MEASURE FOR MEASURE
Essay 1- “Measure for Measure demonstrates that outward appearances are often deceptive.” Discuss
For many of the characters in Shakespeare Measure for Measure, there is a distinctive difference between their actions and their public personas. The environment of religion and legal structure in their society are challenged by sexual corruption and the lack of moral strictness. For the characters who pursue restraint, like Isabella and Angelo, maintaining a strict outward appearance proves difficult and their excessive sense of their own virtue inevitably leads to some moral shortcomings. Angelo is succumbed to sexual desire and becomes arrogant with his power and is very hypocritical. The Duke spends most of his time intentionally deceiving others, dressed as a friar, and while he appears well meaning, his motives are ambiguous and questionable. As a Duke, he appears to his subjects as “power divine”, but it becomes clear that he is a fallible leader, who’s true nature is unclear. Their reputations conceal their hidden values. There are also others, like Lucio, who are honest in their presentation of self, even if it may be to their detriment to their own position.
Angelo is a key character in the play, and is someone who enforces the notion that one’s outwards appearance is often a disguise to his inner self. Although, It is because of the sensual presence of Isabella who’s lure is great to Angelo as she doesn’t purposely use her body to manipulate others. Angelo disproves that outwards appearances are often deceptive shown through his utter devotion to the law and the contempt that he has for those who give into their sensuality, “when men were fond, I smil’d, and wondered how.” As the play develops, Angelo’s values crumble as Isabella’s sensual appearance awakens his own unknown lustful emotions. This revelation comes as a complete surprise to Angelo, realising that his new primal lustful self no longer reflects his outward puritan self-regard. In this way Angelo illustrates that fraudulent ideals can masks real appearances. In contrast to Angelo’s fall from puritan ideals, Isabella’s obsessive ideals and vocation, renders her sexually inept and blind to the fact that she is causing harm to those around her. Isabella’s unintentional sensuality is touched upon by Claudio, “there is a prone and speechless dialect such as move men,” and suggests that she will persuade Angelo to show mercy with more than words. Isabella is unaware of her po...