Hero and Ursula play a trick on Beatrice that is quite similar to the one Don Pedro and Claudio plays on Benedick. In both cases, they tell Beatrice/Benedick that he/she is in love with him/her. And in each case, both Benedick and Beatrice speak of “requited” love. It is interesting that both groups of friends play this trick on Benedick and Beatrice. It is as if they know that there is an intrinsic love that exists between Benedick and Beatrice, but both of them are too stubborn to admit it and follow that feeling.
I find it interesting that Beatrice and Benedick end up together. I can’t say that I didn’t see it coming though. From the very beginning, their disdain for each other screamed attraction. There is a past between the two of them, though all we know about it is that Benedick once left Beatrice. It seems that there is a connection that still exists between them, even if it is outwardly sarcastic and mean. Beyond all of that, they still understand each other well enough to “get” each other. I think this is showing us the many facets of love. So much resistance coming from both of them indicates some feeling that they are trying to hide—something perhaps too painful or vulnerable that neither of them wants to endure or look at.
Both of these characters are too obstinate to openly admit that they love each other. Neither of them wants to appear soft or vulnerable. Their sarcasm and ‘hatred’ towards each other seems to be a way of them dealing with their questions they have about love.
It seems as though both of these characters have felt so hurt by love, by each other, and maybe by others, that they need to “defend” themselves. They try to act tough and show the other characters that they are happy how they are—living independently. Benedick scoffs at the fact that Claudio, once a soldier, is now a lover. He can’t fathom the idea of someone turning into a romantic—it’s just nonsensical to him. Beatrice finds something wrong in any man who tries to court her. She is never satisfied. Likewise, Benedick has specific standards any girl he is to become involved with must meet. Both of these characters try to exhibit a certain amount of control over their love life but refraining from having one at all. They refuse to let themselves enter into a relationship and when they see others enter into one, they don’t understand why anyone would give away his/her independence. However, as the play slowly unravels toward the end, Benedick and Beatrice let their barriers come down together as they reveal themselves to each other.