BBC Bitesize - GCSE English Literature - Characters - AQA - Revision 3
At this ball, through the good services of Don Pedro, the young couple are betrothed with a little hiccup here and there ; Beatrice and Benedick manage to dance with each other, masked, and in this disguise she tells him what an idiot Benedick is and how no one respects him. The play begins to darken and lighten. On the light side, the men persuade Benedick that Beatrice is in love with him, and to save her life, he decides to open his heart and allow himself to love her.
So he arranges for Claudio to watch in the orchard two people making love on the balcony. Shakespeare liked repeating his plots in different ways—though the repetitions may have had more to do with the fixed nature of the playhouse and what was possible to enact. His wounded pride and cuckolded spirit lead him to plan a public and irretrievable condemnation of Hero. Benedick does not go with them—which is unusual, because one of his fellow officers has been humiliated, and the honorable action would be to join him.
Leonato, for his part, believes the officers, and not his daughter. He wants her dead.
Death is the fairest cover for her shame That may be wished for. She may be telling the truth. They will say that she is dead.
Everyone leaves the church except Beatrice. She weeps at the altar in shame, rage, and helpless- ness about being a woman. As a man of real honor, Benedick will use his superior place in society to rectify this injustice; and if he truly loves, he will love the whole of her, with no caveats. I do it freely.
And, as Nigel likes to point out, he goes first. He says he loves her before he knows for sure how she feels about him. Even though he thinks Claudio is mistaken, he will not violate the officer honor by fighting his best friend.
She cannot challenge Claudio, nor can Beatrice.
What Claudio publicly proclaims about Hero will stand, unless a man takes on the voice of the women. Hence, within the first two acts, a mutual interest between Beatrice and Benedick, as well as an equal witty characteristic and a shared hidden wish for true love as opposed to conventional love have been established in the play, preparing them for their fate of falling in true love with each other later in the story. Whereas Hero and Claudio are torn apart when they are misled, Beatrice and Benedick are drawn together through the tricks played by their friends.
Knowing both good and bad, love leads to trust. Infatuation, as Scheff states, is thus much more vulnerable to outside influences than love In the case of Hero and Claudio, it is obvious that since there has not been any direct communication between the two in the whole play, their relationship does not rely on knowledge of the other but on mere liking of the outer appearances and on an idealisation of the beloved. Thus, through little influence from their environment, these two infatuated characters are easily torn apart.
In contrast, Beatrice and Benedick are brought together by the plot hatched by their friends and family.
- Explore the relationships between Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing
This, in my opinion, is due to the fact that in their relationship it is not the affection for each other that is vulnerable to outside influences but their bad wits. Wittiness … can have positive meaning as well as negative. If, on the one hand, it can be used as a tool of practical reason in the service of emotional repression, distrust, and pride, it can also express a light-hearted playfulness, a love of life, that undermines the vices of proud reason and brings man into communion with his fellows.
When the couple is tricked, their friends strongly emphasise their bad wits, most of all their pride, in order to make them love the other. This can be seen very well when Benedick eavesdrops on his friends Don Pedro and Claudio talking about the invented fact that Beatrice told them she was in love with Benedick.
It were good that Benedick knew of it by some other, if she will not discover it. He would make but a sport of it and torment the poor lady worse. An he should, it were an alms to hang him. And she is exceeding wise. In everything but in loving Benedick. II, iii, Here, the friends clearly want Benedick to realise how proud he is and how his bad wit makes him look in the eyes of others.
Why, it must be requited. I hear how I am censured: They say too that she will rather die than give any sign of affection. I did never think to marry. I must not seem proud; happy are they that hear their detractions and can put them to mending. O god of love!
Benedick And Beatrice: The Mature, Romantic Relationship Overlooked By Shakespeare Fans
I know he [Benedick] doth deserve as much as may be yielded to a man. Disdain and Scorn ride sparkling in her eyes, misprising what they look on, and her wit values itself so highly that to her all matter else seems weak. She cannot love, nor take no shape nor project of affection, she is so self-endeared. Sure, I think so. What fire is in mine ears? Can this be true? Stand I condemned for pride and scorn so much?
Contempt, farewell; and maiden pride, adieu; No glory lives behind the back of such. And Benedick, love on, I will requite thee, Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand. III, i, As already stated above, these very quick and extreme reactions to the intrigues played to Beatrice and Benedick can be explained by the fact that in their relationship it is not their affection for each other that is vulnerable to outside influences as it is the case with Hero and Claudio but their bad wits.
Since — as has been shown further above using the beginning of the play — Beatrice and Benedick have everything that real love is based on interest in and affection towards each other, similar characteristics, and a shared wish for true lovetheir environment does not have the ability to destroy it.
In contrast, their pride and bad wit, which have served as shields for their true feelings for each other, are vulnerable to outside influences. In other words, the plot hatched by their friends forces them to realise for the first time that they indeed feel attracted to one another.
Therefore, the effect of the eavesdropping scenes supports the claim that Beatrice and Benedick represent true love in Much Ado about Nothing.
The fact that Beatrice and Benedick further develop their affection that was created through the tricks played to the characters in acts 2 and 3 into actual love through a proof of loyalty supports the claim that they represent real love in Much Ado about Nothing.
This can be seen very well in the soliloquies of the two characters directly after they are tricked. Beatrice, for instance, remarks: Contempt, farewell; and maiden pride adieu; No glory lives behind the back of such.
And Benedick, love on, I will requite thee, taming my wild heart to thy loving hand. Thus, it is a result of reasonable thought rather than an abundance of passion for Benedick.
Benedick And Beatrice: The Mature, Romantic Relationship Overlooked By Shakespeare Fans | HuffPost
II, iii, Here also, one can see that the decision to marry Beatrice is not primarily based on mad passion for her but that it goes hand in hand with him realising that his environment finds him proud.
However, in all this it must not be forgotten that the two indeed do feel affection for each other — as has been shown earlier in the analysis.
As in the case with Claudio's attraction to Hero, it is 1 often based only on outer appearance. Lacking actual knowledge of the other, the infatuated one usually projects his or her own desires and longings on the beloved.
However, this stage of their relationship — which can be seen as a step backwards on the way to real love — ends when Beatrice demands Benedick to kill his friend Claudio because the latter has denunciated Hero at the first wedding scene in the play.
As has been shown in the analysis of the beginning of the play above, the couple serves as critics of the traditional way of living and loving of their time. This can, for instance, be seen on the many occasions when Benedick speaks of cuckolded husbands e.
On the one hand, she wants Benedick to convince her that he is worth trusting in. This can be seen very well in the dialogue between the couple after the condemnation of Hero has happened: Come, bid me do anything for thee.
Ha, not for the wide world. You kill me to deny it. I am gone, though I am here. There is no love in you; nay, I pray you, let me go. Through this test of loyalty, it has thus been proven to both Beatrice and Benedick that they can trust each other.
Thus, what kept them from letting themselves fall into true love with each other beforehand — namely the firm belief that the other sex is disloyal — has now gone. Quite clearly, Shakespeare hints at this fate near the close of the play: Do not you love me?
Why no, no more than reason. Why then your uncle and the prince and Claudio have been deceived — they swore you did. Troth no, no more than reason.