MA Final Shakespeare Exam 2019 DU 7 Colleges

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Subject: Shakespeare

Exam – 2019

Broad Question

1. Hamlet is an unconventional revenge play.

Introduction: Revenge drama stands for a kind of tragedy that is represented as a quest for vengeance and results in bloodshed and mutilation. This type of drama was popular in England during the late 16th and 17th centuries with the Elizabethans and Jacobeans. Before England, this type of drama is popularized in Rome by the hand of the ancient Roman playwright Seneca (4 BC-AD 65). Though Shakespeare is designed “Hamlet” as a revenge tragedy it is an unconventional revenge tragedy. 

The Plot Based on secret murdered

The plot of Hamlet is centred on a secret murder of Old Hamlet. Claudius killed secretly his brother old Hamlet and seized the kingdom. But nobody is known that it was a cold-blooded murder even the audience was unknown about this fact. Shakespeare has limned through his character that guilty creates permanent fear in the way of life. Thus the plot is well-matched with the features of a revenge tragedy but it is slightly different from a revenge tragedy and has some touch of unconventional revenge tragedy.

Sign of ghost

The presence of ghost is an important trait of Shakespearian tragedy not only Shakespearian but also Senecan tragedy is mingled with the sign of the ghost. The drama opens with the gossip of the ghost of old Hamlet. Barnardo and Francisco have been seen the ghost of Old Hamlet but the ghost was not willing to speak to someone except Hamlet. By hearing this from Horatio, Hamlet decided that he would meet the ghost. Then they met and the ghost informed Hamlet that the death of Old Hamlet was not the usual death. He is killed by Claudius also the ghost said to take revenge on Claudius. Thus like the Senecan revenge tragedy, the ghost has played a vital role to became Hamlet as an avenger.

The complex attitude of Hero

The hero of the Senecan revenge tragedy is serious-minded his one and only motive would be taken revenge on the suspect. But in the drama “Hamlet” the hero Hamlet is different from the conventional hero. According to critics, the hero of the play has possessed a mysterious behaviour. His madness is a fine example of mystery. So from this point of view, we can say that Hamlet is not a conventional revenge tragedy.

Unique dramatic artificiality

Shakespeare is most prominent for his literary style. Each of his drama is pregnant with various literary devices. The tragedy Hamlet is not differing from this tradition. Here we find Shakespeare’s artistic excellence such as play within a play, the madness of the hero, and so on.

A number of avengers

Usually, in a revenge tragedy, we find a hero who is concerned about his revenge motive but here we find a number of characters all are tried to take revenge such as Laertes who is the brother of Ophelia and son of Polonius wants to take revenge for the death of his father and the insanity of his sister. Another character Fortinbras who wants to take revenge on Denmark for the losses faced by Hamlet’s father. So we can say that the Tragedy Hamlet is not a conventional revenge tragedy.

Conclusion: In conclusion, we can say that Hamlet is not Only a conventional revenge tragedy but also an unconventional revenge tragedy. It has some quality of traditionalism and some quality of uniqueness. So it can be said that Shakespeare has represented “Hamlet” as a unique revenge tragedy blending some quality of traditional or Senecan revenge tragedy.

2. Discuss how the play within the play contributes to the development of action in Hamlet.

Introduction: The tragedy “Hamlet” is not only famous but also largest play of William Shakespeare (1564-1616). It reveals a new kind of literary device by which the hero of the drama, Hamlet conforms about his father’s murder and the audience understands the governing theme of the drama. The term play-within-play has a great contribution to the development of the upcoming plot of the drama. Let’s see below with logically.

The purpose of the play within the play

Shakespeare’s purpose is to set up a play within the play named “The Murderer of Gonzago” by which he has been broadening the plot of the drama. It is worked as a way of his excellence and intelligence. Throughout this new term Shakespeare has inaugurated a new technique play- within- play it enriched his drama.

To develop the upcoming plot of the play

To be informed by the ghost of Old Hamlet, Hamlet wanted to get a clarification about the murder. So he decides to arrange a play within the play name “The murder of Gonzago”. This term play within play has a great contribution to develop the next plot of the drama “Hamlet”. Throughout this dramatic style the plot of the drama has reached its proper way of revenge. So it can be said that play within play has enlarged the plot of the drama.

The conformation about the murder

Hamlet was not a conventional hero of a revenge tragedy so he had fallen in doubt of ghost’s message about the death of Hamlet’s father. To remove this confusion he had decided to arrange play named “The Murder of Gonzago”. The scripture has written by Hamlet himself for being confirmed about the death of his father. During the play Hamlet tells Horatio to notice Claudius behavior. And Claudius’s reaction is proved that he was the real murder of Old Hamlet. So it can be said that play within play is a confirmation scene of the entire drama.

The actual play

The tragedy of Hamlet is based on the central theme of the drama Murder of Old Hamlet. But the actual play was the play within play named “The Murder of Gonzago”. This play has been helped Hamlet to reach his destination. The Queen also embraced to see the play of “The Murder of Gonzago”. Hamlet’s proved that it was the actual drama of Hamlet.

That’s wormwood, wormwood…..

If she should break it now!

O but she’ll keep her word”

Showing Hamlet’s judgmental power

 The technique of play within play shows the judging power of Hamlet. It is not only Hamlet but also the audience can get the clear information that Claudius is the real murderer of King Hamlet. From the moment of detecting deceased king’s assassinator, the plot of the tragedy starkly turns to revenge and hatred.

Showing Shakespeare’s acting technique

Shakespeare is an extraordinary genius in the history of English literature and is unique in styles and his own acting technique. Each of his plays has introduced a new kind of style such as supernatural elements, tragi- comic elements and so on. Like these, in the play “Hamlet” play within play has introduced to audience Shakespeare’s play acting excellence. To establish this technique the playwright has given utmost interest towards the hero. So it can be called that play with in is not only a method of Hamlet himself but also it is a method of Shakespeare to make his tragedy praiseworthy.

