Measure for Measure
Measure for Measure Lies and Deceit Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Riverside edition.
we shall advise this wronged maid to stead up
your appointment, go in your place; if the encounter
acknowledge itself hereafter, it may compel him to
her recompense: and here, by this, is your brother
saved, your honour untainted, the poor Mariana
advantaged, and the corrupt deputy scaled. The maid
will I frame and make fit for his attempt. If you
think well to carry this as you may, the doubleness
of the benefit defends the deceit from reproof.
What think you of it? (3.1.12)
As the Duke describes how they will trick Angelo into sleeping with Mariana, we can't help but notice that he acts a lot like a playwright who is directing the cast of a stage play. This isn't the last time Shakespeare will fashion a character after himself. In The Tempest, Prospero acts a lot like a director as well.
Some report a sea-maid spawned him; some, that he
was begot between two stock-fishes. But it is
certain that when he makes water his urine is
congealed ice; that I know to be true: and he is a
motion generative; that's infallible. (3.2.14)
Lucio has serious penchant for telling outrageous lies. Here, he spreads a rumor that Angelo is an impotent spawn of a mermaid and urinates ice. Elsewhere, he spreads a rumor that Duke Vincentio likes hanging out in brothels. As ridiculous as this behavior is, we're not sure Lucio's deception is much different than the kind of deceit we see in other characters, like the Duke and Angelo.
O, death's a great disguiser; and you may add to it.
Shave the head, and tie the beard; and say it was
the desire of the penitent to be so bared before his
death: you know the course is common. (4.2.19)
When Angelo demands that Claudio's head be delivered to him, the Duke convinces the Provost to execute another prisoner, Barnardine, in Claudio's place. If they shave Barnardine's head and trim his beard, nobody will know it's not Claudio because "death's a great disguiser." Gee. Are we supposed to notice that this substitution plan sounds a lot like the Duke's bed trick? See what we have to say about this in "Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory" if you want to know more about this.