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How does Shakespeare use representations of speech and other dramatic techniques to present the theme of power in the extract from "Measure for Measure"?

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Introduction

´╗┐How does Shakespeare use representations of speech and other dramatic techniques to present the theme of power in the extract below? Shakespeare uses the theme of power throughout the play, Measure for Measure, in order to show a character's place in society or relationships between other people. This essay will explore how Shakespeare uses the theme of power in the extract to show Duke Vincentio's power from being Duke, his power over Angelo and Angelo's manipulation of power through structure, grammar, imagery, lexis and phonology. Duke Vincentio clearly has some sort of power due to his position of Duke, and this is evident throughout the play. As the Duke of Vienna, he should have an authority over most citizens in Vienna and this is shown in the extract. The first technique Shakespeare uses to display the dominance of the Duke is an iambic pentameter; an iambic pentameter is used throughout the first paragraph such as "There is a kind of character in thy life, that to the observer doth thy history...". The way Shakespeare utilizes the structural feature of iambic pentameter exhibits the Duke's status and power as iambic pentameter, in literature, is used to represent authority. ...read more.

Middle

Similarly in this speech, the Duke uses the concept of syntactical patterning in order to convey his divine right to Angelo. He uses a semantic field of spirituality and religion to show Angelo that the position of Duke is important and given by God. He uses lexis such as "Heaven", "Spirits" and "Goddess". Shakespeare uses this device in order to show the manipulation of Angelo by the Duke by using a theme (religion) throughout his speech to convince Angelo that he has a divine right and will be closer to God by accepting the Duke's place temporarily. The Duke, again, uses imperative verbs but this time to show the contrast between power, such as "We shall write to you...". The use of the pronoun "We" shows that, although this is an imperative statement, he is implying that the Duke and his advisor, Escalus, hold more power in order to have the task of writing to Angelo rather than giving Angelo responsibility immediately, which shows that the Duke does not want to hand over his power to Angelo instantaneously but would rather slowly allow Angelo to take more power as time goes on. ...read more.

Conclusion

Angelo also uses a hyperbolic utterance in order to please the Duke by exaggerating the 'greatness' shown by Duke Vincentio as Vienna's duke. This, again, shows Angelo's use of planned persuasion in order to get the power he wants from the Duke. The phonetic feature of the onomatopoeia "stamp'd" in the phrase "Before such so noble and so great a figure be stamp'd upon it" shows that Angelo is letting the Duke have the power to lend authority. This shows careful manipulation by showing the Duke that he is able to "stamp" the authority onto Angelo without feeling forced into it. This shows that Angelo, although trusted by the Duke, has already started manipulating people for personal gain from the beginning of Shakespeare's novel, which Shakespeare uses to set precedent of whom the character of Angelo is yet to become. The use of phonology and lexis shows that, although it is a smaller section within the text, Angelo has clear intent towards how he wants to use his new found power in Vienna. In conclusion, Shakespeare uses structural features, grammar, imagery, lexical choice and phonology in order to portray three different types of power throughout this extract; the power of being a Duke, Duke Vincentio's power over Angelo and Angelo's power over the Duke. ...read more.

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