‘Who’s Who?’ in Messina
Name and place in society: Leonato, the Governor of Messina
Family background: Leonato is the head of the leading family in Messina. His family is very well known and can trace its history back through many generations.
Profession: Leonato is the ruler of Messina and ensures that the city’s laws are upheld and business can be transacted safely. This means that the city will be successful for all its citizens. His work as governor is full-time and demanding as he has to ensure that disputes are settled and everyone can live safely.
Personality: Because he is the city’s governor, Leonato is very used to having his own way and he always makes sure that everyone in his household does what he says. Leonato showed the kind and generous side of his personality when he agreed to give a home to his niece Beatrice when her parents passed away. As well as his serious side, Leonato can behave in a light-hearted and humorous way. One example is the way he makes fun of his niece Beatrice and because of the way she talks to her former lover Benedick though he is critical of Beatrice as well because he thinks her tongue is too sharp. Leonato dotes on his daughter Lady Hero but he insists that her behaviour should be perfect so she must not slip-up otherwise he will be displeased.
Plans for the future: Leonato is very anxious to make sure that his beloved daughter Lady Hero makes a suitable marriage to a man from the right level of society. He would very much like to find a suitable marriage for his niece Beatrice but he wonders which man would be able to cope with her sharp tongue.