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The Tricking Of Benedick – What Makes Act 2 Scene 3 Dramatically Effective?

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Act two scene three, is am important scene in the play because it is the point in the play where Benedick changes almost instantaneously, form a man who hates love, marriage and anything connected with to a man who is madly in love with Beatrice, all by over hearing a conversation. The humour of this scene is that we know it is a trick and that Leonato, Claudio and Don Pedro intend to let Benedick over hear their conversation. Also because we can see Benedick’s reactions to what is being said it adds to he comedy.

Earlier scenes in Much Ado About Nothing portray Benedick as a bigheaded man, who is full of him self and has a hatred for love, commitment and marriage. He seems to hate Beatrice, and in one of his arguments with her, it gives the impression that he knows her from something that happened in the past, “you always end with a jade’s trick; I know you of old.” This quote suggests that Beatrice and Benedick had something in the past. Also he says many things that gives the audience the impression that he is full of him self, ” I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted.” This quote suggests that Benedick has no problem with being loved by other women, but when it comes to him loving other women he is not very impressed by the idea.

Also he makes reference to not having any freedom when he is in love with a women or married to one, “thou wilt needs thrust thy neck into a yoke … and sigh away Sundays,” the yoke a wooden frame to harness a pair of oxen and the “sigh away Sundays” means to be stuck at home on a Sunday with your wife. This suggests that Benedick is fond of his freedom of not having a women and he would like to keep it this way. So this maybe why he is so afraid of love and commitment, being trapped at home, stuck with the wife. Also he has a biased view of women all together because he says things like, ” that a women conceived me, I thank her”, “that she bought me up, I likewise give her most humble thanks” but then he ends up saying, ” I will do the right to trust none: and the fine is I will love a bachelor.” These quotes show that Benedick has a biased view of women and this is that, they are good conceiving and for bringing up their children but when it comes to love, Benedick thinks that all women will cheat on him and make a fool of him. The effect that gives on the audience is that he is very one sided and he is so against women and love that he has become scared that they may make a fool of him because of the way they are in his mind.

In act two scene three, set in Leonato’s orchid Benedick is there and he giving a long soliloquy about his friend “monsieur love” or Claudio. Again here the views about him and love are bought up. Benedick thinks that Claudio now prefers to listen to love music then war music. While he is speaking he says, “There was no music with him but the and fife … he rather hear the tabor and the pipe.” This suggests that Claudio has become a “sissy” or simply “let the side down” by falling in love, because here the drum and fife refer to war music and the tabor and the pipe refer to love music. Also he implies that Claudio ha started to speak elaborately and flowery since he fell in love. Then Benedick says, “he was wont to speak plain and to the purpose and now is he turned orthography.”

This suggests that he thinks that Claudio has changed the way he speaks because orthography means to speak in an elaborate and flowery language. So maybe this is what Benedick thinks will happen to him or anybody who falls in love. Then about half way through his soliloquy he starts to describe his ideal women. He wants his lady to be perfect. While he is describing his perfect women he uses a repetitive phrase pattern by saying things like, “rich shall be, that’s certain,” and “fair, or I’ll never look on her.” These suggests that he wants a women or has an idea of what women he wants before he is going to give up his freedom. The repetitive phrase pattern makes the audience feel as if he wants a woman, but describes a perfect woman, and maybe knows that there is no woman in the world that is like the one he described. Also I think that he has done this so that he can reassure himself. When he has finished describing his ideal woman the tricking begins.

Benedick sees Leonato, Don Pedro and “monsieur love” entering the orchid so he says, “I will hide myself in the arbour.” Benedick is not really paying much attention to the conversation at first until he hears Don Pedro say, “Leonato, what is it you told me … your niece Beatrice was in with signor Benedick.” This is when Benedick really starts to pay attention and suggests that he wants to know more. I think that this really surprises him. Leonato has to make the trick seem believable so he makes out that Beatrice is madly in love with him. He says, “but that she loves him with an enraged affection.” This makes Benedick and the audience think that she is madly in love him. Also this may been said with these words to make Benedick feel that he may have a chance with her if he is willing to give up his freedom. The tricking continues with Don Pedro in doubt about Beatrice. Don Pedro days, “may be she doth but counterfeit.” This makes Leonato mad and he replies angrily, “Oh God! Counterfeit.”

