The main plot in this Shakespearean comedy revolves around the young lovers Claudio and Hero and the obstacles to their marriage. This scene, however, features the more mature lovers from the play’s sub-plot—Beatrice and Benedick—and their “merry war.” Prior to this scene (from Act V, Scene II), Hero’s character has been defamed, causing her fiancé, Claudio to reject her at the altar. Enraged, Beatrice urges Benedick to prove his love for her by killing Claudio. In this scene, Benedick tells Beatrice he has challenged Claudio to a duel. Actor Joe Gatton opens the segments with a brief introduction to the scene.
Classroom activities and discussion questions available on PBS LearningMedia.