Much Ado About Nothing
Much Ado About Nothing Transformation Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Riverside edition.
O my lord,
When you went onward on this ended action,
I look'd upon her with a soldier's eye,
That lik'd, but had a rougher task in hand
Than to drive liking to the name of love;
But now I am return'd and that war-thoughts
Have left their places vacant, in their rooms
Come thronging soft and delicate desires,
All prompting me how fair young Hero is,
Saying I lik'd her ere I went to wars. (1.1.296)
Claudio says war thoughts had once dominated his mind, but that the battle is over, he’s been transformed into a lover. This transformation is not something he had any agency over – he talks about it passively, like falling for Hero is something that happened to him, as opposed to something he came to of his own volition. There’s a warning here – he’s been transformed and moved by an outside force, not his own internal feelings – it’s a sign that perhaps he’ll be easily moved against his love for Hero by an outside force too. (Which does happen. Ta da!)
Even to the next willow, about your own business, County. What fashion will you wear the garland of? about your neck, like an
usurer's chain? or under your arm, like a lieutenant's scarf? You
must wear it one way, for the Prince hath got your Hero.
I wish him joy of her. (2.1.187)
Claudio has been transformed from a lover into a victim. Though he’s proven strong in battle, he’s weak in love, and gives Hero up too easily to Don Pedro.
I have known when there was no music with him
but the drum and the fife; and now had he rather hear the tabor
and the pipe. I have known when he would have walk'd ten mile
afoot to see a good armour; and now will he lie ten nights awake
carving the fashion of a new doublet. He was wont to speak plain
and to the purpose, like an honest man and a soldier; and now is
he turn'd orthography; his words are a very fantastical banquet--
just so many strange dishes. May I be so converted and see with
these eyes? I cannot tell; I think not. (2.3.12)
Benedick lists of all of the terrible transformations that men undergo when in love, but it’s important to note that he doesn’t speak of the positive things love actually brings to the table. Men aren’t just transformed for the worse – they actually are giving some things up willingly, because love brings them so much more. Benedick doesn’t believe a transformation like that could ever happen to him, but it’s likely because he only sees the bad effects of love, not any of its benefits.