Research Paper: Measure for Measure Shakespeare

Topics: Sexual intercourse, Human sexual behavior, Marriage Pages: 4 (1430 words) Published: November 5, 2010
Research Paper: Measure for Measure
Shakespeare's Measure for Measure centers around the fate of Claudio, who is arrested by Lord Angelo, the temporary leader of Vienna. Angelo is left in charge by the Duke, who pretends to leave town but instead dresses as a friar to observe the goings-on in his absence. Angelo is strict, moralistic, and unwavering in his decision-making; he decides that there is too much freedom in Vienna and takes it upon himself to rid the city of brothels and unlawful sexual activity. Laws against these behaviors and institutions already exist, and Angelo simply decides to enforce them more strictly. Claudio is arrested for impregnating Juliet, his lover, before they were married. Although they were engaged and their sexual intercourse was consensual, Claudio is sentenced to death in order to serve as an example to the other Viennese citizens. The play then introduces to us Isabella, Claudio's sister who is about to enter a nunnery when her brother is arrested. She is unfailingly convinced by Angelo that he will let Claudio live if she agrees to have sexual intercourse with him. Although Isabella refuses immediately, she is left to contemplate a very important decision later as her brother too wants her to save his life at any cost. With the help of the Duke, dressed as a friar, Isabella will agree to Angelo to have sex and then contemplate a plan such that Mariana, his former lover who was abandoned when she lost her dowry in a shipwreck, will go in Isabella's place. Everything goes according to plan, except that Angelo does not pardon Claudio, fearing revenge. However, with a plan carefully executed by the Duke, Claudio is pardoned and Angelo confesses to his misdeeds and the play concludes with the Duke asking Isabella to marry him. Shakespeare through out this play is ridiculing the sex laws and the way sex is viewed. He is also clearly suggesting how morally crooked and corrupted one could be with power.

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