Conclusion: Last of all, we can say that the technique namely ‘play within play’ by Shakespeare is evergreen and it makes the story moving and life-like. 

3. Do you agree that there was a method in Hamlet’s madness? If so why?

Introduction: William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is the supreme artist in the field of drama. His best known and largest tragedy “Hamlet” here the madness of the hero Hamlet is a great concerned to the critics and the audience whether it is real or fake. The critics could not agree to their opinions about Hamlet’s madness some say that it was real other critics say it was feigned. Hamlet’s madness is not only fake but also a method the reason behind this madness is illustrated below with the reference to the tragedy “Hamlet”. 

To be pretended as a madman

At the very outset of the tragedy Hamlet, we find the hero of the tragedy is a very sensible, reasonable, and accountable person. But the two reasons have to bind him to act like a mad person. The reasons are Ghost’s message and the hasty marriage of his mother. Hamlet is pretending to find out the suspect of his father’s death.

“Haste me to know that I wish wings as swift

As meditation or the thoughts of love

May sweep to my revenge”

From these quoted lines we clearly perceive that Hamlet is a sensible man and he requested the Ghost to reveal the name of his father’s murderer so that he can take revenge on that person.

A procedure

Hamlet’s madness is worked as a method to take revenge for his father’s death. Being a madman he silently investigates on his uncle that he is really the murderer old Hamlet or not. For this, he arranged a play named “The Murderer of Gonzago” this play is considered as the play within a play. By this play, Hamlet is conformed that Claudius is the real murder of Hamlet’s father, Old Hamlet. Also in Act II, scene II, Polonius remarks that Hamlet’s madness is not really rather it is a method. As he says,

“Though this be madness, yet there is a method”

Shakespeare’s play-acting excellence

Shakespeare is an extraordinary genius in the history of English literature and is unique in styles and his own excellence. Each of his plays has introduced a new kind of style such as supernatural elements, play within a play, tragicomic elements, and so on. Like these, in the play “Hamlet” the madness of the hero has introduced to the audience Shakespeare’s play-acting excellence. To establish this technique the playwright has given utmost interest towards the hero. So it can be called that Hamlet’s madness is not only a method of Hamlet himself but also it is a method of Shakespeare to make his tragedy praiseworthy.

To find out revenge motive

The playwright William Shakespeare is designed the tragedy as an unconventional revenge tragedy being influenced by the ancient Roman Playwright Seneca. So in this tragedy, we find some elements of a revenge motive. Among them, Hamlet’s madness is one of them. Hamlet is pretended to a crazy so that he can observe his suspect. 

To escape from Claudio’s attention

Hamlet’s madness is a cunning process to escape from Claudio’s attention. Because Hamlet knew that his uncle Claudius was a shrewd person who had a minute observing power. In that time, if Hamlet makes any mistake, he will murder Claudius’ hand. So when Claudius has ordered to judge the authenticity of Hamlet’s mind. Hamlet has pretended to be a real crazy man. The quoted lines proved the fact of Hamlet’s madness.

“Love? his affections do not that way tend;

Nor what he shake, though it lack’d form a little,

Was not like madness.”

Conclusion: In the light of the above discussion, we must say that Hamlet’s madness is not real it is undoubtedly proved from the above discussion. Shakespeare has been established Hamlet’s madness is a cunning method to reach his goal. 

4. Discuss Othello as a tragedy of intrigues. Or

Describe the intrigues in Othello.


William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is a well-known writer who wrote in the 1500s and is considered the national writer of England and the best playwright of all time in the history of world literature. From comedy to tragedy and much more, Shakespeare has written and created a new world of English in his stories. Othello is one of Shakespeare’s best-known tragic stories. Othello has several main themes: deception, manipulation, control, and appearance versus reality which center around intrigues.

The vast range of betrayal

Faith and betrayal are characteristic of almost every relationship in Othello. Iago is a trusted officer, advisor, and friend. Iago’s position of trust gives him the opportunity to manipulate others. Othello entrusts Iago with important correspondence and never questions his motives. Roderigo informs Iago about his love for Desdemona and accepts his help. Cassio voluntarily takes Iago’s advice, and even Desdemona seeks his advice when Othello seems to be doing strange things. Iago spectacularly betrays all this faith.

Intrigue for achieving passionate love

One can immediately see the theme of Shakespeare’s “Othello” as a deception that is the outcome of intrigues. Deception is common in Othello, yet the level of intrigues is unique in each case. The first intrigue is played by the heroine of the tragedy, Desdemona. Desdemona hides her association with Othello from her father, knowing he will object to her marriage with Othello because of Othello’s race. When Iago asserts in front of Desdemona’s volatile and paternalistic father Brabantio that her daughter has cheated him, Brabantio say; “How didst thou know ‘twas she? -O, she deceives me.” Although her reasoning for concealing her marriage was for good reason, Desdemona knew that their marriage would inevitably hurt her father in the end.

Intrigue of jealousy

Iago is jealous of Cassio and angry with him. He thinks of himself as a good soldier. But Othello has appointed Cassio as his lieutenant while he continues to be a mere elder. He decides to take revenge on Cassio for this insult. In addition, Cassio has beauty in his daily life, which is unbearable for Iago. Therefore, Iago plots to cause Cassio’s downfall. Iago even suspects Cassio of having an affair with his wife. He fears that Roderigo may one day reveal his conspiracy to Othello which is why he persuades Roderigo to stop Cassio in the dark of night, and he puts Roderigo behind a house wall to instruct him to kill Cassio. Then he says;

“Whether he kills Cassio or Cassio him

Or each do kill the other

Every way makes my gain.”

Thus, it is proved that a plotter also feels fear in his heart though he may outwardly seem shiny and glamorous.

