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Measure for Measure: 12/02/06
I rounded out the month of November by reading Measure for Measure, a comedy by Shakespeare that was among the books I am registering and releasing for Whytraven. I was initially going to comment on how few Shakespeare play's I've either read or seen performed only to realize that when I counted them off, I've actually seen or read more than I originally thought. Nonetheless, I still find the Bard's work difficult to read (I know; they're meant to be performed not read!) but sometimes that's the only option.
Measure for Measure can best be described as Romeo and Juliet but with a happy ending. Or perhaps the sequel to Romeo and Juliet if the two hadn't taken such drastic measures (ha-ha!) at the end. In fact, the woman whose lover is short for this world is named Juliet and the play is once more set in Italy (though this time in Venice).
The play pokes fun at sex in and out of marriage and the "oldest profession" but beyond all the bawdy jokes, is a cautionary tale against morality based government. Juliet's lover, Claudio, is soon to be hanged for getting Juliet pregnant. It's an old law on the books, not enforced for ages until the Duke hands over the city to his would-be successor.
As I read the play I couldn't help but think of the current president and the GOP and their catering to the religious right. The recent scandals that are too numerous to list here are echoed in Angelo's inability to follow the law that he is so eager to enforce against Claudio. So while the play may have been written at the turn of the seventeenth century, it is still relevant and on topic.