The Presentation of the Relationship Between Beatrice and Benedick in Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing

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The Presentation of the Relationship Between Beatrice and Benedick in Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing

Beatrice is the niece of Leonato, a wealthy governor of Messina. She is feisty, cynical, sharp and witty. Benedick has recently returned from fighting in the wars. He is also witty, and like Beatrice is always making jokes and puns. They both continue a ‘merry war’ against each other, in which Beatrice often wins the battles. ‘They never met but there’s a skirmish of wit between them’, as Leonato says. They both appear content never to marry and swear never to fall in love. Beatrice then describes their last fight, when ‘four of his five wits went halting off’, and she continues teasingly to mock
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This could also be suggested in the way Benedick uses ‘thou’ to address Beatrice and Beatrice uses ‘You’ to address Benedick. Shakespeare may have used this technique to show Beatrice has less status than Benedick. It could also mean that she is being more reserved and cautious towards Benedick.

The love story between Beatrice and Benedick begins from the love between Claudio and Hero. Their relationship also depends upon and compliments Claudio and Hero’s relationship. These relationships are contrasted with each other. This appears significant because they link together to create an image of understanding and harmony. Beatrice and Benedick previously know each other and continue a ‘merry war’ that started when they first met. When they eventually fall in love it shows their maturity that they can show their feelings. In contrast to the young lovers Claudio and Hero, they are older and more mature. However, their constant competitiveness reveals them to be childish when it comes to love. Claudio quickly falls in love with Hero when he arrives, while Beatrice and Benedick resume the war of witty insults they have carried on from the past. By the end of the play, however, Beatrice and Benedick have earned each other. This is
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