Comparison of Beatrice and Benedick in the play, “Much Ado About Nothing” Essay

Comparison of Beatrice and Benedick in the play, “Much Ado About Nothing”

            In William Shakespeare’s play, “Much Ado About Nothing,” two of the major characters who have attitudes, perceptions and beliefs that are very similar to each other and also play similar roles. These characters are Beatrice and Benedick.

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            In the play, Beatrice is the niece of Leonato, the highly rich and influential governor of Messina, while Benedick is a soldier who has just returned from the war and is a close friend of Don Pedro. It is evident that although both characters fall in love with each other at the end of the play, initially, both apparently dislike the opposite sex and basically share the same views towards a lot of aspects in life.

            One of their most notable similarities is that Beatrice and Benedick swore that they will never marry. Beatrice is a prime example of a strong-willed, cynical, and sharp woman. One of the major reasons why she doesn’t want to marry is because is refuses to submit her will under the control of a man. In addition, she claims the she has yet to meet the perfect man or the one who will still treat her as his equal even after marriage.

            Similarly, Benedick is an example of a highly principled and very clever man who basically lives to amuse other people. He is basically an entertainer and exaggerates his expressions to make the people around him laugh. However, he dislikes the idea of marriage mainly because he somehow believes that women would be like Beatrice.

            It is due to their similarities that they engage in a series of arguments which they call their marry war. Almost throughout the entire play, Beatrice and Benedick are thrown in a competition between themselves where they attempt to outwit, outdo, and outsmart the other. For example, when one starts a conversation or makes a witty remark, the other answers back usually in the form of a clever insult or sharp words and vice versa.

            However, it is their personal differences between each other that also make them similar in certain aspects. Since both scorn the idea of marriage, it can be pointed out that Beatrice has notable feministic biases while Benedick has slight biases against females. In other words, because of their distaste for each other, both seemingly dislike the opposite sex.    For Beatrice’s part, her biases towards females can be shown when she condemned the inequality of women during the Renaissance period by saying “O that I were a man for his sake! Or that I had any friend would be a man for my sake! I cannot be a man with wishing, therefore I will die a woman with grieving” in act four of the play.

            On the other hand, Benedick’s dislike towards Beatrice, and in effect, probably les in general when she told his friends how he disliked being near her by saying “Will your grace command me any service to the world’s end? I will go on the slightest errand now to the Antipodes that you can devise to send me on. I will fetch you a toothpicker from the furthest inch of Asia . . . do you any embassage to the pigmies, rather than hold three words’ conference with this harpy” in the second act of the play.

            However, despite their differences, both characters shared the same sympathy over Hero when her fiancée Claudio, wrongfully accused her of being unfaithful to him and left her at the altar during their wedding day. Beatrice lashed out at Claudio for mistreating Hero, who was her cousin while Benedick challenged him to a duel.

            Their common sympathy towards Hero and her failed relationship with Claudio speaks a lot about Benedick and Beatrice’s apparent frustration towards marriage, and even love itself. Meaning to say, although they both dislike the very though of matrimony, deep inside, they long for someone to love and share their life with.

            Furthermore, since the Beatrice and Benedick fell in love and eventually got married at the end of the play, it can be concluded that the only person who can make them change their initial idea of marriage is each other. In short, they are similar in the sense that they needed each other to change their views and perceptions.


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