Much Ado About Nothing

Pdf fan dd71f526917d6085d66d045bd94fb5b55d02a108dd45d836cbdd4abe2d4c043d Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)
Leonato’s daughter, Beatrice’s cousin, and the beloved of Claudio. On the night before her wedding, Hero is unknowingly impersonated by Margaret and framed for being unfaithful to the groom, Claudio. She is publicly shamed at her wedding, and her father Leonato hides her away, pretending she is dead until the slander has been discredited. Hero is one of the characters who participates in the scheme to bring Benedick and Beatrice together.

Hero Quotes in Much Ado About Nothing

The Much Ado About Nothing quotes below are all either spoken by Hero or refer to Hero. 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 2, Scene 1 Quotes

“Speak low, if you speak love.”

Related Characters: Don Pedro (speaker), Hero
Page Number: 2.1.97
Explanation and Analysis:

After Beatrice tells Hero that courtship is like a dance, the partygoers all arrive wearing masks. Don Pedro, pretending to be Claudio, immediately approaches and begins dancing with her. The two exchange some flirtations, before Don Pedro offers this romantic line: "Speak low, if you speak love." After this line, the pair moves aside and begin to whisper.

Don Pedro's words seem to imply that courtship should be secretive and done in whispers, which is ironic since he is pretending to be Claudio – it's a really secret courtship, with secrets kept even from Hero. However, while there is a romance to the secrecy of courtship, the play will also show how such secrecy can be destructive and leads to jealousy in general, and men's fear of being cuckolded more specifically, that can be particularly dangerous for women. Even in this scene, Claudio worries that Don Pedro is actually wooing Hero for himself. Later, Don John will make it appear that Hero has secretly been seeing other men, which causes Claudio to abandon Hero. So, just to make it clear: here Claudio is part of a scheme in which another man woos Hero for him, but later he immediately condemns Hero for allegedly seeing other men. The "secrecy" of love therefore seems to create a space not just for romance but also for masculine anxiety about love, and perhaps also misogyny toward women. 

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Much Ado About Nothing quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Act 3, Scene 1 Quotes

“…of this matter
Is little Cupid’s crafty arrow made,
That only wounds by hearsay.”

Related Characters: Hero (speaker)
Page Number: 3.1.23-24
Explanation and Analysis:

Most of the characters are now conspiring to get Beatrice and Benedick to fall in love. Here, Hero sends Margaret to get Beatrice and to say that she has overheard Hero and Ursula gossiping. Hero then tells Ursula that they must get Beatrice to overhear them talking about how Benedick "is suck in love with Beatrice." By overhearing this, they hope, Beatrice will then fall in love with Benedick. Hero claims that it is moments of gossip like this one that comprise Cupid's arrows, which "only [wound] by hearsay."

Hero's theory of how love works seems to be generally upheld by the events of the play, as Benedick and Beatrice do end up falling in love, but the theory also applies more generally to information and the way that characters view the world, in this play and in most Shakespearean comedies. Errors, misunderstandings, mistaken identities, gossip, and lies become the substance of reality for comedic characters; confusion abounds until the play concludes and the thick layers of mistakes and untruths are unwoven.

Act 4, Scene 1 Quotes

“But mine , and mine I lov'd , and mine I prais'd,
And mine that I was proud on, mine so much
That I myself was to myself not mine,
Valuing of her; why, she— O! she is fallen Into a pit of ink…”

Related Characters: Leonato (speaker), Hero
Page Number: 4.1.144-148
Explanation and Analysis:

Hero has fainted at Claudio's accusation of her infidelity, and after briefly being unconscious as been revived. Leonato seems to be upset that she's still alive, supposing that she had died of shame at the accusations. Here Leonato laments the shame brought to him by his own child. He begins with the fact that she is his with "mine" and slowly builds, repeating mine and adding new modifiers with increasing length: "mine I lov'd, and mine I prais'd, and mine that I was proud on." He concludes the crescendoing list with the stunning assertion that she was so much his daughter that "I myself was to myself not mine," suggesting that he completely lost himself in his role as her father. When he finishes by saying that this daughter, inextricably tied to him, has "fallen into a pit of ink," he is saying that she is tainted, and recalling Dogberry's line "they that touch pitch will be defiled," that now he is tainted and shamed as well.

