than the Catholic hierarchy in Shakespeare’s plays, even though the friars are as devious in their means as cardinals and archbishops.
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Seasons, Elements and Humors

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The four seasons, the four elements and the four humors were all related. The four seasons spring, summer, autumn and winter paralleled the four humors blood/sanguine, yellow bile/choleric, phlegm/phlegmatic and black bile/melancholic, which in turn paralleled the four elements air, fire, water and earth. Good health and good disposition of character or personality were believed to be a matter of keeping one’s humors in proper balance.
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I find here that Don Pedro hath bestowed much honor

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Leonato
I find here that Don
Pedro hath bestowed much honor on a young
Florentine called Claudio.
Messenger
Much deserved on his part, and equally
remembered by Don Pedro.Anapodoton
He hath borne himself
beyond the promise of his age, doing in the figure
of a lamb the feats of a lion.

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Are you come to meet your trouble?

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Are you come to meet your trouble? The fashion of the world is to avoid cost, and you encounter it.
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Act 1
Scene 1
Line 94

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Speak low if you speak love.

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Speak low if you speak love.
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Act 2
Scene 1
Line 97

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Friendship is constant in all other things

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Friendship is constant in all other things
Save in the office and affairs of love.Hendiadys
Therefore all hearts in love use their own tongues.Synecdoche
Let every eye negotiate for itself,Synecdoche
And trust no agent; for beauty is a witch
Against whose charms faith melteth into bloodMetaphor
.
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Act 2
Scene 1
Line 173

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Connected Notes:
Appearance and Deception

Ho, now you strike like the blind man

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Ho, now you strike like the blind man. ‘Twas the boy that stole your meat, and you’ll beat the post.Metaphor
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Act 2
Scene 1
Line 196

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Silence is the perfectest heralt of joy

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Silence is the perfectest heralt of joy; I were but little happy, if I could say how much!
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Act 2
Scene 1
Line 300

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There’s little of the melancholy element in her

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There’s little of the melancholy element in
her, my lord. She is never sad but when she sleeps,
and not ever sad then, for I have heard my daughter
say she hath often dreamt of unhappiness and
waked herself with laughing.
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Act 2
Scene 1
Line 335

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No, sure, my lord, my mother cried

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No, sure, my lord, my mother cried, but then there was a star danc’d, and under that was I born.
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Act 2
Scene 1
Line 337

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Time goes on crutches till love have all his rites.

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Time goes on crutches till love have all his ritesPersonification.
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Act 2
Scene 1
Line 348

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I do much wonder that one man

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I do much wonder that one man, seeing how much
another man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviors
to love, will, after he hath laughed at such
shallow follies in others, become the argument of
his own scorn by falling in love—and such a man is
Claudio. I have known when there was no music
with him but the drum and the fife,
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Act 2
Scene 3
Line 8

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