Saturday, April 9, 2011

Measure for Measure 15 - Inequality

Some Shake-Speare / Bacon parallels in Measure for Measure (15)

Angelo: “ . . . Thus wisdom wishes to appear most bright when it doth tax itself”. 
Measure for Measure, 2.4.78  (a show of false modesty meant actually to showcase excellence).

” . . . like poets who if you except of any particular verse in their composition, will presently tell you that that single line cost them more trouble than all the rest; and then produce you another, as suspected by themselves, for your opinion, whilst, of all the number, they know it to be the best and least liable to exception”.
De Augmentis, 8.2 (notice also the respect poets had for Bacon’s poetic judgment)

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Angelo to Isabel: “Say what you can, my false o’erweighs your true”. Measure, 2.4.170
Isabel to the audience: “Did I tell this, who would believe me”? Measure, 2.4.171
(His false outweighs her true due to the unequal power and authority he has over her).

Later, in Act 5:
“O gracious duke! Harp not on that; nor do not banish reason for inequality; but let your reason serve to make the truth appear where it seems hid, and hide the false seems true”. Measure, 5.1.63

“A judge ought to prepare his way to a just sentence, as God useth to prepare his way, by raising valleys and taking down hills; so when there appeareth on either side a high hand, violent prosecution, cunning advantages taken, combination, power, great counsel, then is the virtue of the judge seen to make inequality equal; that he may plant his judgment as upon an even ground”.
Essay, Of Judicuture

(Note: The word “inequality” is not used elsewhere in the plays; and it has the same meaning as it has in Bacon's essay, and is used regarding the same subject.)

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