Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure" and Shaw's "Major Barbara" Comparison Essay by chief

Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure" and Shaw's "Major Barbara"
This paper compares the many parallel images in the comedies William Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure" and George Bernard Shaw's "Major Barbara".
# 25399 | 2,405 words | 10 sources | MLA | 2002 | US

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The author believes that Shaw quite consciously modeled some portions of "Major Barbara" on Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure". The paper discusses the many similarities such as the religious overtones in both plays and the characterization of the female main characters Isabella and Barbara. The author points out that both plays make the same philosophical point: The need to let something go in order to achieve or gain something else, perhaps of greater value.

From the Paper:

""Measure for Measure" is gloomy in the beginning; but Shakespeare, as does Shaw, is able to work out the transition from potential tragedy to comedy. Unfortunately, in the transition, Shakespeare, unlike Shaw, does not always make his characters behave consistently. Like Shaw, however, he does order everything that happens in "Measure for Measure" on the principle that the play must be kept a comedy. That was his given reason for making his heroine Isabella a novice nun and for bringing Lucio into her first scene with Angelo (II. ii.); every detail must play its part in intensifying the effect of comic irony. Once used though, such a detail may later be ignored by Shakespeare. Isabella is found to be not too nun-like after all. She is not squeamish or sanctimonious and can be intensely practical, as her "0, let him marry her!" (I. iv. 49) reveals. During the play she develops into a vociferous, ironical nun almost a Major Barbara."

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Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure" and Shaw's "Major Barbara" (2003, March 28) Retrieved April 18, 2024, from

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"Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure" and Shaw's "Major Barbara"" 28 March 2003. Web. 18 April. 2024. <>