Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: March ::
Measure for Measure and a Puzzle
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0136  Wednesday, 8 March 2006

[1] 	From: 	Arnie Perlstein <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Tuesday, 7 Mar 2006 11:56:43 -0500
	Subj: 	Measure for Measure and a Puzzle

[2] 	From: 	Stuart Manger <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Tuesday, 07 Mar 2006 17:23:56 +0000
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0127 Measure for Measure and a Puzzle

[3] 	From: 	John E. Perry <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Tuesday, 07 Mar 2006 20:01:25 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0127 Measure for Measure and a Puzzle

[4] 	From: 	Robert Projansky <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Tuesday, 7 Mar 2006 21:31:24 -0800
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0127 Measure for Measure and a Puzzle


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Arnie Perlstein <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Tuesday, 7 Mar 2006 11:56:43 -0500
Subject: 	Measure for Measure and a Puzzle

As to the comments about the comedy in Measure for Measure, it is one 
thing to read it on the page, but quite another when you hear and/or see 
it performed live. In the latter case, the comedy comes alive!

When I first heard an audio performance of the first scene in which 
Lucio, Pompey and the bawds are gossiping about the Duke and Claudio, it 
sounded exactly like Side Two of The Fireside Theatre's How Can You Be 
In Two Places At Once When You're Not Anywhere At All. The same 
incredibly sophisticated combination of raunch and intellect, bestial 
and angelic. I was not a sharp enough reader to have realized that it 
would sound like that.

Arnie Perlstein
Weston, Florida

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Stuart Manger <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Tuesday, 07 Mar 2006 17:23:56 +0000
Subject: 17.0127 Measure for Measure and a Puzzle
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0127 Measure for Measure and a Puzzle

Very many thanks for advice.

I fully accept that the assignment was ultimately do-able, but in 2500 
words - that was partly what set me back. And as many pointed out I am 
not convinced that a genre based study of this particular play is very 
helpful given its complexity. Did the setter want a strict genre 
analysis - so what did he mean by 'tragedy' 'comedy' or the firecracker 
he put into the title of 'or something in between'? Well......thanks, 
that narrows the field.....not.

I too was exercised about plagiarism. A panicking student is a 
plagiarising student in my experience - not universally, but I imagine 
you know what I mean. But to plagiarise on this topic - as set - very 
quickly gets into semantics, literary history, cultural context, 
relevance of such analysis - and for me, the play qua play simply goes 
out of the window. And all that in 2500 words? I just don't think so. 
The salvation lies in the insistence that a number of responses made 
that the essay must show process of evaluation based on some evidence 
and thought, a structured approach to evaluation.

I just wish my student friend had just gone for it and climbed into the 
Duke all guns blazing. For me, one of the most insidious and unreachable 
hypocrites in all Shakespeare, and if Isabella gives into him at the end 
(certain? not certain?), then she is, if anything, even worse. Holding 
out for a better prize / catch than Angelo, maybe? Using her beauty / 
virginity as a bargaining counter? Yuk!. Did Shakespeare really intend 
us to leave the theatre with that taste in our mouths? Or, as in Alls 
Well / Hamlet and 12th Nt, is the sheer corrosive disgust at the world 
and all its works and fancies what drives the piece?

Is MM just a brilliant series of bitter cartoons on human duplicity. And 
WHY does Lucio get it so badly in the neck at the end? Shakespeare 
inveighing against the cynical use of absolute power to crush utterly 
the weak / insignificant / helpless? Pour encourager les autres?  I just 
wonder where we've seen that recently?

Once more, many thanks to all.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John E. Perry <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Tuesday, 07 Mar 2006 20:01:25 -0500
Subject: 17.0127 Measure for Measure and a Puzzle
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0127 Measure for Measure and a Puzzle

Stuart Manger writes: "A university student of my acquaintance has been 
set an assignment to comment as follows: 'Measure for Measure - a 
tragedy, a comedy, or something in between?' ...........oh yes, and by 
the way, complete this in 2500 words!!!"

After reading a number of immediately defeatist responses, I am reminded 
of the comment of one of my department heads, when I made the same 
complaint regarding describing my work to my kids.  This guy is a 
world-class physicist, investigating the deepest mysteries of subatomic 
particle physics.

"If you can't describe your work in a few sentences, and make good sense 
of it to any moderately educated person, then you don't know yourself 
what you're doing."

John Perry
Well-Quashed Engineer

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Robert Projansky <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Tuesday, 7 Mar 2006 21:31:24 -0800
Subject: 17.0127 Measure for Measure and a Puzzle
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0127 Measure for Measure and a Puzzle

I am neither an academic nor a scholar, but it seems to me that what's 
wrong with our exam Q is not that it's "undoable" but that it's absurdly 
simple.

M4M is a comedy, period. It is funny throughout (even in the middle of 
high drama), nobody in the play dies, and there's a happy ending with a 
betrothal between the leads.

  If I'm wrong, please, someone: where is the tragedy in M4M? The 
unfortunate demise of Ragozine?

M4M is surely not a play that has survived and thrived for four  hundred 
years because WS created a fog of ambiguity and confusion to  leave the 
metadramatically sensitive guessing as to what the hell  they are all 
doing up there. Audiences went to see and still go to see M4M because 
WS's high drama of sexual harassment is brilliantly and seamlessly mixed 
with plenty of laughs. It's not a comedy just by academic definition; 
it's a comedy because it's funny and it's fun.

Jim Blackie, applauds a production of M4M for highlighting the comedy,

 >"which I'd never noticed in my readings, or the BBC TV production."

Now that's tragedy.

Bob Projansky

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the 
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the 
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.