• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Measure for Measure-A Problem Play?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Discuss the reasons why Measure for Measure might be termed 'a problem play'. The play does not fit comfortably into any other genre, such as tragedy or comedy although some aspects can be, and will originally have been, interpreted comically. Measure for Measure could therefore be seen to reflect everyday life more so than any other of Shakespeare's plays; that is a situation made up of many moral complications, dilemmas and light moments. In this sense the term 'problem' is perfectly suited to the play as it does not single out one issue and explore it in a typical dramatic fashion, instead it acknowledges the many areas and problems within life and shows how difficult life can be when one has to deal with many issues at once. The problem of defining Measure for Measure at the time it was first performed also seems to introduce the idea that Shakespeare wanted to produce a play with more than one message or plot running through it; he may not have wanted it tied down to a certain genre. The new genre of a 'problem play' allows individual productions a great deal of flexibility in the way each character is presented making the play ideal for society at the time of each production. ...read more.

Middle

The theme of justice is particularly interesting when discussing this issue, as it is clear that past decisions and leniency have led to a justice system so corrupt that to even attempt to correct it can cause an even greater number of problems than it solves. When deciding whether to punish Claudio for his crime many issues have to be taken into consideration and any decision will cause problems. As Claudio is quite obviously in love with Juliet sentencing him to death would be almost as if Angelo was dismissing human emotions and traditions in favour of legally binding vows however, if Claudio was allowed to live it would be even more difficult to sentence another person for the same crime at a later date. These factors alongside the issue of who is in charge of justice makes for a large moral and political debate as to which of many possible decisions is the correct one. Angelo defends his decision to sentence Claudio to death by stating it is the law not he who is responsible for passing judgement and Isabella responds to this by reminding Claudio that there is a greater power (God) ...read more.

Conclusion

Thirdly, the position of Angelo as 'divine ruler' for the time being can be seen as highly corrupt as he uses his power to show Isabella she would never be believed if she was to report him. This one situation has presented the audience with many problems dealing with a wide range of issues from morality to human rights and the justice system. In this sense the play is unlike a tragedy such as Othello, which attempts to present one main villain and a hero who becomes persuaded into drastic actions. Here all the characters can be seen to carry blame to some extent, which poses a problem for the audience when interpreting the play. If Claudio asks his sister to go through with Angelo's request he dismisses her worth, yet if Isabella commits the act she has contributed to worsening an already corrupt system and Angelo can be seen as causing a problem by changing his principals and contradicting himself in a short period of time. Even the Duke can't be seen as the villain as it seems he is attempting to improve the situation by speaking to others involved and trying to carry out a plan that will be beneficial to all involved. Natalie Lealand Word Count-1186 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Measure for Measure section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Measure for Measure essays

  1. Discuss the theme of deception and disguise in the play "Measure for Measure."

    The law has become "like an o'ergrown lion in a cave' which does not even bother to go and hunt. This simile properly conveys the picture of a once terrible and peacekeeping beast run down to indulgence and indifference. The Duke then goes on to explain how a cane of

  2. measure for measure

    Additionally, after her meeting with the Duke, in Act Three, it is almost as if he drains the vigour and energy in Isabella that the audience has so admired. She says: "I am directed by you", certainly not the words of an excessively proud woman, nor does her participation in the bed-trick particularly uphold her piety, virtue or chastity.

  1. Consider the Attitudes To Women Demonstrated In the Vienna of Measure For Measure.

    of his time, Shakespeare shows what little he thinks of the values adopted by his peers and contemporaries.

  2. Critics have often seen Vincentio, the Duke in Shakespeare's play Measure for Measure, as ...

    It also concentrates on the changes brought about by the shifting of power. Angelo, for example, having vowed to serve the law, moves away from his purpose the moment he sees Isabella, and in Act II, Scene ii, he reflects upon his situation; Is this her fault, or mine?

  1. What do you find dramatically interesting about Shakespeare's presentation of the Duke in the ...

    Lucio seems like a key figure in the relation to the Dukes false identity. He constantly slanders the Duke, which gives the play and scene its dramatic tension and creates comedy in the play. The Dukes vital speech in the form of a soliloquy, his speech is put in a prose context that signifies its importance.

  2. Shakespeare Uses Imagery to create both Characters and Their Environment. Show how he does ...

    The lack of books and literate people meant that Shakespeare had to use simple pictures that all his audience could relate to, to put forth any abstract idea. For example "we must not make a scarecrow of the Law..."(ii.i.1). A Scarecrow is a representation of a human, designed to deceive birds, because it is a false image, or representation.

  1. Comment on Shakespeare's conclusion to 'Measure for Measure'

    He also requests the aggrieved women to petition him at the gates for justice. However the next day despite Angelo's promise to Isabella he stills issue her brother's execution. Friar Lodowick reveals his true identity to the Provost to prevent Claudio's execution.

  2. How does Shakespeare use representations of speech and other dramatic techniques to present the ...

    Shakespeare uses techniques to clearly show the audience that the Duke has power over Angelo. In this extract, the Duke is trying to pass his role of Duke onto Angelo without giving him direct authority, this is shown through the use of personification.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work