Monday, January 18, 2010

Battle 1 : Much Ado About Nothing vs. Measure For Measure

Battle One : Much Ado About Nothing vs. Measure for Measure

Welcome, welcome one and all to the first official day of the Battle of the Bards!! Today we have an excellent match up for you which promises the laughs to be frequant and the tears few. So come one, come call, come big, come small, and place your votes!!

Before we begin today's match we will be reviewing the rules/concept for those of you playing at home. Twice a week we will be pitting two of Shakespeare's most classic plays against each other in a no holds 'bard' contest to answer the age old question
While some plays might be 'deeper' or more technically written this contest is worried not about those things. Our contest comes right down to what you, the readers, feel in your heart of hearts is the most deserving for the crown. So make sure to carefully weigh your decisions and aim true before selecting your choice. (The poll can be found directly to the top left of the page).

The comedy battles will take place every Monday while Friday will hold the tragedies. You will have 3 days time to vote on each match up so don't dillydally. However we encourage you in that 3 days to do a little outside research of your own. Maybe watch a movie version, find a fun tv. parody, or even actually read a bit of the play (gasp!).

However if you don't feel like going the extra mile, we will be providing you with a cornucopia of information for each play to guide you in your quest. The path is sure to be long and hard but fear not, your efforts shall be rewarded in the end!!

As it stands the current favorite is Hamlet
The underdog is Measure for Measure

This week marks the begging of the 'first tier' of battles. For those who filled out their brackets, each correct guess in this tier will earn you one point towards the grand prize.

Now that you have heard the rules it is time to bring out our first two competitors! So break out your foam fingers, practice your iambic pentameter, and let's get ready to rummbbllleeeeeeee in the
!!!The Battle of the Bards!!!


Alright thespians here we go. In the left side of the ring we have

Much Ado About Nothing
Weighing in at : 2871 Lines
First Appearance: 1598–1599
Short Summary: Masked Ball, bored noblemen, harlots.
Long Summary:
At Messina, Don Pedro, a Spanish prince from Aragon, and his deputies, Claudio and Benedick, have just returned from war. They intend to crash at Leonato's (the governor of Messina) house for a month and have a big party.

Leonato's niece, Beatrice and their friend Benedick agree to help set up a masked ball. Claudio shows up and sees Hero (Leonato's daughter) who he once had a thing for. He realizes he still wants her and tells everyone this. Benedick (his obnoxious friend) tries to break them up.While Benedick teases Claudio, Benedick swears that he will never get married. Don Pedro laughs at him and tells him that when he has found the right person it will happen.

A masquerade ball is planned in celebration, giving a disguised Don Pedro the opportunity to woo Hero on Claudio’s behalf. Don John uses this situation to get revenge on his brother Don Pedro by telling young Claudio that Don Pedro is actually wooing Hero for himself (oh snap!) Claudio then becomes furious at Don Pedro and confronts him. The misunderstanding is quickly resolved and Claudio wins Hero's hand in marriage.

Don Pedro and his men get bored waiting for the wedding and decide to set up Beatrice and Benedick. The men, led by Don Pedro, proclaim Beatrice’s love for Benedick while knowing he is eavesdropping on their conversation. The women, led by Hero, do the same to Beatrice. However both are stubborn and refuse to admit there is any attraction.

Meanwhile Don John, (Don Pedro's illegitimate brother) decides to shake things up by convincing everyone that Hero is an adulteress. Claudio hears this and the next day refuses to marry Hero. Hero faints from shock and when she wakes up her father yells at her for being slutty. Luckily for hero, there happens to be a priest wondering around who is pretty sure everyone has gotten the wrong idea. They devise a plan to discover the truth!

Of course the plan works and at a ball the next day the truth is all revealed. Claudio is pumped to have Hero back and they all dance in celebration. (translated from here)

If you are interested in reading a side by side modern translation then head on over to No Fear Shakespeare!
Some interesting quotes:
  • Every one can master a grief, but he that has it.
  • A good old man, sir; he will be talking: as they say, When the age is, in the wit is out.
  • I do love nothing in the world so well as you: is not that strange?

In this video we get a little preview of why this story is such a big hit. A.) Denzel Washington has never made Shakespeare seem so sexy. B.) As you can hear the language is beautiful, yet witty.

So how did we feel about contender 1? A strong competitor to be sure but that does nothing to frighten our second entry:

Measure for Measure
Weighing in at: 2838 Lines
First Spotted: 1603 or 1604
Short Summary: Friar in disguise, hippocrates, tom-foolery
Long Summary: Vincentio, the Duke of Vienna is rolling out of his city. He leaves the government in the hands of a strict judge, Angelo. Under the Duke's government, the city's harsh laws against fofornication have been laxly enforced, but Angelo, who later reveals himself as a hypocrite is known to be a hard-liner on matters of sexual immorality.

