Much Ado about Nothing Act 4, Scene 1: "Within a Church"
Prince Don Pedro, John the Bastard, Leonato, Friar Francis, Claudio, Benedick, Hero, and Beatrice enter the church for the wedding of Hero and Claudio. As it begins, the friar asks if anyone present wishes to bring reason as to why the two should not be married. Claudio steps forward to everyone's shock and confusion. He pushes Hero away, disgracing her and her family. "There, Leonato, take her back again: / Give not this rotten orange to your friend; / She's but the sign and semblance of her honor" Act 4, Scene 1, lines 31-33. Everyone is confused and hurt because of Claudio's rage except Don Pedro and John the Bastard. Don Pedro defends Claudio because he, too, saw "Hero" with another man at her window the night before. John revels in his villainy. Claudio, Don Pedro, and John leave the church in anger. Hero faints and Beatrice rushes to her side. Leonato is so furious with his daughter's supposed actions that he wants her to die. Her shame is too great for him to handle. Benedick and Beatrice try to help Hero by defending her innocence. Benedick asks Beatrice if she was with Hero last night. She responds that she has been her roommate every night for the past year except for last night. Leonato sees this information as proof of Hero's infidelity and again wants her to die. The friar comes up with a plan, for he too believes Hero to be innocent.
"Your daughter here the princes left for dead;
Let her awhile be secretly kept in,
And publish it that she is dead indeed:
...Change slander to remorse...
She dying, as it must be so maintain'd,
Upon the instant that she was accus'd,
Shall be lamented, pitied and excus'd
Of every hearer" Act 4, Scene 1, lines 204-219
Benedick persuades Leonato to go along with the plan of feigning Hero's death and funeral to save her name and bring forth the truth. The friar, Hero, and Leonato leave the church with possible hopes of a future second wedding.
Beatrice and Benedick are left alone in the church to sob for Hero. Beatrice is hurt and angry for her cousin, Hero, while Benedick simply wants to help. They fumble with their words until Benedick reveals his love for Beatrice. She returns the affection. "I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest" Act 4, Scene 1, lines 291-292. Beatrice tells him to kill Claudio to avenge Hero. He will not do so. Beatrice says that if he loves her, he will do this for her. She erupts into a tirade of words and bitterness for her wronged cousin until Benedick says that he will challenge Claudio. The two are engaged.