ENGL 2310 University of the Incarnate Word William Shakespeare Discussion

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ENGL 2310

University of the Incarnate Word



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K. Skwarczek Engl 2310 / World Lit Reading Analysis #4 Due Date: Wed. April 28 spring 2021 (due at the start of class, 7:30 am) Readings: Shakespeare, The Tempest Beckett, Act Without Words I Your assignment is to write a 400-500 word Reading Analysis in which you respond to one of the following options. OPTION 1 Write a 400-500 word Reading Analysis in which you compare/contrast the theme of control in both The Tempest and Act Without Words I and explore a personal connection to the passage. You must: • Show how both Shakespeare and Beckett demonstrate the act of controlling (other people, or land, or knowledge) or the feeling of being controlled, and the consequences of such control. • In a brief paragraph, explore a personal connection or tie-in to this theme in the text. What relevance does this idea have for you, your life, our world? • Use MLA citation, including a Works Cited page. You are not required to refer to outside sources in this assignment; as always, any and all sources you use must be cited. Provide direct textual evidence and perform close reading to support your analysis. OPTION 2 Write a 400-500 word Reading Analysis in which you write a fictional interview between yourself and one of the characters of either The Tempest or Act Without Words I. Imagine a scenario in which you’re ‘interviewing’ this ‘person’/character, at some point in time. In your interview, demonstrate your knowledge of the ‘person’/character and what they’ve gone through, and creatively extend that knowledge into an imagined future. Short example: Katherine Skwarczek interviews Lady Miranda of Milan, lately returned from her The Tempest ordeal, and they talk wedding plans, father-daughter bonding—and coping with trauma. Katherine Skwarczek: Thanks for talking with me, Miranda; I know this is a busy time for you. So, tell me, how does it feel being back in Milan after spending most of your life on that island? Miranda: I must say that it feels rather strange! I was expecting Milan to be this “brave new world” (5.1.217), and while there are certainly a lot of “goodly creatures” (5.1.216) here, all these new sights, smells, sounds, customs—sometimes it’s overwhelming! KS: And has your father been helping you cope? Miranda: Well, you know Prospero. He tried focusing on forgetting magic and just being the Duke again, but he soon found a new obsession. Right now it’s astronomy. He’s always out there on the balcony with his telescope. KS: So who’s been running Milan? K. Skwarczek MLA tips: Full MLA-style bibliographic citation for Beckett’s play: Beckett, Samuel. Act Without Words I, The Norton Introduction to Literature, edited by Alison Booth and Kelly J. Mays, shorter 10th ed, W.W. Norton, 2010, p. 1404-07. • for The Tempest: When quoting plays, you must include the act, scene, and lines number, and specify who says them. When characters speak in blank verse, you should include the forward slash at line blanks (like a poem). • For SHORT passages (3 lines or less) use format for short quotes: Explaining his engagement to Miranda, Ferdinand tells Alonso that “I chose her when I could not ask my father / For his advice, nor thought I had one”!” (5.1.226-7). • For LONG passages (4 lines or more) use format for block quotes: Mistaken in his character, Caliban promises to serve Stephano: I’ll show thee the best springs. I’ll pluck thee berries. I’ll fish for thee and get thee wood enough. A plague upon the tyrant that I serve. I’ll bear him no more sticks, but follow thee, Thou wondrous man. (2.2.166-70). Table of Contents Title Page Copyright Page Introduction The Tempest The Tempest Textual Note The Sources of The Tempest Commentaries E. M. W. TILLYARD BERNARD KNOX LORIE JERRELL LEININGER STEPHEN GREENBLATT SYLVAN BARNET Suggested References SIGNET CLASSICS Published by New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.) Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.) Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi - 110 017, India Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore, Auckland 1311, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.) Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England Published by Signet Classics, an imprint of New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. The Signet Classics edition of The Tempest was first published in March 1964, and an updated edition was published in 1987. Copyright © Robert Langbaum, 1964, 1987, 1998 Copyright © Sylvan Barnet, 1964, 1987, 1998 eISBN : 978-1-101-14229-5 All rights reserved Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated. http://us.penguingroup.com Shakespeare: An Overview Biographical Sketch Between the record of his baptism in Stratford on 26 April 1564 and the record of his burial in Stratford on 25 April 1616, some forty official documents name Shakespeare, and many others name his parents, his children, and his grand-children. Further, there are at least fifty literary references to him in the works of his contemporaries. More facts are known about William Shakespeare than about any other playwright of the period except Ben Jonson. The facts should, however, be distinguished from the legends. The latter, inevitably more engaging and better known, tell us that the Stratford boy killed a calf in high style, poached deer and rabbits, and was forced to flee to London, where he held horses outside a playhouse. These traditions are only traditions; they may be true, but no evidence supports them, and it is well to stick to the facts. Mary Arden, the dramatist’s mother, was the daughter of a substantial landowner; about 1557 she married John Shakespeare, a tanner, glovemaker, and trader in wool, grain, and other farm commodities. In 1557 John Shakespeare was a member of the council (the governing body of Stratford), in 1558 a constable of the borough, in 1561 one of the two town chamberlains, in 1565 an alderman (entitling him to the appellation of “Mr.”), in 1568 high bailiff—the town’s highest political office, equivalent to mayor. After 1577, for an unknown reason he drops out of local politics. What is known is that he had to mortgage his wife’s property, and that he was involved in serious litigation. The birthday of William Shakespeare, the third child and the eldest son of this locally prominent man, is unrecorded, but the Stratford parish register records that the infant was baptized on 26 April 1564. (It is quite possible that he was born on 23 April, but this date has probably been assigned by tradition because it is the date on which, fifty-two years later, he died, and perhaps because it is the feast day of St. George, patron saint of England.) The attendance records of the Stratford grammar school of the period are not extant, but it is reasonable to assume that the son of a prominent local official attended the free school—it had been established for the purpose of educating males precisely of his class—and received substantial training in Latin. The masters of the school from Shakespeare’s seventh to fifteenth years held Oxford degrees; the Elizabethan curriculum excluded mathematics and the natural sciences but taught a good deal of Latin rhetoric, logic, and literature, including plays by Plautus, Terence, and Seneca. On 27 November 1582 a marriage license was issued for the marriage of Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway, eight years his senior. The couple had a daughter, Susanna, in May 1583. Perhaps the marriage was necessary, but perhaps the couple had earlier engaged, in the presence of witnesses, in a formal “troth plight” which would render their children legitimate even if no further ceremony were performed. In February 1585, Anne Hathaway bore Shakespeare twins, Hamnet and Judith. That Shakespeare was born is excellent; that he married and had children is pleasant; but that we know nothing about his departure from Stratford to London or about the beginning of his theatrical career is lamentable and must be admitted. We would gladly sacrifice details about his children’s baptism for details about his earliest days in the theater. Perhaps the poaching episode is true (but it is first reported almost a century after Shakespeare’s death), or perhaps he left Stratford to be a schoolmaster, as another tradition holds; perhaps he was moved (like Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew) by Such wind as scatters young men through the world, To seek their fortunes farther than at home Where small experience grows. (1.2.49-51) In 1592, thanks to the cantankerousness of Robert Greene, we have our first reference, a snarling one, to Shakespeare as an actor and playwright. Greene, a graduate of St. John’s College, Cambridge, had become a playwright and a pamphleteer in London, and in one of his pamphlets he warns three university-educated playwrights against an actor who has presumed to turn playwright: There is an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his tiger’s heart wrapped in a player’s hide supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you, and being an absolute Johannes-factotum [i.e., jack-of-all-trades] is in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in a country. The reference to the player, as well as the allusion to Aesop’s crow (who strutted in borrowed plumage, as an actor struts in fine words not his own), makes it clear that by this date Shakespeare had both acted and written. That Shakespeare is meant is indicated not only by Shake-scene but also by the parody of a line from one of Shakespeare’s plays, 3 Henry VI: “O, tiger’s heart wrapped in a woman’s hide” (1.4.137). If in 1592 Shakespeare was prominent enough to be attacked by an envious dramatist, he probably had served an apprenticeship in the theater for at least a few years. In any case, although there are no extant references to Shakespeare between the record of the baptism of his twins in 1585 and Greene’s hostile comment about “Shake-scene” in 1592, it is evident that during some of these “dark years” or “lost years” Shakespeare had acted and written. There are a number of subsequent references to him as an actor. Documents indicate that in 1598 he is a “principal comedian,” in 1603 a “principal tragedian,” in 1608 he is one of the “men players.” (We do not have, however, any solid information about which roles he may have played; later traditions say he played Adam in As You Like It and the ghost in Hamlet, but nothing supports the assertions. Probably his role as dramatist came to supersede his role as actor.) The profession of actor was not for a gentleman, and it occasionally drew the scorn of university men like Greene who resented writing speeches for persons less educated than themselves, but it was respectable enough; players, if prosperous, were in effect members of the bourgeoisie, and there is nothing to suggest that Stratford considered William Shakespeare less than a solid citizen. When, in 1596, the Shakespeares were granted a coat of arms—i.e., the right to be considered gentlemen—the grant was made to Shakespeare’s father, but probably William Shakespeare had arranged the matter on his own behalf. In subsequent transactions he is occasionally styled a gentleman. Although in 1593 and 1594 Shakespeare published two narrative poems dedicated to the Earl of Southampton, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece, and may well have written most or all of his sonnets in the middle nineties, Shakespeare’s literary activity seems to have been almost entirely devoted to the theater. (It may be significant that the two narrative poems were written in years when the plague closed the theaters for several months.) In 1594 he was a charter member of a theatrical company called the Chamberlain’s Men, which in 1603 became the royal company, the King’s Men, making Shakespeare the king’s playwright. Until he retired to Stratford (about 1611, apparently), he was with this remarkably stable company. From 1599 the company acted primarily at the Globe theater, in which Shakespeare held a one-tenth interest. Other Elizabethan dramatists are known to have acted, but no other is known also to have been