Tag Archives: Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing Character Review: Beatrice

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie Much Ado About Nothing. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. When the one we love walks away, the emotional wound that is created by that loss does not always close quickly or easily. It sometimes festers, creating a wall to prevent future heartbreaks.

In Much Ado About Nothing, Beatrice comes off as a confident, smart mouthed, and distrustful of romance. When she meets up with her ex, Benedick, her response is to call him on what she sees as his bullshit. While everyone around them is enjoying their banter, they do not see that she is afraid of being vulnerable, especially in front of the man who she is not quite over. When she hears that he is in love with her, Beatrice loses her armor and becomes hopeful that their relationship will begin again.

Unlike her cousin, Hero, Beatrice is not willing to submit to marry whomever her father approves of. She will only walk down aisle if she can respect herself and be in an equal partnership. In her world, a married woman is legally the property of her husband. She has no right to property, to any income, or even to her own children. The only way to remain in control of her fate and maintain control of financial and/or material assets is to remain single.

The turning point for her narrative is after the aborted wedding of Hero and Claudio. Angered that her beloved cousin’s name and reputation has been blackened, Beatrice rages that the sexist and misogynistic ideas that have ruined her cousin. Though she is unable to challenge Claudio, she and Benedick walk into the sunset. She is no longer afraid of love and more importantly, in love with a man who will not force her to submit the traditional idea of what is it is to be a woman.

To sum it up: Being vulnerable is never easy. It is harder when the person we want to be vulnerable with is the person we love most. The fear of rejection is so prevalent that the immediate reaction is to put up emotional walls and pretend that the we are fine. Beatrice’s initial reaction to Benedick is hide her heart to protect herself. But she eventually learns that putting your heart on your sleeve is not a bad thing. We just need to trust our gut and hope for the best.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, William Shakespeare

Much Ado About You Book Review

When life throws us a curveball, we generally have two choices. The first is to curl in a ball and let the grief take over. The second is to take a chance and try something entirely new.

Samantha Young‘s novel, Much Ado About You, was published at the beggining of the year. Chicago area thirty-something Evangeline “Evie” Starling has had it. After working for the same company for a decade, the promotion she has been hoping and praying for is given to someone else. Then the guy she has been seeing stands her up. Needing a change, she replies to an advertisement for an opportunity to temporarily run a bookstore in a small town in the northern English county of Northumberland. The package also comes with an apartment above the store. Entitled Much Ado About Books ( a play on the Shakesperean play Much Ado About Nothing), this lifelong fan of the bard leaves the US for a much-needed break.

What she finds is a new career opportunity, new friends, and an attraction to  Roane Robson, a local farmer who seems equally interested in her. But Evie is not looking for romance and tries to resist, knowing that giving in will result in another broken heart. But the more she tries to ignore the feeling, the more it grows until she finally has no choice but to give in.

What I appreciated about this book was the diversity of some of the characters and the subtle nods to some of Shakespeare‘s most famous and beloved plays. But ultamitely, the narrative is nothing more than a few notches above a Hallmark Channel movie. I have nothing against these films, but they are just a little too simple and predictable for me. The problem I have is mainly with Roane. He is a little too perfect. I needed him to be just a little more human and less cut from a generic romance novel.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Much Ado About Nothing Character Review: Benedick

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie Much Ado About Nothing. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. Love, as wonderful as it is, can be a bit scary. We want to put ourselves out there, but the fear of having our heart returned to us in pieces can sometimes lead us to lock ourselves away as a form of protection.

In Much Ado About Nothing, Benedick is man’s man. A respected warrior fighting under the flag of Don Pedro, he gets along well with his fellow soldiers. But there is one area in which his bravado is challenged: women. That challenge, to be more specific is in form of his sort of ex, Beatrice. When they meet again after some time apart, they are quick to play a verbal insult game of “top that”. This leads to Benedick advising young Claudio on a possible engagement to Hero, the daughter of their host, Leonato.

At the masked ball, he begs his boss to give him any job that will send him away. But Don Pedro has another idea. He, along with Leonato, Hero, and Claudio, will make Benedick and Beatrice believe that one is in love with the other. That seems to go well, until the marriage ceremony of Hero and Claudio does not go as planned. After everyone else has left, they declare their love for one another. But there is still one obstacle to their happiness: Beatrice declares that if he truly loves her, would kill the man who left her cousin defiled at the alter.

Benedick takes up this charge and the culprit, Don John is brought to justice. The story ends with two weddings, Beatrice and Benedick (who finally publicly declare their love for another another) and Hero and Claudio.

To sum it up: Benedick is a man who loves completely and is loyal to those who love him in return. But that gets complicated when it comes to romantic love and the woman who is his equal, Beatrice. Their mutual past and the internal bruises that have not yet healed hide the true feelings they have for one another, but their hearts are revealed to create a happy ending for all involved.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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Pride And Prejudice Character Review: Jane Bennet

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Pride and Prejudice. Read at your own risk if you are unfamiliar with the book.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Pride and Prejudice to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

We all have that nice friend or family member on our life. The one who always sees the glass half full. The one who sees the good in others, despite their flaws. In Pride and Prejudice, that role is played by Jane Bennet, the eldest of the Bennet sisters.

