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Hypocrisy

Shakespeare and the Casting Couch

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Stories about women summoned as supplicants to the portals of men with the power to grant their wishes, for a price, are common across professions, across countries, across millennia. Shakespeare dramatized the dilemmas some of these women faced in more than one of his plays.

In both Henry VI Part 3 and Measure for Measure, for example,
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Christians and Jews

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Despite the sarcasm, the audience as well as father Abram are led to consider Shylock’s exclamation:

–what these Christians are,
Whose own hard dealings teaches them suspect
The thoughts of others!

Shylock more than implies the old adage that it takes one to know one.
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No, be assured you shall not find me, daughter,

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Queen
No, be assured you shall not find me, daughter,
After the slander of most stepmothers,
Evil-eyed unto you. You’re my prisoner, but
Your jailer shall deliver you the keys
That lock up your restraint.—For you, Posthumus,
So soon as I can win th’ offended king,
I will be known your advocate. Marry, yet
The fire of rage is in him,
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Source:
Act 1
Scene 1
Line 81

Source Type:

Spoken by:
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For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favor,

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Laertes
For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favor,
Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood,Hendiadys & Synecdoche
A violet in the youth of primy nature,Metaphor
Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
Hendiadys & MetaphorThe perfume and suppliance of a minute,

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Not for that neither. Here’s the pang that pinches

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Anne
Not for that neither.Anapodoton Here’s the pang that pinches:
His Highness having lived so long with herAlliteration
, and she
So good a lady that no tongue could ever
Pronounce dishonor of her—Parenthesesby my life,
She never knew harm-doing!—O, now,

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Admit no other way to save his life

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Angelo
Admit no other way to save his life—
As I subscribe not that, nor any other—
But, in the loss of question, that you, his sister,
Finding yourself desired of such a person
Whose credit with the judge, or own great place,
Could fetch your brother from Metaphorthe manacles
Of the binding law,

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Ophelia, walk you here

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Polonius
Ophelia, walk you here.—Gracious, so please you,
We will bestow ourselves.  To Ophelia.  Read on this book,
That show of such an exercise may color
Your loneliness. —We are oft to blame in this
(’Tis too much proved), that with devotion’s visage
And pious action we do sugar o’er
The devil himself.

’Tis too much proved,
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Source:
Act 3
Scene 1
Line 48

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Spoken by:
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Themes:
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Ay, Edward will use women honorably!

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Ay, Edward will use women honorably!
Would he were wasted—marrow, bones, and all—
That from his loins no hopeful branch may spring
To cross me from the golden time I look for.
And yet, between my soul’s desire and me,
The lustful Edward’s title burièd,
Is Clarence, Henry, and his son, young Edward,
And all the unlooked-for issue of their bodies
To take their rooms ere I can place myself.
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Source:
Act 3
Scene 2
Line 126

Source Type:

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