Merry War Betwixt Signior Benedick

The surprise of the play, however, lies in the fact that it is not Benedick and Beatrice who have the greatest difficulties finding true love and communicating with one another. Although Claudio takes the posture of a traditional lover, because his feelings for Hero are based more upon an idealized conception of the fair sex rather than reality, he is quick to believe that she has been unfaithful to him. In contrast, because Benedict and Beatrice have always been able to communicate with one another through verbal jousting and war, they are able to form a mature and trusting relationship.

Interestingly, the romantic relationship between Beatrice and Benedict does begin as the result of a deception. Beatrice is told by her friends that Benedict is pining away for her, and Benedict is told the same by his comrades. However, this trick, unlike the one played upon Claudio by Don John, is not malicious, and is merely designed to enable the two to admit to their true feelings for one another.

Even before this deception, the ability of the pair to joke about love speaks well of their ability to form a good match. Beatrices ability to war with Benedick with words gives her understanding of the world in which he lives.

Warring can create barriers between the sexes in Much Ado About Nothing and also create bonds. At the beginning of the play, because they have been soldiers together, the men feel a stronger sense of kinship and trust with men than they do with women, as evidenced by the fragility of Claudios trust in Heros chastity and his willingness to trust another mans word over her oath that she is chaste. But warring with words enables Beatrice to enter Benedicks masculine world, just as his ability to speak eloquently and humorously enables him to enter her feminine.

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