Much ado about nothing Character Traits

Major themes 1) Male-Female Relationshipsrivalry & romancegames, mischief & foolerygender roles in societyrole of marriage in societysexual morals
Don Pedro The Prince of Aragon, highest ranking authority in the play.Mischievous, in a socially acceptable way. He’s the good guy.Employs his rank to conduct mischief for the benefit of others. To Claudio: “I have wood in thy name” (2.1.295). Offers a casual marriage proposal to Beatrice: “Will you have me, lady?” (2.1.322). Takes on one of “Hercules’ labors” (2.1.360) to bring Beatrice and Benedick together. Claims that “we are the only love gods” (2.1.382).
Don John A malcontent who doesn’t socialize: “I am not of many words” (1.1.152). He looks “tartly” and “of a very melancholy disposition” (2.1.3,5). The prince’s bastard brother; jealous of the Prince, he finds self-security in rejecting society: “I had rather be a canker in a hedge than a rose in his [Don Pedro’s] grace, and it better fits my blood to be disdained of all than to fashion a carriage to rob love from any… In the meantime, let me be that I am, and seek not to alter me” (1.3.25-35).
Claudio A young Florentine lord and accomplished soldier. He has “borne himself beyond the promise of his age, doing in the figure of a lamb the feats of a lion” (1.1.13-15). Although a fine soldier, he feels inexperienced in the game of love and has Don Pedro do his bidding.Rather gullible count, an easily persuaded flip-flopper: “Friendship is constant in all other things / Save in the office and affairs of love” (2.1.173-4). Generally quiet and soft-spoken, even in his love for Hero: “Silence is the perfectest herald of joy. I were but little happy if I could say how much” (2.1.303-4). However, he is most vocal in his public shaming of her.
Benedick Belittles the idea of falling in love and getting married: “I will live a bachelor” (1.1.236-7). A satirist and fond of his own wit, he devises unrealistic expectations for the perfect wife: “But till all graces be in one woman, one woman shall not come in my grace” (2.3.28-9). Understands that what we say often isn’t what we mean: “There’s a double meaning in that” (2.3.254-5). Not a stereotypical romantic: “I was not born under a rhyming planet, nor I cannot woo in festival terms” (5.2.40-1). Finally defends the idea of love and marriage. “Get thee a wife, get thee a wife!” (5.4.122).
Leonato The governor of Messina and father to Hero, a patriarchal figureOffers paternal love and guidance, and expects obedience from his daughter.His impatience with Dogberry allows the wedding fiasco to happen: “Neighbor’s, you are tedious” (3.5.17). Believing the prince’s words, he would rather be dead than have a “common stale” (4.1.64) for a daughter: “Hath no man’s dagger here a point for me?” (4.1.108).
Dogberry The foolish constable who, ironically, helps solve everything.His orders are the opposite of what is expected: “I cannot see how sleeping should offend” (3.3.41-2); “If you do take a thief… let him show himself what he is, and steal out of your company (3.3.59-61). He ignorantly uses the wrong words: “O villain! Thou wilt be condemned into everlasting redemption for this” (4.2.55-6). In his foolishness, he is ironically accurate: “O that I had been writ down an ass!” (4.2.85-6).
Hero Modest, reserved, pure & innocent, Leonato’s only heir.Participates in the antics to fool Beatrice into love: “If it prove so, then loving goes by haps; Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps” (3.1.105-6). Her fake death & resurrection parallels the symbolic act of baptism: “One Hero died defiled; but I do live, / And surely as I live, I am a maid” (5.4.63-4).
Beatrice The governor’s niece; self-confident, independent, and usually “a pleasant-spirited lady” (2.1.337). She says, “I was born to speak all mirth and no matter” (2.1.326). Benedick can’t stand her; nickname’s her “Lady Disdain” (1.1.114). Overly picky about the ideal husband: “He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man; and he that is more than a youth is not for me, and he that is less than a man, I am not for him” (2.1.36-9). Understands the social limits of being a woman: “I cannot be a man with wishing; therefore I will die a woman with grieving” (4.1.320-1).
Antonio Minor Charter the governor’s brother, who pretends to have a daughter, a copy of Hero. Fiercely proud of his family and protective of its honor, he advises Hero to “be ruled by your father” (2.1.51-2).
Balthasar Minor Charter musician & attendant on Don Pedro, who modestly proclaims himself “an ill singer” (2.3.77) and “there’s not a not a note of mine that’s worth the noting” (2.3.55).
Borachio Minor Charter follower of Don John who confesses all about his “amiable encounter” (3.3.152). with Margaret: “I have deceived even your very eyes. What your wisdoms could not discover, these shallow fools have brought to light” (5.1.231-3).
Conrade Minor Charater A self-proclaimed “gentleman” (4.2.13) and follower of Don John, captured by the night watch.
Friar Frances – Minor Charter – Chaplain to the household, he recognizes something is wrong: “There is some strange misprison in the princes” (4.1.184). Devises the plan to fake Hero’s death to trick the others into repentance.
Verges Minor CharterDogberry’s deputy, serving his “partner” (3.3.63) with his delusions of grandeur.
Sexton the voice of reason who writes down the facts, aiding Dogberry in the examination
Margaret a waiting woman, who unknowingly partakes in a prank with sinister consequences against Claudio and Hero.
Ursula – a waiting woman, who joins with Hero in the prank to join Beatrice and Benedick.