As the title suggests communication is the key theme in Much Ado About Nothing. In Shakespearean times, nothing was often said as "noting." Noting can mean "taking notice of." The play is based around observations. While some of these observations are true, most of them are somehow misinterpreted. Eavesdropping, mishearing, and misreports are all commonplace throughout the play and a great many are intentional.
Beatrice and Benedick are masters of subtext communication. They often use puns, jokes, sarcasm, and double entendres. Their conversations with the other characters in the play are quick and full of one-sided jokes; however, when talking with one another, their communication becomes a battle of wits. Beatrice and Benedick use words as weapons with one another. This is a subtle hint by Shakespeare that, even though both Beatrice and Benedick are adamant that they are destined to be alone in life, they are, in fact, a perfect match.
In addition, a good part of the play is about the characters eavesdropping and misinterpreting what is overheard, or about knowledge learned through gossip. For example, Hero and Claudio work together to trick Beatrice and Benedick into overhearing that the other is secretly in love with them. Through this deceit, Beatrice and Benedick become enamored with one another and finally express their love.
Last, in several instances in the play Shakespeare has included comments on romance that are not intended for the characters in the play. Audience members who are as quick as Beatrice and Benedick are able to catch the hidden jokes within the text. For example, in Act 2, Scene 3, Benedick makes the following statement after eavesdropping on Claudio, Leonato and Don Pedro.
They say the lady is fair. ‘Tis a truth, I can bear them witness. And virtuous—’tis so, I cannot reprove it. And wise, but for loving me. By my troth, it is no addition to her wit—nor no great argument of her folly, for I will be horribly in love with her.
The background of this passage is that Benedick has just heard a fabricated conversation conducted by his friends to attract him to Beatrice. Benedick's speech, quoted above, is indicating that Benedick is falling in love with Beatrice simply by learning about her love for him. The statement that he will be horribly in love has a significant underlying meaning. It would be a horrible thing to fall in love based on miscommunication or intentional deceit, yet in this play, it is exactly the way that the two main characters fall in love. In this way, Shakespeare gives his side comment about much ado about “noting.”