How far can the relationship between Benedick and Beatrice in acts 1 and 2 in ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ be seen as comedic?
Comedy is firstly created in Act 1 when witty banter is exchanged between Beatrice and Benedick, this is first shown when Beatrice refers to Benedick as ‘Signor Mountanto.’ The use of the appellation ‘Mountanto’ implies that Beatrice sees Benedick as a farce, being over the top and flashy. At this point in the play the relationship between Beatrice and Benedick can be seen as comedic as before they have even met Beatrice is insulting him. Comedy is created by the use of the term ‘Mounanto’ not only by the obvious use of sarcasm, showing a clear dislike for Benedick, but also by the subversion of gender roles as in Shakespearean times it was very rare for a women to be ...view middle of the document...
Comedy is also shown in act 2 of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ when Beatrice refers to Benedick as a ‘princes jester’ and a ‘dull fool,’ this insult can be seen as humorous simply because it is such mockery. However Benedick takes these insults personally, at this point it comes to the audience’s attention that as these insults are taken to heart it shows that Benedick really does care what Beatrice says causing there to be less of a comedic element to their relationship and it becomes more serious as true feelings develop between them.
Another example of there being underlying feelings between Beatrice and Benedick as oppose to being completely comedic is when Benedick calls Beatrice as a ‘harpy.’ Though this term can be seen as witty just because of the nature of it being an insult, it is actually showing that Benedick is attracted to Beatrice as he is referring to her as having a beautiful face though he still despises her personality which he compares to that of a monster. This again takes away slightly from the comedic element of their relationship because instead of Benedick insulting Beatrice as a whole he admits to finding her beautiful which shows that there is in fact something between them.
In conclusion, the relationship between Beatrice and Benedick can be seen as very comedic and witty in act 1 due to the mockery and insults the pair share. As the play develops into act 2 we become aware of a more serious element coming about as the pair begin to develop feelings for each other, though there will always be wit between them it becomes less of genuine dislike and more the witty banter that would take place in a modern day relationship which was rare in the 1800’s due to the sexual innuendo of women at the time.