The Structure of II iii in Shakespeare´s Much ado about nothing

Term Paper, 2000

9 Pages, Grade: 2,4 (B)


Table of contents

A. Leonato´s orchard

B. The Structure of II iii in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing
1. Structure of the scene
2. Concept of love
3. Linguistic structure
4. Comical structure
5. The development of Benedick´s character

C. Realism of Benedick and Beatrice

Literary list

A. In the orchard

William Shakespeare is said to have written his mature comedy Much Ado About Nothing around 1600.The “nominal main plot”[1] of the play is about the love affair between Hero and Claudio. Nevertheless, the developing Benedick-Beatrice-liaison, which was rather supposed to be a funny subplot, has a greater effect on the spectators. The scene in Leonato´s orchard is important and can be characterized as the decisive point in this context because in the garden, the foundation stone of the love relationship is laid. Therefore, lots of articles and books have been written on this particular scene. In this term paper, I want to find out why the events in the orchard are so fascinating and gripping.

B. The Structure of II iii in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing

1. Structure of the scene

After having instructed a servant to bring him a book, Benedick speaks aloud his thoughts on love. He soliloquises that Claudio has changed his behaviour because he is in love. Benedick is not capable of understanding how a woman can alter the personality of a man in this extent. He swears to himself that love “shall never make (him) such a fool”[2]. In this monologue, Benedick also presents a list of the qualities which he expects of a perfect woman. These demands seem to be an unreachable aim for he is really hard to please. Benedick puts up high standards as a result of his very distinct self-confidence and pride. His soliloquy is interrupted when Don Pedro, Leonato and Claudio come into the orchard. Benedick wants to avoid the meeting with them by hiding “in the arbour”[3]. The men pretend not to notice him because it is their intention to mislead him deliberately[4]. After Balthasar´s song “Sigh no more ladies“, they start their conversation. Benedick, who thinks that he is eavesdropping, is “duped into listening to (the) factitious”[5] report that Beatrice has fallen in love with him. Then, the three ´conspirators` leave and make the secret plan to play a similar trick on Beatrice[6]. The now following monologue of Benedick shows that the deception has been successful: He is converted into the false belief that Beatrice loves him. He stops reflecting on this new development when Beatrice calls him for dinner. Benedick misinterprets the witty dialogue between them into love language.

2. Conception of love

In the scene II iii, the love relationship between Benedick and Beatrice is established by a trick. Benedick gives the impression of having a deep aversion to marriage. His huge self-esteem leads him to enormous demands on the personal qualities of a woman[7]. She has to be fair and reasonable, really well-mannered, elegant and beautiful, kind and gentle ,wise and reasonable. Besides, an ideal wife must show moral principles and she shall have a high social rank. Benedick does not fancy the idea of wooing a lady or adoring her with love songs, but he despises such emotional matters as “shallow follies“[8]. When his friends fool him, they talk in great detail about Beatrice’s fantastic merits. Claudio and Leonato praise her “wisdom”[9] and Don Pedro complains because this virtuous “excellent sweet lady”[10] does not love him but Benedick.Having heard this, Benedick muses on their remarks and he is unexpectedly conscious of Beatrice’s “constancy and real worth”[11]. He becomes aware of her assets and he realizes that she, who has always been his competitive antagonist, actually incarnates his perfect spouse: Fair, witty and virtuous. She unites all his requirements in her grace so that Benedick feels a sudden strong attraction to her. He has always mocked on love and now, he is converted to it. He throws overboard his former firm intention of bachelorhood in favour of affection. He has “adopted a new seeing of love”[12] and according to his new irrational conception, he declares that he has not lived till this day. His emotional outburst is manifested as well by his announcement that he “will be horribly in love with”[13] Beatrice.In his perception, she requites his tender feelings although she shows rejection and tries to fight with him by cutting him down all the time. Benedick undergoes an experience in love:


[1] J.R. Mulryne,Shakespeare:Much Ado About Nothing(London: Edward Arnold Ltd.,1965),p.9.

[2] Mary Berry and Michael Clap, ed.,Shakespeare:Much Ado About Nothing(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,1998), p.49, 21.

[3] Mary Berry and Michael Clap, ed.,Shakespeare:Much Ado About Nothing, p.49 l 28.

[4] “See you were Benedick hath hid himself?”(M. Berry and M. Clap, ed.,Shakespeare:Much Ado About Nothing, p.51, 32).

[5] David Lucking,Engendering Meaning in Much Ado About Nothing, University of Lecce,1997,online,available:, 25 February 2000.

[6] “Let there be the same net spread for her...”(M.Berry and M. Clap, ed.,Shakespeare:Much Ado About Nothing,p.59,176).

[7] M.Berry and M. Clamp, ed.,Shakespeare:Much Ado About Nothing, p.49,24-27.

[8] Ibid. p.49, 9.

[9] Ibid. p.57, 140.

[10] Ibid. p.57, 138

[11] Kenneth Muir and S. Schoenbaum, ed.,A New Companion To Shakespeare Studies.(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,1971), p.138 l 18.

[12] J.R. Mulryne,Shakespeare:Much Ado About Nothing, p.56 l 32.

[13] M.Berry and M.Clamp, ed.,Shakespeare:Much Ado About Nothing, p.61, 191.

Excerpt out of 9 pages


The Structure of II iii in Shakespeare´s Much ado about nothing
University of Trier  (Faculty II)
Introduction in English Literature
2,4 (B)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
415 KB
Structure, Shakespeare´s, Much, Introduction, English, Literature
Quote paper
Simone Conen (Author), 2000, The Structure of II iii in Shakespeare´s Much ado about nothing, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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