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Measure for Measure

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  15,146 Ratings  ·  492 Reviews
Moving adroitly between historical context and modern critical problems, this study explores the intertwining of politics, sexuality, and the social order in Measure for Measure.
Paperback, 79 pages
Published January 15th 2000 by Northcote House Publishers (first published 1603)
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Bill  Kerwin
Oct 24, 2015 Bill Kerwin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 16th-17th-c-brit

Why is it that I love the universe of this "dark" comedy so much, and why does it strike me as not really being so "dark" after all? Could it be because it is presided over by a "god"--the young Duke--who is priggish, diffident and comically vain (when his reputation is attacked by Lucio), and yet is unfailingly just and honorably susceptible to the attractions of female goodness and beauty? Is it because the "villain"--Angelo--is so pathetic and small that one never seriously expects he will wi
...more
Bookworm Sean
Jan 03, 2016 Bookworm Sean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I struggled with this, big time. But, when I read it for a second time I began to see how it all fit together. Then I went for a third attempt, and saw something else entirely. There are always different layers of meaning in Shakespeare’s work, and it’s always quite hard to make a solid interpretation. Someone out there will argue against what you are saying, and rightly so because who is to say where the true meaning of a piece of literature is? Not me, that’s for sure, all I can do is try to f ...more
Hailey (HailsHeartsNyc)
Read for school
Not my favourite, but still enjoyable!
Trevor
Jun 28, 2011 Trevor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
This is a much more troubling play than a comedy really has a right to be. To be honest, it is very hard to call this play a ‘comedy’ – unlike Much Ado or Twelfth Night, the laughs don’t exactly come thick and fast. In general outline this could easily enough be considered a romantic comedy – girl in trouble, boy cleverly rescues girl, girl marries boy; a perfect description of the genre? But the central story to this one is a very strange idea for a comedy.

Here’s the main story-line with the in
...more
Jeannette Nikolova
2015 Reading Challenge: A Book You Were Supposed to Read in High School But Didn't

I honestly don't have an explaination for this one. The characters didn't sit well with me. The dilemma about the brother's life(who was after all guilty), and the sistet's virtue annoyed me greatly, as I think that crimes deserve punishment.
Also, whatever comic element there was in this, it was lost on me. I didn't find anything in "Measure for Measure" funny. All of the character were too flawed to be fun or in
...more
Xueting
Dec 22, 2015 Xueting rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
Probably my favourite Shakespeare I have read so far!!

Really quite originally explores the very traditional issues of justice and equality, showing how no one's completely free from 'sinful' desires and temptations. Lord Angelo's terrible! Isabella's admirable! The innuendos laughable! A comedy without romance carrying the storyline... though I thought there finally won't be any unrealistic crazy romances that drastically end the play in a marriage, in the end there were still more than one of s
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Terence
Measure for Measure, as the title suggests, is all about weighing out appropriate portions – of love, of mercy, of justice. The plot is simple enough. The Duke of Vienna, concerned that his people have thrown off restraint and have sunk too far into liberty, leaves the city in the hands of Angelo, a man notorious for his strictness and inhuman discipline. As Lucio observes in two instances (once to Isabella and again to the Duke):

“…Upon his place,
Governs Lord Angelo; a man whose blood
Is very sn
...more
✔Jasmine✔
Just another piece of homework for Contemporary British Theatre class. I watched one of the productions and it was a drama about justice and virtue. Also had an issue regarding the purity of humanity. I do appreciate different forms of art. :)
Stephen Cobb
Jan 21, 2014 Stephen Cobb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe I made it 51 years on this earth without encountering Measure for Measure. Perhaps it's for the best: the mature theme of how to discern and judge justly is weighty with the cycles of human development .. it helps to have a few grey hairs to have lived through the many perspectives that Shakespeare offers through his characters.

Perhaps we shouldn't mark the beginning of modern psychology with Freud. Shakespeare has the best character analysis of any modern thinker I know.
Cindy Rollins
Aug 31, 2015 Cindy Rollins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shakespeare answers the question what is self-righteousness and how do we deal with it and I think he answers the question with grace and humor.

