Coghlan, early nineteenth century The play spans only the last two years of Richard's life, from to The first Act begins with King Richard sitting majestically on his throne in full state, having been requested to arbitrate a dispute between Thomas Mowbray and Richard's cousin, Henry Bolingbroke, later Henry IVwho has accused Mowbray of squandering money given to him by Richard for the king's soldiers and of murdering Bolingbroke's uncle, the Duke of Gloucester.
This is especially true with respect to the law: Measure for Measure and The Merchant of Venice are, of course, explicitly "legal" in content, but more than twenty of the plays have some form of trial scene Kornstein xii.
Virtually all of the plays are tangentially concerned with some aspect of the law; at the very least, Shakespeare uses complex legal jargon to elicit a laugh.
When one of the title characters in The Merry Wives of Windsor tosses out a line like: If the devil have [Falstaff] not in fee simple [absolute possession], with fine and recovery [as of an entailment], he will never, I think, in the way of waste [despoiling], attempt us again IV.
It is therefore not surprising that the interdisciplinary study of law and Shakespeare has grown into a fully recognized field, with major law schools offering advanced degrees. Such interdisciplinary examination has opened for us a new vista of understanding. The Merchant of Venice "has spawned more commentary by lawyers than any other Shakespeare play" Kornstein One can easily find a discussion of every legal concept raised in the course of the play Whitea detailed legal dissection of the trial scene in Act IV Keetonand even an imaginary appellate strategy on behalf of Shylock Kornstein The link between Shakespeare and the law is not new; even a casual perusal of the literature will show that scholars have long realized that the legal discourse can lead to a better understanding of Shakespeare's works.
I submit, however, that the converse is also true: A play like The Merchant of Venice has a great deal to offer in the course of such a reading. The action of the play is concerned with contract law, but issues of standing, moiety, precedent, and conveyance are also raised.
At the most fundamental level, though, the trial scene in Act IV illustrates the conflict between equity and the strict construction of the law. Equity, in the legal sense, is "justice according to principles of fairness and not strictly according to formulated law" Gilbert This definition, while easily understandable, presents us with a problematic — even dangerous - structure of opposition.
Law and fairness are set at extreme ends of some continuum of justice, and are exclusive. The definition implies that one can have justice according to "fairness," or justice according to "formulated law.
And if "fairness" is not to be found within the confines of "formulated law," from whence does it come? This is not a new argument, of course; the conflict between law and equity was recognized even in medieval England.
From earliest childhood, we are indoctrinated with a sense of justice, of fairness, of right and wrong.
Every schoolyard echoes with cries of "No fair cheating! It is this indignation, this sense that principles of fairness have been violated, that arouse many to question the theories and practices upon which our system of law and justice have been built.
Some would claim, for example, that rape is a crime no less egregious than that of murder, and thus call for the execution of convicted rapists. Yet no state allows such execution solely for conviction of rape. It has become a fundamental tenet of American law that the state may not take the life of a felon unless the crime involved the taking of a life; rape alone, while devastating the life of the victim, does not result in death without some intervening act.
The search for equity — for fairness — within codified law has led to some bizarre and arcane practices in Western courts; when drunk drivers spend more time in prison than some murderers, this fact becomes painfully apparent.
Equity, in fact, has become so intertwined with law in the justice system that it is difficult to see the lines of demarcation.webkandii.com is a legal online writing service established in the year by a group of Master and Ph.D. students who were then studying in UK.
Measure for Measure, among the problem plays, offers a legal framework and, according to John D. Eure (), expresses Shakespeare's statement on the limitations and competence of law.
Jan 14, · Quotations about justice, laws, court, lawyers, jury duty, crime, and criminals, from The Quote Garden.
Measure for Measure In keeping people straight, principle is not as powerful as a which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through. ~Jonathan Swift, A Critical Essay upon the Faculties of the Mind, The theme of Measure for Measure is the temperance of justice with mercy.
Merciful justice is juxtaposed throughout with strict enforcement of the law. The duke, Isabella, Escalus, Mariana, and the Provost all . The initial epigraph is one of only ﬁve quotations from Shakespeare, but the two from Measure for Measure indicate an undermining of Shakespearean authority at the same time as they appear to uphold it to the extent that they invoke and misread the text from which they are taken.
Law and desire in Measure for measure. General lack of law enforcement has led to a situation, the Duke says, where "liberty plucks justice by the nose, / The baby beats the nurse, and quite athwart goes all decorum.
"7 Although sexual transgression is only one part of this lawlessness, both the Duke and Angelo see it as central to the.