This page contains the original text of Act 2, Scene 2 of Much Ado About Nothing. Shakespeare’s original Much Ado About Nothing text is extremely long, so we’ve split the text into one Scene per page. All Acts and Scenes are linked to from the bottom of this page.
ACT 2. SCENE 2. The same.
Enter DON JOHN and BORACHIO
It is so; the Count Claudio shall marry the
daughter of Leonato.
Yea, my lord; but I can cross it.
Any bar, any cross, any impediment will be
medicinable to me: I am sick in displeasure to him,
and whatsoever comes athwart his affection ranges
evenly with mine. How canst thou cross this marriage?
Not honestly, my lord; but so covertly that no
dishonesty shall appear in me.
Show me briefly how.
I think I told your lordship a year since, how much
I am in the favour of Margaret, the waiting
gentlewoman to Hero.
I can, at any unseasonable instant of the night,
appoint her to look out at her lady’s chamber window.
What life is in that, to be the death of this marriage?
The poison of that lies in you to temper. Go you to
the prince your brother; spare not to tell him that
he hath wronged his honour in marrying the renowned
Claudio–whose estimation do you mightily hold
up–to a contaminated stale, such a one as Hero.
What proof shall I make of that?
Proof enough to misuse the prince, to vex Claudio,
to undo Hero and kill Leonato. Look you for any
Only to despite them, I will endeavour any thing.
Go, then; find me a meet hour to draw Don Pedro and
the Count Claudio alone: tell them that you know
that Hero loves me; intend a kind of zeal both to the
prince and Claudio, as,–in love of your brother’s
honour, who hath made this match, and his friend’s
reputation, who is thus like to be cozened with the
semblance of a maid,–that you have discovered
thus. They will scarcely believe this without trial:
offer them instances; which shall bear no less
likelihood than to see me at her chamber-window,
hear me call Margaret Hero, hear Margaret term me
Claudio; and bring them to see this the very night
before the intended wedding,–for in the meantime I
will so fashion the matter that Hero shall be
absent,–and there shall appear such seeming truth
of Hero’s disloyalty that jealousy shall be called
assurance and all the preparation overthrown.
Grow this to what adverse issue it can, I will put
it in practise. Be cunning in the working this, and
thy fee is a thousand ducats.
Be you constant in the accusation, and my cunning
shall not shame me.
I will presently go learn their day of marriage.
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