University Stellenbosch |
The honour is in leading |
Exercise 1 Much Ado about Nothing |
Grant Crossman 16112121 Group 69 |
Honourable men were once leaders of their fellow man and heads of their households with their women at their sides to serve them and care for them. These were honourable positions to be held by men and women. Honour, however, has the capacity to fluctuate in the hearts of man through their own misinterpretations as well as the falsehoods of others. It is evident in Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing that the establishment and defence of honour is the perogative of men. The male characters of the play possess the power to gain honour amongst their brethren and dishonour any person they feel should be found lacking in it. The female characters of the play are restricted to the acts of virtuous maids and the defence of this virtue being dependant on men.
Honour is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as being a personal title to high respect or esteem; a fine sense of and strict allegiance to what is due or right (also, to what is due according to some conventional or fashionable standard of conduct).Men gain honour through their name and rank as well as their actions of bravery. The message received by Leonato in Act 1 relates how Don Pedro “bestowed much honour on a young Florentine called Claudio” [Shakespeare 1.1.10]. Don Pedro’s honour is bestowed upon him because of his rank as leader of an armed force and the title of Prince of Aragon. Benedick is honoured by Don Pedro as being “of noble strain, of approved valour and confirmed honesty.”[Shakespeare 2.2.375]
The Oxford English Dictionary further defines honour in a woman as chastity, purity, as a virtue of the highest consideration; good name. Don Pedro confirms Hero’s honour in his statement “That she is worthy; I know” [Shakespeare 1.1.221] Don Pedro also honours Beatrice as being “an excellent wife for Benedick” [Shakespeare 2.2.348]. These...