Much Ado About Nothing
Language and Communication Quotes Page 4
How we cite our quotes:
Come hither, neighbour Seacoal. God hath bless'd you with a
good name. To be a well-favoured 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
favour, 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)
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. (Oh! Who’s got puns?)
Sir, they are spoken, and these things are true. (4.1.67)
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’s simplicity is so forceful that you might almost think it was true – if you didn’t know he was a determined villain.
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. (4.1.269)
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 unique 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.