Intrigue to ruin conjugal happiness

Iago seeks to ruin the marital happiness of Othello and Desdemona through a conspiracy. Seeing Othello’s excessive love for Desdemona, he becomes jealous and plans to destroy it. He uses Cassio as his tool. He arouses Othello’s suspicion and jealousy by falsely reporting Desdemona’s love and unwanted intimacy with Cassio. Iago advises Othello to get rid of the feeling of jealousy in his mind. He says:

“Beware, my lord, of jealousy.

It is the green monster, which doth mock.”

Handkerchief based intrigue

Another case of deception and intrigue is to deal with the character entitled Iago who constantly deceives people for his own good. Iago creates numerous traps to deceive people, especially Othello. He somehow manages to convince Othello that his wife, Desdemona, is cheating on him with his General Cassio. The level of deception that Iago has to use against Othello is not difficult because Othello trusts Iago so much. So when Iago reveals to Othello that Desdemona has given Cassio his handkerchief, Othello naturally makes a hasty verdict about Desdemona.

“I know not that; but such a handkerchief – I am sure it was your wife’s – did I today see Cassio wipe his beard with.”

This leads to a major complication in the marriage of Othello and Desdemona and even leads to the strangulation of Desdemona by Othello.


Iago’s Machiavellian personality encourages Othello to become extremely cunning and bestial. Othello never tries to investigate the intrigues of Iago. Though he kills Desdemona brutally, he gains pity and fear from the audience because the audience can completely feel that Othello is a victim of intrigues.

5. How far is Desdemona responsible for her tragedy? Or, evaluate the character of Desdemona.


Desdemona is sickly innocent of Shakespeare’s drama Othello. Desdemona is a strong-willed and faithful young woman of the Elizabethan period. She becomes known as a respected woman. She can even be called heroic in a feminine way. She is the only daughter of Brabantio, a very important figure in the Venetian high society of the time. She symbolizes virtue while Iago is an allegorical devil of medieval drama.

Loyal beloved, not daughter

Brabantio endeavored heart and soul to find a suitor for his daughter like any father of the time but she rejected them all. Falling in love with Moor General because of his death-defying tales of bravado, Desdemona becomes very partial to Othello. Making her feelings transparent, Othello proposes marriage to Desdemona. Sensing her father’s reaction, they elope and get married in secret. Thus Desdemona turns into a faithful beloved and ungrateful daughter.

Divided entity

Desdemona is not like many women today. She is torn between her devotion to her father and her faithfulness to her husband. She shows her indecision in her first speech with her father;

“My noble father. I do perceive here a divided duty. To you I am bound for life and education;/ My life and education both do learn me. How to respect you? You are the lord of duty. I am hitherto your daughter. But here’s my husband….”

This discourse depicts Desdemona’s inner conflict and also applies to Desdemona’s deep-seated emotions. This is very important because it proves that Desdemona was not a weak woman at heart. She did not casually take on the role of subordinate to her husband but was concerned about how her actions would affect other people around her and, as a result, herself. It can also mean the opposite. She wants to please her husband and her father, two influential male personalities in her life. Thus she is seen as submissive to them but overall she is unparallel.

Emblem of sweetness and innocence

Desdemona is the epitome of sweetness and innocence in her love and commitment. Iago even says that once she promises to do something, she thinks it would be disrespectful not to do more than what is expected of her. Desdemona is quite tactless and commits some childish betrayals, such as perseverance and perseverance at Cassio’s request. The cunning Iago seems to have predicted this and warned Othello that an overly forceful plea for Cassio on behalf of his wife would mean that she is indeed trying to favor her boyfriend. Desdemona doesn’t understand her husband’s changed behavior when Othello claims the handkerchief from her; she repeatedly tries to remind him that he must grant an interview to Cassio. If the play needs a non-reflexive hero like Othello, it also needs an unrealistic victim like Desdemona.

The most pathetic heroine

Desdemona is the most miserable of Shakespeare’s heroines. She shows the greatest boldness and initiative by secretly marrying the black warrior. Her behavior is full of pathetic childlikeness when Othello tells her that he must kill her, she begs him to give her reprieve of a day, a few hours, a few minutes only to say her prayers. When she regains consciousness for a moment, her last breath is spent on trying to protect her and her very last words are that Emilia may commend her to her lord. After Desdemona’s death, the pathos in her situation, and the tragic waste of her undeserved early death are underlined in Othello’s laments as well as in his tribute to her as a pearl richer than all his tribe, which he foolishly threw away in his ignorance. Emilia’s dedicated loyalty and Cassio’s warm admiration are also tributes to the worth and attractiveness of Desdemona’s personality.


In the Shakespearean play Othello, Desdemona is a very complex character who plays both roles. Desdemona’s actions and behavior change throughout the play. She is portrayed as a self-effacing, loyal wife, as well as a brave, independent woman. The strengths of her characteristic are subtle and easily overlooked and can be mistaken for quiet submission, although it is this subtle power that makes Desdemona such a powerful character. Overall she is not starkly responsible for her tragic end. Actually, her fortune was pre-fixed.

6. Compare and contrast Othello and Iago. Or, discuss how Iago is more interesting and significant than Othello.


Shakespeare’s Tragedy Othello was written and performed in 1604, and first printed in 1622. The play revolves around three main characters: Shakespeare’s famous tragic hero Othello, his beautiful wife Desdemona, and the manipulative Ensign Iago. The personalities of Othello and Iago are complementary in some ways and completely opposite in others, and this is what drives the drama. The similarities and differences in their backgrounds, the relationship with the Venetian society, and the attitude of love fuel this relationship.

