Much Ado About Nothing: Act 3, Scene 1 to 5 - Summary

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Summary

Act 3, Scene 1

      While Benedick waits, he tries to rationalize having changed his mind about marriage. When Beatrice appears, she is her usual self, but Benedick has changed. He does not argue with her. Instead, he keeps turning some of her barbs to his advantage, reading into them something pleasant, finding signs of love hidden inside them. On her way back to the house, Beatrice over-hears Hero and her other lady-in-waiting, Ursula, talking about how they have heard Benedick saying that he loves Beatrice. It does not take long for Beatrice to admit to herself that, in fact, she does love Benedick.

Act 3, Scene 2

      Don Pedro, Claudio, and Leonato observe changes in Benedick. Benedick says it is because he has a toothache, but the other men say it is because he has fallen in love. They tease him about how he now brushes his hair and is concerned about this looks. Benedick, they say, is now even taking baths and wearing perfume. Benedick tires of the teasing and asks Leonato to walk with him, because Benedick has something to tell him.

      Don John appears and asks to speak to the prince. Claudio is standing there, but Don John says he can stay as what he is about to say involves Claudio's future. Don John then tells them both that he has proof that Hero has been unfaithful to Claudio. She has been having an affair with another man. Don Pedro and Claudio cannot believe this. So Don John tells them that he can prove it to them. They are to meet him that night, under the window to Hero's bedroom. They will see for themselves that Hero is not worthy of marriage.

Act 3, Scene 3

      The town's constable, Dogberry, a man of words that never quite make sense, appears. Dogberry is coming to Leonato's house to check on the watchmen, who are standing guard outside. Dogberry gives them orders, asks them questions, and corrects their answers, but none of his orders, questions, or corrections are rational. He tells them, for example, that they are to remain silent, which the watchmen interpret to mean that they can go to sleep, and which Dogberry appears to confirm. He also tells them to make sure that any drunkards are told to go home - unless they do not respond to the orders. In that case the guards are to leave them ie where they find them. Before leaving, Dogberry warns the men to keep a close watch on Leonato's house because there is to be a big wedding in the morning.

      While the watchmen stand guard and are about to fall asleep, Borachio and Conrade appear. The guards hide and listen, sensing that they are about to hear the details of a scheme. Borachio, unaware that anyone is listening, brags about how he has deceived Don Pedro and Claudio. Borachio has wooed Margaret, Hero's lady-in-waiting, in front of Hero's bedroom window, pretending he was wooing Her Don Pedro and Claudio fell for the trick, believing that Hero was unfaithful.

      When the guards hear this, they arrest Borachio and Conrade.

Act 3, Scene 4

      Hero, Margaret, and Beatrice get ready for Hero's wedding. When Beatrice says that she feels ill, Margaret teases Beatrice about being in love. Ursula, Hero's other lady-in-waiting, comes in and calls them out to the wedding. Everyone is waiting for them.

Act 3, Scene 5

      Dogberry comes to Leonato to tell him about Borachio and Corade's scheme. But Dogberry is not very clear about what has happened, and Leonato loses all patience with him. Dogberry says that he has captured two scoundrels, but he fails to tell him what the scoundrels are accused of. Leonato tells Dogberry that he is very busy right then because of the wedding and that Dogberry should examine the men's story himself. A messenger then appears and tells Leonato that it is time to get to the church for his daughter's wedding.

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