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Much Ado About Nothing

by William Shakespeare

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In Much Ado About Nothing, how and why are Beatrice and Benedick "tricked" into falling in love?

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It's easy because they have a history; they're also very similar in their personalities and behaviors.

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It's easy because Beatrice and Benedick have a history; they're also very similar in their personalities and behaviors.

At the beginning of the play, Leonato says of Beatrice:

There is akind of merry war betwixt Signior Benedick and her:they never meet but there's a skirmish of wit between...

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them.

They are each already occupying the other's thoughts. They have a past that involves each other and are familiar enough with each other to have what seems like a friendly feud between them. Every time they're around each other, they have arguments that make up the "merry war" to which Leonato refers. This means that they have some kind of fire between them.

This connection and the kind of fiery relationship they have makes it easy for the men and women they know to convince each that the other is in love with them. That heat is already there; they just have to lose their fear that the other might not care for them to open themselves to the possibility.

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I would argue that the reason it is so easy is because they actually have very warm feelings for each other before the plot takes place. The game of wits between them is in fact a form of courtship. This is suggested later in the play when Benedick says, "We are too wise to woo peacefully."

Don Pedro and his friends plot to bring the couple together by making each of them believe the other is secretly infatuated with them. I think it is typical of human nature to warm to people we believe care for us. Additionally, it leads them to bring down their wits and be sincere with each other.

Once they start to treat each other kindly they become more convinced that what they have heard is true. This snowballs into what Don Pedro calls "a mountain of affection." The game of wits comes down and they can be honest about their affection.

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In this act of Much Ado About Nothing, Beatrice and Benedick are “tricked” into falling in love. How does it happen, and why is it so easy?

Don Pedro, Claudio, and Leonato trick Benedick into falling in love with Beatrice by letting him overhear them talking about how Beatrice is secretly in love with him. In a similar way, Hero and Ursula make sure Beatrice overhears them talking about Benedick's unrequited love for her.

The reason this plot by Benedick and Beatrice's friends works so well is that the two of them are already attracted to each other, and the animosity between them stems from resentment and hurt feelings.

The text provides plenty of evidence. For example, when Claudio asks Benedick for his opinion about Hero in act 1, scene 1, Benedick says he's not that impressed with Hero's looks, saying that if Beatrice "were not possessed by a fury, exceeds her [Hero] as much in beauty as the first of May doth the last of December." In act 2, scene 1, Benedick tells Don Pedro that Beatrice "speaks poniards, and every word stabs," implying that he is truly hurt by her insults.

For her part, Beatrice hints that she and Benedick had a flirtation or perhaps something more serious between them in the past, but it didn't end well. In act 1, scene 1, Beatrice tells Benedick, "You always end with a jade's trick; I know you of old." After yet another bout of verbal sparring between the pair in act 2, scene 1, Don Pedro tells Beatrice, "Come, lady, you have lost the heart of Signior Benedick." She says Benedick did lend his heart to her for a while, and she paid interest on it. She said she gave him "a double heart for his single one," meaning she believes her feelings for him were greater than his for her.

Once Benedick is convinced that Beatrice is desperately in love with him and she believes the same of Benedict, the two of them feel safe to admit, at least to themselves, their true feelings, even if their pride won't allow them to declare their love to each other just yet.

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