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Much Ado About Nothing | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Act 5, Scene 3

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

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



Claudio and Don Pedro go to Leonato's family tomb in the church courtyard, where they are greeting by lords holding candles and a few singers. Claudio reads aloud the epitaph declaring Hero's innocence, then vows to return to her tomb every year. Don Pedro dismisses the lords and the singers as the sun rises, and he and Claudio return to Leonato's home to prepare for the upcoming nuptials.


Some productions of Much Ado About Nothing before the early 20th century omitted this scene completely, most likely to cut down on time and scenery. In other versions of the play, Claudio's reading of the epitaph is assigned to one of the lords. Both of these staging decisions diminish the impact of Claudio's remorse. This short scene is important in establishing Claudio's guilt before he is forgiven.

Claudio does feel bad, but he's also looking toward the future. He prays to Hymen, the Roman god of marriage, to make his next marriage better than "this for whom we rendered up this woe." He acknowledges he and Don Pedro were the source of "woe" for Hero, and he's intent on making his next marriage work even though he has no idea who the bride is. He truly does regret his actions, but it's hard to say if he's learned anything from them.

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