Love is a feeling that is often hard to put into words. Benedick and Beatrice’s relationship in Much Ado About Nothing is one of those rare exceptions. From the first time they meet, it is clear that these two are meant for each other. Despite their bickering and playful banter, there is an underlying current of love and affection between them.
It is this love that eventually brings them together, despite all of the obstacles in their way. They may not always see eye to eye, but their love for each other is strong enough to weather any storm. In the end, Benedick and Beatrice’s relationship is a true testament to the power of love.
The connection between Beatrice and Benedick grows throughout the early portions of Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare. Past encounters between the two characters sparked a battle of wits between them, in which they tried to get inside each other’s minds. The wit employed by Beatrice and Benedick also suggests that there is a deeper meaning behind what they say, that they are fooled by their own stupidity.
As the play goes on, it becomes more and more evident that Benedick is in love with Beatrice and vice versa. This is seen when Benedick eavesdrops on a conversation between Claudio and Don Pedro where they plot to trick Benedick into believing that Beatrice loves him. At first, Benedick is skeptical about the plan but he eventually falls for it.
He then declares his love for Beatrice to Don Pedro and Claudio, saying “I will be horribly in love with her” (Shakespeare 2.3.65-66). From this point on, Benedick begins to take actions that would make him seem more desirable in Beatrice’s eyes such as getting rid of his beard and wearing nicer clothes.
Beatrice also begins to take notice of Benedick and starts to develop feelings for him. She shows this when she starts to get jealous of Hero and Claudio’s relationship, even though she constantly tells everyone that she doesn’t care for Benedick. In addition, Beatrice starts giving into Benedick’s advances and responds back with wit instead of pushing him away.
The relationship between Beatrice and Benedick is furthertested during the play’s climax where Hero is falsely accused of infidelity. Both Benedick and Beatrice put their love for each other aside to help save Hero’s reputation. In the end, Benedick and Beatrice confess their love for each other and get married.
The relationship between Benedick and Beatrice is a classic example of Shakespearean comedy. The two characters start off hating each other but eventually fall in love with each other. Their relationship is also tested by various obstacles but they are able to overcome them through their love for each other.
We are first introduced to Beatrice and Benedick in the midst of a “merry war” between them, which is actually just a clever exchange of past comments. For example, when Beatrice calls Benedick a crow, she’s referencing an encounter they had before. Similarly, when Benedick says that he likes her more for her villainy than for her wit, he’s also alluding to something from their shared history.
In spite of their bickering and banter, there is an undercurrent of deep feeling. This is seen when Benedick promises to kill Claudio if he ‘slanders Hero’. Beatrice is also fiercely protective of Hero. When she hears that her cousin has been slandered, she vows to take up arms against the calumniator:
“I will requite thee, tyrant, for thy wrong!
With all the force and strength that heaven affords!”
While their war of words might appear to be just good-natured fun, there is a serious side to it. When Benedick teases Beatrice about being in love, she retorts:
“Against my will I am sent to bid you come in to supper.” (I.i.338-339)
It is clear that she does not want to admit her feelings for him, even to herself. Similarly, when Benedick is tricked into believing that Beatrice loves him, he is initially horrified at the thought. Love, for both of them, is a serious business and not to be taken lightly.
This changes, however, when they finally declare their love for each other. Benedick now vows to ‘live and die your slave’, while Beatrice speaks of her love as a ‘fire’ that will consume her.
Benedick shoots his mouth off at Beatrice, and as a result he often ends with a Jade’s ruse. These witty remarks between the two imply that there is a lot of tension between them. It was revealed at the start of the play that the pair knew one another “of old,” that they were in a relationship, and that this “merry conflict” was anticipated of them in Shakespearian society.
Love was not something to be taken lightly and Benedick, a successful solider, certainly does not want to be seen as weak. Love was something that you did for your family’s honor or for financial gain and it seems that Benedick wants nothing to do with it.
Beatrice on the other hand is more open about her feelings, she clearly still has unresolved anger towards Benedick from when he broke her heart. Love is a source of pain for Beatrice, which is why she tries to push it away. However, despite their best efforts, Benedick and Beatrice cannot help but be drawn to each other.
When they are tricked into believing that the other is in love with them, Benedick and Beatrice are forced to confront their feelings. Benedick is terrified at the prospect of being in love again and makes a fool of himself trying to avoid Beatrice. Beatrice is also scared, but she tries to hide it behind a wall of banter. In the end, they are both forced to admit that they are in love with each other and they get married.
Benedick and Beatrice’s relationship is one of the most tempestuous in Shakespeare’s plays. They constantly argue and make fun of each other, but there is a deep underlying love between them. They are two people who are perfect for each other, even though they might not realize it themselves.