Much Ado About Nothing
Respect and Reputation Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
Will it serve for any model to build mischief on?
What is he for a fool that betroths himself to unquietness?
Marry, it is your brother's right hand.
Who? the most exquisite Claudio?
A proper squire! And who? and who? which way looks he?
Marry, on Hero, the daughter and heir of Leonato.
A very forward March-chick! How came you to this? (1.3.46)
Don John caricatures Claudio and Hero, belittling their good reputations (perhaps in preparation of spoiling their reputations altogether), and using their best qualities as though they were bad qualities. Claudio, who is actually a count, is called a lowly squire, and Hero, who is known for her youth, is maligned as being a chick who has hatched prematurely. Don John seems resentful and wants to destroy the young lovers’ reputations, maybe because they are currently in such high standing.
Why, he is the Prince's jester, a very dull fool. Only his
gift is in devising impossible slanders. None but libertines
delight in him; and the commendation is not in his wit, but in
his villainy; for he both pleases men and angers them, and then
they laugh at him and beat him. (2.1.137)
Beatrice cuts Benedick deep here by suggesting his reputation is not what he’s thought it has been. While he knows men love him for his merriness, he might not have considered that they also mock him for it. Reputation is a powerful thing, especially when you hear about your own reputation from others, and it turns out to be far from how you thought.
What fire is in mine ears? Can this be true?
Stand I condemn'd for pride and scorn so much?
Contempt, farewell! and maiden pride, adieu!
No glory lives behind the back of such.
And, Benedick, love on; I will requite thee,
Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand. (3.1.107)
Beatrice is willing to love Benedick, but it seems that the main force behind the decision is to clear her own reputation.