Act 2, Scene 3
Benedick is taking a leisurely stroll in the park and talking to himself about marriage. He debates its pros and cons and its relevancy to his own life. Don Pedro, Claudio and Leonato enter the park, thereby forcing Benedick into hiding as he wishes to remain solitary. They discuss Beatrice's supposed infatuation with Benedick, fully aware that the man himself is absorbing this shocking information while hiding in the bushes. Leonato says that Beatrice cannot bear to show her affection for Benedick because she fears his sharp tongue. The men pity her and slander Benedick to the high heavens for unknowingly causing such pain. Don Pedro enhances the story with tales of fainting fits and suicide attempts for love. The men retreat to their chambers, leaving Benedick very confused.
He is convinced that the men were sincere and that the whole thing is not a trick. Benedick wonders if he has blindly been too harsh to Beatrice, and if it is too late to change his bachelor ways. Beatrice enters the garden at this point, wholly unaware of Benedick's predicament. She informs him that dinner is ready and is startled when Benedick does not act snappish or rude. Beatrice exits with the newly lovestruck Benedick close behind.