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But rather than consider the submerged Italian background of Measure for Measure as evidence of authorial revision, this article argues that Vienna makes sense in the play and that Shakespeare, in offering several distorted perspectives on his city, was clearly influenced by the visual arts of his time.
In this attempt to resort to new, unexpected ingenious effects, he worked out an experimental, anamorphic geography intended to reproduce an ambivalent map of love, where unabashed sexual licence is confronting repressed desire. Yet here, Shakespeare locates his plot in Central Europe, in a city where sexual mores are suddenly subjected to strict regulations.
However, rather than consider the barely concealed Italian background of Measure for Measure 4 as evidence of authorial revision, this paper will argue that, in his satirical, Mannerist play, Shakespeare depicts a carnivalesque world where social hierarchies are put upside down. He does so in a fairly tortuous and complex way, i. As a consequence, the Italian flavour of Measure for Measure — a play supposed to take place in Central Europe, but whose characters are endowed with Italian habits, Italian vices sodomy, jealousy, vanity and greed and Italian names — must have come as no real surprise to early modern audiences.
Curiously, Michael J. Today, many critics insist on the fact that, though the playwright places Vienna centre stage, he indirectly addresses Italian issues. Therefore the Devill, not contented with the number he hath corrupted with reading Italian baudery, because all cannot reade, presenteth us Comedies cut by the same patterne, which drag such a monstrous taile after them as is able to sweep whole cities into his lap.
As to the second, a problem play partly set in France, and partly in Florence, it provided Shakespeare with the bed trick scene initiated by Helena to gain mastery over Bertram, now reworked in the substitution of Mariana for Isabella in this darker city-comedy. As a consequence, even though their objectives differ, both ruler and substitute lie, deceive, equivocate, and practice entrapment.