With what measure you mete out, it shall be measured unto you (Mark 4: 24).
The tangled plot of Shakespeare’s comedy Measure for Measure might initially convince any audience that Shakespeare finds little of serious value in the Christian tradition. The Duke of Vienna leaves his troubled town in corrupt hands of his highest deputy, Angelo, and masquerades in a friar’s guise. Posing under this religious pretense, he encourages and orchestrates an act of fornication. Further, he deceives Isabella, making her think that her brother Claudio is dead. Finally, he brings the play to a comic conclusion using marriage and unilateral forgiveness in a manner that seems to signal a failure to bring justice to a town reeling with lax law enforcement and moral depravity. Why does the Duke knowingly submit Vienna to Angelo’s cold corruption? How can the Duke’s representation of religious authority be anything other than mockery if he sanctions and even causes immoral acts? How can an audience accept a comic ending brought about by such “dark deeds”—an ending that seems to unilaterally solve social ills by means of imposed marriage?1
Merely the title Measure for Measure suggests that the Bible plays a role in understanding this perplexing drama, a suggestion confirmed by subsequent echoes, allusions, and parallels to the Bible.2 In this essay, I argue that the difficulties in Measure for Measure reflect the practical problems inherent to an attempt to mimic scriptural examples of how God governs his kingdom, by leading his citizens on a pedagogical journey into community. Measure for Measure’s connection with the Bible helps make sense of the political problems the play takes up: the role of government in the moral life of citizens, the corruption of appointed rulers, and the conflict between mercy and justice.
Following the footsteps of Jesus, the Duke creates a living parable in Vienna. The Duke’s parable begins when he journeys to a foreign land and temporarily places Vienna in the hands of his servants. This action reminds the reader of Jesus’ commission of the apostles before he ascends to heaven. The parallel between the Measure for Measure and this Biblical theme is undeniable. Like any good parable, the situation he creates is both pedagogic and enigmatic. In fact, the enigmatic nature of the play’s problems only signals a deeper connection to Jesus’ equally ponderous parables.
The Duke’s parable provides the audience important interpretive constraints. First, the characters in a parable need not be fully developed people dealing with their own identity (as one finds in a novel), but rather they exist to emphasize the parable’s meaning. Second, the parable’s meaning helps define the conditions and properties of “community”. The word “community”, in the sense of a group of people in fellowship cemented by some force, was absent from the English vocabulary at the time Shakespeare wrote Measure for Measure.3 One ought to understand Shakespeare’s use of the word “government” in the sense I have described “community”. When, in the third line of the play, the Duke speaks “Of government the properties to unfold” (1.1.3),4 he is talking about the government of a community in which the goal of life is imitation of God’s goodness to the extent that fallen human beings can imitate that goodness. The Duke’s living parable in Vienna explores the following aspects of community: a leader’s responsibility to foster spiritual and social development of the community, the citizen’s responsibility to grapple with the apparent contradiction of mercy and justice on both spiritual and temporal levels, and the responsibility of institutions to cohere the community into intimate relationships and foster participation in the power and beauty of God’s creation.
At the same time, differences between Biblical parables and the play soon become obvious as the traditional “problems” of the comedy. It is precisely these points of departure from the parable that demonstrate how a well-intentioned, albeit imperfect, ruler accomplishes his goals because he understands and embraces his role as one who must cautiously straddle the line between temporal and spiritual authority—that is, as one who represents God, but dares not assume to be God.
The first question raised by both the Duke’s living parable and the allusion to Jesus’ commissioning of the apostles is one of authority, specifically who has it and why he has it. In Measure for Measure, authority rests with Angelo. When Jesus institutes the Church, it rests with Peter. Angelo and Peter have surprisingly much in common; they both have highest authority in the ruler’s absence, and they are both called to enlighten others by good stewardship of what they’ve been given. During the course of his earthly ministry, Jesus made Peter’s position distinct from that of his other apostles. In fact, Jesus calls him the “rock,” and says, “upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). In the next verse, Jesus tells his leading apostle, “I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19). This charge resembles the one the Duke gives Angelo when he says, “In our remove be thou at full ourself./ Mortality and mercy in Vienna/ Live in thy tongue and heart…So to enforce or qualify the laws/ As to your soul seems good.” (1.1. 43-45, 65-66). With these charges, the rulers have given highest powers to Angelo and Peter. Further, both Jesus’ and the Duke’s actions foreshadow the ruler’s purpose. Jesus tells Peter, “neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your father, which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). Likewise, the Duke charges Angelo, telling him that “Thyself and thy belongings/ Are not thine own so proper, as to waste/ Thyself upon thy virtues, they on thee./ Heaven doth with us as we with torches do,/ Not light them for themselves; for if our virtues/ Did not go forth of us, ‘twer all alike/ As if we had them not” (1.1.29-35). These two men are to enlighten others by making use of that which they have been given.
