Isabella, who appears in Measure for Measure, is one of Shakespeare’s most famous and loveable characters. She has been idealized and denigrated by others. Some of them praised her nobility on the scene with her brother, while others charged her inhumanity towards her brother.
Some critics look upon Isabella as a saintly character. Saintliness involves perfection, and a saintly woman must be above all carnal desire and must be above all the temptations of the flesh. A woman’s chastity is her most prized possession; it is her most precious attribute; it is her glory. Early in the play, Lucio pays tribute to Isabella by saying that he regards her as a thing “enskied and sainted by her renouncement” and as an “immortal spirit, to be talked with insincerity.”
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