Measure for Measure

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 5 Scene 1

page Act 5 Scene 1 Page 18

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ISABELLA

425I do, my lord.

ISABELLA

I do, my lord.
Re-enter ANGELO, MARIANA, FRIAR PETER, and Provost
ANGELO, MARIANA, FRIAR PETER, and the Provost re-enter.

DUKE VINCENTIO

For this new-married man approaching here,
Whose salt imagination yet hath wrong’d
Your well defended honour, you must pardon
For Mariana’s sake: but as he adjudged your brother,—
430Being criminal, in double violation
Of sacred chastity and of promise-breach
Thereon dependent, for your brother’s life,—
The very mercy of the law cries out
Most audible, even from his proper tongue,
435‘An Angelo for Claudio, death for death!’
Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure;
Then, Angelo, thy fault’s thus manifested;
Which, though thou wouldst deny, denies thee vantage.
440We do condemn thee to the very block
Where Claudio stoop’d to death, and with like haste.
Away with him!

DUKE VINCENTIO

For Mariana’s sake, you must forgive this newly married man, whose lecherous imagination wronged your well-defended honor. But after he condemned your brother, he committed two crimes, violating your virginity and breaking his promise about the pardon that your brother’s life depended on. Even the merciful part of the law cries out, “an Angelo for Claudio, death for death!” Haste always results in hasty decisions, and deliberation comes from slowness. One thing is rewarded by a similar thing, and the measure of justice you use will be the measure used against you. So, Angelo, your crime is clear for all to see, and it denies you the right to any preferential treatment, even if you yourself feel otherwise. I sentence you to be executed on the very block where Claudio knelt to die, and just as quickly. Take him away!

MARIANA

O my most gracious lord,
I hope you will not mock me with a husband.

MARIANA

Oh, my most gracious lord, please don’t make a mockery of my marriage!

DUKE VINCENTIO

445It is your husband mock’d you with a husband.
Consenting to the safeguard of your honour,
I thought your marriage fit; else imputation,
For that he knew you, might reproach your life
And choke your good to come; for his possessions,
450Although by confiscation they are ours,
We do instate and widow you withal,
To buy you a better husband.

DUKE VINCENTIO

It’s your husband who’s made a mockery of your marriage. I thought it appropriate that you be married, to protect your honor. Otherwise, revealing that he’d slept with you would haunt your life and destroy your future prospects. As for his possessions, technically they belong to the state, but we are giving you a widow’s rights and bequeathing them to you, to buy you a better husband.

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