Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy play by William Shakespeare, written in the late 16th century. The play tells the story of two couples: Benedick and Beatrice, who engage in a war of wits and insults, and Claudio and Hero, who fall in love at first sight. The plot is complicated by the villainous Don John, who tries to sabotage Claudio and Hero’s relationship. The play explores themes of love, deception, and the masks we wear in social situations. It is known for its witty dialogue and memorable characters, particularly Benedick and Beatrice, often cited as one of Shakespeare’s greatest comic couples.
I don’t know how I missed this back in May, but Keanu Reeves – Man of the Internet Hour – John Wick, “Neo”, “Ted Theodore Logan”, player with puppies, rider of subways, anonymous donator to children’s hospitals – is an admitted Oxfordian.
The man played Mercutio at 15, Don John at 29 and Hamlet at 31. My Own Private Idaho is an acknowledged retelling of Henry IV. But in his own words, he’s “always been an Edward de Vere” guy:
I always wanted to know — ever since I was growing up — who really wrote the plays of Shakespeare. So I wanna be there at that moment with “Shakespeare” — cause I don’t really think it was “Shakespeare.” I’m an Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford [guy]. So I’d like to be there in the 1600s “Shakespeare” writing Hamlet.
I guess he’s staying away from Macbeth, The Tempest and other later plays lest someone ask him how Oxford wrote those when he was dead.
Now I’m sad. Just goes to show that you can be a great guy – successful, even – and still not have any common sense. As far as I’m concerned he’s flat Earth and anti-vaxx, too. What a shame.
The series, which covers the fascinating history behind Shakespeare’s greatest plays, will feature six installments hosted by celebrated names such as Helen Hunt, F. Murray Abraham, Romola Garai, Brian Cox, Simon Russell Beale,and Sir Antony Sher.
Each episode will tell the stories behind the stories of Shakespeare’s famous works and will investigate “Much Ado About Nothing,” “The Merchant of Venice,” “Measure for Measure,” “Julius Caesar,” “The Winter’s Tale,” and “Richard III.”
The show will air Fridays, October 12-26 on PBS (check local listings) and stream the following day at pbs.org/shakespeareuncovered and on PBS apps.
The most popular post I’ve ever made is the one depicting Shakespeare’s works as a Venn Diagram (although technically that shape is an Euler Diagram). That post on Facebook has garnered over 2 million views at this point, and hundreds of comments. People have asked me if it is available as a poster (as far as I know it is not – I did not create the original image).
The problem is, I don’t like it. Most of the comments are of the form “Why do you have play X in this category but not that one?” and “You forgot to put Y in the Z category” and so on. The categories (Suicide, War, Romance, Supernatural) are, I think, too broad. Does Romeo and Juliet count as war between the two families? I would say no, but some people disagree. How about Much Ado About Nothing? It starts with the men coming home from war.
So here’s what I propose. Can we make a better one, or a set of better ones? Something that more people can agree on? If we can make something that’s generally agreeable to a large audience I’ll be happy to make it available as a poster / stickers / t-shirt / etc…
I’ve been working with Bardfilm on some new categories. The goal would be to find a set such that:
All plays are represented by at least one category.
Minimize the number of categories that have no entries.
No single category has too many entries.
What categories would you like to see? “Supernatural” made our list as well. I was thinking “Insanity” might be a good one. Bardfilm proposed “Fake Deaths” and “Cross-Dressing”. If we can’t agree across all the categories we can look at doing one for Comedy, one for Tragedy, one for History, but I think those would end up looking a little sparse, and I’d feel bad about leaving out Romance.
What other ideas have you got for us? Tell us the category you think should be on our diagram, and which plays would be in it.
Anybody that knows me knows that when I see a post titled 1000 Most Mentioned Books on Reddit (or, really, anywhere), the first thing I’m going to do is search it to see where Shakespeare shows up. Any guesses?
I’d love to say more about who made the list and why and how, but there doesn’t seem much to go on. The post, on Medium, was made by BookAdvice. Have to look more into that, see what other cool lists they have. All we know about the methodology is, from the summary, “Sorted based on the number of upvotes and the number of different users linking to them in post and comments.” I suppose that’s got a certain chronological bias — a book that came out last year couldn’t possibly compete with those that have been around since before Reddit. But it does say “most mentioned” and not “best” or “most loved” or anything like that, so I suppose it’s accurate to say that a book that has existed for ten years will typically be mentioned more than a book that’s only existed for one.
Ok, you want the data? Drum roll, please. Presented in reverse order, from least to most mentioned, we have …
905. The Taming of the Shrew
754. The Tempest
674. Merchant of Venice
625. King Lear
578. Much Ado About Nothing
371. A Midsummer Night’s Dream (*)
237. Romeo and Juliet
and the most mentioned work of William Shakespeare on Reddit is……
What do we think, any surprises? Surely not the great tragedies, I think those became self-fulfilling long long ago. Is Romeo and Juliet popular because it’s so good, or is it considered so good because it’s popular? Little surprised about Othello, that one doesn’t usually get much love, and I’m kind of wondering if they took the time to rule out references to the board game.
When I first made this list, searching for the word “Shakespeare”, I was surprised to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream not make the list. I had to go back and double check. It’s because they’ve got it listed by, and I’m not kidding, SparkNotes. I wondered if there were many on the list marked this way, but it turns out that’s the only one. Glad I checked, I almost missed it!
Anything you think should be on the list that’s not there? Hey, wait … where’s Twelfth Night?
“Lord, I could not endure a husband with a
beard on his face: I had rather lie in the woollen. ” – Beatrice, Much Ado About Nothing
Every year around this time I like to take part in “No Shave November,” otherwise known as “Woohoo I don’t have to shave for two weeks!” followed by “Oh my god is it December yet this itching is going to drive me crazy!”
Seriously, though, sometimes it’s nice to have a cause and try to do something meaningful:
The goal of No-Shave November is to grow awareness by embracing our hair, which many cancer patients lose, and letting it grow wild and free. Donate the money you typically spend on shaving and grooming to educate about cancer prevention, save lives, and aid those fighting the battle.
If I count Facebook and Twitter I’ve potentially got over ten thousand people that might see this post. Maybe some of you might find it a cause worth supporting. I don’t really register and create my own page and that sort of thing, because it’s not really about me. If you’re in a position to donate and would like to do so, that’s awesome. If you’re not, then maybe you can share this post so more people see it. There’s lots of ways to help.
Thanks for your support! I’ll update again later in the month!