Syntax in Much Ado About Nothing

Syntax Examples in Much Ado About Nothing:

Act I - Scene I 1

"Because I will not do them the wrong to mistrust any, I will do myself the right to trust none;..."   (Act I - Scene I)

In an elaborately constructed sentence, Benedick expresses one reason for not marrying: namely, that he understands his inability to trust women. Each verb, noun and object in the sentence’s dependent clause finds its opposite in the independent clause. “Will not do” becomes “will do,” “them” becomes “myself,” “wrong” becomes “right,” and so on. One can read these logical opposites as a metaphor for Benedick’s choice to behave in opposition to social norms by choosing to remain a bachelor.

"O that I had been writ down an ass!..."   (Act IV - Scene II)

The comedy in this speech comes from Dogberry repeatedly calling himself an “ass.” By “O that I had been writ down an ass,” he means that he wishes the Sexton had been around to write down that Conrade called him an “ass” so that Conrade would be punished for this offense. However, the syntax of this second statement make it sound like Dogberry wants to be called an ass.