Measure for Measure


William Shakespeare

Measure for Measure is a complex and thought-provoking play that explores themes of justice, morality, and power. Set in Vienna, the story follows Duke Vincentio as he decides to step down from his position and appoints Angelo as his replacement. Angelo is a strict and moralistic leader who immediately enforces old laws and begins a ruthless campaign to rid the city of vice and immorality.

One of the first people to fall victim to Angelo's strict laws is Claudio, who is arrested for impregnating his fiancée Juliet before they are married. Claudio's sister Isabella, a novice nun, pleads with Angelo for her brother's release. Angelo agrees to spare Claudio's life, but only if Isabella agrees to sleep with him. Isabella is horrified by this proposition and decides to tell Claudio of Angelo's offer.

The play reaches its climax when the Duke, disguised as a friar, intervenes and helps to orchestrate a plan to expose Angelo's hypocrisy. The Duke also arranges for Claudio's release and eventual marriage to Juliet. In the end, Angelo is left to face the consequences of his actions, and the Duke resumes his position as the leader of Vienna.

Overall, Measure for Measure is a powerful examination of the nature of justice and the complexities of morality. It asks difficult questions about power and the use of authority, and ultimately suggests that true justice requires a balance of both mercy and strict enforcement of the law.

Act I

Act 1 of Measure for Measure opens with the Duke of Vienna announcing that he is leaving the city and appointing Angelo as his deputy. The Duke plans to disguise himself as a friar and observe how his deputy handles the affairs of the city.

Angelo is a strict and moral man who enforces the laws strictly. The first case he deals with is that of Claudio, who has impregnated his fiancé Juliet before marriage. Angelo sentences Claudio to death, which shocks Claudio’s sister Isabella, a novice nun. Isabella pleads with Angelo to have mercy on her brother, but he refuses.

Isabella then decides to visit Angelo to plead for her brother’s life. Angelo is attracted to Isabella and offers to spare Claudio’s life in exchange for her virginity. Isabella is appalled by the offer and refuses. She then decides to visit her brother in prison, where she tells him about Angelo’s offer and he begs her to save his life.

The Duke, disguised as a friar, meets with Isabella and advises her to trick Angelo into thinking he has slept with her by sending another woman in her place. Isabella agrees to the plan and the friar sets out to find a woman who is willing to help.

Meanwhile, the Duke (disguised as a friar) visits Claudio in prison and assures him that he will try to save his life. The Duke then arranges for Claudio’s friend Lucio to visit Angelo and try to convince him to change his mind about the execution.

Act 1 ends with Angelo sending for Isabella and telling her that he has changed his mind and will spare her brother’s life. However, he still expects her to fulfill their previous agreement.

SCENE I. An apartment in the DUKE'S palace.

The first scene of Act 1 opens with a conversation between two characters, Duke Vincentio and Escalus. They are discussing the state of the city, specifically the rise in crime and debauchery. The Duke expresses his concern over the moral decay of the city and decides to leave Vienna, giving the power to his deputy, Angelo.

Angelo enters the scene and the Duke announces his departure. He advises Angelo to be strict in enforcing the laws and to crack down on the immoral behavior of the citizens. Angelo agrees to follow the Duke's instructions and the Duke exits.

After the Duke leaves, Escalus expresses his doubts about Angelo's ability to handle the power. Angelo overhears their conversation and defends himself, stating that he will carry out the Duke's orders to the best of his ability.

As the scene closes, a gentleman enters and reports to Angelo that Claudio, a young man who has impregnated his fiancee, has been arrested and is to be executed. Angelo agrees to see Claudio and leaves with the gentleman.

Enter DUKE VINCENTIO, ESCALUS, Lords and Attendants

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My lord.
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Of government the properties to unfold,
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Would seem in me to affect speech and discourse;
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Since I am put to know that your own science
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Exceeds, in that, the lists of all advice
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My strength can give you: then no more remains,
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But that to your sufficiency, as your Worth is able,
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And let them work. The nature of our people,
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Our city's institutions, and the terms
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For common justice, you're as pregnant in
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As art and practise hath enriched any
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That we remember. There is our commission,
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From which we would not have you warp. Call hither,
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I say, bid come before us Angelo.
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What figure of us think you he will bear?
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For you must know, we have with special soul
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Elected him our absence to supply,
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Lent him our terror, dress'd him with our love,
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And given his deputation all the organs
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Of our own power: what think you of it?
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If any in Vienna be of worth
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To undergo such ample grace and honour,
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It is Lord Angelo.
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Look where he comes.
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Always obedient to your grace's will,
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I come to know your pleasure.
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There is a kind of character in thy life,
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That to the observer doth thy history
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Fully unfold. Thyself and thy belongings
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Are not thine own so proper as to waste
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Thyself upon thy virtues, they on thee.
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Heaven doth with us as we with torches do,
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Not light them for themselves; for if our virtues
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Did not go forth of us, 'twere all alike
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As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely touch'd
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But to fine issues, nor Nature never lends
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The smallest scruple of her excellence
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But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines
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Herself the glory of a creditor,
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Both thanks and use. But I do bend my speech
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To one that can my part in him advertise;
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Hold therefore, Angelo:--
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In our remove be thou at full ourself;
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Mortality and mercy in Vienna
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Live in thy tongue and heart: old Escalus,
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Though first in question, is thy secondary.
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Take thy commission.
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Now, good my lord,
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Let there be some more test made of my metal,
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Before so noble and so great a figure
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Be stamp'd upon it.
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No more evasion:
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We have with a leaven'd and prepared choice
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Proceeded to you; therefore take your honours.
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Our haste from hence is of so quick condition
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That it prefers itself and leaves unquestion'd
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Matters of needful value. We shall write to you,
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As time and our concernings shall importune,
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How it goes with us, and do look to know
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What doth befall you here. So, fare you well;
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To the hopeful execution do I leave you
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Of your commissions.
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Yet give leave, my lord,
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That we may bring you something on the way.
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My haste may not admit it;
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Nor need you, on mine honour, have to do
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With any scruple; your scope is as mine own
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So to enforce or qualify the laws
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As to your soul seems good. Give me your hand:
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I'll privily away. I love the people,
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But do not like to stage me to their eyes:
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Through it do well, I do not relish well
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Their loud applause and Aves vehement;
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Nor do I think the man of safe discretion
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That does affect it. Once more, fare you well.
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The heavens give safety to your purposes!
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Lead forth and bring you back in happiness!
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I thank you. Fare you well.
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I shall desire you, sir, to give me leave
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To have free speech with you; and it concerns me
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To look into the bottom of my place:
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A power I have, but of what strength and nature
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I am not yet instructed.
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'Tis so with me. Let us withdraw together,
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And we may soon our satisfaction have
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Touching that point.
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I'll wait upon your honour.
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SCENE II. A Street.

In Scene 2 of Act 1, a man named Lucio speaks with two gentlemen, Escalus and the Duke. Lucio tells them about a man named Angelo who has been put in charge of the city while the Duke is away. Lucio speaks highly of Angelo, but Escalus warns him to be cautious as Angelo is known for being strict and unforgiving.

As they continue their conversation, a group of people enter, including a gentleman named Claudio. Claudio is taken aback when he learns that Angelo has sentenced him to death for getting his fiancée pregnant before they were married. Claudio pleads with Escalus and the Duke to help him, but they are unsure of what to do as Angelo is known for being unwavering in his judgments.

The Duke decides to disguise himself as a friar and observe the situation from a distance. He tells Claudio that he will try to help him, but he must be prepared to accept his fate if nothing can be done. The scene ends with the Duke leaving to begin his plan.

Enter LUCIO and two Gentlemen

If the duke with the other dukes come not to
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composition with the King of Hungary, why then all
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the dukes fall upon the king.
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First Gentleman
Heaven grant us its peace, but not the King of
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Second Gentleman

Thou concludest like the sanctimonious pirate, that
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went to sea with the Ten Commandments, but scraped
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one out of the table.
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Second Gentleman
'Thou shalt not steal'?
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Ay, that he razed.
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First Gentleman
Why, 'twas a commandment to command the captain and
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all the rest from their functions: they put forth
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to steal. There's not a soldier of us all, that, in
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the thanksgiving before meat, do relish the petition
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well that prays for peace.
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Second Gentleman
I never heard any soldier dislike it.
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I believe thee; for I think thou never wast where
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grace was said.
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Second Gentleman
No? a dozen times at least.
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First Gentleman
What, in metre?
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In any proportion or in any language.
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First Gentleman
I think, or in any religion.
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Ay, why not? Grace is grace, despite of all
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controversy: as, for example, thou thyself art a
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wicked villain, despite of all grace.
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First Gentleman
Well, there went but a pair of shears between us.
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I grant; as there may between the lists and the
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velvet. Thou art the list.
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First Gentleman
And thou the velvet: thou art good velvet; thou'rt
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a three-piled piece, I warrant thee: I had as lief
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be a list of an English kersey as be piled, as thou
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art piled, for a French velvet. Do I speak
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feelingly now?
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I think thou dost; and, indeed, with most painful
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feeling of thy speech: I will, out of thine own
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confession, learn to begin thy health; but, whilst I
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live, forget to drink after thee.
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First Gentleman
I think I have done myself wrong, have I not?
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Second Gentleman
Yes, that thou hast, whether thou art tainted or free.
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Behold, behold. where Madam Mitigation comes! I
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have purchased as many diseases under her roof as come to--
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Second Gentleman
To what, I pray?
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Second Gentleman
To three thousand dolours a year.
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First Gentleman
Ay, and more.
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A French crown more.
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First Gentleman
Thou art always figuring diseases in me; but thou
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art full of error; I am sound.
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Nay, not as one would say, healthy; but so sound as
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things that are hollow: thy bones are hollow;
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impiety has made a feast of thee.
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First Gentleman
How now! which of your hips has the most profound sciatica?
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Well, well; there's one yonder arrested and carried
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to prison was worth five thousand of you all.
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Second Gentleman
Who's that, I pray thee?
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Marry, sir, that's Claudio, Signior Claudio.
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First Gentleman
Claudio to prison? 'tis not so.
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Nay, but I know 'tis so: I saw him arrested, saw
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him carried away; and, which is more, within these
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three days his head to be chopped off.
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But, after all this fooling, I would not have it so.
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Art thou sure of this?
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I am too sure of it: and it is for getting Madam
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Julietta with child.
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Believe me, this may be: he promised to meet me two
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hours since, and he was ever precise in
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Second Gentleman
Besides, you know, it draws something near to the
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speech we had to such a purpose.
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First Gentleman
But, most of all, agreeing with the proclamation.
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Away! let's go learn the truth of it.
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Exeunt LUCIO and Gentlemen

Thus, what with the war, what with the sweat, what
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with the gallows and what with poverty, I am
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How now! what's the news with you?
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Yonder man is carried to prison.
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Well; what has he done?
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A woman.
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But what's his offence?
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Groping for trouts in a peculiar river.
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What, is there a maid with child by him?
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No, but there's a woman with maid by him. You have
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not heard of the proclamation, have you?
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What proclamation, man?
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All houses in the suburbs of Vienna must be plucked down.
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And what shall become of those in the city?
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They shall stand for seed: they had gone down too,
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but that a wise burgher put in for them.
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But shall all our houses of resort in the suburbs be
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pulled down?
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To the ground, mistress.
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Why, here's a change indeed in the commonwealth!
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What shall become of me?
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Come; fear you not: good counsellors lack no
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clients: though you change your place, you need not
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change your trade; I'll be your tapster still.
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Courage! there will be pity taken on you: you that
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have worn your eyes almost out in the service, you
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will be considered.
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What's to do here, Thomas tapster? let's withdraw.
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Here comes Signior Claudio, led by the provost to
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prison; and there's Madam Juliet.
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Enter Provost, CLAUDIO, JULIET, and Officers

Fellow, why dost thou show me thus to the world?
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Bear me to prison, where I am committed.
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I do it not in evil disposition,
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But from Lord Angelo by special charge.
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Thus can the demigod Authority
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Make us pay down for our offence by weight
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The words of heaven; on whom it will, it will;
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On whom it will not, so; yet still 'tis just.
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Re-enter LUCIO and two Gentlemen

Why, how now, Claudio! whence comes this restraint?
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From too much liberty, my Lucio, liberty:
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As surfeit is the father of much fast,
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So every scope by the immoderate use
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Turns to restraint. Our natures do pursue,
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Like rats that ravin down their proper bane,
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A thirsty evil; and when we drink we die.
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If could speak so wisely under an arrest, I would
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send for certain of my creditors: and yet, to say
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the truth, I had as lief have the foppery of freedom
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as the morality of imprisonment. What's thy
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offence, Claudio?
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What but to speak of would offend again.
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What, is't murder?
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Call it so.
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Away, sir! you must go.
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One word, good friend. Lucio, a word with you.
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A hundred, if they'll do you any good.
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Is lechery so look'd after?
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Thus stands it with me: upon a true contract
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I got possession of Julietta's bed:
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You know the lady; she is fast my wife,
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Save that we do the denunciation lack
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Of outward order: this we came not to,
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Only for propagation of a dower
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Remaining in the coffer of her friends,
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From whom we thought it meet to hide our love
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Till time had made them for us. But it chances
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The stealth of our most mutual entertainment
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With character too gross is writ on Juliet.
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With child, perhaps?
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Unhappily, even so.
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And the new deputy now for the duke--
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Whether it be the fault and glimpse of newness,
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Or whether that the body public be
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A horse whereon the governor doth ride,
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Who, newly in the seat, that it may know
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He can command, lets it straight feel the spur;
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Whether the tyranny be in his place,
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Or in his emmence that fills it up,
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I stagger in:--but this new governor
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Awakes me all the enrolled penalties
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Which have, like unscour'd armour, hung by the wall
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So long that nineteen zodiacs have gone round
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And none of them been worn; and, for a name,
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Now puts the drowsy and neglected act
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Freshly on me: 'tis surely for a name.
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I warrant it is: and thy head stands so tickle on
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thy shoulders that a milkmaid, if she be in love,
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may sigh it off. Send after the duke and appeal to
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I have done so, but he's not to be found.
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I prithee, Lucio, do me this kind service:
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This day my sister should the cloister enter
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And there receive her approbation:
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Acquaint her with the danger of my state:
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Implore her, in my voice, that she make friends
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To the strict deputy; bid herself assay him:
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I have great hope in that; for in her youth
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There is a prone and speechless dialect,
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Such as move men; beside, she hath prosperous art
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When she will play with reason and discourse,
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And well she can persuade.
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I pray she may; as well for the encouragement of the
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like, which else would stand under grievous
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imposition, as for the enjoying of thy life, who I
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would be sorry should be thus foolishly lost at a
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game of tick-tack. I'll to her.
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I thank you, good friend Lucio.
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Within two hours.
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Come, officer, away!
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SCENE III. A monastery.

Scene 3 of Act 1 takes place in a street in Vienna where we see Lucio, a witty and humorous character, talking to two gentlemen about the Duke's sudden departure from the city. They discuss how the Duke has given power to Angelo, a strict and moralistic man, to run the city in his absence. Lucio expresses his concerns about Angelo's harsh rule and tells the gentlemen about his friend Claudio, who has been arrested and sentenced to death for impregnating his fiancée before their marriage.

The gentlemen suggest that Lucio should plead for Claudio's mercy to Angelo since he has the power to pardon him. Lucio agrees to do so and leaves to meet with Angelo. In the meantime, the Duke, disguised as a friar, enters the scene and eavesdrops on the conversation. He learns about the state of the city and Angelo's rule.

As Lucio meets with Angelo, he tries to persuade him to pardon Claudio, but Angelo refuses, citing the importance of enforcing the law. However, he becomes infatuated with Isabella, Claudio's sister, who has come to plead for her brother's life. Angelo proposes a deal to Isabella, offering to pardon Claudio if she agrees to sleep with him. Isabella, a devout nun, is disgusted by Angelo's suggestion and refuses, stating that she would rather see her brother die than commit such a sin.

The scene ends with Angelo revealing his inner conflict to himself, as he realizes that he desires Isabella even though he has proclaimed himself to be a moral and just leader. The Duke, having heard all of this, decides to intervene and see how the situation plays out.


No, holy father; throw away that thought;
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Believe not that the dribbling dart of love
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Can pierce a complete bosom. Why I desire thee
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To give me secret harbour, hath a purpose
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More grave and wrinkled than the aims and ends
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Of burning youth.
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May your grace speak of it?
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My holy sir, none better knows than you
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How I have ever loved the life removed
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And held in idle price to haunt assemblies
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Where youth, and cost, and witless bravery keeps.
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I have deliver'd to Lord Angelo,
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A man of stricture and firm abstinence,
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My absolute power and place here in Vienna,
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And he supposes me travell'd to Poland;
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For so I have strew'd it in the common ear,
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And so it is received. Now, pious sir,
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You will demand of me why I do this?
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Gladly, my lord.
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We have strict statutes and most biting laws.
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The needful bits and curbs to headstrong weeds,
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Which for this nineteen years we have let slip;
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Even like an o'ergrown lion in a cave,
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That goes not out to prey. Now, as fond fathers,
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Having bound up the threatening twigs of birch,
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Only to stick it in their children's sight
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For terror, not to use, in time the rod
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Becomes more mock'd than fear'd; so our decrees,
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Dead to infliction, to themselves are dead;
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And liberty plucks justice by the nose;
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The baby beats the nurse, and quite athwart
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Goes all decorum.
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It rested in your grace
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To unloose this tied-up justice when you pleased:
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And it in you more dreadful would have seem'd
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Than in Lord Angelo.
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I do fear, too dreadful:
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Sith 'twas my fault to give the people scope,
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'Twould be my tyranny to strike and gall them
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For what I bid them do: for we bid this be done,
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When evil deeds have their permissive pass
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And not the punishment. Therefore indeed, my father,
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I have on Angelo imposed the office;
Link: 1.3.43
Who may, in the ambush of my name, strike home,
Link: 1.3.44
And yet my nature never in the fight
Link: 1.3.45
To do in slander. And to behold his sway,
Link: 1.3.46
I will, as 'twere a brother of your order,
Link: 1.3.47
Visit both prince and people: therefore, I prithee,
Link: 1.3.48
Supply me with the habit and instruct me
Link: 1.3.49
How I may formally in person bear me
Link: 1.3.50
Like a true friar. More reasons for this action
Link: 1.3.51
At our more leisure shall I render you;
Link: 1.3.52
Only, this one: Lord Angelo is precise;
Link: 1.3.53
Stands at a guard with envy; scarce confesses
Link: 1.3.54
That his blood flows, or that his appetite
Link: 1.3.55
Is more to bread than stone: hence shall we see,
Link: 1.3.56
If power change purpose, what our seemers be.
Link: 1.3.57


SCENE IV. A nunnery.

Scene 4 of Act 1 of this play takes place in a room within a monastery. The Duke of Vienna, disguised as a friar, meets with a nun named Isabella. The Duke informs Isabella that her brother, Claudio, has been arrested and sentenced to death for impregnating his fiancée before their marriage.

Isabella is distraught and asks the Duke if there is anything she can do to save her brother's life. The Duke suggests that she plead with Angelo, the deputy ruler of Vienna, to spare Claudio's life. Isabella agrees to do so and the Duke promises to help her.

Before leaving, the Duke advises Isabella to consider sacrificing her own virginity to save her brother's life. Isabella is shocked by this suggestion and refuses to compromise her chastity.

The scene ends with the Duke reassuring Isabella that he will do all he can to help her and her brother. Isabella is left to contemplate the difficult decision she must make in order to save her brother's life.


And have you nuns no farther privileges?
Link: 1.4.1

Are not these large enough?
Link: 1.4.2

Yes, truly; I speak not as desiring more;
Link: 1.4.3
But rather wishing a more strict restraint
Link: 1.4.4
Upon the sisterhood, the votarists of Saint Clare.
Link: 1.4.5

(Within) Ho! Peace be in this place!
Link: 1.4.6

Who's that which calls?
Link: 1.4.7

It is a man's voice. Gentle Isabella,
Link: 1.4.8
Turn you the key, and know his business of him;
Link: 1.4.9
You may, I may not; you are yet unsworn.
Link: 1.4.10
When you have vow'd, you must not speak with men
Link: 1.4.11
But in the presence of the prioress:
Link: 1.4.12
Then, if you speak, you must not show your face,
Link: 1.4.13
Or, if you show your face, you must not speak.
Link: 1.4.14
He calls again; I pray you, answer him.
Link: 1.4.15


Peace and prosperity! Who is't that calls
Link: 1.4.16


Hail, virgin, if you be, as those cheek-roses
Link: 1.4.17
Proclaim you are no less! Can you so stead me
Link: 1.4.18
As bring me to the sight of Isabella,
Link: 1.4.19
A novice of this place and the fair sister
Link: 1.4.20
To her unhappy brother Claudio?
Link: 1.4.21

Why 'her unhappy brother'? let me ask,
Link: 1.4.22
The rather for I now must make you know
Link: 1.4.23
I am that Isabella and his sister.
Link: 1.4.24

Gentle and fair, your brother kindly greets you:
Link: 1.4.25
Not to be weary with you, he's in prison.
Link: 1.4.26

Woe me! for what?
Link: 1.4.27

For that which, if myself might be his judge,
Link: 1.4.28
He should receive his punishment in thanks:
Link: 1.4.29
He hath got his friend with child.
Link: 1.4.30

Sir, make me not your story.
Link: 1.4.31

It is true.
Link: 1.4.32
I would not--though 'tis my familiar sin
Link: 1.4.33
With maids to seem the lapwing and to jest,
Link: 1.4.34
Tongue far from heart--play with all virgins so:
Link: 1.4.35
I hold you as a thing ensky'd and sainted.
Link: 1.4.36
By your renouncement an immortal spirit,
Link: 1.4.37
And to be talk'd with in sincerity,
Link: 1.4.38
As with a saint.
Link: 1.4.39

You do blaspheme the good in mocking me.
Link: 1.4.40

Do not believe it. Fewness and truth, 'tis thus:
Link: 1.4.41
Your brother and his lover have embraced:
Link: 1.4.42
As those that feed grow full, as blossoming time
Link: 1.4.43
That from the seedness the bare fallow brings
Link: 1.4.44
To teeming foison, even so her plenteous womb
Link: 1.4.45
Expresseth his full tilth and husbandry.
Link: 1.4.46

Some one with child by him? My cousin Juliet?
Link: 1.4.47

Is she your cousin?
Link: 1.4.48

Adoptedly; as school-maids change their names
Link: 1.4.49
By vain though apt affection.
Link: 1.4.50

She it is.
Link: 1.4.51

O, let him marry her.
Link: 1.4.52

This is the point.
Link: 1.4.53
The duke is very strangely gone from hence;
Link: 1.4.54
Bore many gentlemen, myself being one,
Link: 1.4.55
In hand and hope of action: but we do learn
Link: 1.4.56
By those that know the very nerves of state,
Link: 1.4.57
His givings-out were of an infinite distance
Link: 1.4.58
From his true-meant design. Upon his place,
Link: 1.4.59
And with full line of his authority,
Link: 1.4.60
Governs Lord Angelo; a man whose blood
Link: 1.4.61
Is very snow-broth; one who never feels
Link: 1.4.62
The wanton stings and motions of the sense,
Link: 1.4.63
But doth rebate and blunt his natural edge
Link: 1.4.64
With profits of the mind, study and fast.
Link: 1.4.65
He--to give fear to use and liberty,
Link: 1.4.66
Which have for long run by the hideous law,
Link: 1.4.67
As mice by lions--hath pick'd out an act,
Link: 1.4.68
Under whose heavy sense your brother's life
Link: 1.4.69
Falls into forfeit: he arrests him on it;
Link: 1.4.70
And follows close the rigour of the statute,
Link: 1.4.71
To make him an example. All hope is gone,
Link: 1.4.72
Unless you have the grace by your fair prayer
Link: 1.4.73
To soften Angelo: and that's my pith of business
Link: 1.4.74
'Twixt you and your poor brother.
Link: 1.4.75

Doth he so seek his life?
Link: 1.4.76

Has censured him
Link: 1.4.77
Already; and, as I hear, the provost hath
Link: 1.4.78
A warrant for his execution.
Link: 1.4.79

Alas! what poor ability's in me
Link: 1.4.80
To do him good?
Link: 1.4.81

Assay the power you have.
Link: 1.4.82

My power? Alas, I doubt--
Link: 1.4.83

Our doubts are traitors
Link: 1.4.84
And make us lose the good we oft might win
Link: 1.4.85
By fearing to attempt. Go to Lord Angelo,
Link: 1.4.86
And let him learn to know, when maidens sue,
Link: 1.4.87
Men give like gods; but when they weep and kneel,
Link: 1.4.88
All their petitions are as freely theirs
Link: 1.4.89
As they themselves would owe them.
Link: 1.4.90

I'll see what I can do.
Link: 1.4.91

But speedily.
Link: 1.4.92

I will about it straight;
Link: 1.4.93
No longer staying but to give the mother
Link: 1.4.94
Notice of my affair. I humbly thank you:
Link: 1.4.95
Commend me to my brother: soon at night
Link: 1.4.96
I'll send him certain word of my success.
Link: 1.4.97

I take my leave of you.
Link: 1.4.98

Good sir, adieu.
Link: 1.4.99


Act II

Act 2 of Measure for Measure opens with the character Lucio revealing to two other characters, the Provost and Claudio, that he has heard that Claudio is to be executed for impregnating his fiancé before they were married. Claudio is devastated by the news and asks the Provost for advice on how to save his life. The Provost suggests that Claudio's sister, Isabella, who is about to become a nun, might be able to persuade Angelo, the strict deputy of Duke Vincentio, to spare his life.

