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What does the audience learn about Beatrice and Benedick in Act 1 of 'Much ado about nothing'?

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Introduction

What does the audience learn about Beatrice and Benedick in Act 1 of 'Much ado about nothing'? In 'Much Ado About Nothing' we learn about Beatrice and Benedick. Benedick is a very confident, witty man who appears to have a love hate relationship with Beatrice. He is very self sure with women and makes it known to others that he would prefer to remain a bachelor for the rest of his life rather than marry a woman. Beatrice in a way is very similar to Benedick, she also is very intelligent and witty but she seems to have more of a fiery nature which seems to hide most of her true feelings. She challenges men, which would seem quite insulting to a Shakespearean audience as it would not be expected of an Elizabethan woman. Beatrice is a very modern woman and is seen to be the complete opposite of her cousin Hero. ...read more.

Middle

Beatrice appears much more spiteful and insulting towards Benedick than he is to her, 'a bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours.' So exclaims that a creature such as a parrot that can speak is better than a dumb one such as a horse. Benedick has the reputation of a womaniser and a "prince's jester", as well as being fickle and superficial in his friendships. His first line in the scene to Leonato implies that he is the prince's fool and is a humorous character, 'where you in doubt, sir, that you asked her?' commenting that the Prince might not of been sure is Hero was his daughter. Beatrice uses Benedick's characteristics against him on many occasions. Benedick's first words to Beatrice are, 'What, my Lady Disdain! Are you yet living?' He implies that he has some standing resentment towards her but yet banters with her on the aspect that she is still alive. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the same way Beatrice talks about her ideal husband but finds it impossible to consider any possible suitor. The relationship between Benedick and Beatrice is based mostly on wit and there is a sense of background and significance between the two. Although there seems to be something between Beatrice and Benedick they seem reluctant to show their feelings. Shakespeare presents their relationship to the audience as complex and deep and their love for each other seems to be evident but is deeply hidden under a veil of wit and a show of hatred. Signs of this suppressed love are the fact that Benedick and Beatrice are always on each other's minds, shown by their first words to each other. Another sign of this unspoken affection could be that Beatrice also has hatred towards love as Benedick, when she exclaims, 'I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me'. Shakespeare has presented to the audience their relationship through the pretence of their hatred and their reluctance to marry anyone else. ...read more.

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