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Measure for Measure
Act 4, scene 3

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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 3
Enter Pompey.

POMPEY I am as well acquainted here as I was in our
 house of profession. One would think it were Mistress
 Overdone’s own house, for here be many of
 her old customers. First, here’s young Master Rash.
5 He’s in for a commodity of brown paper and old
 ginger, ninescore and seventeen pounds, of which
 he made five marks ready money. Marry, then

153
Measure for Measure
ACT 4. SC. 3

 ginger was not much in request, for the old women
 were all dead. Then is there here one Master Caper,
10 at the suit of Master Three-pile the mercer, for some
 four suits of peach-colored satin, which now
 peaches him a beggar. Then have we here young
 Dizzy and young Master Deep-vow, and Master
 Copper-spur and Master Starve-lackey the rapier-and-dagger
15 man, and young Drop-heir that killed
 lusty Pudding, and Master Forth-light the tilter, and
 brave Master Shoe-tie the great traveler, and wild
 Half-can that stabbed Pots, and I think forty more,
 all great doers in our trade, and are now “for the
20 Lord’s sake.”

Enter Abhorson.

ABHORSON Sirrah, bring Barnardine hither.
POMPEY, calling Master Barnardine, you must rise
 and be hanged, Master Barnardine.
ABHORSON, calling What ho, Barnardine!
BARNARDINE, within 25A pox o’ your throats! Who makes
 that noise there? What are you?
POMPEY, calling to Barnardine offstage Your friends,
 sir, the hangman. You must be so good, sir, to rise
 and be put to death.
BARNARDINE, within 30Away, you rogue, away! I am
 sleepy.
ABHORSON, to Pompey Tell him he must awake, and
 that quickly too.
POMPEY, calling Pray, Master Barnardine, awake till
35 you are executed, and sleep afterwards.
ABHORSON Go in to him, and fetch him out.
POMPEY He is coming, sir, he is coming. I hear his
 straw rustle.
ABHORSON Is the axe upon the block, sirrah?
POMPEY 40Very ready, sir.

Enter Barnardine.


155
Measure for Measure
ACT 4. SC. 3

BARNARDINE How now, Abhorson? What’s the news
 with you?
ABHORSON Truly, sir, I would desire you to clap into
 your prayers, for, look you, the warrant’s come.
BARNARDINE 45You rogue, I have been drinking all night.
 I am not fitted for ’t.
POMPEY O, the better, sir, for he that drinks all night
 and is hanged betimes in the morning may sleep the
 sounder all the next day.

Enter Duke, as a Friar.

ABHORSON, to Barnardine 50Look you, sir, here comes
 your ghostly father. Do we jest now, think you?
DUKE, as Friar, to Barnardine Sir, induced by my
 charity, and hearing how hastily you are to depart, I
 am come to advise you, comfort you, and pray with
55 you.
BARNARDINE Friar, not I. I have been drinking hard all
 night, and I will have more time to prepare me, or
 they shall beat out my brains with billets. I will not
 consent to die this day, that’s certain.
DUKE, as Friar 60O, sir, you must. And therefore I
 beseech you look forward on the journey you shall
 go.
BARNARDINE I swear I will not die today for any man’s
 persuasion.
DUKE, as Friar 65But hear you—
BARNARDINE Not a word. If you have anything to say to
 me, come to my ward, for thence will not I today.
He exits.
DUKE, as Friar 
 Unfit to live or die. O gravel heart!
 After him, fellows; bring him to the block.
Abhorson and Pompey exit.

Enter Provost.


157
Measure for Measure
ACT 4. SC. 3

PROVOST 
70 Now, sir, how do you find the prisoner?
DUKE, as Friar 
 A creature unprepared, unmeet for death,
 And to transport him in the mind he is
 Were damnable.
PROVOST  Here in the prison, father,
75 There died this morning of a cruel fever
 One Ragozine, a most notorious pirate,
 A man of Claudio’s years, his beard and head
 Just of his color. What if we do omit
 This reprobate till he were well inclined,
80 And satisfy the Deputy with the visage
 Of Ragozine, more like to Claudio?
DUKE, as Friar 
 O, ’tis an accident that heaven provides!
 Dispatch it presently. The hour draws on
 Prefixed by Angelo. See this be done
85 And sent according to command, whiles I
 Persuade this rude wretch willingly to die.
PROVOST 
 This shall be done, good father, presently.
 But Barnardine must die this afternoon,
 And how shall we continue Claudio,
90 To save me from the danger that might come
 If he were known alive?
DUKE, as Friar  Let this be done:
 Put them in secret holds, both Barnardine and
 Claudio.
95 Ere twice the sun hath made his journal greeting
 To yonder generation, you shall find
 Your safety manifested.
PROVOST I am your free dependent.
DUKE, as Friar 
 Quick, dispatch, and send the head to Angelo.
Provost exits.

