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MonkeyNotes-Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare
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In order to show Angelo the folly of his unmerciful nature, the Duke initially condemns him to death, stating Angelo must be punished measure for measure. The Duke then applies mercy to his sentence, forgives Angelo (as begged by Isabella and Mariana), and gives him the sentence of being a good husband. He now shows himself to be a leader capable of action, but also capable of mercy.

Isabella has also changed, just like the Duke. Her experiences in the real world, away from the convent, have made her see the challenges and possibilities of life. She realizes that real people, like the Duke, can make a difference; they can bring goodness into the world. Shedding some of her lofty goals and becoming more practical-minded, Isabella is assumed to accept the Duke's proposal of marriage.


Shakespeare, as always, never leaves any loose threads hanging in his play. In the last scene, all the problems are solved. The couples are reunited -- Juliet to Claudio, Mariana to Angelo, Lucio to his pregnant girlfriend, and even Isabella to the Duke himself. The Duke has proven himself to be a merciful and capable leader. He has taught Angelo and the others that justice needs to be tempered with mercy, and that "To err is human, to forgive divine." Even if a man is morally degraded, he should be given the opportunity to reform himself into a better individual. At the end of the play, there is hope that all the characters have ascended to a higher moral plane.

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MonkeyNotes-Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare
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