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In Act 1: Scene 1 of Much Ado About Nothing(TM) Leonato observes that there is a kind of merry war(TM) between Beatrice and Benedick. In light of this comment, analyse the way their relationship is presented thr

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Introduction

In Act 1: Scene 1 of 'Much Ado About Nothing' Leonato observes that there is a 'kind of merry war' between Beatrice and Benedick. In light of this comment, analyse the way their relationship is presented throughout the play. 'Much Ado About Nothing' is a romantic comedy set in Messina. Italy first performed in 1598. It features the romantic relationship between Beatrice and Benedick who indulge in a "merry wit of war". This relationship deflates the tension caused by another couple Hero and Claudio who serve as a more traditional 16th century marriage. To a modern day audience Beatrice and Benedick's relationship would be more realistic due to their open exchange of wit, passion and humor in contrast to the perceived perfection of Hero and Claudio's. This is presented in both characters from the opening scene in the play. Beatrice is portrayed as a caustic tongued character as she is always ridiculing people. In Act 1 Scene 1 Beatrice interrupts the scene by asking the Messenger a question while the men are having a conversation about war. She interrupts the discussion because she wants to end the male-dominated conversation which proves she is a feminist. She also doesn't want to miss an opportunity to taunt Benedick. She refers to him a 'Signor Mountanto' which she uses to imply him as a flashy swordsman which tells us she is being sarcastic. The impression the audience has on Beatrice's personality is that she stood out amongst most women at that time. ...read more.

Middle

She twists what people say especially with Benedick when she replies to him; 'Is it possible Disdain should die, while she hath such meet food to feed it, as Signor Benedick?' This means that her hatred is being fed and she uses the same strategies as done with the messenger. The audience can see she stands out of most women at that time as she is disrespectful and immodest. She is explicit and has a very bold attitude. They both show they are against marriage as they are witty and uncivilized to each other. We are more likely to believe Benedick as Shakespeare is portrayed as a symbol of truth as he is a soldier and just come back from war. This is also proven when the others slander Hero and he shows his bravery, he doesn't accept the fact and tries to convince Claudio by telling him there must be a mistake. The audience does not believe Beatrice as she was an outcast compared to most women at that time. In the 16th century women would have been tranquil and uncommunicative and they would obey what men said but we see her as the total opposite. It is hard to believe her as she is facetious. Beatrice uses antithesis when she interrupts the men's conversation when she says she 'had rather hear a dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me.' Beatrice uses a hyperbole when she mentions a dog barking and she is also very spiteful and she doesn't care about what Benedick feels for her. ...read more.

Conclusion

Their fa�ade of false hatred was dropped, their love finally being exposed. Beatrice reveals to Benedick the potency of her hidden love for him, "I love you with all my heart" as does Benedick: "I do love nothing in the world as much as you." Beatrice takes control in this scene reversing the portrayal of characteristics as previously Benedick was very dominating. The plain deviation from everyday Elizabethan life makes the story of Beatrice and Benedick that much more interesting for the audience as it is unconventional and so far from what would normally be portrayed of two individuals in love. The humor is conveyed to the audience through the sarcastic yet witty comments that are constantly shaping the battle of words that is held between the two. It is also a ridiculous approach to the concept of love which in the Elizabethan era, was regarded as powerful and derived from fate as in Claudio and Hero's, a very idealistic approach to the promises that are made between lovers. Contemporary audiences would not be as shocked as the day to day lives that we live involve these circumstances very frequently. Divorce and break ups are routine in relationships and the concept of "true love" is almost laughed at in the twenty-first century. Beatrice and Benedick are persistently rejuvenating their relationship by keeping a lively edge to it with the verbal battle that ensues, sparring with the witty and humorous retorts. They are genuinely interested in the person that each takes the form of giving the audience the hope or thought that their marriage may, in fact, be more successful. ...read more.

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