Measure for Measure

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 5 Scene 1

page Act 5 Scene 1 Page 3

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DUKE VINCENTIO

Nay, it is ten times strange.

DUKE VINCENTIO

That’s strange to the tenth degree.

ISABELLA

It is not truer he is Angelo
Than this is all as true as it is strange:
Nay, it is ten times true; for truth is truth
50To the end of reckoning.

ISABELLA

It’s just as true as the fact that he’s Angelo, and this is all as true as it is strange. No, it’s true to the tenth degree, for the truth is the truth, no matter how much you multiply it.

DUKE VINCENTIO

Away with her! Poor soul,
She speaks this in the infirmity of sense.

DUKE VINCENTIO

Take her away! Poor soul, she’s insane.

ISABELLA

O prince, I conjure thee, as thou believest
There is another comfort than this world,
55That thou neglect me not, with that opinion
That I am touch’d with madness! Make not impossible
That which but seems unlike: ’tis not impossible
But one, the wicked’st caitiff on the ground,
May seem as shy, as grave, as just, as absolute
60As Angelo; even so may Angelo,
In all his dressings, characts, titles, forms,
Be an arch-villain; believe it, royal prince:
If he be less, he’s nothing; but he’s more,
Had I more name for badness.

ISABELLA

Oh, prince, I beg you, as you believe in a better world than this one, don’t dismiss me by thinking I’m mad! Don’t assume something’s impossible because it’s unlikely. It’s not impossible that the wickedest wretch on the face of the earth may look just as cautious, as dignified, as fair, as perfect as Angelo—even as Angelo, for all his official finery, badges, titles, and ceremonies, can be an arch-villain. Believe it, royal prince. If he’s less than a wretch, he’s nothing. But he’s more, if only I had more names for badness.

DUKE VINCENTIO

65By mine honesty,
If she be mad,—as I believe no other,—
Her madness hath the oddest frame of sense,
Such a dependency of thing on thing,
As e’er I heard in madness.

DUKE VINCENTIO

I declare, if she’s mad—as I believe she is—her madness has an oddly rational sound. I’ve rarely heard such coherent logic from someone insane.

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