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Friday, April 27, 2012

5 Law and Literature: Measure for Measure by Shakespeare

Dear all, these are the questions, which prof. Conte asked me to post after your presentations today: In Shakespeare's Measure for Measure there is a sharp distinction between strict application of law in court and a merciful exercise of authority. It is a very old opposition, since ancient Greek literature and Christian tradition. Do you think that such ancient exemples are still actual, in the perspective of Law and Literature? Or perhaps should a lawyer choose more recent literary works in order to understand the relationship between law and mercy in the today's culture? More in general: literary, iconographic, architectural witnesses of the perception of law by artists (and society) are useful to today's lawyers even if they are far back in time?

1 comment:

  1. Shakespeare poses the question of unifying law and equity. A sovereign should act according to' justice and equity, but this is not understood neither by Angelo, nor by the Duke. Angelo meets the severity of law and Vincenzo doesn t comprehend the need for punishment.
    There seems to' be' no salutino to the contrast between human and divine justice. Durino the trial at the end of the play the Duke symbolize James I and this is a warning for the sovereign, because it opens the question of how to' use mercy with some criteri a; law should only be' reconciled with equity. This warning I think is stil
    We have seen how the law of retaliation eye for eye of the old testament is in fact inapplicable: at the end of the play, Angelo deosn t receive law for law but mercy and pardon; on the other hand it is a duty of the sovereign to use the evengeli mercy of the Sermon of the Mount because none is faultless and for this reason, we should non judge each other but pardon. Men should be' merciful tosasse his pairs because we Are all evil, eden if in different grassa (the theme of the original sin is fully explained).
    Nevertheless, the mind of vague mercy used by the Duke is not usefull to' his subjects.
    The Duke is not the metaphor of absolute/divine justice. Is like Angelo justice at work, the only way through which an intellectual idea can live among people.
    Corruption must be' fight with law, with death penalty, eden if the latter can't aside from a greater instance, mercy. Although the divine imprint was ruined by sin, the entire humanity was then padrone by God, who sacrified his son, allowing the advent of a new Adam. (that's why it is absolutely relevant what Isabella tells Angelo, when she invites him to act merciful and recreate himself as a new man, exponent of the supreme pardon.
    The justice exercised by the Duke is arbitrary: it is integrated with mercy.
    At the end Bernardine, Angelo and eden Lucio is forgiven.
    Strict interpretation of law must be' tempere with equity and the contrast will be' always actual because mirrors the antinomy between law and free uman nature. Each of them demanda its figura and only through a balance between them the social contract and the exercise of justice can be' estabilished. License and authority have their own reasons and their scope; if they exceed they fall. A very strict law becomes unjust and everyone should be' condemned, but with too indulgent law everyone is damned.
    An excessive restraint to' freedom is not practicable, a not measured freedom has repression as consequence.