Much Ado About Nothing

Eyes Symbol Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
Eyes Symbol Icon
Eyes are a metonym for perception in Much Ado About Nothing, which means that the word "eye" is often mentioned by a character who really means by it any kind of perception, not just sight. Eyes come up especially often whenever one character’s perceptions are being influenced by another character’s tricks. Leonato, for instance, says that Benedick and Beatrice have got their “eyes” for each other from other characters; he means that they see each other a certain way (adoringly) because he and the others have tricked them into it. Borachio deceives the eyes of Claudio and Don Pedro when he poses with Margaret at Hero’s window. At one point in the play, Claudio asks the rhetorical question “Are our eyes our own?” In Much Ado About Nothing, the answer to this question is often no.

Eyes Quotes in Much Ado About Nothing

The Much Ado About Nothing quotes below all refer to the symbol of Eyes. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer 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:

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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:

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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:

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Eyes Symbol Timeline in Much Ado About Nothing

The timeline below shows where the symbol Eyes 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
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
...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 Claudio win Hero’s heart... (full context)
Act 2, 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
...trust only their own senses, and never the information or help of others: “Let every eye negotiate for itself / And trust no agent.” (2.1.177-178) When Benedick arrives to tell him... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 4
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
...that he may have something to do with Benedick’s love, and Hero with Beatrice’s: “That eye my daughter lent her.” (5.4.23) (full context)