How does Shakespeare present the character of Beatrice?
‘Much Ado about Nothing’ is another of Shakespeare’s romantic comedies. It primarily focuses on the unromantic spiteful relationship between the two main characters, Beatrice and Benedick. Beatrice, the niece of Leonato is a quick-witted, independent woman, who proclaims hers disdain of love and marriage. Despite her hate for love, from the events of the play she soon exposes a very vulnerable side of her and is a gentle and sweet person. During the play, the audience learns how she is tricked into falling in Benedick, and how her feeling towards love changes, making the play very appealing. In the beginning of the play, Beatrice is presented as a strong minded, determined and independent character. A quote to suggest this, “Not till God make men of some other metal than earth: will it not grieve woman to be overmastered with a piece of valiant dust?” This quote implies that she has strong opinions on traditional marriage, what’s more shows that she is an independent woman as she is implying that she chooses not to get married and does not want someone controlling her life. In this quote Shakespeare, uses the technique of a metaphor through a rhetorical question making his work much more engaging to the audience. At this position, the audience judge Beatrice as an outspoken, ignorant and stubborn character since women in 15th Century would comply with their father’s words.
Moreover, she has undeniably lost her own parents and is the care of a very kind-hearted Leonato who acts as a father and from her uncertain position in the home; it makes her outspoken remarks more impulsive and impractical. However, in the present world the audience would judge Beatrice as a woman, who is independent strong, stands up and hates the whole system dominated by men. As well as her strong personality, she presents that she has strong hatred towards Benedick. Additionally, through the play it mentions that she was once in love with Benedick, but their relationship went disastrous and regrettable.
The quote “I know you of old” she scorns, indicates this point. To show her hatred Beatrice mentions “Why he is the prince’s jester, a very dull fool.” This insinuates that she thinks he is the at the lowest social rank found at court, which indicates the amount of despise she has for him as in the play Benedick is a high ranked person with a very high task. Shakespeare uses the phrase “prince’s jester” as it clearly hints hatred from Beatrice to Benedick and gives the audience a clear picture of Beatrice’s emotions towards Benedick. At this point the audience thinks that Beatrice’s and Benedick’s extreme dislike cannot get any sourer and their emotions toward each other will never alter. Moreover Benedick mentions “I wouldn’t marry her, even if she were as blessed as paradise.” This shows how firm his feelings are.