English AS & A2 - Measure For Measure Our purpose in preparing this guide was to make it easier for A Level English students to access background resources of high quality to help in their study of a Shakespeare text - and, at the same time, to demonstrate that it is possible to produce English work to satisfy the new Key Skills Requirement in ICT. Using the Internet for research The Internet has many advantages over other information sources, although the fact that so much information is found using it can be obtained using it can be intimidating. One factor which affects how successful "surfing" for information is, is the "search engine" that is used. There are many hundreds of search engines, but there is a group of about 20 which are considered the "elite" among search engines. Recommended search engines include "Alta Vista", "Google", "HotBot" and "Ask Jeeves"; each of these engines found lots of sites that were relevant but the way in which they displayed them varied considerably. Websites on 16th and 17th Century authors http://www.infoplease.com This site is an encyclopaedia-style facility. http://www.luminarium.com This site, unlike the previous one, is dedicated to literature. It is a database of works and of information on authors. The site guides you to the information you want by displaying on-screen indexes, which list titles and names. This was a very user-friendly way to organise the information pages. Websites on Jacobean Drama http://www.search.britannica.com This encyclopaedia site was useful; It found information of the subject very quickly but this information was located in a section on the history of theatre and so the desired information was mixed amongst other information. http://www.britishliterature.com This site works in a similar way to the "Britannica" site but the information it provided was more focused, more lengthy/thorough and went into more depth. Measure for Measure Internet Sites - Background to the period http://metalab.unc.edu/wm/paint/glo/renaissance/it.htm Although this site is primarily about artists during the Renaissance period, it has a good introduction into the themes and ideas of the Renaissance period, for example, the rediscovery of ancient philosophy. The ideas spoken of create a clearer picture into why Shakespeare wrote the way he did in Measure for Measure. http://www.mattbrown.net/machiavelli/prince/over.htm http://www.mattbrown.net/machiavelli/history.htm This site gives a brief background into 16th Century politics and the lack of democracy at the time. The section on Nicolo Machiavelli and his works is particularly helpful. His works contain one school of thought about power politics and help us to see what shaped Shakespeare's writings. http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/renaissanceinfo.htm Incredibly large site, containing everything you need for background information on 'measure for measure'. You may need to hunt around a bit here, but it is extremely informative. There is wonderful information on the Renaissance period, including Science, beliefs and Literature at the time. Best site for what we are looking for. http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/r/renaiss.htm Good notes on the Renaissance period and definitely worth a look at. Web sites on Study guides for Measure for Measure http://www.sparknotes.com This web site has been put together by students for students; the students who brought all the information together are all past or present students studying at Harvard university in America. At the title page there are a number of texts to choose to have 'Spark notes' on, you just have to double click the appropriate text you are studying (Measure for Measure in this case.) Debra Grossman collated the spark notes on Measure for Measure. She has covered everything that a student may need to know on the play. On reaching the Measure for Measure page the title screen has text box with the word 'choose' in it, click on this and a list of options come up. This includes: Context, Characters, Summary, Study questions, a link to the message board and chapters. Context: This starts with a brief background history of William Shakespeare of where and when he lived. Then it goes on to say about the structure of the play and the moral issues dealt with in the complexly woven plot. The themes are then discussed to no great lengths, but is an excellent start to understanding what the play and the writer wants to deal with. Characters: This is just a list of character names that have a brief description of who they are and what significance they have to the themes of the play. Summary: Two pages long and quite informative the ideas of the play do come out and there are some constructive criticisms. The themes built up around certain characters are discussed. Conclusion is interesting and leads the reader to delve deeper into the issues raised in the play. Study questions: Most probably the best way to tackle a question is to look at the arising themes and this is what Debra Grossman has done. There are ten possible study questions all with a paragraph talking about the theme or how to look at the question, again it is quite brief but it is great to get you started, remembering that she can't actually answer the question for you. Chapters: Brilliant chapter notes with a commentary.