The Key concept about Othello and Iago

Othello is a highly respected general, not a native of Venice but a Moore or North African. He is a very eloquent and powerful figure. Yet he is an easy victim of insecurity due to his age, his life as a soldier, and his ethnicity. Iago, on the other hand, is the Ensign of Othello, a military veteran of Venice. Iago is very deceitful; He is very charming, friendly, sensitive, intelligent, and caring and knows how to cover up his underlying evil. He outwardly shows righteousness but inwardly he is an extremely dangerous murderer and trouble creator.

Dynasty background

Othello and Iago have some similarities in their lineage background. Both are not members of the Venetian upper class, as Brabantio, Desdemona and Cassio are all, and instead, they have spent their lives as soldiers. We see this in the first scene of the drama when Iago complains against Cassio because of his unexpected promotion. Iago calls Cassio;

“A great arithmetician…That never set a squadron in the field, Nor the division of a battle knows”.

Iago says that the well-educated and well-paid Cassio has never actually gone to the battlefield, while Iago is a real soldier who knows how to fight. Elsewhere, Othello is also a professional soldier. As a Moore or North African, he is certainly not a member of the upper-class Venetian society but has proved himself so well in the war that is why he has been promoted to the rank of general. And this is the first major difference between Othello and Iago.

Emblem of Racial prejudice

The title character of Shakespeare’s tragedy is depicted as a wheeling stranger, a black ‘Moor’ distinctly different from the white Venetian society around him. The term ‘Moor’ is a loose one. It was used during the Elizabethan period to refer to the people of North Africa. Although slavery had yet to exist, these people were often the subject of prejudice and discrimination that is seen through Brabantio’s claims that Othello has applied ‘chains of magic’ in wooing Desdemona. This racism is woven throughout the play since Brabantio calls Othello the ‘lascivious Moor’ who is accused of ‘tapping Brabantio’s white ewe’, which symbolizes his banal and beautiful daughter Desdemona. This combination of sexual and bestial imagery presents Othello as a savage, base character before Shakespeare has even revealed him.

‘My services which I have done the signiory shall out-tongue his complaints’ –

But elsewhere, the whites, Brabantio and Iago, were undeserving of the language use. This contrasts between how Othello is spoken about and how he is actually portrayed and how he has been used by Shakespeare similarly with Iago.

Sacrificial and passionate

Othello is very passionate about Desdemona and we can experience this when Iago tells him that Brabantio will try to annul or nullify his marriage to Desdemona. Othello replies that he is worthy of Desdemona and that he has given up some valuable freedom because of his beloved.

“But that I love the gentle Desdemona,

I would not my unhoused free condition,

Put into circumscription and confine,

For the sea’s worth.”

We later see that Desdemona expresses her true love for Othello when she seeks permission from the Duke of Venice to travel to Cyprus with Othello. She says; “That I did love the Moor to live with him”. Desdemona’s true love makes Othello and Iago more passionate and sacrificial but the difference is that Othello is for conjugal happiness and Iago is for ruining the peace and richness of the new married couple, Othello and Desdemona.

Acute Jealousy

Iago seeks to ruin the marital happiness of Othello and Desdemona through a conspiracy. Seeing Othello’s excessive love for Desdemona, he becomes jealous and plans to destroy it. He uses Cassio as his tool. He arouses Othello’s suspicion and jealousy by falsely reporting Desdemona’s love and unwanted intimacy with Cassio. Iago advises Othello to get rid of the feeling of jealousy in his mind. He says:

“Beware, my lord, of jealousy.

It is the green monster, which doth mock.”

Here it is transparent that jealousy is the most powerful weapon for Iago and it is the tragic flaw for Othello.

Manipulator and victim

Another case of deception and intrigue is to deal with the character entitled Iago who constantly deceives people for his own good. Iago creates numerous traps to deceive people, especially Othello. He somehow manages to convince Othello that his wife, Desdemona, is cheating on him with his General Cassio. The level of deception that Iago has to use against Othello is not difficult because Othello trusts Iago so much. So when Iago reveals to Othello that Desdemona has given Cassio his handkerchief, Othello naturally makes a hasty verdict about Desdemona.

“I know not that, but such a handkerchief – I am sure it was your wife’s – did I today See Cassio wipe his beard with.”

This leads to a major complication in the marriage of Othello and Desdemona and even leads to the strangulation of Desdemona by Othello. Here it is vivid that Shakespeare tries to warn people to be aloof from the tricks and traps of the manipulator.


From the light of the above discussion, it is transparent and vivid that Iago is more amusing and disgusting than Othello but in the question of significance, they are equally important because they are like the ecological balance.

7. Discuss the dramatic significance of the storm scene in the play king Lear.

Introduction: King Lear who was an old king of Britain and the protagonist of the Tragedy “King Lear” written by the literary shining star William Shakespeare (1564-1616). In act III, we have noticed a terrible storm. This storm scene has a great significance to the development of the action of the drama.

Forwarding the upcoming plot

In King Lear, the scene of the storm is seen in the third act, when the old king aroused him to the cruelty of his two daughters, the violent storm began. King Lear, Fool, and Kent are among the storms. In the third act, in the scene, King Lear seeks to get out of the strong winds and rain after the storm because he is not satisfied with the storm’s destruction. At that moment he was so very much frustrated and wanted to stop the storm. He has acted like a madman. Thus the storm has broadened the plot of the drama.  

The process of Lear’s regeneration

 At first King Lear wants to destroy the world because most ungrateful people like his two daughters were born here. He invites the elements to soak him in water and burn him in the fire of lightning and do all the terrible things that work on him. But later on he is able to realize his fault and then he is a regenerated person.

Symbolic value

The storm in Act 3 has a great symbolic value. The storm echoes Lear’s inner turmoil and mounting madness. It is a physical turbulent nature reflection of Lear’s internal confusion. At the same time the storm embodies the awesome power of nature. The storm also symbolizes some kind of divine Justice.

