The action takes place in the city of Messina in Sicily. The messenger informs the Governor Leonato about the arrival in the city after the victorious end of the war of Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon, with his retinue. Talking about the battle, the messenger mentions distinguished on the battlefield the young noble Florentine Claudio. The prince brought him closer to him, made him his confidant. The niece of Governor Beatrice asks about Signor Benedict of Padua. A remarkable young man, says the messenger, fought heroically in the war, besides, he’s a jolly fellow, which is not enough. Beatrice does not believe – the dandy, the chopper and the chatterbox could differ only on feasting and fun. Hero, the daughter of the governor, asks the guest not to take seriously the cousin’s taunts, Beatrice and Benedikt have known each other for a long time, they always dive at meetings, they tell each other taunts.
Leonato receives in his house Don Pedro, his half-brother, don Juan, Claudio and Benedict. The prince thanks for hospitality, others perceive such a visit as a burden, and the governor gladly showed his readiness to accept them for a month. Leonato is pleased that Don Pedro and don Juan are finally reconciled.
Claudio is fascinated by Gero and admits this to Benedict. The one who calls himself an enemy of the female, is perplexed: does Claudio so desperate to tie himself up in bonds? In vain, Benedict scoffs at the feelings of a friend, Don Pedro scolds
The brother of Governor Antonio excitedly informs Leonato that one of the servants heard the conversation of don Pedro and Clavdio strolling through the garden – the prince admitted that he was in love with Gero and intends to open to her tonight during dances and, having secured her consent, is going to speak with his father.
Don Juan is extremely irritated. He is not at all inclined to maintain a peaceable relationship with his brother: “It is better to be a thistle by the fence than a rose in the garden of his mercy.” They trust me, putting on a muzzle, and give freedom by entangling their legs. “
Boracchio, an approximate don Juan, returns from a magnificent dinner arranged by the Governor in honor of Don Pedro. He has tremendous news: from the overheard conversation he learned about the upcoming matchmaking of Claudio, the pet Don Pedro. Don Juan hated a young upstart, he is making plans how to piss him off.
In the circle of the family, Beatrice walks about Don Juan-his expression so acidic that he begins to torment heartburn. It is painful niece is sharp on the tongue, laments Leonato, it will be difficult for her to find her husband. “And I will not marry until God creates a man from some other matter than the earth,” retorts the girl, “all men are my brothers in Adam, and I consider it a sin to go out as a relative.” Leonato instructs her daughter how to keep her and the prince when he asks for her hands.
During the masquerade, Benedict, without opening his face, dances with Beatrice, but at the same time finds out her opinion of herself and listens to a lot of bites in her address.
Don Juan, pretending that he takes Claudio for Benedict, asks to divert Don Pedro from Hero – the prince lost his head, but the girl is not equal to him. Boracchio confirms that he heard the prince swear to her in love. Claudio is struck by the perfidy of a friend.
Benedict complains to Don Pedro of Beatrice’s unbearable mockery, whose words wound him like daggers. The prince is surprised that Claudio is gloomy, he is suffering from jealousy, but he tries not to show his irritation. Misunderstanding is settled when Leonato brings his daughter to him and gives consent to the marriage arranged by his highness. The wedding is scheduled in a week.
Don Pedro liking the inexhaustible wit Beatrice, she seems to him a suitable wife for the merry Benedict. He decides to promote the marriage of this “tongue” couple. Claudio, Leonato and Gero are summoned to help him.
Boracchio informs don Juan about the imminent wedding of Claudio. He wants to prevent it, and both work out a cunning plan. For a year, Boracchio has been using the favors of Margarita, the gambler of Hero. He will ask her to look out of the bedroom window of her mistress at an unseasonable hour, and don Juan will go to his brother and tell him that he is dishonoring his honor, contributing to the marriage of the glorious Claudio with a dirty trash – evidence can be seen in the garden on the night before the wedding. And all preparations for the wedding will collapse. Don Juan likes the idea: you can deceive the prince, make Claudio lose his temper, kill Hero and kill Leonato. He promises Boracio a thousand ducats.
Hidden in the gazebo, Benedict overhears the conversation between Don Pedro, Claudio and Leonato, who deliberately loudly discuss Beatrice – charming, charming, virtuous, and, moreover, extraordinarily clever, except for the fact that she was deeply in love with Benedict. The poor fellow does not dare to reveal his feelings to him, because if he finds out, he will ridicule and torment the unhappy girl. Benedict is very excited about what he heard. It is unlikely that this is a rally, since Leonato participated in the conversation, and cheating can not hide under such a respectable appearance, and they spoke quite seriously. He feels that he is in love too, in Beatrice there are many attractive features, taunts and jokes, which she lets go at his address, by no means the main thing.
