Who is Don Pedro?

Don Pedro is the well-liked Prince of Aragon. Leonato likes Don Pedro. He is excited to hear of his visit. He is willing to allow Hero to marry him. “We will hold it as a dream till it appear itself”1.2.17 Claudio also likes and trusts him enough to share his secret feelings for Hero and then allows him to woo Hero in his name.

He seems to be a good-hearted matchmaker. He facilitates the marriage between Hero and Claudio. Claudio was too shy to approach Hero so Don Pedro jumps at the chance to play cupid. He charms Hero and wins her heart then approaches her father Leonato and reinforces the union by sweet-talking him too.

After setting Claudio and Hero up, Don Pedro goes about another cupid mission. He facilitates the love between Beatrice and Benedick by plotting another scheme. In this plan, Claudio, Leonato and Don Pedro meet where they know Benedick is and can over hear their talk. They talk of Beatrice’s undying love for Benedick convincing him, by means of eavesdropping, to woo her.

Don John, on the other hand, hates Don Pedro enough to try to ruin his life. “I’d rather be a canker in hedge than a rose in / his grace…”1.3.21-22

At the supper Don John instigates a fight between Don Pedro and Claudio by telling Claudio that Don Pedro loves Hero and wants to marry her. (Meanwhile Don Pedro is wooing Hero for Claudio). Claudio gets suspicious and believes the prank. When Benedick summons Claudio and lets him know that Don Pedro has accomplished his goal Claudio answers “I wish him joy of her” 2.1.170 thinking Don Pedro has won Hero for himself.

Don John fixes that mix-up with an intervention including Don Pedro, Hero, Beatrice, Leonato and Claudio. Claudio is speechless but after prompting from Beatrice replies “Silence is the perfect herald of joy.” 2.1.267

So is Don Pedro an angelic matchmaker? So far it seems he may be, but there is the issue of the extreme hatred from Don John. Is there more to Don Pedro than we see? Why does Don John hate him so much? Is jealousy enough to cause this much hatred? Will there be a happy ending for Don Pedro?

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5 thoughts on “Who is Don Pedro?

  1. melissav92

    Shakespeare hasn’t told us exactly why Don John has such strong animosity and hatred towards Don Pedro but there was a line in act 1.2 where Don John says “That young start-up hath all the glory of my overthrow: if I can cross him any way, I bless myself every way.” After reading this I thought that maybe they had been in a battle over family power that Don Pedro won, therefore “overthrowing” Don John. If this were the case it could have something to do with the war they returned from at the very beginning, but that is just a guess. With that being said, I think that his good-hearted intentions as matchmaker are pure, but as we read on perhaps more will be revealed about his true nature.

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  2. sielittrell

    I think that Don Pedro probably thinks that he is a mixture between cupid and a jokester. He tried to play matchmaker, but goes about it in questionable or deceitful ways. His rivalry and hatred for Don John also adds to the complexity of his character and how the audience perceives him versus how the other characters of the play perceive him.

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  3. Danielle

    I like that you mentioned Don Pedro’s role as cupid. I was very interesting in this during my reading. Don Pedro does not have a wife and there does not seem to be a match for him in the people of the play so it makes me wonder why exactly he is playing cupid. Is it because he genuinely likes being match maker or does he have ulterior motives? He has treated Don John badly all his life, in the Joss Whedon version he even has him handcuffed during travel. Don Pedro also just came back from war where he was leading forces so he must be cunning. I am very curious to see how Don Pedro’s character develops.

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  4. ethansmestad

    Don Pedro is honestly one of my favorite characters, because for all the cleverness of Benedick and Beatrice, they are ultimately played by Pedro’s scheme. He is after all a military commander, someone well-versed in the stratagems of ‘merry war’, and very apt for the job of making plans and schemes.

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  5. Michelle Cavitolo

    Don John is jealous of Don Pedro’s power, I think. We can see that Don John takes great pleasure in making such a mess in the play because it’s the only chance he can get at “overpowering” someone’s emotions. He’s like the jealous child who throw a hissy fit because Mommy is having another baby and won’t have any time to pay attention to him.

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