BEATRICE. Speak, count, it is your cue.
CLAUDIO. Silence is the perfectest herald of joy: I were
but little happy, if I could say how much.
(Much Ado About Nothing, act 2, sc. 1)
Tips for Use. Excellent reply when you are not in the mood to talk and your silence is interpreted as moodiness, disapproval, lack of interest or boredom. The declaration is necessary, especially considering that, usually, silence has a negative connotation. For example, in Vittorio Alfieri’s play, ‘La Congiura dei Pazzi’, “Deep vengeance is the daughter of deep silence” (La vendetta, d’alto silenzio e’ figlia). Or, as we find in a fable by the French LaFontaine, “Silent people are dangerous” (Les gens sans bruit sont dangereux).
Ovid gives a more balanced opinion, ‘Keeping silence is but a small virtue, but to speak what should not be uttered is a heinous crime’ Art of Loving, book 2. Some people make silence their visiting card, as noted by Goldsmith in his play, “The Good-Natured Man”, “Silence is become his mother-tongue.”
Take a look at the web-page describing the book “Your Daily Shakespeare”, 1390 pages filled to the brim with over 10,000 situations you may find yourself in or involved with, attuned to the perfect Shakespearean repartee that will get you on the stage or at least out of the water – besides making you a winner of verbal contests. “Your Daily Shakespeare” has been described as the most unusual, useful and unique book of Shakespearean quotations. Nothing similar exists or has ever existed.
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In the play. Leonato has just consented to Claudio marrying his daughter and Beatrice, who is present, prompts Claudio to speak. Claudio is speechless out of happiness.
Image Source: http://openclipart.org/detail/22424/emoticons:-silence-face-by-nicubunu