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Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing


by William Shakespeare

Much Ado About Nothing Language and Communication Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line) Line numbers correspond to the Riverside edition.

Quote #4

Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of
Signior Leonato?
I noted her not, but I looked on her. (1.1.158-160)

This is the first of many usages of the word "noting" in the play; Benedick teases that he looked on the girl, but she was unremarkable, so he took no particular notice of her. Language is precise here, and communicates that Benedick has some disdain (maybe not particularly for Hero, but for taking note of women).

Quote #5

I have almost matter enough in me for such
an embassage, and so I commit you—
To the tuition of God. From my house, if I had
The sixth of July. Your loving friend,
Nay, mock not, mock not. The body of your
discourse is sometime guarded with fragments,
and the guards are but slightly basted on neither.
Ere you flout old ends any further, examine your
conscience. And so I leave you. (1.1.273-283)

This is important—Benedick is silly an awful lot, but he's aware that the silliness of his language is often just a ruse to hide his more serious thoughts. He’s not a shallow jester, but more of a John Oliver type. Being funny is both his armor and weaponry.

Quote #6

The Prince and Count Claudio, walking in a thick-pleached
alley in mine orchard, were thus much
overheard by a man of mine: the Prince discovered
to Claudio that he loved my niece your daughter and
meant to acknowledge it this night in a dance, and if
he found her accordant, he meant to take the 
present time by the top and instantly break with you
of it.
Hath the fellow any wit that told you this? (1.2.9-17)

The wires are all crossed here – Antonio’s man has misheard or misreported this news. This mishearing turns out to be a minor hiccup compared the graver, and more deliberate "misnotings" in the play. However, it’s still significant because it sets the tone for mishearing, misreporting, and generally bad communication to be one of the play’s main themes.

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