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Measure for Measure
ACT 4. SC. 3

DUKE 
100 Now will I write letters to Angelo—
 The Provost he shall bear them—whose contents
 Shall witness to him I am near at home
 And that by great injunctions I am bound
 To enter publicly. Him I’ll desire
105 To meet me at the consecrated fount
 A league below the city; and from thence,
 By cold gradation and well-balanced form,
 We shall proceed with Angelo.

Enter Provost, carrying a head.

PROVOST 
 Here is the head. I’ll carry it myself.
DUKE, as Friar 
110 Convenient is it. Make a swift return,
 For I would commune with you of such things
 That want no ear but yours.
PROVOST  I’ll make all speed.
He exits.
ISABELLA, within Peace, ho, be here.
DUKE 
115 The tongue of Isabel. She’s come to know
 If yet her brother’s pardon be come hither.
 But I will keep her ignorant of her good
 To make her heavenly comforts of despair
 When it is least expected.

Enter Isabella.

ISABELLA 120 Ho, by your leave.
DUKE, as Friar 
 Good morning to you, fair and gracious daughter.
ISABELLA 
 The better, given me by so holy a man.
 Hath yet the Deputy sent my brother’s pardon?

161
Measure for Measure
ACT 4. SC. 3

DUKE, as Friar 
 He hath released him, Isabel, from the world.
125 His head is off, and sent to Angelo.
ISABELLA 
 Nay, but it is not so.
DUKE, as Friar  It is no other.
 Show your wisdom, daughter, in your close patience.
ISABELLA 
 O, I will to him and pluck out his eyes!
DUKE, as Friar 
130 You shall not be admitted to his sight.
ISABELLA 
 Unhappy Claudio, wretched Isabel,
 Injurious world, most damnèd Angelo!
DUKE, as Friar 
 This nor hurts him nor profits you a jot.
 Forbear it, therefore; give your cause to heaven.
135 Mark what I say, which you shall find
 By every syllable a faithful verity.
 The Duke comes home tomorrow—nay, dry your
 eyes.
 One of our convent, and his confessor,
140 Gives me this instance. Already he hath carried
 Notice to Escalus and Angelo,
 Who do prepare to meet him at the gates,
 There to give up their power. If you can, pace your
 wisdom
145 In that good path that I would wish it go,
 And you shall have your bosom on this wretch,
 Grace of the Duke, revenges to your heart,
 And general honor.
ISABELLA  I am directed by you.
DUKE, as Friar, showing her a paper 
150 This letter, then, to Friar Peter give.
 ’Tis that he sent me of the Duke’s return.
 Say, by this token, I desire his company

163
Measure for Measure
ACT 4. SC. 3

 At Mariana’s house tonight. Her cause and yours
 I’ll perfect him withal, and he shall bring you
155 Before the Duke, and to the head of Angelo
 Accuse him home and home. For my poor self,
 I am combinèd by a sacred vow
 And shall be absent. Wend you with this letter.
He hands her the paper.
 Command these fretting waters from your eyes
160 With a light heart. Trust not my holy order
 If I pervert your course.—Who’s here?

Enter Lucio.

LUCIO Good even, friar, where’s the Provost?
DUKE, as Friar Not within, sir.
LUCIO O, pretty Isabella, I am pale at mine heart to see
165 thine eyes so red. Thou must be patient. I am fain to
 dine and sup with water and bran. I dare not for my
 head fill my belly. One fruitful meal would set me to
 ’t. But they say the Duke will be here tomorrow. By
 my troth, Isabel, I loved thy brother. If the old
170 fantastical duke of dark corners had been at home,
 he had lived.Isabella exits.
DUKE, as Friar Sir, the Duke is marvelous little beholding
 to your reports, but the best is, he lives not
 in them.
LUCIO 175Friar, thou knowest not the Duke so well as I do.
 He’s a better woodman than thou tak’st him for.
DUKE, as Friar Well, you’ll answer this one day. Fare
 you well.
LUCIO Nay, tarry, I’ll go along with thee. I can tell thee
180 pretty tales of the Duke.
DUKE, as Friar You have told me too many of him
 already, sir, if they be true; if not true, none were
 enough.
LUCIO I was once before him for getting a wench with
185 child.

165
Measure for Measure
ACT 4. SC. 4

DUKE, as Friar Did you such a thing?
LUCIO Yes, marry, did I, but I was fain to forswear it.
 They would else have married me to the rotten
 medlar.
DUKE, as Friar 190Sir, your company is fairer than honest.
 Rest you well.
LUCIO By my troth, I’ll go with thee to the lane’s end. If
 bawdy talk offend you, we’ll have very little of it.
 Nay, friar, I am a kind of burr. I shall stick.
They exit.