Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: March ::
Much Ado About Nothing
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0230  Tuesday, 28 March 2006

[1] 	From: 	Kristen McDermott <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Monday, 27 Mar 2006 11:48:34 -0500
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.0223 Much Ado About Nothing

[2] 	From: 	Sarah Cohen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Monday, 27 Mar 2006 10:52:09 -0800
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.0223 Much Ado About Nothing

[3] 	From: 	John W. Kennedy <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Monday, 27 Mar 2006 22:07:59 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0223 Much Ado About Nothing


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Kristen McDermott <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Monday, 27 Mar 2006 11:48:34 -0500
Subject: 17.0223 Much Ado About Nothing
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0223 Much Ado About Nothing

 >"Even more amazingly, his almost father in law, Leonato, and his brother.
 >Antonio, agree that they will marry Hero's cousin, Beatrice, to Claudio."

No, they're offering Claudio Antonio's non-existent daughter. Beatrice 
is the daughter of Leonato's (and Antonio's) late sister (we assume this 
because Leonato is her guardian). Antonio has a son (1.2.1) who is one 
of the musicians, but who never speaks, and who is apparently forgotten 
by 5.1.284, when the fictional daughter is identified as Leonato and 
Antonio's "only [remaining] heir").

This raises an interesting question, however: who Beatrice's father is 
we do not know. "Adam's sons are my brethren," says Beatrice, implying 
that there is no man whom she can marry. It would be interesting 
(although there is no textual evidence) to imagine that Beatrice, like 
Don John, is illegitimate, and that her prejudice against marriage is a 
coping mechanism for the possibility that she will never find a man who 
will accept her. It might explain her rueful refusal of Don Pedro's 
half-joking proposal (of course, so might her feelings for Benedick).

At any rate, the many unspecific references to blood relationships has a 
thematic link to the play's consideration of bastardy and loyalty, and 
the ways in which the lowly (Dogberry et al) correct the errors of the 
high-born (Claudio and Don Pedro). Also, whenever the subject of 
Beatrice and Benedick's match comes up, her wit, beauty and virtue are 
mentioned but not her birth. When Beatrice was born, she jokes, "My 
mother cried, but then there was a star danced..." This allusion to the 
image of the sun dancing at Christ's birth plays along with Beatrice's 
name-pun (she who blesses/is blessed). It also links Beatrice to the 
medieval image of Christ as the child of lowly birth whose loving nature 
thwarts the designs of the devil.

Kris McDermott
Central Michigan University

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Sarah Cohen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Monday, 27 Mar 2006 10:52:09 -0800
Subject: 17.0223 Much Ado About Nothing
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0223 Much Ado About Nothing

Marriage with Hero's cousin is one of the terms of "revenge" imposed on 
Claudio by Leonato. Claudio is mortified by his own error (not to 
mention relieved by Leonato's mercy), and is in no position to argue.

This is what Leonato says to Claudio in 5.1., after enjoining Claudio to 
sing Hero's epitaph at her tomb:

"Tomorrow morning come you to my house,
And since you could not be my son-in-law,
Be yet my nephew. My brother hath a daughter,
Almost the copy of my child that's dead,
And she alone is heir to both of us.
Give her the right you should have giv'n her cousin,
And so dies my revenge."

The fictional cousin, "almost a copy of my child that's dead", cannot be 
Beatrice. Claudio knows Beatrice, so there would be no need for Leonato 
to describe her to him. Besides, there is no indication in the text that 
Beatrice and Hero look alike.

Leonato here invents another daughter of another brother.

I hope this helps.

Sarah Cohen

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John W. Kennedy <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Monday, 27 Mar 2006 22:07:59 -0500
Subject: 17.0223 Much Ado About Nothing
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0223 Much Ado About Nothing

Michael B. Luskin <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >

 >Just a few minutes after he finds that his fianc

 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.