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Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing


by William Shakespeare

Much Ado About Nothing Language and Communication Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line) Line numbers correspond to the Riverside edition.

Quote #10

Come hither, neighbor Seacoal. [Seacoal
steps forward.] God hath blessed you with a good
name. To be a well-favored man is the gift of
fortune, but to write and read comes by nature.
Both which, master constable—
You have. I knew it would be your answer.
Well, for your favor, sir, why, give God thanks, and
make no boast of it, and for your writing and
reading, let that appear when there is no need of
such vanity. (3.3.13-22)

Dogberry bungles his words throughout all of his lines. That he mistakes writing and reading as a sign of vanity is a good introduction to exactly how Dogberry views the world. To him, being a learned man is a good way to show off how refined you are. He attempts to use grandiose speech to convince everyone that’s he’s a gentleman... even though he doesn’t really have a grasp of the vocabulary he employs. Inadvertently, he is correct; reading and writing are not usually things of vanity, but he employs them vainly, and often in vain. (Wordplay!)

Quote #11

Sir, they are spoken, and these things are true. (4.1.70)

There’s something to be said about Don John’s language—while everyone else is clearly passionate about the proceedings, and full of words, explanations, and fury—Don John speaks only a single line. His phrase is so simple and forceful that you might almost think it was true—if you didn’t know he was a determined villain.

Quote #12

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. (4.1.283-287)

Beatrice has just heard Benedick bare his soul. Rather than pouring her heart out to him in return, she stumbles over her words, finally just declaring that she’s worried for Hero. This uneasiness is weird for Beatrice—she usually has a perfect quick and cutting reply for everything. It’s not clear whether she’s unsure of her feelings for Benedick, or is afraid to admit she loves Benedick... or maybe is just really caught up with her cousin’s life being ruined.

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