Much Ado About Nothing: Comedy and Tragedy

Lesson rationale

Engaging with the sources will encourage students to examine the way Shakespeare approached his work, as well as examples of contemporary texts with similar themes, some of which are challenging. These are not fully formed lesson plans but instead present a range of creative activities that can be cherry-picked and used in a flexible way.

Key questions in this lesson:

  • How does Much Ado About Nothing reflect the social and historical context in Shakespeare’s representation of women?
  • How does Don John exploit the conflict between male relationships and marriage, to create the potential tragedy of Hero’s ‘death’?
  • How important is it for the audience to see that Don John’s plots are foiled by the comic Watch?
  • Beatrice, Benedick, Dogberry, Verges and the constables provide different types of humour. How important is comedy in this play?