Measure for Measure context


  • Born 1564
  • Stratford-upon-Afon 
  • Middle-class background, Father (John) was a major.
  • Queen Elizabeth, I was on the throne when he was born.
  • He wrote 37 plays
  • He wrote 3 genres, tragedy, comedy and historical. 
  • He was a shareholder in the Globe.
  • His wife was called Anne and he had three children.
  • At the time only men/boys could act.
  • James, I was on the throne when he died.
  • Died 1616

The Master of Revels 

  • Court performances where private (for monarch/courtiers)
  • Public performances were open (to paying public)
  • During Elizabethan and Jacobean England, the Master of Revels decided which plays were performed. 
  • Queen Liz I(1558-1603) King James I (1603-1625).
  • Measure for Measure was performed for King James I December 26, 1604. 
  • Public performances were censored. Master of Revels controlled the content of plays. E.g. Queen Liz banned anyone talking about succession (writers of 'The Isle of Dogs' 1597 were arrested for breaching this)
  • Meant if Shakespeare was dealing with political topics, in order not to be censored, he had to set them in foreign settings. (E.g. Vienna in a Catholic- not Protestant- society). 
  • Some critics see this play as


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