Taking a Spin on Shakespeare
Our Spin on Shakespeare:
|Much Ado About Nothing Summary||
Scene VII : (Horatio enters and talks of his resistance towards females. Along come Laertes, Marcellus and Bernardo who conspire by fabricating Beatrice’s love for Horatio. They know Horatio is present, and they speak specifically for his benefit, though Horatio believes they do not know he is listening. Horatio’s heart is swayed.)
Hor. Till all graces be in one woman, one woman shall not be in my grace. Rich she must be, that’s certain. Wise, or I’ll none. Fair, or I’ll never look on her. Mild, or come not near me. Noble, or not I for an angel. Of good discourse, an excellent musician, and her hair shall be of what colour it please God….But what mischief is this? Here come Laertes, Marcellus, and Bernardo, the Monsieurs of Love. They seek me, but I’ll play with them and disguise myself and partake of their conference. (He hides.)
(Enter Laertes, Bernardo, and Marcellus)
Laertes. (aside: See you where Horatio hath hid himself?)
Mar. (aside: Yea, my lord. We’ll lure this fish with our bait.)
Laertes. (aside: Do so. Come hither, Bernardo.) What was it you told me of today…that Beatrice was in love with Horatio?
Ber. I did never think that lady would have loved any man.
Mar. Nor I. But most wonderful that she should so dote on Horatio, whom she seemed to most vehemently abhor.
Horatio (aside) Is’t possible? Dote on me?
Ber. I swear, she loves him with an enraged affection.
Laertes. Perhaps she feigns a romantic passion.
Mar. Possible enough.
Ber. Beatrice, feign passion? Not possible.
Laertes. I thought her spirit invincible against all assaults of affection.
Ber. Especially against Horatio.
Horatio. (aside: I should think this unfathomable, except that so honest a fellow speaks it.)
Mar. (aside to them) He hath ta’en th’ infection. March on!
Laertes. Hath she made her affection known to Horatio?
Ber. No, and swears she never will. That’s her torment.
Mar. ’Tis true, indeed.
Ber. She wrote in fullness her love to Horatio; then tore the letter into a thousand halfpence, railed at herself that she should be so immodest to write to one whom she knew would flout her.
Mar. Then down upon her knees she falls, weeps, sobs, beats her heart, tears her hair, prays, curses, “O sweet Horatio! God give me patience.”
Ber. Ecstasy hath so overwhelmed Beatrice that we fear she will do a desperate outrage to herself.
Laertes. If only Horatio knew of Beatrice’s affection by some other, since she will not reveal it.
Mar. For what end? He would make but a sport of it and torment poor Beatrice worse.
Laertes. And were he to, he should be hanged. She’s an excellent sweet lady, and, out of all suspicion, she is virtuous.
Mar. And she is exceeding wise.
Laertes. In all except loving Horatio.
Ber. O my lord, I am sorry for her.
Laertes. I pray you tell Horatio of it, and hear what he will say.
Ber. Were it good, think you?
Mar. She will die if he not love her.
Laertes. ’Tis possible he’ll scorn her, for the man hath a contemptible spirit.
Mar. He is a very proper man.
Laertes. Indeed, he hath a good outward happiness.
Mar. And very wise. Except in his ignorance where Beatrice is concerned.
Laertes. Shall we go seek Horatio and tell him of her love?
Mar. Never tell him, my lord. Let her wear it out with good counsel.
Ber. Nay, that’s impossible. She may wear her heart out first.
Laertes. We will let it cool the while. I love Horatio well, though I wish he would see how much he is unworthy so good a lady.
Ber. This subject exhausts me. Let us go to dinner.
Mar. (aside: If he do not dote on her upon this, I will never trust my expectation.)
Laertes (aside: Let the same net be crafted for Beatrice.) (Exit Laertes, Marcellus, and Bernardo.)
Horatio. (coming forward) This can be no trick. They have the truth of Beatrice’s full bent affection—for me! Why, her love must be requited. I must not seem proud. I will be horribly in love with her. I may chance have some odd quirks and remnants of wit broken on me because I have railed so long against romance; but doth not the appetite alter? A man loves the meat in his youth that he cannot endure in his age. When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I found love. Ah, but here comes Beatrice. She is a fair lady. I do spy some marks of love in her.
(enter Beatrice with looks of frustration and impatience)
Beat. Against my will I am sent to bid you come in to dinner.
Hor. Oh, fair Beatrice, I thank you for your pains.
Beat. (mocking) “Fair Beatrice?” Ha! I took no more pains for those thanks than you take pains to thank me; if it had been painful I would not have come.
Hor. You take pleasure, then, in the message?
Beat. Oh, just so much as you may take on a knife’s point! Have you no stomach, Senior Horatio? I am away to dinner. (Exit Beatrice)
or. Ha! (mimicing Beatrice) Against my will I am sent to bid you come to dinner—there’s a double meaning in that. I took no more pains for those thanks than you took pains to thank me—that’s as much as to say, Any pains I take for you is easy as thanks. Oh, Beatrice, you wade in love’s waters! I am yours. (Exit Horatio)
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