Note again how quickly, and with how little evidence, men – this time Hero's father – believe that a woman has been unfaithful. Throughout the play there is a current of just how mistrustful men are of women, just how much men fear and believe that women are always on the verge of betraying them sexually (and of course the sense that men have that they should naturally have control over women's sexuality). It really is remarkable that in a play so focused on love, there is this constant sense of men's mistrust and misogyny toward women.

Get the entire Much Ado About Nothing LitChart as a printable PDF.
Much ado about nothing.pdf.medium

Hero Character Timeline in Much Ado About Nothing

The timeline below shows where the character Hero appears in Much Ado About Nothing. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
...on behalf of everyone. Privately, Claudio tells Benedick that he has fallen for Leonato’s daughter Hero, and asks him what he thinks. Benedick replies that he “looked on her,” but “noted... (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
...what they are being so secretive about. Benedick instantly tells him about Claudio’s love for Hero. Claudio attempts to deny it, but Benedick's teasing and Don Pedro’s sympathetic interest bring it... (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
...honestly about his love. He explains that before he left for war, he looked at Hero with “a soldier’s eye,” (1.1.297-298) but now has more delicate feelings for her. To help... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
...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 is suspicious of the news,... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 3
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
...(a kind 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)... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Antonio, Leonato, Beatrice and Hero discuss Don John’s bad attitude, comparing him with Benedick. Beatrice says that Don John talks... (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
...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 deflects her request. Benedick, also masked,... (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
...trust no agent.” (2.1.177-178) When Benedick arrives to tell him that Don Pedro has wooed Hero for him, he refuses to believe it, and mopes away. Alone, Benedick complains about Beatrice’s... (full context)
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
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 imply that she... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Don John has heard that Claudio and Hero are going to be married. Borachio proposes a plan to ruin it. Since he is... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
The female characters prepare a similar ambush. Hero sends Margaret to fetch Beatrice, instructing her to say that she has overheard Hero and... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Don John comes to tell Claudio and Don Pedro that Hero has been disloyal and is, in fact, “Every man’s Hero.” (3.2.106) Refusing to say anything... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
...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 speaking about fashion, comparing it... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 4
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Margaret helps dress Hero for her wedding, complimenting her on her fashion and teasing her about soon being the... (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 if anyone has any objections, he stops... (full context)
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Hero revives. Leonato seems upset she is still alive, crying out that she should have died... (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
The Friar comes up with a plan: Leonato will pretend that Hero has died, and meanwhile investigate the truth of Claudio’s accusations. If they are true, he... (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
...anything for her, she asks him to kill Claudio for what he has done to Hero. When Benedick refuses, she claims she will be unable to love him unless he does.... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
...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. Throughout the interrogation, Dogberry comically misuses language: meaning to... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Antonio cautions his brother Leonato not to be so upset about what has happened to Hero. Leonato responds that the advice of those who are not suffering themselves means absolutely nothing... (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Leonato and Antonio reenter, and Leonato forgives Claudio on the condition that he will admit Hero’s innocence, put an epitaph on her tomb, and marry Leonato's niece. Claudio, filled with gratitude... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
...arrives and tells them the good news: that Don John’s tricks have been uncovered, and Hero’s name cleared. (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Don Pedro accompanies Claudio to the tomb of Hero. Claudio reads out an epitaph for her, and attendants sing a dirge. The two men... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 4
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
...at the church for Claudio and Don Pedro. Everyone is happy that the slanders against Hero have been discredited, and that Don John has fled from Messina. Benedick takes the opportunity... (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Claudio and Don Pedro arrive, and two masked women—Beatrice and Hero—are brought forward. Claudio, noticing that Benedick is nervous, teases him about becoming a married man,... (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
...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 written by... (full context)