"The whole business of public justice is fatuous and hideous."
Wilbur Dunkel- Duke
"His disguise must not be taken seriously."
W.W. Lawrence- Duke
"He is essentialy a puppet"
G. Wilson Knight- Duke
"The Duke's original leniancy is shown to be right"
Robert N Watson
"Marriage as (a) instrument for controlling desire."
Wilbur Dunkel- the Duke and Isabella
"She gives into the Duke's immoral bed trick plan because"-"a holy man advises her to do so"
"He was placed in a position calculated to actualise his worst potentialities."
"The tricks are played to a saving purpose."
L.C Knights- Angelo
"Angelo's temptations and fall finely enforces the need for self knowledge and sympathy which seems to be the central moral of the play."
G. Wilson Knight- Angelo
"Chief faults are self-deception and pride in his own rightousness."
William Empson- Angelo
"Her coldness, even her rationality, is what excited him."
William Empson- Context
"There was a strand of loathing for sexuality in any form."
L. C. knights - Context
"Social forms were being undermined by new forces.
G. Wilson Knight- Isabella
"Isabella has no real affection for Claudio."
G. Wilson Knight
"Isabella stands for sainted purity, Angelo for pharisaical righteousness, the Duke... enlightened ethic. Lucio represents indecent wit, Pompey and Mistress Overdone professional immorality. Barnardine is hard headed, criminal insensitiveness ."
Irene McGarity- Isabella
"Holding a hollow sculpture of virtue to hide inside of."
Wilbur Dunkel- Lucio
"The function of Lucio is to keep us informed and unite the characters."
L. C. Knights- lower class
"Follow their impulses without scrumple of restraint" - "shakespeares sympathy for scoundrels."
"Measure for measure is a play of dark corners, hazy margins and attempts at rigid definition. It poses the necessity of passing moral judgement while demonstrating that all judgement is relative."
"Isabella's flaws arise from her inexperience."
Preoccupation with chastity shows "spiritual arrogance."
"We should see ourselves in Angelo."
Marriage is the "main justification" for the play being classed as a comedy. It "very rarely" provides comic closure because the audience is forced to question the "problematic" way marriage is treated.
"The play is tightly bound up with the cultural politics of 1604."
"Tragedy dealt with times that were safely past... Comedy, by contrast, dealt with the dangerous past."
"We see characters fretting about the nature of authority and suffering when authority is misapplied."