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Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure – Part I: Crisis in Authority

Dr. White explores the theme of leadership and crisis of authority in this lecture on Shakespeare’s “dark comedy.” He uses the example of a recent scandal at the Naval Academy where he taught to show the consequences of the failure of authority, and ties this into the irresponsibility of the authority figures in Measure for Measure. Dr. White then discusses Shakespeare’s evident Catholicism, how it influenced his work and life, and how it made his plays relevant and popular for all time, despite the protestations of modern critics, who twist his words, and modern schools, who take his works off their students’ reading lists. From there, Dr. White gives examples of how the playwright worked around a ban against mentioning God in the theatre. Finally, he discusses the pattern of the play’s settings and their significance, as well as the main conflict of the piece.

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