The Duke's court

The play begins in the Duke's court:

  • The first published edition of the play (the Folio, published in 1623) indicates that ‘Lords' are in attendance on the Duke. It is obvious that he must be attended by at least one courtier other than Escalus since he sends one out: 
‘Call hither, I say, bid come before us Angelo.'
  • His use of ‘us', which, it is clear from other comments he makes, is the ‘royal plural' – see also Shakespeare's Language - establishes his status.
  • The audience also hears the deference with which his wishes are treated by Escalus and Angelo, and recognises that the Duke's commands are paramount.
  • Later in the scene he comments that he wishes to leave privately, since 
‘I love the people,
But do not like to stage me to their eyes.'

This again suggests to the audience a ruler who is a public figure

All this indicates that we are in a ruler's court, even though there is no reference to the physical characteristics of the building.

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