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What do you find dramatically interesting about Shakespeare's presentation of the Duke in the play Measure for Measure?

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Introduction

What do you find dramatically interesting about Shakespeare's presentation of the Duke in the play Measure for Measure? In Measure for Measure, Shakespeare presents Duke Vincentio in the opening scene as an authoritive figure; he is highly respected and he is referred to as "My Lord". The audience immediately understands that the Duke is the central character in the play. In the very first instance the Duke's choice of words, his use of pronouns such as "we, our, government, justice and unfolds" reflects his presence and control. The Duke emerges as a problematic character for this is suggested by his searching questions regarding Angelo; "for what figure of us you think he will bear?" which raises uncertainties and questions in the mind of the audience as we speculate why he is leaving so rapidly and secretly as he will: "privy away. I love the people But do not like to stage me to their eyes" (Act I Scene ii) The play opens with the Duke deciding to appoint Angelo to govern Vienna in his absence: "For you must know, we have with a special soul Elected him our absence to supply" (Act I Scene I) The Duke makes it clear that Angelo's qualities are very obvious for all see. He thinks, "There is a kind of character in they life" which Angelo should use to the utmost. ...read more.

Middle

(Act iii Scene ii) His speeches to both Juliet and Pompey confuses as to what character does the Duke speak out from the Duke or the friar and this in a way distances us from the Duke as we see that instead of him coming out and taking matters into his own hands he does something to the contrary and infact causes me problem then is. The Duke then visits Claudio and instead comforting him he asks Claudio to "be absolute for death". He eaves drops on the conversation of Isabella which detachments us from his good qualities and makes him appear as a devious Duke. He uses the eaves drop technique to gather information. Further more the Duke acquaints Claudio with the thought of "do not satisfy your resolution with hopes" which strikes the audience as a cruel intention., he takes away the glimpse of hope from him. Surprisingly, the Duke even though in the state of the friar's state he begins to flirt with Isabella he compares her to a "goodness that is cheap in beauty". The Duke is left alone with Isabella, he informs her about the plans involving a woman called Mariana, and he further reveals that in place of her, Mariana will be placed in the bed with Angelo. He enlightens her with his plan about the "bed trick" and explains that this will not only save Claudio, but also retain Mariana's love and maintain Isabella's virginity. ...read more.

Conclusion

Everyone is brought to justice all except Lucio; he is punished by marrying the maiden "he got with child". Simultaneously Shakespeare elucidates the fact that the Duke is delivering justice to all: " Haste still paste haste, and leisure answers Leisure, Like doth quit like, and measure still for measure" (Act 5 scene 1) In conclusion I believe Shakespeare introduces dramatic tension to the play via the Dukes dublatandro character. We see the flaws and the disorder of government through the eyes of the Duke. The Dukes conversations and devious plans outline the nature of a deteriorating government. We see that the Duke has tried to put everything in order; all but one at the end Lucio isn't given the right to speak. Although the Duke has used an inappropriate motive to achieve its desired outcome, nothing has changed. This is possibly what Shakespeare tries to portray, that maybe we would prefer a kind ruler than a strict one, and he also makes us understand that natural politicians go about any means to chief a desired outcome. Therefore, to a large extent I believe I find the Dukes character dramatically interesting, we constantly see the shift in the personality of the Dukes character, and in times we sympathise with him and his situation. The events transform our eyes from someone who is shifty and devious to someone who dispenses firm justice, but justice that is tempered with mercy. ...read more.

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