Why are both Benedick and Beatrice opposed to marriage?

From the outset, Beatrice and Benedick stand firmly opposed to the idea of marriage. Ostensibly, this is because Beatrice wants a partner who is her equal, and does not wish to submit herself to a husband’s controlling ways, and Benedick claims that that not only does marriage limit a man’s liberty, but he doesn’t trust women in general. It’s possible, however, that such declarations are made in part due to their feelings for one another; Beatrice and Benedick have known each other for a long time and it appears there was previously a romance between them that ended badly. Beatrice says in Act 2, “Marry, once before he won it [her heart] of me, with false dice.”

Why does Don John sabotage the wedding between Claudio and Hero?

Don John feels threatened by and perhaps jealous of the social status that his brother Don Pedro enjoys, and he is bitter about his failure to overcome Don Pedro in battle prior to the events of the play. Thus, he directs his ire toward Claudio and Hero not necessarily for personal reasons, but because they are happy while he is not, and he finds joy in making them miserable.

Why does Claudio call off the wedding?

Claudio believes that Hero has been unfaithful to him, owing to Don John’s deception involving Margaret and Borachio, and chooses to publicly humiliate her in front of her family and friends. At the wedding, Claudio announces to everyone in his company that Hero is unchaste, thereby destroying her reputation.

How does Hero fake her death?

When accusations are made against Hero at the wedding, she faints, at which point Leonato declares it would be better if she died than live in shame. Based on her expressions of pure shock, the friar recognizes that Hero is telling the truth. He suggests they exacerbate Hero’s condition and tell everyone she actually died of shock and grief when she fainted. Hero herself will be hidden away, and the reactions to her death throughout Messina will help smoke out the truth. Worst-case scenario, Hero could be secretly sent off to become a nun in a convent.

Why does Claudio agree to marry Leonato’s “niece”?

After Claudio realizes he was duped, he comes to Leonato begging for forgiveness. Leonato asks Claudio to preserve Hero’s reputation by telling everyone in town that she was innocent, and to write an epitaph to read at her grave. He then suggests Claudio marry his niece, Antonio’s daughter, who purportedly looks very much like Hero. Claudio, believing himself to be indebted to Leonato for the harm he has caused, is overjoyed by such generosity. His willingness to marry a total stranger so quickly after Hero’s supposed death speaks to his gratefulness for Leonato’s forgiveness but also his penchant for being swayed by others. Ultimately this works to Leonato’s advantage (and Claudio’s too!), as there is no niece, and the woman Claudio will be marrying is in fact Hero, not dead at all.