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Measure for Measure May 14, 2012 12:00 AM | Tagged as Hypocrisy, measure for measure, morality, politial, power, Royal Shakespeare
I can’t believe that the month of May is almost half over and I still haven’t posted one article on our “Play of the Month”. I think I should call this one the “Play for the Summer”, because I will not be posting a new play until August, but this summer we will focus on the wonderful play, Measure for Measure
This play holds a special place in my heart because the first time I saw it I was on my first trip to England, for my 20th wedding anniversary, and we saw it in Stratford-Upon-Avon at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.  Two of my favorite English actors were in it, Robert Glenister (Hustle, and MI 5), and Clare Holman (Inspector Lewis Mysteries). I am sure when I saw it, I didn’t appreciate it as much as I should, but since then, I have come to understand and love it a bit more. 
Measure for Measure is considered a “problem play” because it is classified as a comedy but it is really an intellectual drama. Some of the themes of the play include hypocrisy, political and social injustices, corruption and depravity; none of which helps it fit into the comedy genre and I can’t figure out why it is even there! But there are many great scenes and lines worth remembering. 
Here is the synopsis of the play; Duke Vincentio has disappeared from the city and left Angelo in charge. Angelo resolves to make radical reforms in the government and revive the strict moral laws that had been ignored for years. Under these laws, the young man, Claudio, is sentenced to death for getting his fiancée pregnant. Claudio sends for his sister, Isabella, who is about to enter a convent, to come and plead in his behalf. She agrees and tries to save her brother by speaking to Angelo. Angelo agrees to free Claudio if Isabella will sleep with him. She refuses and insists that her virginity is worth more than even her beloved brother’s life. 
The Duke has secretly stayed in the city, disguised as a friar, in order to monitor Angelo’s leadership. He convinces Isabella to pretend to agree to Angelo’s demands, but then outwits him by arranging for Mariana, Angelo’s former fiancée who he deserted, to switch places with her. After having slept with, Mariana, who he believes to be Isabella, he goes back on his word and still plans on executing Claudio. The Duke steps in to resolve the turmoil that has been created by Angelo. 
Now doesn’t that just sound like a hilarious comedy? It isn’t, but it is a wonderful play and it ends well, I promise. When I first saw this, I was frustrated with the double standard that seems to be common throughout all of history between men and women, or the powerful vs. the common man etc. But this double standard or hypocrisy has been around since the dawn of time and is still going on today, especially in the political world. At least, that is my opinion. Luckily there is someone in the play to make everything right in the end…although I feel Angelo needed more punishment that what he gets. 
This play was first performed on December 26th, 1604 for King James I but some believe it was had been preformed earlier at The Globe and then re-written before presenting it to the King. I hope you will enjoy studying and reading about this great play! 
Just a business note: I will be traveling most of the summer so the posts will not be as regular as usual. Also, we are dropping the shopping cart on the products page but if you want to purchase any of the charms, or necklaces, all you have to do is call me (480-650-5939), and I will get them to you. Have a great summer and watch for more quotes from Measure for Measure!