Measure for Measure is considered to be a dark play because it partly focuses on evil. The play has a seemingly cynical attitude towards two basic human concerns: sex and the ordering of society. These elements place it among Shakespeare's problem plays like Troilus and Cressida and All's Well That Ends Well. Theses are problems plays because the realistic characters do not readily mesh with the artificial plot provided by the author. Measure for Measure is a tragicomedy that combines tragic development with a comic resolution, utilizing irony to distance the story line. The play addresses the issues of good governing and personal morality according to the teachings of the Bible. The difficulty with Measure for Measure lies in the misunderstandings, manipulation, and hidden identities woven into the plot and not in the real moral question of the play. No character comes to reconsider his or her beliefs about freedom, justice, sexual relationships, or morality. The play Measure for Measure offers that the power of good can untangle all plots, right all wrongs, and lead to martial happiness in traditional comedic style.
In Luke and Matthew the "measure for measure" passages are closely linked to Christ's important pronouncements on the doctrine of Christian forgiveness. The proverbs insist on such forgiveness, for only by practicing mercy can one expect to receive it. The biblical passages also contain the familiar instruction not to judge others lest you be judged. Measure for Measure is particularly concerned with the proper exercise of power within the administration of justice. This subject was appropriate in 1604 when Shakespeare wrote Measure for Measure. The duties of a Christian ruler were being widely discussed in London. James I was the new king and he was interested in .
theological matters and had raised the issues himself. In the 17th century it was believed that a ruler's authority came from God, and a good ruler was expected to attempt to be like God in justice and mercy alike.