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What evidence is these in the play to support these opinions? How do you think that Shakespeare has presented Angelo in the play?

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Introduction

1. 'Angelo is an arrogant hypocrite'. 2. 'Angelo is a vulnerable and confused man, deserving of our sympathy'. What evidence is these in the play to support these opinions? How do you think that Shakespeare has presented Angelo in the play? If you ask any critic of the play 'Measure for Measure' by William Shakespeare, to give you a simple description of the character of Angelo, they will tell you that he is the villain of the play. He is a man who rules strictly, without mercy, summarised by the Duke, "strict and most biting laws". Yet his hypocrisy was his downfall in the end. Originally classified in the first Folio as a comedy, Measure for Measure is one of the three problem plays, as there are many question raised by the writer. Shakespeare deliberately gives the audience three different characters opinions of Angelo before we can make formulate one ourselves. This is deliberately done to primarily give us a clouded view of the character, and therefore prolong the mystery and uncertainty. This in itself is foreshadowing the actions of the play, as our opinion of Angelo does change throughout the play. The title of the play is a key theme throughout. ...read more.

Middle

In this metaphor, Isabel compares Angelo's power of the law to a giant's use of his strength. Angelo proves Isabel's point when he says, "admit no other way to save his life", as there is of course, but he's trying to manipulate her to get what he wants. This is an extreme contrast to the very first impression we get of Angelo from the Duke, "nature of our people...city's institutions...terms for common justice"; here the Duke is listing all of Angelo's qualities, presenting him as a level-headed, wee educated man. This of course makes us think about the Duke's comment of this being a test for Angelo to see if power changes him, "shall we see, if power changed purpose". Although it is notable to mention at this point that Angelo claims not to be ready for the responsibility, "Let there be some more test of my metal". Was this really how he felt or just modesty in front of the Duke, as this is the only person Angelo relents to, "Always obedient to your grace's will". It could be argues that in desperation to please the Duke Angelo simply went over the top in transforming the sin filled city into a law abiding haven; as the Duke admitted himself that the law was "more mocked than feared". ...read more.

Conclusion

For a short period of time, it seems that the characters of Angelo and Isabel had undergone a role reversal, as Angelo seemed vulnerable and troubled, "heaven hath my empty words" and Isabel has taken his heart, then backed away, toying with it. It is clear that Angelo hold affection for Isabel, even if he does not love her, because when they met for the second time, he addressed her as "fair maid". Perhaps a true reading of Angelo lies somewhere between these two views; that Angelo is a hypocritical arrogant man, or that he is a vulnerable and confused man. He is sincere in his adherence to the law, wanting to be punished in the same way as he condemned Claudio for his sin. Ruling with an iron fist, he neglected mercy. However his disregard for human emotion meant that it built up inside of him until it burst out with vengeance when too strong a temptation presented itself. Once again Shakespeare has presented us with a three dimensional character, true to real life, with psychological issues and many different sides to him. However, as always, we are never allowed to make this conclusion until the very end of the play, providing interest throughout the, to keep the audience hooked. ?? ?? ?? ?? Lauren Tubb ...read more.

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