We associate Shakespeare with humanity, warmth, generosity and kindness when he writes about people who have made a wrong decision. Even Richard III at the beginning of his play tells us what a dreadful life he’s had until now. Troilus and Cressida is different. Shakespeare is merciless with his characters and shows the Trojan War as a perverse catastrophe for everyone unlucky enough to be caught up in it. From the scheming warriors at the top to those suffering at the bottom, Shakespeare shows us two civilisations, Greece and Troy, buckling under their own weight.
In a resumption of normal service that is perhaps not quite the triumphant return he would like, Sheldrake confesses himself drawn more to the ideas of Measure for Measure than its drama. The discussions of Virtue and Justice in the play are strikingly front and centre, and the social aspects of these philosophical ideas form the matter of this episode. Dodging the comedy/dark comedy/tragicomedy/problem play debate, Sheldrake gives you Measure for Measure; a play about the nature of society.