entitled to a share of the profits. Shakespeare’s first eight published plays did not have his name on them, but this is not remarkable; the most popular play of the period, Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy, went through many editions without naming Kyd, and Kyd’s authorship is known only because a book on the profession of acting happens to quote (and attribute to Kyd) some lines on the interest of Roman emperors in the drama. What is remarkable is that after 1598 Shakespeare’s name commonly appears on printed plays—some of which are not his. Presumably his name was a drawing card, and publishers used it to attract potential buyers. Another indication of his popularity comes from Francis Meres, author of Palladis Tamia: Wit’s Treasury (1598). In this anthology of snippets accompanied by an essay on literature, many playwrights are mentioned, but Shakespeare‘s name occurs more often than any other, and Shakespeare is the only playwright whose plays are listed. From his acting, his play writing, and his share in a playhouse, Shakespeare seems to have made considerable money. He put it to work, making substantial investments in Stratford real estate. As early as 1597 he bought New Place, the second-largest house in Stratford. His family moved in soon afterward, and the house remained in the family until a granddaughter died in 1670. When Shakespeare made his will in 1616, less than a month before he died, he sought to leave his property intact to his descendants. Of small bequests to relatives and to friends (including three actors, Richard Burbage, John Heminges, and Henry Condell), that to his wife of the second-best bed has provoked the most comment. It has sometimes been taken as a sign of an unhappy marriage (other supposed signs are the apparently hasty marriage, his wife’s seniority of eight years, and his residence in London without his family). Perhaps the second-best bed was the bed the couple had slept in, the best bed being reserved for visitors. In any case, had Shakespeare not excepted it, the bed would have gone (with the rest of his household possessions) to his daughter and her husband. On 25 April 1616 Shakespeare was buried within the chancel of the church at Stratford. An unattractive monument to his memory, placed on a wall near the grave, says that he died on 23 April. Over the grave itself are the lines, perhaps by Shakespeare, that (more than his literary fame) have kept his bones undisturbed in the crowded burial ground where old bones were often dislodged to make way for new: Good friend, for Jesus’ sake forbear To dig the dust enclosed here. Blessed be the man that spares these stones And cursed be he that moves my bones. A Note on the Anti-Stratfordians, Especially Baconians and Oxfordians Not until 1769—more than a hundred and fifty years after Shakespeare’s death—is there any record of anyone expressing doubt about Shakespeare’s authorship of the plays and poems. In 1769, however, Herbert Lawrence nominated Francis Bacon (1561-1626) in The Life and Adventures of Common Sense. Since then, at least two dozen other nominees have been offered, including Christopher Marlowe, Sir Walter Raleigh, Queen Elizabeth I, and Edward de Vere, 17th earl of Oxford. The impulse behind all anti-Stratfordian movements is the scarcely concealed snobbish opinion that “the man from Stratford” simply could not have written the plays because he was a country fellow without a university education and without access to high society. Anyone, the argument goes, who used so many legal terms, medical terms, nautical terms, and so forth, and who showed some familiarity with classical writing, must have attended a university, and anyone who knew so much about courtly elegance and courtly deceit must himself have moved among courtiers. The plays do indeed reveal an author whose interests were exceptionally broad, but specialists in any given field —law, medicine, arms and armor, and so on—soon find that the plays do not reveal deep knowledge in specialized matters; indeed, the playwright often gets technical details wrong. The claim on behalf of Bacon, forgotten almost as soon as it was put forth in 1769, was independently reasserted by Joseph C. Hart in 1848. In 1856 it was reaffirmed by W. H. Smith in a book, and also by Delia Bacon in an article; in 1857 Delia Bacon published a book, arguing that Francis Bacon had directed a group of intellectuals who wrote the plays. Francis Bacon’s claim has largely faded, perhaps because it was advanced with such evident craziness by Ignatius Donnelly, who in The Great Cryptogram (1888) claimed to break a code in the plays that proved Bacon had written not only the plays attributed to Shakespeare but also other Renaissance works, for instance the plays of Christopher Marlowe and the essays of Montaigne. Consider the last two lines of the Epilogue in The Tempest: As you from crimes would pardoned be, Let your indulgence set me free. What was Shakespeare—sorry, Francis Bacon, Baron Verulam—really saying in these two lines? According to Baconians, the lines are an anagram reading, “Tempest of Francis Bacon, Lord Verulam; do ye ne‘er divulge me, ye words.” Ingenious, and it is a pity that in the quotation the letter a appears only twice in the cryptogram, whereas in the deciphered message it appears three times. Oh, no problem; just alter “Verulam” to “Verul’m” and it works out very nicely. Most people understand that with sufficient ingenuity one can torture any text and find in it what one wishes. For instance: Did Shakespeare have a hand in the King James Version of the Bible? It was nearing completion in 1610, when Shakespeare was forty-six years old. If you look at the 46th Psalm and count forward for forty-six words, you will find the word shake. Now if you go to the end of the psalm and count backward forty-six words, you will find the word spear. Clear evidence, according to some, that Shakespeare slyly left his mark in the book. Bacon’s candidacy has largely been replaced in the twentieth century by the candidacy of Edward de Vere (1550- 1604), 17th earl of Oxford. The basic ideas behind the Oxford theory, advanced at greatest length by Dorothy and Charlton Ogburn in This Star of England (1952, rev. 1955), a book of 1297 pages, and by Charlton Ogburn in The Mysterious William Shakespeare (1984), a book of 892 pages, are these: (1) The man from Stratford could not possibly have had the mental equipment and the experience to have written the plays—only a courtier could have written them; (2) Oxford had the requisite background (social position, education, years at Queen Elizabeth’s court); (3) Oxford did not wish his authorship to be known for two basic reasons: writing for the public theater was a vulgar pursuit, and the plays show so much courtly and royal disreputable behavior that they would have compromised Oxford’s position at court. Oxfordians offer countless details to support the claim. For example, Hamlet’s phrase “that ever I was born to set it right” (1.5.89) barely conceals “E. Ver, I was born to set it right,” an unambiguous announcement of de Vere’s authorship, according to This Star of England (p. 654). A second example: Consider Ben Jonson’s poem entitled “To the Memory of My Beloved Master William Shakespeare,” prefixed to the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays in 1623. According to Oxfordians, when Jonson in this poem speaks of the author of the plays as the “swan of Avon,” he is alluding not to William Shakespeare, who was born and died in Stratford-on-Avon and who throughout his adult life owned property there; rather, he is alluding to Oxford, who, the Ogburns say, used “William Shakespeare” as his pen name, and whose manor at Bilton was on the Avon River. Oxfordians do not offer any evidence that Oxford took a pen name, and they do not mention that Oxford had sold the manor in 1581, forty-two years before Jonson wrote his poem. Surely a reference to the Shakespeare who was born in Stratford, who had returned to Stratford, and who had died there only seven years before Jonson wrote the poem is more plausible. And exactly why Jonson, who elsewhere also spoke of Shakespeare as a playwright, and why Heminges and Condell, who had acted with Shakespeare for about twenty years, should speak of Shakespeare as the author in their dedication in the 1623 volume of collected plays is never adequately explained by Oxfordians. Either Jonson, Heminges and Condell, and numerous others were in on the conspiracy, or they were all duped— equally unlikely alternatives. Another difficulty in the Oxford theory is that Oxford died in 1604, and some of the plays are clearly indebted to works and events later than 1604. Among the Oxfordian responses are: At his death Oxford left some plays, and in later years these were touched up by hacks, who added the material that points to later dates. The Tempest, almost universally regarded as one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays and pretty clearly dated to 1611, does indeed date from a period after the death of Oxford, but it is a crude piece of work that should not be included in the canon of works by Oxford. The anti-Stratfordians, in addition to assuming that the author must have been a man of rank and a university man, usually assume two conspiracies: (1) a conspiracy in Elizabethan and Jacobean times, in which a surprisingly large number of persons connected with the theater knew that the actor Shakespeare did not write the plays attributed to him but for some reason or other pretended that he did; (2) a conspiracy of today’s Stratfordians, the professors who teach Shakespeare in the colleges and universities, who are said to have a vested interest in preserving Shakespeare as the author of the plays they teach. In fact, (1) it is inconceivable that the secret of Shakespeare’s non-authorship could have been preserved by all of the people who supposedly were in on the conspiracy, and (2) academic fame awaits any scholar today who can disprove Shakespeare’s authorship. The Stratfordian case is convincing not only because hundreds or even thousands of anti-Stratford arguments—of the sort that say “ever I was born”—has the secret double meaning “E. Ver, I was born”—add up to nothing at all but also because irrefutable evidence connects the man from Stratford with the London theater and with the authorship of particular plays. The anti-Stratfordians do not seem to understand that it is not enough to dismiss the Stratford case by saying that a fellow from the provinces simply couldn’t have written the plays. Nor do they understand that it is not enough to dismiss all of the evidence connecting Shakespeare with the plays by asserting that it is perjured. The Shakespeare Canon We return to William Shakespeare. Thirty-seven plays as well as some nondramatic poems are generally held to constitute the Shakespeare canon, the body of authentic works. The exact dates of composition of most of the works are highly uncertain, but evidence of a starting point and/or of a final limiting point often provides a framework for informed guessing. For example, Richard II cannot be earlier than 1595, the publication date of some material to which it is indebted; The Merchant of Venice cannot be later than 1598, the year Francis Meres mentioned it. Sometimes arguments for a date hang on an alleged topical allusion, such as the lines about the unseasonable weather in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2.1.81-117, but such an allusion, if indeed it is an allusion to an event in the real world, can be variously interpreted, and in any case there is always the possibility that a topical allusion was inserted years later, to bring the play up to date. (The issue of alterations in a text between the time that Shakespeare drafted it and the time that it was printed—alterations due to censorship or playhouse practice or Shakespeare’s own second thoughts—will be discussed in “The Play Text as a Collaboration” later in this overview.) Dates are often attributed on the basis of style, and although conjectures about style usually rest on other conjectures (such as Shakespeare’s development as a playwright, or the appropriateness of lines to character), sooner or later one must rely on one’s literary sense. There is no documentary proof, for example, that Othello is