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

Measure for Measure: The fault of Isabella is that she is excessively pious and too proud. Isabella is a symbol for virtue and chastity and a champion of mercy. How do you respond to these different views of Isabella?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"The fault of Isabella is that she is excessively pious and too proud" "Isabella is a symbol for virtue and chastity and a champion of mercy" How do you respond to these different views of Isabella? What is your opinion of the way Shakespeare present Isabella in the play? Isabella's character blossoms in debate, on a number of occasions throughout the play she can be perceived as being excessively pious and too proud. This perception of Isabella is evidenced in the play when she puts her virginity and spiritual life ahead of her brother's life which hangs in the balance, this view is emphasised when she refuses Angelo's proposal to save Claudio's life. However it can also be argued that Isabella's actions and decisions can also support the view that Isabella is a symbol for chastity and virtue. Thus Isabella's character is a perfect example of body versus soul as her actions and decisions can be debated and argued thoroughly. ...read more.

Middle

O you faithless coward! O you dishonest wretch!' This attack on Claudio will be seen as severe by the audience as Claudio fears death and the unknown, but ultimately he wants to live 'O please sister let me live'. However Isabella appears to be ignorant of his desires and emotions 'O, fie, fie, fie!', therefore the audience will feel sympathetic for Claudio but will also view Isabella as single minded and inflexible as she only seems to consider the effect the illegitimate sex will have on her character. Thus Isabella can easily be viewed as being too proud. Isabella's devotion to her virginity is also measured by Angelo as he offers Isabella the chance to save her brother's life if she 'lays down the treasures of your body to this supposed or else let him suffer'. The use of 'treasures' is effective as Angelo knows Isabella's virginity is everything to her, and hence it is her excessive piety and the fact she is proud that attracts Angelo to her. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore Isabella's actions agree with the view that she is a champion of mercy as she is willing to forgive Angelo's intentions and thoughts. Isabella's language again contradicts her philosophy and her status of being excessively pious. Christianity as a religion is based upon ideas of ideas and thoughts, however according to Isabella 'thoughts are no subjects'. Therefore the audience will question Isabella's status as a nun and if she devoted to the church as we have become accustomed to throughout the majority of the play. There are many arguments to support both of these views. However I believe the arguments for the view that Isabella is a symbol for virtue and chastity outweigh the arguments supporting Isabella as being too proud and excessively pious. There is ambiguity in many of Isabella's actions and decisions which bring Isabella's character into debate. I believe Shakespeare presents Isabella as a symbol for virtue and chastity as she ultimately puts her spiritual life and virginity ahead of her brother's life which hung in the balance. ?? ?? ?? ?? Liam O'Donnell ...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."

    He did save Claudio's life though, but if he had not pretended to leave in the first place, every consequence of that decision would not have happened. There is a lot of disguise in Vienna itself. The whole city has been breaking the law for as many as 15 years because the Duke has not enforced it as he should.

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

    Angelo takes this decision without looking at the case too carefully as he is clearly obliged to do, even when shown the flaws of his decision he is incapable of acting with mercy and this along with his future conduct is what makes Angelo's decision a travesty to justice.

  1. "Measure for Measure is a play without any truly sympathetic characters". To what extent ...

    'firm' deputy because he feels guilty for letting it get out of control. His testing of Angelo, particularly indicated by the fact that the Duke wishes to adopt a disguise, which allows him many privileges, to watch events unfold, "To the hopeful execution I do leave you of your commission",

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

    This raises many questions about the moral nature of man, and also what hope there is if even the most powerful of us are hypocrites inside. However Angelo says, though, "Let's write 'Good Angel' on the Devil's horn,/ 'Tis not the Devils crest..."(ii.iv.16-17).

  1. The principalcharacters in 'Measure for Measure' are motivated by personal gain.' How far would ...

    altruistic move, or because he does not wish to lead the country into any more corruption, or has he deliberately put his opposite in power so people learn to appreciate his permissiveness? Isabella is the pillar of restraint in the town, an ironic contrast to her brother Claudio, who is being sentenced to death for impregnating his girlfriend.

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

    Another character who has changed is the Duke and he has been rewarded because of it. At the beginning when he dressed up as a friar to find out more personal details in people's lives, he overheard about Isabella's problems and wanted to help.

  1. presentation of Isabella in Measure for Measure

    Although, as Angelo continuously uses blackmail to exploit her innocence, she is impotent against it, and as Angelo says, she will not be believed if she speaks out against him "Who will believe thee, Isabel? ..." (pg45) It seems to be the case that a man's reputation will completely outweigh

  2. More than our brother is our chastity How far do you find yourself able ...

    So from the beginning of their interaction readers and audiences alike are left to question if this awareness is befitting of a novice nun. Conversely, Isabella may be seen as a model of some aspects of Christian virtue in 'Measure for Measure', and her opposition to giving up her virginity an extension of her inherent virtue.

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