Movie Essays - Narrative Holes in Films of Shakespeare's Plays

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Narrative Holes in Films of Shakespeare's Plays My subject in this essay in playtexts and in films of those playtexts. Drama offers the storyteller a simple choice about how to communicate each element of the story to the audience: show it, or have a character describe it. Often in drama narration is used because an event cannot be shown, but occasionally telling is used when showing is perfectly possible and Shakespeare uses this device self-consciously to draw attention to the medium rather than the message of his story. Shakespeare appears then interested in ekphrasis, which the Oxford Classical Dictionary calls "an extended and detailed literary description of any object, real or imaginary" (Hornblower & Spawforth 1996)…show more content…
Whether entering or leaving Hero's bedchamber, Claudio and Don Pedro are sure to infer from Borachio's presence that Hero is sexually active. The audience are distanced from the sexual act by a double frame: first the corollaries which precede and follow the implied act and second the ekphrastic narrative promise and recollection of those corollaries. Kenneth Branagh chose to show the audience the deception scene in his film of Much Ado About Nothing (Branagh 1993) and he broke III.ii after Don John says "I know not that [Claudio means to marry] when he knows what I know" to cut to an interior shot of excited kissing between Borachio and Margaret, although from behind Imelda Staunton playing Margaret might easily be mistaken for Kate Beckinsale playing Hero. The next shot shows Don John, Claudio, and Don Pedro entering the garden and is followed by one showing Borachio and Margaret having sex on the balcony of Hero's bedchamber. Putting perhaps too fine a point on it--and surely risking alienation of his unwitting assistant in this deception--Borachio moans "Hero, Hero" in his sexual ecstasy. Returning to the dialogue of III.ii more or less where we left it, Don John states what appears obvious: "The lady is disloyal". Branagh's realization of the absent deception scene replaced Shakespeare's double framing device with the putative act itself since Don John brings Claudio and

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