Much Ado About Nothing

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Claudio Character Analysis

A young Florentine soldier who fights for Don Pedro, and a friend of Benedick. He falls in love with Hero and plans to marry her, but disgraces her publicly after he is tricked by Don John and Borachio into thinking she has been unfaithful. By the end of the play, after her faithfulness has been proven, he marries her. Claudio is one of the characters who participates in the scheme to bring Benedick and Beatrice together.

Claudio Quotes in Much Ado About Nothing

The Much Ado About Nothing quotes below are all either spoken by Claudio or refer to Claudio. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Simon & Schuster edition of Much Ado About Nothing published in 1995.
Act 1, Scene 1 Quotes

“Shall I never see a bachelor of threescore again?”

Related Characters: Benedick (speaker), Claudio
Related Symbols: Eyes
Page Number: 1.1.195-196
Explanation and Analysis:

Don Pedro and his men, including Benedick, have arrived at Leonato's house, Benedick and Beatrice quickly begin their verbal sparring, both saying that they are completely resistant to the charms of the opposite sex. Leonato then invites everyone to stay at his house for a month. Claudio subsequently tells Benedick that he is in love with Leonato's daughter, Hero. Benedick and Claudio then begin a conversation about Hero, love, marriage, and freedom, in which Benedick utters the quote shown here.

Benedick claims to cherish his status of bachelor, suggesting that marriage would constrict his freedom. He says that he isn't attracted to Hero, and he turns all of Claudio's praises into mockeries and insults to women and marriage in general. In this line, he asks, jokingly, if he'll ever see a 60-year-old bachelor again, since most men are so eager to get married. He claims that not enough men are committed to the bachelor life, comparing marriage to wearing a yoke like a beast of burden. Benedick's comment also adds humor and irony to the play, as a significant part of the rest of the play involves other characters trying to trick him into falling in love.

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Act 2, Scene 1 Quotes

“Friendship is constant in all other things
Save in the office and affairs of love:
therefore all hearts in love use their own tongues;
Let every eye negotiate for itself
And trust no agent; for beauty is a witch
Against whose charms faith melteth into blood.”

Related Characters: Claudio (speaker), Don Pedro
Related Symbols: Eyes
Page Number: 2.1.143-178
Explanation and Analysis:

Don John and Borachio have just tricked Claudio into thinking that Don Pedro is in love with Hero and is wooing her for himself. After telling their lie, Borachio and Don John leave Claudio alone on stage; it is then that he offers his response to the false news in the form of a soliloquy.

Claudio says that friendship is constant and can be trusted in all areas except love and courtship. He concludes then that "all hearts in love use their own tongues," meaning he should speak for himself and not send a disguised surrogate to woo for him. He also says "let every eye negotiate for itself / And trust no agent." According to Claudio, love enters through the eyes, which in this play symbolize the senses in general. Thus a lover must trust only his own senses, and never the information and help of others. This notion is slightly ironic, since Claudio comes to this conclusion based on information he got from others who happened to be lying.

Also note how Claudio speaks about beauty as a "witch." There is an implication again that while Claudio loves Hero he is deeply afraid of being in love, and more specifically of being "tricked" into love by feminine beauty.  

“Silence is the perfectest herald of joy: I were but little happy, if I could say how much.”

Related Characters: Claudio (speaker)
Page Number: 2.1.300-301
Explanation and Analysis:

Convinced by Don John that Don Pedro loves Hero, Claudio appears sad and upset. Don Pedro questions him, but ultimately reveals that the marriage between Claudio and Hero has been arranged and approved. At this point Claudio's hesitations about Don Pedro seem to vanish, but he is speechless. Beatrice even needs to say, "Speak, count, ’tis your cue," a joke that Claudio has missed his cue (which of course would be doubly funny in a performance of the play, as the audience would be reminded of that fact that it is watching a play).

Claudio responds to Beatrice that "Silence is the perfectest herald of joy." Claudio is saying here that true happiness is unexplainable. Note Shakespeare's use of the superlative on perfect, a word which seems to in itself to already connote the superlative. "Perfectest" is excessive, beyond what is just perfect.

