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… (read full 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… (read full character analysis)
A witty young Lord of Padua and a soldier. He is extraordinarily successful with women, but is fanatically committed to a bachelor’s life. He has a “merry war,” of wits and insults with Beatrice… (read full character analysis)
Leonato’s niece, an extremely witty and strong-willed young woman. Beatrice has a “merry war,” of wits and insults with Benedick, whom she hates. Like Benedick, Beatrice never wants to marry. All the same, she… (read full character analysis)
Governor of Messina and father to Hero. When Hero is publicly disgraced at her wedding, Leonato is outraged, and cannot decide whether or not to believe in his daughter’s faithfulness to Claudio. Leonato participates in Don Pedro’s scheme to bring Benedick and Beatrice together.
Leonato’s brother. At the wedding in the final act, he poses as father to Leonato’s niece: in reality, this is Hero in disguise.
A servant of Don Pedro’s. He flirts with Margaret at the masked dance, and plays music in the garden where Leonato, Don Pedro and Claudio have arranged for Benedick to overhear them. He is witty, and makes puns on the words nothing and noting.
A minion of Don John’s. He is paid for coming up with and carrying out the scheme to ruin Hero and Claudio’s marriage. Borachio is arrested by the watch after boasting to Conrade about his villainy.
A minion of Don John’s. During his interrogation, he calls Dogberry an ass, which obsesses the constable for the rest of the play.
A constable of Messina. Dogberry is not strict with criminals, and cautions the other members of the watch to also leave criminals alone. He misuses language terribly, and his inability to articulate himself is one of the reasons it takes so long for Don John’s treachery to be revealed.
A headborough of Messina. He works with Dogberry, and is insulted by him for being old.
He conducts the two weddings. When Hero is disgraced, he is the first one to suspect that she might be innocent. It is his idea to pretend that Hero is dead while the matter is investigated.
Hero’s witty and flirtatious waiting-gentlewoman. Margaret is seduced by Borachio on the night before the first wedding, as part of his scheme to ruin Hero. Don Pedro and Claudio are looking on from outside, and are lead to believe that Margaret is Hero.
Another of Hero’s waiting gentle-women. Ursula helps Hero make Beatrice fall in love with Benedick.