Much Ado About Nothing

Leonato Governor of Messina. He is duped into thinking that his beloved daughter, Hero, is unfaithful to Claudio until he realizes the truth and is reunited with her at the end of the play.
Antonio Leonato’s older brother, more rash that Leonato, but , basically, a good-hearted man.
Claudio A young lord of Florence, his chief flaw is his immaturity; He tends to believe too quickly that those who he hopes love him do not. Seemingly, he has matured by the play’s ending, when he is united with his beloved Hero.
Don Pedro Prince of Aragon; He is the “cupid” of the story, trying to set everyone up to fall in love. He has an illegitimate brother, Don John.
Benedick This young lord of Padua is a witty, talkative lover, fiercely adamant about never marrying despite the fact that he grows more and more in love with Beatrice every time he sees her; at the end, they represent “the perfect match.” Don Pedro swears he will live to see the day he is in love.
Don John The ‘villain” of the play, he acknowledges his strain of evil and is seemingly obsessed with little else unless it involves making his brother, Don Pedro, unhappy; at the beginning of the play, we learn that he and his brother had not spoken for quite a while but that Don Pedro recently forgave him. For a little while, he pretends to have changed his ways.
Friar Francis A quiet voice of goodness and sanity in the midst of all this romantic mix-up.
Balthasar Attendant to Don Pedro
Borachio Don John’s accomplice. Overhears Don Pedro and Claudio talking about the plan to get Claudio and Hero together. Tells Don John about the plan.- sleeps with Margaret in Hero’s clothes so that Claudio will think Hero is unfaithful- accidentally informs the police of Don John’s evil plan when they overhear him telling Conrade about it
Conrade Another of Don John’s accomplices.
Hero Leonato’s beautiful daughter, beloved of Claudio. She is scorned by him when he is duped into thinking that she is unfaithful. She feigns death, and thus her “resurrection” – when Claudio realizes that she has been true – is all the more dramatic and romantic.
Beatrice She is the cousin of Hero. She wages a “merry war” with Benedick, insisting all the while that she will never marry. They are thought to have had a previous relationship that did not end well.
Margaret Hero’s attendant. She is a bit of “silly putty,” ready to do almost anyone’s bidding to create a muddle; she flirts with Benedick, is a terrible gossip, and apparently makes love with Borachio, but she is not a real villainess, just a simpleton.
Ursula Another attendant of Hero; an old lady; helps Hero convince Beatrice that Benedick loves her
Dogberry A hilarious constable who fractures both logic and the English language. He brings the villains finally to justice – but only by accident. Arrests Conrade and Borachio when he overhears them talking about their evil scheme.
Verges Dogberry’s bumbling assistant
Malapropism A blunder in speech caused by the substitution of a word for another that is similar in sound but different in meaning. Ex. Dogberry says, “we have comprehended 2 auspicious persons”, but he really means “we have APPREHENDED 2 SUSPICIOUS persons”
Act I, Scene i summary -the Messenger brings Governor Leonato a message that Don Pedro and his army have just won the war with France and are returning -a young man named Claudio was very brave in war-once the troops arrive, Claudio tells Benedick that he’s in love with Hero but doesn’t know how to show her-Benedick tries to tell Claudio that marriage isn’t good-Don Pedro volunteers to tell Hero that Claudio loves her at a masked ball that night. He also offers to convince Leonato that Claudio is worthy of marrying his daughter.
