William Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing
You will need to get this from the library or from a bookstore. Please be prepared for this. Once again, read it carefully, and allow yourself enough time to do so.
There are several filmed versions of this that are worth watching. For somewhat more complete film recommendations, look at my own evolving Shakespeare on View site. My own personal favorites are the BBC Shakespeare (Stuart Burge, 1984) and the Branagh (1993) versions. But there are several, and most of the ones I've seen have been entertaining and lively. The Globe Theatre version (Robin Lough, 2012) is particularly interesting in presenting the play in something like its original performance space. It takes its own liberties (as do all productions) but it’s worth seeing.
For our discussion this week, I would like to consider some different issues:
- You have now read a tragedy, a history, and a comedy — the three broad categories into which Shakespeare’s plays have been sorted. What are their distinguishing characteristics?
- Shakespeare's humor. What are the sources of humor in the plays? How does Shakespeare "target" his humor? What is its function in each of the three kinds of plays?
- What do you make of the fact that not everything here is humorous? How do you understand the darker material in context?
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