Much Ado About Nothing

by

William Shakespeare

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Much Ado About Nothing: Style 1 key example

Read our modern English translation.
Style
Explanation and Analysis:

The style of "Much Ado About Nothing" is witty, humorous, and characterized by extensive wordplay, particularly in exchanges between Beatrice and Benedick. This style contributes to the lighthearted tone and comedy of the play. 

While most of the play is written in prose, it occasionally transitions into blank verse in iambic pentameter. Verse tends to appear when characters are speaking in a more formal setting. For example, although Benedick, Claudio, and the Prince engage in a humorous conversation in prose in Act 1, Scene 1, Claudio and the Prince switch to verse immediately after Benedick departs in order to discuss, in serious terms, Claudio's desire to marry Hero. Indeed, Claudio marks this transition into formality by addressing the Prince with a title of respect: "My liege, your Highness now may do me good." Meanwhile, Hero uses blank verse even in the private setting of her room in Act 3, Scene 1. This stylistic choice emphasizes Hero's nobility and virtue. Leonato and the Friar, both of whom are older men in positions of high respect in Messina, also speak in blank verse throughout Act 4, Scene 1. By contrast, Dogberry and Verges, who are lower in social rank than the other characters, always speak in prose. Shakespeare's choice of prose or verse thus contributes to the audience's understanding of the characters and their social context.