William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing

William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing

Length: 1328 words (3.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
In Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare depicts both Benedick and Beatrice as characters with one major flaw: both are full of pride. With the use of the masquerade scene, as well as the orchard scenes, Shakespeare allows the characters to realize their awry characteristic. By realizing their erroneous pride, Benedick and Beatrice are able to correct this and not only become better citizens, but fall in love.
From the very first scene in the play, Beatrice is shown as a character who is very prideful, and very protective of it. Benedick's line "What, my dear Lady Disdain! Are you yet living?"(1.1.114) gives a clue to how much pride Beatrice has. Benedick's reference to Beatrice as "Lady Disdain" shows how Beatrice thinks she is much better than everyone else. At the masquerade, Beatrice gives a perfect example of how protective she is of her pride. Her encounter with Don Pedro shows how Beatrice uses language as a shield for love, providing a firm foundation for the giant sign declaring her autonomy. When Don Pedro proposes to Beatrice, her immediate response is "No, my lord, unless I might have another for working-days – yours grace is too costly to wear every day."(2.1.320), which is a clever joke to steer away from love. Coupled with the metaphor of wearing Don Pedro's grace, this diversion also shows how quick Beatrice is to assert her independence. Although Beatrice's personality starts out as a woman of great pride and protection, Benedick proves to be not much better.
Benedick's character begins not only as a character of clever wit, but also a character of arrogance, especially for the female gender. Firstly, Benedick is a self-proclaimed sexist. This is obvious with his analysis of his own personality: "would you have me speak after my custom, as being a professed tyrant to their sex?"(1.1.162-164). Also, Benedick proves his own arrogance in his description of Hero: "methinks she's too low for a high praise, too brown for a fair praise and too little for a great praise"(1.1.166-168). This description shows that Benedick feels Hero is below him, even though she is the daughter of a high man. But probably the most prominent characteristic of Benedick in the first half of the play is that he is gravely opposed to love. Benedick's declaration to Beatrice: "it is certain I am loved of all ladies ... for, truly, I love none."(1.1.120-123) shows not only that Benedick's ego is so large that he feels all women love him, but also that he is so opposed to love he won't love any woman, even though he may choose from all of them.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing." 123HelpMe.com. 13 Dec 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

William Shakespeare's Presentation of the Two Pairs of Lovers in Much Ado About Nothing

- William Shakespeare's Presentation of the Two Pairs of Lovers in Much Ado About Nothing 'Much Ado About Nothing' would have been pronounced 'Much Ado About Noting' in Shakespeare's time. Noting would infer seeing how things appear on the surface as opposed to how things really are. This provides an immediate clue as to how the play and the presentation of the story of the two pairs of lovers would be received by an audience of the time, living as they did in a patriarchal society which was based on social conventions and appearances....   [tags: William Shakespeare Much Ado Nothing Essays]

Research Papers
1860 words (5.3 pages)

Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare Essays

- In the play Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare, love is an important and consistent topic. The topic of love advances throughout the play as the central characters go through the stages of their relationships. Love is important because, from a very young age people experience love as a natural part of life. People want to know what love is. How do I get it, and what does it feel like. It is something one anticipates and waits for, much like the experience of a first kiss or saying the words “I love you” for the first time....   [tags: much ado about nothing, shakespeare]

Research Papers
1061 words (3 pages)

Essay Much Ado About Nothing By William Shakespeare

- In the time of William Shakespeare, the words “nothing” and “noting” had little to no vocal distinction; the words sounded nearly alike when spoken aloud. This piece of knowledge reveals the cleverness in the title of Much Ado About Nothing, one of William Shakespeare’s classic comedies. The play is all about making something out of “nothing” due to “noting.” Misconceived noting causes chaos among the main characters, especially when these characters choose not to investigate these observations....   [tags: Much Ado About Nothing, Marriage]

Research Papers
1570 words (4.5 pages)

Much Ado About Nothing By William Shakespeare Essay

- William Shakespeare 's play, Much Ado About Nothing is a love story about two young couples, their friends, and families. The story takes place in the town of Messina. Leonato is the governor and owns a beautiful estate. His daughter, Hero, his niece, Beatrice, his brother Antonio, and many others live together on the estate. When the play begins, The Prince of Aragon, Claudio, Benedick, Don Jon, and other soldiers are just arriving in Messina on their way back from a war. Claudio immediately falls in love upon the sight of the beautiful Hero....   [tags: Marriage, Love, Much Ado About Nothing]

