Much Ado About Nothing – Common Themes and Setting

Stories of lovers deceived into believing each other false were common currency in northern Italy in the sixteenth century. Deception as a Means to an End
Also common were the ideas of men (Courtiers) being courteous to ladies. Social Grace
The social realities surrounding courtship may detract from the fun of romance. The need to marry for social betterment and to ensure inheritance, coupled with the importance of virginal chastity, complicates romantic relationships. Romance Vs. Reality
It is not really looked down on by some in society at this time if a man is unfaithful to his wife. On the other hand, a woman should not be unfaithful to her husband. Fidelity / Infidelity
The relationships between men and women are displayed in this play, including the rise in powerful women during the Renaissance and how these women may make their men uncomfortable. Men are supposed to always be above women in intelligence, strength, etc., yet what happens when a man has met his match in a woman? “Much Ado” = A big fuss. “Nothing” or “Noting” means nothing, taking into account, and is also a play on words for common English Slang during that day “an O-thing” (or “nothing” or “no thing”) = Vagina or the lack of something between the legs. Power Struggle of Men and Women
Honor is above all. One must strive for honor if he has none; and if he has lost it, he must reclaim it at all costs because he dishonors himself, those around him, and his family. Importance of Honor
Setting:Much Ado About Nothing is set in ________, a port on the island of ________, which is next to the toe of Italy. Sicily was ruled by ________ at the time the play was set. The action of the play takes place mainly at the home and on the grounds of ________’s Estate. Messina, Sicily, Aragon, Leonato