Much Ado quotes

“The savage bull may bear it, but if ever the sensible Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull’s horns and set them in my forehead”. Benedick delivers this speech to Claudio and Don Pedro. Don Pedro has just quoted an old adage about even the wildest of people eventually calming down enough to submit to love and marriage, suggesting that in time even a savage bull will bear the yoke of a woman’s will. Benedick adamantly refuses to believe this commonplace and decides to mock it. The “sensible” Benedick means the rational Benedick, a person too intelligent to yield to the irrational ways of love.Benedick imagines himself with horns clapped on his head and writing practically branded into his forehead. Traditional in the Renaissance to imagine that cuckolds—men whose wives committed adultery—had horns on their heads. Benedick’s evocation of this image suggests that any woman he marries is sure to cheat on him. Claudio and Don Pedro continue to tease Benedick about the bull imagery throughout the play.
“What should I do with him—dress him in my apparel and make him my waiting gentlewoman? He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man”. constitutes Beatrice’s witty explanation for why she must remain an unmarried woman and eventually an old maid: there is no man who would be a perfect match for her. Those who possess no facial hair are not manly enough to satisfy her desires, whereas those who do possess beards are not youthful enough for her. In Renaissance literature and culture, particularly in Shakespeare, youths on the cusp of manhood are often the most coveted objects of sexual desire.Although Beatrice jokes that she would dress up a beardless youth as a woman, this has a double meaning here: in Shakespeare’s time, the actor playing Beatrice would have been doing exactly that, since all female roles were played by prepubescent boys. Beatrice’s desire for a man who is caught between youth and maturity was in fact the sexual ideal at the time. The plot of the play eventually toys with her paradoxical sentiments for a man both with and without a beard: during the course of the play, Benedick will shave his beard once he falls in love with her.
“for I will be horribly in love with her.” Benedick has just overheard Claudio, Leonato, and Don Pedro discussing Beatrice’s fabricated love for him. Alone on the stage, he ponders this news and concludes that the best thing for him to do is to return this love: “for I will be horribly in love with her”. This line produces a comical effect, as it seems preposterous that someone would fall “horribly” in love with another person after simply weighing that person’s virtues. The choice of the word “horribly” accentuates the comic aspects of Benedick’s decision. The choice of “horribly” could also echo a bit of the merry war Beatrice and Benedick have been fighting with their wits. There has always existed an element of competition between them. It is not enough for Benedick to reciprocate Beatrice’s passions; he must outdo them, perhaps in order to unseat her and win the competition. The actor playing Benedick has a number of choices in performing this soliloquy: he can reveal that he has always been in love with Beatrice but is in denial about his true feelings and therefore must go through the motions of weighing the pros and cons of loving her in a rational manner. Or simply treat this moment as one more parry in the thrusts and blows of their “merry war” and conclude that the only way to win is to surpass her, even in love.
“O Hero! What a Hero hadst thou been” Claudio has just openly rebuked Hero at their wedding ceremony, throwing her back to Leonato, her father. He believes that she has not only been unfaithful to him but has lost her virginity, and therefore her purity and innocence, to someone else before her marriage. Claudio’s belief is the result of Don John’s evil plot to deceive him and make him lose Don Pedro’s goodwill. These lines demonstrate Shakespeare’s ability to fill a speech with double meanings and wordplay through repetition. “Hero” appears twice in the first line, changing meaning the second time. The first time, Claudio addresses his former beloved directly. The second time, Claudio compares “Hero” to an ideal conqueror of his heart, as classical heroes conquered and won great battles.
