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Much Ado About Nothing Transformation Quotes

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

Quote #1

O my, lord,
When you went onward on this ended action,
I looked upon her with a soldier's eye,
That liked, but had a rougher task in hand
Than to drive liking to the name of love.
But now I am returned 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 liked her ere I went to wars. (1.1.291-300)

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!)

Quote #2

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
I wish him joy of her. (2.1.185-191)

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.

Quote #3

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 walked ten mile afoot to see a
good armor, 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 turned 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. (2.3.13-23)

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.

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