Act I, Scene ii summary -there’s a rumor going around that Don Pedro is in love with Hero & Leonato shares this rumor with Hero
Act I, Scene iii summary -Don John is upset with his brother Don Pedro for beating him at war-Don John hears about how Claudio is going to try to marry Hero, so he decides to disrupt this because he’s mad at Claudio for beating him in the war as part of Don Pedro’s army
Act II, Scene i summary -Beatrice says the perfect man is a cross between Don John, who never talks, and Benedick, who never stops talking-Leonato pressures Beatrice to get married now that it looks like Hero will-Don Pedro acts like Claudio, telling her that he loves her-Don John tries to bully Claudio by telling him that Don Pedro is actually trying to woo Hero for himself-Claudio gets sad, and Benedick tries to cheer him up- Benedick dances with Beatrice, but she must not recognize him because she proceeds to insult Benedick terribly-Don Pedro tells Claudio that Leonato gives his consent for Claudio to marry Hero-people tease Beatrice about getting married, and she says she’d like to marry Prince Don Pedro’s brother- Don Pedro proposes to her but she turns him down-Leonato, Don Pedro, Claudio, and Hero conspire to make Benedick and Beatrice fall in love- Claudio and Hero decide to get married in a week
Act II, Scene ii summary -Borachio shares a plan with Don John to make others think that Hero has been unfaithful to Claudio-Borachio will have Hero’s servant Margaret dress in Hero’s clothes and stage a romantic scene in Hero’s bedroom for Don Pedro and Claudio to see
Act II, Scene iii summary -Benedick is in the orchard talking about the different qualities he likes in a woman-when Don Pedro and Claudio enter the orchard, Benedick hides-Don Pedro, Claudio, and Leonato know that Benedick is in the orchard, so they have a pretend conversation about how much Beatrice is in love with Benedick and how she’s afraid to tell him how she feels-Don Pedro, Claudio, and Leonato end their pretend conversation by agreeing to tell Beatrice to ask Benedick to dinner-Benedick believes that Beatrice is in love with him, but when she asks him to come in for dinner, she ridicules him, like always- Balthasar sings a song about men being deceivers. He says they always have been and women should just accept it.
Act III, Scene i summary -Hero and her attendants Margaret and Ursula convince Beatrice that Benedick is in love with her by setting her up to overhear a conversation in the garden- Margaret is sent to tell Beatrice that Ursula and Hero are talking about her behind her back in the garden-Hero and Ursula say that they will tell Benedick to try not to be in love with Beatrice-Hero asks Ursula to help her prepare her clothes for her wedding the next day- Beatrice decides that she will love him back and marry him because he really is worthy of her love
Act III, Scene ii summary – Benedick shows up without a beard- Don Pedro, Leonato, and Claudio tease Benedick about being in love with Beatrice- Don John comes in and tells Claudio and Don Pedro that he has heard that Hero has been unfaithful. He says that, if they look in her window tonight, they will see her with another man
Act III, Scene iii summary -Borachio tells the watchmen how Don John is paying him to put the moves on Margaret, acting like it’s Hero being unfaithful-Borachio and Conrade get arrested
Act III, Scene iv summary -Hero prepares for her wedding-Beatrice seems like she’s falling in love with Benedick
Act III, Scene v summary -Dogberry & Vergas (the watchmen at Leonato’s house) try to tell Leonato that Boracho and Conrade have been arrested for scheming against Hero and Claudio so that he can deal with them.-However, they can’t communicate clearly, and Leonato asks them to talk to him later because he is busy with his daughter’s wedding day
Act IV, Scene i summary -everyone at the church for Hero’s and Claudio’s wedding-Claudio refuses Hero’s hand in marriage and announces to everyone that she has been unfaithful-Don Pedro tells everyone the romantic scene he and Claudio saw outside of Hero’s window-Hero faints-Leonato claims that Hero has died because of her shame and threatens to kill himself-Benedick proclaims his love for Beatrice-Beatrice asks Benedick to kill Claudio because he embarrassed her cousin, Hero. She is absolutely convinced of her innocence.- the quiet friar steps in and says that he believes Hero- intelligent Benedick figures out this must be the work of Don John- the frair comes up with a plan for Hero to pretend to be dead until they can prove her innocence
Act IV, Scene ii summary -at the prison Dogberry, Vergas, the Sexton, and the watchmen discover that Don John paid Borachio to discredit Hero
Act V, Scene i summary – back at Leonato’s house, Leonato is grief-stricken. Although his brother tells him to be patient, he says it is difficult. – There is almost a fight between Leonato, Antonio, and Benedick against Claudio and Don Pedro because Leonato challenges Claudio to a duel. – Borachio and Conrade confess their plot against Hero- to make amends, Claudio agrees to marry Leonato’s “niece” who looks like Hero
Act V, Scene ii summary – Beatrice and Benedick flirt in the orchard- Ursula tells Beatrice and Benedick that Hero’s reputation has been restored
Act V, Scene iii summary – Claudio and Don Pedro pay their respects at the grave where they think Hero has been buried
Act V, Scene iv summary – Benedick and Beatrice arrange their wedding- everyone shows up to the wedding for Claudio to marry Hero’s “cousin”- during the wedding, Hero reveals to Claudio that she’s not dead- Don John has been caught and is being returned to Messina- as many Shakespearean comedies do, it ends on a happy note, at a wedding

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