Beatrice is one of the main characters in the play “Much Ado About Nothing” by Shakespeare. She is a strong, rebellious character who shows both independence and vulnerability which makes her more realistic and relatable. She is a complicated character who develops as a person throughout the play. Beatrice stands out from the rest of the characters due to her charisma and expressive personality, and because she is almost the opposite to the rest of the females in the play.
Beatrice is rebellious and is constantly defying the standards of the time. This is shown by many things, firstly she doesn’t care about wealth and status. For example, she refuses the prince saying ’No, my lord, unless I might have another for working-days, your grace is too costly to wear every day’ (I:2:249). This also shows she doesn’t want to be controlled and held back by anyone. She is very independent which is shown by being argumentative and being mostly in control of her own life. Beatrice is feisty and opinionated in contrast to the standards of women being polite and quiet. Beatrice is quick witted and rarely without a snappy comeback. She makes others laugh by making fun of things or people and this causes others to like being around her. Beatrice is very expressive and can be extravagant and this makes her jokes funnier. However, her jokes can also hurt people’s feelings and sometimes she can be rude and offensive without realising it, for example when she refused the prince he said ‘Your silence most offends me’(I:2:252). She is also shown hurting Benedicks feelings, when he is masked saying ‘he is the prince’s jester, a very dull fool’. This shows she can be mean when she wants to.
Beatrice can be vulnerable and emotional, as illustrated when Hero was shamed. During this moment Beatrice was upset and once she was past this stage she quickly became aggressive. Beatrice is loyal to her cousin Hero and her uncle Leonato. This is shown through her protectiveness towards her cousin and her respect towards her uncle. Her protectiveness for Hero is shown through her anger towards Claudio. Beatrice acts like she doesn’t care about what most people think of her, but she actually does, this is proved when Hero calls her prideful and she feels hurt, saying ‘Stand I condemned for pride and scorn so much’(I:3:108). Beatrice responds to this criticism and tries to change her ways showing that she tries to learn and grow. Beatrice’s use of words and how easily she makes her witty remarks shows her intelligence. She also is a good judge of character and knows Hero would never be _indecent?_.
Beatrice’s dress is red and pink, this represents her feisty attitude and her more hidden side of vulnerability and love. The colours are used to show two sides of her personality: her upfront rudeness and her emotional and loving side. Her slightly revealing dress and gold trimmings show she can be extravagant and over the top. The flowy dress and strappy shoes show that Beatrice doesn’t like to be held back and restrained. Her dress relates to her position in society because it is fancy but not excessive.
Her mask has a dove on it because Beatrice wishes for freedom. This represents freedom from the standards of the time and the freedom to be whoever you want. Beatrice says ‘I cannot be a man with wishing, therefore I will die a women with grieving.’(I:4:307). She wants to be a man so she can have more rights and believes men and women should be equal. Also, she is connected to freedom because she is quite free from the standards and is allowed to be talkative and opinionated. The black and red streaks in the mask illustrate her aggressive side. Beatrice is shown to be aggressive when she tells Benedick to ‘Kill Claudio’ (1:4:279) and when she said she says she would ‘eat his heart in the market place’(I:4:295).
Overall Beatrice is an intriguing and inspirational character, who stands out from the crowd and recognise her own flaws. She is someone willing to question and fight against gender injustice and unfair standard.