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Sood 1Unknown26 July 2017ENG3U0-APainful Pleasure in Measure for MeasureIWilliam Shakespeare combines the concepts of humorous wordplay, as well as justice and mercyby using complex dialogue, monologues and puns. He distributes these binaries across a complexplot and the lives of various characters. Much of the dialogue incorporates several genres which can be subcategorized into different binaries. "O, it is excellent To have a giant’s strength; but it is tyrannous/To use it like a giant" (2.2.136-137), Isabella says to Angelo, a phrase that warrants Angelo trying to use his position and power as Deputy Duke to condemn her brother in Measure for Measure. Earlier, Claudio claims, “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” (3.2.144-147). Shortly after, Claudio begs his sister to accept an outrageous offer: to save his life by giving up her virginity to Angelo. Surprised by her brothers plead, Isabella is outraged: “O you beast!/O faithless coward! O dishonest wretch!/Wilt thou be made a man out of my vice?.../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.” InMeasure for Measure, Shakespeare seems to put the role of comedy in the mouths of women, and tragedy in those of men. Generally speaking, Measure for Measurepursues a tragic path, with morbid language in the dialogue and plot. The language is taken from and directed to the immoral content of the play. “Flawed acts of sexuality, punishment and legal feuds” (Dunn 1) are the sources from which the tragedy is derived. Death threats, puns, and other rhetorical figures pervade the dialogue; tragedy invading comedy builds the premise that, the two genres are constantly resisting each other. The shadow of death lingers in the dialogue of all male characters, most specifically in Angelo, who obsesses about death and morbidity. “Were he my kinsman, brother, or my son,/It
Sood 2should be thus with him. He must die tomorrow” (2.4.106-107). “Death waits eagerly for its chance to pounce on characters with capital punishment and wields its power through sexual wordplay,” Dunn argues. The wordplay is the focus of the two genres that conflict with each other. Death’s power is caught between its relation with sexuality and “everlasting leiger.” It is either limited by eliciting the experience of pleasure, or by the state of eternal rest that frees the soul. Death being the main topic of conversation has much to do with the problematic situations. Each character deals with a problem that revolves around death, whether it is Isabella trying to save her brother life or, Angelo wanting to ‘die'. If dying is seen only as morbid and dark, then the play constitutes itself as a tragedy. However, if used as the ejaculation or orgasm of a man, the play includes a comedic register. Death, has as much to do with the plot as, sexual