Measure For Measure
Our contemporary re-working of William Shakespeare’s problem play is set in the British Army, as a clear line of authority and sexual protocol still strongly exist. This setting, in light of today’s problems facing the armed forces, also reflects the core themes of the narrative; sex and power. A general breakdown on discipline can be laid heavily at the door of our duke character, acting as commander of this battalion of troops, but as he realizes what must be done in order to restore respect for his position – he also realizes that his own indiscretions but him in a precarious position with regards to enforcing morale discipline. The Duke decides to pass this responsibility to a deputy, Angelo, whom will happily do the Dukes dirty work in his absence. Angelo, a strict and frustrated young officer immediately sets about making his presence felt. He sentences Claudio for immediate execution for his violation of a senior female officer, and his part in a flag burning drunken stunt. This provokes a series of protests from officers and friends alike, which all falls on Angelo’s deaf ears, until word is sent for Claudio’s sister to appeal on his behalf. Isabelle approaches Angelo, from a religious background and with a character of complete morale integrity, with the intention of reprieving her wilder brother. Angelo enjoys the immediate power he has over such a beautiful and virginal type character, and a battle of wits ensues. Angelo at one point sexually assaults Isabelle, in a rare lapse of self control, and delivers an ultimatum for her to sleep with him for her brothers life. Isabelle goes to her brother for advice, whom encourages her to fulfill Angelo’s requiring. In despair Isabelle returns to religion for council and the Duke, disguised as a priest – whom has been watching from the wings – advises her to entrap Angelo by using a love-sick Marianna, an ex-girlfriend of Angelo. Under cover of darkness Marianna sleeps with Angelo, whilst he thinks it’s Isabelle, but the next day orders her brothers execution anyway. Isabelle despairs at this, but the duke secretly intervenes to stop the execution, but allows all to believe that it has taken place… the trap is now set and the Duke makes a very public return to entrap Angelo.
Country: United Kingdom
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