Study Guide

Much Ado About Nothing Act III, Scene i

By William Shakespeare

Act III, Scene i

  • Hero pulls Margaret aside in the garden and gets the wheels turning on her part of Don Pedro’s scheme.
  • Hero wants Margaret to lure Beatrice to the garden (the Garden of Eavesdropping, remember?) by saying that Hero and Ursula are talking about her, and Beatrice should listen in on their secret conference. Hero plans to have a conversation with Ursula praising all of Benedick’s virtues, and insisting that Benedick is desperately in love with Beatrice. The girls are certain this trick will win Beatrice over to the Benedick fan club.
  • The scheme is put into action. Beatrice enters in a sneaky way, but Hero and Ursula see her just the same. They use the same metaphor the men did, about angling for a fish and getting it to take the bait.
  • They walk a little closer to Beatrice to make sure she can hear them and then get to work, talking of the "new news" from Claudio and Don Pedro: Benedick is in love with Beatrice.
  • Hero says that when the guys told her of Benedick’s love, they asked that she tell Beatrice about it. However, Hero says she thinks it best for Benedick to keep his love to himself and get over it, because he has no chance of making it with Beatrice.
  • Hero then lights into Beatrice’s flaws, calling the girl proud, disdainful, scornful, and too in love with her own wit to love any man.
  • Ursula agrees, saying that if Beatrice found out about Benedick’s love, it would only become the source of infinite jokes for her.
  • They go on to say that Beatrice has a knack for finding faults in even the best of men; she can never simply see the goodness in her suitors. 
  • The thing is, as horribly as Beatrice acts, no one dares to tell her. If anyone tried to, she'd rip them to shreds. 
  • That's why Hero thinks it's best to just let Benedick tire himself out pining for her. 
  • Ursula reconsiders. Maybe they should tell Beatrice.
  • No way, says Hero. In fact, she's going to help Benedick get over Beatrice. She'll tell him some unflattering lies about Beatrice to help him get over his crush. 
  • Ursula laments what a shame it would be for Beatrice, who seems so smart, to be so stupid as to let a great catch like Benedick get away. 
  • This provides a convenient segue to rattle on about how wonderful Benedick is. Hero declares him to be the most desirable bachelor in all of Italy, aside from her Claudio of course. There’s more rah-rah Benedick, and the ladies transition into talking about Hero's wedding that will happen tomorrow.
  • The ladies, out of earshot of Beatrice, gloat over what a fine job they’ve done. They’re sure they’ve caught Beatrice in the "loving Benedick" trap.
  • Beatrice, now alone, comes out of her hiding place.
  • It’s worth noting that her primary concern isn’t the shocking revelation that Benedick loves her. Instead, she seems really hurt that her friends condemned her for being so proud.
  • Beatrice declares she’ll put her bad attitude behind her, and give herself over to Benedick. If he loves her too, they’ll get married, in spite of all the nasty things they’ve both said about marriage.