Neither Peter nor Angelo, however, even approaches perfection or loyalty to his charge; nonetheless, like Jesus’ choice, the Duke’s decision to deputize unfit servants points to a pedagogic purpose. Jesus foreshadows Peter’s shortcomings when he prophesies that Peter will deny him three times (Matthew 26:34). Without fail, on the night of Jesus’ arrest, Peter thrice denies acquaintance with his Lord out of fear for his life. The Duke prophesies that “Lord Angelo is precise,/ Stands at a guard with envy, scarce confesses/ That his blood flows, or that his appetite/ Is more to bread than stone. Hence shall we see,/ If power change purpose, what our seemers be” (1.3.51-54). The Duke predicts that Angelo will fail to uphold his ideals when in a position of power. By making a mockery of the law through hypocrisy and denials, Angelo betrays his Lord, the Duke. The Duke puts an imperfect man in power so that he might become wiser and enlighten those around him (1.139-35). Angelo is ignorant of his own hypocrisy, but it is the Duke’s intention that Angelo’s experience of temptation, fall, trial, and forgiveness will educate him, along with the Viennese public. Thus, the Duke has a pedagogic purpose similar to Jesus’; he wishes to educate leaders so that they consider themselves servants.
The situation created by the Duke when he leaves a flawed man in charge provides the opportunity to treat the difficulty of bringing the two principles of mercy and justice in contact with the intimate relationships of a community and the powers that govern it. The play demonstrates the results of placing both mercy and justice under the auspices of governmental authority that can reach into private life, and therefore concerns itself with searching for the appropriate occasions to apply these two virtues. In doing so, Shakespeare measures the cost of housing these two virtues under the same roof. To place both mercy and justice in the hands of the government exposes these virtues to misuse and misapplication at the hands of the imperfect people who wield them. At the same time, when in the hands of a ruler who looks to scriptural precedent, the clergy, and God for guidance, as the Duke does when he creates his parable in Vienna, these same virtues may bring hope, new revelations, and changes to the citizens.
This assertion is especially clear in the way the Duke brings about the comic ending to his parable in the fifth act. Biblically, mercy comes to humanity when the one who justly deserving reward abdicates that reward and offers to take another’s guilt upon himself.5 In the comedy, the same paradigm holds true. One can only render mercy at the expense of justice owed to oneself. Isabella, a woman of the convent, cannot feel guiltless when asking that, for the sake of kindness, Angelo have mercy upon her brother Claudio, who has committed fornication and is to be executed. She can only beg for mercy at the expense of justice that is due to her. Such an opportunity only arises when Isabella is in a position to beg for mercy upon her enemy Angelo, who blackmails Isabella, commits fornication, attempts to murder Isabella’s brother Claudio, and perjures himself in court. In response to the revelation of these crimes, the Duke calls for “An Angelo for Claudio, death for death!/ Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure,/ Like doth quit like, and Measure still for Measure…Away with him” (5.1.407-409, 414). Isabella began this fifth act crying for “Justice, justice, justice, justice!” (5.1.25). Isabella wanted Angelo dead, and justly so. However, if she ever desires mercy upon her brother, she must experience a conversion to mercy in her own heart, a conversion that extends mercy to her enemies. The Duke’s declaration of the sentence cited above, which invokes both Old Testament justice and New Testament mercy, is the clue to his purpose of providing Isabella with the opportunity for change. With that sentence, the Duke reminds a nun-in-training (Isabella) of the Biblical ideals to which she aspires. The Duke offers Isabella a chance to change, to learn. Isabella appropriately rises to the occasion by kneeling and saying with all humility:
Most bounteous sir,
Look, if it please you, on this man condemned
As if my brother lived. I partly think
A due sincerity governed his deeds
Till he did look on me. Since it is so,
Let him not die; my brother had but justice,
In that he did the thing for which he died.