“fare thee well, most foul, most fair, farewell” Claudio has just openly rebuked Hero at their wedding ceremonyHero has lost her heroic qualities. “Fare thee well most foul, most fair, farewell” plays with repetition and opposites: the sound of the word “fair” is repeated three times in the space of one line, underscoring Claudio’s despair at discovering that Hero’s outward beauty or fairness conceals a “foul” spirit, as he thinks.There might also be some play on the double meanings of “fair”—as beautiful, and as balanced and true. In Claudio’s eyes, Hero is not only no longer “fair,” meaning beautiful (she is “foul”), but she is also no longer “fair,” meaning truthful, but is its opposite, false or dissembling.This demonstrate a rhetorical technique Shakespeare is famous for using in his plays: antithesis, or the combining of paradoxical opposites in one line for emphasis.Moments in which characters spout antitheses usually occur at the height of passion. For Claudio to use these particular opposites to describe his frustration with Hero’s seemingly fair exterior and false and foul interior reveals that he is livid with rage and driven to despair.
“writ down an ass””No, thou villain, thou art full of piety, as shall be proved upon thee by good witness.” Dogberry is the constable and leader of the town night watch in Messina, the town where the action of the play takes place. Despite his comedic substitutions of incorrect words for similar-sounding correct words, Dogberry does succeed in apprehending Conrad and Borachio and unraveling Don John’s plot to deceive Claudio and ruin Hero. At this moment, he has caught Borachio and brought him before the sexton to record the events of the evening. Dogberry, infuriated by Conrad’s insult, he delivers this indignant comic speech filled with verbal misuse, saying “suspect” instead of “respect” and “piety” instead of “impiety.” Dogberry’s determined insistence that he be “writ down an ass” is comical, as Dogberry contributes to his own slander by insisting that the sexton put in writing that Dogberry is “an ass.” Dogberry is most offended by Conrad’s accusation because the constable interprets Conrad’s rudeness as a class criticism.Dogberry’s poor command of the English language results in hilarity, there is nothing poor or evil about him.
Deception The plot of Much Ado About Nothing is based upon deliberate deceptions. The duping of Claudio and Don Pedro results in Hero’s disgrace, while the ruse of her death prepares the way for her redemption and reconciliation with Claudio. In a more light-hearted vein,Beatrice and Benedick are fooled into thinking that each loves the other, and they actually do fall in love as a result. Much Ado About Nothing shows that deceit is not inherently evil, but something that can be used as a means to good or bad ends.In the play, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between good and bad deception. When Claudio announces his desire to woo Hero, Don Pedro takes it upon himself to woo her for Claudio. Then, at the instigation of Don John, Claudio begins to mistrust Don Pedro, thinking he has been deceived. Benedick and Beatrice flirt caustically at the masked ball, each possibly aware of the other’s presence yet pretending not to know the person hiding behind the mask. Likewise, when Claudio has shamed and rejected Hero, Leonato and his household “publish” that Hero has died in order to punish Claudio for his mistake. When Claudio returns, penitent, to accept the hand of Leonato’s “niece” (actually Hero), a group of masked women enters and Claudio must wed blindly. The masking of Hero and the other women reveals that the social institution of marriage has little to do with love. When Claudio flounders and asks, “Which is the lady I must seize upon?” he is ready and willing to commit the rest of his life to one of a group of unknowns. His willingness stems not only from his guilt about slandering an innocent woman but also from the fact that he may care more about rising in Leonato’s favour than in marrying for love. In the end, deceit is neither purely positive nor purely negative: it is a means to an end, a way to create an illusion that helps one succeed socially.
Honour The aborted wedding ceremony, in which Claudio rejects Hero, accusing her of infidelity and publicly shaming her in front of her father, is the climax of the play. In Shakespeare’s time, a woman’s honour was based upon her virginity and chaste behaviour. For a woman to lose her honour by having sexual relations before marriage meant that she would lose all social standing, a disaster from which she could never recover. Moreover, this loss of honour would poison the woman’s whole family. Thus, when Leonato rashly believes Claudio’s shaming of Hero at the wedding ceremony, he tries to obliterate her entirely: “Hence from her, let her die” (IV.i.153). Furthermore, he speaks of her loss of honour as an indelible stain from which he cannot distance himself, no matter how hard he tries: “O she is fallen / Into a pit of ink, that the wide sea / Hath drops too few to wash her clean again” (IV.i.138-140). For women in that era, the loss of honour was a form of annihilation.For men, on the other hand, honour depended on male friendship alliances and was more military in nature. Unlike a woman, a man could defend his honour, and that of his family, by fighting in a battle or a duel. Beatrice urges Benedick to avenge Hero’s honour by duelling to the death with Claudio. As a woman, Hero cannot seize back her honour, but Benedick can do it for her via physical combat.
