Sigh no more, ladies, sigh nor more; Men were deceivers ever; One foot in sea and one on shore, To one thing constant never; Then sigh not so, But let them go, And be you blithe and bonny; Converting all your sounds of woe Into. Hey nonny, nonny. Sing no more ditties, sing no mo, Or dumps so dull and heavy; The fraud of men was ever so, Since summer first was leafy. Then sigh not so, But let them go, And be you blithe and bonny, Converting all your sounds of woe Into. Hey, nonny, nonny.
It’s sexy, it’s fun, it’s raunchy and funny
What’s not to love in “Much Ado about Nothing”? It’s utterly relevant right now. Relations between the sexes, the power men have over women, the bitter results that even well intentioned deception has on our lives, the masks we wear in public and “social networking”. How even honourable and lovely people can be total selfish idiots when they allow cultural expectations to form their attitudes to the people around them. You think if Claudio had measured the evidence placed before his eyes against what he knew of Hero’s character instead of the cultural expectation that all women are sluts (sound familiar??) that he would have been such a jerk to her on their wedding day? No! And it’s still a cultural myth about women that we’re still fighting to expel (in too many cases of Rape, women are still being asked “what did you do to lead him on?”).
It has at it’s heart a wonderful couple in a courtship that has clearly lasted years – we’re only seeing the final stretch. And it gives me hope that in love we get more than one chance – it’s not a one shot deal. But even Beatrice and Benedick’s tenacious courtship is tarnished with deceit – can any love that pretence has had a hand in succeed? Is there a place for well-intentioned deception within relationships, in our communities? I don’t think we’re given the answer to that, only the question. But if you ask me, personally, I think there is a place where truth isn’t the be all and end all of things, that there are indeed times when deception, pretence and mask wearing are all essential, not only to protect ourselves, but to protect those we love. And indeed to uncover a deeper truth within.
And seeing what real love can do to a man, and to a woman. To soften Beatrice without reducing her strength; to leaven Benedick without lowering the heights of his heart; to give Hero the strength to forgive and accept as husband the man who essentially destroyed her; to give Claudio the strength to admit and embrace his weakness and to make amends. For if love does not open ourselves to who we truly are, if it changes us beyond recognition, it is not real love. For real and true love will lift us to our true selves, will change us, spur us, soften us – but it never changes the essence of who we are. Through the action of Loving others and being loved we are transformed, but never at the expense of who we truly are at our core. We may be shaped, but the shaper never changes our clay into wood; we may be pruned, but Apples are never converted to Strawberries.
And there is of course the joy of life, the joy of words, the joy of friendship. A community living life to the full, together; through tragedy and triumph and embracing those with both arms unafraid.