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Justice and Atonement in Measure for Measure

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    This paper tries to interpret Measure for Measure in view of the rites of passage. The course of the rites of passage can be applied to the dramatic action of the main characters. Especially justice and atonement theme will be traced out through the three periods of Angelo and Isabella's actions. The Duke is at the center of this dramatic action, he not only separates himself from Vienna but also separates other characters from their accustomed way of living. Almost all the characters are put into deep sorrow and distress and pass the difficult period of transition, but at the final scene they return to the better world. Angelo's strict legalism makes Claudio accept the death and threats Isabella to sacrifice her virginity. But ironically Angelo's lust for Isabella brings him to marry Mariana instead. In this course the Duke's feigning and bed-trick device play very important roles. Claudio and Julietta put into jail because of their prenuptial intercourse which also causes Angelo to wield his power. Even though Angelo falls into transgression against his legalism and conscience, he is forgiven and is to enjoy a new life. Isabella is atoned by the Duke who courts to her and forgives the sinners and makes everyone happy. At the end of the play, four couples: Claudio and Julietta, Angelo and Mariana, Lucio and the whore, the Duke and Isabella are expected to enjoy marriage lives.


  • 주제어

    rite of passage .   justice .   atonement .   legalism .   forgiveness.  

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