Ezio’s Honor from a Historical Perspective

30 Mar

In Assassin’s Creed II, honor plays a huge role in the development of the story. Many of the decisions that Ezio Auditore makes are based on his honor and he takes actions to maintain or redeem his honor. While playing Assassin’s Creed II, one of the our assigned historical readings was “Honor and Gender in the Streets of Early Modern Rome,” by Elizabeth S. Cohen. In this article, there was one quote that stood out to me. “Honor is highly vulnerable and men must be vigilant in its defense…An attack on honor is anything which shows to the audience of society that he cannot protect what is his – his face, his body, his family, his house, his property” (Cohen, 617). This quote perfectly describes the attitude that Ezio has throughout the game. Ezio’s decisions throughout the game are consistent with Cohen’s statement about men and their defense of their honor.

In the beginning of Assassin’s Creed II, Ezio’s introductory scene is about his family’s honor. We enter the scene as Ezio is giving his men a pep talk on a bridge. Ezio exclaims, “Do you know what brings us here tonight? HONOR!” Ezio and his allies are here to fight Vieri de’ Pazzi because Vieri has been shaming the name of Ezio’s family, the Auditores. Within the first few minutes of the game, Ezio has acted according to Cohen’s quote, “Honor is highly vulnerable and men must be vigilant in its defense…An attack on honor is anything which shows to the audience of society that he cannot protect what is his – his face, his body, his family, his house, his property.” Ezio is vigilant in the defense of his family’s name, and as soon as he hears about any attempt to shame his family’s name, he rushes to its defense and to fight the threat. By beating up Vieri de’ Pazzi and his men, Ezio defends the honor of the Auditore family name. Ezio’s first action that he makes in the game is consistent with Cohen’s statement about men of the period.

Further along in the introduction, we can apply Cohen’s quote again as Ezio rushes to the defense of his sister’s honor. Ezio learns from his sister, Claudia, that her heart is broken because her boyfriend, Duccio, has been cheating with other women. Again, as Cohen stated, “Honor is highly vulnerable and men must be vigilant in its defense…An attack on honor is anything which shows to the audience of society that he cannot protect what is his – his face, his body, his family, his house, his property.” Claudia’s heart has been broken and her honor is ruined because her boyfriend was unfaithful to her, and Ezio immediately reacts. Ezio decides to beat up Duccio and makes him stay away from his sister so that she won’t be hurt by him anymore. Ezio defends Claudia’s honor by beating up Duccio and shaming his honor. Ezio remains vigilant in the defense of his sister’s honor, and continues to affirm Cohen’s observation.

Later in the game, Ezio continues to fulfill Cohen’s hypothesis as he retaliates against a traitor who betrayed the Auditores. Ezio plans to exact revenge on the betrayer, Uberto Alberti, by assassinating him. By assassinating Uberto, Ezio partially redeems the Auditore honor by killing their betrayer. Again, Ezio acts according to “Honor is highly vulnerable and men must be vigilant in its defense…An attack on honor is anything which shows to the audience of society that he cannot protect what is his – his face, his body, his family, his house, his property.” Although Ezio was not able to defend his family, he retaliates by taking Uberto’s life and defiling Uberto’s honor. In addition, Ezio makes an angry announcement that the Auditores are not all dead. He, Ezio, is still alive! By making this announcement, Ezio restores his family honor by challenging his enemies and showing that the Auditores still have enough power to exact revenge. Although Ezio was not able to defend his honor in this incident, he still operates according to Cohen after he decides to take Uberto’s life and honor.

Ezio is a man who is fiercely protective of his honor. Whenever he makes a decision, it is clear that the motive behind his acts is his honor. Throughout the game, his honor is challenged many times and Ezio always reacts to the threat on his honor. When his family name is challenged, Ezio fights whoever is debasing the Auditore name and makes them stop. When his sister is being cheated on, he immediately goes and makes her boyfriend regret it. When his father and brothers are killed, he kills the man who betrayed them. These are only a few of all of the choices that Ezio makes, but all his actions are consistent with Cohen’s statement throughout the game. Ezio is a perfect recreation of an ideal man defending his honor in early modern Rome. In Assassin’s Creed II, the the portrayal of Ezio is historically accurate with men of the time period and is consistent with Cohen’s assertion of the relationship between men and honor.

by Kim Yie

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