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Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing and Renaissance Italy Essay

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Shakespeare's play "Much Ado About Nothing" takes place in Messina, a city-state of Renaissance Italy. The Renaissance was a period in European history believed to have been between AD 1300 and AD 1600 with a feudal society of agricultural economy and church dominated culture. It was during the Renaissance that Europe was transformed into a society dominated by central political institutions with education, arts and music heavily influenced by the Christian religion. In Italy, cities such as Florence, Ferrara, Milan, and Venice flourished. These cities were able to finance cultural achievements. Medieval Italian merchants developed commercial and financial techniques such as bookkeeping and bills of exchange. Italian city-states were transformed from communes into territorial states, each of which wanted to expand at the expense of others. Diplomacy was established when the Italian city-states began embassies in foreign courts. In general, the Italian Renaissance was a time of flourishing ideas and prosperity.

"Much Ado About Nothing" is a play intertwining two love stories. One story follows the romance of a young woman Hero (daughter of Leonato, governor of Messina) and a young officer Claudio. When Claudio returns from war, he realizes he's deeply in love with Hero. With the help of his commander, Don Pedro, Claudio proposes to her. The other is a less likely couple, Beatrice (Hero's cousin) and Bene*censored* (another officer). Both being witty, strong-willed and outspoken, the two seem to bare distaste for each other. However, when their friends arrange for them to overhear conversations revealing how much each is loved by the other, it doesn't take long before they declare their love for one another. Meanwhile, self...


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...ce of Aragon, Don Pedro. The political systems are also shown by the fact Don John was denied claim to his family's wealth because he was born outside of marriage. Secondly, I learned about household positions in Renaissance Italy. As displayed by the play, a noble household was headed by a man (Leonato) with daughters waiting to be courted (Hero/Beatrice), and maidservants (Margaret/Ursula). A third lesson was in medieval courtship. In those times, the girls were to be wooed and events such as the dance in "Much Ado About Nothing" were thrown to do so. When a man wished to marry her, he would ask her father for permission, just as Claudio does for Hero.

In conclusion, Shakespeare's play "Much Ado about Nothing" intertwines two love stories in Renaissance Italy. Through its characters, it portrays the political and household lifestyles of the Renaissance times.


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