Why Is "Much Ado About Nothing" So Called?


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Will Martin Profile
Will Martin answered

This play has a very appropriate title, because although there is a good deal of drama and the characters make plenty of fuss (or ado) nothing actually happens.
Two young people, Claudio and Hero, fall in love. Their marriage is thwarted by an enemy, who accuses Hero of infidelity, so that Claudio plans to repudiate her. Meanwhile two friends of the couple, Beatrice and Benedick, who are always quarrelling, are tricked into falling in love by each being told that the other is already in love with him/her. Things come to a head when Claudio publicly humiliates Hero on their wedding day, she appears to die from the shock and Beatrice demands that Benedick prove his love for her by challenging Claudio to a duel.
In the end it becomes clear that nothing has happened – no infidelity, no death, and no duel. Ironically, even by the end, when the two couples are about to be married, they decide to have a dance first; so the play ends with no wedding. It is still "much ado about nothing."
robert williams Profile
robert williams answered

    The word "nothing" in Shakespeare's time, was Tudor slang for the vagina.

thanked the writer.
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Ray  Dart
Ray Dart commented
Foley and Coates make a number of contentious statements about Shakespeare's writing. I am not clever enough to challenge them all (although many do). I have searched high and low for any contemporaneous corroborative evidence and can find none-. Even the oft quoted "O thing" or "not a thing" puns seem to have been created long after Shakespeare died.
robert williams
robert williams commented
Again, I refer you to "Shakespeare the biography" by Peter Ackroyd, Chatto and Windus, page 359, 2nd para; and, "The Rough Guide to Shakespeare" by Andrew Dickson, Rough Guides, page 250.
Ray  Dart
Ray Dart commented
As far as I can see there is NO external evidence for this "slang" outside Shakespearean scholarly examination of the title. Why is this not mentioned/considered/commented anywhere else? I'm happy to believe you (and I'll say so) if you can find any evidence for "Tudor slang" supporting this - outside people "interpreting" Shakespeare.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered

  I refer you to "Shakespere for grown ups" by E. Foley, and B. Coates, page 79.

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