Isabella visits Angelo and pleads for Claudio's life, but Angelo tells her that the law must be upheld and that Claudio must die. However, he then proposes a deal to Isabella: if she sleeps with him, he will spare Claudio's life. Isabella is horrified and refuses, but is torn between her love for her brother and her devotion to her religious vows.

The Duke, who has been posing as a friar since leaving Vienna, overhears Isabella's dilemma and decides to intervene. He suggests that Isabella trick Angelo into thinking that she has slept with him by sending another woman in her place. Isabella is hesitant at first, but eventually agrees to the plan.

The Duke then visits a group of prostitutes, including the woman who will pretend to be Isabella, and convinces them to help him with his plan. The woman, named Mariana, was once engaged to Angelo but was abandoned by him when she lost her dowry. The Duke promises to help her get revenge on Angelo if she helps him save Claudio.

The act ends with Isabella preparing to go through with the plan to save her brother's life, while the Duke and Mariana prepare to put their own plan into action.

SCENE I. A hall In ANGELO's house.

Scene 1 of Act 2 begins with a conversation between the Duke and Friar Thomas, where the Duke is disguised as a friar. The Duke asks Friar Thomas about Angelo, the temporary ruler of Vienna, and his strict enforcement of the laws. Friar Thomas tells the Duke that Angelo is a strict enforcer of the law and has already sentenced Claudio to death for impregnating his fiancée Juliet.

The Duke then reveals his plan to Friar Thomas, which involves him disguising himself as a friar and observing the actions of Angelo and the city. The Duke hopes to see if Angelo will uphold his strict enforcement of the law or if he will be swayed by his own desires.

Soon after, Angelo enters and begins to speak with the Duke, who is still disguised as Friar Thomas. Angelo reveals to the Duke that he is in love with Isabella, Claudio's sister who is about to enter a convent. Angelo offers to release Claudio if Isabella agrees to sleep with him. The Duke is shocked by Angelo's proposal and tells him that it is a sin and against the law.

Isabella then enters and speaks with Angelo, who tells her that he will only release Claudio if she agrees to sleep with him. Isabella is horrified and refuses, telling Angelo that she will not sacrifice her honor for her brother's life. The Duke, still disguised as Friar Thomas, advises Isabella to plead with Angelo again and to also visit Claudio in prison to comfort him.

Scene 1 of Act 2 sets up the main conflict of the play, which is the struggle between justice and mercy. Angelo's strict enforcement of the law clashes with the Duke's belief in mercy and forgiveness. Isabella's struggle to save her brother's life while maintaining her honor also adds to the tension of the scene.

Enter ANGELO, ESCALUS, and a Justice, Provost, Officers, and other Attendants, behind

We must not make a scarecrow of the law,
Link: 2.1.1
Setting it up to fear the birds of prey,
Link: 2.1.2
And let it keep one shape, till custom make it
Link: 2.1.3
Their perch and not their terror.
Link: 2.1.4

Ay, but yet
Link: 2.1.5
Let us be keen, and rather cut a little,
Link: 2.1.6
Than fall, and bruise to death. Alas, this gentleman
Link: 2.1.7
Whom I would save, had a most noble father!
Link: 2.1.8
Let but your honour know,
Link: 2.1.9
Whom I believe to be most strait in virtue,
Link: 2.1.10
That, in the working of your own affections,
Link: 2.1.11
Had time cohered with place or place with wishing,
Link: 2.1.12
Or that the resolute acting of your blood
Link: 2.1.13
Could have attain'd the effect of your own purpose,
Link: 2.1.14
Whether you had not sometime in your life
Link: 2.1.15
Err'd in this point which now you censure him,
Link: 2.1.16
And pull'd the law upon you.
Link: 2.1.17

'Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus,
Link: 2.1.18
Another thing to fall. I not deny,
Link: 2.1.19
The jury, passing on the prisoner's life,
Link: 2.1.20
May in the sworn twelve have a thief or two
Link: 2.1.21
Guiltier than him they try. What's open made to justice,
Link: 2.1.22
That justice seizes: what know the laws
Link: 2.1.23
That thieves do pass on thieves? 'Tis very pregnant,
Link: 2.1.24
The jewel that we find, we stoop and take't
Link: 2.1.25
Because we see it; but what we do not see
Link: 2.1.26
We tread upon, and never think of it.
Link: 2.1.27
You may not so extenuate his offence
Link: 2.1.28
For I have had such faults; but rather tell me,
Link: 2.1.29
When I, that censure him, do so offend,
Link: 2.1.30
Let mine own judgment pattern out my death,
Link: 2.1.31
And nothing come in partial. Sir, he must die.
Link: 2.1.32

Be it as your wisdom will.
Link: 2.1.33

Where is the provost?
Link: 2.1.34

Here, if it like your honour.
Link: 2.1.35

See that Claudio
Link: 2.1.36
Be executed by nine to-morrow morning:
Link: 2.1.37
Bring him his confessor, let him be prepared;
Link: 2.1.38
For that's the utmost of his pilgrimage.
Link: 2.1.39

Exit Provost

(Aside) Well, heaven forgive him! and forgive us all!
Link: 2.1.40
Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall:
Link: 2.1.41
Some run from brakes of ice, and answer none:
Link: 2.1.42
And some condemned for a fault alone.
Link: 2.1.43

Enter ELBOW, and Officers with FROTH and POMPEY

Come, bring them away: if these be good people in
Link: 2.1.44
a commonweal that do nothing but use their abuses in
Link: 2.1.45
common houses, I know no law: bring them away.
Link: 2.1.46

How now, sir! What's your name? and what's the matter?
Link: 2.1.47

If it Please your honour, I am the poor duke's
Link: 2.1.48
constable, and my name is Elbow: I do lean upon
Link: 2.1.49
justice, sir, and do bring in here before your good
Link: 2.1.50
honour two notorious benefactors.
Link: 2.1.51

Benefactors? Well; what benefactors are they? are
Link: 2.1.52
they not malefactors?
Link: 2.1.53

If it? please your honour, I know not well what they
Link: 2.1.54
are: but precise villains they are, that I am sure
Link: 2.1.55
of; and void of all profanation in the world that
Link: 2.1.56
good Christians ought to have.
Link: 2.1.57

This comes off well; here's a wise officer.
Link: 2.1.58

Go to: what quality are they of? Elbow is your
Link: 2.1.59
name? why dost thou not speak, Elbow?
Link: 2.1.60

He cannot, sir; he's out at elbow.
Link: 2.1.61

What are you, sir?
Link: 2.1.62

He, sir! a tapster, sir; parcel-bawd; one that
Link: 2.1.63
serves a bad woman; whose house, sir, was, as they
Link: 2.1.64
say, plucked down in the suburbs; and now she
Link: 2.1.65
professes a hot-house, which, I think, is a very ill house too.
Link: 2.1.66

How know you that?
Link: 2.1.67

My wife, sir, whom I detest before heaven and your honour,--
Link: 2.1.68

How? thy wife?
Link: 2.1.69

Ay, sir; whom, I thank heaven, is an honest woman,--
Link: 2.1.70

Dost thou detest her therefore?
Link: 2.1.71

I say, sir, I will detest myself also, as well as
Link: 2.1.72
she, that this house, if it be not a bawd's house,
Link: 2.1.73
it is pity of her life, for it is a naughty house.
Link: 2.1.74

How dost thou know that, constable?
Link: 2.1.75

Marry, sir, by my wife; who, if she had been a woman
Link: 2.1.76
cardinally given, might have been accused in
Link: 2.1.77
fornication, adultery, and all uncleanliness there.
Link: 2.1.78

By the woman's means?
Link: 2.1.79

Ay, sir, by Mistress Overdone's means: but as she
Link: 2.1.80
spit in his face, so she defied him.
Link: 2.1.81

Sir, if it please your honour, this is not so.
Link: 2.1.82

Prove it before these varlets here, thou honourable
Link: 2.1.83
man; prove it.
Link: 2.1.84

Do you hear how he misplaces?
Link: 2.1.85

Sir, she came in great with child; and longing,
Link: 2.1.86
saving your honour's reverence, for stewed prunes;
Link: 2.1.87
sir, we had but two in the house, which at that very
Link: 2.1.88
distant time stood, as it were, in a fruit-dish, a
Link: 2.1.89
dish of some three-pence; your honours have seen
Link: 2.1.90
such dishes; they are not China dishes, but very
Link: 2.1.91
good dishes,--
Link: 2.1.92

Go to, go to: no matter for the dish, sir.
Link: 2.1.93

No, indeed, sir, not of a pin; you are therein in
Link: 2.1.94
the right: but to the point. As I say, this
Link: 2.1.95
Mistress Elbow, being, as I say, with child, and
Link: 2.1.96
being great-bellied, and longing, as I said, for
Link: 2.1.97
prunes; and having but two in the dish, as I said,
Link: 2.1.98
Master Froth here, this very man, having eaten the
Link: 2.1.99
rest, as I said, and, as I say, paying for them very
Link: 2.1.100
honestly; for, as you know, Master Froth, I could
Link: 2.1.101
not give you three-pence again.
Link: 2.1.102

No, indeed.
Link: 2.1.103

Very well: you being then, if you be remembered,
Link: 2.1.104
cracking the stones of the foresaid prunes,--
Link: 2.1.105

Ay, so I did indeed.
Link: 2.1.106

Why, very well; I telling you then, if you be
Link: 2.1.107
remembered, that such a one and such a one were past
Link: 2.1.108
cure of the thing you wot of, unless they kept very
Link: 2.1.109
good diet, as I told you,--
Link: 2.1.110

All this is true.
Link: 2.1.111

Why, very well, then,--
Link: 2.1.112

Come, you are a tedious fool: to the purpose. What
Link: 2.1.113
was done to Elbow's wife, that he hath cause to
Link: 2.1.114
complain of? Come me to what was done to her.
Link: 2.1.115

Sir, your honour cannot come to that yet.
Link: 2.1.116

No, sir, nor I mean it not.
Link: 2.1.117

Sir, but you shall come to it, by your honour's
Link: 2.1.118
leave. And, I beseech you, look into Master Froth
Link: 2.1.119
here, sir; a man of four-score pound a year; whose
Link: 2.1.120
father died at Hallowmas: was't not at Hallowmas,
Link: 2.1.121
Master Froth?
Link: 2.1.122

All-hallond eve.
Link: 2.1.123

Why, very well; I hope here be truths. He, sir,
Link: 2.1.124
sitting, as I say, in a lower chair, sir; 'twas in
Link: 2.1.125
the Bunch of Grapes, where indeed you have a delight
Link: 2.1.126
to sit, have you not?
Link: 2.1.127

I have so; because it is an open room and good for winter.
Link: 2.1.128

Why, very well, then; I hope here be truths.
Link: 2.1.129

This will last out a night in Russia,
Link: 2.1.130
When nights are longest there: I'll take my leave.
Link: 2.1.131
And leave you to the hearing of the cause;
Link: 2.1.132
Hoping you'll find good cause to whip them all.
Link: 2.1.133

I think no less. Good morrow to your lordship.
Link: 2.1.134
Now, sir, come on: what was done to Elbow's wife, once more?
Link: 2.1.135

Once, sir? there was nothing done to her once.
Link: 2.1.136

I beseech you, sir, ask him what this man did to my wife.
Link: 2.1.137

I beseech your honour, ask me.
Link: 2.1.138

Well, sir; what did this gentleman to her?
Link: 2.1.139

I beseech you, sir, look in this gentleman's face.
Link: 2.1.140
Good Master Froth, look upon his honour; 'tis for a
Link: 2.1.141
good purpose. Doth your honour mark his face?
Link: 2.1.142

Ay, sir, very well.
Link: 2.1.143

Nay; I beseech you, mark it well.
Link: 2.1.144

Well, I do so.
Link: 2.1.145

Doth your honour see any harm in his face?
Link: 2.1.146

Why, no.
Link: 2.1.147

I'll be supposed upon a book, his face is the worst
Link: 2.1.148
thing about him. Good, then; if his face be the
Link: 2.1.149
worst thing about him, how could Master Froth do the
Link: 2.1.150
constable's wife any harm? I would know that of
Link: 2.1.151
your honour.
Link: 2.1.152

He's in the right. Constable, what say you to it?
Link: 2.1.153

First, an it like you, the house is a respected
Link: 2.1.154
house; next, this is a respected fellow; and his
Link: 2.1.155
mistress is a respected woman.
Link: 2.1.156

By this hand, sir, his wife is a more respected
Link: 2.1.157
person than any of us all.
Link: 2.1.158

Varlet, thou liest; thou liest, wicked varlet! the
Link: 2.1.159
time has yet to come that she was ever respected
Link: 2.1.160
with man, woman, or child.
Link: 2.1.161

Sir, she was respected with him before he married with her.
Link: 2.1.162

Which is the wiser here? Justice or Iniquity? Is
Link: 2.1.163
this true?
Link: 2.1.164

O thou caitiff! O thou varlet! O thou wicked
Link: 2.1.165
Hannibal! I respected with her before I was married
Link: 2.1.166
to her! If ever I was respected with her, or she
Link: 2.1.167
with me, let not your worship think me the poor
Link: 2.1.168
duke's officer. Prove this, thou wicked Hannibal, or
Link: 2.1.169
I'll have mine action of battery on thee.
Link: 2.1.170

If he took you a box o' the ear, you might have your
Link: 2.1.171
action of slander too.
Link: 2.1.172

Marry, I thank your good worship for it. What is't
Link: 2.1.173
your worship's pleasure I shall do with this wicked caitiff?
Link: 2.1.174

Truly, officer, because he hath some offences in him
Link: 2.1.175
that thou wouldst discover if thou couldst, let him
Link: 2.1.176
continue in his courses till thou knowest what they
Link: 2.1.177

Marry, I thank your worship for it. Thou seest, thou
Link: 2.1.179
wicked varlet, now, what's come upon thee: thou art
Link: 2.1.180
to continue now, thou varlet; thou art to continue.
Link: 2.1.181

Where were you born, friend?
Link: 2.1.182

Here in Vienna, sir.
Link: 2.1.183

Are you of fourscore pounds a year?
Link: 2.1.184

Yes, an't please you, sir.
Link: 2.1.185

So. What trade are you of, sir?
Link: 2.1.186

Tapster; a poor widow's tapster.
Link: 2.1.187

Your mistress' name?
Link: 2.1.188

Mistress Overdone.
Link: 2.1.189

Hath she had any more than one husband?
Link: 2.1.190

Nine, sir; Overdone by the last.
Link: 2.1.191

Nine! Come hither to me, Master Froth. Master
Link: 2.1.192
Froth, I would not have you acquainted with
Link: 2.1.193
tapsters: they will draw you, Master Froth, and you
Link: 2.1.194
will hang them. Get you gone, and let me hear no
Link: 2.1.195
more of you.
Link: 2.1.196

I thank your worship. For mine own part, I never
Link: 2.1.197
come into any room in a tap-house, but I am drawn
Link: 2.1.198

Well, no more of it, Master Froth: farewell.
Link: 2.1.200
Come you hither to me, Master tapster. What's your
Link: 2.1.201
name, Master tapster?
Link: 2.1.202


What else?
Link: 2.1.204

Bum, sir.
Link: 2.1.205

Troth, and your bum is the greatest thing about you;
Link: 2.1.206
so that in the beastliest sense you are Pompey the
Link: 2.1.207
Great. Pompey, you are partly a bawd, Pompey,
Link: 2.1.208
howsoever you colour it in being a tapster, are you
Link: 2.1.209
not? come, tell me true: it shall be the better for you.
Link: 2.1.210

Truly, sir, I am a poor fellow that would live.
Link: 2.1.211

How would you live, Pompey? by being a bawd? What
Link: 2.1.212
do you think of the trade, Pompey? is it a lawful trade?
Link: 2.1.213

If the law would allow it, sir.
Link: 2.1.214

But the law will not allow it, Pompey; nor it shall
Link: 2.1.215
not be allowed in Vienna.
Link: 2.1.216

Does your worship mean to geld and splay all the
Link: 2.1.217
youth of the city?
Link: 2.1.218

No, Pompey.
Link: 2.1.219

Truly, sir, in my poor opinion, they will to't then.
Link: 2.1.220
If your worship will take order for the drabs and
Link: 2.1.221
the knaves, you need not to fear the bawds.
Link: 2.1.222

There are pretty orders beginning, I can tell you:
Link: 2.1.223
it is but heading and hanging.
Link: 2.1.224

If you head and hang all that offend that way but
Link: 2.1.225
for ten year together, you'll be glad to give out a
Link: 2.1.226
commission for more heads: if this law hold in
Link: 2.1.227
Vienna ten year, I'll rent the fairest house in it
Link: 2.1.228
after three-pence a bay: if you live to see this
Link: 2.1.229
come to pass, say Pompey told you so.
Link: 2.1.230

Thank you, good Pompey; and, in requital of your
Link: 2.1.231
prophecy, hark you: I advise you, let me not find
Link: 2.1.232
you before me again upon any complaint whatsoever;
Link: 2.1.233
no, not for dwelling where you do: if I do, Pompey,
Link: 2.1.234
I shall beat you to your tent, and prove a shrewd
Link: 2.1.235
Caesar to you; in plain dealing, Pompey, I shall
Link: 2.1.236
have you whipt: so, for this time, Pompey, fare you well.
Link: 2.1.237

I thank your worship for your good counsel:
Link: 2.1.238
but I shall follow it as the flesh and fortune shall
Link: 2.1.239
better determine.
Link: 2.1.240
Whip me? No, no; let carman whip his jade:
Link: 2.1.241
The valiant heart is not whipt out of his trade.
Link: 2.1.242


Come hither to me, Master Elbow; come hither, Master
Link: 2.1.243
constable. How long have you been in this place of constable?
Link: 2.1.244

Seven year and a half, sir.
Link: 2.1.245

I thought, by your readiness in the office, you had
Link: 2.1.246
continued in it some time. You say, seven years together?
Link: 2.1.247

And a half, sir.
Link: 2.1.248

Alas, it hath been great pains to you. They do you
Link: 2.1.249
wrong to put you so oft upon 't: are there not men
Link: 2.1.250
in your ward sufficient to serve it?
Link: 2.1.251

Faith, sir, few of any wit in such matters: as they
Link: 2.1.252
are chosen, they are glad to choose me for them; I
Link: 2.1.253
do it for some piece of money, and go through with
Link: 2.1.254

Look you bring me in the names of some six or seven,
Link: 2.1.256
the most sufficient of your parish.
Link: 2.1.257

To your worship's house, sir?
Link: 2.1.258

To my house. Fare you well.
Link: 2.1.259
What's o'clock, think you?
Link: 2.1.260

Eleven, sir.
Link: 2.1.261

I pray you home to dinner with me.
Link: 2.1.262

I humbly thank you.
Link: 2.1.263

It grieves me for the death of Claudio;
Link: 2.1.264
But there's no remedy.
Link: 2.1.265

Lord Angelo is severe.
Link: 2.1.266

It is but needful:
Link: 2.1.267
Mercy is not itself, that oft looks so;
Link: 2.1.268
Pardon is still the nurse of second woe:
Link: 2.1.269
But yet,--poor Claudio! There is no remedy.
Link: 2.1.270
Come, sir.
Link: 2.1.271


SCENE II. Another room in the same.

Scene 2 of Act 2 follows after Angelo is left in charge as the Duke leaves Vienna. Angelo has decided to enforce the laws on fornication and adultery strictly, due to his own strict moral code. He is approached by Lucio, who brings him news of a young man named Claudio who has been sentenced to death for impregnating his fiancée. Lucio pleads with Angelo to show mercy, but Angelo remains firm in his decision to uphold the law.

Isabella, Claudio's sister, arrives to plead for her brother's life. She is a novice nun and begs Angelo to show mercy and spare her brother. Angelo is immediately struck by Isabella's beauty and purity and offers her a deal: if she will sleep with him, he will spare her brother's life. Isabella is horrified by the proposition and refuses, telling Angelo that she would rather see her brother die than betray her vows and her own conscience.

Angelo is angered by Isabella's refusal and threatens to have Claudio executed immediately. Isabella leaves, heartbroken and desperate to find a way to save her brother. The scene ends with Angelo reflecting on his own desires and the conflict between his strict morality and his own passions.

