‘Much Ado About Nothing’ is a play that is as much to do with love as it is hate which is excellently reflected by the relationship between Benedick and Beatrice. From the start of the play they are introduced to us as passionate argumentative yet comical characters. They constantly seek attention from one another, suggesting that behind this façade, they have incredibly strong feelings for one another and perhaps a history. The theme of deception is apparent throughout.
This love/hate is shown in Act one with their first argument, trying to out do one another with words. Benedick refers to Beatrice as a “rare parrot-teacher”, with which Beatrice cleverly replies: “A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours.” They feed off one another when arguing, similar to that of intense lovers. The first real incite into the possibility that they have had a history is when Beatrice says: ‘I know you of old” which perhaps explains to us why their relationship is so fiery, they seem to have a clear knowledge and understanding of one another.
This clear understanding of one another and the suggestion of a previous affair is shown again at the masked ball when she is asked by Don Pedro about ‘…the lost heart of Signor Benedick.’ Beatrice replies ‘He lent it me a while, and I gave him use for it, a double heart for his single one. Marry, once before he won it of me with false dice. Therefore your grace may well say I have lost it.’ Here Beatrice uses metaphors, which suggest that they did have a love affair and he broke her heart, thus giving us evidence for her bitterness. In scene II at the masked ball she talks to whom she thinks is a stranger, but it is in fact Benedick in disguise, deceiving her into asking questions about himself, to which she answers in great depth, referring to him as a ‘jester’ and a ‘fool’.
Shakespeare shows their relationship with continuous arguing throughout the play, which merely acts as a mask of their real feelings. This...