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I directed this play last summer, and I would have a very difficult time choosing just one favorite line...or even 10 favorites! :) This is truly one of his best, in my humble opinion. It is fun, exciting, accessible with the language and action, and the plot-line of Hero's disgrace really made my teenagers think about how they treat one another.
"What, my dear lady Disdain! are you yet living?" (Benedick)
"Scratching could not make it worse an 'twere such a face as yours were." (Beatrice)
"I do love nothing in the world so well as you: is not that strange?" (Benedick)
"I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest." (Beatrice)
"Dost thou not suspect my place? dost thou not
suspect my years? O that he were here to write me
down an ass! But, masters, remember that I am an
ass; though it be not written down, yet forget not
that I am an ass. No, thou villain, thou art full of
piety, as shall be proved upon thee by good witness.
I am a wise fellow, and, which is more, an officer,
and, which is more, a householder, and, which is
more, as pretty a piece of flesh as any is in
Messina, and one that knows the law, go to; and a
rich fellow enough, go to; and a fellow that hath
had losses, and one that hath two gowns and every
thing handsome about him. Bring him away. O that
I had been writ down an ass!" (Dogberry)
My favorite is when Don Pedro tells Beatrice that she was born in a "merry hour". Beatrice's response is:
"No, sure, my lord, my mother cried; but then there
was a star danced, and under that was I born."
For me, this quote sums up the intelligent and light-hearted nature of this play. It is a comedy, and full of silly moments, but its heros are witty, clever, pragmatic, and "too wise to woe peacably". It is why they stand out amongst Shakespeare's couples.
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