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Measure for Measure

Measure for Measure


by William Shakespeare

Analysis: Three-Act Plot Analysis

For a three-act plot analysis, put on your screenwriter’s hat. Moviemakers know the formula well: at the end of Act One, the main character is drawn in completely to a conflict. During Act Two, she is farthest away from her goals. At the end of Act Three, the story is resolved.

Act I

Duke Vincentio is frustrated that his people don't obey the law. Instead of cracking down on crime himself, he appoints a strict deputy, Angelo, to clean up Vienna.

Act II

Angelo doesn't waste any time. He busts Angelo for "fornicating" (having sex outside of marriage) and sentences him to death. When Claudio's sister, Isabella, tries to intervene, Angelo propositions her, offering to let Claudio off the hook if she agrees to hook up with Angelo.


The Duke steps in and confronts Angelo, who repents. Claudio is saved, and the Duke orders three couples to get married (solving the whole "sex outside of marriage" problem).

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