59 pages 1 hour read

William Shakespeare

Much Ado About Nothing

Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 1598

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Character Analysis


The witty, sparkling Beatrice keeps the world at bay with jokes. While her less perceptive friends and relatives see her as thoroughly lighthearted, she has real sadness at her core: She is an orphan, and her initial relationship with Benedick seems to have gone sour because of his “false” behavior. As the play goes on and Beatrice opens up to love again, she demonstrates not just a quick wit, but courage and a strong sense of justice. Her eventual marriage to Benedick is a true meeting of like minds: once defensive, she learns to understand Benedick and to be genuinely honest with him.


Like Beatrice, Benedick uses his quick wit as a shield. He has a reputation for notable physical courage, acquitting himself well as a soldier fighting alongside Don Pedro. However, he is more fragile than Beatrice: He loves the sound of his own voice and he is easily hurt when he senses that other people don’t enjoy his jokes as much as he does. Over the course of the play, he comes to value Beatrice’s feelings and conviction deeply enough that he is willing to duel his oldest friend for her sake, showing that he is more than the “jester” she teases him for being in Act II.