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A Student’s Guide to ’Much Ado About Nothing’

mandy_lloyd | Monday June 06, 2011

Categories: KS4, AQA GCSE, WJEC Eduqas GCSE, Drama, Much Ado About Nothing, Hot Entries, Shakespeare, Shakespeare's Plays, Writing, Drama Analysis, EDEXCEL A Level English Literature, 6ET02, AQA English Literature, Unit 4 Approaching Shakespeare, WJEC GCSE English Literature, AQA A Level English Language & Literature B, ELLB4, AQA A Level English Literature A, LITA3, LITA4, AQA A Level English Literature B, LITB2, LITB4, EDEXCEL A Level English Language & Literature, OCR A Level English Literature, F663, WJEC A Level English Language & Literature, LL3, WJEC A Level English Literature, LT4, KS5 Archive, AQA A Level, EDEXCEL A Level, OCR A Level, WJEC A Level

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Associated Resources

  • A Guide to Much Ado About Nothing by Steph Jackson
  • Much Ado About Nothing - Student’s Guide.doc

This brief study guide focuses on the themes, language and issues of the play relevant to the current A-Level Literature specification AO2 requirement of form, structure and language: ‘demonstrate detailed critical understanding in analysing the ways in which structure, form and language shape meanings in literary texts’.

The guide also explores some areas of the historical context of the play which will assist you with AO4 marks e.g. ‘understanding of the significance and influence of the contexts in which literary texts are written and received’.

Top Tips for Studying Shakespeare

  • Do try to watch a live theatre performance of the play. If this is not possible watch a film/television version. There are two excellent videos of the play: BBC Shakespeare Much Ado about Nothing available from BBC Educational Publishing which stars Robert Lindsay and Cherie Lunghi and of course, Kenneth Brannagh’s 1993 film. This is a popular and imaginative version with Branagh playing the role of Benedick and Emma Thompson starring as a wonderful Beatrice.
  • An excellent way to study a complex play is to watch a DVD version of it while alternating reading and watching each scene, using the pause button as you go to allow you to make useful annotations. This way of studying the play will help you to understand Shakespeare language in ways little else can.

Work through the whole play until you understand the plot and what role the main characters play both in terms of the plot and the themes. Make sure you understand these two key terms.

Plot

The plot is the way writers construct a story in the hope to influence readers (or, as here, in a play, members of the audience) to enter the world of the story and to ‘suspend disbelief’ in its fictional aspects such that they become emotionally involved with the characters and...


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