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Measure for Measure

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  15,776 Ratings  ·  520 Reviews
Measure for Measure is among the most passionately discussed of Shakespeare’s plays. In it, a duke temporarily removes himself from governing his city-state, deputizing a member of his administration, Angelo, to enforce the laws more rigorously. Angelo chooses as his first victim Claudio, condemning him to death because he impregnated Juliet before their marriage.

Paperback, Folger Shakespeare Library, 336 pages
Published July 1st 2005 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1603)
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Bill  Kerwin
May 06, 2016 Bill Kerwin rated it it was amazing
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
Bookworm Sean
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!
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
Jeannette Nikolova
May 09, 2015 Jeannette Nikolova rated it it was ok
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
Apr 13, 2016 Liam rated it it was ok
Personally wouldn't class this is a comedy due to everything that goes on but I don't know I just didn't really like this that much.
Mar 19, 2016 Sofs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Fast to read and very entertaining. Really excited to discuss this one in class!

I have conflicting feelings about the Duke, honestly I think he is as bad as Angelo, even though he thinks himself above anyone else. The Duke simply didn't want to dirty his hands by tainting his otherwise "clean" reputation. So Angelo was put in charge.
Angelo is a young, inexperienced man, who is very cold, detached from emotions and "virtuous" -or so did Shakespeare wants us to believe... I don't think he is blam
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Hannah Eiseman-Renyard
Sep 13, 2009 Hannah Eiseman-Renyard rated it it was ok
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
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
Jun 16, 2007 Milly rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 08, 2015 J.M. rated it liked it
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
Aug 01, 2015 Bjorn rated it really liked it
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
Petruccio Hambasket IV
At the first read through I wasn't able to fully understand the intricacies in this comedy but second time around I realized I'm way more confused than I originally thought I was. In my humble (and uninformed) opinion this is an easy contender for 'most difficult' Shakespearian comedy: not to mention the most verbose, with the Arden version having so many in page footnotes that often the actual dialogue is only allowed 5 or 6 lines.

I find myself not caught up in thinking about the immorality of
Vane J.
Apr 05, 2015 Vane J. rated it really liked it

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
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
Dec 28, 2010 Marija rated it really liked it
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
Dec 18, 2015 Halley Sutton rated it liked it
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
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...
Apr 14, 2014 Ben rated it really liked it
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
Dec 10, 2015 Josiah rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
While I am not the biggest Shakespeare fan, he does have an understanding of the human heart and, when I can understand him, portray it well; both on paper and stage. Although a well known or commonly known piece well worth at least a read.
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
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William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been tr ...more
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“Our doubts are traitors,
and make us lose the good we oft might win,
by fearing to attempt.”
“The tempter or the tempted, who sins most?” 101 likes
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