Presentation on theme: "Sex in the City: Measure for Measure We have strict statutes and most biting laws, The needful bits and curbs to headstrong weeds, Which for this fourteen."— Presentation transcript:
Sex in the City: Measure for Measure We have strict statutes and most biting laws, The needful bits and curbs to headstrong weeds, Which for this fourteen years we have let slip; Even like an o’ergrown lion in a cave That goes not out to prey. Now, as fond fathers, Having bound up the threat’ning twigs of birch Only to stick it in their children’s sight For terror, not to use, in time the rod More mocked becomes than feared: so our decrees, Dead to infliction, to themselves are dead: And Liberty plucks Justice by the nose, The baby beats the nurse, and quite athwart Goes all decorum. (Duke Vincentio, 1.3.19-31)
My business in this state Made me a looker-on here in Vienna, Where I have seen corruption boil and bubble Till it o’errun the stew; laws for all faults, But faults so countenanced that the strong statutes Stand like the forfeits in a barber’s shop, As much in mock as mark. (Vincentio disguised as Friar, 5.1. 310-16).
Mind the Gap: Six Memos for Measure for Measure 1. Date: 1603/1604: Othello, Venice, ‘bed trick’ 2. Language: ‘precise’: ‘four things to do with a word: OED, LEME, Concordance, EEBO’ ‘Alack, when once our grace we have forgot, / Nothing goes right: we would and we would not’ (4.4.31-32). Opening scene: government, science, institutions, laws, justice elected to supply, figure, deputation, stamped test, scruple spirits, nature, soul, virtues pregnant, warp, leavened, quick condition lent/terror: dressed/love; will/pleasure; mortality/ mercy: tongue/heart; enforce/qualify; art/practice ‘Heaven doth with us as we with torches do, Not light them for themselves.’ Subsequent scenes: diseases, dolours, dollars restraint/liberty; surfeit/fast face/speak; speak/face blood/appetite/mind/natural edge fault/condemned/forfeit:pardon/mercy/grace remedy/redemption suspected/respected; justice/iniquity ‘She speaks, and tis such sense That my sense breeds with it.’
Slogans, epigrams, proverbs, rhetorical questions, one-liners: ‘There went but a pair of shears between us’ (1.2.26) ‘Grace is grace, despite of all controversy’ (1.2.23) ‘Our natures do pursue, Like rats that ravin down their proper bane, A thirsty evil, and when we drink we die’ (1.2.108-110). ‘We must not make a scarecrow of the law’ ((2.1.1). ‘Is it a lawful trade?’ ‘If the law would allow it’ (2.1.201). ‘Does your worship mean to geld and spay all the youth of the city? … they will to’t then’ (2.1.205, 207). ‘The tempter or the tempted, who sins most, ha?’ (2.2.168) ‘Blood thou art blood’ (2.4.15). ‘More than our brother is our chastity’ (2.4.185). ‘Go to, sir, you weigh equally. A feather will turn the scale’ (4.2.23). ‘He who the sword of heaven will bear Must be as holy as severe’ (3.1.480-82) ‘The law cries out / … “An Angelo for a Claudio”: death for death… Like doth quit like, and measure still for measure’ (5.1.399 – 403).
A play built on male identity crisis? Vincentio ‘I love the people, / But do not like to stage me to their eyes’ (1.1.68-69). ‘Believe not that the dribbling dart of love / Can pierce a complete bosom…I have ever loved the life removed/…I have delivered to Lord Angelo/…My absolute power and place here in Vienna’ (1.3.2-13). ‘We have strict statutes … / Which … we have let slip’ (1.3.19, 21). ‘Sith twas my fault to give the people scope, Twould be my tyranny to strike and gall them For what I bid them do – for we bid this be done When evil deeds have their permissive pass And not their punishment’ (1.3.35-39). ‘I will … / Visit both prince and people. Therefore … / Supply me with the habit…’ ‘Hence shall we see / If power change purpose, what our seemers be’ (1.3.44-54). ‘the old fantastical duke of dark corners’; ‘He had some feeling of the sport, he knew the service’; ‘his use was to put a ducat in her clack dish’; he ‘would have dark deeds darkly answered’; ‘The Duke, I say to thee again, would eat mutton on Fridays’ (3.1.passim). ‘This is his pardon … Now sir, what news?’ (4.2.100, 106).
