Drama needs some conflict, and the conflict in Much Ado About Nothing can be uncomfortable, if not in the same way as in The Merchant of Venice. Much Ado lacks the poetry of most of Shakespeare’s comedies of love, but it is an effective stage play, with a fine central role for Beatrice. The situation of a couple mutually attracted but each accustomed to dominate in conversation is ideal for the stage, and the play is well constructed. Yet the devices by which their friends and Shakespeare bring Beatrice and Benedick together are mechanical; their brilliant wit contests can now seem laboured; and the humour of Dogberry and his associates, though simple, is often unretrievable. The play is predominantly in a ‘realistic’ prose undiversified by the music and other charms of verse that enrich As You Like It and Twelfth Night, plays.
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- To the Globe
Prof. Michael Alexander
- Macmillan Education UK
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