In Shakespeare’s play “Measure for Measure,” Isabella’s decision to become a nun has captivated audiences for centuries. Her motivations for pursuing the religious path are complex and deeply rooted in her character. By exploring key quotations from the text, we can gain insight into why Isabella wanted to embrace the life of a nun and unravel the significance of her choices. You might want to dive into the character analysis of Isabella in this article.
Isabella’s desire to become a nun in “Measure for Measure” stems from her unwavering commitment to her faith, her pursuit of personal purity, her yearning for justice, and her quest for independence. Through a careful examination of significant quotes from the play, we can uncover the layers of Isabella’s motivations and gain a deeper understanding of her character.
Unwavering Commitment to Faith Made Isabella Want to Be A Nun
Devotion to God and Spiritual Calling
Isabella’s decision to become a nun is driven by her deep devotion to God and her strong spiritual calling. In her words to Angelo, she expresses her unwavering commitment to her faith: “I have a brother then condemned to die. ‘Tis charity to show” (2.2.59-60). This quote showcases Isabella’s belief in the importance of charitable acts and her desire to live a life dedicated to her religious principles. By entering the convent, Isabella seeks to fully devote herself to her faith and serve a higher purpose.
Sacrifice for Divine Connection
Isabella’s desire to become a nun also stems from her yearning for a deeper connection with the divine. She sees the religious life as a path to spiritual fulfillment and inner peace. As she confronts Angelo, she declares, “More than our brother is our chastity” (2.4.181). This statement emphasizes Isabella’s belief that her commitment to chastity and her dedication to living a pure, virtuous life hold greater significance than any worldly attachment. Becoming a nun allows her to sacrifice personal desires for the sake of a profound connection with the divine.
Pursuit of Personal Purity Made Isabella Want to Be A Nun
Embracing Chastity as a Sacred Vow
Isabella’s decision to become a nun is driven by her unwavering commitment to chastity and her belief in its sanctity. In her plea to Angelo, she passionately declares, “Then, Isabel, live chaste, and, brother, die. More than our brother is our chastity” (2.4.180-181). This quote highlights Isabella’s prioritization of her virtue over her brother’s life, underscoring her belief that chastity is a sacred vow that must not be compromised. By entering the convent, she can protect her purity and uphold her moral integrity.
Seeking Redemption and Salvation
Isabella’s desire to become a nun is also rooted in her pursuit of personal redemption and salvation. Through her commitment to the religious life, she seeks forgiveness for past transgressions and hopes to attain spiritual enlightenment. As she pleads with Angelo, she proclaims, “We must not make a scarecrow of the law, setting it up to fear the birds of prey” (2.2.73-74). This quotation showcases Isabella’s strong sense of justice and her desire to make amends for societal wrongs. By embracing the life of a nun, she believes she can contribute to the greater good and find solace for her own soul.
Yearning for Justice Made Isabella Want to Be A Nun
Championing Moral Principles
Isabella’s decision to become a nun is influenced by her yearning for justice and her unwavering commitment to moral principles. Throughout the play, she advocates for fairness and the adherence to ethical standards. In her plea to Angelo, she asserts, “Justice, O royal Duke! Vail your regard upon a wronged, I would fain have said, a maid!” (2.2.72-73). This quote highlights Isabella’s determination to ensure justice is served and her refusal to compromise her beliefs. By entering the convent, she aligns herself with a higher sense of justice and can uphold moral principles without compromise.
Rejecting Corrupt Authority
Isabella’s desire to become a nun is also fueled by her rejection of corrupt authority and her disillusionment with the flawed justice system. As she confronts Angelo, she boldly proclaims, “Thyself and thy belongings are not thine own so proper as to waste thyself upon thy virtues, they on thee” (2.4.130-132). This quotation showcases Isabella’s skepticism toward those in power and her belief that authority should be wielded responsibly. By embracing the life of a nun, she can distance herself from the corrupt institutions of the world and create a space for genuine virtue and righteousness.
Quest for Independence Made Isabella Want to Be A Nun
Defying Patriarchal Expectations
Isabella’s decision to become a nun is an act of defiance against patriarchal expectations and societal norms. Throughout the play, she challenges the traditional roles assigned to women and asserts her autonomy. In her plea to Angelo, she declares, “To whom should I complain? Did I tell this, who would believe me?” (2.2.73-74). This quote highlights Isabella’s realization that her voice may not be heard or valued in a male-dominated society. By choosing the religious life, she can break free from societal expectations and assert her independence on her own terms.
Embracing Freedom of Choice
Isabella’s desire to become a nun also reflects her pursuit of freedom and agency over her own life. As she confronts Angelo, she passionately exclaims, “Better it were a brother died at once than that a sister, by redeeming him, should die forever” (2.4.90-92). This quote emphasizes Isabella’s determination to make her own choices and prioritize her personal freedom over the control exerted by others. By entering the convent, she asserts her autonomy and embraces a life free from societal pressures and expectations.
In “Measure for Measure,” Isabella’s decision to become a nun is driven by her unwavering commitment to her faith, her pursuit of personal purity, her yearning for justice, and her quest for independence. Through her character’s journey, Shakespeare explores themes of religious devotion, personal integrity, societal justice, and gender roles. Isabella’s desire to embrace the life of a nun sheds light on the complexities of human motivation and the power of personal agency in shaping one’s destiny. Her unwavering commitment to her convictions serves as an inspiration, reminding us of the transformative potential that lies within each of us.
If you are preparing for your exams or any assignments on Measure for Measure, you might also want to consider purchasing the following books:
|Name of the Book||Name of the Author||Amazon Purchase Link|
|Measure for Measure (Text Book)||William Shakespeare||Click for Amazon Price|
|STUDENT’S GUIDE: MEASURE FOR MEASURE: Measure for Measure – A William Shakespeare Play with Study Guide (Literature Unpacked)||Eleanor Henderson||Click for Amazon Price|