Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

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How is the theme of honor presented in Much Ado About Nothing?  

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Angie Waters eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Honor is a much-desired quality in most people but historically it has been the cause of many disturbances, rifts and killings. Honor means different things to different people and such is the dilemma facing anyone who upholds it. It also has opposing perspectives when considered from a female or male point of view. Such is the problem facing Much Ado About Nothing.

Even from the outset, honor is associated with keeping up appearances. In line 6 of Act I, scene i a messenger comments on the casualties from battle by advising Leonato that "none of name" has been lost. The messenger further discusses Benedick's virtues when he says in line 47, "A man to a man; stuffed with all honorable virtues" because being a "good soldier " is a sure sign of honor. A man's honor is also affected by the way his wife or future wife behaves and she can dishonor him if she is not obedient and chaste. In assessing Hero, Claudio asks in line 141, "Is she not a modest young lady?" indicating the virtues...

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