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An Analysis Of How The Relationship Between Benedick And Beatrice Moves From "Merry War" To "Honourable Marriage". Is This A Marriage That Will Last, Do You Think? Much Ado About Nothing

2709 words - 11 pages

With close reference to the chracters' use of language, analyse how the relationship between Benedick and Beatrice moves from "merry war" to "honourable marriage". Is this a marriage that will last, do you think?In Much Ado About Nothing we see "Signor Mountanto" and "Lady Disdain" move from a "skirmish of wit" to a state of "honourable marriage": a complete and ironic reversal and complete irony of Benedick's and Beatrice's previous is achieved by the end of the play. At the beginning of the play we are immediately shown the merry war and indeed, the first confrontation between the two is shown in the first Act of the first scene. Benedick and Beatrice undergo a change in their attitudes to ...view middle of the document...

Benedick, also, immediately appears unconventional in his attitude towards Beatrice, certainly not a conventional courtly manner of speaking to ladies. An Aggressive perhaps even childish interruption like "you are a rare parrot teacher" is the complete antithesis of any courtly attitude that would be more normal for speaking to ladies at the time of the play. Direct language like this is very down-to-Earth, embodying Benedick's persona. We are given an immediate and secure impression of Benedick and Beatrice from the outset of the play; and are given an impression of their "merry war"; something perhaps a little more sour and nasty than we expect: Nicknames such as "Lady disdain" for Beatrice and such references as "the Benedict" being a disease are not the courtly and polite manners which were expected by nobles at the time. Along with the contrast with the more conventional Claudio and Hero, the unusual Benedick and the unusual Beatrice both are immediately striking characters to an Elizabethan audience. Clearly, the other characters must be used to the "merry war" going on between Beatrice and Benedick. Leonato is already very aware at the beginning of the play explaining the "skirmish of wit" to the messenger, and that the two characters argue in such an uncourtly and unconventional fashion without attracting any comment or reaction from the other characters suggests that they are already aware of the "merry war" and have got used to it. Whilst we already see a long-term rivalry between Benedick and Beatrice already making their later get together ironic, the "merry war" becomes less merry and a little more sinister at the beginning of Act two. Beatrice makes some very strong and direct insults such as "dull fool" towards Benedick at the party, knowing full well that he cannot reply at the time. These insults given by Beatrice are a lot stronger than before, and Benedick is left in a very uneasy position. He goes on a long rant to Don Pedro about Beatrice: in fact, he makes the point that "she misused me past the endurance of a block" three separate times using slightly different images. This language suggests that he is so angry at Beatrice's mistreatment that he quickly starts throwing out complaints, accounting for making this point three times. Therefore in Act two scene one the "merry war" becomes a little less merry and a little more sinister and brutal. It is all the more surprising and ironic then that Beatrice and Benedick end up together at the end of the play.Benedick and Beatrice have different tricks played on them in the Orchard and react differently, although reaching the same conclusions, therefore making it necessary to consider and compare the two separately. Benedick reacts very suddenly to what he hears: he accepts it beginning a totally sudden and immediate change. The first thing he utters after hearing the conversation is "This can be no trick". Shakespeare makes this stand out and be very clear: not only does he sum...

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