Illustration of Hero wearing a mask

Much Ado About Nothing

by William Shakespeare

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Act 5, Scene 4 Summary

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Last Updated February 6, 2023.

At Leonato’s house, preparations are underway for the wedding. Leonato arranges for Hero and her attendants to wait for his word, at which point they are to enter with masks on. Antonio is to pretend to be the father of the bride.

Benedick expresses his relief in no longer having to challenge Claudio. Moreover, he asks Leonato for Beatrice’s hand in marriage, to which he eventually gives his consent.

Claudio and Don Pedro arrive, and Claudio, true to the agreement, confirms his willingness to marry Leonato’s niece.

The ceremony begins, and Antonio arrives with Hero and her attendants, who are wearing masks.

When Claudio gives his vow of marriage, Hero unmasks herself, astonishing him and Don Pedro.

When Benedick wonders which of the masked women is Beatrice, she steps forward. The two then stubbornly banter, refusing to publicly acknowledge their mutual love. Claudio and Hero present written evidence of their love, and Benedick and Beatrice finally kiss.

A messenger arrives with the announcement that Don John has been captured and will be brought back to Messina.

The play ends as musicians strike up a tune and the characters make merry.

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Act 5, Scene 3 Summary