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Different audiences respond to Isabella in different ways Show how Shakespeares presentation of Isabella could lead to a wide range of responses The mere mention of Isabellas name appears to strike indignant fear into the heart of the literary critic Her character divides them into factions of warring interpretations just as her moral dilemma divides an audience In the words of Quiller-Couch critics make two opposite women of her and praise or blame her accordingly As Measure For Measure has aged new dimensions of moral outrage and blind exoneration have added to this complexity which is in essence the confused reactions of writers and audiences to Isabellas decision in the face of Angelos sadism To the esteemed Quiller-Couch 1922 there is a rancid element in Isabellas chastity brought to the surface when she turns into a bare procuress substituting Marianna shamed body for her own He highlights the divide between Isabellas morally righteous choice and her own deplorable self-preservation Rosalind Miles 1976 also remarks on her unscrupulous readiness to place another head on the block intended for herself after the unshakeable righteousness of her decision to refuse Angelo This could perhaps be seen as evidence of Isabellas fall from grace Is it possible that she came to the wrong conclusion in the face of her dilemma Mary Suddard 1909 has arrived at an entirely contrary conclusion in the face of the same play She describes how Isabella is a representation of Puritanism under its most favourable aspect intense in its moderation passionate in its self-control This peculiarly Puritan paradox is confronted with real life and the full consequences of human frailty and immorality before reaching a new moral high ground where Isabellas early nunnery training has been not only transcended but unconsciously condemned The lofty rules of Isabellas faith are transformed into narrow constraints just as the locked doors and walled gardens of her abode are as the play closes about to be replaced by
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