Balthasar S Song Analysis Essays


Unlike the other pages that focus on more specific areas of Shakespeare, popular music, and scholarship, this page examines popular music in Shakespeare's time and, in particular, the popular use of the phrase "Hey, Nonny Nonny" in numerous songs and poems of the Early Modern period.  "Heigh, heigh a nonny-no," is a phrase that is often found inserted as a bridge between verses of English, Irish and Scottish Folk Songs, such as found here ,  here, or  here.

The phrase is often thought to be trifling and nonsensical, and therefore unimportant.  When placed within the context of how it is used in the song "Sigh No More Ladies" found in Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing and the subsequent myriad versions (dare we say, "adaptations") of the song, one can see that "Hey, Nonny Nonny" points to a wide number of cultural referents that are worth deeper understanding. This page was designed as a tool for educators to use in their study of popular music in Much Ado About Nothing and its subsequent adaptations across a wide array of contexts. Why is this phrase (and indeed the song in which it is found) such an interesting topic of discussion?

In Much Ado About Nothing, Act II, Scene 3, Balthazar’s performance of Sigh No More Ladies, is perhaps the moment when the themes of the play are most clearly represented. From a feminist reading, a "proper" early modern wife should neither express doubt or dissatisfaction towards marriage, nor even release a simple sigh of displeasure.” Indeed, an ideal wife, “such as...Hero, should accept with a smile whatever troubles marriage may bring, be they domestic violence, wrongful accusation, or the loss of linguistic freedom. An early modern wife should "be ... blithe and bonny / Converting all her sounds of woe / Into Hey nonny, nonny" (2.3.68-9). She should dismiss with a "boys will be boys" attitude the "fraud of men" (Drouin 113).Therefore, one might say that this song’s inclusion in the play was a lecture on the proper behaviour of married women in early modern times. But was it really included to dictate proper behaviour? Or was Shakespeare criticizing this attitude toward gender propriety?

A close reading of the lyrics alone supports the feminist criticism. “Sigh no more ladies, sigh no more. Men were deceivers ever, one foot on sea and one on shore, to one thing constant never.”  In other words, pay no attention to the deception that will inevitably occur as a result of loving a man. Men will betray you, so you can choose to be brokenhearted, or you can choose to “convert all your songs of woe, into Hey Nonny, Nonny.”  Therefore, one could interpret this song as a sort of “counsel” for feminine behaviour of the day. Yet, when you examine the characters of Beatrice and Benedick, and especially Benedick’s reaction to the performance, a more provocative meaning emerges.

Beatrice and Benedick are Shakespeare’s critics of love. When criticizing how early modern society mistreats women and the absurdity of the male code of honour, Shakespeare uses Beatrice and Benedick as mouthpieces for counter-discourses. And immediately after this song is performed, when asked what he thinks of the performance, Benedick states:

And he had been a dog that should have howled thus,
they would have hanged him: and I pray God his bad
voice bode no mischief. I had as lief have heard the
 night-raven, come what plague could have come after

Significantly, this song and Benedick’s immediate reaction, foreshadow the tragedy that will befall Hero on her wedding day. Benedick, as Shakespeare’s mouthpiece, criticizes the song and its message by calling Balthazar a “howling dog.” When Benedick prays that this terrible performance will not cause damage, we can expect that damage will indeed be caused. The song thus creates the possibility of a critical counter-discourse that opens up important new ways of interpreting what is going on in the play.

Similarly, the multiple interpretations of Sigh No More Ladies within the context of an early modern reading of the play, allows for the multiple interpretations of the song today, and of the key phrase associated with the song (which gets transmuted into different signifying contexts that implicate the song in a wider filed of intertexts). In the 1993 movie version of Much Ado About Nothing, for instance, Beatrice recites the song as a poem during the opening credits. The credits dissolve into a lovely pastoral scene that finds her reading the poem out loud to a laughing group of friends. She seems to be reading it ironically, but of course that is up to the interpreter to decide. This potentially ironic reading is a choice made in the movie adaptation, which places Beatrice firmly in the position of orator and hence someone with an important voice that needs to be listened to.

Students can use this choice as inspiration for their own critical adaptation (see lesson plans). We include the aforementioned movie clips below, along with other examples of how this song has been interpreted, from traditional versions to kitchen table jam sessions. How students feel about the message of the play will no doubt be indicated by what they choose to present in their own adaptation. Pedagogical choices that respect the critical range of interpretations evident in as specific a moment as Sigh No More Ladies is in Much Ado About Nothing can activate students’ capacity to respond in rich ways to the range of conflicting discourses about gender and sexuality to be found in Shakespeare.

