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Repartee, or word play, often feeds the comedy of this romantic romp. Here is an example, from Act I, Scene I:
Beatrice: I wonder that you will still be talking, Signior Benedick, nobody marks you.
Benedick: What, my dear Lady Disdain! Are you yet living?
Beatrice: Is it possible Disdain should die, while she hath such meet food to feed it, as Signior Benedick? Courtesy itself must convert to disdain, if you come in her presence.
Benedick: Then is courtesy a turn-coat. But it is certain I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted .
Beatrice is saying to Benedick, "why bother talking when no one is listening? Benedick calls her "Lady Disdain," and wonders if she is really a warm-blooded woman. Beatrice shoots back that she is fine except when in his presence. Benadick tells her that he doesn't have this problem with other women, he's very popular with the "ladies."
It doesn't have the same impact, being explained here, as Shakespeare's words, does it? The beauty, the wit, and the tension, and the comedy, lie in the delivery of the well-chosen words.
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