How do the characters in Much Ado about Nothing reflect the society, and what type of society is this play set in?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Much Ado About Nothing is set in an aristocratic, hierarchical, and patriarchal society.   So what do these words mean?

An aristocratic society is one in which both the majority of the wealth (and most of the means of generating that wealth, which in this case was land) and almost all of the political power was concentrated in the hands of a group of people who inherited their power, land, and wealth purely by virtue of their birth.  These aristocrats (of which the king, prince, or ruling duke, such as Don Pedro of the play, were merely the highest level of aristocrat,)  did not gain their wealth or power by their own merits (such as in a meritocracy), although men of ability were valued and could rise on their merits in certain situation, but rather they got their money and governing status simply by right of birth.  This seems strange to most of us today, considering that there was very little provision if the person who inherited the title, lands, and government power were not...

(The entire section contains 598 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team