Enter Provost and a Servant

He's hearing of a cause; he will come straight
Link: 2.2.1
I'll tell him of you.
Link: 2.2.2

Pray you, do.
Link: 2.2.3
I'll know
Link: 2.2.4
His pleasure; may be he will relent. Alas,
Link: 2.2.5
He hath but as offended in a dream!
Link: 2.2.6
All sects, all ages smack of this vice; and he
Link: 2.2.7
To die for't!
Link: 2.2.8


Now, what's the matter. Provost?
Link: 2.2.9

Is it your will Claudio shall die tomorrow?
Link: 2.2.10

Did not I tell thee yea? hadst thou not order?
Link: 2.2.11
Why dost thou ask again?
Link: 2.2.12

Lest I might be too rash:
Link: 2.2.13
Under your good correction, I have seen,
Link: 2.2.14
When, after execution, judgment hath
Link: 2.2.15
Repented o'er his doom.
Link: 2.2.16

Go to; let that be mine:
Link: 2.2.17
Do you your office, or give up your place,
Link: 2.2.18
And you shall well be spared.
Link: 2.2.19

I crave your honour's pardon.
Link: 2.2.20
What shall be done, sir, with the groaning Juliet?
Link: 2.2.21
She's very near her hour.
Link: 2.2.22

Dispose of her
Link: 2.2.23
To some more fitter place, and that with speed.
Link: 2.2.24

Re-enter Servant

Here is the sister of the man condemn'd
Link: 2.2.25
Desires access to you.
Link: 2.2.26

Hath he a sister?
Link: 2.2.27

Ay, my good lord; a very virtuous maid,
Link: 2.2.28
And to be shortly of a sisterhood,
Link: 2.2.29
If not already.
Link: 2.2.30

Well, let her be admitted.
Link: 2.2.31
See you the fornicatress be removed:
Link: 2.2.32
Let have needful, but not lavish, means;
Link: 2.2.33
There shall be order for't.
Link: 2.2.34


God save your honour!
Link: 2.2.35

Stay a little while.
Link: 2.2.36
You're welcome: what's your will?
Link: 2.2.37

I am a woeful suitor to your honour,
Link: 2.2.38
Please but your honour hear me.
Link: 2.2.39

Well; what's your suit?
Link: 2.2.40

There is a vice that most I do abhor,
Link: 2.2.41
And most desire should meet the blow of justice;
Link: 2.2.42
For which I would not plead, but that I must;
Link: 2.2.43
For which I must not plead, but that I am
Link: 2.2.44
At war 'twixt will and will not.
Link: 2.2.45

Well; the matter?
Link: 2.2.46

I have a brother is condemn'd to die:
Link: 2.2.47
I do beseech you, let it be his fault,
Link: 2.2.48
And not my brother.
Link: 2.2.49

(Aside) Heaven give thee moving graces!
Link: 2.2.50

Condemn the fault and not the actor of it?
Link: 2.2.51
Why, every fault's condemn'd ere it be done:
Link: 2.2.52
Mine were the very cipher of a function,
Link: 2.2.53
To fine the faults whose fine stands in record,
Link: 2.2.54
And let go by the actor.
Link: 2.2.55

O just but severe law!
Link: 2.2.56
I had a brother, then. Heaven keep your honour!
Link: 2.2.57

(Aside to ISABELLA) Give't not o'er so: to him
Link: 2.2.58
again, entreat him;
Link: 2.2.59
Kneel down before him, hang upon his gown:
Link: 2.2.60
You are too cold; if you should need a pin,
Link: 2.2.61
You could not with more tame a tongue desire it:
Link: 2.2.62
To him, I say!
Link: 2.2.63

Must he needs die?
Link: 2.2.64

Maiden, no remedy.
Link: 2.2.65

Yes; I do think that you might pardon him,
Link: 2.2.66
And neither heaven nor man grieve at the mercy.
Link: 2.2.67

I will not do't.
Link: 2.2.68

But can you, if you would?
Link: 2.2.69

Look, what I will not, that I cannot do.
Link: 2.2.70

But might you do't, and do the world no wrong,
Link: 2.2.71
If so your heart were touch'd with that remorse
Link: 2.2.72
As mine is to him?
Link: 2.2.73

He's sentenced; 'tis too late.
Link: 2.2.74

(Aside to ISABELLA) You are too cold.
Link: 2.2.75

Too late? why, no; I, that do speak a word.
Link: 2.2.76
May call it back again. Well, believe this,
Link: 2.2.77
No ceremony that to great ones 'longs,
Link: 2.2.78
Not the king's crown, nor the deputed sword,
Link: 2.2.79
The marshal's truncheon, nor the judge's robe,
Link: 2.2.80
Become them with one half so good a grace
Link: 2.2.81
As mercy does.
Link: 2.2.82
If he had been as you and you as he,
Link: 2.2.83
You would have slipt like him; but he, like you,
Link: 2.2.84
Would not have been so stern.
Link: 2.2.85

Pray you, be gone.
Link: 2.2.86

I would to heaven I had your potency,
Link: 2.2.87
And you were Isabel! should it then be thus?
Link: 2.2.88
No; I would tell what 'twere to be a judge,
Link: 2.2.89
And what a prisoner.
Link: 2.2.90

(Aside to ISABELLA)
Link: 2.2.91
Ay, touch him; there's the vein.
Link: 2.2.92

Your brother is a forfeit of the law,
Link: 2.2.93
And you but waste your words.
Link: 2.2.94

Alas, alas!
Link: 2.2.95
Why, all the souls that were were forfeit once;
Link: 2.2.96
And He that might the vantage best have took
Link: 2.2.97
Found out the remedy. How would you be,
Link: 2.2.98
If He, which is the top of judgment, should
Link: 2.2.99
But judge you as you are? O, think on that;
Link: 2.2.100
And mercy then will breathe within your lips,
Link: 2.2.101
Like man new made.
Link: 2.2.102

Be you content, fair maid;
Link: 2.2.103
It is the law, not I condemn your brother:
Link: 2.2.104
Were he my kinsman, brother, or my son,
Link: 2.2.105
It should be thus with him: he must die tomorrow.
Link: 2.2.106

To-morrow! O, that's sudden! Spare him, spare him!
Link: 2.2.107
He's not prepared for death. Even for our kitchens
Link: 2.2.108
We kill the fowl of season: shall we serve heaven
Link: 2.2.109
With less respect than we do minister
Link: 2.2.110
To our gross selves? Good, good my lord, bethink you;
Link: 2.2.111
Who is it that hath died for this offence?
Link: 2.2.112
There's many have committed it.
Link: 2.2.113

(Aside to ISABELLA) Ay, well said.
Link: 2.2.114

The law hath not been dead, though it hath slept:
Link: 2.2.115
Those many had not dared to do that evil,
Link: 2.2.116
If the first that did the edict infringe
Link: 2.2.117
Had answer'd for his deed: now 'tis awake
Link: 2.2.118
Takes note of what is done; and, like a prophet,
Link: 2.2.119
Looks in a glass, that shows what future evils,
Link: 2.2.120
Either new, or by remissness new-conceived,
Link: 2.2.121
And so in progress to be hatch'd and born,
Link: 2.2.122
Are now to have no successive degrees,
Link: 2.2.123
But, ere they live, to end.
Link: 2.2.124

Yet show some pity.
Link: 2.2.125

I show it most of all when I show justice;
Link: 2.2.126
For then I pity those I do not know,
Link: 2.2.127
Which a dismiss'd offence would after gall;
Link: 2.2.128
And do him right that, answering one foul wrong,
Link: 2.2.129
Lives not to act another. Be satisfied;
Link: 2.2.130
Your brother dies to-morrow; be content.
Link: 2.2.131

So you must be the first that gives this sentence,
Link: 2.2.132
And he, that suffer's. O, it is excellent
Link: 2.2.133
To have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous
Link: 2.2.134
To use it like a giant.
Link: 2.2.135

(Aside to ISABELLA) That's well said.
Link: 2.2.136

Could great men thunder
Link: 2.2.137
As Jove himself does, Jove would ne'er be quiet,
Link: 2.2.138
For every pelting, petty officer
Link: 2.2.139
Would use his heaven for thunder;
Link: 2.2.140
Nothing but thunder! Merciful Heaven,
Link: 2.2.141
Thou rather with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt
Link: 2.2.142
Split'st the unwedgeable and gnarled oak
Link: 2.2.143
Than the soft myrtle: but man, proud man,
Link: 2.2.144
Drest in a little brief authority,
Link: 2.2.145
Most ignorant of what he's most assured,
Link: 2.2.146
His glassy essence, like an angry ape,
Link: 2.2.147
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
Link: 2.2.148
As make the angels weep; who, with our spleens,
Link: 2.2.149
Would all themselves laugh mortal.
Link: 2.2.150

(Aside to ISABELLA) O, to him, to him, wench! he
Link: 2.2.151
will relent;
Link: 2.2.152
He's coming; I perceive 't.
Link: 2.2.153

(Aside) Pray heaven she win him!
Link: 2.2.154

We cannot weigh our brother with ourself:
Link: 2.2.155
Great men may jest with saints; 'tis wit in them,
Link: 2.2.156
But in the less foul profanation.
Link: 2.2.157

Thou'rt i' the right, girl; more o, that.
Link: 2.2.158

That in the captain's but a choleric word,
Link: 2.2.159
Which in the soldier is flat blasphemy.
Link: 2.2.160

(Aside to ISABELLA) Art avised o' that? more on 't.
Link: 2.2.161

Why do you put these sayings upon me?
Link: 2.2.162

Because authority, though it err like others,
Link: 2.2.163
Hath yet a kind of medicine in itself,
Link: 2.2.164
That skins the vice o' the top. Go to your bosom;
Link: 2.2.165
Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know
Link: 2.2.166
That's like my brother's fault: if it confess
Link: 2.2.167
A natural guiltiness such as is his,
Link: 2.2.168
Let it not sound a thought upon your tongue
Link: 2.2.169
Against my brother's life.
Link: 2.2.170

(Aside) She speaks, and 'tis
Link: 2.2.171
Such sense, that my sense breeds with it. Fare you well.
Link: 2.2.172

Gentle my lord, turn back.
Link: 2.2.173

I will bethink me: come again tomorrow.
Link: 2.2.174

Hark how I'll bribe you: good my lord, turn back.
Link: 2.2.175

How! bribe me?
Link: 2.2.176

Ay, with such gifts that heaven shall share with you.
Link: 2.2.177

(Aside to ISABELLA) You had marr'd all else.
Link: 2.2.178

Not with fond shekels of the tested gold,
Link: 2.2.179
Or stones whose rates are either rich or poor
Link: 2.2.180
As fancy values them; but with true prayers
Link: 2.2.181
That shall be up at heaven and enter there
Link: 2.2.182
Ere sun-rise, prayers from preserved souls,
Link: 2.2.183
From fasting maids whose minds are dedicate
Link: 2.2.184
To nothing temporal.
Link: 2.2.185

Well; come to me to-morrow.
Link: 2.2.186

(Aside to ISABELLA) Go to; 'tis well; away!
Link: 2.2.187

Heaven keep your honour safe!
Link: 2.2.188

(Aside) Amen:
Link: 2.2.189
For I am that way going to temptation,
Link: 2.2.190
Where prayers cross.
Link: 2.2.191

At what hour to-morrow
Link: 2.2.192
Shall I attend your lordship?
Link: 2.2.193

At any time 'fore noon.
Link: 2.2.194

'Save your honour!
Link: 2.2.195

Exeunt ISABELLA, LUCIO, and Provost

From thee, even from thy virtue!
Link: 2.2.196
What's this, what's this? Is this her fault or mine?
Link: 2.2.197
The tempter or the tempted, who sins most?
Link: 2.2.198
Not she: nor doth she tempt: but it is I
Link: 2.2.200
That, lying by the violet in the sun,
Link: 2.2.201
Do as the carrion does, not as the flower,
Link: 2.2.202
Corrupt with virtuous season. Can it be
Link: 2.2.203
That modesty may more betray our sense
Link: 2.2.204
Than woman's lightness? Having waste ground enough,
Link: 2.2.205
Shall we desire to raze the sanctuary
Link: 2.2.206
And pitch our evils there? O, fie, fie, fie!
Link: 2.2.207
What dost thou, or what art thou, Angelo?
Link: 2.2.208
Dost thou desire her foully for those things
Link: 2.2.209
That make her good? O, let her brother live!
Link: 2.2.210
Thieves for their robbery have authority
Link: 2.2.211
When judges steal themselves. What, do I love her,
Link: 2.2.212
That I desire to hear her speak again,
Link: 2.2.213
And feast upon her eyes? What is't I dream on?
Link: 2.2.214
O cunning enemy, that, to catch a saint,
Link: 2.2.215
With saints dost bait thy hook! Most dangerous
Link: 2.2.216
Is that temptation that doth goad us on
Link: 2.2.217
To sin in loving virtue: never could the strumpet,
Link: 2.2.218
With all her double vigour, art and nature,
Link: 2.2.219
Once stir my temper; but this virtuous maid
Link: 2.2.220
Subdues me quite. Even till now,
Link: 2.2.221
When men were fond, I smiled and wonder'd how.
Link: 2.2.222


SCENE III. A room in a prison.

Scene 3 of Act 2 takes place in a room in the prison. The Provost enters with Pompey, a bawd, and Froth, a foolish gentleman. The Provost is angry with Pompey for continuing his illegal activities despite being warned to stop. Pompey tries to defend himself by saying that he is just trying to make a living, but the Provost is not convinced.

Meanwhile, Froth is upset because he has been arrested for having sex with a prostitute. He claims that he did not know she was a prostitute and that he was behaving honorably. The Provost is amused by Froth's naiveté and tells him that he will be released soon.

Angelo, the deputy, enters and speaks with the Provost. He tells him that he has received a letter from the Duke, who is supposedly traveling in a foreign country. The letter instructs Angelo to be more lenient in his judgments and to release some of the prisoners.

Angelo agrees to follow the Duke's orders, but he is still determined to execute Claudio, who has been sentenced to death for having sex with his fiancée before their marriage. The Provost reminds Angelo that Claudio's offense is not that serious and that many people have committed the same crime. However, Angelo is unmoved and insists that Claudio must die.

After Angelo leaves, the Provost tells Pompey and Froth that he will try to help them escape from prison. He also decides to send a message to Claudio's sister, Isabella, who is a nun, asking her to come and speak with him.

Enter, severally, DUKE VINCENTIO disguised as a friar, and Provost

Hail to you, provost! so I think you are.
Link: 2.3.1

I am the provost. What's your will, good friar?
Link: 2.3.2

Bound by my charity and my blest order,
Link: 2.3.3
I come to visit the afflicted spirits
Link: 2.3.4
Here in the prison. Do me the common right
Link: 2.3.5
To let me see them and to make me know
Link: 2.3.6
The nature of their crimes, that I may minister
Link: 2.3.7
To them accordingly.
Link: 2.3.8

I would do more than that, if more were needful.
Link: 2.3.9
Look, here comes one: a gentlewoman of mine,
Link: 2.3.10
Who, falling in the flaws of her own youth,
Link: 2.3.11
Hath blister'd her report: she is with child;
Link: 2.3.12
And he that got it, sentenced; a young man
Link: 2.3.13
More fit to do another such offence
Link: 2.3.14
Than die for this.
Link: 2.3.15

When must he die?
Link: 2.3.16

As I do think, to-morrow.
Link: 2.3.17
I have provided for you: stay awhile,
Link: 2.3.18
And you shall be conducted.
Link: 2.3.19

Repent you, fair one, of the sin you carry?
Link: 2.3.20

I do; and bear the shame most patiently.
Link: 2.3.21

I'll teach you how you shall arraign your conscience,
Link: 2.3.22
And try your penitence, if it be sound,
Link: 2.3.23
Or hollowly put on.
Link: 2.3.24

I'll gladly learn.
Link: 2.3.25

Love you the man that wrong'd you?
Link: 2.3.26

Yes, as I love the woman that wrong'd him.
Link: 2.3.27

So then it seems your most offenceful act
Link: 2.3.28
Was mutually committed?
Link: 2.3.29

Link: 2.3.30

Then was your sin of heavier kind than his.
Link: 2.3.31

I do confess it, and repent it, father.
Link: 2.3.32

'Tis meet so, daughter: but lest you do repent,
Link: 2.3.33
As that the sin hath brought you to this shame,
Link: 2.3.34
Which sorrow is always towards ourselves, not heaven,
Link: 2.3.35
Showing we would not spare heaven as we love it,
Link: 2.3.36
But as we stand in fear,--
Link: 2.3.37

I do repent me, as it is an evil,
Link: 2.3.38
And take the shame with joy.
Link: 2.3.39

There rest.
Link: 2.3.40
Your partner, as I hear, must die to-morrow,
Link: 2.3.41
And I am going with instruction to him.
Link: 2.3.42
Grace go with you, Benedicite!
Link: 2.3.43


Must die to-morrow! O injurious love,
Link: 2.3.44
That respites me a life, whose very comfort
Link: 2.3.45
Is still a dying horror!
Link: 2.3.46

'Tis pity of him.
Link: 2.3.47


SCENE IV. A room in ANGELO's house.

In Scene 4 of Act 2 of Measure for Measure, we see the character of Angelo, a strict and moralistic deputy, struggling with his desires for Isabella, a nun who has come to him to plead for the life of her brother who has been sentenced to death for fornication. Angelo attempts to convince Isabella to give up her virginity in exchange for her brother's life, but she refuses. Angelo then threatens Isabella that if she does not comply with his demands, he will execute her brother.

Isabella, torn between her love for her brother and her devotion to her faith, seeks the advice of a friar who suggests that she agree to Angelo's proposition but send Mariana, a woman who was once engaged to Angelo but was abandoned by him, in her place. Mariana agrees to the plan and takes Isabella's place, allowing her brother to be released from prison.

However, the play takes a twist when Angelo is not satisfied with his encounter with Mariana and orders the execution of Claudio, Isabella's brother. The friar then reveals himself as the Duke, who has been disguised throughout the play, and sets in motion a plan to bring justice to the corrupt Angelo and save Claudio's life.


When I would pray and think, I think and pray
Link: 2.4.1
To several subjects. Heaven hath my empty words;
Link: 2.4.2
Whilst my invention, hearing not my tongue,
Link: 2.4.3
Anchors on Isabel: Heaven in my mouth,
Link: 2.4.4
As if I did but only chew his name;
Link: 2.4.5
And in my heart the strong and swelling evil
Link: 2.4.6
Of my conception. The state, whereon I studied
Link: 2.4.7
Is like a good thing, being often read,
Link: 2.4.8
Grown fear'd and tedious; yea, my gravity,
Link: 2.4.9
Wherein--let no man hear me--I take pride,
Link: 2.4.10
Could I with boot change for an idle plume,
Link: 2.4.11
Which the air beats for vain. O place, O form,
Link: 2.4.12
How often dost thou with thy case, thy habit,
Link: 2.4.13
Wrench awe from fools and tie the wiser souls
Link: 2.4.14
To thy false seeming! Blood, thou art blood:
Link: 2.4.15
Let's write good angel on the devil's horn:
Link: 2.4.16
'Tis not the devil's crest.
Link: 2.4.17
How now! who's there?
Link: 2.4.18

One Isabel, a sister, desires access to you.
Link: 2.4.19

Teach her the way.
Link: 2.4.20
O heavens!
Link: 2.4.21
Why does my blood thus muster to my heart,
Link: 2.4.22
Making both it unable for itself,
Link: 2.4.23
And dispossessing all my other parts
Link: 2.4.24
Of necessary fitness?
Link: 2.4.25
So play the foolish throngs with one that swoons;
Link: 2.4.26
Come all to help him, and so stop the air
Link: 2.4.27
By which he should revive: and even so
Link: 2.4.28
The general, subject to a well-wish'd king,
Link: 2.4.29
Quit their own part, and in obsequious fondness
Link: 2.4.30
Crowd to his presence, where their untaught love
Link: 2.4.31
Must needs appear offence.
Link: 2.4.32
How now, fair maid?
Link: 2.4.33

I am come to know your pleasure.
Link: 2.4.34

That you might know it, would much better please me
Link: 2.4.35
Than to demand what 'tis. Your brother cannot live.
Link: 2.4.36

Even so. Heaven keep your honour!
Link: 2.4.37

Yet may he live awhile; and, it may be,
Link: 2.4.38
As long as you or I yet he must die.
Link: 2.4.39

Under your sentence?
Link: 2.4.40


When, I beseech you? that in his reprieve,
Link: 2.4.42
Longer or shorter, he may be so fitted
Link: 2.4.43
That his soul sicken not.
Link: 2.4.44

Ha! fie, these filthy vices! It were as good
Link: 2.4.45
To pardon him that hath from nature stolen
Link: 2.4.46
A man already made, as to remit
Link: 2.4.47
Their saucy sweetness that do coin heaven's image
Link: 2.4.48
In stamps that are forbid: 'tis all as easy
Link: 2.4.49
Falsely to take away a life true made
Link: 2.4.50
As to put metal in restrained means
Link: 2.4.51
To make a false one.
Link: 2.4.52

'Tis set down so in heaven, but not in earth.
Link: 2.4.53

Say you so? then I shall pose you quickly.
Link: 2.4.54
Which had you rather, that the most just law
Link: 2.4.55
Now took your brother's life; or, to redeem him,
Link: 2.4.56
Give up your body to such sweet uncleanness
Link: 2.4.57
As she that he hath stain'd?
Link: 2.4.58

Sir, believe this,
Link: 2.4.59
I had rather give my body than my soul.
Link: 2.4.60

I talk not of your soul: our compell'd sins
Link: 2.4.61
Stand more for number than for accompt.
Link: 2.4.62

How say you?
Link: 2.4.63

Nay, I'll not warrant that; for I can speak
Link: 2.4.64
Against the thing I say. Answer to this:
Link: 2.4.65
I, now the voice of the recorded law,
Link: 2.4.66
Pronounce a sentence on your brother's life:
Link: 2.4.67
Might there not be a charity in sin
Link: 2.4.68
To save this brother's life?
Link: 2.4.69

Please you to do't,
Link: 2.4.70
I'll take it as a peril to my soul,
Link: 2.4.71
It is no sin at all, but charity.
Link: 2.4.72

Pleased you to do't at peril of your soul,
Link: 2.4.73
Were equal poise of sin and charity.
Link: 2.4.74

That I do beg his life, if it be sin,
Link: 2.4.75
Heaven let me bear it! you granting of my suit,
Link: 2.4.76
If that be sin, I'll make it my morn prayer
Link: 2.4.77
To have it added to the faults of mine,
Link: 2.4.78
And nothing of your answer.
Link: 2.4.79

Nay, but hear me.
Link: 2.4.80
Your sense pursues not mine: either you are ignorant,
Link: 2.4.81
Or seem so craftily; and that's not good.
Link: 2.4.82

Let me be ignorant, and in nothing good,
Link: 2.4.83
But graciously to know I am no better.
Link: 2.4.84

Thus wisdom wishes to appear most bright
Link: 2.4.85
When it doth tax itself; as these black masks
Link: 2.4.86
Proclaim an enshield beauty ten times louder
Link: 2.4.87
Than beauty could, display'd. But mark me;
Link: 2.4.88
To be received plain, I'll speak more gross:
Link: 2.4.89
Your brother is to die.
Link: 2.4.90


And his offence is so, as it appears,
Link: 2.4.92
Accountant to the law upon that pain.
Link: 2.4.93


Admit no other way to save his life,--
Link: 2.4.95
As I subscribe not that, nor any other,
Link: 2.4.96
But in the loss of question,--that you, his sister,
Link: 2.4.97
Finding yourself desired of such a person,
Link: 2.4.98
Whose credit with the judge, or own great place,
Link: 2.4.99
Could fetch your brother from the manacles
Link: 2.4.100
Of the all-building law; and that there were
Link: 2.4.101
No earthly mean to save him, but that either
Link: 2.4.102
You must lay down the treasures of your body
Link: 2.4.103
To this supposed, or else to let him suffer;
Link: 2.4.104
What would you do?
Link: 2.4.105

As much for my poor brother as myself:
Link: 2.4.106
That is, were I under the terms of death,
Link: 2.4.107
The impression of keen whips I'ld wear as rubies,
Link: 2.4.108
And strip myself to death, as to a bed
Link: 2.4.109
That longing have been sick for, ere I'ld yield
Link: 2.4.110
My body up to shame.
Link: 2.4.111

Then must your brother die.
Link: 2.4.112

And 'twere the cheaper way:
Link: 2.4.113
Better it were a brother died at once,
Link: 2.4.114
Than that a sister, by redeeming him,
Link: 2.4.115
Should die for ever.
Link: 2.4.116

Were not you then as cruel as the sentence
Link: 2.4.117
That you have slander'd so?
Link: 2.4.118

Ignomy in ransom and free pardon
Link: 2.4.119
Are of two houses: lawful mercy
Link: 2.4.120
Is nothing kin to foul redemption.
Link: 2.4.121

You seem'd of late to make the law a tyrant;
Link: 2.4.122
And rather proved the sliding of your brother
Link: 2.4.123
A merriment than a vice.
Link: 2.4.124

O, pardon me, my lord; it oft falls out,
Link: 2.4.125
To have what we would have, we speak not what we mean:
Link: 2.4.126
I something do excuse the thing I hate,
Link: 2.4.127
For his advantage that I dearly love.
Link: 2.4.128

We are all frail.
Link: 2.4.129

Else let my brother die,
Link: 2.4.130
If not a feodary, but only he
Link: 2.4.131
Owe and succeed thy weakness.
Link: 2.4.132

Nay, women are frail too.
Link: 2.4.133

Ay, as the glasses where they view themselves;
Link: 2.4.134
Which are as easy broke as they make forms.
Link: 2.4.135
Women! Help Heaven! men their creation mar
Link: 2.4.136
In profiting by them. Nay, call us ten times frail;
Link: 2.4.137
For we are soft as our complexions are,
Link: 2.4.138
And credulous to false prints.
Link: 2.4.139

