Measure for Measure

William Shakespeare
No Fear Act 3 Scene 1
No Fear Act 3 Scene 1 Page 5

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CLAUDIO

Thou shalt not do’t.

CLAUDIO

You mustn’t do it.

ISABELLA

O, were it but my life,
I’ld throw it down for your deliverance
115As frankly as a pin.

ISABELLA

Oh, if it were just my life, I’d throw it away like a pin to save you.

CLAUDIO

Thanks, dear Isabel.

CLAUDIO

Thanks, dear Isabel.

ISABELLA

Be ready, Claudio, for your death tomorrow.

ISABELLA

Be ready, Claudio, for your death tomorrow.

CLAUDIO

Yes. Has he affections in him,
That thus can make him bite the law by the nose,
120When he would force it? Sure, it is no sin,
Or of the deadly seven, it is the least.

CLAUDIO

Yes. Is his lust so great that it causes him to make a mockery of the law, even while he’s enforcing it? Of course, it isn’t a sin, or anyway it’s the least of the seven deadly sins.

ISABELLA

Which is the least?

ISABELLA

Which is the least?

CLAUDIO

If it were damnable, he being so wise,
Why would he for the momentary trick
125Be perdurably fined? O Isabel!

CLAUDIO

If it were a damnable thing, why—if he’s so wise—would he risk being eternally punished for a momentary pleasure? Oh, Isabel!

ISABELLA

What says my brother?

ISABELLA

What are you saying?

CLAUDIO

Death is a fearful thing.

CLAUDIO

Death is a fearful thing.

ISABELLA

And shamed life a hateful.

ISABELLA

And a disgraced life a hateful one.

CLAUDIO

Ay, but to die, and go we know not where;
130To lie in cold obstruction and to rot;
This sensible warm motion to become
A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit
To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
In thrilling region of thick-ribbed ice;
135To be imprison’d in the viewless winds,
And blown with restless violence round about
The pendent world; or to be worse than worst
Of those that lawless and incertain thought
Imagine howling: ’tis too horrible!
140The weariest and most loathed worldly life
That age, ache, penury and imprisonment
Can lay on nature is a paradise
To what we fear of death.

CLAUDIO

Yes, but to die, and go who knows where. To lie cold and congealing, and to rot—this conscious, warm body to become a compact lump of earth, and the vast spirit to swim in hell’s fiery floods or reside in a frigid land of thick ice. To be confined inside invisible winds and perpetually, violently blown all around the world hanging in space. Or to be worse off than one of those tortured souls howling from punishment of sinful thoughts—it’s too horrible! The weariest, most hateful life that old age, aches, poverty and imprisonment can inflict on us is paradise compared to our fears of death.

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