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Honour exhibited in Much Ado About Nothing

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Introduction

Alexander Li ENG 2D8 738 Words Martin Honour exhibited in Much Ado About Nothing Honour plays an imperative role in society, as it clearly distinguishes the diverse classes of individuals. Throughout the play, Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare, honour is a pressing issue that presents itself to each character, defining them as people and deciding their fate. When each character is faced with a situation that threatens to destroy their cherished honour, they will go to any lengths in order to circumvent this. When Hero's honour, based on her esteemed chastity, is lost due to Claudio's allegations, she is mortified. In the sixteenth century, a woman's honour relied profoundly upon her chaste behavior and virginity. "The families in the Elizabethan era keep their daughters virgins until they are married." ...read more.

Middle

When Claudio discovers that these accusations were mendacities, he makes a promise to marry Leonato's niece, a promise that he fulfills. Borachio confesses to his involvement in the catastrophe, in reality, Claudio was "brought into the orchard and saw [Borachio] court Margaret in Hero's garments" (153). This revelation puts Claudio in the spotlight, and since he had presumably killed Hero, who was belied, with his lack of faith, he was obliged to do anything Leonato wanted as retribution for the death of his daughter. Claudio is compelled to "Give [Hero's cousin] the right that [Claudio] should have given [Hero]."(157) Claudio is now faced with the torment of marrying a woman he does not know due to his treachery. He readily accepts, realizing that it is his duty, he should have remained loyal to Hero, rather than barely having to be convinced of her infidelity. ...read more.

Conclusion

Claudio thinks that Don Pedro has betrayed his trust and has no honour for him. Claudio continually places himself in situations where he is susceptible to deception, where his loyalty is tested. In each state of affairs, Claudio goes against his loyalties and eagerly believes the lies of others. Don Pedro, contrary to Claudio's suspicions, has kept his promise, and in turn has regained Claudio's respect for him. Claudio has established himself as a fickle character; his honour disintegrates with every instance that he questions the motives of those that he loves. Throughout the play, the characters' honours are assessed through many hardships, leading them to struggle in order to regain their revered reputations. This illustrates the extent to which honour is valued to each and every individual. The honours of these persons are held so high, at such great value, that they are exceptionally vulnerable to disappointment and failure. Thus, ridiculously high expectations are established, making it impossible for people to be deemed worthy of prized honour. ...read more.

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