Noting In Shakespeare’s time, the “Nothing” of the title would have been pronounced “Noting.” Thus, the play’s title could read: “Much Ado About Noting.” In order for a plot hinged on instances of deceit to work, the characters must note one another constantly. When the women manipulate Beatrice into believing that Benedick adores her, they conceal themselves in the orchard so that Beatrice can better note their conversation. Since they know that Beatrice loves to eavesdrop, they are sure that their plot will succeed: “look where Beatrice like a lapwing runs / Close by the ground to hear our conference,” notes Hero. Each line the women speak is a carefully placed note for Beatrice to take up and ponder; the same is true of the scheme to convince Benedick of Beatrice’s passion.Don John’s plot to undo Claudio also hinges on noting: in order for Claudio to believe that Hero is unchaste and unfaithful, he must be brought to her window to witness, or note, Margaret bidding farewell to Borachio in the semidarkness.Dogberry, Verges, and the rest of the comical night watch discover and arrest Don John because, although ill equipped to express themselves linguistically, they overhear talk of the Margaret–Borachio staging. Despite their verbal deficiencies, they manage to capture Don John and bring him to Leonato, after having had the sexton (a church official) “note” the occurrences of the evening in writing. In the end, noting, in the sense of writing, unites Beatrice and Benedick for good: Hero and Claudio reveal love sonnets written by Beatrice and Benedick, textual evidence that notes and proves their love for one another.
War Throughout the play, images of war frequently symbolize verbal arguments and confrontations. At the beginning of the play, Leonato relates to the other characters that there is a “merry war” between Beatrice and Benedick: “They never meet but there’s a skirmish of wit between them”. Beatrice carries on this partial imagery, describing how, when she won the last duel with Benedick, “four of his five wits went halting off” . When Benedick arrives, their witty exchange resembles the blows and parries of a well-executed fencing match.Leonato accuses Claudio of killing Hero with words: “Thy slander hath gone through and through her heart”. Later in the same scene, Benedick presents Claudio with a violent verbal challenge: to duel to the death over Hero’s honour. When Borachio confesses to staging the loss of Hero’s innocence, Don Pedro describes this spoken evidence as a sword that tears through Claudio’s heart: “Runs not this speech like iron through your blood?”, and Claudio responds that he has already figuratively committed suicide upon hearing these words: “I have drunk poison whiles he uttered it”.
Hero’s Death Claudio’s powerful words accusing Hero of unchaste and disloyal acts cause her to fall down in apparent lifelessness. Leonato accentuates the direness of Hero’s state, pushing her further into seeming death by renouncing her, “Hence from her, let her die”. When Friar Francis, Hero, and Beatrice convince Leonato of his daughter’s innocence, they maintain that she really has died, in order to punish Claudio and give Hero a respectable amount of time to regain her honour, which, although not lost, has been publicly savaged. Claudio performs all the actions of mourning Hero, paying a choir to sing a dirge at her tomb. In a symbolic sense, Hero has died, since, although she is pure, Claudio’s damning accusation has permanently besmirched her name. She must symbolically die and be reborn pure again in order for Claudio to marry her a second time. Hero’s false death is less a charade aimed to induce remorse in Claudio than it is a social ritual designed to cleanse her name.
