• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

In Measure for Measure, Shakespeare forces questions to be asked about a wide range of issues, all of which are brought together throughout the play by one character: Lucio.

Extracts from this document...


The dramatic impact of Lucio cannot be underestimated. Not only does he entertain, stimulate and provoke, but he also informs us of contextual issues relevant to both Jacobean and contemporary audiences. Provide a detailed analysis of how this is achieved in Act 1. In Measure for Measure, Shakespeare forces questions to be asked about a wide range of issues, all of which are brought together throughout the play by one character: Lucio. As the most vibrant and intriguing character in the play, Lucio moves between scenes and situations, and is apparently agreeable to all, regardless of status or social class. Despite the character only appearing in six scenes, and rarely speaking more than a few lines, Shakespeare utilises this tool to full advantage, employing Lucio as a device with which to illuminate the stage, whilst carrying the weight of Measure for Measure's contextual load, introducing it throughout Act 1 and maintaining and highlighting it throughout the play. We first meet Lucio in the second scene, whilst at his most typically jovial. After the whimsical musings of the Duke in the previous scene, dramatic impact is achieved instantly as the sharp, choppy retorts of Lucio and 'the two gentlemen' are exchanged on Bankside, a contextually relevant area of London infamous for its abundance of brothels and prostitution rings. ...read more.


It is even Lucio who observes Angelo's flaws, extending the implications of irony in the contrast between their two characters. Angelo would wish to appear to the citizens of Vienna to be the voice of morality, bravely crusading to clear the city's streets of the evils of promiscuity and sex outside of wedlock. Yet, as Lucio himself observes, and as we learn later in the play, privately Angelo is a man whose self-centred ambition is open to corruption, and who is more disinterested in helping Vienna's people than anyone. As we meet Lucio for the second time, Shakespeare again creates incredibly strong dramatic impact, again with the swift contrast of setting, but this time using the tool of Lucio to full effect. Lucio fit so easily into the seedy settings of Bankside, yet as he travels to inform Isabella of her brother's plight, he seamlessly moves into the surroundings of a nunnery. A lesser character would surely move awkwardly into such a scene, yet Lucio knows almost instantly how to act and how to speak. That he cannot resist trying a trademark joke 'virgin - if that you be' is forgivable- he does not repeat such a mistake after he realises it is totally unsuitable for the serious situation, and continues with the business of requesting Isabella's assistance in gaining mercy for her brother. ...read more.


This is a view clearly held by both the Duke and Lucio, who, despite Lucio's outward light-hearted promiscuity, are both morally proper men, whose apparently just resolution on law enforcement appears to have failed Vienna. I believe this also, albeit very subtly, brings into question the issue of the devine right of the monarch, an issue very topical at the time Measure for Measure was written. Just as the Duke, James I was a popular and good King, yet just as Vienna, London seemingly had a problem with prostitution, regardless of comparative extent. By showing, through the use of Lucio, that both the Duke and James I had the right idea on how to apply the law, yet their application was not appearing to be particularly effective, it would seem that Shakespeare brings the divine right issue into question, an issue that links neatly to that of morality of rule and of the ruling class' obsession with monetary value - something explored at the very beginning of the play. Obviously as we come only to the close of Act 1 no resolutions are suggested for these issues, Shakespeare ever playing strongly on the ambiguity of the people and social problems residing within the Vienna of Measure for Measure. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Measure for Measure section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Measure for Measure essays

  1. Discuss the theme of deception and disguise in the play "Measure for Measure."

    These amendments also individualise the play from the originals. The Duke tries to deceive Angelo later in the play by sending the dead prisoner Ragozine's head instead of Claudio's. Angelo ordered Claudio's execution early and demanded he be sent his head as proof of the execution.

  2. measure for measure

    Isabella speaks as wishing "a more strict restraint", in order to preserve her chastity and virtue, and we certainly respect her more than these low-life characters. In fact this excessive piety is an aspect of her virtuous character and therefore not a "fault".

  1. Comment on Shakespeare's conclusion to 'Measure for Measure'

    The Duke does not tell Isabella the truth, because he wants her to realise the consequences of her actions. Isabella discovers the reality at the end of Act Five and the audience can assume that she will be emotional, because of her regret of not sleeping with Angelo, hence placing her brothers life at risk.

  2. Consider Act II of "Measure for Measure", with regard to ideas of Justice and ...

    tender down On twenty bloody blocks, he'd yield them up Before his sister should her body stoop To such abhorr'd pollution, Then, Isabel live chaste, and brother, die; More than our brother is our chastity. This speech captures what Isabella has to decide and the way the law has been

  1. What do you find dramatically interesting about Shakespeare's presentation of the Duke in the ...

    The Duke is truly seen as a opinionated figure because would lower himself to any means to achieve the desired outcome. At the end of the scene there is a turning point in the character of the Duke, the observer plays an active role in this scene as we see more then we are told.

  2. Shakespeare Uses Imagery to create both Characters and Their Environment. Show how he does ...

    then the audience might have reason to assume that The Duke is not altogether of normal sexuality, or that his ideas on it are warped. This is a direct image of Cupids arrow of love, although if it is a dribbling one, then it wavers up and down.

  1. "Explore Shakespeare's portrayal of The Duke and Angelo and the consequent nature of their ...

    Angelo appears to have the power and control, but it is actually the Duke who is in control and oversees many events and sets of circumstances both as Friar Lodowick and as the Duke himself in Acts Three, Four and Five.

  2. Discuss how Shakespeare uses language and dramatic techniques for character development in Act 2 ...

    enforce the law in full, but impresses upon him that one must use power with moderation. Isabella?s strategy is a keen one, trying to persuade Angelo to have the same mercy for her brother that she has. Once again, the issue of mercy is urged upon Angelo, as is the

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work