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The characters of Beatrice and Benedict in Much Ado About Nothing and how they are portrayed n Branagh's film version.

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Introduction

In the play "Much Ado about Nothing", the author has presented Beatrice as quite a strong and independent woman through her conversation with Benedick. She is shameless and often does not care how her words affect others. Her carelessness sometimes turns into rudeness, for example when she says, "...he is the pirnce's jester, a very dull fool," but she says her words playfully so she'd never get into trouble for being rude. Beatrice clearly enjoys playing with language and forming insults for Bendick. Although she is sarcastic at times and teases Benndick, she seems to have another side, with kinder feelings, which she never shows. During the repartee, she is quick-witted and cleverly insults Benedick. E.G. "...and his oly gift is devising impossible slanders." She uses her talant with words as a cover for her vulnerability so she always comes across as tough even when she is sad. This shows she is careful with her feelings and to whom she shows them to, proving that she cares what people think of her. Benedick also cares what Beatrice thinks of him because he pretends to be someone else in order to hear what she has to say about him. This dramatic irony is effective because as soon as Benedick sees the conversation is going to be about him, he pretends to be someone else because he cares about Beatrice's thoughts. ...read more.

Middle

Beatrice does not realise that she is actually quite attrctive and charming and that men should like her for who she is not what she looks like. The phrase "cry for a husband..." suggests she doesn't think she'll get picked as a wife. Meanwhile she has besotted Don Pedro. This tells us she can be charming or insulting but she chooses toughness but perhaps now she is tired of playing hard to get. During their flirting, there is talk of finding her a husband. This shows she may be ready to tie the knot. Don Pedro offers to find her one and offers himself but does so jokingly because he knows Beatrice will always refuse marriage. Beatrice proves herself shameless again by refusing. This tells us she is not afraid to reject people but in afraid of rejection because she jokes herself out of love due to her self-doubt. This is supported by her 'melancholiness' just as Leonato described her. In the film, Emma Thompson portrays Beatrice very well. She shows deep emotions through tone and expression. Although she appears cautious at the rejection, she has confidence at most other points despite it all being about off limit subjects. The actress does a very good 'taken aback' expression when being called "a harpy". I think it may have been because she realises it could go as a compliment, not necessarily an insult. ...read more.

Conclusion

When he says," I cannot endure my Lady Tongue..." he compares Beatrice's tongue to a weapon and will do anything but speak with her because she has wounded him already. In the film, Branagh does a very good portrayal of Benedick. When he speaks angrily, he anunciates really well, especially on the plosive sounds. His facial expressions are exceptionally good throughout the rant. He looks and sounds really desperate when he wants to get sent away and just spits out the word 'Harpy'. The way he just glances at Beatrice when he says this is really good because he doesn't feel she even deserves a proper look and doesn't want to listen, speak or look at her. I think the musicians very cleverly kept up with Benedick during his rant by playing upbeat music. The music during the kiss and then Beatrice and Don Pedro's conversation was Disney-magic-like and this really connected with the star dance under which Beatrice was born and also the magic moment of the kiss. The cameraman shows the characters from an angle to emphasize the depth and exaggeration of the situation. He uses quick individual shots of the character to make the viewer feel the feelings of the character and this helps the viewers to empathize. The clothes that the women wear are all white and mostly the same. This shows unity and purity among them and in Beatrice's case, really brings out her tan. The author of the play, William Shakespeare has presented the characters very skilfully and successfully in these sections. ...read more.

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