Shakespeare's Measure For Measure Essay

4243 words - 17 pages

Shakespeare's Measure for Measure

This reading of Measure for Measure will try to do more than draw attention to the extent to which Shakespeare goes beyond the conventional happy ending in this play. There are indications that the conclusions of many of the comedies are not really meant to bear up to close scrutiny; in Jaques¹ words, their loving voyages are not victual¹d for very long. In Measure for Measure we are openly challenged to question the adequacy of attaching a happy ending to a deeply troubling play. It seems that a stern question, regarding human nature and the adequacy of the comic resolution, cannot be deferred any longer. How do we preserve a community that will sustain ...view middle of the document...

In this essay, we shall concern ourselves with Shakespeare¹s suggestively incomplete account of the process through which a self-professed philosopher-king forsakes contemplation to rescue his carnally en-mired dukedom.

While the subject matter of this play is unequivocally political, Shakespeare is not offering political blueprints. We must learn from his unequalled ability to depict and illustrate the workings of the human soul. Poetry is a tool at the disposal of the statesman and Shakespeare pleads convincingly for the respectability of his art. However, the imagination cannot create virtue in the real world; only individuals can do this and they are influenced by other factors that reside outside the purview of the imagination. Statesmanship has to deal with the object world, and its task is to overcome the external obstacles to the recognition of man¹s capacity for true humanity. The poet¹s task is to educate the ruler in self-knowledge; like the slave at a Roman Triumph, he must continually remind his ruler that it is no disgrace to be a man.

Measure for Measure is Shakespeare's most dramatic depiction of the battle between the desires and reason. The initial situation is the opposite of the standard comic beginning. The political consequences of comic toleration are seen to be just as unfortunate as the repression imposed on the desires by rational inflexibility. In the real world, such extreme measures set in motion dialectical processes that bring the other extreme into power thereby compounding the damage caused by the original action. Comedy and tragedy are not remedies for each other; we seek a qualitatively superior model for human conduct that will embody the insights of both and the faults of neither. We seek to end the increasingly typical pattern of events that alternates tyranny with sporadic bouts of anarchistic democracy. Ultimately, both positions derive from a pessimistic view of man, which could be used to justify tyrannical tragedy, or celebrate anarchic comedy. This misanthropic model spawned the revengeful and vicious dialectic that demanded measure for measure. Such an alternation between extremes must be replaced by a more moderate and enlightened view. This model must realize and sustain the human potentialities that were identified in the middle comedies, while it guards against weaknesses that can now be addressed as such. As Vincentio observed "There is so great a fever on goodness that only the dissolution of it must cure it" (III.ii.222-23). In other words, a radical 'transvaluation of values' must be undertaken. We have to go beyond the hypocritical Œfamily values¹ of Angelo (how much is your family worth?) and the scarcely different free market values of unpurged Vienna.

Although Duke Vincentio in Measure for Measure is luckier than Rosalind's father and Prospero, in that he has not been deposed for his inefficiency, he is clearly not very far from this stage. Just as the two deposed Dukes...

Other Essays Like Shakespeare's Measure for Measure

Metadrama In Shakespeare Essay

1926 words - 8 pages Priam seeks" (Act II, scene ii, lines 438-440) This style was much used by Shakespeare's earlier contemporaries, the sort of passionate speechifying Bottom makes use of in Midsummer:- "That will ask some tears in the true performing of it: if I do it, let the audience look to their eyes; I will move storms, I will condole in some measure. To the rest: yet my chief humour is for a tyrant:" (Act I, scene ii lines 21-25) This melodramatic over acting

Performance Measure Critique Essay

1452 words - 6 pages to measure human resource management performance for a given period. This is an important measurement due to the correlation with employee satisfaction, which is an important aspect of human resources. Turnover can have a great effect on organizations. This measure can be quantified through turnover cost, which can include the cost of training an employee and the future employee, loss of productivity for the department, and even loss of

What Is to Be Done with Texas Projection Measure?

