Measure for Measure

Claudio Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
Isabella's brother. He is good-hearted and insightful, but his inability to resist his sexual impulses causes him to receive a death sentence for impregnating his soon-to-be wife, Juliet, before the wedding. He escapes this punishment with the help of Isabella, the Duke, and others, who trick Angelo into believing his execution was completed.

Claudio Quotes in Measure for Measure

The Measure for Measure quotes below are all either spoken by Claudio or refer to Claudio. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Virtue Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of Measure for Measure published in 2005.
Act 1, Scene 2 Quotes

Thus can the demigod, Authority,
Make us pay down for our offense by weight
The words of heaven: on whom it will, it will;
On whom it will not, so; yet still ’tis just.

Related Characters: Claudio (speaker)
Page Number: 1.2.116-117
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 2, Scene 1 Quotes

'Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus,
Another thing to fall. I not deny
The jury, passing on the prisoner’s life,
May in the sworn twelve have a thief or two
Guiltier than him they try. What’s open made to justice,
That justice seizes. What knows the laws
That thieves do pass on thieves? ’Tis very pregnant,
The jewel that we find, we stoop and take’t,
Because we see it; but what we do not see
We tread upon, and never think of it.
You may not so extenuate his offense
For I have had such faults; but rather tell me,
When I, that censure him, do so offend,
Let mine own judgment pattern out my death,
And nothing come in partial.

Related Characters: Angelo (speaker), Claudio, Escalus
Page Number: 2.1.18-2.1.33
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 2, Scene 2 Quotes

Because authority, though it err like others,
Hath yet a kind of medicine in itself,
That skins the vice o’ th’ top. Go to your bosom,
Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know
That’s like my brother’s fault. If it confess
A natural guiltiness such as is his,
Let it not sound a thought upon your tongue
Against my brother’s life.

Related Characters: Isabella (speaker), Claudio, Angelo
Page Number: 2.2.164-171
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 2, Scene 3 Quotes

Look, here comes one; a gentlewoman of mine,
Who, falling in the flaws of her own youth,
Hath blister’d her report. She is with child,
And he that got it, sentenc’d; a young man
More fit to do another such offense
Than die for this.

Related Characters: The Provost (speaker), Claudio, Juliet
Page Number: 2.3.10-15
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 2, Scene 4 Quotes

Might there not be a charity in sin
To save this brother's life?

Related Characters: Angelo (speaker), Isabella, Claudio
Page Number: 2.4.67-68
Explanation and Analysis:

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Better it were a brother died at once,
Than that a sister, by redeeming him,
Should die forever.

Related Characters: Isabella (speaker), Claudio
Page Number: 2.4.114-116
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 3, Scene 1 Quotes

O, were it but my life,
I’d throw it down for your deliverance
As frankly as a pin.

Related Characters: Isabella (speaker), Claudio
Page Number: 3.1.117-119
Explanation and Analysis:

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Ay, but to die, and go we know not where;
To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot;
This sensible warm motion to become
A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit
To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
In thrilling region of thick-ribbed ice;
To be imprison’d in the viewless winds
And blown with restless violence round about
The pendant world; or to be worse than worst
Of those that lawless and incertain thought
Imagine howling—’tis too horrible!
The weariest and most loathed worldly life
That age, ache, penury, and imprisonment
Can lay on nature is a paradise
To what we fear of death.

Related Characters: Claudio (speaker)
Page Number: 3.1.133-147
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 3, Scene 2 Quotes

Why, what a ruthless thing is this in him, for the rebellion of a codpiece to take away the life of a man!

Related Characters: Lucio (speaker), Claudio, Angelo
Page Number: 3.2.115-117
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 4, Scene 3 Quotes

The tongue of Isabel. She’s come to know
If yet her brother’s pardon be come hither.
But I will keep her ignorant of her good,
To make her heavenly comforts of despair,
When it is least expected.

Related Characters: The Duke (speaker), Isabella, Claudio
Page Number: 4.3.115-119
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Act 5, Scene 1 Quotes

For this new-married man approaching here,
Whose salt imagination yet hath wrong’d
Your well-defended honor, you must pardon
For Mariana’s sake; but as he adjudg’d your brother—
Being criminal, in double violation
Of sacred chastity and of promise-breach,
Thereon dependant, for your brother’s life—
The very mercy of the law cries out
Most audible, even from his proper tongue,
“An Angelo for Claudio, death for death!”
Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure;
Like doth quit like, and Measure still for Measure.
Then, Angelo, thy fault’s thus manifested;
Which though thou wouldst deny, denies thee vantage.
We do condemn thee to the very block
Where Claudio stoop’d to death, and with like haste.
Away with him!

Related Characters: The Duke (speaker), Isabella, Claudio, Angelo, Mariana
Related Symbols: “Measure for Measure”
Page Number: 5.1.455-475
Explanation and Analysis:

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Claudio Character Timeline in Measure for Measure

