Preview
Preview

Comparing The Prince and Measure for Measure Essay

:: 3 Works Cited
Length: 1755 words (5 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document




- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Parallels Between The Prince and Measure for Measure

 
     The parallels between Machiavelli's Prince and Shakespeare's Measure for Measure are significant.  The great majority of characters in Measure for Measure - the Duke, Angelo, Claudio, Pompey and even Isabella - display Machiavellian qualities. A comparison of key passages, both of The Prince and Measure for Measure, will establish this clearly.

 

A study of kingship, arguably the entire premise for Measure for Measure, is immediately introduced in the first scene, with the Duke's declaration "Of government the properties to unfold/ Would seem in me t'affect speech and discourse." It is not until the third scene of act one, however, that this political discussion becomes specific and, ultimately, linked to the Machiavellian notion of statecraft. In this scene, which details the exchange between Vincentio and the Friar, we learn the reasons for the former's deputising of Angelo. Both of the Duke's significant dialogues - I.iii.20-33 and I.iii.36-55 - reveal that, for the last fourteeen years, the "strict statutes and most biting laws" (I.iii.20) punishing pre-marital intercourse have slipped into disuse. Although this scene is by no means extensive, it furnishes the reader with much food for thought.

 

Vincentio's Machiavellianism, as manifest in the above scene, is centred upon three main elements - his previous laxity, his present need to deflect responsibility and his use of Angelo as an instrument in effecting the enforcement of this "most biting law." Upon closer inspection, both of Measure for Measure and The Prince, we discern that the neglect apparent in the Duke's initial non-enforcement of the law may not really be neglect at all, but rathe...


... middle of paper ...


...ouples) is profoundly Machiavellian. Not only does Vincentio conceal his knowledge of Claudio's safety from Isabella, he uses it in an impressive display of stagecraft, specifically designed to evoke a sort of mystical awe in all onlookers (including Isabella, who he later asks to marry him). The Duke has clearly enhanced his reputation by the "spectacular deeds" Machiavelli writes of in his Prince, "[finding] a way for punishing or rewarding[...] that is sure to be much talked about."

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Shakespeare, William: Measure for Measure, ed. Brian Gibbons, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Machiavelli, Niccolò: The Prince in Machiavelli: The Chief Works and Others, vol. 1, trans. Allan Gilbert, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1989

Machiavelli, Niccolò: The Prince, trans. George Bull, London: Penguin, 1995.

 

 


