Benedick: from Hater to Lover

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While so many of us are dying to fall in love with that special someone; to be loved and cherished unconditionally; to spend the rest of our life with that Mr. or Mrs. Perfect, Benedick has other feelings regarding love. He erroneously views the power of friendship as being the top priority over any other relationship in his life. Benedick transforms from a self-conceited, immature bachelor into the passionate, devoted lover of Beatrice. Because of society’s view of marriage, this is an overall positive experience for Benedick. In order to see the magnificent metamorphosis that occurs within Benedick, we need to look at how other people, especially Beatrice, perceive him in the beginning of the play, how he views himself before his change, and how the slightest intervention leads to a complete one hundred and eighty degree turn in Benedick’s life.

To begin, we need to delve deeper into the enigma whom we call Benedick in order to solidify where he begins in his journey of evolution. Most people view Benedick in a positive manner; Beatrice is the exception. Don Pedro praises Benedick by saying that “he is of a noble/ strain, of approved valor, and confirmed honesty,” (Shakespeare 2.1.357-358) while Claudio asks what Benedick thinks of Hero, an act made only by the closest of friends (Shakespeare 1.1.169-170). Don Pedro and Claudio also think Benedick is a loyal, honorable friend and a respectable soldier. Beatrice, however, sees through Benedick’s charm. She tells the messenger that Benedick is “a good soldier to a lady, but what is he to/ a lord?” (Shakespeare 1.1.50-51). She is showing the messenger exactly what she thinks of Benedick: he is too concerned with pleasing the ladies that he can neglect his duties as a lord without any ramifications. Beatrice implies that she and Benedick have had relations in the past, hence their immediate disgust for each other when the plays begins. Once Benedick abruptly terminates the argument between Beatrice and him in the...
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