Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare (Book Analysis) - Bright Summaries - ebook

Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare (Book Analysis) ebook

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Unlock the more straightforward side of Measure for Measure with this concise and insightful summary and analysis!

This engaging summary presents an analysis of Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare, a ‘problem play’ about humanity’s tendencies towards corruption. It tells the story of Claudio, who is sentenced to death on a charge of fornication by Angelo, who has just been appointed the temporary ruler of the city and is determined to stamp out all wrongdoing. However, Angelo’s own flaws become apparent when Claudio’s sister Isabella goes to plead for her brother’s life, and is given an ultimatum: surrender her chastity to Angelo, or watch her brother die… William Shakespeare is considered one of the greatest playwrights in English literary history, and the popularity of his works remains undiminished even today, several centuries after his death.

Find out everything you need to know about Measure for Measure in a fraction of the time!

This in-depth and informative reading guide brings you:

• A complete plot summary
• Character studies
• Key themes and symbols
• Questions for further reflection

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WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

ENGLISH PLAYWRIGHT AND POET

Born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564.Died in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1616.Notable works:Venus and Adonis (1593), poemHamlet (1603), playMacbeth (1623), play

William Shakespeare is regarded as the most influential writer in English history. His 37 plays have been performed countless times, and have been reproduced and adapted across a broad range of periods and cultural contexts. As well as the plays, which can be loosely divided into tragedies, histories and comedies, Shakespeare wrote a number of narrative poems and sonnets. He also had an indelible influence on the English language itself, bringing a huge variety of words and phrases – as varied as “swagger”, “bubble”, “mind’s eye” and “heart of gold” – into regular usage.

Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway in 1582 and had three children with her. Their only son, Hamnet, died at the age of 11. Very little else is known about Shakespeare’s life, which he spent between Stratford-upon-Avon and London. It is clear, however, that his literary talents were matched by a shrewd entrepreneurial spirit. He made a number of profitable investments in his lifetime, which gave him the financial freedom to devote himself to acting and writing. In 1599, Shakespeare and his acting company (The Lord Chamberlain’s Men) built the Globe Theatre on the banks of the River Thames in London. Many of Shakespeare’s greatest plays were written to be performed at this theatre.

MEASURE FOR MEASURE

A ‘PROBLEM’ PLAY

Genre: playReference edition: Shakespeare, W. (2008) Measure for Measure. London: Norton.1stedition: 1623Themes: justice, sin, lust, mercy, deception

Measure for Measure was first performed in 1604 and is presumed to have been written shortly before this. Its most important source is Promos and Cassandra (1578), an unperformed play by George Whetstone (English dramatist, 1544-1587). In the earlier play, a corrupt judge forces a young woman to yield up her virginity in exchange for her brother's life. In Shakespeare’s play, the heroine manages – with the help of a willing replacement – to avoid submitting to the antagonist’s request. However, the play still confronts the issues of corruption, disempowerment and coercion. The prominence of these weighty issues, along with the play’s dark tone and troubling ending, means that Measure for Measure is often given the designation of a ‘problem play’.

SUMMARY

ANGELO LAYS DOWN THE LAW