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GCSE: Measure For Measure
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Angelo, who is young, and unproven, is placed in a position in which he has no option to decline. Furthermore the two appointments of King James, one as King of Scotland, and the other as King of England can be seen to be parallel to the two appointments of the Duke. It has been said that James considered his rule of Scotland too lenient, and this can be collated against the previous 'fourteen year' rule of the Duke in Vienna, before his delegation of power to Angelo. His return to power analogises the ascension of King James I to the English throne, where he would have ruled after receiving much experience.
- Word count: 869
Duke: 'Hence shall we see if power change purpose, what our seemers be' lines 53 & 54. The Duke is displaying corruption on a political level. The duke also creates religious corruption in that in order to test Angelo he plans to disguise himself as a religious figure - a Friar. Society is also shown to be corrupt. Madame Overdone is the owner of a hot house. The existence of these exposes some of the moral flaws in society. Shakespeare shows how the hot houses can corrupt the weak nature of individuals such as Froth.
- Word count: 1007
"The last act of Measure for Measure raises more questions than it solves, is this a satisfactory conclusion to the play?"
There is much exuberant drama in the last act of Measure for Measure. Notably, there are three moments of revelation in which all the characters are amazed. These are; when Marianna is unveiled, when the friar is unmasked as Vincentio & when Claudio is revealed to be still alive. There are moments of solemnity, such as the contrition of Angelo; V.1 line 471- 474 "I am sorry that such sorrow I procure, And so deep sticks it in my penitent heart, That I crave death more willingly than mercy, 'Tis my deserving, and I do entreat it" There are also
- Word count: 1864
Isabella's decision to enter a convent is never explained in the play and many could argue that she is running away from pressures of 'real life'. Shakespeare does this to make us ask why we personally think she is religious and whether it is a cover she uses to hide her own insecurities. When Isabella asks Francisca, the nun for 'Strict restraint' the reader could also assumes that Isabella may be joining the convent to protect herself from men, especially at a time when Vienna is debauched and immoral.
- Word count: 3029
Pompey adds humour to the scene, with a comic exchange between him and Mistress Overdone. Mistress Overdone: "What has he done?" Pompey: "A woman," Mistress Overdone: "But what is his offence?," Pompey: "Groping for trouts in a peculiar river." Pompey's subtle, but at the same time pointed, humour shows that he is a sharp, relatively intelligent, devious and witty character, and is not being used by Shakespeare simply to provide comic relief. Pompey uses the words 'woman,' and 'groping,' clearly giving the audience an image of the type of relationship Claudio and Juliet, his sweetheart, had.
- Word count: 2004
Angelo abuses the power given to him by the Duke while he is in hiding, by first pulling back a fourteen year old rule that has not been in existence without any announcement, and then by bribing Isabella to save her condemned brother who was arrested for breaking the law Angelo wants to commit. Angelo actually wants to go against the law he brought back for the sake of lust. Angelo is an immoral and unjust character by abusing this power as well as hypocritical.
- Word count: 1037
Others however feel Isabella's true character is that of complete harshness, with lack of emotion and no real concern for religion. Ellis-Fermos states, 'a nunnery contains no cure for Isabella's malady and we have a shrewd suspicion that she will not end there.' From both points of view it is interesting to see similarities appearing between Isabella and Angelo in their absolutist views, on religion and justice or in their detached almost inhumane natures of never compromising their morals. Also both characters can be seen to take falls.
- Word count: 4779
I would say that she play a very major part in the Act, most main characters do in fact, except maybe Claudio who says nothing. She exposes Angelo for the murder, liar and adulterer that he is, and when no one believes her she speaks very passionately about how he broke his bargain. She then, near the end of the Act begs the Duke to spare Angelo's life for the sake of Isabella; this is indeed a test of just how strong her convictions are.
