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Much Ado About Nothing

Please see the bottom of this page for related resources.
Please see the bottom of each scene for detailed explanatory notes.

  • Dramatis Personae.
  • Act 1
  • Act 2
  • Act 3
  • Act 4
  • Act 5 __________

    Related Articles

     The Wit of Beatrice and Benedick
     The Shakespeare Sisterhood: Beatrice
     Much Ado About Nothing: Plot Summary

     Why Shakespeare is so Important
     Elements of Shakespearean Comedy
     Types of Shakespearean Comedy

     Shakespeare's Second Period: Exploring Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night, As You Like It,
    The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet
    and the Histories

     What is Iambic Pentameter?
     Shakespeare's Metaphors and Similes
     Shakespeare's Language

     Words Shakespeare Invented
     Shakespeare's Boss: The Master of Revels

  • In the Spotlight

    Quote in Context

    Verges: If you hear a child cry in the night, you must call to the nurse and bid her still it.
    Watchman: How if the nurse be asleep and will not hear us?
    Dogberry: Why, then, depart in peace, and let the child wake
    her with crying; for the ewe that will not hear her lamb when it baes will never answer a calf when he bleats.
    Verges: 'Tis very true.
                                                         Much Ado About Nothing (3.3)

    Dogberry's ridiculous mistakes are, of course, amusing in their own right, but they also serve to underscore aspects of his personality which are themselves humorous: his self-importance and desire to impress. To the audience, his aspirations to rise above his class are comical because he fails so miserably. Dogberry is not even aware that he is failing and so it is safe for us to laugh. Dogberry's incongruous vocabulary becomes the primary comic relief in the play and provides an important contrast to the troubles encountered by Claudio and Hero. Read on...