Humours of Two Characters in Much Ado About Nothing Essay

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Compare the Dramatisations of Benedick and Don John in Much Ado About Nothing; looking closely at the way they speak and the ways they interact with other characters
In Shakespeare’s era character traits were often represented by humours. Benedick is predominantly influenced by the sanguine humour which gives rise to his friendly, happy, optimistic and generous nature. Don John [henceforth John], however, is portrayed as an introspective, solitary and vengeful character due to the melancholic humour.

Benedick and John are both egotistical and are aware of their personalities. Benedick has wit and charisma to enhance his popularity whilst John appears to be self obsessed and selfish. John’s overuse of ‘I’ indicates his egocentricity
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However, I would make them similar ages, to show that he is just as susceptible to falling in love as Claudio is and this proleptic of the event. John, however, would need to be cast as a small insignificant figure to match his cowardly and ineffectual personality.
Benedick’s ingenuity is apparent from his clever use of language and his ability to skilfully manipulate words. His wit and intelligence are shown in his longer speeches with his use of extended imagery. At the masked ball he complains that Beatrice has used him past the ‘endurance of a block’, and continues this imagery through picturing himself as a target shot by Beatrice’s jests ‘she speaks poignards, and every word stabs…’[II.2.223-4]. His imagery includes references to astrology, mythology as well as biblical and classical allusions, showing he is comfortable citing the sacred and secular literature he is referencing from. His quick witted exchanges along with his clever imagery point to a good education which was vital for men in high society.
Benedick is able to understand the motivations behind the actions of the other characters. He is the first to suspect John as the man “whose spirits toil in fame of villainies” who devised the plan to shame Hero.
Even though John’s language is complex and he uses anaphora and alliteration, the way he speaks is stilted and rough. The logical structure of the language suggests that he could be elegant like…