Measure for Measure

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 2

page Act 4 Scene 2 Page 7

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DUKE VINCENTIO

135What is that Barnardine who is to be executed in the
afternoon?

DUKE VINCENTIO

Who is this Barnardine who’s to be executed in the
afternoon?

PROVOST

A Bohemian born, but here nursed un and bred; one
that is a prisoner nine years old.

PROVOST

He was born in Bohemia, but raised here. He’s been a prisoner for the last nine years.

DUKE VINCENTIO

How came it that the absent duke had not either
140delivered him to his liberty or executed him? I
have heard it was ever his manner to do so.

DUKE VINCENTIO

How did it happen that the absent duke neither freed him nor executed him? I’ve heard he usually does one or the other.

PROVOST

His friends still wrought reprieves for him: and,
indeed, his fact, till now in the government of Lord
Angelo, came not to an undoubtful proof.

PROVOST

Barnardine’s friends kept getting him reprieves. And there was no clear evidence that he was actually guilty, until now, when Angelo came to power.

DUKE VINCENTIO

145It is now apparent?

DUKE VINCENTIO

It’s clear now?

PROVOST

Most manifest, and not denied by himself.

PROVOST

Very clear, and he doesn’t deny it himself.

DUKE VINCENTIO

Hath he born himself penitently in prison? how
seems he to be touched?

DUKE VINCENTIO

Has he shown remorse while in prison? What effect has it had on him?

PROVOST

A man that apprehends death no more dreadfully but
150as a drunken sleep; careless, reckless, and fearless
of what’s past, present, or to come; insensible of
mortality, and desperately mortal.

PROVOST

He’s a man who fears death as no worse than a drunken sleep. He’s careless, reckless, and fearless of the past, present, or future. He’s unaware of the concept of death, and desperately clinging to life.

DUKE VINCENTIO

He wants advice.

DUKE VINCENTIO

He needs counseling.

PROVOST

He will hear none: he hath evermore had the liberty
155of the prison; give him leave to escape hence, he
would not: drunk many times a day, if not many days
entirely drunk. We have very oft awaked him, as if
to carry him to execution, and showed him a seeming
warrant for it: it hath not moved him at all.

PROVOST

He won’t listen to any. He’s always had the freedom to go anywhere inside the prison. If you gave him a chance to escape, he wouldn’t run. He’s drunk many times a day, or spends many days entirely drunk. Often, we’ve woken him up, as if to take him to be executed, and shown him a pretend warrant. It’s never affected him at all.

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