William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing is set in thirteenth century Italy. The plot of the play can be categorized as comedy or tragicomedy . Villainy and scheming combine with humor and sparkling wordplay in Shakespeare's comedy of manners. Claudio is deceived into believing that Hero, is unfaithful. Meanwhile, Benedick and Beatrice have "a kind of merry war" between them, matching wits in repartee. This paper will attempt to present the fact that Beatrice and Benedick are in love during the entire play despite their witty rivalries. Their friends' schemes lead each to think that the other is in love, which allows the true affection between them which leads to the exchange of the sacred vows.
“They offer comedy of both character and situation. The “merry war” between them is established in the opening scene: Beatrice piles comic insults on Benedick both before she sees him and to his face, yet there is no mistaking her interest in him, however it may be expressed; and although Benedick declares himself ‘ a professed tyrant to their sex’ (1.1.161) and an opponent to marriage, he tells Claudio that Beatrice ‘an she were not possessed with fury, exceeds’ Hero ‘as much in beauty as the first May doth the last of December’ (1.1.180-2). Beatrice, too, though she says she prays morn and night that God will send her no husband, admits that there is something to be said for Benedick, were it not for his perpetual tattling (2.1.6-26)” (Wells 167).
Beatrice and Benedick had been more or less in love for some time, and Benedick had retreated:
Bene: O God, sir, here’s a dish I love not! I cannot endure my Lady Tongue.
D. Pedro: Come, la...
... middle of paper ...
...eason’, she loves him ‘but in friendly recompense’; he takes her only ‘for pity’, she yields to him ‘on great persuasion, and partly to save your life, for I was told you were in a consumption’. As pipers strike up the music for a final dance we can only agree that they were ‘too wise to woo peaceably’ (5.2.65)” (Palmer 119).
Shakespeare’s interest in action frequently is merely tertiary to his powers of characterization and of language. In Much Ado he created a puzzling relation between Beatrice and Benedick. It is upto the reader to interpret this relation as love or “merry war.”
Bloom, Harold. Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human. New York : Riverhead Books, 1998.
Palmer, John. Comic Characters of Shakespeare. New York : Macmillan, 1959.
Wells, Stanely. Shakespeare - a Life in Drama. New York : W.W Norton, 1997.
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