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Lecture 4

ENGB33 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Cuckold, Alter Egos, Homosociality

3 pages70 viewsFall 2014

Course Code
Joel Rogers

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Lecture 4: Much Ado About Nothing
Much Ado About Nothing is set in contemporary Italy compared to Titus, set in Ancient Italy
First published
Q 1600
F 1623
Estimated first performance c. 1598-1600
Earliest recorded performance = Winter 1612-1613 => during the marriage festivities of
Frederick V (Elector Palatine) and Princess Elizabeth
Meres (author) lists critical snippets of Shakespeare and Ado isn’t mentioned at all, but he does
list one similar to Ado that may in fact be such
Much Ado About Nothing Redux:
Act 1: From war to “merry war”; Beatrice vs. Benedick
Act 2: Party
Act 3: Beatrice seduced
Act 4: Slander at the Alter
Act 5: One funeral; two weddings
none-of-name => means no noble name or rank/distinction
Early Modern Love and Friendship: Lovers and Alter Egos
Opening scene from Kenneth Branagh’s adaption of Much Ado About Nothing:
the movie begins by having Beatrice read from a book the “Hey Nonny Nonny” song
recitation of this song happens later on in the play
and is about how men and women relate to one another
the characters appear relatively unaffected by war => too happy and giddy
the men and women wash and re-dress in separate bathing houses before meeting each other
=> added by Branagh
in this play “soldier” can have two different meanings:
servant to your country
OR service to your lady (sexual) => meaning lady-killer/player
squire of dames- ladies man
the people back from war are messing with people’s love lives => for the most part this doesn't
lead to tragedy like Shakespeare’s other plays
a merry war between Beatrice and Benedick is started => bicker whenever seeing each other
Beatrice mentions Benedick committing a “jade’s trick” => fleeing before ending the war
where weapons = birds
In the play:
early modern friendship is hard to disentangle
gender and sex are not distinct and sometimes blended
the bonds happening between two males are homosocial not sexual/romantic nature
ENGB33H3 Lecture 4 Sept. 25, 2014 1
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