Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing


William Shakespeare

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Love and Masquerade Theme Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
Themes and Colors
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Much Ado About Nothing, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon

Love, in Much Ado About Nothing, is always involved with tricks, games and disguises. Every step in romance takes place by way of masquerade. Hero is won for Claudio by Don Pedro in disguise. Benedick and Beatrice are brought together through an elaborate prank. Claudio can be reconciled with Hero only after her faked death. Altogether, these things suggest that love—like a play or masquerade—is a game based on appearances, poses and the manipulation of situations.

Love, in Much Ado, is like chemistry. If you put people together in a certain way, a certain result occurs. Lovers in the play are like masked dancers: the pose and the situation matter more than who the other dancer really is. The lover is a piece in the game, a mask in the crowd, and everyone—no matter who they are—falls victim in the same way. Don Pedro manipulates Benedick and Beatrice like a scientist conducting an experiment, or a playwright setting a scene. The play suggests that love is not love without its masquerade-like sequence of poses and appearances, even if they must be imagined or faked.

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Love and Masquerade ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Love and Masquerade appears in each scene of Much Ado About Nothing. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Love and Masquerade Quotes in Much Ado About Nothing

Below you will find the important quotes in Much Ado About Nothing related to the theme of Love and Masquerade.
Act 1, Scene 3 Quotes

“I cannot be said to be a flattering honest man, it must not be denied but I am a plain-dealing villain.”

Related Characters: Don John (speaker)
Page Number: 1.3.28-30
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2, Scene 1 Quotes

“He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man; and he that is more than a youth is not for me; and he that is less than a man, I am not for him.”

Related Characters: Beatrice (speaker)
Related Symbols: Beards
Page Number: 2.1.36-39
Explanation and Analysis:

“Speak low, if you speak love.”

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

“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:
Act 2, Scene 3 Quotes

“One woman is fair, yet I am well; another is wise, yet I am well; another virtuous, yet I am well; but till all graces be in one woman, one woman shall not come in my grace.”

Related Characters: Benedick (speaker)
Page Number: 2.3.27-30
Explanation and Analysis:
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:
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:
Act 3, Scene 3 Quotes

“Seest thou not, I say, what a deformed thief this fashion is? how giddily he turns about all the hot bloods between fourteen and five-and-thirty?”

Related Characters: Borachio (speaker), Conrade
Page Number: 3.3.130-132
Explanation and Analysis:
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
Related Literary Devices:
Page Number: 4.1.144-148
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 5, Scene 2 Quotes

“I was not born under a rhyming planet.”

Related Characters: Benedick (speaker)
Page Number: 5.2.40-41
Explanation and Analysis: