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Measure for Measure
Act 3, scene 2

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Characters in the Play

Entire Play

Human nature and the law often collide in Measure for Measure. As the play begins, the Duke of Vienna announces he…

Act 1, scene 1

The Duke of Vienna announces that he has been called away from the city, and that he is leaving Lord…

Act 1, scene 2

Angelo enforces Vienna’s law against fornication, ordering the brothels torn down and having Claudio arrested because his fiancée’s pregnancy exposes…

Act 1, scene 3

The duke obtains the clothing of a friar in order to disguise himself and secretly observe the conduct of Angelo…

Act 1, scene 4

Lucio persuades Isabella to intercede with Angelo.

Act 2, scene 1

Escalus tries to persuade Angelo to be less harsh to Claudio. Angelo instead gives orders that Claudio be executed the…

Act 2, scene 2

Isabella pleads with Angelo for Claudio’s life. Angelo refuses to relent but, overcome by desire for Isabella, tells her that…

Act 2, scene 3

The duke (in the role of a friar) visits the prison and there meets Juliet, who expresses both her love…

Act 2, scene 4

Angelo tells Isabella that only if she sleeps with him will he set Claudio free; if she refuses, Claudio will…

Act 3, scene 1

The duke, in his guise of “Friar,” persuades Claudio that death is preferable to life. When Isabella tells Claudio that…

Act 3, scene 2

Pompey is carried off to prison. Lucio refuses to provide bail money for him, and slanders the absent duke to…

Act 4, scene 1

Isabella reports to the “Friar” about the arrangements made with Angelo for that night’s assignation; Mariana agrees to sleep with…

Act 4, scene 2

At the prison, Pompey agrees to serve as the assistant to Abhorson, the public executioner. The duke, in his role…

Act 4, scene 3

Barnardine declares himself not ready to die. The provost and the “Friar” agree to spare him temporarily and to send…

Act 4, scene 4

Angelo learns of the duke’s return. Alone, he expresses his anguish that he has raped Isabella and had Claudio killed.

Act 4, scene 5

The duke makes plans with Friar Peter, whom he sends away on errands, and then greets Varrius.

Act 4, scene 6

Isabella and Mariana discuss the roles they are to play when they meet the duke, who is about to enter…

Act 5, scene 1

The duke, on his entry, is met by Isabella, who accuses Angelo of violating her chastity. She is arrested for…

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Scene 2
Enter Elbow, Pompey, and Officers.

ELBOW, to Pompey Nay, if there be no remedy for it
 but that you will needs buy and sell men and
 women like beasts, we shall have all the world drink
 brown and white bastard.
DUKE, as Friar, aside 5O heavens, what stuff is here?
POMPEY ’Twas never merry world since, of two usuries,
 the merriest was put down, and the worser allowed
 by order of law a furred gown to keep him warm,
 and furred with fox and lambskins too, to signify
10 that craft, being richer than innocency, stands for
 the facing.
ELBOW Come your way, sir.—Bless you, good father
 friar.
DUKE, as Friar And you, good brother father. What
15 offense hath this man made you, sir?
ELBOW Marry, sir, he hath offended the law; and, sir,
 we take him to be a thief too, sir, for we have found

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ACT 3. SC. 2

 upon him, sir, a strange picklock, which we have
 sent to the Deputy.
DUKE, as Friar, to Pompey 
20 Fie, sirrah, a bawd, a wicked bawd!
 The evil that thou causest to be done,
 That is thy means to live. Do thou but think
 What ’tis to cram a maw or clothe a back
 From such a filthy vice; say to thyself,
25 From their abominable and beastly touches
 I drink, I eat, array myself, and live.
 Canst thou believe thy living is a life,
 So stinkingly depending? Go mend, go mend.
POMPEY Indeed, it does stink in some sort, sir. But yet,
30 sir, I would prove—
DUKE, as Friar 
 Nay, if the devil have given thee proofs for sin,
 Thou wilt prove his.—Take him to prison, officer.
 Correction and instruction must both work
 Ere this rude beast will profit.
ELBOW 35He must before the Deputy, sir; he has given
 him warning. The Deputy cannot abide a whoremaster.
 If he be a whoremonger and comes before
 him, he were as good go a mile on his errand.
DUKE, as Friar 
 That we were all, as some would seem to be,
40 From our faults, as faults from seeming, free.
ELBOW His neck will come to your waist—a cord, sir.

