A Letter to Beatrice: My Cold Blood

Dear Beatrice,

When I was younger, I used to idealise you. In truth, I still think many of your words capture the spirit of strong, independant womanhood far better than many modern writers and poets. “I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me.” Stunning, my dear, absolutely stunning.

But it seems that you gave up on those ideals after a time, and while I will agree with you that men are useful in a pinch (or to give a pinch, as it were), I would not say that they are necessary to a woman’s happiness. Indeed, often they bring stress and a certain quality of coldness, which if left unchecked quickly turns to cruelty. Women, as a general rule, tend to be softer, more caring and tender of heart – some of us more than others this is true, but overall I have a higher respect for the fairer sex. Purely on an odds basis, we’re at least likely to be kind to others in trouble.

I read somewhere recently that when a vulnerable woman is in trouble, women will tend to ask how they can help make it better. Men will tend to ask what they can get out of the situation, if they can use it to their advantage. It’s been my own experience that this is true, and these days I am re-examining your story with different eyes.

You were in a tight spot when Benedick finally caught you. Emotionally, you were somewhat torn apart by the events leading to your cousin’s almost death and definite betrayal. Benedick was not innocent in the harms done to Hero. So I wonder, is the actual truth that you too were taken advantage of by a man?

How did it finally feel, when you were married to to Benedick? Because, to be brutally honest, I have questions. It seems like he didn’t quite respect you, and while I’m sure all those insults were fun at the time, did he keep insulting you after you were married? Did you get sick of him doing that? Did you have children and were they emotionally safe from his jabs?

The one thing I could make an educated guess at is that he didn’t change. So did you enjoy trading barbs for years and years, playing chess with each other’s hearts? Or did it become painful, and did one of you eventually win so triumphantly that the other never came back to play again?

In the end, you said to him – “I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest.”

Truly my dear, I question whether that was wise. I hope that your story didn’t just have a happy ending, but led to a happy life.

I thank God and my cold blood,

MarieAthena x

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