I. Measure for Measure

A. Plot Outline

1. I,i.

a. Duke leaves and delegates govt--mortality and mercy--to Angelo, saying virtue is shown by its fruits

2. I,ii.

a. Banter among Lucio and gentlemen; commentary on hypocrisy and universal failure to obey those laws which restrict us

i. pirates rub out "shalt not steal"

ii. soldiers don't mean prayers for peace (39) Lucio "hopes for action" 49 but disappointed

b. the proclamation: Angelo's regime--whores and pimps arrested; brothels torn down;

i. Claudio sent to prison--Lucio's true friend

(1). Claudio's speech (43): demigod authority; liberty and Restraint; our immoderate natures

(2). a circumstantial minor crime; they were betrothed but not yet enough money to marry; couldn't wait; she got pregnant

(3). asks Lucio to get his sister--pure and very persuasive--to plead (45)

3. I,iii

a. Duke asks for disguise and explains his motive to Friar Thomas

i. Friar assumes its for lecherous purpose--the ends of burning youth 46

ii. He's been too liberal; can't crack down since he feels responsible; worried about slander; Angelo seems appropriate one to impose Restraint since he himself has reputation not of leniency but austerity.

(1). there's no gossip about Angelo [as there clearly is about Duke] from both Friar Thomas and Lucio

4. I,iv--Nunnery (cf. MND)

a. Isabella wants strict RESTRAINT--thing enskied and sainted 47 After vows, with a man, can't speak and show face at same time. (Liberty vs. Restraint)

b. Lucio gets her to plead with great eloquence, encouraging her to take risk

5. II,i

a. Escalus and A. debate the penalty. Angelo insists on rigorous judgments, to maintain respect for law. Those who are lenient are lax with themselves. His righteousness justifies harshness (Balance)

b. Elbow arrests Pompey the bawd for approaching his wife

i. tediousness of administering justice--opposing claims--Angelo's impatience, and incompetence as justice--difficulty of finding other justices of peace (60)

ii. Esc. interrogates Pompey, who claims the inescapability of lust and brothels. (59)

6. II,ii

a. Universal sympathy for Claudio, but deference to Authority

b. Isabella pleads for Cl. "at war 'twixt will and will not." (62) Issue of condemning the sin or the sinner?

i. (Lucio here urging Isabella on from the wings, heckling as in Act V, coaching her to use devious methods of persuasion, which she adopts; very problematic juxtaposition of high theology and base pleading)

ii. asks for mercy, using the example of Jesus; Ang. insists it's the Law

iii. speech on the abuse of power and authority (65-6)

iv. her plea to Angelo to search his heart for the same vice yields truth: Angelo's lust for her (!)

v. she teases him with the mention of bribe--but means only prayers

vi. Angelo's realization: problematic between tempter and tempted--who is guilty?

(1). (Lucio is there to show here "bawd" function...she's the tempter as well as innocent)

(2). virtue and chastity in a woman can attract as much as can whorishness--desires her foully for the things which make her good

(3). Angelo gains full understanding of evil--in others and himself.

7. II,iii

a. Friar tells Juliet of Cl.'s punishment; tests the sincerity of her repentance--she takes the shame with joy

8. II,iv--Angelo's Fall

a. A's guilty soliloquy--his prayers are filled with lust; authority and virtue are merely seeming; he's sold out to the devil (71)

i. Blood thou art blood; his parts revolt

b. Teasing, macabre dialogue with Isabella. Back and forth, tug of war

i. she asks mercy; he refuses on grounds that illegal procreation like counterfeiting, is as bad as murder; creating as bad as destroying life

ii. she disagrees; he offers hypothetical trade: her body for his; she says yes, not understanding

iii. A. offers another reason--sin in body doesn't comporomise soul, but wont hold to it because it undermines his policy

iv. She mistakes his presentation of sinlessness of her sacrifice of her virtue to save her brother; she promises to take his sin on her

v. He is irritated--she's either too innocent or too crafty; distrusts her and her paradoxes--speaks "more gross" (73)

vi. She'd die for brother but not give up her chastity

vii. He points out the contradiction--in pleading she'd devalued seriousness of unchastity; she admits her own inconsistency--O pardon me, my lord..."I something do excuse the thing I hate/For his advantage that I dearly love." (74); He replies: "We are all frail"

viii. She admits women are frail; he says "be frail and give in" She still doesn't understand his meaning

ix. She thinks he's tempting her; he says he means it

x. Now she gets it (149)...and threatens to expose him, at the same time condemning "seeming" and hypocrisy.

xi. No one will believe her; now he has let the stops out--give sensual race the rein...my false o'erweighs your true"; threatens to torture Claudio if she doesn't yield [Rape and blackmail; Nazi behavior, Sophie's choice]

xii. I. has nowhere to turn; values her chastity more than her brother, forgetting the threat of torture, certain he will agree

9. III,i

a. Duke counselling Claudio on coming death

i. Cl. : the miserable have only hope

ii. Duke: (77) Life is worthless, youth and age an after-dinner sleep; only a dream

iii. Cl. learns acceptance; [ripeness is all]; seeking death, find life (paradox)

b. Is. and Cl. confer, Duke overhearing

i. He insists on his contempt of death (80); she proclaims his honor; he hears a deal is possible; since Angelo is lustful, his cannot be so bad; then becomes desparate for life at any cost; and full of fear of death. She is so disappointed, she curses him out; hopes for his death (82) leaves him pleading

c. Duke enters

i. tells Claudio, Angelo was only testing, he must prepare for death; Claudio reverses attitude, begs forgiveness of Is. [crucial issue of emotion and information]

ii. Tone seems to shift; Duke proposes bedtrick to Is. Introduces Marianna, deserted by Angelo in before completion of nuptials, because of lost dowry. Prediction of comic outcome. This will save Claudio and Isabella's virtue; relieve her dilemma; she accepts.

