Measure for Measure.pptx - Measure for Measure c 1603-1604...

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Measure for Measure c . 1603-1604 Late in Shakespeare’s career
Synopsi s Click here for the RSC synopsis of the play Comedy: the convention is that several couples will marry in the final scene Problem play: several couples will marry, but the play is dark, tragic at times, complicated, violent, psychological; it’s not just straight comedy/silliness and happy marriages The complexity of Measure for Measure, along with its incorporation of mature topics and issues, makes it best suited for mature readers. The themes (justice vs mercy, political corruption, ethical responsibility, women as sexual victims, men as sexual predators) provide fertile material for exploration of many serious ethical questions. While prostitution and other types of sex are a part of the play, they are best understood as a major means of portraying Vienna as a morally corrupt place under the Duke’s rule. That corruption itself drives much of the major theme of “judge not, lest ye be judged, though that is somewhat simplistic for this play. Click to listen to (and follow along with) a professional reading of the play Acts 1-3 ; Acts 4-5 Consider changing the playback speed to 1.5x
Act 1 1.1 Major plot line is introduced: Vienna is corrupt; the Duke wants Angelo to be in charge while he takes a break 1.2 First subplot introduced: with wars raging and corruption at an all time high, locals discuss new government changes, especially that any man caught fornicating will be executed; Claudio planned to marry Juliet (who is pregnant), but her family doesn't’ like him. Now, he is to be executed. Claudio asks Lucio to go to his sister, Isabella, and have her plea his case for him to Angelo 1.3 The Duke’s stupid plan: he will dress as a friar an spy on the people of Vienna (think Big Brother) (1.3.6-3-end) 1.4 Second subplot is introduced Isabella is moments away from becoming a nun. She values here chastity, her Christian moral code, and thirdly, her brother (Claudio) and friend (Juliet) (1.4.15- 89)
Act 2 2.1 Angelo and Escalus discuss how to torture Angelo; Shakespeare offers some comic relief by making fun of the constables (police officers); although a silly scene, there is a lot of commentary about law, order, corruption, etc.

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