Much Ado About Nothing
Lies and Deceit Quotes Page 3
How we cite our quotes:
I have a good eye, uncle; I can see a church by daylight. (2.1.82)
Beatrice responds modestly to her Uncle Leonato’s compliment that she’s an observant girl. Her reply suggests that she’s not uncommonly observant, and can only see what’s in clear view (like a church – often the tallest building in a town – in daylight). Still, this is a misguiding statement. Beatrice seems to be demurring out of modesty, but we know she actually doesn’t see everything. The most obvious example is how she doesn’t recognize her strong (positive) feelings for Benedick. Later, Beatrice also misses the fact that she’s being manipulated into loving Benedick.
Come, come, do you think I do not know you by your excellent
wit? Can virtue hide itself? Go to, mum you are he. (2.1.121)
This is a nice little piece of parallel commentary, as Ursula dances with Antonio before the scene turns over to Benedick and Beatrice at the masquerade ball. Even Ursula, who is not nearly as bright as Beatrice, can recognize the man she’s dancing with based on his wit, which she calls a virtue. Beatrice, by contrast, can’t recognize Benedick’s wit when he dances with her. This is an example of Shakespeare’s split screen habit, where the dull characters can figure out what the smart characters cannot, often because the smart characters are too caught up in themselves to notice the obvious (or see the church by daylight, if you will).
How know you he loves her?
I heard him swear his affection.
So did I too, and he swore he would marry her tonight.
Come, let us to the banquet. (2.1.167)
Claudio’s great failing is that he’s easily manipulated into suspicion, which leaves him wide open to be deceived.