Measure for Measure: Writer's Techniques

Measure for Measure: Writer’s Techniques

  • Structure of the Play: Measure for Measure unfolds in a five-act structure, Shakespeare’s typically complex plot where the Duke of Vienna feigns absence leaving Angelo in charge, who enforces strict laws leading to entanglements including false identities and ethical dilemmas.
  • Atmosphere of the Play: The atmosphere of the play is marked by moral ambiguity, hypocrisy, sexual tension and comedic relief, reflecting the contradictory and complex human emotions and social realities.
  • Shakespeare’s use of Wordplay: In this play, Shakespeare frequently uses wordplay, innuendos, puns and double entendre, such as the play’s title itself ‘Measure for Measure’, to add depth to the plot and reveal character’s hidden motives.
  • Shakespeare’s use of Poetry & Prose: Shakespeare skillfully oscillates between poetry and prose in dialogue to provide a deeper insight into character complexity, where poetry often marks higher status or romantic inclinations, while prose is used for comedy, common characters or darker, serious themes.
  • Shakespeare’s use of Stagecraft: Shakespeare’s stagecraft involves clever use of entrances and exits, soliloquies, asides, dramatic irony and disguise, using the stage not just as a physical space, but as a tool to highlight themes and character dynamics.
  • Shakespeare’s use of Symbolism: Symbols such as the bed trick, the disguised Duke, and judicial robes contribute to the play’s exploration of themes such as justice, morality and deception.