Monday, January 10, 2011

Essay on Much Ado About Nothing: Beatrice and Benedick

Analytical Essay on Much Ado About Nothing

At the beginning of the play Much Ado About Nothing, Benedick portrays elements of self-confidence, which could easily be mistaken as "cockiness". By stating "but I am loved of all ladies", this straight away gives the impression that he is very self-confident and slightly boastful.

The most important feature of Benedick's character Shakespeare is conveying to the audience is his attitude to love and marriage. Benedick believes that it is an absolutely terrible idea that Claudio would even consider marrying Hero. Benedick states, "is't come to this, in faith hath not the world one man but he will never wear his cap with suspicion. Shall I never see a bachelor of threescore again?", by stating this, Benedick shows how horrified he is at the concept of Claudio taking a wife and totally against the idea. Benedick cannot see anything particularly special about Hero, he expresses his feelings about her when he mentions, "Why I'faith, methinks she's too low for a high praise, too little for a great praise, too low for a high praise, and too brown for a fair praise", making his feelings about her crystal clear. Benedick's view on marriage is also a very strong one. He believes he will never get married. He states, "I will live a bachelor." His view on love Is also rather a blunt one. Don Pedro says "I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale with love." By saying this, he means before I die, I will see you in love. Benedick replies, "with anger, with sickness or with hunger my lord: not with love." Which is a confident view, again, displaying his self-confidence. Benedick sees been in love a weakness and maybe slightly unmanly.

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The speech Benedick makes just before the trick is very logical and well organised. He begins by talking of how Claudio is in love with Hero and how head over heels Claudio has become since been in love. Next, he speaks about how Claudio has changed since he has been in love. The next subject Benedick goes onto is describing his ideal woman. One that is seemingly impossible to find.

Shakespeare uses a number of devices to convey Benedick's feelings in the speech. Shakespeare uses repetition, which immediately stands out. For example, Benedick repeats the words, "yet I am well". He is speaking about not needing a woman, but repeatedly saying, "yet I am well", suggests that he may just be reassuring himself. Benedick also repeats the words "one woman", which implies, even though he says he would never need a woman, he does have a woman in mind. Benedick repeats the words "Ill never", he maybe repeats this, to draw attention to the fact that he will never take a wife and wants it to sound believable. Benedick repeating this phrase often could also be seen as him reassuring himself.

Shakespeare also uses metaphors in the speech, one example: Benedick says "his words are a very fantastical banquet, just so many strange dishes", I think this tries to get across the idea that Claudio now speaks words which Benedick no longer understands. Since he's fallen in love with Hero, his head is in the clouds as it were and what Claudio says, seems alien to Bendick. It would seem Claudio is speaking the language of love.

Shakespeare also uses personification. He states "I will not be sworn that love transform me into an oyster". He says this, obviously referring to Claudio. He is basically saying that love has transformed him into something sloppy and unmanly.

Groups of three are also used in the text. Benedick says "one woman is fair, yet I am well. One woman is wise, yet I am well. One woman is virtuous, yet I am well." This gets across the idea that he has really high opinions and standards of what he wants and is never entirely satisfied.

Apart from hearing about Beatrice's love for him, Benedick also hears some home truths about himself. Don Pedro says "I could wish he would modestly".

Examine himself, to see how much he is unworthy such a good lady". This brings the whole situation home to Benedick. He thinks this must be true as it's been stated by one of his very best friends. Claudio and Don Pedro also think that Benedick would simply mock Beatrice for her true feelings towards Benedick. Claudio believes "He would make but a sport of it and torment the poor lady worse", this shows that they think Benedick would not take it seriously. Also, Don Pedro says, "'tis very possible he'll scorn it; for the man you all know hath a contemptible spirit". Once again, by saying Benedick will scorn it, shows they think he will mock Beatrice. They have no faith in him where taking it seriously is concerned.

In the speech delivered after the trick, It would seem Benedick is very excited and anxious. Firstly, Benedick tries to convince himself this is no trick, he seems to weigh up the situation. Next he speaks about marriage, how he has always been against it, but says he never considered living long enough to marry. I think Shakespeare uses certain devices to convey Benedick's excitement and shock. First of all, a short burst of really short sentences is used. This implies that Benedick is still shocked and maybe has to keep pausing for a reality check. He may still be in disbelief. e.g., "this is no trick". "Love me, why?"

Bendick repeatedly uses words, which are marriage related. This shows he may already be thinking about it, and that even though its not on his tongue, he's thinking about it.

The audience would probably be surprised with the changes. In earlier parts of the story, Benedick is a very strong character, and seems totally against been in love. The audience may be amused at the fact that he's changed from been this very independent, chauvinistic person, to considering marriage in so many words. The audience may have figured out that there has always been an attraction between Bendick and Beatrice, a spark, with their witty arguments and all, there must have been some chemistry. So it may not come as a complete surprise to the audience. The audience may also find it amusing that Benedick can change his feelings and principles at the drop of a hat, just by finding out that one woman has taken a liking to him.

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