Just about everything in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing can be compared to the form of comedy called "Commedia dell Arte," which is a form of comedy that was performed by traveling groups in the 17th century. "Commedia," which is also called the Italian Comedy, featured stock characters which later became known as "masks," because all the characters wore masks. There were characters like Arlechino, who was the clever clown and there were the young lovers, who must face difficulties before they can be together. The characters in "Much Ado" fall well into the descriptions of all the stock characters. Even the plot falls into this form of comedy. .
In "Much Ado" there are two pairs of young lovers; one set the typical pair and the other, the reluctant lovers. Hero and Claudio, must overcome betrayal and deceit before they come together, much like "Inamorata and Inamorato" from "Commedia." The second set of lovers, Beatrice and Benedict, fall into many stock roles. Both qualify as the second set of lovers, but they seem to be more then that. Beatrice falls into the stock character named "Columbina," who is not Hero's servant like in "Commedia," but she is very close to Hero and is never serious, like Columbina. Benedict, is much like the "Arlechino" character. He is funny, smart, and cunning. He is not a servant like Arlechino, but he is a soldier, who serves his Prince. .
Hero's father and his brother can be compared to the "Vecchi" characters, which are the old men of "Commedia." They are both variations of the "Pantalone" and "Il Doctore" characters. Senor Antonio is the dirty old man, "Pantalone," who is always chasing younger women. And Hero's father can be compared to the "Brighella" character as well, because he offers advice to the young couple and he is better off then everyone as the "Brighella" character is.
There are two other sets of brothers in this play, the Prince and his brother John.