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Angelo is emerging as a two-sided character in the play Measure for Measure. The argument on whether or not Angelo is perceived to be moral character or evil is cited on the fact that the Duke vested his trust on him. The end of the play depicts Angelo as a disheartened character who offers a sincere apology, and resists the temptations that are presented by Isabella. The augment, on the other hand, depicts Angelo to be purely evil for his treatment of Marian and the Duke’s suspicion about him with the unfulfilled promises he made to Isabella. These two circumstances provide the interpretation of Angelo’s character. The plot is centered on the Claudio’s fate when he is arrested by Angelo, now the leader of Vienna as he was left by the Duke to take charge (Ghosh).
The Duke observes the goings-on in his absence as he pretended to leave town. Angelo saw that there was a lot of freedom in the town, and he is strict in decision making as he tries to get rid of immorality in the town. However, the laws against such immoral behaviors existed, but he decided to be stricter in enforcing these laws. This leads to the arrest of Claudio for having impregnated his lover Juliet before their marriage; even though they were engaged, he is sentenced to death.
The arrest of Claudio leads his sister Isabella, who was planning to enter nunnery, go to Angelo to beg for mercy. He refuses to heed her pledges and offers an alternative way so that Claudio can leave. He proportions Isabella to have sexual intercourse of which she declines and is left to contemplate on important decision. This play depicts Angelo as committing tyranny and carnal desires and thus he misuses his powers bestowed upon him by the Duke. The Duke is the one who sets the game, and he is always keeping an eye to see how his plans are progressing (diFeliciantonio).
This play portrays how the Duke’s efforts to reform the society have failed and thus his character is extremely away from that of a reformer. It supports many interpretations of the Duke’s political resonance but not all that are valid. This sheds light on the purveyors of the vice that would escape punishment as Angelo commits the same sin as Claudio, but his position pollutes his notion of punishment and forgiveness to his own behaviors. When the Duke comes to the rescue of the rule which was near disaster under the rule of Angelo, he has the authority to punish Angelo and rescue Claudio and protect Isabella and enforce the marriage of Marian to Angelo. The Duke is capable of negotiating the human law paradoxes unlike her by his God-like form as depicted in the play:
“O my dread lord,
I should be guiltier than my guiltiness,
To think that I can be indiscernible,
When I perceive your grace, like power divine,
Hath looked at my passes.” (V.i.374-78)
The Duke watched for a long time for the bureaucracy as it is depicted by the Angelo’s lines. He is waiting for the suitable time to come for him to interfere and play the part of a true reorganizer. The Duke is thus the dreaded lord who has subjected the guiltiness of Angelo, who contends that the Duke is being a trickster. The Duke has many encounters that do hold up his endeavors of restoring justice. The substitution of Marian for Isabella and Ragozen for Claudio has temporal achievement of the law demands as it is designed by Angelo. The Duke hence prevents the judgment that usually causes harm by realizing the compassion of the Christian forgiveness repealing the death penalty of Angelo as it is cited: “an Angelo for Claudio, death for death!”(V.i.417). The Duke is unable to administer the law in Vienna, but he appears to be seeking shelter from the hopes of the public office (diFeliciantonio).
There had been no bad circumstances even though the Duke ops for leaving at a time when he is most needed. However, he disguises himself as friar and his perception changes after his discovery that the condition of Vienna, is as a result of his indulgence in ruling and his inability to amend these conditions. His confession with a Christian zeal, that it is all his fault, and the excuse of inaction attempting to deny his bad command, and his incapacity to prevent the perversion of mortality and mercy by Angelo’s human tongue and heart. These charges do measure the judgment in the play where the firmness of punishment has to be balanced with the Christian mercy (diFeliciantonio).
The Duke’s judgment is questionable by handing in power to Angelo who is not experienced, and the problems that are faced in Vienna are requiring a skilled head, who has doubtful moral temperament to fulfil mortality and mercy in a proper manner. The Duke does not want to face these problems; in fact, he leaves it to an inexperienced leader thus interpreted as eluding his political responsibility. His leaving from power and reclaiming it is for him to gain political favor as Vienna spitted Angelo for his condemnation of the wicked, and the Dukes return to soften the dictatorship of Angelo winning the praises from the people while achieving his reform agenda. The play has extensive outcome as the Duke tries to reform the Angelo’s misuse of his powers where he punishes virtue equating his interests with justice. The Duke improves bureaucracy by the reestablishment on the basic interpretation of the civilized order which is the Christians’ execution of mercy and punishment by the state (Ghosh).
The Duke can be explained as being a complicit of the Angelo’s bad governance as his motives duplicities are allover the play. He is the role leader in bed-tricking where he dupes Angelo into sleeping with Marian instead of Isabella. Though the Duke is seen as the one to establish civilization which has been lost through the governance of Angelo, he is the real arbitrariness of the law. He is as guilty as those he has passed judgment on. It is power for power that guides this play, as Angelo only comes to reveal everything that happens at the end of the play, it is concentrating on the changes that come around by the shifts of power between the Duke and Angelo. Angelo has vowed to serve the law, but he is swept away from his purpose when Isabella comes to ask for mercy upon her brother. The Duke enacted a sham trial to Angelo who sentenced Claudio on the same block, the Dukes glosses the crime committed by Angelo by marrying him to Marian (Ghosh). The dropping of the charges upon Angelo simply indicates that the Duke has not met the demands of the state punishment; thus, he has failed to bring harmony in Vienna. He is then depicted as being as corrupt as his reform is just prone to self-interests motivations. The Duke has placed Angelo to be a scapegoat evading his entrusted tasks so that he does not lose his good governance by the people of Vienna.