Shakespearean comedy has a unique relationship with the restaging of marriage's legal and ecclesiastical rituals: it is preoccupied with them, while going to great lengths to avoid staging them. This article explores this dramaturgical legerdemain, as seen in As You Like It and Much Ado about Nothing, and invites modern readers to consider the sort of threats posed by the restaging of marriage—both as a ceremony and as a contract—on the early modern English stage. These two plays not only demonstrate the period's fascination with the legal, economic, and liturgical ramifications of marriage but also show the narrative potential that emerges from deftly navigating these cultural and religious taboos.


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