This Much Ado About Nothing summary will take around 5 minutes to read, or you can listen to it here:

Here is a brief Much Ado About Nothing summary:

In Messina, as Don Pedro, the Prince of Arragon, and his officers return from a recently concluded war, a message comes to Leonato that the prince intends to visit his house for a month. The Duke’s party arrives with Count Claudio, who had before the war been attracted by Leonato’s only daughter, Hero. Another of the visitors is Benedick, a bachelor, who enjoys speaking his mind in witty argument with Hero’s cousin and companion, the Lady Beatrice.

Leonato holds a masked ball to celebrate the end of the war and the engagement of Claudio to Hero is arranged, while the Duke’s brother, Don John, resenting the celebrations, seeks a way to spoil the general happiness. Don John plots with the soldiers, Borachio and Conrade, to deceive Claudio into believing Hero is false to him. As a result, a trick is carried out with the unwitting assistance of Hero’s maid, Margaret, who talks from Hero’s bedroom window with Borachio at night, while Claudio and the Duke watch secretly from a distance under the delusion that the girl at the window is Hero.

Hero and Don Pedro meanwhile are convinced that Benedick and Beatrice are ideal partners, and by means of overheard conversations the two realise they do indeed love one another.

At the wedding Claudio denounces Hero and leaves her apparently dead from shock, while her father, Beatrice, and Benedick, amazed at the situation, decide that with the aid of the priest, Hero’s recovery should be concealed until her name can be cleared. Help is at hand as the village constable, Dogberry, and his assistants have arrested Borachio and Conrade after overhearing them boasting of their deception of Claudio and the Duke.

The play comes to a joyful conclusion when Dogberry’s information is, eventually, after some difficulty, given to Leonato and Don Pedro. Claudio agrees to accept Leonato’s ‘niece’ whom he has never met, in place of Hero, whom he believes has been killed by his slander. The ‘niece’ turns out to be Hero, and as the lovers are reunited, Benedick and Beatrice announce that they will share the wedding day. Don John has been captured while trying to escape and is left for future trial, while the play ends with a merry dance.

And that’s a quick Much Ado About Nothing summary. What are your thoughts – anything unclear, or missing? Please let us know in the comments section below.

See summaries of Shakespeare’s other plays >>

Much Ado About Nothing summary, featuring Beatrice, eating a bunch of grapes

Much Ado About Nothing summary, featuring Beatrice played by Emma Thompson

13 replies
  1. Tiffany
    Tiffany says:

    Yeah, so the dang point of a summary is it’s not supposed to be as long as the actual play. Ugh you people are no freakin’ help. Shakespear is retarted. He lived a bazillion million years ago. Why do we need to learn about him here in uhm, I dunno’ 2012?

    • barb
      barb says:

      Tiffany! Shakespeare lived 400 years ago, and his plays are classic, meaning they deal with timeless themes and with human nature, which doesn’t change. Their relevance endures. A thinking person with a little life experience under his/her belt recognizes this.

      If you can get past the antiquated language, the stories are enjoyable and thought-provoking. You might recognize people you know in some of the characters, especially the most flawed ones.

    • cassidy
      cassidy says:

      If you hate Shakespeare so much, then don’t look him up. Poeple like him because he is the most amazing writer- at least thats what I think- in history. Shakespeare changed this world. If he had not existed, we would not be as smart, as dramatically challenged, or as knowledgable as we are now. So if you honestly don’t like Shakespeare, than Drama is NOT for you. You don’t have to go around telling us that he is a waste of time! Shakespeare wrote more than you will ever write! If you want to know why people like Shakespeare, maybe use some of the time you spent writing that hateful commment to actually read his amazing work. Okay? So stop judging us, and maybe actually respect somebody’s opinion. PLEASE stop judging other people. Also, if you want a short summary, than read the play and write it yourself! Thanks for this amazing article so much, @nosweatshakespeare, because it was very accurate on the play. And I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings, @tiffany, but your comment hurt mine, and I don’t think that it is right to go around telling us that shakespeare isn’t worth the time of day. @Andrea, thanks for understanding :)

    • Adriana
      Adriana says:

      Tiffany, i get it, but your job is to read over the story and to make a summary of it. im doing a report on shakespeare and he seems pretty awesome to me. you should not have done a paper or looked him up because apparently, you just wouldn’t get it.

    • Jose
      Jose says:

      This isn’t even that long…. I’m really concerned for your health if you do think it is. This does not even come close to the play. People like you are the reason i hate life.

    • Tiffany the Great
      Tiffany the Great says:

      Hey Tiff, you need to respect the man that could have ended your life. Shakespeare was God’s greatest gift to the earth. He died thinking about you and all the people that he loved. You need to square up because he’s gonna come back and haunt you as a Romeo Ghost. First of all, the summary is not long. It’s so short, that it is shorted than all of your life’s greatest accomplishments. And that’s really short. Second of all, the word “bazillion” isn’t even a thing. There is no unit of measurement to prove that it is real. Third of all, why did you come to this page if you think that he is retarded. You need to learn to get smart because from your work I see, you ain’t that smart. His work is smarted than the little 2012 paragraph you wrote.

  2. andrea
    andrea says:

    Tiffany, because he was a historical hero. if it wasnt for him many of the things you do, wouldnt be around, and also if you dont want to see it dont look it up, so stop acting like a baby :)

  3. Shawn
    Shawn says:

    I agree with u Tiffany. Shakespere sux! Makes no cents! Mite be the worst thing that happened to the world. Y didnt Shakespere just vlog his plays on utube. Stop hatin on my gurl

  4. Shakespearexpert
    Shakespearexpert says:

    Quick summary for people like Tiffany:

    1. Don Pedro comes back from war. Leonato will organise a masked ball because of this.

    2.Benedick and Beatrice use banter to insult each other

    3. Claudio falls in love with Leonato’s child, Hero.

    4. Claudio is too shy to admit his feelings towards Hero, so Don Pedro agrees to pretend that he is Claudio, and admit to Hero.

    5. Don John, the brother of Pedro, overhears Pedro’s plan, and decides to ruin it and the masked ball, with the help of his minions Borachio and Conrade.

    6. The ball begins and Don Pedro, wearing a mask admits ”his” feelings to Hero.

    7. Pedro’s and Claudio’s plan works, but Borachio tries to convince Claudio that Pedro is actually trying to steal Hero from Claudio.

    8. Don John’s plan with Borachio fails, and Claudio and Hero are ready to get married.

    9. Benedick overhears a fake conversation between Claudio, Pedro and Leonato, and is fooled to believe that Beatrice loves him.

    10. Beatrice hears a fake conversation between Ursula and Hero, and now believes Benedick has a crush on her.

    11. Borachio is in love with a women called Margaret.

    12. Margaret looks a lot like Hero, so Don John believes he could trick Claudio that Hero is cheating on him.

    13. Which Don John does.

    14. At Hero and Claudio’s wedding, Claudio starts a scandal, believing Hero has cheated on him.

    There’s more, but I’m getting tired, so TO BE CONTINUED……..


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