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What is Beatrice's attitude towards the men in Act 1 Scene 1 and Act 2 Scene 1?

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rimz123 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 10, 2007 at 2:58 AM via web

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What is Beatrice's attitude towards the men in Act 1 Scene 1 and Act 2 Scene 1?

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted May 10, 2007 at 3:27 AM (Answer #1)

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Beatrice loathes men in 1.1, especially the Benedick. For example, in lines 29-30, she resolutely declares, " I would rather hear my dog bark at a crow/than a man say he loves me."

In 2.1, her attitude has not altered. Pressed by Leonato about marriage, Beatrice disdainfully replies,

"What should I do with him? dress him in my apparel
and make him my waiting-gentlewoman? He that hath a
beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no
beard is less than a man: and he that is more than
a youth is not for me, and he that is less than a
man, I am not for him: therefore, I will even take
sixpence in earnest of the bear-ward, and lead his
apes into hell" (2.1.36-41)

This last sentence shows just how deep her dislike runs. Proverbially, women who are unmarried in life are punished in the afterlife. (The actual proverb reads: "Those who die maids do lead apes in hell.") She also says she'd rather pay make a bargain with the man who keeps performing bears (a bearherd) than be a wife.

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