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Wednesday, 8 January 2014

The plot: Critical commentary (act l, scene l)

The Duke, Vicentio, appoints Angelo, a lord, to function as his deputy and govern the State of Vienna during his absence. The Duke expresses his wish to leave the city quietly and without any publicity. He appoints Escallus to function as an assistant to Angelo. He tells both the men that he would keep in touch with them during his travels abroad. He then bids them good-bye. It is noteworthy that no reason is given by the Duke for his (temporary) renunciation of his power and authority. The beginning of the play is thus quite abrupt. Our curiosity about the Duke’s reason for leaving the state is naturally aroused, and we wait for events to unfold his reasons. The opening scene thus produces the suspense which makes us proceed to the next scene with a certain degree of eagerness to know the Duke’s motives in leaving his kingdom.

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