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MonkeyNotes-Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
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Claudio likewise appears in an unfavorable light. He trusts Don John implicitly instead of trusting his feelings for Hero. He also allows himself to be cheated by Borachio. It is shocking that he now defames the girl he had intended to marry, trusting the information provided by an outsider. He uses blunt language while denouncing her publicly:

"She knows the heat of luxurious bed: Her blush is guiltiness, not modesty."

A little later he addresses Hero directly.

"But you are more intemperate in your blood. Than Venus, or those pamper'd animals. That rage in savage sensuality."

And finally:

"But fare thee well, most foul, most fair! Farewell, Thou pure impiety and impious purity!"

Similarly, Don Pedro supporting Claudio's accusation shows a lack of concern, which is much more than a lack of decency. The unkindest cut of all is that given by her own father. It is incredulous that he can trust a stranger's word rather than that of his own daughter. Beatrice is the only light and hope in this scene. Unlike the rest, she trusts her cousin implicitly. She feels Hero has been unjustly accused.

"O, on my soul, my cousin is belied", she utters. Later, her command to Benedick: "Kill Claudio" arises out of anger and humiliation as well as the injustice done to her kin and one of her sex.

"Is it not approved in the height a villain, that hath slandered, scorned, dishonored my kinswoman?

O that I were a man!"

"O God that I were a man! I would eat his heart in the market place."

She deplores the fact that nobody has offered to fight with Claudio.

"Manhood is melted into curtsies."

And again,

"Men are only turned into tongue and trim ones too."

The most endearing aspect of Beatrice is her loyalty to her cousin. Benedick similarly emerges as an admirable man in this scene. He attempts to vindicate her cousin's honor by challenging Claudio to a duel.

Summing up, this is a very important scene. The main plot reaches its climax. This is the scene wherein the hero denounces the heroine. Here the audience witnesses a range of emotions: aversion and disgust for Claudio and Don Pedro; resentment and shock at Leonato's response; admiration for Beatrice; approval of Benedick's actions; gratitude for the Friar who believes that Hero is innocent; pity for the wrongfully accused Hero; and, of course, hatred for Don John.

The climax is reached in both the main plot and the sub plot. Beatrice and Benedick eventually come to an understanding, even if it is the decision to "Kill Claudio", which Benedick is willing to execute. There is a strange mingling of the serious and the comic, as in most Shakespearean comedies. Beatrice and Benedick represent hope, rationality, as well as the relationship between motive and effect in the play. Beatrice's anger is justified. However, one might wonder whether she is testing Benedick's loyalty to herself. The tempo in the play reaches its crescendo in this scene with a mixture of feelings - shock, bewilderment, the culmination of love, anger, extreme sorrow in the supposed death of Hero, resulting in depression and of course extreme humiliation.

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MonkeyNotes-Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare


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