In act 4, scene 2 of Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare, lines 65–75 contribute to the overall development of themes of love, betrayal, honor, and falsehood in the literary work as a whole, although it is not a pivotal scene.
The scene begins with Sexton, who is trying to ascertain the truth about Hero. In this passage, he bids Verges the constable to bind the witnesses so that he can take them to Leonato’s and interrogate them. He says,
Master constable, let
these men be bound, and brought to Leonato's:
I will go before and show him their examination.
Dogberry is the master of malaprops throughout the scene, consistent with his character throughout the play. He says, “Come, let them be opinion'd,” by which he means let them be pinioned or bound. However, Conrade protests and tells the constable to get off him. He then tells Dogberry,
Away! you are an ass, you are an ass.
Dogberry responds to this with his typical malapropism. He says, “Dost thou not suspect my place? dost thou not suspect my years?” He misuses the word “suspect” and mistakes it for the word “respect.” Thus, what he means is do you not respect my role as an officer of the court and have you no respect for your elders?
He continues, “O that he were here to write me down an ass!” Dogberry unknowingly is extremely funny in his bumbling way because when he says that he is an ass, the audience agrees. However, he actually means that he wishes the official were there to record the offensive remark Conrade made by calling him an ass.
While this is not a pivotal scene, it does advance the plot of discovering Hero’s innocence and uncovering Don John’s role in plotting against her.