Hero's reticence is a sign of both innocence and of the superior market value of her relative youth, beauty, wealth and social position.
Claudio's denunciation of her as 'but the sign and sembalance of her honour' (IV. 1. 28) is ironic, since to play the marriageable virgin, she had not assumed a character and had only been a sign.
Amongst female company, she displays a keen and flexible wit. Her strategy of praising Benedick and condeming Beatrice's pride has the desired effect. Urging Magaret to extol Benedick 'more than ever did man did merit' (III. 1. 19) is a sauve deflation, arising from knowledge of male vanity.
Shy and deferential, she is…