Mingling Lear’s internal and external turmoil

So the scene is extremely important because it coincides with Lear’s internal turmoil and sets the process for his moral rebirth through suffering. So it is the storm that ignites the truth of Lear and the misery caused by that storm that remains in his heart. Sorrow and pain open his eyes and he sees the truth. Thus the scene of the storm coincides with the internal turmoil of his moral rebirth through suffering.

The Resemblances of Lear’s calamity

In the open surroundings, the elderly and sick king has personally felt the onslaught of this storm and very naturally remembers the catastrophe of his heart and the heart struck by his two daughters. But the king thinks that if the storm hurts him in the most unbearable way, there is nothing wrong or unnatural about it, because the elements of the storm are not his children and he never handed over their kingdom to them.

Conclusion: In fine, we can say that the storm is appeared as a natural destruction of Lear’s arrogant attitude cruelty and at the same time it is the spiritual regeneration of King Lear.

9. Would it be fair to call Angelo a villain? Give reasons for your answer.

Introduction: William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is an extra-ordinary genius in the field of English literature especially composing drama.In his tragicomedy “Measure for Measure” he has been established Angelo as a villain for  Angelo’s performance throughout the entire drama.

First appearance as a virtuous man

In the drama, Act I, scene I, we noticed that the Duke of Vienna, Vicentio hand over the administrative power of his kingdom and wished that would go for a trip to Poland.  All over the kingdom of Vienna knew that Angelo was a virtuous and a strict ruler. So Angelo’s first appearance proved that his fair-minded attitude.

Insidious people

Shakespeare has been established the character of Angelo as an insidious people. In the drama, Act II,scene II, when Isabella went to Angelo and  wanted to release Claudio in that moment we saw the insidious attitude of Angelo. He agreed Isabella’s proposal exchange of her virginity. This type of attitude proves that Angelo is a insidious people.

Difference between interior and external behavior

The Duke of Vienna, left his government and hand over it to Angelo because of his Integrity and highly character. Even in Act II scene I Escalus’ s pray to Angelo for Claudio proved that he is a strict judge and ruler. In this sense we can call him as good person but the climax is happened in his behavior when Isabella came and wanted to mercy for Claudio.  Here we find the difference of his Internal and external character. The encounter of Isabella and Angelo happened two times first time he showed his fair- minded attitude but in the second time he showed his villainy. So in real sense he is a great villain in the drama.

Selfish attitude of Angelo

The appearance of Angelo in this drama is not only insidious but also full of selfishness. Two events proved his extreme selfishness first one is refusing marry to Mariana for dowry. Here Mariana’s brother sent him dowry but because of unfortunate shipwreck is happened and the entire dowry sunk into water to hear this Angelo refused the marriage to Mariana. Such type of attitude is not expectable from Angelo. Another important reason behind his selfishness is the fulfilled the sentenced to death of Claudio. According to his proposal, Isabella agreed to surrender to Angelo yet he was not keep his promised. So these two events proved that Angelo is a perfect villain

 Hypocrite person

Angelo is out and out a hypocrite person. When Angelo is accused by Isabella and Mariana in front of the gate of Duke Palace. He denied all the charges strongly and in the meantime, Duke pulls off his disguise hood of a Friar and resumes the authority. 

Virginity violator 

In the drama, Shakespeare has represented the evil side of human beings. Though Angelo is a strict and trusted person to all but he had a carnal desire to his mind to fulfill his Sexual hunger. So he offered Isabella to surrender her virginity exchange of her brother’s life. So it is fair to call him a virginity violator. Another incident is appropriated to call him a virginity violator that is when he is doing sexual intercourse he is seemed it was Isabella but actually it’s Mariana. 

A murderer

Lastly, Angelo is being called a murderer of Claudio. Angelo himself knew that Claudio’s sentenced to death is finished but the readers and only duke knew that Claudio was alive. Duke has saved his life so he is a Christ like figure.

Conclusion : To sum up, in the light of the above discussion  we can say that it is appropriated to call Angelo a villain because all  the features of a villain are traceable to his behavior.

10. Comment on the status of woman in the world of Measure for Measure.

Introduction “Measure for Measure” (1623) is a notable work of the literary king William Shakespeare (1564-1616). Here he has been exhibited the contemporary condition of the woman in the seventeenth century England. The situation of woman is dealt below with the reference of the tragi comedy “Measure for Measure”.

Deprived of rights and privileges

In seventeenth century England women are deprived of their basic rights and privileges. Here, in this drama Shakespeare has been portrayed a proper sketch of the status of contemporary women. Juliet, Mariana, Mistress Overdone, even Isabella are the victim of such discrimination of female rights. Even they are not only deprived of basic rights but for neglected by the male. Shakespeare is posing to question against the discrimination between male and female by the drama “Measure for Measure”.

Victim of dowry system

The dramatist has bitterly criticized one of the social problems dowry systems.  In that time dowry is important than the relationship. The characters Mariana and Juliet are victimed of the social vice dowry. The bitterness of dowry is raised its high peak of the society. Claudio has denied the marriage due to dowry later on; we notice that he has made pregnant to Juliet before marriage. When he was sentenced to death by Angelo he replied that he loved her and stayed with her. Another irony lies here that Angelo himself has sentenced to death Claudio but he has done the same things. From this point of view we can understand that dowry is the main theme of the dark comedy “Measure for Measure”.

No opportunity of job

It is vividly proved that the drama “Measure for Measure” is the representation of the contemporary England. In that time they are civilized society but not be civilized in mentality. There is no opportunity of prestigious job for woman so, either they bound to the male neither be prostitute. Mistress Overdone is the fine example of such character. If woman had a better job opportunity, their life would be very happy and smooth.

Women is turned into a product

 Male dominated society is considered women as only a instrument for fulfilling male’ sexual desire, produced children and made a proper take care of them. Men do not understand that women have feelings, likings, and the most important think is that they are the different spirit. Male are treated like a product such as Angelo dismissed his marriage with Mariana without consulting her Claudio done the same thing.

