Much Ado About Nothing


Key Quotes

1. ‘Tis certain so; the prince woos for himself.

          Friendship is constant in all other things

          Save in the office and affairs of love;

          Therefore all hearts in love use their own tongues;     

          Let every eye negotiate for itself

          And trust no agent; for beauty is a witch

          Against whose charms faith melteth into blood.

          This is an accident of hourly proof,

          Which I mistrusted not. Farewell, therefore, Hero! (II.i.183-191)

In these lines from the masquerade ball at the beginning of Act II, Claudio renounces his claim to Hero based on Don John’s deception. Don John has made Claudio believe that the prince, Don Pedro, is betraying Claudio’s friendship and wooing Hero for himself. Claudio is quick to believe Don John even though Don John was recently his enemy and is known to be antagonistic toward his brother, the prince. The haste with which Claudio believes the far less trustworthy brother is very revealing: Claudio is quick-tempered, easily duped, and seems almost eager to believe that he is being betrayed. This foreshadows Don John’s later, more serious deception, when Claudio will be tricked into believing that Hero is unchaste and unfaithful. In that case, again, Claudio easily and quickly takes Don John at his word.

Claudio’s speech here indicates certain anxieties about women and marriage, as well. He concludes that friendship is constant—reliable and trustworthy—in everything except love, suggesting...

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