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Much Ado About Nothing opens in a liminal situation with a war that has just ended. How typical is this exchange between Beatrice and Benedick of their encounters in the play so far? Identify the main features of this passage and at least one other passag

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Introduction

Amber How typical is this exchange between Beatrice and Benedick of their encounters in the play so far? Identify the main features of this passage and at least one other passage. Much Ado About Nothing opens in a situation with a war that has just ended. The men enter a "golden world" in Messina where the women are already located. In this situation, people fail to take things seriously causing the peace soon to turn into a war of words. Benedick and Beatrice are the main examples of male/female rivalry that converts into belligerent wordplay. The first confrontation between Beatrice and Benedick appears in Act One Scene One. Beatrice interrupts the conversation between Don Pedro and Leonato (71-84) with her more lively language and Benedick responds to that. She starts the conversation by pretending to ignore Benedick. Beatrice tells him that 'nobody marks' him meaning that nobody listens to him. Benedick replies straight away (88) in the same offensive way 'Are you yet living?'. He also calls her 'Lady Disdain' implying that she looks down on other people. The war of words starts as they are picking up on each other's language. Beatrice takes into account 'Disdain' and plays around with the word (89-91). ...read more.

Middle

Beatrice describes Benedick's appearance in line 101. She believes that 'scratching could not make it worse' than it is now. By exploring the idea of his face being scratched, the audience is made conscious that he might be a possible wooer. Benedick calls her 'a rare parrot-teacher' because she is just repeating a few familiar phrases and she cannot think of something new and unique. However, Beatrice does not give up and says that the language she speaks is better than his. Perhaps, she also means that Benedick's is the double tongue of the serpent by saying that her 'tongue is better than a beast of his'. At this point, Benedick ends the conversation by giving the reason that she is 'a continuer' who is never going to stop. Another interpretation might be that he cannot keep up with her and that is why he ends the row. At the last sentence (107), Beatrice manages to offend him once more by saying that he uses 'a jade's trick'. She also says that she 'knows him of old' which might be a reference that they had some kind of relationship before and she implies that she did not think well of him. ...read more.

Conclusion

The war between them continues as they respond to each other's language and then play around with the words. Both the participants have an incredible skill in using language and that is the main thing that drives the play on. The first conversation consists of many language devices: assonance and alliteration. Benedick uses more such devices, which might imply that he is even more skilful with the language than Beatrice. He would want to prove this to show his masculine dominance and his superior intelligence. In their first conflict Beatrice refers to Benedick as an unpleasant, malicious suitor and she repeats the same thing in the second confrontation where she says he is an ungrateful person. In the first conversation Benedick says that Beatrice is the only woman, who does not love him. In the second conflict, due to the planned trick, he thinks that Beatrice is in love with him, so he behaves in a slightly different way. He does not use very offensive phrases, but still tries to keep up with Beatrice. Benedick ended up the first conflict and in the second Beatrice makes sure that does not happen again by simply going off. She does not continue to argue with him. This might occur because he called her 'a continuer'. The dialogue itself shows their feeling and attitudes to each other, which they express in a typical way. ...read more.

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