Much Ado About Nothing
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Hero Timeline and Summary
- 1.1.35: Hero’s first line in the play is a clarification on Beatrice’s behalf. Beatrice is talking about Benedick, but calls him Signior Mountanto, which no one understands. (Arguably, as Hero is one of the four lead characters in the play, and her first line is about Beatrice and Benedick, Shakespeare is introducing us to the fact that Beatrice and Benedick’s subplot might be more important than Hero and Claudio’s.)
- 2.1.5: As Don John has been skulking around, Hero notes that he is of "a very melancholy disposition," which is a nice thing to say given what everyone else is saying about him.
- 2.1.88: Hero is a little sass-pot when she talks with the disguised Don Pedro at the masquerade ball. She accepts his invitation to dance, but notes that she does it because it pleases her (instead of saying, "Well I will because my dad said I have to."). Here we get the hint that it might actually make her happy to do what her dad wants, so she’s not a total pushover, just a good girl.
- 2.1.94: Hero’s whole exchange with Don Pedro is witty and cute – she jokes that she hopes he’s better looking than his mask. Don Pedro says he’s the god Jove under the peasant Philemon’s roof, and Hero jokes that his mask should be thatched like Philemon’s roof too.
- 2.1.375: Hero promises to do "any modest office" to help her cousin get a good husband.
- 3.1.1: Hero instructs Margaret to lure Beatrice to the garden, where Ursula and Hero will be talking "in secret" about Benedick’s love for Beatrice. This particular passage highlights Hero’s ability with words; while she isn’t as witty as her cousin, she does have an eye for beauty. Instead of just saying "tell Beatrice to go under the archy-thing in the garden" she describes in really beautiful terms the little spot where honeysuckles forbid the sun to enter, and so on. She’s also pretty organized and sharp – she cleverly executes Don Pedro’s plan to trap Beatrice.
- 3.1.15: Hero describes how Ursula should praise Benedick "more than ever man did merit." This lets us know that Hero’s not actually deluded by love; she, like Beatrice, knows that men have great failings, but that women can fall in love with men despite their failings. (Lucky for Claudio.) Also interesting – Hero mentions the fact that Cupid’s "crafty arrow" wounds with hearsay (rumor), not with an actual wound or evidence. Hearsay will be the very thing that will undo Hero soon.
- 3.1.47: Hero lays it on thick about how Benedick is as worthy of being loved as any man, and about how Beatrice is the proudest girl in the world.
- 3.1.59: Hero claims Beatrice never simply evaluates a man based on his character and merit, but criticizes even a man’s best qualities.
- 3.1.72: Hero admits if she told Beatrice to chill out, Beatrice would make a mockery of her, and Hero’s no match to Beatrice’s wit. She says it’s better to die sighing of love than to die from Beatrice’s sharp mockery.
- 3.1.82: Hero says she’ll go think of some unflattering but harmless lies to tell Benedick about Beatrice, which will make him less infatuated with her. Hero then says, "One doth not know/ How much an ill word may empoison liking," which is the definition of foreshadowing about Hero’s own upcoming situation.
- 3.1.92: Hero goes on to praise Benedick, qualifying that, of course, Claudio is great too.
- 3.1.101: Hero seems excited about her marriage – declaring she’ll be married every day, starting tomorrow. She asks Ursula to help her to pick out what to wear for her wedding.
- 3.1.104: Hero jokes that they’ve caught Beatrice by playing Cupid – a Cupid with traps instead of arrows.
- 3.4.1: Hero sends Ursula to wake Beatrice. Then she becomes bullheaded with Margaret about what she’ll wear to the wedding. When Margaret says that Beatrice will agree that the dress Hero wants to wear is ugly, Hero insists they’re both fools. She’s determined to wear what she wants.
- 3.4.24: Hero makes a strange comment that her heart is heavy on the morning of her wedding (an appropriate sense of foreboding). When Margaret dismisses Hero’s feeling of discomfort with a sex joke, Hero seems scandalized and doesn’t bring up her bad feelings anymore.
- 3.4.41: Even while she should be concerned with her wedding, Hero notices her cousin Beatrice is out of sorts.
- 4.1.55: Hero’s at the altar, and she’s heard Claudio’s awful and false claims against her modesty. In response, Hero only asks if she’s ever seemed anything but modest and chaste to Claudio. She doesn’t just flip out immediately (which Claudio has done).
- 4.1.62: Hearing Claudio’s condemnation, instead of being like, "Are you crazy?" Hero asks if perhaps Claudio isn’t feeling well.
- 4.1.77: When Leonato allows Claudio to question her, Hero appeals to God, asking why on earth she can be forced to answer for her honor in this way.
- 4.1.80: Hero says if she were to answer to any name, it would be "Hero" not "harlot." She asks who can possibly say anything truthful and bad about her. Too bad she doesn’t ask who can say anything untruthful and bad about her, because that’s the catch.
- 4.1.86: Hero simply says she talked with no man at the hour in question.
- 4.1.177: Hero insists that she can’t name the man she’s accused of knowing, because the accusation is utterly false. She says if she lies, or knows any man more closely than what chastity allows, then none of her sins can ever be excused. She says her father has a right to hate and torture her to death if he can prove that she talked to any man out of her window the night before.
- 5.4.60: Hero reveals that she’s alive, and is once again Claudio’s bride.
- 5.4.62: Hero says that one Hero died when her good name was slandered, but now that her name has been cleared and she’s alive again. She’s good as new and as virginal as the original virgin (meaning Madonna, the mother of Jesus).
- 5.4.88: Just like her first line in the play, Hero’s last line is about Beatrice, and Beatrice’s attentions to Benedick. She reveals Beatrice’s little love note to Benedick, again deferring her importance in the play to the subplot between Beatrice and Benedick.