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
The Good and Evil Angelo of Measure for Measure Essay - The Good and Evil Angelo of Measure for Measure                  In Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, Angelo emerges as a double-sided character.  Scholars have argued for centuries whether or not Angelo is a moral character or an evil character.  Those scholars who support the notion of Angelo as moral often cite the following facts: the Duke obviously trusts Angelo, Angelo is disheartened enough by the end of the play to offer a sincere apology, and Angelo tries to resist the temptation that Isabella presents.  On the other hand, others have argued that Shakespeare depicts Angelo as a purely evil man.  These critics emphasize Angelo's treatment of Marian, the Duke's possible suspicion...   [tags: Measure for Measure]
:: 4 Works Cited
1975 words
(5.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Matrimony and Recompense in Measure for Measure - Matrimony and Recompense in Measure for Measure (A version of this essay appeared in Shakespeare Quarterly 46 (Winter, 1995), 454-464.) Since 1970, when the Isabella of John Barton's RSC production of Measure for Measure first shocked audiences by silently refusing to acquiesce to the Duke's offer of marriage at the end of the play, Isabella's response (or lack thereof) to the Duke's proposal has become one of the most prevalent subjects for Shakespearean performance criticism.See, for example, Jane Williamson, "The Duke and Isabella on the Modern Stage," The Triple Bond: Plays, Mainly Shakespearean, in Performance, ed....   [tags: Shakespeare Measure Essays] 7072 words
(20.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
William Shakespeare's Measure for Measure Essay - William Shakespeare's Measure for Measure The desires of the characters in Shakespeare’s Measure For Measure are not entirely clear, and are made ambivalent and ambiguous by the use of their language. Particularly in 3.1.52-153, when Isabella visits Claudio in prison, ambiguous lines and puns make it unclear whether Isabella desires Claudio’s death and whether he truly desires to be free of sin. These desires were further convoluted by viewing the current Folger Theatre production of the play....   [tags: Shakespeare measure for Essays] 1216 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Morality in Measure for Measure by Shakespeare Essay - Morality in Measure for Measure          Shakespeare's play, Measure for Measure, focuses on human morality. The play also explores the question of what kind of sexual conduct is socially acceptable, and what is not. The play depicts various attitudes toward prostitution, promiscuity, and premarital sex. But it also suggests that human laws and perhaps human morality are quite arbitrary and relative.   Measure for Measure considers the need for statutes and laws to govern sexual appetites and ensure domestic tranquility....   [tags: Measure for Measure]
:: 8 Works Cited
2108 words
(6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Abstinence and Orgy in Measure for Measure - Abstinence and Orgy in Measure for Measure        Many existing views of Measure for Measure seem intriguing but incomplete. They might reinforce our perception of this play as fragmented and baffling, because they do not integrate apparently conflicting outlooks presented in the play’s Vienna, and generated by the mysterious action of Vincentio. Notice how the following different interpretations display the conflicts: the extreme view proposed by Roy Battenhouse that the Duke stands for God (Rossiter 108-28); the modified position of Elizabeth Marie Pope that the Duke is a successful magistrate with divinely-delegated powers ("Renaissance" 66-82), almost in line with Eliade’s version of...   [tags: Measure for Measure]
:: 13 Works Cited
2585 words
(7.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Exploring Morality in Measure for Measure Essay - Exploring Morality in Measure for Measure    In Measure for Measure, Shakespeare is able to examine the concept of right and wrong through the characters of Mistress Overdone and Mariana. Throughout the play, by using characters that most people would find morally reprehensible, Shakespeare is able to give the audience a different view of these people and, hopefully, show his audience that people aren't always what they appear to be. Through the character of Mistress Overdone, Shakespeare is able to bring a jovial side to the oldest job known to man -- prostitution....   [tags: Measure for Measure]
:: 2 Works Cited
739 words
(2.1 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Measure for Measure Essay: Angelo - Angelo in Measure for Measure       Within Measure for Measure, the character of Angelo can be seen as a case study of will over moral nature. Angelo, a deputy, is given the Dukes authority to act in his behalf while the Duke is away. The story unfolds as Angelo uses the agency he's been given in ways that many men in authoritative positions have done. It is interesting to follow his line of thought and to realize that this is a man who is not unlike many others. The main conflict between Isabella and Angelo is a contemporary problem....   [tags: Measure for Measure]
:: 4 Works Cited
1019 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Measure for Measure Essay: The Virtuous Isabella - The Virtuous Isabella in Measure for Measure        Measure for Measure is not a celebration of family values, the play points towards both the political virtuosity, which sustains the comic, and the humbler self-knowledge that preserves the integrity of the virtuoso. Human virtue can only be chosen in freedom, but we need not deny ourselves the opportunity of ensuring that this choice is not stifled by the subtly related powers of abstract intellectualism and carnal necessity   Isabella in Measure for Measure personifies innocent virtue....   [tags: Measure for Measure]
:: 3 Works Cited
1284 words
(3.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Measure for Measure Essay: The Pontification of Isabella - The Pontification of Isabella in Measure for Measure      Within Measure for Measure the character of Isabella is characterized as an innocent pure female, and there is a focus on her ever-present moral dilemma. By using Elizabethan perspectives on women, nuns, and chastity, Shakespeare uses Isabella to reveal character traits and morality of those around her.  However in opposition Isabella made be seen as an individual who pontificates too much when her brother’s life is at stake, it is perhaps easier for Isabella to suffer the condemnation of a modern audience....   [tags: Measure for Measure]
:: 5 Works Cited
1126 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Measure for Measure Essay: Immorality and Corruption - Immorality and Corruption in Measure for Measure         In ‘Measure for Measure’, Shakespeare demonstrates that there is an innate immorality and corruption in the heart of man. Shakespeare illustrates that power does not cause corruption.  This is achieved by presenting the Duke, who has the most power in Vienna, as a moral hero, and conversely revealing the corruption of the powerless class through characters including Pompey, Mistress Overdone, and Barnadine.  Through all this, Shakespeare uses Lord Angelo in Measure for Measure to show that immorality and corruption is innate in mankind....   [tags: Measure for Measure]
:: 5 Works Cited
1566 words
(4.5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]