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Much Ado About Nothing

by William Shakespeare

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The characters and differences in the gulling scenes of Much Ado About Nothing

Summary:

The gulling scenes in Much Ado About Nothing involve characters like Benedick and Beatrice being tricked into believing the other is in love with them. These scenes differ in execution: Benedick overhears a staged conversation among male characters, while Beatrice overhears female characters. The scenes highlight gender dynamics and the comedic misunderstandings central to the play's plot.

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Who was involved in the "gulling" scenes of Much Ado About Nothing in Act 2, scene 3 and Act 3, scene 1?

Your original question contained more than one question. Please remember that enotes does not allow you to ask multiple questions. I have edited your question accordingly.

Act II scene 3 and Act III scene 1 are identified as the "gulling" scenes as you mentioned because of the "gulling" or tricking that goes on. In these scenes, in a masterful use of deception and appearance, both Benedick and Beatrice are made to believe that they are loved by the other. This is clearly a hilarious plot device by Shakespeare given the mutual hate and conflict that has characterised their relationship up until this point. However, if you read the play carefully, it is in Act II scene 1 where Don Pedro comes up with this scheme and asks the assistance of his friends:

I will in the interim undertake one of Hercules' labours, which is to bring Signor Benedick and the Lady Beatrice into a mountain of affection th'one with th'other. I would fain have it as match, and I doubt not but to fashion it, if you three will but minister such assistance as I shall give you direction.

Thus it is that Don Pedro enlists the help of Claudio and Leonato to help him trick Benedick in Act II scene 3, and Hero and Ursula, to trick Beatrice in Act III scene 1.

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What is the difference between the gulling scenes in Act 2, Scene 3 and Act 3, Scene 2 in Much Ado About Nothing?

One interesting way to approach answering this question would be to consider the response of both Beatrice and Benedick to hearing the elaborate deception of their friends in stating that the other is in love with them. This yields particularly interesting results. Interestingly, if you do this, it is Beatrice that comes out looking much better than Benedick.

It is in Act II scene iii when Benedick is gulled, and this scene is much longer than the following scene in Act III scene i when Beatrice is similarly ensnared. However, what is interesting to note is Benedick's reaction after Don Pedro, Leonato and Claudio have left. Benedick's biggest preoccupation seems to be what they will think of him in receiving the love of Beatrice rather than any concern for Beatrice herself. Also, the declaration that he makes to justify his change of heart hardly endears us to him:

No. The world must be peopled. When I said I would die a batchelor, I did not think I should live till I were married.

Benedick apparently needs to go through quite a significant internal debate before he can decide to accept this love and court Beatrice.

However, Beatrice, in Act III scene i, needs no such internal debate and does not worry about what others will think of her. What she has heard is enough to change her completely. Note her instantaneous transformation:

What fire is in mine ears? Can this be true?

Stand I condemn'd for pride and scorn so much?

Contempt, farewell; and maiden pride, adieu.

No glory lives behind the back of such.

And, Benedick, love on.

It is hard to escape the fact that Beatrice seems to be more easily tricked, but that her change of heart is all the more noble and endearing because of her instant decision to let Benedick "love on."

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Who were involved in the gulling scenes of Much Ado About Nothing and why?

The famous gulling scenes of this play when Benedick and Beatrice are convinced that the other is in love with them and then are themselves made to fall in love with the other, are key parts of this excellent comedy. We see that in Act II scene iii, the gulling of Benedick involves Claudio, Don Pedro and Leonato. Straight after this scene, the shorter Act III scene i, the gulling of Beatrice, involves Hero and Ursula working together to trick Beatrice.

However, when we think about their reasons for being involved, we need to go back towards the beginning of the play. In Act II scene i we see that it is Don Pedro's idea to try and convince the two thorny and prickly characters to fall in love with each other. Note what he says:

I will in the interim underake one of Hercules' labours, which is to bring Signor Benedick and the Lady Beatrice into a mountain of affection th'one with th'other. I would fain have it a match, and i doubt not but to fashion it, if you three will but minister such assistance as I shall give you direction.

Thus we can see that the characters are involved in the gulling scenes because of Don Pedro's personal plea for assistance in accomplishing, as he puts it, one of the labours of Hercules.

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