An analysis of romantic materials in much ado about nothing by william shakespeare

Tristram Kenton Every director thinks they know what they are dealing with when they tackle Much Ado About Nothing, and every theatre critic too. But Much Ado About Nothing looks at first glance like a tightly-plotted, well-made romantic comedy, closer to the work of Richard Curtis than to anything by the author of King Lear.

An analysis of romantic materials in much ado about nothing by william shakespeare

Prior to the first act, an induction frames the play as a "kind of history" played in front of a befuddled drunkard named Christopher Sly who is tricked into believing that he is a lord.

The play is performed in order to distract Sly from his "wife," who is actually Bartholomew, a servant, dressed as a woman.

In the play performed for Sly, the "shrew" is Katherina, the eldest daughter of Baptista Minola, a lord in Padua. Numerous men, including Gremio and Tranio, deem Katherina an unworthy option for marriage because of her notorious assertiveness and willfulness.

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On the other hand, men such as Hortensio and Gremio are eager to marry her younger sister Bianca. However, Baptista has sworn Bianca is not allowed to marry until Katherina is wed; this motivates Bianca's suitors to work together to find Katherina a husband so that they may compete for Bianca.

An analysis of romantic materials in much ado about nothing by william shakespeare

The plot thickens when Lucentio, who has recently come to Padua to attend university, falls in love with Bianca.

Overhearing Baptista say that he is on the lookout for tutors for his daughters, Lucentio devises a plan in which he disguises himself as a Latin tutor named Cambio in order to woo Bianca behind Baptista's back and meanwhile has his servant Tranio pretend to be him.

An analysis of romantic materials in much ado about nothing by william shakespeare

In the meantime, Petruchioaccompanied by his servant Grumio, arrives in Padua from Verona. He explains to Hortensio, an old friend of his, that since his father's death he has set out to enjoy life and wed.

Hearing this, Hortensio recruits Petruchio as a suitor for Katherina. He also has Petruchio present Baptista a music tutor named Litio Hortensio in disguise. Thus, Lucentio and Hortensio, attempt to woo Bianca while pretending to be the tutors Cambio and Litio.

To counter Katherina's shrewish nature, Petruchio pretends that any harsh things she says or does are actually kind and gentle.

Katherina agrees to marry Petruchio after seeing that he is the only man willing to counter her quick remarks; however, at the ceremony Petruchio makes an embarrassing scene when he strikes the priest and drinks the communion wine.

After the wedding, Petruchio takes Katherina to his home against her will.

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Once they are gone, Gremio and Tranio disguised as Lucentio formally bid for Bianca, with Tranio easily outbidding Gremio. However, in his zeal to win, he promises much more than Lucentio actually possesses. When Baptista determines that once Lucentio's father confirms the dowryBianca and Tranio i.

Lucentio can marry, Tranio decides that they will need someone to pretend to be Vincentio, Lucentio's father. Meanwhile, Tranio persuades Hortensio that Bianca is not worthy of his attentions, thus removing Lucentio's remaining rival.

Leslie illustration of Act 4, Scene 3 Petruchio upbraiding the tailor for making an ill-fitting dress. In Verona, Petruchio begins the "taming" of his new wife.

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She is refused food and clothing because nothing — according to Petruchio — is good enough for her; he claims that perfectly cooked meat is overcooked, a beautiful dress doesn't fit right, and a stylish hat is not fashionable.

Along the way, they meet Vincentio, who is also on his way to Padua, and Katherina agrees with Petruchio when he declares that Vincentio is a woman and then apologises to Vincentio when Petruchio tells her that he is a man. Back in Padua, Lucentio and Tranio convince a passing pedant to pretend to be Vincentio and confirm the dowry for Bianca.

The man does so, and Baptista is happy for Bianca to wed Lucentio still Tranio in disguise. Bianca, aware of the deception, then secretly elopes with the real Lucentio to get married. However, when Vincentio reaches Padua, he encounters the pedant, who claims to be Lucentio's father.

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Tranio still disguised as Lucentio appears, and the pedant acknowledges him to be his son Lucentio. In all the confusion, the real Vincentio is set to be arrested, when the real Lucentio appears with his newly betrothed Bianca, revealing all to a bewildered Baptista and Vincentio.

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But Much Ado About Nothing looks at first glance like a tightly-plotted, well-made romantic comedy, closer to the work of Richard Curtis than to anything by the author of King Lear. For good measure, it even features a team of inept local policemen who might as well be in a renaissance precursor to Dad's Army or The Thin Blue Line.

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These are some of the many databases available to you as a member of Middletown Thrall Library: Artemis (now Gale Literary Sources) Searches the following databases (described below): Literature Criticism Online, Literature for Students, Literature Resource Center, and Something about the Author.

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