Much Ado About Nothing
How we cite our quotes:
…It is certain I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted; and I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart, for truly I love none. (1.1.124)
Benedick is not so much Captain Modesty. Still, he seems to take a bit of pride in rejecting all of the women that love him. It seems he takes pride not only in the fact that numerous women have fallen in love with him, but also that he has an impenetrable heart.
O, she tore the letter into a thousand halfpence, rail'd at
herself that she should be so immodest to write to one that she
knew would flout her. 'I measure him,' says she, 'by my own
spirit; for I should flout him if he writ to me. Yea, though I
love him, I should.' (2.3.140)
It’s telling that though this conversation is entirely made up, it’s actually quite accurate. Even after Beatrice admits that she loves Benedick, in the last scene, her pride gets in the way of her public admission that she loves him. It’s interesting that Leonato and Don Pedro are spot-on in their assessment, as it’s proof that Beatrice and Benedick aren’t fooling anyone with their pride.
I hear how I am censur'd. They say I will bear
myself proudly if I perceive the love come from her. They say too
that she will rather die than give any sign of affection. I did
never think to marry. I must not seem proud. Happy are they that
hear their detractions and can put them to mending. (2.3.225)
Ironically, it seems that Benedick’s hurt pride will inspire him to not seem prideful, and eventually maybe even lead him to put aside his pride and love Beatrice.