Enter Lucio.

POMPEY I spy comfort, I cry bail. Here’s a gentleman
 and a friend of mine.
LUCIO How now, noble Pompey? What, at the wheels of
45 Caesar? Art thou led in triumph? What, is there
 none of Pygmalion’s images, newly made woman,
 to be had now, for putting the hand in the pocket
 and extracting it clutched? What reply, ha? What

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ACT 3. SC. 2

 sayst thou to this tune, matter, and method? Is ’t not
50 drowned i’ th’ last rain, ha? What sayst thou, trot? Is
 the world as it was, man? Which is the way? Is it sad
 and few words? Or how? The trick of it?
DUKE, as Friar, aside Still thus, and thus; still worse.
LUCIO, to Pompey How doth my dear morsel, thy
55 mistress? Procures she still, ha?
POMPEY Troth, sir, she hath eaten up all her beef, and
 she is herself in the tub.
LUCIO Why, ’tis good. It is the right of it. It must be so.
 Ever your fresh whore and your powdered bawd, an
60 unshunned consequence; it must be so. Art going to
 prison, Pompey?
POMPEY Yes, faith, sir.
LUCIO Why, ’tis not amiss, Pompey. Farewell. Go say I
 sent thee thither. For debt, Pompey? Or how?
ELBOW 65For being a bawd, for being a bawd.
LUCIO Well, then, imprison him. If imprisonment be
 the due of a bawd, why, ’tis his right. Bawd is he,
 doubtless, and of antiquity too. Bawd born.—
 Farewell, good Pompey. Commend me to the prison,
70 Pompey. You will turn good husband now,
 Pompey; you will keep the house.
POMPEY I hope, sir, your good Worship will be my bail.
LUCIO No, indeed, will I not, Pompey; it is not the
 wear. I will pray, Pompey, to increase your bondage.
75 If you take it not patiently, why, your mettle is
 the more. Adieu, trusty Pompey.—Bless you, friar.
DUKE, as Friar And you.
LUCIO, to Pompey Does Bridget paint still, Pompey,
 ha?
ELBOW, to Pompey 80Come your ways, sir, come.
POMPEY, to Lucio You will not bail me, then, sir?
LUCIO Then, Pompey, nor now.—What news abroad,
 friar? What news?
ELBOW, to Pompey Come your ways, sir, come.

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ACT 3. SC. 2

LUCIO 85Go to kennel, Pompey, go.
Elbow, Pompey, and Officers exit.
 What news, friar, of the Duke?
DUKE, as Friar I know none. Can you tell me of any?
LUCIO Some say he is with the Emperor of Russia;
 other some, he is in Rome. But where is he, think
90 you?
DUKE, as Friar I know not where, but wheresoever, I
 wish him well.
LUCIO It was a mad fantastical trick of him to steal
 from the state and usurp the beggary he was never
95 born to. Lord Angelo dukes it well in his absence.
 He puts transgression to ’t.
DUKE, as Friar He does well in ’t.
LUCIO A little more lenity to lechery would do no harm
 in him. Something too crabbed that way, friar.
DUKE, as Friar 100It is too general a vice, and severity
 must cure it.
LUCIO Yes, in good sooth, the vice is of a great kindred;
 it is well allied, but it is impossible to extirp it quite,
 friar, till eating and drinking be put down. They say
105 this Angelo was not made by man and woman after
 this downright way of creation. Is it true, think
 you?
DUKE, as Friar How should he be made, then?
LUCIO Some report a sea-maid spawned him; some,
110 that he was begot between two stockfishes. But it is
 certain that when he makes water, his urine is
 congealed ice; that I know to be true. And he is a
 motion generative, that’s infallible.
DUKE, as Friar You are pleasant, sir, and speak apace.
LUCIO 115Why, what a ruthless thing is this in him, for the
 rebellion of a codpiece to take away the life of a
 man! Would the duke that is absent have done this?
 Ere he would have hanged a man for the getting
 a hundred bastards, he would have paid for the

