Customer Reviews


202 Reviews
5 star:
 (108)
4 star:
 (47)
3 star:
 (18)
2 star:
 (14)
1 star:
 (15)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book!
I was assigned to read "Much Ado About Nothing" for my block class, and my initial thought was, Oh, how boring. I don't want to read Shakespeare. I won't even be able to understand it. Let me tell you, I was very wrong! This book was excellent- one of the best I've ever read. It contained romance, humor, comedy, and drama- so many diverse qualities that I rarely...
Published on March 24, 2001 by Megan

versus
35 of 44 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unusable and Eclectic Ideas Ruin this Important Edition
Claire McEachern's Introduction, notes and commentary on Much Ado About Nothing suffer from the decline in real scholarship over the last few years. Previous introductory materials in Arden edition have always built on the solid scholarship of the past, adding new ideas and research as integrated parts of the growing body of knowledge associated with Shakespeare...
Published on November 11, 2008 by Desertmartin


‹ Previous | 1 221 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book!, March 24, 2001
By 
Megan (Seattle, WA, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Much Ado About Nothing (Paperback)
I was assigned to read "Much Ado About Nothing" for my block class, and my initial thought was, Oh, how boring. I don't want to read Shakespeare. I won't even be able to understand it. Let me tell you, I was very wrong! This book was excellent- one of the best I've ever read. It contained romance, humor, comedy, and drama- so many diverse qualities that I rarely find in books these days! The main characters, Beatrice and Benedick, add humor and warmth to the book. They argue and insult each other, yet they are really in love. Hero and Claudio are the lovebirds, but the evil Don John tries to get in the way of this with a deceitful plan. Even though this book was written centuries ago, the main themes still apply to today, (such as the Beatrice and Benedick theme). That is why this book is a classic. Oh, and understanding it isn't a problem, either. This was my first Shakespeare book ever (I'm only 14), and I understood the plot, characters, and the theme. I enjoyed it at the same time. So order this book today. You won't regret it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


33 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is with you people?, September 29, 2005
I am here to do my part in diminishing the value of all the one- and three- star reviews posted here, the authors of which are clearly the same person or all from the same class of children too young to read the play. Amazon visitors reading these should know two things: the reviewer is a twit, and this play is wonderful.

I, for one, am a sucker for romances; if you are, Beatrice and Benedick will make the play worthwhile. Predictability be damned, they were an adorable couple. The main couple, Hero and Claudio, are boring; the other one will make you swoon. Beatrice and Benedick are funny, clever, and stubbornly reluctant to admit they love each other. To wit, they're perfect for one another.

I have read two contradictory criticisms regarding the language in the play on Amazon: that the language is too simple for Shakespeare's standards, and that the language is too difficult. The latter was from the kid's reviews; for everyone else, the language is not so difficult to decipher that you need to avoid it. The Folger edition, at least, has one page of notes for every page of text, noting both puzzling references to Elizabethan beliefs, such as that sights draw blood from the heart, and language problems caused by the hundreds of years between Shakespeare's time and ours. The editors do all the work for you. You have no excuse. (Oh, and that the language is too simple: Bah. It's Shakespeare. That's impossible. I loved all the double entendres; this play was very witty.)

One criticism I somewhat agree with is that the plot is boring. Hero and Claudio, being the main couple, get much time, and I didn't care much about Don John's vengeance, but at least half of my favorite couple was usually present, and by no means do Hero and Claudio's plot monopolize the story. Much Ado About Nothing is often genuinely entertaining, which is what kept me interested. The plot's not the point here, it's the dialogue.

In sum, the language is poetic, but not so much so that it reads like Klingon, the romance will make you sigh, and the plot is at least good enough to keep Beatrice or Benedick in most of the time. Don't let the previous reviewers deter you: Read it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


