Much Ado About Nothing Quotes on Language and Communication

Speaker: “I would my horse had the speed of your tongue, and so good acontinuer. But keep your way, a God’s name! I have done.”Audience: “You always end with a jade’s trick. I know you of old.” Speaker: BenedickAudience: BeatriceSituation: Benedick drops out of the argument because he can’t keep up with Beatrice. The two characters use their language as weapons, but never seem to be able to end or resolve their fights.
“She told me, not thinking I had been myself, that I was the Prince’s jester, that I was duller than a great thaw; huddling jest upon jest with such impossible conveyance upon me that I stood like a man at a mark, with a whole army shooting at me. She speaks poniards, and every word stabs. If her breath were as terrible as her terminations, there were no living near her; she would infect to the North Star.” Speaker: BenedickAudience: Don PedroSituation: Benedick is undone by Beatrice’s quick tongue before he’s undone by his love for her. (Or maybe it’s her quick tongue that makes him love her.)
“Good Margaret, run thee to the parlor;There shalt thou find my cousin BeatriceProposing with the prince and Claudio:Whisper her ear and tell her, I and UrsulaWalk in the orchard and our whole discourseIs all of her; say that thou overheard’st us;And bid her steal into the pleached bower,Where honeysuckles, ripen’d by the sun,Forbid the sun to enter, like favourites,Made proud by princes, that advance their prideAgainst that power that bred it: there will she hide her,To listen our purpose. This is thy office;Bear thee well in it and leave us alone.” Speaker: HeroAudience: MargaretSituation: Hero’s descriptive language here is some of the only flowery stuff in the play. From this passage we see that Hero’s ability in language isn’t clever humor, but the ability to find beauty. Just as Beatrice and Benedick’s language reflects their sharp nature, Hero’s beautiful language reflects her sweetness and gentleness.
Speaker: “Come hither, neighbour Seacoal. God hath bless’d you with agood name. To be a well-favoured man is the gift of fortune, butto write and read comes by nature.”Audience: “Both which, Master Constable–“Speaker: “You have. I knew it would be your answer. Well, for yourfavour, sir, why, give God thanks and make no boast of it; andfor your writing and reading, let that appear when there is noneed of such vanity.” Speaker: DogberryAudience: WatchSituation: Dogberry bungles his words throughout all of his lines. That he mistakes writing and reading as a sign of vanity is a good introduction to exactly how Dogberry views the world. To him, being a learned man is a good way to show off how refined you are. He attempts to use grandiose speech to convince everyone that’s he’s a gentleman, even though he doesn’t really have a grasp of the vocabulary he employs. Inadvertently, he is correct; reading and writing are not usually things of vanity, but he employs them vainly, and often in vain.
“As strange as the thing I know not. It were as possible forme to say I loved nothing so well as you. But believe me not; andyet I lie not. I confess nothing, nor I deny nothing. I am sorryfor my cousin.” Speaker: BeatriceAudience: BenedickSituation: Beatrice has just heard Benedick bare his soul. Rather than pouring her heart out to him in return, she stumbles over her words, finally just declaring that she’s worried for Hero. This uneasiness is unique for Beatrice – she usually has a perfect quick and cutting reply for everything. It’s not clear whether she’s unsure of her feelings for Benedick, or is afraid to admit she loves Benedick, or maybe is just really caught up with her cousin’s life being ruined.
“Marry, sir, they have committed false report; moreover, theyhave spoken untruths; secondarily, they are slanders; sixth andlastly, they have belied a lady; thirdly, they have verifiedunjust things; and to conclude, they are lying knaves.” Speaker: DogberryAudience: LeonatoSituation: Dogberry’s failure to communicate rests upon his insistence to be overly formal in his speech. He tries to speak in a manner that gives him legitimacy (using the formulas of speech used in court and legal matters). Ironically, his attempts to use formal language undermine his legitimacy. If Dogberry would just speak straight (instead of worrying about his presentation), then the whole confusion leading to Hero’s undoing could’ve been avoided.