Angelo: ‘Let there be some more test made of my metal Before so noble and so great a figure Be stamped upon it’ (1.1.47-49). ‘… the new deputy now for the Duke – Whether that the body public be A horse whereon the governor doth ride Who, newly in the seat, that it may know He can command, lets it straight feel the spur, Whether the tyranny be in his place, Or in his eminence that fills it up – I stagger in. But this new governor … for a name Now puts the drowsy and neglected act Freshly on me. ’Tis surely for a name’ (1.2.134-148). ‘Lord Angelo is precise. Stands at a guard with envy, scarce confesses That his blood flows, or that his appetite Is more to bread than stone’ (1.3.50-53) ‘What’s this, what’s this? … What, do I love her? / … O cunning enemy, that, to catch a saint/With saints dost bait thy hook!.../ Never could the strumpet, / With all her double vigour – art and nature – once stir my temper; but this virtuous maid /Subdues me quite. Ever til now When men were fond, I smiled, and wondered how’ (2.2.165 – 191). ‘They say this Angelo was not made by man and woman, after this downright way of creation. Is’t true, think you? Some report a sea maid spawned him, some that he was begot between two stockfishes. But it is certain that when he makes water his urine is congealed ice. That I know to be true. And he is a motion ungenertive; that’s infallible’ (3.1.349-356). ‘What’s thy offence, Claudio? Murder? … Lechery? … Is lechery so looked after? … I would be sorry [thy life] should thus be foolishly lost at a game of tick-tack’ (1.2.181)
Claudio ‘Whence comes this restraint?’ ‘From too much liberty, my Lucio, liberty’ (1.2.104 – 105). ‘Thus stands it with me. Upon a true contract, I got possession of Julietta’s bed. You know the lady; she is fast my wife, Save that we do the denunciation lack Of outward order … But it chances The stealth of our most mutual entertainment With character too gross is writ on Juliet’ (1.2.122-132). ‘I prithee Lucio, do me this kind service. This day my sister should the cloister enter. And there receive her approbation. Acquaint her with my state. Implore her in my voice that she make friends To the strict deputy. Bid herself assay him. I have great hope in that, for in her youth There is a prone and speechless dialect Such as move men. Beside, she hath prosperous art When she will play with reason and discourse And well she can persuade’ (1.3.154-163) Now sister, what’s the comfort? Is there no remedy? … Thou shalt not do it! … Sure it is no sin, / Or of the deadly seven it is the least … Death is a fearful thing… To lie in cold obstruction and to rot… Sweet sister, let me live! (3.1.passim)
The woman’s part: Housewives/Hussies Julietta (traitor): ‘It chances / The stealth of our most mutual entertainment / With character too gross is writ on Juliet’ (1.2.130- 132). (prison) Isabella (nunnery) Mrs Overdone (‘nunnery’) Marianna (none-ery) (doubles Julietta?) Trial/Test: ‘Assay him’ Redemption? ‘What would you do?’ Substitute? Forfeit? Deputy? Stand-in? Head v. Head?
Dramaturgy: A play of two halves 1. Talk/Argue/Split hairs/debate 2. Plot Hand-over (1.1) Angelo Moated grange (4.1) Mariana/Isabella/‘Friar’ Arrest (1.2) Claudio ‘Bed trick’ Disguise (1.3) Duke Prison (4.2) Abhorson/Pompey, Provost/‘Fria Release (1.4) Isabella ‘Head trick’ (Barnardine, Ragozine) Trial (2.1) Pompey Bum Prison (4.3) ‘Trial’ (2.2) Angelo v. Isabella Re-entry (4.4, 4.5, 4.6) Prison (2.3) Duke Return, Revelation, and …. ? (5.1.1-532) ‘Re-trial’ (2.4) Angelo v. Isabella Prison (3.1.1-502) Duke/Claudio; Claudio/Isabella; Pompey, Mrs. Overdone, et al.