His act did not o’ertake his bad intent,
And must be buried but as an intent
That perished by the way. Thoughts are no subjects,
Intents but merely thoughts. (5.1.442-452)
Suppressing her pride, rage, and vengefulness, Isabella asks that the Duke judge Angelo as if her brother, Claudio, were alive and no crime had been committed (although she is ignorant of the fact that he actually is alive). She not only seeks remission of his punishment, but also begs that he be forgiven. She can make the argument that he was merely guilty of evil intent but not criminal act. Beyond offering Angelo forgiveness, she is willing to take blame for the situation, saying that “due sincerity governed his deeds/ Till he did look on me” (5.1.445-6), as if she somehow inspired his evil intention by her own attractive appearance. Isabella’s drastic turnaround in the fifth act has shown the achievement of the Duke’s goal to inspire his citizens to grapple with mercy and justice.
However much the Duke educates his servants in spiritual leadership and his citizens in the self-sacrifice necessary for community, the comic ending full of forgiveness, life, and marriage still leaves the audience unsettled. Much of the Duke’s return in act five lines up well with the ruler’s return in the parable of the absent ruler, a fact which brings some comfort to the reader. In the parable, the ruler or owner returns and rewards those who made use of their talents, rewarding them measure for measure. To the servant who profited two talents from the two talents he was given, the ruler says, “It is well done, good servant and faithful, Thou hast been faithful in little, I will make thee ruler over much: enter into thy master’s joy” (Matthew 25: 23). The Duke follows suit, saying, “Thanks, good friend Escalus, for thy much goodness;/ There’s more behind that is more gratulate./ Thanks, provost, for thy care and secrecy;/ We shall employ thee in a worthier place” (5.1.526-529). The Duke aligns Angelo and the unfaithful servant by means of the word “vantage”. The ruler accuses the unfaithful servant of failing to produce “vantage” from his talent (Matthew 25:27). Likewise, the Duke tells Angelo, “thy fault’s thus manifested,/ Which though thou wouldst deny, denies thee vantage” (5.1.410-411). The Duke has returned, taken account of what has occurred during his leave, and has rewarded the responsible servants.
While the Duke’s actions have mimicked the parable of the absent ruler and Jesus’ deputations in the gospels, the Duke’s challenging application of universal forgiveness signals departure from that parable. While the Biblical ruler punishes the unfaithful servant by taking all he has and giving it to the good servant, the Duke forgives his unfaithful servants in what seems like an amoral machination. Given Angelo’s and Claudio’s penitence, the Duke’s forgiveness of these two men makes intuitive sense. However, his choice to forgive recalcitrant pimp Lucio and lazy, unrepentant criminal Barnardine seems unnatural. Along with the Duke’s forgiveness of Lucio and Barnardine, his determination to bring both Lucio and Angelo into matrimony with their lovers demands an explanation. The Duke’s application of mercy and justice is confusing and unsettling. His mercy does not follow the example of the parable, yet somehow he manages to be just.
The Duke’s purpose in forgiving and bringing Barnardine, Lucio, and Angelo into community flows out of the Duke’s attempt to imitate God without presuming to be God. The Duke has created a situation in Vienna that is essentially an orchestrated, real-life parable for teaching. As Paul says in the second letter to Timothy, “The whole scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable to teach, to improve, to correct, and instruct in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). The job of scripture is to teach. Just as Jesus created illustrations to teach, so does the Duke create a living illustration to instruct the people of his city. The major difference is that in the parable of the absent ruler, the ruler is God and the return of the ruler represents the end of time with the final judgment. In the case of Vienna, the Duke is not God, and time has certainly not ended. While the Duke must judge, he need not pass final judgment. Biblically speaking, the return of the ruler signals a time of separation: the good servants from the bad servants, the sheep and the goats, and the saved from the damned (Matthew 25:31-46).6 Conversely, in terms of the play, the return of the Duke signals the end of a lesson and the synthesis of community. The Duke educates his subjects in the morality necessary to synthesize a community.
