If it ends with a wedding and nobody dies, it's a comedy. Therefore, Shakespeare's Measure for Measure is a comedy.
But wait—until the last scene, Measure for Measure looked a whole lot like a tragedy, involving serious issues of deceit, hypocrisy, abuse of power, and political and moral corruption.
Then, in the last scene, Measure for Measure starts to look more like a comedy, and the once very serious issues suddenly appear to be little more than merry mixups.
The Duke reveals himself—somewhat reminiscent of the appearance of a Greek god at the end of an Aristophanes comedy (deus ex machina)—then proceeds to sort out the issues of the play, dispense justice, reunite separated couples, and assure a happy ending to the play.
Claudio was condemned to die and was supposedly executed, but he is suddenly revealed to be alive, the Duke pardons him, and he's reunited with his fiancé, Juliet.
Angelo begs the Duke to be executed for his crimes, to which the Duke agrees, condemning him to death for...
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