List iconMuch Ado About Nothing:
Act 3, scene 3
List icon

Much Ado About Nothing
Act 3, scene 3



Characters in the Play

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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Quill icon
Scene 3
Enter Dogberry and his compartner Verges
with the Watch.

DOGBERRY Are you good men and true?
VERGES Yea, or else it were pity but they should suffer
 salvation, body and soul.
DOGBERRY Nay, that were a punishment too good for
5 them if they should have any allegiance in them,
 being chosen for the Prince’s watch.
VERGES Well, give them their charge, neighbor
DOGBERRY First, who think you the most desartless
10 man to be constable?
FIRST WATCHMAN Hugh Oatcake, sir, or George Seacoal,
 for they can write and read.
DOGBERRY Come hither, neighbor Seacoal. Seacoal
 steps forward. 
God hath blessed you with a good

Much Ado About Nothing
ACT 3. SC. 3

15 name. To be a well-favored man is the gift of
 fortune, but to write and read comes by nature.
SEACOAL Both which, master constable—
DOGBERRY You have. I knew it would be your answer.
 Well, for your favor, sir, why, give God thanks, and
20 make no boast of it, and for your writing and
 reading, let that appear when there is no need of
 such vanity. You are thought here to be the most
 senseless and fit man for the constable of the watch;
 therefore bear you the lantern. This is your charge:
25 you shall comprehend all vagrom men; you are to
 bid any man stand, in the Prince’s name.
SEACOAL How if he will not stand?
DOGBERRY Why, then, take no note of him, but let him
 go, and presently call the rest of the watch together
30 and thank God you are rid of a knave.
VERGES If he will not stand when he is bidden, he is
 none of the Prince’s subjects.
DOGBERRY True, and they are to meddle with none but
 the Prince’s subjects.—You shall also make no
35 noise in the streets; for, for the watch to babble and
 to talk is most tolerable and not to be endured.
SECOND WATCHMAN We will rather sleep than talk.
 We know what belongs to a watch.
DOGBERRY Why, you speak like an ancient and most
40 quiet watchman, for I cannot see how sleeping
 should offend; only have a care that your bills be not
 stolen. Well, you are to call at all the alehouses and
 bid those that are drunk get them to bed.
SEACOAL How if they will not?
DOGBERRY 45Why then, let them alone till they are sober.
 If they make you not then the better answer, you
 may say they are not the men you took them for.
SEACOAL Well, sir.
DOGBERRY If you meet a thief, you may suspect him, by
50 virtue of your office, to be no true man, and for such

Much Ado About Nothing
ACT 3. SC. 3

 kind of men, the less you meddle or make with
 them, why, the more is for your honesty.
SEACOAL If we know him to be a thief, shall we not
 lay hands on him?
DOGBERRY 55Truly, by your office you may, but I think
 they that touch pitch will be defiled. The most
 peaceable way for you, if you do take a thief, is to
 let him show himself what he is and steal out of
 your company.
VERGES 60You have been always called a merciful man,
DOGBERRY Truly, I would not hang a dog by my will,
 much more a man who hath any honesty in him.
VERGES, to the Watch If you hear a child cry in the
65 night, you must call to the nurse and bid her still it.
SECOND WATCHMAN How if the nurse be asleep and
 will not hear us?
DOGBERRY Why, then depart in peace, and let the
 child wake her with crying, for the ewe that will
70 not hear her lamb when it baas will never answer a
 calf when he bleats.
VERGES ’Tis very true.
DOGBERRY This is the end of the charge. You, constable,
 are to present the Prince’s own person. If you
75 meet the Prince in the night, you may stay him.
VERGES Nay, by ’r Lady, that I think he cannot.
DOGBERRY Five shillings to one on ’t, with any man that
 knows the statutes, he may stay him—marry, not
 without the Prince be willing, for indeed the watch
80 ought to offend no man, and it is an offense to stay a
 man against his will.
VERGES By ’r Lady, I think it be so.
DOGBERRY Ha, ah ha!—Well, masters, goodnight. An
 there be any matter of weight chances, call up me.
85 Keep your fellows’ counsels and your own, and
 goodnight.—Come, neighbor.
Dogberry and Verges begin to exit.

