Much Ado About Nothing Scenes

Act 1, Scene 1 Characters: Leonato, Messenger, Beatrice, Hero, Don Pedro, Benedick, Don John, ClaudioSummary: The army of Don Pedro of Aragon arrives in Messina and is welcomed by Leonato, Messina’s governor. Benedick of Padua, a soldier in Don Pedro’s army, proclaims his enmity to love and engages in a skirmish of wits with Leonato’s niece, Beatrice. Count Claudio, the hero of Don Pedro’s just-ended war, falls in love with Leonato’s daughter Hero and confesses his love to Don Pedro, who decides to woo Hero for Claudio.
Act 1, Scene 2 Characters: Leonato, AntonioSummary: Leonato is a given a garbled account of the conversation between Don Pedro and Claudio, and is led to believe that Don Pedro wishes to marry Hero.
Act 1, Scene 3 Characters: Conrade, Don John, BorachioSummary: Don John, Don Pedro’s brother, receives a true account of Don Pedro’s plan to woo Hero for Claudio. Resentful of both Don Pedro and Claudio, who have defeated him in the just-ended war, Don John hopes to find a way to block the marriage.
Act 2, Scene 1 Characters: Leonato, Antonio, Beatrice, Hero, Don Pedro, Benedick, Margaret, Balthasar, Ursula, Don John, Borachio, ClaudioSummary: Don Pedro and his soldiers, disguised in masks, dance with the ladies of Leonato’s household. While Don Pedro woos Hero, Beatrice mocks Benedick. After the dance, Don John distresses Claudio by telling him that Don Pedro has won Hero’s love. When Claudio learns that Hero has been won in his name, he wants to marry her immediately. Leonato insists that at least a week is needed to prepare for the wedding. Don Pedro proposes that the intervening time be used to trick Benedick and Beatrice into falling in love.
Act 2, Scene 2 Characters: Don John, BorachioSummary: Don John and his henchman Borachio agree on a plan to disrupt the coming marriage. Borachio will convince Claudio that Hero is unfaithful by staging a meeting with Margaret, Hero’s waiting gentlewoman. MArgaret will be dressed in Hero’s clothes, and Claudio will think that Borachio is Hero’s lover.
Act 2, Scene 3 Characters: Boy, Benedick, Don Pedro, Claudio, Balthasar, Leonato, BeatriceSummary: Leonato, Claudio, and Don Pedro stage a conversation for Benedick to overhear. They talk about Beatrice’s desperate love for benedick, about their fears that her suffering will destroy her, and about how Benedick would mock Beatrice if he knew of her love. Benedick decides that he must love Beatrice in return.
Act 3, Scene 1 Characters: Hero, Margaret, Ursula, BeatriceSummary: Beatrice is lured into overhearing a staged conversation between Hero and Ursula, a waiting gentlewoman, who talk about Bnedick’s desperate love for Beatrice and about Beatrice’s arrogance. Beatrice decides that she must return Benedick’s love.
Act 3, Scene 2 Characters: Don Pedro, Claudio, Benedick, Leonato, Don JohnSummary: Benedick appears with his beard shaved off and showing other signs of having fallen in love. When he exits with Leonato, Don John tells Don Pedro and Claudio that Hero is unfaithful and that he will show them a man entering her chamber window that very night, the night before the wedding.
Act 3, Scene 3 Characters: Dogberry, Verges, First Watchman, Seacoal, Second Watchman, Borachio, ConradeSummary: That night, Messina’s master constable, Dogberry, and his assistant, Verges, set the night watch, telling the watchmen to pay particular attention to any activity around Leonato’s house. Borachio enters, telling his companion, Conrade, about the charade that made Claudio and Don Pedro think that Hero had just allowed him to enter her chamber. Borachio and Conrade are arrested by the watch.
Act 3, Scene 4 Characters: Hero, Ursula, Margaret, BeatriceSummary: Early the next morning, Hero prepares for the wedding. Beatrice enters, suffering, she says, from a bad cold, but Hero and Margaret tease her about being in love with Benedick.
Act 3, Scene 5 Characters: Leonato, Dogberry, Verges, MessengerSummary: Dogberry and Verges try to tell Leonato about the arrest of Borachio and Conrade, but they are so unintelligible that Leonato impatiently dismisses them, telling them to examine the prisoners. He leaves for the wedding.
Act 4, Scene 1 Characters: Leonato, Friar, Claudio, Hero, Benedick, Don Pedro, BeatriceSummary: At the wedding, Claudio publicly denounces Hero as a lewd woman. He is supported in his story by Don Pedro and Don John. Hero faints and her accusers depart. The Friar believes in her innocence and proposes that Leonato announce that she has died. This news, the Friar thinks, will make Claudio remember his love for her. After the others depart, Benedick and Beatrice admit they love each other, and Benedick reluctantly agrees to challenge Claudio to a duel.
Act 4, Scene 2 Characters: Dogberry, Verges, Sexton, Borachio, Conrade, First Watchman, SeacoalSummary: Dogberry ineptly questions Borachio and Conrade about the deception of Claudio and Don Pedro. The Sexton has Borachio and Conrade bound and orders them taken to Leonato.
Act 5, Scene 1 Characters: Antonio, Leonato, Don Pedro, Claudio, Benedick, Dogberry, Borachio, VergesSummary: Leonato and his brother tell Claudio and Don Pedro of Hero’s death, and attempts to challenge them to a duel. Benedick succeeds in issuing his challenge to Claudio. Dogberry and the prisoners enter, and Claudio and Don Pedro learn about the trick that was played on them. They also learn that Don John has fled from Messina. Having been convinced of Hero’s innocence, Claudio begs Leonato’s forgiveness and is told that he must sing an epitaph at Hero’s tomb that night. The next morning, he is to marry Leonato’s “niece.”
Act 5, Scene 2 Characters: Benedick, Margaret, Beatrice, UrsulaSummary: Benedick tells Beatrice that he has challenged Claudio. They are summoned to Leonato’s house with the news that Hero’s innocence has been proved.
Act 5, Scene 3 Characters: Claudio, First Lord, Don PedroSummary: Claudio appears at Leonato’s family tomb, has a song sung for Hero, and hangs a scroll on the tomb.
Act 5, Scene 4 Characters: Friar, Leonato, Antonio, Benedick, Claudio, Don Pedro, Hero, Beatrice, MessengerSummary: Claudio and Don Pedro appear for the second wedding. The women enter masked. When Claudio takes the hand of Leonato’s “niece,” agreeing to marry her, she unmasks and he learns that she is Hero. Benedick and Beatrice agree to marry, but only out of pity for each other. Love poems each has written to the other are produced to prove that they do, in fact, love each other. Claudio is forgiven by all, and a double wedding is set to follow the closing dance.