Print Сite this

Measure for Measure by Shakespeare. Documentary Critique

Measure for Measure is one of Shakespeare’s most controversial plays, as it raises politically sensitive topics such as justice, morality, and corruption. The collision of power, religion, and sex can be perceived utterly differently over the course of time. Even though many literary critics have tried to find the pitfalls of the play disguised as dark humor, the most plausible explanation of Shakespeare’s play was provided by Professor Sir Christopher Ricks.

We will write a
custom essay
specifically for you

for only $16.05 $11/page
308 certified writers online
Learn More

The play was a massive shift in the playwright’s career since it was written in a dark comedy genre, which was unusual for Shakespeare. Its plot is based on Biblical and Hebraic motives, proclaiming the principles of divine justice. The story revolves around Angelo, the temporary governor, Duke Vincentio, the real leader who escapes and disguises himself to observe the surroundings, and Isabella, whose brother Claudio faces execution.

The duke, utterly exhausted by people’s sinful behaviors, announced that he was departing from the city, leaving Angelo as the head. Vincentio sincerely hoped the temporary governor would fix law and order. Yet, Angelo got used to his new role too quickly and decided to sentence a young man Claudio to death for debauchery and lechery. Meanwhile, he offered his sister’s virginity for his freedom. Sir Christopher Ricks highlighted that Angelo was the biggest hypocrite as he condemned what he was supposed to restore (New College of Humanities). The professor claimed him to have dual nature only because he has never felt superior (New College of Humanities). Yet, the character admitted his wrongdoings were indignant and wished to be dead.

The professor started his speech with an opening of the play, which quickly captured the audience’s attention. Those opening lines were read with perfect intonation, which set the tone for the entire lecture. Sir Christopher Ricks brilliantly explained the essential topic of Measure for Measure, emphasizing the hidden meaning of symbols and phrases. In addition, the professor asks questions which make the audience contemplate. For instance, he would ask if Angelo’s motives got better or worse during his temporary reign (New College of Humanities). Such a way of interacting is beneficial in terms of viewing the situation or character from different perspectives.

Measure for Measure disclosed several heated issues observed throughout the play. The themes of justice and morality were best explained by Sir Christopher Ricks. The play promoted the idea of an “eye-for-an-eye” punishing system, meaning that a criminal should be strictly penalized as soon as possible (New College of Humanities). On the other hand, there was a debate about the legislation of morality. In other words, it presumed granting mercy to a convict leaning on the moral principles. However, the characters’ neglected ethics as a whole since they allowed themselves to abuse women, which speaks for the utter absence of any principles in their lives.

In summation, the lecture on Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure by Professor Sir Christopher Ricks was increasingly informative. It provided many insights on the debated political, religious, sexual, and moral issues. Besides, he managed to inform the audience on these sensitive topics in terms of both past and present conditions. Moreover, the detailed description of the characters’ motives gave an understanding of their actions. In general, the lecture was filled with many historical, religious, and political facts that explained the phenomena described in the play.

Work Cited

Professor Sir Christopher Ricks: Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure.YouTube, uploaded by New College of the Humanities. 2013. Web.

Get your
100% original paper
on any topic

done in as little as
3 hours
Learn More

Cite this paper

Select style


StudyCorgi. (2022, August 12). Measure for Measure by Shakespeare. Documentary Critique. Retrieved from


StudyCorgi. (2022, August 12). Measure for Measure by Shakespeare. Documentary Critique.

Work Cited

"Measure for Measure by Shakespeare. Documentary Critique." StudyCorgi, 12 Aug. 2022,

* Hyperlink the URL after pasting it to your document

1. StudyCorgi. "Measure for Measure by Shakespeare. Documentary Critique." August 12, 2022.


StudyCorgi. "Measure for Measure by Shakespeare. Documentary Critique." August 12, 2022.


StudyCorgi. 2022. "Measure for Measure by Shakespeare. Documentary Critique." August 12, 2022.


StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Measure for Measure by Shakespeare. Documentary Critique'. 12 August.

This paper was written and submitted to our database by a student to assist your with your own studies. You are free to use it to write your own assignment, however you must reference it properly.

If you are the original creator of this paper and no longer wish to have it published on StudyCorgi, request the removal.