(1). [transition from characters' ignorance to our ignorance of what's going to happen]

10. III,ii

a. Elbow arrested as bawd; Duke indignant; Lucio, a good customer, teases and refuses to bail him

b. Lucio slanders the Duke to the Friar, liked him because he was more lenient than Angelo since he "had some feeling of the sport" (90); many graphic expressions for the act: put a ducat in her clack dish; filling a bottle with a tundish; he would mouth with a beggar, though she smelled brown bread and garlic

c. Mistress Overdone arrested on Lucio's information; she reveals he got Kate Keepdown pregnant; Overdone keeps the child; Escalus gives good report of the Duke to Friar--ideal character

d. Friar utters augury of innocence tetrameters, condemning Angelo for hypocrisy

11. IV,i

a. Moated grange; song of bittersweet love that thrives on abuse; Isabel and Mariana and Duke work out bedtrick, assuring that all is legal by the letter, since Angelo and M. have a precontract [but notice how close this is to Claudio's crime]

12. IV, ii

a. Pompey, bawd, becomes executioner's helper; similarity of helping chop off heads and maidenheads; pride in craft..."mystery" (100) macabre

i. Provost is gentle and sympathetic, appreciated by Duke (102)

b. Duke expects pardon from Angelo, makes many wrong inferences, surprised by turn in plot; demand for an early execution, betraying Isabel, making Angelo a murderer

i. Barnardine's a murderer, neither penitent nor in fear of death; always drunk--(relate to Lucio, also Antonio in Tempest); in jail with reprieves brought by friends;

c. Duke needs to act fast; improvises a new scheme; convinces Provost to substitute Barnardine for Cl.; produces letter of Duke to convince Pr. to do it at risk of life

13. IV,iii

a. Pompey's jailhouse rollick; Barnardine won't "rise and be hanged" ; can't execute B. unmeet for death; Provost provides Ragozine the Pirate who died of a fever. Duke: "an accident that heaven provides" (110); head brought on stage (remember BBC version)

b. Duke will keep Isabel "ignorant of her good/ To make her heavenly comforts of despair" [this ignorance will also prompt her to learn forgiveness of Angelo] (111) Tells her Angelo is dead and sends her with letters to carry out his plot

c. Lucio continues to slander Duke to Friar

14. IV,iv,v and vi (lots of moving around...cf. RJ IV, KL IV)

a. Escalus and Angelo confused by conflicting letters of Duke; Angelo half-penitent

b. Preparations for Duke's entry, where denoument will take place--much attention placed on our increasing suspense and expected revelations

15. V, i

a. Big ceremony; Duke returns, full of praise for Angelo

b. At Duke's earlier instruction and with Friar Peter, Isabella calls out for justice (118) and truth, accusing Angelo of blackmail and murder and not disclosing that Mariana had substituted for her (Angelo silently freaks)

i. Lucio keeps interrupting and Duke interrupts to correct Isabella's speech

c. Duke apparently refuses to believe Isabel; asks who put her up to it; she says Friar L. (Angelo relieved)

i. Lucio denounces the Friar, saying the Friar denounced the Duke [reverse of what Friar did, while L. was denouncing Duke]

ii. Friar Peter attacks Isabella's accusation; defends Friar L. Isabella carried off, not believed

d. Duke makes Angelo judge in his own cause NB

e. Mariana appears and works riddles;

i. reveals Angelo is her husband "Who thinks he knows sthat he ne'er knew my body/But knows he thinks that he knows Isabel's" (124)

ii. Lucio interrupting throughout

f. Angelo and Duke both reject both women's testimony; send for other Friar [audience more and more mystified]

i. major issue here seems to be slander

g. Duke exits; returns as Friar

i. Duke/Friar violently denounces Angelo and the Duke; Escalus threatens to torture him (128); Friar says he's "seen corruption boil and bubble till it o'errun the stew. Laws for all faults/ But faults so countenanced..."

h. Duke/Friar violently resists arrest; Lucio, attacking him, pulls off his hood.

i. Angelo confesses and repents; forced to marry Mariana

ii. Duke still tricks Isabel into thinking Claudio is dead; condemns Angelo to death for killing Cl.

iii. Mariana begs for Angelo's life even though married, she could have his goods were he executed; Duke is adament, invoking Measure for Measure (132) Duke refuses absolutely;

(1). Mariana appeals to Isabel to ask clemency for Angelo--"best men are molded out of faults"

(2). she does so, giving up any thought of revenge for her brother's supposed death. Argues that intent is not a crime

(3). Angelo wants death more than mercy

(4). Duke releases Barnardine from earthly crimes, telling him to save his soul

iv. Claudio unmasked and pardoned "for your lovely sake" (Isabella) (135)

(1). Claudio's being alive is reason to pardon Angelo

v. Duke now turns to Lucio, whom he won't pardon; Lucio keeps joking; forced to marry a whore; Duke forgives slanders; Lucio keeps complaining

vi. Duke still trying to get Isabella to consent to marriage, but she says nothing