A monologue from the play "Measure for Measure" by William Shakespeare

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About this Monologue

  • Character: Angelo
  • Gender: Male
  • Age Range(s): Adult (36-50), Senior (>50)
  • Type of monologue / Character is: In love, Insecure, Talking to the audience
  • Type: Serio-comic
  • Period: Renaissance
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Description: Angelo realizes he lusts for Isabella
  • Location: ACT II, Scene 2

Summary

The play is set in Vienna. In the beginning of the play the Duke of Vienna pretends to leave town and leaves his authority temporarily to Lord Angelo, who starts governing very strictly. One of his decisions is to arrest and sentence to death a young man, Claudio, for impregnating his girlfriend, Juliet, before marriage.

Claudio's sister, a virtuous and religious woman, asks Angelo to forgive his brother. She begs him in any possible way but Angelo always refuses. Eventually Angelo grows impatient and asks her to leave. He will think about it. When she leaves Angelo delivers this monologue, where he expresses ...

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Excerpt

ANGELO
From thee, even from thy virtue!
What's this, what's this? Is this her fault or mine?
The tempter or the tempted, who sins most?
Ha!
Not she: nor doth she tempt: but it is I
That, lying by the violet in the sun,
Do as the carrion does, not as the flower,
Corrupt with virtuous season. Can it be
That modesty may more betray our sense
Than woman's lightness? Having waste ground enough,
Shall we desire to raze the sanctuary
And pitch our evils there? O, fie, fie, fie!
What dost thou, or what art thou, Angelo?
Dost thou desire her foully for those things
That make her good? O, let her brother live!
Thieves for their robbery have authority
When judges steal themselves. What, do I love her,
That I desire to hear her speak again,
And feast upon her eyes? What is't I dream on?
O cunning enemy, that, to catch a saint,
With saints dost bait thy hook! Most dangerous
Is that temptation that doth goad us on
To sin in loving virtue: never could the strumpet,
With all her double vigour, art and nature,
Once stir my temper; but this virtuous maid
Subdues me quite. Even till now,
When men were fond, I smiled and wonder'd how.



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