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Explore the possible meanings of the title 'Much AdoAbout Nothing'.

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Introduction

Explore the possible meanings of the title 'Much Ado About Nothing' How important are titles? The title of Much Ado About Nothing is very imprecise. The word nothing has four different meanings and Ado also has the meaning of 'fuss and bother' and 'excitement'. These meanings relate to the plot of Hero and Claudio's love, the wedding, the Beatrice and Benedick deceits as well as Hero's 'death' closer to the end of the play. In the Longman Dictionary the first meaning of the word 'nothing' is 'not anything' and it refers to existence and being none i.e. preference that something exists, but it doesn't. This meaning is demonstrated throughout the plot within the theme of deceit. The deceits where this occur involve Don John with Hero and Claudio, Leonato's court with Benedick and Beatrice, and the Friar with Hero's 'death'. When Don John tells Claudio that he 'heard [Don Pedro] swear his affection' for Hero in line 125 of Act 2 Scene 1, he is deceiving Claudio because it is not true. Don John only says this because he enjoys being evil and is a 'plain-dealing villain'. It is possible that this evil is in Don John because he is the bastard brother of Don Pedro, who will get all the inheritance from their father leaving Don John with nothing from their father's estate. ...read more.

Middle

Act 3 Scene 5 sees Dogberry and Verges trying to tell Leonato that Claudio and Hero have been set up, but because Leonato is busy getting ready for their marriage, he ignores Dogberry and tells him to 'Take the examination himself'. The role of taking an examination without Leonato, could make Dogberry feel more important because he has been given an extra role, but because of the way he was dismissed and ignored when he had an important message to give, this shows he has a lack of importance. In Shakespeare's time it is possible that the Nothing was actually Noting, which means to eavesdrop and take note. This meaning definitely coincides with the plot of the play as there is a lot of eavesdropping where the characters take note of what is said and this later leads to the deceptions. The first time eavesdropping is heard about within the play is in Act 1 Scene 3 when Borachio approaches Don John with news of Claudio and Hero's wedding plans. Don John takes note of these plans and then uses it to his advantage to try and break up the marriage plans the night before the wedding. ...read more.

Conclusion

Eavesdropping also occurs several times within the plots, but once again is not in all four of the main plots, but only in three. Hero pretending to die and then pretend to be her uncles daughter seems to leave eavesdropping out and means that the only of the four meanings carried through all four plots in the play, is Ron Daniels' theory of falsity and disguise. I think that Shakespeare was very clever with the wording of this title and leaves it open to several possible meanings, and maybe even more than those that I have explored here. However, I also think that the title of Much Ado About Nothing can be interpreted very simply as 'Making something out of Nothing' which also links to the four plots, especially with the theme of deception. Even so, no-one will know the real reason behind Shakespeare's reasons for this title, and what he really intended it to mean, but we can also make guesses and assumptions, but we can also always be wrong. Donna-Marie Pellowe Explore the Possible Meanings of the Title 'Much Ado About Nothing'. Page 1 of 4 English Literature Coursework Shakespeare - Much Ado About Nothing ...read more.

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