Study Guide

Much Ado About Nothing Act III, Scene iv

By William Shakespeare

Act III, Scene iv

  • It’s the morning of the wedding, and the scene is set in Hero’s bedroom.
  • Hero has sent Ursula off to go get Beatrice, and Margaret is helping Hero get dressed. They go back and forth fondly over what Hero should wear. Margaret describes the beautiful dress Hero will wear as full of gold, silver, and pearls, but Hero seems uncomfortable.
  • Hero hopes the dress will bring her joy, because she says her heart is heavy. Instead of noting that Hero is clearly unhappy and has a weird feeling, Margaret makes a joke about the fact that soon, Hero’s chest will be heavy under the weight of a husband. Hey-o! These people and their cheap sex jokes.
  • Beatrice enters and, as usual, becomes the focus of attention. She says she doesn't feel well. When she sighs, Margaret asks her if she's sighing for a hawk, a horse, or a husband. 
  • She's hinting at Beatrice's new found love for Benedick, but Beatrice won't bite. She says she's sighing because of an "H," a pun on "ache." 
  • At one point Beatrice says she's stuffed, as in congested, but Margaret turns it into a dirty joke, and says, "Stuffed? That's quite a way for a young, unmarried woman to catch a cold!"
  • Beatrice wonders when Margaret became so witty, but the last straw is when Margaret suggests Beatrice could be cured of her ailment by some holy thistle that just happens to be named carduus benedictus. Her hints are getting pretty obvious. 
  • Beatrice flips out.
  • In response to Beatrice’s tizzy, Margaret says she didn't mean anything special by using the name carduus benedictus. She just meant regular old thistle. And of course, she doesn't think Beatrice is in love. That would be ridiculous. Although...
  • Benedick used to share Beatrice’s views on the absurdity of love, but he's obviously all-in now. 
  • Margaret finishes by saying that she doesn't know how it happened, but it seems to her that Beatrice's views on love have changed, too. She suddenly seems to be looking at love the way other women do.
  • Beatrice demands to know what Margaret is talking about, but she gets interrupted by Ursula, who informs them that everyone is ready to take Hero to the church—where she will be married. (Or maybe humiliated.)