Commentators on Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, in addressing themselves to a variety of problems, have arrived at equally varied conclusions about the quality of the play. Behind all of these comments, however, whether favorable or unfavorable, lies one common assumption: that the play, on the surface at least, is not entirely satisfactory and therefore requires a somewhat exceptional elucidation. It is conceded even by defenders of the play that there are apparent moral inconsistencies which need to be resolved, that many questionable actions must be accounted for if the Duke and Isabella are to be saved as completely “good” characters. For example, attention is frequently called to the shifty delays and intrigues of the Duke, to Isabella's self-righteous prudery which would at once sacrifice a brother—indeed would violently damn him for asking her to yield her virginity to save him—and sanction the substitution of Mariana for herself. Also there is some question whether the play conforms adequately to a legitimate dramatic genre. Shakespeare has been charged with taking the stuff of tragedy and forcing it into the mold of comedy by asking his audience to accept Angelo's last-minute repentance and marriage to Mariana. Finally, there are certain apparent inconsistencies in the dramatic action, which suggest to some commentators a possible corruption of the text. For example, at the beginning of the play the Duke characterizes Angelo as without blemish; yet later he reveals that Angelo wrongly deserted Mariana before the start of the action. Similarly, Mariana states that she has often been comforted by Friar Lodowick (the disguised Duke), although we know that the Duke has just adopted this disguise.