Synthesis, as opposed to separation, draws the logic of the Duke’s forgiveness into focus. In his mercy, the Duke models the same humility he sought to bring about in Isabella. Lucio the pimp, a Biblical Satan figure, spends the entire play accusing the Duke and other characters, whether or not they are guilty (3.2.88-175).7 The Duke tells him, “Thy slanders I forgive, and therewithal/ Remit thy other forfeits” (5.1.518). Further, he gives Lucio a chance to change and regain the “light” to which his name refers. By forcing him into marriage, he may be creating an unhappy situation, but one that provides justice for the woman whom Lucio wronged. The Duke forces Lucio into a public, religious institution that reinforces community by involving people in binding, intimate relationships. This potential change and synthesis also occur with the enforcement of Angelo’s marriage. Barnardine’s situation has the same synthetic and pedagogic ends, but the Duke brings them about by means of forcing him into a different, intimate social relationship. The Duke tells Barnardine that he is “condemned/ But, for those earthly faults, I quit them all,/ And pray thee take this mercy to provide/ For better times to come. Friar, advise him;/ I leave him to your hand” (5.1.480-484). Barnardine’s slothful attitude toward repentance has endlessly stayed his execution. The Duke brings this cycle to an end, with a new hope for change, by forgiving Barnardine and putting him in the hands of the Church, another institution interested in the private life of its members. However helpful they may be, these explanations do not make perfect sense of the problems. After all, rather than showing a balance between mercy and justice, one cannot help but think that the Duke weighs too heavily on the side of mercy. As disconcerting as they are, these irreconcilable difficulties must exist if Shakespeare is to deal truthfully with the questions of governance.
The Duke’s position as absolute ruler allows him to offer both spiritual and secular mercy as well. He alters secular consequences for citizens of Vienna with the hope of bringing about spiritual changes. The Duke’s combination of spiritual and temporal authority allows him to put temporal authority in the service of spiritual goals. Thus the Duke’s universal forgiveness demonstrates his hope that, by God’s grace, humanity is capable of change and can reach more than simple obedience to the civil law. Despite his hopeful choices, the Duke is not blindly optimistic. Pompey’s recalcitrance and Angelo’s egregious failure will always be in the back of the Duke’s mind, reminding him of the stubbornness and cruelty that humans are capable of harboring.
Even the law of Vienna takes the understanding of man’s capability for both cruelty and love into consideration; therefore, it deals with prostitution and fornication, reaching down into the private life, the soul, and intimate community. The law of Vienna expects people to be more than merely civil. It asks them to consider the Law, some sense of Universal truth beyond what governing authority dictates. The law’s involvement in private behavior gives it a spiritual aspect. By forgiving the crimes against the law, the Duke (a Catholic) performs an almost priestly function. He brings the citizen back to right relationship with the community in a way that reflects the similar action of a priest in the sacrament of reconciliation. The Duke forgives more than an offense against the state; his mercy reaches into the spiritual realm. If, as I proposed at the outset, the Duke’s goal is to teach his people and bring the community together, then to condemn Claudio, Barnardine, Angelo, and Lucio serves little purpose. Punishing these men with death would show justice, but merciless justice. Making an example of these men might bring the community together by showing that the governing institutions have dreadful power, but their power to create order comes at a cost of encouraging deeper alienation in the community.
By forcing criminals into community—placing them in relationship with social and religious institutions, rather than removing them from community by means of the death penalty—the Duke combines mercy with justice. He straddles the line between temporal and spiritual authority. “Justice” is an appropriate word for the conditions of the Duke’s forgiveness because Angelo and Lucio admittedly prefer death to the community in which they must now participate. Lucio complains saying, “Marrying a punk, my lord, is pressing to death, whipping, and hanging” (5.1.520-521). In response, the Duke declares that “Slandering a prince deserves it” (5.1.522). Angelo rebels against the Duke’s mercy, saying, “I crave death more willingly than mercy;/ ‘Tis my deserving, and I do entreat it” (5.1.472). The Duke’s combination of mercy and justice embraces man’s potential for both cruelty and love. It gives freedom to the citizens to take mercy and justice into their own hands and accepts the risk that comes with the decision to forgive. With hope, the citizens will learn from the “apt remission” (5.1.496) the Duke finds within himself, yet Escalus’ reminder that “Pardon is still the nurse of second woe” (2.2.271) lurks forever in the dark corners of Vienna.
