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Act 5, Scene 1: "Before Leonato's House" Notes from Much Ado about Nothing

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Much Ado about Nothing Act 5, Scene 1: "Before Leonato's House"

Leonato and his brother Antonio speak of Hero's tragic wedding. Leonato is miserable because of what happened to his only daughter. He believes that she is wronged and plans to make Claudio and the prince see their error.

Claudio and the prince enter Leonato's house. Leonato tells them how angry he is that they killed his daughter. "I say thou has belied mine innocent child: / Thy slander hath gone through and through her heart, / And she lies buried with her ancestors; / O! in a tomb where never scandal slept, / Save this of hers, fram'd by thy villainy!" Act 5, Scene 1, lines 67-71. Antonio cannot control his temper with the two men either and says that he will kill Claudio for what he has done. Don Pedro vows for Claudio again by saying that they witnessed Hero's actions with their own eyes.

Topic Tracking: Mistaken Identity 8

Leonato and Antonio leave the stage as Benedick enters. For the first time in the play, Benedick is serious. He challenges Claudio to a fight and tells Don Pedro of his wrongs. He tells them also that Hero is dead and that John the Bastard has fled Messina. At first, Claudio and Pedro are happy to see Benedick, for they have been looking for him. They tease him about Beatrice, and eventually realize how serious he is about fighting Claudio. They know that he is changed because of his love for Beatrice, but prefer him with his strong wit.

Dogberry, Verges, and the watchmen enter the stage with Borachio and Conrade imprisoned. Leonato asks who the prisoners are and what is their crime. Dogberry humorously tries to explain their follies, but Borachio illustrates his ill deeds fully. "I have deceived even your very eyes: what your wisdoms could not discover, these shallow fools have brought to light; who, in the night overheard me confessing to this man how Don John your brother incensed me to slander the Lady Hero" Act 5, Scene 1, lines 243-248. He assumes full responsibility for Hero's death. Don Pedro knows that Don John is the responsible party and thanks Dogberry for his help in discovering this news.

Topic Tracking: Faithfulness 9

Claudio is in shock, pain, and misery that he destroyed his love. "I have drunk poison while he utter'd it" Act 5, Scene 1, line 258. Leonato tells Claudio that he can right his wrong by placing an epitaph on Hero's grave that evening and by marrying his niece, Antonio's daughter, the next morning. Claudio agrees to everything, yet is still in mourning for his beloved Hero. Leonato and Dogberry plan to talk with Margaret about the crime.

Topic Tracking: Mistaken Identity 9

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