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Much Ado About Nothing


... Ado About Nothing has many garden scenes, all of which are involved in plotting ... Don John arrives and informs Claudio and Don Pedro that Hero is unfaithful. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing
Dramatis Personae
  • Don Pedro Solider, Prince
  • Don John Pedros brother
  • Benedick Solider, Pedros friend
  • Claudio Solider, Pedros friend
  • Leonato Governor of the town
  • Beatrice Leonatos neice
  • Hero Leonatos daughter
  • Antonio Leonatos brother
  • Dogberry Leader of the watch (clown)
  • Conrade, Borachio Followers of Don John
  • Margaret Servant to Hero
  • Ursula Servant to Hero

Act I Quiz
  • Who received honors for valor in the recent
  • Who asks about Benedick?
  • How long does Don Pedro say that they will stay
    at Leonatos house?
  • Who tells Benedick that he loves Hero?
  • Who is completely against love and marriage?
  • Who agrees to play match maker and what is his
    plan to woo Hero?
  • How do Leonato and Antonio (Heros father and
    uncle) mess up the plan?
  • What is Don Johns reaction to the news of Don
    Pedros plan?

Act I Scene 1
  • A messenger arrives in Messina and informs
    Leonato, the governor, that Don Pedro will be
    coming to the town with his army.
  • Leonato asks how the war campaign went and learns
    that no men of high rank lost their lives, and
    that a man named Claudio received many honors for
    his valor in battle.
  • Beatrice, the niece of Leonato, asks the
    messenger if Benedick of Padua has returned from
    the wars as well.
  • The messenger informs her that he is with Don
    Pedro's army and has befriended Claudio.
  • Beatrice sarcastically compares Benedick to a
    disease that men catch and says a great deal of
    negative things about Benedick.

Act I Scene 1
  • Don Pedro arrives accompanied by Claudio,
    Benedick, Balthasar, and Don John (his bastard
  • Beatrice is caustic and tells Benedick it is a
    good thing that he does not love any of the
  • Benedick is unable to compete with her wit and
    they finally break off conversation.
  • Don Pedro announces to his men that Leonato has
    generously allowed them to stay for a month.
  • Leonato turns to Don John and tells him he is
    glad that Don John and Don Pedro are reconciled.

Act I Scene 1
  • Read I.1.128-129
  • Claudio tells Benedick that he loves Hero
  • Benedick makes fun of Hero's complexion and
    height after Claudio tells him that he loves her.
  • Claudio tells him he is serious about her and
    wants to know what Benedick really thinks.
  • Don Pedro enters and asks Benedick to tell him
    what is going on and Benedick reveals that
    Claudio is in love with Hero.
  • Watch movie scene

Act I Scene 1
  • Read I.1.129
  • Don Pedro agrees that Hero would be a good match
    for Claudio.
  • Benedick tells both men that he wishes to remain
    a bachelor for the rest of his life and that he
    will never flush with love for a woman.
  • Don Pedro tells him that he will see Benedick in
    love before he dies.

Act I Scene 1
  • Read I.1.129-130
  • Claudio learns that Hero alone is her fathers
  • Don Pedro promises to speak with Leonato about
    arranging a match between them
  • Claudio is afraid to speak to Hero and tell her
    he loves her.
  • Don Pedro informs him that there will be a masked
    ball that night and that he will pretend to be
    Claudio and woo Hero in Claudio's name.
  • Watch movie scene

Act I Scene 2
  • Leonato and Antonio, his elder brother, meet and
    discuss Leonato's guests.
  • Antonio informs Leonato that a servant of his
    overheard Don Pedro and Claudio speaking together
    in his peach orchard and that Don Pedro told
    Claudio he loved Hero and would acknowledge it
    that night at the dance,
  • Leonato is excited by this news, but tells
    Antonio to keep it a secret until Don Pedro
    actually comes to him.
  • He only decides to tell Hero so that she may
    prepare an answer.

Act I Scene 3
  • Read I.3.130
  • Conrad approaches Don John and asks him why he is
    so sad looking.
  • Don John tells him that there is not reason,
    merely that he prefers to be the way he is.
  • When Conrad points out that since Don John only
    recently was reconciled with Don Pedro, he should
    try to seem happy
  • Don John exclaims, "I had rather be a canker in a
    hedge than a rose in his grace" (1.3.21-22).

Act I Scene 3
  • Borachio, another friend of Don John, arrives and
    informs Don John that he has overheard his
    brother and Claudio plotting a marriage with
  • He hid behind a wall hanging and listened to them
    discuss how Don Pedro would woo Hero and then
    give her to Claudio.
  • Don John tells them to come with him so that he
    can figure out a way to foil Claudio.
  • Watch movie scene

Analysis Mask of Politeness
  • Much Ado About Nothing opens in a "golden world"
    in Messina where the women are already located.
  • People fail to take things seriously, causing a
    war of words.
  • Benedick and Beatrice are the main examples of
    male/female rivalry that converts into
    belligerent wordplay.
  • The first act portrays all the characters as
    being very careful to observe social norms
  • especially those of civilian obligations to the
  • This creates a mask of politeness that slowly
    dissipates throughout the play until by the end
    there is nothing but directness of speech left.

