Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing opens at the home of Leonato, the governor of Messina in Italy. Leonato, his daughter Hero, and his niece Beatrice are told by a messenger that Don Pedro and his men will soon arrive. One of the men, Claudio, is in love with Hero. His friend Benedick and Beatrice are friendly rivals who often match wits and taunt each other. Leonato is happy to recieve his guests.
Hero and Beatrice, though cousins, are not much alike. Hero is quiet, obedient, and shy. Beatrice is neither quiet nor shy. She is very smart, very outspoken, and very witty. Despite their differences, the two young women are very close friends and care deeply for one another.
Hero is in love with Claudio, Benedick's close friend. Beatrice and Benedick secretly care for one another, but are always trading insults and fighting. Of course, since the play is a comedy, the two couples end up together.