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Full-Text Articles in European History

Strict Restraints: Abstinence's Gender Problems In Measure For Measure, Joseph Makuc Apr 2019

Strict Restraints: Abstinence's Gender Problems In Measure For Measure, Joseph Makuc

History Honors Papers

Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure poses questions about sexual coercion and governmental corruption that resonate today. Recent scholarship has examined sexual abstinence in Measure for Measure in terms of its historical economic and religious context regarding Isabella. However, Angelo and the Duke, the play's other central characters, also make claims about the value of abstinence. I put these characters’ claims into dialogue with Judith Butler’s theory of gender performativity and extensive scholarship on Shakespearean England. I argue that abstinence is the axis around which Measure’s main characters revolve, and that Measure locates these characters’ abstinences as competing ...


Complete Bosoms, Incomplete Men: Reading Abstinence In Measure For Measure, Joseph Makuc Jul 2018

Complete Bosoms, Incomplete Men: Reading Abstinence In Measure For Measure, Joseph Makuc

English Summer Fellows

Measure for Measure has often been called one of Shakespeare’s problem plays, and as recent productions show, Measure’s problems — including sexual coercion and governmental corruption — resonate with readers and audiences today. Recent scholarship has examined sexual abstinence in Measure for Measure in terms of its historical economic and religious context, arguing that protagonist Isabella represents a radical break from merchant economics by opting out of the sexual economy. However, Angelo and the Duke, the play's other central characters, also make claims about the values of abstinence, and those claims are at odds with Isabella's claims. My ...