All is Fair in the War of Love: Much Ado About Nothing and The Empire Strikes Back

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Spring 2015


Banter has been the basis of many iconic love stories, both new and old. Beatrice and Benedick from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and Han and Leia from Star Wars show that this kind of dynamic between lovers is perennially popular and relevant. The two couples pass through three stages in their respective stories. The first stage is “Determined Disdain,” during which the lovers engage in many arguments and trade insults with each other. The pairs of lovers then pass through the second stage, “Beginnings of Attraction.” The scenes in this stage are marked by backhanded compliments, flirtation, and a few shows of affection. Whereas Han and Leia’s progress in this stage is slow and halting, Beatrice and Benedick quickly change their tunes about one another after being tricked by their friends. After these initial transformations, the two pairs of lovers progress to the third and final stage of “Genuine Love and Affection,” during which the stability of the new love is assured. Facing hard times and series of stressful situations, the two pairs of lovers publicly admit their love for one another. Although in Han and Leia’s case, Han takes a little more time to admit his love. Meanwhile, even after Beatrice and Benedick’s love is revealed, playful banter still continues between the two of them. The similarities between Han and Leia’s relationship and Beatrice and Benedick’s demonstrate that this kind of love story is timeless.

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