Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: March ::
Much Ado Questions
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0587  Tuesday, 2 March 2004

[1]     From:   Brian Willis <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 1 Mar 2004 07:51:42 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0574 Much Ado Questions

[2]     From:   W.L. Godshalk <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 01 Mar 2004 13:51:17 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0574 Much Ado Questions


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Willis <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 1 Mar 2004 07:51:42 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 15.0574 Much Ado Questions
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0574 Much Ado Questions

This reading of the word "case" never seemed to make sense to me. What's
wrong with it simply meaning jewel case? Claudio is using a lover's
trope, that she is a jewel so priceless that it might be impossible to
purchase, i.e. attain, her. Benedick is naturally deconstructing that
trope (as he does throughout the first half of the play) by saying that
there would be plenty left over to purchase the case as well. Sure,
jewel was a common metaphor for virginity in Renaissance drama, but the
response by Benedick makes no sense if it becomes bawdy. Certainly, I
couldn't make it work that way when I recently played him. It only made
sense to the character and the rhythm of the scene if it was completely
sardonic. Benedick afterwards turns immediately to issues of marriage
and fears that Claudio will forsake the military life.

Brian Willis

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W.L. Godshalk <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 01 Mar 2004 13:51:17 -0500
Subject: 15.0574 Much Ado Questions
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0574 Much Ado Questions

The title Much Ado about Nothing contains multiple puns. The
Elizabethans often pronounced "th" as "t" (and "ing" as "in"). So,
"nothing" and "noting" sounded the same to their ears (perhaps something
like "nuttin"?). Obviously, "nothing" suggests "non-existence." And
"noting" can mean "eavesdropping, "taking notes," "noticing
appearances," "stigmatizing someone's character," and "making music."
And Stephen Booth has made clear "nothing" may be slang for "vagina,'
with "all/awl" meaning "penis."

So Act 1, scene 2, begins the series of eavesdroppings that mark the
play.  Also, when Hero accepts Don Pedro's offer of marriage, does she
think that she's going to marry Pedro, not Claudio?

Gordon Williams, A Glossary of Shakespeare's Sexual Language, discusses
the use of "case" as "sexual organ," both penis and vagina, though
usually vagina. Williams also points out that "jewel" can mean
"maidenhead."  Benedick's "Yea, and a case to put it [the jewel] into,"
may suggest that you can purchase a vagina with a maidenhead. But
Frankie Rubinstein, A Dictionary of Shakespeare's Sexual Puns and their
Significance, indicates that "jewel" can refer to "testicle." So, Hero
could be the case for Claudio's jewel.

Bill Godshalk

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.