Don Pedro: Prince of Arragon and a distinguished soldier. He returns to his uncle Leonato’s home in Messina with several companions after the war is over. Don Pedro helps Claudio woo Hero but also rejects her after falsely believing that she has a licentious character. He also acts as a matchmaker between Beatrice and Benedick.
Don John: Don Pedro’s illegitimate brother. He hates Claudio and Don Pedro and plots to ruin Claudio’s marriage with Hero.
Claudio: A young lord of Florence and one of Don Pedro’s close companions. He falls in love with Hero but their relationship falls apart when he falsely accuses her of infidelity.
Benedick: A young lord of Padua and one of Don Pedro’s close friends. Initially, he hates Beatrice but later falls in love with her.
Leonato: Governor of Messina, Hero’s father, Beatrice/Don Pedro’s uncle. He is enraged when Don Pedro and Claudio accuse his daughter of licentious activities and defends her honour.
Antonio: Leonato’s brother.
Balthasar: One of Don Pedro’s attendants.
Conrade Borachio: Followers of Don John. Conrade pretends to woo Hero in exchange for 1,000 ducats; Claudio sees “Hero” and her lover and breaks off the marriage.
Friar Francis: Adviser to Leonato who urges him to pretend that Hero is dead. Claudio’s hate soon turns into remorse and love because of this.
Dogberry Verges: Constables who arrest Conrade and Borachio and bring to light Don John’s evil scheme.
Hero: Daughter to Leonato. She falls in love with Claudio and is to marry him when she is suddenly accused of infidelity and loose morals. Hero pretends to be dead until the truth about her character is revealed.
Beatrice: Niece to Leonato. She initially hates Benedick but later falls in love with him.
Margaret Ursula: Gentlewomen attending on Hero. Against her will, Margaret pretends to be Hero and kisses Conrade near her window, in full view of Claudio and Don Pedro.