Analysis The Title
  • Much Ado About Nothing is primarily a play about
  • The title means a big fuss about a trifle, and by
    the end this is exactly what happens.
  • All of Claudio's accusations will come to
    nothing, causing the play to end the same way as
    if they never occurred at all.
  • Shakespeare brilliantly plays on the meanings of
    nothing throughout this play.
  • The word "nothing" would actually have been
    pronounced "noting" in his time.
  • It can mean worthless, a person of little worth,
    or also mean everything, in the sense that much
    ado is made about everything.

Analysis The Title
  • The pronunciation of "nothing" plays on "noting"
    as well.
  • To note is to observe or mark carefully,
    something everyone in the play fails to do.
  • It can also mean to stigmatize or point out.
  • Indeed, Claudio's first comment about Hero is
    whether anyone else noted her,
  • "didst thou note the daughter of Signor Leonato?"
  • Benedick tells him, "I noted her not, but I
    looked on her" (1.1.132),
  • Benedick jokes about her complexion and height,
    thereby "noting" Hero in his own way.

Analysis Silence and Saddness
  • Silence is something that Shakespeare always
    views with suspicion, and this play is no
  • Silence is actually worse than talking because it
    leads to plotting.
  • Don John says, "I am not a man of many words"
  • A man who instead will plot against the others.
  • The danger of silence also affects the
    relationship between Hero and Claudio.
  • Since they fail to talk with one another, they
    never resolve questions relating to the other's
  • A crucial first mistake for Claudio is when he
    allows Don Pedro to speak to Hero for him

Analysis Silence and Saddness
  • Don John plays the role of a schemer, a
    discontent and a machiavel.
  • the excluded character
  • Don John thus rebels against the compulsory set
    of social rules.
  • Don John represents the sadness that is a
    recurring theme in Shakespeare's comedies.
  • Shylock and Antonio in Merchant of Venice are
    other characters who are melancholy.
  • There is no reason for this sadness, and it
    breeds on itself.

Act II Scene 1
  • Leonato has noticed that Don John did not attend
    the dinner, but Hero tells them he is
  • Beatrice says that a combination between Don John
    and Benedick would create the perfect man, one
    who spoke just enough.
  • Leonato tells Beatrice she will never get a
    husband if she continues to make such "shrewd"
    remarks and Beatrice acknowledges that she is
    happy without a husband and plans to die a
  • Antonio turns to Hero and tells her he hopes she
    will obey her father
  • Leonato orders Hero to accept the Prince's offer
    if he comes to her.
  • Beatrice gives Hero some advice about how to
    accept, telling her how to make the Prince wait
    for an answer and comparing wooing, wedding and
    repenting to various dances.

Act II Scene 1
  • Read II.1.131-132
  • Don Pedro and the others arrive wearing masks.
  • He immediately goes over to Hero and asks her to
    dance a with him.
  • She agrees, but tells him she hopes the face
    underneath the mask is far better looking than
    the mask itself.
  • Balthasar has approached Margaret, a
    serving-gentlewoman to Hero, and they flirt
  • Benedick meets up with Beatrice and refuses to
    reveal who he is.
  • She starts to talk about Benedick, calling him
  • The Prince's jester, a very dull fool"
  • Don John and Borachio figure out who Claudio is
  • Don John approaches him and asks him if he is
    Benedick, and Claudio plays along, claiming he
  • Don John tells Claudio that he should separate
    Don Pedro and Hero because she is not equal to
    his brother's birth.
  • Borachio chimes in as well, telling Claudio that
    he heard Don Pedro swear his affection for Hero
    and plan to marry her that very night.

Act II Scene 1
  • Once Claudio is alone he comments that it must be
    true since friendship is constant in all things
    except for love.
  • Benedick arrives and invites Claudio to go with
    him, telling him the Prince
  • "that got your Hero" (2.1.169).
  • Claudio, depressed by the thought that Don Pedro
    has stolen Hero from him, leaves.
  • Don Pedro himself arrives and Benedick accuses
    him of betraying his friendship to Claudio by
    stealing Hero.
  • Don Pedro denies the charge and says that he was
    merely doing what he could for the couple.

Act II Scene 1
  • Read II.1.132-134
  • Benedick has been stung by what Beatrice said
    about him while they danced, and the he tries to
    tell Don Pedro what she said that hurt him.
  • He is mostly upset because she called him the
    "Prince's jester", yet he ironically confirms
    this accusation by comically reenacting the scene
    for Don Pedro.
  • Don Pedro chastises Beatrice for having been so
    harsh to Benedick, but she replies that Benedick
    once won her heart and toyed with her.
  • He then turns to Claudio, who is still jealous of
    him, and informs Claudio that he wooed Hero
    successfully and spoke with Leonato who consented
    to the marriage.
  • Neither Claudio nor Hero are able to speak to one
  • Beatrice remarks that everyone is getting married
    and leaving home except she herself.
  • Don Pedro gallantly offers to marry her but she
  • Claudio and Leonato agree to hold the wedding in
    one week, and in the meantime Don Pedro tells
    them they will contrive to get Benedick and
    Beatrice to fall in love.
  • Claudio and Hero agree to participate in the
  • Watch entire dance scene

Act II Scene 2
  • Don John is furious over the fact that Claudio is
    marrying Hero.
  • Borachio, his friend, offers to destroy the
  • He tells Don John that he is a good friend of
    Hero's servant-gentlewoman Margaret and can get
    into Heros room.
  • Borachio proposes that Don John get Don Pedro and
    Claudio to watch the chamber window at an
    appointed time, and he will then meet Margaret in
    the room, thereby making them think that Hero has
    another lover.
  • Don John promises Borachio a thousand ducats if
    the plan succeeds.

