Measure For Measure Summary: Everything You Need To Know

Introduction

Measure for Measure is a play written by William Shakespeare. It was first performed in 1604 and is set in Vienna. The play is known for its complex characters and themes, particularly its exploration of morality and justice. In this article, we will provide a summary of Measure for Measure in relaxed English language, and discuss its key themes and characters.

Act I

The play opens with the Duke of Vienna announcing that he is leaving the city and appointing Angelo as his deputy. Angelo is known for his strict adherence to the law and his uncompromising morality. The Duke, however, has not actually left the city; he has disguised himself as a friar and is observing Angelo’s actions.

Meanwhile, Claudio has been arrested for impregnating his fiancé, Juliet. Claudio’s friend, Lucio, enlists the help of Claudio’s sister, Isabella, who is about to enter a convent, to plead for mercy on Claudio’s behalf. Isabella goes to Angelo and begs for her brother’s release, but Angelo refuses, telling her that Claudio must be executed to uphold the law.

Act II

Isabella is horrified by Angelo’s lack of mercy and decides to visit him again to plead for Claudio’s life. Angelo, who is secretly attracted to Isabella, tells her that he will spare Claudio if she sleeps with him. Isabella is outraged and refuses, but she is torn between her desire to save her brother and her commitment to her religious vows.

Meanwhile, the Duke, disguised as a friar, meets with Isabella and encourages her to trick Angelo into sleeping with her. Isabella agrees to the plan, but when she meets with Angelo again, she tells him that she will sleep with him only if he agrees to spare her brother’s life.

Act III

Angelo agrees to Isabella’s proposal, but he orders Claudio to be executed anyway. The Duke, however, has intervened and arranged for another prisoner to be executed in Claudio’s place. When Angelo thinks that Isabella has slept with him, he is filled with guilt and confesses his crime to the Duke, who then reveals his true identity.

The play ends with the Duke pardoning Angelo and arranging marriages for the various characters. Isabella is given the choice to marry the Duke or to continue with her religious vows. She chooses the latter, and the play ends with the Duke proposing marriage to another woman.

Themes

Measure for Measure explores several themes, including justice, morality, and mercy. The play questions whether strict adherence to the law is always the best way to achieve justice, and whether mercy can or should be granted in certain circumstances. The play also explores the hypocrisy of those in power, and the tension between religious and secular authority.

Characters

Measure for Measure features several complex and memorable characters. Angelo is a strict enforcer of the law who is ultimately revealed to be a hypocrite. Isabella is a devout and virtuous young woman who is torn between her religious vows and her desire to save her brother. The Duke is a wise and compassionate ruler who ultimately brings about justice and reconciliation.

Conclusion

Measure for Measure is a complex and thought-provoking play that raises important questions about justice, morality, and mercy. Its characters are memorable and its themes are still relevant today. We hope that this summary has helped you understand the play better, and that you will be inspired to read or see it for yourself.

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