There’s some critical opinion that the texts we have of Much Ado About Nothing are drafts and not final versions. One of the supporting pieces of evidence to conclusion is the mention of characters early in the play only never to be mentioned again:
- Innogen, Leonato’s wife
the Quarto references her in the opening stage directions in Act One, Scene One, as well as those of Act Two, Scene One, but in neither scene does she speak, nor does she appear in any other scene in the play (including “her” daughter’s wedding)
- Claudio’s uncle
Leonato mentions that Claudio has “an uncle here in Messina” (I.i.17), and the messenger says that the uncle was so overcome by joy when learning of Claudio’s return that he broke down in tears. Yet this loving uncle doesn’t attend the wedding, nor is he mentioned again.
- Antonio’s son
Leonato asks after Antonio’s son in Act One, Scene Two–the son is readying music for the revelry–but he disappears from the play as well. You would think he would fight for his cousin’s honor at the wedding or after. And by Act Five, Scene One, Leonato when talking about his brother mentions only “a daughter” (V.i.279), the fake one Claudio is to marry
An early draft? Mystery characters? Missing persons?
Be On the Look Out for these three… but you’re not going to find them anywhere!