Honor In Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing

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Most of Shakespeare’s works have the same pattern and sense of honor within the characters of his plays, but honor is not always shown in the same way between the heroes and heroines of his plays. Honor, in his plays, can also be described or shown in two ways, the first of which is through high respect, prestige, and importance, whereas the second is through integrity, honesty, and nobility. In Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, an Italian Prince, Don Pedro, his two fellow soldiers, and Bastard brother (Claudio, Benedick, and Don John) visit Leonato, the governor of the Italian Town of Messina, after they have just fought a war. Don Pedro embarks on a cupid-like journey to have Claudio marry Hero (Leonato’s daughter), and have Beatrice…show more content…
This grants her the chance of marrying a man of honor as well, for marrying nobility is much better than not. It is also seen in the play that honorability in women would appear in the form of chastity and modesty which, as Claudio seeks for Benedict’s opinion if she is, “not a modest young lady?” can clear the importance of a woman’s modesty as a form of honor in the eyes of men. But, as Don John’s deception goes as planned, and Hero is accused of being “an approved wanton”, she is then seen as being unworthy of Claudio’s honorable hand in marriage due to the shame she has put on her and her family by giving her virginity to someone who is not Claudio and not her husband. Of course this is all a result of Claudio’s judging by appearance, since she appeared to be a modest and chaste woman, but he then accuses her by being “the sign and semblance of her honor” and as she falls unconscious, “she becomes in effect a sign to be read and interpreted by others” as Carol Cook suggests in her…show more content…
During the scene at the church where Claudio is to take Hero’s hand in marriage, and Claudio brutally shames her in front of everyone, Don Pedro does nothing but agree with the words spoken and listen, as he himself believes this betrayal since he “did see her, hear her, at that hour last night.” Also, it is a concern for him if he was to match Claudio with an unmatchable and unfit bride, as this would hurt his honor in more ways than one. Of course during the repudiation scene, Don Pedro joins Claudio since he vowed the night before, “as I wooed for thee to obtain her, I will join thee to disgrace her.” He does not give it a second thought and believes this deception straight away, as he did not want to destroy his own reputation by giving Claudio a woman with no “virtue”. To Don Pedro, honor also comes alongside honesty, and he perceives Hero as being dishonest by being disloyal, therefore, to him, she has no honor, and he sees himself as being honorable by speaking the truth as he, in a way, swear on his honor that he, his brother, and Claudio witnessed this very act of defiance. Claudio also worries about his own honor as he cannot be an honorable man if he marries a woman who is disloyal and has nothing to offer him which is what he could have meant when saying “and what have I to give you back?” Nonetheless, this damages Hero’s integrity, reputation, and virtue more than any of the men

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