Analyse Shakespeare's presentation of Angelo in Acts 1 & 2 of Measure for Measure.

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Analyse Shakespeare’s presentation of Angelo in Acts

1 & 2 of Measure for Measure.

In Acts one and two of Measure for Measure Shakespeare presents Angelo in several different ways and in this essay I will be analysing the various ways in which Shakespeare does this.

In a play we have to remember that the characters are not real people, but we must think of them as such. We are influenced by their actions, their speech, what others say about a character (in this case what others say about Angelo,) and how others act around a character. Shakespeare uses all of these factors effectively in Measure for Measure. The first time we see Angelo he is summoned before the Duke, and told that he is going to be his deputy  whilst he is away,

        “For you must know, we have with special soul,

         Elected him our absence to supply.”

This is a quote where the Duke tells Angelo he is going to take over the responsibility of the City. At first as a reader this gave me the impression that Angelo is well trusted and responsible. This sudden promotion surprises Angelo, he replies with,

        “Let there be some more test of my metal,”

 In this quote we can see that Angelo isn’t totally confident in his own ability, which is why he asks for some more of a test of his skill.

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.

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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 getting his girlfriend pregnant, Claudio says,

        “Whether it be the fault and glimpse of newness,”

In this quote Claudio is saying that he thinks the speed of Angelo’s promotion has affected his rationality, that he is trying to stamp his authority down and this is the reason for his harsh punishment. As the Audience is influenced by how characters speak and react to each other, Claudio’s reaction about the severity of his punishment ...

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