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feel irresistibly drawn to each other. The conspiracy, got up by their friends, to make these two fall in love, finds the work already accomplished, and can only hasten the development; for as soon as these persons approach each other and measure their strength, we recognise their natural affinities. The truth of the proverb, “Who loves, teases," is here proved with psychological skill. Before and during their first meeting, they betray by little touches that they feel a strong interest in each other., When a messenger announces to the Governor of Messina the victory of the Prince of Arragon, Beatrice immediately asks after Benedick, although she does so in a bitter, scornful, almost unfeminine tone which she always employs, until she recognises the love which has slumbered in her heart, and abandons the perpetual rfard against her real self., When Benedick returns with the vic. torious army, she attacks him straightway, though he has not paid her the slightest attention. She evidently cannot endure to be unnoticed by him; she irritates him by biting epigrams. , Thus aroused, he answers in similar tones, and a lively word-war is soon waging between them, in which she overcomes him. Benedick nows himself in another light in the next scene, when young Claudio, a nobleman who has won laurels in the late campaign, declares himself enchanted by the charms of Hero, the daughter of Leonato, who, by contrast with Beatrice, is shy, silent, and maidenly. Benedick lets us see that he has a high idea of Beatrice's attractions, for he says, “There's her cousin, an she were not possessed by a fury, exceeds her as much in beauty as the first of May exceeds the last of December." I do not therefore quite agree with Wilbrandt, who says, "Two people like Beatrice and Benedick, of different sexes, must irresistibly attract each other. They must begin by hating, because each is the natural opponent of the other, and end by loving, because each is the complement of the other." I would say rather, “These two splendid creatures understand very well that each is formed and intended to be the complement of the other, but they defend themselves with all the power of their sharp intellect and their proud stiff-necked temperament against a love which seems to them a humiliation, a servitude. They crush with all their might the feeling already nascent, and hide it under the mask of hatred, seeking to master it by a war of wits. Beatrice must atone for her superiority in their wordy war by experiencing sharp pain later on, when her real feeling for Benedick becomes revealed to her, and breaks through the bounds she has carefully crected. She increases the sharpness and bitterness of her attacks only to subdue her real sentiments, and thus often oversteps womanly limits, for which she is afterwards punished by being all the more sharply attacked by love. She therefore falls straight into the trap when she hears that Benedick is deeply in love with her. The words she speaks after listening to the conversation of Leonato and Ursula, which is to confirm her belief in this, shows how under her hard bold outside beats a warm tender heart, that harbours something not at all like hatred for Benedick:
What fire is in mine ears? Can this be true ?
Much Ado About Nothing, act iii. scenc 1.
He, too, immediately feels the effect of the means employed. Each requires only the conviction of the other's love to bring them to a consciousness of their own unrecognised feelings. Because neither trusted the other, they strove to hide their sentiments behind apparent dislike, and to master love through a war of wits. Something of flattered vanity is, nevertheless, a factor in both cases. In Beatrice the effect is deeper, the struggle morc acutc. Scornful “ Lady Disdain" is suddenly disarmed, defenceless, her whole nature changed. She sighs and languishes, she has lost her saucy wit, she says she is sick. The catastrophe of the play's serious action leads to her release. (The lovely gentle Hero, in her timid reserve, her modest quiet maidenliness, the exact opposite of bold saucy Beatrice, who often goes farther in her specches than is seemly for a girl, is made the victim of a base intriguc.) The young Florentine, Count Claudio, has lost his heart at first sight, and, through the Prince of Arragon, asks her hand of her father, who willingly accords it. But the Prince's brother, a false and malignant man, who, since their quarrel and his conscquent defeat, has only feigned reconciliation, breeds mischief. One of his dependents, who is carrying on a flirtation with Hero's chambermaid, contrives, at his lord's order, to cause the Prince and Claudio to believe, by means of a scandalous trick combined with this girl, that it is Hero who has granted him a nocturnal interview. Everything is ready for the wedding: the monk puts the necessary questions, when Claudio accuses the poor innocent Hero cf unchastity, and repulses her hand with contemptuous phrases. Overpowered by this frightful accusation and humiliation, Hero sinks down in a death-like swoon. The Prince and Claudio, deceived by shameful treachery, depart indifferent, while the villainous traitor beholds with evil delight the pain he has inflicted. Only Bencdick remains behind, -not on Hero's account, whose innocence he also doubts, as is plain from the question he puts to Beatrice, whether she slept on the fatal night in Hero's chamber,-but through sympathy for Bcatrice, who lic sces is dccply wounded by thic degrading occurrence, and whom hic longs to help. She recovers her resolute composure through this excitement, the true gold of her character is brilliantly proved. Her piercing insight docs not allow her to doubt for an instant the innocence of her slandered friend. Instantly, when even the father, convinced by apparently irrefragable proof, believes in Hero's guilt, and covers her with abuse, she exclaims, "Oh, on my soul, my cousin is belied.” After it has been decided, according to the friar's advice, that Hcro be considered dead until her innocence is proved, Beatrice, who is left alone with Bencdick, does not refuse to listen to his undisguised declaration of love, but will accede only on condition that he takcs a bloody revenge on Claudio for the injury done to Hero. Her anger is heartfelt, but it also serves to delay her love confession, since she puts it off indirectly by saying, "Oh, that she were a man! or that she had any friend that would be a man for my sake!” Benedick is naturally ready to be convinced of Hero's innocence; he is firmly resolved to break Claudio's neck as soon as possible. Everything is right between the two. Benedick keeps his word; he challenges Claudio. But when the treachery of which Hero has been the victim comes to light (in how droll a fashion let the reader see for himself), and the marriage so tragically interrupted is happily completed, after Claudio had wept bitter tears of remorse for Hero supposed to be dead, and she, on returning to life, has forgiven her repentant lover, the merry declaration contrived for Benedick and Beatrice takes place, as at first arranged. These two wonderful creatures cannot, however, talk together like ordinary mortals. The serious side of life which met them in Hero's adventure had brought them nearer each other. Profound sympathy for her injured friend has turned Beatrice's love for Benedick into the right channel., Thus she is ready to waive all resistance, and acknowledge willingly and joyfully her love for him who has her heart. We take leave of this splendid couple with the satisfactory conviction, that in their union, following upon their prolonged conflict, they will find the happiness of their lives.