Shakespeare, W - Much Ado About Nothing (Arden, 2006).pdf

But then he begins again this time even more

Info icon This preview shows pages 90–93. Sign up to view the full content.

But then he begins again, this time even more specifically: 'Rich she shall be . . . ' (28-9). The 'continuer' features of the style are harnessed here to paint a mind irresistibly returning to a closed subject with a moth's attraction to a flame, so that the length of Benedick's argument simultaneously sustains and undermines his conviction. At the beginning of the speech Benedick is perplexed by the notion of a soldier in love, but by the end he is contemplat- ing the colour of her hair, so that the audience begins to anticipate (if it hasn't already concluded) that Benedick himself might 'become the argument of his own scorn by falling in love' (11-12). Shakespeare's prose conjures a mind divided despite itself. The agonistic aspect of euphuism's verbal one-upmanship is evident most clearly in dialogue rather than soliloquy, such as the 68
Image of page 90

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

Introduction first exchange between Beatrice and Benedick (also a disavowal of love): 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 Signor Benedick? 115 Courtesy itself must convert to Disdain if you come in her presence. BENEDICK 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 120 truly I love none. BEATRICE A dear happiness to women - they would else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I thank God and my cold blood, I am of your humour for that: I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow, than a man 125 swear he loves me. BENEDICK God keep your ladyship still in that mind, so some gentleman or other shall scape a predestinate scratched face. BEATRICE Scratching could not make it worse, an 'twere 130 such a face as yours were. BENEDICK Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher. BEATRICE A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours. BENEDICK I would my horse had the speed of your 135 tongue, and so good a continuer. But keep your way, o'God's name; I have done. BEATRICE You always end with a jade's trick; I know you of old. (1.1.112-39) This exchange is always greeted with delight in the theatre; it contains the first shots across the respective bows. As Brian 69
Image of page 91
Introduction Vickers comments, 'repartee is more than a linguistic device here: to Beatrice and Benedick it is a way of life, a mutual witty antagonism which has evidently long continued and seems destined to go on' (Vickers, 176). Here, instead of a speaker punning upon his own terms, the contest of antagonists personifies and animates the push-and-pull features of euphuism's internal debate. Words of one speaker are taken and turned by the other, returned inverted or askew, transported, and otherwise perverted. Puns are crucial. Shakespeare moves here beyond the polished, patterned verse of plays like Love's Labour's Lost towards a more improvisational and realistic repartee, which, while it may commence as elegant twists and turns, degenerates into little more than name-calling, as both speakers strain to sustain the rally.
Image of page 92

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

Image of page 93
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern