measure for measure

Only available on StudyMode
  • Topic: Comedy, Measure for Measure, Drama
  • Pages : 4 (1614 words )
  • Download(s) : 154
  • Published : April 9, 2014
Open Document
Text Preview
To what extent do you consider Measure for Measure to be a problem play? Measure for Measure has been deemed as a ‘problem play’ due to ‘lacking humanity’ and the drastic and uneven ‘emotion and language’ throughout the play. Because of this, the play is constantly being addressed as ‘problematic’ by critics like Swinburne who describes the play as being ‘indefinable’ and ‘unclassifiable’. The term problem play was first made current by F.S. Boas who was the critique of Shakespeare and his Predecessors. Measure for Measure doesn’t fit comfortably into either the genre of comedy or tragedy which is why it is problematic. It has an unusual, unresolved tone of both comedy and tragedy, and as a result, it is difficult for critics to find the reason for this. It could either be due to the contemporary style of comedy to suit the Jacobean audience, or it could be that Shakespeare simply wanted to surprise the audience with an unusual plot twist. Some of Shakespeare’s other works have been awarded the same title as Measure for Measure. These are: Troilus and Cressida and All’s Well that ends Well. Measure for Measure is a combination of two incongruous genres, comedy and tragedy however, there’s an inadequate amount written for both aspects, which is why there is trouble understanding it. It fulfils the definition Thomas Heywood gave of tragedy and comedy: ‘comedies begin in trouble and end in peace; while tragedies begin in calmes and end in tempest’. The play begins in a cyclical fashion starting and ending with the Duke with no improvement in regards to the law. Also, juxtaposition is used frequently by Shakespeare in the play. Comic scenes cause irony on serious scenes, for example, in Act 1 Scene 1 we witness a serious discussion between the Duke, Angelo and Escalus. This is contrasted by the indecent humour between Lucio and his friends in scene 2, showing the reader that not all occupants of Vienna share the same ideas as the Duke. The play causes the reader to...
tracking img