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Measure for Measure

William Shakespeare

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Act IV, Scenes i-ii

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Act IV, Scenes i-ii

Act IV, Scenes i-ii

Act IV, Scenes i-ii

Act IV, Scenes i-ii

The Duke's schemes are developed more fully, and here we really see him directing his followers according to precise instructions. He tells Isabella and Mariana what to do with assuredness, although the plan could clearly fail, considering the intimacy of the proposed contact between Angelo and Mariana. The issue is not discussed clearly, nor is the question of why it is legal for the act to take place truly explored. After all, Claudio and Juliet had a similar contract of marriage to Angelo and Mariana's, and in that case both were willing. Here only one party is willing, and yet it is considered lawful. Perhaps it is the thought of tricking Angelo which makes the scheme seem appropriate here.

Mariana, when asked if she approves, answers that she will carry out the scheme if the friar thinks it is all right. The Duke assumed all along that Mariana would be willing to have sexual intercourse with Angelo, despite his hateful behavior towards her. The suggestion is that she can be redeemed only through this sexual act, because otherwise she remains a discarded woman instead of a wife.

The Duke also arranges a scheme involving the provost and the executions which are to take place. He is willing to sacrifice the life of Barnadine but wishes to preserve the life of Angelo. This implies a value judgment on life itself; one life is seen as worthwhile while the other is not. These statements of balance and equality figure largely in the play as a whole, as prospects are weighed against each other. The whole concept of "Measure still for Measure" (IV.i.414) centers around appropriate punishments and retributions.

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ACT IV, SCENES I-II QUIZ

What does Isabella instruct Marianna to keep to a minimum during her tryst with Angelo?
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Shakespeare Blog

by DanMitchell23, March 21, 2013

A view on Measure for Measure...

http://inbetweenthelines1.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/shakespeare-play-measure-for-measure/

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A few things to note...

by Hayley1818, April 23, 2013

It's a good idea to note that Lucio is the one who finds outs that Claudio is being arrested, and Lucio is the one who goes to Isabella, for Claudio, to ask for her help. Lucio's main appearance is basically for comic relief, but he also has a place in the plot line.

It's also a good idea to note that Lucio accompanies Isabella to appeal the release of her brother to Angelo. While Isabella pleads for Claudio's life out of sisterly love, she also can't help but to agree with Angelo that what Claudio did was wrong. Therefore, Isabelle f... Read more

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IMPORTANT CORRECTION Concerning Isabella

by Toulgoat, May 05, 2013

Correction: Isabella is not unfailingly virtuous.

Claudio asks Lucio to acquaint Isabella with his fate that she might persuade Angelo for, "in her youth/There is a prone and speechless dialect/Such as move men; beside, she hath prosperous art/When she will play with reason and discourse,/And well she can persuade" [1.2.179-83]. Though Claudio's last remark makes allusion of her astute ability to bend words, it is also used in juxtaposition with her "speechless dialect/Such as move men," referring to sex; Claudio is inferring that Is... Read more

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