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Measure for Measure

William Shakespeare
No Fear Act 1 Scene 3
No Fear Act 1 Scene 3 Page 2

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It rested in your grace
To unloose this tied-up justice when you pleased:
35And it in you more dreadful would have seem’d
Than in Lord Angelo.


It was in your lordship’s ability to get the justice system working again whenever you wanted. And it would’ve been taken more seriously if you’d done it, rather than Lord Angelo.


I do fear, too dreadful:
Sith ’twas my fault to give the people scope,
’Twould be my tyranny to strike and gall them
40For what I bid them do: for we bid this be done,
When evil deeds have their permissive pass
And not the punishment. Therefore indeed, my father,
I have on Angelo imposed the office;
Who may, in the ambush of my name, strike home,
45And yet my nature never in the fight
To do in slander. And to behold his sway,
I will, as ’twere a brother of your order,
Visit both prince and people: therefore, I prithee,
Supply me with the habit and instruct me
50How I may formally in person bear me
Like a true friar. More reasons for this action
At our more leisure shall I render you;
Only, this one: Lord Angelo is precise;
Stands at a guard with envy; scarce confesses
If power change purpose, what our seemers be.


Too seriously, I’m afraid. Since it was my fault to give the people so much freedom, I’d seem like a real tyrant now to whip them for things I allowed them to do. We essentially tell people to misbehave when we give evil deeds a pass and don’t punish them. So, friar, I’ve given the job to Angelo. He can effectively deal with this, in my name—but since I’m not personally involved, I won’t look bad. To see how he rules, I’d like to visit him and the people disguised as one of your order’s monks. So please furnish me with a robe and teach me how to behave like a real friar. When there’s more time, I’ll give you additional reasons for my actions. For now, I’ll tell you this one: Lord Angelo is a puritanical man, constantly guarding himself against desire, the type who barely admits blood flows in his veins. So if power changes a person’s principles, we’ll see how he really is.

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