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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: September ::
Question on Measure for Measure
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1659  Monday, 6 September 2004

From:           Edmund Taft <
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Date:           Friday, 03 Sep 2004 09:37:26 -0400
Subject:        Question on Measure for Measure

Peter Bridgman acknowledges that allegory is a mode Shakespeare could
and did employ, and I am grateful for that. To King Lear we might add
Venus and Adonis, in which the allegory (Venus = Love, Adonis = Beauty,
Boar = Death) is probably the central focus of the work. Peter also
writes of Measure for Measure: "What we do know is that he wrote a play
in 1603 that is very clearly a plea for toleration." Exactly, and so the
debasement theme is a little added bonus for the sensitive reader /
playgoer.

As for Thomas Larque, I'm afraid that his sour, constricted "principles"
have made him into an ideological reader where his "theories" come first
and the evidence and the experience of reading and being persuaded come
second. (It should be the other way around, Thomas.) Juan de Mariana's
25 books on the history of Spain first came out in 1592; throughout his
history, issues of currency come up again and again. Mariana was to
Spain what Alexander Hamilton would be to America. And just as all of
intellectual Europe knew about Hamilton, intellectuals and well-informed
Englishmen knew, in a general sense, about Mariana.

It is interesting that Larque's point of view necessitates that he
disagree with anything new about Shakespeare. Given that, how can he
give a fair reading to anybody who doesn't just copy what has been said
before? I wonder if Larque is Richard Levin in disguise?

Ed Taft

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