Discuss the role of Isabel in Measure for Measure


Isabella is one of the prominent characters in the drama “Measure for Measure” created by the father of English drama William Shakespeare (1564-1616). It is considered that Measure for Measure is the best comedy that is ever made. Here, Isabella’s role in the drama is depicted below. 

Emblems of beauty 

At the very beginning of the drama, Isabella has entered the scene of the drama. She is trying to be a nun in a convent. Actually, she is so beautiful that at a first glance Angelo is crazy to see her beauty. One thing is noted that the Shakespearian heroine obtained so much beauty. Isabella is not differentiating from this tradition. So, it can be said that Isabella is the paragon of beauty. 

More Notes: Measure for Measure

Development of plot 

The drama is designed as a complex plot. Shakespeare is a great master to create tragicomic elements in drama. The development of the plot is possible only through the character of Isabella. From the very beginning to the end of the drama she played a vital role in the drama. Also, she is helped to reveal the real character of Angelo. In the bed-trick scene, Isabella has played a great role in the development of the plot for the rest of the drama. She is turned into the mouth that speaks of the drama. 

An embodiment of virtue: 

According to some critics, Isabella is the proper embodiment of virtue and morality. Her virtuous attitude has been showing when Angelo offered to surrender him. But she did not accept his proposal because she would be a nun in a convent.    

Regeneration of religious values:  

Isabella is the symbol of the regeneration of religious values in the snow drama we find her as a religious person who is trying to be a nun in a convent. Because of a religious spirit, she does not surrender her virginity to Angelo. Even In her hardship, she is able to grape her virginity. To create this character the dramatist is mentioned the way how a woman remained safe in her society where sexuality swallowed the whole society. So, in this drama, Isabella has regenerated the religious value of the people. 

The barrier between legitimacy and illegitimacy: 

In the drama measure for measure, Isabella appears as the barrier of legitimacy and illegitimacy. She is the symbol of legitimacy on the contrary Angelo is the symbol the illegitimacy. He has tried to get Isabella in an illegal way but Isabella wants to rescue her brother’s life in a legal way. It is Isabella for whom Angelo is punished at the end of the drama. So, it should be called Isabella is the barrier of legitimacy and illegitimacy. 

More Notes: Suggestions

The good side of human beings: 

 Measure for Measure is patronizing the evil nature of human beings. But here the hero and the heroine are the representation of the good side of human beings. They are trying to rectify society. And Isabella is added fuel to disguise the duke’s good work. So, she is the emblem of the good side of a human being.  

Paragon of intelligence and excellence: 

Isabella’s activities are a sign of her courage, intelligence, and excellence. In the drama, she is very much active in her performance. The bed trick scene and the ending scene are the best examples of her intelligence and excellence. 


To sum up, it may be said that Isabella is added the twist of developing the whole drama and at the same time she has played a vital role in Measure for Measure. 

Rashedul Islam
Rashedul Islam

Hi, This is Rashedul. Researcher and lecturer of English literature and Linguistics.

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