It is in these dark corners that the most troubling moment of Measure for Measure takes place, and although the Bible cannot completely assuage every misgiving over the Duke’s actions, it heightens an appreciation of the irreconcilable problem the audience faces when they witness the Duke, in a friar’s garb, orchestrate a plot to trick Angelo into committing the same act of fornication for which he has sentenced Claudio to death. The Duke’s use of the trap to convict Angelo of the crime for which he harshly judges Claudio seems surprisingly out-of-character for a man I have characterized as following the footsteps of Jesus. However, an acquaintance with the Bible reveals the similarities between the Duke’s deception and the stories of Rachel and Leah, Ruth, Tamar, and the daughters of Lot. In a manner similar to the way Laban, the father of Rachel and Leah, obscures the identity of his daughters as a means to deceive Jacob into first marrying Leah, the daughter Jacob loves least, the Duke uses the obscurity of darkness to deceive Angelo into consummating his pre-contract with Mariana, thereby sealing his marriage to her.8 Mariana is the woman to whom Angelo had essentially been engaged for a time. Not only had Angelo broken his engagement with Mariana because she lost her dowry, but he “Left her in her tears, and dried not one of them with his comfort; swallowed his vows whole, pretending in her discoveries of dishonor” (3.1.223-225). The Duke sees no problem in tricking Angelo into consummating his contract of engagement with Mariana, thereby forcing Angelo into community and a relationship based on more than economic exchange.
Undoubtedly, Shakespeare and the contemporary audience would have recognized the connection between this plot structure and at least four Biblical stories: the book of Ruth, the story of Lot’s daughters, the story of Leah and Rachel, and the story of Judah and Tamar. The stories of Ruth and Lot’s daughters apply in so far as a bed trick is involved for the sake of continuing life and community. The story of Leah and Rachel I mentioned above. The relationship between Judah and Tamar, and the bed-trick in Measure for Measure deserves special attention. Tamar, the widow of Judah’s sons Er and Onan, sleeps with Judah under the auspices of prostitution. Judah had betrayed his promise to give her his next son as a husband. She is left widowed with no children and no benefactor. Therefore, she fools Judah into thinking she is a prostitute and sleeps with him, hoping to become pregnant by him. The Biblical narrative indicates that by God’s plan she became pregnant by Judah. When he discovers she is pregnant Judah orders her killed, but when he discovers that he is the father of the child and that she was the woman posing as a prostitute, he repents of his broken promise and takes her as his wife. These three bed-tricks are motivated by a desire to preserve life, to build God’s community of people. However inappropriate the act, the meritorious intention is emphasized. The writers of the Old Testament, who condemn one of Tamar’s husbands, Onan for practicing coitus interruptus, do not condemn these women.9 In fact, Jesus traces his lineage back through Ruth and Tamar in the first chapter of the gospel of Matthew.
In a manner similar to these women, Mariana wishes to see the promise of marriage fulfilled by Angelo, who has not only betrayed his contract with her, but also publicly slandered her honor. Upon reconsidering the situation, the shock ought not to be that the Duke deceives Angelo into sleeping with her, but rather that Mariana still loves Angelo. She acknowledges his faults and confesses her love for him, saying, “O my dear lord,/ I crave no other, nor no better man… They say best men are molded out of faults,/ And, for the most, become much more the better/ For being a little bad; so may my husband” (5.1.424-5, 437-439). Before the deed is done, the Duke comforts Mariana, saying, “fear you not at all;/ He is your husband on a precontract;/ To bring you thus together, ‘tis no sin,/ Sith that the justice of your title to him/ Doth flourish the deceit. Come, let us go;/ Our corn’s to reap, for yet our tithe’s to sow” (4.1.70-75). One cannot help but notice the euphony of the two rhyming couplets that end this scene. The rhyming mimics the ambivalence of the bed-trick. The rhyming either forces a deep irony onto the Duke’s last words to Mariana, or adds to the comfort he attempts to give her. Regardless, the deception takes place in the interest of life, the interest of uniting the community. This consummation will make a marriage that is true in word, true in deed. However, such a deception on the part of the Duke brings to light the cost of making a ruler the ultimate Biblical exegete as well as temporal authority.
