Importance of the Friars in Much Ado About Nothing and Measure for Measure

1025 Words 5 Pages
Importance of the Friars in Much Ado About Nothing and Measure for Measure


In the plays Much Ado About Nothing and Measure for Measure, the friars are important instruments in their respective storyline because of their assumed pure intentions of using deception as a means to right the wrong-doing within the play. They have the authority to administer questionable plans of action because they are respected and trusted. The friars hear all of the confessions; therefore, they could know even the deepest of secrets. The friars, or "Fathers" take on a protective role, a paternal one. They seem to relate more with the youth, or the wronged, who become like children needing guidance in their vulnerable states. When the parents, or as in
…show more content…
In a most God-like manner, Friar Francis is concocting a sketchy plan to bring together two lovers who, otherwise, were denied their rights by the treachery of Don Juan.

Measure for Measure follows the same theme with a twist because in this instance Friar Lodowick is really the Duke, Vincentio. His role in this play is a little problematic because he is not really a clergyman, but he seems to try to set things right. As the friar, he convinces the Provost (4.2) to deceive Angelo and not hang Claudio, but to send him the head of another prisoner. By using his religious authority to control Angelo he said, "By the vow of mine order, I warrant you, if my instructions may be your guide, let this Barnardine be this morning executed, and his head borne to Angelo" (4.2.156-58). Another death-will-convince-the-deceived ploy concocted by a friar, the holy man.

Another form of deceit in this play is Isabella and Mariana's deception of Angelo, as planned by the Friar. The Duke has them think that this is the best way to save Claudio and to reestablish Mariana's engagement contract with Angelo, which he never honored, "With Angelo tonight shall lie/ His old betrothed but despised. / So disguise shall, by th' disguised, / Pay with falsehood false exacting, / And perform an old contracting" (3.1.498-502). It is even stated that Mariana would only go…