Measure for Measure
How we cite our quotes:
Nay, but I know 'tis so: I saw him arrested, saw
him carried away; and, which is more, within these
three days his head to be chopped off. (1.2.3)
Yikes! In Vienna, fornication is a sin and also a capital crime, which is why Claudio the fornicator has been hauled off to prison and sentenced to death.
Better it were a brother died at once,
Than that a sister, by redeeming him,
Should die for ever. (2.4.14)
Isabella insists that her chastity is much more valuable than her brother's life, because having sex with Angelo would condemn her to an eternal death (hell). Is she right?
I will encounter darkness as a bride,
And hug it in mine arms.(3.1.9)
Once again, Claudio associates sex (and marriage) with death. (If we didn't know better, we might think we were reading Romeo and Juliet when we encounter this passage. In that play, sex and death go hand and hand for the "star-crossed" lovers.) Here, Claudio compares dying to a woman losing her virginity on her wedding night, which turns death into a kind of erotic state. This doesn't surprise us much, especially given the fact that, in Elizabethan slang, "to die" means to have an orgasm. The comparison works.