Act II Scene 3
  • Read II.3.134-137
  • Benedick is walking in Leonato's garden
    contemplating the change in Claudio since he fell
    in love with Hero.
  • He decides that he will never fall in love the
    way Claudio did.
  • He sees Claudio and Don Pedro coming and hides so
    he can listen to them.
  • Don Pedro asks them if they saw where Benedick
    hid, and Claudio tells him they will give
    Benedick more than he bargained for.
  • Don Pedro asks Leonato if it is true that
    Beatrice is in love with Benedick.
  • Leonato plays along with the lie, saying that he
    would never have suspected it given the way she
    treats Benedick in public.
  • Don Pedro continues asking questions about
    Beatrice's love for Benedick while Benedick
    listens in the background, slowly becoming
    convinced that what Leonato is saying must be
  • The men leave, with Don Pedro hinting in an aside
    that the same net must be spread for Beatrice by
    Hero and Ursula.

Act II Scene 3
  • Benedick comes out of hiding and remarks that he
    cannot sit idly by and be censured for not
    returning Beatrice's love.
  • Beatrice comes out and bids him come to dinner,
    unaware that Benedick thinks she loves him.
  • Beatrice is as unflattering as ever, making
    Benedick's attempts to be polite even more
  • Watch movie scene

Analysis View of Marriage
  • Beatrice is one of the most pleasant characters
    because of her wit and sharp tongue.
  • There is therefore a great deal of ambiguity over
    whether she will marry or not.
  • Beatrice woefully comments on Hero's engagement
  • "Thus goes everyone in the world but I, and I am
    sunburnt" (2.1.278-279).
  • In spite of her railings against marriage,
    Beatrice realizes that marriage is a way out of
    the house and that it represents the only way to
    escape from Leonato's protection.
  • Beatrice is also more than aware that marriage
    brings many risks with it.
  • Marriage for a woman is to risk her integrity by
    submitting to a man.

Analysis View of Marriage
  • A similar fate is seen by Benedick, who views
    marriage as risk to mens' honor
  • He commonly refers to bulls' horns and cuckoldry
    in the first act.
  • Both Benedick and Beatrice hold a mature
    awareness of what marriage entails, causing them
    to shun it.
  • It is Beatrice and Benedick alone who pay the
    most attention to social customs.
  • Ironically they do this while arguing with each
    other, thereby breaking with social norms.
  • They put on a facade of disregard for social
    norms, but actually note what is happening around
    them far more than other people.

Analysis The Ball
  • The masked ball is one of the more interesting
    scenes because of the fact that nearly everyone
    is unmasked before it starts
  • Leonato and Hero know that Don Pedro will
    approach her
  • Beatrice and Benedick could arguably be quite
    aware of with whom they are speaking
  • The other characters all recognize each other as
  • Only the two unmasked people at the ball, namely
    Borachio and Don John, are actually wearing masks
    because they pretend not to know Claudio and
    cause him to think Don Pedro is wooing Hero for
  • Benedick appears to be quite distraught over what
    Beatrice calls him at the ball, a Prince's
  • In speaking with Don Pedro he gives a wonderful
    performance in which his mind is wonderfully
    captured, a piling up of anger and fury but also
    to render the situation comical in order to
    entertain Don Pedro.
  • This attempt at comedy in spite of his anger
    ironically confirms Beatrice's charge that he is
    the Prince's jester

Analysis Pressure of Society
  • The quarreling between Benedick and Beatrice has
    often been marveled at, both within the play
    itself and by the audience.
  • Many readers of the play try to imagine that they
    are in fact deeply in love in spite of their
    quarrels, and Beatrice does indicate that she
    previously loved Benedick
  • However, their own words later on belie any sort
    of deeper love between them.
  • Yet the conspiracy to make them marry is a form
    of social pressure that they cannot overcome.
  • Benedick, having overheard Leonato say Beatrice
    loves him, is afraid of being censured
  • "I hear how I am censured" (2.3.199-200).
  • He later admits that
  • "The world must be peopled" (2.3.214).
  • Their constant fight against the pressures of
    society fail in the end, and we are left thinking
    that marriage is itself a conspiracy.

Analysis Silence
  • The concept of silence crops up again between
    Claudio and Hero.
  • The silence between them will become more
    dangerous later when Claudio thinks Hero has
    committed infidelity.
  • In this act he surprisingly cannot speak even
    once he realizes that she will marry him
  • "Silence is the perfectest herald of joy"
  • The irony of course is that silence is no herald
    (celebratory) at all, but rather implies complete
    lack of emotion from either Hero or Claudio
    towards the other person.

Analysis Language
  • Language is a significant part of the play and
    the plot.
  • Much Ado About Nothing has more prose than almost
    any other Shakespearian play
  • It is significant to see how Shakespeare uses
    this prose.
  • Benedick remarks on the change in Claudio by
    noting his change in language
  • "He was wont to speak plain and to the purpose,
    like an honest man and a soldier, and now is he
    turned orthography" (2.3.17-18).
  • This shows the transition from uncluttered
    military language to stylistic prose, and it is
    indicative of some of the confusion in the play,
    specifically, people do not speak plainly.

