Act 1, Scene 1: Beatrice and Benedick Comment on the language in detail. Why do you like or dislike characters in the play? Do your opinions change? Drama is always about some sort of conflict (which may be below the surface). What do you need to consider when reading a Remember – drama Consider how play? needs performance in dramatic devices theatre to arrive at its full meaning. Try to imagine yourself as a member of the audience. Think about how it might be staged when reading. are used, e.g. soliloquy. Make careful notes on themes, character, plot and sub-plot. Think about the playwright and the decisions they have made. Look at the dynamics between Beatrice and Benedick • Read the exchange from « Well even if he is her father…» to « I know you from before » • One person be Beatrice • The other Benedick • Each time you think your character makes an insulting mark raise your hand and count how many you think they make. Benedick makes a play on words based on the previous conversation with Leonato If Signor Leonato be her father , she would not have is head on her shoulders for all Messina, as like him as she is Beatrice insults Benedick ‘I am amazed you are still talking, no one is listening to you’ I wonder that you will still be talking, Signor Benedick. Nobody marks you. Benedick refers to the fact that she looks down on everything (disdain) and asks why she isn’t yet dead. What, my dear Lady Disdain! Are you yet living? How could disdain die when you’re here? When you’re around even Lady Courtesy becomes Lady Disdain Is it possible disdain should die while she hath such meet food to feed it as Signor Benedick? Courtesy itself must convert disdain if you come in her presence That makes Lady Courtesy a traitor. All ladies love me, except you. It’s too bad I’m so hard-hearted because I really don’t love anyone 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 Women are lucky then. You would make a nasty suitor. Thankfully I feel the same way you do. I have no need for romance. I would rather listen to my dog bark at a crow than hear a man swear he love me 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 that a man swear he loves me Well, I hope you stay in that frame of mind or some poor man will end up with his face all scratched up God keep your Ladyship still in that mind so some gentleman or other shall ‘scape a predestinate scratched face. If he has a face like yours, a food scratching couldn’t make him look any worse Scratching could not make it worse ‘twere such a face as yours were Listen to you, insulting me like a parrot would Well, you are a rateparrot-teacher I’d rather be a squawking bird than an animal like you. A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours. I wish my horse moved as fast as your mouth and was as tireless. That’s it – I’m done I would my horse had the speed of your tongue and so good a continuer. But you keep your way, I’God’s name. I have done. You always slip out of the argument like this. I know you of old. You always end with a jade’s trick. I know you of old. Euphuism The style comes from the works of John Lyle (1553-1606) titled Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit (1578) & Euphues & his England (1580). Lyle explores the fashionable traditions of England in a style that is deliberately mannered and elevated. Lyle’s was one of the central influences on Shakespeare’s own writing. In addition to the exchanges between Benedick and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, both Polonius in Hamlet and Moth in Love’s Labour’s Lost, employ the Euphuistic style in their dialogue. Criticism of Euphuism The Euphuistic style was used less frequently into the 17th century because it was regarded as overly ornate and artificial. However, it provides a telling insight into the cultural and fashionable concerns of its period. Some royal historians argue that the style influenced the language of the royal court throughout the period. Characteristics of Euphuism Euphuism – taken from the name of Lyle’s character Euphues meaning ‘graceful’ and ‘witty’ in Greek – is constructed using very particular rhetorical techniques. Antithetical balance – sentences are comprised of two matched clauses which have a contrasting meaning. Oppositions – the contrasts in the sentences are often denoted by phonological patterning like alliteration or assonance, and by words, which although different in meaning, are similar in spelling or pronunciation. Conflicting Meaning – the conflict in meanings are generated in this style because of the way that puns are used; references to common proverbials and natural history, for example, where there is some play-on the duality of meaning. Aural Ornateness – the balance and antithesis of Euphuism gives rise to a distinctive tone in its delivery. Prose Only – Euphuism is a prose form only and cannot be discerned in verse. Euphuism TASK: Look closely at Act 1 Scene 1 (lines 112-39) Try and identify the following aspects of euphemistic style and annotate the passage. Antithetical Balance Oppositions Conflicting Meaning Aural Ornateness Euphemism 1. Why does Shakespeare allow both Beatrice and Benedick to use euphuistic language? 2. Think about the subject matter –why has Shakespeare matched this content with the euphuistic style? 3. Given that some critics refer to the style as ‘overtly ornate’ or ‘artificial’ – how does that affect your understanding of why Shakespeare uses their euphemistic style? 4. Consider the potential irony of Shakespeare’s use of euphuism in these passages given that both of these characters polarise themselves from the given social norms in Messina . Act 1 Scene 1 (lines 112-39) Task Look at characterisation and the dynamics formed between characters. -How is/might this be used for comic effect? Look for the use of language and wordplay in this opening act - specifically the use of euphuism.