Measure for Measure

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 5 Scene 1

page Act 5 Scene 1 Page 4

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ISABELLA

70O gracious duke,
Harp not on that, nor do not banish reason
For inequality; but let your reason serve
To make the truth appear where it seems hid,
And hide the false seems true.

ISABELLA

Oh, gracious duke, don’t harp on that. But don’t dismiss rational statements because they don’t jibe with appearances. Use your intelligence to uncover the hidden truth, which is obscured by lies that seem like truth.

DUKE VINCENTIO

75Many that are not mad
Have, sure, more lack of reason. What would you say?

DUKE VINCENTIO

A lot of sane people make a lot less sense. What would you like to say?

ISABELLA

I am the sister of one Claudio,
Condemn’d upon the act of fornication
To lose his head; condemn’d by Angelo:
80I, in probation of a sisterhood,
Was sent to by my brother; one Lucio
As then the messenger,—

ISABELLA

I am the sister of one Claudio, sentenced to die by the decree against fornication—sentenced by Angelo. I was about to enter a convent, when my brother contacted me. He sent me a message through a man named Lucio—

LUCIO

That’s I, an’t like your grace:
I came to her from Claudio, and desired her
85To try her gracious fortune with Lord Angelo
For her poor brother’s pardon.

LUCIO

That’s me, if it please your grace: I came to her from Claudio, and asked her to try her good luck in asking Lord Angelo for her poor brother’s pardon.

ISABELLA

That’s he indeed.

ISABELLA

Yes, that’s the man.

DUKE VINCENTIO

You were not bid to speak.

DUKE VINCENTIO

No one asked you to speak.

LUCIO

No, my good lord;
90Nor wish’d to hold my peace.

LUCIO

No, my good lord, but no one asked me to be quiet, either.

DUKE VINCENTIO

I wish you now, then;
Pray you, take note of it: and when you have
A business for yourself, pray heaven you then
Be perfect.

DUKE VINCENTIO

I’m asking you now, then. Remember it. And when you have your own business before me, pray heaven you behave yourself.

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