1. Meredith Grady

Much Ado About Nothing
By William Shakespeare
Performance dates: 1598-15991
Flocabulary - Much Ado About Nothing6
Hero and Claudio
Hero is the daughter of the Governor of Messina and Claudio is a soldier and young lord. They fall in
love at first sight and Claudio recites, "In mine eye she is the sweetest lady that ever I looked on”
(location 237-246).7
Beatrice and Benedick
Beatrice is Hero’s cousin and acquaintance of Benedick, a young soldier and lord. Beatrice does not
believe in love and recites, “I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me”
(location 170-179).7
Don John
Half brother of the powerful Don Pedro and will take any steps to humiliate his half-brother. He
implements a scheme that will destroy the love between Hero and Claudio, a relationship endorsed by
Don Pedro, and halt their upcoming wedding as he recites, “it must not be denied but I am a plaindealing villain” (location 478-82).7
The play examines two couples who fall in love: Hero and
Claudio and Beatrice and Benedick. When the jealous Don John
seeks revenge on his half-brother, Don Pedro, he does so by
having Claudio believe that Hero is not virtuous. Claudio
accuses Hero of the affair and destroys her reputation in front of
friends and family gathered for their wedding. With her
reputation in shambles, Beatrice demands that Benedick makes
the choice to either fight to clear Hero’s name or never be
welcome in their home again. Benedick chooses to defend
Hero’s honor at the expense of the word of his good friend,
Claudio. Through messengers, the deception is uncovered but
Claudio is led to believe that Hero has died of shame. Hero’s
father allows Claudio to redeem himself if he agrees to marry
Beatrice. Claudio agrees to the marriage and at the ceremony it
is discovered that Hero is alive. A double wedding is performed
where Hero and Claudio wed and Beatrice and Benedick wed.
Don John is chased out of town in shame and the town
celebrates the good fortunes. Goodness wins out over evil.
Major Themes:
◦ Investigating the power of assumptions and perceptions.
Hero is shamed by Claudio because of what Claudio perceives to be the
truth but fails to determine if what he perceives is, in fact, the truth.
Examining the power of family and reputation. The restoration
of Hero’s virtue is essential for a marriage offer worthy of the family’s
status in society.
◦ Revealing the challenges of seeking justice.
The lesson of
standing by someone accused of socially unacceptable actions takes courage
and strength and the chance of becoming socially outcast along with the
accused is a concern.
Central Conflicts:
◦ Jealousy.
The play’s conflict is centered on one individual’s jealousy of
the power of another and the disregard of others in order to inflict pain on
one out of spite.
Trust. The resolve required to trust someone in the face of damaging
When Claudio accuses Hero of deception, she blushes and
Claudio says, “Her blush is guiltiness, not modesty”
(location 2292-2302). In Shakespeare’s era, the virtue of
a young woman was vital and the use of the blush “is an
essentially complex sign to decode” (Fleck 20).3
During Shakespeare’s era, there was an argument “against
the Roman Church’s teaching on transubstantiation, on
whether bread and wine are figuratively or literally the
Savior’s body and blood” (Fleck 21). Shakespeare’s
audience watched the characters deal with the
consequences due to the to failure to challenge or
question that which is believed to be true. (Fleck 21).3
Sex is central in Much Ado About Nothing and for Hero’s class of
society sex outside of marriage brings shame to the family.
Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty deals with sex but as one
review discusses, “Families can talk about whether there is a
double standard for boys' and girls' reputations. How do teens
decide which rumors are true?” Sex and love are as relevant
today as in Shakespeare’s time and this is one reason why the
story continues to resonate with modern audiences.8
Shakespeare wrote a play to be performed on stage but did not
intend for it to be written down and read as one would read a
book. Because it is a play, the storyline is well rounded with a
solid plot. One review of Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty reads
“Most novels I've read recently are beautiful coming-of-age
pieces with great characters but just very little actual plot. Not
here. Do we have the coming-of-age aspect to it? Yup. But it's
paired with a strong, compelling plot as well.” Gehrman is using
Shakespeare’s strong plot and updating it to meet today’s
readers references.9
”In Friends, as in Much Ado…, a small group of unmarried young men and women flirt with each other, play a
series of tricks on each other, and fall in and out of love. Some characters are apprehensive and
fearful about marriage and commitment, others more enthusiastic, but all are torn between the conflicting
obligations of love and friendship.”2 “We were on a break – Fine by me – I knew it”. Friends. NBC. 20 August
2007 (upload date). Television. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsvsRZhNVp4>.
“The Nothing Pitch.” Seinfeld. NBC. 12 May 2010 (upload date). Television.
Film Premiers:
Whedon, Joss. “Joss Whedon and cast at world premiere of Much Ado About Nothing.” Toronto International Film Festival. 8 Sept. 2012.
“Much Ado About Nothing – Poster First Look (2012) Joss Whedon Movie HD.” MOVIECLIPSdotcom. Pub. 2 August 2012.
Much Ado About Nothing. Dir. Joss Whedon. Perf. Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker, and Fran Kranz. Bellwether Pictures, 2013. Film.
Dil Chahta Hai. Dir. Farhan Akhtar. Perf. Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Akshaye Khanna, Priety Zinta, Sonali Kulkarni, and Dimple Kapadia.
“Dil Chahta Hai-Title Song.” Mahadevan, Shankar. 2001. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_TfqqmTewI>.
Excel Entertainment, 2001, Film. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nvu4FNVrOJA>.
Whedon, Joss, dir. Joss Whedon: From Buffy to the Avengers (CBS Sunday Morning 04/29/12). CBS, 29 April 2012, Television.
Acknowledging the influences of the author, Jody Gehrman.
Defining the Genre of Friendship Fiction.
Identifying the sequel to Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty.
Gehrman “teaches popular creative writing, and playwriting classes, as well as
critical thinking and English composition.”4 With her background, Gehrman has
the ability to merge Shakespeare’s themes of love, revenge, jealousy and
forgiveness into a setting and narrative that connects with readers in 2013.
Two examples of Friendship
Fiction are The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Of Mice and Men. 5 These literary
examples explore the importance of the strong bond of friends during hardship.
Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty is Friendship Fiction because close friends and
family come together to fight against slander and lies.
Gehrman follows Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty with Triple Shot Bettys In Love.
A preview of the sequel is found following the conclusion of Confessions of a
Triple Shot Betty
Underscoring themes common to Shakespeare’s Much Ado
about Nothing and Gehrman’s Confessions of a Triple Shot
“Moving beyond assumptions and perceptions,” “rekindling family unity,”
and “pursuing justice” are key themes for both works.
1. <http://www.william-shakespeare.info/shakespeare-play-much-ado-about-nothing.htm>.
2. Simon, Richard Keller. “Much Ado about ‘Friends’: What Pop Culture Offers Literature.” Chronicle of
Higher Education, 46:41.16 June 2000. Web. 14 January 2013.
3. Fleck, Andrew. “The Ambivalent Blush: Figural and Structural Metonymy, Modesty, and Much Ado
About Nothing”. ANQ, 19:1. 2006. Web. 15 January 2013.
4. Meet the Mendocino College Faculty: Jody Gehrman. Web. 15 January 2013.
5. Syosset Public Library. Friendship Fiction. Web .15 January 2013.
6. Flocabulary Much Ado About Nothing. YouTube.com. 15 January 2013.
7. Shakespeare, William. Much Ado About Nothing. 2009. Digireads.com. Web. 15 January 2013.
8. Commonsense Media. Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty. Web. 15 January 2013.
9. Amazon.com. Web. 15 January 2013. <http://www.amazon.com/Confessions-Triple-Shot-BettyGehrman/product-reviews/0142412686>.

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