Analysis Gardens
  • A common theme throughout Shakespearian drama is
    the role of gardens.
  • Gardens are dangerous places to be because they
    harbor serpents trying to seduce the senses.
  • Much Ado About Nothing has many garden scenes,
    all of which are involved in plotting against or
    confusing other characters
  • Don Pedro spread his rumors about Beatrice loving
    Benedick in the garden where Benedick is hiding.
  • Claudio and Don Pedro are overheard in the
    garden, causing Leonato to think Don Pedro wants
    to wed Hero.
  • Beatrice will likewise overhear Hero and Ursula
    in the garden, causing her to think Benedick
    loves her.

Analysis Play on Words
  • Shakespeare was acutely aware of the similarity
    between the words note, noting, and nothing
  • Don Pedro Do it in notes.
  • Balthasar Note this before my notes There's not
    a note of mine that's worth the noting.
  • Don Pedro Why, these are very crotchets
    whimsies that he speaks - Note notes, forsooth,
    and nothing!" (2.3.48-52)
  • The song that Balthasar sings is a song about
  • The men listening all fail to note this song.
  • The song actually foreshadows what will be
    mis-noted in the near future when Hero is accused
    of infidelity.

Analysis Fashion
  • The use of the word fashion is deftly invoked by
    Shakespeare both as a noun and a verb.
  • It represents the social system that all the
    characters are involved in, and is used to draw a
    parallel between the evil plots of Don John and
    the more mild ones of Don Pedro.
  • "I would fain have it a match, and I doubt not
    but to fashion it" (2.1.319-320).
  • This comment by Don Pedro is immediately followed
    by Don John who allows Borachio to fashion his
    plot as well
  • "I will so fashion the matter that Hero shall be
    absent" (2.2.38).
  • The parallel between the two brothers makes their
    plots actually seem identical in a sense they
    both corrupt the social system to achieve their
    own ends.
  • The fact that society will condemn Don John but
    not Don Pedro is merely because we as a society
    think that marriage is not a crime whereas
    infidelity is.
  • In many ways, the audience becomes guilty of Don
    Pedro's corruption of the truth while
    hypocritically condemning Don John's.

Act III Scene 1
  • Read III.1.137-138
  • Hero tells Margaret to tell Beatrice that she
    overheard Hero and Ursula gossiping about her in
    the orchard.
  • Hero then orders Ursula to talk about Benedick as
    if he were madly in love with Beatrice.
  • They wait until they see Beatrice hide herself in
    the orchard before walking towards the hiding
  • They arrive where Beatrice is hiding and Hero
    informs Ursula that Benedick is madly in love
    with Beatrice, but that she will never tell
    Beatrice because she is afraid her cousin would
    only ridicule Benedick.

Act III Scene 1
  • Ursula agrees, and Hero then mentions that
    Beatrice is so sharp tongued that she often finds
    faults in men that are not really there.
  • Ursula praises Benedick as a man, saying he is
    one of the best men in Italy and would be an
    excellent match for Beatrice.
  • After they leave, Beatrice steps forward and
    comments that rather then be condemned for her
    pride and scorn she will requite Benedick's love
    and marry him.
  • Watch movie scene

Act III Scene 2
  • Claudio, Don Pedro and Leonato find Benedick to
    be acting sadder than usual, and make fun of him
    as if he is in love.
  • He does not deny their charge, but finally asks
    Leonato if he could have a word with him in
  • Don Pedro tells Claudio that Benedick must want
    to discuss Beatrice with Leonato.
  • Don John arrives and informs Claudio and Don
    Pedro that Hero is unfaithful.
  • He offers to prove it to them, telling them to go
    with him that night and look into Hero's chamber
  • Claudio states that if he sees any reason not to
    wed Hero that night, he will shame her in the
    church before the wedding ceremony the next day.
  • Don Pedro supports him and they promise to meet
    Don John that night.

Act III Scene 3
  • Read III.3.138-139
  • Dogberry and Verges, both clowns in charge of the
    watchmen, get one of their men for the watch that
  • He agrees, but asks what he should do if he
    orders a man to stop and the man refuses.
  • Dogberry tells him to ignore the man because they
    can only stop loyal subjects of the Prince.
  • Verges then orders the man to keep silence
    throughout the town.
  • They leave the man and Dogberry orders him to
    wake him up only if something important comes up.

Act III Scene 3
  • Borachio and Conrad arrive and accidentally stand
    within hearing distance of the watchman whom
  • Borachio tells Conrad that he earned a thousand
    ducats from Don John that night because he wooed
    Margaret in Hero's room and called her Hero.
  • Don John had brought Don Pedro and Claudio to the
    orchard where they watched this whole scene and
    became convinced that Hero was committing
  • One of the night watchmen, having overheard this
    story, arrests Borachio and Conrad for villainy.
  • Watch infidelity scene

Act III Scene 4
  • Hero is getting dressed by Margaret for her
    wedding that day.
  • She sends Ursula to fetch Beatrice, who arrives
    but has lost her wittiness and has also caught a
  • Margaret makes mention to Beatrice that Benedick
    is now in love.
  • Margaret then implies that perhaps Beatrice will
    someday decide to fall in love much the way
    Benedick has.
  • Ursula interrupts her and informs Hero that the
    men are all gathered to take her to the church.

