Much Ado About Nothing Respect and Reputation Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line) Line numbers correspond to the Riverside edition.
If I see anything tonight why I should not
marry her, tomorrow in the congregation, where I
should wed, there will I shame her. (3.2.116-118)
This is particularly nasty of Claudio. Rather than just canceling the wedding if Hero is disloyal, he’s hell-bent on disgracing her in front of the whole congregation. His plan is more about vengefully ruining her reputation than it is about escaping a loveless, dishonest marriage.
Sweet Prince, you learn me noble thankfulness.—
There, Leonato, take her back again.
Give not this rotten orange to your friend.
She's but the sign and semblance of her honor.
Behold how like a maid she blushes here!
O, what authority and show of truth
Can cunning sin cover itself withal!
Comes not that blood as modest evidence
To witness simple virtue? Would you not swear,
All you that see her, that she were a maid,
By these exterior shows? But she is none.
She knows the heat of a luxurious bed.
Her blush is guiltiness, not modesty. (4.1.30-42)
Claudio is hung up on how Hero appears – he thinks her image as a virtuous girl is false, masking her true nature. Reputation is linked with appearances – Hero blushes like a virgin, but Claudio thinks she isn’t one. Her reputation as a maiden rests on how she appears; in insisting that how Hero seems is not how she is, Claudio effectively undoes her reputation.
I never tempted her with word too large,
But, as a brother to his sister, showed
Bashful sincerity and comely love.
And seemed I ever otherwise to you?
Out on the, seeming! I will write against it.
You seem to me as Dian in her orb,
As chaste as is the bud ere it be blown.
But you are more intemperate in your blood
Than Venus, or those pampered animals
That rage in savage sensuality.
Is my lord well that he doth speak so wide? (4.1.52-63)
It’s interesting here that Hero, instead of simply stating that she is completely innocent, asks Claudio how she "seemed" to him. However, Claudio’s entire point is that she seemed innocent, and was not. Unlike Claudio, Hero implies that her reputation should be based on her actions, rather than on accusations and other peoples’ opinions.