Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing
Hi sorry you may have seen my other post about lady Macbeth but have just recently decided to do this one by Hero in Much Ado About Nothing Act III scene 1.
Any tips on how to perform it?? I was going to go for an over the top, complaining attitude but then realized Hero is friends with Beatrice so don't know...
Also I don't understand fully what is going on here, should I say it loudly as if purposefully wanting an imaginary Beatrice to hear even though I am doing it alone? I don't understand the last line either.
I was thinking of sitting at "all matter else seems weak" then rising quickly at "she would spell him backwards"? Is this a good idea?
Many thanks!!!! I want this to stand out and be quite funny!
Here's the monologue:
O god of love! I know he doth deserve
As much as may be yielded to a man:
But Nature never framed a woman's heart
Of prouder stuff than that of Beatrice;
Disdain and scorn ride sparkling in her eyes,
Misprising what they look on, and her wit
Values itself so highly that to her
All matter else seems weak: she cannot love,
Nor take no shape nor project of affection,
She is so self-endeared.
I never yet saw man,
How wise, how noble, young, how rarely featured,
But she would spell him backward: if fair-faced,
She would swear the gentleman should be her sister;
If black, why, Nature, drawing of an antique,
Made a foul blot; if tall, a lance ill-headed;
If low, an agate very vilely cut;
If speaking, why, a vane blown with all winds;
If silent, why, a block moved with none.
So turns she every man the wrong side out
And never gives to truth and virtue that
Which simpleness and merit purchaseth.
No, not to be so odd and from all fashions
As Beatrice is, cannot be commendable:
But who dare tell her so? If I should speak,
She would mock me into air; O, she would laugh me
Out of myself, press me to death with wit.
Therefore let Benedick, like cover'd fire,
Consume away in sighs, waste inwardly:
It were a better death than die with mocks,
Which is as bad as die with tickling.
Did you get a chance to see my reply for Lady Macbeth? I hope you take the time to read it, even now you've chosen another monologue.
Again, I'm just going from memory, so forgive me if I got this wrong, but from what I remember, in this scene Hero is setting her friend up. Knowing Beatrice is within earshot, she pretends that Benedick is in love with her and complains to Ursula about her friend's constant mockery of men and how impossible as a result it is for her to inform Beatrice of Benedick's love.
This is all a setup, of course. Benedick has never told Hero he is in love with Beatrice, but the idea is to make both of these witty characters think the other is in love with them to see them change.
In the first part of the monologue, Hero describes Beatrice's excessive wit and how it keeps her from love or anything else.
In the second part of the monologue, Hero goes on to describe different types of men (tall, good looking, talkative, quiet, etc.) and imagines how Beatrice's wit would find a problem with each of their attributes.
In the last part of the monologue, Hero says she doesn't dare tell her friend about Benedick's love for fear of being laughed at and that poor Benedick will just have to suffer in silence and let his love waste away or risk being mocked to death (which is the meaning of the last lines).
So there's lots of different beats. If you decide Hero is a bad actor, you could do one of the beats over the top but try not to do that all the way to keep your audience interested.
If you want it to be funny, try playacting the middle part, as if Hero were imitating her friend.
As long as you have a good reason to sit down and get up as the character, it doesn't matter where you do it, but decide where Beatrice is hidden, so she comes alive to your audience through your awareness of her.