Act III Scene 5
  • Dogberry has gone to Leonato to inform him that
    two suspicious men were arrested the night
  • He asks Leonato to examine the men, but since the
    wedding is that day, Leonato refuses and orders
    Dogberry to conduct the examination himself.
  • Dogberry orders Verges to bring one of his men
    who knows how to write so that they can write
    down the entire examination and bring it to
  • Watch Dogberrys visit to Leonato

Analysis Noting
  • The issue of noting, or making much ado about
    nothing, comes up when Claudio and Don Pedro, led
    by Don John, look at window and think they see
  • They fail to note that it is not Hero, but
    instead Margaret.
  • This is fabrication through substitution, and it
    leads Don John to stand condemned at the end of
    the play.
  • This scene also plays on men's fears of female
    infidelity. Claudio tells us
  • "If I see anything tonight why I should not marry
    her, tomorrow in the congregation where I should
    wed, there will I shame her" (3.2.103-107).
  • This fear is so strong that Benedick declared
    himself a bachelor as a result, he is terrified
    of wearing bull's horns, a sign of the cuckold.

Analysis Gardens
  • Gardens are again dangerous places to be.
  • Hero and Ursula are talking in the orchard.
  • This is not merely a plot against Beatrice, but
    also against female virginity.
  • In fact, gardens can be seen as representing the
    female sexuality, and they are dangerous places
    because they are where virginity is compromised.
  • This can be seen when Claudio convinces Don Pedro
    to win him Hero's heart, a scene that takes place
    in a garden.
  • Beatrice will be tricked into loving Benedick by
    what she overhears in an orchard.

Analysis Gardens
  • Hero's reputation, and also Claudio's perception
    of her virginity, is lost when Claudio and Don
    Pedro stand in the orchard and watch Borachio woo
  • The only way to clear up the confusion inherent
    in the play is to write everything down.
  • Writing becomes a way of clarifying and clearing
    up the mistakes. Dogberry says,
  • "get the learned writer to set down our
    excommunication a joke, he means examination"
  • This is the first point in the play where writing
    appears. It will later be used by Benedick and
    Beatrice, the Sexton, and Claudio who will write
    the epitaph to Hero.

Act IV Scene 1
  • The people are all gathered in the church to
    witness the wedding between Hero and Claudio.
  • The Friar asks Claudio if he has come to marry
    Hero, to which Claudio replies, "No" (4.1.6).
  • Leonato ignores the answer by playing with words
    to give it a different meaning, but Claudio
    interjects when asked if anyone knows why they
    should not be married.
  • He tells Leonato, "Give not this rotten orange to
    your friend" (4.1.30) and accuses Hero of
  • Don Pedro also refuses to defend Hero's honor,
    telling Leonato that he watched with his own eyes
    as Hero embraced another man the night before.
  • Claudio cries out, "O Hero! What a Hero hadst
    thou been" (4.1.98) before once again saying
    farewell to her forever. "But fare thee well,
    most foul, most fair, farewell" (4.1.101).

Act IV Scene 1
  • Read IV.1.143-145
  • Hero faints and falls to the ground. Don John,
    Don Pedro and Claudio all leave the church.
  • Beatrice runs up and tries to help her cousin,
    but Leonato tells her that, "Death is the fairest
    cover for her shame" (4.1.113).
  • Leonato then tells them that he is ashamed to
    have had such a daughter and that he wishes she
    had never been born.
  • Benedick says, "Sir, sir, be patient. / For my
    part, I am so attired in wonder /I know not what
    to say" (4.1.142-144).
  • The Friar tells them that by noting her
    complexion and the way she reacted, he has become
    convinced that she is actually guiltless.

Act IV Scene 1
  • Hero awakes and tells them that she has know idea
    what man Claudio thinks he saw her with.
  • Friar Francis tells Leonato to pretend that Hero
    has died of shame. He tells Leonato that if Hero
    pretends to be dead, instead of remembering her
    dishonor people will pity her and even Claudio
    will regret his words.
  • Everyone agrees to the plan and leaves. Only
    Benedick and Beatrice remain behind.
  • They both declare their love for each other and
    Benedick asks her to make him do anything to
    affirm how much he loves her.
  • Beatrice famously replies, "Kill Claudio"
  • Benedick at first says he will never do such a
    thing, and Beatrice tells him he does not really
    love her then.
  • She tries to leave, but Benedick repents his
    answer and stops her. He tells her that he will
    challenge Claudio for her.
  • Watch the wedding scene and Benedick and Beatrice

Act IV Scene 2
  • Read IV.2.145-146
  • Dogberry has brought Borachio and Conrad before
    the Town Clerk and is interrogating them.
  • Everything is carefully written down to avoid any
  • Dogberry is completely incompetent as an
    examiner, but the clerk takes charge and orders
    the watchman who arrested them to step forward.
  • He relates that he overheard them discussing the
    plot against Hero's reputation.
  • The sexton informs the men that they cannot deny
    the charge since Don John secretly stole away
    that morning.
  • He further tells them that Hero was accused by
    Claudio in the church and died from humiliation.
  • The men are bound and ordered to be taken to
  • Watch Dogberrys interrogation scene

