Monday, May 10, 2004

Measure For Measure
for no reason I can write about here I thought I'd offer this bit of four hundred year old poetry which is a perfect examples of why men know nothing about women. It's the final speech from The Duke at the end of the play.

For those not familiar, in brief, The Duke has spent much of the thing running around in disguise tidying up after he left his deputy in charge of his city in an attempt to clean up the city -- while The Duke wants to tidy up the people's attitude Angelo brings in some far more draconian laws than he was expecting. In one sub-plot Isabella, a nun, watches as her brother Claudio is condemned to death for making his girlfriend pregnant out of wedlock. The deputy, Angelo, offers to set the brother free if Isabella will sleep with him. The Duke manipulates the action so that Angelo sleeps with one of his ex-girlfriends and the brother is freed. Now see what he does here:

She, Claudio, that you wrong'd, look you restore.
Joy to you, Mariana! Love her, Angelo:
I have confess'd her and I know her virtue.
Thanks, good friend Escalus, for thy much goodness:
There's more behind that is more gratulate.
Thanks, provost, for thy care and secrecy:
We shill employ thee in a worthier place.
Forgive him, Angelo, that brought you home
The head of Ragozine for Claudio's:
The offence pardons itself. Dear Isabel,
I have a motion much imports your good;
Whereto if you'll a willing ear incline,
What's mine is yours and what is yours is mine.
So, bring us to our palace; where we'll show
What's yet behind, that's meet you all should know.

So basically, The Duke having saved Isabella from sleeping with Angelo and breaking her holy orders and beliefs (the real issue at hand) offers her the same thing, grinning as he does so. In no production that I've seen has he had his way with her. At least she dashed off the stage. The best reaction was a slap across the face and a push of the throne, which is about what he deserves.


posted 11:22 PM | link |

Sorry I haven't offered anything else tonight. Various reasons.
posted by Blogger Stuart Ian Burns, at 11:27 PM  

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The William Shakespeare Weblog is looking for contributions. If you want to comment or follow-up on something which has been mentioned or you have something which you think might of interest to readers please get in touch. We would particularly like to hear from anyone connected with a production of one of Will's plays for a prospective diary feature. Above all else Shakespeare's words are as relevant now as then and its important for this weblog to reflect that.
posted 09/05/2004 | link | email

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