List iconMeasure for Measure:
Act 4, scene 4
List icon

Measure for Measure
Act 4, scene 4



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 4
Enter Angelo and Escalus.

ESCALUS Every letter he hath writ hath disvouched
ANGELO In most uneven and distracted manner. His
 actions show much like to madness. Pray heaven his
5 wisdom be not tainted. And why meet him at the
 gates and deliver our authorities there?
ESCALUS I guess not.
ANGELO And why should we proclaim it in an hour
 before his entering, that if any crave redress of
10 injustice, they should exhibit their petitions in the
ESCALUS He shows his reason for that: to have a dispatch
 of complaints, and to deliver us from devices
 hereafter, which shall then have no power to stand
15 against us.
ANGELO Well, I beseech you let it be proclaimed.
 Betimes i’ th’ morn, I’ll call you at your house. Give
 notice to such men of sort and suit as are to meet
ESCALUS 20I shall, sir. Fare you well.

Measure for Measure
ACT 4. SC. 5

ANGELO Good night.Escalus exits.
 This deed unshapes me quite, makes me unpregnant
 And dull to all proceedings. A deflowered maid,
 And by an eminent body that enforced
25 The law against it. But that her tender shame
 Will not proclaim against her maiden loss,
 How might she tongue me! Yet reason dares her no,
 For my authority bears of a credent bulk
 That no particular scandal once can touch
30 But it confounds the breather. He should have lived,
 Save that his riotous youth with dangerous sense
 Might in the times to come have ta’en revenge
 By so receiving a dishonored life
 With ransom of such shame. Would yet he had lived.
35 Alack, when once our grace we have forgot,
 Nothing goes right. We would, and we would not.
He exits.