‘Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall.’

James Knight as ?Angelo? and Stephanie Fieger as ?Isabella? in The Old Globe?s 2007 Summer Shakespeare Festival production of Measure for Measure

?Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall.? A farce in the spirit of the ?Great Bard?.

Last Wednesday evening, we celebrated our Western heritage with the ?Great Bard of Avon? in watching a performance of Shakespeare?s comedy Measure for Measure at the ?Pop Up Globe? in Auckland. The troupe performed a rollicking, musically comedic rendition to an almost full house. Audience participation was aligned to the spirit of Shakespeare?s historic theme of total ?theatre? involvement. It was gratifying to see two school buses in the car park and the students directly in front of the stage wholeheartedly taking part in the spirit of the play.

As one does or ?as ye do?, prior to the performance I enjoyed investigating the structure, meaning and main ?lines? of the play to enhance our night?s enjoyment. We already know that the Bard’s words and sayings are still used today; for example: ?eyeball?, ?arch-villain? and ?bedazzled? are all found in Shakespeare?s texts.

Shakespeare wrote these wonderful plays more than 400 years ago, yet interpretations of his writings still resonate today. The ?Academics? proport that there are at least four standard interpretations of Measure for Measure besides the operatic style fun plot. However for a ?discussion?, I would like to share my interpretation that to us, the play still resonates with our current political climate and threat to western culture.

To follow are quotes of some of the most famous lines from Measure for Measure with one brief opinion for your consideration and contemplation in relation to the political climate today.

What?s mine is yours, and what is yours is mine.

Act V, Scene I.

This is said by the Duke to Isabelle towards the end of the play as he proposes to marry her. This quote is still used today, especially in regard to sharing property and belongings after marriage. It is a romantic and unifying saying and it appears in a number of songs, films and books.
The sense is quite different to Marxism where they spend all the money on those who ?know not how? to earn.

Historically that philosophy was compromised in divorce, where one partner had to be ?shamed? to achieve a dissolution.

?Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure / Like doth quit like, and Measure still for Measure.?

Act V, Scene I.

While this is not the most famous line, it is the only time the title appears
in the play. This quote is reminiscent of the old saying, ?an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.? In this case, the word ?measure? refers to measuring out justice ? the title of this play literally means ?justice for justice.?

Condemn the fault and not the actor of it?

Act II, Scene II.

The famous colloquialism ?hate the sin love the sinner? is derived from this quote from Measure for Measure. It presents the moral question of whether we should be upset over a misdeed but forgive the person who did it. This quote places humanity, forgiveness and justice at the forefront.

Measure for Measure strikes me as a very modern play. It?s about control and how one of the ways that we are controlled, not only by governments, churches and other ideological institutions, is by means of shaming. State and religious rituals in the Bard?s day included public penance and whippings of sexually transgressive women. Measure for Measure seems to shift blame from the law-breaker to the law maker, from women to men, from sexuality to state politics. Yet the explicit focus on the shaming of men for ?political offenses” in the play seems dependent on burying the shame of women.

it is excellent to have a giant?s strength, but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant

Act II, Scene II.

In Measure for Measure, Shakespeare shows how those in power can easily become corrupted. The Duke appoints Angelo as his deputy while he is absent. Angelo decides to enforce the letter of the law and condemns Claudio to death for violating a law that has not been enforced for a very long time. Claudio’s sister Isabella pleads for his life. Angelo accepts her plea in return for sexual favours but double-crosses her by ordering Claudio?s execution anyway. In pleading for her brother?s life Isabella accuses Angelo of many things, hence the above quote. Angelo is caught out by the Duke due to his totalitarian, corrupt virtue signalling rule.

Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall.

Act II, Scene I.

This is perhaps the most famous quote from the play, but it is spoken by Escalus, a character who makes few appearances.

This jarring line reveals one of the themes in Measure for Measure, that power and authority often involve corruption.

In the play, Angelo has assumed rule over Vienna and begins to implement strict rules over the population, showing no mercy to those who break them – although he himself has a weak moral and ideological compass. When Angelo is warned by Escalus that he is subject to certain vices as well, Angelo replies ??Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus, / Another thing to fall,? to which Escalus retorts this famous line about sin and virtue:

O what man within him hide, Though angel on the outwards side.

Act 3 Scene 1

Political and religious officials pretend to be angels to invoke sinister self-serving ideologies by hiding their true selves, minorities controlling the majority.

Truth is Truth until the end of reckoning.

Act 5 Scene 1

Truth will remain true until the end of time. Conversely, if you don?t ever tell a lie you won?t ever have to remember what you said. I can think of at least one New Zealand politician who fails to answer hard questions, using diversion and omission and being protected by others. This is a politician who claimed that he/she would not lie.

Needless to say there are many more ?Measure for Measure? or ?Justice for Justice? quotes that I could reference to provide a ?satirical? interpretation. I hope that some readers may take the opportunity to attend this performance (it concludes on April 14th), which is one of the better productions we have seen, including those in Stratford-upon-Avon.

To conclude, I leave you with Sonnet 29, published in 1609, being in congress with the feelings of isolation that many may empathise with since the selection of this Coalition of Losers and with the politicisation of the aftermath of the terrible Christchurch tragedy.

Also, when considering friends and family who are pixilated by the MSM fairy dust and the ever present socialist ideology, we ourselves can take solace from our loved ones and true friends.

In Sonnet 29, the speaker is depressed due to social ostracism (?my outcast state? ) and personal misfortune (?curse my fate?). He also gives vent to his jealousy of those that are ?rich in hope? and ?with friends possess?d?. The sonnet takes a brighter tone as the speaker feels better upon thinking of his beloved.




When, in disgrace with fortune and men?s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur?d like him, like him with friends possess?d,
Desiring this man?s art and that man?s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven?s gate;
For thy sweet love remember?d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Some 410 years ago Shakespeare ruminated on the control of the state and the church and how their officials – when grasping the opportunity, regardless of the cost to human life, and freedom of both choice and speech – could inflict their ideological dictum upon the suffering people.

The elimination of the teaching of history greatly assists the socialist agenda, as blissful insidious ignorance enhances ideological indoctrination. Will our descendants ever be allowed to look back on us 410 years from now? Will we have been historically eliminated if the socialist agenda emerges victorious?