Much ado lesson1


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Much ado lesson1

  1. 1. L.O: To explore gender in the Elizabethan era. To relate this context to the language of Beatrice and Benedick.
  2. 2.  LL3: Analysing and Producing Performance Texts The assessment of this unit is based on a folder of work of approximately 3000 words, comprising of four pieces in total. Its focus is on texts produced for performance. It encourages the development of extended formal essay writing skills, independent research and creative writing linked to performance. Section A: Dramatic texts in context Candidates are required to produce a piece of work of approximately 1500 words, based on their study of two drama texts: one play by Shakespeare selected for detailed study; one play/performance text by another dramatist/writer The relevant assessment objectives for this section expect candidates to: use integrated approaches to explore relationships between texts, analysing and evaluating the significance of contextual factors in their production and reception (AO3); demonstrate detailed critical understanding in analysing the ways in which structure, form and language shape meanings in a range of spoken and written texts (AO2); select and apply relevant concepts and approaches from integrated linguistic and literary study, using appropriate terminology and accurate, coherent written expression (AO1).
  3. 3.   Elizabethan perceptions of the roles of men and women were becoming increasingly problematised by the time Elizabeth I took to the throne. Elizabeth’s own image was conflicted: she projected a complex and ambiguous persona that defied gender expectations of the period.  Equally, Elizabethan literature was also increasingly interested in the role of women. Much Ado About Nothing examines the problems at the centre of relationships between men and women. Gender
  4. 4.   Each group has been given a fact about Elizabethan women.  In your groups discuss your fact.  Ensure every member of the group has a clear understanding of the facts and will be able to teach other students what they have learnt.
  5. 5.   Rotate and share – Make notes to ensure that every person has a good understanding of the expectations for Elizabethan women.
  6. 6.  Nearly three quarters of the play is written in prose.  The earthy, pragmatic and realistic views of central characters like Beatrice and Benedick suit the prose style that Shakespeare uses in Much Ado.  Much Ado is counter to the generic structures and techniques that Shakespeare employs in many of his other plays concerning romantic love: in Much Ado love is pragmatic and realistic, its characters therefore, speak in a style that is commensurate with their outlook.  In Much Ado About Nothing Shakespeare undermines the critical view that prose is primarily the domain of characters of lesser social status, instead, he chooses to match the pragmatism of his socially superior characters with a style akin to their sentiments. Indeed, much of the humour – coarseness in fact – that is generated by Benedick and Beatrice’s ‘merry war’ is delivered in prose.  However, it also marks a much more subtle deviation on the part of the characters: that is, the cultural expectation of the playgoer was that characters of status should speak in verse. However, when a character fails to meet this expectation, it precludes that they themselves are deviating from the social norms of the play’s world.  Only a brief consideration of Benedick and Beatrice’s outlook on marriage would indicate that they are deviating from the social norms of their time. In a society where marriage is central to the social order, Benedick and Beatrice locate themselves outside of such expectation. In turn, Shakespeare indicates this to the audience because Benedick and Beatrice are created to reject the stylistic conventions of Elizabethan drama. Prose & Verse
  7. 7.   Shakespeare’s prose in Much Ado About Nothing draws on a specific style and construction called Euphuism. The style comes from the works of John Lyle (1553-1606) titled Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit (1578) and Euphues and his England (1580). In both texts, Lyle explores the fashionable traditions of England in a style that is deliberately mannered and elevated.  Lyle’s work became one of the central influences on Shakespeare’s own writing. In addition to the exchanges between Benedick and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, both Polonius in Hamlet and Moth in Love’s Labour’s Lost, employ the Euphuistic style in their dialogue. Euphuism
  8. 8.   The Euphuistic style was used less frequently into the seventeenth century because it was regarded as overly ornate and artificial.  However, it provides a telling insight into the cultural and fashionable concerns of its period. Some royal historians argue that the style influenced the language of the royal court throughout the period. Criticism of Euphuism
  9. 9.  Euphuism – taken from the name of Lyle’s character Euphues meaning ‘graceful’ and ‘witty’ in Greek – is constructed using very particular rhetorical techniques.  Antithetical balance – sentences are comprised of two matched clauses which have a contrasting meaning.  Oppositions – the contrasts in the sentences are often denoted by phonological patterning like alliteration or assonance, and by words, which although different in meaning, are similar in spelling or pronunciation.  Conflicting Meaning – the conflict in meanings are generated in this style because of the way that puns are used, for example, where there is some play-on the duality of meaning.  Aural Ornateness – the balance and antithesis of Euphuism gives rise to a distinctive tone in its delivery.  Prose Only – Euphuism is a prose form only. The characteristics of Euphuism
  10. 10.   Why does Shakespeare allow both Benedick and Beatrice to use the Euphuistic style; bearing in mind that Beatrice is a female?  Consider the subject matter than Benedick and Beatrice are discussing; why do you think that Shakespeare has matched this content with the Euphuistic style?  Consider the potential irony of Shakespeare’s use of Euphuism in these passages given that both of these character polarise themselves from given social norms in Messina. Review