Benedick's Changing Character in William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing
During the play "Much Ado About Nothing", Benedick's character changes
dramatically towards certain aspects of life, namely in his attitude
towards women and love. At the beginning of the play Benedick is
portrayed as an experienced soldier and a knowledgeable scholar but
with little interest in women, love, and marriage; a partly formed
Renaissance man. His friends were mainly his army colleagues those
whom, he had fought alongside when at war. However, as the play
progresses, we see him become easily influenced by others and his
attitude towards life change, thus displaying his 'giddy' character.
In the first scenes of this play, Benedick and Beatrice seem to have
formed an instant hatred for one another; Beatrice seems to know of
Benedick before he even arrives in Messina. Beatrice warns Messina
about Benedick, so when Benedick arrives in Messina, everybody has an
idea of what Beatrice thinks he is like, so they do not have very high
opinions of him. We notice as the first few scenes take place that
there is a large amount of witty repartee going on between them.
"And a good soldier to a lady, but what is he for a lord?" Beatrice
says this even before Benedick has arrived; giving the impression that
he sleeps around with various different women, and he will not commit
to anybody. This shows his lack of maturity. As Benedick arrives in
Messina, Beatrice's response to him is one full of witty repartee and
mocking, however they do not seem to take the comments made by each
other to heart, and it appears more as a joke. It becomes apparent
later on in the play, that all the comments made by the two characters
are not true; they both just have different attitudes towards each
Don Pedro sees something in Beatrice and Benedick's relationship that
no-one else sees. He thinks about both of their characters and
realizes that they are both missing one important key to life, love.
They both nearly have completed their tripartite soul. Benedick has
seen action, he is well educated, but he is missing passion. Beatrice,
has beauty, chastity, however she is also missing passion. Don Pedro
thinks they are a match and he decides to play cupid between the two.
Don Pedro plans for Leonato, himself and Claudio to have a
conversation in the orchard which is going to be overheard by
Benedick. They talk about Beatrice being in love with Benedick; while
they are talking Benedick is hiding behind a tree, listening to every
word. This is a clever plan to make each party feel sorry for the
other, and therefore fall in love with each other. It works very well.
Benedick listens he starts to believe that they might be telling the
truth. Leonato remarks that Beatrice says
"By my own spirit; for I should flout him,...