OTP Friday: Beatrice and Benedick

Witty, sharp, disdainful, prideful, unforgiving…that’s almost like foreplay to some couples. Well, such is the case with good ol’ Beatrice and Benedick.

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BENEDICK

If Signior Leonato be her father, she would not
have his head on her shoulders for all Messina, as
like him as she is.

BEATRICE

I wonder that you will still be talking, Signior
Benedick: nobody marks you.

BENEDICK

What, my dear Lady Disdain! are you yet living?

BEATRICE

Is it possible disdain should die while she hath
such meet food to feed it as Signior Benedick?
Courtesy itself must convert to disdain, if you come
in her presence.

BENEDICK

Then is courtesy a turncoat. But it is certain I
am loved of all ladies, only you excepted: and I
would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard
heart; for, truly, I love none.

BEATRICE

A dear happiness to women: they would else have
been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I thank God
and my cold blood, I am of your humour for that: I
had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man
swear he loves me.

BENEDICK

God keep your ladyship still in that mind! so some
gentleman or other shall ‘scape a predestinate
scratched face.

BEATRICE

Scratching could not make it worse, an ’twere such
a face as yours were.

BENEDICK

Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher.

BEATRICE

A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours.

BENEDICK

I would my horse had the speed of your tongue, and
so good a continuer. But keep your way, i’ God’s
name; I have done.

BEATRICE

You always end with a jade’s trick: I know you of old.

 

You always end with a jade’s trick: I know you of old.

Well, doesn’t that sound a little like a spurned and hurt woman? Well, noting that Benedick is a confirmed bachelor after…whatever it is that happened between the two, one can almost hear the bitterness rolling off Beatrice’s tongue. And perhaps she has the right to it. Perhaps Benedick has his right to a little of that bitterness as well.

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And whether or not Beatrice is aware of the fact that she is speaking with Signor Benedick (who is dressed as a reveler) during the masque, she still tells what she believes is truth about him.

BENEDICK

No, you shall pardon me.

BEATRICE

Nor will you not tell me who you are?

BENEDICK

Not now.

BEATRICE

That I was disdainful, and that I had my good wit
out of the ‘Hundred Merry Tales:’–well this was
Signior Benedick that said so.

BENEDICK

What’s he?

BEATRICE

I am sure you know him well enough.

BENEDICK

Not I, believe me.

BEATRICE

Did he never make you laugh?

BENEDICK

I pray you, what is he?

BEATRICE

Why, he is the prince’s jester: a very dull fool;
only his gift is in devising impossible slanders:
none but libertines delight in him; and the
commendation is not in his wit, but in his villany;
for he both pleases men and angers them, and then
they laugh at him and beat him. I am sure he is in
the fleet: I would he had boarded me.

BENEDICK

When I know the gentleman, I’ll tell him what you say.

BEATRICE

Do, do: he’ll but break a comparison or two on me;
which, peradventure not marked or not laughed at,
strikes him into melancholy; and then there’s a
partridge wing saved, for the fool will eat no
supper that night.
Music

We must follow the leaders.

BENEDICK

In every good thing.

BEATRICE

Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave them at
the next turning.

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And even though they were tricked into admitting their love for one another, that doesn’t make the feelings any less true.

BENEDICK

Lady Beatrice, have you wept all this while?

BEATRICE

Yea, and I will weep a while longer.

BENEDICK

I will not desire that.

BEATRICE

You have no reason; I do it freely.

BENEDICK

Surely I do believe your fair cousin is wronged.

BEATRICE

Ah, how much might the man deserve of me that would right her!

BENEDICK

Is there any way to show such friendship?

BEATRICE

A very even way, but no such friend.

BENEDICK

May a man do it?

BEATRICE

It is a man’s office, but not yours.

BENEDICK

I do love nothing in the world so well as you: is
not that strange?

BEATRICE

As strange as the thing I know not. It were as
possible for me to say I loved nothing so well as
you: but believe me not; and yet I lie not; I
confess nothing, nor I deny nothing. I am sorry for my cousin.

BENEDICK

By my sword, Beatrice, thou lovest me.

BEATRICE

Do not swear, and eat it.

BENEDICK

I will swear by it that you love me; and I will make
him eat it that says I love not you.

BEATRICE

Will you not eat your word?

BENEDICK

With no sauce that can be devised to it. I protest
I love thee.

BEATRICE

Why, then, God forgive me!

BENEDICK

What offence, sweet Beatrice?

BEATRICE

You have stayed me in a happy hour: I was about to
protest I loved you.

BENEDICK

And do it with all thy heart.

BEATRICE

I love you with so much of my heart that none is
left to protest.

BENEDICK

Come, bid me do any thing for thee.

BEATRICE

Kill Claudio.

BENEDICK

Ha! not for the wide world.

BEATRICE

You kill me to deny it. Farewell.

BENEDICK

Tarry, sweet Beatrice.

BEATRICE

I am gone, though I am here: there is no love in
you: nay, I pray you, let me go.

BENEDICK

Beatrice,–

BEATRICE

In faith, I will go.

BENEDICK

We’ll be friends first.

BEATRICE

You dare easier be friends with me than fight with mine enemy.

BENEDICK

Is Claudio thine enemy?

BEATRICE

Is he not approved in the height a villain, that
hath slandered, scorned, dishonoured my kinswoman? O
that I were a man! What, bear her in hand until they
come to take hands; and then, with public
accusation, uncovered slander, unmitigated rancour,
–O God, that I were a man! I would eat his heart
in the market-place.

BENEDICK

Hear me, Beatrice,–

BEATRICE

Talk with a man out at a window! A proper saying!

BENEDICK

Nay, but, Beatrice,–

BEATRICE

Sweet Hero! She is wronged, she is slandered, she is undone.

BENEDICK

Beat–

BEATRICE

Princes and counties! Surely, a princely testimony,
a goodly count, Count Comfect; a sweet gallant,
surely! O that I were a man for his sake! or that I
had any friend would be a man for my sake! But
manhood is melted into courtesies, valour into
compliment, and men are only turned into tongue, and
trim ones too: he is now as valiant as Hercules
that only tells a lie and swears it. I cannot be a
man with wishing, therefore I will die a woman with grieving.

BENEDICK

Tarry, good Beatrice. By this hand, I love thee.

BEATRICE

Use it for my love some other way than swearing by it.

BENEDICK

Think you in your soul the Count Claudio hath wronged Hero?

BEATRICE

Yea, as sure as I have a thought or a soul.

BENEDICK

Enough, I am engaged; I will challenge him. I will
kiss your hand, and so I leave you. By this hand,
Claudio shall render me a dear account. As you
hear of me, so think of me. Go, comfort your
cousin: I must say she is dead: and so, farewell.

He loves her so much that he will do anything she asks. Even kill a friend who has wronged her cousin. At first he balks, but then he realizes he will do anything for her love.

They fight, they argue, they are tricked, they show their love, they become vulnerable to one another…they love.

And that’s the whole point.

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

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2 thoughts on “OTP Friday: Beatrice and Benedick

    • The David Tennant/Catherine Tate version might just be my favorite of ALL of the versions of Much Ado I have seen. BUT like I said, I haven’t seen Joss’ version yet, but I am working on it! Thanks for reading!

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