Angelo is a nobleman of Vienna chosen by the Duke to replace him during his absence.
He is a morally rigorous puritan, inflexible, incorruptible, and well-known to be so; he is aware of all these facts, particularly the last. He either does not feel emotions or has disciplined himself to the extent that they have no effect on him. He abandoned Mariana, to whom he was betrothed, when her brother died and she found herself without money, and refused to offer her any consolation. Given the Duke’s full power during the latter’s absence, he immediately begins to impose his own moral rectitude on everyone, closing the brothels and condemning Claudio to death for knocking up his girlfriend. He rejects all of Escalus’s pleas for moderation. Isabella’s virtue, however, is just what it takes to seduce him. He is aware that what he is doing is wrong, and does all he can to hide it. Fully aware of his reputation for probity, he is willing to use it against Isabella and to protect himself. He brazens it out in front of the Duke, but when everything is revealed he is left hoping for nothing other than death, which he admits he deserves.