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Much Ado About Nothing | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Act 3, Scene 5

Professor Regina Buccola of Roosevelt University provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Act 3, Scene 5 of William Shakespeare's play Much Ado About Nothing.

Much Ado About Nothing | Act 3, Scene 5 | Summary



Dogberry and Verges visit Leonato. He is in the midst of preparations for the wedding, and he doesn't have time for a long conversation. Dogberry beats around the bush as to the reason of their visit, and Leonato informs them they are tedious. Dogberry takes this as the highest compliment.

Verges finally tells Leonato the evening watchmen arrested two men overnight. Dogberry invites Leonato to come to their questioning, but Leonato insists he doesn't have time. He tells them to examine the criminals and then bring him a report of their findings. He leaves for the wedding, and Dogberry and Verges go to the jail.


Dogberry is so busy trying to impress Leonato he forgets to tell the governor the real news: Hero is going to be falsely slandered. Leonato would have been saved a world of trouble had he not been so impatient with the dim-witted Dogberry. Yet Leonato's good breeding keeps him from losing his temper when confronted with Dogberry's idiocy. He is only mildly surprised when Dogberry says, "If I were as tedious as a king, I could find in my heart to bestow it all of your Worship," and he seems to take no offence when Dogberry insults the intelligence of those of an advanced age.

For all of Dogberry's and Verge's idiocy, they are the ones who uncover the plot to besmirch Hero's good name. Claudio and Don Pedro are far more intelligent than the lowly law enforcement officials, but intelligence doesn't necessarily equate with good judgment. They put their faith in the wrong person—Don John. In Much Ado About Nothing, the wise men prove themselves to be fools and the fools are the wisest of all.

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