not as early as Romeo and Juliet, but one feels that Othello is a later, more mature work, and because the first record of its performance is 1604, one is glad enough to set its composition at that date and not push it back into Shakespeare’s early years. (Romeo and Juliet was first published in 1597, but evidence suggests that it was written a little earlier.) The following chronology, then, is indebted not only to facts but also to informed guesswork and sensitivity. The dates, necessarily imprecise for some works, indicate something like a scholarly consensus concerning the time of original composition. Some plays show evidence of later revision. Plays. The first collected edition of Shakespeare, published in 1623, included thirty-six plays. These are all accepted as Shakespeare‘s, though for one of them, Henry VIII, he is thought to have had a collaborator. A thirty-seventh play, Pericles, published in 1609 and attributed to Shakespeare on the title page, is also widely accepted as being partly by Shakespeare even though it is not included in the 1623 volume. Still another play not in the 1623 volume, The Two Noble Kinsmen, was first published in 1634, with a title page attributing it to John Fletcher and Shakespeare. Probably most students of the subject now believe that Shakespeare did indeed have a hand in it. Of the remaining plays attributed at one time or another to Shakespeare, only one, Edward III, anonymously published in 1596, is now regarded by some scholars as a serious candidate. The prevailing opinion, however, is that this rather simpleminded play is not Shakespeare’s; at most he may have revised some passages, chiefly scenes with the Countess of Salisbury. We include The Two Noble Kinsmen but do not include Edward III in the following list. Poems. In 1989 Donald W. Foster published a book in which he argued that “A Funeral Elegy for Master William Peter,” published in 1612, ascribed only to the initials W.S., may be by Shakespeare. Foster later published an article in a scholarly journal, PMLA 111 (1996), in which he asserted the claim more positively. The evidence begins with the initials, and includes the fact that the publisher and the printer of the elegy had published Shakespeare’s Sonnets in 1609. But such facts add up to rather little, especially because no one has found any connection between Shakespeare and William Peter (an Oxford graduate about whom little is known, who was murdered at the age of twenty-nine). The argument is based chiefly on statistical examinations of word patterns, which are said to correlate with Shakespeare’s known work. Despite such correlations, however, many readers feel that the poem does not sound like Shakespeare. True, Shakespeare has a great range of styles, but consistently his work is imaginative and interesting. Many readers find neither of these qualities in “A Funeral Elegy.” Shakespeare’s English 1. Spelling and Pronunciation. From the philologist’s point of view, Shakespeare’s English is modern English. It requires footnotes, but the inexperienced reader can comprehend substantial passages with very little help, whereas for the same reader Chaucer’s Middle English is a foreign language. By the beginning of the fifteenth century the chief grammatical changes in English had taken place, and the final unaccented -e of Middle English had been lost (though it survives even today in spelling, as in name); during the fifteenth century the dialect of London, the commercial and political center, gradually displaced the provincial dialects, at least in writing; by the end of the century, printing had helped to regularize and stabilize the language, especially spelling. Elizabethan spelling may seem erratic to us (there were dozens of spellings of Shakespeare, and a simple word like been was also spelled beene and bin), but it had much in common with our spelling. Elizabethan spelling was conservative in that for the most part it reflected an older pronunciation (Middle English) rather than the sound of the language as it was then spoken, just as our spelling continues to reflect medieval pronunciation—most obviously in the now silent but formerly pronounced letters in a word such as knight. Elizabethan pronunciation, though not identical with ours, was much closer to ours than to that of the Middle Ages. Incidentally, though no one can be certain about what Elizabethan English sounded like, specialists tend to believe it was rather like the speech of a modem stage Irishman (time apparently was pronounced toime, old pronounced awld, day pronounced die, and join pronounced jine) and not at all like the Oxford speech that most of us think it was. An awareness of the difference between our pronunciation and Shakespeare’s is crucial in three areas—in accent, or number of syllables (many metrically regular lines may look irregular to us); in rhymes (which may not look like rhymes); and in puns (which may not look like puns). Examples will be useful. Some words that were at least on occasion stressed differently from today are aspèct, complete, forlorn, revènue, and sepùlcher. Words that sometimes had an additional syllable are emp[e]ress, Hen[e]ry, mon[e]th, and villain (three syllables, vil-lay-in). An additional syllable is often found in possessives, like moon’s (pronounced moones) and in words ending in -tion or -sion. Words that had one less syllable than they now have are needle (pronounced neel) and violet (pronounced vilet). Among rhymes now lost are one with loan, love with prove, beast with jest, eat with great. (In reading, trust your sense of metrics and your ear, more than your eye.) An example of a pun that has become obliterated by a change in pronunciation is Falstaff’s reply to Prince Hal’s “Come, tell us your reason” in I Henry IV: “Give you a reason on compulsion? If reasons were as plentiful as blackberries, I would give no man a reason upon compulsion, I” (2.4.237-40). The ea in reason was pronounced rather like a long a, like the ai in raisin, hence the comparison with blackberries. Puns are not merely attempts to be funny; like metaphors they often involve bringing into a meaningful relationship areas of experience normally seen as remote. In 2 Henry IV, when Feeble is conscripted, he stoically says, “I care not. A man can die but once. We owe God a death” (3.2.242—43), punning on debt, which was the way death was pronounced. Here an enormously significant fact of life is put into simple commercial imagery, suggesting its commonplace quality. Shakespeare used the same pun earlier in 1 Henry IV, when Prince Hal says to Falstaff, “Why, thou owest God a death,” and Falstaff replies, “ ‘Tis not due yet: I would be loath to pay him before his day. What need I be so forward with him that calls not on me?” (5.1.126-29). Sometimes the puns reveal a delightful playfulness; sometimes they reveal aggressiveness, as when, replying to Claudius’s “But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son,” Hamlet says, “A little more than kin, and less than kind!” (1.2.64-65). These are Hamlet’s first words in the play, and we already hear him warring verbally against Claudius. Hamlet’s “less than kind” probably means (1) Hamlet is not of Claudius’s family or nature, kind having the sense it still has in our word mankind; (2) Hamlet is not kindly (affectionately) disposed toward Claudius; (3) Claudius is not naturally (but rather unnaturally, in a legal sense incestuously) Hamlet’s father. The puns evidently were not put in as sops to the groundlings; they are an important way of communicating a complex meaning. 2. Vocabulary. A conspicuous difficulty in reading Shakespeare is rooted in the fact that some of his words are no longer in common use—for example, words concerned with armor, astrology, clothing, coinage, hawking, horsemanship, law, medicine, sailing, and war. Shakespeare had a large vocabulary—something near thirty thousand words—but it was not so much a vocabulary of big words as a vocabulary drawn from a wide range of life, and it is partly his ability to call upon a great body of concrete language that gives his plays the sense of being in close contact with life. When the right word did not already exist, he made it up. Among words thought to be his coinages are accommodation, all-knowing, amazement, bare-faced, countless, dexterously, dislocate, dwindle, fancy-free, frugal, indistinguishable, lackluster, laughable, overawe, premeditated, sea change, star-crossed. Among those that have not survived are the verb convive, meaning to feast together, and smilet, a little smile. Less overtly troublesome than the technical words but more treacherous are the words that seem readily intelligible to us but whose Elizabethan meanings differ from their modern ones. When Horatio describes the Ghost as an “erring spirit,” he is saying not that the ghost has sinned or made an error but that it is wandering. Here is a short list of some of the most common words in Shakespeare’s plays that often (but not always) have a meaning other than their most usual modern meaning: All glosses, of course, are mere approximations; sometimes one of Shakespeare’s words may hover between an older meaning and a modem one, and as we have seen, his words often have multiple meanings. 3. Grammar. A few matters of grammar may be surveyed, though it should be noted at the outset that Shakespeare sometimes made up his own grammar. As E. A. Abbott says in A Shakespearian Grammar, “Almost any part of speech can be used as any other part of speech”: a noun as a verb (“he childed as I fathered”); a verb as a noun (“She hath made compare”); or an adverb as an adjective (“a seldom pleasure”). There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of such instances in the plays, many of which at first glance would not seem at all irregular and would trouble only a pedant. Here are a few broad matters. Nouns: The Elizabethans thought the -s genitive ending for nouns (as in man’s) derived from his; thus the line “ ‘gainst the count his galleys I did some service,” for “the count’s galleys.” Adjectives: By Shakespeare’s time adjectives had lost the endings that once indicated gender, number, and case. About the only difference between Shakespeare’s adjectives and ours is the use of the now redundant more or most with the comparative (“some more fitter place”) or superlative (“This was the most unkindest cut of all”). Like double comparatives and double superlatives, double negatives were acceptable; Mercutio “will not budge for no man’s pleasure.” Pronouns: The greatest change was in pronouns. In Middle English thou, thy, and thee were used among familiars and in speaking to children and inferiors; ye, your, and you were used in speaking to superiors (servants to masters, nobles to the king) or to equals with whom the speaker was not familiar. Increasingly the “polite” forms were used in all direct address, regardless of rank, and the accusative you displaced the nominative ye. Shakespeare sometimes uses ye instead of you, but even in Shakespeare’s day ye was archaic, and it occurs mostly in rhetorical appeals. Thou, thy, and thee were not completely displaced, however, and Shakespeare occasionally makes significant use of them, sometimes to connote familiarity or intimacy and sometimes to connote contempt. In Twelfth Night Sir Toby advises Sir Andrew to insult Cesario by addressing him as thou: “If thou thou‘st him some thrice, it shall not be amiss” (3.2.46 —47). In Othello when Brabantio is addressing an unidentified voice in the dark he says, “What are you?” (1.1.91), but when the voice identifies itself as the foolish suitor Roderigo, Brabantio uses the contemptuous form, saying, “I have charged thee not to haunt about my doors” (93). He uses this form for a while, but later in the scene, when he comes to regard Roderigo as an ally, he shifts back to the polite you, beginning in line 163, “What said she to you?” and on to the end of the scene. For reasons not yet satisfactorily explained, Elizabethans used thou in addresses to God—“O God, thy arm was here,” the king says in Henry V (4.8.108)—and to supernatural characters such as ghosts and witches. A subtle variation occurs in Hamlet. When Hamlet first talks with the Ghost in 1.5, he uses thou, but when he sees the Ghost in his mother’s room, in 3.4, he uses you, presumably because he is now convinced