Measure for Measure

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Shakespeare’s famous play Measure for Measure is usually put into the genre of a dark comedy. I’m not exactly sure if that best fits this particular Shakespearian writing or not, but I do know that there is more dark than there is comedy in it. The writing is set in Vienna, Italy around the time of the 17th-18th century. The Duke of Vienna has decided to leave on a trip, and he will place a successor, Lord Angelo, in his position while he is away. Little does anyone in the town know, but the Duke decides to stay put within his town so that he may spy upon the citizens and leadership. This minor development begins a whirlwind of plots, themes, and character development. However, one character and plotline is highlighted within this famous writing. Isabella, a virtuous and pious woman, has to make the decision to either give up her chastity and vow to God, or to allow her brother to face seemingly certain death. It is the many facets and reasons behind this choice that has made this Shakespearian play so popular. The person watching or reading wants to know what choice she will make. One of the first things that Lord Angelo does after taking over for the Duke is to enforce the already existing rules upon the people. Lord Angelo seems to view himself as a bit more of a disciplinarian than the Duke. Unfortunately, it is Isabella’s brother, Claudio, who Angelo makes an example out of for the entire town. Claudio has slept with his longtime girlfriend Juliet. Juliet is now pregnant and the entire town knows of their “sin.” Lord Angelo wants the town to know that this type of behavior is unacceptable and summons Claudio to be killed. Claudio quickly calls for his loving and pious sister Isabella to come and vouch for him ... ... middle of paper ... ... to see that Lord Angelo’s internal character was not prepared for the power that was given to him. I think we say this all of the time in our society from Tiger Woods to Donald Trump. It’s sad to see, but most people that are put in places of high power become corrupted over time. I see Isabella’s response to the corruption of Lord Angelo as the response of many of us to the leaders in this day. The conflict continues and we long for our good Savior, as pictured in type by the Duke, to come and rule over us once again with justice and mercy. For some reason, I longed for my Savior when seeing the Duke’s response at the end of the story. Isabella’s choice to remain true to her vows while still seeking and longing for justice is interwoven throughout the entire story. In the end we see that justice and mercy prevail, in part, through the choices of Isabella.

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