The plot revolves around this good and "just" man who signs up for Ashley Madison never realizing his employer is monitoring his computer. In the end he is punished by having to marry his betrothed. Fair dealing for the betrothed in that culture. It always seems to me that Shakespeare has a fair amount of respect for women and even goodness and a fair a
...more
Alp Turgut
Shakespeare'in diğer komedyalarına kıyasla daha ciddi bir tona sahip olduğu için tragikomedya olarak tanımlanabilecek "Measure for Measure / Kısasa Kısas", içinde birçok ahlaksal konuyu barındıran eleştirel alt metniyle oldukça başarılı bir eser. İnsan erdemliliği üzerine düşündürücü öğeler okuma şansı bulduğumuz oyunun cinsellik ve bekaret üzerine olan yenilikçi tutumu hem Shakespeare oyunları açısından hem de zamanının şartlarına göre fazlasıyla önem taşıyor. Öte yandan, zaman zaman İncil'le p ...more
Kate
Bizarrely, I loved Measure for Measure- even though I'd never heard of it, it seems unpopular for Shakespeare, and for some reason I glean the critical opinion surrounding it is something like "distasteful problem play, not a masterpiece."

If I could bring back into popularity any of Shakespeare's works this would be it. I thought it was far better than the surprisingly terrible Twelvth Night, which everyone goes on and on about yet is clearly slapped together for cheap laughs with a lot of clas
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Hannah Eiseman-Renyard
Sep 13, 2009 Hannah Eiseman-Renyard rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Die-hard Shakespeare fans only
There's a Problem at the Heart of This

A romantic comedy built around saving someone from capital punishment is going to have to work double-time to be anything approaching funny. Okay, this isn't a 'comedy' in the traditional sense - but it's filed as one of Shakespeare's comedies. I think the problem here is that Shakespeare himself didn't know what he was aiming for when he wrote this, and it reads as a smattering of well-trodden plot devices shoved together in a bizarre and incohesive order
...more
Ariel
Oct 25, 2014 Ariel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, this ended up being AWESOME! I'm kind of disappointed that I'd never heard of this play before, and that this isn't one of Shakespeare's giant plays!

I found the plot of this story a lot more exciting than other Shakespeare's I've read (Tempest I'm looking at you) and I thought that the moral dilemmas and questions where a lot more interesting than other Shakespeare's I've read (Twelfth Night you're a let down).

I think I know why it isn't so big though. For the same reasons I didn't give it 5
...more
Milly
Jun 16, 2007 Milly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is probably my favorite Shakespeare work. Granted, I could do without Launcelot and the plot line isn't always logical, but by and large Measure is a superb mix of the satirical and poetic. A true "problem play", the give-and-take between comedy and tragedy makes the work rich and complex in a way that you don't find with more easily categorized works. Imperfect authority passing judgment on the imperfections of others, secular flaws and desires shielded behind the authority of spirituality ...more
J.M.
Dec 08, 2015 J.M. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama, british
December of Drama 2015, day seven

Alright, so it turns out that I've already read Richard III, and all the tragedies. So for my last day of Shakespeare I stuck with my original selection, which happens to be, just like Troilus and Cressida that preceded it, at least as much a tragedy as it is a comedy. A "problem" comedy as the scholars might say. I like to call it "briny," like the briny deep, heavily salted, salacious. In this case heavily salted with death, and sin, and cynicism.

The plot is, t
...more
Bjorn
Aug 01, 2015 Bjorn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk
Re-read this to prepare for the 2015 Globe production.

ISABELLA: O! it is excellent
To have a giant's strength, but it is tyrannous
To use it like a giant.


"Problem play", they call it, meaning either that it's a play that revolves around a central moral question (as if Shakespeare's other plays don't), or that it's a bit of a mess that nobody can even figure out if it's supposed to be a comedy or a tragedy (as if that were a necessary distinction). And honestly, both definitions work here. There ar
...more
Vane J.
Apr 05, 2015 Vane J. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Summary:

Claudio has just been arrested because he left a prostitute pregnant, and that is chastised with death. Her sister, a novice, is informed of this situation. She runs to Angelo, the man who imprisoned Claudio, and begs for his mercy. Angelo, seeing only a beautiful and virgin nun, is aroused by her and thus, he decides he will let Claudio live if Isabella, Claudio's sister, surrenders her virginity to him. As a good girl that Isabella is, she obviously rejects the offer.

Things get more co
...more
Charles
It is true the famous saying, that next to God, Shakespeare probably created the most. There are so many concerns and issues which 'Measure for Measure' explores, without being a chore to read (let alone watching). Being a tragi-comedy, I did find it a rather strange and confusing read at first, although this is not why it is called a problem play.