Man-orientated society

William Shakespeare has dramatically dramatized the male dominated society throughout his notable literary work “Measure for Measure”.  All the characters  of the drama “Measure for Measure” are the subordinated to men Isabella who is the heroine of the drama and other female characters like Juliet and Mariana,  Mistress Overdone unwilling bound to bow down their head to the law of the man- oriented society.

Conclusion: In fine we can say that the dramatist has shown such a society in his drama Measure for Measure where female are like the well trained animal to male.

11. Evaluate Measure for Measure as a problem play.

Introduction: Problem play is a kind of drama in which different types of social problem are described with wit and humor. In this respect, “Measure for Measure” is rightly a problem play because it has been plagued various type of social disorders. These are illustrated below in the light of the drama “Measure for Measure”.

Purpose of using the term of problem

William Shakespeare has been uniquely set his drama Measure for Measure as a problem play. To uphold various social vice the dramatist is used this term of drama. We notice here the dramatist has represented such social vice that is dowry, immorality, cornel desire of sexuality and so on.

Reveals various social problems

According to some critics, the first problem is that why Shakespeare has wrote these three dark comedies. They are not agreed to their opinions. Another important and significant social problem is dowry. In the then England society it has been turned into great concern especially the parents who are not able to bear the cost of dowry like the character Juliet. In spite of loving each other, their marriage is not possible due to dowry.  The characters Angelo and Claudio is such person who are differ from morality. It is proved from their activities in the drama.

The emptiness of mutual trust

The emptiness of the mutual trust is one of the major problems of the Society which is sketched by the dramatist William Shakespeare in his problematic drama Measure for Measure. We find in the drama that the characters losses their mutual understanding to each other. This event is noticed by the characters of Angelo and Isabella. To be an ideal ruler, how he could do such offer like fornication. So the public trust is going to be ruined by Angelo’s activities.

The confrontation between justice and mercy

In this drama Justice and mercy are in contradictory position. Here we do not see any kind of justice rather we find that Justice turned into mercy. There is no doubt that the contemporary England is pregnant with hedonistic and sexually haphazard situation. In this situation crime is happened here and there. For this reason, Justice is gone in favor of the high class people such as Angelo has committed a heinous crime but at the end of the novel his punishment vanished by the mercy of Duke. So it can be said that mercy and justice are contradictory in this drama. It is a big problem of Shakespeare who has combined mercy and justice. 

Showy moral values

Showy moral values are a great problem of the people of England. The dramatist has been criticized the pompous and ostensible moral attitudes of the people of Jacobean arena.

Conclusion: In termination, we must be said that undoubtedly the play “Measure for Measure” has castigated the problem of the society.

12. Discuss Measure for Measure as a dark comedy.

Introduction: The term dark comedy refers to a genre, in which it evokes laughter with gloom, and a sad atmosphere includes death, violence, discrimination, disease, and human sexuality. The drama “Measure for Measure” of William Shakespeare is a superb example of the dark comedy including “Troilus and Cressida”, All’s Well That Ends Well.

The difference between comedy and dark comedy

There is stubble difference between a comedy and a dark comedy, a comedy has represented the worse type of people creating humors and laughter and finally have a happy ending. But a dark comedy possess gloomy atmosphere. It does have a happy ending and few materials of wit and humor.

Edward Dowden who is first classified the three Shakespearian dramas as the dark comedy.

Tormenting elements

 A comedy is a pattern of drama which produced humor and laughter and represented worse side of human beings. Measure for Measure has a great source of painful elements which made the drama as a dark and gloom. The anxiety of Claudio’s death is the main tormenting material of the drama. For this we can be said that Measure for Measure as a dark comedy.

Tragi-comic elements

The drama does have poses some tragi-comic elements. The Pompey scene is replete with comic elements. Like this, we find some comic elements. In “Measure for measure” Also in this drama we find some tragi comic elements such as the verdict of Claudio’s sentenced to death and the offer of Angelo to Isabella for seduction. From this point of view it can be said that measure for measure as a dark comedy.

Satiric tone

The world of brothels and pimps, senseless, copulation, mindless, pregnancies has been bitterly castigated by the dramatist William Shakespeare in his dark comedy “Measure for Measure”.  Satiric tone is one of the major features of a dark comedy.

Ambiguous law

Measure for Measure is the best dark comedies among the three dark comedies written by William Shakespeare.  It is dark comedy because it depicts most of the ambiguous law of the society. It is due to the thoughtless sex and injustice bear the sign of ambiguous law of Vienna.  This ambiguity has made the drama dark to darker.

Conclusion: In the light of the above description, it is clearly proved that the play Measure for Measure as a dark comedy because it fulfilled all the recruitment as a dark comedy.

13. Examine the moral, social and political atmosphere in “Measure for Measure”.

Introduction: William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is the literary giant in the in the field of drama. He is famous for his latent talent by which he has represented the environment of the contemporary age such as moral, social and political atmosphere and so on. The play “Measure for Measure” is an important document of such atmosphere.

Emptiness of the morality

The timespan when the drama “Measure for Measure” (1623) was written James1 reigned England.  It seemed that the character Duke of Vienna was the proper portrait of King James I. In that time, Duke was virtuous but his officials not honest like him. The people like Angelo are outwardly very much virtuous but inwardly shown the emptiness of the moral values. So we can say that the moral atmosphere of seventeen Century England was not good.

Showy moral values

 William Shakespeare has been established a gloom and dark atmosphere in his drama “Measure for Measure”.  Here we find fake moral ethics by the character that is got the temporary administrative power of the kingdom of Vienna. In this drama he is the embodiment of the showy moral values. Another character Claudio is also bear the sign of showy moral values. If he had moral education, he could not seduce Juliet. So this point is proved that the real moral values are died but the fake moral ethics left.