Research Papers
703 words (2 pages)

Love in William Shakespeare’s play Much Ado About Nothing Essay

- Love: an intense feeling of deep affection. In William Shakespeare’s play Much Ado About Nothing, love is constantly being questioned among characters; who really is in love. Who is truly loyal. There was not only romantic love displayed between characters, but also the love of a brother and sister as well. Some of the characters had a difficult time in lowering their emotion barricades in order to express their love for each other and others misinterpret lust to be true love. Despite all the back stabbing and betrayal committed in this play, love is very much alive amongst a small circle of characters....   [tags: Much Ado About Nothing]

Research Papers
1560 words (4.5 pages)

Essay about Much Ado About Nothing By William Shakespeare

- Much Ado About Nothing I love reading Shakespeare as it opens up a whole new world to me. I am not to familiar with his writing style and every new story opens up new thoughts and a wonder of what he was thinking when he wrote them. I was excited going in to read Much Ado About Nothing, as I knew it was one of Shakespeare’s comedic love stories. After reading Hamlet, which I hard a hard time connecting with, I can see why this is a comedy versus a tragedy very early on as it was much more light hearted than Hamlet....   [tags: Love, Much Ado About Nothing, Lie, Deception]

Research Papers
1040 words (3 pages)

Essay on Much Ado About Nothing By William Shakespeare

- Considering Shakespeare was writing during the Renaissance, there were undeniable social constructs regarding men and woman that were translated into much of the writing during the time. That is, besides Shakespeare’s. This is not to say that inequality is not found in Shakespeare’s plays, he seems to take a snapshot of all the gender and racial bias and lay it out in his plays for the world to see. But at the time, he introduces, quite sneakily in fact, some shockingly revolutionary concepts regarding men, woman, and gender constructs....   [tags: Love, Much Ado About Nothing, Woman, Renaissance]

Research Papers
1292 words (3.7 pages)

Essay about Classical Imagery in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing

- Classical Imagery in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing The romance of history has lured many of the world's greatest authors to search for their subject matter in the pages of time. William Shakespeare serves as a unfailing embodiment of the emotion of days past; yet he also turned to those before him. The comedy Much Ado About Nothing is a poignant love story, riddled with stunning imagery and allusion. An examination of the development of certain characters, the imagery and allusion, diction, and structure illustrate that the author wrote in a style heavily influenced by the classical movement of Ancient Greece and Rome....   [tags: William Shakespeare Much Ado Nothing essays]

Research Papers
3565 words (10.2 pages)

Comparing the Play versus the Film of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing

- Comparing the Play versus the Film of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing ?Much Ado About Nothing' is a postwar love story. Its principal subject is that of romance that may settle over the land after soldiers come home. I noticed that Much Ado is actually two love stories. One concerns sweetly innocent lovers who are driven apart by the plotting of enemies. The other involves very sarcastic lovers who are swept into each other's arms by the benign machinations of friends. I had a lot of trouble understanding the dialect, I grew up a country boy and we didn?t do much of this in my 14 persons graduating class....   [tags: William Shakespeare Much Ado About Essays]

Research Papers
871 words (2.5 pages)

Essay about Borachio in William Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing

- "No Small Parts, Only Small Actors" "There are no small parts, only small actors." Is this statement accurate. Minor characters, by simple definition, are characters who do not play a major role in a work of literature. However, every character serves a purpose. Simply because a character does not have many lines or appear in many scenes does not mean that he does not play a major part in the development of the plot. One such character is Borachio in William Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing....   [tags: Shakespeare]

Research Papers
991 words (2.8 pages)

