Much Ado About Nothing William Shakespeare. Discuss How Shakespeare's Original Script Lays The Foundations Of Branagh's Portrayal Of The Character Don John.

1686 words - 7 pages

*This essay is about the film "Much Ado About Nothing" directed by Kenneth Branagh, relating to William Shakespeares play of the same title.*Don John is the main villain in "Much Ado About Nothing." He is the one who speaks little, but when he does, he creates an image of disease. He admits that he cannot be who he is not, not even to please others. This is an oxymoron in itself, an 'honest villain.' He would rather be himself then act happy in front of someone:'It better fits my blood to be disdained of them all then to fashion a carriage to rob love from any.'The imagery that Don John creates when he speaks are not of happy things. He uses the idea of trapped animals:'I have decreed not to sing in my cage.'Shakespeare uses these types of words to give us an idea as to what type of person Don John is. Shakespeare tells us that he is an unhappy person that doesn't want to be a socialite like his brother, although he gets jealous when Pedro is so liked.The language given to Don John by Shakespeare are of a certain type: his lines are never happy or positive; they generate an image of unnaturalness in natural things:'I had rather be a canker in the hedge then a rose in his grace.'The tone of Don John in Shakespeare's version is very dark and jealous. The only thing Shakespeare could use to portray Don John was words, while Branagh had visual effects and audio effects to help portray him. Shakespeare made the character of Don John into a villain by using such phrases as:'If I had my mouth, I would bite.'In the film, Branagh made his tone of voice low and emotionless. He never sounds happy or cheerful, he always seems to be alone and detached. We automatically think of the quiet ones as the dark and mysterious because we do not know what he is thinking. Branagh placed him in places that symbolise darkness, e.g. basements, corners of rooms.His lines are all of hate and jealousy, a typical villain role. This image of Don John is presented in other ways other then the actor's use of tone and body language. There are signifiers set in the scenes with Don John in. For example, in the basement, when he is having a massage, it is dimly lit by candles. Candles have many meanings, such as romance and love, but in this instance, it is used to show the mystery of it all and the darkness of Don John's plan. The room is sparsely decorated, stone walls and floors, giving it a dark and miserable feeling to it. The fact that Don John is having a massage tells us that he is tense; people usually have massages when they need calming down. The first time we see Don John is when all the soldiers ride in. This is obviously an important moment to the others because they run to clean up and look nice. They ride in looking excited and happy to be there, but Don John is standing in the corner, looking completely expressionless. In fact, we don't even notice him until Leonato speaks to him. Even then, he carries on looking emotionless and replies:'I am not of many words, but...

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