The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1180  Monday, 29 April 2002

From:           Jack Heller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 28 Apr 2002 18:22:07 -0400
Subject:        Questions on Much Ado About Nothing

Dear Colleagues:

I would prefer to look these questions up in a library, but I am some
distance from any good one, so I turn to you.

Question 1: What happens to Conrade? In Act 5, Borachio claims to have
been alone in effecting the deception upon Claudio and Don Pedro, but
clearly in 4.2, Conrade shares in the guilt. Yet also in 4.2, there
seems to be a class distinction between Conrade (who takes offense at
being addressed as "Sirrah") and Borachio. Is Conrade's disappearance a
Shakespearean oversight? Does he usually appear in performances of Act

Question 2: Dogberry seems related to the constables in city comedies,
usually set in London. He does have the only wholly English name in the
play. Why an English name? Is he supposed to be connected to an English
comic type?

Question 3: While Leonato and Antonio bring about the reconciliation
with Claudio and Don Pedro, it is the Friar who comes up with the idea
of sending out the news that Hero is dead. When Claudio learns that he
has wronged Hero, he agrees to a "penance," including an annual rite at
Hero's tomb and marriage to the "cousin," Hero in disguise. Is there a
religious basis for the Friar's advice? Would a penance ever have been
what a lay person could contrive?

Your answers will be appreciated.

Jack Heller

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