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Much Ado about Nothing': Critical Essay

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Throughout Shakespeare's 'Much Ado About Nothing,' Benedick's personality changes dramatically. He is described at the beginning of the play as dull and empty, with no intentions of finding love. This changes drastically throughout the book, and he is known as a humorous, kind-hearted person that has people's trust, and we learn this from his relationships with others. Benedict is one of the most theatrical characters in the play, who is constantly performing for others. He indulges in witty joking to express his emotions. A perfect example of this occurs when he has many rude jokes to insult the character, Beatrice.

The character Beatrice is the one who causes Benedick to change so drastically from the beginning to the end. There is a dramatic change in Benedick, and he even acknowledges he should redeem himself for her. At the beginning of the play, Benedick had no intentions of changing his attitude toward a woman, especially Beatrice. However, due to the men's appeal to his 'hunter-gatherer' instincts, he believes that Beatrice deserves to be pitied and loved. Benedick seems to be a very dull soldier who is smart and witty at first glance in the play. He also mentions in the beginning that he will be a bachelor because he truly loves no one. Benedick's reputation as a noble soldier and brave man is evident from the messenger's words: 'He hath served his country well in these wars.'. Beatrice and Benedick continue their 'merry war' of wits, with Beatrice finding him annoying and arrogant. However, their attraction is obvious as each brings up the other without warning. As an example, they often argued at the beginning of the book about Beatrice accusing Benedick of being a dull fool, but at the end of the book, Beatrice has realized her affection for Benedick and says he should 'serve God, love me, and mend' This also demonstrates how significant a person Beatrice was to Benedick, changing him for the better.

Additionally, we see that Benedick when it comes to things like his love for Beatrice is very committed and he is willing to be friendly to people she loves and even change himself for her. The relationship between Benedick and Hero is never more evident than when Hero is in a crisis. Yet, Benedick stands by Hero in times of crisis, and rather than go with the strong group of men, he chooses to stay with Beatrice, demonstrating his growing commitment to her. However, the fact that Benedick keeps Hero's secret about her faking her death could be seen as Beatrice's trustworthiness in Benedick. He does this to show that he is willing to improve relationships Additionally, Benedick shows us how much he loves Beatrice by spending time with others he cares about.

This book informs us that Benedick struggles with love and seeks advice. He frequently needs advice from others, like Claudio, and is frustrated by it. As the men prepare for the wedding, they find Benedick more sad than usual. Claudio claims Benedick is in love, he denies these accusations, however, he claims his mood is due to a toothache. The fact that he asks for a 'private word' with Leonato indicates to the audience that he has more in mind than just attraction and that he wants advice from him, as he is known for his ability to offer such advice. He is one of the few men who stand by Hero. Rather than go with the strong group of men, he decides to stick by Beatrice, which shows his growing commitment to her. Benedick's decision to keep Hero's secret, however, could be viewed as him becoming a typical type of heroic character, as he is trying to win the heart of Beatrice.

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Throughout 'Much Ado About Nothing,' we see that Benedick has a keen sense of humor and is constantly trying to add a humorous spin to discussions, even when they are serious. The genuine humor of Benedick gives rise to his friendly, happy, optimistic, and generous nature. This is shown from the very beginning of the book when he says to Beatrice right away 'But I am certainly loved of all ladies, just as you expected.'Although his humor comes also from his knowledge, it is evident from his clever use of language and his ability to skilfully manipulate words that Benedick is very intelligent. His wit and intelligence are evident in his lengthy speeches that use extended imagery. At the masked ball, he complains that Beatrice has used him past his 'endurance of a block' and continues to evoke imagery through imagining himself as a target shot by Beatrice's jests, 'she speaks poniards and every word stab' and references to astrology and mythology in his imagery. Benedick's witty exchanges and clever imagery indicate that he was well-educated, which was important for men in high society. He can understand why other characters things do. He is the first to suspect John as the man 'whose spirits toil in the fame of villains' who created the plan to shame Hero.

The character of Benedick contrasts very well with Claudio and their close friends. He represents a passionate and elegant person in love with Beatrice as a result of her personality but does not care about her looks. The problem is that Claudio is not honest, making sure the girl he's marrying has money before proposing to her. He's also not very clever, so he is easily duped by others who make him believe Hero has betrayed him. Claudio only loves Hero because of her looks, but he doesn't care what she's like as a person. 'But fare thee well, most foul, most fair! Farewell, Thou pure impiety and impious purity!' He says when he thinks she has betrayed him. Benedick's connection with Beatrice represents true love, which makes these two examples ideal for comparison and reflection on the character Benedick.

However, the play shows how much of Benedick's personality remains the same, despite his character transformation. By the play's conclusion, Benedick and Claudio have resumed their bantering friendship. 'I did think to have beaten thee, but in that, thou art like to be my kinsman, live unbruised, and love my cousin'. His playfulness remains with Beatrice as well: 'Come, I will have thee, but by this light, I take thee for pity.' Concluding that Benedick has remained in his old ways and hasn't changed fully despite the major changes.

Considering Benedick's witty, humorous behavior, as well as his deep love, we learn that he is an important character. He has the greatest character development in 'Much Ado About Nothing. A good example of this is how Beatrice's attitude to Benedick has changed dramatically; at the start, he viewed her as a foolish woman who does not have any sense of humor, but by the end, he claims to be deeply in love with her. Beatrice and Benedick hurt each other in a merry war, which did not reflect their real feelings. With its wit, openness, and emotional and intellectual vitality, their love surpasses Claudio's and Hero's. Benedick's character is characterized by his humor and his commitment to the things he loves most. Throughout the play 'Much Ado About Nothing, Benedick is an outstanding, important character.

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Much Ado about Nothing’: Critical Essay. (2023, November 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 1, 2024, from
“Much Ado about Nothing’: Critical Essay.” Edubirdie, 21 Nov. 2023,
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Much Ado about Nothing’: Critical Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Nov 21 [cited 2024 Mar 1]. Available from:
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