Measure for Measure


William Shakespeare

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The Brothel Industry Symbol Analysis

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The Brothel Industry Symbol Icon
The prevalence of brothels in Vienna, as well as the appearances of characters who run them, like Mistress Overdone and Pompey, 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.
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