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arbieroo

Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

Life and Letters of Charles Darwin - Volume 1: By Charles Darwin - Illustrated
Charles Darwin
Progress: 136/346 pages
Hero And Leander
Christopher Marlowe
Progress: 36/100 pages
An Introduction to Magnetohydrodynamics
P.A. DAVIDSON, E.J. Hinch, S.H. Davis, Mark J. Ablowitz
Progress: 93/452 pages
Ursula K. Le Guin: The Complete Orsinia: Malafrena / Stories and Songs (The Library of America)
Brian Attebery, Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 359/700 pages
Plasma physics
R.A. Cairns
Progress: 4/244 pages
Selected Short Stories - Conrad (Wordsworth Classics)
Keith Carabine, Joseph Conrad
Progress: 48/272 pages
A Student's Guide to Lagrangians and Hamiltonians
Patrick Hamill
Progress: 7/180 pages
Complete Poems, 1904-1962
E.E. Cummings
Progress: 108/1102 pages
The Complete Plays and Poems
E.D. Pendry, J.C. Maxwell, Christopher Marlowe
She Stoops to Conquer and Other Comedies (Oxford World's Classics)
Henry Fielding, David Garrick, Oliver Goldsmith
Progress: 76/448 pages

Reading progress update: I've read 908 out of 1344 pages.

The Complete Works (Oxford Shakespeare) - William Shakespeare, John Jowett, Gary Taylor

Measure for Measure

 

The editors believe that this play was adapted somewhat by another writer and additionally that it was Thomas Middleton. The same view is widely held regarding MacBeth, which to my mind loses it's unity of view and expression in the scenes of the witches spell casting and giving cauldrons a bad reputation forever after. Here, though, any adaptation is more subtle and doesn't impair the play at all.

 

This is also the earliest of what are known as the "problem plays" so called, as far as I can tell, because they do not fit neatly into any of the three conventional genres of the time, namely, comedy, tragedy or history. Earliest problem play does not mean early play, however - we are in the second half of Shakespeare's career by now. This leads me to propose a simple solution to the "problem": By this time Shakespeare was successful and confident enough to dispense with convention and write whatever kind of play he wanted and it seems to me that this is a morality play.

 

This play attacks everything that was appalling about the status of and attitudes towards women of the period, making it a stark contrast with The Taming of the Shrew. The law that the plot hinges upon is an ass, along with the prevailing obsession with virginity prior to marriage and as some kind of morally pure state that gets you extra bonus points from the Heavenly authorities. The convention of dowries and concomitant "wife as chattel" is also attacked.

 

There are no really memorable speeches but the play gets its points across successfully and doesn't outstay its welcome.