Act 3, Scene 2 Quotes

“Even she: Leonato’s Hero, your Hero, every man’s Hero.”

Related Characters: Don John (speaker), Claudio
Related Symbols: Eyes
Page Number: 3.2.99-100
Explanation and Analysis:

Having failed to stop the courtship and engagement between Claudio and Hero, Don John now seeks to stop their impending marriage. To do so, he plans to put together a fake scene of Hero and a lover in the window to convince Claudio that his fiancee is being unfaithful. When Don John says that she has been disloyal, Claudio clarifies with, "who, Hero?" to which Don John responds with the quote, "Even she."

The end of the sentence is devastatingly simple: "Leonato's Hero, your Hero, every man's Hero." By mentioning Leonato, Don John makes the claim specific to Hero herself, by mentioning Claudio he makes the claim personal to Claudio, and with "every man's Hero" he delivers the harsh accusation that many men have been with her. Claudio and Don Pedro remain unconvinced, but decide to shame Hero together if they find out that the claims are true.

The simplicity of Don John's speech is well aligned with his tactics. While other characters (like Hero herself) stage false conversations to be overheard, Don John stages a false image to be seen. His deception relies on the eyes instead of ears; he insists that they witness visually. This insistence might be loosely related to Othello's demand for "ocular proof" when he believes his wife is unfaithful in Othello. Perhaps love can be generated by one sense alone, either sight or hearing (or overhearing exactly what someone wants to you hear), but infidelity and heartbreak need to be verified with proof – the senses must be checked against one another. 

Meanwhile, note how quickly Don Pedro and Claudio decide to shame Hero if they think she has been unfaithful. Love in the play turns quickly to misogynistic rage, again suggesting just how anxious men are with the idea of love, language, and fear of their wive's possible infidelity.

It is also worth noting that the word "Nothing" was also used in Shakespearean times to refer to a woman's sexual parts. And so the title of the play refers to the fact that the plot of the play involves much ado about sex, about virginity, and about all the misunderstandings ("nothings") about such "nothings."

Act 4, Scene 1 Quotes

“Oh what men dare do! what men may do! what men daily do, not knowing what they do!”

Related Characters: Claudio (speaker)
Page Number: 4.1.19-20
Explanation and Analysis:

Hero and Claudio are about to be married, but Claudio has been tricked by Don John into thinking that Hero has been unfaithful, and he plans to break off the wedding. It is with this line that he first indicates to the Friar, Leonato, and Hero, as well as all in attendance at the wedding, that something is not right. When the Friar asks Claudio if he knows any reasons the pair should not marry, Leonato says "I dare make his answer, none." To this line Claudio responds with dramatic flair: "Oh what men dare do!" and so on. His over the top exclamation points to his own doubt and confusion, and to the confusion that accompanies disguise, trickery, and altered perception: no one knows what they are doing. The quote is also an outburst against the men he believes have slept with Hero.

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Claudio Character Timeline in Much Ado About Nothing