  • The fear of the men that they will be cuckolds is
    inherent in the scene where Claudio accuses Hero
    in the church.
  • Leonato falsely thinks he has noted that she is
  • Hero's fainting is taken as sign of her guilt,
    leading Leonato to tell Beatrice that, "Death is
    the fairest cover for her shame" (4.1.113).
  • This is part of the social norms, it is Leonato's
    way of avoiding humiliation. Leonato chooses
    Hero's death in order to protect his reputation
    and avoid embarrassment.
  • Claudio now mimics the first time he thinks he
    has lost Hero. "But fare thee well, most foul,
    most fair, farewell" (4.1.101).
  • The audience by this point can tell that Claudio
    is a bad reader after all, he makes the same
    mistake twice!
  • He is also the most unfriendly lover in
  • Claudio dotes on Hero in his mind but prefers to
    choose male bonding over marriage.
  • This becomes even more apparent in the next act
    when Claudio and Don Pedro mock Benedick
    together Claudio shows no remorse for Hero's
    death and appears positively triumphant in having
    killed her.

Analysis Noting
  • It is interesting to note that Benedick becomes
    speechless when Hero is accused.
  • Benedick says, "Sir, sir, be patient. / For my
    part, I am so attired in wonder / I know not what
    to say" (4.1.142-144).
  • This marks the first time that he is unable to
    comment on the proceedings around him.
  • For Benedick, it also moves him away from his
    male companions and Beatrice, with whom he is
    more serious and less verbal.
  • Of all the men and women present at the wedding,
    only Friar Francis actually "notes" Hero.
  • He says, "By noting of the not my
    age...If this sweet lady lie not guiltless here"
  • The Friar is correct as we all know, and his
    choice of words, "by noting of the lady" is

Analysis Noting
  • It is the first time that anyone points out to
    the characters what we all know to be true they
    fail to note what is happing around them.
  • Friar Francis is similar to Friar Laurence in
    Romeo and Juliet.
  • He tries to save Hero by making her seem dead.
    "Come, lady, die to live" (4.1.253).
  • This parallels the death of Juliet.
  • The later marriage between Hero and Claudio will
    serve as a resurrection moment. Thus Friar
    Francis plays God with Hero's life and later
    resurrects her in a shroud of death.

Analysis Sense and Nonsense
  • One of the most significant lines is when
    Beatrice tells Benedick to "Kill Claudio"
  • She asks this as a way for Benedick to prove his
    love for her.
  • Her demand essentially forces Benedick to choose
    between the brotherly love of men and the loyalty
    of a man to his wife.
  • Beatrice knows that she must destroy Benedick's
    former male bonding. Her order is therefore a
    command for Benedick to support her against
    Claudio, and represents the only way for them to
    have a mature relationship.

Analysis Sense and Nonsense
  • Much Ado About Nothing is the only comedy in
    which no woman dresses as a man to influence the
  • Beatrice comes closest to this function, saying,
    "O God that I were a man! I would eat his heart
    in the market place" (4.1.303-304). She cannot
    take revenge on Claudio herself, so she falls
    back on her wit to get Benedick to challenge
  • For the first time sense is made out of the
    nonsense of the plot.
  • This is done by the Sexton who cuts through
    Dogberry's nonsense. It is a crucial turning
    point in the play, akin to when Friar Francis
    notes Hero's innocence, because someone finally
    notes what is wrong and forces it to be

Act V Scene 1
  • Antonio is trying to comfort Leonato who is still
    grief-sticken over what happened in the church.
  • Antonio tells Leonato to make the men suffer that
    have caused him pain. He says he will.
  • Don Pedro and Claudio enter.
  • Leonato challenges Claudio to a duel on the
    grounds that he killed Hero through his
    accusation and wrongly harmed Leonato's
  • Antonio steps forward and supports Leonato by
    challenging Claudio as well.
  • Leonato tries to stop him, but Antonio continues
    hurling insults at Claudio and Don Pedro for the
    way they treated Hero.
  • Don Pedro refuses to accept the challenge,
    telling them that Hero, "was charged with nothing
    / But what was true and very full of proof"
  • Antonio and Leonato leave in a rage, furious with
    the condescending way Don Pedro is treating them.

Act V Scene 1
  • Read V.1.147-148
  • Benedick arrives and is greeted warmly by both
    Don Pedro and Claudio.
  • Benedick challenges Claudio, but he thinks it is
    a joke. Both men make fun of Benedick for looking
    so angry and for seemingly having lost his
    ability to wittily reply to their jests. He then
    turns to Claudio and tells him they will meet
    soon in order to fight.
  • Don Pedro remarks that Benedick is serious about
    his challenge. Claudio caustically replies that
    it must be for the love of Beatrice.
  • Dogberry and Verges enter with Conrad and
    Borachio as their prisoners. Only then does Don
    Pedro realize that Benedick told him Don John had
  • He approaches the prisoners and demands to know
    why they have been arrested. Borachio tells him
    the entire story

