When Shakespeare wrote Measure for Measure in about 1604. society was really sexist towards females and work forces were seen as the stronger sex. nevertheless Shakespeare included tonss of strong female characters in his dramas such as Portia in ‘Mercent of Venice’ and Lady Macbeth in ‘Macbeth’ . he was cognizant that his dramas wouldn’t alteration society and that unlimitedly. adult females are regarded as subservient to work forces. They were non allowed to vote. province their existent sentiments. travel to university and they were ne’er officially educated ; their merely expected functions in life were to run the family and supply kids.
Consequently. many work forces regarded their married womans and girls as ownerships who were expected to stay by their hubbies and male parents no affair what. When it came down to relationships with the opposite sex. virginity was regarded as a virtuousness and a award. Men expected their married womans to be pure in readying for matrimony and the adult females that had ‘succumbed to the pleasances of the flesh’ before they were married were considered destroyed adult females. Work force nevertheless were encouraged to larn the humanistic disciplines of seduction and some work forces of the higher category were sent to Italy to larn the art.
In the society of Measure for Measure. work forces clearly usage and maltreatment adult females. One of the chief characters Angelo is placed in charge of the metropolis in Vienna by Duke Vincentio. The Duke had been rather an easy traveling swayer who feels that it is clip to clean up the Viennese society and administrate a greater sense of honor. He chooses Angelo because of the strong features and rules that he has do him stand out for being the perfect individual to make so.
Despite his name being a drama on the word ‘angel’ . he absurdly proves to be the scoundrel of the drama and along with several other male figures. he uses non merely his gender but besides his place of power. to work several members of the ‘weaker’ sex. When Angelo takes authorization as swayer in the Duke’s absence he instantly wishes to do a grade. Unbeknown to him. the Duke has disguised himself as a Friar and has returned to Vienna to detect how Angelo administers dominance. Angelo ab initio comes away as beyond unfavorable judgment and determined to govern with an Fe fist.
When he discovers that a Lord called Claudio has slept with his spouse impregnated her. he orders Claudio be executed as an illustration to the citizens of Vienna. that such immorality will non be tolerated. The nobleman Claudio is introduced to us in Act 1 Scene 2. As he is being led off to prison. his friend Lucio asks the significance of ‘this restraint’ and questions as to endure or non it is because of ‘lechery’ . Claudio agrees that to a grade. his offense is one of being excessively indulgent in footings of sexual activity and we recognize that this is a society where work forces and adult females are expected to demo self-control before matrimony.
Claudio negotiations about his lover. Julietta with a certain grade of laterality ; we learn he had ‘possession’ of her bed but in his justification it was ‘upon a true contract’ and it seemed the affair was consensual. But besides ‘upon a true contract’ could besides intend that Julietta has donated herself to the dominant member of the relationship. Besides this statement makes the ‘relationship’ appear to be about a trade or an understanding – in which has been made between the two characters. He besides argues that they were every bit good as engaged but were waiting for the right minute to uncover the intelligence to her household.
Their sexual relationship is regarded by Claudio as ‘mutual entertainment’ and we realise that both can be held responsible for their offense nevertheless Julietta is now pregnant and they can non conceal their actions from others who can see the ‘shame’ of their brotherhood. In add-on. the word chiefly focused upon. is ‘possession’ . This word one time once more reflects the sexism environing this epoch ; in that the male is the dominant and most important individual. Therefore. it is clear that the adult females ( being Julietta in this instance ) is about an in-animate object. which is owned or ‘possessed’ by the adult male.
Claudio’s sister. Isabella. is an draw a bead oning nun and when she foremost heard about her brother’s apprehension she snaps at Angelo with ‘make me non your story’ . She candidly doesn’t believe that her brother has committed such wickedness and thinks it is all a narrative. When she comes to plead for her brother’s life. she is clearly virtuous and guiltless ; untainted by the ailments of society and ready to offer up her life to God. Angelo is overtaken by his desires and attracted to her virtuous nature. He offers the proposition that Isabella ‘yield up’ her organic structure to his ‘will’ and he in bend will allow a forgiveness for Claudio.
The word ‘yield’ suggests Isabella should give in or cower before Angelo’s might as a adult male and as a swayer. It reflects how Elizabethan work forces thought of adult females as ownerships. objects and caring about merely their organic structures and non their psyches ; that when it came to sex before matrimony. adult females were meant to give up their organic structures. Isabella is horrified and garbages. believing that by giving her virginity. she sacrifices her psyche. The word ‘will’ shows that Angelo dominates and expects to be obeyed in the ‘relationship’ . despite her sentiments or rights. As a adult male in a superior place. Angelo is used to being obeyed and his demands are to be met.
This shows us that work forces treated adult females as objects to fulfill their demands. In visible radiation of how male chauvinist this drama has been. at the terminal of the drama in scene 5 I become about positive of how despicable the Duke is. He tries to portray himself as this great large hero when he helps Isabella salvage Claudio ; but so unfairnesss that by penalizing Lucio so harshly. Prostitutes in those yearss were thought of as adulteresss and matrimony with such a individual was a ‘sin’ . So. Lucio is given an option to get married the prostitute he impregnated but he ne’er has to atone for what he did.
Actions like this in the Viennese society were extremely frowned upon and this high spots even more how severely work forces thought about adult females in these state of affairss because Lucio was devastated when the Duke told him his sentence. Isabella. originally on the brink of going a nun. finds herself about to get married the Duke. It is interesting that she is non given a opportunity to answer to the Duke’s matrimony proposal in the drama. She is assumedly really content to go the partner of the town’s leader. chiefly since he has saved her brother’s life. But at the same clip this state of affairs reinforces her loss of sexual independency.
The cardinal struggle in the drama revolves approximately around Isabella’s rejection to follow the ways of the bulk of the adult females in Vienna. Her matrimony to the Duke confirms her virtuousness while denying her independency. There are no independent adult females in Measure for Measure. This is non unusual. sing the scene and Shakespeare’s ain epoch. But Measure for Measure gives its adult females characters even less freedom than other Shakespearean dramas. Isabella is the one exclusion in that she refuses to react to Angelo’s progresss. However. she is still obedient toward the Duke. following all of his instructions.
At the decision of the drama. the Duke administers penalty to all of the people who have done incorrect and wagess the good. Angelo is told to get married Mariana. and he escapes decease at her petition. The Duke likely does non desire to put to death Angelo. but wants it made clear that his offense deserves such a penalty. Mariana’s wages is Angelo. which she takes merrily. although the Duke tells her that he is unworthy of her love. Claudio is allowed to get married Juliet. and Lucio is punished by being made to get married a cocotte. Marriage is non a specific penalty or wages ; nevertheless in this state of affairs it is decidedly a penalty.