that the Ghost is not a counterfeit but is his father. Perhaps the most unusual use of pronouns, from our point of view, is the neuter singular. In place of our its, his was often used, as in “How far that little candle throws his beams.” But the use of a masculine pronoun for a neuter noun came to seem unnatural, and so it was used for the possessive as well as the nominative: “The hedge-sparrow fed the cuckoo so long / That it had it head bit off by it young.” In the late sixteenth century the possessive form its developed, apparently by analogy with the -s ending used to indicate a genitive noun, as in book‘s, but its was not yet common usage in Shakespeare’s day. He seems to have used its only ten times, mostly in his later plays. Other usages, such as “you have seen Cassio and she together” or the substitution of who for whom, cause little problem even when noticed. Verbs, Adverbs, and Prepositions: Verbs cause almost no difficulty: The third person singular present form commonly ends in -s, as in modem English (e.g., “He blesses”), but sometimes in -eth (Portia explains to Shylock that mercy “blesseth him that gives and him that takes”). Broadly speaking, the -eth ending was old-fashioned or dignified or “literary” rather than colloquial, except for the words doth, hath, and saith. The -eth ending (regularly used in the King James Bible, 1611) is very rare in Shakespeare’s dramatic prose, though not surprisingly it occurs twice in the rather formal prose summary of the narrative poem Lucrece. Sometimes a plural subject, especially if it has collective force, takes a verb ending in -s, as in “My old bones aches.” Some of our strong or irregular preterites (such as broke) have a different form in Shakespeare (brake); some verbs that now have a weak or regular preterite (such as helped) in Shakespeare have a strong or irregular preterite (holp). Some adverbs that today end in -ly were not inflected: “grievous sick,” “wondrous strange.” Finally, prepositions often are not the ones we expect: “We are such stuff as dreams are made on,” “I have a king here to my flatterer.” Again, none of the differences (except meanings that have substantially changed or been lost) will cause much difficulty. But it must be confessed that for some elliptical passages there is no widespread agreement on meaning. Wise editors resist saying more than they know, and when they are uncertain they add a question mark to their gloss. Shakespeare’s Theater In Shakespeare’s infancy, Elizabethan actors performed wherever they could—in great halls, at court, in the court-yards of inns. These venues implied not only different audiences but also different playing conditions. The innyards must have made rather unsatisfactory theaters: on some days they were unavailable because carters bringing goods to London used them as depots; when available, they had to be rented from the innkeeper. In 1567, presumably to avoid such difficulties, and also to avoid regulation by the Common Council of London, which was not well disposed toward the atricals, one John Brayne, brother-in-law of the carpenter turned actor James Burbage, built the Red Lion in an eastern suburb of London. We know nothing about its shape or its capacity; we can say only that it may have been the first building in Europe constructed for the purpose of giving plays since the end of antiquity, a thousand years earlier. Even after the building of the Red Lion theatrical activity continued in London in makeshift circumstances, in marketplaces and inns, and always uneasily. In 1574 the Common Council required that plays and playing places in London be licensed because sundry great disorders and inconveniences have been found to ensue to this city by the inordinate haunting of great multitudes of people, specially youth, to plays, interludes, and shows, namely occasion of frays and quarrels, evil practices of inconti nency in great inns having chambers and secret places adjoining to their open stages and galleries. The Common Council ordered that innkeepers who wished licenses to hold performance put up a bond and make contributions to the poor. The requirement that plays and innyard theaters be licensed, along with the other drawbacks of playing at inns and presumably along with the success of the Red Lion, led James Burbage to rent a plot of land northeast of the city walls, on property outside the jurisdiction of the city. Here he built England’s second playhouse, called simply the Theatre. About all that is known of its construction is that it was wood. It soon had imitators, the most famous being the Globe (1599), essentially an amphitheater built across the Thames (again outside the city’s jurisdiction), constructed with timbers of the Theatre, which had been dismantled when Burbage’s lease ran out. Admission to the theater was one penny, which allowed spectators to stand at the sides and front of the stage that jutted into the yard. An additional penny bought a seat in a covered part of the theater, and a third penny bought a more comfortable seat and a better location. It is notoriously difficult to translate prices into today’s money, since some things that are inexpensive today would have been expensive in the past and vice versa—a pipeful of tobacco (imported, of course) cost a lot of money, about three pennies, and an orange (also imported) cost two or three times what a chicken cost—but perhaps we can get some idea of the low cost of the penny admission when we realize that a penny could also buy a pot of ale. An unskilled laborer made about five or sixpence a day, an artisan about twelve pence a day, and the hired actors (as opposed to the sharers in the company, such as Shakespeare) made about ten pence a performance. A printed play cost five or sixpence. Of course a visit to the theater (like a visit to a baseball game today) usually cost more than the admission since the spectator probably would also buy food and drink. Still, the low entrance fee meant that the theater was available to all except the very poorest people, rather as movies and most athletic events are today. Evidence indicates that the audience ranged from apprentices who somehow managed to scrape together the minimum entrance fee and to escape from their masters for a few hours, to prosperous members of the middle class and aristocrats who paid the additional fee for admission to the galleries. The exact proportion of men to women cannot be determined, but women of all classes certainly were present. Theaters were open every afternoon but Sundays for much of the year, except in times of plague, when they were closed because of fear of infection. By the way, no evidence suggests the presence of toilet facilities. Presumably the patrons relieved themselves by making a quick trip to the fields surrounding the playhouses. Johannes de Witt, a Continental visitor to London, made a drawing of the Swan theater in about the year 1596. The original drawing is lost; this is Aernout van Buchell’s copy of it. There are four important sources of information about the structure of Elizabethan public playhouses—drawings, a contract, recent excavations, and stage directions in the plays. Of drawings, only the so-called de Witt drawing (c. 1596) of the Swan—really his friend Aernout van Buchell’s copy of Johannes de Witt’s drawing—is of much significance. The drawing, the only extant representation of the interior of an Elizabethan theater, shows an amphitheater of three tiers, with a stage jutting from a wall into the yard or center of the building. The tiers are roofed, and part of the stage is covered by a roof that projects from the rear and is supported at its front on two posts, but the groundlings, who paid a penny to stand in front of the stage or at its sides, were exposed to the sky. (Performances in such a playhouse were held only in the daytime; artificial illumination was not used.) At the rear of the stage are two massive doors; above the stage is a gallery. The second major source of information, the contract for the Fortune (built in 1600), specifies that although the Globe (built in 1599) is to be the model, the Fortune is to be square, eighty feet outside and fifty-five inside. The stage is to be forty-three feet broad, and is to extend into the middle of the yard, i.e., it is twenty-seven and a half feet deep. The third source of information, the 1989 excavations of the Rose (built in 1587), indicate that the Rose was fourteen-sided, about seventy-two feet in diameter with an inner yard almost fifty feet in diameter. The stage at the Rose was about sixteen feet deep, thirty-seven feet wide at the rear, and twenty-seven feet wide downstage. The relatively small dimensions and the tapering stage, in contrast to the rectangular stage in the Swan drawing, surprised theater historians and have made them more cautious in generalizing about the Elizabethan theater. Excavations at the Globe have not yielded much information, though some historians believe that the fragmentary evidence suggests a larger theater, perhaps one hundred feet in diameter. From the fourth chief source, stage directions in the plays, one learns that entrance to the stage was by the doors at the rear (“Enter one citizen at one door, and another at the other”). A curtain hanging across the doorway—or a curtain hanging between the two doorways—could provide a place where a character could conceal himself, as Polonius does, when he wishes to overhear the conversation between Hamlet and Gertrude. Similarly, withdrawing a curtain from the doorway could “discover” (reveal) a character or two. Such discovery scenes are very rare in Elizabethan drama, but a good example occurs in The Tempest (5.1.171), where a stage direction tells us, “Here Prospero discovers Ferdinand and Miranda playing at chess. ” There was also some sort of playing space “aloft” or “above” to represent, for instance, the top of a city’s walls or a room above the street. Doubtless each theater had its own peculiarities, but perhaps we can talk about a “typical” Elizabethan theater if we realize that no theater need exactly fit the description, just as no mother is the average mother with 2.7 children. This hypothetical theater is wooden, round, or polygonal (in Henry V Shakespeare calls it a “wooden O”) capable of holding some eight hundred spectators who stood in the yard around the projecting elevated stage— these spectators were the “groundlings”—and some fifteen hundred additional spectators who sat in the three roofed galleries. The stage, protected by a “shadow” or “heavens” or roof, is entered from two doors; behind the doors is the “tiring house” (attiring house, i.e., dressing room), and above the stage is some sort of gallery that may sometimes hold spectators but can be used (for example) as the bedroom from which Romeo—according to a stage direction in one text—“goeth down.” Some evidence suggests that a throne can be lowered onto the platform stage, perhaps from the “shadow”; certainly characters can descend from the stage through a trap or traps into the cellar or “hell.” Sometimes this space beneath the stage accommodates a sound-effects man or musician (in Antony and Cleopatra “music of the hautboys [oboes] is under the stage”) or an actor (in Hamlet the “Ghost cries under the stage”). Most characters simply walk on and off through the doors, but because there is no curtain in front of the platform, corpses will have to be carried off (Hamlet obligingly clears the stage of Polonius’s corpse, when he says, “I’ll lug the guts into the neighbor room”). Other characters may have fallen at the rear, where a curtain on a doorway could be drawn to conceal them. Such may have been the “public theater,” so called because its inexpensive admission made it available to a wide range of the populace. Another kind of theater has been called the “private theater” because its much greater admission charge (sixpence versus the penny for general admission at the public theater) limited its audience to the wealthy or the prodigal. The private theater was basically a large room, entirely roofed and therefore artificially illuminated, with a stage at one end. The theaters thus were distinct in two ways: One was essentially an amphitheater that catered to the general public; the other was a hall that catered to the wealthy. In 1576 a hall theater was established