Much Ado About Nothing
William Shakespeare
Novels
2:31 h
Level 9
Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy by William Shakespeare thought to have been written in 1598 and 1599. The play was included in the First Folio, published in 1623. The play is set in Messina and revolves around two romantic pairings that emerge when a group of soldiers arrive in the town. The first, between Claudio and Hero, is nearly altered by the accusations of the villain, Don John. The second romance, between Claudio's friend Benedick and Hero's cousin Beatrice, takes center stage as the play goes on, with both characters' wit and banter providing much of the humor.

Much Ado About Nothing

by
William Shakespeare


Dramatis Personæ

DON PEDRO, Prince of Arragon.
DON JOHN, his bastard Brother.
CLAUDIO, a young Lord of Florence.
BENEDICK, a young Lord of Padua.
LEONATO, Governor of Messina.
ANTONIO, his Brother.
BALTHASAR, Servant to Don Pedro.
BORACHIO, follower of Don John.
CONRADE, follower of Don John.
DOGBERRY, a Constable.
VERGES, a Headborough.
FRIAR FRANCIS.
A Sexton.
A Boy.

HERO, Daughter to Leonato.
BEATRICE, Niece to Leonato.
MARGARET, Waiting gentlewoman attending on Hero.
URSULA, Waiting gentlewoman attending on Hero.

Messengers, Watch, Attendants, &c.

SCENE. Messina.


Act I

Scene I
Before Leonato’s House

Enter Leonato, Hero, Beatrice and others, with a Messenger.

LEONATO.
I learn in this letter that Don Pedro of Arragon comes this night to Messina.

MESSENGER.
He is very near by this: he was not three leagues off when I left him.

LEONATO.
How many gentlemen have you lost in this action?

MESSENGER.
But few of any sort, and none of name.

LEONATO.
A victory is twice itself when the achiever brings home full numbers. I find here that Don Pedro hath bestowed much honour on a young Florentine called Claudio.

MESSENGER.
Much deserved on his part, and equally remembered by Don Pedro. He hath borne himself beyond the promise of his age, doing in the figure of a lamb the feats of a lion: he hath indeed better bettered expectation than you must expect of me to tell you how.

LEONATO.
He hath an uncle here in Messina will be very much glad of it.