The sugar to Elizabeth’s spice, Jane is soft-spoken, docile, amiable and considered to be the beauty of the family. When she meets Charles Bingley, the new guy in town, the crush between them is mutual. But his sisters and his best friend, Fitzwilliam Darcy aren’t exactly keen on the idea of a potential marriage between Mr. Bingley and the eldest Miss Bennet.  They conspire to separate the potential lovers in hopes of steering Mr. Bingley towards a more “appropriate” match.

In the end, Jane does marry Mr. Bingley, but not before he gets a backbone and she waits quietly for him to return.

Not everyone can be an Elizabeth. In creating the antithesis to her younger sister, Austen allowed Jane to shine in her own way. She might not have the bite or the sarcasm of Elizabeth, but Jane has qualities that Elizabeth lacks and visa versa. Where Elizabeth is quick to judge, Jane is willing to give someone a chance before making up her mind. The Hero to Elizabeth’s Beatrice, Jane stands out from her sister because of their differences.

To sum it up: No two characters should be exactly alike. In creating two different characters with different voices, beliefs and different points of view (especially in the same family) the writer enables each character to speak with their own voice and stand out from the rest of the characters. When each individual voice shines through, this engages the reader and gives them another character to potentially hook into and follow throughout the narrative.

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Filed under Books, Character Review, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, William Shakespeare, Writing

International Women’s Day 2015

To celebrate International Women’s Day, I’d like to share a few quotes and videos from some of the trailblazers and fore-mothers who have come before us.

“The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand.

“If men could see us as we really are, they would be a little amazed; but the cleverest, the acutest men are often under an illusion about women: they do not read them in a true light: they misapprehend them, both for good and evil: their good woman is a queer thing, half doll, half angel; their bad woman almost always a fiend.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Shirley

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”- Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

“Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal — as we are!- Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

“I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.”- Jane Austen, Persuasion
“A woman is like a tea bag-you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water”-Eleanor Roosevelt
“The greatest feminists have also been the greatest lovers. I’m thinking not only of Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter Mary Shelley, but of Anais Nin, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and of course Sappho. You cannot divide creative juices from human juices. And as long as juicy women are equated with bad women, we will err on the side of being bad.”-Erica Jong, Fear Of Flying

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Filed under Books, Charlotte Bronte, Feminism, Jane Austen, Jane Eyre, Persuasion

Throwback Thursday Part III- Much Ado About Nothing

William Shakespeare’s works are immortal. They have outlived his lifetime and will continue to outlive our lifetimes.

Much Ado About Nothing is one of his greatest comedies. Last year, Joss Whedon released his version of Much Ado about Nothing.

In 1993, actor/director Kenneth Branagh released his take on the classic comedy. His Benedict is opposite his then wife, Emma Thompson as Beatrice. Robert Sean Leonard and Kate Beckinsale are Claudio and Hero. Secretly planning on bringing the lovers together is Don Pedro (Denzel Washington), Leonato (the late Richard Briers) and Antonio (Brian Blessed). Conspiring to keep the lovers apart is Don John (Keanu Reeves).

This is how Shakespeare should be done, every time. The cast is spot on and the movie is perfect. I still think that Hero should have not been so quick to take Claudio back, but that is the play overall and that is another topic for another post.

I recommend this movie.

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There Is Much Ado About Much Ado About Nothing

The latest in a long line of Shakespearean adaptations is the Joss Whedon directed “Much Ado About Nothing“.

For the uninitiated, Much Ado About Nothing is about two couples on different paths to martial happiness.

Benedick (Alexis Denisof) and Beatrice (Amy Acker) dated previously, but the relationship turned sour. It is love at first sight for Hero (Jillian Morgese) and Claudio (Fran Kranz).

Don Pedro (Reed Diamond) and Leonato, Hero’s father (Clark Gregg) happily endorse the marriage between Hero and Claudio while secretly setting up Beatrice and Benedick. But Don Pedro’s brother, Don John (Sean Maher) sees an opportunity to cause trouble for his brother and Claudio.

This movie is one of the best movies I have seen so far this year.

If I was not a fan of Joss Whedon, as well as being a Buffy/Angel and a Shakespeare fan, this movie would still be one of the best I have seen so far this year.

Acker and Denisof still have the same chemistry they had on Angel ten years ago, Morgese and Kranz are well matched as the young lovers torn apart by Don John’s lies.

The biggest kudos has to go to Nathan Fillion as Dogberrry, the bumbling police chief. His scenes are some of the funniest in the movie.

This movie should absolutely be purchased when it comes out on DVD.

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Filed under Movie Review, Reviews, William Shakespeare