He reacts quite strongly to Beatriceâ comments about him. Shakespeare uses the dramatic device of the masqued ball, and the inherent confusion of identity, to allow Benedick to believe that Beatrice intended to speak ill of him to another person, when all along Beatrice knows whom she is speaking to...
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The fact that Benedick reacts in the way he does to these comments shows he is hurt by the thought that Beatrice might feel this way about him. There is a suggestion that he does not mind such comments when directed at him in a âskirmish of witâ, but the idea that she may speak ill of him to another person is quite different, as he must have previously thought that she shared whatever secret feelings he had for her...