1. Critics on Much Ado]
    1. Carol Thomas Neely: "Broken Nuptials in MAAN," Signet ed. 157 ff
      1. Double plot's function as typical of romantic, festive comedies
        1. Hero and Claudio Plot: anxieties and risks underlying conventions of romantic love are expressed and contained by the broken nuptials, vilification, mock death, penitence, acceptance of substitute bride
        2. B and B plot: mutual mockery, double gulling, Benedick's acceptance of Beatrice's command to kill Claudio function to break down resistance and release desire and affection
        3. B and B "ventilates and displaces" H and C plot and transforms its romance elements; impasse of H and C plot generates movement in B/B plot
        4. Maintain equilibrium between male control and female intiative; male reform and female submission
        5. Wit clarifies the vulnerability of romantic idealization; romance alters static self-defensive gestures of wit
      2. Backdrop of patriarchal authority
        1. protected by bawdy, esp. cuckoldry jokes: expresses and mutes sexual anxiety, emphasizing male power and female weakness
        2. males defend themselves against vulnerability to female betrayal
          1. deny it with idealization
          2. anticipate it with mysogyny
          3. transform it through motif of cuckoldry
        3. Nevertheless male power remains lame and diffused
          1. male characters are weak and silly
          2. Dogberry is typical: inept strategies and good fortune--reenacts farce of Hero's trial; [Borachio's defense of them and indictment of others]; malefactors and benefactors are indistinguishable; testiness, asininity [cf. Bottom]
        4. Despite men's rivalry, ineffectuality and silliness, they control all of the play's plot generating deceits
      3. Defenses against anxieties of sexuality and marriage
        1. Claudio's idealization and sense of chastity
        2. Hero's subordination to convention and father; romantic love and depression before the marriage
        3. B and B's anxiety about loss of power through sex, love and marriage
          1. Ben imagines love as castrating torture, loss of poentency; also fears being separated from friends
          2. Protects self with mysogyny: distrust of women plus claim that all women dote on him
          3. Beatrice's sallies reveal weakness and ambivalence; wit is self deprecating; she really wants to marry; has been hurt by him 2.1.314
          4. Her fear of the power marriage grants men; also her desire--justified by cloddishness of men, but also her pride and fear
        4. Contrasting effects of gulling
          1. Men allay Ben's fears by revealing B's love; confirming his virility and mocking his mysogyny--raising his confidence and sexual prowess
          2. Women's ruse undermine Beatrice's self confidence and power of "womanly" surrender
      4. Double plot again:
        1. Wedding scene--Claudio's failure of romantic faith buttresses Benedick's
        2. Three "deaths" engender comic reconciliation
          1. Hero's
            1. satisfies lover's desire for revenge while alleviating fear of infidelity; relief and guilt change slander to remorse; lover is freed from pain of desire and fear of losing her; can reidealize her
            2. women risk or experience death or mock death as ultimate form of submission; friar's plan doesn't work until proof of Hero's fidelity is provided; her will is destroyed; faith in her requires ultimate sacrifice
          2. Claudio's penance; giving up his will to the father and the woman; he'll have faith in anyone
          3. Benedick
            1. antidote to mysogyny and scepticism: he'll risk his life and his male friends for love and in testimony of faith in Hero and Beatrice; a hero of romance
        3. Broken nuptials: the marriage scene--anxieties about marriage destroys simple romance; destruction rebuilds ideal concept--death and sacrifice required; change--Beatrice description of marriage as wooing, wedding and repentance--to the point today given divorce rates. Second marriage more tentative than first: Claudio will take any girl; B and B will dance first and continue to spar; adultery is always possibility; Don Pedro and Don John are left out
    2. Harry Berger: "Sexual and Family Politics in MAAN
      1. Bea. fears marriage as boredom and impotence--repentance in 2.1.63
      2. Hero male-dominated but complicit: "look sweetly and say nothing"
      3. relation between Hero and Beatrice: B. hogs stage and puts down H's norms: Hero both admires and disapproves of B.
        1. Hero's dim awareness of what B. is saying 3.1.17
        2. In the gulling, she only pretends to pretend; her language waxes lyrical and strong
        3. Hero is ambivalent toward B; both envious and disapproving
      4. Dim views of marriage: B, B, Don John
      5. Distrust of women by men; men by women; they must be tricked into marriage
      6. Men are satisfied when their scepticism about women is confirmed
      7. Hero's "crime" deserves death; Prince's and Claudio's only mild reproof in their own eyes [but not Beatrice's]