I’ve read my fair share of Shakespeare plays, but Much Ado About Nothing had slipped through the cracks until now. Benedick, Beatrice, and the intrigues to besmirch Hero are all new to me, and I jumped into the play with a lot of anticipation. Good old Will didn’t let me down.
Shakespeare’s writing is, as always, beautiful. Vocabulary I wish we still used, clever turns of phrase, sly insults and compliments, and great meter fill this book. I especially recommend the Barnes & Noble Classics edition which has excellent notes illuminating some of the more obscure phrases. Robert Miola edited, and he’s done a great job of explaining his editorial choices between the Folio, Quarto, and other previous editions. In short, Shakespeare’s a delight to read, and he hasn’t been ‘updated for the modern age’ or any of this nonsense. Nope, pure unadultered Shakespeare.
The plot is well-known, but here’s a quick, spoiler-free rundown: Hero and Claudio are to be wed, but court intrigue threatens their match. Hero’s cousin, Beatrice, finds herself always in a constant duel of wits with the insufferable Signeour Benedick, whose sharp tongue is only matched by Beatrice’s. Court intrigues, deception, masquerading, and word duels (and actual duels) are all sure to follow — and like any good Shakespeare comedy, remember, it’ll end in a bunch of weddings.
Much Ado was a great, low-key, break from the also-fantastic Dostoevsky, and I highly recommend the play. The B&N Classics edition is particularly good but you can find this one online for little trouble at all. It’s a great comedy, full of laughs, all ends well, and it’s a quick read to boot.
Published on 30 April, 2015. Last updated on