We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Compare and Contrast the Gulling of Benedick with that of Beatrice

The whole doc is available only for registered users
  • Pages: 7
  • Word count: 1590
  • Category: Character

A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteed

Order Now

The gulling of Beatrice and Benedick is a theme that is predominantly featured in Shakespeare’s play “Much ado about nothing”. Beatrice and Benedick banter with each other continuously throughout the play. Their play on words and astuteness highlights the wit and intelligence of their characters. A subject featured during these repartees, and indeed conversations with other characters in the play, is their persistence that they “shall never wed”. The desire for Beatrice and Benedick to get together becomes almost a game for Hero, Claudio, Leonato and Don Pedro to occupy them whilst they are waiting for the wedding of Hero and Claudio. Don Pedro comments on how the time until the wedding “shall not go dully by [them]” and that they shall “undertake one of Hercules’ labours” in the mean time. This suggests he feels the task of getting Benedick and Beatrice together is an impossible one, but it shall pass the time until the wedding to take Claudio’s mind off of “time [going] on crutches till love have all its rites”.

In both situations of the gulling of Benedick and that of Beatrice, the ‘gullers’ claim that they have discovered that either Beatrice loves Benedick or Benedick loves Beatrice, depending on which person the scam is aimed towards. Benedick is convinced in his case because Leonato, who is very respected in their community, is involved. Shakespeare shows how Benedick as a character holds a great deal of respect for Leonato because he believes a man “in such reverence” would not be involved in this “gull”. This is quite ironic because obviously he is involved.

Similarly, Beatrice is convinced by the fact that Hero, her own cousin is talking about how Benedick loves her. She does not question the information she receives like Benedick does, but she is immediately convinced because Hero talks about it.

Shakespeare’s use of hunting references by the ‘gullers’ is significant in illustrating how they feel they are going to deceive Beatrice and Benedick into loving each other. This hunting imagery also brings the image of Beatrice and Benedick being entrapped in this trickery. Hero uses hunting references such as “treacherous bait” and “angling” indications to represent the wild nature of Beatrice and how they will trap her into falling for their deception. Likewise, Benedick’s gullers use angling references such as “the fish will bite” and various hunting imageries to emphasise catching Benedick and making him fall for their trick. The two conversations between Hero and Ursula, and Leonato, Don Pedro and Claudio, both use the hunting references. In my opinion Shakespeare uses this as a way to highlight the similarities between Beatrice and Benedick. I think this because the two conversations are separate but they both bring in this hunting imagery because both characters could only be caught out and fall for the deceit in this way.

Another method used by Hero is condemning Beatrice’s attitudes and behaviours towards Benedick and about love in general. Hero seems to use this as an excuse to further attack Beatrice. She obviously has some hidden resentments about her cousins overbearing influence on her and how she dare not speak much around Beatrice because she would “mock [her] into air”. Hero criticises Beatrice in quite a malicious way, which highlights this resentment. She comments on how Beatrice is “too disdainful” and that she is so “self-endeared”. This suggests Hero considers Beatrice to be too scornful and that she loves herself too much. This method results in Beatrice questioning herself and considering Benedick’s love to be worthy. Although this is just a deception to set up Beatrice and Benedick, Hero takes it further by making Beatrice look at her mannerisms by harshly passing judgment on them. This method is effective because it causes Beatrice to believe she is in the wrong about Benedick and also her bold and brazen nature.

Similarly Shakespeare wrote Claudio, Leonato and Don Pedro to use the same methods for Benedick in condemning his way of thinking about marriage and Beatrice. However they are not as harsh as Hero and do not seem to have ulterior motive in criticising Benedick, although the same results are obtained in that he assesses his actions and thoughts. Leonato, Don Pedro and Claudio seem to be less cruel. I feel this is because they find the exercise of getting Benedick to change his mind about love and Beatrice is more of a game to entertain them, differing to Hero who vents her frustrations and anger towards Beatrice through her conversation with Ursula.

