Measure for Measure

Shakespeare Reading Group: Measure for Measure

Wednesday, January 13, 2021 - 6:00pm to 7:15pm
Wednesday, January 20, 2021 - 6:00pm to 7:15pm
Wednesday, January 27, 2021 - 6:00pm to 7:15pm
Wednesday, February 3, 2021 - 6:00pm to 7:15pm
Wednesday, February 10, 2021 - 6:00pm to 7:15pm
Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - 6:00pm to 7:15pm
Wednesday, February 24, 2021 - 6:00pm to 7:15pm
  • Virtual Event via Zoom
A seven-week in-depth reading and discussion of William Shakespeare's Measure for Measure

Led by William Shakespeare aficionado Carl Steidtmann, this seven-week reading group is for both first-time and experienced Shakespeare readers. As 75-minute participatory discussions, this group is for anyone who might like to do some reading aloud, acting or presenting. The overall emphasis is on enjoyment of Measure for Measure as the group discusses the play, reads brief excerpts together, studies a theatrical presentation, and learns about the playwright and his world.

About Measure for Measure

Measure for Measure was first published in the 1623 First Folio and that text serves as the source for all subsequent editions of the play.

Human nature and the law often collide in Measure for Measure. As the play begins, the duke of Vienna announces he is going away and puts his deputy Angelo in charge of the state. Angelo immediately enforces a law prohibiting sex outside of marriage, sentencing Claudio to death for sleeping with Juliet, Claudio's now-pregnant fiancée. Claudio's sister Isabella, a novice nun, appeals to Angelo to save her brother. But the supposedly pure Angelo demands that Isabella sleep with him to save Claudio.

To Claudio's dismay, Isabella refuses. The duke, who has remained in Vienna disguised as a friar, suggests that Angelo's jilted fiancée, Mariana, could take Isabella's place. Although the trick succeeds, Angelo orders Claudio beheaded anyway. The duke saves Claudio, but he tells Isabella that Claudio is dead. The duke, resuming his identity, sentences Angelo to wed Mariana and then be put to death. But Mariana and Isabella plead for Angelo's life. Revealing that Claudio is alive, the duke pardons Angelo and proposes to Isabella. — Courtesy of Folger Shakespeare Library

About Carl Steidtmann

Carl Steidtmann

After spending 35 years as a professional economist, Carl Steidtmann retired to pursue his youthful passions of history and Shakespeare. After three pilgrimages to Stratford-on Avon and five years participating in Sally Frostic’s annual Shakespeare reading group at the library, he took over the teaching of this discussion in 2019.




“The tempter or the tempted, who sins most?”
William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

How to join the Measure for Measure reading group

Since the Shakespeare Reading Group is gathering virtually on Zoom this year, there will be no cap on the group size. This is a seven-part program built on group discussion and contribution, and participants are asked to commit to the reading and attend most of the sessions. The sessions will NOT be recorded. It is a livestream gathering, and attendees must plan to attend the live virtual sessions.

The workshop will be using the Folger Edition of Measure for Measure. The Library has hard copies of Measure for Measure to loan to the first 40 participants who sign up. If you want a hard copy of the book, you'll be required to pick it up at the library via our Curbside Pickup or on the hold shelf.

In addition, for our remote participants, unlimited digital copies of Measure for Measure are available for loan via Hoopla with your library card.

To join the group, register at the link above. We'll will send you a confirmation, then follow-up emails with  Zoom access, details about securing books in mid-December, and ongoing updates pertinent to the Shakespeare Reading Group.