The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0112  Monday, 6 March 2006

From: 		Stuart Manger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Friday, 03 Mar 2006 19:01:13 +0000
Subject: 	Measure for Measure and a Puzzle

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!!!

If only!

My first reaction when I had heard her cry of panic was that this is an 
almost impossible assignment, that scholars for decades had wrestled 
with precisely this issue, that there was far, far too much to say, and 
where was a student of limited literary background to go in establishing 
genre in MM - I mean is that a profitable exercise at all and certainly 
in only 2500 words. And it set me thinking about some of the most 
impossible tasks university teachers can set, tasks that would daunt 
scholars of several years' research standing.

I tried to map out a few answers, and I was way up into 4k words before 
I realised that I had not ever not to the Duke as a thoroughly 
Machiavellian and toad like deus ex machina who had for his own purposes 
screwed up a lot of lives. Is there a parallel in Prospero - then I 
stopped, realising that the assignment was simply undoable.

Do we sometimes forget that many of our students have come into a room 
with a not very powerful torch, and when they shine it around it looks 
more like the Mines of Moria than an assignment for serious credits on a 

S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
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