Synopses & Reviews
Eminent Shakespearean scholars Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen provide a fresh new edition of this powerful play that explores sexual hypocrisy and questions morality at all levels of society. This volume also includes more than a hundred pages of exclusive features, including:
• an original Introduction to Measure for Measure
• incisive scene-by-scene synopsis and analysis with vital facts about the work
• commentary on past and current productions based on interviews with leading directors, actors, and designers
• photographs of key RSC productions
• an overview of Shakespeare’s theatrical career and chronology of his plays
Ideal for students, theater professionals, and general readers, these modern and accessible editions from the Royal Shakespeare Company set a new standard in Shakespearean literature for the twenty-first century.
William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616) is the most influential writer in English history. Shakespeare has been called The Barb of Avon and England's national poet. There are 2 narrative poems, 154 sonnets and 38 plays in his collected works. He began work as an actor and writer in London first writing comedies and historic plays. He later wrote tragedies. Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and Othello are some of his more famous plays. Measure for Measure was written around 1603 and is considered to be one of Shakespeare's problem plays. When Vincentio leaves the city government in the hands of judge Angelo the laws against fornication, which had been loosely enforced would now be more strictly observed. When a young couple is caught expecting a child out of wedlock the man is sentenced to death. Vincentio is disguised as a friar to spy on the doings in his city and aids in a plan to stop Angelo.
About the Author
William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in April 1564, and his birth is traditionally celebrated on April 23. The facts of his life, known from surviving documents, are sparse. He was one of eight children born to John Shakespeare, a merchant of some standing in his community. William probably went to the King’s New School in Stratford, but he had no university education. In November 1582, at the age of eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway, eight years his senior, who was pregnant with their first child, Susanna. She was born on May 26, 1583. Twins, a boy, Hamnet ( who would die at age eleven), and a girl, Judith, were born in 1585. By 1592 Shakespeare had gone to London working as an actor and already known as a playwright. A rival dramatist, Robert Greene, referred to him as “an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers.” Shakespeare became a principal shareholder and playwright of the successful acting troupe, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men (later under James I, called the King’ s Men). In 1599 the Lord Chamberlain’s Men built and occupied the Globe Theater in Southwark near the Thames River. Here many of Shakespeare’s plays were performed by the most famous actors of his time, including Richard Burbage, Will Kempe, and Robert Armin. In addition to his 37 plays, Shakespeare had a hand in others, including Sir Thomas More and The Two Noble Kinsmen, and he wrote poems, including Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. His 154 sonnets were published, probably without his authorization, in 1609. In 1611 or 1612 he gave up his lodgings in London and devoted more and more time to retirement in Stratford, though he continued writing such plays as The Tempest and Henry VII until about 1613. He died on April 23 1616, and was buried in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford. No collected edition of his plays was published during his life-time, but in 1623 two members of his acting company, John Heminges and Henry Condell, put together the great collection now called the First Folio.