"Is This Her Fault Or Mine?": An Examination Of The Overregulation Of Sexuality In Measure For Measure As An Argument Against Early Modern Anti-theatricalism
Tesch, Heidi Nicole
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The early modern anti-theatricalist movement sought to permanently close the playhouses, arguing that theaters breed immorality through their association with prostitution and the female body. This thesis examines how Shakespeare's Measure for Measure reappropriates these symbols in an argument against the anti-theatricalist movement, as the overregulation of sexuality mimics the overregulation of the theater. The first section examines the overregulation of prostitution in early modern society and in the play. The second section looks at the resistance to excessive regulation of female bodies that were portrayed as weak and unable to resist sin. The final section evaluates the theatricality of the play and demonstrates that sexuality in the play is connected to the larger argument against anti-theatricalism.