"Measure for Measure" is a play by the iconic English playwright, William Shakespeare (1564-1616), first performed on the 26th of December, 1604.

The play is set in the Austrian capital, Vienna, though Shakespeare never visited the city and his source material is Italian, from the same manuscript as "Othello". The title is generally believed to be a reference to the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew, 7:2) which exhorts us, "with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

In fact, the whole play contains a curious mixture of piety and bawdiness. One of the main characters is the gloriously named Mistress Overdone, the madam of a brothel, (though, ironically, she berates people for licentious behaviour) and the plot involves a "bed trick" with two women swapping places under cover of absolute darkness.

Not surprisingly, the play has been censored and "adapted" over the years, and performances of the unexpurgated version only became the norm again in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Various other composers and writers have based their works on the play, including Richard Wagner in his early opera "Das Liebesverbot" ("The Ban on Love") and Alfred, Lord Tennyson, in his poem "Mariana".

More Info: en.wikipedia.org