In this essay I will be looking at the similarities and differences of Shakespearian soaps “Much ado about nothing,” and modern day soaps like East Enders. I will be looking at things like where the soaps are set the themes behind them and the sort of people they attract. I will look at if our views on soaps have changed and weather they are good or bad changes.
The first thing I will look at is the settings. Now in Shakespeare’s time the Soaps where set in rich peoples country houses. They would have large mansions and lots of land. The house would be beautiful and have large luxurious gardens. In today’s soaps they are set in cities and the people live in flats. They have very little room and no place for quite relaxation. This is really the main noticeable difference between the two types of soap.
The next thing that I will be able to pick up on is the sort of character that is played in each of the soaps. This is directly linked into the setting and style of soap. As Shakespearian soaps are set in rich country houses the background of the character is also rich and well bread. Where as the characters in today’s soaps are poor and poorly bread and not well spoken compared to the Shakespearian characters.
There is however one similarity with in the picking of the cast and that is that there is the same style of characters in each play. We can see there are good and bad characters. Stupid characters, and the characters that end up having to sort out the disputes between the good and the bad characters whilst the stupid ones are just left being pushed about in the middle.
This now links in to my next point of interest and that is the themes in each soap, they have different styles but the same message and overall plot. The basic similarity in the soaps are the fact that there is someone in love with someone else and then a evil person tries to stop them from being happy and becoming a couple. In “Much ado about nothing,” Claudio was in love with Hero and she felt the same but Don John being the evil one tried to make it look like Hero was having an affair. We can also see this in modern day soaps, when one person is married to another but is then sleeping with someone else.
Also in the Shakespeare soap there is a background plot also of romance between Benedick and Beatrice. This is set up by the other characters of the play as they tell the other one that the other person is in love with them. So they tell Benedick that Beatrice loves him and visa versa.
Now that I have established the similarities and differences between the actual soaps themselves I will progress to look at the sort of audiences that were attracted to watch the soaps.
First if I look at the Shakespearian soaps then I can say that the poorer people would go and watch them. This happened because of two things. The first is the fact that all his plays were put on in the globe theatre. This meant that the poor people could come and stand in the docks and watch. They would do this because it was how they passed the time of day in the summer months. They would only watch in the summer months because the globe had an open roof. The second reason behind why people would watch the Shakespeare soaps was the fact that they would enjoy looking into the lives of the rich and dream about what sort of life they could have. This meant that Shakespeare would be able to have a large audience as there were a large number of poor people at the time in which he wrote.
The difference between Shakespeare’s time and now is that more middle class people watch the soaps. The main reason for this is that as a nation we have grown up into very nosey people. This means that we like meddling into other people’s lives. It also means that we enjoy looking in to others lives and enjoy sharing in there torment and anguish, but also enjoy things working out for them.
Overall there are very few changes in soaps since Shakespeare’s time. Which I actually think is a good thing because we like to look at the same plots and like to see the same outcomes but over time we have gone from looking at the life of the rich and preferred to look in to the lives of the normal.
I finally think that each soap was popular at it’s time but would probably be popular as a soap in the different times. Although Shakespeare’s time may not like modern soaps of average people the modern television viewer would not mind watching “Much ado about nothing.”