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Quotes

Quote #1

LEONATO
I find here that Don Pedro hath bestowed much honor on
a young Florentine called Claudio. (1.1.9)

Claudio’s reputation precedes him, literally – we’re introduced to Claudio’s reputation before we meet him. It’s important that in our first exposure to this central character, the man is judged not by his deeds, but by what people (in this case, Don Pedro) say about him. This ends up being the case for Hero also; her bad reputation doesn’t come about from her actions, which everyone witnesses as pure, but based on Claudio thinking poorly of her.

Quote #2

DON PEDRO
Truly the lady fathers herself. Be happy, lady;
for you are like an honorable father. (1.1.110)

Don Pedro grants Hero a positive reputation by saying she is her father’s daughter. The important thing is that reputation is bestowed easily, so it can be taken away easily too. Looking forward, we know that even Hero’s father, the source of her reputation, will denounce her, destroying her reputation.

Quote #3

LEONATO
If you swear, my lord, you shall not be forsworn. [To Don
John] Let me bid you welcome, my lord. Being reconciled to the
Prince your brother, I owe you all duty. (1.1.153)

Leonato deals with Don John justly, though the man is a proven villain. For Leonato, it’s enough that Don John has made amends with Don Pedro. This seems to have restored his reputation, which makes Leonato trust the former villain. Again, reputation isn’t based on deeds.

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