Much Ado about Nothing Sparknotes Characters

Beatrice The niece of Leonato and cousin of Hero. She is extremely quick-witted and verbally adept, frequently amusing her relatives and friends with elaborate stories and jokes, often at her own expense. Though she is generous and good-hearted, she has a tendency to use her wit to mock and tease other people. Benedick is the target of her harshest mockery.
Benedick A gentleman soldier who has recently been fighting under Don Pedro, and a close friend of Don Pedro and Claudio. Like Beatrice, he is very witty and fond of mocking other people with elaborate jokes, comparisons, and puns. He swears he will never marry, as he is very critical of women and does not trust any of them not to cheat on him.
Claudio A young soldier who has won great acclaim fighting under Don Pedro during the recent wars. He falls in love with Hero upon his return to Messina. His unfortunately suspicious nature makes him quick to believe evil rumors and hasty to despair and take revenge.
Hero The beautiful young daughter of Leonato and the cousin of Beatrice. She is lovely, gentle, and kind. She falls in love with Claudio when he falls for her, but when Don John slanders her and Claudio rashly takes revenge, she suffers terribly.
Don Pedro A very important nobleman from Aragon, often referred to simply as “the Prince.” He is a longtime friend of Leonato, Hero’s father, and is also close to the soldiers who have been fighting under him—the younger Benedick and the very young Claudio. He is generous, courteous, intelligent, and loving to his friends, but he is also quick to believe evil of others and hasty to take revenge. He is the most politically and socially powerful character in the play.
Leonato The father of Hero and the uncle of Beatrice. He is the governor of Messina and a respected, well-to-do, elderly nobleman. The action of the play takes place in his home. He is second in status only to Don Pedro.
Don John Don Pedro’s illegitimate half brother, sometimes referred to simply as “the Bastard.” He is melancholy and sullen by nature, and he creates a dark scheme to ruin the happiness of Hero and Claudio. He is the villain of the play, his evil actions motivated mainly by his envy of his brother’s power and authority.
Margaret Hero’s serving woman, who unwittingly helps Borachio and Don John deceive Claudio into thinking that Hero is unfaithful. Unlike Ursula, Hero’s other lady-in-waiting, she is lower class. Though she is honest, she does have some dealings with the villainous world of Don John: her lover is the mistrustful and easily bribed Borachio. Also unlike Ursula, she loves to break decorum, especially with bawdy jokes and teases.
Borachio An associate of Don John. He is the lover of Margaret, Hero’s serving woman. He conspires with Don John to trick Claudio and Don Pedro into thinking that Hero is unfaithful to Claudio. His name means “drunkard” in Italian, which might serve as a subtle direction to the actor playing him.
Conrad One of Don John’s more intimate associates, entirely devoted to Don John and his schemes
Dogberry The chief policeman of Messina, in charge of the watch. He is very sincere and takes his job seriously, but he has a habit of using exactly the wrong word to convey his meaning. He is one of the few middle-class characters in the play, though his desire to speak formally and elaborately like the noblemen becomes an occasion for parody.
Verges The deputy to Dogberry, chief policeman of Messina.
Antonio Leonato’s elderly brother, and Hero and Beatrice’s uncle.
Balthasar A waiting man in Leonato’s household and a musician. He flirts with Margaret at the masked party and helps Leonato, Claudio, and Don Pedro trick Benedick into falling in love with Beatrice. He sings the song, “Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more” about accepting men’s infidelity as natural.
Ursula one of Hero’s waiting women

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