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The opening scenes of the play are called the Exposition, where the dramatist introduces the most significant characters and themes, so that they can be developed and set up the plot. Describe the means by which Shakespeare had done this in the first a...

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Introduction

The opening scenes of the play are called the EXPOSITION, where the dramatist introduces the most significant characters and themes, so that they can be developed and set up the plot. Describe the means by which Shakespeare had done this in the first act, and judge how successful (or not) he has been. The opening scenes of "Measure for Measure", introduce the most significant characters in the play and also tend to establish the relationships between each of them. The plot and the key themes are introduced giving the reader an idea of what is going to unfold in the following acts. Shakespeare has used the opening scene of the play to introduce one of the key characters. In this first scene, set in Vienna, the Duke announces to his advisor, Escalus, that he is to leave the country for reasons, which are un-disclosed to anyone. He decides to leave Angelo, a trusted friend, standing in his place. This would in effect give Angelo "absolute power" over the nation, giving him the decision to dictate who would live or die. "In our remove be thou at full ourself; Mortality and mercy in Vienna" Duke Vincento Act I Sc I Angelo is highly respected and held in high regard by ...read more.

Middle

She also introduces the another of the main character of the play "Marry, sir, that's Claudio, Signior Claudio". She tells us of Claudio's misfortune, he is to be beheaded for the crime of fornication. This is the punishment Angelo has decided on for him. Angelo appears to be already using his new give "power". Lucio, a friend of Claudio, and the two gentlemen he was with, leave the scene to go and investigate the Mistress's claim. Pompey, a pimp, enters the scene bringing comedy into the conversation between him and Mistress Overdone. The comic characters in Shakespeare's plays did tend to be those in the lower classes of society. The two characters are both show evidence of the corruption and immorality present in the society in Vienna. I think here, Shakespeare does particularly well in getting across the idea of the immoral society using the comic characters, the prostitute and her pimp, to introduce and reinforce this idea. Another element of corruption that becomes evident is when Pompey is telling Mistress Overdone, of Angelo's proclamation that "All houses in the suburbs must be plucked down". Pompey hints of corruption in the upper classes when he says that all those in the town would have been brought down, if it wasn't for the town councilor, who is described as "wise: but probably used the "houses" himself. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lucio does in the end appeal to Isabella's better nature, when she agrees to go to the Duke to beg for her brother's release. This agreement has set the structure and plot for the rest of the play. Isabella does not play a large part in this act, but her character and her thoughts and feelings, which are reflected through the themes, are evident in the later acts. Overall, I do feel that Shakespeare has been successful in creating good first impressions and introductions of the more significant characters, Angelo, Lucio and Isabella. All though Isabella is not in this opening act much, her character ids set up for those later acts, where she will play a bigger, more significant part. Shakespeare's introduction of the themes is also done well. The first appears to be the introduction of power, where the Duke leaves and Angelo is named as the stand in. The theme of corruption is also brought across well, using the comic characters, the prostitute, Mistress Overdone and the pimp, Pompey. As an opening act to a play, I feel that all the characters and the main themes are introduced well, which helps the reader to understand the play because they are introduced from the beginning. Suraya Chowdhury A level English Language and Literature Preston College Janet Nixon ...read more.

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