Much Ado About Nothing is one of William Shakespeare’s comedy plays.


Shakespeare’s attitude toward courtship and romance combines mature cynicism with an awareness that the social realities surrounding courtship may detract from the fun of romance. The need to marry for social betterment and to ensure inheritance, coupled with the importance of virginal chastity, complicates romantic relationships. Although this play is a comedy ending in multiple marriages and is full of witty dialogue making for many comic moments, it also addresses more serious events, including some that border on tragedy.

Setting (Time & Place)

The play, which was written at the end of 16th century, is set during the 16th century. Much Ado About Nothing takes place in Messina, Sicily, on and around Governor Leonato’s estate.


Claudio, Hero, Beatrice, and Benedick and all protagonists of the play.

Major Conflict

Don John creates the appearance that Hero is unfaithful to Claudio, and Claudio and Don Pedro come to believe this lie. The real conflict that underlies all of this “ado about nothing” may be that Claudio, Don Pedro, and Benedick share a suspicion of marriage as a trap in which husbands are bound to be controlled and deceived, but they also deeply desire to be married.

Rising Action

The rising action includes when Claudio falls in love with Hero; Benedick, Don Pedro, and Claudio express their anxieties about marriage in jokes and witty banter; Don Pedro woos Hero on Claudio’s behalf; and the villainous Don John creates the illusion that Hero is a prostitute.


The climax of the play is when Claudio rejects Hero at the altar, insulting her and accusing her of unchaste behavior; Don Pedro supports Claudio; and Benedick—who was most opposed to women and love at the beginning of the play—sides with Hero and his future wife Beatrice.

Falling Action

Benedick challenges Claudio to a duel for slandering Hero, Leonato proclaims publically that Hero died of grief at being falsely accused, Hero’s innocence is brought to light by Dogberry, and Claudio and Don Pedro repent.


By blindly marrying a masked woman whom he believes he has never met, Claudio shows that he has abandoned jealous suspicions and fears of being controlled, and that he is ready to marry. He is rewarded by discovering that his bride is actually Hero.


Foreshadowing in the play includes Don John’s plan to cross Claudio out of jealousy in Act 1 and Benedick and Beatrice’s witty insults foreshadowing their falling in love.