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Teaching Much Ado About Nothing

Resources from Folger Education

This page contains resources for teaching Much Ado About Nothing, one of Shakespeare's more popular comedies. Below you'll find links to resources from Folger Education that include activities, teaching tools, photos from a Folger Theatre production of the play, and more. 

Teaching Modules

Folger Education offers teaching modules on Shakespeare's frequently taught plays, as well as modules on introducing Shakespeare. Try the modules below, or, for more modules for Much Ado, visit the Teaching Modules Archive.

"Change Slander to Remorse"
In this lesson plan, you'll cover NCTE standards 1, 3, 4, 6, and 11. The lesson is based on Act 4, scene 1, after Hero faints following Claudio's accusations. Students work in groups to prepare scenes imagining what Hero is actually doing while feigning her own death.

Teaching Tools

The Folger edition of Much Ado About Nothing includes facing-page notes and illustrations throughout the play; background information on the play, Shakespeare's life, theater, and times; notes on unfamiliar language, or words that meant something different in Shakespeare's day; and a scholarly assessment of the play in light of today's interests and concerns. Request a desk copy of this edition from Simon & Schuster


Curriculum Guides lay out everything you need to teach this play for the first time: an introduction to the play, character connections, synopsis, teaching modules, suggested scenes for performance, fun facts, and familiar quotes.

Other Resources

Seeing Shakespeare performed, or performing Shakespeare, can help students feel confident reading and understanding Shakespeare's language. To see performance-based education strategies for your classroom, check out our clips on YouTube here.


Archived study guides from past Folger Theatre performances provide activities and discussion questions for students to consider before seeing a performance or as they rehearse scenes from this play.




Every major character in Much Ado About Nothing has his or her own way of playing with, elaborating on, or misusing language. Two of the most intriguing are Benedick and Beatrice, famous for their witty verbal spats. Dogberry the constable constantly misuses language, and provides another well-known example of how speech functions as a way to reveal character.
For many students today, reading Shakespeare's language can be a challenge. Things to pay attention to in Much Ado About Nothing:

  • unfamiliar words or words whose meanings have changed
  • unfamiliar word order
Folger Editions contain notes on unfamiliar words, or words whose meanings have changed since Shakespeare's day. In Much Ado About Nothing Shakespeare often uses sentence structures that separate words that normally appear together. This is often done to create a particular speech rhythm, or emphasize a certain word.

About the Play

Much Ado About Nothing was first printed in 1600 as a quarto. Surviving copies of the quarto are exceptional for the contrast between the correctness of the dialogue with the obvious errors and ambiguities in the stage directions!

To learn more, explore our Discover Shakespeare online resource, including the sections highlighted at right.
Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing

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Much Ado About Nothing Photo Gallery

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Folger Digital Texts:
Much Ado About Nothing

Related Items

Much Ado Activities, Part 1

Much Ado Activities, Part 2

Much Ado About Nothing Crossword Puzzle

Much Ado Crossword Puzzle Answer Key


Hero and Claudio Actor Interview

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