When was Much Ado About Nothing written?

Much Ado About Nothing is believed to have been written between 1598 and 1599. It was first published in 1600. While there is no record of an early performance, there is a record of a 1598 play called Love's Labor Won, which may be an original title for this work.

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It is believed that Shakespeare wrote Much Ado About Nothing between 1598 and 1599. A published version of the play appeared in 1600. Will Kemp, an actor who is known to have played Dogberry, left the Lord Chamberlain's Company in 1599, meaning the play must have been first staged before the end of 1599.

While there is no record of a performance before a royal court performance in 1612, there are records from 1598 that show a staging of Love's Labor Won, which many believe is an earlier title for this play.

Shakespeare seemingly wrote the play in his early mid-career, at the same time that he wrote a series of other comedies, including The Merchant of Venice, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and As You Like It. Many scholars believe that the plot with Beatrice and Benedict is a reworking of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Shakespeare borrowed the story of Claudio and Hero from old romances from Spain, Greece, and Italy, as did other English authors of the time period.

Nothing is a pun on the word noting, which would have been pronounced the same way at the time. Noting is gossip or hearsay. As we remember, much of the play's plot is driven by gossip and manipulation.

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