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ACT 3. SC. 2

120 nursing a thousand. He had some feeling of the
 sport, he knew the service, and that instructed him
 to mercy.
DUKE, as Friar I never heard the absent duke much
 detected for women. He was not inclined that way.
LUCIO 125O, sir, you are deceived.
DUKE, as Friar ’Tis not possible.
LUCIO Who, not the Duke? Yes, your beggar of fifty;
 and his use was to put a ducat in her clack-dish. The
 Duke had crotchets in him. He would be drunk too,
130 that let me inform you.
DUKE, as Friar You do him wrong, surely.
LUCIO Sir, I was an inward of his. A shy fellow was the
 Duke, and I believe I know the cause of his
 withdrawing.
DUKE, as Friar 135What, I prithee, might be the cause?
LUCIO No, pardon. ’Tis a secret must be locked within
 the teeth and the lips. But this I can let you
 understand: the greater file of the subject held the
 Duke to be wise.
DUKE, as Friar 140Wise? Why, no question but he was.
LUCIO A very superficial, ignorant, unweighing fellow.
DUKE, as Friar Either this is envy in you, folly, or
 mistaking. The very stream of his life and the
 business he hath helmed must, upon a warranted
145 need, give him a better proclamation. Let him be
 but testimonied in his own bringings-forth, and he
 shall appear to the envious a scholar, a statesman,
 and a soldier. Therefore you speak unskillfully. Or,
 if your knowledge be more, it is much darkened in
150 your malice.
LUCIO Sir, I know him, and I love him.
DUKE, as Friar Love talks with better knowledge, and
 knowledge with dearer love.
LUCIO Come, sir, I know what I know.
DUKE, as Friar 155I can hardly believe that, since you

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ACT 3. SC. 2

 know not what you speak. But if ever the Duke
 return, as our prayers are he may, let me desire you
 to make your answer before him. If it be honest you
 have spoke, you have courage to maintain it. I am
160 bound to call upon you, and, I pray you, your name?
LUCIO Sir, my name is Lucio, well known to the Duke.
DUKE, as Friar He shall know you better, sir, if I may
 live to report you.
LUCIO I fear you not.
DUKE, as Friar 165O, you hope the Duke will return no
 more, or you imagine me too unhurtful an opposite.
 But indeed I can do you little harm; you’ll
 forswear this again.
LUCIO I’ll be hanged first. Thou art deceived in me,
170 friar. But no more of this. Canst thou tell if Claudio
 die tomorrow or no?
DUKE, as Friar Why should he die, sir?
LUCIO Why? For filling a bottle with a tundish. I would
 the Duke we talk of were returned again. This
175 ungenitured agent will unpeople the province with
 continency. Sparrows must not build in his house
 eaves, because they are lecherous. The Duke yet
 would have dark deeds darkly answered. He would
 never bring them to light Would he were returned.
180 Marry, this Claudio is condemned for untrussing.
 Farewell, good friar. I prithee pray for me. The
 Duke, I say to thee again, would eat mutton on
 Fridays. He’s now past it, yet—and I say to thee—
 he would mouth with a beggar though she smelt
185 brown bread and garlic. Say that I said so. Farewell.
He exits.
DUKE 
 No might nor greatness in mortality
 Can censure scape. Back-wounding calumny
 The whitest virtue strikes. What king so strong

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ACT 3. SC. 2

 Can tie the gall up in the slanderous tongue?
190 But who comes here?

Enter Escalus, Provost, Officers, and Mistress
Overdone, a Bawd.


