Illustration of Hero wearing a mask

Much Ado About Nothing

by William Shakespeare

Start Free Trial

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

Beatrice's attitude towards the men in Act 1 Scene 1 and Act 2 Scene 1.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

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.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team