Translating Shakespeare "Much Ado About Nothing"

Discussion in 'Fun & Games' started by Aquadementia, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. Aquadementia

    Aquadementia That's a lot of Mulaney!
    Staff Member Moderator

    Feb 26, 2004
    Likes Received:
    What’s more fun then Shakespeare!?
    Well, he seemed to keep people entertained for half a millennium. I think maybe we can do something with him here.

    What we do is take Shakespeare line by line and try to translate it into something more understandable.
    Or maybe less understandable. There's no one way to do this and it may take some experimenting to find the best way. If people want to take a character to do, we could give that a try.
    But for now, to get things going, just take a short section and give it whirl.

    I’ve chosen “Much Ado About Nothing” as our first play. I’ve never seen it performed or read it, so I can’t think of a reason not to.
    You can find a copy of it here.

    Frankly, Shakespeare can be pretty confusing.
    Or maybe you have a fresh interpretation.
    Or maybe you think you can out-Shakespeare him.

    Have fun with it, but don't leave things out.
    Feel free to make comments on the translations.
  2. Aquadementia

    Aquadementia That's a lot of Mulaney!
    Staff Member Moderator

    Feb 26, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Scene 1. In Front Of LEONATO’s House

    LEONATO. This letter says Don Pedro of Arragon is coming to Messina tonight.

    MESSENGER. He should be here soon. He was less then 9 miles away when I left.

    LEONATO. Did you lose many men?

    MESSENGER. Not many. No one you would have heard of.

    LEONATO. Half the victory is coming home safe. Don Pedro writes a good deal about an impressive young Florentine named Claudio.

    MESSENGER. He deserves all Don Pedro‘s praise. He might be young and look like a boy but he fights like a lion. My words don’t do him justice.

    LEONATO. He has an uncle in Messina that will be glad to hear that.

    MESSENGER. I’ve already delivered a letter to him. He was overjoyed, almost hysterical.

    LEONATO. Did he cry?

    MESSENGER: Bawled like a baby.

    LEONATO: A kind man overflowing with kindness. There’s no truer sign of caring then tears; better to be weeping at comforting news then to try and find comfort in news to weep over!

    BEATRICE: Please tell me, did Signior Overmuch return from the war?

    MESSENGER: I don’t know that name. There is no one in the army called that.

    LEONATO: What are you asking, niece?

    HERO: My cousin means Signior Benedick of Padua.

    MESSENGER: O! He returned and without a mark on him.

    BEATRICE: He owes many debts here in Messina. He bet my uncle’s fool that he was a better marksman then Cupid. Tell me, how many conquests has he made and finished in these wars? At least tell me how many conquests? For indeed I promised to finish off all his conquests.

    LEONATO: Please, niece, you press Signior Benedick too much, but he’ll press back, no doubt.

    MESSENGER: He served well, my lady, in the war.

    BEATRICE: Army food is so foul and smelly, which he has a brave appetite for; he has an excellent stomach.

    MESSENGER: And a good soldier too, lady.

    BEATRICE: To a lady he’s a good soldier, but what is he to a lord?

    MESSENGER: He’s a lord to a lord, a man to a man; full of honorable virtues.

    BEATRICE: Indeed; he is full of it; but for what he’s full of, --well, all who live must stuff themselves then be full..

    To get things started I did this one pretty straight.

    Beatrice is so witty it's hard to believe anyone ever knew what she is talking about. She is going to be a real challenge to decipher.
    "How many has he killed and eaten in these wars?"
    That would be a really weird to hear some say. I can only guess that it's about women he's been with. I had to look up what a bird-bolt was to get a clue.

    Leonato: "A kind overflow of kindness. There are no faces truer than those that are so washed; how much better is it to weep at joy than to joy at weeping!"
    It was pretty hard to find another way to say that. Especially the way he uses the the same word twice. You have to appreciate the way he works.

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