ESCALUS, to Officers Go, away with her to prison.
BAWD Good my lord, be good to me. Your Honor is
 accounted a merciful man, good my lord.
ESCALUS Double and treble admonition, and still forfeit
195 in the same kind? This would make mercy
 swear and play the tyrant.
PROVOST A bawd of eleven years’ continuance, may it
 please your Honor.
BAWD, to Escalus My lord, this is one Lucio’s information
200 against me. Mistress Kate Keepdown was
 with child by him in the Duke’s time; he promised
 her marriage. His child is a year and a quarter old
 come Philip and Jacob. I have kept it myself, and see
 how he goes about to abuse me.
ESCALUS 205That fellow is a fellow of much license. Let
 him be called before us. Away with her to prison.—
 Go to, no more words.Officers exit with Bawd.
 Provost, my brother Angelo will not be altered.
 Claudio must die tomorrow. Let him be furnished
210 with divines and have all charitable preparation. If
 my brother wrought by my pity, it should not be so
 with him.
PROVOST So please you, this friar hath been with him,
 and advised him for th’ entertainment of death.
ESCALUS 215Good even, good father.
DUKE, as Friar Bliss and goodness on you.
ESCALUS Of whence are you?
DUKE, as Friar 
 Not of this country, though my chance is now
 To use it for my time. I am a brother

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ACT 3. SC. 2

220 Of gracious order, late come from the See
 In special business from his Holiness.
ESCALUS What news abroad i’ th’ world?
DUKE, as Friar None but that there is so great a fever
 on goodness that the dissolution of it must cure it.
225 Novelty is only in request, and it is as dangerous to
 be aged in any kind of course as it is virtuous to be
 constant in any undertaking. There is scarce truth
 enough alive to make societies secure, but security
 enough to make fellowships accursed. Much upon
230 this riddle runs the wisdom of the world. This news
 is old enough, yet it is every day’s news. I pray you,
 sir, of what disposition was the Duke?
ESCALUS One that, above all other strifes, contended
 especially to know himself.
DUKE, as Friar 235What pleasure was he given to?
ESCALUS Rather rejoicing to see another merry than
 merry at anything which professed to make him
 rejoice—a gentleman of all temperance. But leave
 we him to his events, with a prayer they may prove
240 prosperous, and let me desire to know how you find
 Claudio prepared. I am made to understand that
 you have lent him visitation.
DUKE, as Friar He professes to have received no
 sinister measure from his judge but most willingly
245 humbles himself to the determination of justice. Yet
 had he framed to himself, by the instruction of his
 frailty, many deceiving promises of life, which I, by
 my good leisure, have discredited to him, and now
 is he resolved to die.
ESCALUS 250You have paid the heavens your function and
 the prisoner the very debt of your calling. I have
 labored for the poor gentleman to the extremest
 shore of my modesty, but my brother justice have I
 found so severe that he hath forced me to tell him
255 he is indeed Justice.

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ACT 3. SC. 2

DUKE, as Friar If his own life answer the straitness of
 his proceeding, it shall become him well; wherein if
 he chance to fail, he hath sentenced himself.
ESCALUS I am going to visit the prisoner. Fare you well.
DUKE, as Friar 260Peace be with you.
Escalus and Provost exit.

DUKE 
 He who the sword of heaven will bear
 Should be as holy as severe,
 Pattern in himself to know,
 Grace to stand, and virtue go;
265 More nor less to others paying
 Than by self-offenses weighing.
 Shame to him whose cruel striking
 Kills for faults of his own liking.
 Twice treble shame on Angelo,
270 To weed my vice, and let his grow.
 O, what may man within him hide,
 Though angel on the outward side!
 How may likeness made in crimes,
 Making practice on the times,
275 To draw with idle spiders’ strings
 Most ponderous and substantial things.
 Craft against vice I must apply.
 With Angelo tonight shall lie
 His old betrothèd but despisèd.
280 So disguise shall, by th’ disguisèd,
 Pay with falsehood false exacting
 And perform an old contracting.
He exits.