Much Ado About Nothing
How we cite our quotes:
Tush, tush, man! never fleer and jest at me
I speak not like a dotard nor a fool,
As under privilege of age to brag
What I have done being young, or what would do,
Were I not old. Know, Claudio, to thy head,
Thou hast so wrong'd mine innocent child and me
That I am forc'd to lay my reverence by
And, with grey hairs and bruise of many days,
Do challenge thee to trial of a man. (5.1.58)
Leonato lays out the two sides of aging: On one hand, age demands respect, but on the other hand, old age also makes people weaker, which lets young punks abuse them.
We had lik'd to have had our two noses snapp'd off with two
old men without teeth. (5.1.58)
To Leonato’s face, Claudio makes a big show of respecting his age, but it’s clear from this comment that Claudio is not exactly Mr. Reverence. Age doesn’t seem to command respect for Claudio; he approaches it more as a weakness than a reason for reverence, which is pretty immature of him. It’s another strike against Claudio’s character.
In brief, since I do purpose to
marry, I will think nothing to any purpose that the world can say
against it; and therefore never flout at me for what I have said
against it; for man is a giddy thing, and this is my conclusion. (5.4.104)
Benedick exhibits real maturity in his thinking. Here, he admits that he might seem like a hypocrite, but has decided that his love is more important than his ideological consistency.