chapter  6
22 Pages

The Public Life of Anne Vaughan Lock: Her Reception in England

Byand Scotland

A famous trivia question sometimes is posed to lovers of Shakespeare’s plays: “What is the name of Hero’s mother (and Leonato’s wife) in Much Ado about Nothing?” The answer, of course, is Innogen, a character mentioned in the stage directions of the 1600 Quarto version of the play, but who is given no lines to speak. The answer itself, however, raises another question: what if Innogen did make an appearance? What if she stood there, mute but alert, watching the scenes unfold around her daughter? What difference would her presence make? What if Innogen were standing nearby when Don Pedro says to Leonato, “I think this is your daughter,” and Leonato cavalierly replies, “Her mother hath many times told me so” (1.1.98-99)? What difference would it make if Innogen were standing in the shadows in Act Two when Don Pedro makes the match between Hero and Claudio? Although I have never seen a production in which Innogen is on stage, I can imagine that her mere presence-silent though it was-would exert a powerful, and perhaps tragic, force on the light-hearted moments of this comedy.