Beatrice (how women were presented) Beatrice is the niece of Leonato, a wealthy governor of Messina. Though she is close friends with her cousin Hero, Leonato’s daughter, the two could not be less alike. Whereas Hero is polite, quiet, respectful, and gentle, Beatrice is feisty, cynical, witty, and sharp. Beatrice keeps up a “merry war” of wits with Benedick, a lord and soldier from Padua. The play suggests that she was once in love with Benedick but that, he led her on and their relationship ended. Now when they meet, the two constantly compete to outdo one another with clever insults.Although she appears hardened and sharp, Beatrice is really vulnerable. Once she overhears Hero describing that Benedick is in love with her, she opens herself to the sensitivities and weaknesses of love. Beatrice is a prime example of one of Shakespeare’s strong female characters. She refuses to marry because she has not discovered the perfect, equal partner and because she is unwilling to eschew her liberty and submit to the will of a controlling husband. When Hero has been humiliated and accused of violating her chastity, Beatrice explodes with fury at Claudio for mistreating her cousin. In her frustration and rage about Hero’s mistreatment, Beatrice rebels against the unequal status of women in Renaissance society. “O that I were a man for his sake! Or that I had any friend would be a man for my sake!” she passionately exclaims. “I cannot be a man with wishing, therefore I will die a woman with grieving”
Benedick Benedick is the wilful lord, recently returned from fighting in the wars, who vows that he will never marry. He engages with Beatrice in a competition to outwit, outsmart, and out-insult the other, but to his observant friends, he seems to feel some deeper emotion below the surface. Upon hearing Claudio and Don Pedro discussing Beatrice’s desire for him, Benedick vows to be “horribly in love with her,” in effect continuing the competition by outdoing her in love and courtship. Benedick is one of the most histrionic characters in the play, as he constantly performs for the benefit of others. He is the entertainer, indulging in witty hyperbole to express his feelings. He delivers a perfect example of his inflated rhetoric when Beatrice enters during the masked ball. Turning to his companions, Benedick grossly exaggerates how Beatrice has misused him, bidding his friends to send him to the farthest corners of the earth rather than let him spend one more minute with his nemesis: “Will your grace command me any service to the world’s end ?”.Of course, since Benedick is so invested in performing for the others, it is not easy for us to tell whether he has been in love with Beatrice all along or falls in love with her suddenly during the play. Benedick’s adamant refusal to marry does appear to change over the course of the play, once he decides to fall in love with Beatrice. He attempts to conceal this transformation from his friends but really might enjoy shocking them by shaving off his beard and professing undying love to Beatrice. This change in attitude seems most evident when Benedick challenges Claudio, previously his closest friend in the world, to duel to the death over Claudio’s accusation as to Hero’s unchaste behaviour. There can be no doubt at this point that Benedick has switched his allegiances entirely over to Beatrice.
Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon Of all the main characters in Much Ado About Nothing, Don Pedro seems the most elusive. He is the noblest character in the social hierarchy of the play, and his friends Benedick and Claudio, though equals in wit, must always defer to him because their positions depend upon his favour.Don Pedro has power, and he is well aware of it; whether or not he abuses this power is open to question. Unlike his bastard brother, the villain Don John, Don Pedro most often uses his power and authority toward positive ends. But like his half-brother, Don Pedro manipulates other characters as much as he likes. For instance, he insists on wooing Hero for Claudio himself, while masked, rather than allowing Claudio to profess his love to Hero first. Of course, everything turns out for the best—Don Pedro’s motives are purely in the interest of his friend. But we are left wondering why Don Pedro feels the need for such an elaborate dissimulation merely to inform Hero of Claudio’s romantic interest. It seems simply that it is Don Pedro’s royal prerogative to do exactly as he wishes, and no one can question it. Despite his cloudy motives, Don Pedro does work to bring about happiness. It is his idea, for instance, to convince Beatrice and Benedick that each is in love with the other and by doing so bring the two competitors together. He orchestrates the whole plot and plays the role of director in this comedy of wit and manners.Don Pedro is the only one of the three gallants not to end up with a wife at the end. Benedick laughingly jokes in the final scene that the melancholy prince must “get thee a wife” in order to enjoy true happiness. The question necessarily arises as to why Don Pedro is sad at the end of a joyous comedy. Perhaps his exchange with Beatrice at the masked ball—in which he proposes marriage to her and she jokingly refuses him, taking his proposal as mere sport—pains him; perhaps he is truly in love with Beatrice.The text does not give us a conclusive explanation for his melancholy, nor for his fascination with dissembling. This uncertainly about his character helps to make him one of the most thought-provoking characters in the play.
