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Discuss the dramatic significance of Act 2 Scene 3 of 'Much Ado about Nothing'.

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Introduction

Charlotte Newall Discuss the dramatic significance of Act 2 Scene 3 of 'Much Ado about Nothing' Introduction Love is the major theme in Shakespeare's romantic comedies. The love theme involves both the pairs: Hero and Claudio, and Benedick and Beatrice. For Claudio and Hero it is love at first sight, but there is an absence of passion and intensity. Claudio has his friend Don Pedro woo Hero by proxy. In complete contrast, Beatrice and Benedick's pairing is a fiery match. They display tremendous will and wit, and in the end can not help being drawn to one another. Benedick and Beatrice are intellectual beings. Beatrice shows her wit in the very opening dialogue when she makes several satirical remarks about Benedick and his 'merry war' before his arrival in Messina. Benedick displays his wit in a soliloquy in which he ridicules Claudio for his 'shallow follies', believed to have been committed after falling in love. He constantly mocks Cupid's efforts and teases Beatrice. There are of course, some troublesome aspects of the play. Claudio's lack of faith in Hero makes him a less heroic hero. ...read more.

Middle

The irony lies in the fact that the plotters know that Benedick is listening to them. Benedick does not 'note' that the conspirators know his hiding place while the audience 'notes' both deceptions. Shakespeare presents Benedick as a proud young bachelor, self-assured and set in his ways. He is an outspoken bachelor who finds it highly unlikely he will ever meet the woman who can tame his stubborn heart. He is portrayed as an enormously clever and sarcastic man. Most of the really amusing lines of dialogue either come from or are shared by Benedick. He is tremendously likeable, and nothing would be fulfilling enough to the audience than to see him completely enslaved to love once he realises its power. When Don Pedro, Claudio and Leonato stage a conversation for Benedick to overhear, they realise Benedick's stubbornness towards love when he says, "...man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviours to love..." Because of Benedick's attitude the plan of having him overhear is devised. The three men accomplish the plan by waiting for Benedick to be in earshot when they raise the topic of Leonato's niece, Beatrice. ...read more.

Conclusion

In his last soliloquy of the scene Benedick re-tells all the virtues that he has found in Beatrice, which are strangely familiar to the ones of his 'future wife' in his first soliloquy. He starts off by saying 'this can be no trick' and that the conversation was a serious one, he is taken in by the thought that somebody actually loves him. He also tries to think of excuses for his behaviours towards love, for instance 'doth not the appetite alter.' ' a man loves his meat (food) in his youth...' This ironically connects with what he said in the first soliloquy, his views now have completely changed; 'his words are a very fantastical banquet; just so many strange dishes.' Benedick is very humorous in his conversation with Beatrice. He is most certainly in love with her, and although Beatrice takes no notice of him and gives him witty remarks, Benedick sees through this. When Beatrice says 'against my will I am sent to bid you come to dinner' after she has gone Benedick gives the audience a laugh by saying '....there's a double meaning in that.' By this he means, Beatrice is covering up her true feelings. This same scheme is practised on Beatrice to trick her into loving Benedick, with Hero and Ursula staging the conversation. ...read more.

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