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Much Ado About Nothing Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

In Shakespeare’s day, marriage was sometimes perceived as a burden. Marriage was represented as a yoke (often joked about in the play) but also as a "clog," which is basically a wooden block that was attached to the neck or legs to prevent escape. Thus the "yoke and clog" were an equivalent to the modern day "ball and chain."

King Charles I, in his personal copy of Shakespeare’s Second Folio, changed the title of Much Ado About Nothing to Beatrice and Benedick.

In Shakespeare’s day, "nothing" was slang for a lady’s genitals, while "all" was slang for men’s private parts. ("All" was modeled after the other penis-slang term, "Awl," agricultural implement was shaped like a penis.)

Messina, the play’s setting in southern Italy, was actually the military base for Sextus Pompeius when he battled Octavian, Mark Antony’s enemy (and historical figure) in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra.

Even Shakespeare made mistakes! In this play, Antonio’s son is mentioned in 1.2.1, but later Leonato says he and Antonio have only one heir between them (being the mystery niece that should marry Claudio).

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