Much Ado About Nothing
ACT 3. SC. 3

SEACOAL Well, masters, we hear our charge. Let us go
 sit here upon the church bench till two, and then all
 to bed.
DOGBERRY 90One word more, honest neighbors. I pray
 you watch about Signior Leonato’s door, for the
 wedding being there tomorrow, there is a great coil
 tonight. Adieu, be vigitant, I beseech you.
Dogberry and Verges exit.

Enter Borachio and Conrade.

BORACHIO What, Conrade!
SEACOAL, aside 95Peace, stir not.
BORACHIO Conrade, I say!
CONRADE Here, man, I am at thy elbow.
BORACHIO Mass, and my elbow itched, I thought there
 would a scab follow.
CONRADE 100I will owe thee an answer for that. And now
 forward with thy tale.
BORACHIO Stand thee close, then, under this penthouse,
 for it drizzles rain, and I will, like a true
 drunkard, utter all to thee.
SEACOAL, aside 105Some treason, masters. Yet stand
BORACHIO Therefore know, I have earned of Don
 John a thousand ducats.
CONRADE Is it possible that any villainy should be so
110 dear?
BORACHIO Thou shouldst rather ask if it were possible
 any villainy should be so rich. For when rich
 villains have need of poor ones, poor ones may
 make what price they will.
CONRADE 115I wonder at it.
BORACHIO That shows thou art unconfirmed. Thou
 knowest that the fashion of a doublet, or a hat, or a
 cloak, is nothing to a man.

Much Ado About Nothing
ACT 3. SC. 3

CONRADE Yes, it is apparel.
BORACHIO 120I mean the fashion.
CONRADE Yes, the fashion is the fashion.
BORACHIO Tush, I may as well say the fool’s the fool.
 But seest thou not what a deformed thief this
 fashion is?
FIRST WATCHMAN, aside 125I know that Deformed. He
 has been a vile thief this seven year. He goes up and
 down like a gentleman. I remember his name.
BORACHIO Didst thou not hear somebody?
CONRADE No, ’twas the vane on the house.
BORACHIO 130Seest thou not, I say, what a deformed thief
 this fashion is, how giddily he turns about all the
 hot bloods between fourteen and five-and-thirty,
 sometimes fashioning them like Pharaoh’s soldiers
 in the reechy painting, sometimes like god Bel’s
135 priests in the old church window, sometimes like
 the shaven Hercules in the smirched worm-eaten
 tapestry, where his codpiece seems as massy as his
CONRADE All this I see, and I see that the fashion wears
140 out more apparel than the man. But art not thou
 thyself giddy with the fashion too, that thou hast
 shifted out of thy tale into telling me of the
BORACHIO Not so, neither. But know that I have tonight
145 wooed Margaret, the Lady Hero’s gentlewoman,
 by the name of Hero. She leans me out at
 her mistress’ chamber window, bids me a thousand
 times goodnight. I tell this tale vilely. I should first
 tell thee how the Prince, Claudio, and my master,
150 planted and placed and possessed by my master
 Don John, saw afar off in the orchard this amiable
 amiable encounter.
CONRADE And thought they Margaret was Hero?
BORACHIO Two of them did, the Prince and Claudio,

Much Ado About Nothing
ACT 3. SC. 3

155 but the devil my master knew she was Margaret;
 and partly by his oaths, which first possessed them,
 partly by the dark night, which did deceive them,
 but chiefly by my villainy, which did confirm any
 slander that Don John had made, away went Claudio
160 enraged, swore he would meet her as he was
 appointed next morning at the temple, and there,
 before the whole congregation, shame her with
 what he saw o’ernight and send her home again
 without a husband.
FIRST WATCHMAN 165We charge you in the Prince’s name
SEACOAL Call up the right Master Constable. Second
 Watchman exits. 
We have here recovered the most
 dangerous piece of lechery that ever was known in
170 the commonwealth.
FIRST WATCHMAN And one Deformed is one of them. I
 know him; he wears a lock.

Enter Dogberry, Verges, and Second Watchman.

DOGBERRY Masters, masters—
FIRST WATCHMAN, to Borachio You’ll be made bring
175 Deformed forth, I warrant you.
DOGBERRY, to Borachio and Conrade Masters, never
 speak, we charge you, let us obey you to go with us.
BORACHIO, to Conrade We are like to prove a goodly
 commodity, being taken up of these men’s bills.
CONRADE 180A commodity in question, I warrant you.—
 Come, we’ll obey you.
They exit.