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Scene Study (Male-Female)


Now, sister, what’s the comfort?



As all comforts are: most good, most good indeed.

Lord Angelo, having affairs to heaven,

Intends you for his swift ambassador,

Where you shall be an everlasting leiger;

Therefore your best appointment make with speed,

Tomorrow you set on.


Is there no remedy?


None, but such remedy as, to save a head,

To cleave a heart in twain.


But is there any?


Yes, brother, you may live;

There is a devilish mercy in the judge,

If You’ll implore it, that will free your life,

But fetter you till death.


Perpetual durance?


Ay, just, perpetual durance, a restraint,

Though all the world’s vastidity you had,

To a determin’d scope.


But in what nature?


In such a one as, you consenting to’t,

Would bark your honor from that trunk you bear,

And leave you naked.


Let me know the point.


O, I do fear thee, Claudio, and I quake,

Lest thou a feverous life shouldst entertain,

And six or seven winters more respect

Than a perpetual honor. Dar’st thou die?

The sense of death is most in apprehension,

And the poor beetle that we tread upon

In corporal sufferance finds a pang as great

As when a giant dies.


Why give you me this shame?

Think you I can a resolution fetch

From flow’ry tenderness? If I must die,

I will encounter darkness as a bride,

And hug it in mine arms.


There spake my brother; there my father’s grave

Did utter forth a voice. Yes, thou must die:

Thou art too noble to conserve a life

In base appliances. This outward-sainted deputy,

Whose settled visage and deliberate word

Nips youth i’ th’ head, and follies doth enew

As falcon doth the fowl, is yet a devil;

His filth within being cast, he would appear

A pond as deep as hell.


The prenzie Angelo?


O, ’tis the cunning livery of hell,

The damned’st body to invest and cover

In prenzie guards! Dost thou think, Claudio,

If I would yield him my virginity,

Thou mightst be freed!


O heavens, it cannot be.


Yes, he would give’t thee, from this rank offense,

So to offend him still. This night’s the time

That I should do what I abhor to name,

Or else thou diest tomorrow.


Thou shalt not do’t.


O, were it but my life,

I’d throw it down for your deliverance

As frankly as a pin.


Thanks, dear Isabel.


Be ready, Claudio, for your death tomorrow.


Yes. Has he affections in him,

That thus can make him bite the law by th’ nose,

When he would force it? Sure it is no sin,

Or of the deadly seven it is the least.


Which is the least?


If it were damnable, he being so wise,

Why would he for the momentary trick

Be perdurably fin’d? O Isabel!


What says my brother?


Death is a fearful thing.


And shamed life a hateful.


Ay, but to die, and go we know not where;

To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot;

This sensible warm motion to become

A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit

To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside

In thrilling region of thick-ribbed ice;

To be imprison’d in the viewless winds

And blown with restless violence round about

The pendant world; or to be worse than worst

Of those that lawless and incertain thought

Imagine howling—’tis too horrible!

The weariest and most loathed worldly life

That age, ache, penury, and imprisonment

Can lay on nature is a paradise

To what we fear of death.


Alas, alas!


Sweet sister, let me live.

What sin you do to save a brother’s life,

Nature dispenses with the deed so far,

That it becomes a virtue.


O you beast!

O faithless coward! O dishonest wretch!

Wilt thou be made a man out of my vice?

Is’t not a kind of incest, to take life

From thine own sister’s shame? What should I think?

Heaven shield my mother play’d my father fair!

For such a warped slip of wilderness

Ne’er issu’d from his blood. Take my defiance!

Die, perish! Might but my bending down

Reprieve thee from thy fate, it should proceed.

I’ll pray a thousand prayers for thy death,

No word to save thee.


Nay, hear me, Isabel.


O fie, fie, fie!

Thy sin’s not accidental, but a trade.

Mercy to thee would prove itself a bawd,

’Tis best that thou diest quickly.


O, hear me, Isabella!


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