Monday, 21 January 2008

mariana clarifications

hello readers

i typed p 'mariana' in a real hurry and didn't tell what the story is about, so am just going to give a quick background/context.
regular readers will remember "bianca" - a story or monologue that told the story of bianca in Othello, a marginal character who plays Cassio's lover, and a prostitute. I liked the idea of writing about silent women in Shakespeare, so thought I'd test it again on Mariana, a character in Measure for Measure. If ever there was a plot device, then Mariana is IT!
IN Measure for Measure, the Duke of Venice decides the sexy rough and tumble of the city has gotten well out of hand, and decides to leave it in the hands of Angelo, an austere sexual puritan, to see how he will deal with controllng the excesses of the city. Angelo was once engaged to Mariana, but dumped her when she lost her brother and her dowry, and she retired to the moated grange to weep. (im simplifying here folks). One of the first things Angelo does in power is condemn a man named Claudio to death for having got his lady, Juliet, pregnant, before marrying her. Claudio asks his nun sister, Isabella, to plead for his life, and the cold and chaste Angelo immediately falls in lust with her. He promises Isabella her brother will be freed, if she has sex with him.
She's a nun so this suggestion isn't great for her. But, the Duke has meanwhile disguised himself as a monk, and advises Isabella to ask Mariana to disguise herself with a veil, and have sex with Angelo in her place.

So, you can see what i mean when i say Mariana is a plot device. Her body is the solution to the plays problem. (in a way, it gets more complicated still later on). Shakespeare uses her sex as a means to an end, and she is used. horribly.

i wanted to see what mariana thought of it all. whether she is as helpless and compliant as the play may suggest. she begs for angelo's life at the end. but did she have her own reasons?

hope that clears up the background to her monologue.

No comments: