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Measure for Measure | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Course Hero. "Measure for Measure Study Guide." February 13, 2018. Accessed June 4, 2023.


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Measure for Measure | Scene Summaries

See Scene Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • One day in Vienna

    The Duke leaves town, nominating Angelo to rule in his place.

    Act 1, Scene 1
  • Immediately afterward

    Angelo begins enforcing the city's strict and long-forgotten laws.

    Act 1, Scene 2
  • Within days

    Claudio is arrested for fornication and sentenced to death.

    Act 1, Scene 2
  • About two hours later

    Lucio is dispatched to warn Isabella of her brother's imprisonment.

    Act 1, Scene 4
  • Later that day

    Isabella leaves the convent to visit Angelo and plead for her brother's life.

    Act 2, Scene 2
  • The next morning

    Angelo offers to spare Claudio's life if Isabella will sleep with him.

    Act 2, Scene 4
  • Later that day

    The disguised Duke visits Claudio in prison and prepares him to face death.

    Act 3, Scene 1
  • Moments later

    Isabella visits Claudio, who is less appalled than surprised at Isabella's refusal to comply.

    Act 3, Scene 1
  • Moments later

    The Duke reveals his plot to save Claudio while sparing Isabella's virginity.

    Act 3, Scene 1
  • Hours later

    Isabella and the Duke enlist Mariana's help in tricking Angelo, her former fiancé.

    Act 4, Scene 1
  • Meanwhile

    Breaking his promise, Angelo orders Claudio's execution to be moved forward.

    Act 4, Scene 2
  • As dawn approaches

    The Duke and Provost fool Angelo by sending him the head of a Claudio lookalike.

    Act 4, Scene 3
  • Within two days

    The Duke returns to Vienna in a highly publicized procession.

    Act 5, Scene 1
  • During the procession

    Isabella demands justice from the Duke.

    Act 5, Scene 1
  • Within minutes

    Angelo is arrested for Claudio's wrongful death.

    Act 5, Scene 1
  • Meanwhile

    The Duke "accidentally" reveals Claudio is still alive.

    Act 5, Scene 1
  • At long last

    Angelo and Claudio are pardoned by the Duke.

    Act 5, Scene 1
  • Moments later

    Isabella is silent when the Duke proposes marriage to her.

    Act 5, Scene 1

Scene Summaries Chart

Scene Summary
Act 1, Scene 1 At his palace in Vienna, the Duke holds court with a group of noblemen and high-ranking officials, including his right-h... Read More
Act 1, Scene 2 In this Viennese street scene, Lucio and two other gentlemen are gossiping about their city's political future. Mistress... Read More
Act 1, Scene 3 At a monastery outside Vienna, the Duke confers with Friar Thomas, a monk. The Duke asks for permission to stay with the... Read More
Act 1, Scene 4 Lucio pays a visit to the convent where Isabella, conversing with the nun Francisca, is displeased by how much freedom t... Read More
Act 2, Scene 1 This long scene takes place at Angelo's house and shows how his brand of justice is unfolding in Vienna. As the scene be... Read More
Act 2, Scene 2 Elsewhere in Angelo's house, the Provost has had some misgivings about his orders. A servant brings Angelo forth, and th... Read More
Act 2, Scene 3 The Duke, disguised as a friar, visits the prison of Vienna. There he speaks with Juliet, who is unafraid to "confess" a... Read More
Act 2, Scene 4 Back at his home Angelo is stewing in his conflicted feelings for Isabella. He has prayed for strength, but his prayers ... Read More
Act 3, Scene 1 The Duke, still disguised, confers with Claudio in his cell and counsels him to "be absolute for death," meaning to aban... Read More
Act 3, Scene 2 In the street outside the prison, Constable Elbow is arresting Pompey Bum again. The Duke, still disguised as a friar, a... Read More
Act 4, Scene 1 The Duke, still disguised as a friar, meets Mariana at a large farmhouse on the outskirts of Vienna. When he approaches,... Read More
Act 4, Scene 2 Back in the prison the Provost offers to lighten Pompey's sentence if he will agree to serve as an assistant executioner... Read More
Act 4, Scene 3 Elsewhere in the prison Pompey remarks he is "well acquainted here as ... / in our house of profession. One would think ... Read More
Act 4, Scene 4 Back at the deputy's house, Angelo and Escalus are puzzling over the seemingly contradictory letters sent by the Duke. T... Read More
Act 4, Scene 5 The Duke has arrived at the fields outside Vienna and has abandoned his friar disguise. He now meets with Friar Peter (a... Read More
Act 4, Scene 6 Standing near the city gate, Isabella and Mariana discuss the cryptic instructions they have received from the "friar" (... Read More
Act 5, Scene 1 The Duke is making a grand entrance at Vienna's city gate. He greets Angelo and Escalus and thanks them for their servic... Read More
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