Abridged Measure for Measure/#10/Conflict/Act 3, Scene 1.1

The Duke, as Friar Lodowick, Claudio and the Provost are on stage. The Duke-Friar talks to Claudio, assuming he is frightened by the thought of death, as people are, saying “Reason thus: if you do lose life, you lose a thing that none but fools would keep.” He tells Claudio that “Merely, thou art death’s fool, for him that labor’st by thy flight to shun, yet runn’st toward Death continually. Thou’rt by no means valiant, for thou dost fear the soft and tender forked tongue of a poor worm. If thou art rich, thou’rt poor, for, like a donkey whose back with ingots bows, thou bear’st thy heavy riches but a journey, and death unloads thee.” Claudio says “I humbly thank you. In petitioning to live, I find I seek to die, and seeking death, find life. Let it come on.” Isabella enters. The Duke-Friar says to the Provost “Bring me to hear them speak, where I may be concealed.” Duke and Provost exit. Isabella says to her brother “Tomorrow you go forward.” Claudio says “Is there no remedy?” She says, well, “Yes. This night’s the time that I should do what I abhor to name, or else thou diest tomorrow.” Claudio shouts “Thou shalt not do ‘t.” She says “O, were it but my life, I’d throw it down for your deliverance.” He says “Thanks, dear Isabel.” She says “Be ready, Claudio, for your death tomorrow.” He says “O, Isabel, death is a fearful thing.” She says “And shamed life a hateful thing.” He says “Ay, but to die, and go we know not where, is too horrible. Sweet sister, let me live. What sin you do to save a brother’s life, nature dispenses with the deed so far that it becomes a virtue.” She cries “O, you beast! Wilt thou be made a man out of my vice? Is ‘t not a kind of incest to take life from thine own sister’s shame? I give you my contempt; die, perish. I’ll pray a thousand prayers for thy death, no word to save thee.” He says “Nay, hear me, Isabella —.” The Duke-Friar enters.

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