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Act I, Scene 3
The Duke, who is supposed to have travelled to Poland, has sought refuge in a monastery close to Vienna. There, he informs Friar Thomas that he plans to return to his City in the disguise of a friar. He wants to see how Vienna is being governed in his absence; he also wants to assess the citizens' reactions to Angelo's more structured ways. He admits that he has not been a strict leader or an enforcer of the laws about morality. He hopes that Angelo will restore order. His spying in disguise will be a sort of test of Angelo and his new methods of ruling.
In this scene, the Duke admits that he has been very lenient on the citizens of Vienna. He has not been a hard-handed ruler, for he prefers a quiet life, with no attention directed to him. As a result, the people have taken advantage of the situation, and things are out of control. He knows that discipline must now be more strictly enforced. He hopes that Angelo is capable of doing that in his absence. The Duke, in the closing lines, discloses to the reader that he is yet unsure of Angelo's true capacities and honor; "Hence shall we see, If power change purpose, what our, seemers be."