Since the rediscovery of Elizabethan stage conditions early this
century, admiration for Measure for Measure has steadily risen. It
is now a favourite with the critics and has attracted widely
different styles of performance. At one extreme, the play is seen
as a religious allegory; at the other, it has been interpreted as a
comedy protesting against power and privilege. Brian Gibbons
focuses on the unique tragi-comic experience of watching the play,
the intensity and excitement offered by its dramatic rhythm, the
reversals and surprises which shock the audience even to the end.
His introduction considers how the play's critical reception and
stage history have varied according to prevailing social, moral and
religious issues, which have remained highly sensitive. This
updated edition contains a new introductory section by Angela
Stock, which describes recent stage, film and critical
interpretations, and an updated reading list.