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Importance of the Friars in Much Ado About Nothing and Measure for Measure

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Importance of the Friars in Much Ado About Nothing and Measure for Measure


In the plays Much Ado About Nothing and Measure for Measure, the friars are important instruments in their respective storyline because of their assumed pure intentions of using deception as a means to right the wrong-doing within the play. They have the authority to administer questionable plans of action because they are respected and trusted. The friars hear all of the confessions; therefore, they could know even the deepest of secrets. The friars, or "Fathers" take on a protective role, a paternal one. They seem to relate more with the youth, or the wronged, who become like children needing guidance in their vulnerable states. When the parents, or as in Measure for Measure, Angelo, must be contradicted, the next highest up in the chain of command is the friar. The friars assume these authoritative roles with great conviction. They seem to believe that they must protect their sheep and fight evil. Friar Francis of Much Ado About Nothing believes himself to serve as a means for justice, "Craft against vice I must repay" (3.1.57). In a different realm of justice, within different scales of measurement, the Friars offer their non-doctrinal mode of deception to set the world (of the play) in harmony.

In Much Ado About Nothing, Friar Francis suggests a peculiar solution to amend a horrible situation in which the bride was shamed and jilted. Friar Francis seemed to be the only male who pulled for Hero's honor. He believed her when her father did not and vied for her innocence when he said, "Trust not my age, / My reverence, calling, nor divinity/ If this sweet lady lie not guiltless here/ Under some biting error" (4.1.166-9). He advised that she prete...


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...acilitators when they are the only characters whose authority never is questioned. Only they can pull off the deceptive schemes that they do because no one else in the play either can be trusted, or is not in a position of power as the friars are. Friar Francis and Friar Lodowick are not despised in the end because their religious positions allow for them to be trusted in making a just and right decision. The friars restored order. Within the system of justice in which the friars operate it is not only just, but necessary, to sin by lying and deceiving, in order for love and harmony to prevail. It then becomes a question of not whether these holy men abuse Christian dogma, but on their intent behind the deceit. Thus "craft against vice" is the powerful system which allows for discrepancy concerning sin in order to combat the havoc caused by deception by evil intent.


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