Act V Scene 1
  • Leonato arrives with the Sexton, who has informed
    him of what happened. Furiously Leonato accuses
    Borachio, Don Pedro and Claudio of killing his
  • Claudio and Don Pedro plead their innocence but,
    realizing they are guilty of mistakenly accusing
    Hero, promise to inform the city that she was
  • Claudio further promises to marry Leonato's
    niece, whom he tells Claudio is his sole heir.
  • Leonato then turns back to Borachio and demands
    to know Margaret's role in the scheme. He tells
    Leonato that Margaret is innocent and did not
    know what she was doing.
  • Watch Pedro, Benedick, and Claudio scene

Act V Scene 2
  • Read V.2.149-150
  • Benedick has written a sonnet to Beatrice that
    Margaret is helping him with.
  • He then sends her to fetch Beatrice for him.
  • She enters the room and plays word games with
  • He finally states, "Thou and I are too wise to
    woo peaceably" (5.2.61), indicating that they are
    too aware of what love and marriage entails to be
    overemotional about it.
  • Ursula arrives and tells them to quickly come
    since they proved that Hero has been falsely
  • Watch movie scene of Benedicks sonnet writing
    and interaction with Beatrice

Act V Scene 3
  • Claudio, Don Pedro and several other men visit
    Hero's gravesite and perform a short memorial
  • Claudio has written an epitaph for Hero, after
    which he sings a song and then promises to
    perform the same ritual every year.
  • Don Pedro bids the other men good night and takes
    Claudio with him to Leonato's house.

Act V Scene 4
  • Read V.4.150-151
  • Leonato sends the woman into their chambers and
    orders them to come out masked when they are
    called for.
  • Antonio has promised to pretend that Hero is his
    daughter so Claudio will believe he is marrying
    Hero's cousin.
  • Benedick then asks Leonato for permission to
    marry Beatrice at the same wedding ceremony.
    Leonato agrees to the marriage.
  • Claudio and Don Pedro arrive and are greeted. The
    women then come out wearing masks to hide their
  • Claudio asks which lady he shall marry, and
    Antonio gives him Hero. She unmasks herself.

Act V Scene 4
  • At the wedding Benedick calls for Beatrice to
    reveal herself. She does, and he asks her if she
    loves him.
  • Beatrice gives the surprisingly cold answer, "Why
    no, no more than reason" (5.4.74).
  • Benedick admits the same thing, and they both
    realize that they were set up by their friends.
  • Watching this extraordinary exchange, Claudio and
    Hero pull out sonnets that Benedick and Beatrice
    wrote to each other and show them as proof that
    they really do love each other.
  • Benedick states, "A miracle! Here's our own hands
    against our hearts" (5.4.91).
  • Benedick and Claudio reconcile their friendship
    and tell Don Pedro to find himself a wife so he
    is not alone.
  • A messenger arrives at the very end and informs
    them that Don John has been captured and brought
    back to Messina.
  • Benedick tells them, "Think not on him till
    tomorrow, I'll devise thee brave punishments for
    him. Strike up, pipers" (5.4.121-122).
  • Watch the entire wedding scene

Analysis Truth in Writing
  • The fact that there is truth through writing,
    first seen when Dogberry demands that everything
    be recorded, is made abundantly clear in this
  • Beatrice and Benedick write sonnets to each
    other, and the sonnets are taken to be more
    meaningful than even their words.
  • When they are at the point of nullifying their
    declared love for one another, Claudio and Hero
    produce the sonnets, thereby "proving" that they
    are lying to each other.
  • Claudio earlier in the act writes his epitaph to
    Hero, a way of declaring his love for her.

Analysis Truth in Writing
  • Dogberry also has the written statement of his
    watchman, thus securing Hero's innocence.
  • An interesting line is that of Don Pedro "But on
    my honour she was charged with nothing / But what
    was true and very full of proof" (5.1.106-107).
  • This is a challenge to the audience to "note" the
    words of the actors.
  • The second line reverses the meaning of the first
    line, turning Hero's initial innocence to guilt.

Analysis True Love?
  • A fundamental question Do Benedick and Beatrice
    really love each other?
  • Many audiences have simply assumed that they
    harbor a deep-seated love that neither will
  • If we take them at their word then the likely
    answer is no.
  • They are mature lovers who have been pushed
    together by a social conspiracy to make them
  • Benedick "Thou and I are too wise to woo
    peaceably" (5.2.61).
  • Later they both realize that their friends were
    plotting against them.
  • "Do not you love me?"
  • "Why no, no more than reason" (5.4.73-74).
  • We expect tender words at this point but we get
    the opposite.

Analysis True Love?
  • The fact that we still think love wins out is
    because we willingly join the conspiracy against
    both couples.
  • The audience roots for them to fall in love and
    get married the actual feelings of the two
    characters are irrelevant at the end.
  • Discrepant Awareness
  • Each character knows something that the other
    characters do not
  • Don John I know not that when he knows what I
  • Window scene in movie is not in play
  • Put in to show Claudio is not such a dope?
  • Irony
  • True love happens as the wedding is destroyed
  • Beatrice pledges to eat Claudios heart in a
  • If we eat the body of Christ in communion, are we
    cannibals to?