The timeline below shows where the character Claudio appears in Much Ado About Nothing. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
...Leonato, Governor of Messina, to inform him that the Spanish Prince Don Pedro, the Florentine Claudio, and the Paduan Benedick have returned victorious from a recent battle. They have lost almost... (full context)
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
...her in a battle of wits. When she hears that he is good friends with Claudio, she scoffs that he changes friends as quickly as he changes the fashion of his... (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Don Pedro, Don John, Balthazar, Claudio and Benedick arrive at the house. Don Pedro apologetically jokes that Leonato is “come to... (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
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Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
...at his home for a month, and Don Pedro accepts on behalf of everyone. Privately, Claudio tells Benedick that he has fallen for Leonato’s daughter Hero, and asks him what he... (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Don Pedro enters the room where Benedick and Claudio are speaking, and asks what they are being so secretive about. Benedick instantly tells him... (full context)
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Now that Benedick is gone, Claudio speaks with Don Pedro more honestly about his love. He explains that before he left... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
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...the garden, and tells him that one of his men has overheard something interesting: that Claudio is in love with Hero, and intends to propose that night at the dance. Leonato... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 3
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
...of tapestry), Borachio learned of Don Pedro’s intention to disguise himself and woo Hero for Claudio. Don John complains that Claudio “has all the glory of [his] overthrow,” (1.3.67) in battle,... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
The dance begins. Don Pedro, masked and assumed to be Claudio, goes off to propose to Hero. She wants to see his face, but he charmingly... (full context)
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Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
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Claudio concludes that in love, you cannot even trust your friends. Delivering a monologue, he observes... (full context)
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Just as Benedick is speaking of her, Beatrice arrives, along with Claudio, Leonato and Hero. Benedick and Beatrice begin arguing bitterly. A remark Beatrice makes seems to... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
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Don John has heard that Claudio and Hero are going to be married. Borachio proposes a plan to ruin it. Since... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
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Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Alone in Leonato’s garden, Benedick complains that Claudio, who he had considered a bachelor and a military man at heart, has become a... (full context)
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Don Pedro, Leonato, Claudio and Balthazar enter the garden. Benedick hides behind some trees, and though they see him... (full context)
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Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
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Don Pedro, Leonato and Claudio talk somberly about Beatrice’s supposed love for Benedick. Aware that Benedick is listening from the... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Benedick arrives in the middle of a conversation between Don Pedro, Leonato and Claudio. He is pale, melancholy, and complains of a toothache. Realizing what has happened, Don Pedro... (full context)
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Don John comes to tell Claudio and Don Pedro that Hero has been disloyal and is, in fact, “Every man’s Hero.”... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
...the rain. Borachio brags that Don John has given him a thousand ducats for convincing Claudio and Don Pedro of Hero’s betrayal. For reasons which are unclear to Conrade, Borachio begins... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Claudio is about to be married to Hero in the church. When asked by the Friar... (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
...a plan: Leonato will pretend that Hero has died, and meanwhile investigate the truth of Claudio’s accusations. If they are true, he will send her to a convent. If they are... (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
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...another. When Benedick says he would do anything for her, she asks him to kill Claudio for what he has done to Hero. When Benedick refuses, she claims she will be... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
...clumsily interrogate Conrade and Borachio. Instead of focusing on the important matter in the case—that Claudio and Don Pedro have been tricked into doubting Hero’s faithfulness—Dogberry becomes obsessed with minor matters.... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
...this opinion childish, and advises him to get back at Don Pedro, Don John and Claudio instead. Leonato agrees, admitting he has come to believe his daughter was lied about. (full context)
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Don Pedro and Claudio arrive. When Leonato accuses them of murdering his daughter with their slander, a fight almost... (full context)
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
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Benedick arrives. Claudio and Don Pedro say that they had been looking for him, and mention the fight... (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
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...wisdoms could not discover, these shallow fools have brought to light.” (5.1.231-233) Don Pedro and Claudio are filled with remorse for their awful mistake, and Claudio exclaims that he again loves... (full context)
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Leonato and Antonio reenter, and Leonato forgives Claudio on the condition that he will admit Hero’s innocence, put an epitaph on her tomb,... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
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Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Beatrice arrives and wants to know what has happened between Benedick and Claudio. After learning that they have only had an argument, she threatens to leave without giving... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
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Don Pedro accompanies Claudio to the tomb of Hero. Claudio reads out an epitaph for her, and attendants sing... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 4
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Leonato, Benedick, Antonio and the Friar wait at the church for Claudio and Don Pedro. Everyone is happy that the slanders against Hero have been discredited, and... (full context)
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Claudio and Don Pedro arrive, and two masked women—Beatrice and Hero—are brought forward. Claudio, noticing that... (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
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...and relatives, and did not initially love each other after all. At the last minute, Claudio and Hero bring out two love poems: one written by Benedick for Beatrice, and one... (full context)