Mischievous - Humorous- Honored
In Shakespeare's play "Much Ado About Nothing," Benedick is motivated initially by his friends, although sometimes he is thoughtless when is comes to their feelings, and by his hostility towards Beatrice. He values his peers opinions, except when it comes to love. Benedick is always looking for an opportunity to say a cunning and cruel joke towards Beatrice. This is proven by his greeting to her when he first saw her in the beginning of the play, he said, "What, my dear Lady Disdain! are you yet living?" (I, 106). Over time Benedick has developed a loathing with the idea of marriage and love, although he likes to keep his head held high and makes sure that Beatrice knows that he is appealing to all women and that he doesn't need her or anybody else's love for that matter. He once said, "Then is courtesy a turncoat. But it is certain I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted: and I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart; for, truly, I love none," (I, 111).
Benedick throughout the story seems to go from totally hating Beatrice to always seeming to have some sort of involvement with Beatrice when he does something. When Benedick first encounters Beatrice, they have nothing nice to say as they exchange insults towards each other. Benedick had once told his friends that they may see him with.. "anger, with sickness, or with hunger, my lord, not with love: prove that ever I lose more blood with love than I will get again with drinking, pick out mine eyes with a ballad-maker's pen," (I, 223). After this, Benedick later on finds his companions talking in the garden without him and gossiping about how much Beatrice loves him and when Benedick overhears this it changes his feelings for her and his feelings about love, as he is now confident enough to confront her about it. Later on in the story after Claudio refuses to marry Hero, Benedick chooses to go see Beatrice by herself instead of following his close friends. When he talks to her, they talk about their love for each other and Benedick says "Come. Bid me anything for thee." (II, 282) This is showing his love for her as he will do anything for her to an extent. She wanted him to kill Claudio but he could not do such a thing so instead of killing him, he made Claudio realize what he did by saying he is the reason a sweet girl died. After Claudio and Hero get married, Benedick calls Beatrice out of a big crowd and tells her about his love for her. When their love songs are shared from Hero and Claudio, they both accept their love for each other and kiss.
Impact on Theme
Benedick's impact on the theme throughout the story of "Much Ado About Nothing" was that he showed how someone could go from totally hating just the idea of love to falling totally in love with none other than Beatrice. He showed us that our true love could be our nemesis, best friend, or even a stranger. He represents his love being an enemy. He was a man who went from the bachelor life who indeed had conflict with Beatrice early in the play to someone who would do anything for her. When Beatrice told him to kill Claudio, he could not do such a thing for Claudio was a good friend to him. They modified what would then kill Claudio to faking a death as he found a way to continue being friends and open up the gates for his true love, Beatrice. When Benedick heard about Beatrice loving him by his peers, he was overjoyed as he jumped and splashed in the fountain delighted. Later that day, the peers who talked about Beatrice's love for him, found him dressing as best he could finding anything that would attract Beatrice at dinner. In the end, Benedick showed his love for Beatrice in a song he wrote earlier in the play that was unexpectedly presented to her by Claudio as a song written about him written by Beatrice was handed to him by Hero. They show their love for each other as they kiss in front of the peers gathered for Hero's and Claudio's wedding.