A Shakespearean wedding is often seen as a happy ending, but is it that straightforward...

We’re gearing up for two performances of Next Generation ACT’s new show, All Mirth and No Matter, in the Lydia & Manfred Gorvy Garden Theatre on 23 July. The production takes inspiration from the wedding of Hero and Claudio in the comedy Much Ado About Nothing, and it got us thinking: just how successful are most of the marriages in Shakespeare’s plays?

Many of the plays mention weddings and often end with couples pairing off for matrimony, but most of these ceremonies happen off stage, away from the eyes of the audience. And while these weddings are often portrayed as happy endings, many of the relationships seem to hint at something darker.

Take a look at the relationships timeline below, as we try to uncover some of the truths behind Shakespeare’s portrayals of marriage and see if his approach changed over time.