An Exploration Of The Ways In Which Shakespeare Presents The Developing Relationship Between Beatrice And Benedick.

2234 words - 9 pages

In "Much Ado About Nothing" by William Shakespeare, Beatrice and Benedick - two main characters with strong opposite opinions of the other sex - are involved in a plot where other characters in the play attempt to trick them into falling in love with each other. The unlikely couple are thought to perhaps compliment each other and make a good match, as they engage in a continuous "merry war" throughout the play and have many subjects on which they can argue about due to their opposing opinions. In the very first scene Leonato, who is Beatrice's uncle (and also the Governor of Messina), tells a messenger that 'there is a kind of merry war betwixt Signor Benedick and her...a skirmish of wit between them'.Beatrice is known for her sharp wit, and when she reluctantly greets Benedick as he returns from battle, she declares that she "had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me". She manages to ridicule love in the language that she uses as she chooses to use rather unromantic animals in an unromantic setting to portray just how much she hates the idea of love. The fact that she doesn't feel a need to fall in love shows that she in an independent woman, which was unusual in the Elizabethan times. It could also be interpreted that she does not want to get close to anyone and make herself vulnerable to a broken heart. However, at this stage of the play (the first scene), the audience can conclude that she is cynical about love and the conversation she has with Benedick shows how witty, loud, outspoken and clever she is.Benedick comes across as very arrogant and a bit of a ladies' man as he describes himself as being "loved of all ladies, only [Beatrice] excepted". He dislikes Beatrice for not fancying him as he cannot understand why she isn't attracted to him as all other women cannot resist his seductive charms. His conversation with Claudio reveals his attitude towards marriage, as he sees it as a life sentence that you cannot escape. He thinks that women will be unfaithful, making their husband a cuckold, and he jokes that "hath not the world one man but he will wear his cap with suspicion?" This means that the cuckold will have to wear a cap to hide the horns that will sprout from his head, and the horns will make it public that he is not good enough as his wife wasn't content with him alone, and so he will therefore be ridiculed.As Claudio announces his love for "the sweetest lady that ever I looked on", Benedick, who is a misogynist, feels that another man has fallen victim to marriage and love. He says that "because I will not do them the wrong to mistrust any, I will do myself the right to trust none. And the fine is - for the which I may go the finer - I will live a bachelor". His confidence that he will remain a bachelor is proved when he tells Claudio and Don Pedro to use him as a target for archery practice if he is mad enough to get married. Beatrice and Benedick have similar views as they both don't like commitment and...

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