The prevalence of brothels in Vienna, as well as the appearances of characters who run them, like Mistress Overdone
, illustrates the moral decline that the city has seen during the Duke’s
rule. The dull-witted police officer Elbow
, whom Pompey easily outwits, symbolizes the ineptitude of the law. When Angelo
takes power, the suburban brothels are ordered torn down in a demonstration of righteousness. However, along with this transition, Pompey segues from working as a pimp to working as an executioner—perhaps a hint that the eradication of one sort of vice will lead to the rise of another, more sinister kind.