Not only does the Duke have the authority to see his bed trick as Biblically sanctioned by the four examples, but in his hands lies the temporal authority to act legally on that exegesis. Ultimately, many of the problems of the play come down to how one approaches the role of the Duke. In Measure for Measure, the Duke is in a position of greater understanding, wisdom, and responsibility than his subjects. Modern audiences often struggle to see the plausibility of such a position, a position in which one person’s knowledge or understanding exceeds another’s, or one person is in a better position to make a decision than another is. Furthermore, in today’s thoroughly secular climate, Shakespeare’s emphasis on the reality of the spiritual world and on the necessity of the spiritual development of a community often falls on deaf ears. In the interest of good business practice and popular demand, directors may even choose to deemphasize the Duke’s spiritual focus. Such a production might be more inclusive and less offensive to modern sensibilities, but it would not be Shakespearean.
Whether the audience’s sense of secular egalitarianism is offended by the Duke’s actions or not, it remains the Duke’s intention and responsibility to inspire his citizens to participate in and respect the wonder and power of creation, even if they do not understand it—even if they are unworthy of it. The Duke shows awareness of this difficulty in his reflection while Isabella informs Mariana of their plan. Alone on the stage, he says, “O place of greatness, millions of false eyes/ Are stuck upon thee. Volumes of report/ Run with these false, and most contrarious quest/ Upon thy doings. Thousand escapes of wit/ Make thee the father of their idle dream,/ And rack thee in their fancies” (4.1.59-64). The Duke regrets that his position of leadership carries the weight of intense scrutiny, but he embraces it nonetheless. He knows that many will often disagree with his actions, but like any good leader, he must have the strength to be confident before the consequences of his actions. He must see what the people need, even if they cannot.
1. [For representatives of the two classical positions on Measure for Measure criticism with respect to the Bible, distinctly secular and completely Christian respectively, see A.C. Bradley, Shakespearean Tragedy (London, Macmillan and Company: 1937) and G. Wilson Knight, The Wheel of Fire (London: Methuen and Company: 1949).]↩
2. [See Exodus 21:22-36, Leviticus 24:17-21, Deuteronomy 19:21, Matthew 5: 38-39, and 7:2, Mark 4:24, and Luke 6:38. In all cases listed, the passage deals with how one ought to judge those who offend the law or their neighbor. The gospel passages warn that one ought not judge lest he be judged, for with the measure one metes out, so it shall be measured back to him again. This warning complicates the Old Testament commands to punish an eye for an eye.]↩
3. [Shakespeare used the word “community” only once in all his plays, in King Henry IV: Part One (act 3, scene 2), and in this play he used it in a sense different from the one I use here. For information on the definition of “community”, see Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., s.v. “community.”]↩
4. [All citations of Measure for Measure come from Measure for Measure, Pelican edition, ed. Jonathan Crewe (New York: Penguin Books, 2000).]↩
5. [God repeatedly threatens to punish the Hebrews justly and make Moses a great kingdom in their stead. Moses always resists this offer of justice and begs God to show mercy to those who have sinned. Moses’ actions prefigure Jesus’ salvific act, living a blameless life worthy of all praise yet taking the just punishment of humanity upon his shoulders in the form of the crucifixion. See Exodus 32:10, Numbers 14:12, and Deuteronomy 9:14.]↩
6. [Appropriately, the parable of the sheep and the goats comes directly after the parable of the absent ruler in the gospel. The parable of the sheep and the goats elaborates on the parable before it. Jesus says that when he returns, he shall gather together “all the nations, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from ye goats” (Matthew 25:32).]↩
7. [Lucio’s name resembles the name “Lucifer”, which means light bearer. “Lucifer” is the angel who became God’s greatest enemy. Milton’s Paradise Lost dramatizes the story originating in Isaiah. In the book of Job, Satan is, like Lucio, a member of God’s court. However, his energies are spent accusing Job and bringing temptation upon him. Lucio also plays the role of tempter in the second act, goading Isabella to manipulate Angelo with her feminine charms (2.3).]↩
8. [See Genesis 29 for the story of Jacob, Rachel, and Leah.]↩
9. [In fact, God strikes Onan dead for his use of birth control. By practicing coitus interruptus he selfishly engages in the pleasure of sexual intercourse, while denying its procreative aspect. He also selfishly relishes the physical pleasure of his dead brother’s wife, while denying his responsibility to beget children by her. God kills both of Tamar’s husbands for their wickedness (Genesis 38:7-10). Just like Mariana, she remains unmarried through no fault of her own. Judah refuses to make good on his promise for fear of losing another son to God’s punishment (Genesis 38:11).]↩