Measure for Measure
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The Vienna of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure is a corrupt and depraved society filled with scoundrels and prostitutes. The Duke of Vienna has failed to enforce the city’s laws, and he calls in his deputy Angelo to restore order. Pretending to leave town, the Duke disguises himself as a friar to observe Angelo in action. Moralistic and strict, Angelo cracks down on his fellow citizens. He imprisons Claudio for impregnating his fiancée in an attempt to make an example out of him. When Claudio’s sister Isabella comes to plead for his release, Angelo reveals that he is not the puritan he pretends to be: he tells Isabella he will release her brother only if she sleeps with him. Full of twists, turns, and trickery, the plot reaches its climax when the Duke reveals himself to have been there all along. Yet the comedic ending leaves some of the moral and ethical problems raised up in the air, making Measure for Measure one of Shakespeare’s best “problem plays,” stories in which all things do not necessarily reach their resolution by the end.
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Opening Lines (Experimental)
VICENTIO, Duke of Vienna.
ANGELO, Lord Deputy in the Duke's absence.
ESCALUS, an ancient Lord, joined with Angelo in the deputation.
CLAUDIO, a young Gentleman.
LUCIO, a Fantastic.
Two other like Gentlemen.
VARRIUS, a Gentleman, Servant to the Duke.
Ratings for 'Measure for Measure' by Shakespeare, William