Synopsis of Play

Much Ado About Nothing ... Synopsis


I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale with love.

With anger, with sickness, or with hunger,

my lord, not with love....


Benedick thus assures Don Pedro in the opening of Much Ado About Nothing that he will remain forever a bachelor. The play begins in Messina, Sicily, where Leonato, the governor of the town, welcomes Don Pedro of Aragon and his soldiers, who arrive after a successful battle. They agree to stay in Messina for a month. We are introduced to Benedick, one of Don Pedros soldiers, who engages in a spirited war of words with Beatrice, Leonato's niece.

Once Leonato's family leaves, Claudio, another follower of Don Pedro's, confesses that he has become enamored of Leonato's beautiful daughter, Hero. Don Pedro agrees to help Claudio win her hand. That night he speaks to Hero, who admits she indeed loves Claudio, and willingly agrees to marry him.

Don John, jealous of his brother Don Pedro, decides to break up the marriage. Borachio, one of Don John's friends, comes up with a plan: Don John will go to Claudio and tell him Hero is unfaithful. That night, Borachio will seduce a maid who bears a resemblance to Hero and has access to her room. Claudio will believe he has seen Hero in the arms of another man.

Meanwhile, Benedick and Beatrice find themselves being tricked into falling in love. Both overhear conversations about how the other person is desperately in love but is afraid to reveal it. They fall for the ruse and become hopelessly smitten with each other.

During Hero and Claudio'.s wedding ceremony, Claudio shocks the assembly by publicly accusing Hero of adultery. Protesting her innocence, she faints, and Claudio and Don Pedro leave in disgust. The kindly friar comes up with a plan: hide Hero and announce that she is dead, which will cause people to forget the scandal - and if the story of Hero's unfaithfulness should prove true, she can quietly be taken away to a nunnery.

But Borachio's heinous plot is discovered by the Watch and he is brought before Don Pedro, Claudio and Leonato by the bumbling Dogberry. Borachio confesses that Hero is innocent and Don John is the culprit. Claudio is overcome with grief for Hero, believing her dead, but Leonato proposes that Claudio marry another woman - a mysterious "relative" of Hero's.

Claudio's wedding day brings him a joyous surprise, for when his bride is unveiled, it is Hero herself. Leonato tells him, "She died my lord, but whiles her slander liv'd." (V, iv) Benedick and Beatrice also discover that they were tricked, and in anger try to deny their love for one another. But when friends reveal love letters the two have written, they relent and are happily united.

For a good, modern retelling watch this.  Thanks to Evie  for telling me about it.