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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: October ::
Question on Measure for Measure
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1917  Wednesday, 20 October 2004

[1]     From:   Todd Pettigrew <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 19 Oct 2004 15:25:32 -0300
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.1908 Question on Measure for Measure

[2]     From:   John Briggs <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 20 Oct 2004 01:22:22 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1909 Question on Measure for Measure

[3]     From:   M Yawney <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 19 Oct 2004 17:27:40 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1909 Question on Measure for Measure

[4]     From:   John Briggs <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 20 Oct 2004 02:05:10 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1888 Question on Measure for Measure

[5]     From:   Tom Krause <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 19 Oct 2004 22:01:20 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 15.1908 Question on Measure for Measure


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Todd Pettigrew <
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Date:           Tuesday, 19 Oct 2004 15:25:32 -0300
Subject: 15.1908 Question on Measure for Measure
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.1908 Question on Measure for Measure

On the matter of how common the name "Mariana" was in plays, and for
what it's worth, Berger and Bradford's Character Index lists 14 plays
from the period with a character named "Mariana." Another 10 named "Marian."

Todd Pettigrew
UCCB

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Briggs <
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Date:           Wednesday, 20 Oct 2004 01:22:22 +0100
Subject: 15.1909 Question on Measure for Measure
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1909 Question on Measure for Measure

Tom Krause wrote:

 >For example, I see significance in the fact that Mariana's brother the
 >great soldier Frederick who died at sea had the same name as a great
 >soldier who had recently died at sea, just as others see significance
 >in references to the gallows, the sweat, the war and an order about
 >plucking down houses.  If Shakespeare didn't mean Spinola, why would
 >he confuse his audience by using his name?  Wouldn't he have just
 >picked a name and occupation that didn't match those of someone who
 >had recently died at sea?  And if he did mean Spinola, doesn't that
 >mean that Mariana probably stands for something or someone as well? So
even if you could correlate Marianas to bed tricks, the
 >"Frederick" reference (among other things) militates against that
 >being the final answer.

Peter Bridgman kicked this all off by commenting on Tom Krause's style
of reasoning.  Once again Tom Krause has made the assertion that "the
great soldier Frederick who died at sea" was a reference to Federico di
Spinola, but without producing any evidence that anyone in England had
heard of him! If no one had heard of him, why would the audiences be
confused?  For the record, my own view is that "Measure for Measure" is
a work of fiction, and that the names have no significance.  The onus is
on Tom Krause to produce contemporary English reports of Federico and
his death.

In a similar vein, it might inform the discussion of Juan de Mariana if
it could be established which (if any) of his works featured in the only
known large seventeenth-century Jesuit library in England, now at
Lambeth Palace (!) - see Hendrik Dijkgraaf, The Library of a Jesuit
Community at Holbeck, Nottinghamshire, 1679 (2003) isbn 0951881175.

I do, however, find the correlation of Marianas to bed-tricks
intriguing, and would suggest that Shakespeare (possibly unconsciously)
picked up the name 'Mariana' while studying other bed-trick plays,
preparatory to writing one of his own - probably "All's Well That Ends
Well".

On a lighter note, I can report that I have not come to a conclusion
over the knotty problem of whether Lyford Grange still had a moat in the
late sixteenth century - nor, indeed, whether it was even called Lyford
Grange, rather than More Place, its previous name.  I have, however,
located a chapel of St Luke, but it is three miles away from Lyford, is
not in the same parish, and is not in the villages nearest to Lyford.
Its precise location is left as an exercise for the credulous!

John Briggs

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           M Yawney <
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Date:           Tuesday, 19 Oct 2004 17:27:40 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 15.1909 Question on Measure for Measure
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1909 Question on Measure for Measure

I probably did not pay attention enough to the whole debate and assumed
you considered the allegory to be more central. If the allegory is only
slightly related to the plot Shakespeare chose and has little impact on
the play's meaning, then it does seem to be a pretty marginal issue even
in your account of it.

Most allegories of the period (and after) have original plots, since it
would be highly unlikely to find an existing story that would carry an
analogy.  But you say the allegory is not strongly connected to the main
plot of Measure. It still seems odd for a writer to take trouble to
insert allegorical elements into an existing plot structure. Even odder
not to make bolder connections in the analogy and more clearly signaling
intent.

While I am sensitive to the fact that there is much we do not understand
about the first audiences' understanding of the work and the signals
embedded therein, the type of connections you make are not referred to
in any documents that I know of from the period. Plays taken as
analogies to contemporary issues (such as Richard II or A Game at Chess)
more bluntly connect to the issues they were thought to be speaking
about. No writer that I can think of that era refers to secret or covert
meanings in contemporary drama, which would support this debasement
allegory theory. They only refer to more overt meanings, even in plays
though to use allegory or analogy. I know that in other writing of the
period had a range of allegorical writing, but I cannot identify the
sort of allegory you propose in drama of the period or in documents
referring to the theater.

