Tag Archives: ethics

Competitions of Ethics

Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure has been popularly referred to as a “problematic play” because of its seemingly convoluted plot. The play has earned this title because the Claudio’s punishment does not fit his supposed crime, because Angelo’s offer to spare Claudio comes at a perverse and indecent trade, and because the way in which Claudio is finally saved is a kind of underhanded operation conceived by the Duke. In each of these three major points of the play, there is some subversion of the ethics understood by an audience. The questions are, then: why create this tension? With what ideas of morality or conduct is Shakespeare playing? How does the play resolve, if at all, the conflict between the ideas it thematically explores throughout its course? Continue reading