35 of 44 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unusable and Eclectic Ideas Ruin this Important Edition, November 11, 2008
By 
Desertmartin (Boulder, Colorado) - See all my reviews
Claire McEachern's Introduction, notes and commentary on Much Ado About Nothing suffer from the decline in real scholarship over the last few years. Previous introductory materials in Arden edition have always built on the solid scholarship of the past, adding new ideas and research as integrated parts of the growing body of knowledge associated with Shakespeare scholarship. McEachern's abandons most of the valid accepted readings of this play to wander rather aimlessly down the tunnel of self-promoting feminist, postmodern eclecticism. As a college professor, I am dismayed to see Arden turn to such contemporary and popular approaches at the exclusion of real context. The Arden editions have always set the standard, but are now falling prey to the subjective, personalized, even vindictive vents of the academic few. The field of Shakespeare criticism, unfortunately, is in danger of collapsing in on itself, and becoming completely irrelevant to anything other than these marginalized interest. More specifically, McEachern's search for sources for the play becomes a labyrinthine exposé of speculative inference and unrelated texts, ignoring primary sources for a new historicist fascination with the obscure. The tenor of her subjective argument about the play is captured in her overdone attack on Benedick as misogynist and Beatrice's rendering as the shrew. The problem, obviously, is the imbalance here; the feminist objective reduces a complex and humorous interplay to victimizer and victim, both seen from one perspective. Ignoring the historical contexts of the play, she focuses instead on marginal texts that only partially relate to the central themes of the play, to the social context, and to the audience's understanding both of Shakespeare's environs and present-day concerns. McEachern eventually backs herself into ridiculous corners, such as pages of arguing how women of the period who were too talkative (such as Beatrice) were labeled promiscuous, only to concede that Beatrice is never so labeled or even considered such. Her complete overblown fascination with the few humorous "cuckold" references in the play channel her criticism into a reductive and extremely limited analysis of minor factors in the play, while she completely avoids the important social considerations of marriage, challenges to gender roles, and the place of female intelligence in Shakespeare's society. It is a sign of the worst kind of scholarship, that her introduction to Much Ado About Nothing runs to nearly 145 pages, once the length of only the Hamlet introduction among the Arden editions (the only play, because of its complexity, demanding such a lengthy explication). Ego gets the better of scholarship here, and buries the important and necessary social, political and cultural ideas associated with this play. If McEachern's editing and commentary is a sign of things to come from Arden, they can expect to lose readers on all levels who find such marginalized approaches to important scholarship outside the interest of students and professionals alike.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's GREAT!!, April 28, 2006
I study Shakespeare in my high school English class, and used to have a hard time understanding it. Then I got No Fear Shakespeare and now love the work of Shakespeare! Some of the words in the original text you would never think that they mean something different or unexpected in the modern text. It also explains some of the puns and humor. GREAT!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much Ado About the Play, May 2, 2006
By 
Elainne G. (Vancouver, WA) - See all my reviews
I feel it is necessary to dispute some of the prior reviews I have just read. Shakespeare is a magnificient writer and Much Ado About Nothing is no exception. Some people have written that it is difficult to understand his language; however, the Folger Shakespeare Library has notes on the left page to explain vocabulary that modern readers may not understand. These notes also explain phrases that are no longer used such as "civil as an orange" which is a similie (with the orange being a Seville orange) having the meaning of "between sweet and sour".

Much Ado About Nothing is a witty comedy with enjoyable banter between Beatrice and Benedick, an ironical storyline, and humorous characters such as Dogberry whose malapropisms bring a smile to the reader's face.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long Live Benedick and Beatrice!, September 28, 2000
By 
This review is from: Much Ado About Nothing (Paperback)
I've read over half of Shakespeare's plays, and Much Ado About Nothing is by far my favorite. Shakespeare not only weaves a clever tale of love and wit, he produces a villain, Don John, who rivals only Iago in evil. Benedick and Beatrice of course steal the show, but the true romantic can't help feeling the love between Claudio and Hero. A true masterpiece!
If you don't have time to read the play, I highly recommend the recent movie version starring Kenneth Branagh as Benedick and Denzel Washington as Don Pedro. It cuts a few too many lines, but it's the only version of Much Ado that seems to come close to the happy-go-lucky tone that Shakespeare probably intended. Kenneth Branagh at is at his best.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "Modern Perspective" makes you long for the Middle Ages!, December 23, 2005
By 
Gemma (in the South) - See all my reviews
The play, of course, is fabulous and funny, but Professor Gail Kern Paster's "Modern Perspective" at the end of the Folger edition really takes all the fun out of this! A feminist viewpoint is often helpful, but she just kills this thing and hurls countless arrows at marriage. No, marriage isn't perfect, but Professor Paster calls it a "private terrifying world" as if every Elizabethan-era husband locked their wife in a tower! Excuse me, Beatrice allowing herself to be treated like that? After reading this edition, I bought a different one!!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny Willy!, February 18, 2000
This book will blow your hair back! It's surprising to see how modern Shakespeare was for his time! It's fantastic fun: This book is filled with jokes and quiproquos and will keep you laughing all thru the story! The dialogues are very smart and full of double meanings!(especially betwix Beatrice and Benedick). Definitly a "must"!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So much fun!, June 18, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This was truly a fun Shakespearean play to read. I chose to reread it before seeing the adaptation by Joss Whedon that is coming out this weekend. I love the chemistry and banter between the characters. And the element of "noting" and the impact of this overheard gossip on the live if those involved is both hilarious and worth pondering such that takes place in our own lives. Loved it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shakespeares's profound comedy., June 7, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Beautifully written, mature examination of "love". Funny and profound. Witty acerbic banter and real emotion.
I love this play, I would recommend it to anybody.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 221 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Much Ado about Nothing (The Pelican Shakespeare)
Much Ado about Nothing (The Pelican Shakespeare) by David Bevington (Paperback - September 1, 1999)
$7.00 $6.65
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.