Much Ado About Nothing: Love, Hate & Marriage - An Analytical Essay on the
Relationship of Beatrice & Benedick




Much Ado About Nothing: Love, Hate & Marriage - An Analytical Essay on the
Relationship of Beatrice & Benedick


In William Shakespeare\'s comedy "Much Ado About Nothing", the characters
Beatrice and Benedick are involved in what could only be called a "love/hate"
relationship. The play is a classic example of this type of relationship, and
allows us to view one from the outside looking in. This gives us the chance to
analyse the type of relationship that at one time or another we all have been,
or will be, involved in.
Both Beatrice and Benedick are strong-willed, intelligent characters, who
fear that falling in love will lead to a loss of freedom and eventually
heartbreak. This causes them to deny their love for each other and it is only
through the machinations of other characters in the play that their true
feelings emerge. When these feelings are finally acknowledged, both characters
are changed, but the changes are subtle. They are neither drastic nor
monumental. Both remain who they were before, but now they the two are one.
They gain everything and lose nothing. Whether or not their love would have
bloomed without the help of their friends, we will never know.
In the beginning of the play, Beatrice and Benedick do not seem to like
each other very much, if at all. This can be seen in Act I; Scene I, (line 121-
131):

BENEDICK: God keep your ladyship still in that mind! so some gentleman
or other shall \'scape a predestinate scratched face.
BEATRICE: Scratching could not make it worse, an \'twere such a face as
yours were.
BENEDICK: Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher.
BEATRICE: A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours.
BENEDICK: I would my horse had the speed of your tongue, and so good a
continuer. But keep your way, I\' God\'s name; I have done.
BEATRICE: You always end with a jade\'s trick: I know you of old.

Were the reader to judge the relationship between the characters solely by the
above lines, they would come to the conclusion that these characters much
disliked, if not hated each other. This is most likely not the case. In
today\'s world, with its knowledge of psychology, we are aware that this
behaviour is most likely a cover-up for other feelings. In fact, many
relationships begin with the parties involved denying attraction to each other
for various reasons. Others may see it, but those involved deny it so
vehemently that it seems to indicate dislike, if not actual hate.
Beatrice\'s opinion of Benedick is easy to see in the first act, she seems
to strongly dislike him for some reason and does not hesitate to tell all who
will listen. Regardless of her opinion, we can gather that Benedick is, in
actuality, a decent man from the other characters in the play. An example of
this can be seen in Act I; Scene I, (lines 31 & 40):

Messenger: O, he\'s returned; and as pleasant as ever he was.
Messenger: He hath done good service, lady, in these wars.

The lines of the messenger, someone who in all probability does not know
Benedick very well, lead us to believe that he (Benedick) is a respected man
who treats others fairly. That Beatrice says otherwise is purely an act of
denial on her part. She sees what she has convinced herself is there and that\'s
all there is to it.
At this point in the play, both Beatrice and Benedick are sure that they
want to spend their lives unmarried. This is shown by Beatrice in Act II;
Scene I, (lines 51-57):

LEONATO: Well, niece, I hope to see you one day fitted with a husband.
BEATRICE: Not till God make men of some other metal than earth. Would
it not grieve a woman to be overmastered with a pierce of valiant dust?
to make an account of her life to a clod of wayward marl? No, uncle,
I\'ll none: Adam\'s sons are my brethren; and, truly, I hold it a sin to
match in my kindred. and by Benedick, (lines 223-230):
BENEDICK: That a woman conceived me, I thank her; that she brought me
up, I likewise give her most humble thanks: but that I will have a
recheat winded in my forehead, or hang my bugle in an invisible baldrick,
all women