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Measure for measure themes
Terms in this set (23)
Judgment and Punishment
As we see in the play, just because someone holds a position of power doesn't mean that they are morally superior.
The play suggests that people should be answerable for their sins, but should also receive the same treatment as they provide
Duke has fallen in love with Isabella, Claudio's sister, so his decisions regarding punishment for Claudio and Angelo may have been skewed.
Judgment and Punishment ( AO5 John Mullen)
Punishment is important in two ways in the play
1) Power of the state= curb the unruly passions of its people.
2) The Fate of Christians who offend the moral laws of their revision
= Angelo speaks as if these two reasons for punishing criminals are identical.
Power and Authority: Isabella quote (Act 2, Scene 2)
"Because authority, though it err like others, Hath yet a kind of medicine in itself That skins the vice o'th'top"
People don't notice mistakes made by authority
Power and Authority- Isabella when she pleads to Angelo to not kill her brother. (Act 2, Scene 2, Line 130-132)
"O, it is excellent to have a giant's strength, but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant"
= If you are strong like God , you need to be merciful.
Power and Authority- The Duke lowkey suggesting that once Angelo gets power, he'll change into something evil(Act 1, Scene 4, Line 57)
"Hence we shall see, if power change purpose, what our seemers be."
=Pointing out he's testing Angelo?
=Isabella also says this
Power and Authority-Escalus is sneakily hating on Angelo. (Act 2, Scene 1, Line 41)
"Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall." - Escalus is sneakily hating on Angelo. This quote shows that power and authority often involve corruption
Power and Authority -"Who will believe thee, Isabel?" Angelo (Act 2, Scene 4, Line 163).
once Isabella threatens to tell everyone about his vile demand, he speaks bluntly, Perhaps this shows Angelo is self-aware that he's being an ass. Or maybe this scene is yet more evidence of a patriarchal society, with the men knowing very well the power they hold.
The play explores this idea; does justice mean punishment?
Vienna is a religious place, consider the divine justice system (ie. a perfect, flawless system meted out by God) and the earthly one (ie. the flawed, human justice system).
Justice -Isabella pleads for justice to the Duke (no longer dressed as a friar), thinking Angelo has, in fact, killed her brother(Act 5, Scene 1, Line 26)
Justice, justice, justice, justice!"
Repetition = Asking to be heard, Emotive in the way she speaks
Justice- The Duke, explaining that it's only fair that Angelo dies for "killing" Claudio. (Act 5, Scene 1, Line 437-441)
"The very mercy of the law cried out... 'An Angelo for Claudio, death for death!' Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure, like doth quit like, and Measure still for measure"
Balance, Rhyming couplet
When the Duke sentences Angelo to death, he makes a fancy speech that includes the play's title.
Mimicking the Old Testament views, which famously states "eye for eye, tooth for tooth" (Exodus 21:24).
These ideals teach that the person who committed a misdeed shall have the same misdeed done unto them.
In comparison, the New Testament states that we
"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." (Luke 6:36-37)
The Duke doesn't really follow either way. Perhaps he's instead choosing a middle road; one of temperance and justice.
Justice - M4M cantered on the concept and attainment of justice. Title is a references to Christ's sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew ' Judge not, that ye be not judged...it shall be measured unto you again'
Both the title and Biblical Passage reflect the balance of measure.
Angelo's Hypocritical attitude to the law demonstrates this idea , as he arrests Claudio for a crime that he himself committed, before going on to coercing Isabella to sleep with him.
Justice- Angelo's strict laws regarding fornication arises from a desire to enforce justice and order to the city. " We must not make a scarecrow of the law"
This metaphor indicates that like a scarecrow the laws ability to scare the public into good behaviour also wears away, and it must be strengthened and renewed in order to maintain public fear.
Mercy- The Duke pardons murderer Barnadine, asking him to use it to do better.(Act 5, Scene 1, Line 525-526)
"pray thee take this mercy to provide for better times to come"
Justice - Final scene brings the characters together, tying together their separate plots and delivering rewards and punishments
'Morality and Mercy in Vienna Live in thy tongue and heart'
tongue/heart key elements of justice
Morality & Sin: "What sin you do to save a brother's life, nature dispenses with the deed so far that it becomes a virtue" - Claudio (Act 3, Scene 1, Line 146-148)
Claudio begs his sister to sleep with Angelo (immoral, especially since she's poised to enter a nunnery), saying that it's for a good cause, and will actually be a virtue/good deed.
=Manipulative like Angelo for his personal gain.
Morality and Sin= 'I had rather give my body than my soul" - Isabella, Rejecting Angelo's proposition on the grounds of wanting to maintain her chasity.
This statement can be seen to hint to the imagery of balance presented throughout the play, using Christian language to present her character as an archetype of Christian Morality
Morality and Sin="Might there not be a charity in sin to save this brother's life?" - Angelo (Act 2, Scene 4, Line 65-66)
Angelo asking Isabella to sleep with him and trying to paint the act as a charitable deed. Hinting at her having sex.
Angelo struggles to directly say, "hey, let's sleep together". He weaves his way around the request, propositioning Isabella so indirectly that at first, she does not even seem to understand his request
Morality and Sin= Everyone from the almighty Duke to a lowly prostitute has committed potentially immoral acts. Perhaps audiences are encouraged to be more understanding of others, and their reasons for these deeds.
Morality and Sin=When Angelo propositions Isabella to sleep with him, he requests that she "lay down the treasures of (her) body" (Act 2, Scene 4, Line 100).
Perhaps Angelo can be seen as someone who is obsessed with the physical - Isabella's body and treasure. Maybe this obsession leads to his immorality and poor leadership.
The belief that women need to remain chaste in order to be virtuous:
The play communicates that's women who adhere to a virtuous lifestyle of Chasity are morally superior to those who do not.
- Isabella rejecting Angelo's attempt to take her virginity, her adherence to Christian virtue means that she would rather risk the earthly consequences of losing her brother than her charity , which would be to 'die forever'
The belief that women need to remain chaste in order to be virtuous
Juliet is portrayed to the modern audience as a good character even though she has committed fornication. She and Claudio are pitied through the play & Angelo seem like a criminal.
_ Could present that Isabella is an extreme example of virtue, yet Juliet is not immoral.
The belief that women need to remain chaste in order to be virtuous
Isabella also has faults :
- Speaks to Angelo alone= something that was not allowed for official nuns- frowned upon.
- Hints at her flirting with Angelo in Act 2, scene 2 "ay touch him, there's the vein"
-These minor faults don't overshadow her virtuous character but show she's more complex.
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