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Kenneth Branagh’s Visual Representation of “Much Ado about Nothing” Essay Sample

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Kenneth Branagh’s Visual Representation of “Much Ado about Nothing” Essay Sample

Change involves a process whereby a previous state has been altered by an event or circumstance. Change occurs all around us, in many and varied forms. One will never know what change will bring to their lives. Change is always unpredictable, with the end result being either pleasant or unpleasant. Kenneth Branagh’s visual representation of “Much Ado about Nothing” allows for the notion of change to be dealt with in several ways. Miroslav Holub’s “The Door” uses a pleading tone to encourage one to take action for change.

In “Much Ado about Nothing”, change is chiefly demonstrated by the emotional inconsistencies of the protagonists. At the outset of the play, we are initially treated to a “merry war” of wits between Benedick and Beatrice as shown by their verbal outbursts of seeming discontent at each other; “Scratching could not make it worse, an ’twere such a face as yours”. Surprisingly, Branagh develops their journey from one of antagonism to sincere love.

Branagh has Beatrice reveal her distaste for Benedick early in the film when she asserts “I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me”. Similarly, Benedick enters the film also avidly against marriage, declaring in a soliloquy that he will never be attached to a woman, “I will live a bachelor”. However, Benedick undergoes his first change as passion overcomes reason when by chance he overhears Don Pedro, Claudio and Leonato proclaiming that Beatrice is head over heels in love with Benedick. Almost instantaneously, an unfolding occurs where he utterly contradicts the sentiments of his earlier soliloquy, captured dramatically by facial close-ups of Benedick’s mixed reactions as he farcically falls off the collapsing chair. Branagh endeavors to make this change of heart obvious to the responder when he cues Beatrice to call him for dinner; Benedick’s language becomes more poetic and jovial towards her, “By this day, she’s a fair lady”, signifying a change in character. Now his intentions are more truthful, devoid of subtleties. Benedick ultimately justifies his change of heart when he announces “When I said I would die a bachelor, I didn’t think I shall live the day till I were married.”

The film then immediately moves into the parallel scene where the catalyst for Beatrice’s change is likewise at the hands of the trickery of their friends who tell her of Benedick’s affection. All this build up culminates to a cinematic climax where a slow motion sequence sees Beatrice swinging happily, delighting in Benedick’s change of heart superimposed with Benedick dancing, kicking water in the fountain accompanied by soaring music which completes the happy revelations. The pleasant change which we see is sudden and obvious. In this way, Branagh employs dramatic irony, camera techniques and humour to demonstrate emotional change and the reaction to it.

This change in attitude seems most evident when Benedick totally offers himself to Beatrice “Come, bid me do anything for thee” even to the extent of challenging Claudio, previously his closest friend in the world, to duel to the death over Claudio’s accusation as to Hero’s unchaste behaviour. There can be no doubt at this point that Benedick has switched his allegiances entirely over to Beatrice.

Benedick and Beatrce’s relationship is stimulating by since they had become so convinced about their disinterest in romance. However, all this unites with ‘much ado’ into a pleasant outcome – marriage.

The idea of change is further explored in Holub’s poem, “The Door”. The poem implies that how sometimes we feel too afraid, too confronted by the possibility of failure to change, similar to Benedick’s reluctance to express his true feelings in the fear of rejection. The door is used both metaphorically as an intimidating barrier and as a metaphor for opening up the possibilities of change in one’s life.

The poem’s insistent voice to stimulate one to act is presented in his imperative directive “Go and open the door” which is used repeatedly at the beginning of each stanza to stress the need for change. This motivation is comparable to the scheming plot by Don Pedro in which he aims to compel Benedick to reveal his true feelings.

The poem delivers an optimistic tone about change, providing us with a list of the realm of possibilities which could occur, as indicated by his broad poetic imagery, “a tree, a wood, a garden or a magic city.” These images range from the most plain and ordinary to the most magical and elusive. The composer simply wants to show us, daring to experience new things can be confronting or confusing ‘only the hollow wind, nothing is there’ but Holub emphasizes that whatever the consequences of change are, any change is worthwhile.

Creed’s song, “With Arms Wide Open” is a spiritual song about a young man accepting the responsibility of fatherhood. The song conveys using first person narrative the mixed emotions of the young man upon learning he is soon to become a parent. “Well I just heard the news today. It seems my life is going to change”. However, he is painfully aware of his own inadequacy admitting “I hope he’s not like me”, yet despite his fears and insecurities about being a first time parent, he is overwhelmed with joy by the task that he is soon to undertake “Then tears of joy stream down my face”. Amidst the riveting music and soulful sound of the singer’s voice, we hear the songwriter persona accept the responsibility of imminent fatherhood, suggested with the familiar repetitive chorus lines of his physical gesture “with arms wide open, I’ll show you everything”, assuring himself of his duties and welcoming his infant into the world. Awakened maturity due to significance of a baby in one’s life, creating dramatic changes and attitudes to responsibility.

In the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, Scout, the first person narrator, opens the reader’s eyes to the way children think and act in retelling the events of her childhood in little rural Maycomb. At the beginning of the novel, Boo Radley is symbolic of a “malevolent phantom” in Scout’s eye as the source of childhood superstition. However, as the narrative develops, Scout’s progress as a character in the novel is defined by her changing outlook towards Boo Radley, initially from one of terror to acceptance “The Radley place had ceased to terrify me”, representative of her development from innocence towards that of a grown-up. The definitive experience which aided Scout into this change is when her life is ironically saved by the individual she feared all her life. Scout’s interpretation of Boo at the end of the novel just shows how much she has changed, “Atticus, he was real nice”. Boo Radley’s unconditional love for the children served as the catalyst for Scout’s change. Though she is still a child at the end of the novel, we see how Scout mentally changes from an innocent child into that of a near grown-up, as she learns an important lesson in life that people cannot be judged by unfounded preconception until “you finally see them”.

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