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Consider the effectiveness of Act I, scene I as the opening scene of 'Much Ado About Nothing'.

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Introduction

Consider the effectiveness of Act I, scene I as the opening scene of 'Much Ado About Nothing'. An audience have expectations that the opening scene offers them the chance of escapism and to enter the play's illusion of plots, setting, characters and themes. To do this effectively in 'Much Ado About Nothing' Shakespeare has compelled audiences with emotional engagement enhanced with a hint of quirky humour to soften the more tragic aspects of the play. Shakespeare had the ability to verbalise the main issues he wished to convey to the audience and then firmly root them in the foundation of the plots with imaginative stagecraft. Much Ado About Nothing is centered around three main plots and throughout the exposition of the opneing scene effectively prepares the audience to understand the later complexities to come. In 'Kenneth Branagh's' 'Much Ado About Nothing' I believe that the opening credits serve as an exhilirating interpretation of one line in the play, 'Don Pedro arrives' ( from war ). This is an exciting visual play that thrives on the audience interacting with the excitement and passion of the characters. The story is primarily about love, however its opening scene is ironically based on the aftermath of war, the underlying continuation of 'battlement' is obvious from the language such as 'encounter' which Don Pedro refers to which is used as an effective military metaphor. Maybe the use of the military styled language was to prepare the audience for forthcoming events involving conspiracy and deception which are main elements of war; Shakespeare is drip-feeding us the essence of the dark side to prepare the audience for the plot involving the antagonist 'Don John'. ...read more.

Middle

Much honour is devoted to 'a young Florentine called Claudio' in the opening scene and the audience are wooed by the facade of 'figure of a lamb, feats of a lion'. Shakespeare has effectively introduced this character through high society here'say and in doing so heightens the mystery and accomplishment of this young man. Just as the other characters, the audience are wooed by this eloborated military figure of florentine as it lends the fashionable exotic to spice the lives and plots of the play. Fashions of the time also meant arranged marriages and female subserveince which enabled the male to be the dominant figure in society. Being introduced to this type of society early in the opening scene allows the audeince to understand the coventional roles each character should follow, for instance we gain a direct contrast between the coyness of Hero and brashiness of Beatrice. Beatrice is rebelling against the conventional role of women and this helps to reflect the characters personality. Shakespeare has used the roles of women of the times to emphasise their compliance or rebellion against convention to allow the audience to understand character's motives and personality at a higher level. 'The masked ball' not only serves to illustrate the complications of society, but also a strictly parachial society as Don Pedro acts as a fatherly figure to help woo Hero in the construction of the marriage between her and Claudio. Due to coventional ettiqueetes structuring Messinese society the formalities are emphasised by Shakespeare especially in the opening scene so that the audience gain a taste of what the nature of the community is like. ...read more.

Conclusion

The opening scene introduces love. Shakespeare effectively manipulates love and verbalises the issues of the subject well in order to create plots and imaginative characters. I believe that from the opening scene a member from the audience could suggest that Shakespeare was commenting on the superficiality of Messinese society and how they believed that words equivocated to true feelings especially when regarding Hero and Claudio. An Elizabethan audience would of been able to understand the concept of using vocabulary to generate the emotion they felt because at the time the vogue was to send poems to your loved ones with elevated language. As Shakespeare mocks Hero and Claudio's love for one another due to ungenuine fancy phrasemaking and congratulates the love of Beatrice and Benedick by characterising them in complimentary light allows an audience to believe that 'real' love never has to be sustained by the amount and variation of vocabulary you could use and attempt to equivocate. I believe that Shakespeare has effectively introduced plot, setting, characters and theme into the opening scene and in such a creative and imaginative style as so to keep the audience interested and entertained. The opening is energetic and engaging and both audiences from the Elzabthan era and audiences today can understand why. The magic and romance of renaissance Italy and the blend of culture and politics provided a breeding ground for a sucessful play. The fact that love was intertwined into two of the plots throughout the play increased the play's intensity for passion and when performed well to an audience they would really engage with the emtional heartache and society facade 'Much Ado About Nothing' would allow them to experience. ...read more.

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