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Measure for Measure Act 4, Scene 1 Summary

  • The Duke and Isabella pay Mariana (Angelo's ex-fiancé) a little visit at her farm, which is surrounded by a moat. When they arrive, Mariana is listening to a Boy singing a sad song about a jilted lover.
  • When Mariana sees the Duke (still disguised as a friar) she tells the kid to scram so she can talk in privacy (apparently, the Duke has visited with Mariana before and listened to her confession).
  • Isabella and the Duke confer about where and when her secret rendezvous with Angelo is supposed to go down – Isabella is supposed to meet Angelo in a secret garden.
  • Isabella and Marianna take a walk together during which time Isabella fills in Marianna on the Duke's plot to trick Angelo.
  • Marianna is all for the Duke's little bed trick.
  • Brain Snack: "Bed trick," by the way, is a common term for one of Shakespeare's favorite plot devices – it always involves one person who thinks he/she is going to bed with another person, but who is then tricked into sleeping with someone else. In Shakespeare, the duped party is usually a guy, like Bertram in All's Well That Ends Well.
  • The Duke explains that Marianna's actions won't be counted as a sin or a crime because Angelo is her "husband on a pre-contract," meaning, they were formally betrothed before Angelo backed out of the wedding at the last minute.
  • Everybody runs off to put the sneaky plan into action.

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