1645 words - 7 pages performance goals” (TEA, 2009.) This announcement defined, “Growth measures track individual student achievement on state tests from one year to the next, giving schools credit for student improvement over time.” Texas Commissioner of Education, Robert Scott stated, “Our ability to use a growth measure for accountability purposes will help recognize the hard work 2 being done in schools where students are making significant educational

Evilmac Macbeth's Evil Aspect

4157 words - 17 pages danger of inheriting it from Macbeth. (87-88)   In his book, On the Design of Shakespearean Tragedy, H. S. Wilson emphasizes the evil coexisting with traces of good in the play:   He is capable of gentleness and generosity: there is a tender human love between him and his wife, though they are both abandoned to evil; we may recall the relation between Claudius and Gertrude, and Shakespeare's capacity for seeing some goodness even in

To Observe Image Formation By Thin Lenses And To Compare Results With Those Given By The Simple Lens Equation

678 words - 3 pages they are the same in this case).3) Measure carefully for predictions.4) Position a lighted object on the optical bench at each of the distances specified in procedure.5) Locate the image on a viewing screen and measure the image distance in each case. Compare your measured results with the results predicted in procedure.6) Find the percent difference for each case.Data Table: DATA TABLE I (Focal Length


353 words - 2 pages History shows that two problems that arise from the business cycle are unemployment and inflation. To measure the unemployment rate, the government needs to first determine who is eligible to work. The labor force is made up of three groups, those who are under 16 years of age and people who are institutionalized. The second group consists of those adults who are potential workers but are not employed and are not seeking work. (I refer to them

Authorship Debate

1685 words - 7 pages William Shakespeare’s works being just that is a notion most accept; however, there has been a lot of evidence and arguments by historians, who opt to challenge this notion, arguing that Shakespeare was the pen name of Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford had to conceal his authorship for social and political reasons. After careful examination of historian’s evidence this theory doesn’t measure up and it was indeed Shakespeare, who was the

William Shakespeare's King Lear

1835 words - 8 pages that the sins that Lear did commit he has paid for through not only suffering but through redemption. This is far more significant than a simple count of who sinned against whom, but more a measure of Lear's soul and his will to make right his wrongs. Lear's journey is complete, from a king to a man, from sinful to pure, artifice to nature. The one thing that links all of the various journeys is that they all end in death but as Lear dies, what


1248 words - 5 pages . In inductive research, conceptualization is an important part of the process used to make sense of related observations (pp.63-64)." Obviously, without conceptualization our research in criminology would be completely different and almost certainly less efficient. Our book defines measurement validity as "The type of validity that is achieved when a measure measures what we think it measures." No really, that's what it says. For an example of

Analysis on the Fourth Movement of Schubert’s Symphony No. 4

2277 words - 10 pages modulates to E-flat major, which can also be known as the major mediant. The grand continuation phrase stays in E-flat major for a while, but it comes back in C minor at measure 41. A perfect authentic cadence in C minor, the home key, concludes the P zone. The transition takes a fragment of P1.1 but is rearranged in a different rhythm. The pitches in measure 5 are put into eigth-notes and measure 6 is twice as fast as in the

Performance Measurement

1070 words - 5 pages company, and the occupation of the employee. It can determine an employee’s employment status, and his or her compensation, as well as, their opportunity for advancement. Because of this performance management should consist of methods that use fair and correct assessments of the employee’s performance. To help employer’s measure employee’s performance, they must establish performance standards, which define what employees need to meet or exceed the

Related Papers

Comparative Essay Murmuring Judges (David Hare) And Measure For Measure (Shakespeare) Good For A Level Eng Lit+Lang (Theme Of Power)

2370 words - 10 pages "My opinion is, that power should always be distrusted, in whatever hands it is placed. (Sir William Jones, 1835) The theme of power is addressed in different ways in each of the two plays. The title of Shakespeare's play, 'Measure for measure' is an indication for the audience of the possible themes and makes an allusion to the old testament teaching 'an eye for an eye' (Leviticus, 24:20) and also conjures the mental image of a pair of scales

Measure Theory Essay

737 words - 3 pages representative of all elements of the job factor it purports to measure (Jorge, David, Michael & Siew, 2004). Failure to include all elements in the test may lead to illegal employee practices. For example, if the test in this case is measuring the demographics of the employees in the organization it may leave out an important element such as age thus the organization may end up with an employee group that is not representative of all age groups. In this case

Psychological Assessment Measures And Important Guidelines

3933 words - 16 pages - Psychological assessment measure 4 ……………. 4 c) Steps that should be followed in the adaptation - of an assessment measure for cross-cultural application …………… 10 2. References …………… 12 The process of developing a psychological assessment measure Introduction A psychological assessment is a process-oriented activity aimed at gathering a large range of

Place Of Women In Society In William Shakespeare's The Taming Of The Shrew

1380 words - 6 pages Place of Women in Society in William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew At the time this play was written there was a huge debate ongoing about the place of women in society. I am aiming to evaluate Shakespeare's contribution to this debate. He raises a very controversial issue. In the induction he sets out clearly what the play is about, in the lord's speech we are told exactly how women should behave, this may be