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Measure for Measure

Written: 1603 Text: First Folio 1623 (Comedy); no quarto editions
Source: Geroge Whetstone (c.1544-87). Promos and Cassandra (1578); Cinthio, Giovanni Battista Giraldi.1504-73). Hecatommithi (1565. No English translations found, therefore, Shakespeare probably read it either in Italian or French.); Cinthio, Giovanni Battista Giraldi.1504-73) Epitia (1583. No English translations found, therefore, Shakespeare probably read it either in Italian or French..); Barnabe Riche (c.1540-1617). The Adventures of Brusanus, prince of Hungaria (1592)–Lucio's interactions with the disguised Duke.
Characters: Vincent the Duke, Isabella, Angelo, Lucio, Escalus, Provost, Claudio
Setting: Vienna
Time:  c. AD 1485

Xxx xxx

Tempter or Tempted?

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In Measure for Measure (2.2.197), Angelo confronts, possibly for the first time in his life, the temptation of lust. And since this is new to him and because he is highly moralistic, he is troubled and confused. He reacts by asking himself a series of questions for which he has no answers.

What’s this? What’s this? Is this her fault,
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Seduction or Harassment?

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Shakespeare delights in the seduction ceremonies of bright men with even brighter women. These dialogues, whether between adolescents like Romeo and Juliet, more mature characters like Henry V and Princess Katherine, or seasoned adults like the widow Lady Grey and the sexual harasser King Edward, in this scene (3HenryVI 3.2.36), give Shakespeare opportunities to employ dazzling webworks of rhetorical exchanges.
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Sexual Extortion

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In Measure for Measure (2.4.95), Angelo, the classic sexual harasser, adopts a method of sexual extortion similar to King Edward’s in Henry VI Part 3 (3.2.36).  Both men begin with oblique insinuations about their desires, which can be innocently misread. When the women, Isabella in Measure for Measure and Lady Grey in Henry VI,
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Of government the properties to unfold

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Duke
Of government the properties to unfold
Would seem in me t’ affect speech and discourse,
Since I am put to know that your own science
Exceeds, in that, the lists of all advice
My strength can give you. Then no more remains
But that, to your sufficiency, as your worth is able,
And let them work.
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Act 1
Scene 1
Line 3

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Always obedient to your Grace’s will

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Always obedient to your Grace’s will,
I come to know your pleasure.
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Act 1
Scene 1
Line 27

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Angelo, There is a kind of character in thy life

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Angelo,
There is a kind of character in thy life,
That to th’ observer doth thy history
AlliterationFully unfoldHyperbaton
. Thyself and thy belongings
Are not thine own so properAnastrophe as to waste
Thyself upon thy virtues, they on thee.
Heaven doth with us as we with torches do,
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Act 1
Scene 1
Line 29

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, , , ,

Why, how now, Claudio? Whence comes this restraint?

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Lucio
Why, how now, Claudio? Whence comes this
restraint?
Claudio
From too much liberty, my Lucio, liberty.
As surfeit is the father of much fast,Simile
So every scope by the immoderate use
Turns to restraint. Our natures do pursue,
Like rats that raven down their proper bane,
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Act 1
Scene 2
Line 120

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And the new deputy now for the Duke—

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And the new deputy now for the Duke—
Whether it be the fault and glimpse of newness,
Or whether that the body public be
A horse whereon the governor doth ride,
Who, newly in the seat, that it may know
He can command, lets it straight feel the spur;
Whether the tyranny be in his place,
Or in his eminence that fills it up,
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Act 1
Scene 2
Line 154

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I prithee, Lucio, do me this kind service

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I prithee, Lucio, do me this kind service:
This day my sister should the cloister enter,
And there receive her approbation.
Acquaint her with the danger of my state;
Implore her, in my voice, that she make friends
To the strict deputy; bid herself assay him.
I have great hope in that; for in her youth
There is a prone and speechless dialect,
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Act 1
Scene 2
Line 173

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My holy sir, none better knows than you

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My holy sir, none better knows than you
How I have ever lov’d the life removed,
And held in idle price to haunt assemblies
Where youth, and cost, witless bravery keeps.
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Act 1
Scene 3
Line 8

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We have strict statutes and most biting laws

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We have strict statutes and most biting laws
(The needful bits and curbs to headstrong weeds),
Which for this fourteen years we have let slip,
Even like an o’ergrown lion in a cave,
That goes not out to prey. Now, as fond fathers,
Having bound up the threat’ning twigs of birch,
Only to stick it in their children’s sight
For terror,
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Act 1
Scene 3
Line 20

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Our doubts are traitors

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Our doubts are traitors,
And makes us lose the good we oft might win,
By fearing to attempt.
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Act 1
Scene 4
Line 85

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‘Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus

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‘Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus,
Another thing to fall. I not deny
The jury, passing on the prisoner’s life,
May in the sworn twelve have a thief or two
Guiltier than him they try. What’s open made to justice,
That justice seizes. What knows the laws
That thieves do pass on thieves? ‘Tis very pregnant,
The jewel that we find,
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Act 2
Scene 1
Line 18

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