- Word count: 1365
Three themes that go together when looking at the character of Isabella are: blackmail, power of persuasion and her obstinacy. These can be analysed very well in the scenes where she is speaking to Angelo, namely, Act 2 Scenes 2 and 4. Isabella's 'mission' is to persuade Angelo to stop Claudio's execution; she uses her natural skills of reasoning and persuasion to attempt this. This is a quality that Shakespeare has given her to make the audience sympathise with her and perhaps be more aware of her position; because she tries so hard and does so well but it eventually gets her nowhere.
- Word count: 3601
The character Pompey does not express a particular sexual attitude, but Shakespeare's presentation of this character shows pessimism towards the corrupt Vienna, as Pompey makes a humorous comment that the brothel trade cannot be eliminated unless all of Vienna's people are spayed, 'Truly sir, in my poor opinion, they will to't then.' This could also be the harsh reality of the play, or in fact reality in general as a lot of cities today appear to contain degrees of promiscuity.
- Word count: 3659
As the Dukes' leave comes in to question, the audience starts to question why Angelo has been left in charge and not Escalus considering that Escalus is the much more experienced of the two and it would make more sense to leave the more experienced man in charge. This puts an element of uncertainty into the Audience's mind, and we wonder if Angelo is being tested and how fit he is to rule. This feeling that Angelo might not be suitable to rule is also shared by Claudio who has been sentenced to death for having sex before marriage and
- Word count: 1445
Would you give your brothers life or give up your body to redeem his sin. Isabella - I would definitely throw away my body, just as long I could keep my soul! Angelo - I would not want your soul. How we sin matters more than how many times we sin. Isabella- What do you mean by that? Angelo - I will tell you from the highest authority which is me that I can change any of my decisions. I can save your brothers life, but don't you think sin can be used as charity to save him?
- Word count: 942
Lucio for example says this: "Lord Angelo, a man whose blood is very snow broth." Lucio repeats the Duke's descriptions of Angelo's seeming invulnerability; his "blood is very snow broth," and he "never feels the wanton stings and motions of the sense." It will be very ironic, then, when this man who appears to be so very strict and pure falls to temptation, as all people tend to do. So we can see that even the common people of the city think Angelo is a decent character and this also seems to be the opinion of the duke, because he believes Angelo is good and trustworthy enough to rule Vienna.
- Word count: 611
What are the moral debates in Measure for Measure? How does Shakespeare make them interesting to an audience in the theatre?
Shakespeare makes this debate interesting to an audience by doing something he has often done before: he does not provide any kind of descriptions of Isabella. Therefore, in theatre and film productions, her character has been interpreted and presented in many different ways. In parts, she appears to be a deeply moral and religious person who not only feels that her religion is her life, but also feels a requirement for introduction of further rules: - "I speak not of desiring more, but rather wishing a more strict restraint upon the sisterhood..."
- Word count: 1194
This quote, or sections of it can be found in four different places in the Bible. (Exodus 21:23-25) (Leviticus 24:18-20) (Deuteronomy 19:21) (Matthew 5:38). All these extracts are basically saying 'you reap what you sow' or 'do as you want to be done by'. They all show that there are two sides to everything. Justice must be measured out. This is summed up well in another biblical reference- "Do not judge lest you be judged yourselves. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it shall be measured to you." (Matthew 7:1-2).
- Word count: 5109
How does Shakespeare portray Women throughout the play "Measure for Measure"? In what different ways might the audience respond to this?
Mariana is seen as a more submissive character. When asked to sleep with Angelo, which is seen as a bad by the eyes of others, she obliges for fear that she will be seen as a bad person if she does not. However, she does not see it as wrong that she should sleep with Angelo as the couple were once betrothed to be married and she is desperately in love with him. Because Mariana is such an obliging character, she is a very good contrast to Isabella, who prefers to do what she wants.
- Word count: 1220
Isabella wants to avoid the pressure that the world would require of her. She would be expected to get married, have children, run a household, and submit her will to that of her husband, who may or may not be a virtuous person himself. If she once had any property it would become the property of her husband as soon as they were married. She would then become solely reliant upon the good will of her husband, something that the modern audience cannot comprehend.
- Word count: 1129