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The Duke of Vienna decides that his people have been allowed to behave dishonorably for too long. Their morals have become too loose. The Duke appoints a deputy; Angelo who is known for being cold and firm. The Duke tells him that he is going away to Poland and will be leaving him in charge. He gives him a commission to ensure that moral laws are upheld, but he remains in Vienna in disguise to keep an eye on his deputy. Angelo’s first decision is to arrest Claudio for getting his fiancé, Juliet, pregnant. Claudio faces death by beheading for his crime and Angelo is enforcing this. Claudio asks his friend Lucio to find his sister Isabella, a nun, to ask her to appeal to Angelo, using all her feminine wiles.

Isabella is convinced and goes to ask Angelo to pardon Claudio. Angelo marvels at Isabella’s purity and chastity and this makes him fall in love with her. He propositions her; he says that if she gives him her body, he will pardon Claudio. Isabella is shocked and outraged. She says she will not do this. Isabella tells Claudio about the proposition and tells him that he must be prepared to die because he would not be able to live as an honorable man if she were to go through with Angelo’s wishes. Claudio is frightened and begs her to do as Angelo says. Isabella is resolute and refuses.


Hearing this interchange between brother and sister, the Duke, disguised as a Friar, speaks to Isabella suggesting that she agrees to the proposition but sends Angelo’s ex betrothed; Mariana, disguised in Isabella’s place. Mariana is still in love with Angelo, despite him leaving her when her brother died at sea and as a result her losing her dowry. Angelo was no longer interested in Mariana without a dowry and he invented stories to dishonor her. Mariana agrees to the plan as the Friar promises that she will be married to Angelo. Isabella meets Angelo accepting his proposition, she then tells Mariana the meeting place and the union takes place. However, Angelo insists that Claudio must still face execution despite his promises to Isabella. The Duke, disguised as the Friar, tells the Provost to present an alternative head to Angelo as proof of Claudio’s execution. The Provost then hides Claudio away.

The ‘Friar’ then convinces Isabella that her brother has been executed but announces the Duke’s return. He urges her to appeal to the Duke and complain about Angelo’s heavy handed rule. The proposal is revealed to the Duke by Isabella but Angelo, of course, denies it. Then Mariana steps forward and explains that it was she who spent the night with Angelo. The ‘Friar’ is called to give evidence and the Duke excuses himself and comes back as the ‘Friar’. It is then revealed that the Duke, disguised as the Friar was party to everything that was going on. He forces Angelo to marry Mariana and then says that he should then be executed in the same way as Claudio, for the same crime; Measure for Measure. Claudio is then revealed as being alive, Isabella is grateful. Claudio is then told to marry Juliet to make her an honorable woman. The Duke pardons Angelo but enforces the marriage between him and Mariana. The Duke then asks Isabella to be his wife.


Isabella The main character, Isabella, is a very virtuous and chaste young woman who faces a difficult decision when her brother is sentenced to death for fornication (unlawful sex).

Character Analysis

The Duke- is unfailingly virtuous, good, and kindhearted. He tends to rule a little softly, which is why he enlists Angelo's help. Escalus - Escalus is a wise lord who advises Angelo to be more merciful. Mariana-She was supposed to marry Angelo, but he called the wedding off. Bernadine- A longterm prisioner in the jail, Bernadine is sentenced to be executed together Lord Angelo - Angelo is the with Claudio, villain of the play, a man who rules strictly and without mercy. He has his own JulietClauidio´s weaknesses, however, and lover , she is he is loathsome more for his pregnant with his hypocrisy than for anything baby. else.


Themes

Sex: With these issues of sex weighing heavy, the play questions whether it is right for the government to legislate against sexuality. Marriage: Ironically, in this play, marriage is used to regulate and punish promiscuous behavior. For the females in the play, marriage saves their reputation and gives them a position they would not have had. For Juliet, Mariana and Mistress Overdone to an extent, certainly this is the best option. The Role of the Female: Each of the women in the play are limited and controlled by the forces of patriarchy. The women in the play are vastly different but their social standing is limited by the men in their lives.

