Hero begins the plan to bring Beatrice and Benedick together by holding a conversation with Ursula and Margaret about how Benedick is in love with Beatrice, with Beatrice overhearing – they attempt to guilt her into having feelings for Benedick. They talk him up, stating that he is a catch, and Beatrice decides that it might be a good idea to “take pity” on poor Benedick and give him a chance.
On the other side of the coin. Benedick is being teased by Leonato, Don Pedro, and Claudio about opting to never marry. Benedick says he has changed his mind, but will not say who he is in love with. Don John attempts to undermine their goals by telling Don Pedro and Claudio that Hero is a harlot, someone who Claudio should not marry. In order to prove it, he offers to have them come outside to Hero’s window tonight to see her cheating on Claudio.
Scene III sees Dogberry and Verges, the night watchmen of Messina, talking about their duties to some watchmen. They then come across Borachio and Conrad, friends of Don John; Borachio is bragging to Conrad how he made love to Hero’s waiting maid, who was dressed in Hero’s clothes. This was meant to make Claudio, watching outside the window, believe that Hero was cheating on him, and have him rebuke her. Overhearing this conversation, the watchmen arrest the two and bring them to Dogberry and Verges.
The following morning, Hero gets ready for the wedding, and Margaret, the waiting maid, teases the visiting Beatrice about her apparent attraction to Benedick, which she neither confirms nor denies. At the wedding, Dogberry and Verges fail to accurately communicate that Claudio has been tricked to Leonato, who dismisses them and begins the ceremony.
INFORMATION FOR TOPIC DISCUSSIONS
Why do Beatrice and Benedick continually deny their feelings for each other?
Why is eavesdropping such a common means for conveying information to characters in this act?
DEFINITION OF UNCOMMON TERMS
Lapwing – a European bird.
Vouchsafe – give, grant
Vagrom – vagrant (men)
Rabato – a wired collar which stands up at the sides and back
EXPLAIN ACTION AND LANGUAGE USED
Claudio and Hero – both attempt to get Beatrice and Benedick together, using deceptive language and intentionally overheard conversation to soften their attitudes on staying single.
Don John – attempts to tear apart Claudio’s and Hero’s wedding by setting up by attempting to frame Hero for adultery; his language is deceitful, used to maneuvering Claudio into compromising situation.
Dogberry and Verges – consistently slip up language, using malapropisms (misused words) to the point where they are not taken seriously when confronting Leonato about Borachio’s scheme.
Jorgensen, Paul. "Much Ado About Nothing." Shakespeare Quarterly 5.3 (1954): 1. Print.
Shakespeare, William. "Much Ado About Nothing." The Norton Shakespeare . New York: W.W. Norton, 1997. 1. Print.