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MonkeyNotes-Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare
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Scene Summaries With Notes

Act I, Scene 1

The Duke of Vienna, who is a wise leader, wishes to get away from the scene of power and action for sometime. He appoints Lord Angelo as his Deputy to govern the state in his absence. He also directs Escalus, his aged and trusted lord, to assist him. Both Angelo and Escalus agree to the arrangement, and the Duke takes leave of them, after promising to write to them as and when it is necessary.


Notes

With the introduction of the three characters, two of them the major characters in the play, the structure of the plot is established. Both the Duke and Escalus have great confidence in Angelo's capabilities is portrayed; although young, he is judged as a virtuous, trustworthy, and able man who will be able to take over the Duke's duties and carry them out wisely. Angelo admits that his worth has yet to be tested.

The Duke comes across as an intelligent and sensitive man who cares about the citizens. He is saddened by the decay in his city and wishes to reform it. The reason why Shakespeare makes him leave the City is unclear, since he could have brought reform by being present. Probably, he wishes to test Angelo's true capabilities as a governor of the City. The Duke comments that he loves his subjects but seeks to avoid a show of love or any ostentatious display of affection.

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