In Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare depicts both Benedick and Beatrice as characters with one major flaw: both are full of pride. With the use of the masquerade scene, as well as the orchard scenes, Shakespeare allows the characters to realize their awry characteristic. By realizing their erroneous pride, Benedick and Beatrice are able to correct this and not only become better citizens, but fall in love.
From the very first scene in the play, Beatrice is shown as a character who is very prideful, and very protective of it. Benedick's line "What, my dear Lady Disdain! Are you yet living?"(1.1.114) gives a clue to how much pride Beatrice has. Benedick's reference to Beatrice as "Lady Disdain" shows how Beatrice thinks she is much better than everyone else. At the masquerade, Beatrice gives a perfect example of how protective she is of her pride. Her encounter with Don Pedro shows how Beatrice uses language as a shield for love, providing a firm foundation for the giant sign declaring her autonomy. When Don Pedro proposes to Beatrice, her immediate response is "No, my lord, unless I might have another for working-days yours grace is too costly to wear every day."(2.1.320), which is a clever joke to steer away from love. Coupled with the metaphor of wearing Don Pedro's grace, this diversion also shows how quick Beatrice is to assert her independence. Although Beatrice's personality starts out as a woman of great pride and protection, Benedick proves to be not much better.
Benedick's character begins not only as a character of clever wit, but also a character of arrogance, especially for the female gender. Firstly, Benedick is a self-proclaimed sexist. This is obvious with his analysis of his own personality: "would you have me speak after my custom, as being a professed tyrant to their sex?"(1.1.162-164). Also, Benedick proves his own arrogance in his description of Hero: "methinks she's too low for a high praise, too brown for a fair praise and...
Cited: Shakespeare, William. "Much Ado About Nothing." The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. John Dover Wilson. Great Britain: Hennerwood Publications, 1982. 125-147.
Storey, Graham. "The Success of Much Ado About Nothing." Twentieth Century Interpretations of Much Ado About Nothing. Walter R. Davis. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1969. 22-23.
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