Essay The Theme of Honor in _Much Ado About Nothing_

1590 Words 7 Pages
Honour has never been easy to obtain. It is the characteristic that all strive for. It is an ambiguous measure of worth, and is only genuinely in the eyes of the beholder. Throughout the play Much Ado About Nothing, honour is pursued relentlessly by all of the characters, each in a unique way. The moral casualties on the pursuit for honour seem to be a direct result of the motivations of the pursuer. Claudio and Don Pedro have an extrinsically motivated drive for honour. They only want recognition, to wear it as a badge to show off their accomplishments. Benedick is motivated intrinsically, what he strives for is internal satisfaction, not recognition. Through wit, charm, selflessness and intrinsic motivations, he gains honour without …show more content…
Claudio is quick to suggest that “...in the congregation where I should wed, there will I shame her” (III,ii,110-111). By being so hasty in believing Don John, Claudio undeniably displays his motivations are extrinsic, and that his love for Hero comes after his love for glory. The loss in social standing Claudio would have incurred by marrying an unfaithful woman was clearly eclipsed by Hero’s dramatic fallout. Claudio is not the only one with honour invested in the marriage however; Don Pedro was paramount in facilitating their relationship, and could have also lost honour, had he not stepped in. “And as I wooed for thee to obtain her I will join with thee to disgrace her” (III,ii,112-113), Don Pedro says. Believing he could milk the marriage for all it is worth, Don Pedro made it abundantly clear that he orchestrated their engagement. By making his actions so public, as most extrinsically motivated people do, Don Pedro gave himself an opportunity for great profits, but with great potential for reward comes concomitant risk, which he now must scramble to hide. By putting themselves before others, Claudio and Don Pedro have created a moral dilemma. It should have not been difficult to disregard Don John’s lavish accusations, but by being so naive, they must now sacrifice Hero’s honour to avoid compromising their own. While not marrying an unfaithful woman…