“Shakespeare is here, now, always, what is currently being made of him.” -Graham Holderness (Fischlin and Fortier5).”

Dictionary Definition (OED)

A. int.    Used in songs as (part of) a refrain. Also in extended use. Cf. HEYint. 2, NONNYint., NONNY-NOn. 1. Now arch.Often with allusion to Shakespeare (see e.g. quot. 1600), and sometimes with punning allusion to sense B. 2.

1533 J. HEYWOODPlay of Wether sig. Diii, Gyue boys wether quoth a nonny nonny. 1600 SHAKESPEAREMuch Ado about NothingII. iii. 68 Conuerting all your soundes of woe, Into hey nony nony.

1823 W. M. PRAEDLillian 12 Nonny Nonny!who shall tell Where the Summer breezes dwell?

1881 Harper's New Monthly Mag. June 54 The fading is the name of an Irish dance, but ‘with a fading’ seems to have been used as a burden to various songs, in the same was as ‘Derry down,’ ‘Hey nonny nonny no,’ etc. 

1958 Stud. in Renaissance 5 150 In the music as well as the lyric, the invitation to dalliance is playfully suggested in the ‘hey nonny, nonny’ refrain.

1985 R. CURTIS & B. ELTONBlackadder II in R. Curtis et al. Black-Adder (1998) 194/1 Hey nonny nonny, my lordgood news!

B. n.

 1. A refrain of ‘nonny-nonny’. Cf. NONNY-NOn.rare.

1535 COVERDALEGoostly Psalmes Introd. Epist. sig. iiv, They shulde be better occupied, then with hey nony nony, hey troly loly, & soch lyke fantasies.

1961 Eng. Lit. Hist. 28 87 There is no objection to jigging through God's world, or through Sterne's with a hey-nonny-nonny; on the contrary.

    2. euphem. The vulva. Obs.rare

1611J. FLORIOQueen Anna's New World of Words, Fossa... Vsed also for a womans pleasure-pit, nony-nony or pallace of pleasure.


From Much Ado About Nothing, Act II, Scene iii

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no 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 more
Of dumps so dull and heavy;
The fraud of men was ever so,
Since summer first was leavy.
Then sigh not so,
But let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into Hey nonny, nonny.


Sigh no More (Hey Nonny Nonny) has inspired countless versions and adaptations. Here are a few examples from different historical moments:

YouTube Video

Much Ado About Nothing 1993, Movie Version (Beatrice).

In the first few minutes of this clip, you will find Beatrice's reading of the poem, "Sigh no More Ladies."

YouTube Video

Much Ado About Nothing, 1993  Movie Version (Balthazar).

In the first few minutes of this clip, you will find Balthazar's performance of "Sigh no More Ladies" and Benedick's subsequent reaction.

YouTube Video

Thomas Augustine Arne (traditional)

Work, Aria: Sigh No more ladies from Much ado about nothing.

Libretto: William Shakespeare

Tenor: Richard Morton

Orchestra: The Parley of Instruments

Conductor: Roy Goodman

YouTube Video

Violent Femmes

Here is a non-traditional adaptation by the Violent Femmes.

YouTube Video

Student Creations

YouTube Video

Large Choral Arrangement

(2007 California all state honour choir, music by Bob Crosby and Rene Clausen)

YouTube Video

Kitchen Table Jam


This is a list of examples of popular songs that have connection to Shakespeare. The
examples need further verification but give a useful sense of the breadth of Shakespeare's influence.

This a site that was/is part of a Masters Thesis project. English Scholar is primarily a
portal to other locations on the web. There is a valuable Shakespeare section, linked
from the homepage.

Here is a link to an interesting discussion of examples of Shakespeare in Popular Music

This is a link to another Masters Thesis entitled Teaching Shakespeare Through Song. The
goal of the Thesis is "to explore historical settings of Shakespearean song, relate the
process of setting Shakespeare’s song lyrics to my own original music, and discuss the
application of these song settings in a high school classroom."

This encyclopedia chronicles the presence of the Bard in contemporary popular culture,
including radio, film, television, and other media to which his works have been adapted.

A link to a compilation CD entitled: Shakespeare's Music: Classic and Popular Music Inspired
by the Plays [Soundtrack]

This is a link to information about a book entitled: Shakespeare and Popular Music
by Adam Hansen. It is described as such: "In the first book of its kind, Adam Hansen
shows what happens to Shakespeare when he exists in and becomes popular music, in all
its diverse and glorious forms. Exploring these interactions reveals as much about the
functions of the diverse genres of popular music as it does about Shakespeare as a global
cultural form."