Much ado intro to answering a question the comedy Elizabethan play “Much ado about nothing” is set in Messina, Italy and it was written by William Shakespeare who presents…(comedy plays typically have a happy ending and have a wedding at the end)
“rare parrot-teacher,” – benedick”A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours” – beatrice”I would my horse had the speed of your tongue” – beatrice Beatrice and Benedick ; neither ever lets the other say anything without countering it with a pun or criticism. One notable characteristic of their attacks upon each other is their ability to extend a metaphor throughout lines of dialogue. When Benedick calls Beatrice a “rare parrot-teacher,” Beatrice responds, “A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours”. Benedick continues the reference to animals in his response, saying, “I would my horse had the speed of your tongue”. It is as if each anticipates the other’s response. Though their insults are biting, their ability to maintain such clever, interconnected sparring seems to illustrate the existence of a strong bond between them.
“I am trusted with a muzzle, and enfranchised with a clog. Therefore I have decreed not to sing in my cage”. In Much Ado About Nothing, Don John is in the difficult position of having to behave well and court favour with his more powerful brother, Don Pedro, while at the same time being excluded from the privileges Don Pedro enjoys because of his illegitimacy. Don John is bitter about the restrictions imposed upon him: “I am trusted with a muzzle, and enfranchised with a clog. Therefore I have decreed not to sing in my cage”. He complains, in essence, that he is not trusted at all and not given any freedom; he rails against the constraints of his role, refusing to “sing” in his “cage,” or make the best of things. Instead, he seems to want to take out his frustrations by manipulating and hurting other people for his own amusement. Don John’s claim that he hates Claudio because he is jealous of Claudio’s friendship with his brother seems questionable; it seems more likely that Don John simply hates anyone happy and well liked and thus wants to exact a more general revenge upon the world.
Verse and Prose Shakespeare uses both prose and verse. Most of Much Ado is written in prose, and thus the segments in verse stand out on the printed page.The first occurrence of verse is in the Act I, Scene 1, conversation between Claudio and Don Pedro, the first step of Claudio’s wooing of Hero. The second use of verse is in Act II, Scene 1, when Claudio bemoans what he thinks is the loss of Hero to Don Pedro. Verse appears next in Act II, Scene 3, as Claudio, Don Pedro, and Balthasar prepare for the deception of Benedick, who is hiding in the arbor. Even in the denunciation scene at the church, Claudio is inclined to speak in verse, and the rest of the cast follows suit until Beatrice and Benedick are left alone. In all their exchanges, excepting the final one before they marry, Beatrice and Benedick speak in prose.
“to misuse the Prince, to vex Claudio, to undo Hero, and kill Leonato” Don John’s malice resurfaces in Act II, scene ii, as we see him plotting to split Hero and Claudio. Once again, we must wonder about his motives, as his desire to hurt others so badly is inconsistent with his claim to be a low-grade villain.Borachio’s statement that his plan, if it succeeds, is sure “to misuse the Prince, to vex Claudio, to undo Hero, and kill Leonato” makes it clear that Don John’s schemes have some darker purpose in mind.
Act 4, Scenes 1-2 With the wedding scene—the climax of the play—the tone takes an abrupt turn, plunging from comedy into tragedy. Claudio’s rejection of Hero is designed to inflict as much pain as possible, and Hero and Leonato’s reactions to it seem to make things even worse. Few accusations could cause a woman more harm in the Renaissance than that of being unchaste, and Claudio uses deliberately theatrical language to hurt Hero publicly, in front of friends and family. The rejection scene also throws other relationships in the play into question: Claudio and Don Pedro both suggest that it reflects badly on Leonato’s social manners to have tried to foist off a woman like Hero on Claudio, and Don Pedro implies that his own reputation has suffered by way of the apparent discovery that he and Claudio have made regarding Hero’s virginity. Claudio assaults Leonato by denigrating Hero: “Give not this rotten orange to your friend. / She’s but the sign and semblance of her honour”.