Much Ado About Nothing
How we cite our quotes:
Well then, go you into hell?
No; but to the gate, and there will the devil meet me like an
old cuckold with horns on his head, and say 'Get you to heaven,
Beatrice, get you to heaven. Here's no place for you maids.' So
deliver I up my apes, and away to Saint Peter--for the heavens.
He shows me where the bachelors sit, and there live we as merry
as the day is long. (2.1.42)
Beatrice seems comfortable with her choice to live an old maid, to the point where she’s even able to joke about the possibility of going to hell (which was assumed to be the final destination for unmarried women). She’s certain there’s nothing actually wrong with her, that she’s earned her place in heaven, and further, she’s happy to be single. This attitude – not of fury, or self-pity – is a pretty mature one, even if it’s a little bit of a front.
I will but teach them to sing and restore them to the owner. (2.1.232)
Don Pedro is mature enough not to be caught in the drama of deception. Realizing Benedick and Claudio think that he’s stolen away Hero’s affection, he rights the whole situation by simply pointing out that he hasn’t done anything wrong – he will give Hero to Claudio as promised. Thus we learn disaster can be averted by simply being mature and up front.
I should think this a gull but that the white-bearded
fellow speaks it. Knavery cannot, sure, hide himself in such
Benedick trusts that Leonato, as an old and respected man, wouldn’t be in on this conversation if it were a trick. Respect comes with age, though maybe age shouldn’t always be trusted.