Measure for Measure critics

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  • Measure for Measure Critics
    • Isabella
      • G. Wilson Knight:"Isabella stands for sainted purity"
      • Irene McGarrity: "holding a hollow sculpture of virtue to hide inside of"
      • Marion Woodman: sleeping with Angelo would have led to "differentiation from her own deluded omnipotence"
        • "her ego is not strong enough to differentiate itself from her sexual purity"
      • Northrop Frye: "promoted more by an adolescent girl's fear of the world than by a genuine volition"
      • GWK: Isabella has no real affection for Claudio
      • Edward Dowden (Victorian puritanica): "life runs strongly and gladly through her veins"
        • "to preside over this polluted and feculent Vienna is the office and charge of Isabella"
      • Robert N. Watson: "the sister faces genetic extinction...the brother faces execution"
      • F.R. Leavis: "Isabella can exhibit a contempt of death because of the exaltation of her faith"
    • all characters
      • Irene McGarrity: "all the major characters...[struggle] toward an ideal virtual while acting on mythical vice's terms, forgetting about humanity"
    • Angelo
      • G. Wilson Knight: "Pharisiacal righteousness"
      • GWK: "Angelo is not a conscious hypocrite: rather a man whose chief faults are self-deception and pride in his own righteousness"
      • William Empson: "Her coldeness, even her rationality, is what has excited him"
      • L.C.Knights: "His lust, just like his forced chastity, is felt as something excessive, urgent and disproportionate to its demands"
      • L.C.Knights: "Angelo's temptations and fall finely enforces the need for self-knowledge and sympathy which seems to be the central moral of the play"
      • Stacy Magdenz: "Angelo, clinging to the letter of the law, is penitent but still prefers death to redemption."
      • F.R Leavis: "He was placed in a position calculated to actualise his worst potentialities"
    • sex
      • GWK: "no other subject provides so clear a contrast between...thefoully bestial and ideally divine in humanity"
      • Robert N. Watson: the Duke's allowance of "sexual licence to corrupt his city [would be seen as] understandable"
      • Robert N. Watson: "marriage becomes...a way of maintaining the substance and order of the social fabric"
    • The Duke
      • W.W. Lawrence: "a stage Duke, not a real person" - "He is essentially a puppet"
      • William Empson: "The whole business of public justice is fatuous and hideous"
      • William Empsom: "Nothing less than the fantastical nature of the the Duke could have kept the play from being a tragedy"
      • William Empsom: The Duke is testing Isabella's capacity for forgiveness when she forgives Angelo
      • GWK: "The Duke's original leniency is shown to be right"
      • Wilbur Dunkel: Edward coke had to remind James I "the king of England ruled under God's law"
      • Wilbur Dunkel: "his disguise must not be taken too seriously"
    • The Duke and Isabella
      • W.W. Lawrence: I do not think there is any doubt that Isabella turns to him with a heavenly and yielding smile"
      • "it is to be a marriage of understanding with purity"
      • Wilbur Dunkel: she gives into the Duke's immoral bed trick plan because "a holy man advises her to do so"
      • Robert N.Watson: "marriage as [a] instrument for controlling desire"
    • Context
      • William Empson: "There was a strand of loathing for sexuality in any form"
      • L.C.Knights: "social forms were being undermined by new forces"
      • Article 6 of the Confession: "the rule of government is according to the flesh, that of the Christians according to the spirit"
    • Ending/The Play as a whole
      • Clifford Leech: wrote it as he went along
      • Stacy Magdenz: "marriage is the public and measured answer to a private and immoderate sin."
      • Robert N. Watson:"Her supposed yielding only replicates Claudio's crime and therefore can only accelerate his punishment"
    • comedic characters
      • L.C.Knights: Lucio etc. "follow their impulses without scruple or restraint" - "Shakespeare's sympathy for scoundrels"
      • Robert N. Watson: ("Marrying a a punk i my lords pressing to death") "the executioner has been made by the fornicator"
      • Wilbur Dunkel: "the function of Lucio is to keep us informed and unite the characters"


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