Open Source Shakespeare

Speeches (Lines) for Don John
in "Much Ado about Nothing"

Total: 40

# Act, Scene, Line
(Click to see in context)
Speech text



Leonato. If you swear, my lord, you shall not be forsworn.
Let me bid you welcome, my lord: being reconciled to
the prince your brother, I owe you all duty.

Don John. I thank you: I am not of many words, but I thank



Conrade. What the good-year, my lord! why are you thus out
of measure sad?

Don John. There is no measure in the occasion that breeds;
therefore the sadness is without limit.



Conrade. You should hear reason.

Don John. And when I have heard it, what blessing brings it?



Conrade. If not a present remedy, at least a patient

Don John. I wonder that thou, being, as thou sayest thou art,
born under Saturn, goest about to apply a moral
medicine to a mortifying mischief. I cannot hide
what I am: I must be sad when I have cause and smile
at no man's jests, eat when I have stomach and wait
for no man's leisure, sleep when I am drowsy and
tend on no man's business, laugh when I am merry and
claw no man in his humour.



Conrade. Yea, but you must not make the full show of this
till you may do it without controlment. You have of
late stood out against your brother, and he hath
ta'en you newly into his grace; where it is
impossible you should take true root but by the
fair weather that you make yourself: it is needful
that you frame the season for your own harvest.

Don John. I had rather be a canker in a hedge than a rose in
his grace, and it better fits my blood to be
disdained of all than to fashion a carriage to rob
love from any: in this, though I cannot be said to
be a flattering honest man, it must not be denied
but I am a plain-dealing villain. I am trusted with
a muzzle and enfranchised with a clog; therefore I
have decreed not to sing in my cage. If I had my
mouth, I would bite; if I had my liberty, I would do
my liking: in the meantime let me be that I am and
seek not to alter me.



Conrade. Can you make no use of your discontent?

Don John. I make all use of it, for I use it only.
Who comes here?
What news, Borachio?



Borachio. I came yonder from a great supper: the prince your
brother is royally entertained by Leonato: and I
can give you intelligence of an intended marriage.

Don John. Will it serve for any model to build mischief on?
What is he for a fool that betroths himself to



Borachio. Marry, it is your brother's right hand.

Don John. Who? the most exquisite Claudio?



Borachio. Even he.

Don John. A proper squire! And who, and who? which way looks



Borachio. Marry, on Hero, the daughter and heir of Leonato.

Don John. A very forward March-chick! How came you to this?



Borachio. Being entertained for a perfumer, as I was smoking a
musty room, comes me the prince and Claudio, hand
in hand in sad conference: I whipt me behind the
arras; and there heard it agreed upon that the
prince should woo Hero for himself, and having
obtained her, give her to Count Claudio.

Don John. Come, come, let us thither: this may prove food to
my displeasure. That young start-up hath all the
glory of my overthrow: if I can cross him any way, I
bless myself every way. You are both sure, and will assist me?



Conrade. To the death, my lord.

Don John. Let us to the great supper: their cheer is the
greater that I am subdued. Would the cook were of
my mind! Shall we go prove what's to be done?



(stage directions). [Dance. Then exeunt all except DON JOHN, BORACHIO, and CLAUDIO]

Don John. Sure my brother is amorous on Hero and hath
withdrawn her father to break with him about it.
The ladies follow her and but one visor remains.



Borachio. And that is Claudio: I know him by his bearing.

Don John. Are not you Signior Benedick?



Claudio. You know me well; I am he.

Don John. Signior, you are very near my brother in his love:
he is enamoured on Hero; I pray you, dissuade him
from her: she is no equal for his birth: you may
do the part of an honest man in it.



Claudio. How know you he loves her?

Don John. I heard him swear his affection.



Borachio. So did I too; and he swore he would marry her to-night.

Don John. Come, let us to the banquet.



(stage directions). [Enter DON JOHN and BORACHIO]

Don John. It is so; the Count Claudio shall marry the
daughter of Leonato.



Borachio. Yea, my lord; but I can cross it.

Don John. Any bar, any cross, any impediment will be
medicinable to me: I am sick in displeasure to him,
and whatsoever comes athwart his affection ranges
evenly with mine. How canst thou cross this marriage?



Borachio. Not honestly, my lord; but so covertly that no
dishonesty shall appear in me.

Don John. Show me briefly how.



Borachio. I think I told your lordship a year since, how much
I am in the favour of Margaret, the waiting
gentlewoman to Hero.

Don John. I remember.



Borachio. I can, at any unseasonable instant of the night,
appoint her to look out at her lady's chamber window.

Don John. What life is in that, to be the death of this marriage?



Borachio. The poison of that lies in you to temper. Go you to
the prince your brother; spare not to tell him that
he hath wronged his honour in marrying the renowned
Claudio—whose estimation do you mightily hold
up—to a contaminated stale, such a one as Hero.

Don John. What proof shall I make of that?



Borachio. Proof enough to misuse the prince, to vex Claudio,
to undo Hero and kill Leonato. Look you for any
other issue?

Don John. Only to despite them, I will endeavour any thing.



Borachio. Go, then; find me a meet hour to draw Don Pedro and
the Count Claudio alone: tell them that you know
that Hero loves me; intend a kind of zeal both to the
prince and Claudio, as,—in love of your brother's
honour, who hath made this match, and his friend's
reputation, who is thus like to be cozened with the
semblance of a maid,—that you have discovered
thus. They will scarcely believe this without trial:
offer them instances; which shall bear no less
likelihood than to see me at her chamber-window,
hear me call Margaret Hero, hear Margaret term me
Claudio; and bring them to see this the very night
before the intended wedding,—for in the meantime I
will so fashion the matter that Hero shall be
absent,—and there shall appear such seeming truth
of Hero's disloyalty that jealousy shall be called
assurance and all the preparation overthrown.

Don John. Grow this to what adverse issue it can, I will put
it in practise. Be cunning in the working this, and
thy fee is a thousand ducats.



Borachio. Be you constant in the accusation, and my cunning
shall not shame me.

Don John. I will presently go learn their day of marriage.



(stage directions). [Enter DON JOHN]

Don John. My lord and brother, God save you!



Don Pedro. Good den, brother.

Don John. If your leisure served, I would speak with you.



Don Pedro. In private?

Don John. If it please you: yet Count Claudio may hear; for
what I would speak of concerns him.



Don Pedro. What's the matter?

Don John. [To CLAUDIO] Means your lordship to be married



Don Pedro. You know he does.

Don John. I know not that, when he knows what I know.



Claudio. If there be any impediment, I pray you discover it.

Don John. You may think I love you not: let that appear
hereafter, and aim better at me by that I now will
manifest. For my brother, I think he holds you
well, and in dearness of heart hath holp to effect
your ensuing marriage;—surely suit ill spent and
labour ill bestowed.



Don Pedro. Why, what's the matter?

Don John. I came hither to tell you; and, circumstances
shortened, for she has been too long a talking of,
the lady is disloyal.



Claudio. Disloyal?

Don John. The word is too good to paint out her wickedness; I
could say she were worse: think you of a worse
title, and I will fit her to it. Wonder not till
further warrant: go but with me to-night, you shall
see her chamber-window entered, even the night
before her wedding-day: if you love her then,
to-morrow wed her; but it would better fit your honour
to change your mind.



Don Pedro. I will not think it.

Don John. If you dare not trust that you see, confess not
that you know: if you will follow me, I will show
you enough; and when you have seen more and heard
more, proceed accordingly.



Don Pedro. And, as I wooed for thee to obtain her, I will join
with thee to disgrace her.

Don John. I will disparage her no farther till you are my
witnesses: bear it coldly but till midnight, and
let the issue show itself.



Claudio. O mischief strangely thwarting!

Don John. O plague right well prevented! so will you say when
you have seen the sequel.



Leonato. Are these things spoken, or do I but dream?

Don John. Sir, they are spoken, and these things are true.



Don Pedro. Why, then are you no maiden. Leonato,
I am sorry you must hear: upon mine honour,
Myself, my brother and this grieved count
Did see her, hear her, at that hour last night
Talk with a ruffian at her chamber-window
Who hath indeed, most like a liberal villain,
Confess'd the vile encounters they have had
A thousand times in secret.

Don John. Fie, fie! they are not to be named, my lord,
Not to be spoke of;
There is not chastity enough in language
Without offence to utter them. Thus, pretty lady,
I am sorry for thy much misgovernment.



Beatrice. Why, how now, cousin! wherefore sink you down?

Don John. Come, let us go. These things, come thus to light,
Smother her spirits up.