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Much Ado About Nothing is a play by William Shakespeare first performed in 1612. Read Much Ado About Nothing here, with side-by-side No Fear translations into modern English.
Don Pedro, Don John, Claudio, and Benedick return from war to the home of Leonato. Claudio loves Hero. Benedick has a witty battle with Beatrice. Don John is recently reunited with his half-brother Don Pedro.
Antonio believes that Don Pedro plans to court Hero, but Don Pedro plans to woo Hero on behalf of Claudio.
Don John does not like Don Pedro or Claudio. When Borachio shares Don Pedro’s plan to woo Hero for Claudio, Don John decides to make trouble for Claudio.
At the masked ball everything goes as planned, despite Don John’s meddling, and Don Pedro convinces Hero to marry Claudio. The group decides to pass the time by trying to get Benedick and Beatrice to fall in love.
Borachio and Don John plan to ruin Claudio’s relationship with Hero by making him think she is unfaithful. Borachio will have sex on a balcony with Hero’s maid, who will wear Hero’s clothes.
Don Pedro and Claudio plant the false idea in Benedick that Beatrice has fallen in love with him. Benedick starts treating Beatrice with love and flattery, which only confuses her.
Hero, Margaret, and Ursula trick Beatrice into thinking Benedick is in love with her. Beatrice decides to “have pity” on Benedick by returning his affections.
Don John tells Don Pedro and Claudio to meet him outside Hero’s window at night, and he will prove she is unfaithful. Claudio promises that if she is indeed proven to be unfaithful, he will disgrace her publicly at the wedding tomorrow.
The night watchmen talk about their duties. Don John, Borachio, and Conrad discuss the success of their ruse to trick Claudio into believing that Hero has been unfaithful.
Hero gets dressed for her wedding, despite a strange foreboding of disaster, and she makes fun of Beatrice for her lovestruck demeanor.
Leonato does not understand Dogberry and Verges' explanations of the criminals they want to interrogate.
Claudio accuses Hero of unfaithfulness. Benedick, Beatrice, and the priest all agree that Hero must be innocent, and decide to tell everyone else that she has died. Beatrice convinces Benedick that he must challenge Claudio to a duel.
The watchmen interrogate Borachio and Conrad. Borachio confesses that he received money from Don John for pretending to make love to Hero.
Leonato and Benedick challenge Claudio to a duel, then the watchmen bring forward Borachio who reveals his role in the deception. Claudio submits to Leonato for punishment. Leonato says that Claudio must marry Leonato’s niece.
Beatrice and Benedick discuss Benedick’s challenge to Claudio.
Claudio, who still believes that Hero is dead, goes to her supposed tomb and reads an epitaph celebrating her innocence and grieving the slander that led to her death.
At the wedding, Hero reveals herself. Beatrice and Benedick finally admit their love for one another. Both couples are married, and news arrives that Don John has been arrested.