William Shakespeare’s Play “Much Ado about Nothing” is about a group of characters with several story lines running through it. I have decided to focus on the development of Beatrice and Benedict’s relationship.
Benedick is a friend of Don Pedro who is a confirmed bachelor, he does not understand why anyone would want to get married. When he and Beatrice meet they have an argumentative relationship and both characters insult one another constantly putting each other down.
Beatrice is the niece of Leonato and cousin of Hero. Beatrice doesn’t want to get married either.Order now
At the beginning of the play the relationship between Benedick and Beatrice is hostile. We are first shown this when Beatrice asks for Benedick but calls him “Signor Mantanto” meaning bighead. The two of them trade insults and Benedick calls her “Lady disdain” Meaning someone who looks down on someone because they think they are inferior. Beatrice’s uncle Leonato Calls their trading insults a “merry war” this shows that there trading of insults has been going on for a while but is quite silly; and it is funny to see them bicker.
Their views on marriage are both the same, they both agree on anti-marriage.
Benedick, when he hears that Claudio is in love with Hero says “I will die a bachelor” which means he would rather die than be married. When Leonato says to Beatrice “I hope to see you one day fitted with a husband” meaning I hope to see you married, she replies “no uncle, I’ll none” which means she wont marry at all.
The attitudes towards each other are mutual, they don’t really like each other. At the party, Beatrice tells Benedick Though she doesn’t know it is him that he is “the prince’s jester, a dull fool” this is an insult, saying that he is meant to be the funny man out of Don Pedro’s company, but Beatrice thinks he is not. She thinks, that he is not witty, but a boring old fart. In response to this, Benedick says “she speaks poniards” and he also says “I would not marry her” to Don Pedro . Both these comments are meant as insults towards Beatrice. “She speaks poniards” is an insult because it means she speaks daggers, she can not speak without offending who ever she is speaking too. ” I would not marry her” is an insult because he is saying that she is odious and because of this he would not marry her.
Towards the middle of Much Ado About nothing the relationship between Beatrice and Benedick changes and their attitudes, towards each other and marriage also change.
A good example of this change in Benedick is when he over hears Don Pedro, Claudio and Leonato talking amongst each other. What he hears is that Beatrice loves him but would rather die than show any affection towards him. On hearing this Benedick says ” when I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married.” As you probably have noticed, this is a total revolution to what he said about marriage earlier on. To make it look like to his friends that he was never against marriage he adds on “I did not think I should live till I were married.” An example of his change of attitude towards Beatrice is when he call her “Fair Beatrice.” This is in complete contrast to what he called Beatrice in the Beginning Lady disdain. He has changed because of the conversation he has over heard.
Examples of the changes in Beatrice are, when she over hears Hero, Ursula and Margaret talking about Benedick and how he is in love with Beatrice. Beatrice hearing all of this says ” Benedick, love on; I will requite thee.” This means that if Benedick keeps on loving her, she to will love him back. This is quite a surprise because earlier on Beatrice called Benedick “signor Mantanto.” Beatrice like Benedick has changed because of the conversation she has heard.
The first time Benedick and Beatrice meet alone , is when he supports her after Claudio and Don Pedro accuse Hero of being unfaithful, this is very unusual as Benedick didn’t go with Claudio and Don Pedro. This shows that Benedick is trying to show himself to have feelings for Beatrice. Benedick finally conquers his doubts and declares to Beatrice, ” I do love nothing in the world so well as you.” This is a break through in the development in their change of attitude and relationship with/to each other. Benedick says to Beatrice that he would do any thing to show his love for her. Beatrice then says “Kill Claudio.”
This is very harsh what she has told him to do to prove his love, but Benedick excepts and says “I’m engaged” meaning he will kill Claudio and this is his prove to her, that he loves her. Benedick meets with Beatrice again after he has challenged Claudio and says to her again that he love her ” I love thee against my will” which indicates that he is forced to love her by his hart. Beatrice talks she says “I will not love that friends hate” Benedick replies to this ” Thou and I are to wise to woo peaceably” which means that they know what will happen if they show their love to each other “outside.”
The next time you see Beatrice and Benedick together is at Claudio and Hero’s wedding. Benedick confident says to Beatrice in front of everybody ” do not you love me?” Beatrice replies ” why no, no more than reason” this shows that Beatrice is to proud and wont go back on her words in front of everybody. Beatrice then asks Benedick the same question, and he replies the same as her showing the same proud ness because he doesn’t want to make fool f himself. The situation is “rescued” by Claudio and Hero when they extract sonnets and poems abut each other off them .
The text reads that their relationship is erratic and they are both the same person so in my opinion I think that their relationship is still going to be the same and if they get married they will probably argue a lot.