Tag Archives: Chastity

Keep the Government out of the Bedroom

In Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure there exists a paradox of the punishment of fornication only being able to be lifted by more fornication. I am referring to the deal that Angelo attempts to make with Isabella, her virginity for her brothers freedom. This issue, however, is reflective of a greater anxiety of the state invading personal spaces. From Claudio’s arrest to the loss of Mistress Overdone’s livelihood to the bargaining of Isabella’s virginity, the destructiveness of the state’s involvement with matters concerning sex as an anxiety of the play is evident. Continue reading

Diana: Antagonist or Quiet Hero?

Shakespeare juxtaposes loving desire and chaste austerity through the two deities Cupid and Diana. Cupid is “said to be a child” (I.1.238), “blind[ly]” (I.1.235) slinging fiery shafts at maidens to implant tenacious and sometimes self-destructive “fancies.” In contrast, Diana, the “reputedly hostile to men” [1] “virgin goddess of the moon” (MSND, 6), is presented as the antithesis to this amorous frenzy. Continue reading