Essay: Slander and Libel

Reputation, of all human possessions, is perhaps the least tangible yet the most zealously guarded. To be known for integrity and honor, most people willingly labor a lifetime. Even a rogue may cherish the mistaken notion that he enjoys the respect of his community. As Shakespeare's foulest villain, Iago, puts it in Othello, "Good name in man and woman is the immediate jewel of their souls." That is why the concepts of slander and libel, and of the right of the aggrieved to seek redress for defamation, were introduced into English common law during the Middle Ages and why those ideas...

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