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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: August ::
Question Concerning Measure for Measure
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1576  Tuesday, 24 August 2004

[1]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Monday, 23 Aug 2004 14:51:37 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1570 Question Concerning Measure for Measure

[2]     From:   Tom Krause <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 24 Aug 2004 00:09:57 -0400
        Subj:   Re: Question Concerning Measure for Measure


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Monday, 23 Aug 2004 14:51:37 -0400
Subject: 15.1570 Question Concerning Measure for Measure
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1570 Question Concerning Measure for Measure

I am very grateful to Ms. Setari for taking the time to answer my
question.  The answer confirms that the history is, indeed, fascinating.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Krause <
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Date:           Tuesday, 24 Aug 2004 00:09:57 -0400
Subject:        Re: Question Concerning Measure for Measure

Peter Bridgman writes . . .

 >Are you at all related to the "credulous Krause" who appears in the
 >footnotes to Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman?  There is a certain
 >similarity in your thinking.

Peter - "Credulous Kraus" had no "e" -- no relation.  What we have in
common, however, is a critic (in my case you, and in his case the
narrator) who casts aspersions on our work without troubling to explain
the criticism and quite possibly without reading the work.  "Credulous"
is a particularly strange word to describe me, since my work shows me
skeptical of just about everything that has ever been written about
Measure for Measure.

When the paper is up, I hope you will read it and rethink your thinking
about my thinking, and provide some feedback that might give me a basis
to rethink my thinking about your thinking.

Here is some of my thinking, in case you don't get a chance to read the
paper.

1.  Juan de Mariana was a Spanish Jesuit who argued against debasement
of the currency.

2.  A character in Shakespeare's play, "Angelo", is clearly named (at
least in part) for the English Angel coin (based on plays on the name
about "testing" his "mettle", etc.; see the notes to Lever's Arden edition).

3.  Mariana saves the coin (Angelo) from becoming debased.

Facts 1-3 invite the hypothesis that Mariana is Juan de Mariana.  To
test this hypothesis, look to what might be the "identifying features"
of Mariana.  Apart from (1) her willingness to marry Angelo (the coin)
-- which in itself points to Juan de Mariana, there are two others:
(2) Mariana's brother the great soldier Frederick, who miscarried at
sea; (3) The moated grange near St. Luke's.

Federigo Spinola is by far the strongest candidate for the great soldier
"Frederick" (the only other one I have heard of is Frederick Barbarossa,
who died while crossing or swimming in a river, but nobody has explained
what Shakespeare might have meant by such a reference).  Spinola died at
sea in 1603, fighting for Spain, and would have been known to
Shakespeare's audience.  Spinola points to Spain and thus to Juan de
Mariana (Mariana's support of privateering, and Spinola's status as a
sort of glorified privateer is another connection).

As to the moated grange, I am not aware of any other attempts to
identify a "real" moated grange.  But "Lyford Grange" was a grange that
had a moat, and would have been well known to at least some members of
Shakespeare's audience as the site at which Jesuit Edmund Campion was
captured in 1581.  The "moated grange" thus points to Jesuits and thus
to Juan de Mariana.

To further test the hypothesis, consider how well it explains other
aspects of the play, including aspects that have been identified as
"problematic."

1.  Isabella's name:  Isabella is Spanish for Elizabeth.  That fact,
plus the presence of other Spanish elements in the play, points to
Isabella as Queen Elizabeth.

2.  Isabella's refusal to exchange her chastity for the life of her
brother: points to the Virgin Queen.

3.  Isabella's silence in the face of the Duke's proposal: points to the
Virgin Queen.

4.  Isabella's stand against debasement: points to Elizabeth's
restoration of coinage that had been debased by her father and brother.

5. Excision of the entire text of Measure for Measure in a 1632 Folio
version of Shakespeare's plays that was censored by the Spanish
Inquisition: points to Isabella as Elizabeth, in that references to
Elizabeth in other plays were removed.  Also points to Mariana as Juan
de Mariana, in that Mariana had fallen out of favor with the Inquisition
due to his views on debasement.

6. The Duke's role in the debasement allegory is also that of a monarch:
Points to King James; consistent with opinion of many if not most
scholars who see parallel between Duke and James.

7.  The Duke's requirement that Angelo marry Mariana: necessary to the
debasement allegory.

8.  Claudio's name:  resonates with debasement theme, given debased
and/or counterfeit coins in England of two Roman Claudians (Emperors
Claudius and Nero).

9.  The 19-year period that the laws have not been enforced:  matches
the period during which English coinage was debased (1542-1561).

10.  The 14-year period that the laws have not been enforced:  matches
the period during which debased coins bearing King Edward's image were
in circulation (1547-61).

11.    The 5-year period that Angelo has been apart from Mariana:
matches the period of time since Spain initiated a debasement.

12.  St. Luke's: points to Luke Kirby, who stood trial with Edmund Campion.

13.  Numerous references to debasement of the currency in Measure for
Measure:  points to larger debasement theme.

14.  Debasement themes in Troilus and Cressida and Hamlet:  point to
debasement theme in Measure for Measure.

15.  Debasement allegory not present in underlying sources:  points to
intentional insertion of theme by Shakespeare.

Thus, in addition to the choice of the name Mariana, and the three
identifying features of that character (the brother, the grange, and her
participation in saving the coin), there are at least 15 more "pointers"
that support the debasement theme, or can be explained by the debasement
theme.  For many of these 18 pointers (i.e. the listed 15 plus the
original 3), we can certainly come up with alternative explanations.
For example, St. Luke's:  it's quite possible that Shakespeare (1) had
the disease metaphor in mind, (2) was thinking of Padua, or (3) had read
something approaching the title of the play in Luke in the Bible (note
that the delayed publication of Measure for Measure gives you plenty of
room to argue that St. Luke's was added after the King James version of
the Bible came out, if you want to); or (4) chose St. Luke at random.
St. Luke's as Luke Kirby is not essential to the debasement theory,
although it fits in nicely with it.

But show me another theory that tells you who the brother Frederick is,
where the moated grange is, and why the Vallodolid copy is missing
Measure for Measure.  There is something attractive about having a
unified theory to explain just these three points, and it's all the more
attractive given how much else it explains.

The above is not a complete exposition of the paper or the theory, but
it has often sufficed to get thoughtful individuals to acknowledge that
there may be something there.  You should read the paper before
committing yourself to any further positions.

By an odd coincidence, I just this evening received my copy of the
Sept.-Oct. issue of Harvard Magazine, which has an article in it about
Stephen Greenblatt's new book "Will in the World."  Apparently,
Greenblatt subscribes to the "Shakespeare as Shakeshafte" theory and
thus has Shakespeare knowing Edmund Campion personally.  Perhaps you
consider me "credulous" because you think that my theory of Measure for
Measure derives from that theory.  Actually, I am undecided on
Shakespeare as Shakeshafte.  While the two theories happen to be
mutually reinforcing, neither depends on the other.

Tom

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