Much Ado About Nothing

by

William Shakespeare

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Much Ado About Nothing: Personification 1 key example

Read our modern English translation.
Definition of Personification
Personification is a type of figurative language in which non-human things are described as having human attributes, as in the sentence, "The rain poured down on the wedding guests, indifferent... read full definition
Personification is a type of figurative language in which non-human things are described as having human attributes, as in the sentence, "The rain poured down... read full definition
Personification is a type of figurative language in which non-human things are described as having human attributes, as in the... read full definition
Act 2, Scene 1
Explanation and Analysis—Warring Words:

In Act 2, Scene 1, Benedick uses personification, metaphors, and similes in order to highlight the intensity of his frustration about failing to defend himself against Beatrice's insults. After Beatrice unknowingly insults him to his face at the masked ball, Benedick laments to the Prince: 

O, she misused me past the endurance of a block! An oak but with one green leaf on it would have answered her. My very visor began to assume life and scold with her. She told me, not thinking I had been myself, that I was the Prince’s jester, that I was duller than a great thaw, huddling jest upon jest with such impossible conveyance upon me that I stood like a man at a mark with a whole army shooting at me. She speaks poniards, and every word stabs.

Benedick uses personification when he suggests that his rage upon hearing Beatrice's insults was so intense that his very "visor," or mask, came to life to argue with her. His hyperbolic assertion that even an oak tree would have talked back to defend itself against Beatrice is another example of personification. Finally, he personifies Beatrice's words, indicating that they are so sharp and hurtful that they resemble "poniards" (small daggers). Using a simile, he compares himself to a "man at a mark" defenseless against the shots of a whole army. Through his use of rich figurative language, then, Benedick suggests that Beatrice is so enraging that even inanimate objects would not be able to endure her.