Measure for Measure Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

Measure for Measure book cover
Start Your Free Trial

In Chapter 3, how do the different feminine communities in Measure for Measure suggest similarities between them (Isabella, Mariana, and Mistress Overdone)?

Expert Answers info

gbeatty eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2007

write2,654 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Science

To be honest, I'm not sure we see enough of the female communities to compare them as collective units…but that quibble aside, we can make some observations of similarities.

First and most simply, whether we're talking about the convent or the house of prostitution, they exist as partial enclaves within regimes of masculine power and legality.

Two related points follow. These communities exist in part to protect women from men—and they are shown to be porous. Men can penetrate them (pun intended) essentially at will. Isabella may be the best example of this, as she is essentially forced out of the convent by male need.

Another related point: because the activities of their minds are rejected and seen as essentially unimportant compared to their bodies, these communities must use deception in some fashion.

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial