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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: November ::
Measure for Measure (III.ii. 54-56)
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2567  Thursday, 7 November 2001

From:           Jay Pollack <
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Date:           Wednesday, 07 Nov 2001 16:59:30 +0000
Subject:        Measure for Measure (III.ii. 54-56)

LUCIO How doth my dear morsel thy mistress? Procures she still, ha?
POMPEY Troth, sir, she has eaten up all her beef, and she is herself in
the tub
(III, ii., 54-56).

In ACT III. ii. we see a conversation between the characters Lucio and
Pompey displaying their masculine overtness. Lucio refers to his
mistress as a morsel, something that is eaten and consumed. In reply,
Pompey furthers the sexual discrimination says "...has eaten all her
beef." This image of men eating/consuming women is a motif throughout
the play and might have something to do with Shakespeare's backlash
against society and sexual discrimination. Furthermore, there is a
reference to the venereal disease syphilis. The "tub" refers to a
sweating tub that was used to treat syphilis. Is men's sexual consuming
of women a foil to the consuming of the body from the STD syphilis? In
the eyes of Shakespeare, is sexual discrimination an STD to society or
is he just commenting on social norms?

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