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TOPIC: Lucio

Lucio 4 years 6 months ago #6728

  • Bob Matheson
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There is something odd about the character Lucio in the Play Measure for Measure.
He is portrayed as a buffoon, yet he is one of those characters who advance the plot at key moments in a positive way. His actions lead us to dislike him, yet one idea which seems to run through the Shakespeare Plays is not to be swayed by appearances. As King Simonides said in Pericles Prince of Tyre - 2: 2: 56:

" Opinion's but a fool, that makes us scan The outward habit by the inward man. "

Lets look at Lucio. When Claudio is sentenced to death Lucio goes to the nunnery to convince Isabella to come to the aid of her brother; she agrees. Then when Isabella is pleading with Angelo to spare the life of her brother she is somewhat timid and after trying briefly is about to give up and withdraw 2:2:43 At that moment Lucio says to her 2:2:44

"Give not o'er so : to him again, entreat him; ... You are too cold ... To him, I say;"

She continues and again is rebuffed: More encouragement from Lucio:

2:2:56 "You are too cold"
2:2:70 " Ay, touch him ; there's the vein.
89 " Ay, well said
109 " That's well said.
124 " O, to him, to him, wench: he will relent
129 " Thou'rt i' the right, girl; more o'that
132 " Art avised o' that? more on't

'Pause there Morocco' to think on this last line. In order for anyone to say ' art avised o' that'
or do you know that, one needs to know it themselves, which indicates they know as much or likely more than the person that they are addressing. Isabella proves herself a character of great intelligence and integrity, and Lucio is right there with her in understanding. When Isabella begins to say too much to Angelo 2:2:145

"Hark how I'll bribe you " Angelo is put off " How? bribe me? "

Isabella is on the verge of spoiling her good work and Lucio says to her

2:2: 148 " You had marr'd all else" and 156: "Go to; 'tis well; away!"

Lucio helps her to pursue her case and then helps her not say too much. Later in the Play Lucio acts outrageously and appears to be a very low character.
Perhaps there is a clue to his actions in line 1:4:31 Lucio says:

" 'tis my familiar sin With maids to seem the lapwing, and jest, Tongue far from heart "

It is interesting to look up the word Lapwing in a good Oxford dictionary:

' A bird of the plover family...It's eggs are the 'plovers eggs of the London markets. Also attributed as stratagem in allusion to its habit of leading a stranger away from its nest. '

Perhaps a fitting description of Lucio. Some may not find this interesting, but there are several characters in Shakespeares' Plays who also are held in disdain, yet they advance the Play or help the main character in key moments. Others are Parolles in Alls Well That Ends Well; Apemantus in Timon of Athens; and Pisanio in Cymbeline. In the case of these characters when we look at the direction of the protaginist before and after talking with one of these humble characters we find the Play greatly advanced.

Perhaps a clue to these characters is in a line of Parolles in Alls Well That Ends Well 4:3

" Parolles, live Safest in shame "

Or in the words of Griffith in the Play King Henry VIII when speaking of Cardinal Wolsey King Henry VIII 4:2:

"His overthrow heap'd happiness upon him;
For then, and not till then, he felt himself,
And found the blessedness of being little:"

Bob Matheson
Last Edit: 4 years 6 months ago by Bob Matheson.
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Lucio 4 years 6 months ago #6741

  • Annette Schmitter
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A similar experience can also be seen e.g. in King Lear. The audience suspects already in the beginning of the Play, that the King’s daughters Goneril and Regan are eager for possessions and power. In the course of the drama their attitude towards their father becomes more and more insidious and evil.
Nevertheless Goneril and Regan are main characters who cause a real inner development of King Lear. They cause a painful process of recognition between truth and falsehood, self- knowledge and life lie.
In the beginning of the drama King Lear is disappointed and outraged about his daughter Cordelia, who is asked to flatter him, but she answers:”Nothing.” Act 1, Scene 1. He does not realize that she tells him “nothing” wrong, “nothing” that is a lie. This “nothing” is more than all the words of both other daughters. The King of France formulates this:”Fairest Cordelia that are most rich being poor, Most choice forsaken and most loved despised, …” (Act 1, Scene 1) The daughters Goneril and Regan arrange that King Lear looses everything, his possessions, his power, his honour – and his life. But just before he dies, when he has nothing in this world, I suppose he recognizes the meaning of Cordelia’s word: “nothing”. His last words refer to Cordelia’s mouth, which has spoken this “nothing”, King Lear says:”…Do you see this? Look on her: look, her lips, Look there, look there! (He dies)”(Act 5, Scene3)
Annette Schmitter
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Lucio 4 years 5 months ago #6770

