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and Don John, the author of all, is fled and gone. Will
you come? Beatrice. Will you go hear this news, signior? Benedick. I will live in thy heart, die in thy arms, and be
buried in thy eyes; and moreover I will go with thee to thy uncle's. (Exeunt C.]
Episode 2 Benedick, waiting again in the garden (L.). There enter [C.) Friar Francis; Governor Leonato and Prince Don Pedro; Hero and Claudio; and Beatrice behind. Benedick. [Confronting them.] Soft and fair, friar. - Where
is Beatrice? Beatrice. (Appearing.] I answer to that name. What is
Benedick. Do not you love me?
Why, no; no more than reason. Benedick. Why, then your uncle and the Prince and Claudio
Have been deceived. They swore you did.
Troth, no; no more than reason. Beatrice. Why, then my cousin, Margaret, and Ursula
Are much deceived, for they did swear you did.
For here's a paper written in his hand,
halting: limping. The lines limp because the meter is not perfect. 2 fashioned: made; i.e. written.
Benedick. I will live in thy heart, die in thy arms, and be buried in toy eyes; and moreover,
I will go with thee to thy uncle's. Hero.
And here's another,
Containing her affection unto Benedick.
hearts. Come, I will have thee; but, by this light, I take
thee for pity. Beatrice. I would not deny you; but, by this good day, I
yield upon great persuasion, and partly to save your life. Benedick. Peace! I will stop your mouth. [Kissing her.) Don Pedro. How dost thou, “Benedick, the married man”? Benedick. I'll tell thee what, Prince; a college of wit-crackers
cannot flout me out of my humor. Since I do purpose to marry, I will think nothing to any purpose that the world can say against it. — For thy part, Claudio, I did think to have beaten thee; but in that thou art like to be my
kinsman, live unbruised and love my cousin. Claudio. I had well hoped thou wouldst have denied Beatrice,
that I might have cudgelled thee out of thy single life. Benedick. Come, come, we are friends. — Prince, thou art sad; get thee a wife, get thee a wife.
[Exeunt L., or dance.]
From the complete play of Much Ado about Nothing.
1 The line numbers refer to the Tudor edition of Much Ado about Nothing.
A Carnival Playlet, Abstract from
THE PERSONS IN THE PLAY
SIR ToBY BELCH (tô’bị bolch), uncle to Olivia.
servants to Olivia.
SETTING: The garden of the Lady Olivia in a city in Illyria (-lyr'1-å).
Act I. Early evening. Maria and Feste. Olivia, Malvolio, and Fabian. Sir Toby.
ACT II. Night. Sir Toby and Sir Andrew.
Episode 1. "Sweet lady, ho, ho."
Episode 2. The clown as Sir Topaz, the curate. ACT V. The next day.
PROLOG-INTRODUCTION Twelfth Night is a festival of the Roman and the English Churches, commemorating the coming of the Three Wise Men. Early Chris
1 Maria is a very tiny creature. Sir Toby calls her “the youngest wren of nine."
* It is possible to reduce the number of readers to 6, if all of Fabian's lines and entrances be appropriated by Feste.
tians celebrated the Feast of the Nativity for twelve days, observing the first day and the last, Christmas and Twelfth Day, with solemnity.
In Shakespeare's time Twelfth Night1 was a merry feast. In Italy it was a carnival. On the streets, masks were worn, there was lawless festivity, and the wildest of all merry pranks were played.
Queen Elizabeth on Twelfth Day often witnessed plays. Although we do not know that Shakespeare wrote this play for a particular occasion, undoubtedly it furnished diversion for a notable Twelfth Night.
The Puritan party then assuming strength in England took no part in Church festivities. Celebrations of that type were mockery to them, a relic of the superstitions of the pagan times. If Puritans were in evidence anywhere on Twelfth Night, it was with solemn countenances, which could not fail of making fun for the hilarious throng. Nothing was more natural, then, than for Shakespeare to poke a bit of innocent fun at them.
To make the diversion innocent, Shakespeare created Malvolio. Malvolio is a vain and self-deluded Puritan, the chief of the Lady Olivia's household. Shakespeare evidently bore no malice toward the Puritans, but they were in the bad books of the players and of those who attended the theatres. Shakespeare's rich good humor could make fun of anything without offense.
Sir Toby Belch, Olivia's uncle, is the embodiment of the spirit of Twelfth Night. He has caroused probably since Christmas, and now with the coming in of Twelfth Night, he must find richer entertainment to celebrate the carnival. With delight he seizes on Malvolio. The plot is laid by Sir Toby's sweetheart, Maria, the waiting gentlewoman to Olivia.
Sir Toby is abetted by a foolish knight, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, the same who against belief is persuaded by Sir Toby that he may yet succeed in marrying Olivia. Sir Andrew can abet, but clearly he cannot aid, since he is not of the very soundest wits.
Real wit and assistance come from the clown, the lady's jester, Feste.
There is another part of the great play, the love story-of the Lady Olivia and a messenger of the Count. But this is Twelfth
1 Twelfth Night: the feast of Epiphany.