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Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure – Part II: Growth in Self-Knowledge

Dr. White continues his discussion of the results of incompetence in authority figures as represented in Measure for Measure, showing how the corruption of their society affects the characters, especially Isabella, who seeks refuge in the restraint and order of a convent. The character of Claudio is discussed as “the only sane and sensible character in the play.” Dr. White discusses the biblical references and Christian imagery in the play, and proves it to be, in one sense a Christmas play. Special attention is given to Isabella’s decision to grant forgiveness to the man who wronged her, bringing the idea of Mary’s Fiat to the play’s climax and resolution. The lecture closes with a few thoughts on Shakespeare’s Catholicism and Dr. White’s conviction that, in the words of a contemporary Protestant minister, “Master Shakespeare died a Papist.”

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