Measure for Measure

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 2 Scene 4

page Act 2 Scene 4 Page 7

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ANGELO

I think it well:
And from this testimony of your own sex,—
Since I suppose we are made to be no stronger
Than faults may shake our frames,—let me be bold;
145I do arrest your words. Be that you are,
That is, a woman; if you be more, you’re none;
If you be one, as you are well express’d
By all external warrants, show it now,
By putting on the destined livery.

ANGELO

I agree. And based on what you say about your sex—since I suppose we’re only as strong as our own weakest points—let me be bold. I take you at your word. Be what you are—a woman, that is. If you are better than that, then you’re not a woman. But if you are one, as you certainly seem to be by all outward appearances, show it now by being weak.

ISABELLA

150I have no tongue but one: gentle my lord,
Let me entreat you speak the former language.

ISABELLA

I can only speak with a sincere tongue. My gentle lord,
please talk plainly, as you did before.

ANGELO

Plainly conceive, I love you.

ANGELO

To put it plainly, I love you.

ISABELLA

My brother did love Juliet,
And you tell me that he shall die for it.

ISABELLA

My brother loved Juliet, and you tell me that he’ll die for it.

ANGELO

155He shall not, Isabel, if you give me love.

ANGELO

He won’t, Isabel, if you give me love.

ISABELLA

I know your virtue hath a licence in’t,
Which seems a little fouler than it is,
To pluck on others.

ISABELLA

I know your virtue gives you the freedom to act wicked, in order to test others.

ANGELO

Believe me, on mine honour,
160My words express my purpose.

ANGELO

Believe me, I swear I mean what I say.

ISABELLA

Ha! little honour to be much believed,
And most pernicious purpose! Seeming, seeming!
I will proclaim thee, Angelo; look for’t:
Sign me a present pardon for my brother,
165Or with an outstretch’d throat I’ll tell the world aloud
What man thou art.

ISABELLA

What! To believe so much in someone with so little honor and such evil intentions! You deceiver! I’ll denounce you, Angelo, believe me. Sign a pardon for my brother immediately, or I’ll scream to the entire world what sort of man you are.

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