Much Ado About Much Ado

Posts occurring on Valentine’s Day are practically obligated to have a romantic theme.  Well, this is as close as I’m likely to get: the Shakespearean play that made me fall in love with love. Everyone remembers their first, I mean the first production of a Shakespearean play.  It tends to dominate their world view and every play by the Bard they see after that.  Present a newbie with the star-crossed lovers in Romeo and Juliet, and you’ll find you’ve created a romantic; force another to audit a poor reading of Julius Caesar, and they’ll loathe plays and politics for the rest of their days.  Like so many others, the first Shakespearean play I ever watched is still my favorite today.  It gave me the way I like to look at romance.  Tragic lovers can entertain somebody else, I favor the wit and laughter of Much Ado About Nothing. What makes this lighthearted romp so different from Shakespeare’s other comedies isn’t the “supposed” leading couple of the piece (Claudio and Hero) but his comedic characters, Benedick and Beatrice.  From one perspective these potential partners have everything in common: they’re both smart, funny, astonishingly verbal, unromantic, sarcastic and brave.  Their similarities give them…

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