Much Ado About Nothing
Respect and Reputation Quotes Page 6
How we cite our quotes:
Done to death by slanderous tongues
Was the Hero that here lies.
Death, in guerdon of her wrongs,
Gives her fame which never dies.
So the life that died with shame
Lives in death with glorious fame. (5.3.3)
This is a really telling commentary about priorities in the play. Claudio’s epitaph clears Hero’s reputation, but says nothing of his love for her.
Did I not tell you she was innocent?
So are the Prince and Claudio, who accus'd her
Upon the error that you heard debated.
But Margaret was in some fault for this,
Although against her will, as it appears
In the true course of all the question. (5.4.1)
Leonato has cleared Don Pedro and Claudio’s reputation. Once Leonato learned that the men had been misinformed, and that they acted on that misinformation, he declares the men innocent. Still, it’s dubious whether their actions are justified simply by their misunderstanding.
One Hero died defil'd; but I do live,
And surely as I live, I am a maid.
Pedro. The former Hero! Hero that is dead!
She died, my lord, but whiles her slander liv'd. (5.4.63)
Hero doesn’t lament the damage that the men have done to her feelings, or even to herself, but instead excuses the men because her reputation has been cleared.