CliffsNotes: Much Ado about Nothing

CliffsNotes: Much Ado about Nothing

CliffsNotes: Much Ado about Nothing

CliffsNotes: Much Ado about Nothing

Synopsis

One of Shakespeare's romantic comedies, this play is set in the seaport town of Messina, in Sicily. The drama concerns "the battle of the sexes" and focuses on the barbed wits and intrigues that two sets of lovers and their friends and family create. Brimming with wit and antagonism, the play has amused and provoked audiences for centuries.

Excerpt

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Notes

LIFE AND BACKGROUND OF THE AUTHOR

Many books have assembled facts, reasonable suppositions, traditions, and speculations concerning the life and career of William Shakespeare. Taken as a whole, these materials give a rather comprehensive picture of England’s foremost dramatic poet. Tradition and sober supposition are not necessarily false because they lack proved bases for their existence. Persons interested in Shakespeare should, however, make a distinction between the facts of Shakespeare’s life and what we believe to be true about him.

From one point of view, modern scholars are fortunate to know as much as they do about a man of middle-class origin who left a small country town and embarked on a professional career in sixteenth-century London. From another point of view, they know surprisingly little about the writer who has continued to influence the English language and its drama and poetry for more than 300 years. Sparse and scattered as these facts of his life are, they are sufficient to prove that a man from Stratford by the name of William Shakespeare wrote the major portion of the 37 plays that scholars ascribe to him. The concise review that follows concerns itself with some of these records, which are primarily important because they prove the existence of a William Shakespeare in Stratford and in London during this period.

No one knows the exact date of William Shakespeare’s birth. His baptism occurred on Wednesday, April 26, 1564. His father was John Shakespeare, tanner, glover, dealer in grain, and town official of Stratford; his mother, Mary, was the daughter of Robert Arden, a prosperous gentleman-farmer. The Shakespeares lived on Henley Street in Stratford, located about 100 miles northwest of London.

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