Friday, November 7, 2008

Silence is the . . .

Much Ado about Nothing. Dir. Kenneth Branagh. Perf. Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Denzel Washington, Michael Keaton and Keanu Reeves. 1993. DVD. MGM, 2003.

This time through teaching Much Ado about Nothing, I noticed a connection I should have noticed before. Don John is a man of few words (at least in public). The clip below, in which Keanu Reeves demonstrates a wide range of emotion, demonstrates this:

When we got to Claudio's inability to say much upon his engagement to Hero, something clicked. His "Silence is the perfectest herald of joy" actually marks him as a character to receive less of our sympathy in this play filled with delightful fast-talkers who do receive our sympathy. I'll need to think more on the connection between silence and villainy in the play.  Or, perhaps, I'll just ask my students about it on the final exam and get them to do the thinking about it for me.

Links: The Film at IMDB.
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Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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