  • Bob Matheson
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Yes the sisters certainly affect the course of the Play and of King Lear's life. We see them as evil. I was thinking about those characters who are not what they appear, based on looking at their actions; in contradiction to what is said about them or the general impression which they give. Lets look at Pisanio in the Play Cymbeline. He is a very mild character; almost always passive to others. In Act 3 scene 4 he says " you shall find me, wretched man..." yet at a key moment of the Play he speaks and alters the course of the Play and Imogen's life. Imogen would not listen to Pisanio , or to anyone else for that matter, in the first Acts of the Play. Then when Imogen receives a letter which makes her very sad, she begins to become passive, she asks questions of Pisanio, she is then able to hear. Usually in life we do not learn because we have no questions or are not open to the new. Here Pisanio speaks very enigmatically: Act 3 scene 4 " Well, then, here's the point: You must forget to be a woman; change command into obedience...." This is a very powerful statement and the more it is thought on the more important it is. To change command into obedience seems an odd thing to say to a woman, particularly in the middle ages; woman were generally thought subservient to men at that time. In esoteric teachings we find references to the two sides of our nature; the inner and the outer. Usually the outer is in command of the inner; as in: I would like to quit smoking but I cannot, or I made a resolution and could not keep it. To change command into obedience is for the inner to become active, to be in charge, to have real will to do what we want and know is best. Up until this point in the Play Imogen has been very assertive in her speech and actions, after this point in the Play she is milder; look at the lines she speaks, she is much different after the scene with Pisanio at Milford-Haven. Both her and Posthumus struggled and struggled to gain what they thought they wanted, yet for both of them when they became passive they attained their goal. Look for it in the Play; Imogen comes to the point where she can say in Act 4 scene 2 " I am nothing: or if not, Nothing to be were better " and Posthumus comes to the point where he says Act 5 scene 3" fight I will no more, But yield me " This is to change command into obedience. Posthumus says: " I will begin The fashion, less without and more within " This is to change command into obedience. All through the Play we find Pisanio very meek and passive until he says this to Imogen: " change command into obedience " He did not push himself forward until the very moment when it would do some real good. It is similar to something a wise man said to me once: ' do you want to be right, or do you want to be effective in dealing with other people '
This may seem too far reaching to many people, but study these characters and how the Play goes before they act and how it goes afterwards. Another example is Parolles in the Play: Alls Well That Ends Well. Look at the lines in Act 1 scene 1 starting at line 80. Helena is sitting bemoaning her fate " I am undone, there is no living, none if Bertram be away. 'Twere all one that I should love a bright particular star And think to wed it, he is so above me ..." Parolles enters and talks to her. After he leaves she says " Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie, Which we ascribe to heaven: the fated sky gives us free scope, only doth backwards pull Our slow designs when we ourselves are project may deceive me, But my intents are fix'd and will not leave me " It is a long way in our minds from " there is no living, none " to " Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie, " After this point Helena sets out to marry Bertram and succeeds. The only thing that transpired between these two states in Helena, despair and determination, was the conversation with Parolles; who is seen as a despicable character throughout the rest of the Play. There may be a clue to his character in his last words Act 5 scene 3 " therefore I will not speak what I know." Parolles also has a very interesting line " Parolles, live Safest in shame " Act 4 scene 3. At the very least these are interesting characters: Lucio , Parolles, Pisanio, and Apemantus in Timon of Athens has a similar story. They are not what they appear.

Bob Matheson
Last Edit: 4 years 5 months ago by Bob Matheson.
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