Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 253
New Character: Antonio: Leonato's brother
In Leonato's house, Antonio advises his brother that his servant overheard the prince, Don Pedro, tell Claudio that he loved Hero and that he would reveal this to her at the dance to be held at Leonato's house that night. And, if she found him suitable, he would request her hand from Leonato. Leonato asks Antonio to convey this information to Hero, so she can also prepare her answer should the report he has just heard be true.
Noting which can mean observing, overhearing, and musical notation) is an obvious pun in the title (Elizabethans pronounced nothing/noting alike) and is central to the major theme of this play: appearance versus reality. This theme is continued by having the conversation between Claudio and Don Pedro overheard by a servant, who repeats it to his master, Antonio, who repeats it to his brother, Leonato, who advises him to repeat it to his daughter, Hero, so she, a commoner, can prepare her response to the prince. This brief scene, written in prose, advises us of the speed with which news travels in Messina and complicates the plot with misinformation based on the servant's partial eavesdropping. Hearsay leads to a number of partings between the characters in this play. The word ado in the title may also be a pun on the French word for farewell, adieu, so common in usage that we find it in the dialogue of the play. Note that musicians enter to work for Leonato (26).
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