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Much Ado About Nothing - Themes
Beatrice compares courtship and love to a dance.

Much Ado About Nothing - Themes

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This high school English Literature quiz will challenge you on themes in William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. Any work of literature will contain multiple themes; these will range from the obvious to the subtle. Individual themes also interact with one another so that it is often misleading to talk of a single theme in isolation. Setting, character, plot and dialog provide vehicles for the development of a text’s various themes. Pay close attention to any concepts and ideas which you notice arising in different parts of the text; these are its dominant themes.

Which of the following events is NOT brought about through deception?
Beatrice's and Benedick's marriage
Dogberry's discovery of the plot
Claudio's abandonment of Hero at their wedding
Claudio's and Hero's marriage
The friends and family of Beatrice and Benedick deceive them about one another; Claudio believes the lies about Hero staged and spread by Don John; Hero's "death" is a deception which prompts Claudio's agreement to marry her non-existent cousin. Despite his foolishness, Dogberry is able to perceive the truth beyond the plot against Hero
DON PEDRO: I think this is your daughter.
LEONATO: Her mother hath many times told me so.
Leonato's joke relates to which of the play's themes?
Fraught relationships between men and women
All of the above
Illegitimacy, and the belief that most women cheat on their husbands, is one of the themes of the text. Interestingly, the only character known to be illegitimate, Don John, is the result of his father's affair outside marriage, not his mother's. Leonato jokes here, but later insists that Hero cannot be his own child
"It were possible for me to say I loved nothing so well as you, but believe me not, and yet I lie not. I confess nothing nor I deny nothing. I am sorry for my cousin." Which of the following is a key word in these lines spoken by Beatrice?
Beatrice is still playing with words, although she wishes to deflect attention away from her towards the injustice her cousin has suffered. Everything she confirms to Benedick is expressed through negation, she loves "nothing" more than him, will confirm "nothing" and deny "nothing". This very conversation is "nothing" compared to the shaming of her cousin
Which of the following lines spoken by Leonato best expresses the relationship of father to daughter in this play?
"Are these things spoken, or do I but dream"
"O fate, take not away thy heavy hand"
"But mine, and mine I loved, and mine I praised, / And mine that I was proud on"
"Thou seest that all the grace that she hath left / Is that she will not add to her damnation / A sin of perjury"
For Leonato, his daughter is a prize possession, who loses her value when she is tainted by slander. His pride and love for her are inseparable from the notion that she belongs to him and can be bestowed by him onto another man
What does Leonato say would be better than his daughter's dishonor?
Life in the convent
Leonato and Hero inhabit a culture based on the idea of honor. Hero's supposed loss of virginity before marriage is a dishonor to herself and to her father, who believes her death preferable to his dishonor
The uneasy relationship between men and women is a prominent theme of Much Ado About Nothing. Which of the following aspects of the play does NOT relate to this theme?
The anxiety over Hero's faithfulness or unfaithfulness to Claudio
Beatrice's reluctance to marry
The Friar's judgment of Hero
Claudio's and Don Pedro's jokes about the possibility that Benedick's future wife will cheat on him
The placid social exterior masks deep anxieties about the relationship between the sexes. Beatrice and Benedick stand out by their open acknowledgment of the tensions
Leonato says of Beatrice and Benedick, "There is a kind of merry war betwixt Signor Benedick and her. They never meet but there's a skirmish of wit between them." How is the "merry war" resolved?
Through boredom
Through Beatrice's victory
Through death
Through marriage
Much of the language applied to the relationship between men and women is drawn from the battlefield ("skirmish", for example). Was either party victorious in the "merry war"?
Which of the following is correct?
Beatrice is pressured by her friends and family to get married; Benedick is encouraged to remain single
Benedick is pressured by his friends to marry; Beatrice is encouraged to remain single
Both Benedick and Beatrice are pressured to marry
Neither Beatrice nor Benedick is pressured to marry
Society finds Bendick's and Beatrice's unconventional singlehood threatening
Beatrice compares courtship and love to a dance which begins quickly and in a lively manner and ends in a slow, staid style. At the end of the play Benedick asks for a dance. What is significant about his request?
He asks for a slow dance
He asks for a dance before they marry
He asks someone else to dance
Beatrice refuses to join him
Benedick implies that this last dance before the wedding might be their last chance for merriment
What do Don Pedro's wooing of Hero and Borachio's scene in the bedroom window with Margaret share in common?
Innocent amusement
The intention to bring harm
A reliance on disguise
Both the wooing of Hero and the false accusation against her are achieved through disguise. Interestingly, when Beatrice talks to the disguised Benedick, she uses the opportunity to abuse his character, implying that she is well aware of his identity beneath the disguise
Author:  Sheri Smith

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