William Shakespeare

BookWilliam Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

Measure for Measure

Writers and their Work


January 6th, 2000



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In a time exceptionally preoccupied with the relations between the personal and the political, sexuality and power, Measure for Measure is one of the most frequently staged and discussed of Shakespeare’s plays. Drawing on performance history and current critical approaches, this study considers the play in relation to its historical contexts and contemporary relevance. It traces the dramatic unfolding of the plot through the social and theatrical spaces of Shakespeare’s Vienna: court, convent, prison, and public street. It explores the intertwining of religion, sexuality, politics and morality in the institutions associated with the maintenance of social order in Vienna, and asks whether the world of the play holds open any possibilities for challenging the power of these institutions. The reader is led carefully through some of Measure for Measure’s most problematic moments, but the compelling theatrical pleasures offered by this strange and fascinating play are not overlooked.


About The Author

Kate Chedgzoy lectures in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick where she teaches Shakespeare and European Theatre. She is the author of Shakespeare’s Queer Children: Sexual Politics and Contemporary Culture (1996); and Voicing Woman: Gender and Sexuality in Early Modern Writing (1998), and has also published a number of articles on lesbian and gay issues in literature.