Measure for Measure Themes & Symbolism

This Study Guide consists of approximately 190 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Measure for Measure.
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Gender Roles and Sexuality

Most critics see the issues of gender roles and sexuality in the playas a power struggle between the sexes. This battle, many commentators argue, is ultimately won by the male characters. Angelo's attempted rape of Isabella and the Duke's management of the bed-trick have been discussed as methods by which the play's male characters reestablish control over the females whom they regard as disruptive or sexually overpowering. Several critics have remarked that the fear of women depicted in Measure for Measure was typical of the Renaissance period in which Shakespeare wrote, and that later plays by other authors were more violent in displaying the general distrust of women.

Commentators have offered varying responses to the marriages that close the play. Some argue that the Duke's orchestrated series of betrothals and weddings function as a way of reassetting male control over females. By contrast, others...

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This section contains 694 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Measure for Measure Study Guide
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Shakespeare for Students
Measure for Measure from Shakespeare for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.