Both ladies are intelligent, articulate, with a good sense of humor, and they have two opponents or future lovers as you like, with similar character traits. Yes, it is necessary that the interlocutors, even the villains and the fools, like Mr. Collins, must have equivalent levels of wit so the reader can enjoy a good text, a good conversation. It is true that Benedict is much more like Henry Crawford's than Mr. Darcy! But Henry, "my dear cad," is one of the smartest characters in Jane Austen.
Below each image I placed an example only of what the boys said to or about the girls, Elizabeth and Beatrice. Now tell me, what would you do in those circumstances?
Sir William Lucas, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.
C. E. Brock, detail from my Pride & Prejudice.
Mr. Darcy explains to Mr. Bingley why he does not want to dance with Elizabeth. And she overhears...
She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.
Later in the novel, Miss Bingley reminds Darcy of his old words about Elizabeth and her mother.
She a beauty! – I should as soon call her mother a wit.
Benedict and Beatrice by Sir John Gilbert, detail from my Globe Illustrated Shakespeare.
Beatrice meets Benedict after a long absence. He decides to be funny.
"What, my dear Lady Disdain! are you yet living?"
Benedict resolves to get rid of Beatrice because she never shuts up!
"O God, sir, here’s a dish I love not: I cannot endure my Lady Tongue."
Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson played Beatrice and Benedict in Much Ado About Nothing. IMDb.
Posted by Raquel Sallaberry, Jane Austen em Português