Honor and Sprezzatura in Much Ado about Nothing

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Honor and Sprezzatura in Much Ado about Nothing Honor is an entity that is synonymous with dignity, respect, and admiration. Life itself can be seen as a great pursuit of honor. However, although human kind is enjoined in this pursuit, there exists considerable variability among perceptions of how it is protected and gained. Shakespeare explores these perceptions as he brings our attention to the idealistic and exuberant world of the courtier. Being at the apex of the social pyramid, courtiers abide by a stringent structure of ideologies and philosophies whose foundation rests on acting with honor and sprezzatura. Whereas honor is bestowed upon and achieved, sprezzatura, a form of social elegance and grace, is a skill to be mastered by the courtier. As Shakespeare intricately weaves the dynamic characters of Claudio, Benedick, and Hero in Much ado About Nothing, he allows the reader to obtain a closer examination of the struggle of the courtier in interpreting honor and exuberating sprezzatura. Claudio, a young, impulsive, and hot-headed courtier, regards honor as comprising of strong diplomatic and political alliances. Claudio is introduced to the play as a young count from Florence who has distinguished himself as a fine warrior. However, although Claudio may have demonstrated maturity on the battlefield, the courtier is greatly emotionally and psychologically immature. Despite this immaturity, Claudio justifies his social position as a courtier by maintaining close

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