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A Guide to Measure for Measure | Act 2

Andrea Lewis | Wednesday August 03, 2011



Guide Navigation

  1. A Guide to Measure for Measure | Act 1 + Scheme of Work
  2. A Guide to Measure for Measure | Act 2
  3. A Guide to Measure for Measure | Act 3
  4. A Guide to Measure for Measure | Act 4
  5. A Guide to Measure for Measure | Act 5

Scene 1

Escalus’ view – he appeals to Angelo to consider the possibility of his own weaknesses, a possibility Angelo will not recognise, lines 29-31

‘When I that censure him do so offend
Let mine own judgement pattern out my death
And nothing come in partial. Sir, he must die.’

In the following section, Escalus encounters Elbow, Froth and Pompey in his role as magistrate. Note how the two parts of scene 2 are parallel; Angelo’s attitude to Claudio in his judgement and condemnation of him and Escalus’ treatment of and attitude to Pompey. The inadequacies of human law are made clear in Angelo’s behaviour but also, comically, in the stupidity of Elbow, a lowly law-enforcer in Vienna (AO2 – structure). Angelo leaves the room, totally frustrated by the whole thing whereas Escalus sits it out and shows compassion and understanding. Nevertheless, he feels bound to ask at one point ‘Which is the wiser here, / Justice or Iniquity?’ Pompey is not an attractive character in the play but he does provide a reality check,

‘Does your worship mean to geld and splay all the youth of the city?’

Scene 2

The Provost presents yet another view on Claudio’s ‘sin’ in lines 5,6.

‘All sects, all ages smack of this vice and he
To die for ‘t!’

The first encounter between Angelo and Isabella.

Points to note:


  • Isabella needs Lucio to encourage her to try harder to save her brother by changing Angelo’s mind, line 56 ‘You are too cold’.
  • Isabella’s speech lines 57-66 and the references to ‘mercy’ and ‘grace’, essentially religious concepts.
  • As you would expect Isabella’s argument is a religious one which should appeal to the religiously zealous Angelo. Line 73...

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