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Much Ado About Nothing Love Quotes

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

Quote #16

No, I was not born under a rhyming
planet, nor cannot woo in festival terms. (5.2.40-41)

Benedick admits that he doesn’t talk the talk of all the Casanovas, but we think this is actually to his credit. He doesn’t love Beatrice in a formal way, with all the pomp and circumstance. 

This automatically sets him up in contrast to Claudio, who loves Hero by the book. Claudio is always formal—getting Don Pedro to woo her, getting her father’s permission to marry, and involving the public in her denunciation. By contrast, Beatrice and Benedick operate and love each other privately and informally. "Festival terms," which Benedick refers to, seem to be the unnecessary bells and whistles of love. The presence of these niceties doesn’t necessarily mean love is true.

Quote #17

Suffer love! A good epithet. I do suffer love
indeed, for I love thee against my will.
In spite of your heart, I think. Alas, poor
heart, if you spite it for my sake, I will spite it for
yours, for I will never love that which my friend
hates. (5.2.66-71)

From this little banter, which is pretty adorable, we get a hint that Benedick and Beatrice will be able to maintain their witty sparks despite being in love. (Love doesn’t make saps out of everyone.) Their wit is not a product of their mutual hatred; it survives their love and is used as an expression of love, which means it’s just a part of who they are.

Quote #18

I'll hold my mind were she an Ethiope. (5.4.39)

So obviously the "Ethiope" stuff is hyper-racist, but the take-home of this comment—at least in Shakespearean times—is that for Claudio, marriage isn’t about love. It’s a formal arrangement that is just another way of doing your duty. Here, Claudio’s marriage to Leonato’s "niece" is just a way for him to pay his dues to the old man.

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