Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare
Shakespeare uses “stuff” in various different meaning throughout the 1600’s.
Shakespeare’s use of the word “stuff” in Much Ado About Nothing represents a Germanic origin, initiating Anglo Saxon. This often contributes to a direct form of utilizing language. Germanic words are short, basic words that are forceful definitions which are daily used. “Stuff” is commonly material, furniture, or cloth. The specific etymology is ambiguous, yet it seems to be derived from Old High German. When “stuff” is referred to material, it represents a noun. During 1596, Harington used “stuff” as a stock of food. In the early 1600’s, Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors, Othello, Tempest, and Cymbeline all used “stuff” to mean equipment, stores, or stock. In addition, it refers to the baggage of a soldier. Military connotations were a central theme during Shakespearean times. “Stuff” also describes the substance or material of which anything consists of. “Stuff” can be packaged or grouped into collections. This translates to physical things that consist of body, which are visible, tangible items that could be manipulated. Similarly, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar use of “stuff” regards what a person is ‘made of’; this describes an inward character and solid qualities of one’s intellect. While Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing gives a simple representation of “stuff” as something internal that Beatrice might feel in her heart, the formerly introduced opposing definitions give rise to a new physical meaning of the word “stuff”.
In Act 3, Scene 1, Hero is proclaiming her high opinions of Benedick. Beatrice eavesdrops and Hero is aware of it. Thus, Hero continues to build Benedick up for Beatrice’s sake to inspire Beatrice to fall in love with Benedick. Hero utilizes “stuff” to refer to Beatrice's intelligence and common appreciation for Benedick. She portrays Beatrice as being opened for love and willing to accept Benedick, in all his pitiful stuff. Beatrice is able to fall in love with Benedick, nonetheless. Thus, stuff has a spiritual connotation and depicts inner thoughts and feelings in the following passage:
Hero: O god of love! I know he doth deserve As much as may be yielded to a man; But Nature never framed a woman’s heart Of prouder stuff than that of Beatrice. Disdain and scorn ride sparkling in her eyes, Misprizing what they look on; and her wit Values itself so highly (III, i, 47-53)
Hero intentionally manipulates Beatrice so the latter and Benedick could fall in love. In this particular passage, Hero is aware of Beatrice listening in as the former is acknowledging Benedick’s love for Beatrice. “Stuff” portrays an internal sensation that Beatrice feels. Hero describes Benedick as deserving of Beatrice’s love (III, i, 47). This suggests that Benedick has unique “stuff”. Hero contests that Beatrice should think carefully before continuing to slam Benedick with her witty remarks (III, i, 51-53). Thus, Hero represents Beatrice’s “stuff” as representing inner thoughts and feelings in regard to Benedick; this feeling is mutual and spiritual.
While “stuff” may initially refer to Beatrice’s feelings and her internal matters of the heart, many additional definitions present contrasting viewpoints. “Stuff” portrays somebody’s possession. Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, presents “stuff” to incorporate internalized feelings. These feelings could be put into action, where Beatrice and Benedick fall in love because of their “stuff” for one another. From the play, we can see a greater picture than first concluded. The “stuff” exhibits internal as well as external characteristics of Beatrice that coexist throughout the play. This shows the audience a different form of the overall picture and one that gains new meaning to the passage and the rest of the story. While most scenes contribute to one’s inner feelings and emotions, they may also represent one’s physical characteristics and a sense of confirming one’s thoughts, thus putting the thoughts into action and constructing a sense of reality. Throughout the play, there have been ample contributions of “stuff” to present internal thoughts and beliefs. “Stuff” may add to the original meaning as ways of representing the real and visible to appeal to the audience as something perceptible.