In Act 4 Scene 1, Beatrice and Benedick both appear to believe that Hero is innocent and blameless. However, whilst they both have responded to Claudio's public rejection of Hero in a similar manner, their moods are dissimilar.
Everyone else leaves apart from Benedick and Beatrice. Beatrice is in tears. She should cry in sadness but also express frustration and fury so that the audience knows exactly how she feels and so that they can empathize with her. Benedick asks Beatrice if she has "wept all this while." When he does so, he should express anxiety, sympathy and perhaps kneel down to match her level.
Beatrice replies that yes, she has been weeping and she will weep a while longer. At this point, Beatrice should stand up and express determination and confidence. She should also express anger by perhaps, denying Benedick eye contact.
Beatrice then starts to reveal signs of manipulation when she says that she will love anyone who would right Hero. This makes Benedick want to right Hero because he wants Beatrice to love him. When Beatrice says this, she should turn away from Benedick, cry and perhaps cast a sly look towards Benedick to alert the audience that this is the start of her manipulation. Benedick should look as if he has just found the light at the end of a tunnel and show signs of hope and desperation.
A few lines later, Benedick confesses his love for Beatrice by saying I do love nothing in the world so well as you. Is not that strange? At the end of this line, Benedick asks if it is strange for him to love because they have always had a friendly war of words between each other and due to the fact that they squabble frequently. Benedick should take Beatrices hands into his own when he says this. Moreover, he should express love and honesty while smiling.
Beatrice replies that it is strange when she says As strange as the thing I know not, and then she says It were as possible for me to say that I loved nothing so well as you but then takes this back by quickly adding but believe me not. Beatrice then reveals the cause of her sorrow and her true agenda, Claudio and Hero. While saying these lines, Beatrice should show signs of confusion by ruffling her hair and by walking in different directions and by altering the speed of each line.
In the next couple of lines, Benedick protests that he loves her but Beatrice denies it repeatedly until she finally confesses that she loves him with so much of her heart that there is none left to protest. Beatrice should say this line modestly and should look straight into Benedicks eyes while smiling discreetly.
Benedick is enlightened by this confession, so in his excitement he says Come, bid me do anything for thee. Benedick should hold Beatrices shoulders and smile. Beatrice takes advantage of this situation and finally reveals to Benedick what she truly wants by saying Kill Claudio! Beatrice should take Benedicks hands off her shoulders and take a small pause before saying this line, slowly and sternly while staring straight at Benedick.
Benedick is shocked by Beatrices request so he rejects it by saying that he wouldnt do it for the wide world. Benedick should grin and then say this line sarcastically. He finally starts to display some pride in this scene by denying eye contact with Beatrice and by turning away. However, that quickly fades after Beatrice decides to leave when she says You kill me to deny it. Farewell. Beatrice should turn and walk away at normal pace but she shouldnt allow herself to walk too far because then Benedick wouldnt be able to stop her in the next line.
In the next few lines, Beatrice portrays her dominance by speaking more frequently than Benedick. She also prevents Benedick from speaking whenever he wants to and starts to instigate Benedick against Claudio by telling him that Claudio is a nasty villain who committed many awful crimes especially when he slandered, scorned dishonored, Hero. She then shows Benedick that she wishes that she were a man! This makes Benedick feel two very different things. Firstly, it makes him feel privileged that he is a man and he can do things that Beatrice cant; however, this also makes him fee; ashamed of himself because he is led to believe that he isnt fulfilling his duties as a male.
Next, Beatrice reminds Benedick that Claudio is so villainous that he uncovered slander and he unmitigated rancor by publicly accusing Hero of knowing the luxury of a bed. Beatrice then repeats her earlier line Oh that I were a man! Due to the fact that this line is repeated rather often, Benedick is given the impression that Beatrice wants to be a man more than anything else, so that she can kill Claudio and avenge Heros public accusation. Beatrice should say these lines with a sense of speed in her tone and she shouldnt allow Benedick a chance to protest. Also, she should look anywhere apart from at Benedick so that it is noticeable that she is trying to avoid making eye contact with him.
Benedick then tries to talk but once again talks over him. In the next few lines this repeats until Beatrice conveys her last speech. In this, she repeats the line Oh, that I were a man! Once more she accentuates on the fact that being a man is a rare privilege and Benedick should use that privilege for Beatrices sake.
Beatrice then re-establishes the theme of male honour and valour by stating that manhood is melted into curtsies. In this line, Beatrice basically affirms that manhood and honour has vanished and cowardice and boyhood has come to take its place. Beatrice should say these lines sadly, shamefully while crying due to frustration.
Benedick again tries to convey his love for Beatrice by saying By this hand, I love thee. Once again, Benedick is sincere and honest but Beatrice tries to change his words from sincerity to dishonesty by saying Use it for my love some other way than swearing by it. Benedick should say his line while looking at Beatrices eyes but Beatrice should say her line abruptly and rudely. Also, Beatrice should turn away and deny eye contact once again.
Benedick then asks Beatrice if she is absolutely certain that Count Claudio hath wronged Hero. Benedick should sway Beatrice towards him and grasp her shoulders. Beatrice confirms her certainty by stating that she is as sure as she has a thought or soul. Beatrice could say her line slowly and could express certainty while taking Benedicks hands off her shoulder.
Beatrices manipulation has finally convinced Benedick to challenge Claudio. In these lines, Benedick appears to be the more dominant one for the first time in the entire scene. Benedick should turn away and say these lines sternly and slowly. After he says his lines he should express a little sadness, sorrow and anxiety.