Much Ado About Nothing

by William Shakespeare (1600)

Act 4 Scene 1

Claudio - Male, Under 25 yrs

Scene partner - Hero and Leonato

Monologue - Dramatic, 1:00 to 2:00 min

Claudio:

There, Leonato, take her back again:
Give not this rotten orange to your friend;
She's but the sign and semblance of her honour.
Behold how like a maid she blushes here!
O, what authority and show of truth
Can cunning sin cover itself withal!
Comes not that blood as modest evidence
To witness simple virtue? Would you not swear,
All you that see her, that she were a maid,
By these exterior shows? But she is none:
She knows the heat of a luxurious bed;
Her blush is guiltiness, not modesty.

[Leonato: What do you mean, my lord?]

[Claudio: Not to be married,
Not to knit my soul to an approved wanton.]

[Leonato: Dear my lord, if you, in your own proof,
Have vanquish'd the resistance of her youth,
And made defeat of her virginity.]

I know what you would say: if I have known her,
You will say she did embrace me as a husband,
And so extenuate the 'forehand sin:
No, Leonato,
I never tempted her with word too large;
But, as a brother to his sister, show'd
Bashful sincerity and comely love.

[Hero: And seem'd I ever otherwise to you?]

Out on thee! Seeming! I will write against it:
You seem to me as Dian in her orb,
As chaste as is the bud ere it be blown;
But you are more intemperate in your blood
Than Venus, or those pamper'd animals
That rage in savage sensuality.

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