Leonato is a kindly and respectable nobleman. He lives in the Italian town of Messina. Leonato shares his house with his lovely young daughter, Hero, his clever niece, Beatrice, and his elderly brother, Antonio. Antonio is the father of Beatrice. In the start, Leonato prepares to welcome some friends home from war. The friends include Don Pedro, a prince, and two fellow soldiers: Claudio, a well-respected young nobleman, and Benedick, a clever man who makes witty jokes. Don John, Don Pedro’s illegitimate brother, is part of the crowd as well. Don John is a bitter man and causes trouble for the
When the soldiers arrive at Leonato’s home, Claudio quickly falls in love with Hero. Meanwhile, Benedick and Beatrice resume the war of witty insults that they have carried on with each other in the past. Claudio and Hero confess their love for one another and decide to be married. To pass the time in the week before the wedding, the lovers and their friends decide to play a game. They want to get Beatrice and Benedick, who are meant for each other, to stop arguing and fall in love. Their tricks prove successful, and Beatrice and Benedick soon fall secretly in love with each other.
But Don John has decided to destroy everyone’s happiness. He has his companion Borachio make love to Margaret, Hero’s serving woman, at Hero s window in the darkness of the night, and he brings Don Pedro and Claudio to watch. Believing that he has seen Hero being unfaithful to him, Claudio insults Hero by suddenly accusing her of having an illegal sexual relationship with other men on the day of their wedding and leaving her at the altar.
Hero’s stricken family members decide to pretend that she died suddenly of shock and to hide her away while they wait for the truth about her innocence to come to light. In the aftermath of the rejection, Benedick and Beatrice finally confess their love to one another. Fortunately, the night watchmen overhear Borachio boasting about his crime. Dogberry and Verges, the heads of the local police, ultimately arrest Borachio. Everyone learns that Hero is innocent, and Claudio, who believes she is dead, grieves for her.
Leonato tells Claudio that, as punishment, he wants Claudio to tell everybody in the city how innocent Hero was. He also wants Claudio to marry Leonato’s “niece”-a girl who, he says, looks much like the dead Hero. Claudio goes to church with the others, preparing to marry the masked woman he thinks is Hero’s cousin. When Hero reveals herself as the masked woman, Claudio has gone over the moon with joy. Benedick then asks Beatrice if she will marry him, and after some arguments, they agree. The joyful lovers all have a merry dance before they celebrate their double wedding.