Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing

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How does the character of Beatrice develop
throughout Much Ado About Nothing?

The character of Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing shows different sides of her throughout the play. She is said to have developed but in actual fact it’s just the situation that causes her to act differently, not her character developing. Although Beatrice acts different, she doesn’t change because she is still feisty, cynical, witty, and sharp. At some times in the play she shows a calmer side to her but, this doesn’t mean she has changed, the audience just sees a different side to her in multiple scenes - in one scene she could be having a ‘merry war’ with Benedick and in another she could be playing the fool.

‘Merry War’
In act 1 scene 1 we are told that is a ‘kind of merry war’ between Benedick and Beatrice. In this scene the audience is shown a sharp tongued Beatrice who shows wit in her words. She insults Benedick calling him a ‘pernicious suitor’ and shows the audience one of her many sides – this is the first impression of her character for the audience. Benedick calls her ‘lady disdain’ and this enables the audience to see exactly how one of the other characters per sees her at first and from this the audience’s perception of Beatrice begins to change because ‘disdain’, meaning to look upon with scorn – makes the audience think of how this could be and exactly what type of person Beatrice is. The audience now sees Beatrice as a strong female character; but as the play goes on the audience’s perception could change even more as the situation changes throughout the play.

The fooling
At the start of act 3 scene 1 Hero says that ‘Nature never framed a woman’s heart of prouder stuff than that of Beatrice.’ This single phrase defines Beatrice’s character as a whole as she is very tough and proud in the way she speaks and acts towards other characters. Also in act 3 scene 1 Hero says that ‘Disdain and scorn’ are ‘sparkling in her eyes.’ These...
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