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Much Ado About Nothing

by William Shakespeare
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Which historical events are connected to Much Ado About Nothing?

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The Italian War of 1551-1559 is the likely backdrop for the plot of Much Ado About Nothing . The setting is Messina, which is located on the Island of Sicily and was part of the territory fought over by France and Spain in these conflicts. The wars in this region...

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The Italian War of 1551-1559 is the likely backdrop for the plot of Much Ado About Nothing. The setting is Messina, which is located on the Island of Sicily and was part of the territory fought over by France and Spain in these conflicts. The wars in this region were waged sporadically between the late fifteenth century and ended around 1559 when Phillip II, the king of Aragon during this period, put an end to them, taking control of everything.

The exact year is never specified in the play, and even the nature of the war the male characters are returning from is not specified. However, it can be assumed that they are returning from the Italian War of 1551-1559 because of the Messina setting. The claim that there were few casualties in the skirmish also suggests that this play takes place during the tail-end of the wars in the 1550s, right before Philip II claimed final victory.

As always, Shakespeare seems to have been less interested in hardcore historical accuracy than in evoking a certain atmosphere. The martial victory of the male characters puts almost all the characters in a light mood, and sets the stage for the romantic comedy to come.

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