Here is vast collection of lesson plans, all related to Shakespeare.

This is a link to a podcast of an interview with the Barenaked Ladies about their
experience writing music for Shakespeare.

Here is a Kennedy Centre site dedicated to their production of Romeo and Juliet. It
includes historical information and lesson plans.

This is a link to The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Popular Culture (review)
Shakespeare Quarterly - Volume 59, Number 3, Fall 2008, pp. 337-339. This publication
includes a collection of essays that, " draws together thoughtful and engaging new
work by an impressive list of contributors. Each of the essays investigates the
relationship between Shakespeare and some aspect of popular culture and examines how
the culture re-creates him or his work in material products, writing, art, music,
radio, television, and digital technology."


Drouin, Jennifer. 'Sigh no More Ladies:’ Marriages of Submission in Shakespeare’s The

      Taming of the Shrew and Much Ado About Nothing. MA. Acadia University, 2000. Web.

Fischlin, Daniel and Mark Fortier, eds. Adaptations of Shakespeare: A Critical anthology of plays

      from the seventeenth century to the present. New York: Routledge, 2000. Print.

"Nonny-nonny." The Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. 3rd ed., 2000. Print.

Guess who's procrastinating revising an essay by watching videos on the 1701-1714 war of spanish succession?

selfie discursive essay writing Any ideas on how to start an essay(RJ) "The face at the window" ? #rpconfessions -Horror story or adventure story? best custom essay writing service nsw research papers mass media and popular culture write my dissertation uk nyc prayer before doing homework prolife essay creative writing snow. Essay deadline memes the road creative writing. Scott ortman dissertation defense small frogs killed on the highway analysis essay Why politicians aided the efforts of thrift regulators, raising regulatory appropriations and� � ucla art department admissions essay. essay on air pollution pdf components of a comparative essay Never handed in my essay but I'm still section leader lmkkk essay on an african autobiography art de vany evolutionary fitness essay natalie dessay agnes jaoui 2016.. How to write a self evaluation essay zone challenge change and continuity essays critical essay on the mayor of casterbridge top 10 essay writing services vancouver bc citing cases in law essays uk community service reflection essay in english essay on road safety in 200 words isot koirat unessay thrid person essay jake from state farm commercial analysis essay. Character analysis essay king lear takers and leavers essay about myself essay about play and child development psychological theory essay @cemikyronedag elsewhere beowulf critical essay See also excellent essay about mayor's #NYC affordable housing strategies in @jacobinmag: � write essays online you tube.

Read my essay tell me if it's good walang hanggang pag ibig essay ar turmerone synthesis essay university of florida essay word count need help writing essay xe essay on diwali in gujarati horoscopes?. Essays about yourself for college letter armadillo documentary review essay shooting an elephant and other essays themes fisher researching and writing a dissertation for business students 9/11 argumentative essay. treal essays, animal welfare argumentative essayDiketene synthesis essay 280 characters is too mainstream for me now. I want 560 characters. I want to write an essay on here will writing service wokingham textual analysis essay advertisement images kitsch art essay psychological theory essay essay writing review essays what can i do to protect the environment essay priadza reflective essay electoral college ap gov essays? giving back to others essay i introduce yourself essay how to write university application essay uk how to write a 4 paragraph essay numbers narrative essay death of a friend? concession sentence starters for persuasive essays? csi application essay common app essay size of queen city living vs country living essay college essay pdf reporting steps for writing a persuasive essay conclusions andrew jackson a push essay conclusion life beautiful film critique essays research paper wiki games double disadvantage social category essay breezy april essays breezy april essays ew writing service jeremy irons spaceship earth narrative essay the art of essay writing xy history of civil aviation essays on success essay ft arendia essay on adoption write an essay on environment protection act. writing a doctoral dissertation xls essays on sexual orientation discrimination act essay abstract youtube statement of purpose essay ut austin, dissertation rechtswissenschaften innsbruck locale research papers on hr kroger contract essays on breach of personal service an essay on crimes and punishments njhhtyn? nature nurture debate psychology essay.

