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Much Ado About Nothing

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HERO
O god of love! I know he doth deserve
As much as may be yielded to a man,
But Nature never framed a woman’s heart
Of prouder stuff than that of Beatrice.
Disdain and scorn ride sparkling in her eyes,
Misprizing what they look on, and her wit
Values itself so highly that to her
All matter else seems weak. She cannot love
Nor take no shape nor project of affection
She is so self-endeared.
HERO
By the god of love, I know that he deserves all that a man might possess. But Nature never made a woman’s heart as proud and tough as Beatrice’s. There is scorn and disdain in her eyes, and those sparkling eyes despise everything they look upon. She values her wit more highly than anything else, which looks weak by comparison. She’s so in love with herself, she’s incapable of loving anyone else. She can’t even imagine what “love” is.


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URSULA
    Sure, I think so,
And therefore certainly it were not good
She knew his love, lest she make sport at it.
URSULA
Yes, you’re right. It would be bad if she knew about Benedick’s love and teased him about it.




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HERO
Why, you speak truth. I never yet saw man,
How wise, how noble, young, how rarely featured
But she would spell him backward. If fair-faced,
She would swear the gentleman should be her sister;
If black, why, Nature, drawing of an antic,
Made a foul blot; if tall, a lance ill-headed;
If low, an agate very vilely cut;
If speaking, why, a vane blown with all winds;
If silent, why, a block moved with none.
So turns she every man the wrong side out
And never gives to truth and virtue that
Which simpleness and merit purchaseth.
HERO
It’s true. Whenever she meets a man—no matter how wise, noble, young, handsome—she rearranges all his good qualities so they end up looking bad. If he has a fair complexion, she’ll say the pretty man should be her sister, not her husband. If he’s dark-skinned, Nature must have spilled some ink while drawing his foolish face. If he’s tall, she’ll say he’s a spear topped by an odd head; if he’s short, she says he looks like a badly carved miniature. If he’s talkative, he’s a weathervane, moving in all directions at once; if he’s silent, he’s a block that can’t be moved at all. And so she turns men inside out and never acknowledges the integrity and merit that a man has.

URSULA
Sure, sure, such carping is not commendable.
URSULA
It’s true, her nitpicking is hardly admirable.

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HERO
No, not to be so odd and from all fashions
As Beatrice is, cannot be commendable.
But who dare tell her so? If I should speak,
She would mock me into air. O, she would laugh me
Out of myself, press me to death with wit.
HERO
No, it certainly is not admirable to be so perverse and eccentric. But who would dare tell her? If I said something, she’d mock me so mercilessly that I’d probably disintegrate into air. She’d laugh me right out of my body and kill me with her wit.

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