In this essay I will analyse scenes one, two and three of act one of the play Much Ado About Nothing written by William Shakespeare. In this play we follow two pairs of lovers, Claudio and Hero and Beatrice and Benedick. Although the main plot surrounds Claudio and Hero we are more concerned with the love-hate relationship between Beatrice and Benedick. Right from the beginning of the play we are told by Leonato that Beatrice and Benedick take part in a “merry war” and that “there’s a skirmish of wit between them”.
This allows us to believe that the pair have a history and moments later the two start using clever forms of wit to make each other look silly in the company of others. It becomes clear from the start Benedick gives us the impression he doesn’t like women that much and tells people what he thinks of women even if inside it may not be true. The first sign of this comes early in Act I. When Claudio asks Benedick what he thinks of Hero, Benedick responds, “I noted her not, but I looked on her”.
It becomes increasingly clear that they see in Hero two entirely different people. To Claudio she is “a modest young lady,” “a jewel,” and “the sweetest lady that ever I looked on. But to Benedick, “she”s too low for a high praise, too brown for a fair praise, and too little for a great praise” So we must consider that Claudio is describing what he sees through his romantic attraction for her, and that Benedick whatever he may say is analysing her through the mask of “a professed tyrant to their sex”; neither of them may be seeing Hero as she really is.
This shows us that if Claudio is right in saying Hero is “a jewel” Benedicks perception of her or his perception he wants people to think is one of hatred for women, clearly trying to manipulate Claudio’s beliefs of Hero for what she really is. We are shown Benedick’s dislike of women comes from trust issues shown in act one of scene one when he says to Don Pedro, “That a woman conceived me, I thank her; that she brought me up, I likewise give her most humble thanks: but that I will have a recheat winded in my forehead, or hang my bugle in an invisible baldrick, all women shall pardon me.
Because I will not do them the wrong to mistrust any, I will do myself the right to trust none; and the fine is, for the which I may go the finer, I will live a bachelor” Benedick doesn’t show any sadness in what he says showing us he is fine being on his own without a woman in his life. This is a clear sign of dislike for females. As the story continues we get an insight to Benedick’s somewhat blurred vision of women, he seems to have a misogynistic view of them and that none of them can “tame” him.
This is shown in scene one of act one when Don Pedro says, ” I shall see thee ere I die, look pale with love” to which Benedick replies, “With anger, with sickness, or with hunger, my lord, not with love: prove that ever I lose more blood with love than I will get again with drinking, pick out mine eyes with a ballad-maker”s pen and hang me up at the door of a brothel-house for the sign of blind Cupid”. This is showing Benedick being most stubborn not allowing to give women a chance in his life.
The question “Do The Men In Play Love Or Hate The Women? ” I feel has a rather clear answer. Benedick feels he needs to maintain a tough manly exterior; this is shown when he mocks Claudio for wanting to settle down with a lady. Benedick feels like he can’t show his emotions to a female as his peers may take it as an opportunity to think less of his manhood. Whether Benedick really does hate women or doesn’t his “tough guy” attitude will continue to make us think he does infact hate women.