Claudio is a Count of Don Pedro’s suite, who has distinguished himself in the recent war. He is from Florence, though he has an emotional uncle living in Messina.
Young, still beardless, and built enough like the Prince that the latter can pass for him, Claudio is, to put it charitably, not very bright, as well as easily deceived and quick to jealousy. He is also, judging by the verses he will read at Hero’s tomb, an absolutely dreadful poet. Still, he is quick enough of wit to join in with Don Pedro’s mockery of Benedick. He is the latter’s boon companion of the moment. He is insecure, willing to believe the least suggestion that he is bring betrayed and always overreacting to that belief, particularly when he chooses to publicly disgrace Hero in church when he believes her unfaithful, rather than simply calling the wedding off in the morning. He refuses to fight either of the two old brothers who challenge him, but must accept to match with Benedick. As soon as he hears that he was deceived, he swears that he is once again as in love with Hero as he was before, and accepts any penance Leonato wishes to place on him. Steadied to marry Leonato’s niece, no matter how ugly, he is shocked to discover that she is actually Hero, who isn’t dead after all and is for some reason still willing to marry him.