In light of the “revelation” that Hero has been unfaithful, Leonato becomes extremely saddened and feels betrayed by her. Leonato continues with the ruse that Hero is dead, in order to expose the person who would betray her. He challenges Claudio to a duel and leaves; then Benedick challenges Claudio as well, having felt betrayed by Claudio’s actions, which led to Hero’s apparent death. This leads Claudio and Don Pedro to realize that he does, in fact, love Beatrice. Dogberry and Verges bring Borachio and Conrad with them and convey the truth of their crimes to Claudio and Don Pedro, proving Hero’s innocence. With this information, Claudio makes amends with Leonato and accepts his offer to marry Leonato’s niece, who is supposed to look like Hero.
Beatrice and Benedick finally confess their love to one another, and Benedick calls off his duel with Claudio once he learns the truth. Claudio goes to Hero’s apparent tomb and reads a loving letter that apologizes for his behavior and professing his belief in her innocence. A second wedding is conducted between Claudio and the lookalike niece, who turns out to be the alive and well Hero. Beatrice and Benedick also get married that day, and Don John is arrested by Leonato’s men.
INFORMATION FOR TOPIC DISCUSSIONS
Why is it thought to be sensible/kind to make Claudio think Hero is dead when she is not?
Why is Don John’s ultimate punishment avoided or shown offstage?
DEFINITION OF UNCOMMON TERMS
Preceptial medicine – treatments barely ever used (Leonato, Act V Scene I)
Woodcock – species of wading bird (Claudio, Act V Scene I)
Wit-crackers – humorist, comedian (Benedick, Act V Scene IV)
Epigram – a brief, clever saying (Benedick, Act V Scene V)
Cudgelled – beaten with a large club (Claudio, Act V Scene V)
EXPLAIN ACTION AND LANGUAGE USED
Leonato – schemes to get Claudio to apologize to Hero, so they may be married.
Claudio – entirely regretful of his actions, once he realizes the truth of the suspected adultery; refined language and poetry is used in his letter to Hero at her grave.
Benedick – seeks to finally marry Beatrice, despite both of their aversions to marriage; he turns into a quite joyous figure, calling for dancing and music at the end of the play.
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.