Shakespeare's Presentation Of The Gulling Of Beatrice And Benedick In "Much Ado About Nothing".

1212 words - 5 pages

Dramatically, the two scenes in which the friends of Beatrice and Benedick deceive them into believing that the love of the other is whole-heartedly directed towards them, is very appealing, and on of the reasons for this is the dramatic effects.Shakespeare delves into the deeper and more continuous themes of the play in this scene, both through the language and the visual actions, and one of the themes explored is the emerging of true emotions from behind a mask. When Don Pedro, Leonato and Claudio enter, Benedick mocks "the Prince and Monsieur Love!" and hides "in the arbour". As well as Benedick's outward demonstration of the cynicism he has towards affectionate emotions being humorous for the audience, it also implies a deeper impact that the developing relationship of Claudio and Hero is having on him. The audience has learnt from Act 1 Scene 1 his seemingly obvious distaste for love, as Benedick proudly states that he would look pale "with anger, with sickness, or with hunger ... not with love". This demonstrates that he considers it dull and inhibiting, and further that it makes a man a domestic creature, leaving him only to "sigh away Sundays". Yet in the same scene, when Claudio tentatively requests Benedick's opinion of Hero, he replies,"Do you question me as an honest man ... or would you have me speak after my custom, as being a professed tyrant to their sex?"Benedick utters this with a dismissive tone, and yet it implies that inwardly he struggles with the persona that initially he willingly created for himself, yet now is assumed by others.There is a slight vulnerability suggested through the way Benedick hints at a subconscious desire to experience love despite his tendency to scorn it, and Shakespeare uses this to allow his friends to manipulate and play upon his emotions. Don Pedro initiates the comical deception, asking whether the others have noticed "where Benedick hath hid himself", and thus the gulling begins.The exploration of this theme is mirrored with the women and Beatrice's deception. Beatrice and Benedick are similar in several personality traits that they portray, perhaps indicating the suitability of their match, and Beatrice too struggles with the restrictions of adopting a contemptuous attitude to both love and Benedick. She claims that she would rather hear her "dog bark at a crow that a man swear he loves" her, and again although this is very convincing, there is a suggestion later on that this is not entirely honest. After the dramatic scorning of Hero by Claudio on their wedding day, Beatrice vehemently declares,"O that I were a man for his [Claudio's] sake"and this is because she understands she cannot rebel against the traditional man-woman divide. This indicates that to compensate for this, her words have become her weapon, and therefore her sharp distaste for love may not be true.Another theme that Shakespeare develops in the gulling scenes is that of traditional values, and again this is both through...

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