On Measure for Measure: An Essay in Criticism of Shakespeare's Drama

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University of Delaware Press, 1997 - Drama - 182 pages
"That Measure for Measure, a work of the dramatist's maturity, remains the focus of unresolved controversy calls into question the adequacy of Shakespeare criticism to be answerable to "what he hath left us." This book illustrates a way to conduct eclectic and historical criticism capable of manifesting this problematic play's coherence. It closely studies as drama, according to the conventions demonstrably presupposed, the play indicated by the text when construed as Shakespeare's extant provisions for its performance." "Analysis shows that Measure for Measure's principal interest cannot be character as such, but rather the searching play of thought, about a rich nexus of issues radical to our humanity, projected through the staged action it informs. To apprehend it, attention to structure, dramaturgy, and methods of representation is as essential as studying how Shakespeare uses ideas received from his co-creating culture." "Through this study, Measure for Measure emerges as a great play; uniquely daring in conception, scope, and comic purgation; humanely wise and balanced in outlook; brilliant in dramaturgical wit; exhilaratingly entertaining; and perhaps Shakespeare's most sophisticated work, though its coherence has often previously been clouded by misconstrual."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Page 67 - That skins the vice o' the top. Go to your bosom ; Knock there ; and ask your heart what it doth know That's like my brother's fault ; if it confess A natural guiltiness such as is his, Let it not sound a thought upon your tongue Against my brother's life.
Page 44 - with envy ; scarce confesses That his blood flows, or that his appetite Is more to bread than stone : hence shall we see, If power change purpose, what our seemers be.
Page 66 - Dress'd in a little brief authority, — Most ignorant of what he's most assur'd, His glassy essence, — like an angry ape, Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven As make the angels weep ; who, with our spleens, Would all themselves laugh mortal.
Page 144 - Why, so can I ; or so can any man : But will they come, when you do call for them ? Glend.
Page 90 - Dar'st thou die ? The sense of death is most in apprehension, And the poor beetle, that we tread upon, In corporal sufferance finds a pang as great As when a giant dies.
Page 43 - Even like an o'er-grown lion in a cave, That goes not out to prey.
Page 88 - tis too horrible ! The weariest and most loathed worldly life, ^ That age, ache, penury, and imprisonment Can lay on nature, is a paradise To what we fear of death.
Page 65 - Could great men thunder As Jove himself does, Jove would ne'er be quiet. For every pelting, petty officer Would use his heaven for thunder : nothing but thunder.— Merciful heaven ! Thou rather, with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt...
Page 134 - I partly think, A due sincerity govern'd his deeds, Till he did look on me ; since it is so, Let him not die : My brother had but justice, * Reason and affection.

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