Where does the Order Lie? The social and political orders of William Shakespeare's Measure for Measure and Merchant of Venice vary, but still exhibit firm criticisms of the role of government within society. The conclusions of both of these plays return to their original order and the characters are resolved in their own ways. Measure for Measure gives the most demanding criticism of the role of political order out of most of Shakespeare's plays. Through the actions of the Duke and Angelo, Shakespeare reveals the two distinct sides to patriarchal political order, punishment and forgiveness. Merchant of Venice shows the social order by the conflict that occurs between Shylock and Antonio.
Through their conflict and eventual resolve, Shakespeare once again reveals his own personal criticisms of the justice system and a skewed image of the middle-class social order. Both of these plays represent different orders within society and also exhibit changes within them as the play progresses. The transformation and the eventual restoration of political and social order in these two Shakespeare plays provide certain similar criticisms about the role that order plays within the confines of society. The political order in Measure for Measure is a strong, yet unstable patriarchy led by the Duke. The Duke orders Antonio to take his place and carry out Vienna's "strict statutes and most biting laws" (1.1. 19).
These "strict statutes" and "laws" were obviously not carried out in the time of the Duke's patriarchal reign over the city of Vienna. The Duke's city is falling apart and is filled with sin and lechery. He gives his powers to Angelo, and according to the Duke, "Lent him our terror, dressed him with our love", (1.1. 20), signifying that there is only two ways to restore order, through passive forgiveness, or harsh punishment. These two very important aspects of the play are the essence of a patriarchal society in which Shakespeare criticizes throughout the play.
Angelo represents the patriarchal order, and when he needed to he passed his power down to his deputy, which signifies a change in the political order in the play. By the conclusion of the play, the patriarch returns and everything returns back to the way it was at the beginning. The original order in the beginning of Merchant of Venice lies within the conflict of the two characters, Shylock and Antonio. These two represent the social order that Shakespeare is criticizing throughout the play. This order plays a large role in this play because the characters are shaped through the binding contracts that they make with one another, even if that contract goes against basic humanity.
Unlike Measure for Measure, the conflict of order is more privative and stays generally between the court system and the characters. Shylock's proclamation for "A pound of man's flesh taken from a man" (2.1. 164) is a little extreme, but used by Shakespeare to show the extremities of the binding contracts of men. Shakespeare later shows the dependability of the courts to uphold this contract. Although the end of the play returns to its original state, Shylock's actions are questioned on the grounds of humanity, not justice.
Shakespeare uses the incident between Claudius and Angelo to further enhance his criticisms of a patriarchal society. Pompey, the bawd proves to be one of the wisest characters in the play, and serves as Shakespeare's guiding and moral voice. In a conversation with Escalus, he explains the state of the city and the tyranny of Angelo, "If you head and hang all that offend that way / but for ten year together, you " ll be glad to give out a commission for more heads" (2.1. 237-9). This statement proves to be Shakespeare's statement towards of the tyrannical patriarchal order that runs the city. The capturing of Claudius does not solve the problems of the city or intimidate any of the lechery that is occurring.
Instead, Claudius is transformed into the embodiment of the city and represents the oppression that Antonio brings on society as a whole. The conflict between the two symbolize the conflict of a group of people against a powerful force, in this case, the government. Angelo's exploits fit into a type of action called "restorative justice", which is a term coined by Gil Richard Musolf of Central Michigan University. According to Musolf, "Angelo fails to both find his humanity and bond with his community" (Musolf 217), which suggests that Angelo's lack of mercy stems from his non-interaction with Vienna. The Duke, while all this is occurring is interacting with the citizens of Vienna ultimately trying to find a solution to the problem.
Musolf also entertains the idea that none of the characters "see themselves as they really are" (Musolf 219), which holds true especially to Angelo because he does not see interact with the people of the city, and therefore do not know how to rightfully punish them. The Duke's venture into the city represents a transformation from a powerful and authoritative figure to a lowly friar in the middle of a lecherous city. Digressing into the lower statures of the city, the Duke is better able to interact with the people that Angelo is oppressing and thus earning a greater knowledge of the purpose of the government. The restoration of the traditional order in Measure for Measure simply came from the Duke's return to Vienna. The Duke's return to the position came with much haste because of Angelo's actions against Claudio and the rest of the city.
After the Duke reveals his true identity, Angelo pleads for his forgiveness and the mercy, he says to the Duke, "I should be guiltier than my guiltiness To think I can be undiscernibleWhen I perceive Your Grace, like power divine, Hath looked upon my passes (5.1. 375-8) Angelo's pleading towards the Duke is Shakespeare's way of expressing the wrongfulness of the that type of order. After spending his time within the lower and middle class of the city, the Duke has experienced the true range of order in the city and condemns Angelo's to death for the execution of Claudius. He curses Angelo and sends him to "the very block / Where Claudio stooped to death" (5.1.
422-3). Technically, It was the Duke's fault that all the problems occurred with Claudio, but he takes it out on his lower level deputy, who took his place. His meshing with the lower classes of his own city caused him to gain a sense of morality that caused his deep anger against Angelo. The survival of Claudio brought the order full circle and back into the hands of the Duke, the most powerful person in the play. 1st paragraph - Existing order in Merchant of Venice 2nd Paragraph - Existing order in Measure for Measure 3rd paragraph - Explain who took over (Greed of Shylock) and how it affected the order of Merchant of Venice 4th Paragraph - Explain who took over and how it affected the order in Measure for Measure 5th Paragraph - Talk about the restoration of order at the end of Merchant of Venice 6th Paragraph - Talk about the restoration of order at the end of Measure for Measure 7th Paragraph - Criticizing the traditional order of Merchant of Venice 8th Paragraph - Criticizing the traditional order of Measure for Measure. 9th Paragraph - What was learned out of the end of the play as pertaining to the order of the play 10th Paragraph - What was learned out of the end of the play as pertaining to the original order.
1st Question - Explain the Existing order that is present in both of the plays. Merchant Measure 22404101586277.