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

"Measure For Measure". What is learnt of the character of the Duke as he is revealed in the first scene of the play?

Extracts from this document...


AMDG Edward Gillingham A2 English literature texts - "Measure For Measure". What is learnt of the character of the Duke as he is revealed in the first scene of the play? Within the first scene of the play, Shakespeare makes many suggestions as to the character of the Duke, spoken through the language, tone and imagery he uses, as well as being developed through the reactions and comments of the other characters in the scene. Although the audience has only just begun their journey through the story, and cannot therefore be sure as to whether these suggestions will indeed prove correct, they are able to begin to build a base upon which the Duke's character can be built. From the first few lines of the scene, it is made clear to the audience that the Duke has the respect of his counsel: "My Lord." It is also made clear in his speech that follows, that he in turn has a great respect for his attendant: "...your own science exceeds in that... ...read more.


Again here, he shows his consideration for the views of others when he asks Escalus: "what think you of it?" Having been given Escalus' full support: "If any in Vienna be of worth... it is Lord Angelo", and assured therefore that he will offer his full service to being his secondary, the Duke sets forward to outline his intentions to Angelo . As Angelo enters, the audience are again given the impression that the Duke, although unconfident, stills earns the respect of those around him: "Always obedient to your grace's will." Again also, they see that the Duke seems to have great respect for and confidence in those he chooses to have close to him as he speaks to Angelo. He talks of the talents and "virtues" that Angelo should reserve solely for his own life, but that would better put to use in a position of authority. He goes onto further qualify his point with the metaphor of how: "...we with torches do, not light them for themselves." ...read more.


Thus, with the state in such an element of moral dilapidation, a strong arm is needed to aid the people back to correct path, indeed one able to carry the torch of the law with a firm and steady hand. Within this opening scene, Shakespeare does much to both bring out a negative and positive side in the character. When writing, for example, of Iago in Othello at no point are the audience struck by a sudden change of heart towards his vindictive and malignant character. This is of course done to heighten the atmospheric tension that surrounds his character, and it works to great effect. Equally here, I feel that in describing both the Dukes faults and admirable qualities, Shakespeare demonstrates that, even with such a position of power, he is only human, and that he is able to suffer all the strains and tribulations that any of the audience watching would feel when placed in such a position. It is the ability to identify with his character, and indeed thus understand his motives for handing over the rule of the people he loves, that leaves the viewer little or no disrespect or admiration for his actions. ...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."

    At the end of the play in Act 5 Scene 1 the whole story is revealed to the audience. This scene is the longest in the play and involves every character. During this scene the Duke arrives back at Vienna as himself and finds chaos.

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

    All of these characters in these sections incorporate harsh deeds without considering the consequences. However all of these characters learnt their lessons in Act Five. The tone or mood of the play is varied, as it has comic and serious connotations that are seen in different parts of the play.

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

    Immediately we confirm that the Duke is rather hypocritical after accuses Pompey of sexual disorder. He displays the notion of corruption at the top and bottom of the hierarchical stage. The undercurrent, of this event makes both Isabella and the Duke two insincere figures, they both who are presumed to be pure and holy are undoubabley not.

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

    I think the reason Shakespeare used imagery to the extent that he did was to make it possible for abstract things like death or the Law, to be 'visible' to the audience- people who were definitely more visually stimulated than we.

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

    This along with the over strict condemnation of Claudio, shows his willingness to act- in contrast with the Duke's previous lack of action. However this puritanical Angelo, turns into, "A hypocrite, a virgin violator" according to Isabella in Act V and his "action" is worse than no action at all.

  2. Presentation of Escalus in Measure for Measure

    Angelo almost immediately looses patience with the two men and shows his lack of lenience and his casual brutality by informing Escalus that he hopes they have done something that is worth whipping them for. This suggests that Angelo is not good and this sort of thing and so leaves

  1. 'Bear the Sword of Heaven': Does the Duke strike you as a wholly good ...

    The fact that the Duke longs for solitude provokes the thought that surely he cannot be a wholly good upholder of justice, as he hates the, 'millions of false eyes'. This could be explained by saying that the Duke has a stained conscience that is later illustrated by the severe way the duke deals with Lucio in Act 6.

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

    theme that is constantly present through the play, that of appearance versus reality. Although Juliet appears from Angelo?s quick appraisal to be just a sinful person, her reality is far more complex; she is much better than most women of the time, she is not a prostitute or adulterer, rather

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