Much Ado About Nothing

Themes Marriage, Love, Fidelity, Honesty
Act The main unit of division in a play wherein location and time changes are made
Allusion Reference to something outside the play
Aside When a character privately speaks only to a specific character or audience in such a way that the other characters on stage are not intended to overhear the conversation
Climax The highest moment of dramatic tension in the play. From this point on the play moves towards its resolution.
Comedy A play that ends without a single character dying and results in marriage. The marriage is considered the play’s happy ending in that rightful lovers are united (any obstacles are resolved)
Conflict Caused when a problem exists between two forces
External Conflict Describes such a problem between a character and someone else (the problem stems from outside the character, hence the name)
Internal Conflict Is self-created tension (self-versus-self)
Societal Conflict Arises when a character feels at odds with his/her society’s agreed upon normative values and behaviors.
Comic Relief Often used before or after a moment of high drama/tension. It may be evidenced in a character or situation-provides mental relief (when laughter is needed to dispel the drama)
Farce Type of low comedy designed to evoke laughter through highly exaggerated caricatures of people in improbable/silly situations. The traits include: slapstick (physical comedy), sexual mix-ups, verbal humor.
Foil A character that serves, by contrast, to highlight or emphasize opposing traits in another character.
Hyperbole Over exaggeration for effect.
Irony Generally speaking is a discrepancy between what is intended and what actually occurs.
Verbal Irony When a character says one thing but means something entirely different
Dramatic Irony When the audience knows something the characters in the play do not
Malapropism (very significant in the play—device that most of the comedy in the play is based) The mistake of using a word in place of a similar sounding one
Oxymoron Figure of speech in which apparently contradictory words are used together
Pun A figure of speech that involves a play on words, usually intended humorously
Metaphor A representation of something else, symbolism
Scene A smaller unit of division within a play’s act. You cannot change time or locations within a scene.
Soliloquy A long speech made by a character alone. Purpose is so that the character can work out emotional/psychological problems. Reveals characters inner thoughts-differs from monologues as logues can occur when other characters are on stage-they don’t need to be emotional
Leonato Governor of Messina
Hero Leonato’s Daughter
Beatrice Leonato’s Niece
Leonato’s Brother Leonato’s Brother
Margaret Hero’s waiting gentlewomen
Ursula Hero’s waiting gentlewomen
Don Pedro Prince of Aragon
Count Claudio A young lord from Florence, very good soldier and the Prince’s best friend
Balthasar Singer and flirts with Margaret
Signior Anotonio flirts with Ursula, (questionably Leonato’s brother)
Don John Don Pedro’s brother (antagonist)
Borachio Don John’s follower
Conrade Don John’s follower
Dogberry Master Constable in Messina, (Comic Relief Character)
Verges Dogberry’s partner
George Seacoal Leader of the Watch
First Watchman First Watchman
Second Watchman Second Watchman
Sexton The man who watches over the interrogation of the Borachio and Conrade
Friar Francis One of the first person, a man even, to believe in Hero’s innocence
Act 1 The Prince of Arragon is coming to Messina and will be staying with the governor, Leonato. He just recently won his battle with Don John over the throne. Beatrice and Benedick are old acquaintances and are seen bickering with each other. Claudio falls in love with Hero and Don Pedro says he will woo her in his name. Benedick does not know why one of his friends wants to marry. We learn of Conrade, Don John, and Borachio, and learn how Don John wishes revenge on Claudio and the Prince. It is wrongly overheard that the Prince wished to woo Hero for himself and Don John and Leonato use this knowledge to warn Hero and/or plot.
Act 2 Starts at the masquerade ball that they are throwing to celebrate Don Pedro’s victory. Leonato and Hero talk of the Prince’s engagement offer. Beatrice is said to be too curst and that she will never get a husband, she warns Hero to decide for herself on the Prince. Benedick and Margaret talk, and Balthasar and Margaret eventually go and dance. Ursula and Antonio dance. Benedick and Beatrice talk. Benedick does not think that Beatrice knows who it is but she does. Beatrice insults Benedick very fully and he is very insulted. He goes off, hurt, and it is revealed that they had a previous relationship that he broke off with betrayal. Don John sees Claudio, makes Claudio think that Don John thinks he is Benedick and tells him that the Prince wishes to woo Hero for himself. Claudio gets very angry and goes off. Beatrice finds him and the Prince gives Hero to him. Beatrice and the Prince talk and he asks if she would marry him. She says no and goes off–the prince admires her and he decides that she would be perfect for Benedick. Borachio gives Don John a plan for taking Hero down with Margaret. Benedick is in the garden. Don Pedro, Claudio, and Leonato go into the garden knowing he is there and pretend to be talking to each other about how much Beatrice loves Benedick and how much pride he has not to love her. Benedick decides to love her back. Beatrice comes to tell him dinner and he is convinced that she loves him.
Act 3 Hero and Margaret find Beatrice in the garden act as if they don’t know she’s there. They talk as though Benedick loves her and she decides that she will love him back. Claudio and the Prince are talking and they find Benedick who is newly cleaned and he claims he is in pain but they know he is really in love. Don John finds them and says he has proof of Hero’s disloyalty. Dogberry and Verges talk to the watch and straighten them out, telling them to watch out tonight especially. Borrachio and Conrade come out, are drunk, and tell each other of the wicked act they did. They are arrested by the watch. The girls get ready for the wedding with no idea what is about to happen. Dogberry tells Leonato about the suspicious people and Leonato is too busy with the trial to care.
Act 4 The wedding is happening. Claudio publicly denounces Hero as an adulteress. Hero faints, Beatrice is the only one to stand up for Hero but she is a woman. The prince, Don John, and Claudio leave thinking her dead. Even her own father thinks she was guilty and wishes her dead. The friar convinces them all that Hero might be innocent. Benedick is there too–choosing love over friendship. Margaret never speaks. They devise a plan to make everyone think Hero is dead and make them return to thoughts of her innocence. Benedick follows Beatrice into the chapel and tells her that he loves her. She tells him the same and says that if he loves her he should kill Claudio. Reluctantly, he agrees to challenge Claudio to a duel to show his affection. Dogberry and Verges and Sexton interrogate Conrade and Borrachio. They got to the bottom of the situation and are going to Leonato.
Act 5 Leonato and his brother confront the Prince and Claudio and say that they killed innocent Hero. The boys said that they did nothing but kill a cheater. Benedick comes and, thinking him to be friendly, they do not take his challenge seriously. It is only after a while that they realize that he is challenging Claudio out of love for Beatrice. Dogberry comes and Borrachio explains the situation and him and Don John’s evilness is shown. Don John has fled Messina. The Prince and Claudio feel guilty. Leonato arrives and says that for punishment, Claudio must visit Hero’s grave and say how innocent she was and also that he was to marry one of Leonato’s nieces who looks just like Hero. Claudio agrees. Benedick and Margaret converse about sonnets. Benedick writes a song about Beatrice, Beatrice enters and they talk of love. Ursula comes and says that Hero’s innocence has been proven. Claudio visits Hero’s supposed grave sight and talks of her innocence. The next day is the wedding day between Claudio and “Hero”. Before the wedding, Benedick asks the Friar about marriage between him and Beatrice. Claudio marries “Hero” and then sees that it is actually Hero. Beatrice and Benedick talk and they question each other’s love. Hero and Claudio reveal love notes written by each other to each other. They say they are in love. The play ends with a dance and that Don John was caught.