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Analysis of Act 1 Scene 1 of Measure for Measure.

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Analysis of Act 1 Scene 1 of Measure for Measure By Catherine Ezekpo Act 1 Scene 1 at its most basic interpretation is encircling the thoughts and actions of three characters; the Duke, Escalus and Angelo. The reader observes the Duke of Vienna telling Escalus, an his advisor, that he is leaving the city and would like to leave Angelo in his place. Escalus agrees with the Duke's choice and Angelo is summoned. Angelo appears surprised and slightly reluctant of the Dukes offer but accepts it readily. However if the reader decides to prove deeper inside the scene, it becomes clear that the seemingly simple interpretation above conceals a more complex scenarios. Firstly the scene is set the city of Vienna in approximately 1604, the reader is made aware it is Vienna when Escalus states, 'if any in Vienna...'The reader is left to wonder whether the play is set in Vienna because of it beautiful historic acitchecture or it dazzling surrounding. Or if perhaps there is a more fundamental reason such as the plays context, whether for instance the themes running rife throughout the play are so diverse and unconventional for its time, that Shakespeare feared situating it in more familiar surroundings such as England. ...read more.


He uses the royal 'we' and regards the citizens of Vienna "our people," the city is "our city". Again demonstrating his status as well as his care for his citizens. His diction is quite elegant in some places; he makes use of alliteration, stating that with his "special soul" he has chosen Angelo. The Duke also uses paradoxical terms that convey the duties of a ruler; he says he will lend Angelo both his "terror" and his "love" to rule with, showing how a ruler must be authoritarian, yet caring for his subjects. This causes the reader to ponder just why he is leaving and what drives the urgency. The Duke seems to confide earnestly in Escalus his advisor. Escalus seems to genuinely respect and look up to the Duke, along with a strong fondness towards Duke. The reader becomes increasingly aware of this throughout the scene. A classic example is when Escalus chimes 'I'll wait upon your honour' just before the Duke's departure. As a result the reader is not sure whether Escalus agreed with the Duke's choice because of his fondness for the Duke or if hemade an objective decision and agreed. ...read more.


For example when he pleads, 'let there be some more test made of my mental before so noble and so great a figure be stamped upon it'. The reader cold possibly perceive this as warning to his behaviour in the rest of the pay. Angelo's righteous appearance subtley disturbs the reader; the reader is subsequently left to ponder whether there is something sinister under this loveable exterior. The imagery of a coin could possibly signify Angelo becoming corrupt and obsessed with money. After the reader's brief introduction to the setting, chracteters and subsequent situation the scene leaves the audience crying what next. As although it is a short scene the reader is overwhelmed with a variety of themes and potentialities. Such as the Dukes intentions. For instance why this imminent departure? Also the reason for the portayl of Angelo is it possibly to contradict his behaviour within the rest of the play. The scene could also be a breeding ground for lots of themes for instance, how power can curopt or how responsibility is handled. To summarise although Act 1 scene 1 appears docile in appearance, the volcano is bubbling with possible revelations waiting to erupt, possibly mirroring the potential pattern for the rest of the play. By Catherine Ezekpo ...read more.

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