Study Guide

Much Ado About Nothing Act V, Scene ii

By William Shakespeare

Act V, Scene ii

  • In Leonato’s orchard, Benedick jokes with Margaret, asking her to help him write love poems to Beatrice. Margaret suggests that if she does, he should then write a poem in praise of her (Margaret's) beauty. 
  • Benedick says he'll write something so wonderful no man will ever be able to top it, which Margaret turns into a sexual innuendo. ("No man atop me?")
  • The pair jests back and forth for a bit, with Margaret continuing to turn everything into a sexual pun—she takes "bucklers," the word for a shield with a spike in the middle, to mean "vaginas." It's like a scene out of Animal House.  
  • Margaret leaves to get Beatrice and we get a sampling of Benedick's mad (read: bad) poetry skills.
  • Benedick laments that he is a terrible writer of love poems. He says he loves more fiercely than Leander, Troilus, and all the great heroes of love epics, but he doesn’t seem to have quite the same ability with romantic words as they did.
  • In fact, he can only rhyme "scorn" with "horn," "school" with "fool," and so on. Benedick’s inability with words on the page is rather funny, given how quick he is in his speech.
  • Benedick gives up on writing silly poetry in the Renaissance style, and greets Beatrice, who has just entered the scene.
  • Benedick is pleased that Beatrice came when he called her, and she says that she'll gladly stay until he tells her to go. Then she teases him by suggesting that he's told her to leave when he hasn't. It's kind of a cute little dance they're doing to confirm that they like each other. 
  • They get to the meat of the matter when Beatrice asks what happened with Claudio.
  • Benedick says he went through with his promise, and now he's just waiting for Claudio’s answer to his formal physical challenge, American Gladiator style.
  • The two then degenerate into love babble about who loves who, and how, but they do maintain their previous character by being kind of affectionately mean with each other. 
  • Benedick says he loves Beatrice against his will. 
  • Benedick says the two of them are too smart to flirt without challenging one another, but Beatrice says he can't possibly be wise because wise men never have to tell people they're wise. 
  • Benedick finally asks after the supposedly dead Hero, who Beatrice says isn't doing well. Beatrice says she's not so hot, either, and Benedick tells her his love with help heal her. 
  • Just then, Ursula rushes in with great news. It has just been discovered that Hero was falsely accused, Claudio and Don Pedro were misled, and Don John is to blame for it all. 
  • She asks Beatrice to come to Leonato's house immediately, and Beatrice ask Benedick to come along.
  • Benedick says he'll happily go with her everywhere, always, and manages to get in a sex joke, too (the reference to dying in her lap). He's a true Shakespearean hero.