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Much Ado About Nothing
Act 3, scene 1

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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 1
Enter Hero and two gentlewomen, Margaret and Ursula.

HERO 
 Good Margaret, run thee to the parlor.
 There shalt thou find my cousin Beatrice
 Proposing with the Prince and Claudio.
 Whisper her ear and tell her I and Ursula
5 Walk in the orchard, and our whole discourse
 Is all of her. Say that thou overheardst us,
 And bid her steal into the pleachèd bower
 Where honeysuckles ripened by the sun
 Forbid the sun to enter, like favorites,
10 Made proud by princes, that advance their pride
 Against that power that bred it. There will she hide
 her
 To listen our propose. This is thy office.
 Bear thee well in it, and leave us alone.
MARGARET 
15 I’ll make her come, I warrant you, presently.
She exits.
HERO 
 Now, Ursula, when Beatrice doth come,
 As we do trace this alley up and down,
 Our talk must only be of Benedick.
 When I do name him, let it be thy part
20 To praise him more than ever man did merit.
83

85
Much Ado About Nothing
ACT 3. SC. 1

 My talk to thee must be how Benedick
 Is sick in love with Beatrice. Of this matter
 Is little Cupid’s crafty arrow made,
 That only wounds by hearsay. Now begin,
25 For look where Beatrice like a lapwing runs
 Close by the ground, to hear our conference.

Enter Beatrice, who hides in the bower.

URSULA, aside to Hero 
 The pleasant’st angling is to see the fish
 Cut with her golden oars the silver stream
 And greedily devour the treacherous bait.
30 So angle we for Beatrice, who even now
 Is couchèd in the woodbine coverture.
 Fear you not my part of the dialogue.
HERO, aside to Ursula 
 Then go we near her, that her ear lose nothing
 Of the false sweet bait that we lay for it.—
They walk near the bower.
35 No, truly, Ursula, she is too disdainful.
 I know her spirits are as coy and wild
 As haggards of the rock.
URSULA  But are you sure
 That Benedick loves Beatrice so entirely?
HERO 
40 So says the Prince and my new-trothèd lord.
URSULA 
 And did they bid you tell her of it, madam?
HERO 
 They did entreat me to acquaint her of it,
 But I persuaded them, if they loved Benedick,
 To wish him wrestle with affection
45 And never to let Beatrice know of it.
URSULA 
 Why did you so? Doth not the gentleman

87
Much Ado About Nothing
ACT 3. SC. 1

 Deserve as full as fortunate a bed
 As ever Beatrice shall couch upon?
HERO 
 O god of love! I know he doth deserve
50 As much as may be yielded to a man,
 But Nature never framed a woman’s heart
 Of prouder stuff than that of Beatrice.
 Disdain and scorn ride sparkling in her eyes,
 Misprizing what they look on, and her wit
55 Values itself so highly that to her
 All matter else seems weak. She cannot love,
 Nor take no shape nor project of affection,
 She is so self-endeared.
URSULA  Sure, I think so,
60 And therefore certainly it were not good
 She knew his love, lest she’ll make sport at it.
HERO 
 Why, you speak truth. I never yet saw man,
 How wise, how noble, young, how rarely featured,
 But she would spell him backward. If fair-faced,
65 She would swear the gentleman should be her
 sister;
 If black, why, Nature, drawing of an antic,
 Made a foul blot; if tall, a lance ill-headed;
 If low, an agate very vilely cut;
70 If speaking, why, a vane blown with all winds;
 If silent, why, a block moved with none.
 So turns she every man the wrong side out,
 And never gives to truth and virtue that
 Which simpleness and merit purchaseth.
URSULA 
75 Sure, sure, such carping is not commendable.
HERO 
 No, not to be so odd and from all fashions
 As Beatrice is cannot be commendable.
 But who dare tell her so? If I should speak,

89
Much Ado About Nothing
ACT 3. SC. 1

 She would mock me into air. O, she would laugh
80 me
 Out of myself, press me to death with wit.
 Therefore let Benedick, like covered fire,
 Consume away in sighs, waste inwardly.
 It were a better death than die with mocks,
85 Which is as bad as die with tickling.
URSULA 
 Yet tell her of it. Hear what she will say.
HERO 
 No, rather I will go to Benedick
 And counsel him to fight against his passion;
 And truly I’ll devise some honest slanders
90 To stain my cousin with. One doth not know
 How much an ill word may empoison liking.
URSULA 
 O, do not do your cousin such a wrong!
 She cannot be so much without true judgment,
 Having so swift and excellent a wit
95 As she is prized to have, as to refuse
 So rare a gentleman as Signior Benedick.
HERO 
 He is the only man of Italy,
 Always excepted my dear Claudio.
URSULA 
 I pray you be not angry with me, madam,
100 Speaking my fancy: Signior Benedick,
 For shape, for bearing, argument, and valor,
 Goes foremost in report through Italy.
HERO 
 Indeed, he hath an excellent good name.
URSULA 
 His excellence did earn it ere he had it.
105 When are you married, madam?
HERO 
 Why, every day, tomorrow. Come, go in.

91
Much Ado About Nothing
ACT 3. SC. 2

 I’ll show thee some attires and have thy counsel
 Which is the best to furnish me tomorrow.
They move away from the bower.
URSULA, aside to Hero 
 She’s limed, I warrant you. We have caught her,
110 madam.
HERO, aside to Ursula 
 If it prove so, then loving goes by haps;
 Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.
Hero and Ursula exit.
BEATRICE, coming forward 
 What fire is in mine ears? Can this be true?
  Stand I condemned for pride and scorn so much?
115 Contempt, farewell, and maiden pride, adieu!
  No glory lives behind the back of such.
 And Benedick, love on; I will requite thee,
  Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand.
 If thou dost love, my kindness shall incite thee
120  To bind our loves up in a holy band.
 For others say thou dost deserve, and I
 Believe it better than reportingly.
She exits.