What does Beatrice’s language show about her attitudes towards different men in the two different scenes you have studied? 10th February 2012
Much ado nothing is a romantic Shakespeare play about two couples of lovers. The play is set in Messina, deep in the heart of Italy and is based in Elizabethan times. The lovers are namely; Claudio and Hero, Bennedick and Beatrice. Claudio is a noble Florentine count from Florence. Bennedick is a war hero from Padua. Both are honourable war heroes fighting for Don Pedro the prince of Aragon. Beatrice is the niece of Leonato the Governor of Messina. At the beginning of the play Don Pedro and his valiant fighters return from the wars to Messina. While at Messina Claudio immediately falls in love with Hero. However Beatrice and Bennedick trade insults and banter. Bennedick and Beatrice seem to have more experience in love as they take the more cautious approach. Claudio immediately falls in love with Hero and show no hesitations into throwing himself head first in a relationship. Bennedick seems to have held many relationships with different women,” Then is courtesy a turn coat. But it is certain I am loved of all ladies - only you excepted” he states rather regretfully. This shows that perhaps even though he is loved all ladies, the only one lacking is the only one he is interested in. The play is rather merry and light-headed to start with, people meeting and trying to impress each other with clever speech and poetic sentences. However there are no indications of darker moments destined to happen later in the play. STEP 2
Beatrice is not the typical Elizabethan woman, she is not afraid to make use of her wits at insulting and sharing sexual innuendo with other men. “Signor Mountanto” is the insulting name which she devised for Bennedick at the start of the play, this name has two meanings. Firstly Mountanto is a move in fencing, it is the upward thrust of the sward which suggests she thinks he is stuck up and to arrogant for his own good. But also the more devious meaning could be referring to Bennedick as being rather popular with the woman, he even says so himself later “But it is certain I am loved of all ladies”. She could be referring to him as being a bit of a Wing man because Mountanto could be a reference to the move mounting in sexual intercourse. She gets the better of everyone she argues with “You always end with a jades trick, I know you of old”. This means that she has some history with him, however Elizabethan women of the time rarely spoke showing that Beatrice has a rather unique individual personality. Perhaps it’s the fact she was brought up an orphan by her Uncle that made her the way she was. She’s tough on the outside and likes to make sarcastic comments to make herself look full of personality. However on the inside she is like any other woman. “I was born to speak all matter and no Mirth” she tells Don Pedro later in a conversation. We know from contextual knowledge she is the orphan of Leonato relative. Perhaps the loss of her parents and other events in her childhood have actually shaped her into the loud mouthed, well-spoken individual she is in the play. Beatrice’s weaknesses definitely do not include speaking and confidence but rather keeping her mouth shut and refraining from insulting everyone she clashes with. She’s bold, quick to insult and proud. Perhaps the word Arrogant sums her up in full. At the beginning of the play Beatrice cannot wait to show her disgust for Bennedick interrupting with “I pray you, is Signor Mountanto returned from the wars or no”? This shows he is clearly in her thoughts but she is somehow keen to show everyone else her dislike for him. Mountanto was a fencing move of the time, so she probably meant for people to think she was implying that he was proud and stuck up. However her sarcastic tone shades it in a completely different light all together. She also probably was referring to mounting (in intercourse)...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document