Measure for Measure

Elbow Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
A police officer, often charged with enforcing sex laws. Dull and prone to speaking in malapropisms (i.e. saying words that don't mean what he thinks they do), Elbow is a humorous character and serves as a sharp contrast to Pompey, depicting the law as somewhat less clever than those who break it.
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Elbow Character Timeline in Measure for Measure

The timeline below shows where the character Elbow appears in Measure for Measure. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 2, Scene 1
Virtue Theme Icon
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
Liberty and Justice Theme Icon
Agency and Society Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
...and forgive us all!” he says; “Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall." Elbow, the constable, enters, escorting Pompey and another man affiliated with the brothel, Froth. Angelo asks... (full context)
Virtue Theme Icon
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
Liberty and Justice Theme Icon
Agency and Society Theme Icon
Pompey takes advantage of Elbow's dull wits and confuses the constable to steer the interrogation off course. Angelo remarks that... (full context)
Liberty and Justice Theme Icon
Pompey leaves, and Escalus asks Elbow to give him the names of other policemen who might be capable of enforcing the... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
Virtue Theme Icon
Appearance versus Reality Theme Icon
Liberty and Justice Theme Icon
Agency and Society Theme Icon
Outside the prison, the Duke, still disguised, speaks with Elbow and other constables who have detained Pompey. He asks Elbow what crime Pompey is guilty... (full context)