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Quotes

Quote #10

PEDRO
What should I speak?
I stand dishonour'd that have gone about
To link my dear friend to a common stale. (4.1.63)

Don Pedro is unduly harsh, but he doesn’t think so, as he earnestly thinks Hero is guilty. Not only has he compromised Claudio’s good name by linking the boy to a seeming harlot, but he’s also worried that his own good name is now on the line. Claudio and Don Pedro are selfishly worried about their own reputations.

Quote #11

LEONATO
Friar, it cannot be.
Thou seest that all the grace that she hath left
Is that she will not add to her damnation
A sin of perjury: she not denies it. (4.1.170)

Leonato raises a good point (though we are disappointed in him). It’s interesting to wonder why Hero didn’t deny more adamantly the charges against her. All she said was that she didn’t talk to a man at her window yesterday, but her whole person (not just that one night) was called into question. If her own father, who likely wanted to believe her, wasn’t convinced by what she had to say, we’ve got to wonder why Hero didn’t try a little harder to stand up for herself.

Quote #12

FRIAR FRANCIS
She dying, as it must be so maintain'd,
Upon the instant that she was accus'd,
Shall be lamented, pitied, and excus'd
Of every hearer; for it so falls out
That what we have we prize not to the worth
Whiles we enjoy it, but being lack'd and lost,
Why, then we rack the value, then we find
The virtue that possession would not show us
Whiles it was ours. (4.1.214)

The Friar thinks Hero’s reputation will be restored once people think she’s dead. She’ll become the object of lamentation, and people will repent ever having thought bad things about her. It’s the "you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone" idea. This continues to emphasize the point that reputation is not based on deeds; the Friar thinks that Hero’s reputation will improve simply by manipulating the emotions of the public.

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