in Blackfriars, a Dominican priory in London that had been suppressed in 1538 and confiscated by the Crown and thus was not under the city’s jurisdiction. All the actors in this Blackfriars theater were boys about eight to thirteen years old (in the public theaters similar boys played female parts; a boy Lady Macbeth played to a man Macbeth). Near the end of this section on Shakespeare’s theater we will talk at some length about possible implications in this convention of using boys to play female roles, but for the moment we should say that it doubtless accounts for the relative lack of female roles in Elizabethan drama. Thus, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, out of twenty-one named roles, only four are female; in Hamlet, out of twenty-four, only two (Gertrude and Ophelia) are female. Many of Shakespeare’s characters have fathers but no mothers—for instance, King Lear’s daughters. We need not bring in Freud to explain the disparity; a dramatic company had only a few boys in it. To return to the private theaters, in some of which all of the performers were children—the “eyrie of ... little eyases” (nest of unfledged hawks— 2.2.347—48) which Rosencrantz mentions when he and Guildenstern talk with Hamlet. The theater in Blackfriars had a precarious existence, and ceased operations in 1584. In 1596 James Burbage, who had already made theatrical history by building the Theatre, began to construct a second Blackfriars theater. He died in 1597, and for several years this second Blackfriars theater was used by a troupe of boys, but in 1608 two of Burbage’s sons and five other actors (including Shakespeare) became joint operators of the theater, using it in the winter when the open-air Globe was unsuitable. Perhaps such a smaller theater, roofed, artificially illuminated, and with a tradition of a wealthy audience, exerted an influence in Shakespeare’s late plays. Performances in the private theaters may well have had intermissions during which music was played, but in the public theaters the action was probably uninterrupted, flowing from scene to scene almost without a break. Actors would enter, speak, exit, and others would immediately enter and establish (if necessary) the new locale by a few properties and by words and gestures. To indicate that the scene took place at night, a player or two would carry a torch. Here are some samples of Shakespeare establishing the scene: This is Illyria, lady. (Twelfth Night, 1.2.2) Well, this is the Forest of Arden. (As You Like It, 2.4.14) This castle has a pleasant seat; the air Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself Unto our gentle senses. (Macbeth, 1.6.1-3) The west yet glimmers with some streaks of day. (Macbeth, 3.3.5) Sometimes a speech will go far beyond evoking the minimal setting of place and time, and will, so to speak, evoke the social world in which the characters move. For instance, early in the first scene of The Merchant of Venice Salerio suggests an explanation for Antonio’s melancholy. (In the following passage, pageants are decorated wagons, floats, and cursy is the verb “to curtsy,” or “to bow.”) Your mind is tossing on the ocean, There where your argosies with portly sail— Like signiors and rich burghers on the flood, Or as it were the pageants of the sea— Do overpeer the petty traffickers That cursy to them, do them reverence, As they fly by them with their woven wings. (1.1.8-14) Late in the nineteenth century, when Henry Irving produced the play with elaborate illusionistic sets, the first scene showed a ship moored in the harbor, with fruit vendors and dock laborers, in an effort to evoke the bustling and exotic life of Venice. But Shakespeare’s words give us this exotic, rich world of commerce in his highly descriptive language when Salerio speaks of “argosies with portly sail” that fly with “woven wings”; equally important, through Salerio Shakespeare conveys a sense of the orderly, hierarchical society in which the lesser ships, “the petty traffickers,” curtsy and thereby “do ... reverence” to their superiors, the merchant prince’s ships, which are “Like signiors and rich burghers.” On the other hand, it is a mistake to think that except for verbal pictures the Elizabethan stage was bare. Although Shakespeare’s Chorus in Henry V calls the stage an “unworthy scaffold” (Prologue 1.10) and urges the spectators to “eke out our performance with your mind” (Prologue 3.35), there was considerable spectacle. The last act of Macbeth, for instance, has five stage directions calling for “drum and colors, ” and another sort of appeal to the eye is indicated by the stage direction “Enter Macduff, with Macbeth’s head.” Some scenery and properties may have been substantial; doubtless a throne was used, but the pillars supporting the roof would have served for the trees on which Orlando pins his poems in As You Like It. Having talked about the public theater—“this wooden O”—at some length, we should mention again that Shakespeare’s plays were performed also in other locales. Alvin Keman, in Shakespeare, the King’s Playwright: Theater in the Stuart Court 1603-1613 (1995) points out that “several of [Shakespeare‘s] plays contain brief theatrical performances, set always in a court or some noble house. When Shakespeare portrayed a theater, he did not, except for the choruses in Henry V, imagine a public theater” (p. 195). (Examples include episodes in The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, and The Tempest.) A Note on the Use of Boy Actors in Female Roles Until fairly recently, scholars were content to mention that the convention existed; they sometimes also mentioned that it continued the medieval practice of using males in female roles, and that other theaters, notably in ancient Greece and in China and Japan, also used males in female roles. (In classical Noh drama in Japan, males still play the female roles.) Prudery may have been at the root of the academic failure to talk much about the use of boy actors, or maybe there really is not much more to say than that it was a convention of a male-centered culture (Stephen Greenblatt’s view, in Shakespearean Negotiations [1988]). Further, the very nature of a convention is that it is not thought about: Hamlet is a Dane and Julius Caesar is a Roman, but in Shakespeare’s plays they speak English, and we in the audience never give this odd fact a thought. Similarly, a character may speak in the presence of others and we understand, again without thinking about it, that he or she is not heard by the figures on the stage (the aside); a character alone on the stage may speak (the soliloquy), and we do not take the character to be unhinged; in a realistic (box) set, the fourth wall, which allows us to see what is going on, is miraculously missing. The no-nonsense view, then, is that the boy actor was an accepted convention, accepted unthinkingly—just as today we know that Kenneth Branagh is not Hamlet, Al Pacino is not Richard III, and Denzel Washington is not the Prince of Aragon. In this view, the audience takes the performer for the role, and that is that; such is the argument we now make for race-free casting, in which African-Americans and Asians can play roles of persons who lived in medieval Denmark and ancient Rome. But gender perhaps is different, at least today. It is a matter of abundant academic study: The Elizabethan theater is now sometimes called a transvestite theater, and we hear much about cross-dressing. Shakespeare himself in a very few passages calls attention to the use of boys in female roles. At the end of As You Like It the boy who played Rosalind addresses the audience, and says, “O men, ... if I were a woman, I would kiss as many of you as had beards that pleased me.” But this is in the Epilogue; the plot is over, and the actor is stepping out of the play and into the audience’s everyday world. A second reference to the practice of boys playing female roles occurs in Antony and Cleopatra, when Cleopatra imagines that she and Antony will be the subject of crude plays, her role being performed by a boy: The quick comedians Extemporally will stage us, and present Our Alexandrian revels: Antony Shall be brought drunken forth, and I shall see Some squeaking Cleopatra boy my greatness. (5.2.216-20) In a few other passages, Shakespeare is more indirect. For instance, in Twelfth Night Viola, played of course by a boy, disguises herself as a young man and seeks service in the house of a lord. She enlists the help of a Captain, and (by way of explaining away her voice and her beardlessness) says, I’ll serve this duke Thou shalt present me as an eunuch to him. (1.2.55-56) In Hamlet, when the players arrive in 2.2, Hamlet jokes with the boy who plays a female role. The boy has grown since Hamlet last saw him: “By‘r Lady, your ladyship is nearer to heaven than when I saw you last by the altitude of a cho-pine” (a lady’s thick-soled shoe). He goes on: “Pray God your voice ... be not cracked” (434-38). Exactly how sexual, how erotic, this material was and is, is now much disputed. Again, the use of boys may have been unnoticed, or rather not thought about—an unexamined convention—by most or all spectators most of the time, perhaps all of the time, except when Shakespeare calls the convention to the attention of the audience, as in the passages just quoted. Still, an occasional bit seems to invite erotic thoughts. The clearest example is the name that Rosalind takes in As You Like It, Ganymede—the beautiful youth whom Zeus abducted. Did boys dressed to play female roles carry homoerotic appeal for straight men (Lisa Jardine’s view, in Still Harping on Daughters [1983]), or for gay men, or for some or all women in the audience? Further, when the boy actor played a woman who (for the purposes of the plot) disguised herself as a male, as Rosalind, Viola, and Portia do—so we get a boy playing a woman playing a man—what sort of appeal was generated, and for what sort of spectator? Some scholars have argued that the convention empowered women by letting female characters display a freedom unavailable in Renaissance patriarchal society; the convention, it is said, undermined rigid gender distinctions. In this view, the convention (along with plots in which female characters for a while disguised themselves as young men) allowed Shakespeare to say what some modern gender critics say: Gender is a constructed role rather than a biological given, something we make, rather than a fixed binary opposition of male and female (see Juliet Dusinberre, in Shakespeare and the Nature of Women [1975]). On the other hand, some scholars have maintained that the male disguise assumed by some female characters serves only to reaffirm traditional social distinctions since female characters who don male garb (notably Portia in The Merchant of Venice and Rosalind in As You Like It) return to their female garb and at least implicitly (these critics say) reaffirm the status quo. (For this last view, see Clara Claiborne Park, in an essay in The Woman’s Part, ed. Carolyn Ruth Swift Lenz et al. [1980].) Perhaps no one answer is right for all plays; in As You Like It cross-dressing empowers Rosalind, but in Twelfth Night crossdressing comically traps Viola. Shakespeare’s Dramatic Language: Costumes, Gestures and Silences; Prose and Poetry Because Shakespeare was a dramatist, not merely a poet, he worked not only with language but also with costume, sound effects, gestures, and even silences. We have already discussed some kinds of spectacle in the preceding section, and now we will begin with other aspects of visual language; a theater, after all, is literally a “place for seeing.” Consider the opening stage direction in The Tempest, the first play in the first published collection of Shakespeare’s plays: “A tempestuous noise of thunder and Lightning heard: Enter a Shipmaster, and a Boteswain. ” Costumes: What did that shipmaster and that boatswain wear? Doubtless they wore something that identified them as men of the sea. Not much is known about the costumes that Elizabethan actors wore, but at least three points are clear: (1) many of the costumes were splendid versions of contemporary Elizabethan dress; (2) some attempts were made to approximate the dress of certain occupations and of antique or exotic characters such as Romans, Turks, and Jews; (3) some costumes indicated