Friday, May 15, 2009

Play of the Week: Measure for Measure

Haste still pays haste,
and leisure answers leisure;
Like doth quit like,
and measure still for measure.

Measure for Measure is a play about justice and right and wrong. Many characters set double standards for themselves and judge others by another set of morals. It is fitting then that this is one of the plays in which appears the famous Shakespearean bed trick.

The bed trick is great at solving certain scenarios. Peron A is madly in love with Person B. Person B cannot even look at Person A without being repulsed. Person B happens to be lusting after Person C. There is usually something in this that persons A and C can exploit. They trick Person B into thinking that he's going to be sleeping with Person C, but Person A is sent in their stead. Then when all of this is revealed persons A and B now must be united forever.

That's the basic gist of the bed trick. Sometimes the motives are a little different but the overall format of the love triangle, usually involving two women, is basically the same.

But what does this say about love and sex? First of all it would seem to imply that all women are the same in bed. Second, we really should question this union formed upon deception. Putting aside that a union formed on deception is bad, Person B being force into a marriage can in no way ever be happy with the rest of his or her life. Will Person B ever come close to treating their new partner well? Therefore will Person A ever truly be happy as well?

Take some time to sit down with Measure for Measure, and the other plays with the bed trick, and think about what outcomes await the love triangles in the time after the play has ended.

No comments:

Post a Comment