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"Explore Shakespeare's portrayal of The Duke and Angelo and the consequent nature of their relationship in the play Measure for Measure."

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Introduction

Hannah Suthren 12 BJW Mr Lewton "Explore Shakespeare's portrayal of The Duke and Angelo and the consequent nature of their relationship in the play Measure for Measure." Shakespeare's play "Measure for Measure" explores the complicated relationship of justice and the law (not necessarily the same thing) in early Seventeenth Century Vienna. The characters Angelo and the Duke Vincentio are the mainstays of the plot. Their relationship has three main stages in the play. At the beginning, they have similar aspirations for the state, and both have the power to change it. However, as the play moves on Angelo becomes corrupted and the Duke now works against him rather than with him. He endeavours to defeat Angelo in order to save Claudio and change Angelo himself. At this stage, they have different views, ideas and aspirations for the future. It's only at the end of Act Five they are together in forgiveness and mutual understanding. Angelo has one of the most complicated and intricate personalities in the play, thinking abstractly and ruling exactly "by the book". The conflict of his puritanical views with his lust, opportunism and amorality give him the appearance of having a divided self. ...read more.

Middle

He has reasserted his moral crusade but this time it is aimed at himself. However I believe that the vanity which Angelo had shown earlier in the play, (an example in Act ? scene two is where Angelo using the word "I" four times in lines 100-101), again comes to the surface even when he shows remorse. This vanity could be seen in Act Iscene one where he has a desire to be seen in a very serious light, "Let there be some more test made of my mental/Before so noble and so great a figure/Be stamped upon it." By act V Angelo is so wrapped up in himself, all he can think about is how bad he has been, ignoring the damage he has done to Isabella and the effects he's had on others. He is so self-centred that he doesn't want to go through a trial, he'd rather die, than lose face and live with his shame. However there is another side to this argument since Angelo's self-loathing leaves the path clearly open to his redemption. It has also to be said that this wish to condemn himself could also be sparked by the puritanical side of Angelo's nature: " It is the law, not I, condemned your brother; / were he my kinsman, brother, or my son, / it should be thus with him" Act ?scene 2. ...read more.

Conclusion

Firstly she must realise that a brother is just as valuable as her chastity, which she's so obsessed with. Then secondly, that learning to freely forgive Angelo (which relies on her believing that Claudio is dead) is such an important lesson. The Duke teaches both Angelo and Isabella self-awareness then redemption and forgiveness. His manoeuvring provides the perfect stage from which the Duke can work for his own redemption. During the concluding scene, the audience can now see the descent of Angelo and the rise of the Duke together on stage. Admissions are made and Angelo states, "There was some speech of marriage", conceding the fact that he was actually betrothed to Marianna. With Angelo himself making admissions to the Duke, both power and moral roles have been reversed. This could be seen as the beginning of true repentance, though we do not see a great deal of this. Everything happens so quickly in Act V and in any case Angelo's "change of heart" will probably take years to effect. With Angelo commanded to marry Marianna and Isabella being proposed to by the Duke, Shakespeare is allowing both men to become re-educated for their own good and for that of the people they rule. Therefore making them take responsibility for themselves allows them to become better individuals and better rulers. ...read more.

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