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Isabella’s response to Angelo’s sexual proposition in Act 2 Scene 4 of Measure for Measure displays Shakespeare’s true genius and lexical prowess. After reading this passage numerous times, I found myself rethinking the sexual state of women who “endure the livery of a nun” in “austerity and single life” (I.1.70/90), as Theseus described in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Critics claim that Isabella’s refusal of Angelo’s advances is a testament to her “pathological sexual repression.” One Shakespearian surmises, “beneath the habit of the nun there is a narrow-minded but passionate girl afflicted with an irrational terror of sex which she has never admitted to herself” (Barton, 580). However, I believe Isabella’s sexual desire is not repressed, but satisfied through alternative means with an unseen partner, the man she has devoted her body and soul to: Jesus Christ. Continue reading