Gero adjusts so that the Beatrice, who was in the arbor, hears her conversation with Margarita. The hostess and the servant sympathize with the unfortunate Benedict, dying of love for the wayward Beatrice. She is so enamored of herself, arrogant, will tell every man, finding fault with anything. And he managed to get carried away with this pride, but he has no equal in courage, intelligence and beauty. Beatrice realizes how wrong it was, and decides to reward Benedict with love for love.
Don Pedro wondered why Benedict was so sad, did he fall in love? Yes, is it that the windy and joker is able to feel true love? Everyone rejoices that the mischief has pecked at the bait.
Don don Juan comes to Don Pedro and declares that the honor of his brother, who arranges the Claudio wedding, and the reputation of his friend whom they want to deceive, are dear to him. He invites them both for evidence at night to the garden. Claudio is stunned: if he sees with his own eyes that Gero deceives him, then tomorrow in the very church where the wedding is to take place, she will shame her for all.
Police officer Kizil and his assistant Bulava instruct watchmen how to guard them: one must be vigilant, but not too zealous, and do not overstrain yourself, and do not interfere with the measured course of life.
Boracio boasts to Conrad how cleverly he managed to concoct the business. At night, he had a meeting with Margarita, and Don Pedro and Claudio, who had taken refuge in the garden, decided that something was Hero. Previously, don Juan managed to stipulate the governor’s daughter, attributing her a secret love affair, and he only confirmed the calumny and earned a thousand ducats. “Is it really so expensive to pay for meanness?” – Conrad is amazed. “When a rich scoundrel needs the poor, so the poor can break any price,” boasts Boracchio. The watchman becomes unwitting witnesses to their conversation and, outraged by what unrighteous deeds are happening around them, they arrest both.
Gero prepares for the wedding, she is surprised that Beatrice does not look like herself – she is depressed, silent. Did their plan succeed and she fell in love?
Kizil and Bulava report to the governor that two notorious fraudsters have been detained, but Leonato on the wedding day of the daughter is not set to do business, let the arrested persons be interrogated and send him protocols.
In the church there is a grand scandal. Claudio refuses to marry Gero, accusing her of dishonesty. Don Pedro believes that he tarnished his honor by promoting this marriage. At night they witnessed a secret meeting and were confused by the passionate speeches that were heard there. Slandered Hero is deprived of feelings. Leonato does not know what to think, it is better to die than to experience such a shame. Benedikt guesses, whose are these intrigues. Beatrice sure that the cousin was innocently smeared. The monk advises Leonato to declare his daughter dead, to perform a funeral rite, to observe ostentatious mourning. The rumor of death will muffle the rumor of the girl’s disgrace, the slanders repent of what they have done. Together with the desire to prove the innocence of Gero, Benedict and Beatrice admit each other in love.
Antonio persuades Leonato not to succumb to grief, but he is inconsolable and only dreams of getting even with the abusers. When Don Pedro and Clavdio come to say goodbye before departure, he accuses them of a sneaky lie that led to the grave of a daughter. Antonio is ready to call the young man to a duel. Don Pedro does not want to listen to anything – the wine has been proved. They are surprised that Benedict also talks about the conspiracy, calls Claudio a villain and wants to fight him.
Don Pedro sees how the guards lead the arrested Konrad and Boracio, close brothers. Boracchio admits that he was in cahoots with don Juan, they slandered Signor Hero, and the scene in the garden was arranged. He can not forgive himself that the girl died without experiencing a false accusation, Claudio is shocked by what he heard. Brother – the embodiment of insidiousness, Don Pedro is indignant, committed meanness and disappeared. How now to make amends for the old man? To revive your daughter you are not powerful, declares Leonato, so proclaim in Messina that she died innocent, and honor her tombstone. Since Claudio did not become son-in-law, let him be a nephew and marry his daughter’s daughter. Claudio obediently agrees to everything. At the grave of Gero, he bitterly regrets that he believed insidious libel.
When he is at the house of Leonato, the lady in the mask is summoned to him and demands an oath from him to marry her. Clavdio gives such an oath, the lady opens her face, and the young man is colder – before him is Gero. She was dead, as long as the sloth lived, explains the monk and begins preparations for the ceremony of the wedding. Benedict asks to marry him and Beatrice. The messenger informs the prince that captured don Juan is captured and taken to custody in Messina. But to deal with it will be tomorrow. Dances begin.