Study Guide

Much Ado About Nothing Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

By William Shakespeare

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Much Ado About Nothing doesn’t fall into the traditional rubric of comedies as set up by our man Mr. Booker—instead, Much Ado blends two types of comedies with its two plots. Way to buck tradition, Much Ado.

Plot #1: The Troublemaker (Hero and Claudio's Plot)

One type of Booker’s comedy involves a dark character that ends up causing problems for everybody. This could describe Don John’s involvement in the main plot of Hero and Claudio. However, Don John is not a deep or powerful enough villain to really make the whole play fall into this category—Don John doesn’t impact every action in the play. The play’s main conflict is more driven by Claudio’s hatred that is provoked by Don John’s deception than Don John’s deception itself.

Hero and Claudio have their love thwarted by Don John. He tried to foil their love once (by suggesting to Claudio that Don Pedro was wooing Hero for himself) and then succeeds in destroying their (first) wedding by creating a fake scene of Hero’s disloyalty. Once his treachery is revealed, Hero’s name is cleared, Claudio realizes his error, and Hero and Claudio are free to come together again for a happy union.

Plot #2: The Mixup (Beatrice and Benedick's Plot)

The other category of comedy defined in Booker’s rubric that captures the action in Much Ado About Nothing is the misunderstanding trope. In this model, there’s no actual villain trying to sabotage everything. Instead, the characters are plagued by misunderstandings or some hidden truth that needs to be revealed before there can be a resolution. This situation sums up the problem with Beatrice and Benedick—they hate each other, and need to realize that their mutual hatred is actually mutual luuurve.

Beatrice and Benedick have no villain sabotaging them. They’re initially kept apart by their mutual hatred, they’re encouraged to get together by the manipulation of others, and finally they admit that they love each other. Once the cat’s out of the bag, they’re brought together happily, in spite of themselves.