Much Ado About Nothing
Language and Communication Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of Signior Leonato?
I noted her not, but I look'd on her. (1.1.162)
This is the first of many usages of the word "noting" in the play; Benedick teases that he looked on the girl, but she was unremarkable, so he took no particular notice of her. Language is precise here, and communicates that Benedick has some disdain (maybe not particularly for Hero, but for taking note of women).
I have almost matter enough in me for such an embassage; and
so I commit you--
To the tuition of God. From my house--if I had it--
The sixth of July. Your loving friend, Benedick.
Nay, mock not, mock not. The body of your discourse is
sometime guarded with fragments, and the guards are but slightly
basted on neither. Ere you flout old ends any further, examine
your conscience. And so I leave you. (1.1.279)
This is important – Benedick is silly an awful lot, but he's aware that the silliness of his language is often just a ruse to hide his more serious thoughts. He’s not a shallow jester, but more of a Jon Stewart type.
The Prince and Count Claudio, walking in a
thick-pleached alley in mine orchard, were thus much overheard by a man of mine: the Prince discovered to Claudio that he loved my
niece your daughter and meant to acknowledge it this night in a
dance, and if he found her accordant, he meant to take the
present time by the top and instantly break with you of it.
Hath the fellow any wit that told you this? (1.2.8)
The wires are all crossed here – Antonio’s man has misheard or misreported this news. This mishearing turns out to be a minor hiccup compared the graver, and more deliberate "misnotings" in the play. However, it’s still significant because it sets the tone for mishearing, misreporting, and generally bad communication to be one of the play’s main themes.