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Much Ado About Nothing

by William Shakespeare

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How can we compare and contrast Act 2, scene 3 and Act 3, scene 1 of Much Ado About Nothing?

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Of course these two scenes are when Benedick and then Beatrice are both fooled into falling in love with the other, however, in spite of their many comparisons (both are tricked by their friends into loving the other and changing their characters) there are also many contrasts that we can draw between the two scenes.

Of course, Act II scene 3 contains wonderful irony, as Benedick begins with a soliloquy where he mocks the transformation that has changed Claudio from a brave warrior into a lover:

I do much wonder that one man, seeing how much another man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviours to love, will, after he hath laughed at such shallow follies in others, become the argument of his own scorn by falling in love. And such a man is Claudio.

Little does Benedick know that he is such a man as well, and will suffer a similar tranformation. However, in spite of the way that both of these strong characters are tricked into falling in love and showing such "foolish" transformations in their personality, Act III scene 1 lacks the same strength as Act II scene 3. It is shorter in length, and Beatrice's transformation is not as amusing as that of Benedick's.

Likewise the response of both the characters to their new-found love is different. Note how Benedick is primarily concerned about his reputation, whereas Beatrice declares her love in blank verse and immediately accepts Benedick, giving her "conversion" dignity and completeness:

And, Benedick, love on. I will requite thee,

Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand.

If thou dost love, my kindness shall incite thee

To bind our loves up in a holy band.

Beatrice accepts the situation completely and resolves to change, whereas Benedick is primarily concerned with himself at first, though arguably he does become transformed later on in the play.

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