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By T. F. Wharton (auth.)

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Lawrence had half-a-century previously noticed how Vincentio seems almost to avoid Angelo between Acts I and V. A. Levin (1982), this is so that he can finally 'prove himself unlike Angelo by stepping in to judge his deputy and right his deputy's wrongs'. Levin and many others stress the blockbuster nature of Act V, the massive and public nature of the final unveilings. Dennis Kay comments on the unusually huge concentration of information in the Duke's own hands, unlike the usual comic convention of an exchange of information.

In the RSC production in 1983, she was a blend of timidity and impulse, including her final leap to the Duke after his proposal of marriage. All these characteristics can be found in Isabella. She provides any hostile critic, particularly, with a wealth of ammunition; and there has been no shortage of hostility towards her. W. Lever (1965) suggests that, though she pleads for mercy, it is against her true convictions. David Lloyd Stevenson ( 1966) more bluntly says that 'she is the living antidote to all human charity'.

What is so harmful about this charge is its implication that this Duke, whose eventual function in the play is to soften and to humanise, is at heart guilty of exactly the same sins he corrects; to be precise, the sins of priggish superiority to the failings of others. Cynthia Lewis ( 1983) sees this as an initial trait of the Duke. W. Bawcutt (1984) sees it as pervasive. 35-9). He speaks of the 'biting' law (Carolyn Brown ( 1986a) suspects the Duke's flagella tory obsession here); and, when he does intervene to mitigate it, it is only when Angelo's severity is found to be hypocritical.

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