Honor In Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing

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Honor in Much Ado About Nothing
Honor, in the 17th century, was a very important aspect and it had a different meaning for men and women. The plot of Much Ado About Nothing focuses on the interaction between Leonato’s family and his friends, who have come to his house from a war. In Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare has portrayed the significance of honor in the conversations between the characters and the manner of expression of thoughts and ideas. In fact there was a wide gap between what was considered to be honourable for men and what it was for women. Shakespeare highlighted the implications of having such a diverse meaning attached to an element as simple as honor. Essentially, women were meant protect the honor which they were born with, is to protect their chaste, while men were branded by a different form of ‘honor’ that involved celebrating achievements and displaying courage. The characters in the play reveal the significance of their personal honor in a patriarchal structured society and how honor could influences their decisions even though they are right or wrong.
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Shakespeare has brilliantly captured the essence of societal norms prevailing at the time and displayed, through the course of the play, the various ways in which the sole element of ‘honor’ has motivated the decisions made. For instance, the impact on Hero’s honor was so harsh that she had to fake her own death in order to obtain a chance to restate her honor and wait for the truth to come out in society. The use of such desperate measures, in an effort to restore one’s honour only goes to show the level of importance associated with it. Despite of all the cruel words and offensive actions of Claudio for Hero, she was not asked nor did she have an option to reject the marriage at the end as it would affect her father’s honor. Hence she had to marry Claudio who trusted other people over
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