The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0160  Monday, 8 April 2013


From:        Marianne Kimura <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         April 7, 2013 7:34:45 AM EDT

Subject:     Re: Mariana in Measure for Measure


>In 4.1 of Measure for Measure, Mariana says to a musician, “Here 

>comes a man of comfort, whose advice / Hath often still my brawling



>But the duke has only been disguised as a friar for a day or two.


>So, are we to believe that Mariana knows that “the friar” is actually 

>the duke? Or are we to believe that the duke has put on the friar 

>disguise in the past?


>Lysbeth Benkert


In my opinion, the text seems to imply that Mariana’s previous trouble with Angelo (she had been engaged to marry him, then became impoverished and Angelo pretended to discover that she had been unchaste, using this as an excuse to leave her) has brought her into contact with the Duke, who obviously sympathized with her plight, although he could do nothing to help her at the time. 


Now the circumstances of the play have brought about a way for the Duke to help Mariana to marry Angelo (whom she still desires to marry, and it is the Duke himself who affirms this).


So, as a consequence of this previous problem, Mariana knows exactly who the Duke is and recognizes him despite his friar’s hood. Or perhaps he has his hood pulled down around his shoulders when he visits her at her ‘moated grange’ to arrange the deception . . . 


In any case, she knows him and trusts him. Right away, he asks her if anyone has called for him, implying that she knows his identity. (IV.i.16)


He may have been running about the countryside dressed as a friar before, of course, but it is likely that Mariana has seen through his disguise at any rate. She knows who he is.


Marianne Kimura


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