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What do we learn about the society of Messina in the play 'Much Ado About Nothing'?

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Introduction

What do we learn about the society of Messina in the play 'Much Ado About Nothing'? We define society as somewhere where we live, our surroundings, something in which we live, or as the oxford dictionary would say A group of humans broadly distinguished from other groups by mutual interests, participation in characteristic relationships, shared institutions, and a common culture. There are many things that play a part in our society, such as education and leisure pursuits, and this is no different to the Elizabethan times and Messina. Messina is the town in which the play 'Much Ado About Nothing' is set. There are many different points in the play that tell us of the many different parts of society in Messina and what the town is like as a whole. However it strikes me as rather odd as to why Shakespeare set this play in a town many people at the time would not have known about. He could have just as easily set it in the hustle and bustle of London, but instead chose Messina. For one Shakespeare chose Messina because of the ease he could use 'noting'. He could include it in his play and the audience would know it suited Messina, this is because like London, Messina is a very busy town, and in towns like ...read more.

Middle

The behaviour of people on the town seems to be on the whole very good. However that is the first impression, we actually see how Messina is quite corrupt with many sneaky villains. Firstly though I feel that the Messinians treat outsiders very well, especially royalty, as we see from the greeting Don Pedro, Don John and Claudio receive. "Never came trouble to my house in the likeness of your grace. For trouble being gone, comfornt should remain, but when you depart from me, sorrow abides and happiness takes his leave" Act 1 Scene 1 Line 86-89 Leonato pays the royalty much respect and shows them utmost formality. The Messinians make everything go up in standard, and this shows signs of them going out of their way to the arrival of the royalty. Also the introduction to everyone in Act 1 Scene 1 is very long, it goes on from lines 83 to 141 until everyone is introduced to each other. However there is a much more corrupt side to the town of Messina, as we find out later in the play, anyone will be two faced and betray people if it involves a little money. The evil on comes into the play when Don John arrives as he is the main villain in the play, and we find out how he is the brains behind most of the plots, but never wishes to get his hands dirty. ...read more.

Conclusion

Proving to the audience how chastity of your daughter was a very important thing in Messina. To conclude, I feel we learn a lot about the society of Messina in this play. However Shakespeare does not put it straight in front of you, he hides it behind his writing, and the characters lines. We learn of all the different social statuses in Messina and also the superiority of the male gender. I feel the most striking thing about Messina though, is how corrupt it is. You get the impression that it is a very friendly, peaceful town, however as we delve further into the play we find out the truth. The audience watching this would have been able to recognise many people and parts in this play, because it is so much like Elizabethan England at the time this was performed. Many families suffered from the divide on employment and social status, and many families also saw the chastity of their daughter the most important thing a father could offer, however the thing they would most be able to associate with would have been Dogberry and Verges. The watches would have been a very strong figure in England, and would be instantly recognisable from the moment they stepped on stage and one that would be guaranteed to raise a lot of laughs in the crowd. By Thomas Melia 11TS ...read more.

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