Heros Honor In William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing

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The topic of Hero’s honor and Claudio tarnishing it is a major subject matter that arises in the climax of Much Ado About Nothing, which is the wedding scene at the beginning of Act IV. This particular act revolves around how Claudio decides to publicly shame Hero while the other characters react to his accusations of her infidelity on the night before the wedding. Claudio’s need to shame the woman he loves without a second thought is an unusual behavior, and Leonato trusting Claudio’s claims over his own daughter’s honor is even more unexpected. In Shakespeare’s time, a woman’s chastity is what made her honorable and once that’s been violated, her social status is almost completely lost. Shakespeare’s usage of metaphors and symbols instead of straightforward speech helps amplify the reactions of the characters at the wedding along with their…show more content…
Based on the aghast reactions after Claudio’s reveal of Hero’s immodesty, it is clear to say that when a woman loses her honor by being accused of adultery or of being unvirtuous, she instantly loses all her social grace and is considered deceased to all the members of her society. In fact, Claudio didn’t only tarnish Hero’s reputation in his act of publicly savaging her, but he also ruined the whole family’s standing in Messina. Given that the loss of a woman’s honor is considered a form of eradication from society during Shakespeare’s time, it is relevant of Friar Francis to suggest Hero’s supposed death which will “change slander to remorse” (4.1.210). In other words, Hero’s fake death doesn’t only serve as a method to induce guilt in Claudio’s heart, because it may also represent how she needs to symbolically die in order to purify her tainted honor in order to start anew and remarry

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