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Whedon's "Much Ado About Nothing" added many visual details to the text of the play. One of these appeared to be a prior sexual relationship between Beatrice and Benedick. However, it's not exactly easy to follow the dialog. Was this a correct interpretation of events? If so, was this at all referenced in Shakespeare's dialog, or was this an extrapolation by Whedon?

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I'm not familiar with the specific version you're referencing, so I can't tell you if your interpretation is correct. However I can tell you that nothing like this is part of the original Shakespeare. With regard to the dialogue being difficult to understand, I used to think so too. You might be interesting in watching this play (and others) as produced by the Royal Shakespearian Company. Those actors truly understand their lines, so even if some of the words don't quite make sense, you easily can understand what's happening through inflection, body language, etc. I enjoyed reading (cont'd) –  WendiKidd Aug 25 '13 at 2:35
    
Hamlet (that is, the actual text of the play), but I appreciated it even more when I watched the RSC version with David Tennant and Patrick Stewart. You get a lot more out of it when you get that real sense of how the characters think and feel. The RSC has a version of Much Ado About Nothing also (I think you can buy it on their website somewhere, I forget exactly where.) It's also very good. So, just a thought :) It might help you appreciate Shakespeare even more. I know I really got it for the first time, watching the RSC. –  WendiKidd Aug 25 '13 at 2:37
    
Thanks for the recommendation! Whedon's version was similarly easy to follow, even though it used the original text word-for-word. You might enjoy it. It's just the exact wording that's difficult, like you said. –  Stephen Collings Aug 26 '13 at 12:12

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

From the text:

DON PEDRO

Come, lady, come; you have lost the heart of Signior Benedick.

BEATRICE

Indeed, my lord, he lent it me awhile; and I gave him use for it, a double heart for his single one: marry, once before he won it of me with false dice, therefore your grace may well say I have lost it.

DON PEDRO

You have put him down, lady, you have put him down.

BEATRICE

So I would not he should do me, my lord, lest I should prove the mother of fools.

So, at some point in the past, Benedick told Beatrice he loved her (he lent her his heart). She returned his love ( gave him use for it, a double heart for his single). However, he was not faithful (he won it of me with false dice, i.e. he cheated). Therefore she insults him/keeps him at arms length because of how he treated her.

Now, Whedon presents this as a sexual relationship, possibly a one night stand, during the prelude/opening credits. Given the horror of Hero's assumed loss of virginity, however, this would NOT be the original intent of Shakespeare.

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