I think it well:
Link: 2.4.140
And from this testimony of your own sex,--
Link: 2.4.141
Since I suppose we are made to be no stronger
Link: 2.4.142
Than faults may shake our frames,--let me be bold;
Link: 2.4.143
I do arrest your words. Be that you are,
Link: 2.4.144
That is, a woman; if you be more, you're none;
Link: 2.4.145
If you be one, as you are well express'd
Link: 2.4.146
By all external warrants, show it now,
Link: 2.4.147
By putting on the destined livery.
Link: 2.4.148

I have no tongue but one: gentle my lord,
Link: 2.4.149
Let me entreat you speak the former language.
Link: 2.4.150

Plainly conceive, I love you.
Link: 2.4.151

My brother did love Juliet,
Link: 2.4.152
And you tell me that he shall die for it.
Link: 2.4.153

He shall not, Isabel, if you give me love.
Link: 2.4.154

I know your virtue hath a licence in't,
Link: 2.4.155
Which seems a little fouler than it is,
Link: 2.4.156
To pluck on others.
Link: 2.4.157

Believe me, on mine honour,
Link: 2.4.158
My words express my purpose.
Link: 2.4.159

Ha! little honour to be much believed,
Link: 2.4.160
And most pernicious purpose! Seeming, seeming!
Link: 2.4.161
I will proclaim thee, Angelo; look for't:
Link: 2.4.162
Sign me a present pardon for my brother,
Link: 2.4.163
Or with an outstretch'd throat I'll tell the world aloud
Link: 2.4.164
What man thou art.
Link: 2.4.165

Who will believe thee, Isabel?
Link: 2.4.166
My unsoil'd name, the austereness of my life,
Link: 2.4.167
My vouch against you, and my place i' the state,
Link: 2.4.168
Will so your accusation overweigh,
Link: 2.4.169
That you shall stifle in your own report
Link: 2.4.170
And smell of calumny. I have begun,
Link: 2.4.171
And now I give my sensual race the rein:
Link: 2.4.172
Fit thy consent to my sharp appetite;
Link: 2.4.173
Lay by all nicety and prolixious blushes,
Link: 2.4.174
That banish what they sue for; redeem thy brother
Link: 2.4.175
By yielding up thy body to my will;
Link: 2.4.176
Or else he must not only die the death,
Link: 2.4.177
But thy unkindness shall his death draw out
Link: 2.4.178
To lingering sufferance. Answer me to-morrow,
Link: 2.4.179
Or, by the affection that now guides me most,
Link: 2.4.180
I'll prove a tyrant to him. As for you,
Link: 2.4.181
Say what you can, my false o'erweighs your true.
Link: 2.4.182


To whom should I complain? Did I tell this,
Link: 2.4.183
Who would believe me? O perilous mouths,
Link: 2.4.184
That bear in them one and the self-same tongue,
Link: 2.4.185
Either of condemnation or approof;
Link: 2.4.186
Bidding the law make court'sy to their will:
Link: 2.4.187
Hooking both right and wrong to the appetite,
Link: 2.4.188
To follow as it draws! I'll to my brother:
Link: 2.4.189
Though he hath fallen by prompture of the blood,
Link: 2.4.190
Yet hath he in him such a mind of honour.
Link: 2.4.191
That, had he twenty heads to tender down
Link: 2.4.192
On twenty bloody blocks, he'ld yield them up,
Link: 2.4.193
Before his sister should her body stoop
Link: 2.4.194
To such abhorr'd pollution.
Link: 2.4.195
Then, Isabel, live chaste, and, brother, die:
Link: 2.4.196
More than our brother is our chastity.
Link: 2.4.197
I'll tell him yet of Angelo's request,
Link: 2.4.198
And fit his mind to death, for his soul's rest.
Link: 2.4.199



In Act 3 of Measure for Measure, the Duke disguised as a friar visits Claudio in prison and advises him to prepare for death. Claudio sends a message to his sister Isabella, asking her to plead with Angelo for his life. Isabella meets with Angelo and pleads for her brother's life, but Angelo makes a proposition to Isabella: he will spare Claudio's life if Isabella agrees to have sexual relations with him. Isabella is horrified and refuses.

The Duke, still disguised as a friar, devises a plan to expose Angelo's corruption. He arranges for Mariana, Angelo's former fiancée, to take Isabella's place in Angelo's bed and to have witnesses present to catch him in the act. The plan is successful, and Angelo is caught. The Duke then reveals his true identity and pardons Claudio.

However, the Duke also has plans for Isabella. He proposes marriage to her, but it is unclear whether she accepts. The play ends with the Duke pardoning other characters and settling disputes in the city.

SCENE I. A room in the prison.

Scene 1 of Act 3 takes place in a prison in Vienna. The Duke, disguised as a friar, visits Claudio, who is sentenced to death for impregnating his fiancee outside of wedlock. Claudio is despondent and fears for his life. He asks the friar to help him escape, but the friar advises him to prepare for death and make peace with God.

Isabella, Claudio's sister, enters the prison and begs for her brother's life. The friar tells her that there might be a way to save him, but it would require her to sacrifice her own chastity. Isabella is horrified and refuses, citing her religious beliefs. The friar urges her to think about it and leaves.

After the friar exits, Isabella is approached by the disguised Duke, who offers to help her. He tells her that he will go to Angelo, the deputy in charge of the city while the Duke is away, and plead for Claudio's life. Isabella is skeptical but agrees to the plan.

The Duke then reveals his true identity to the audience and explains that he has been secretly observing the events in the city. He is determined to bring justice and mercy to Vienna, and he sees Claudio's case as an opportunity to do so.

Enter DUKE VINCENTIO disguised as before, CLAUDIO, and Provost

So then you hope of pardon from Lord Angelo?
Link: 3.1.1

The miserable have no other medicine
Link: 3.1.2
But only hope:
Link: 3.1.3
I've hope to live, and am prepared to die.
Link: 3.1.4

Be absolute for death; either death or life
Link: 3.1.5
Shall thereby be the sweeter. Reason thus with life:
Link: 3.1.6
If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing
Link: 3.1.7
That none but fools would keep: a breath thou art,
Link: 3.1.8
Servile to all the skyey influences,
Link: 3.1.9
That dost this habitation, where thou keep'st,
Link: 3.1.10
Hourly afflict: merely, thou art death's fool;
Link: 3.1.11
For him thou labour'st by thy flight to shun
Link: 3.1.12
And yet runn'st toward him still. Thou art not noble;
Link: 3.1.13
For all the accommodations that thou bear'st
Link: 3.1.14
Are nursed by baseness. Thou'rt by no means valiant;
Link: 3.1.15
For thou dost fear the soft and tender fork
Link: 3.1.16
Of a poor worm. Thy best of rest is sleep,
Link: 3.1.17
And that thou oft provokest; yet grossly fear'st
Link: 3.1.18
Thy death, which is no more. Thou art not thyself;
Link: 3.1.19
For thou exist'st on many a thousand grains
Link: 3.1.20
That issue out of dust. Happy thou art not;
Link: 3.1.21
For what thou hast not, still thou strivest to get,
Link: 3.1.22
And what thou hast, forget'st. Thou art not certain;
Link: 3.1.23
For thy complexion shifts to strange effects,
Link: 3.1.24
After the moon. If thou art rich, thou'rt poor;
Link: 3.1.25
For, like an ass whose back with ingots bows,
Link: 3.1.26
Thou bear's thy heavy riches but a journey,
Link: 3.1.27
And death unloads thee. Friend hast thou none;
Link: 3.1.28
For thine own bowels, which do call thee sire,
Link: 3.1.29
The mere effusion of thy proper loins,
Link: 3.1.30
Do curse the gout, serpigo, and the rheum,
Link: 3.1.31
For ending thee no sooner. Thou hast nor youth nor age,
Link: 3.1.32
But, as it were, an after-dinner's sleep,
Link: 3.1.33
Dreaming on both; for all thy blessed youth
Link: 3.1.34
Becomes as aged, and doth beg the alms
Link: 3.1.35
Of palsied eld; and when thou art old and rich,
Link: 3.1.36
Thou hast neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty,
Link: 3.1.37
To make thy riches pleasant. What's yet in this
Link: 3.1.38
That bears the name of life? Yet in this life
Link: 3.1.39
Lie hid moe thousand deaths: yet death we fear,
Link: 3.1.40
That makes these odds all even.
Link: 3.1.41

I humbly thank you.
Link: 3.1.42
To sue to live, I find I seek to die;
Link: 3.1.43
And, seeking death, find life: let it come on.
Link: 3.1.44

(Within) What, ho! Peace here; grace and good company!
Link: 3.1.45

Who's there? come in: the wish deserves a welcome.
Link: 3.1.46

Dear sir, ere long I'll visit you again.
Link: 3.1.47

Most holy sir, I thank you.
Link: 3.1.48


My business is a word or two with Claudio.
Link: 3.1.49

And very welcome. Look, signior, here's your sister.
Link: 3.1.50

Provost, a word with you.
Link: 3.1.51

As many as you please.
Link: 3.1.52

Bring me to hear them speak, where I may be concealed.
Link: 3.1.53

Exeunt DUKE VINCENTIO and Provost

Now, sister, what's the comfort?
Link: 3.1.54

As all comforts are; most good, most good indeed.
Link: 3.1.56
Lord Angelo, having affairs to heaven,
Link: 3.1.57
Intends you for his swift ambassador,
Link: 3.1.58
Where you shall be an everlasting leiger:
Link: 3.1.59
Therefore your best appointment make with speed;
Link: 3.1.60
To-morrow you set on.
Link: 3.1.61

Is there no remedy?
Link: 3.1.62

None, but such remedy as, to save a head,
Link: 3.1.63
To cleave a heart in twain.
Link: 3.1.64

But is there any?
Link: 3.1.65

Yes, brother, you may live:
Link: 3.1.66
There is a devilish mercy in the judge,
Link: 3.1.67
If you'll implore it, that will free your life,
Link: 3.1.68
But fetter you till death.
Link: 3.1.69

Perpetual durance?
Link: 3.1.70

Ay, just; perpetual durance, a restraint,
Link: 3.1.71
Though all the world's vastidity you had,
Link: 3.1.72
To a determined scope.
Link: 3.1.73

But in what nature?
Link: 3.1.74

In such a one as, you consenting to't,
Link: 3.1.75
Would bark your honour from that trunk you bear,
Link: 3.1.76
And leave you naked.
Link: 3.1.77

Let me know the point.
Link: 3.1.78

O, I do fear thee, Claudio; and I quake,
Link: 3.1.79
Lest thou a feverous life shouldst entertain,
Link: 3.1.80
And six or seven winters more respect
Link: 3.1.81
Than a perpetual honour. Darest thou die?
Link: 3.1.82
The sense of death is most in apprehension;
Link: 3.1.83
And the poor beetle, that we tread upon,
Link: 3.1.84
In corporal sufferance finds a pang as great
Link: 3.1.85
As when a giant dies.
Link: 3.1.86

Why give you me this shame?
Link: 3.1.87
Think you I can a resolution fetch
Link: 3.1.88
From flowery tenderness? If I must die,
Link: 3.1.89
I will encounter darkness as a bride,
Link: 3.1.90
And hug it in mine arms.
Link: 3.1.91

There spake my brother; there my father's grave
Link: 3.1.92
Did utter forth a voice. Yes, thou must die:
Link: 3.1.93
Thou art too noble to conserve a life
Link: 3.1.94
In base appliances. This outward-sainted deputy,
Link: 3.1.95
Whose settled visage and deliberate word
Link: 3.1.96
Nips youth i' the head and follies doth emmew
Link: 3.1.97
As falcon doth the fowl, is yet a devil
Link: 3.1.98
His filth within being cast, he would appear
Link: 3.1.99
A pond as deep as hell.
Link: 3.1.100

The prenzie Angelo!
Link: 3.1.101

O, 'tis the cunning livery of hell,
Link: 3.1.102
The damned'st body to invest and cover
Link: 3.1.103
In prenzie guards! Dost thou think, Claudio?
Link: 3.1.104
If I would yield him my virginity,
Link: 3.1.105
Thou mightst be freed.
Link: 3.1.106

O heavens! it cannot be.
Link: 3.1.107

Yes, he would give't thee, from this rank offence,
Link: 3.1.108
So to offend him still. This night's the time
Link: 3.1.109
That I should do what I abhor to name,
Link: 3.1.110
Or else thou diest to-morrow.
Link: 3.1.111

Thou shalt not do't.
Link: 3.1.112

O, were it but my life,
Link: 3.1.113
I'ld throw it down for your deliverance
Link: 3.1.114
As frankly as a pin.
Link: 3.1.115

Thanks, dear Isabel.
Link: 3.1.116

Be ready, Claudio, for your death tomorrow.
Link: 3.1.117

Yes. Has he affections in him,
Link: 3.1.118
That thus can make him bite the law by the nose,
Link: 3.1.119
When he would force it? Sure, it is no sin,
Link: 3.1.120
Or of the deadly seven, it is the least.
Link: 3.1.121

Which is the least?
Link: 3.1.122

If it were damnable, he being so wise,
Link: 3.1.123
Why would he for the momentary trick
Link: 3.1.124
Be perdurably fined? O Isabel!
Link: 3.1.125

What says my brother?
Link: 3.1.126

Death is a fearful thing.
Link: 3.1.127

And shamed life a hateful.
Link: 3.1.128

Ay, but to die, and go we know not where;
Link: 3.1.129
To lie in cold obstruction and to rot;
Link: 3.1.130
This sensible warm motion to become
Link: 3.1.131
A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit
Link: 3.1.132
To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
Link: 3.1.133
In thrilling region of thick-ribbed ice;
Link: 3.1.134
To be imprison'd in the viewless winds,
Link: 3.1.135
And blown with restless violence round about
Link: 3.1.136
The pendent world; or to be worse than worst
Link: 3.1.137
Of those that lawless and incertain thought
Link: 3.1.138
Imagine howling: 'tis too horrible!
Link: 3.1.139
The weariest and most loathed worldly life
Link: 3.1.140
That age, ache, penury and imprisonment
Link: 3.1.141
Can lay on nature is a paradise
Link: 3.1.142
To what we fear of death.
Link: 3.1.143

Alas, alas!
Link: 3.1.144

Sweet sister, let me live:
Link: 3.1.145
What sin you do to save a brother's life,
Link: 3.1.146
Nature dispenses with the deed so far
Link: 3.1.147
That it becomes a virtue.
Link: 3.1.148

O you beast!
Link: 3.1.149
O faithless coward! O dishonest wretch!
Link: 3.1.150
Wilt thou be made a man out of my vice?
Link: 3.1.151
Is't not a kind of incest, to take life
Link: 3.1.152
From thine own sister's shame? What should I think?
Link: 3.1.153
Heaven shield my mother play'd my father fair!
Link: 3.1.154
For such a warped slip of wilderness
Link: 3.1.155
Ne'er issued from his blood. Take my defiance!
Link: 3.1.156
Die, perish! Might but my bending down
Link: 3.1.157
Reprieve thee from thy fate, it should proceed:
Link: 3.1.158
I'll pray a thousand prayers for thy death,
Link: 3.1.159
No word to save thee.
Link: 3.1.160

Nay, hear me, Isabel.
Link: 3.1.161

O, fie, fie, fie!
Link: 3.1.162
Thy sin's not accidental, but a trade.
Link: 3.1.163
Mercy to thee would prove itself a bawd:
Link: 3.1.164
'Tis best thou diest quickly.
Link: 3.1.165

O hear me, Isabella!
Link: 3.1.166


Vouchsafe a word, young sister, but one word.
Link: 3.1.167

What is your will?
Link: 3.1.168

Might you dispense with your leisure, I would by and
Link: 3.1.169
by have some speech with you: the satisfaction I
Link: 3.1.170
would require is likewise your own benefit.
Link: 3.1.171

I have no superfluous leisure; my stay must be
Link: 3.1.172
stolen out of other affairs; but I will attend you awhile.
Link: 3.1.173

Walks apart

Son, I have overheard what hath passed between you
Link: 3.1.174
and your sister. Angelo had never the purpose to
Link: 3.1.175
corrupt her; only he hath made an essay of her
Link: 3.1.176
virtue to practise his judgment with the disposition
Link: 3.1.177
of natures: she, having the truth of honour in her,
Link: 3.1.178
hath made him that gracious denial which he is most
Link: 3.1.179
glad to receive. I am confessor to Angelo, and I
Link: 3.1.180
know this to be true; therefore prepare yourself to
Link: 3.1.181
death: do not satisfy your resolution with hopes
Link: 3.1.182
that are fallible: tomorrow you must die; go to
Link: 3.1.183
your knees and make ready.
Link: 3.1.184

Let me ask my sister pardon. I am so out of love
Link: 3.1.185
with life that I will sue to be rid of it.
Link: 3.1.186

Hold you there: farewell.
Link: 3.1.187
Provost, a word with you!
Link: 3.1.188

Re-enter Provost

What's your will, father
Link: 3.1.189

That now you are come, you will be gone. Leave me
Link: 3.1.190
awhile with the maid: my mind promises with my
Link: 3.1.191
habit no loss shall touch her by my company.
Link: 3.1.192

In good time.
Link: 3.1.193

Exit Provost. ISABELLA comes forward

The hand that hath made you fair hath made you good:
Link: 3.1.194
the goodness that is cheap in beauty makes beauty
Link: 3.1.195
brief in goodness; but grace, being the soul of
Link: 3.1.196
your complexion, shall keep the body of it ever
Link: 3.1.197
fair. The assault that Angelo hath made to you,
Link: 3.1.198
fortune hath conveyed to my understanding; and, but
Link: 3.1.199
that frailty hath examples for his falling, I should
Link: 3.1.200
wonder at Angelo. How will you do to content this
Link: 3.1.201
substitute, and to save your brother?
Link: 3.1.202

I am now going to resolve him: I had rather my
Link: 3.1.203
brother die by the law than my son should be
Link: 3.1.204
unlawfully born. But, O, how much is the good duke
Link: 3.1.205
deceived in Angelo! If ever he return and I can
Link: 3.1.206
speak to him, I will open my lips in vain, or
Link: 3.1.207
discover his government.
Link: 3.1.208

That shall not be much amiss: Yet, as the matter
Link: 3.1.209
now stands, he will avoid your accusation; he made
Link: 3.1.210
trial of you only. Therefore fasten your ear on my
Link: 3.1.211
advisings: to the love I have in doing good a
Link: 3.1.212
remedy presents itself. I do make myself believe
Link: 3.1.213
that you may most uprighteously do a poor wronged
Link: 3.1.214
lady a merited benefit; redeem your brother from
Link: 3.1.215
the angry law; do no stain to your own gracious
Link: 3.1.216
person; and much please the absent duke, if
Link: 3.1.217
peradventure he shall ever return to have hearing of
Link: 3.1.218
this business.
Link: 3.1.219

Let me hear you speak farther. I have spirit to do
Link: 3.1.220
anything that appears not foul in the truth of my spirit.
Link: 3.1.221

Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful. Have
Link: 3.1.222
you not heard speak of Mariana, the sister of
Link: 3.1.223
Frederick the great soldier who miscarried at sea?
Link: 3.1.224

I have heard of the lady, and good words went with her name.
Link: 3.1.225

She should this Angelo have married; was affianced
Link: 3.1.226
to her by oath, and the nuptial appointed: between
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which time of the contract and limit of the
Link: 3.1.228
solemnity, her brother Frederick was wrecked at sea,
Link: 3.1.229
having in that perished vessel the dowry of his
Link: 3.1.230
sister. But mark how heavily this befell to the
Link: 3.1.231
poor gentlewoman: there she lost a noble and
Link: 3.1.232
renowned brother, in his love toward her ever most
Link: 3.1.233
kind and natural; with him, the portion and sinew of
Link: 3.1.234
her fortune, her marriage-dowry; with both, her
Link: 3.1.235
combinate husband, this well-seeming Angelo.
Link: 3.1.236

Can this be so? did Angelo so leave her?
Link: 3.1.237

Left her in her tears, and dried not one of them
Link: 3.1.238
with his comfort; swallowed his vows whole,
Link: 3.1.239
pretending in her discoveries of dishonour: in few,
Link: 3.1.240
bestowed her on her own lamentation, which she yet
Link: 3.1.241
wears for his sake; and he, a marble to her tears,
Link: 3.1.242
is washed with them, but relents not.
Link: 3.1.243

What a merit were it in death to take this poor maid
Link: 3.1.244
from the world! What corruption in this life, that
Link: 3.1.245
it will let this man live! But how out of this can she avail?
Link: 3.1.246

It is a rupture that you may easily heal: and the
Link: 3.1.247
cure of it not only saves your brother, but keeps
Link: 3.1.248
you from dishonour in doing it.
Link: 3.1.249

Show me how, good father.
Link: 3.1.250

This forenamed maid hath yet in her the continuance
Link: 3.1.251
of her first affection: his unjust unkindness, that
Link: 3.1.252
in all reason should have quenched her love, hath,
Link: 3.1.253
like an impediment in the current, made it more
Link: 3.1.254
violent and unruly. Go you to Angelo; answer his
Link: 3.1.255
requiring with a plausible obedience; agree with
Link: 3.1.256
his demands to the point; only refer yourself to
Link: 3.1.257
this advantage, first, that your stay with him may
Link: 3.1.258
not be long; that the time may have all shadow and
Link: 3.1.259
silence in it; and the place answer to convenience.
Link: 3.1.260
This being granted in course,--and now follows
Link: 3.1.261
all,--we shall advise this wronged maid to stead up
Link: 3.1.262
your appointment, go in your place; if the encounter
Link: 3.1.263
acknowledge itself hereafter, it may compel him to
Link: 3.1.264
her recompense: and here, by this, is your brother
Link: 3.1.265
saved, your honour untainted, the poor Mariana
Link: 3.1.266
advantaged, and the corrupt deputy scaled. The maid
Link: 3.1.267
will I frame and make fit for his attempt. If you
Link: 3.1.268
think well to carry this as you may, the doubleness
Link: 3.1.269
of the benefit defends the deceit from reproof.
Link: 3.1.270
What think you of it?
Link: 3.1.271

The image of it gives me content already; and I
Link: 3.1.272
trust it will grow to a most prosperous perfection.
Link: 3.1.273

It lies much in your holding up. Haste you speedily
Link: 3.1.274
to Angelo: if for this night he entreat you to his
Link: 3.1.275
bed, give him promise of satisfaction. I will
Link: 3.1.276
presently to Saint Luke's: there, at the moated
Link: 3.1.277
grange, resides this dejected Mariana. At that
Link: 3.1.278
place call upon me; and dispatch with Angelo, that
Link: 3.1.279
it may be quickly.
Link: 3.1.280

I thank you for this comfort. Fare you well, good father.
Link: 3.1.281

Exeunt severally

SCENE II. The street before the prison.

In Scene 2 of Act 3, the Duke disguised as a friar visits Claudio in prison. Claudio is deeply upset as he has been sentenced to death for impregnating his fiancé Juliet before they were married. The friar advises Claudio to accept his fate and prepare for death, but Claudio begs for his help to escape. The friar suggests that Claudio's sister, Isabella, who is about to become a nun, should plead with Angelo to spare Claudio's life.

Isabella arrives to speak with Angelo, who has taken over as ruler in the Duke's absence. She pleads with him to spare her brother's life, but Angelo makes it clear that the law must be followed. He then proposes a trade: if Isabella agrees to sleep with him, he will pardon Claudio. Shocked and appalled, Isabella refuses and leaves in a rage.

The friar then meets with Isabella and suggests a plan to trick Angelo into believing that he has slept with her. Isabella is hesitant at first, but the friar convinces her that it is the only way to save her brother's life. The plan is put into action and Angelo is fooled into thinking he has slept with Isabella, but he still refuses to pardon Claudio. The Duke then reveals himself and sets everything right, punishing Angelo and pardoning Claudio.

