Questions about the Characters

1. What do Beatrice's comments on marriage in Act II, sc i, 44-71 reveal about her character?
2. Explain in your own words her arguments about marriage.
3. What does she mean when she says that women should not be ruled by a "clod of wayward marl"?
4. Despite Beatrice's cynical behaviour she is not completely resistant to love. After she overhears Hero and Margaret she is open to change.  Is this because she is just as afraid of being single as she is of being married?
5. She realises that despite her wit and intelligence she is still a woman living in a society that only values women through marriage.  Look closely at her comments in Act III, sc 1, 107-116. What is it in Hero and Margaret's comments that is offensive to Beatrice.
6. To what extent are their comments justified?
7. What in Beatrice's response reveals her true feelings towards Benedick and marriage?
8. Knowing these true feelings, what clues are there earlier in the play that hint at Beatrice's true feelings?
9. What does Beatrice's request to Benedick to kill Claudio reveal about her character, frustrations and her view of marriage?

1. In Act II, sc iii, 8-35, before being "gulled" into thinking Beatrice loves him, Benedick outlines the changes love can effect on a man.  Can you see any of these changes in Benedick once he is in love?
2. Is there anything in this speech that suggests Benedick's resolve against marriage is not resolute?
3. In Act II, sc iii, 210-233 Benedick undergoes an abrupt change. What differences are there in him?

1. Hero and Claudio are the central characters, yet we gain less insight into their characters than those of Beatrice and Benedick.  Why do you think that is?
2. In the few scenes Hero has substantial lines, what impression do we get of her?
3.  Does this impression fit with the stereotypical view of Hero as sweet, submissive, innocent?  Why or why not?
4. How does Hero react to the accusations of dishonourable behaviour in Act 4?
5. How does Hero parallel or contrast with the character of Beatrice? What do you think Shakespeare's purpose is in this? 

1. Contrast the impression we have of Claudio as a soldier and Claudio as a lover in Act I, sc i. Is he a man easily influenced by others?
2. Examine Claudio's speech in Act IV, sc i, 29-60.  What does it reveal about his character?  What makes him so harsh?
3.  Explore the relationship between Claudio and Benedick and how it changes over the course of the play.
4. Using Act V, sc i as your basis, imagine how Claudio feels when he realises he was deceived by Don John.

1. How do we know Leonato is proud of Hero at the beginning of the play?
2. Why is he happy to accept the proposal of Don Pedro/Claudio?
3. After Hero is accused of dishonourable conduct, we see a different side to him and his relationship with Hero. In Act IV, sc i, 119-142 what do we learn of this side of his relationship with his daughter? What motivates Leonato to accept the word of Don Pedro and Claudio over that of his daughter? 
4. How does Leonato's response differ from the Friar's? How does the Friar influence Leonato?

Ursula and Margaret
1. These two women represent the lower classes. Is there evidence of this from their speech?
2. What evidence is there to suggest these two women share an informal relationship with their mistress Hero?

Conrad and Borachio
1. Which one of these characters do you think is closer to Don John and his intentions? Why? 
2. Compare and contrast the reactions of these characters to their capture in Act IV, sc ii and Act V, sc i.

Dogberry, Verges and the Watch
1. How do these men parody authority?
2. What effect does Dogberry's mangled words have on the plot and the audience?
3. How does Dogberry's vocabulary reveal his character?
4. How do these men provide irony in the play?