Benedick is a gentleman of Padua serving in Don Pedro’s army. He wears a beard at the beginning of the play. According to Beatrice, he adopts a new best friend once a month, possibly out of a concern for money; his present one is Claudio.
Benedick is best known for his apparent distaste for women, despite Beatrice’s status as his favorite verbal sparring partner, and his insistence that he will never marry. When Claudio falls in love with Hero, Benedick is disgusted that yet another bachelor is going to abandon that happy state. It is known that he and Beatrice share a history. He appears to have no taste for music that is not military. When he overhears the conversation designed to make him fall for Beatrice, he realizes that there is nothing he can actually hold against her, and determines to marry her, soon finding double meanings in her unfriendly words to him. He shaves his beard off and becomes melancholy, or at least affects to, as this is how lovers are prescribed to be. He chooses to remain with Beatrice and her family rather than leave after the fracas at the church, and is quick to suspect Don John’s hand in it. Tested between his love for Beatrice and for his friend, he chooses the former and agrees to fight Claudio to the death. He refuses to be drawn into battles of wit with either Claudio or the Prince, but regains enough of his sense of humor to flirt shamelessly with Margaret and extravagantly compliment her when asking for her help with Beatrice. Unlike Claudio, he realizes that he is a terrible poet, and gives up on attempts to write a sonnet. He does however discover that kissing Beatrice is one way to make her be quiet, come over to the side of dancing music, and begin to mock the Prince for being a bachelor. Upon Don John's capture at the end of the play, he promises to think up a punishment for him.