In Much Ado About Nothing, what happens offstage during Benedick's dance with Beatrice?How do we know?  What effect does it have on Beatrice?

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robertwilliam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Well, it's a subtle one. While they're dancing you get most of the conversation, Beatrice describing how, when Benedick isn't encouraged when he's trying to be funny, he goes all melancholy:

Do, do. He'll but break a comparison or two on me; which peradventure, not marked or not laughed at, strikes him into melancholy; and then there's a partridge wing saved, for the fool will eat no supper that night.

Benedick, a little later, fumes about this, and about the fact that she called him the prince's jester:

But, that my Lady Beatrice should know me, and not know me! The prince's fool! Ha! it may be I go under that title because I am merry. Yea, but so I am apt to do myself wrong. I am not so reputed. It is the base though bitter, disposition of Beatrice that puts the world into her person and so gives me out. Well, I'll be revenged as I may.

But none of this answers your question. What happened offstage is that Benedick (masked, and thereby disguised) seems to have told Beatrice that "Benedick" has done some wrong to her. How do we know? Because Don Pedro tells us that she is coming ot tell him off:  

DON PEDRO:
The Lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you. The
gentleman that danced with her told her she is much wronged by you.

Hope it helps!

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Much Ado About Nothing

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