Claudio comments on how Beatrice is “wise”, but Don Pedro continues with this idea to say “in everything but in loving Benedick”. This is a direct criticism of Benedick because they show that he is not good enough for Beatrice. The gullers comment on how they are “sorry for her” to have this “curse” of loving Benedick. Don Pedro comments on how Benedick “shows some sparks that are like wit”. This mocks Benedick and his constant banter, sarcasm and jokes. This further accentuates the method to make Benedick evaluate his viewpoint and attitudes towards love and indeed Beatrice.

Both sets of ‘gullers’ take this idea further by criticising one character, the one the conversations are aimed at, and then complimenting the other character. Don Pedro calls Beatrice “an excellent, sweet lady” and comments on how if she “bestowed” love for him, he would “make her half” himself. He is basically saying that Beatrice’s love is very worthy and special, and it would be an honour for her to love him. Likewise, Hero comments on “how wise…noble…young” Benedick is and how “indeed, he hath an excellent name”. This shows respect for Benedick and compliments him greatly. This shows commendable aspects of him to Beatrice. This, along with the criticisms she has received about her own character, makes her review how she initially though Benedick to be and to review herself. I think the idea is to make Beatrice feel stupid for her previous actions, in the same way the conversation aimed at Benedick does.

At the end of the conversation between Don Pedro, Leonato and Claudio, the ponder the thought of perhaps “go seek Benedick, and tell him” of Hero’s love. This fabrication is to further put guilt on Benedick and his stance because the gullers comment on how he would scorn it and how he should “modestly examine himself, to see how much he is unworthy” for Beatrice’s love. Similarly Hero and Ursula talk about how perhaps they should “tell [Beatrice] of it; hear what she will say”. Hero comments on how if they did, she would also scorn it and it would be best to go to Benedick and help him “fight against his passion”. This makes Beatrice feel worse because Hero is saying in the same way Don Pedro, Leonato and Claudio are about Benedick, that Beatrice is not worthy for Benedick. This method makes Beatrice and Benedick question why they are not worthy for the others love and why their friends would try to prevent and frown upon love between Benedick and Beatrice.

Both Benedick and Beatrice have a soliloquy towards the end of their particular scenes where they have been deceived. Benedick’s is substantially longer than Beatrice’s. This is because Benedick challenges the previous conversation and is quite defensive. This is shown by his constant justification of his previous comments and attitudes towards love. He comments on how a man cannot “endure in his age” by acting in a way he did in his youth. He comments on how he never thought he would live “till [he] were married” and that he assumed he “would die a bachelor”. This justifies his previous comments in his opinion because it gives him reason to believe that he never thought he would marry, but now that someone loves him, he should not pass the opportunity by. Benedick reviews his initial thoughts about Beatrice. He calls her “fair…virtuous…wise” which are words he had previously described the ideal woman as being. He comments on how “the appetite alters” and despite his previous comments he “will be horribly in love with her”. This is quite a self-confident comment in that he believes he can almost prove what Don Pedro, Leonato and Claudio have said, wrong.

In contrast Hero’s soliloquy is quite short and she immediately takes on board what Hero and Ursula have said about her and she is more surprised than Benedick about it. She makes an immediate decision to reform and for her “maiden pride” to be forgotten. Initially she questions, “Can this be true?” But her immediate reaction is to change her old ways into ones that will not be “condemned”. She decides, quite easily like Benedick does, that she will “requite” his love, and that she will prove she is worthy of his love so others will say she “dost deserve” it.

I think the affect of the gulling on the audience is one of surprise because the plan was quite sneaky and cunning. The audience learn as the play progresses what is happening in these scenes, as the plan is not totally revealed before. So as the plot unravels, the audience realise it. I think the audience would feel a bit confused about Hero’s harsh nature in her speech with Ursula. It is also taken more seriously because that scene is in verse, whereas the scene with Benedick’s gulling is in prose, showing it to be more of a joke.

Related Topics

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay
Materials Daily
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
Free Plagiarism
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Can't find What you were Looking for?

Get access to our huge, continuously updated knowledge base

The next update will be in:
14 : 59 : 59