Provost is a character in William Shakespeare's play, Measure for Measure. He serves as the deputy to Angelo, the strict and uncompromising ruler of Vienna. Despite his subordinate position, Provost plays a vital role in the play's plot and embodies several important themes.
Provost is depicted as a wise and compassionate individual who acts as a moral compass in the corrupt and decadent world of Vienna. He is responsible for overseeing the city's prisons and executing Angelo's orders. However, unlike his superior, Provost is not blinded by strict adherence to the law. He understands the complexities of human nature and believes in second chances.
One of Provosts most significant moments in the play comes when he is faced with the task of executing Claudio, a young man who has been sentenced to death for impregnating his fiancée before marriage. Despite the severity of Claudio's crime, Provost sympathizes with him and tries to find a way to save his life. He represents the struggle between justice and mercy, arguing that punishment should be fair but not excessively harsh.
In the middle of the play, Provost becomes a pivotal figure in Escalus' plan to expose Angelo's hypocrisy. Escalus, a respected nobleman, believes that Angelo has abused his power and aims to bring him down. He enlists Provosts help in substituting another prisoner's head for Claudio's, making it appear as though Claudio has been executed. This clever plan allows Escalus to gather evidence against Angelo and ultimately achieve justice.
Throughout the play, Provosts character represents the struggle between morality and authority. Despite his subordinate position, he stands up for what he believes is right and works behind the scenes to ensure fairness and justice prevail. His actions highlight the flaws in Angelo's strict and unforgiving approach to governance, making him an essential counterbalance to the play's themes of power and corruption.
As a character, Provost provides a voice of reason and empathy in the chaotic world of Measure for Measure. His unwavering commitment to justice and compassion make him a memorable and significant figure in the play.