Enter, on one side, DUKE VINCENTIO disguised as before; on the other, ELBOW, and Officers with POMPEY

Nay, if there be no remedy for it, but that you will
Link: 3.2.1
needs buy and sell men and women like beasts, we
Link: 3.2.2
shall have all the world drink brown and white bastard.
Link: 3.2.3

O heavens! what stuff is here
Link: 3.2.4

'Twas never merry world since, of two usuries, the
Link: 3.2.5
merriest was put down, and the worser allowed by
Link: 3.2.6
order of law a furred gown to keep him warm; and
Link: 3.2.7
furred with fox and lamb-skins too, to signify, that
Link: 3.2.8
craft, being richer than innocency, stands for the facing.
Link: 3.2.9

Come your way, sir. 'Bless you, good father friar.
Link: 3.2.10

And you, good brother father. What offence hath
Link: 3.2.11
this man made you, sir?
Link: 3.2.12

Marry, sir, he hath offended the law: and, sir, we
Link: 3.2.13
take him to be a thief too, sir; for we have found
Link: 3.2.14
upon him, sir, a strange picklock, which we have
Link: 3.2.15
sent to the deputy.
Link: 3.2.16

Fie, sirrah! a bawd, a wicked bawd!
Link: 3.2.17
The evil that thou causest to be done,
Link: 3.2.18
That is thy means to live. Do thou but think
Link: 3.2.19
What 'tis to cram a maw or clothe a back
Link: 3.2.20
From such a filthy vice: say to thyself,
Link: 3.2.21
From their abominable and beastly touches
Link: 3.2.22
I drink, I eat, array myself, and live.
Link: 3.2.23
Canst thou believe thy living is a life,
Link: 3.2.24
So stinkingly depending? Go mend, go mend.
Link: 3.2.25

Indeed, it does stink in some sort, sir; but yet,
Link: 3.2.26
sir, I would prove--
Link: 3.2.27

Nay, if the devil have given thee proofs for sin,
Link: 3.2.28
Thou wilt prove his. Take him to prison, officer:
Link: 3.2.29
Correction and instruction must both work
Link: 3.2.30
Ere this rude beast will profit.
Link: 3.2.31

He must before the deputy, sir; he has given him
Link: 3.2.32
warning: the deputy cannot abide a whoremaster: if
Link: 3.2.33
he be a whoremonger, and comes before him, he were
Link: 3.2.34
as good go a mile on his errand.
Link: 3.2.35

That we were all, as some would seem to be,
Link: 3.2.36
From our faults, as faults from seeming, free!
Link: 3.2.37

His neck will come to your waist,--a cord, sir.
Link: 3.2.38

I spy comfort; I cry bail. Here's a gentleman and a
Link: 3.2.39
friend of mine.
Link: 3.2.40


How now, noble Pompey! What, at the wheels of
Link: 3.2.41
Caesar? art thou led in triumph? What, is there
Link: 3.2.42
none of Pygmalion's images, newly made woman, to be
Link: 3.2.43
had now, for putting the hand in the pocket and
Link: 3.2.44
extracting it clutch'd? What reply, ha? What
Link: 3.2.45
sayest thou to this tune, matter and method? Is't
Link: 3.2.46
not drowned i' the last rain, ha? What sayest
Link: 3.2.47
thou, Trot? Is the world as it was, man? Which is
Link: 3.2.48
the way? Is it sad, and few words? or how? The
Link: 3.2.49
trick of it?
Link: 3.2.50

Still thus, and thus; still worse!
Link: 3.2.51

How doth my dear morsel, thy mistress? Procures she
Link: 3.2.52
still, ha?
Link: 3.2.53

Troth, sir, she hath eaten up all her beef, and she
Link: 3.2.54
is herself in the tub.
Link: 3.2.55

Why, 'tis good; it is the right of it; it must be
Link: 3.2.56
so: ever your fresh whore and your powdered bawd:
Link: 3.2.57
an unshunned consequence; it must be so. Art going
Link: 3.2.58
to prison, Pompey?
Link: 3.2.59

Yes, faith, sir.
Link: 3.2.60

Why, 'tis not amiss, Pompey. Farewell: go, say I
Link: 3.2.61
sent thee thither. For debt, Pompey? or how?
Link: 3.2.62

For being a bawd, for being a bawd.
Link: 3.2.63

Well, then, imprison him: if imprisonment be the
Link: 3.2.64
due of a bawd, why, 'tis his right: bawd is he
Link: 3.2.65
doubtless, and of antiquity too; bawd-born.
Link: 3.2.66
Farewell, good Pompey. Commend me to the prison,
Link: 3.2.67
Pompey: you will turn good husband now, Pompey; you
Link: 3.2.68
will keep the house.
Link: 3.2.69

I hope, sir, your good worship will be my bail.
Link: 3.2.70

No, indeed, will I not, Pompey; it is not the wear.
Link: 3.2.71
I will pray, Pompey, to increase your bondage: If
Link: 3.2.72
you take it not patiently, why, your mettle is the
Link: 3.2.73
more. Adieu, trusty Pompey. 'Bless you, friar.
Link: 3.2.74

And you.
Link: 3.2.75

Does Bridget paint still, Pompey, ha?
Link: 3.2.76

Come your ways, sir; come.
Link: 3.2.77

You will not bail me, then, sir?
Link: 3.2.78

Then, Pompey, nor now. What news abroad, friar?
Link: 3.2.79
what news?
Link: 3.2.80

Come your ways, sir; come.
Link: 3.2.81

Go to kennel, Pompey; go.
Link: 3.2.82
What news, friar, of the duke?
Link: 3.2.83

I know none. Can you tell me of any?
Link: 3.2.84

Some say he is with the Emperor of Russia; other
Link: 3.2.85
some, he is in Rome: but where is he, think you?
Link: 3.2.86

I know not where; but wheresoever, I wish him well.
Link: 3.2.87

It was a mad fantastical trick of him to steal from
Link: 3.2.88
the state, and usurp the beggary he was never born
Link: 3.2.89
to. Lord Angelo dukes it well in his absence; he
Link: 3.2.90
puts transgression to 't.
Link: 3.2.91

He does well in 't.
Link: 3.2.92

A little more lenity to lechery would do no harm in
Link: 3.2.93
him: something too crabbed that way, friar.
Link: 3.2.94

It is too general a vice, and severity must cure it.
Link: 3.2.95

Yes, in good sooth, the vice is of a great kindred;
Link: 3.2.96
it is well allied: but it is impossible to extirp
Link: 3.2.97
it quite, friar, till eating and drinking be put
Link: 3.2.98
down. They say this Angelo was not made by man and
Link: 3.2.99
woman after this downright way of creation: is it
Link: 3.2.100
true, think you?
Link: 3.2.101

How should he be made, then?
Link: 3.2.102

Some report a sea-maid spawned him; some, that he
Link: 3.2.103
was begot between two stock-fishes. But it is
Link: 3.2.104
certain that when he makes water his urine is
Link: 3.2.105
congealed ice; that I know to be true: and he is a
Link: 3.2.106
motion generative; that's infallible.
Link: 3.2.107

You are pleasant, sir, and speak apace.
Link: 3.2.108

Why, what a ruthless thing is this in him, for the
Link: 3.2.109
rebellion of a codpiece to take away the life of a
Link: 3.2.110
man! Would the duke that is absent have done this?
Link: 3.2.111
Ere he would have hanged a man for the getting a
Link: 3.2.112
hundred bastards, he would have paid for the nursing
Link: 3.2.113
a thousand: he had some feeling of the sport: he
Link: 3.2.114
knew the service, and that instructed him to mercy.
Link: 3.2.115

I never heard the absent duke much detected for
Link: 3.2.116
women; he was not inclined that way.
Link: 3.2.117

O, sir, you are deceived.
Link: 3.2.118

'Tis not possible.
Link: 3.2.119

Who, not the duke? yes, your beggar of fifty; and
Link: 3.2.120
his use was to put a ducat in her clack-dish: the
Link: 3.2.121
duke had crotchets in him. He would be drunk too;
Link: 3.2.122
that let me inform you.
Link: 3.2.123

You do him wrong, surely.
Link: 3.2.124

Sir, I was an inward of his. A shy fellow was the
Link: 3.2.125
duke: and I believe I know the cause of his
Link: 3.2.126
Link: 3.2.127

What, I prithee, might be the cause?
Link: 3.2.128

No, pardon; 'tis a secret must be locked within the
Link: 3.2.129
teeth and the lips: but this I can let you
Link: 3.2.130
understand, the greater file of the subject held the
Link: 3.2.131
duke to be wise.
Link: 3.2.132

Wise! why, no question but he was.
Link: 3.2.133

A very superficial, ignorant, unweighing fellow.
Link: 3.2.134

Either this is the envy in you, folly, or mistaking:
Link: 3.2.135
the very stream of his life and the business he hath
Link: 3.2.136
helmed must upon a warranted need give him a better
Link: 3.2.137
proclamation. Let him be but testimonied in his own
Link: 3.2.138
bringings-forth, and he shall appear to the
Link: 3.2.139
envious a scholar, a statesman and a soldier.
Link: 3.2.140
Therefore you speak unskilfully: or if your
Link: 3.2.141
knowledge be more it is much darkened in your malice.
Link: 3.2.142

Sir, I know him, and I love him.
Link: 3.2.143

Love talks with better knowledge, and knowledge with
Link: 3.2.144
dearer love.
Link: 3.2.145

Come, sir, I know what I know.
Link: 3.2.146

I can hardly believe that, since you know not what
Link: 3.2.147
you speak. But, if ever the duke return, as our
Link: 3.2.148
prayers are he may, let me desire you to make your
Link: 3.2.149
answer before him. If it be honest you have spoke,
Link: 3.2.150
you have courage to maintain it: I am bound to call
Link: 3.2.151
upon you; and, I pray you, your name?
Link: 3.2.152

Sir, my name is Lucio; well known to the duke.
Link: 3.2.153

He shall know you better, sir, if I may live to
Link: 3.2.154
report you.
Link: 3.2.155

I fear you not.
Link: 3.2.156

O, you hope the duke will return no more; or you
Link: 3.2.157
imagine me too unhurtful an opposite. But indeed I
Link: 3.2.158
can do you little harm; you'll forswear this again.
Link: 3.2.159

I'll be hanged first: thou art deceived in me,
Link: 3.2.160
friar. But no more of this. Canst thou tell if
Link: 3.2.161
Claudio die to-morrow or no?
Link: 3.2.162

Why should he die, sir?
Link: 3.2.163

Why? For filling a bottle with a tundish. I would
Link: 3.2.164
the duke we talk of were returned again: the
Link: 3.2.165
ungenitured agent will unpeople the province with
Link: 3.2.166
continency; sparrows must not build in his
Link: 3.2.167
house-eaves, because they are lecherous. The duke
Link: 3.2.168
yet would have dark deeds darkly answered; he would
Link: 3.2.169
never bring them to light: would he were returned!
Link: 3.2.170
Marry, this Claudio is condemned for untrussing.
Link: 3.2.171
Farewell, good friar: I prithee, pray for me. The
Link: 3.2.172
duke, I say to thee again, would eat mutton on
Link: 3.2.173
Fridays. He's not past it yet, and I say to thee,
Link: 3.2.174
he would mouth with a beggar, though she smelt brown
Link: 3.2.175
bread and garlic: say that I said so. Farewell.
Link: 3.2.176


No might nor greatness in mortality
Link: 3.2.177
Can censure 'scape; back-wounding calumny
Link: 3.2.178
The whitest virtue strikes. What king so strong
Link: 3.2.179
Can tie the gall up in the slanderous tongue?
Link: 3.2.180
But who comes here?
Link: 3.2.181

Enter ESCALUS, Provost, and Officers with MISTRESS OVERDONE

Go; away with her to prison!
Link: 3.2.182

Good my lord, be good to me; your honour is accounted
Link: 3.2.183
a merciful man; good my lord.
Link: 3.2.184

Double and treble admonition, and still forfeit in
Link: 3.2.185
the same kind! This would make mercy swear and play
Link: 3.2.186
the tyrant.
Link: 3.2.187

A bawd of eleven years' continuance, may it please
Link: 3.2.188
your honour.
Link: 3.2.189

My lord, this is one Lucio's information against me.
Link: 3.2.190
Mistress Kate Keepdown was with child by him in the
Link: 3.2.191
duke's time; he promised her marriage: his child
Link: 3.2.192
is a year and a quarter old, come Philip and Jacob:
Link: 3.2.193
I have kept it myself; and see how he goes about to abuse me!
Link: 3.2.194

That fellow is a fellow of much licence: let him be
Link: 3.2.195
called before us. Away with her to prison! Go to;
Link: 3.2.196
no more words.
Link: 3.2.197
Provost, my brother Angelo will not be altered;
Link: 3.2.198
Claudio must die to-morrow: let him be furnished
Link: 3.2.199
with divines, and have all charitable preparation.
Link: 3.2.200
if my brother wrought by my pity, it should not be
Link: 3.2.201
so with him.
Link: 3.2.202

So please you, this friar hath been with him, and
Link: 3.2.203
advised him for the entertainment of death.
Link: 3.2.204

Good even, good father.
Link: 3.2.205

Bliss and goodness on you!
Link: 3.2.206

Of whence are you?
Link: 3.2.207

Not of this country, though my chance is now
Link: 3.2.208
To use it for my time: I am a brother
Link: 3.2.209
Of gracious order, late come from the See
Link: 3.2.210
In special business from his holiness.
Link: 3.2.211

What news abroad i' the world?
Link: 3.2.212

None, but that there is so great a fever on
Link: 3.2.213
goodness, that the dissolution of it must cure it:
Link: 3.2.214
novelty is only in request; and it is as dangerous
Link: 3.2.215
to be aged in any kind of course, as it is virtuous
Link: 3.2.216
to be constant in any undertaking. There is scarce
Link: 3.2.217
truth enough alive to make societies secure; but
Link: 3.2.218
security enough to make fellowships accurst: much
Link: 3.2.219
upon this riddle runs the wisdom of the world. This
Link: 3.2.220
news is old enough, yet it is every day's news. I
Link: 3.2.221
pray you, sir, of what disposition was the duke?
Link: 3.2.222

One that, above all other strifes, contended
Link: 3.2.223
especially to know himself.
Link: 3.2.224

What pleasure was he given to?
Link: 3.2.225

Rather rejoicing to see another merry, than merry at
Link: 3.2.226
any thing which professed to make him rejoice: a
Link: 3.2.227
gentleman of all temperance. But leave we him to
Link: 3.2.228
his events, with a prayer they may prove prosperous;
Link: 3.2.229
and let me desire to know how you find Claudio
Link: 3.2.230
prepared. I am made to understand that you have
Link: 3.2.231
lent him visitation.
Link: 3.2.232

He professes to have received no sinister measure
Link: 3.2.233
from his judge, but most willingly humbles himself
Link: 3.2.234
to the determination of justice: yet had he framed
Link: 3.2.235
to himself, by the instruction of his frailty, many
Link: 3.2.236
deceiving promises of life; which I by my good
Link: 3.2.237
leisure have discredited to him, and now is he
Link: 3.2.238
resolved to die.
Link: 3.2.239

You have paid the heavens your function, and the
Link: 3.2.240
prisoner the very debt of your calling. I have
Link: 3.2.241
laboured for the poor gentleman to the extremest
Link: 3.2.242
shore of my modesty: but my brother justice have I
Link: 3.2.243
found so severe, that he hath forced me to tell him
Link: 3.2.244
he is indeed Justice.
Link: 3.2.245

If his own life answer the straitness of his
Link: 3.2.246
proceeding, it shall become him well; wherein if he
Link: 3.2.247
chance to fail, he hath sentenced himself.
Link: 3.2.248

I am going to visit the prisoner. Fare you well.
Link: 3.2.249

Peace be with you!
Link: 3.2.250
He who the sword of heaven will bear
Link: 3.2.251
Should be as holy as severe;
Link: 3.2.252
Pattern in himself to know,
Link: 3.2.253
Grace to stand, and virtue go;
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More nor less to others paying
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Than by self-offences weighing.
Link: 3.2.256
Shame to him whose cruel striking
Link: 3.2.257
Kills for faults of his own liking!
Link: 3.2.258
Twice treble shame on Angelo,
Link: 3.2.259
To weed my vice and let his grow!
Link: 3.2.260
O, what may man within him hide,
Link: 3.2.261
Though angel on the outward side!
Link: 3.2.262
How may likeness made in crimes,
Link: 3.2.263
Making practise on the times,
Link: 3.2.264
To draw with idle spiders' strings
Link: 3.2.265
Most ponderous and substantial things!
Link: 3.2.266
Craft against vice I must apply:
Link: 3.2.267
With Angelo to-night shall lie
Link: 3.2.268
His old betrothed but despised;
Link: 3.2.269
So disguise shall, by the disguised,
Link: 3.2.270
Pay with falsehood false exacting,
Link: 3.2.271
And perform an old contracting.
Link: 3.2.272


Act IV

In Act 4 of Measure for Measure, the Duke disguised as a friar visits Claudio in prison and tells him that he has a plan to save him. The Duke tells Claudio that he will send a woman named Mariana to Angelo in place of Isabella and that she will sleep with him in exchange for Claudio's release. Claudio is hesitant at first but eventually agrees to the plan.

Meanwhile, Angelo has Isabella brought to him and offers to release Claudio in exchange for her virginity. Isabella refuses and Angelo threatens to execute Claudio if she does not comply. Isabella is torn between her desire to save her brother and her religious vows of chastity.

Later, the Duke, still disguised as a friar, confronts Angelo and convinces him to release Claudio. However, the Duke then reveals his true identity and publicly shames Angelo for his wrongdoing.

Finally, the Duke offers to marry Isabella but she declines, choosing instead to become a nun. The play ends with the Duke pardoning Angelo and inviting everyone to celebrate their newfound freedom.

SCENE I. The moated grange at ST. LUKE's.

A character named Vincentio, who is the Duke in disguise, is speaking with a Provost. He tells the Provost that Angelo, the deputy, has sentenced a man named Claudio to death for getting his fiancée pregnant before they were married. Vincentio asks the Provost if there is any way to delay the execution and the Provost tells him that there is not. Vincentio then tells the Provost that he has a plan to save Claudio and asks for his help.

The plan involves bringing a woman named Mariana to Angelo’s bedchamber, where Vincentio will be waiting. Mariana was once engaged to Angelo but he broke off the engagement because her dowry was lost at sea. Vincentio tells the Provost to bring Mariana to the bedchamber and to tell her to agree to Angelo’s demands in exchange for his help in saving Claudio.

The Provost agrees to the plan and Vincentio leaves. The Provost then brings in Pompey, a bawd (prostitute manager), and tells him that he has been pardoned. Pompey is confused as to why he was pardoned and the Provost tells him that it was because he helped catch a group of bawds. The Provost then tells Pompey that he needs his help in finding a substitute for Claudio, someone who looks like him, to be executed in his place.

Pompey agrees to help and the two of them leave to find a suitable substitute. Meanwhile, Vincentio returns disguised as a friar and meets with Isabella, Claudio’s sister. He tells her that he has heard of her brother’s situation and that he can help her save him. He then tells her to go to Angelo and plead for her brother’s life, as well as to agree to whatever Angelo demands in exchange for her brother’s release.

Isabella is hesitant to agree to these terms but Vincentio convinces her that it is the only way to save her brother. He then leaves to continue his plan with Mariana and Angelo.

Enter MARIANA and a Boy

Boy sings

Take, O, take those lips away,
Link: 4.1.1
That so sweetly were forsworn;
Link: 4.1.2
And those eyes, the break of day,
Link: 4.1.3
Lights that do mislead the morn:
Link: 4.1.4
But my kisses bring again, bring again;
Link: 4.1.5
Seals of love, but sealed in vain, sealed in vain.
Link: 4.1.6

Break off thy song, and haste thee quick away:
Link: 4.1.7
Here comes a man of comfort, whose advice
Link: 4.1.8
Hath often still'd my brawling discontent.
Link: 4.1.9
I cry you mercy, sir; and well could wish
Link: 4.1.10
You had not found me here so musical:
Link: 4.1.11
Let me excuse me, and believe me so,
Link: 4.1.12
My mirth it much displeased, but pleased my woe.
Link: 4.1.13

'Tis good; though music oft hath such a charm
Link: 4.1.14
To make bad good, and good provoke to harm.
Link: 4.1.15
I pray, you, tell me, hath any body inquired
Link: 4.1.16
for me here to-day? much upon this time have
Link: 4.1.17
I promised here to meet.
Link: 4.1.18

You have not been inquired after:
Link: 4.1.19
I have sat here all day.
Link: 4.1.20


I do constantly believe you. The time is come even
Link: 4.1.21
now. I shall crave your forbearance a little: may
Link: 4.1.22
be I will call upon you anon, for some advantage to yourself.
Link: 4.1.23

I am always bound to you.
Link: 4.1.24


Very well met, and well come.
Link: 4.1.25
What is the news from this good deputy?
Link: 4.1.26

He hath a garden circummured with brick,
Link: 4.1.27
Whose western side is with a vineyard back'd;
Link: 4.1.28
And to that vineyard is a planched gate,
Link: 4.1.29
That makes his opening with this bigger key:
Link: 4.1.30
This other doth command a little door
Link: 4.1.31
Which from the vineyard to the garden leads;
Link: 4.1.32
There have I made my promise
Link: 4.1.33
Upon the heavy middle of the night
Link: 4.1.34
To call upon him.
Link: 4.1.35

But shall you on your knowledge find this way?
Link: 4.1.36

I have ta'en a due and wary note upon't:
Link: 4.1.37
With whispering and most guilty diligence,
Link: 4.1.38
In action all of precept, he did show me
Link: 4.1.39
The way twice o'er.
Link: 4.1.40

Are there no other tokens
Link: 4.1.41
Between you 'greed concerning her observance?
Link: 4.1.42

No, none, but only a repair i' the dark;
Link: 4.1.43
And that I have possess'd him my most stay
Link: 4.1.44
Can be but brief; for I have made him know
Link: 4.1.45
I have a servant comes with me along,
Link: 4.1.46
That stays upon me, whose persuasion is
Link: 4.1.47
I come about my brother.
Link: 4.1.48

'Tis well borne up.
Link: 4.1.49
I have not yet made known to Mariana
Link: 4.1.50
A word of this. What, ho! within! come forth!
Link: 4.1.51
I pray you, be acquainted with this maid;
Link: 4.1.52
She comes to do you good.
Link: 4.1.53

I do desire the like.
Link: 4.1.54

Do you persuade yourself that I respect you?
Link: 4.1.55

Good friar, I know you do, and have found it.
Link: 4.1.56

Take, then, this your companion by the hand,
Link: 4.1.57
Who hath a story ready for your ear.
Link: 4.1.58
I shall attend your leisure: but make haste;
Link: 4.1.59
The vaporous night approaches.
Link: 4.1.60

Will't please you walk aside?
Link: 4.1.61


O place and greatness! millions of false eyes
Link: 4.1.62
Are stuck upon thee: volumes of report
Link: 4.1.63
Run with these false and most contrarious quests
Link: 4.1.64
Upon thy doings: thousand escapes of wit
Link: 4.1.65
Make thee the father of their idle dreams
Link: 4.1.66
And rack thee in their fancies.
Link: 4.1.67
Welcome, how agreed?
Link: 4.1.68

She'll take the enterprise upon her, father,
Link: 4.1.69
If you advise it.
Link: 4.1.70

It is not my consent,
Link: 4.1.71
But my entreaty too.
Link: 4.1.72

Little have you to say
Link: 4.1.73
When you depart from him, but, soft and low,
Link: 4.1.74
'Remember now my brother.'
Link: 4.1.75

Fear me not.
Link: 4.1.76

Nor, gentle daughter, fear you not at all.
Link: 4.1.77
He is your husband on a pre-contract:
Link: 4.1.78
To bring you thus together, 'tis no sin,
Link: 4.1.79
Sith that the justice of your title to him
Link: 4.1.80
Doth flourish the deceit. Come, let us go:
Link: 4.1.81
Our corn's to reap, for yet our tithe's to sow.
Link: 4.1.82


SCENE II. A room in the prison.

