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What different views of the Duke are presented in acts 1-3?

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What different views of the Duke are presented in acts 1-3? Written in the early 17th century, 'Measure for Measure' was one of the many plays that Shakespeare wrote to entertain his King, which at the time was James I. Shakespeare used this play to present his own views of the King, and his ideals of a King through his presentation of the Duke Vincentio. A more complex character than first believed, Shakespeare transforms the Duke throughout the play. As the Duke set out on a quest to not only escape the pressures of his role, but to learn from his experiences and find himself. The Duke is the first person to speak; this is one of Shakespeare's common techniques to indicate who he deems most important in the play. Even if it appears that the story evolves around the character of Angelo, under the surface it is evident that the Duke is the catalyst behind it all. ...read more.


Shakespeare uses verse here to emphasise the seriousness as it is more rhythmic and emphasised by the stresses in the line due to iambic pentameter. By the end of act three, the Duke is almost ready to take the reigns back of Angelo, as he has reached a point where he knows what a leader should be, and has gathered the knowledge and confidence to assert himself; "He who the sword of heaven will bear should be as holy as severe". In Shakespeare's time, Kings were the closest thing to Gods and therefore had to be perfect role models. Here the Duke is saying that they should be perfectly balanced; as good and moral as they are strict. However the Duke shows a darker side of him, perhaps the slight edge of coldness needed to rule successfully, but nevertheless the Duke creates his own amusement whilst under the guise of the Friar to control the characters to carry out his plan. ...read more.


The character of Escalus appears as the wise old advocate, pointing out straight away one of the key themes of the entire play and also one of the main reasons that the Duke went into hiding; "above all other strifes contended especially to know himself". It is also debated that Escalus was aware of the disguise and knew exactly what he was doing, yet in this case it is more likely to be the case, as Escalus is the 'right-hand-man'. This theory is reinforced by the fact that Escalus then compliments the Duke, knowing that revealing the fact that the Duke's inner most fears are visible to someone else, he provides a comforter, "Rather rejoicing to see another merry, than merry at anything which professed to make him rejoice". Meaning that the Duke would rather see others happy than be happy himself. I feel that the true opinion of the Duke lies somewhere in between Lucio's and Escalus' views, as he was ignorant of the townspeople, however he is wise and very caring, shown in how he deals with Angelo at the end of the play. ?? ?? ?? ?? Lauren Tubb ...read more.

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