Essay on The Character of Bendick in Much Ado About Nothing

Words: 1760
Pages: 8

Explore the Development of Benedick's character throughout the play.

The character ‘Benedick' changes dramatically throughout Shakespeare's "Much Ado about Nothing". It is the character ‘Beatrice' who invokes these changes into Benedick. At the beginning of the play Benedick appears to be an aristocratic soldier who is witty and intelligent. It is clear Benedick has a reputation as a noble soldier and brave man merely from the messenger's comments: "He hath done good service, lady, in these wars". Benedick has a continuing "merry war" of wits with Beatrice, who sees him as chauvinistic and arrogant. However, the attraction is evident as both bring up the other out of the blue. Benedick rests largely on his own judgments rather than the
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When Beatrice asks Benedick to kill Claudio he is at first extremely hesitant, however, Beatrice convinces him to ‘challenge' Claudio. The mere fact the Benedick listens to her, and almost acts on her behalf, shows that he rests upon his own principles rather than the social attitudes of his time, where men would not even listen to Beatrice's plea let alone act upon it. This would also allow the audience of the Elizabethan period to ‘catch up' on their relationship and fully understand the extent of the infatuation between the pair.

Benedick challenges Claudio to a duel, which demonstrates the love he has for her greater than expected at the beginning of the play, and he carries out his promise to her… he challenges Claudio. However, Don Pedro and Claudio do not believe him, which adds the final twist of miscommunication. Benedick is a very noble character and honors his promise to Beatrice by both challenging Claudio and keeping the secret of ‘Hero's death': "Do me right or I will protest your cowardice. You have killed a sweet lady, and her death shall fall heavy on you." Benedick not only carries through with his promise to Beatrice, but takes it a step further by (at this stage) disassociating himself with Claudio and Don Pedro: "I must discontinue your company.", he feels