The accession of James I triggered an outpouring of religious literature, including Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, which was performed before a royal audience on December 26, 1604. With over thirty biblical allusions and a conspicuously scriptural title, Shakespeare's most biblical play is also arguably his most medieval play, as its allegorical structure and homiletic themes mimic those of the medieval morality play. While Shakespeare's play participates in the religious celebration of the new monarchy, it does so with rich irony, revealing stark contradictions in English political culture. The play's medievalism and its biblical allusions critically expose the efforts of some English Protestants to authorize power on the basis of a fundamentalist reading of the Bible. The biblical interests of Measure for Measure also respond to the king's censure of the Geneva Bible, an act that reinforced the tight relationship between biblical interpretation and the foundations of authority.
Research Article|January 01 2010
Thomas Fulton; Shakespeare's Everyman: Measure for Measure and English Fundamentalism. Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 1 January 2010; 40 (1): 119–147. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10829636-2009-016
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