Within love. ADD MORE HERE—THESIS STATEMENT. The traits that

Within
William Shakespeare’s immense portfolio of characters that he penned throughout
the course of his plays, one of the dramatis
personae that is known for stealing the show is Much Ado About Nothing’s proud and endearing Beatrice. The niece of
the governor Leonato and the cousin of the virtuous Hero, Beatrice marks
herself as one of Shakespeare’s most beloved roles with her powerful wit, her
fiery independence, and her utmost generous and loving nature. Much Ado About Nothing tells a comedic tale
of mischief, deceit, and romance, with its characters floundering in the chaos
of misunderstandings and misinformation. Throughout the duration of Much Ado, the audience bears witness to
Beatrice’s transformation from a fiercely independent woman swearing to be alone
and refusing to speak about her emotions, to suddenly admitting them and
allowing herself to fall in love. ADD MORE HERE—THESIS STATEMENT.

The
traits that define Beatrice the most are her cutting wit, her fierce
independence, and her unabashed way of speaking her mind.

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While
there can be multiple ways to interpret just how Beatrice became the way she is,
it can be inferred from the text that she is weary, even disdainful of love, because
she was hurt by it before. Several of Beatrice’s lines in the play even hint that
she was burned in love by Benedick himself. In one of her first few lines in Act
I, Scene One when she is discussing Benedick, Beatrice offhandedly remarks that
Benedick “wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat; it ever changes with
the next block.” (1.1 66-67) This implies that Beatrice believes Benedick to be
fickle and that his feelings are as fleeting and changing as fashion trends.
There is another mysterious jab that Beatrice throws at Claudio when she sneers
at him “You always end with a jade’s trick: I know you of old.” (1.1 LINES) Claiming
that she has known him of old, or for a long while, indicates that the
relationship between them is well-established. In addition to these fleeting
comments, Beatrice hints further at a previous fling with Benedick when she
tells Claudio how Benedick lent his heart to her once, and that she “gave him use for / it,
a double heart for his single one. Marry, once before he / won it of me with
false dice.” (2.1. 235-237) These subtle clues that Beatrice reveals can be
interpreted that perhaps there was something more than just a “merry war”
between this pair, and the consequences from it have caused her to be leery of
love. While Beatrice never blatantly admits what went on between her and
Benedick in a past life, it can be interpreted through the text that was at
some point more than just playful banter between the pair. This event seems to
have ended rather cataclysmically, however, as Beatrice is now seen swearing up
and down that she will never marry.

Throughout the play, Beatrice is typically
vocal about what she wants—one of the most prevalent things the audience
witnesses her swearing that she will never be married, and she is glad to not
have a husband. In the first act and scene of Much Ado About Nothing, the governor and
uncle of Beatrice, Leonato, chides at her that she “will never run mad” from
love. (1.1 81) Beatrice proudly boasts back that she truly will not, or at
least  “not till a hot January.” (1.1 82)
Beatrice, being her brazen and bold self throughout the play, even turns down
Don Pedro’s proposal to wed her in Act II, Scene 1. When he asks her if she
will have him, Beatrice responds to him, “No, my Lord,