Essential Quotes by Character: Beatrice
Essential Passage 1: Act 1, Scene 1, Lines 50-59
You must not, my lord, mistake my niece. There is
a kind of merry war betwixt Signior Benedick and her.
They never meet but there's a skirmish of wit between
Alas! He gets nothing by that. In our last conflict
four of his five wits went halting off, and now is the
whole man governed with one; so that if he have wit
enough to keep himself warm, let him bear it for a difference
between himself and his horse; for it is all the wealth
that he hath left to be known a reasonable creature.
Beatrice, niece to Leonato of Messina, is hearing news from a messenger of the approach of Don Pedro and Aragon and his company. Included in that group is Benedick, with whom Beatrice has a long-running battle of wits. Acting as though they despise each other, Beatrice and Benedick exchange continual barbs on every occasion that they meet. Each proclaims his or her contempt of the other, with each one proclaiming victory. In terms of "battle," and in conjunction with the return of the army after a military excursion involving the repression of a rebellion on the part of Don John (the illegitimate brother of Don Pedro), Beatrice describes for the messenger her last encounter with Benedick. He lost that battle but managed to survive with “one wit” left. Now, according to Beatrice, he is functioning with his one remaining wit, her point being that he is even less than a half-wit....
(The entire section is 1458 words.)