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Much Ado about Nothing

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Introduction

Shakespeare has written a lot of literary materials that are still being recognized and acknowledged by lots of literature readers today. This paper will highlights on the play “Much Ado about Nothing,” by William Shakespeare, as it will focus mainly on the setting of the play, which in this case is Messina, Sicily where he chose to write his play. The paper will also seek to note the importance of the playwright for choosing Messina, Sicily As the place where the play was staged, the paper will highlights on the importance of choosing Messina for this play, the paper will also provides the reader with a summary of the play ensuring that the reader is in a great position of understanding what is basically going to be discussed in the paper.

Plot summery of the play “Much Ado about Nothing," by William Shakespeare

The play is based on love between different characters in the play with the most notable love being experienced between Beatrice and Benedick who are in deep love with each other. They even go to the extent of openly showing their love publicly for the public to witness the love the have for each other. The other relationship is between Claudio and Hero who are different kinds of individuals, this is openly expressed in their relationship as they don’t openly communicate of publicly show their affection for each other. This kind of relationship is what resulted to Claudio deceiving Hero by refusing to marry her.

The Setting of the Play

The setting of the play “Much Ado about Nothing," by William Shakespeare is Messina, Sicily; history has it that Messina is one of the towns that is found in Italy, its considered  to be the third largest city that is found in the island of Sicily, Italy. The island of Sicily was under the rule of the Aragon by the time the play was written, thus the playwright (Shakespeare) used the town of Messina because the town was under the rule of the Aragon’s at the time of writing the play. 

There are several factors that William Shakespeare considered in his mind when writing the play “Much Ado about Nothing,". The first reason for choosing Messina, Sicily as the setting of the play was because the play was a romantic play that revolved around love relationship between different couples in the play, thus he wanted to give the play a romantic touch this is when he used of Messina as the setting of the play (Levith, 30).

This is well demonstrated in the play, as some of the characters were involved in love relationships an example is the relationship between Claudio and Hero who are the key characters in the play “CLAUDIO: Benedick, did you notice Signior Leonato’s daughter? BENEDICK: I saw her, but I didn’t notice her. Is she not a modest young lady? CLAUDIO: Isn’t she a well-mannered young lady?” (Shakespeare, act 1, scene 1, p.8). Other relationships in the play were the relationship between Beatrice and Benedick, “BENEDICK: So you took pleasure in bringing me this message? BEATRICE: Yes, as much pleasure as one might take in choking a bird at knifepoint. You don’t want to eat, sir? Goodbye, then.”, and the love relationship amongst other minor characters in the play such as the love relationship between Borachio and Margaret amongst others, in this case the playwright  considered Messina as one of the most romantic places in the entire world, this is because of its unique physical features, that  ensured the couples were able to express their love for each other more freely without being denied the opportunity of expressing  themselves to their loved once. These unique natural features are considered to be some of the reasons that pushed William Shakespeare into choosing Messina, Sicily as his setting for writing the play (Shakespeare, 7).

Shakespeare chose Messina, Sicily as the setting for the play is because it would be easy for him to express the romance that existed between the characters in the play. Therefore Messina being an island found in Sicily, Italy was considered a very peaceful city that wasn’t encountering a lot of wars at the Shakespearean times. The peaceful nature the town enjoyed and the unique physical features were seen as some of the factors that Shakespeare chose for this play (Shakespeare, 5).

The other reason for Shakespeare selecting Messina was because the town was under the leadership of the Aragon’s that was in the 15th century. In the play “Much Ado about Nothing," by William Shakespeare, Leonato was the leader who was appointed by the Aragon administration to manage and rule Messina, Thus Leonato who was seen as the Lord of Messina and he was adored by the citizens of The Island. The prince of the Aragon Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon, would have to pass by Messina, Sicily before heading to his kingdom for accommodation in Leonato’s  palace.  Don Pedro who was the prince of Aragon was from a war in another city and   was also accompanied by a group of warriors that includes his illegitimate brother Don John, Benedick, Claudio, Borachio and Conrade. And after the war he sent a messenger to go and inform the leader of Messina (Leonato) that he will be passing by the Messina town for some days before heading to his town. This is seen from when the play begins that in the compound/ house of Leonato when a Don Pedro Messenger to deliver the Message to Leonato. As shown in the play, “LEONATO: (holding a letter) According to this letter, Don Pedro of Aragon and his army are coming to Messina tonight. MESSENGER: He must be very near by now. When I left him, he was less than nine miles from here.” (Shakespeare, act, scene 1, p.5)

The other reason why Shakespeare is believed for choosing Messina as the setting “Much Ado about Nothing." is because of William Shakespeare is well acquainted with Italy as a country and the Italian language. Previous literary teachings and writings had indicated that William Shakespeare   was familiar with different locations in Italy and this also showed that he was familiar with Italian as a language. These are   some of the possible reasons that propelled him into using Messina town as the setting of his play, this is well explained with Murray Levith in his book "Shakespeare's Italian Settings and Plays." when he stated that Shakespeare was a person that was familiar with Italian language and he was also very familiar with the different locations in Italy as a country, these are some of the reasons that made it easy for him to  use Messina as his setting because he was familiar with the historical background of the place  (Levith, 35).

In conclusion according to the research I have conducted it is evidently clear that the importance of choosing Messina town was as a result of the Shakespeare being well familiar with the place he set for the play, the familiarity with the location will definitely make it easy for him to express his ideas more easily. This will also make the play to appear original and thus making the play real, thus reflecting the ideas that write  wants to express in the play, as compared to when a writers imagines what the play was all about. Shakespeare was also believed to be an Italian and this was a clear indication that he was familiar with different places and Italian as a language, as evident in his previous works that have an Italian setting.      

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