Scene 2 of Act 4 takes place in a prison cell where the Duke, disguised as a friar, visits Angelo and tries to convince him to spare Claudio's life. Angelo is surprised that the Duke has come to see him but is also suspicious of his true identity. The Duke tells Angelo that Claudio's execution will not only result in his death but also in the loss of Isabella's valuable virtue. Angelo remains firm in his decision to execute Claudio and even suggests that the Duke, as a man of God, should support the law and not try to interfere.

The Duke continues to reason with Angelo and argues that mercy is a quality that should be shown to those who deserve it. He tells Angelo a story about a man who, upon receiving mercy from a judge, was inspired to become a better person and turn his life around. Angelo remains unmoved and tells the Duke that he is committed to upholding the law and that Claudio's execution is necessary to maintain the order of the state.

The Duke then reveals his true identity to Angelo and tells him that he has been observing his actions closely. He accuses Angelo of being a hypocrite for condemning Claudio to death when he himself has committed the same sin with Isabella. The Duke then tells Angelo that he will be punished for his actions and that he will be forced to marry Mariana, whom he had abandoned after their engagement. Angelo is left stunned and helpless as the Duke exits the cell.

Enter Provost and POMPEY

Come hither, sirrah. Can you cut off a man's head?
Link: 4.2.1

If the man be a bachelor, sir, I can; but if he be a
Link: 4.2.2
married man, he's his wife's head, and I can never
Link: 4.2.3
cut off a woman's head.
Link: 4.2.4

Come, sir, leave me your snatches, and yield me a
Link: 4.2.5
direct answer. To-morrow morning are to die Claudio
Link: 4.2.6
and Barnardine. Here is in our prison a common
Link: 4.2.7
executioner, who in his office lacks a helper: if
Link: 4.2.8
you will take it on you to assist him, it shall
Link: 4.2.9
redeem you from your gyves; if not, you shall have
Link: 4.2.10
your full time of imprisonment and your deliverance
Link: 4.2.11
with an unpitied whipping, for you have been a
Link: 4.2.12
notorious bawd.
Link: 4.2.13

Sir, I have been an unlawful bawd time out of mind;
Link: 4.2.14
but yet I will be content to be a lawful hangman. I
Link: 4.2.15
would be glad to receive some instruction from my
Link: 4.2.16
fellow partner.
Link: 4.2.17

What, ho! Abhorson! Where's Abhorson, there?
Link: 4.2.18


Do you call, sir?
Link: 4.2.19

Sirrah, here's a fellow will help you to-morrow in
Link: 4.2.20
your execution. If you think it meet, compound with
Link: 4.2.21
him by the year, and let him abide here with you; if
Link: 4.2.22
not, use him for the present and dismiss him. He
Link: 4.2.23
cannot plead his estimation with you; he hath been a bawd.
Link: 4.2.24

A bawd, sir? fie upon him! he will discredit our mystery.
Link: 4.2.25

Go to, sir; you weigh equally; a feather will turn
Link: 4.2.26
the scale.
Link: 4.2.27


Pray, sir, by your good favour,--for surely, sir, a
Link: 4.2.28
good favour you have, but that you have a hanging
Link: 4.2.29
look,--do you call, sir, your occupation a mystery?
Link: 4.2.30

Ay, sir; a mystery
Link: 4.2.31

Painting, sir, I have heard say, is a mystery; and
Link: 4.2.32
your whores, sir, being members of my occupation,
Link: 4.2.33
using painting, do prove my occupation a mystery:
Link: 4.2.34
but what mystery there should be in hanging, if I
Link: 4.2.35
should be hanged, I cannot imagine.
Link: 4.2.36

Sir, it is a mystery.
Link: 4.2.37


Every true man's apparel fits your thief: if it be
Link: 4.2.39
too little for your thief, your true man thinks it
Link: 4.2.40
big enough; if it be too big for your thief, your
Link: 4.2.41
thief thinks it little enough: so every true man's
Link: 4.2.42
apparel fits your thief.
Link: 4.2.43

Re-enter Provost

Are you agreed?
Link: 4.2.44

Sir, I will serve him; for I do find your hangman is
Link: 4.2.45
a more penitent trade than your bawd; he doth
Link: 4.2.46
oftener ask forgiveness.
Link: 4.2.47

You, sirrah, provide your block and your axe
Link: 4.2.48
to-morrow four o'clock.
Link: 4.2.49

Come on, bawd; I will instruct thee in my trade; follow.
Link: 4.2.50

I do desire to learn, sir: and I hope, if you have
Link: 4.2.51
occasion to use me for your own turn, you shall find
Link: 4.2.52
me yare; for truly, sir, for your kindness I owe you
Link: 4.2.53
a good turn.
Link: 4.2.54

Call hither Barnardine and Claudio:
Link: 4.2.55
The one has my pity; not a jot the other,
Link: 4.2.56
Being a murderer, though he were my brother.
Link: 4.2.57
Look, here's the warrant, Claudio, for thy death:
Link: 4.2.58
'Tis now dead midnight, and by eight to-morrow
Link: 4.2.59
Thou must be made immortal. Where's Barnardine?
Link: 4.2.60

As fast lock'd up in sleep as guiltless labour
Link: 4.2.61
When it lies starkly in the traveller's bones:
Link: 4.2.62
He will not wake.
Link: 4.2.63

Who can do good on him?
Link: 4.2.64
Well, go, prepare yourself.
Link: 4.2.65
But, hark, what noise?
Link: 4.2.66
Heaven give your spirits comfort!
Link: 4.2.67
By and by.
Link: 4.2.68
I hope it is some pardon or reprieve
Link: 4.2.69
For the most gentle Claudio.
Link: 4.2.70
Welcome father.
Link: 4.2.71

The best and wholesomest spirts of the night
Link: 4.2.72
Envelope you, good Provost! Who call'd here of late?
Link: 4.2.73

None, since the curfew rung.
Link: 4.2.74

Not Isabel?
Link: 4.2.75


They will, then, ere't be long.
Link: 4.2.77

What comfort is for Claudio?
Link: 4.2.78

There's some in hope.
Link: 4.2.79

It is a bitter deputy.
Link: 4.2.80

Not so, not so; his life is parallel'd
Link: 4.2.81
Even with the stroke and line of his great justice:
Link: 4.2.82
He doth with holy abstinence subdue
Link: 4.2.83
That in himself which he spurs on his power
Link: 4.2.84
To qualify in others: were he meal'd with that
Link: 4.2.85
Which he corrects, then were he tyrannous;
Link: 4.2.86
But this being so, he's just.
Link: 4.2.87
Now are they come.
Link: 4.2.88
This is a gentle provost: seldom when
Link: 4.2.89
The steeled gaoler is the friend of men.
Link: 4.2.90
How now! what noise? That spirit's possessed with haste
Link: 4.2.91
That wounds the unsisting postern with these strokes.
Link: 4.2.92

Re-enter Provost

There he must stay until the officer
Link: 4.2.93
Arise to let him in: he is call'd up.
Link: 4.2.94

Have you no countermand for Claudio yet,
Link: 4.2.95
But he must die to-morrow?
Link: 4.2.96

None, sir, none.
Link: 4.2.97

As near the dawning, provost, as it is,
Link: 4.2.98
You shall hear more ere morning.
Link: 4.2.99

You something know; yet I believe there comes
Link: 4.2.101
No countermand; no such example have we:
Link: 4.2.102
Besides, upon the very siege of justice
Link: 4.2.103
Lord Angelo hath to the public ear
Link: 4.2.104
Profess'd the contrary.
Link: 4.2.105
This is his lordship's man.
Link: 4.2.106

And here comes Claudio's pardon.
Link: 4.2.107

(Giving a paper)
Link: 4.2.108
My lord hath sent you this note; and by me this
Link: 4.2.109
further charge, that you swerve not from the
Link: 4.2.110
smallest article of it, neither in time, matter, or
Link: 4.2.111
other circumstance. Good morrow; for, as I take it,
Link: 4.2.112
it is almost day.
Link: 4.2.113

I shall obey him.
Link: 4.2.114

Exit Messenger

(Aside) This is his pardon, purchased by such sin
Link: 4.2.115
For which the pardoner himself is in.
Link: 4.2.116
Hence hath offence his quick celerity,
Link: 4.2.117
When it is born in high authority:
Link: 4.2.118
When vice makes mercy, mercy's so extended,
Link: 4.2.119
That for the fault's love is the offender friended.
Link: 4.2.120
Now, sir, what news?
Link: 4.2.121

I told you. Lord Angelo, belike thinking me remiss
Link: 4.2.122
in mine office, awakens me with this unwonted
Link: 4.2.123
putting-on; methinks strangely, for he hath not used it before.
Link: 4.2.124

Pray you, let's hear.
Link: 4.2.125

'Whatsoever you may hear to the contrary, let
Link: 4.2.127
Claudio be executed by four of the clock; and in the
Link: 4.2.128
afternoon Barnardine: for my better satisfaction,
Link: 4.2.129
let me have Claudio's head sent me by five. Let
Link: 4.2.130
this be duly performed; with a thought that more
Link: 4.2.131
depends on it than we must yet deliver. Thus fail
Link: 4.2.132
not to do your office, as you will answer it at your peril.'
Link: 4.2.133
What say you to this, sir?
Link: 4.2.134

What is that Barnardine who is to be executed in the
Link: 4.2.135
Link: 4.2.136

A Bohemian born, but here nursed un and bred; one
Link: 4.2.137
that is a prisoner nine years old.
Link: 4.2.138

How came it that the absent duke had not either
Link: 4.2.139
delivered him to his liberty or executed him? I
Link: 4.2.140
have heard it was ever his manner to do so.
Link: 4.2.141

His friends still wrought reprieves for him: and,
Link: 4.2.142
indeed, his fact, till now in the government of Lord
Link: 4.2.143
Angelo, came not to an undoubtful proof.
Link: 4.2.144

It is now apparent?
Link: 4.2.145

Most manifest, and not denied by himself.
Link: 4.2.146

Hath he born himself penitently in prison? how
Link: 4.2.147
seems he to be touched?
Link: 4.2.148

A man that apprehends death no more dreadfully but
Link: 4.2.149
as a drunken sleep; careless, reckless, and fearless
Link: 4.2.150
of what's past, present, or to come; insensible of
Link: 4.2.151
mortality, and desperately mortal.
Link: 4.2.152

He wants advice.
Link: 4.2.153

He will hear none: he hath evermore had the liberty
Link: 4.2.154
of the prison; give him leave to escape hence, he
Link: 4.2.155
would not: drunk many times a day, if not many days
Link: 4.2.156
entirely drunk. We have very oft awaked him, as if
Link: 4.2.157
to carry him to execution, and showed him a seeming
Link: 4.2.158
warrant for it: it hath not moved him at all.
Link: 4.2.159

More of him anon. There is written in your brow,
Link: 4.2.160
provost, honesty and constancy: if I read it not
Link: 4.2.161
truly, my ancient skill beguiles me; but, in the
Link: 4.2.162
boldness of my cunning, I will lay myself in hazard.
Link: 4.2.163
Claudio, whom here you have warrant to execute, is
Link: 4.2.164
no greater forfeit to the law than Angelo who hath
Link: 4.2.165
sentenced him. To make you understand this in a
Link: 4.2.166
manifested effect, I crave but four days' respite;
Link: 4.2.167
for the which you are to do me both a present and a
Link: 4.2.168
dangerous courtesy.
Link: 4.2.169

Pray, sir, in what?
Link: 4.2.170

In the delaying death.
Link: 4.2.171

A lack, how may I do it, having the hour limited,
Link: 4.2.172
and an express command, under penalty, to deliver
Link: 4.2.173
his head in the view of Angelo? I may make my case
Link: 4.2.174
as Claudio's, to cross this in the smallest.
Link: 4.2.175

By the vow of mine order I warrant you, if my
Link: 4.2.176
instructions may be your guide. Let this Barnardine
Link: 4.2.177
be this morning executed, and his head born to Angelo.
Link: 4.2.178

Angelo hath seen them both, and will discover the favour.
Link: 4.2.179

O, death's a great disguiser; and you may add to it.
Link: 4.2.180
Shave the head, and tie the beard; and say it was
Link: 4.2.181
the desire of the penitent to be so bared before his
Link: 4.2.182
death: you know the course is common. If any thing
Link: 4.2.183
fall to you upon this, more than thanks and good
Link: 4.2.184
fortune, by the saint whom I profess, I will plead
Link: 4.2.185
against it with my life.
Link: 4.2.186

Pardon me, good father; it is against my oath.
Link: 4.2.187

Were you sworn to the duke, or to the deputy?
Link: 4.2.188

To him, and to his substitutes.
Link: 4.2.189

You will think you have made no offence, if the duke
Link: 4.2.190
avouch the justice of your dealing?
Link: 4.2.191

But what likelihood is in that?
Link: 4.2.192

Not a resemblance, but a certainty. Yet since I see
Link: 4.2.193
you fearful, that neither my coat, integrity, nor
Link: 4.2.194
persuasion can with ease attempt you, I will go
Link: 4.2.195
further than I meant, to pluck all fears out of you.
Link: 4.2.196
Look you, sir, here is the hand and seal of the
Link: 4.2.197
duke: you know the character, I doubt not; and the
Link: 4.2.198
signet is not strange to you.
Link: 4.2.199

I know them both.
Link: 4.2.200

The contents of this is the return of the duke: you
Link: 4.2.201
shall anon over-read it at your pleasure; where you
Link: 4.2.202
shall find, within these two days he will be here.
Link: 4.2.203
This is a thing that Angelo knows not; for he this
Link: 4.2.204
very day receives letters of strange tenor;
Link: 4.2.205
perchance of the duke's death; perchance entering
Link: 4.2.206
into some monastery; but, by chance, nothing of what
Link: 4.2.207
is writ. Look, the unfolding star calls up the
Link: 4.2.208
shepherd. Put not yourself into amazement how these
Link: 4.2.209
things should be: all difficulties are but easy
Link: 4.2.210
when they are known. Call your executioner, and off
Link: 4.2.211
with Barnardine's head: I will give him a present
Link: 4.2.212
shrift and advise him for a better place. Yet you
Link: 4.2.213
are amazed; but this shall absolutely resolve you.
Link: 4.2.214
Come away; it is almost clear dawn.
Link: 4.2.215


SCENE III. Another room in the same.

In Scene 3 of Act 4, the Duke disguised as a friar visits Claudio, who is awaiting his execution. The Duke advises Claudio to prepare himself for death and confess his sins. Claudio expresses his fear of dying and leaving his lover Juliet alone and pregnant. The Duke suggests that Angelo might be willing to spare Claudio's life in exchange for Juliet's virginity.

Meanwhile, Juliet visits Isabella, who is still unaware of the Duke's plan. Juliet asks Isabella to plead with Angelo on her behalf. Isabella agrees, but when she confronts Angelo, he demands that she sleep with him in exchange for Claudio's life. Isabella is shocked and refuses, stating that she would rather die than compromise her virtue.

The Duke, still disguised as a friar, witnesses the exchange and intervenes. He suggests that Isabella pretend to agree to Angelo's proposal and then meet him in the dark with Mariana, who was once engaged to Angelo but was abandoned when she lost her dowry. The plan is for Mariana to take Isabella's place and consummate the marriage with Angelo, while Isabella convinces the Duke to pardon Claudio.

Isabella reluctantly agrees to the plan, and the Duke assures her that no harm will come to her virtue. The scene concludes with the Duke revealing his true identity to the audience and reflecting on his plan to bring justice to Vienna.


I am as well acquainted here as I was in our house
Link: 4.3.1
of profession: one would think it were Mistress
Link: 4.3.2
Overdone's own house, for here be many of her old
Link: 4.3.3
customers. First, here's young Master Rash; he's in
Link: 4.3.4
for a commodity of brown paper and old ginger,
Link: 4.3.5
ninescore and seventeen pounds; of which he made
Link: 4.3.6
five marks, ready money: marry, then ginger was not
Link: 4.3.7
much in request, for the old women were all dead.
Link: 4.3.8
Then is there here one Master Caper, at the suit of
Link: 4.3.9
Master Three-pile the mercer, for some four suits of
Link: 4.3.10
peach-coloured satin, which now peaches him a
Link: 4.3.11
beggar. Then have we here young Dizy, and young
Link: 4.3.12
Master Deep-vow, and Master Copperspur, and Master
Link: 4.3.13
Starve-lackey the rapier and dagger man, and young
Link: 4.3.14
Drop-heir that killed lusty Pudding, and Master
Link: 4.3.15
Forthlight the tilter, and brave Master Shooty the
Link: 4.3.16
great traveller, and wild Half-can that stabbed
Link: 4.3.17
Pots, and, I think, forty more; all great doers in
Link: 4.3.18
our trade, and are now 'for the Lord's sake.'
Link: 4.3.19


Sirrah, bring Barnardine hither.
Link: 4.3.20

Master Barnardine! you must rise and be hanged.
Link: 4.3.21
Master Barnardine!
Link: 4.3.22

What, ho, Barnardine!
Link: 4.3.23

(Within) A pox o' your throats! Who makes that
Link: 4.3.24
noise there? What are you?
Link: 4.3.25

Your friends, sir; the hangman. You must be so
Link: 4.3.26
good, sir, to rise and be put to death.
Link: 4.3.27

(Within) Away, you rogue, away! I am sleepy.
Link: 4.3.28

Tell him he must awake, and that quickly too.
Link: 4.3.29

Pray, Master Barnardine, awake till you are
Link: 4.3.30
executed, and sleep afterwards.
Link: 4.3.31

Go in to him, and fetch him out.
Link: 4.3.32

He is coming, sir, he is coming; I hear his straw rustle.
Link: 4.3.33

Is the axe upon the block, sirrah?
Link: 4.3.34

Very ready, sir.
Link: 4.3.35


How now, Abhorson? what's the news with you?
Link: 4.3.36

Truly, sir, I would desire you to clap into your
Link: 4.3.37
prayers; for, look you, the warrant's come.
Link: 4.3.38

You rogue, I have been drinking all night; I am not
Link: 4.3.39
fitted for 't.
Link: 4.3.40

O, the better, sir; for he that drinks all night,
Link: 4.3.41
and is hanged betimes in the morning, may sleep the
Link: 4.3.42
sounder all the next day.
Link: 4.3.43

Look you, sir; here comes your ghostly father: do
Link: 4.3.44
we jest now, think you?
Link: 4.3.45

Enter DUKE VINCENTIO disguised as before

Sir, induced by my charity, and hearing how hastily
Link: 4.3.46
you are to depart, I am come to advise you, comfort
Link: 4.3.47
you and pray with you.
Link: 4.3.48

Friar, not I I have been drinking hard all night,
Link: 4.3.49
and I will have more time to prepare me, or they
Link: 4.3.50
shall beat out my brains with billets: I will not
Link: 4.3.51
consent to die this day, that's certain.
Link: 4.3.52

O, sir, you must: and therefore I beseech you
Link: 4.3.53
Look forward on the journey you shall go.
Link: 4.3.54

I swear I will not die to-day for any man's
Link: 4.3.55
Link: 4.3.56

But hear you.
Link: 4.3.57

Not a word: if you have any thing to say to me,
Link: 4.3.58
come to my ward; for thence will not I to-day.
Link: 4.3.59


Unfit to live or die: O gravel heart!
Link: 4.3.60
After him, fellows; bring him to the block.
Link: 4.3.61


Re-enter Provost

Now, sir, how do you find the prisoner?
Link: 4.3.62

A creature unprepared, unmeet for death;
Link: 4.3.63
And to transport him in the mind he is
Link: 4.3.64
Were damnable.
Link: 4.3.65

Here in the prison, father,
Link: 4.3.66
There died this morning of a cruel fever
Link: 4.3.67
One Ragozine, a most notorious pirate,
Link: 4.3.68
A man of Claudio's years; his beard and head
Link: 4.3.69
Just of his colour. What if we do omit
Link: 4.3.70
This reprobate till he were well inclined;
Link: 4.3.71
And satisfy the deputy with the visage
Link: 4.3.72
Of Ragozine, more like to Claudio?
Link: 4.3.73

O, 'tis an accident that heaven provides!
Link: 4.3.74
Dispatch it presently; the hour draws on
Link: 4.3.75
Prefix'd by Angelo: see this be done,
Link: 4.3.76
And sent according to command; whiles I
Link: 4.3.77
Persuade this rude wretch willingly to die.
Link: 4.3.78

This shall be done, good father, presently.
Link: 4.3.79
But Barnardine must die this afternoon:
Link: 4.3.80
And how shall we continue Claudio,
Link: 4.3.81
To save me from the danger that might come
Link: 4.3.82
If he were known alive?
Link: 4.3.83

Let this be done.
Link: 4.3.84
Put them in secret holds, both Barnardine and Claudio:
Link: 4.3.85
Ere twice the sun hath made his journal greeting
Link: 4.3.86
To the under generation, you shall find
Link: 4.3.87
Your safety manifested.
Link: 4.3.88

I am your free dependant.
Link: 4.3.89

Quick, dispatch, and send the head to Angelo.
Link: 4.3.90
Now will I write letters to Angelo,--
Link: 4.3.91
The provost, he shall bear them, whose contents
Link: 4.3.92
Shall witness to him I am near at home,
Link: 4.3.93
And that, by great injunctions, I am bound
Link: 4.3.94
To enter publicly: him I'll desire
Link: 4.3.95
To meet me at the consecrated fount
Link: 4.3.96
A league below the city; and from thence,
Link: 4.3.97
By cold gradation and well-balanced form,
Link: 4.3.98
We shall proceed with Angelo.
Link: 4.3.99

Re-enter Provost

Here is the head; I'll carry it myself.
Link: 4.3.100

Convenient is it. Make a swift return;
Link: 4.3.101
For I would commune with you of such things
Link: 4.3.102
That want no ear but yours.
Link: 4.3.103

I'll make all speed.
Link: 4.3.104


(Within) Peace, ho, be here!
Link: 4.3.105

The tongue of Isabel. She's come to know
Link: 4.3.106
If yet her brother's pardon be come hither:
Link: 4.3.107
But I will keep her ignorant of her good,
Link: 4.3.108
To make her heavenly comforts of despair,
Link: 4.3.109
When it is least expected.
Link: 4.3.110


Ho, by your leave!
Link: 4.3.111

Good morning to you, fair and gracious daughter.
Link: 4.3.112

The better, given me by so holy a man.
Link: 4.3.113
Hath yet the deputy sent my brother's pardon?
Link: 4.3.114

He hath released him, Isabel, from the world:
Link: 4.3.115
His head is off and sent to Angelo.
Link: 4.3.116

Nay, but it is not so.
Link: 4.3.117

It is no other: show your wisdom, daughter,
Link: 4.3.118
In your close patience.
Link: 4.3.119

O, I will to him and pluck out his eyes!
Link: 4.3.120

You shall not be admitted to his sight.
Link: 4.3.121

Unhappy Claudio! wretched Isabel!
Link: 4.3.122
Injurious world! most damned Angelo!
Link: 4.3.123

This nor hurts him nor profits you a jot;
Link: 4.3.124
Forbear it therefore; give your cause to heaven.
Link: 4.3.125
Mark what I say, which you shall find
Link: 4.3.126
By every syllable a faithful verity:
Link: 4.3.127
The duke comes home to-morrow; nay, dry your eyes;
Link: 4.3.128
One of our convent, and his confessor,
Link: 4.3.129
Gives me this instance: already he hath carried
Link: 4.3.130
Notice to Escalus and Angelo,
Link: 4.3.131
Who do prepare to meet him at the gates,
Link: 4.3.132
There to give up their power. If you can, pace your wisdom
Link: 4.3.133
In that good path that I would wish it go,
Link: 4.3.134
And you shall have your bosom on this wretch,
Link: 4.3.135
Grace of the duke, revenges to your heart,
Link: 4.3.136
And general honour.
Link: 4.3.137

I am directed by you.
Link: 4.3.138

This letter, then, to Friar Peter give;
Link: 4.3.139
'Tis that he sent me of the duke's return:
Link: 4.3.140
Say, by this token, I desire his company
Link: 4.3.141
At Mariana's house to-night. Her cause and yours
Link: 4.3.142
I'll perfect him withal, and he shall bring you
Link: 4.3.143
Before the duke, and to the head of Angelo
Link: 4.3.144
Accuse him home and home. For my poor self,
Link: 4.3.145
I am combined by a sacred vow
Link: 4.3.146
And shall be absent. Wend you with this letter:
Link: 4.3.147
Command these fretting waters from your eyes
Link: 4.3.148
With a light heart; trust not my holy order,
Link: 4.3.149
If I pervert your course. Who's here?
Link: 4.3.150


Good even. Friar, where's the provost?
Link: 4.3.151

Not within, sir.
Link: 4.3.152

O pretty Isabella, I am pale at mine heart to see
Link: 4.3.153
thine eyes so red: thou must be patient. I am fain
Link: 4.3.154
to dine and sup with water and bran; I dare not for
Link: 4.3.155
my head fill my belly; one fruitful meal would set
Link: 4.3.156
me to 't. But they say the duke will be here
Link: 4.3.157
to-morrow. By my troth, Isabel, I loved thy brother:
Link: 4.3.158
if the old fantastical duke of dark corners had been
Link: 4.3.159
at home, he had lived.
Link: 4.3.160


Sir, the duke is marvellous little beholding to your
Link: 4.3.161
reports; but the best is, he lives not in them.
Link: 4.3.162

Friar, thou knowest not the duke so well as I do:
Link: 4.3.163
he's a better woodman than thou takest him for.
Link: 4.3.164

Well, you'll answer this one day. Fare ye well.
Link: 4.3.165

Nay, tarry; I'll go along with thee
Link: 4.3.166
I can tell thee pretty tales of the duke.
Link: 4.3.167

You have told me too many of him already, sir, if
Link: 4.3.168
they be true; if not true, none were enough.
Link: 4.3.169

I was once before him for getting a wench with child.
Link: 4.3.170

Did you such a thing?
Link: 4.3.171

Yes, marry, did I but I was fain to forswear it;
Link: 4.3.172
they would else have married me to the rotten medlar.
Link: 4.3.173

Sir, your company is fairer than honest. Rest you well.
Link: 4.3.174

By my troth, I'll go with thee to the lane's end:
Link: 4.3.175
if bawdy talk offend you, we'll have very little of
Link: 4.3.176
it. Nay, friar, I am a kind of burr; I shall stick.
Link: 4.3.177


SCENE IV. A room in ANGELO's house.

