Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare and the Association Between Nature and Law
This is a 5 page paper discussing the relationship between law and nature in Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure”. William Shakespeare’s play “Measure for Measure” examines the constantly shifting relationship between law and nature within the setting of Vienna. The law that no man must lay with a woman who is not his wife had long been established yet not enforced until Angelo the Lord Deputy decides to sentence Claudio, a young gentleman for impregnating his lover. Claudio shifts the relationships between nature and law, and natural law several times in his arguments to save his life. He sees man’s laws as flexible and man’s nature as virtuous. At the same time, Claudio views death and nature as lawless; which terrifies him. Angelo, on the other hand, has little sense of the natural lust and love which can occur in man and has little problem applying the law forbidding such encounters. After meeting Isabella however, Claudio’s virtuous sister, Angelo’s faith in the law alters as he readily breaks the law he is so willing to enforce on others. Isabella is virtuous and sees sinning as against natural law and devises ways in which she can save her virtue, condemn Angelo for his own lawlessness and sin while at the same time saving her brother.
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