While it is possible that you are correct, there seems to be little
evidence that supports your theory. There is no strong or definite
context of similar work to place an allegorical Measure in, so the
theory relies on our lack of knowledge about how writing was written and
understood in Renaissance England. This theory cannot be specifically
disproved since there is so little outside of your reading of the play
to support it. I think that is ultimately the source of the frustration
here. The whole theory is based on elements of the text that seem
ambiguous proofs at best to most readers and there is nothing strong
enough outside the play to tip the balance. The even more arguable
references to angels in R&J seem to weaken the argument rather than
strengthen it, because there the analogy would have even less point in
most readers' view. The allegory has little context in drama of the
period and no strong evidence to indicate Measure is a unique case.

You can respond if you like and I would very much hope there is
something I am missing to document the existence of work such as you
suggest Measure is. I will let you have the last word and not respond
back since I know this whole can of worms is irksome to many. I only
re-opened it this far because the issue of context was one I looked for
in the earlier thread and did not see addressed.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Briggs <
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Date:           Wednesday, 20 Oct 2004 02:05:10 +0100
Subject: 15.1888 Question on Measure for Measure
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1888 Question on Measure for Measure

Tom Krause wrote:

 >The play contains several obvious signs of revision including: (1)
 >systematic expurgation consistent with 1608 Act to Restrain Abuses by
 >Players; (2) act divisions; (3) a stanza of a Fletcher song that was
 >written between 1617 and 1620.

The Act was, of course, 1606 rather than 1608, but points (1) and (2)
are easily answered when it is remembered that the First Folio text of
"Measure for Measure" derives from a transcript by Ralph Crane.  Crane
seems to have been employed in some capacity by the King's Men, and it
is usually asserted that his transcripts are literary, but I would
rather say that his role was to make new playbooks - he would therefore
insert act divisions, and automatically carry out expurgation in line
with the 1606 Act (expurgation was only required for performance, not
publication).  It is not clear why Crane did this, but he may not have
been told that his transcripts were to be printer's copy - it may have
been a covert way of shifting publication expenses to the King's Men,
and away from the publishers.  There may anyway have been a general
programme of updating playbooks, and publishing Shakespeare's Works may
have been a spin-off from that.  (I am ignoring the question of "massed
entries", but will simply say that it is not obvious to me that they are
a literary rather than theatrical feature.)

As for (3), it is not obvious that the whole song (there is only one
stanza in "Measure for Measure") was written by Fletcher, nor that his
play "Rollo" was written in 1617-20, rather than 1624-5 as previously
thought.

What worries me about the attribution of revision to Middleton is that
John Jowett has now come out and declared "Timon of Athens" (1605) to be
a collaboration between Shakespeare and Middleton.  If that is indeed
the case, why should the putative Middleton revisions to "Measure for
Measure" (1603/4) and "Macbeth" (1606), be revisions rather than the
result of collaboration, and thus contemporaneous?

John Briggs

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Krause <
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Date:           Tuesday, 19 Oct 2004 22:01:20 -0400
Subject: Question on Measure for Measure
Comment:        SHK 15.1908 Question on Measure for Measure

John Briggs wrote -

". . . it could indicate an audience demand for bed-trick plays with
characters called Mariana - or a widespead interest in currency
debasement, of course..."

Thanks John - I knew you'd come around!

Seriously, although it didn't make it into the essay, it's worth
mentioning that Shakespeare's other uses of Mariana - in All's Well, and
on the front page of three of the quarto versions of Pericles (meaning
"Marina") - are not inconsistent with "Mariana = Juan de Mariana."  The
Mariana in All's Well has only two substantive lines, in which she warns
women not to allow themselves to become debased by men:

MARIANA
Come, let's return again, and suffice ourselves with
the report of it. Well, Diana, take heed of this
French earl: the honour of a maid is her name; and
no legacy is so rich as honesty.

. . .

MARIANA
I know that knave; hang him! one Parolles: a
filthy officer he is in those suggestions for the
young earl. Beware of them, Diana; their promises,
enticements, oaths, tokens, and all these engines of
lust, are not the things they go under: many a maid
hath been seduced by them; and the misery is,
example, that so terrible shows in the wreck of
maidenhood, cannot for all that dissuade succession,
but that they are limed with the twigs that threaten
them. I hope I need not to advise you further; but
I hope your own grace will keep you where you are,
though there were no further danger known but the
modesty which is so lost.

And Marina of Pericles is Shakespeare's model of purity - as shown in
the brothel scenes, for example:

MARINA
If fires be hot, knives sharp, or waters deep,
Untied I still my virgin knot will keep.
Diana, aid my purpose!

Note also the references to Diana in both plays.  In All's Well, Diana
is a virgin character named for the goddess of chastity (thus a symbol
of purity, thus a metaphor for pure coinage); in Pericles, Marina is
appealing to the goddess herself.

And naturally we can tie the goddess Diana to Juan de Mariana, since he
mentions her at the outset of his dedication of De Rege (1599) to Philip
III.

Of course, Shakespeare went out of his way to tell us that "Marina" was
so named because she came from the sea.  On the other hand, putting
"Mariana" on the front page - if it wasn't a compositor's error in a
corrupt version of the play - could have been a signal to those who were
looking for yet another play featuring Juan de Mariana.

Note to critics:  while I am of course interested in your reactions to
the above Mariana-Marina digression, please don't make the mistake of
thinking it is in any way critical to the MFM or Hamlet debasement theories.

Tom Krause

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