(855) 4-ESSAYS

Type a new keyword(s) and press Enter to search

Discuss the influence of the New Testament in "Measure for M

            The title "Measure for Measure" is taken directly from the New Testament Matthew 7:.
             "Do not judge, or you too will be judged? For in the same way as you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.".
             The title can be seen as pointing in two directions, one being retributive justice, the other requiring mercy. The only time the phrase, "Measure for Measure", is used in the play is in Act 5. Here the Duke interprets it as the harsh doctrine of the Old Testament (Exodus 21), life for life, with out any consideration of mercy as suggested in the Sermon on the Mount (love you enemies). However, later he reverts to the New Testament teaching and shows mercy towards the characters. The play, seen as being influenced by the New Testament, offers a tender Christian ethic: no man who is not without sin has the right to judge others. Christianity's most fundamental and altruistic commandment from the New Testament (love your enemies and show mercy) conflicts with all political and judicial systems. From the influence of the New Testament, "Measure for Measure" dramatises strongly this element of contradiction within the society it is set. The play investigates the balance between the mercy that Christ teaches and the duty to maintain law and order and focuses on the humanity of the New Testament in comparison to the harsh laws of the Old Testament. The main characters are all influenced by the New Testament, which also dramatises the mercy of Christ's teachings.
             Initially Angelo is presented as a sexual puritan who shows a staunch dedication to severe laws. Shakespeare has used him as an example of the strict laws of the Old Testament. However, by allowing him to give in to temptation and strong sexual urges he becomes treacherous, hypocritical and adulterous (in the eyes of the New Testament). This brings him to repentance and greater understanding at the end of the play that reflects the merciful teachings of the New Testament.

Essays Related to Discuss the influence of the New Testament in "Measure for M

Got a writing question? Ask our professional writer!
Submit My Question