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Explore Shakespeares presentation of Beatrice and Benedick in the play so far. How do they contribute to the comedy?

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Introduction

Denisa Miron Explore Shakespeare?s presentation of Beatrice and Benedick in the play so far. How do they contribute to the comedy? Much Ado about Nothing is particularly admired for the wit and intelligence of Benedick and Beatrice, the warring couple which are comically tricked into falling love. Benedick is a vain, confident bachelor who holds a very typical view of women: no lady is ever good enough for him and to increase his self-esteem, he never misses an opportunity to mock Beatrice. We can see this from their first conversation which takes place in Act 1. Benedick approaches her by saying ?What my dear Lady Disdain! Are you yet living?? Through this, Benedick expresses his sarcasm towards Beatrice and his desire for her not to still be alive, mocking her existence in the conversation. Benedick is a character that represents vanity; he tells Beatrice ?but it is certain I am loved of all the ladies?. The use of ?certain? emphasises the confidence that he has within his character and creates an air of arrogance, as he obviously seems to believe that he is irresistible and that no lady would refuse his charm. However, he is contradicting himself ? he is loved by all the ladies, yet, he claims that he will ?live a bachelor? because he finds women as not being trustworthy, as he states ?I will do myself the right to trust none?. ...read more.

Middle

Benedick?s fixated ambition of always remaining a bachelor slowly dies as he hears the others talk about Beatrice?s love for him, creating comedy as his attitudes contradict. Before Don Pedro, Claudio and Leonato begin to talk about Beatrice, he says ?One woman shall not come in my grace?rich shall she be, that?s certain: wise, or I?ll none: virtuous, or I?ll never cheapen her?. This suggests that he is ignorant towards the women and that he is pretentious when it comes to choosing one: unless the perfect woman comes in his way, he will not do himself the wrong to look or search for any. However, after he hears the men talk about how Beatrice is in love with Benedick but won?t tell, Benedick has a sudden change of heart. He says ?When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married?. This is comic because his attitudes to love have changed at an unexpected speed, which normally would not happen. Also, comedy is created through the fact that he has, involuntarily admitted that somewhere, deep down he was waiting for this to happen, even though he claimed that he hated Beatrice. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is humorous because she is making comparisons between animals and humans and it is unusual to say that you would prefer an animal barking over someone dedicating their love to you; it gives a sense of coldness in her personality and that she is completely closed to love. However, this is ironic because later on in the play, she falls in love with Benedick. In conclusion, most critics concur that Shakespeare's depiction of the relationship between Beatrice and Benedick far surpasses that of Hero and Claudio in depth and interest. Scholars have often emphasized the fact that Shakespeare deliberately introduces the theme of the sparring mockers Beatrice and Benedick before the theme of the pallid romantics Hero and Claudio; and further, that when all of the principal characters are on stage together, the audience is drawn not to the tame love-at-first-sight relationship that develops between Hero and Claudio, but rather to the "merry war" between Beatrice and Benedick which later on in the play converts into a love relationship ? this creates comedy because the audience is taken through endless wars of insults and mockery until foolishly and involuntarily admitting their love to each other, changing the mood of the relationship through the work of other characters, instead of being lovers from the beginning. ...read more.

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