A.N.: This "act" takes place during the play, and examines certain moments through the lense provided by the previous chapter. It would be helpful, though not necessary, to be familiar with the play because some parts will be based on fairly specific lines.


Act II


Scene I - A Room in Leonato's House.

Enter Benedick, after his exit in Act I, Scene I.

Bene. O, "I know you of old." Ha! Says she so?
I see, marry, know me of old she doth,
But will not know me new! "Always end with
A jade's trick?" I? Yea, once and only once,
I said to her a thing that I should not,
Yet, since that night, I've never breathed a word
But that is true, even in jest! Perhaps
She looked for sugared words or sought a grand
Apology, but the more fool she -
Words are but cheap. In every silent word,
Whene'er I held my tongue, I gave her deeds.
Nay, I'll talk not of her; she makes me mad!
Forget her, Benedick, and get you to
Her uncle as the Prince and Claudio bade.

Exit Benedick.


Scene II - A Room in Leonato's House.

Enter Beatrice, after her exit in Act II, Scene I.

Beat. Ha! "Put him down," indeed. The fool can bear't.
And yet, methinks I saw him in a sort
Of melancholy, ere he spewed his choler
Against my coming. Yet, for all that,
The worst he spat at me was "harpy" - I,
Of all women, know that he can do worse.
And yet, that worse he has not done, for all
These years - only that once, and ne'er again.
Is't possible 'tis his apology?
No words, but deeds, to never do it more?
Perhaps his dice were not so false, in sooth,
He only rolled them wrong. His error seen,
'Tis possible he made them true again.

Exit Beatrice.


Scene III - A Room in Leonato's House.

Enter Benedick, after Act IV, Scene I.

Bene. O, slander! Will I never 'scape that word?
Says she of her cousin, "She is slandered!"
To me, as good as t'say, "'Need fear no slander,'
Or have you forgot?" Nay, she must needs know
That I can ne'er forget. And yet, an she
Still needs more proof of my repentance, I
Will give it her. Still, must I fight my friend?
Yet, how can I do less? For whatsoe'er
Was Claudio's intent, I know, in faith,
Good Beatrice speaks truth; her cousin's wronged.
Right her I must. 'Tis heavy, but 'tis just.

Exit Benedick.