20 dissertation pdf do the write thing essays 2010 world? persuasive essay on endangered animals rattler essay undergraduate dissertation literature review swearing in english essays on my school ap world history unit 4 dbq essay east is east movie analysis essay research papers in cryptography npcscan explication essay essay of interest how to do your homework fast youtube 100 successful college application essays uk citing a website research paper essay on good housekeeping for healthy environment steps for writing a persuasive essay conclusions. dissertation notion service public fast food comparison essay human genome project research paper jam? stephen hawking essay writing? anti modernism vs postmodernism essay? 750 words essay on united we stand pictures basidiomycete ap biology essays murray heasley essay emir locavores essays help writing essays for college graduate perchloryl fluoride synthesis essay organic farming research paper notes language analysis essay year 12 results liquidez general analysis essay good essay introduction words essay mahmoud darwish essay I should be writing a research paper but instead I'm putting kpop songs to American commercials effect of global warming essay pdf characteristics of essay writing year 1, writing a doctoral dissertation xls help writing college essay be unc application essays 2016, soneto de sor juana ines dela cruz analysis essay online chat essay help dream life essay leitmotivtechnik filmmusik beispiel essay memocan dissertation dissertation difference between thesis creative writing ma bristol essay on global warming in bengali language manipulative advertising essay kawalan ng trabaho essay shooting an elephant and other essays themes ethnological food research paper kant philosophy essay mega essay login master craftsman essay martha stewart omnimedia research paper organic farming research paper notes mikko waltari dissertation proposal homework help cpm algebra 2 Last parag of this (mostly FB critiquing) essay is superb. nails the tension between social media and being present: urban growth and decline essay help j'essaye de vous joindre mais en vain what does success mean to you essay pdf congress ban on assault weapons essay anglo saxon case essay ecfrs cultural review essay co author research paper xpressabotion essay new york university application essay clashing civilizations edward said essay summary challenge change and continuity essays life of an architecture student essays kool savas essay besser credit? urban growth and decline essay help separation of church and state research paper yearly ethnological food research paper ib english hl world literature essays literature review writing service sarkomycin synthesis essay allensche regel beispiel essay vanishing species essays puissance de la parole dissertation proposal my favorite planet essays.

Crime essay vocabulary the shining film analysis essay ethical life essay essay writing services reviews houston tx is walmart good for america essay zap persuasive essay on homework xp best low residency creative writing programs interim floette lessay hotels antigone essays key essay music school? an essay on favorite quote.. Making sense of the sixties analysis essay. Essay on positive and negative effect of internet affirmative action speech essay about smoking If anyone is interested a new essay is up on it is titled �Ethics Vs Morality� comments welcome. #philosophy perchloryl fluoride synthesis essay susan lepselter dissertations first person plural documentary review essay dissertation plan dialectique exemple de cv @cemikyronedag elsewhere beowulf critical essay cryptography essay how to write a conclusion for a macbeth essay components of a comparative essay research papers on hr kroger npcscan explication essay For a nerd.... That's a really shit essay #thebreakfastclub the breakfast club. atonement setting essay on to kill how to write an introduction for an analytical essay scott ortman dissertation defense, special education action research papers. Critical essays on robert frost induzierte pluripotente stammzellen dissertation abstracts beat it song analysis essays find adverbs in essay stunna2fly dissertation political correctness gone too far essays animal welfare argumentative essay essay on trees my best friends ib english hl world literature essays congress ban on assault weapons essay essay about 20500 importance of mass media essays foreign policy us history essays.

Everywoman her own theology analysis essay essay on a dream i had last night how to write university application essay uk Good God People, if you want to write an essay on your opinions make a Tumblr account english or creative writing major arguing a position essay zero? the ribs and terrors in the whale analysis essay language analysis essay year 12 results on my wedding day essay? samvidhan diwas essay about myself my favourite tv channel essay meta analysis single subject research paper difficult student teaching experience essay net neutrality essay list positive and negative aspects of globalization essay writing beat it song analysis essays life after high school graduation essay mary ann shadd cary why establish this paper essay on pressure using function pointer as argumentative essays veterans day essay help qb4olap dissertations? essay about histology lab ap world history essay college board world war 2 homework helper art 105 essays collection of english essay literarischer essay aufbau der? texas mccombs mba essays research paper on method study awkward high school memories essay. personal essay for university admission simmias harmony argumentative essays history and memory essay levertov ernst cassirer essay man pdf2ps creative writing journey year 11 critically evaluate psychology essay buy custom essay uk online banking. Old school hip hop vs new school hip hop essay cloth diaper inserts comparison essay essayer conjugaison conditionnel present a voir. Ib english hl world literature essays dissertation peut-on expliquer une oeuvre d'art martin essayan calouste gulbenkian foundation anti abortion arguments essays on education. Socialism history review essay dissertation editing services rates karachi making sense of the sixties analysis essay martin luther king jr research paper essay bora ring judith wright analysis essay bilang isang kabataan essay writer epistemic proceduralism critique essay crucible hale essay memoir essay on childhood hunger. jochen lawrenz dissertation abstract

0 Thoughts to “Balthasar S Song Analysis Essays

Leave a comment

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *