Neil Freeman, in his book Shakespeare's First Texts, makes a compelling case about the importance of Folio comparisons. It is Freeman's thesis that analysis of the 1623 Folio provides clues for actors, directors and scholars regarding interpretation and representation. Modern editors make numerous changes in spelling, grammar, punctuation, stage direction, character names, and in the shape of lines that may alter characterization, story line, and emphasis. Obviously, some changes have to be made: the Folio, as is, is barely decipherable for the modern reader. But these well intentioned alterations can have a significant impact. The Folio is chockful of clues for performers. For example, mid-sentence capitalization can provide hints as to which words should be emphasized; short and long lines often define emotional state and tone; and broken lines and half lines help to define tempo and interaction. Other important elements include Folio stage directions that are essential for theatre historians trying to reconstruct Elizabethan performance.
The Interactive Shakespeare edition of Measure for Measure, created by Daniel Colvin, is taken directly from the 1623 Folio. Professor Colvin's text follows the Folio closely, but there are numerous, subtle differences. A series of short comparisons are provided so users of the Web site may compare the two. In addition to the comparisons, we have provided points of discussion. Compare the two versions: closely note changes in grammar, mid-sentence capitalization, character prefixes, and stage directions.
Act 1: Scene 1 - Scene 2 - Scene 3 - Scene 4
Act 2: Scene 1 - Scene 2 - Scene 3 - Scene 4
Act 3: Scene 1 - Scene 2
Act 4: Scene 1 - Scene 2 - Scene 3
Act 5: Scene 1