Act 1 Scene 1
A messenger takes a letter to Leonato ( the governor of Messina) . In the letter he explains that Don Pedro(Prince of Aragon),is on his way.
Don Pedro and his followers have emerged victorious after putting a stop to a rebellion by his own brother, Don John. The messenger reports that Claudio (a young lord of Florence) is honoured by Don Pedro.
Beatrice (Leonato’s niece) asks the messenger about the fate of another of Don Pedro’s men (Benedick of Padua). She’s rumoured to not think kindly of him, as indicated by her scathing remarks about him. The messenger reports that Benedick acquitted himself well in the battle and is now a companion of Claudio’s.
Don Pedro enters with Claudio and Benedick, accompanied by Don John and other soldiers. Leonato graciously greets the visitors and invites them to stay for at least a month.
Beatrice and Benedick exchange taunts and insults whilst alone, symptomatic of their ‘merry war.’
Claudio ( now alone with Benedick) confides that he wants to marry Hero, (Leonato’s daughter). He ignores Benedick’s conversion about marriage and his disparagement of Hero.
Don Pedro enters and is told about Claudio’s intent to seek Hero for his wife. Don Pedro agrees with Claudio and promises to approach Hero and her father on Claudio’s behalf during the evening’s masked celebrations
Act 1 Scene 2
Antonio tells his brother Leonato that Don Pedro is in love with Hero and will soon approach both her and Leonato at the coming dance. Leonato asks Antonio to tell Hero about it.
Act 1 Scene 3
Don John complains to his companion Conrad about his current position in life . He is Don Pedro’s brother ( bastard), recently defeated, facing his dishonourable status daily while enduring his brother’s hospitality.
He displays a negative attitude and shows no signs of changing it. His second companion (Borachio) enters to report having listened to the conversation between Don Pedro and Claudio wherein ‘the Prince should woo Hero for himself and, having obtained her, give her to Count Claudio.’
Don John (with quick thinking) sees this plan as an opportunity to annoy both to Claudio and to Don Pedro. Don John and his men make their way to the celebratory supper, Don John shows his regret that the cook is not on his side and ready to dispatch the assembled household and guests with poison.
Much Ado About Nothing
Much Ado About Nothing, originally written in 1598-99. Set in the Italian town of Messina, the plot revolves around two soldiers who come to town and romantically pair up with two local women, to great comic and dramatic effect.