Motif in Much Ado About Nothing

Motif Examples in Much Ado About Nothing:

Act III - Scene II 1

"Conclude, conclude, he is in love...."   (Act III - Scene II)

Recall that Beatrice prefers men without beards. Considering the theme of love as a loss of freedom, Benedick’s shaving of his beard here becomes a symbol of his domestication by love. When Claudio compares Benedick to a lute (a musical instrument used in serenades,) he draws on the motif of love and music and implies that Benedick is merely an instrument that has been played by love.

"O, what men dare do! what men may do! what men daily do, not knowing what they do!..."   (Act IV - Scene I)

When Benedick refuses to kill Claudio for her, Beatrice wishes that she were a man so that she could do it herself or that Benedick were “man enough” to do it. Beatrice’s lines here emphasize the motif of masculinity in the play. She says that “manliness” and valor have deteriorated into mere language rather than action. This underscores the theme of language and “nothingness,” talk with no action produces nothing.