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Home » , » Bring out the dramatic significance of disguise in Measure for measure
The Elizabethan stage was full of variety and suffered many problems. The want of actresses is one of them. So its effects were great in writing dramas. As a result, the dramatists had to take different techniques. They had much to depend on the actors. The art of acting was brought to high pitch of perfection. There were no actresses on the Shakespearean stage. So women's part was taken up by boys and youngmen. They were specially trained for the purpose. We generally see that female characters in the plays of Shakespeare use disguise of men. But the playwright has used disguise in his dark comedy. Measure for Measure for the different purpose. He has displayed great skill in the technique of the use of disguise. He is a master-craftsman. We find his mastery over this technique in the play. Here the Duke and Mariana assume disguise. Their disguise affects all other characters in the play profusely.

Vincentio is the Duke of Vienna. He is the protagonist in the play Measure for Measure. He wants to bring about a change in his country but he is falied because he himself is not strong enough to fight against crimes and vices. He is afraid of asserting his authority after having allowed the laws to remain in disuse for several years. He explains to Friar Thomas the reasons why he is renouncing his authority temporarily. He gives the charge of the country to Angelo. For his patience and powerlessness in administering the country, the Duke had not enforced some laws. As a result, the citizens of the country were irresponsible and began to do all restricted activities.

The Duke believes that it is Angelo who will able to prove himself as a strict administrator and to enforce the law for controlling the restricted activities.To observe how Angelo administers the country and what kind of improvement Angelo can bring about in the moral life of society, the Duke disguises himself The Duke sees Abgelo's workings in disguise.

Mariana is another woman character in the play who also disguises herself to Angelo. She is a victim of dowry system. She is the sister of a great soldier Frederick. She is engaged to Angelo. If her brother was not in shipwrecked, she would marry Angelo. Frederick was carrying the total dowry of Mariana. At the time of carrying Mariana's dowry, the ship was wrecked and all the dowry was lost. So as a greedy man Angelo breaks off his engagement to Mariana. However, later at the suggestion of the Duke Isabella reveals the Duke's plan to Mariana who disguises as Isabella and goes to Angelo to satisfy his lust, giving him the impression that she is Isabella whom she wanted to seduce.

However, Angelo was once engaged to Mariana. So the woman should have no hesitation in surrendering her virginity to him. By this means, she might soon afterwards ger married to him. This is how the Duke justifies his plan taking disguise. Thus the use of disguise has a dramatic significance in the play, Measure for Measure


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