The Character Elbow in Shakespeare's Play, Measure for Measure

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The Character Elbow in Shakespeare's Play, Measure for Measure

In Act 2, scene 1 of the play Measure for Measure the character Elbow, a representation of the "Comedic Constable" often depicted in William Shakespeare's comedies and traji-comedies, gives the director an unusual creative license in portraying this figure to give the audience a rich theatrical experience. (Evans 427) These characters are most commonly depicted as "artless, inadequate, naïve, and prosaic men who bumble through their official duties, sublimely unaware of their blunders, intent upon fulfilling their offices even when they are not really sure just what those offices are." (Evans 427) They are honest men as well, duteous, as "none of Shakespeare's comic
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In this scene Elbow's misplacing creates a atmosphere of "topsy-turvydom," wherein "the judges are varlets, Pompey is an honorable man, a respected fellow, indeed...a benefactor." (Ross 52) "It is impossible to miss the fun of this scene, which deliberately echoes and parallels and so recalls the Dogberry-Verges scenes in Much Ado About Nothing." (Bennett 31)

Elbow has just shortly entered the court in a rather loud commotion with Froth and Pompey, whom he is pushing along and leading by their elbows. He has raised accusations against them and has come to have the courts investigate and give ruling on the matter. Elbow approaches with them to Angelo, who is seated in the Duke's chair in place of his absence, and Escalus, who is standing on his right beside him. Elbow's appearance is neat as he wears a badge signifying his position as constable, but burdened by a belt which contains a club, a large key ring with numerous keys, a pair of handcuffs, and other odds and ends. Angelo is wearing a black court judge's robe, Escalus is in a formal attire with a suit, and Pompey and Froth are in more