The Duke's Disappearance For Measure, By William Shakespeare

1900 Words8 Pages
Throughout William Shakespeare’s play Measure for Measure, we are introduced to many arguments about reputation and what it means to be a good Duke. The play, which is centered on the Duke’s disappearance and reappearance in disguise as a Friar, proposes some interesting insights into what it means to be a good Duke and how to maintain a good reputation. The Duke throughout the play presents himself as many different versions of what it means to be a good ruler. At first he is weak and unable to enforce laws. Then we have Angelo as the substitute Duke who is tyrannical, too focused on the laws that he ends up turning people against him. Finally, when the Duke comes back he is a balance between his weak self and Angelo’s tyrannous self. Measure for Measure then proposes an interesting question based on the Duke’s actions. Did he really leave to allow someone new to rule because he was too weak or did he leave because he had become a ‘bad’ Duke giving into the indulgences that Vienna had to offer? The more compelling evidence provided throughout the play seems to support the idea that the Duke left in order to preserve his reputation. In this complicated and sometimes confusing play Shakespeare is able…show more content…
Through the Duke’s multiple identities we are able to see what it means to be a just ruler and how one can go about becoming one. We also through the Duke’s actions come to understand how he is able to maintain his good reputation and ultimately why he must leave Vienna in order to do so. While he originally proposes that he leaves in order to allow law and order back into Vienna we later learn that he left in order to re-establish his good reputation and avoid public scrutiny. Then thus his deception is necessary in order for him to maintain not only his reputation but also law and order in

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