Various type of social disorder

The drama “Measure for Measure” is the representation of various type of social disorder such as injustice, seduction, violation and so on. The Duke of Vienna is a humble and virtuous person. So the people of Vienna are gradually pervaded from the Duke’s laws and orders. So he decided that he would hand over the administrative power of to a strict ruler named Angelo.  But during the reined of Angelo various types of social disorders are found.

Expecting democracy

Throughout the drama, In Act V, scene, we noticed that Isabella put some charges against the temporary Duke Angelo in front of the gate of Duke’s palace. This scene is the fine example of democracy that is the underlined meaning of the scene of Isabella’ charges against Angelo.

Lack of Justice

The characters of Claudio, Isabella, Juliet and Mariana are the sufferer of social injustice. Though Claudio has committed a hateful crime but it is not proper Justice to sentence to death for his crime.  Another injustice is happened to Isabella that Angelo offered Isabella to surrender her virginity to get release of her Brother Claudio’s life.  Such kind of proposal is totally unexpected from Angelo. There is a proverb that, “The Keeper is the eater” here in this drama Angelo has been played such role.  So from this point of view it is proved that social injustice is happened here and there.

Strict ruler

The political condition of that time was not sound. Though Angelo was appeared as a very strict and rude ruler but the people of Vienna was not satisfied to his Region. Unsatisfactory attitudes of the common people to the present ruler are the great sign to the political disorder which is gone through the kingdom of Vienna.

Conclusion In the light of the above discussion,  it is terminated  that Shakespeare’s “ Measure for Measure” has been provided the contemporary picture of the social, moral, and political  atmosphere of the then England.

13. Compare and contrast the characters of Brutus and Cassius.


The compare and contrast between the character  of Brutus and Cassius is one of the most striking features of Julius Caesar (1599) by William Shakespeare (1564-1616).The two characters have been very skillfully and subtly discriminated by the author.

Both are Romans and tribunes:

In the play Julius Caesar Brutus and Cassius are the two main characters. They are both nobleman. And they belong to wealthy and rich society in the play Julius Caesar. They both are tribunes that mean a kind of magistrate in ancient Rome and they are both respected senators of Rome.

Both are conspirators of Caesars destruction:

They are both main culprits of Caesars assassination. When we meet Cassius first time in the play, we find him obsessed with Caesar’s growing power. Then he masterfully makes the plan to murder Caesar.

Brutus an idealist but not Cassius:

Though Brutus and Cassius are similar in many ways, they are differing in their attitudes, personality. Brutus is an idealist, a dreamer with little knowledge of practical realities and aims at self- perfection. But on the contrary Cassius is by no means particular about self- perfection. Brutus shows his love of moral perfection by refusing murder to Antony unnecessarily and disliking the methods employed by Cassius in extorting money from the people. On the contrary Cassius feels no hesitation in proposing the murder of Antony or doing such type of activities. Julius Caesar describes him as an envious man with a lean and hungry look. Caesar knows his true nature and tells Antony that such men are dangerous and dangerous indeed Cassius proves to be for Julius Caesar.

Brutus theoretical but Cassius practical:

Brutus is theoretical but Cassius has practical sense and capacity for action. Brutus is a philosopher who can only theorize but Cassius is a partisan who can act perfectly. Brutus is unfit for the dirty game of politics and is not meant to be conspirators. Cassius is a worse man and is better as conspirators. At the most critical stage in the battle, Cassius suggests that they should wait for the attack if the enemy rather than strong positions and March forward. This is a good suggestion but Brutus advocates the opposite course with his famous lines:

There is a tide in the affairs of men….

Which, taken at the flood, leads, on to fortune;

Love of Freedom and Republicanism:

Brutus is a man who loves his country in exchange of his life. But Cassius has no love for his country. In his first dialogue with Brutus, we perceive in Cassius a certain amount of sincere love for the cause of republican. But it is true that selfish motives preponderate in him. On the contrary Brutus who has a sincere love of freedom and republicanism. Antony testifies to Brutus’s unselfish love of republicanism when he says at the death of Brutus that only Brutus, of all the conspirators has a genuine love of public welfare. Antony expresses his feelings like that

“ This was a noblest Roman of them all

All the conspirators save only he

Did that they did in envy of great Caesar;

He only, in a general honest though

And common good to all, made one of them.”

Practical sense and Capacity for action:

Cassius is a man of action but Brutus has no sense of practicality. Cassius suggests the murder of Antony along with that of Caesar. But Brutus does not agree with him. In fact Cassius does not give permission Antony to address the mob. He tries to dissuade Brutus from granting such permission to Antony:

“ You know not what you do. Do not consent

That Antony speak in his funeral

Know you how much the people may be mov’d

By that which he will utter?”

Thus Cassius proves his practical sense but not Brutus.


It can be summarized that by this two characters Shakespeare has criticized the people like Brutus and Cassius those are belonged to the contemporary England.

14. How does Brutus justify the murder of Caesar?

Introduction: The justification of Caesar’s murder plays an important role in the play Julius Caesar (1599) written by William Shakespeare (1564-1616). We see in the first scene of second act where Brutus tries to justify the murder of Caesar by a chain of abstract reasoning.

No personal grievances

We know that Caesar is the beast friend of Brutus. But he joined to murder Caesar. After murdering Caesar he cannot sleep. He is broken with a bitter conflict. Then he tries to justify Caesar’s murder. In his justification firstly he says that he has no personal grievances against Caesar. He killed only Caesar for the welfare of people. He says that if Caesar is the king, the people of Rome will be lost their happiness and peace. So he killed Caesar for the purpose of general welfare of Rome. He says:

  • – – for my part.

I Know no personal cause to spurn at him

But for the general.

