The moated grange

In Act III sc i, the disguised Duke tells Isabella the story of Angelo's rejected fiancée, Mariana, who lives in an area called ‘Saint Luke's' in a ‘moated grange' – that is, a country house surrounded by a moat:

  • This setting suggests removal from society, and reflects Mariana's feelings of isolation and rejection
  • When we first meet her, she says she has ‘sat here all day', another indication that she has little to do except think of her sadness
  • She is listening to a song reflecting her situation, where ‘seals of love' were ‘seal'd in vain.'

However, unlike Isabella, she has not chosen to enter a nunnery:

  • Although it is five years since Angelo abandoned her, she still loves him - the Duke tells Isabella in Act III sc i that instead of quenching Mariana's feelings for Angelo, his treatment of her has made Mariana's love ‘more violent and unruly'
  • The moated grange is a temporary retreat, not the permanent enclosure and withdrawal that Isabella seeks in the nunnery.
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