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

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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 that news spreads fast, another reason is that because many in Messina are not as well off as others, people will want to know things that they can use against others, a way of getting money, and a very quick way. Other reason why Shakespeare has chosen Messina is that some because they suit the play better, and some because they suit him better.  Firstly, Messina is a very hurly burly seaport town, which was in turn a lot like London, however Shakespeare would have also chose it because he could have created humour easier.  He could mock the public figures, and the royalty, and even mock the Spanish for losing to England (Messina was part of the Spanish empire, and not too long before had the English defeated the Spanish – the Spanish Armada) without fear of anything, whereas if he would have done this in England he could have been put up for treason.  Despite him setting the play in Messina, which is a fairly unknown place to most of the audience, he still gets the audience to associate with certain characters in the play.  The most noticeable character in the play, and the one most Elizabethans could have associated with would have been the two watches, Dogberry and Verges.  This would have been because watches like these two would have also been around in London, but not quite so idiotic.  All of these reasons are very important in the play and the image of the society of Messina we receive from the play.

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Noting is all the way through the play however it is in some cases purposely done, the most obvious is when Don Pedro, Leonato and Caudio are playing a trick on Benedick into thinking that Beatrice loves him

“O ay, stalk on, stalk on, the fowl site – I never think that lady would have loved any man” Act 2 Scene 5 Line 89-90

(The conversion continues from line 86to line 206)

Employment is a major contributing factor to any town’s society.  In Messina I get the feeling most are employed on the port, something in ...

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