Love,Hate & Marriage- An Analytical Essay on the Relationship

Love, Hate & Marriage:
An Analytical Essay on the Relationship of Beatrice & Benedick

October 19,1996
Intro To Shakespeare

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