This shows that Brutus has nothing definite against Caesar at the time of conspiracy.

Concerned about Caesar’s ambition

Brutus was concerned about Caesar’s high aspirations. He does not find anything against Caesar. But he is afraid about Caesar’s ambition. If he becomes the king he may change and become a tyrant. Caesar may become vain when he is the most powerful man.  So Brutus wants to prevent his probable change and he decides to murder Caesar. Brutus says:

He would be crown’d,

How that may change his nature, that’s the question.

It is true of human nature that ambitious people can do whatever it takes to reach their goals and once they reach the goal, they show their colours.

By preventing future tyranny

Brutus is sure that if Caesar comes to power, he becomes tyrant. So this has to be prevented in the beginning. Greatness becomes a source of wrong, when power is exercised without morality. The egg of serpent is not dangerous but when hatches,  it turns into a  serpent and bites. It should be prevented to think about the future. So he participates to murder Caesar.

A sense of patriotic duty:

We know that Brutus is noble man and genuine Republican. So it his moral duty to protect his country from danger of fear. He can sacrifice his life for welfare of the country. He says:

“O Rome,  I make thee promise,

If the redress, will follow, thou receivest

Thy full petition at the hand of Brutus!”

So Brutus killed Caesar at the sense of patriotic duty.

Caesar was dangerous for Rome:

Caesar was the most powerful man after triumph over the Pompey’s son. Power without morality has a tendency to abuse itself and this true for Caesar. So Caesar was very much dangerous for Rome. For this reason Brutus decides to murder Caesar. Only Caesar’s death Rome can be free.

Brutus confusing arguments:

The arguments that Caesar gives for justifying the murder of Caesar is highly confusing. In this way no one could justify murdering anyone. If Caesar had given some indications of becoming a tyrant, there would have been something in favour of Brutus’s decision. But when Brutus says that did nothing objectionable,  it is hard to understand how his murder can be justified.

Conclusion: From the light of the above discussion, it is clear that there is no justification for the murder if the whole thing is strictly observed from the point of view of past and present. Brutus justifies Caesar’s assassination thus: “We cannot kill Caesar for what he is. Let us, therefore,  kill him for what he might be one day.”

15. Who is the real hero of the play, Julius Caesar? Brutus or Caesar.

Introduction: A tragedy by William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is usually named after the central character or the hero. This should be true in case of Julius Caesar (1599). But when we read this play, the question arises in our minds that who is the real hero of this play. Some experts say that Caesar is the hero of this play; some say that Marcus Brutus is the hero of the play. Again some say that it is a tragedy without hero. Now we will see through discussion who is the real hero of this play.

Caesar as the Hero

Judging by the title of the play, we can say that Caesar himself is the hero. We can support this statement because Shakespeare named his other tragedies after their respective heroes like Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, Coriolanus etc. In fact Caesar is the most dominating character in this play.  Caesar appears three leading moments in the play: Caesar at the height of his power; the reaction against Caesar; and the restoration of Caesarism. So Caesar would appear to be the hero of the play. 

The greatness of Julius Caesar

Shakespeare was fully aware of the greatness of Julius Caesar. The name of Caesar is compared to superman. Again and again in the plays of Shakespeare, we find references to Julius Caesar. Caesar’s greatness is emphasized in Act ll, scene ll when we are taken to Caesar’s house on the morning of the assassination. In this scene Caesar is determined to attend the meeting of the Senate in spite of Calpurnia’s fears. He asserts his fearlessness in the following memorable lines:

“Cowards die many times before their deaths;

The valiant never taste of death but once”

After Caesar assassination, Antony speaks of Caesar’s glories in the Forum speeches like that

“the ruins of the noblest man

That ever lived in the tide of times”

The Sprit of Caesar:

We observed that Caesar dead is more powerful than Caesar living. In other words, it is not Caesar who dominates the play, but the spirit of Caesar. The dead Caesar is more powerful symbol. Caesar’s ambition was the crown which he failed to get. When he dies, he becomes the symbols of a force and of a principle. By the greatness of Caesar or the spirit of Caesar we can say that Caesar is the hero of the play.

 Brutus as the Hero

Shakespeare was greatly interested by the mind of Brutus. He is the most prominent figure in this play and almost our interest is focused on his deliberations and decision. He attracts our chief sympathy and concern. He is a noble and honorable man and he has a sincere and vigorous for the liberty of the people. This love prompts him to the conspiracy for the murder of Caesar in spite of Caesar’s love for him and his love for Caesar. His actual patriotism and Republican outburst when he justifies the murder of Caesar by saying that 

“Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.”

The tragic flaw of Brutus

Julius Caesar is called the tragedy of Marcus Brutus. The fall of Republicanism is occurred in the death of Brutus. And it is the true catastrophe of the play. The fate of Brutus in which we are so interested. It is Brutus who excites our admiration.  His love of moral perfection, his noble ideal and self- denial are qualities which belong to a hero. His moral perfection is unquestionable and his failure as a man of affairs is his tragic flaw.

Feelings of pity and fear

Besides, it is his tragic ends that excites our feelings of pity and bring about the catharsis of those feelings. At the end of the play Antony explains his nobility by saying these words-

“This was the noblest Roman of them all

All the conspirators save only he

Did that they did in envy of great Caesar;

So mixed in him, that Nature might stand up

And say to all the world, This was a man!”

So we can say that Brutus is truly hero though the title “Julius Caesar” is most appropriate for the play. Shakespeare only named the play Julius Caesar for commercial consideration because the name Julius Caesar was so popular at that time.

Conclusion: In view of this overwhelming evidence, it is difficult to understand the opinion that who is the actual hero of this play. But if our conception of a hero is a person in whose fate we are chiefly interested, who excites our admiration and sympathy, and then Brutus is really the hero not Caesar.

SR Sarker
SR Sarker
Articles: 380

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