Much Ado About Nothing Essay Questions & Writing Assignments

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

One of the best ways to make sure your students have understood Shakespeare's ~'Much Ado About Nothing~' is to get them writing about the play. This lesson offers questions and assignments to prompt student thinking.

Writing About Shakespeare

If your students have just finished or are about to finish reading Much Ado About Nothing, you might be thinking about what you can do to help them express, synthesize, and consolidate their comprehension. Writing about the play is a great way to meet all of these goals. When students write about Shakespeare, they are forced to monitor and assess what they have understood and to think about his writing in their own terms and language. Students will gain more practice with the writing process and will feel closer to Shakespeare's themes, plots, and characters.

This lesson offers a series of essay questions and creative writing assignments designed to get your students thinking about Much Ado About Nothing.

Essay Questions

When students write essays, they construct arguments and back them up with evidence from the text. This brings the writer closer to the reading and helps him or her articulate a point of view.

  • Describe the way that Benedick's character changes from the beginning to the end of the play. Use evidence to characterize him at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end. Explain what you think causes these changes in his character and whether you think the changes are realistic.
  • Write an essay describing the theme of deception in Much Ado About Nothing. Your essay should describe at least two major deceptions that occur over the course of the play, and you should articulate what you see as Shakespeare's point of view regarding deception. You can also weigh in with your own point of view on this important theme.
  • How are women and men portrayed differently from one another in Much Ado About Nothing? Write an essay that describes the portrayal of gender, gender roles, and / or gender relationships in the play. Explain how this is similar to and different from the way you are used to thinking about gender in modern times.
  • Compare and contrast two of the major characters in the play. Some helpful pairs to work with might be Hero and Beatrice, Claudio and Benedick, or Don Pedro and Don John. Use evidence from the play to support the characterizations you make, and make sure you show how the characters are similar as well as different. As part of your essay, make sure you think about why Shakespeare sets up a polarity between the characters and what this does for the plot.
  • What do you see as Shakespeare's opinion about social graces and manners as it is expressed through this play? Give at least three examples of social graces, and show Shakespeare's portrayal of their consequences. As part of your conclusion, explain your own opinion about social graces and manners, including if and how this theme is of continuing relevance today.

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