Religion: This passage where a hypocritical deputy sentences a man to death for fornication and then propositions a young woman. The main themes of this play are those associated with religion; morality, virtue, sin, punishment, death and atonement. Its main character Isabella is obsessed with virtue and chastity and her own spiritual journey.


Analysis Measure for Measure is a distinctive play in that does not fit into the mold of other Shakespearean works. It is not a comedy in the classic terms in that most of the play deals with very serious issues and isn't designed to make the reader laugh. It is also not a history or a tragedy because none of the characters were real people, and unlike other Shakespeare tragedies, no one dies. Finally, it is not a classic love story because there are no flowery speeches and professions of love. Measure for Measure is it's own genre of play much like something that the world would view today. It discusses serious issues of the abuses of power and authority. In Shakespeare's time, sexual harassment was nonexistent, but today it remains a large issue. Measure for Measure deals with this harassment in the relationship between Isabella and Angelo. To gain her brother's freedom, Isabella has to make the choice of whether to sleep with Angelo or let her brother die. The ultimatum is something that would be illegal today. A leader being above the law is another major theme that runs rampant through the story. Though Claudio is sentenced to death for sleeping with his fiancĂŠe whom he loves, Angelo takes advantage of being in power, and sleeps with Isabella. Even though he has attacks of conscience, Angelo still expects to get away with his crime because of the position he holds. The major metaphor in the play was also a person of power. The Duke in disguise stands as a God-like watcher figure who fixes the wrongs the characters make, judges those who deserve to be judged, and rewards those who are loyal and virtuous. The Duke uses his power to help, not to hinder those around him as Shakespeare may have perceived his God to be.Measure for Measure continues to be a timeless tale that provokes thought in both people of yesterday, and people of today. The issues it brings forth are still relevant for students or readers to discuss today.


Study Guide The Duke of Vienna decides that his people have been allowed to behave dishonorably for too long. Their morals have become too loose. The Duke appoints a deputy; Angelo who is known for being cold and firm. The Duke tells him that he is going away to Poland and will be leaving him in charge. He gives him a commission to ensure that moral laws are upheld, but he remains in Vienna in disguise to keep an eye on his deputy. Angelo’s first decision is to arrest Claudio for getting his fiancé, Juliet, pregnant. Claudio faces death by beheading for his crime and Angelo is enforcing this. Claudio asks his friend Lucio to find his sister Isabella, a nun, to ask her to appeal to Angelo, using all her feminine wiles. The Duke, disguised as the Friar, tells the Provost to present an alternative head to Angelo as proof of Claudio’s execution. The Provost then hides Claudio away. The ‘Friar’ then convinces Isabella that her brother has been executed but announces the Duke’s return. He urges her to appeal to the Duke and complain about Angelo’s heavy handed rule. The proposal is revealed to the Duke by Isabella but Angelo, of course, denies it. Then Mariana steps forward and explains that it was she who spent the night with Angelo. The ‘Friar’ is called to give evidence and the Duke excuses himself and comes back as the ‘Friar’. It is then revealed that the Duke, disguised as the Friar was party to everything that was going on. He forces Angelo to marry Mariana and then says that he should then be executed in the same way as Claudio, for the same crime; Measure for Measure. Claudio is then revealed as being alive, Isabella is grateful. Claudio is then told to marry Juliet to make her an honorable woman. The Duke pardons Angelo but enforces the marriage between him and Mariana. The Duke then asks Isabella to be his wife.


• http://shakespeare.about.com/od/Measure-ForMeasure/a/measure-For-Measure-Summary.htm • http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/measur e/ • http://www.gradesaver.com/measure-formeasure/study-guide/character-list/ • http://www.william-shakespeare.info/shakespeareplay-measure-for-measure.htm • http://www.william-shakespeare.info/shakespeareplay-measure-for-measure.htm • http://www.william-shakespeare.info/shakespeareplay-measure-for-measure.htm


Measure for measure