Much Ado About Nothing

Benedick Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
A witty young Lord of Padua and a soldier. He is extraordinarily successful with women, but is fanatically committed to a bachelor’s life. He has a “merry war,” of wits and insults with Beatrice, whom he hates. By the end of the play, Claudio, Don Pedro and Leonato have tricked him into falling in love with Beatrice, and he marries her.

Benedick Quotes in Much Ado About Nothing

The Much Ado About Nothing quotes below are all either spoken by Benedick or refer to Benedick. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of Much Ado About Nothing published in 1995.
Act 1, Scene 1 Quotes

“There is a kind of merry war betwixt Signior Benedick and her; they never meet but there’s a skirmish of wit between them.”

Related Characters: Leonato (speaker), Benedick, Beatrice
Page Number: 1.1.59-62
Explanation and Analysis:

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“Shall I never see a bachelor of threescore again?”

Related Characters: Benedick (speaker), Claudio
Related Symbols: Eyes
Page Number: 1.1.195-196
Explanation and Analysis:

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“Well, as time shall try: ‘In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke.’”

Related Characters: Don Pedro (speaker), Benedick
Related Symbols: The Savage Bull
Page Number: 1.1.255-256
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 2, Scene 3 Quotes

“One woman is fair, yet I am well; another is wise, yet I am well; another virtuous, yet I am well; but till all graces be in one woman, one woman shall not come in my grace.”

Related Characters: Benedick (speaker)
Page Number: 2.3.27-30
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 3, Scene 2 Quotes

“Well, every one can master a grief but he that has it.”

Related Characters: Benedick (speaker)
Related Symbols: Beards
Page Number: 3.2.27-28
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 5, Scene 2 Quotes

“I was not born under a rhyming planet.”

Related Characters: Benedick (speaker)
Page Number: 5.2.40-41
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 5, Scene 4 Quotes

“…get thee a wife, get thee a wife: there is no staff more reverent than one tipped with horn.”

Related Characters: Benedick (speaker), Beatrice
Related Symbols: The Savage Bull
Page Number: 5.4.126-128
Explanation and Analysis:

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Benedick Character Timeline in Much Ado About Nothing

The timeline below shows where the character Benedick appears in Much Ado About Nothing. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
...to inform him that the Spanish Prince Don Pedro, the Florentine Claudio, and the Paduan Benedick have returned victorious from a recent battle. They have lost almost no men, and Leonato... (full context)
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Beatrice, Leonato’s niece, asks the messenger about Benedick, a Lord of Padua. She makes sarcastic remarks about him, punning on the messenger’s praise.... (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Don Pedro, Don John, Balthazar, Claudio and Benedick arrive at the house. Don Pedro apologetically jokes that Leonato is “come to meet [his]... (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
...home for a month, and Don Pedro accepts on behalf of everyone. Privately, Claudio tells Benedick that he has fallen for Leonato’s daughter Hero, and asks him what he thinks. Benedick... (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Don Pedro enters the room where Benedick and Claudio are speaking, and asks what they are being so secretive about. Benedick instantly... (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Now that Benedick is gone, Claudio speaks with Don Pedro more honestly about his love. He explains that... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Antonio, Leonato, Beatrice and Hero discuss Don John’s bad attitude, comparing him with Benedick. Beatrice says that Don John talks too little, while Benedick talks too much. Beatrice jokes... (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
...propose to Hero. She wants to see his face, but he charmingly deflects her request. Benedick, also masked, speaks with Beatrice. Pretending not to know who he is, she asks if... (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
...of others: “Let every eye negotiate for itself / And trust no agent.” (2.1.177-178) When Benedick arrives to tell him that Don Pedro has wooed Hero for him, he refuses to... (full context)
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Just as Benedick is speaking of her, Beatrice arrives, along with Claudio, Leonato and Hero. Benedick and Beatrice... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Alone in Leonato’s garden, Benedick complains that Claudio, who he had considered a bachelor and a military man at heart,... (full context)
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Don Pedro, Leonato, Claudio and Balthazar enter the garden. Benedick hides behind some trees, and though they see him they pretend not to notice him.... (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Don Pedro, Leonato and Claudio talk somberly about Beatrice’s supposed love for Benedick. Aware that Benedick is listening from the trees, Leonato swears that Beatrice’s passion is “past... (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Beatrice comes to invite Benedick in for dinner. Uncharacteristically, he treats her with gallantry and friendliness. Thinking he is simply... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
...as they notice Beatrice sneak up on them, Hero and Ursula begin an argument about Benedick’s supposed love for Beatrice—should he tell her about it? Hero argues that he should keep... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Benedick arrives in the middle of a conversation between Don Pedro, Leonato and Claudio. He is... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
...fallen / Into a pit of ink,” (4.1.140) and that her shame has infected him. Benedick cautions him to be patient, while Beatrice is immediately certain that Hero has been slandered.... (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
...accusation killed Hero, and all the more ready to love her again when she reappears. Benedick expresses support, and Leonato agrees to the plan. Everyone leaves but Benedick and Beatrice. (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Benedick comforts Beatrice, who is weeping over what has happened to her cousin. In the course... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Benedick arrives. Claudio and Don Pedro say that they had been looking for him, and mention... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Benedick banters with Margaret, who calls his gibes as “blunt as fencer’s foils.” (5.2.13) Benedick says... (full context)
Courtship, Wit, and Warfare Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Beatrice arrives and wants to know what has happened between Benedick and Claudio. After learning that they have only had an argument, she threatens to leave... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 4
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Leonato, Benedick, Antonio and the Friar wait at the church for Claudio and Don Pedro. Everyone is... (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
...and Don Pedro arrive, and two masked women—Beatrice and Hero—are brought forward. Claudio, noticing that Benedick is nervous, teases him about becoming a married man, but promises that he shall have... (full context)
Love and Masquerade Theme Icon
Language, Perception and Reality Theme Icon
Marriage, Shame and Freedom Theme Icon
Benedick unmasks Beatrice and asks if she loves him. She says that she loves him “no... (full context)