Typical questions ask you to show how a character develops during the play, or how a theme is presented, or to look closely at a scene in the play. So we might have tasks like:
- How does Beatrice change during the course of the play?
- How is the theme of love dealt with in Much Ado About Nothing?
- How is drama created in Act 4, Scene 1?
- What is the role of Don John in Much Ado About Nothing?
Each of these tasks mentions one main topic. For example, the first is about Beatrice, so it is about character. You will also have to deal with a number of other topics in your answer. For instance, you should examine how she speaks, so you are looking at language. You could also look at her part in the plot - how she is used for dramatic effect and the themes she talks about. We could look at each question in the same way.
For instance, an answer to Question 3 above should cover what Act 4, Scene 1 adds to the overall plot, the characters in the scene, dramatic effects (that is the main part of the question!), themes in the scene, and the language the characters use.
In other words, try to look at a range of topics in your answer. Markers are always pleased to see answers which cover plot, character, dramatic effect, theme and language.
Back to Much Ado About Nothing index
The following paper topics, each with a sample outline, are designed to test your understanding of Much Ado About Nothing.
Each deals with the play as a whole and requires analysis of important themes and literary devices.
Shakespeare interweaves two love stories in Much Ado About
Nothing, the Claudio-Hero plot and the Benedick-Beatrice plot. Write an analytical essay on the ways in which they parallel or counterpoint each other in characterization, in dialogue, and in plot structure.
I. Thesis Statement: The Claudio-Hero and the Benedick-Beatrice love stories are interwoven in Much Ado About Nothing through a series of parallels and contrasts in characterization, in dialogue, and in plot structure.
1,. Hero and Beatrice are kinswomen and good friends and Claudio and Benedick are comrades-in-arms and good friends
2. Both couples knew each other in the past
3. Both couples are learning to discriminate properly and to estimate each other's true value
4. Both couples' ability to love will be tested
1. Claudio and Hero are slaves to convention and Benedick and Beatrice are free spirits
2. Claudio seeks a wooing intermediary and Benedick woos directly
3. Claudio and Hero rely on knowledge, and Benedick and Beatrice rely on their intuition.
4. After professing their love, Claudio and Hero are easily derailed, but nothing will stop Benedick and Beatrice
III. Dialogue A. Parallels
1. Both couples are educated aristocrats
2. Both couples talk about marriage
3. Both Claudio and Benedick speak about their fears of cuckoldry
4. Both couples will learn to speak more directly
1. Claudio and Hero usually speak inverse and Benedick and Beatrice usually speak in prose
2. Claudio and Hero comply with social superior's voices and Benedick and Beatrice challenge social superior's voices
3. Benedick and Beatrice radically change their speech patterns and Claudio and Hero do not
IV Plot structure A. Harmony of plots
1. The Claudio-Hero plot and the Benedick-Beatrice plot are harmonized because they are friends
2. The Claudio-Hero plot and the Benedick-Beatrice plot are harmonized because they are both love stories
3. The Claudio-Hero and the Benedick-Beatrice plot are both harmonized by their gaiety until crisis occurs
B. Polarization of plots
1. The polarization of the plots begin when reflective Benedick will no longer play court jester for Claudio and Don Pedro
2. The crisis in the Claudio-Hero plot, the refusal and accusal of Hero, precipitates an extended crisis in the Benedick-Beatrice plot
3. The crisis in the Benedick-Beatrice plot, Beatrice's demand that Benedick kill Claudio, accelerates the polarization between the two plots
4. The two plots are completely polarized when Benedick agrees to, and then challenges, Claudio
C. Reconciliation of plots
1. The Claudio-Hero plot is reconciled with the Benedick-Beatrice plot when Benedick releases penitent Claudio from his challenge
2. The Claudio-Hero plot is reconciled with the Beatrice-Benedick plot as both couples prepare for their double-wedding
V. Conclusion: Shakespeare uses parallels and counterpoints to interweave two love stories, one based on convention, the other on invention, in a pattern that begins in harmony, splits in crisis, and resolves in reconciliation. Sample Analytical Paper Topics 109
(The entire section is 1575 words.)