1. Notes on Kenneth Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing--September 1993
    1. Second viewing much more enjoyable than first, largely because there is so much going on and its too hard to track it all the first time.
      1. things I liked: the delivery of epigrammatic lines--Branagh takes over at end
        1. "serve God, love me and mend"
        2. concept of love and marriage
          1. a surrender of many kinds
          2. all change as surrender and death and rebirth
          3. marriage is like funeral; "old" Hero must die
      2. understood beatrice and benedick's names: beatific and benediction
      3. claudio and hero; he's cloudy, she's heroic; claudus L for limping or wavering
    2. Opening--Beatrice's song
      1. atmosphere: languid, wealthy enjoyment, artificial laughter, yet bitter and anxious--anxiety over inconstancy, cuckoldry, man is a giddy thing; marriage is dangerous; a transformation to be entered into carefully and yet with a leap; neither friendship nor love nor brotherhood can always be trusted
      2. Beatrice as everybody's entertainer and mocker; tease
      3. song used throughout the play as leitmotif:
        1. the trickery scene where Benedick mocks and then falls in love
          1. when Balthasar sings, everyone joins in; all must be cuckolded, the world must be peopled; social and natural pressure
          2. converting woe
        2. the choral celebration of the real wedding at the end
      4. the arrival of the men--heroic, slow motion, horses, flags, solidarity
      5. everyone jumping in the bath; taking off clothes; showing tanned buns; no conflict between single sex solidarity and male-female courtship; fraternity/sorority atmosphere/ homoerotic and erotic
      6. constant applause and laughter; people performing before each other
      7. Prince in charge at beginning, but loses his power--he is prince of courtliness, courtship and entertainments, but becomes killer of hero
    3. Issue of war and courage and male virtue--eating heart in marketplace; Beatrice's rage and assertiveness; her not being given away and holding her own and not marrying Prince; the confrontation scenes at the end between Beatrice and Benedick, Leonato and Prince, Benedick and Claudio
    4. structure:
      1. Don John's first trick--making Claudio think Pedro is betraying him; presaging second trick
      2. change of tone in Don John scenes; reversal at broken nuptials
      3. first plot: pedro woos for Claudio who falls in love and likes her money but doesn't have courage to woo himself; Claudio pressured by Don Pedro; Hero pressured by her father; neither decide themselves; Ben and Bea are without authority figures; Beatrice tells her not just to obey
    5. Don John--dark, gothic, nasty but sexy; refusal to conform
    6. revels: festive atmosphere; masking; loss of identity; drunk and music; Bea makes believe she's tricked in order to trick; this is repeated pattern; she and Ben are also subjected to it; hiding their hand and then tricked into showing it by someone else's mask
    7. Theme of noting: misprision: error: Time makes and unfolds it
    8. Theme of family relationships: fathers and daughters; parents and children
    9. Theme of mistrust--friendship and loving; The song
    10. Theme of rumor and reputation--Beatrice gives rumor a bad name; perceptions are formed by rumors and pressures: marriage; love
      1. Both Ben and Bea's feelings are affected by others' valuations
    11. Relationship of Bea and Ben--they're both vulnerable; he's broken her heart; he's afraid of her; but she wont accept Pedro's proposal; waiting for Ben
    12. The garden scene: overhearing in the garden: knowledge and innocence; the fall--the serpent
      1. Ben mocks love and is mocked; his mind is changed
      2. Theme of change of mind: man is a giddy thing; the world must be peopled; shift of generations--the theme of changing roles; the theme of sonnets: reproduce and die; accept adulthood; growing up; risks
      3. imagining perfect woman vs. the reality--he'll only take the perfect one and therefore never marry
      4. on wealth and womanhood; Claudio also interested in woman's wealth
      5. the counterfeiting; use of falsehood to find truth; enjoyment of trickery; willingness to be decieved; diversion; play; discussion of beatrice's suffering which is both false and real; his scepticism and "proof"
      6. ends up reconceiving and reconstituting her words after encoiunter with her now that his concept has changed; rereading; recoding; reintepreting
    13. Beatrice's fall
      1. her hiding behind statue; trick on her; Harry Berger or someone distinguishing pressure on her from pressure on him
      2. love as trap and arrow
      3. fountain and swing
    14. The watch
      1. clown strategy--getting things wrong; misprision; they're the prince's watch; supposedly incharge; actually in charge; tragedy to comedy; police brutality and keystone cops; bumbling
      2. principles of error and comedy are revealing: galloping horses--horses of Claudio and Pedro; closeups; bad teeth and breath; dotty with love; close friends; hierarchy
      3. dont know how to conduct examination; I am an ass; disjointed imitations; almost right; mental quirks and illnesses; falling asleep
    15. At party where Ben. is teased, Don John's plot unfolds; misperception; error staged; compare to Don Pedro's plot with BB to produce love; here plot is to produce hate; sex is not happy but brutal and ugly and coarse and threatening as it will become for Claudio
    16. Wedding scene
      1. Claudio goes on about counterfeits and false appearances of purity, but he's wrong; his repulsion is what's repulsive
      2. Father's freakout, not about sex but about daughter betraying him; the truth comes out; best part of his speech cut.; jumping to conclusions; inferences; way we make decisions
      3. what will save this; another trick to reverse the first; Hero's dead; everyone wants her to be; when they get what they want, they'll regret and learn...die to live; this is very friarly idea; religious transformation; hocus pocus and trickery; anti catholic; ritual as play acting and counterfeiting; the funeral; the wedding; sacraments; rebirth. --legitimation of religion and love; in front of the chapel
      4. in the chapel; before the cross; continuation; weeping Beatrice; declaration of love to one another; conversionto fury and hatred; the real thing; kill Claudio; make marriage prior to friendship; make marriage a willinginess to rishk death; show manhood; Beatrice distrusts Ben's military courage; tone change
    17. Leonato goes from passive to angry--great line about philosopher and toothache (NB); real passion as opposed to courtly play; Leonato furious at Prince, like Beatrice demanding real love from Benedick which is love that will risk and sacrifice
      1. male honor amongst males rather than attack on females
    18. Claudio must repent; sin in mistaking; write song; take new daughter; mourning; hero watching her own funeral; fake ritual to right profaned ritual--theatre and religion; hero's shame transformed to glory; song of sorrow
    19. switch to Ben. trying to write love poem; has hard time doing it; poetry is either delusion or comes from true pain; ominous endings; love scene with Beatrice, who's accepted him.
    20. what's significance of Claudio's acceptance of marriage with unknown sister? giving up sovereignty; taking leap, since previously he erred in mistrust? Hero is masked; as in party
    21. I am your other wife
    22. informal wedding; more applause
    23. Theme: love and reason; B and B discover it was all a trick, but accept anyway; end with song