Don John is a thoroughly unpleasant character. Some readers say he is too evil to be believed, He appears first in Act 1 Scene 1 as a sulky and bad-tempered character. He says he is honest in that he admits his true nature, though in fact he is untrustworthy.
He is jealous of Claudio and plots to damage the soldier's new-found romance with Hero. With Borachio and Conrade, Don John sets up a scene that appears to show Hero being unfaithful. The audience learns that they intend to trick Claudio by showing him Margaret declaring her love for Borachio and making him think she is his wife-to-be.
At the end of the play we learn that Don John has tried to escape but is arrested and brought back to Messina.
|How is Don John like this?||Evidence||Analysis|
|Moody||Don John describes how he is ruled by his moods.||"I cannot hide what I am: I must be sad when I have cause and smile / at no man's jests" (Act 1 Scene 3)||He claims to be unable to hide his true self and will show his sadness or joy as it arises.|
|Villainous||He acknowledges that he is a mischievous and unpleasant character.||"It must not be denied / but I am a plain-dealing villain." (Act 1 Scene 3)||He seems to be honest about his villainy and admits that his behaviour is bad.|
|Dishonest||At the masked ball, Don John pretends not to know who Claudio is and says that his brother Don Pedro is trying to woo Hero.||"He is enamoured on Hero; I pray you, dissuade him from her: she is no equal for his birth: you may / do the part of an honest man in it." (Act 2 Scene 1)||Although Don John seems honest in admitting that he is a villain, he is also dishonest with others. Here, he lies to Claudio about his brother’s motives.|
|Resentful||Don John openly admits his dislike of Claudio.||"I am sick in displeasure to him." (Act 2 Scene 2)||He is jealous of Claudio and feels this as a physical sickness. His resentment towards the 'young start-up' Claudio, results in his plot to show that Hero is unfaithful.|