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Analyse the Dramatic Device used in Act III Scene 1 in order to explore Claudio feelings towards Death

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Introduction

Analyse the Dramatic Device used in Act III Scene 1 in order to explore Claudio's ambiguous feelings about death. How significant is the idea of ambiguity in terms of the audience's understanding of the rest of the play? Measure for Measure can be seen as a problem play because it brings up a problem and then challenges the audience to come up with an answer: not necessarily right or wrong. The play is centred on law and that law is actually based on personal interpretation. In a bid to see if Angelo is capable of handling the city of Vienna, the Duke hands over his power to him and instead of "leaving town" he disguises himself as a friar to secretly watch Angelo. Angelo in a bid to rid Vienna of all sexual immorality, sentences a man called Claudio to death for having sexual intercourse and impregnating his fianc�. Isabella his sister tries to rescue him but the only way is to have sex with Angelo. The Duke hatches a plan to save Claudio and tricks Angelo into having sex with another woman who he thinks is Isabella but is actually his former fianc�, Mariana. To deceive Angelo into thinking Claudio has been beheaded, the Duke orders another similar head of a murderer to be presented instead. Therefore, Claudio is saved and the Duke in the end punishes the wrongdoers in the play, including Lucio who spoke badly of the Duke. ...read more.

Middle

Claudio could be saying that in death we could go to an unknown, cold dark barren land where we slowly rot away. This quotation does lead you to engage more in his feelings and thoughts. There is a clear contrast between Claudio's soliloquy and another soliloquy concerning death in another of Shakespeare's plays. In the soliloquy of Hamlet, he believes that death is better than life and that the "ills...we have" (Act III Scene 1) we would not have to put up with when we could end our lives. Contrasting to this, we can see the ambiguity that the subject of death holds as Claudio believes the opposite of this. Also Hamlet's soliloquy is non-religious on the whole, especially as he is contemplating death, which would be committing self-murder, thus condemning him to Hell. The religious element is much more of an ambiguous one than in Measure for Measure. The ambiguity within this is significant because it rouses the audience into obtaining a higher level of understanding of the varied views of death and allows them to develop their own. The language used in Measure for Measure is very ambiguous in the majority of the play. This causes the audience to become fully engaged and engrossed in the many problematic issues that arise throughout. An example of this is found in this quote: "O it's excellent To have a giant's strength, but it is tyrannous To use it like a giant" (II.2.108-110) ...read more.

Conclusion

Concluding, the dramatic devices that Shakespeare has used in Act III Scene 1 have been used successfully to explore Claudio's ambiguous feelings about death. The setting provided a dramatic and effective atmosphere that allowed the audience to use their minds creatively in terms of imagery and comparing them to the actual feelings of Claudio. The soliloquy was a good weapon of choice in strongly yet ambiguously projecting Claudio's feelings about death. Not only did it provoke my mind into interpreting death and what it really involves but it used language as a dramatic device contained within it as well. The language granted us the opportunity to see the clear ambiguity in the play and with that, interpret many different things that could have more than one meaning or conclusion (including the law). The sheer ambiguity of the play through all these devices and more has given the audience a deeper insight into issues we would have normally swept aside and ignored. It has highlighted that not everything is black and white and that the law is ambiguous, it depends on personal interpretation because otherwise, Claudio would have been killed for a crime that was considered wrong and punishable by death- no matter the circumstance- by only one person's interpretation. Shakespeare has highlighted that it is in fact necessary that debate is carried out and opinions do matter. Without Claudio's feelings about death, we would have not been provoked to question a serious issue, one we must all face in life. Fatima Bashiru ...read more.

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