Much Ado, Bloom, and Malaproprism Malapropism (the misuse of words) has a long history as part of low comedy.  Harold Bloom, a leading contemporary critic and professor at Yale Univeristy, has...


Far be it from me to criticize Harold Bloom...ah, what the heck - I guess I'll live on the edge today! :)

I think Shakespeare's use of malapropism, particularly with the character of Dogberry in Much Ado, is hilarious and entertaining.  Shakespeare was writing plays to entertain people, not to be judged and criticized 400 years down the road, and to that end he was successful.  People in Elizabethan England lived very hard, dangerous lives.  Dying of starvation or the plague were very real threats.  Shakespeare and his fellow playwrights managed to inject some humor into these people's lives, and for that I say, God bless 'em!

Puns are called the lowest form of humor, and malapropisms are a form of punning.  Frankly, I don't care.  I think it shows a high-level vocabularly to be able to joke with words, and come on, who doesn't love it when Dogberry says, "O villain! thou wilt be condemned into everlasting redemption for this!" (4.2) :)

Bravo!! I think we sometimes forget that Shakespeare was writing to make a living and not providing fodder for future teachers. And his audience would have been like audiences today--they would have preferred the humor. My journalism students are all honor students, top ten percent of their classes. Most of them eat lunch with me in my room. What makes them laugh? Somebody passing gas! (I just can't make myself use the slang.) They can't understand why I think that kind of humor is vulgar.

That's not to say that Shakespeare is vulgar, but he did have to appeal to the masses to sell tickets. He had competition from other theater groups and had to draw in the crowds.

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