that the wearer was supernatural. Evidence for elaborate Elizabethan clothing can be found in the plays themselves and in contemporary comments about the “sumptuous” players who wore the discarded clothing of noblemen, as well as in account books that itemize such things as “a scarlet cloak with two broad gold laces, with gold buttons down the sides.” The attempts at approximation of the dress of certain occupations and nationalities also can be documented from the plays themselves, and it derives additional confirmation from a drawing of the first scene of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus—the only extant Elizabethan picture of an identifiable episode in a play. (See pp. xxxviii-xxxix.) The drawing, probably done in 1594 or 1595, shows Queen Tamora pleading for mercy. She wears a somewhat medieval-looking robe and a crown; Titus wears a toga and a wreath, but two soldiers behind him wear costumes fairly close to Elizabethan dress. We do not know, however, if the drawing represents an actual stage production in the public theater, or perhaps a private production, or maybe only a reader’s visualization of an episode. Further, there is some conflicting evidence: In Julius Caesar a reference is made to Caesar’s doublet (a close-fitting jacket), which, if taken literally, suggests that even the protagonist did not wear Roman clothing; and certainly the lesser characters, who are said to wear hats, did not wear Roman garb. It should be mentioned, too, that even ordinary clothing can be symbolic: Hamlet’s “inky cloak,” for example, sets him apart from the brightly dressed members of Claudius’s court and symbolizes his mourning; the fresh clothes that are put on King Lear partly symbolize his return to sanity. Consider, too, the removal of disguises near the end of some plays. For instance, Rosalind in As You Like It and Portia and Nerissa in The Merchant of Venice remove their male attire, thus again becoming fully themselves. Gestures and Silences: Gestures are an important part of a dramatist’s language. King Lear kneels before his daughter Cordelia for a benediction (4.7.57-59), an act of humility that contrasts with his earlier speeches banishing her and that contrasts also with a comparable gesture, his ironic kneeling before Regan (2.4.153-55). Northumberland’s failure to kneel before King Richard II (3.3.71-72) speaks volumes. As for silences, consider a moment in Coriolanus: Before the protagonist yields to his mother’s entreaties (5.3.182), there is this stage direction: “Holds her by the hand, silent. ” Another example of “speech in dumbness” occurs in Macbeth, when Macduff learns that his wife and children have been murdered. He is silent at first, as Malcolm’s speech indicates: “What, man! Ne‘er pull your hat upon your brows. Give sorrow words” (4.3.208-09). (For a discussion of such moments, see Philip C. McGuire’s Speechless Dialect: Shakespeare’s Open Silences [1985].) Of course when we think of Shakespeare’s work, we think primarily of his language, both the poetry and the prose. Prose: Although two of his plays (Richard II and King John) have no prose at all, about half the others have at least one quarter of the dialogue in prose, and some have notably more: 1 Henry IV and 2 Henry IV, about half; As You Like It and Twelfth Night, a little more than half; Much Ado About Nothing, more than three quarters; and The Merry Wives of Windsor, a little more than five sixths. We should remember that despite Molière’s joke about M. Jourdain, who was amazed to learn that he spoke prose, most of us do not speak prose. Rather, we normally utter repetitive, shapeless, and often ungrammatical torrents; prose is something very different—a sort of literary imitation of speech at its most coherent. Today we may think of prose as “natural” for drama; or even if we think that poetry is appropriate for high tragedy we may still think that prose is the right medium for comedy. Greek, Roman, and early English comedies, however, were written in verse. In fact, prose was not generally considered a literary medium in England until the late fifteenth century; Chaucer tells even his bawdy stories in verse. By the end of the 1580s, however, prose had established itself on the English comic stage. In tragedy, Marlowe made some use of prose, not simply in the speeches of clownish servants but even in the speech of a tragic hero, Doctor Faustus. Still, before Shakespeare, prose normally was used in the theater only for special circumstances: (1) letters and proclamations, to set them off from the poetic dialogue; (2) mad characters, to indicate that normal thinking has become disordered; and (3) low comedy, or speeches uttered by clowns even when they are not being comic. Shakespeare made use of these conventions, but he also went far beyond them. Sometimes he begins a scene in prose and then shifts into verse as the emotion is heightened; or conversely, he may shift from verse to prose when a speaker is lowering the emotional level, as when Brutus speaks in the Forum. Shakespeare’s prose usually is not prosaic. Hamlet’s prose includes not only small talk with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern but also princely reflections on “What a piece of work is a man” (2.2.312). In conversation with Ophelia, he shifts from light talk in verse to a passionate prose denunciation of women (3.1.103), though the shift to prose here is perhaps also intended to suggest the possibility of madness. (Consult Brian Vickers, The Artistry of Shakespeare’s Prose [1968].) Poetry: Drama in rhyme in England goes back to the Middle Ages, but by Shakespeare’s day rhyme no longer dominated poetic drama; a finer medium, blank verse (strictly speaking, unrhymed lines of ten syllables, with the stress on every second syllable) had been adopted. But before looking at unrhymed poetry, a few things should be said about the chief uses of rhyme in Shakespeare’s plays. (1) A couplet (a pair of rhyming lines) is sometimes used to convey emotional heightening at the end of a blank verse speech; (2) characters sometimes speak a couplet as they leave the stage, suggesting closure; (3) except in the latest plays, scenes fairly often conclude with a couplet, and sometimes, as in Richard II, 2.1.145-46, the entrance of a new character within a scene is preceded by a couplet, which wraps up the earlier portion of that scene; (4) speeches of two characters occasionally are linked by rhyme, most notably in Romeo and Juliet, 1.5.95-108, where the lovers speak a sonnet between them; elsewhere a taunting reply occasionally rhymes with the previous speaker’s last line; (5) speeches with sententious or gnomic remarks are sometimes in rhyme, as in the duke’s speech in Othello (1.3.199-206); (6) speeches of sardonic mockery are sometimes in rhyme—for example, Iago’s speech on women in Othello (2.1.146-58)—and they sometimes conclude with an emphatic couplet, as in Bolingbroke’s speech on comforting words in Richard II (1.3.301-2); (7) some characters are associated with rhyme, such as the fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; (8) in the early plays, especially The Comedy of Errors and The Taming of the Shrew, comic scenes that in later plays would be in prose are in jingling rhymes; (9) prologues, choruses, plays-within-the-play, inscriptions, vows, epilogues, and so on are often in rhyme, and the songs in the plays are rhymed. Neither prose nor rhyme immediately comes to mind when we first think of Shakespeare’s medium: It is blank verse, unrhymed iambic pentameter. (In a mechanically exact line there are five iambic feet. An iambic foot consists of two syllables, the second accented, as in away; five feet make a pentameter line. Thus, a strict line of iambic pentameter contains ten syllables, the even syllables being stressed more heavily than the odd syllables. Fortunately, Shakespeare usually varies the line somewhat.) The first speech in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, spoken by Duke Theseus to his betrothed, is an example of blank verse: Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour Draws on apace. Four happy days bring in Another moon; but, O, methinks, how slow This old moon wanes! She lingers my desires, Like to a stepdame, or a dowager, Long withering out a young man’s revenue. (1.1.1—6) As this passage shows, Shakespeare’s blank verse is not mechanically unvarying. Though the predominant foot is the iamb (as in apace or desires), there are numerous variations. In the first line the stress can be placed on “fair,” as the regular metrical pattern suggests, but it is likely that “Now” gets almost as much emphasis; probably in the second line “Draws” is more heavily emphasized than “on,” giving us a trochee (a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed one); and in the fourth line each word in the phrase “This old moon wanes” is probably stressed fairly heavily, conveying by two spondees (two feet, each of two stresses) the oppressive tedium that Theseus feels. In Shakespeare’s early plays much of the blank verse is end-stopped (that is, it has a heavy pause at the end of each line), but he later developed the ability to write iambic pentameter verse paragraphs (rather than lines) that give the illusion of speech. His chief techniques are (1) enjambing, i.e., running the thought beyond the single line, as in the first three lines of the speech just quoted; (2) occasionally replacing an iamb with another foot; (3) varying the position of the chief pause (the caesura) within a line; (4) adding an occasional unstressed syllable at the end of a line, traditionally called a feminine ending; (5) and beginning or ending a speech with a half line. Shakespeare’s mature blank verse has much of the rhythmic flexibility of his prose; both the language, though richly figurative and sometimes dense, and the syntax seem natural. It is also often highly appropriate to a particular character. Consider, for instance, this speech from Hamlet, in which Claudius, King of Denmark (“the Dane”), speaks to Laertes: And now, Laertes, what’s the news with you? You told us of some suit. What is‘t, Laertes? You cannot speak of reason to the Dane And lose your voice. What wouldst thou beg, Laertes, That shall not be my offer, not thy asking? (1.2.42-46) Notice the short sentences and the repetition of the name “Laertes,” to whom the speech is addressed. Notice, too, the shift from the royal “us” in the second line to the more intimate “my” in the last line, and from “you” in the first three lines to the more intimate “thou” and “thy” in the last two lines. Claudius knows how to ingratiate himself with Laertes. For a second example of the flexibility of Shakespeare’s blank verse, consider a passage from Macbeth. Distressed by the doctor’s inability to cure Lady Macbeth and by the imminent battle, Macbeth addresses some of his remarks to the doctor and others to the servant who is arming him. The entire speech, with its pauses, interruptions, and irresolution (in “Pull’t off, I say,” Macbeth orders the servant to remove the armor that the servant has been putting on him), catches Macbeth’s disintegration. (In the first line, physic means “medicine,” and in the fourth and fifth lines, cast the water means “analyze the urine.”) Throw physic to the dogs, I’ll none of it. Come, put mine armor on. Give me my staff. Seyton, send out.—Doctor, the thanes fly from me.— Come, sir, dispatch. If thou couldst, doctor, cast The water of my land, find her disease And purge it to a sound and pristine health, I would applaud thee to the very echo, That should applaud again.—Pull’t off, I say.