William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing is a play involving by deception, disloyalty, trickery, eavesdropping, and hearsay. The main examples of deception we see are from the characters of Beatrice and Benedick.. We as the audience are exposed to their ‘merry war; ad they exchange witty and sarcastic banter, providing the humor throughout Shakespeare’s comedy and very interesting comparisons to be commented onIn act 1, we are introduced to Beatrice who Beatrice tends to take charge of every conversation, not reluctant to state her own views on a subject regardless of whom she addresses.
Her wit and sarcasm are wasted on the messenger, who doesn’t know what to make of her. Her uncle, Leonato, acknowledges her ongoing “merry war” with Benedick. Finally, she engages Benedick himself, who can give back as good as he gets. Benedick too is mentioned before he appears, but only by Beatrice, who is clearly bitter toward him, apparently as the result of previous experience with him.
In his battle of words with Beatrice, Benedick puts up a noble fight, finally putting her on the defensive, but while Benedick has the last word this time, Beatrice ends the conversation with an aside, spoken for the benefit of the audience, revealing that she and Benedick have known each other personally in the past and that this war of words is not something new. Regarding his attitudes about women, Benedick admits that he is a “professed tyrant to their sex. ” We can tell that there is a huge comparison in their characters and the way they speak.
Beatrice clearly speaks her mind and is not afraid to let Benedick know what she thinks of him. Beatrice believes women should be allowed to voice their opinions where it suits them. Beatrice portrays herself as an independent woman. This sets her apart from the convential women of her time, namingly Hero, who is told what to do by ger father and is under his authority. We compare Beatrice’s attitudes towards love to Benedicks. She is a strong minded woman who alike to benedick does not need a member of the opposite sex. The thorny relationship amongst them is emphasised.
The contrasts between Benedick and Beatrice become more clear in Act 2. As the dancing commences, we learn a great deal about their personalities. Beatrice, who recognizes her own rebelliousness and bluntness and their effects on others, especially men, has been hurt by Benedick sometime in the past; Benedick is vulnerable to Beatrice’s insults (by the end of the scene, Benedick is at his most infuriated with Beatrice’s insults, referring to her as a Harpy and as Lady Tongue; he asks Don Pedro to send him on any errand, no matter how ridiculous, just to get him away from Beatrice).
This shows the clear divide in attitutdes however , if analysed deeper it seems as if there are evident similarities between Benedick and Beatrice. They’re both exposed to each other’s abuses and somehow feel threatened by it. Benedick knows that a change will be beneficial to them both as evident when he overhears his friends. Benedick is first suspicious that this is a “gull” — a hoax cooked up by his friends — but Leonato, “the white-bearded fellow speaks it: knavery cannot sure hide himself in such reverence. Therefore, Benedick is inclined to believe what they say about Beatrice’s love for him. Benedick’s complete change of heart about marriage and about Beatrice is obvious in the comparison of his two monologues — before and after his eavesdropping — from his easy talk about the perfection he requires in a woman, to his admission that he “will be horribly in love with her. ” He recognizes that he is going against his reputation, and others may make fun of him when they find out. But he accepts the fact that he has a right to change his mind: (‘. . . oth not the appetite alter? A man loves the meat in his youth, that he cannot endure in his age. ’). He appears to move toward loving and being loved with relief first and then with eagerness. This is a vast comparison to when Beatrice comes to call Benedick to dinner, he interprets even her insults as veiled expressions of affection. She, of course, has not yet been subjected to the planned eavesdropping treatment by her friends. Ultimately, It seems that both Benedick and Beatrice have concealed similarities despite the differences that are seen on the surface.
There bitterness towards each other seem to be targeted by the fear of the other persons hatred. Shakespeare presents them as cynical characters who’s aims in life seem to be putting down the other person. Nevertheless, their views instantly change when they find out the other persons feeling and it seems that they lack company and try to cover it up. This makes them similar in the sense that, with all the love surrounding them, their loneliness is taking its toll and the affection towards each other becomes very apparent.