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Quotes

Quote #1

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.
[...]
I am too sure of it; and it is for getting
Madam Julietta with child. (1.2.3)

In Vienna, sexuality and reproduction are regulated by the government.  "Fornication" (sex outside marriage) is illegal, which is why Angelo has Claudio arrested and sentenced to death after Juliet turns up pregnant.  The play asks us to consider whether or not sexuality should be legislated.  What do you think? 

Quote #2

From too much liberty, my Lucio, liberty:
As surfeit is the father of much fast,
So every scope by the immoderate use
Turns to restraint. Our natures do pursue,
Like rats that ravin down their proper bane,
A thirsty evil; and when we drink we die. (1.2.3)

Here, Claudio compares his sexual appetite to a kind of gluttony and suggests that having sex is like drinking rat poison – both lead to death.  This is pretty disturbing, don't you think?

Quote #3

Thus, what with the war, what with the sweat, what
with the gallows and what with poverty, I am
custom-shrunk. (1.2.4)

We've seen how some of the main characters view sexuality as something sinful and corrupting.  Yet, minor characters like Mistress Overdone don't view sex in quite the same way.  For Mistress Overdone and others, sex is big business (when paying customers aren't in jail or victims of the bubonic plague, that is). 

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