— What rhubarb, senna, or what purgative drug, Would scour these English hence? Hear‘st thou of them? (5.3.47-56) Blank verse, then, can be much more than unrhymed iambic pentameter, and even within a single play Shakespeare’s blank verse often consists of several styles, depending on the speaker and on the speaker’s emotion at the moment. The Play Text as a Collaboration Shakespeare’s fellow dramatist Ben Jonson reported that the actors said of Shakespeare, “In his writing, whatsoever he penned, he never blotted out line,” i.e., never crossed out material and revised his work while composing. None of Shakespeare’s plays survives in manuscript (with the possible exception of a scene in Sir Thomas More), so we cannot fully evaluate the comment, but in a few instances the published work clearly shows that he revised his manuscript. Consider the following passage (shown here in facsimile) from the best early text of Romeo and Juliet, the Second Quarto (1599): Romeo rather elaborately tells us that the sun at dawn is dispelling the night (morning is smiling, the eastern clouds are checked with light, and the sun’s chariot—Titan’s wheels—advances), and he will seek out his spiritual father, the Friar. He exits and, oddly, the Friar enters and says pretty much the same thing about the sun. Both speakers say that “the gray-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night,” but there are small differences, perhaps having more to do with the business of printing the book than with the author’s composition: For Romeo’s “checkring,” “fleckted,” and “pathway,” we get the Friar’s “checking,” “fleckeld,” and “path.” (Notice, by the way, the inconsistency in Elizabethan spelling: Romeo’s “clouds” become the Friar’s “clowdes.”) Both versions must have been in the printer’s copy, and it seems safe to assume that both were in Shakespeare’s manuscript. He must have written one version—let’s say he first wrote Romeo’s closing lines for this scene— and then he decided, no, it’s better to give this lyrical passage to the Friar, as the opening of a new scene, but he neglected to delete the first version. Editors must make a choice, and they may feel that the reasonable thing to do is to print the text as Shakespeare intended it. But how can we know what he intended? Almost all modem editors delete the lines from Romeo’s speech, and retain the Friar’s lines. They don’t do this because they know Shakespeare’s intention, however. They give the lines to the Friar because the first published version (1597) of Romeo and Juliet gives only the Friar’s version, and this text (though in many ways inferior to the 1599 text) is thought to derive from the memory of some actors, that is, it is thought to represent a performance, not just a script. Maybe during the course of rehearsals Shakespeare—an actor as well as an author—unilaterally decided that the Friar should speak the lines; if so (remember that we don’t know this to be a fact) his final intention was to give the speech to the Friar. Maybe, however, the actors talked it over and settled on the Friar, with or without Shakespeare’s approval. On the other hand, despite the 1597 version, one might argue (if only weakly) on behalf of giving the lines to Romeo rather than to the Friar, thus: (1) Romeo’s comment on the coming of the daylight emphasizes his separation from Juliet, and (2) the figurative language seems more appropriate to Romeo than to the Friar. Having said this, in the Signet edition we have decided in this instance to draw on the evidence provided by earlier text and to give the lines to the Friar, on the grounds that since Q1 reflects a production, in the theater (at least on one occasion) the lines were spoken by the Friar. A playwright sold a script to a theatrical company. The script thus belonged to the company, not the author, and author and company alike must have regarded this script not as a literary work but as the basis for a play that the actors would create on the stage. We speak of Shakespeare as the author of the plays, but readers should bear in mind that the texts they read, even when derived from a single text, such as the First Folio (1623), are inevitably the collaborative work not simply of Shakespeare with his company—doubtless during rehearsals the actors would suggest alterations —but also with other forces of the age. One force was governmental censorship. In 1606 parliament passed “an Act to restrain abuses of players,” prohibiting the utterance of oaths and the name of God. So where the earliest text of Othello gives us “By heaven” (3.3.106), the first Folio gives “Alas,” presumably reflecting the compliance of stage practice with the law. Similarly, the 1623 version of King Lear omits the oath “Fut”(probably from “By God’s foot”) at 1.2.142, again presumably reflecting the line as it was spoken on the stage. Editors who seek to give the reader the play that Shakespeare initially conceived—the “authentic” play conceived by the solitary Shakespeare—probably will restore the missing oaths and references to God. Other editors, who see the play as a collaborative work, a construction made not only by Shakespeare but also by actors and compositors and even government censors, may claim that what counts is the play as it was actually performed. Such editors regard the censored text as legitimate, since it is the play that was (presumably) finally put on. A performed text, they argue, has more historical reality than a text produced by an editor who has sought to get at what Shakespeare initially wrote. In this view, the text of a play is rather like the script of a film; the script is not the film, and the play text is not the performed play. Even if we want to talk about the play that Shakespeare “intended,” we will find ourselves talking about a script that he handed over to a company with the intention that it be implemented by actors. The “intended” play is the one that the actors—we might almost say “society”—would help to construct. Further, it is now widely held that a play is also the work of readers and spectators, who do not simply receive meaning, but who create it when they respond to the play. This idea is fully in accord with contemporary poststructuralist critical thinking, notably Roland Barthes’s “The Death of the Author,” in Image-Music-Text (1977) and Michel Foucault’s “What Is an Author?,” in The Foucault Reader (1984). The gist of the idea is that an author is not an isolated genius; rather, authors are subject to the politics and other social structures of their age. A dramatist especially is a worker in a collaborative project, working most obviously with actors—parts may be written for particular actors—but working also with the audience. Consider the words of Samuel Johnson, written to be spoken by the actor David Garrick at the opening of a theater in 1747: The stage but echoes back the public voice; The drama’s laws, the drama’s patrons give, For we that live to please, must please to live. The audience—the public taste as understood by the playwright—helps to determine what the play is. Moreover, even members of the public who are not part of the playwright’s immediate audience may exert an influence through censorship. We have already glanced at governmental censorship, but there are also other kinds. Take one of Shakespeare’s most beloved characters, Falstaff, who appears in three of Shakespeare’s plays, the two parts of Henry IV and The Merry Wives of Windsor. He appears with this name in the earliest printed version of the first of these plays, I Henry IV, but we know that Shakespeare originally called him (after an historical figure) Sir John Oldcastle. Oldcastle appears in Shakespeare’s source (partly reprinted in the Signet edition of 1 Henry IV), and a trace of the name survives in Shakespeare’s play, 1.2.43-44, where Prince Hal punningly addresses Falstaff as “my old lad of the castle.” But for some reason—perhaps because the family of the historical Oldcastle complained —Shakespeare had to change the name. In short, the play as we have it was (at least in this detail) subject to some sort of censorship. If we think that a text should present what we take to be the author’s intention, we probably will want to replace Falstaff with Oldcastle. But if we recognize that a play is a collaboration, we may welcome the change, even if it was forced on Shakespeare. Somehow Falstaff, with its hint of false-staff, i.e., inadequate prop, seems just right for this fat knight who, to our delight, entertains the young prince with untruths. We can go as far as saying that, at least so far as a play is concerned, an insistence on the author’s original intention (even if we could know it) can sometimes impoverish the text. The tiny example of Falstaff’s name illustrates the point that the text we read is inevitably only a version—something in effect produced by the collaboration of the playwright with his actors, audiences, compositors, and editors—of a fluid text that Shakespeare once wrote, just as the Hamlet that we see on the screen starring Kenneth Branagh is not the Hamlet that Shakespeare saw in an open-air playhouse starring Richard Burbage. Hamlet itself, as we shall note in a moment, also exists in several versions. It is not surprising that there is now much talk about the instability of Shakespeare’s texts. Because he was not only a playwright but was also an actor and a shareholder in a theatrical company, Shakespeare probably was much involved with the translation of the play from a manuscript to a stage production. He may or may not have done some rewriting during rehearsals, and he may or may not have been happy with cuts that were made. Some plays, notably Hamlet and King Lear, are so long that it is most unlikely that the texts we read were acted in their entirety. Further, for both of these plays we have more than one early text that demands consideration. In Hamlet, the Second Quarto (1604) includes some two hundred lines not found in the Folio (1623). Among the passages missing from the Folio are two of Hamlet’s reflective speeches, the “dram of evil” speech (1.4.13-38) and “How all occasions do inform against me” (4.4.32-66). Since the Folio has more numerous and often fuller stage directions, it certainly looks as though in the Folio we get a theatrical version of the play, a text whose cuts were probably made—this is only a hunch, of course—not because Shakespeare was changing his conception of Hamlet but because the playhouse demanded a modified play. (The problem is complicated, since the Folio not only cuts some of the Quarto but adds some material. Various explanations have been offered.) Or take an example from King Lear. In the First and Second Quarto (1608, 1619), the final speech of the play is given to Albany, Lear’s surviving son-in-law, but in the First Folio version (1623), the speech is given to Edgar. The Quarto version is in accord with tradition—usually the highest-ranking character in a tragedy speaks the final words. Why does the Folio give the speech to Edgar? One possible answer is this: The Folio version omits some of Albany’s speeches in earlier scenes, so perhaps it was decided (by Shakespeare? by the players?) not to give the final lines to so pale a character. In fact, the discrepancies are so many between the two texts, that some scholars argue we do not simply have texts showing different theatrical productions. Rather, these scholars say, Shakespeare substantially revised the play, and we really have two versions of King Lear (and of Othello also, say some)—two different plays—not simply two texts, each of which is in some ways imperfect. In this view, the 1608 version of Lear may derive from Shakespeare’s manuscript, and the 1623 version may derive from his later revision. The Quartos have almost three hundred lines not in the Folio, and the Folio has about a hundred lines not in the Quartos. It used to be held that all the texts were imperfect in various ways and from various causes—some passages in the Quartos were thought to have been set from a manuscript that was not entirely legible, other passages were thought to have been set by a compositor who was new to setting plays, and still other passages were thought to have been provided by an actor who misremem bered some of the lines. This traditional view held that an editor must draw on the Quartos and the Folio in order to get Shakespeare’s “real” play. The new argument holds (although not without considerable strain) that we have two authentic plays, Shakespeare’s early version (in the Quarto) and Shakespeare‘s—or his theatrical company’s—revised version (in the Folio). Not only theatrical demands but also Shakespeare’s own artistic sense, it is argued, called for extensive revisions. Even the titles vary: Q1 is called True Chronicle Historie of the life and death of King Lear and his three Daughters, whereas the Folio text is called The Tragedie of King Lear. To combine the two texts in order to produce what the editor thinks is the play that Shakespeare intended to write is, according to this view, to produce