Measure for Measure

William Shakespeare
No Fear Act 3 Scene 1
No Fear Act 3 Scene 1 Page 10

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ISABELLA

Can this be so? did Angelo so leave her?

ISABELLA

Can this be true? Did Angelo leave her?

DUKE VINCENTIO

Left her in her tears, and dried not one of them
with his comfort; swallowed his vows whole,
240pretending in her discoveries of dishonour: in few,
bestowed her on her own lamentation, which she yet
wears for his sake; and he, a marble to her tears,
is washed with them, but relents not.

DUKE VINCENTIO

Left her in her tears, without drying a single one of them. He reneged on his vows completely, saying he discovered that she’d been unfaithful to him. He gave her only grief, basically, and she still wears it, like a wedding dress. Her tears wash over him, but like a marble statue, he never budges.

ISABELLA

What a merit were it in death to take this poor maid
245from the world! What corruption in this life, that
it will let this man live! But how out of this can she avail?

ISABELLA

It’s the equivalent of a death to take this poor girl away from the world! And life is so unfair, that this man lives! But how can she benefit from all this?

DUKE VINCENTIO

It is a rupture that you may easily heal: and the
cure of it not only saves your brother, but keeps
you from dishonour in doing it.

DUKE VINCENTIO

It’s a break that you can easily heal, and the cure not only saves your brother, but keeps you from dishonor.

ISABELLA

250Show me how, good father.

ISABELLA

Show me how, good father.

DUKE VINCENTIO

This forenamed maid hath yet in her the continuance
of her first affection: his unjust unkindness, that
in all reason should have quenched her love, hath,
like an impediment in the current, made it more
255violent and unruly. Go you to Angelo; answer his
requiring with a plausible obedience; agree with
his demands to the point; only refer yourself to
this advantage, first, that your stay with him may
not be long; that the time may have all shadow and
260silence in it; and the place answer to convenience.
This being granted in course,—and now follows
all,—we shall advise this wronged maid to stead up
your appointment, go in your place; if the encounter
acknowledge itself hereafter, it may compel him to
265her recompense: and here, by this, is your brother
saved, your honour untainted, the poor Mariana
advantaged, and the corrupt deputy scaled. The maid
will I frame and make fit for his attempt. If you
think well to carry this as you may, the doubleness
270of the benefit defends the deceit from reproof.
What think you of it?

DUKE VINCENTIO

This maid still loves Angelo. Logically, his unfair cruelty should have ended her love, but it’s actually intensified it, the way water becomes violent and choppy when it hits a barrier. Go to Angelo. Pretend to yield to his request, and obey his demands to the letter. But set some conditions: that you not spend much time together, that it be in the dark, that there be absolute silence, and that it be in a convenient place. When he agrees—and now here’s the key part—we’ll tell the wronged girl to go in your place. If their encounter later comes to light, it might compel him to compensate her. The result of all this: your brother is saved, your honor is maintained, poor Mariana is helped, and the corrupt deputy is punished. I’ll prepare the girl and make her ready for the encounter. If you think you can manage this, the double benefit outweighs any blame for the deception. What do you think?

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