Shakespeare, W - Much Ado About Nothing (Arden, 2006).pdf

4467 another prominent strain of imagery is that

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(5.4.46—7). Another prominent strain of imagery is that belonging to that 'deformed thief fashion. 1 Shakespeare frames Borachio's extended discourse on fashion in 3.3 (that on the unreliable indices of fash- ion's representations, the discrepancy, for instance, between the size of a codpiece and that of its contents) with a series of similar images: Don Pedro hopes to 'fashion' (2.1.340) a match between Beatrice and Benedick; Benedick 'wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat: it ever changes with the next block' (1.1.70-2); Beatrice is an 'infernal Ate in good apparel' (2.1.234), who thinks a beardless husband fit only to be 'Dress[ed]... in my apparel and [made] . . . my waiting-gentlewoman' (2.1.29-30). Don John says that the word 'disloyal' is 'too good to paint out [Hero's] wickedness' (3.2.98-9); Benedick's transformation into a lover is signalled by the 'fancy that he hath to strange disguises' (3.2.30); and Hero's wedding is prefaced by a scene which details the complicated artifice of an Elizabethan bridal regalia, with its false hair, layered gowns and perfumed millinery. Shakespeare emphasizes with such incidents fashion's fickleness and power to obscure the truth of identity. Songs Another subset of the play's stylistic modes is that of its explicitly musical measures. Much Ado is a play replete with the melodious conventions of aristocratic courtship: masked balls, serenades before chamber windows, lute warbling and sonnet writing. The intrigue begins with a stately dance in 2.1, and is resolved with one in 5.4, the latter intended to 'lighten' not only 'our wives' heels' (117) but also the foregoing gloom. In between occur a 1 A preoccupation of Hamlet and All's Well as well. See Ormerod. 76
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Introduction number of musical interludes: Balthasar's song 'Sigh no more' (2.3.60ff); Margaret's injunction to 'Clap's into "Light o'love'" (3.4.40); Benedick's attempt at 'God of love' (5.2.26-9); and the song of contrition at Hero's alleged tomb, begging 'Pardon, god- dess of the night' (5.3.12ff). Early performances (at Blackfriars theatre) may have punctuated intervals in the action with yet more music, and most plays were followed by a jig, perhaps once upon a time performed by the fleet-of-foot Will Kemp, who played Dogberry. Beatrice may skip a few steps of Scotch jig, measure or the cinque-pace to accompany her discourse on marriage in 2.1 (64-70). The play is punctuated and structured by song, perhaps not surprisingly, given its many meditations on the harmonies and dissonances of human connection. Much of this music is more disconcerting than decorative in the content of its lyrics. A song whose refrain is 'Men were deceivers ever' (2.3.61) in a play replete with cuckold jokes provides a rare acknowledgement of the way in which men too can violate love's faith; as W.H. Auden wrote, 'the serenade convention is turned upside down in Balthasar's song, and its effect is to suggest that we shouldn't take sad lovers too seriously . . . If one imagines the sentiments of the song being an expression of character, the only character they suit is Beatrice' (Auden, 115).
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