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What Atmosphere Does Kenneth Branagh Create at the Start of His Film Version of Much Ado About Nothing and Where in the Play Is the Source of His Ideas?

In: English and Literature

Submitted By marinepg
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What atmosphere does Kenneth Branagh create at the start of his film version of much ado about nothing and where in the play is the source of his ideas?
In the act 1 of the scene 1 of much ado about nothing by William Shakespeare, a messenger arrives in the Italian town of Messina, with a letter that informs the kindly Leonato that he will welcome to Messina some soldier friends who are coming from a victorious battle. These friends are Don Pedro of Aragon, a nobleman, and Claudio, a warrior. Hero, Leonato’s daughter and Beatrice, her cousin, accompany him. Beatrice and another soldier of Don Pedro’s army, Signor Benedick, are in a “merry war” but they never saw each other. Beatrice cleverly mocks and insults Benedick. There are no stage directions so this leaves the stage director lot of freedom to achieve the adaptation. The opening of the film version isn’t the same as the book version; the film starts with a poem recited by Beatrice, but Shakespeare original version starts directly with the messenger that arrives.
Firstly, in the film adaptation of much ado about nothing by William Shakespeare, at the beginning, Kenneth Branagh creates conviviality and a merry atmosphere that isn’t really described in the play thanks to:
- The landscape and the climate, the bright light of the sun. They live in Messina, in Sicily, and Sicily is known for the hot climate. After the poem of Beatrice, at the beginning, we see a painting of Messina; it shows that Messina is picturesque, and that it is a little place of heaven where Don Pedro will be able to rest after the war.
- The clothing and makeup of the characters, they are all in white or with bright color, they are all sun-tanned. They live in Messina in Sicily and the climate is very hot so they all wear bright colors and they have noble clothing, Messina is governed by Leonato, a noble man so Messina and the people that live in Messina are also noble.
- They are in an orchard and they are doing a picnic, everybody is smiling and laughing. They are feasting. Secondly, the messenger is pressed to give the letter because Don Pedro and his army are at three leagues off, the stage director made him arrived on a horse because he needed to go fast and he needed to arrived before Don Pedro and his army. When the messenger arrived all the people of Messina stopped clapping their hands and they looked at the messenger, it is like a very important things arriving; the coming of Don Pedro. He creates an atmosphere with suspense. In addition, when Leonato says that Don Pedro and his glorious army will come to Messina, all the people are very happy and exited to learn the news. Kenneth Branagh made all the people very happy because Don Pedro is famous. We know that he is famous and liked because, firstly his name is “Don”, sign of nobility, secondly, the messenger says “he hath born himself beyond the promise of his age, doing in the figure of a lamb the feats of a lion” this means that he is more mature than his age and that he is young but he does things that a person with lot of experience will do so it is like an honor for the people that live in Messina to welcome him. Also, “he hath indeed better bettered expectation than you must expect of me to tell you how” this means that he exceeds people's expectations so, this is why Kenneth Branagh made everyone happy when the messenger said that Don Pedro will come, because Don Pedro is like a “hero”. He creates a merry atmosphere. Furthermore, the people that live in Messina are relieved when they learn that “few of any sort, and none of name” died, because in the film version, the people say an exclamation of relief. It adds a peaceful atmosphere. Leonato says in the play “A victory is twice itself when the achiever brings home full numbers.” It means that a victory in battle is twice as victorious when all the soldiers return home safely. Leonato and all the people that live in Messina are relieved that in this battle, there isn't lot of dead people. Then, in the play and in the film version, Beatrice wants to belittle Benedick when she says “I pray you, how many hath he killed and eaten in these wars? But how many hath he killed?-for indeed I promised to eat all of his killing.” She describes him as a braggart and as a fool. There is a derisive atmosphere as much in the book as in the adaptation in the movie.
Moreover, girls run to prepare them when they see that Don Pedro is approaching because it is a big honor to welcome Don Pedro and his victorious army. They wanted to have a great looking and they wanted to impress them. They wanted to be at the height of the warrior. Furthermore, Don Pedro and his army arrive; they put a flag in the air, I suppose that it is because he won the war and that it is to show that he is Don Pedro of Arragon. In the realization of Kenneth Branagh, Don Pedro and his army have their proper flag; it is a sign of wealth and nobility. It adds an atmosphere of royalty. Also, a music starts just when they appear, the music is royal, a symbol of Don Pedro and his army because he won the war. Also when they appeared, they are on horses, even if it isn’t written in the book, to come on horses is a symbol of wealth and power; and Don Pedro and his army have power and are rich. They all put together their hand in the air, symbol of power, of victory and to show that they are together. Before in the text of Shakespeare, the messenger says of Benedick “he hath done good service”, he says of Claudio “Don Pedro hath bestowed much honor on a young Florentine called Claudio”. In the play, Kenneth Branagh took the idea that Claudio, Benedick and Don Pedro are welded, so the action of the point in the air is representative of their relation. All this create an atmosphere of royalty, of nobility and of power when Don Pedro and his army arrive. In addition, when the soldiers arrive in Messina, they go directly into the water; they do as if they were at their home. They are really glad to go into the water; they shout and laugh as if Messina was something that is very precious because they return from a war. The atmosphere is relaxed. The director has a relaxed atmosphere because they come to Messina because it is the end of the war, so they want to rest.

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