The timeline below shows where the character Claudio appears in Measure for Measure. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 2
Virtue Theme Icon
Agency and Society Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Mistress Overdone tells the men that Claudio, a young man who is friends with Lucio, has been arrested and is condemned to... (full context)
Virtue Theme Icon
Liberty and Justice Theme Icon
Agency and Society Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
...a clown and an assistant to Mistress Overdone, arrives. He speaks briefly and comically about Claudio's arrest. Pompey then relays to Mistress Overdone that a municipal proclamation has been issued, calling... (full context)
Virtue Theme Icon
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
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Claudio is escorted on stage by the Provost, who is in charge of the prison. Claudio... (full context)
Liberty and Justice Theme Icon
Lucio and the two gentlemen reappear; Lucio asks Claudio the reason for his arrest. Claudio explains that "too much liberty" and immoderation has led... (full context)
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Lucio guesses first that Claudio has committed murder, and is surprised when Claudio reveals that he is, rather, being so... (full context)
Virtue Theme Icon
Liberty and Justice Theme Icon
According to Claudio, Angelo is likely handing down a steep and rarely-used punishment in this case so that... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 4
Virtue Theme Icon
Liberty and Justice Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
...with men. Lucio reveals that he is seeking Isabella on behalf of her "unhappy brother," Claudio. When Isabella asks him what the problem is, Lucio tells her forthrightly that her brother... (full context)
Virtue Theme Icon
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The Role of Women Theme Icon
...he would to a saint. He then reveals that Juliet, Isabella's friend, is the woman Claudio has impregnated. When Isabella asks why the couple does not marry, Lucio tells her that... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Virtue Theme Icon
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.Escalus then laments Claudio's fate, as Escalus knew Claudio's father to be very noble. While he emphasizes that he... (full context)
Virtue Theme Icon
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...as a whole. Furthermore, even if Angelo is a sinful man, it does not exonerate Claudio of his misdeeds. Last of all, Angelo says that if he ever transgresses in this... (full context)
Liberty and Justice Theme Icon
...capable of enforcing the law. Elbow then leaves, and Escalus commiserates with a Justice about Claudio's tragic fate. However, Escalus remarks that Angelo's severity is warranted, as oftentimes what seems like... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
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In another room of Angelo’s house, the Provost appeals to Angelo that he might stay Claudio's execution. Angelo is unmoved, even when the Provost mentions that Juliet is soon due to... (full context)
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Isabella tells Angelo that if Claudio were the one in the position of power, he would take mercy upon an imprisoned... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
Virtue Theme Icon
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...unlawful sex act was mutually consensual, and expresses deep repentance. Juliet explains that she loves Claudio as much as she loves herself. The Duke then tells her that her sin is... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
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Isabella enters, and Angelo tells her that Claudio still must die. However, he sounds less adamant than before. He reflects that it is... (full context)
Virtue Theme Icon
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...“either you are ignorant, Or seem so craftily; and that's not good.” He speaks bluntly: Claudio will die unless Isabella will “lay down the treasures of [her] body” to someone with... (full context)
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Finally, Angelo tells Isabella outright that he loves her. She is indignant that Claudio is facing execution for the exact same crime Angelo proposes she indulge in with him.... (full context)
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Now alone, Isabella wonders what she can do. She resolves to go to Claudio and explain her predicament. She holds conviction that Claudio will respect her decision to preserve... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
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At the prison, the Duke, still disguised as a friar, asks Claudio if he hopes for a pardon from Angelo. Claudio replies that hope is all he... (full context)
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Isabella arrives to speak with Claudio. The Duke asks the Provost to take him to a spot where he can eavesdrop... (full context)
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Claudio is scandalized to learn of Angelo’s designs, and tells Isabella that she should not sacrifice... (full context)
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Claudio then begins to consider how Angelo could manage to act so hypocritically by possessing desires... (full context)
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As Claudio pleads with his sister, the Duke emerges from his hiding spot, still in disguise as... (full context)
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Claudio leaves, and the disguised Duke asks the Provost to leave also so that he can... (full context)
Virtue Theme Icon
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...will not succeed by denouncing Angelo publicly; instead, he proposes a solution that will save Claudio, please the absent Duke, preserve her purity, and help out another woman who has been... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
Virtue Theme Icon
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...legends about the man, and laments that Angelo is so uncompromising that he would see Claudio executed merely for sexual deviance. The Duke, Lucio maintains, would not issue such a punishment,... (full context)
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...to report Lucio to the Duke, but Lucio counters that he is unafraid. He laments Claudio’s fate, offers some colorful disparagements of the Duke, and bids the disguised Duke farewell. (full context)
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...upstanding ruler. Escalus then asks how the Duke (whom he thinks is a friar) found Claudio to be when he visited the prison. The Duke replies that he has prepared Claudio... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
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...because she will be escorted by a servant who believes she has come to discuss Claudio. (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Virtue Theme Icon
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...Provost asks Pompey if he would be willing to help cut off a man’s head. Claudio and another prisoner named Barnadine are scheduled to be executed the next day, and if... (full context)
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The Provost summons Claudio, whom he pities, and Barnadine, a murderer he reviles. Claudio appears, but Barnadine remains fast... (full context)
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...the jail carrying word from Angelo. Instead of a pardon, he carries the command that Claudio’s execution should proceed as planned, as should Barnadine’s; Claudio’s head should be sent to Angelo... (full context)
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...he looks like an honorable man, and asks him to do the favor of delaying Claudio’s death. The Provost asks how he could do so while still delivering Claudio’s head to... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
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...Provost reveals to the Duke that a “notorious pirate,” of similar age and appearance to Claudio, has died in the prison that very morning. He suggests postponing Barnadine’s execution and instead... (full context)
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Isabella arrives and asks if Claudio’s pardon has been delivered. The Duke answers that Claudio’s head has already been sent to... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 4
Virtue Theme Icon
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...up her virginity to reveal his misdeeds publicly. Angelo reflects that he should have let Claudio live, but had him executed in the fear that he would later seek vengeance. Still,... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
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...and asks her to voice her accusation. Isabella announces that she is the sister of Claudio, who has been executed for fornication. Lucio interrupts to corroborate the story, and the Duke... (full context)
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Angelo, newly-married, returns, and the Duke proclaims that he shall be executed in Claudio’s place, as “measure still for measure.” Mariana, not wanting to be widowed, begs the Duke... (full context)
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The Duke does not respond to the women’s requests, and instead asks the Provost why Claudio was beheaded at an unusual time of day. The Provost answers that the act was... (full context)