Among the elements of comedy that ultimately are placed under uncomfortable strain in the eyes of the audience, the bed trick in Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure is an particularly palpable one. Although an element of romantic comedy, the bed trick has long represented a problem of both morality and realism in its usage.
Man’s desire for Helen has fueled a 7-year battle between Sparta and Troy in Shakespeare’s play Troilus and Cressida, but it is the objectification of Cressida and the roles men have in her life that Shakespeare uses to comment on the patriarchal values of society. The act of marriage and the exchange of women maintained the patriarchal structures of both the play’s setting in Ancient Greece and Jacobean England in which Shakespeare was writing. Continue reading
Is Portia the hero of The Merchant of Venice? Can a woman considered a hero at all? Can Portia even be viewed positively? Julie Hankey, in the essay Victorian Portias: Shakespeare’s Borderline Heroine, reviews how the reception and subsequent performance of Portia evolved through the Victorian era from a disparaged, under appreciated woman to a valued and celebrated character.