Much Ado About Nothing

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 5 Scene 4

page Act 5 Scene 4 Page 6

Original Text

Modern Text

They kiss
They kiss.

DON PEDRO

How dost thou, Benedick, the married man?

DON PEDRO

How does it feel to be Benedick the Married Man?

BENEDICK

I’ll tell thee what, Prince: a college of wit-crackers cannot
flout me out of my humor. Dost thou think I care for a satire
or an epigram? No. If a man will be beaten with brains, he
105shall wear nothing handsome about him. In brief, since I do
purpose to marry, I will think nothing to any purpose that
the world can say against it, and therefore never flout at me
for what I have said against it. For man is a giddy thing, and
this is my conclusion.—For thy part, Claudio, I did think to
110have beaten thee, but in that thou art like to be my kinsman,
live unbruised, and love my cousin.

BENEDICK

I’ll tell you what, Prince: a whole university full of wisecrackers couldn’t change my mood today. You think I care what I’m called? Well, I don’t. If a man is always afraid of what others think, he won’t even dare to dress nicely, because he’ll be afraid people will talk about him. In short, since I intend to get married, I won’t hear anyone say a bad thing about it. So don’t go making fun of me for what I said before. Man is a giddy, flighty thing: that’s my conclusion. And Claudio—though I’m sure I would have beaten you in our duel—since you’re likely to become my relative, I’ll let you go, unbruised, and love my cousin Hero.

CLAUDIO

I had well hoped thou wouldst have denied Beatrice, that I
might have cudgeled thee out of thy single life, to make thee
a double-dealer, which out of question, thou wilt be, if my
115cousin do not look exceedingly narrowly to thee.

CLAUDIO

I was sort of hoping you would say no to Beatrice, so that I could have smacked you out of your single life and made you a

double dealer

Here, “double-dealer” means both married man and adulterer.

double dealer
. Which you’ll probably turn into anyway, if my cousin Beatrice doesn’t keep you on a short leash.

BENEDICK

Come, come, we are friends. Let’s have a dance ere we are
married, that we may lighten our own hearts and our wives'
heels.

BENEDICK

Come on, we’re all friends. Let’s do a dance, and have some fun, before we’re wed.

LEONATO

We’ll have dancing afterward.

LEONATO

We’ll dance after the wedding.

BENEDICK

120First, of my word! Therefore play, music.—Prince, thou art
sad. Get thee a wife, get thee a wife. There is no staff more
reverend than one tipped with horn.

BENEDICK

No, before! Musicians, play us a song.—Prince, you look sad. You should get a wife! Your royal staff would be so much more impressive if it were topped off by a

horn

Again, Benedick plays with the idea of the married man as a “horned” cuckold.

horn
.
Enter a MESSENGER
A MESSENGER enters.