Much Ado About Nothing is primarily a play about gossip.Indeed, what does the title mean? It indicates a big fuss about a trifle, and by the end this is exactly what happens. All of Claudio's accusations will come to nothing, causing the play to end the same way as if they never occurred at all.
Shakespeare brilliantly plays on the meanings of nothing throughout this play. The word "nothing" would actually have been pronounced "noting" in his time. It can mean worthless, a person of little worth, or also mean everything, in the sense that much ado is made about everything. Alternatively "nothing" is a word that means female genitalia, Hero's "nothing", an interpretation of the word that is evidenced by how ashamed Hero is of sexual desire.
The pronunciation of "nothing" plays on "noting" as well. To note is to observe or mark carefully, something everyone in the play fails to do.
It can also mean to stigmatize or point out, exactly what Claudio does to Hero in the church. Indeed, Claudio's first comment about Hero is whether anyone else noted her, "didst thou note the daughter of Signor Leonato?" (1.1.130-131). Benedick tells him, "I noted her not, but I looked on her" (1.1.132), at which point he proceeds to stigmatize her. Benedick jokes about her complexion and height, thereby "noting" Hero in his own way.
Silence is something that Shakespeare always views with suspicion, and this play is no different. Silence is actually worse than talking because it leads to plotting and conniving. As Don John says, "I am not a man of many words" (1.1.127), thereby marking him as a man who instead will plot against the others. Indeed, it is soon obvious that silence is worse than talking too much, something that Beatrice and Benedick...