This may have been said to make Benedick believe them more by getting rid of his doubt. As he knows that Beatrice hates him and she feel almost the same about love and marriage. So the way that Leonato reacts may convince him that it is real. After that Leonato continues to speak and now talks about Beatrice telling Hero. Leonato says to Claudio, “you heard my daughter tell you how.” This has been said because it will make the audience and Benedick believe them more because there is the confirmation of Beatrice telling Hero, who is going to marry Claudio. The tricking carries for a while and then Benedick says something and it seem as if he has been fooled. The three men stop talking and Benedick says, “I should think this a gull, but that the white bearded fellow speaks.” This suggests that Benedick has finally fallen for the trick and now believes that Beatrice is in love with him and makes the audience feel this way too. Also the choice of words makes it seem as though Benedick had some doubt about this whole thing, but has no accepted it.

As the three men continue to talk, thy mention the way in which Beatrice has been behaving. One of the three men says, “Then down on her knees she falls, weeps, sobs, beats her heart, tears hair.” The way in which they have described her is very dramatised and exaggerated “beats her heart, tears her hair.” makes it seem more believable to Benedick. I think it used to convince Benedick that she is in love with him. The three men continue to talk about Beatrice and then put down Benedick by the way Benedick has acted on past meeting with Beatrice. Then Claudio says, “he would make a sport of it, and torment the poor lady worse.” This suggests that they are trying to make Benedick change the way he acts toward Beatrice.

I feel that by mentioning this they will make Benedick change his views and love her back. As the men carry on talking they again make reference to Benedick and are trying to make him change his feelings about love. This time Don Pedro says, “if she should make tender her love, ’tis very possible he’ll scorn it, for the man hath a contemptible heart.” This suggests again that they are trying to change his views and by putting down his behaviour maybe the three men hope it will make Benedick fall in love with Beatrice. By now the trick has worked and it has almost come to an end, the men end the trick with one last put down, but not about his behaviour or attitude, but about the fact that she is too good for him. One of the men says, “he is unworthy so good a woman.” This suggests that they think he is not good enough for Beatrice and that he may need to change his ideas and attitude toward her.

After the three men leave and Benedick comes out from hiding and starts to talk to him self. He talks about the trick (although he doesn’t know it’s a trick) and about hid transformation into a man that never wanted to love and marry to a man who wants to now. We know the trick has worked because of what Benedick says. Benedick says, “this can be no trick.” This suggests that it has worked and it make the audience feel as if it has too.

Benedick starts to back track on what he said earlier and starts to contradict him self. Benedick says, “When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I would live until I was married. Here he is referring to what he said in one of the first scenes, “I will live a bachelor.” This suggests that now he wants to become married and fall in love which shows that he has changed and all it took was him overhearing a conversation. Also this is very funny because he has now gone against everything he once said and believed and also he has fallen in love with Beatrice who he hated a lot. As he is ending his speech he notices Beatrice coming toward him and only once he thinks she is in love with him, he notices how beautiful she is.

As he is talking he notices Beatrice and says, “by this day she’s a fair lady.” This suggests that now he fancies her or thinks she is beautiful because he thinks that she is in love with him. This also shows how easy it is to alter one’s feeling and attitudes or to bring out their true feelings, suggesting that Benedick always liked her but never said anything. In the opening soliloquy of the scene Benedick says, “that one seeing how much a man is a fool, when he dedicates his behaviours to love, will after he hath laughed … become the argument of his own scorn, by falling in love.” Although Benedick doesn’t know that he will soon fall in love, some people could interpret this as Benedick talking about him self because he does fall in love in the end.

In Kenneth Branagh’s version of this play, he has decided to have the three men, Leonato, Don Pedro and Claudio talk very loudly so that Benedick will over hear them on purpose, and this seems to happen a lot in the play. For example, when three men over hear a conversation between two men who have just made Claudio think twice before he marries Hero. The way it starts in Kenneth Branagh’s version is that the three men walk into the orchid slowly and Benedick runs away and hides behind a bush trying to setup a chair, and then falls in surprise when he hear that Beatrice is in love with him. This makes it very funny and also what adds to the humour is the fact that we the audience know it is a trick. There have been numerous different ways the scene has been setup by different people. One example is The Royal Shakespeare Company had Benedick hiding in a tree as the three men sat on a bench. This was good because the audience were able to see the reactions of Benedick to what was said.

The scene moves relatively quickly and is paced well so that the audience can keep up with it but also find it funny and not get bored. It is also one of the many plots and schemes in the play. It is well thought out and I think that Shakespeare had used good language in the play. It also is relevant to the theme of the play, which is love and romance. It shows how people can sometimes use a “mask” to hide behind, to act as a front, it is shown in the play because Benedick acted like he hated love, commitment, marriage and Beatrice. But ended up falling in love with her, so maybe he just needed help to show his feelings and come out form behind his “mask”.

In conclusion I think that the scene is dramatically effective due to many dramatic devises, such as the way we could see Benedick’s reactions during the tricking scene. Also the effectiveness of the trickery makes it dramatically effective, because the plan to make Benedick fall in love works.

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