donderdag 17 november 2011

measure for measure - essay

In Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare, every character displayed a human flaw in some form or fashion. As a result, it is very hard to depict a true hero in the play. From the character list, the most qualified hero would be Duke Vincentio. He was heroic for his intellectual thinking and smart decision making.

The play began with the Duke handing over his powers to Angelo to watch over Vienna until he returned from his travels. He urged Angelo to make full use of his virtue while he was away. “So to enforce or qualify the laws as to your soul seems good,” (Act 1 pg.5). In the meantime, the Duke disguised himself as a friar to spy on Vienna including Angelo. This smart decision made by the Duke allowed him to become a hero at the end of the play.

The governing of Vienna by Angelo did not lead to a good outcome. He ordered that Claudio, Isabella’s brother, be put to death for impregnating his fiancée before they had the change to get married. Angelo informed Isabella that he would uplift the death penalty from her brother if she agreed to have sex with him. She refused and Angelo continued his plan of executing Claudio. Now, the disguised Duke had to figure out a way to prevent the death of Claudio without giving his disguise away. His intellect enabled him to devise a plan that would save the life of Claudio which contributed toward his heroism.

The Duke decided to replace Isabella with Mariana to make it seem as if Angelo had slept with Isabella. Angelo satisfied his sexual desire with Mariana taking her for Isabella. But still he ordered the Provost to execute Claudio and to send his chopped head to him. In this climax, again the Duke schemed to chop the head of Bernadine and send it to Angelo instead of Claudio’s head. The Duke told Isabella a lie that her that her brother had been executed not only to give her a surprise later but also to trap Angelo. At the end of the play, he compelled Angelo to confess his misdeeds and to marry Mariana. He forgave Claudio, ordered Lucio to marry the woman he had impregnated, and proposed marriage to Isabella. As a result, he was the most heroic figure in the play.                                                                                                               
In conclusion, no one in the play was a perfect being, including the Duke. He also commits faults. His trickery and deceptive ways led to the death of Bernadine. However, the death of Bernadine saved the life of Claudio. This is where the title Measure for Measure came into play. Despite his deceptive ways, he is still remembered as a true hero by his intellect and smart decision making.