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Much Ado About Nothing
Act 5, scene 2

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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 2
Enter Benedick and Margaret.

BENEDICK Pray thee, sweet Mistress Margaret, deserve
 well at my hands by helping me to the speech of
 Beatrice.
MARGARET Will you then write me a sonnet in praise
5 of my beauty?
BENEDICK In so high a style, Margaret, that no man
 living shall come over it, for in most comely truth
 thou deservest it.
MARGARET To have no man come over me? Why, shall I
10 always keep below stairs?

179
Much Ado About Nothing
ACT 5. SC. 2

BENEDICK Thy wit is as quick as the greyhound’s
 mouth; it catches.
MARGARET And yours as blunt as the fencer’s foils,
 which hit but hurt not.
BENEDICK 15A most manly wit, Margaret; it will not hurt
 a woman. And so, I pray thee, call Beatrice. I give
 thee the bucklers.
MARGARET Give us the swords; we have bucklers of our
 own.
BENEDICK 20If you use them, Margaret, you must put in
 the pikes with a vice, and they are dangerous
 weapons for maids.
MARGARET Well, I will call Beatrice to you, who I
 think hath legs.
BENEDICK 25And therefore will come.
Margaret exits.
Sings  The god of love
  That sits above,
 And knows me, and knows me,
  How pitiful I deserve—

30 I mean in singing. But in loving, Leander the good
 swimmer, Troilus the first employer of panders, and
 a whole book full of these quondam carpetmongers,
 whose names yet run smoothly in the even
 road of a blank verse, why, they were never so truly
35 turned over and over as my poor self in love. Marry,
 I cannot show it in rhyme. I have tried. I can find out
 no rhyme to “lady” but “baby”—an innocent
 rhyme; for “scorn,” “horn”—a hard rhyme; for
 “school,” “fool”—a babbling rhyme; very ominous
40 endings. No, I was not born under a rhyming
 planet, nor I cannot woo in festival terms.

Enter Beatrice.

 Sweet Beatrice, wouldst thou come when I called
 thee?

181
Much Ado About Nothing
ACT 5. SC. 2

BEATRICE Yea, signior, and depart when you bid me.
BENEDICK 45O, stay but till then!
BEATRICE “Then” is spoken. Fare you well now. And
 yet, ere I go, let me go with that I came, which is,
 with knowing what hath passed between you and
 Claudio.
BENEDICK 50Only foul words, and thereupon I will kiss
 thee.
BEATRICE Foul words is but foul wind, and foul wind is
 but foul breath, and foul breath is noisome. Therefore
 I will depart unkissed.
BENEDICK 55Thou hast frighted the word out of his right
 sense, so forcible is thy wit. But I must tell thee
 plainly, Claudio undergoes my challenge, and either
 I must shortly hear from him, or I will subscribe
 him a coward. And I pray thee now tell me, for
60 which of my bad parts didst thou first fall in love
 with me?
BEATRICE For them all together, which maintained so
 politic a state of evil that they will not admit any
 good part to intermingle with them. But for which
65 of my good parts did you first suffer love for me?
BENEDICK Suffer love! A good epithet. I do suffer love
 indeed, for I love thee against my will.
BEATRICE In spite of your heart, I think. Alas, poor
 heart, if you spite it for my sake, I will spite it for
70 yours, for I will never love that which my friend
 hates.
BENEDICK Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.
BEATRICE It appears not in this confession. There’s not
 one wise man among twenty that will praise
75 himself.
BENEDICK An old, an old instance, Beatrice, that lived
 in the time of good neighbors. If a man do not erect
 in this age his own tomb ere he dies, he shall live no
 longer in monument than the bell rings and the
80 widow weeps.

183
Much Ado About Nothing
ACT 5. SC. 3

BEATRICE And how long is that, think you?
BENEDICK Question: why, an hour in clamor and a
 quarter in rheum. Therefore is it most expedient for
 the wise, if Don Worm, his conscience, find no
85 impediment to the contrary, to be the trumpet of
 his own virtues, as I am to myself. So much for
 praising myself, who, I myself will bear witness, is
 praiseworthy. And now tell me, how doth your
 cousin?
BEATRICE 90Very ill.
BENEDICK And how do you?
BEATRICE Very ill, too.
BENEDICK Serve God, love me, and mend. There will I
 leave you too, for here comes one in haste.

Enter Ursula.

URSULA 95Madam, you must come to your uncle. Yonder’s
 old coil at home. It is proved my Lady Hero
 hath been falsely accused, the Prince and Claudio
 mightily abused, and Don John is the author of all,
 who is fled and gone. Will you come presently?
Ursula exits.
BEATRICE 100Will you go hear this news, signior?
BENEDICK I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be
 buried in thy eyes—and, moreover, I will go with
 thee to thy uncle’s.
They exit.