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Measure for Measure

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The third Approaching Shakespeare lecture, on Measure for Measure, focuses on the vexed question of this uncomic comedy's genre.

This lecture begins with the question of genre: what kind of play is Measure for Measure, a dark, queasy play from 1604 which ends in some enforced marriages and seems almost to throw down a generic challenge in its final scene. The lecture talks about Shakespearean comedy more widely to try to understand, not explain away, this play's difficulties. Emma Smith says: "There's also a mistake in it - apologies. I was quite wrong to say that no Shakespeare play has a woman speaking the majority of its lines: both As You Like It (Rosalind has 25% of the lines) and All's Well that Ends Well (Helen has 16%) do."