Eileen Z. Cohen
Western literature abounds in characters who have arranged bed-tricks—from Lot's daughters to Iseult, and by the seventeenth century the bed-substitution was a commonplace convention of English drama. Yet it is Shakespeare's use of the device in All's Well That Ends Well and Measure for Measure that disturbs us, doubtless because of the women who perpetrate it, Helena, a virgin-bride, and Isabella, a would-be nun. We seem unwilling to accept that Shakespeare deliberately intends...
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