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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: March ::
Much Ado Questions
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0596  Thursday, 4 March 2004

[1]     From:   Brian Willis <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 3 Mar 2004 06:04:11 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0593 Much Ado Questions

[2]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 3 Mar 2004 06:29:33 -0800
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.0593 Much Ado Questions


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Willis <
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Date:           Wednesday, 3 Mar 2004 06:04:11 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 15.0593 Much Ado Questions
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0593 Much Ado Questions

Jennifer Soldanels wrote:

 >I find this relatively simple. Benedick puts no stock into love or
 >women, which we see throughout the first half of the play. His response
 >shows that he thinks it's easy to get a woman's love/virginity and thus
 >the woman herself. As Benedick sees it, all women are up for the
 >marital sale.

I would actually argue that it is not necessarily women that he detests.
He does acknowledge that he could indeed fall for a woman if "all
graces" were to be in her person (II. iii.). The institution of marriage
is under attack by Benedick because of his anxiety over cuckoldry. The
play's running joke is the savage bull wearing the horns. Don Pedro
initiates the joke in I. i. and then repeats it to Benedick in III. ii.,
V. i. and in V. iv, after B+B finally acknowledge publicly (in their own
twisted way) that they will marry each other. This is, of course,
juxtaposed with the serious accusations of Don John. The sheen of
supposed sexism that Benedick exudes in the very first scene is stripped
away by his acknowledgment that "because I will not do them the wrong to
mistrust any, I will do myself the right to trust none" (I. i.). He
fears the scorn and ridicule of cuckoldry, and it is in fact the knocks
to his pride which convert him in the arbor scene.

I read the quotation as the exact opposite. Benedick doesn't believe
that women are worth the effort to purchase their jewel and case because
they will just be stolen by another man anyways. Marriage also
emasculates a military man, but that is another topic altogether.

Brian Willis

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Wednesday, 3 Mar 2004 06:29:33 -0800
Subject: 15.0593 Much Ado Questions
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0593 Much Ado Questions

John Ramsay writes, about the pun in Much Ado,

 >Yes it makes sense. It's extended punning.
 >
 >The woman is the jewel. She could be put in a case. Or a penis could be
 >inserted into her case.

But the woman can't be put into her own case, so the whole selection is
confusing, if not nonsensical.

Yours,
Sean Lawrence.

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