Analysis of the Multifaceted Concept of Disgrace

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Disgrace is defined in the Cambridge Dictionary as the “embarrassment and the loss of people’s respect, or the behaviour that causes someone to be a disgrace as well as to be a disgrace to something or someone.” Disgrace is also a verb and is defined as “to make people stop respecting you or your family, team, etc. by doing something very bad”. Disgrace comes from the Italian word “disgrazia” and the Latin word “gratia” meaning grace. The prefix “dis-“ means “lack of”, “apart” or “away”. The suffix “-grace” is an antonym of disgrace and is defined as the “smoothness and elegance of movement” as well as to “bring honour or credit to (someone or something) by one’s attendance or participation”.

Firstly, the emotion resulting from the awareness of disgrace, is shame. Shame is a moral feeling and is a factor of a person’s conscience. It is a result of a threat against the bond within relationships as well as suggests that there is a problem within a relationship. Shame arises out of tension between a person’s ego and their conception of themselves and is linked to cognitive-developmental factors as well as develops through socialisation. In addition, shame is the fear of abandonment and to bring shame or to damage the reputation of something or someone is considered disgrace. Furthermore, shame is the potential for disgrace to be experienced and can result from dishonesty.

Secondly, dishonesty is the “deceitfulness shown in someone’s character or behaviour” as defined in the Oxford Dictionary. Dishonest behaviour is based on external and internal rewards in which people benefit from. The concept of dishonesty is when a person gains from degrading actions rather than remaining an honest individual or maintaining a positive self-concept. In addition, dishonesty is a result of feeling disgraceful or committing a disgraceful act and can be avoided by increasing people’s attention to what their standard of honesty is. Furthermore, to be dishonest is to bring disgrace upon someone or something and the lack of honour is disgrace.

Lastly, ignominy is a circumstance relating to morality which causes disgrace to occur in a situation. It is the deserving of or causing public disgrace or shame as well as having a character that is deserving of shame or is degrading. Furthermore, an ignominy is a public display of actions which is visible to an entire community and is when the victim from the situation becomes ashamed. It is an action that does not take justification for any harm or consequences caused. In addition, the concept of ignominy can relate to injustice as well as the violation of civilisation or dignity. Events such as poverty in a country is seen as an ignominious situation and the individual with power over that specific community is seen as a disgrace.

In conclusion, disgrace as a concept is the loss of respect resulting from embarrassment or degrading behaviour in public or private situations. Being aware of a person’s disgraceful actions causes feelings of shame to arise as well as creates dishonesty in a situation. In addition, when a person deserves to be publicly disgraced, the situation then becomes an ignominy and the victim of the situation becomes a disgrace.

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