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i.16-17) the line however clearly describes the general behavior of the characters in the play, that "dare do" all kinds of things that provoke fate, without knowing what they do. Don Pedro's wooing of Hero to help Claudio is also significant, as Claudio does not actually needs his help so the offering is superfluous.
Even Friar Francis who pretends Hero is dead endangers the happiness of the two, in spite of his good intentions. If we remember Romeo and Juliet's story we can deduce the kind of consequences that his deception might have had: "Your daughter here the princes left for dead. / Let her awhile be secretly kept in,/and publish it that she is dead indeed. / Maintain a mourning ostentation / and on your family's old monument / Hang mournful epitaphs, and do all rites/That appertain unto a burial."(IV.i.204-10.)
Berenice and Benedick's love affair is even stranger, as they continually aim at each other with all kinds of injurious declarations, also running the peril of inducing serious consequences. Also, their story seems to have been silenced somehow by Shakespeare, and to have had a previous darker part. Their apparent hatred for each other seems very serious: "Not till God make men of some other metal than / earth. Would it not grieve a woman to be / overmastered with a pierce of valiant dust? To make / an account of her life to a clod of wayward marl? / No, uncle, I'll none: Adam's sons are my brethren;/and, truly, I hold it a sin to match in my kindred. (II.i.52-57) the allusions to Hercules as Dobransky points out are very significant as the mythological hero had actually done a terrible act of jealously and killed his sons (Dobransky, 237):
She told me, not thinking I had been / myself, that I was the prince's jester, that I was / duller than a great thaw; huddling jest upon jest / with such impossible conveyance upon me that I stood / like a man at a mark, with a whole army shooting at / me. She speaks poniards, and every word stabs: / if her breath were as terrible as her terminations, / there were no living near her; she would infect to / the north star. I would not marry her, though she / were endowed with all that Adam bad left him before / he transgressed: she would have made Hercules have / turned spit, yea, and have cleft his club to make / the fire too. (II.i.215-227)
Also, in spite of the fact that Berenice is considered to be a very merry character, who had not known any pain, she retorts that she her mother cried on her birth alluding to the pains of engendering of course, but also to some possible hidden events in her own life: "No, sure, my lord, my mother cried; but then there / was a star danced, and under that was I born."(II.i.300-301) the way in which Berenice is said to have woken up laughing from a dream of unhappiness is also relevant, as it suggests the fact that the laughter in the play covers possible and past unhappiness:
There's little of the melancholy element in her, my / lord: she is never sad but when she sleeps, and / not ever sad then; for I have heard my daughter say, / she hath often dreamed of unhappiness and waked / herself with laughing.(II.i.306-310)
Thus, Berenice affirms her love for Benedick in an obscure way, allowing that she neither denies nor confesses nothing. The play turns again on the main tragic word: "nothing," showing that the importance of the title: "As strange as the thing I know not. It were as / possible for me to say I loved nothing so well as / you: but believe me not; and yet I lie not; I / confess nothing, nor I deny nothing. I am sorry for my cousin."(IV.i.275.278) the play is indeed about the "much ado about nothing," but it indicates that nothing did happen in the play although many tragic things might have.
Dobransky, Stephen R. "Children of the Mind: Miscarried Narratives in Much Ado about Nothing," Studies…[continue]
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