Not just a rom-com, Much Ado About Nothing is filled with intriguing subplots, villains, kooky characters, and some of the wittiest dialogue ever heard on the stage. There’s lots to like and lots to learn and we’re here to help you dive right in.
Love’s Labour’s Won?
There’s some speculation that Much Ado About Nothing is the continuation of the story and romance started in Love’s Labour’s Lost.
A Royal Performance
Much Ado About Nothing was staged as part of the festivities for the wedding of King James’s daughter Elizabeth.
Talking Themselves Mad
They are Shakespeare’s most talkative couple, but one of them is almost twice as gabby. Beatrice has 279 lines and Benedick has 430 lines.
Silent Wife and Mother
Leonato does have a wife and Hero does have a mother. Her name is Innogen. She has no lines and is only mentioned in the stage directions.
Shakespeare sometimes wrote characters for specific comic actors. Will Kemp (1594-1599) was the Bard’s comic muse for Dogberry.
For a Song
There’s an operatic adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing. It’s called Beatrice and Benedict and Seattle Opera presented it in 2018.
Two by Two
It’s a little weird, but Much Ado About Nothing is structured around pairs: friends, lovers, parent/child, conspirators, sparring partners.
Tricks, games, disguises. Much Ado About Nothing is filled with them. It may Shakespeare commenting on the nature of relationships.
Really, It’s About Nothing
Nothing (besides marriage) actually happens in the play. No real deaths, illnesses, fights, journeys. It’s about how language changes our perception of a situation.
Wit and Warfare
The metaphor of war is peppered throughout the play from the soldiers return to the “Merry War” rivalry of Beatrice and Benedick.