*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday the latest from now on).
*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the William Shakespeare play Much Ado About Nothing. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations. We look to our leaders for support, comfort, and advice, believing that they are almost divine like due to their position. But as much as we may put them on a pedestal, we forget that they are human and as fallible as the rest of us.
In Much Ado About Nothing, Don Pedro is a nobleman who has just led his men on a victorious military campaign. He has also forgiven his brother, Don John, for an offense whose details are not shared with the audience. Upon entering home of his good friend, Leonato, Don Pedro has a hand in two different romantic couplings. The first is between his second in commend, Benedick, and Leonato’s quick witted niece, Beatrice. The second is match is between his young protégé, Claudio and Leonato’s daughter, Hero.
At the party that Leonato is throwing in honor of his guests, Don Pedro pretends to be Claudio. His aim to confirm the his young friend’s affections are being returned and to ask for Hero’s hand in marriage. What he does not know is that Don John’s perceived turnaround is an act. His brother is going to use Hero and Claudio to take his brother down. The engagement between the young lovers goes down without a hitch, not knowing that there is a plot afoot to tear them apart.
Also at the party, Don Pedro does something is completely modern and almost unheard of during Shakespeare’s time. Instead of trying to force Beatrice into the mold of what a woman in that era should be, he acknowledges that she is more than a sharp tongued harpy. When she turns down his own proposal, he accepts her response with an understanding comes up with the idea of bring her and Benedick together.
His fatal claw comes in not questioning Don John’s motives as to why he and Claudio are being shown that Hero in unfaithful the night before her wedding. Knowing that his brother has not been the most truthful in the past, he still believes what he is being shown. The day of their nuptials, he, along with Claudio, hurl the lies that they believe have killed an innocent young woman. Even when being told of her “passing” Don Pedro still believes the slander. At the end of the play, Don John has been revealed as the villain, Hero comes back to life, and the two couples walk into the sunset. When we last see him, he is being advised by Benedick to “find a wife”.
To sum it up: No one is perfect, as much as we would love to be. There is always something that can knock us down a peg or two. In Don Pedro’s case, that would be the belief that his brother is no longer the man he was. Though he, like Claudio and Leonato, do not apologize for believing the accusations against Hero and publicly shaming her, his image as a benevolent leader is still intact when the curtain falls for the last time.
Which is why he is a memorable character.