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Much Ado About Nothing
Act 1, scene 3

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Entire Play

The primary plot of Much Ado About Nothing turns on the courtship and scandal involving young Hero and her suitor, Claudio, but…

Act 1, scene 1

The army of Don Pedro of Aragon arrives in Messina and is welcomed by Leonato, Messina’s governor. Benedick of Padua,…

Act 1, scene 2

Leonato is given a garbled account of the conversation between Don Pedro and Claudio, and is led to believe that…

Act 1, scene 3

Don John, Don Pedro’s brother, receives a true account of Don Pedro’s plan to woo Hero for Claudio. Resentful of…

Act 2, scene 1

Don Pedro and his soldiers, disguised in masks, dance with the ladies of Leonato’s household. While Don Pedro woos Hero,…

Act 2, scene 2

Don John and his henchman Borachio agree on a plan to disrupt the coming marriage: Borachio will convince Claudio that…

Act 2, scene 3

Leonato, Claudio, and Don Pedro stage a conversation for Benedick to overhear. They talk about Beatrice’s desperate love for Benedick,…

Act 3, scene 1

Beatrice is lured into overhearing a staged conversation between Hero and Ursula, a waiting gentlewoman, who talk about Benedick’s desperate…

Act 3, scene 2

Benedick appears with his beard shaved off and showing other signs of having fallen in love. When he exits with…

Act 3, scene 3

That night, Messina’s master constable, Dogberry, and his assistant, Verges, set the night watch, telling the watchmen to pay particular…

Act 3, scene 4

Early the next morning, Hero prepares for the wedding. Beatrice enters, suffering, she says, from a bad cold, but Hero…

Act 3, scene 5

Dogberry and Verges try to tell Leonato about the arrest of Borachio and Conrade, but they are so unintelligible that…

Act 4, scene 1

At the wedding, Claudio publicly denounces Hero as a lewd woman. He is supported in his story by Don Pedro…

Act 4, scene 2

Dogberry ineptly questions Borachio and Conrade about the deception of Claudio and Don Pedro. The Sexton has Borachio and Conrade…

Act 5, scene 1

Leonato and his brother tell Claudio and Don Pedro of Hero’s death, and attempt to challenge them to a duel….

Act 5, scene 2

Benedick tells Beatrice that he has challenged Claudio. They are summoned to Leonato’s house with the news that Hero’s innocence…

Act 5, scene 3

Claudio appears at Leonato’s family tomb, has a song sung for Hero, and hangs a scroll on the tomb.

Act 5, scene 4

Claudio and Don Pedro appear for the second wedding. The women enter masked. When Claudio takes the hand of Leonato’s…

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Scene 3
Enter Sir John the Bastard, and Conrade, his
companion.


CONRADE What the goodyear, my lord, why are you
 thus out of measure sad?
DON JOHN There is no measure in the occasion that
 breeds. Therefore the sadness is without limit.
CONRADE 5You should hear reason.
DON JOHN And when I have heard it, what blessing
 brings it?
CONRADE If not a present remedy, at least a patient
 sufferance.
DON JOHN 10I wonder that thou, being, as thou sayst thou
 art, born under Saturn, goest about to apply a moral
 medicine to a mortifying mischief. I cannot hide
 what I am. I must be sad when I have cause, and
 smile at no man’s jests; eat when I have stomach,
15 and wait for no man’s leisure; sleep when I am
 drowsy, and tend on no man’s business; laugh when
 I am merry, and claw no man in his humor.
CONRADE Yea, but you must not make the full show of
 this till you may do it without controlment. You
20 have of late stood out against your brother, and he
 hath ta’en you newly into his grace, where it is
 impossible you should take true root but by the fair
 weather that you make yourself. It is needful that
 you frame the season for your own harvest.
DON JOHN 25I had rather be a canker in a hedge than a
 rose in his grace, and it better fits my blood to be
 disdained of all than to fashion a carriage to rob
 love from any. In this, though I cannot be said to be
 a flattering honest man, it must not be denied but I
30 am a plain-dealing villain. I am trusted with a
 muzzle and enfranchised with a clog; therefore I
 have decreed not to sing in my cage. If I had my

31
Much Ado About Nothing
ACT 1. SC. 3

 mouth, I would bite; if I had my liberty, I would do
 my liking. In the meantime, let me be that I am, and
35 seek not to alter me.
CONRADE Can you make no use of your discontent?
DON JOHN I make all use of it, for I use it only. Who
 comes here?

Enter Borachio.

 What news, Borachio?
BORACHIO 40I came yonder from a great supper. The
 Prince your brother is royally entertained by
 Leonato, and I can give you intelligence of an
 intended marriage.
DON JOHN Will it serve for any model to build mischief
45 on? What is he for a fool that betroths himself to
 unquietness?
BORACHIO Marry, it is your brother’s right hand.
DON JOHN Who, the most exquisite Claudio?
BORACHIO Even he.
DON JOHN 50A proper squire. And who, and who? Which
 way looks he?
BORACHIO Marry, on Hero, the daughter and heir of
 Leonato.
DON JOHN A very forward March chick! How came you
55 to this?
BORACHIO Being entertained for a perfumer, as I was
 smoking a musty room, comes me the Prince and
 Claudio, hand in hand, in sad conference. I
 whipped me behind the arras, and there heard it
60 agreed upon that the Prince should woo Hero for
 himself, and having obtained her, give her to Count
 Claudio.
DON JOHN Come, come, let us thither. This may prove
 food to my displeasure. That young start-up hath
65 all the glory of my overthrow. If I can cross him any

33
Much Ado About Nothing
ACT 1. SC. 3

 way, I bless myself every way. You are both sure, and
 will assist me?
CONRADE To the death, my lord.
DON JOHN Let us to the great supper. Their cheer is the
70 greater that I am subdued. Would the cook were o’
 my mind! Shall we go prove what’s to be done?
BORACHIO We’ll wait upon your Lordship.
They exit.