Also, when Benedick states "I will do myself the right to trust none ... I will live a bachelor ." (1.1.235-237), he is claiming that he is so opposed to marriage, he will remain a bachelor until he dies. However, even with Benedick and Beatrice being so stubborn, two key events will turn them into better people.
The scene that begins the change in Beatrice is the scene where Ursula and Hero, in Leonato's garden, trick Beatrice into believing that "Benedick loves Beatrice so entirely" (3.1.37). Although this trick seems extremely transparent, Beatrice does not catch on, "And her response, in formal verse, clinches the success of the manoeuvre"(Storey, 22). Immediately after declaring Benedick's love for Beatrice, Hero proceeds to inform Ursula (and Beatrice) of Beatrice's faults, describing how "Disdain and scorn ride sparkling in her eyes"(3.1.51) and how Beatrice "cannot love, Nor take no shape nor project of affection,"(3.1.54-55). Once Hero and Ursula leave the scene, Beatrice has time to think over what has been conversed. Beatrice questions her own personality, "Stand I condemn'd for pride and scorn so much?"(3.1.108), and concludes that she will change her ways. She throws away her old self, stating "Contempt, farewell! and maiden pride, adieu!"(3.1.109). She also choses not to be so protective of her independence and declares love for Benedick, claiming "I will requite thee, Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand"(3.1.111-112). However, the true change in Beatrice does not show until the first church scene in which Claudio publicly humiliates Hero. Beatrice shows deep concern for her cousin Hero, the first time in the play where Beatrice shows concern for another. She is the first to claim Claudio is a liar and declare "on my soul, my cousin is belied!"(4.1.145). Beatrice then proves once again that she is a better person by demanding justice for Hero is met. Through Benedick, Beatrice plots to right the wrong and asks Benedick to "Kill Claudio"(4.1.290). It is in this scene as well that Beatrice, proving a complete turnaround in behavior, confesses to Benedick that "I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest "(4.1.287-288). This shows Beatrice transforming from someone who would scoff at marriage and love, declaring things like "I may sit in a corner and cry heigh-ho for a husband"(2.1.312-313), to someone who easily embraces love from the person she once mocked. But such a dramatic change is seen in her love as well.
Benedick's change begins the same way in which Beatrice's transformation commences. In Leonato's garden (once again), Claudio, Leonato and Don Pedro all trick Benedick into believing "Beatrice was in love with Signior Benedick"(2.3.94-95). Amidst describing how passionately Beatrice longs for Benedick, the three hint at Benedick's faults, claiming things like "for the man, as you know all, hath a contemptible spirit."(2.3.180-181). In doing this, the trio causes Benedick to rethink his position on many things. Benedick decides "I must not seem proud"(2.3.226), choosing to revert from the once arrogant sexist to a better person. He also determines, although seemingly in competition with Beatrice, to "be horribly in love with her."(2.3.232). This is a drastic change from the marriage-hating person he once was. At the church, after Claudio has humiliated Hero, Benedick receives a chance to prove he has truly changed. With the first chance he gets, Benedick professes his love to Beatrice, stating "I do love nothing in the world so well as you"(4.1.268-269). Admitting alone that he is in love proves a dramatic switch, but Beatrice tests it once more by asking Benedick, in the name of their love for each other, to kill Claudio and avenge Hero. Although it takes some convincing, Benedick claims "Tarry, good Beatrice. By this hand, I love thee."(4.1.326-327) and agrees to prove his love, and himself as a better citizen, by killing his best friend.
By realizing their erroneous pride, Benedick and Beatrice are able to correct their faulty characteristics and not only become better citizens, but fall in love. Graham Storey proves this by stating:

Benedick and Beatrice are both, or course, perfect examples of self-deception: about their own natures, about the vanity their railing hides ... about the affection they are capable of – in need of – when the aggression is dropped, about their real relations to each other. This gives the theme of deception in their plot the higher, more permanent status of revelation. (Storey 22-23)

Storeys' "status of revelation" refers to Beatrice and Benedick becoming better citizens. Beatrice begins the play as a person filled with pride, but with the deception of her friends she becomes a better person and falls in love. Concurrently, Benedick starts off as a man of arrogance and pride, but through the deception of his friends, he in turn becomes a better citizen and falls in love. But whether it is through others deception, one's introspection, or the combination of both, "Much Ado About Nothing" shows that one way or another, people tend to strive to become better in society, and hopefully pick up a little love at the same time.
Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. "Much Ado About Nothing." The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. John Dover Wilson. Great Britain: Hennerwood Publications, 1982. 125-147.

Storey, Graham. "The Success of Much Ado About Nothing." Twentieth Century Interpretations of Much Ado About Nothing. Walter R. Davis. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1969. 22-23.
Return to 123HelpMe.com