Returning triumphant from war, Prince Don Pedro and his cohorts Claudio and Benedick pay a visit to Messina and the home Leonato. Thoughts of war turn to love and Leonato’s daughter Hero is soon betrothed to Claudio.

Happy with their lot, Claudio and Hero, together with Don Pedro and Leonato, conspire to get verbal sparring partners and confirmed singles Benedick and Beatrice to wed as well. This happy scene is marred by the plotting of Don John, the Prince’s brother and enemy.