MuchAdo about Nothing character analysis
Beatriceis one of the major characters in this play. She is depicted as anassertive and determined woman because she was in love with Benedick,but she could not confess it. Beatrice speaks with highassertiveness. At the beginning of the play, she interrupts theconversation between her uncle, Leonata, and a messenger who had beensent to announce the arrival of heroes from war. She is curious toknow whether Benedick was among the returning heroes since she wassecretly in love with him, only that she was reluctant to admit thefact. “Heset up his bills here in Messina and challenged/ Cupid at the flightand my uncle`s fool, reading/ the challenge, subscribed for Cupid,and challenged/ him at the bird-bolt(I.i.2).” It appears that Benedick had wooed her previously, but hedeserted. Her determined character portrays likens her to the modernindependent women, which is a contrast to the expectation of thecharacters of women back then.
Beatriceis open-minded, thus the reason she speaks openly. She describesBenedick is as an indecisive person because he keeps changing hismind. “Veryeasily possible: he wears his faith but as/ the fashion of his hatit ever changes with the/ next block(I.i.3).” She describes Benedick from this perspective because hehad previously promised to marry her, but he bolted before fulfillingthe promise.
Inaddition, Beatrice is portrayed as rebellious character in the play.After Claudio humiliated and refused to marry her cousin Hero, sheburst in anger. Her fury stemmed up from the fact that her societybestowed too much power to men such that they could do as they pleasewithout consequences. She wishes that she could be a man, or thesociety should give women equal privilege top women so that theycould avert heartbreaks. During the renaissance era, men dominatedover women. They were primarily responsible for determining thepersons they could marry. She was convinced that Claudio wasdeliberately taking advantage of Hero’s innocence by claiming thatshe had cheated on him. “Othat I were a man for his sake! or that I/ had any friend would be aman for my sake (IV.i.70)!”The statement is scornful of women’ s status in renaissance societyfor it implies that men have higher privilege than women hence, thereason Beatrice would like to become a wan. Her discontent with herwoman gender is further evident when she asserts that it isunfortunate that she will die sad for being a woman. The statementimplies that women are submissive in the society to the extent thatthey suffer silently. “Icannot be a/ man with wishing, therefore I will die a woman withgrieving(IV.i.3. 70).”
Theplay has also portrayed Beatrice as a brilliant woman. She refrainsfrom believing instantly that Benedick was in love with him becauseshe knew that he could possible fail to keep his promise. She differsfrom Hero who gave he love instantly by taking time to ascertain thatBenedick was truly in love with her, or he was tricking her tobelieve that he could marry her before absconding. Her charactersexhibit practical behaviors of a wise woman under courtship. The factthat she is scared that she might be taken for granted prevents herfrom getting headfirst into a relationship. Her knowledge in lovecomes from the fact that Benedick had wooed her previously, and thenabsconded. In the opening conversation with Benedick, he complainsthat he is admired by many women except her. “wouldI could find in my heart that I had not a hard/ heart for, truly, Ilove none.” This was a compliment that would have impressed a woman, especiallycommunicated by a respectable man such as Bernedick. However,Beatrice retorts sacarstically, “Adear happiness to women: they would else have/ been troubled with apernicious suitor. I thank God/ and my cold blood, I am of yourhumour for that: I/ had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man/swear he loves me(I.i.5).” However, after confirming that Bernedick was a seriouswith the relationship, she readily took the risk of accepting theproposal.
Leonatais Hero’s father, and an Uncle to Beatrice. He is portrayed as awise character in the book. He is able to detect that her niece isbitter with Signior Benedick because she is in love with him. Heinforms the messenger sent to announce the return of the heroes fromthe war, “Youmust not, sir, mistake my niece. There is a/ kind of merry warbetwixt Signior Benedick and her:(I.i.3). He had already observed that the two were often engaging inwitty jokes that a person who did not understand the connectionbetween the two could be taken mistaken for insults. For example, hisniece compares Benedick to a disease, which was rude because women inthe renaissance error were supposed to be submissive, polite andtactful. “OLord, he will hang upon him like a disease: he/ is sooner caught thanthe pestilence, and the taker/ runs presently mad(I.i.3).”
Benedictis depicted as an independent person. He sides with Beatrice againsthis colleagues in situations that he believed that they were wrong. For example, he accepted that Claudio wronged Hero for defecting outof the marriage at the lat moments. In addition, he was convincedthat Claudio had no adequate evidence that he could use to proveHero’s guilt that she had violated her oath to chastity. In one ofher conversations with Beatrice after the Hero’s failed wedding, heasserts, “SurelyI do believe your fair cousin is wronged(IV.i.67).” This proves that he was not defending Claudio despitethe fact that he was his friend, and a reputable war hero.
Theplay also illustrates Benedick as an indecisive character. At somepoint, he was mocking Claudio that he was getting married. During hisregular conversation with Claudio and Don Pedro, Benedick MocksClaudio after he confessed that he was in love with Hero. “Iwould scarce trust myself, though I had sworn the/ contrary, if Herowould be my wife (I.i.9).” Benedick declares, “ThatI neither feel how she should be loved nor/ know how she should be/worthy, is the opinion that/ fire cannot melt out of me: I will diein it at the stake(I.i.10).” The statement implies that Bernedick was aself-confirmed bachelor. He believed that he would not marry becausehis heart could not generate adequate passion for a woman. This canbe confirmed by the fact that he had wooed Beatrice in the past, andthen escape prior to fulfilling his promise of marrying her. Hechallenges Don Pedro, “pick/out mine eyes with a ballad-maker`s pen and hang me/ up at the doorof a brothel-house for the sign of/ blind Cupid(I.i.10).” However, he soon afterwards gets head over heels in lovewith Beatrice. “Iwill live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be/ buried in thy eyesand moreover I will go with/ thee to thy uncle`s(V.ii.88).” Benedick, the person who had earlier declared that evenif he was placed in a doorway to a brothel he could not succumb toemotion was consumed up by a flame of Romance with Beatrice, thus hisindecisive nature.
Herois a submissive woman. She readily obeys her elders such as Beatriceand her father without objection. In addition, she accepts to marryClaudio once more after humiliating her that she had broken herchastity allegiance. After Claudio refused to marry her, his fathersuggested that she should remain in hiding as they were investigatingthe matter. Besides, she talks little when in public, but readilypours out her feelings when she is in the company of people she cantrust. After Claudio met Hero from her alleged death, he told her,“Giveme your hand: before this holy friar, /I am your husband, if you likeof me(V.iv.92).” Hero could have responded to Claudio’s proposal withfury for doubting her earnestness, but instead assert, “Andwhen I lived, I was your other wife(V.iv.92):” Her forgiving attitude was probably more inspired byher forgiving nature than the love for marrying Claudio. It isevident that her father supported restoration of the relationship.
Shakspeare,William, “Much Ado about Nothing,” ShakespeareHomepage.