TitleOligarchy, cultural warfare, and stagecraft in William Shakespeare’s Measure for measure
NameMiller, Rachel E. (author), Fitter, Christopher (chair), Hostetter, Aaron (co-chair), Rutgers University, Camden Graduate School,
Political science--Great Britain--History--16th century,
Political science--Great Britain--History--17th century,
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. Measure for measure,
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616--Criticism and interpretation
DescriptionWilliam Shakespeare’s Measure For Measure builds upon reception conditions in the Globe Theater to convey radical political messages to the audience. The drama successfully depicts the societal problems resulting from England’s unique middle class expansion and heavily localized instances of cultural and class warfare. After providing substantial historical context, this thesis explains why the central villain, Angelo, embodies the severe nature of the new oligarchy. Furthermore, the problematic Duke represents crucial flaws inherent in paternalistic rhetoric that sustained institutionalized power imbalances. As social stratification continued to expand, state sanctioned abuses were inflicted upon the lower classes, including capital punishment, whipping, and lengthy prison sentences. Shakespeare speaks out against class oppression by manipulating his audience’s collective emotions. Mistress Overdone, Kate Keepdown, and Pompey experience harsh reprimands, and their performances encourage sympathy from the groundlings. Lastly, carnival values are championed against local instances of oppression. This essay focuses on the importance of stagecraft and language, and the ways these techniques are politically valuable in Shakespearean drama.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Rachel E. Miller
CollectionCamden Graduate School Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.