Like many Shakespeare comedies, the play includes abundant joking and punning surrounding female infidelity. For all the jokes about cuckoldry, the play seems to take this issue seriously as the suggestion that Hero was not faithful has severe consequences. How is it possible for something the culture takes so seriously to be such a common motif for humor in the play?
“ Much Ado about Nothing” is really much ado about something very important—marriage and female fidelity– the cornerstone of social stability. The contrasting couples shows two competing views: one naïve and idealistic, the other experienced and realistic. Yet the theme of deception complicates this reading too. Beatrice and Benedick were tricked into loving—are they really so discerning? How can one deception be good and another bad? Is the theatre itself, a place where deception flourishes, compromised? In the end this play raises more questions than it answers.