Scene 4 of Act 4 of Measure for Measure centers around the character of Isabella, who is a novice nun, and her meeting with Angelo, who is the deputy of Vienna. Isabella is there to plead for her brother's life, who has been sentenced to death for fornication. Angelo, who is known for his strict adherence to the law, offers Isabella a deal: if she sleeps with him, he will pardon her brother. Isabella is horrified by the proposition and refuses, stating that she would rather see her brother die than sacrifice her virtue. Angelo tries to convince her by using the argument of mercy, but Isabella remains resolute in her refusal.

Angelo then tries to manipulate Isabella by telling her that her brother has already been executed. However, the Duke, who has been disguised as a friar throughout the play, intervenes and reveals that Claudio is still alive. The Duke then proposes a plan to trick Angelo into pardoning Claudio without compromising Isabella's virtue. The plan is set in motion, and the scene ends with Isabella agreeing to meet with Angelo again.

The scene highlights the themes of justice, mercy, and the abuse of power. Angelo's offer to Isabella is an abuse of his position of power and highlights the corrupt nature of those in authority. Isabella's refusal to compromise her virtue reinforces the idea that justice cannot be bought or traded for personal gain. The Duke's plan to trick Angelo into pardoning Claudio also raises questions about the nature of justice and the use of deception to achieve it.


Every letter he hath writ hath disvouched other.
Link: 4.4.1

In most uneven and distracted manner. His actions
Link: 4.4.2
show much like to madness: pray heaven his wisdom be
Link: 4.4.3
not tainted! And why meet him at the gates, and
Link: 4.4.4
redeliver our authorities there
Link: 4.4.5

I guess not.
Link: 4.4.6

And why should we proclaim it in an hour before his
Link: 4.4.7
entering, that if any crave redress of injustice,
Link: 4.4.8
they should exhibit their petitions in the street?
Link: 4.4.9

He shows his reason for that: to have a dispatch of
Link: 4.4.10
complaints, and to deliver us from devices
Link: 4.4.11
hereafter, which shall then have no power to stand
Link: 4.4.12
against us.
Link: 4.4.13

Well, I beseech you, let it be proclaimed betimes
Link: 4.4.14
i' the morn; I'll call you at your house: give
Link: 4.4.15
notice to such men of sort and suit as are to meet
Link: 4.4.16

I shall, sir. Fare you well.
Link: 4.4.18

Good night.
Link: 4.4.19
This deed unshapes me quite, makes me unpregnant
Link: 4.4.20
And dull to all proceedings. A deflower'd maid!
Link: 4.4.21
And by an eminent body that enforced
Link: 4.4.22
The law against it! But that her tender shame
Link: 4.4.23
Will not proclaim against her maiden loss,
Link: 4.4.24
How might she tongue me! Yet reason dares her no;
Link: 4.4.25
For my authority bears of a credent bulk,
Link: 4.4.26
That no particular scandal once can touch
Link: 4.4.27
But it confounds the breather. He should have lived,
Link: 4.4.28
Save that riotous youth, with dangerous sense,
Link: 4.4.29
Might in the times to come have ta'en revenge,
Link: 4.4.30
By so receiving a dishonour'd life
Link: 4.4.31
With ransom of such shame. Would yet he had lived!
Link: 4.4.32
A lack, when once our grace we have forgot,
Link: 4.4.33
Nothing goes right: we would, and we would not.
Link: 4.4.34


SCENE V. Fields without the town.

Scene 5 of Act 4 takes place in a prison cell where the Duke, disguised as a friar, visits Claudio who is sentenced to death for impregnating his lover Juliet before marriage, which was a crime at the time. Claudio is distraught and begs for mercy, but the Duke tells him that there is no hope for his release.

However, the Duke offers Claudio a solution. He suggests that Claudio's sister, Isabella, who is a nun, could plead with Angelo, the deputy ruler who sentenced Claudio, to spare his life in exchange for her virginity. Claudio is initially hesitant but eventually agrees to the plan.

The Duke then leaves the prison cell and meets with Isabella, who is unaware of her brother's situation. The Duke tells her about Claudio's impending execution and proposes the same plan to her. Isabella is appalled and refuses to sacrifice her chastity for her brother's life. She argues that it would be a sin and that Claudio should face his punishment like a man.

The Duke then reveals his true identity to Isabella and explains that he has been testing her faith and morality. He tells her that Angelo, who was responsible for sentencing Claudio, had also made advances towards her and that he would use her rejection of his advances as leverage to spare Claudio's life. Isabella agrees to the plan, and the Duke promises to save Claudio and bring justice to Angelo.

The scene ends with the Duke leaving to set his plan in motion, and Isabella remaining in the prison cell, contemplating her decision and struggling with her conscience.

Enter DUKE VINCENTIO in his own habit, and FRIAR PETER

These letters at fit time deliver me
Link: 4.5.1
The provost knows our purpose and our plot.
Link: 4.5.2
The matter being afoot, keep your instruction,
Link: 4.5.3
And hold you ever to our special drift;
Link: 4.5.4
Though sometimes you do blench from this to that,
Link: 4.5.5
As cause doth minister. Go call at Flavius' house,
Link: 4.5.6
And tell him where I stay: give the like notice
Link: 4.5.7
To Valentinus, Rowland, and to Crassus,
Link: 4.5.8
And bid them bring the trumpets to the gate;
Link: 4.5.9
But send me Flavius first.
Link: 4.5.10

It shall be speeded well.
Link: 4.5.11



I thank thee, Varrius; thou hast made good haste:
Link: 4.5.12
Come, we will walk. There's other of our friends
Link: 4.5.13
Will greet us here anon, my gentle Varrius.
Link: 4.5.14


SCENE VI. Street near the city gate.

Scene 6 of Act 4 involves a meeting between the Duke and Isabella, where the Duke is disguised as a friar. Isabella is distraught about the recent events regarding her brother Claudio, who has been sentenced to death for impregnating his fiancee out of wedlock. Isabella has been trying to convince Angelo, the temporary ruler of Vienna, to pardon her brother, but Angelo has demanded that Isabella sleep with him in exchange for her brother's freedom.

The Duke, in his disguise, suggests that Isabella should agree to Angelo's proposition, but then send Mariana in her place. Mariana is Angelo's ex-fiancee, who was abandoned by him after her dowry was lost in a shipwreck. Isabella agrees to the plan and arranges for Mariana to take her place in Angelo's bed.

Meanwhile, the Duke reveals his true identity to Friar Peter and explains his plan to restore justice to Vienna. He orders Friar Peter to inform Angelo that Claudio has been executed, which will cause Angelo to believe that Isabella has fulfilled her end of the bargain. The Duke then leaves to prepare for his return to power.

In this scene, the audience sees the Duke's cunning plan to manipulate Angelo and restore justice to Vienna. It also highlights the difficult choices that Isabella must make in order to save her brother's life. The scene sets up the dramatic events that follow in the final act of the play.


To speak so indirectly I am loath:
Link: 4.6.1
I would say the truth; but to accuse him so,
Link: 4.6.2
That is your part: yet I am advised to do it;
Link: 4.6.3
He says, to veil full purpose.
Link: 4.6.4

Be ruled by him.
Link: 4.6.5

Besides, he tells me that, if peradventure
Link: 4.6.6
He speak against me on the adverse side,
Link: 4.6.7
I should not think it strange; for 'tis a physic
Link: 4.6.8
That's bitter to sweet end.
Link: 4.6.9

I would Friar Peter--
Link: 4.6.10

O, peace! the friar is come.
Link: 4.6.11


Come, I have found you out a stand most fit,
Link: 4.6.12
Where you may have such vantage on the duke,
Link: 4.6.13
He shall not pass you. Twice have the trumpets sounded;
Link: 4.6.14
The generous and gravest citizens
Link: 4.6.15
Have hent the gates, and very near upon
Link: 4.6.16
The duke is entering: therefore, hence, away!
Link: 4.6.17


Act V

Act 5 of Measure for Measure begins with the Duke revealing his true identity to Isabella and explaining his plan to her. He tells her that Angelo has been sentenced to death for his crimes, but that he will pardon him if Isabella agrees to marry him. Isabella is shocked by this proposal and initially refuses, but the Duke convinces her that it is the best way to ensure Angelo's redemption.

Meanwhile, Lucio and the Provost discuss the latest news in the city, including the impending execution of Claudio and the pardon of Barnardine. They are interrupted by the arrival of the Duke, who announces that he has returned to take back his position as ruler of Vienna.

As the play reaches its climax, the Duke puts his plan into action. He disguises himself as a friar and convinces Claudio to accept his fate and prepare for death. However, just as Claudio is about to be executed, the Duke reveals himself and pardons him. He then reveals Angelo's crimes to the public and offers him a chance at redemption by marrying Mariana.

Isabella is still struggling with the Duke's proposal, but ultimately agrees to marry him in order to save Angelo's life. The play ends with the Duke announcing his plans to reform the city and restore order to Vienna.

SCENE I. The city gate.

In Scene 1 of Act 5, a group of characters gather in a public square in Vienna. The Duke, disguised as a friar, enters and meets with the Provost, who informs him that Claudio is to be executed that morning for getting his fiancee pregnant out of wedlock. The Duke reveals his true identity to the Provost and asks him to hold off on the execution for a few hours.

Angelo, who has been left in charge of Vienna by the Duke, enters and speaks with the Provost about the execution. He is adamant that the law must be upheld, despite the pleas of Claudio's sister, Isabella, who has come to beg for her brother's life.

Isabella speaks with Angelo and offers to sacrifice her own chastity in exchange for her brother's life. Angelo agrees to the deal, but secretly orders the execution to proceed anyway. The Duke, disguised as the friar, intervenes and reveals Angelo's treachery. Angelo is arrested and Claudio's life is spared.

The Duke reveals his true identity to the characters and offers forgiveness to all involved. He proposes marriage to Isabella, but she declines and decides to become a nun instead. The play ends with the Duke reinstating himself as ruler of Vienna and promising to govern with more mercy and compassion in the future.

MARIANA veiled, ISABELLA, and FRIAR PETER, at their stand. Enter DUKE VINCENTIO, VARRIUS, Lords, ANGELO, ESCALUS, LUCIO, Provost, Officers, and Citizens, at several doors

My very worthy cousin, fairly met!
Link: 5.1.1
Our old and faithful friend, we are glad to see you.
Link: 5.1.2

Happy return be to your royal grace!
Link: 5.1.3

Many and hearty thankings to you both.
Link: 5.1.4
We have made inquiry of you; and we hear
Link: 5.1.5
Such goodness of your justice, that our soul
Link: 5.1.6
Cannot but yield you forth to public thanks,
Link: 5.1.7
Forerunning more requital.
Link: 5.1.8

You make my bonds still greater.
Link: 5.1.9

O, your desert speaks loud; and I should wrong it,
Link: 5.1.10
To lock it in the wards of covert bosom,
Link: 5.1.11
When it deserves, with characters of brass,
Link: 5.1.12
A forted residence 'gainst the tooth of time
Link: 5.1.13
And razure of oblivion. Give me your hand,
Link: 5.1.14
And let the subject see, to make them know
Link: 5.1.15
That outward courtesies would fain proclaim
Link: 5.1.16
Favours that keep within. Come, Escalus,
Link: 5.1.17
You must walk by us on our other hand;
Link: 5.1.18
And good supporters are you.
Link: 5.1.19

FRIAR PETER and ISABELLA come forward

Now is your time: speak loud and kneel before him.
Link: 5.1.20

Justice, O royal duke! Vail your regard
Link: 5.1.21
Upon a wrong'd, I would fain have said, a maid!
Link: 5.1.22
O worthy prince, dishonour not your eye
Link: 5.1.23
By throwing it on any other object
Link: 5.1.24
Till you have heard me in my true complaint
Link: 5.1.25
And given me justice, justice, justice, justice!
Link: 5.1.26

Relate your wrongs; in what? by whom? be brief.
Link: 5.1.27
Here is Lord Angelo shall give you justice:
Link: 5.1.28
Reveal yourself to him.
Link: 5.1.29

O worthy duke,
Link: 5.1.30
You bid me seek redemption of the devil:
Link: 5.1.31
Hear me yourself; for that which I must speak
Link: 5.1.32
Must either punish me, not being believed,
Link: 5.1.33
Or wring redress from you. Hear me, O hear me, here!
Link: 5.1.34

My lord, her wits, I fear me, are not firm:
Link: 5.1.35
She hath been a suitor to me for her brother
Link: 5.1.36
Cut off by course of justice,--
Link: 5.1.37

By course of justice!
Link: 5.1.38

And she will speak most bitterly and strange.
Link: 5.1.39

Most strange, but yet most truly, will I speak:
Link: 5.1.40
That Angelo's forsworn; is it not strange?
Link: 5.1.41
That Angelo's a murderer; is 't not strange?
Link: 5.1.42
That Angelo is an adulterous thief,
Link: 5.1.43
An hypocrite, a virgin-violator;
Link: 5.1.44
Is it not strange and strange?
Link: 5.1.45

Nay, it is ten times strange.
Link: 5.1.46

It is not truer he is Angelo
Link: 5.1.47
Than this is all as true as it is strange:
Link: 5.1.48
Nay, it is ten times true; for truth is truth
Link: 5.1.49
To the end of reckoning.
Link: 5.1.50

Away with her! Poor soul,
Link: 5.1.51
She speaks this in the infirmity of sense.
Link: 5.1.52

O prince, I conjure thee, as thou believest
Link: 5.1.53
There is another comfort than this world,
Link: 5.1.54
That thou neglect me not, with that opinion
Link: 5.1.55
That I am touch'd with madness! Make not impossible
Link: 5.1.56
That which but seems unlike: 'tis not impossible
Link: 5.1.57
But one, the wicked'st caitiff on the ground,
Link: 5.1.58
May seem as shy, as grave, as just, as absolute
Link: 5.1.59
As Angelo; even so may Angelo,
Link: 5.1.60
In all his dressings, characts, titles, forms,
Link: 5.1.61
Be an arch-villain; believe it, royal prince:
Link: 5.1.62
If he be less, he's nothing; but he's more,
Link: 5.1.63
Had I more name for badness.
Link: 5.1.64

By mine honesty,
Link: 5.1.65
If she be mad,--as I believe no other,--
Link: 5.1.66
Her madness hath the oddest frame of sense,
Link: 5.1.67
Such a dependency of thing on thing,
Link: 5.1.68
As e'er I heard in madness.
Link: 5.1.69

O gracious duke,
Link: 5.1.70
Harp not on that, nor do not banish reason
Link: 5.1.71
For inequality; but let your reason serve
Link: 5.1.72
To make the truth appear where it seems hid,
Link: 5.1.73
And hide the false seems true.
Link: 5.1.74

Many that are not mad
Link: 5.1.75
Have, sure, more lack of reason. What would you say?
Link: 5.1.76

I am the sister of one Claudio,
Link: 5.1.77
Condemn'd upon the act of fornication
Link: 5.1.78
To lose his head; condemn'd by Angelo:
Link: 5.1.79
I, in probation of a sisterhood,
Link: 5.1.80
Was sent to by my brother; one Lucio
Link: 5.1.81
As then the messenger,--
Link: 5.1.82

That's I, an't like your grace:
Link: 5.1.83
I came to her from Claudio, and desired her
Link: 5.1.84
To try her gracious fortune with Lord Angelo
Link: 5.1.85
For her poor brother's pardon.
Link: 5.1.86

That's he indeed.
Link: 5.1.87

You were not bid to speak.
Link: 5.1.88

No, my good lord;
Link: 5.1.89
Nor wish'd to hold my peace.
Link: 5.1.90

I wish you now, then;
Link: 5.1.91
Pray you, take note of it: and when you have
Link: 5.1.92
A business for yourself, pray heaven you then
Link: 5.1.93
Be perfect.
Link: 5.1.94

I warrant your honour.
Link: 5.1.95

The warrants for yourself; take heed to't.
Link: 5.1.96

This gentleman told somewhat of my tale,--
Link: 5.1.97


It may be right; but you are i' the wrong
Link: 5.1.99
To speak before your time. Proceed.
Link: 5.1.100

To this pernicious caitiff deputy,--
Link: 5.1.102

That's somewhat madly spoken.
Link: 5.1.103

Pardon it;
Link: 5.1.104
The phrase is to the matter.
Link: 5.1.105

Mended again. The matter; proceed.
Link: 5.1.106

In brief, to set the needless process by,
Link: 5.1.107
How I persuaded, how I pray'd, and kneel'd,
Link: 5.1.108
How he refell'd me, and how I replied,--
Link: 5.1.109
For this was of much length,--the vile conclusion
Link: 5.1.110
I now begin with grief and shame to utter:
Link: 5.1.111
He would not, but by gift of my chaste body
Link: 5.1.112
To his concupiscible intemperate lust,
Link: 5.1.113
Release my brother; and, after much debatement,
Link: 5.1.114
My sisterly remorse confutes mine honour,
Link: 5.1.115
And I did yield to him: but the next morn betimes,
Link: 5.1.116
His purpose surfeiting, he sends a warrant
Link: 5.1.117
For my poor brother's head.
Link: 5.1.118

This is most likely!
Link: 5.1.119

O, that it were as like as it is true!
Link: 5.1.120

By heaven, fond wretch, thou knowist not what thou speak'st,
Link: 5.1.121
Or else thou art suborn'd against his honour
Link: 5.1.122
In hateful practise. First, his integrity
Link: 5.1.123
Stands without blemish. Next, it imports no reason
Link: 5.1.124
That with such vehemency he should pursue
Link: 5.1.125
Faults proper to himself: if he had so offended,
Link: 5.1.126
He would have weigh'd thy brother by himself
Link: 5.1.127
And not have cut him off. Some one hath set you on:
Link: 5.1.128
Confess the truth, and say by whose advice
Link: 5.1.129
Thou camest here to complain.
Link: 5.1.130

And is this all?
Link: 5.1.131
Then, O you blessed ministers above,
Link: 5.1.132
Keep me in patience, and with ripen'd time
Link: 5.1.133
Unfold the evil which is here wrapt up
Link: 5.1.134
In countenance! Heaven shield your grace from woe,
Link: 5.1.135
As I, thus wrong'd, hence unbelieved go!
Link: 5.1.136

I know you'ld fain be gone. An officer!
Link: 5.1.137
To prison with her! Shall we thus permit
Link: 5.1.138
A blasting and a scandalous breath to fall
Link: 5.1.139
On him so near us? This needs must be a practise.
Link: 5.1.140
Who knew of Your intent and coming hither?
Link: 5.1.141

One that I would were here, Friar Lodowick.
Link: 5.1.142

A ghostly father, belike. Who knows that Lodowick?
Link: 5.1.143

My lord, I know him; 'tis a meddling friar;
Link: 5.1.144
I do not like the man: had he been lay, my lord
Link: 5.1.145
For certain words he spake against your grace
Link: 5.1.146
In your retirement, I had swinged him soundly.
Link: 5.1.147

Words against me? this is a good friar, belike!
Link: 5.1.148
And to set on this wretched woman here
Link: 5.1.149
Against our substitute! Let this friar be found.
Link: 5.1.150

But yesternight, my lord, she and that friar,
Link: 5.1.151
I saw them at the prison: a saucy friar,
Link: 5.1.152
A very scurvy fellow.
Link: 5.1.153

Blessed be your royal grace!
Link: 5.1.154
I have stood by, my lord, and I have heard
Link: 5.1.155
Your royal ear abused. First, hath this woman
Link: 5.1.156
Most wrongfully accused your substitute,
Link: 5.1.157
Who is as free from touch or soil with her
Link: 5.1.158
As she from one ungot.
Link: 5.1.159

We did believe no less.
Link: 5.1.160
Know you that Friar Lodowick that she speaks of?
Link: 5.1.161

I know him for a man divine and holy;
Link: 5.1.162
Not scurvy, nor a temporary meddler,
Link: 5.1.163
As he's reported by this gentleman;
Link: 5.1.164
And, on my trust, a man that never yet
Link: 5.1.165
Did, as he vouches, misreport your grace.
Link: 5.1.166

My lord, most villanously; believe it.
Link: 5.1.167

Well, he in time may come to clear himself;
Link: 5.1.168
But at this instant he is sick my lord,
Link: 5.1.169
Of a strange fever. Upon his mere request,
Link: 5.1.170
Being come to knowledge that there was complaint
Link: 5.1.171
Intended 'gainst Lord Angelo, came I hither,
Link: 5.1.172
To speak, as from his mouth, what he doth know
Link: 5.1.173
Is true and false; and what he with his oath
Link: 5.1.174
And all probation will make up full clear,
Link: 5.1.175
Whensoever he's convented. First, for this woman.
Link: 5.1.176
To justify this worthy nobleman,
Link: 5.1.177
So vulgarly and personally accused,
Link: 5.1.178
Her shall you hear disproved to her eyes,
Link: 5.1.179
Till she herself confess it.
Link: 5.1.180