Analysis A Successful Friar
  • Friar Francis, unlike his Romeo and Juliet
    counterpart, succeeds in his resurrection of
  • She comes out masked and reveals herself to
  • He cries out, "Another Hero!"
  • She replies, "Nothing certainer" (5.4.62-63).
  • If we take her pronunciation literally, "noting
    certainer", we can see that this is really the
    first time that Claudio has noted her as a
  • Only through a feigned death could she force
    Claudio to really pay attention to her and
    "notice" who he was marrying.

Analysis Marriage a Hoax?
  • The question of whether there is any love between
    Hero and Claudio is almost certainly answered
    with a resounding no.
  • Hero is mostly a young girl who obeys her father
    regardless of his demands.
  • Beatrice mocks this expected obedience in the
    opening act, causing Leonato to hush her.
  • Hero willingly switches from Don Pedro to Claudio
    as if it makes no difference who her husband is.
  • Later we see the same ability in Claudio, who
    readily agrees to marry Hero's "cousin" without
    ever having seen he girl.
  • This lack of dedication compromises their
    credibility as a pair of lovers.

Analysis Marriage a Hoax?
  • An interesting question is why does it takes so
    long for Claudio to learn Hero is alive?
  • The answer is that Claudio must learn something
    first. Initially he and Don Pedro stick to their
    beliefs and refuse to see the truth. Claudio must
    have a penance for his sins against Hero
  • Hero has become a nothing by this point in the
    play, her very existence wiped out.
  • Claudio is marrying someone he has never seen,
    and it is his trust will be what brings Hero back
    to life in the end.

Analysis The Problem of the Ending
  • As in many Shakespearian comedies, we are left
    with a sense that everything is not perfect at
    the end.
  • In Much Ado About Nothing the ending is tarnished
    by the return of Don John.
  • He is returned to Messina in chains and Benedick
    promises to punish him the next day.
  • This casts a shadow hangs over an otherwise
    mostly happy ending.

Analysis Brannaugh Film
  • According to Harold Bloom
  • The Brannaugh film was too imaginative
  • The scenery was too powerful
  • It was able to usurp the actual speaking lines
  • The only good element was Thompsons Beatrice
    with her tone, independent elements and facial

Analysis Characterization Benedick
  • It is obvious that Benedick and Beatrice were
    once together and he messed it up
  • Read II.1.257-264

Analysis Characterization Margaret
  • She could have explained the whole thing at the
    wedding, yet she walks away
  • Why?

Analysis Characterization of Beatrice
  • Her wit defends against the meaninglessness that
    consumes the other characters
  • She makes much ado about nothing because she
    knows that nothing will come of nothing
  • She will always win because she is the wittier
  • She has conquered Benedick even before we meet
  • Beatrice is frequently on the edge of bitterness
  • Read II.2.63-73
  • Read II.1.189-195
  • Beatrice makes her opinion into the general
    judgement of the world, this is her largest flaw
  • Read II.1.38-52
  • Another of her strongest characteristics is that
    she is an orphan with no one to answer to

Analysis Characterization of Beatrice
  • Read II.1.299-311
  • Read I.1.221-228
  • We can see that Benedicks view of being single
    is less powerful and sublime that Beatrices
  • Going to the world is her metaphor for marriage
  • She intends to pick Benedick while honestly
    reluctant to accept anyone, even the wittiest

Analysis Characterization of Beatrice
  • Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand
  • She does not plan to accept domestication
  • Her wildness captures the audience
  • Read V.4.91-97
  • Protesting even while kissing
  • Will not speak again
  • She and the audience were at one

Analysis Temper
  • Dr. Galen said
  • Humans are fluid
  • They are made up of Fluid Humors
  • Air, water, fire, earth
  • If one person has too much of one, you will get a
    certain type of person
  • Men HOT
  • Women COLD
  • Therefore, Claudio, Benedick, Beatrice, Don John,
    and Dogberry are out of temper or have lost
    their temper

Analysis Benedick and Beatrice
  • They dominate the play because of their higher
    cognitive power
  • No disillusioned views of marriage
  • No unnecessary flattering
  • Neither trusts the other yet the wit in each
    character desires the wit in the other
  • Beatrice is a brilliant character that none of
    the others can keep up with, only Benedick comes
    close winning the audiences sympathy along with
  • Were already together before

Analysis Benedick and Beatrice
  • Read IV.1.266-288
  • Beatrice plays Benedick very well here
  • Beatrices will causes Benedick to submit and
    eventually challenge Claudio
  • Her ambivalent will is the plays greatest
  • They are, however, a perfect match because each
    is powered by self-love
  • Read V.4.72-83
  • This exchange goes beyond joking and becomes an
    exchange of tactics, phrasing, and climax

Analysis Villains
  • Primogeniture has him down
  • Embittered and wronged in the womb!
  • If true love were served right away, there would
    be no play
  • We need Don John who vows to disturb the marriage
    of Hero and Claudio
  • Don Johns plot, Harold Bloom feels, could have
    been more elaborate and involved

Analysis Title
  • Appropriate title
  • Benedick and Beatrice are Nihilists
  • The setting is Sicily, yet everyone is English
  • Regional dialect would not be perfected until
    Mark Twain comes along later
  • Wit
  • It is more important to be witty and conscious of
    the world because love is superficial
  • Definition of love in the play?
  • Love is much ado about nothing
  • Mutual knowledge of benign nihilism
  • Marriage of mutual advantage (Claudio and Hero)
    is questionable