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Dogberry

I am a wise fellow, and which is more, an officer, and which is more, a householder, and which is more, as pretty a piece of flesh as any in Messina.

[4.2.81]

Also called

  • Neighbour,
  • Master constable,
  • Ass

Played by

Charlotte Mills

Biography

Dogberry is the parish Constable and is in charge of organising the watch. He is the most comical character in the play as he is an incompetent organiser and constantly uses the opposite word from the one he means (malapropism). Just before Hero and Claudio's doomed wedding, he attempts to inform Leonato, the Governor, of Borachio's arrest and, to his great delight, is allowed to examine Borachio himself. As a result of this, Dogberry, the Sexton and the watch are the first to uncover the plot that has ruined Hero. During his trial, Borachio greatly upsets Dogberry by calling him an "ass" and Dogberry takes this as a terrible insult. He urges Leonato to bear this in mind when considering Borachio's punishment.

Relationships

Interviews

@Dogberry

I am trying to get to bottom of what is going on but can’t tell who is the mastermind. Any thoughts my noble members of the watch?

@lottie

Ask some people.

Add your reply to @Dogberry

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Locked Content

Annual report on the Messina Watch

Name: Dogberry

Position: Master Constable of the Watch

Introduction: Dogberry is one of the longest serving members of the Messina Watch. The duties of the watch are to make sure that the laws of Messina are upheld and any criminals caught and punished. His role is to lead the members of the watch and ensure its effective working.

Strengths: Dogberry is an enthusiastic leader of the watch. He has a strong determination to keep the peace and take criminals to justice.

Areas to improve: There is a suggestion that Dogberry is sometimes willing to turn a blind eye to some criminal behaviour. This seems to be occurring where Dogberry is dealing with criminals who are violent. He has been reported as saying that his men should let dangerous thieves ‘steal away’ in case they offer any resistance to arrest. It is felt that Dogberry is fearful of the dangers of the role of Master Constable.

Another concern is that Dogberry can make mistakes with his speech. Sometimes his words are confused so that he uses the wrong words which can make his superiors fail to understand the crime that is being reported to them. One example is that he called a member of the watch ‘senseless’ when he really meant ‘sensible’. Mistakes of language can be serious in dealing with criminals and the law as it can allow criminals to escape justice.

Recommendations: Dogberry should be supported by braver, younger men who are better able to stand up to young criminals. It might be best if he takes more of a managing role leaving the actual work with criminals to be taken by the younger, stronger men.

His use of language needs to be helped by working with leading citizens of Messina such as The Sexton to ensure that he uses the right words when dealing with criminals and the law.