How Does Shakespeare Establish the Characters of Beatrice & Benedick, and Their Relationship with Each Other, in Act 1 of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’?

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How does Shakespeare establish the characters of Beatrice & Benedick, and their relationship with each other, in Act 1 of ‘Much ado about Nothing’? ‘Much ado about nothing’ is a play written by William Shakespeare during the Elizabethan era. The play itself is set in Messina, Sicily where the people were renowned for being romantic and noble. The play begins with Beatrice reading a poem to a small crowd of people; they were all laughing with her. This shows that she is quite a popular and humourus woman as she had attracted a crowd and managed to make them all appear joyous. A messenger suddenly appeared on his horse and told the people of Leonato’s villa that Don Pedro and his men requested to stay there after a glorious victory. Straight away Beatrice asks if ‘Signor Mountanto’ had returned from the fighting (meaning Benedick). The remark ‘Signor Mountanto’ is suggesting that Benedick is arrogant as the real meaning of ‘Mountanto’ is an upward stroke in fencing. However this may have been a subtext way of Shakespeare suggesting that Beatrice really does care about Benedick and was using this as a way of finding out if Benedick returned safely from the fighting without portraying to her friends that she does still have feelings for him. This may also be a way of Shakespeare suggesting to us that Beatrice and Benedick have met one another before. After Benedick is mocked the messenger tries to defend him. He claims that he ‘has done good service in these wars’ and is ‘a good soldier too, lady’. This shows that Benedick is talented at fighting and is a noble man. However Beatrice teases the messenger by turning his own words against him ‘and a good soldier to a lady’. This suggests that he is a flirt and does not stay true to the ladies he loves. Also this shows that Beatrice is very quick witted as she comes back to the messenger very sharply. Beatrice

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