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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: August ::
Question Concerning Measure for Measure
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1559  Friday, 20 August 2004

[1]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Thursday, 19 Aug 2004 11:15:52 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1550 Question Concerning Measure for Measure

[2]     From:   Tom Krause <
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        Date:   Thursday, 19 Aug 2004 23:26:11 -0400
        Subj:   Question Concerning Measure for Measure


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Thursday, 19 Aug 2004 11:15:52 -0400
Subject: 15.1550 Question Concerning Measure for Measure
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1550 Question Concerning Measure for Measure

 >In 1562, St. Luke's very bones were placed here:

This is fascinating.  I wonder why, then, that St. Anthony is the patron
saint of Padua.  All they have of him is one desiccated tongue.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Krause <
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Date:           Thursday, 19 Aug 2004 23:26:11 -0400
Subject:        Question Concerning Measure for Measure

I'll propose the following answers to all the questions raised in this
thread so far:

"Measure for Measure" is a reference to the "true" theme of the play,
which has to do with debasement of the currency.  ("weight by weight" in
Shakespeare's day referred to the principle that if you turned in
certain weight of precious metal to the mint, you would receive in
return coins having a precious metal content of a corresponding weight).

St. Luke = a reference to Luke Kirby, a Jesuit missionary who was
martyred in 1582, along with Thomas Cottam, brother of Stratford
schoolmaster John Cottom.

Moated Grange = a reference to Lyford Grange, the moated manor house at
which Jesuit Missionary Edmund Campion was captured in 1581.

The references to Jesuits Kirby and Campion point to Mariana as
representing Juan de Mariana, a Spanish Jesuit scholar who argued
against debasement.  References to Mariana's brother the great soldier
Frederick (who = Federigo Spinola, Spanish-Italian leader killed in a
naval action off Ostend in 1603) also point to Juan de Mariana.

The Duke (who = James), Isabella (who = Elizabeth) and Mariana all work
in concert to save Angelo - who is named after a coin, the English Angel
- from the debasement that he would suffer were he to deflower Isabella
or execute Claudio.

The Duke wants Angelo married to Mariana (that is, the anti-debasement
principles of Juan de Mariana) for the sake of the stability of the coinage.

The reference to the Duke having still'd Mariana's brawling discontent
is a servile reference to King James's book on the divine right of
kings, which can be viewed as refuting arguments made in Juan de
Mariana's book "On the Education of the King" (which took issue with the
divine right).

The theory is spelled out in excruciating detail in my essay "A Picture
in Little Is Worth a Thousand Words:  Debasement in Hamlet and Measure
for Measure" which is will be posted in the papers section of Shaksper
shortly, and which I presented at the 2004 West Virginia Shakespeare and
Renaissance Association Conference.

I'd be interested in hearing any comments on either the Measure for
Measure argument or the Hamlet argument (which starts from the
proposition that "picture in little" refers to coins, and moves on from
there).

Tom Krause

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