a text that is false to the history of the play. If the new view is correct, and we do have texts of two distinct versions of Lear rather than two imperfect versions of one play, it supports in a textual way the poststructuralist view that we cannot possibly have an unmediated vision of (in this case) a play by Shakespeare; we can only recognize a plurality of visions. Editing Texts Though eighteen of his plays were published during his lifetime, Shakespeare seems never to have supervised their publication. There is nothing unusual here; when a playwright sold a play to a theatrical company he surrendered his ownership to it. Normally a company would not publish the play, because to publish it meant to allow competitors to acquire the piece. Some plays did get published: Apparently hard-up actors sometimes pieced together a play for a publisher; sometimes a company in need of money sold a play; and sometimes a company allowed publication of a play that no longer drew audiences. That Shakespeare did not concern himself with publication is not remarkable; of his contemporaries, only Ben Jonson carefully supervised the publication of his own plays. In 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death, John Heminges and Henry Condell (two senior members of Shakespeare’s company, who had worked with him for about twenty years) collected his plays—published and unpublished—into a large volume, of a kind called a folio. (A folio is a volume consisting of large sheets that have been folded once, each sheet thus making two leaves, or four pages. The size of the page of course depends on the size of the sheet—a folio can range in height from twelve to sixteen inches, and in width from eight to eleven; the pages in the 1623 edition of Shakespeare, commonly called the First Folio, are approximately thirteen inches tall and eight inches wide.) The eighteen plays published during Shakespeare’s lifetime had been issued one play per volume in small formats called quartos. (Each sheet in a quarto has been folded twice, making four leaves, or eight pages, each page being about nine inches tall and seven inches wide, roughly the size of a large paperback.) Heminges and Condell suggest in an address “To the great variety of readers” that the republished plays are presented in better form than in the quartos: Before you were abused with diverse stolen and surreptitious copies, maimed and deformed by the frauds and stealths of injurious impostors that exposed them; even those, are now offered to your view cured and perfect of their limbs, and all the rest absolute in their numbers, as he [i.e., Shakespeare] conceived them. There is a good deal of truth to this statement, but some of the quarto versions are better than others; some are in fact preferable to the Folio text. Whoever was assigned to prepare the texts for publication in the first Folio seems to have taken the job seriously and yet not to have performed it with uniform care. The sources of the texts seem to have been, in general, good unpublished copies or the best published copies. The first play in the collection, The Tempest, is divided into acts and scenes, has unusually full stage directions and descriptions of spectacle, and concludes with a list of the characters, but the editor was not able (or willing) to present all of the succeeding texts so fully dressed. Later texts occasionally show signs of carelessness: in one scene of Much Ado About Nothing the names of actors, instead of characters, appear as speech prefixes, as they had in the Quarto, which the Folio reprints; proofreading throughout the Folio is spotty and apparently was done without reference to the printer’s copy; the pagination of Hamlet jumps from 156 to 257. Further, the proofreading was done while the presses continued to print, so that each play in each volume contains a mix of corrected and uncorrected pages. Modern editors of Shakespeare must first select their copy; no problem if the play exists only in the Folio, but a considerable problem if the relationship between a Quarto and the Folio—or an early Quarto and a later one—is unclear. In the case of Romeo and Juliet, the First Quarto (Q1), published in 1597, is vastly inferior to the Second (Q2), published in 1599. The basis of Q1 apparently is a version put together from memory by some actors. Not surprisingly, it garbles many passages and is much shorter than Q2. On the other hand, occasionally Q1 makes better sense than Q2. For instance, near the end of the play, when the parents have assembled and learned of the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, in Q2 the Prince says (5.3.208— 9), Come, Montague; for thou art early vp To see thy sonne and heire, now earling downe. The last three words of this speech surely do not make sense, and many editors turn to Q1, which instead of “now earling downe” has “more early downe.” Some modern editors take only “early” from Q1, and print “now early down”; others take “more early,” and print “more early down.” Further, Q1 (though, again, quite clearly a garbled and abbreviated text) includes some stage directions that are not found in Q2, and today many editors who base their text on Q2 are glad to add these stage directions, because the directions help to give us a sense of what the play looked like on Shakespeare’s stage. Thus, in 4.3.58, after Juliet drinks the potion, Q1 gives us this stage direction, not in Q2: “She falls upon her bed within the curtains. ” In short, an editor’s decisions do not end with the choice of a single copy text. First of all, editors must reckon with Elizabethan spelling. If they are not producing a facsimile, they probably modernize the spelling, but ought they to preserve the old forms of words that apparently were pronounced quite unlike their modem forms—lanthorn, alablaster? If they preserve these forms are they really preserving Shakespeare’s forms or perhaps those of a compositor in the printing house? What is one to do when one finds lanthorn and lantern in adjacent lines? (The editors of this series in general, but not invariably, assume that words should be spelled in their modern form, unless, for instance, a rhyme is involved.) Elizabethan punctuation, too, presents problems. For example, in the First Folio, the only text for the play, Macbeth rejects his wife’s idea that he can wash the blood from his hand (2.2.60-62): No: this my Hand will rather The multitudinous Seas incamardine, Making the Greene one, Red. Obviously an editor will remove the superfluous capitals, and will probably alter the spelling to “incarnadine,” but what about the comma before “Red”? If we retain the comma, Macbeth is calling the sea “the green one.” If we drop the comma, Macbeth is saying that his bloody hand will make the sea (“the Green”) uniformly red. An editor will sometimes have to change more than spelling and punctuation. Macbeth says to his wife (1.7.46-47): I dare do all that may become a man, Who dares no more, is none. For two centuries editors have agreed that the second line is unsatisfactory, and have emended “no” to “do”: “Who dares do more is none.” But when in the same play (4.2.21-22) Ross says that fearful persons Floate vpon a wilde and violent Sea Each way, and moue, need we emend the passage? On the assumption that the compositor misread the manuscript, some editors emend “each way, and move” to “and move each way”; others emend “move” to “none” (i.e., “Each way and none”). Other editors, however, let the passage stand as in the original. The editors of the Signet Classic Shakespeare have restrained themselves from making abundant emendations. In their minds they hear Samuel Johnson on the dangers of emendation: “I have adopted the Roman sentiment, that it is more honorable to save a citizen than to kill an enemy.” Some departures (in addition to spelling, punctuation, and lineation) from the copy text have of course been made, but the original readings are listed in a note following the play, so that readers can evaluate the changes for themselves. Following tradition, the editors of the Signet Classic Shakespeare have prefaced each play with a list of characters, and throughout the play have regularized the names of the speakers. Thus, in our text of Romeo and Juliet, all speeches by Juliet’s mother are prefixed “Lady Capulet,” although the 1599 Quarto of the play, which provides our copy text, uses at various points seven speech tags for this one character: Capu. Wi. (i.e., Capulet’s wife), Ca. Wi., Wi., Wife, Old La. (i.e., Old Lady), La., and Mo. (i.e., Mother). Similarly, in All’s Well That Ends Well, the character whom we regularly call “Countess” is in the Folio (the copy text) variously identified as Mother, Countess, Old Countess, Lady, and Old Lady. Admittedly there is some loss in regularizing, since the various prefixes may give us a hint of the way Shakespeare (or a scribe who copied Shakespeare’s manuscript) was thinking of the character in a particular scene—for instance, as a mother, or as an old lady. But too much can be made of these differing prefixes, since the social relationships implied are not always relevant to the given scene. We have also added line numbers and in many cases act and scene divisions as well as indications of locale at the beginning of scenes. The Folio divided most of the plays into acts and some into scenes. Early eighteenth-century editors increased the divisions. These divisions, which provide a convenient way of referring to passages in the plays, have been retained, but when not in the text chosen as the basis for the Signet Classic text they are enclosed within square brackets, [ ], to indicate that they are editorial additions. Similarly, though no play of Shakespeare’s was equipped with indications of the locale at the heads of scene divisions, locales have here been added in square brackets for the convenience of readers, who lack the information that costumes, properties, gestures, and scenery afford to spectators. Spectators can tell at a glance they are in the throne room, but without an editorial indication the reader may be puzzled for a while. It should be mentioned, incidentally, that there are a few authentic stage directions—perhaps Shakespeare‘s, perhaps a prompter’s— that suggest locales, such as “Enter Brutus in his orchard, ” and “They go up into the Senate house. ” It is hoped that the bracketed additions in the Signet text will provide readers with the sort of help provided by these two authentic directions, but it is equally hoped that the reader will remember that the stage was not loaded with scenery. Shakespeare on the Stage Each volume in the Signet Classic Shakespeare includes a brief stage (and sometimes film) history of the play. When we read about earlier productions, we are likely to find them eccentric, obvious...
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Engl 2310/ World Lit
Reading Analysis #4
Option #1 – Compare/Contrast the Theme of Control
Even though the theme of control has been portrayed differently in these two stories, it is
one of the dominant themes displayed by the characters. In William Shakespeare (The Tempest)
and Samuel Becket (Acts Without Words 1), the theme of control has been demonstrated in terms
of the act of controlling (other people, or knowledge, or land) or the feeling of being controlled.
Generally, this reading analysis paper will critically compare/contrast the theme of control and
its consequences based on the two novels, as well as exploring the personal connection to the
The Act of Controlling/the Feeling of Being Controlled & Its Consequences
“The Tempest” by Shakespeare is centrally concerned with the theme of control that is
demonstrated through characters like Prospero, Sebastian, and Antonio. In the quest to seek
power by the ruling, many of the characters like Prospero (the right Duke of Milan) try to use
illusion and manipulation in order to take control of the uninhabited Island (78). The characters
are much concerned with controlling untamed environments. Also, “The Tempest” demonstrated

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the act of controlling other people through the main character, Prospero, where he is seen making
Caliban and Ariel his servants through manipulation and magical powers. Additionally, he uses

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