As Measure for Measure comes to an end, I’ve got a simple question:
What the does future hold for Vienna?
How does the duke move forward?
Will there be a rollback of the enforcement of the “strict statutes and most biting laws” (I.iii.19) that Angelo had begun to put into place? Duke Vincentio had obviously expected Angelo to crack down on rampant sexuality, fearing his own “tyranny” (I.iii.36) had he done it himself.
Will the scheduled “pull(ing) down” (I.ii.101) of all the brothels in the suburbs still take place? We know the ones within the city will remain open because of the influence of a “wise burgher” (I.ii.99).
The duke, even in the guise of the friar, responds harshly to the imprisoned Pompey–Overdone’s tapster, though the duke calls him “a wicked bawd” (III.ii.17): “Correction and instruction must both work // Ere this rude beast will profit” (III.ii.30-1). Here, he sound almost like Angelo. It wouldn’t be out of the realm of believability that the duke might leave these edicts in place.
Lucio had earlier described the duke’s former governance: “Ere he would have hanged a man for the getting of a hundred bastards, he would have paid for the nursing a thousand” (III.ii.110-13). Has this changed? Will there now be punishment, but also mercy?
Angelo is punished, humiliated, married to a woman he had earlier abandoned, then pardoned.
Claudio is pardoned, Julietta is pardoned.
Lucio is forced to marry Kate Keepdown, but is pardoned by the duke from the death sentence for slander that he had earlier proclaimed.
What is the future for Vienna?