Characters


Leonato's household:
Leonato: Governor of Messina, Hero's father.
Antonio: Leonato's brother
Hero: Leonato's daughter - his only child
Beatrice: an orphan, Leonato and Antonio's niece, Hero's cousin
Margaret: waiting woman on Hero
Ursula: waiting woman on Hero
Friar Francis: the priest

Don Pedro's retinue:
Don Pedro: Prince of Arragon
Don John: Don Pedro's half-brother (bastard brother)
Count Claudio: companion of Don Pedro
Benedick: companion of Don Pedro
Borachio: follower of Don John
Conrad: follower of Don John
Balthasar: musician

The Town:
Dogberry: Constable of Messina
Verges: Deputy Constable
Sexton: takes the lead in questioning the suspects
George Seacoal: Senior Watchman
Watchman 1
Watchman 2

Character Patterns in Much Ado About Nothing

Shakespeare has a lot of his characters in this play in doubles and they serve as mirrors or foils to each other.  A mirror character reflects another character.   Foils are characters that contrast with each other to highlight traits of one or the other.  It can show how characters with the same traits can go in different directions.
Brothers:
Leonato and Antonio (mirror)
Don Pedro and Don John (foils)
These pairs show opposite sides of brotherhood.  The one is based on friendship and loyalty, the other conflict and betrayal.
Friends:
Claudio and Benedick (foils)
Borachio and Conrad (mirror)
Although Claudio and Benedick share some similarities, they differ significantly on their beliefs on love and in loyalty to their lovers.
Lovers:
Claudio and Hero (mirror)
Beatrice and Benedick (mirror)
 These pairs are foils to each other as they present different perspectives of love.
Margaret and Borachio
This pair present a third perspective of love - immoral and lower class.  This is, in turn, a foil to the other pairs.
Cousins:
Hero and Beatrice (foils)
Rulers:
Leonato and Don Pedro (mirror)

Characterisation

is developed three ways:
  • description
    • by the narrator where applicable
  • dialogue
    • what the character says about themselves
    • what others characters say about them
    • the language the character uses (and voice)
  • action
    • what the character does - this may contradict what they say, it is the truer measure of the character