It is a problem play, a term coined by FS Boas, because of all the moral, social and political issues that lie at its core. Surprisingly, most of them
...more
Marija
This play truly reads like an 18th century Gothic romance! A lover’s to be executed for impregnating his ladylove outside of the sanctity of wedlock. To save said lover from the chopping block, the evil and covetous deputy of justice blackmails the man’s sister to surrender her “virtue” to him. Quite risqué! This is especially true since the events turn in a direction that you’d least expect. Suffice it to say that I was quite shocked, since this wasn’t something that I expected, given the other ...more
Halley Sutton
What a weird little play. Isabella gets shafted. Mariana seems pretty nice and the Duke is nice to her except she marries an asshole? What was happening with this one, Bill? Oh well, Read Harder Challenge accomplished!
Melissa (ladybug)
Measure for Measure (Oxford School Shakespeare) Measure for Measure is about Angelo, who is put temporarily in charge by the Duke of Vienna, and Claudio who has gotten his "wife" pregnant. Because the church banns were not published, Angelo has Claudio arrested and sentenced to Death for fornication. Claudio requests that his sister, who is a novice, come and plead for him. She does so and we see how much Angelo has let power go to his head. He seems to think that he is above the law.The play re ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Measure for Measure, William Shakespeare
Hanley
Apr 10, 2008 Hanley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
Love everything but Isabella's silence at the end. Would love to see a production that somehow turns her silence into a denial of the Duke. She almost let her brother be killed for the sake of her virtue and his; why would she, a novice, so easily marry? Unless she's been completely changed by the course of events? Doesn't seem like Shake gives us any text to support that.

Still, the scene between Isabella and Claudio will always be near and dear to my heart... no surprise there...
Ben
Apr 14, 2014 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-lit, plays
Alack, when once our grace we have forgot,
Nothing goes right; we would, and we would not


After each Shakespeare experience, I realize how much I have yet to learn The Bard we love so much. If the man wrote average works merely for the sake of his professional livelihood, one might count Measure For Measure among them even if only for its lack of notoriety. I did. Yet Shakespeare must have enjoyed envious blessing in his ability to transform mediocre intent into golden wonder.

I had no idea what t
...more
Cemre
Üslup o kadar önemli ki... Shakespeare oyunlarına baktığınızda evrensel, sıkça işlenen temaların ağır bastığımı görüyorsunuz. Hatta Shakespeare'in zaman zaman başka yazarların eserlerinden esinlendiğini de görmek mümkün; ancak onu öyle bir işliyor ki... O nedenle, evet içerik önemli; ancak o içeriği nasıl işlediğiniz de bir o kadar önemli.
Robert Stewart
Jan 01, 2015 Robert Stewart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This play just doesn't quite work. I get the feeling Shakespeare was trying to write something like the City Comedies of Dekker, Middleton, et al., but felt it necessary to give it a moralistic ending. But the contortions necessary to accomplish this just make it a muddle. One idiot is put to death for bad-mouthing the Duke, but the true villain of the play is let off simply because his girlfriend (who he scandalously jilted) naively speaks up for him...

On the other hand, it contains the acme o
...more
Mia Cozad
Sep 16, 2009 Mia Cozad is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare
-This book so far is about a kingdom that is ruled by the Duke. Who suddenly has to mysteriously leave so he leaves Angelo in charge with all his powers. While in charge he becomes very strict on rules, which cause a young man Claudio to go to jail for impregnating his girlfriend before wedlock and he is to be executed the next morning. Word spreads around town fast and his sister, Isabella finds out, who happens to be coming a nun, but leaves soon afte
...more
Megan Anderson
Jul 14, 2012 Megan Anderson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Measure for Measure (1603-4) is a dark comedy (it’s not funny, for the most part, but has a happy ending), and I found it much more entertaining (what does that say about me?). A duke appoints a deputy, who goes crazy with power and decides to enforce an old law that sex out of wedlock is punishable by death. He decides to make an example out of a dude who is for all intents and purposes married to a girl, but did not follow all of the legal technicalities for a marriage. And she’s pregnant. The ...more
Cherylann
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“Our doubts are traitors,
and make us lose the good we oft might win,
by fearing to attempt.”
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“The tempter or the tempted, who sins most?” 98 likes
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