Do you find their dramatic change of character believable? Write in more detail either Benedict and/or Beatrice. How would you have the character play their role? Concentrate on Act 4 Scene 1. how does Shakespeare use character, action, dramatic devices and structures to show Benedict and Beatrice’s response to each other?
Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy written by William Shakespeare and is set in Messina, Italy. The theme for this comedy is love. This play also tries to show that people cannot hide from love as it will find them no matter how hard they resist it. The play is about a battalion of soldiers under the command of Don Pedro who have come back victorious from war and are staying with Leonato. Very soon after the beginning love takes control of the play and match makes four of the main characters. These four include Hero, Beatrice, Claudio and Benedict. As the story progresses Don John the Bastard, the illegitimate brother of Don Pedro plays a game with love to brake up Hero and Claudio’s wedding.
Two of the main characters in the play are Benedict and Beatrice. The two are introduced as rivals. I know this because in Act 1 Scene 1 Leonato says “There is a kind of merry war betwixt Signor Benedict and her”. I also think this because of the argument they have in the beginning. This leads me to think that one has done something to hurt the other. I can also think by this that Benedict and Beatrice were in a relationship together which was bitterly ended. This would also explain both of their feelings towards the opposite sex and also their hatred of marriage. From the argument they have in the beginning I can also tell that the two are very witty. I believe that there is an obsession between the two.
When the messenger arrives in the first scene Beatrice turns around almost anything said against Benedict. An example of this would be when she turned “And a good soldier too, lady” into ” And a good soldier to a lady. But what is he too a lord”. Also in the party scene Benedict who appeared to be a strong character was really offended by the remarks made by Beatrice. Beatrice is quite strong willed and does not support a Shakespearean stereotype of a woman. I believe that she is quite strong minded. I think this because she speaks out openly too a stranger when she was not talked to first and asks about a man using a nickname which she is aware that the messenger does not know. Benedict is quite the same but I think that he is a bit more pompous than Beatrice. I think this because he says “I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted”. This would show me that he is very arrogant but it is clear that he says this to answer an insult from Beatrice. Benedict’s type of humour is by making fun of someone else or himself. I do not believe that he is into poems or art or even parties that much. This is because of the way he treats Claudio when Claudio tells him that he loves Hero.
In the play the two characters dramatically change. This happens because of a plan made by Don Pedro. This plan was to make Benedict and Beatrice fall in love with each other. Benedict is tricked into thinking that Beatrice is in love with him. He would not have been so easily persuaded if Leonato did not deceive him too. Beatrice is deceived the same way. Showing that the two were easily convinced meant that the two wanted to believe what they were hearing. In Act 3 Scene 2 Claudio says “the barber’s man hath been seen with him”. Don Pedro then says “rubs himself with civet”. These two quotes mean that Benedict has shaved his beard and is wearing aftershave. This is in response to Beatrice saying her dislike for men with beards. This tells me that Benedict is now trying to impress Beatrice. It also says that he has been singing love songs on a lute.
On the night before Hero and Claudio’s wedding Don John, the villain of the story, tricks Claudio and Don Pedro into thinking that they see Hero sleeping with another man. At the wedding Don Pedro and Claudio shame Hero in front of the wedding guests. When they leave all the men follow them apart from the Friar, Leonato and Benedict. The fact the Benedict stayed showed that he is a changed man. Benedict is also the first one in the scene to question what he heard and blame Don John. This shows that Benedict is being logical.
Benedict also is caring now. I know this because he asks Beatrice “have you wept all this while?” It shows that he now cares what Beatrice is thinking therefore he now cares about other people, I do not think he did before. This also shows that he is now soft.
I believe that Benedict is also sensitive now. I think this because he says “I do love nothing in the world so well as you. Is it not strange?” It shows that he is being trustful and is letting his guard down. The old Benedict would never have done this before.
Benedict is also being supportive to Beatrice. He tells Beatrice “sure I believe your fair cousin is wronged”. This shows that he is trying to get Beatrice on his side and showing that he is hers.
Benedict is now very joyful. I believed that before he would find joy at other people’s expense but now he is finding it to talking to Beatrice. This is because he says “By my sword Beatrice, thou lovest me”. It is a very joyful thing to realise that the person you love feels the same way and Benedict is feeling joyful. This shows that he has changed a lot.
In this scene Beatrice asks Benedict to kill Claudio. Benedict refuses straight away. I think that he does this because he is quite shocked; he has just told a woman that he loves her and she asks him to kill his best friend. Benedict says “not for the wide world”. He is trying to say that he would never kill Claudio for anything. Eventually Benedict’s mind is changed as Beatrice emotionally blackmails him. This also shows that Benedict is a lot weaker mentally in this scene. At this point in the play I see Benedict in almost the opposite way than when I saw him in the beginning.