Good friar, let's hear it.
Link: 5.1.181
Do you not smile at this, Lord Angelo?
Link: 5.1.182
O heaven, the vanity of wretched fools!
Link: 5.1.183
Give us some seats. Come, cousin Angelo;
Link: 5.1.184
In this I'll be impartial; be you judge
Link: 5.1.185
Of your own cause. Is this the witness, friar?
Link: 5.1.186
First, let her show her face, and after speak.
Link: 5.1.187

Pardon, my lord; I will not show my face
Link: 5.1.188
Until my husband bid me.
Link: 5.1.189

What, are you married?
Link: 5.1.190

No, my lord.
Link: 5.1.191

Are you a maid?
Link: 5.1.192

No, my lord.
Link: 5.1.193

A widow, then?
Link: 5.1.194

Neither, my lord.
Link: 5.1.195

Why, you are nothing then: neither maid, widow, nor wife?
Link: 5.1.196

My lord, she may be a punk; for many of them are
Link: 5.1.197
neither maid, widow, nor wife.
Link: 5.1.198

Silence that fellow: I would he had some cause
Link: 5.1.199
To prattle for himself.
Link: 5.1.200

Well, my lord.
Link: 5.1.201

My lord; I do confess I ne'er was married;
Link: 5.1.202
And I confess besides I am no maid:
Link: 5.1.203
I have known my husband; yet my husband
Link: 5.1.204
Knows not that ever he knew me.
Link: 5.1.205

He was drunk then, my lord: it can be no better.
Link: 5.1.206

For the benefit of silence, would thou wert so too!
Link: 5.1.207

Well, my lord.
Link: 5.1.208

This is no witness for Lord Angelo.
Link: 5.1.209

Now I come to't my lord
Link: 5.1.210
She that accuses him of fornication,
Link: 5.1.211
In self-same manner doth accuse my husband,
Link: 5.1.212
And charges him my lord, with such a time
Link: 5.1.213
When I'll depose I had him in mine arms
Link: 5.1.214
With all the effect of love.
Link: 5.1.215

Charges she more than me?
Link: 5.1.216

Not that I know.
Link: 5.1.217

No? you say your husband.
Link: 5.1.218

Why, just, my lord, and that is Angelo,
Link: 5.1.219
Who thinks he knows that he ne'er knew my body,
Link: 5.1.220
But knows he thinks that he knows Isabel's.
Link: 5.1.221

This is a strange abuse. Let's see thy face.
Link: 5.1.222

My husband bids me; now I will unmask.
Link: 5.1.223
This is that face, thou cruel Angelo,
Link: 5.1.224
Which once thou sworest was worth the looking on;
Link: 5.1.225
This is the hand which, with a vow'd contract,
Link: 5.1.226
Was fast belock'd in thine; this is the body
Link: 5.1.227
That took away the match from Isabel,
Link: 5.1.228
And did supply thee at thy garden-house
Link: 5.1.229
In her imagined person.
Link: 5.1.230

Know you this woman?
Link: 5.1.231

Carnally, she says.
Link: 5.1.232

Sirrah, no more!
Link: 5.1.233

Enough, my lord.
Link: 5.1.234

My lord, I must confess I know this woman:
Link: 5.1.235
And five years since there was some speech of marriage
Link: 5.1.236
Betwixt myself and her; which was broke off,
Link: 5.1.237
Partly for that her promised proportions
Link: 5.1.238
Came short of composition, but in chief
Link: 5.1.239
For that her reputation was disvalued
Link: 5.1.240
In levity: since which time of five years
Link: 5.1.241
I never spake with her, saw her, nor heard from her,
Link: 5.1.242
Upon my faith and honour.
Link: 5.1.243

Noble prince,
Link: 5.1.244
As there comes light from heaven and words from breath,
Link: 5.1.245
As there is sense in truth and truth in virtue,
Link: 5.1.246
I am affianced this man's wife as strongly
Link: 5.1.247
As words could make up vows: and, my good lord,
Link: 5.1.248
But Tuesday night last gone in's garden-house
Link: 5.1.249
He knew me as a wife. As this is true,
Link: 5.1.250
Let me in safety raise me from my knees
Link: 5.1.251
Or else for ever be confixed here,
Link: 5.1.252
A marble monument!
Link: 5.1.253

I did but smile till now:
Link: 5.1.254
Now, good my lord, give me the scope of justice
Link: 5.1.255
My patience here is touch'd. I do perceive
Link: 5.1.256
These poor informal women are no more
Link: 5.1.257
But instruments of some more mightier member
Link: 5.1.258
That sets them on: let me have way, my lord,
Link: 5.1.259
To find this practise out.
Link: 5.1.260

Ay, with my heart
Link: 5.1.261
And punish them to your height of pleasure.
Link: 5.1.262
Thou foolish friar, and thou pernicious woman,
Link: 5.1.263
Compact with her that's gone, think'st thou thy oaths,
Link: 5.1.264
Though they would swear down each particular saint,
Link: 5.1.265
Were testimonies against his worth and credit
Link: 5.1.266
That's seal'd in approbation? You, Lord Escalus,
Link: 5.1.267
Sit with my cousin; lend him your kind pains
Link: 5.1.268
To find out this abuse, whence 'tis derived.
Link: 5.1.269
There is another friar that set them on;
Link: 5.1.270
Let him be sent for.
Link: 5.1.271

Would he were here, my lord! for he indeed
Link: 5.1.272
Hath set the women on to this complaint:
Link: 5.1.273
Your provost knows the place where he abides
Link: 5.1.274
And he may fetch him.
Link: 5.1.275

Go do it instantly.
Link: 5.1.276
And you, my noble and well-warranted cousin,
Link: 5.1.277
Whom it concerns to hear this matter forth,
Link: 5.1.278
Do with your injuries as seems you best,
Link: 5.1.279
In any chastisement: I for a while will leave you;
Link: 5.1.280
But stir not you till you have well determined
Link: 5.1.281
Upon these slanderers.
Link: 5.1.282

My lord, we'll do it throughly.
Link: 5.1.283
Signior Lucio, did not you say you knew that
Link: 5.1.284
Friar Lodowick to be a dishonest person?
Link: 5.1.285

'Cucullus non facit monachum:' honest in nothing
Link: 5.1.286
but in his clothes; and one that hath spoke most
Link: 5.1.287
villanous speeches of the duke.
Link: 5.1.288

We shall entreat you to abide here till he come and
Link: 5.1.289
enforce them against him: we shall find this friar a
Link: 5.1.290
notable fellow.
Link: 5.1.291

As any in Vienna, on my word.
Link: 5.1.292

Call that same Isabel here once again; I would speak with her.
Link: 5.1.293
Pray you, my lord, give me leave to question; you
Link: 5.1.294
shall see how I'll handle her.
Link: 5.1.295

Not better than he, by her own report.
Link: 5.1.296

Say you?
Link: 5.1.297

Marry, sir, I think, if you handled her privately,
Link: 5.1.298
she would sooner confess: perchance, publicly,
Link: 5.1.299
she'll be ashamed.
Link: 5.1.300

I will go darkly to work with her.
Link: 5.1.301

That's the way; for women are light at midnight.
Link: 5.1.302

Re-enter Officers with ISABELLA; and Provost with the DUKE VINCENTIO in his friar's habit

Come on, mistress: here's a gentlewoman denies all
Link: 5.1.303
that you have said.
Link: 5.1.304

My lord, here comes the rascal I spoke of; here with
Link: 5.1.305
the provost.
Link: 5.1.306

In very good time: speak not you to him till we
Link: 5.1.307
call upon you.
Link: 5.1.308


Come, sir: did you set these women on to slander
Link: 5.1.310
Lord Angelo? they have confessed you did.
Link: 5.1.311

'Tis false.
Link: 5.1.312

How! know you where you are?
Link: 5.1.313

Respect to your great place! and let the devil
Link: 5.1.314
Be sometime honour'd for his burning throne!
Link: 5.1.315
Where is the duke? 'tis he should hear me speak.
Link: 5.1.316

The duke's in us; and we will hear you speak:
Link: 5.1.317
Look you speak justly.
Link: 5.1.318

Boldly, at least. But, O, poor souls,
Link: 5.1.319
Come you to seek the lamb here of the fox?
Link: 5.1.320
Good night to your redress! Is the duke gone?
Link: 5.1.321
Then is your cause gone too. The duke's unjust,
Link: 5.1.322
Thus to retort your manifest appeal,
Link: 5.1.323
And put your trial in the villain's mouth
Link: 5.1.324
Which here you come to accuse.
Link: 5.1.325

This is the rascal; this is he I spoke of.
Link: 5.1.326

Why, thou unreverend and unhallow'd friar,
Link: 5.1.327
Is't not enough thou hast suborn'd these women
Link: 5.1.328
To accuse this worthy man, but, in foul mouth
Link: 5.1.329
And in the witness of his proper ear,
Link: 5.1.330
To call him villain? and then to glance from him
Link: 5.1.331
To the duke himself, to tax him with injustice?
Link: 5.1.332
Take him hence; to the rack with him! We'll touse you
Link: 5.1.333
Joint by joint, but we will know his purpose.
Link: 5.1.334
What 'unjust'!
Link: 5.1.335

Be not so hot; the duke
Link: 5.1.336
Dare no more stretch this finger of mine than he
Link: 5.1.337
Dare rack his own: his subject am I not,
Link: 5.1.338
Nor here provincial. My business in this state
Link: 5.1.339
Made me a looker on here in Vienna,
Link: 5.1.340
Where I have seen corruption boil and bubble
Link: 5.1.341
Till it o'er-run the stew; laws for all faults,
Link: 5.1.342
But faults so countenanced, that the strong statutes
Link: 5.1.343
Stand like the forfeits in a barber's shop,
Link: 5.1.344
As much in mock as mark.
Link: 5.1.345

Slander to the state! Away with him to prison!
Link: 5.1.346

What can you vouch against him, Signior Lucio?
Link: 5.1.347
Is this the man that you did tell us of?
Link: 5.1.348

'Tis he, my lord. Come hither, goodman baldpate:
Link: 5.1.349
do you know me?
Link: 5.1.350

I remember you, sir, by the sound of your voice: I
Link: 5.1.351
met you at the prison, in the absence of the duke.
Link: 5.1.352

O, did you so? And do you remember what you said of the duke?
Link: 5.1.353

Most notedly, sir.
Link: 5.1.354

Do you so, sir? And was the duke a fleshmonger, a
Link: 5.1.355
fool, and a coward, as you then reported him to be?
Link: 5.1.356

You must, sir, change persons with me, ere you make
Link: 5.1.357
that my report: you, indeed, spoke so of him; and
Link: 5.1.358
much more, much worse.
Link: 5.1.359

O thou damnable fellow! Did not I pluck thee by the
Link: 5.1.360
nose for thy speeches?
Link: 5.1.361

I protest I love the duke as I love myself.
Link: 5.1.362

Hark, how the villain would close now, after his
Link: 5.1.363
treasonable abuses!
Link: 5.1.364

Such a fellow is not to be talked withal. Away with
Link: 5.1.365
him to prison! Where is the provost? Away with him
Link: 5.1.366
to prison! lay bolts enough upon him: let him
Link: 5.1.367
speak no more. Away with those giglots too, and
Link: 5.1.368
with the other confederate companion!
Link: 5.1.369

(To Provost) Stay, sir; stay awhile.
Link: 5.1.370

What, resists he? Help him, Lucio.
Link: 5.1.371

Come, sir; come, sir; come, sir; foh, sir! Why, you
Link: 5.1.372
bald-pated, lying rascal, you must be hooded, must
Link: 5.1.373
you? Show your knave's visage, with a pox to you!
Link: 5.1.374
show your sheep-biting face, and be hanged an hour!
Link: 5.1.375
Will't not off?
Link: 5.1.376

Pulls off the friar's hood, and discovers DUKE VINCENTIO

Thou art the first knave that e'er madest a duke.
Link: 5.1.377
First, provost, let me bail these gentle three.
Link: 5.1.378
Sneak not away, sir; for the friar and you
Link: 5.1.379
Must have a word anon. Lay hold on him.
Link: 5.1.380

This may prove worse than hanging.
Link: 5.1.381

(To ESCALUS) What you have spoke I pardon: sit you down:
Link: 5.1.382
We'll borrow place of him.
Link: 5.1.383
Sir, by your leave.
Link: 5.1.384
Hast thou or word, or wit, or impudence,
Link: 5.1.385
That yet can do thee office? If thou hast,
Link: 5.1.386
Rely upon it till my tale be heard,
Link: 5.1.387
And hold no longer out.
Link: 5.1.388

O my dread lord,
Link: 5.1.389
I should be guiltier than my guiltiness,
Link: 5.1.390
To think I can be undiscernible,
Link: 5.1.391
When I perceive your grace, like power divine,
Link: 5.1.392
Hath look'd upon my passes. Then, good prince,
Link: 5.1.393
No longer session hold upon my shame,
Link: 5.1.394
But let my trial be mine own confession:
Link: 5.1.395
Immediate sentence then and sequent death
Link: 5.1.396
Is all the grace I beg.
Link: 5.1.397

Come hither, Mariana.
Link: 5.1.398
Say, wast thou e'er contracted to this woman?
Link: 5.1.399

I was, my lord.
Link: 5.1.400

Go take her hence, and marry her instantly.
Link: 5.1.401
Do you the office, friar; which consummate,
Link: 5.1.402
Return him here again. Go with him, provost.
Link: 5.1.403


My lord, I am more amazed at his dishonour
Link: 5.1.404
Than at the strangeness of it.
Link: 5.1.405

Come hither, Isabel.
Link: 5.1.406
Your friar is now your prince: as I was then
Link: 5.1.407
Advertising and holy to your business,
Link: 5.1.408
Not changing heart with habit, I am still
Link: 5.1.409
Attorney'd at your service.
Link: 5.1.410

O, give me pardon,
Link: 5.1.411
That I, your vassal, have employ'd and pain'd
Link: 5.1.412
Your unknown sovereignty!
Link: 5.1.413

You are pardon'd, Isabel:
Link: 5.1.414
And now, dear maid, be you as free to us.
Link: 5.1.415
Your brother's death, I know, sits at your heart;
Link: 5.1.416
And you may marvel why I obscured myself,
Link: 5.1.417
Labouring to save his life, and would not rather
Link: 5.1.418
Make rash remonstrance of my hidden power
Link: 5.1.419
Than let him so be lost. O most kind maid,
Link: 5.1.420
It was the swift celerity of his death,
Link: 5.1.421
Which I did think with slower foot came on,
Link: 5.1.422
That brain'd my purpose. But, peace be with him!
Link: 5.1.423
That life is better life, past fearing death,
Link: 5.1.424
Than that which lives to fear: make it your comfort,
Link: 5.1.425
So happy is your brother.
Link: 5.1.426

I do, my lord.
Link: 5.1.427

Re-enter ANGELO, MARIANA, FRIAR PETER, and Provost

For this new-married man approaching here,
Link: 5.1.428
Whose salt imagination yet hath wrong'd
Link: 5.1.429
Your well defended honour, you must pardon
Link: 5.1.430
For Mariana's sake: but as he adjudged your brother,--
Link: 5.1.431
Being criminal, in double violation
Link: 5.1.432
Of sacred chastity and of promise-breach
Link: 5.1.433
Thereon dependent, for your brother's life,--
Link: 5.1.434
The very mercy of the law cries out
Link: 5.1.435
Most audible, even from his proper tongue,
Link: 5.1.436
'An Angelo for Claudio, death for death!'
Link: 5.1.437
Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure;
Link: 5.1.438
Like doth quit like, and MEASURE still FOR MEASURE.
Link: 5.1.439
Then, Angelo, thy fault's thus manifested;
Link: 5.1.440
Which, though thou wouldst deny, denies thee vantage.
Link: 5.1.441
We do condemn thee to the very block
Link: 5.1.442
Where Claudio stoop'd to death, and with like haste.
Link: 5.1.443
Away with him!
Link: 5.1.444

O my most gracious lord,
Link: 5.1.445
I hope you will not mock me with a husband.
Link: 5.1.446

It is your husband mock'd you with a husband.
Link: 5.1.447
Consenting to the safeguard of your honour,
Link: 5.1.448
I thought your marriage fit; else imputation,
Link: 5.1.449
For that he knew you, might reproach your life
Link: 5.1.450
And choke your good to come; for his possessions,
Link: 5.1.451
Although by confiscation they are ours,
Link: 5.1.452
We do instate and widow you withal,
Link: 5.1.453
To buy you a better husband.
Link: 5.1.454

O my dear lord,
Link: 5.1.455
I crave no other, nor no better man.
Link: 5.1.456

Never crave him; we are definitive.
Link: 5.1.457

Gentle my liege,--
Link: 5.1.458


You do but lose your labour.
Link: 5.1.459
Away with him to death!
Link: 5.1.460
Now, sir, to you.
Link: 5.1.461

O my good lord! Sweet Isabel, take my part;
Link: 5.1.462
Lend me your knees, and all my life to come
Link: 5.1.463
I'll lend you all my life to do you service.
Link: 5.1.464

Against all sense you do importune her:
Link: 5.1.465
Should she kneel down in mercy of this fact,
Link: 5.1.466
Her brother's ghost his paved bed would break,
Link: 5.1.467
And take her hence in horror.
Link: 5.1.468

Sweet Isabel, do yet but kneel by me;
Link: 5.1.470
Hold up your hands, say nothing; I'll speak all.
Link: 5.1.471
They say, best men are moulded out of faults;
Link: 5.1.472
And, for the most, become much more the better
Link: 5.1.473
For being a little bad: so may my husband.
Link: 5.1.474
O Isabel, will you not lend a knee?
Link: 5.1.475

He dies for Claudio's death.
Link: 5.1.476

Most bounteous sir,
Link: 5.1.477
Look, if it please you, on this man condemn'd,
Link: 5.1.478
As if my brother lived: I partly think
Link: 5.1.479
A due sincerity govern'd his deeds,
Link: 5.1.480
Till he did look on me: since it is so,
Link: 5.1.481
Let him not die. My brother had but justice,
Link: 5.1.482
In that he did the thing for which he died:
Link: 5.1.483
For Angelo,
Link: 5.1.484
His act did not o'ertake his bad intent,
Link: 5.1.485
And must be buried but as an intent
Link: 5.1.486
That perish'd by the way: thoughts are no subjects;
Link: 5.1.487
Intents but merely thoughts.
Link: 5.1.488

Merely, my lord.
Link: 5.1.489

Your suit's unprofitable; stand up, I say.
Link: 5.1.490
I have bethought me of another fault.
Link: 5.1.491
Provost, how came it Claudio was beheaded
Link: 5.1.492
At an unusual hour?
Link: 5.1.493

It was commanded so.
Link: 5.1.494

Had you a special warrant for the deed?
Link: 5.1.495

No, my good lord; it was by private message.
Link: 5.1.496

For which I do discharge you of your office:
Link: 5.1.497
Give up your keys.
Link: 5.1.498

Pardon me, noble lord:
Link: 5.1.499
I thought it was a fault, but knew it not;
Link: 5.1.500
Yet did repent me, after more advice;
Link: 5.1.501
For testimony whereof, one in the prison,
Link: 5.1.502
That should by private order else have died,
Link: 5.1.503
I have reserved alive.
Link: 5.1.504

What's he?
Link: 5.1.505

His name is Barnardine.
Link: 5.1.506

I would thou hadst done so by Claudio.
Link: 5.1.507
Go fetch him hither; let me look upon him.
Link: 5.1.508

Exit Provost

I am sorry, one so learned and so wise
Link: 5.1.509
As you, Lord Angelo, have still appear'd,
Link: 5.1.510
Should slip so grossly, both in the heat of blood.
Link: 5.1.511
And lack of temper'd judgment afterward.
Link: 5.1.512

I am sorry that such sorrow I procure:
Link: 5.1.513
And so deep sticks it in my penitent heart
Link: 5.1.514
That I crave death more willingly than mercy;
Link: 5.1.515
'Tis my deserving, and I do entreat it.
Link: 5.1.516

Re-enter Provost, with BARNARDINE, CLAUDIO muffled, and JULIET

Which is that Barnardine?
Link: 5.1.517

This, my lord.
Link: 5.1.518

There was a friar told me of this man.
Link: 5.1.519
Sirrah, thou art said to have a stubborn soul.
Link: 5.1.520
That apprehends no further than this world,
Link: 5.1.521
And squarest thy life according. Thou'rt condemn'd:
Link: 5.1.522
But, for those earthly faults, I quit them all;
Link: 5.1.523
And pray thee take this mercy to provide
Link: 5.1.524
For better times to come. Friar, advise him;
Link: 5.1.525
I leave him to your hand. What muffled fellow's that?
Link: 5.1.526

This is another prisoner that I saved.
Link: 5.1.527
Who should have died when Claudio lost his head;
Link: 5.1.528
As like almost to Claudio as himself.
Link: 5.1.529

Unmuffles CLAUDIO

(To ISABELLA) If he be like your brother, for his sake
Link: 5.1.530
Is he pardon'd; and, for your lovely sake,
Link: 5.1.531
Give me your hand and say you will be mine.
Link: 5.1.532
He is my brother too: but fitter time for that.
Link: 5.1.533
By this Lord Angelo perceives he's safe;
Link: 5.1.534
Methinks I see a quickening in his eye.
Link: 5.1.535
Well, Angelo, your evil quits you well:
Link: 5.1.536
Look that you love your wife; her worth worth yours.
Link: 5.1.537
I find an apt remission in myself;
Link: 5.1.538
And yet here's one in place I cannot pardon.
Link: 5.1.539
You, sirrah, that knew me for a fool, a coward,
Link: 5.1.540
One all of luxury, an ass, a madman;
Link: 5.1.541
Wherein have I so deserved of you,
Link: 5.1.542
That you extol me thus?
Link: 5.1.543

'Faith, my lord. I spoke it but according to the
Link: 5.1.544
trick. If you will hang me for it, you may; but I
Link: 5.1.545
had rather it would please you I might be whipt.
Link: 5.1.546

Whipt first, sir, and hanged after.
Link: 5.1.547
Proclaim it, provost, round about the city.
Link: 5.1.548
Is any woman wrong'd by this lewd fellow,
Link: 5.1.549
As I have heard him swear himself there's one
Link: 5.1.550
Whom he begot with child, let her appear,
Link: 5.1.551
And he shall marry her: the nuptial finish'd,
Link: 5.1.552
Let him be whipt and hang'd.
Link: 5.1.553

I beseech your highness, do not marry me to a whore.
Link: 5.1.554
Your highness said even now, I made you a duke:
Link: 5.1.555
good my lord, do not recompense me in making me a cuckold.
Link: 5.1.556

Upon mine honour, thou shalt marry her.
Link: 5.1.557
Thy slanders I forgive; and therewithal
Link: 5.1.558
Remit thy other forfeits. Take him to prison;
Link: 5.1.559
And see our pleasure herein executed.
Link: 5.1.560

Marrying a punk, my lord, is pressing to death,
Link: 5.1.561
whipping, and hanging.
Link: 5.1.562

Slandering a prince deserves it.
Link: 5.1.563
She, Claudio, that you wrong'd, look you restore.
Link: 5.1.564
Joy to you, Mariana! Love her, Angelo:
Link: 5.1.565
I have confess'd her and I know her virtue.
Link: 5.1.566
Thanks, good friend Escalus, for thy much goodness:
Link: 5.1.567
There's more behind that is more gratulate.
Link: 5.1.568
Thanks, provost, for thy care and secrecy:
Link: 5.1.569
We shill employ thee in a worthier place.
Link: 5.1.570
Forgive him, Angelo, that brought you home
Link: 5.1.571
The head of Ragozine for Claudio's:
Link: 5.1.572
The offence pardons itself. Dear Isabel,
Link: 5.1.573
I have a motion much imports your good;
Link: 5.1.574
Whereto if you'll a willing ear incline,
Link: 5.1.575
What's mine is yours and what is yours is mine.
Link: 5.1.576
So, bring us to our palace; where we'll show
Link: 5.1.577
What's yet behind, that's meet you all should know.
Link: 5.1.578