Claudio is betrothed to Juliet (popular name eh?) but gets her preggers before the wedding day. Angelo overreacts and sentences him to DEATH.

Isabella (Claudio's sister) tries to run interference with Angelo, and pleads to him for mercy. Immoral Angelo offers her a deal: Angelo will spare Claudio's life if Isabella will yield him her virginity (ew.) Isabella says no thanks and tells Claudio sorry for his luck. Claudio doesn't quite see why Isabella won't do this little thing for him and begs her to reconsider.

Meanwhile, The Duke has not in fact left the city!! He is posing as a friar to spy on Angelo and make sure he doesn't get up to any trouble. In his guise as a friar he befriends Isabella and arranges two tricks to thwart the evil intentions of Angelo which prove to be both hilarious and helpful.

This main plot concludes with the 'returns' to the city and everyone gets their just deserts!!

Here you can watch what is clearly the best version of this play ever done.

Some Interesting Quotes

  • Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall.
  • The miserable have no other medicine, but only hope.
  • Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful.
The contestants are poised and ready for battle. Who will draw first blood? Only time will tell. The voting will end at midnight on the 21st so make sure to get your votes in.
Discussion, debate, and name calling is encourage in the comments section. Do you have a personal reason why a play is a favorite? Do you have an unnatural hatred towards a particular character? We encourage everyone to share their stories and thoughts, quotes and qualms. It will make for a more interesting and intense battle.

Check out these blogs which are featuring this weeks battle:
The Book Chubi

Check back on Friday for the results of this battle, as well as the beginning of battle 2: Henry V. vs Julius Caesar.
Best of luck to ye all!


  1. OMG I'm so excited about this! You guys have really outdone yourself! Amazing post!

    (and my choice is winning!!)

    Tara SG

  2. Need more: I posted a breakdown of the plays over at theBookChubi as well. Thanks ladies!

  3. @ Tara - haha thanks. I know its alot of information for everyone so I don't blame people for just going with their gut. But hopefully all of this will help inspire some people to get out there and pick up some of the works!

    @Brandy - Thanks so much for the post! We linked back to you1!

  4. I quite dislike "Measure for Measure". I wrote a paper on "Measure for Measure" after watching a horrifically awful production at our university theater. The professor actually told me "the paper is beautifully written and researched, but it's a little mean". I just disliked everything about it.

  5. That Barbie interpretation of Measure for Measure is certainly very persuasive.

  6. @Still - Haha excellent anecdote. That is hilarious

    @Stephanie - hahaha it def has me sold

  7. Yes, my choice is winning ;)
    Thanks for all the info... The "real" reason why I voted for my choice was because we planned to perform that play at my High School, but it was cancelled because the female lead didn't want to kiss the male lead... Oh, HS drama.

  8. I love your summaries! You truly have outdone yourself this time, marauders.

  9. @Gabby - What a wonderful story!! That is sooo funny! I can't believe no one else stepped up. Thanks so much for sharing.

    @Nirnia- haha thanks so much. It is a lot of information so I tried to make it as easy to get through as possible. And thanks so much for the wonderful compliment! We hope that in the end everyone will have feel like they got something out of it.

  10. Can I still play even if I am not in line for prezzies?


  11. This is so awesome! Much Ado about Nothing is one of my favorite plays, and definitely one of my favorite titles.

  12. Yess of course you can still participate! Feel free to make your own bracket and play along, as well as vote each week!! If you do any posts we will be sure to link back to you and don't worry we will be giving away some random prizes through out the entire battle so you might still be able to pick up a little something!

    @Trisha So glad to hear it!! I'm guessing you have seen the movie with Denzel? It really is fantastic.

  13. I solemnly swear on a dark chocolate and raspberry truffle that I am up to no good.... glad we got that cleared up! Mucha for me. Witty, beautiful, not easy to pull off, hopeful in the end.

  14. Much Ado, hands down. Measure for Measure is kind of depressing and creepy and weirdly manipulative and incestuous and none of the characters is particularly likeable. Not that that necessarily makes it a bad play--it might be interesting to see David Mamet do a version--but it can't beat the glorious banter of Beatrice and Benedick.

  15. @Myrlin, I totally agree with you! Measure for Measure is depressing, creepy, manipulative and ALL the characters are unlikeable. Isabella, the Duke. Yikes. Isabella is a weak, simpering, cast-iron virgin and the Duke is a lecherous, Machivellian caricature. They don't hold a candle to Beatrice and Benedict, who I think may be the one of the greatest romantic couples in literature.


You solemnly swear you are up to no good...