Doubts&Uncertainties in Macbeth and Much Ado About Nothing

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Love, hate, fair and foul are tightly entwined around the core of drama. Although they are extreme opposite, they blur together to create the perfect partnership, which allows characters to appear different to their internal feelings. Whether it’s through the ‘barbed banter’ of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ or the ‘saucy doubts and fears’ of Macbeth, Shakespeare presents scenarios where central characters place their credence where they should have agnosticism and their doubts where they should act with surety.

Shakespeare clearly presents Beatrice and Benedick rooted in animosity towards one another. They frequently express their certainty of this; for example when Benedick labels Beatrice as ‘Lady Disdain’, so she retaliates by naming him as ‘pernicious’. Shakespeare shows conflict between two complicated characters in a transparent way through their ‘merry war’ of derision, which often descents into a brawl of weaponly words like ‘you are a rare parrot-teacher’ – the pomposity of which camouflages their raw doubts and uncertainties.

“He lent me it a while, and I gave him use for it. A double heart for his single one.”

In this quotation, it appears that Beatrice has peeled away her malicious mask to reveal a small insight into her past with Benedick. ‘He lent me it awhile’, referring to his heart, suggests the two shared a romantic history, which may have met a bitter end. ‘Lent’ has connotations with a temporary agreement rather than a relationship, which implies Beatrice believes Benedick’s love for her was faux. This is further backed up by ‘a double heart for his single one’, which insinuates that Beatrice loved him twice as much as he did her. The quotation is infused with a sense of regret, and could lead one to believe that their romantic occurrence caused Beatrice to be hardened with an impenetrable shell that impedes any feeling of love, and her philosophy that she ‘would rather hear my dog bark at a crow than have a man swear he loves me’. If

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