The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.2041 Monday, 22 November 1999.
Date: Friday, 19 Nov 1999 12:14:07 -0400
Subject: 10.2037 Who was fighting?
Comment: Re: SHK 10.2037 Who was fighting?
>Having recently read Much Ado About Nothing again, I am wondering on
>what basis some other readers have concluded that the battle the men are
>returning from (in Act 1) was between forces for Don Pedro and forces
>for Don John? I hope I'm not being dense, but I don't see that indicated
>in the text. I am, of course, noting Leonato's comment that the brothers
>have recently been reconciled? Does that make them the combatants?
As the person who started all the trouble with my comment on this, I
probably should respond. No, there is nothing specific in the text that
I see which dictates that the war has been between the Dons, and in fact
it is almost NEVER handled this way in production. Usually, a director
interested in transposing the play to a particular historical period
uses some major historical battle to dictate the time period. However,
there is nothing in the text to indicate that the battle was NOT between
Don Pedro and Don John, and in fact it makes an awful lot of sense to
play it that way. Otherwise, you have to celebrate the return home from
WWII, or whatever, and then conjure up some OTHER unnamed transgression
for which Don John is forgiven. It also has the effect of casting
Leonato and Don Pedro in a very sympathetic light, as they would have to
be REALLY forgiving to let Don John off the hook for causing such
bloodshed, and as someone pointed out, this is something to be
considered if one's vision of the play is really dark.