Much Ado About Nothing: Act 2, Scene 1 to 3 - Summary

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Summary

Act 2, Scene 1

      Beatrice tries to imagine the best man who could possibly exist on earth. She takes part of one man and places it on another, trying to conjure someone she might be interested in marrying. Then she drops the subject, stating that she will never marry.

      Meanwhile, Leonato counsels his daughter, telling her to listen carefully to what the prince is about to say to her. Don Pedro approaches Hero, and they leave the scene, taking a walk so they can talk to one another. While they walk, the other characters in the play dance, their faces masked. Beatrice ends up dancing with Benedick. It is not clear if she knows it is he, but she tells him that Benedick is a fool. Benedick is offended, but he does not unmask himself or reveal his identity.

      Don John approaches Claudio and pretends he does not recognize him. Instead, he asks if Claudio is Benedick. Claudio tells him that he is. Don John then tells Claudio / Benedick that he is concerned that Don Pedro has fallen in love with Hero and is, at that moment, asking for her hand in marriage. Don John says that if the prince goes through with it, he will be marrying beneath his social status. Of course, Claudio is furiously jealous, believing that Don Pedro has tricked him. Instead of wooing Hero for Claudio, he believes the prince is wooing her for himself. Claudio asks Don John how he knows Don Pedro is doing this. Don John says that the prince confessed his love of Hero to him. After Don John leaves, Claudio runs away.

      Beatrice finds Claudio and brings him to Don Pedro, who tells Claudio that Hero has been won and Leonato has agreed to marriage. Hero will marry Claudio. Then the prince and Beatrice talk. Don Pedro tells Beatrice that she has a merry heart. He then asks if she would marry him. But Beatrice turns the prince down, stating that he is too fancy for her.

      Beatrice and Benedick once again turn on each other, Benedick declaring that he wishes the prince would send him far away so that he will not have to deal with Beatrice any longer. Then Benedick and Beatrice leave, and the prince suggests that Leonato, Hero, and Claudio help him put together a plan to bring Benedick and Beatrice together.

Act 2, Scene 2

      Don John and Borachio hatch another scheme to thwart the marriage of Hero and Claudio. Borachio, who has been having an affair with Margaret, one of Hero's ladies-in-waiting, says that he can be in Hero's bedroom at any time at night. He tells Don John to be at the window of Hero's bedroom that night and all Don John has to do is to make sure that Don Pedro and Claudio see what is happening at that window.

Act 2, Scene 3

      Still in the afternoon, Benedick is sitting in the garden when he sees Don Pedro, Leonato, and Claudio approach. Benedick decides to hide. He wants nothing to do with any talk of love from Claudio. In an aside, Bernedick states that he will never have anything to do with marriage.

      The prince and the other men have seen Benedick and know that he is hiding from them. They call for a troubadour to sing a song about love. Then they talk about how they have heard Beatrice declare her love of Benedick. Benedick, of course, is caught completely off guard. But the more he hears, the better he likes it, however, he is not sure they are telling the truth. He listens to more and decides that if Leonato is saying that Beatrice loves him, then it must be true. Of course, Beatrice is in love with him, Benedick finally realizes. How could she not be?

      The men leave and send Beatrice to fetch Benedick for dinner.

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