Measure for Measure

Topics: Deception, The Play, Disguise Pages: 5 (1514 words) Published: April 9, 2013
Act 3 sc 2 l83-164
1) Who / where / when & possibly why
2) Obvious elt : dramatic irony => 2 levels of reading
3) Lucio / Duke both serve as go-btwn in the play, go from one group to another. Both contribute to knitting all different trends in play.
4) Importance of use of words, which is all that’s going on in this particular extract 5) Lucio paired with other char, all sorts of unlikely combinations in play, for eg with Isab at convent. Here too, unlikely combination Lucio = unscrupulous char etc. sometimes called buffoon but in fact here really comic char. More clever than buffon. In Shak, not really buffoons, rather clowns or fools. In case of Lucio -> fantastical gentleman. Certain intelligence there.

6) Place : prison. Question : why is Lucio hanging around the prison ? What is he doing there ? Maybe bec his friend Claudio is in prison & in danger of being executed. Maybe bec he enjoys gossiping. Or maybe bec he’s denounced Mistress Overdone (cf passage just B4 with Pompey, almost gloating about fact that he’s still at large while other people have been arrested for similar fault). Ambivalent char (hard to say if he’s there for good reasons or not). 7) Short replica of this encounter at end of IV,3 when Lucio bumps into Duke again + engages conservation while Duke relunctant to engage conversation. Idea of pattern ? 8) When ? (in term of plot + structure of play) ie -> series of 1 to 1 scenes, esp clash Isab / Claudio. Immidiately after this very intensely dramatic scene, passage on fairly lighter note. Constant shift in mood in play according to who is speaking / what they speak about. Here in III,2 : although stability in space (prison) in III, there are different moods changing rapidly 9) In prose !!!! Most passages mix up prose / verse. Duke in prose when addressing Lucio => very significative. Indicates shift in mood.

10) Importance of language & words
Find what seems important in passage. Themes -> deceit
Equal share of the dialogue.
Reccurrent expressions -> many terms relating to the act of speaking. Char talk about act of speaking. Also idea of knowledge. What you tell or don’t tell, notion of secret. How words & knowledge connected with pwr. Lucio completely misjudges his own words / knowledge / pwr. Significance of word “deceive” at beg + end of passage. Word used by Lucio, “you are deceived” l. 120 + l.162 “though art deceived in me”. Who’s being deceived ? -> Lucio himself ! who is deceiving whom ? Why ? How ? -> disguised ruler theme. Play relies on 3 devices (disguised ruler / bedtrick / … ), here disguised ruler functioning.

Issue of slander (only possible bec ruler is disguised)
Generic term -> kind of example of instability of play, close to comedy (but not overt simplistic comedy like Elbow / Pompey exchange), here more satirical implication, more complex. 1

Thematic implication -> notion of pwr & appearances. Friar looks harmless individual, but disguise hides Duke’s pwr. Pompey makes rmk about outward show of pwr l.10 -> rich can get away with anythg bec wear right gown etc. Here not outward show but pwrful presence. Question of disguise interesting. Duke disguised as friar (1st level). Lucio also disguised in a way : put on multiple identities, hs discourse constantly changes, adapts to situation : slanders Duke then friar in V. There are other types of disguise than mere dress. Also disguise that protects rich & pwrful, only poor punished. L197 Lucio “in good suit, the vice .. well allied”. Only 2nd level indiv taken to prison (Pompey, Mistress Overdone etc).

Language & function of language in passage : why are words so important in this passage ? Words create worlds, situations, characters. This is what Lucio is doing : uses lang to create sort of parallel universe, his own char of the Duke, his own role in what Duke is doing (whole story within story). Duke’s disguise to be set in parallel with Lucio’s disguise created by his own...
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