Authors Avatar by nadia_r (student)


When we look closely at the romance of Beatrice and Benedick, we see the problems that a rational lover has in putting aside his concept of honour in order to love a woman and Shakespeare cleverly contrasts this relationship with our idealistic lover Claudio, who is incapable of rejecting the restrictions that honour places on a man. In a parallel construction we see through the relationship that the boorish Claudio has with the docile Hero that for love to flourish it must reject chivalric notions of honour.

The social hierarchy of Messina, is a very class conscious one and being witty is almost a full time occupation for many of its inhabitants. Playing practical jokes and tricks upon each other is a subtle way of maintaining the strict codes of conduct and among the most successful and benevolent of the deceptions practised are the parallel practical jokes played on Beatrice and Benedick in order to trick each of them into admitting their love for one another.

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In their first encounter, we see Beatrice and Benedick using their superior intellects to ridicule each other. Benedick warns her to ‘keep her ladyship’ and she lashes back with insults around his physicality suggesting that he is so ugly that ‘scratching his face could not make it worse’. Benedick uses his wit to shield himself from her barbs, hiding his true feelings and pretending to enjoy his bachelor existence when actually it is a mechanism for his safety. Benedick presents one face to the world in order to be accepted by the society that judges him and it is this society that ...

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