Much Ado About Nothing Act 1: Summary

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Much Ado About Nothing Act 1
1. In Act I, Beatrice and Benedick engage in a witty conversation, which Leonato describes as a playful battle: “There is a kind of / merry war betwixt Signor / Benedick and her. They never / meet but there’s a skirmish of wit between them” (1.1.58-59). Beatrice insists that she does not like Benedick at all, and insults him relentlessly throughout Act I: “It is so indeed. He is no less than a stuffed man. But for the / stuffing—well, we are all mortal” (1.1.47-48). Beatrice even goes so far as to compare Benedick to a disease when she finds out he has taken up a new best friend, Claudio: “O Lord, he will hang upon him like a disease! He is sooner / caught than the pestilence, and the taker runs presently mad” (1.1.81-83). Although Beatrice seemingly detests Benedick, her statement (claiming that Benedick is an infection that’s easy to catch but hard to get rid of) unknowingly foreshadows her future. Despite her claims, I predict that Beatrice will fall in love and the man who will profess his love for her will be none other than Benedick! In fact, it seems that the two characters have not truly been fighting at all, but are actually flirting! Benedick even makes a point to state that Beatrice is the only woman he knows who does not adore him: “Then is courtesy a turncoat. But it is certain I am loved of / all ladies, only you excepted” (1.1.118-119). It can be said that Beatrice and Benedick share mutual feelings for one another even though they conceal their affection through teasing antics. Since Beatrice made it a priority to ask the messenger about Benedick following the battle and considering that she often weaves his name into conversation, it can be concluded that she in fact loves Benedick. Claudio falls in love with Hero immediately after conversing with her: “That I love her, I feel” (1.1.218). He claims that he loves Hero, however he cannot bring himself to tell her himself; it is decided that Don Pedro will...
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