The Theme Of Measure For Measure By William Shakespeare

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Measure for Measure, one of the greatest plays of Shakespeare, seemed to be a cause of immense strain and discomfort for most of the readers. The obvious reason for this discomfort is most probably the conflicting characteristics that the main characters of the play are endowed with. It is clear from the very outset that there must be something strange about a play which can evoke varied and distinct analysis. The paper intends to deal with this aspect of decentred theme that revolves round the play. It tries to highlight the fact that even though the problems of the play are identified, they are unlikely to be solved.

Measure for Measure deals with authority, authority in its judicial form. It begins with the problem of re-establishing justice in Vienna, where the lenient Duke Vincentio has allowed the law to become “more mock’d than feared” (I, iii, 27). The Duke opens the action by ostentatiously retiring and leaving Angelo in his place to take over the reform. The themes of personal and public morality are announced from the opening of the play, in the Duke’s first long speech to Angelo and Escalus. He warns Angelo that personal virtues must be publicly exercised.
“Heaven doth with us as we with torches do,
Not light them for themselves; for if our virtues
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Throughout the play we become aware of the rampant sexuality prevalent at the brothels and slums of the city. It is nothing more than a temptation that corrupts public officials and oppresses innocence. Th Duke is fully conscious of the laxity of which he had been guilty in governing his country. He had allowed the strict statutes and the rigorous laws to become a dead letter. It leads to the result that people has been taking more and more liberties, and has been committingall kinds of offences and crimes. When the Duke delegates his authority to Angelo, he
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