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'By gift of my chaste body' : women as gifts in early modern England and its drama 2008

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‘BY GWF OF MY CHASTE BODY’: WOMEN AS GIFTS IN EARLY MODERN ENGLAND AND ITS DRAMA by ANDREA VAN DEIJCK Honours BA, University of Toronto, 1996 MA (Shakespeare Studies), Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, 1998 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (English) THE UNWERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMifiA DECEMBER 2008 © Andrea van Deijck, 2008 Abstract This thesis explores various facets of women’s participation in the gift system of early modern England, such as giving, refusing, withholding, and rejecting. Using historical and dramatic examples, I argue that women were able to transform themselves into sexual gifts, thus becoming subject and object in the exchange and resisting their objectification by men. The agency this afforded them was paradoxical and disquieting in the male-dominated society; gifts were considered acceptable and yet the agency was transgressive because women were supposed to be obedient and retiring. Women’s gifts allowed them to make and reject marriage proposals, thus circumventing male authority and their own objectification in an age when women were often passed between men in marriage. The drama was one medium for working out the cultural conflicts associated with woman as gift, and in the process, genre was interrogated and sometimes transformed as plays which raised the issues and conflicts could not always fully contain them. Genre was, in turn, used to comment on the issue of woman as gift by the playwrights who sought to work through the issues of women’s gift-giving. Table of Contents Abstract .i Table of Contents ii Acknowledgements iii Dedication iv Chapter One: Female Giving: Reconsidering the Gift 1 Notes to Introduction 29 Chapter Two: “She is herself a dower”: Women’s Presence/Presents as Social Power 34 Notes to Chapter One 67 Chapter Three: “The gift hath made me happy”: Redefining the Gift in The Merchant of Venice 79 Notes to Chapter Two 110 Chapter Four: “Father as it please me”: Women’s Choosing and Refusing in All ‘s Well That Ends Well and ‘Tis Pity She ‘s aWhore 116 Notes to Chapter Three 164 Chapter Five: “Give him all.. .your excellent self’: Private negotiations on women’s terms in The Taming of the Shrew and Women Beware Women 174 Notes to Chapter Four J. . .‘.‘Z 219 Conclusion: “As if the gifts we partedwith procured/That violent destruction”: the complexity of women’s giving 225 Notes to Conclusion 230 Works Cited 231 III Acknowledgements This work would not have been possible without the unending support of my colleagues, friends, and family. I am particularly indebted to my supervisor, Anthony Dawson, for his endless patience and scholarly support throughout the writing of this dissertation, and for his encouragement throughout the project. I would also like to thank the other members of my committee, Patricia Badir and Elizabeth Hodgson, for their encouragement, generosity with resources, and many fruitful conversations about the project. Although the other scholars who have inspired me over the years are too numerous to mention, I am grateful to Katharine Patterson, who is a constant source of support. I owe a debt of gratitude to Peter Holland who first challenged my thinking about the gift; Martin Wiggins, who offered considerable wisdom, encouragement, and support in my MA; and Andrew Patenall, my undergraduate professor in early modem drama, who introduced me to so many of Shakespeare’s contemporaries and fostered my love of early modem drama. I owe more than I can express here to my friends and family. To Bridget Donald who, over many cups of coffee, would listen to my ideas and help me clarify my thinking during many moments of mystification; to Katherine Willems Heisen for her support and willingness to respond to my thoughts and to my best friend, Susan Farmer, for her faith and love. Most of all, I thank my sister, Colleen, for her eternal belief and support. Her readiness to listen as I worked through problems, and often reworked the same material, was invaluable. This dissertation could not have been completed without the Rick Hansen Fellowship and the Paetzold fellowship. I am grateful for the generosity of Mr. Hansen and Mrs. Paetzold, who enhanced my ability to conduct research. iv Dedication I dedicate this work to my late father, Bob Vandeyck. He was denied the opportunity for a higher education, but he always supported me in my quest for one and never doubted that I would achieve my goal. His love and support are gifts that remain with me. V Chapter One: Female Giving and the Gift Reconsidered When Francis Drake returned from his global voyage in 1581, Elizabeth I sequestered his plunder. She was compelled to this action because of the tense relations between England and Spain and was cautious that she might be required to return the bounty to assure peace. The Queen nonetheless secretly allowed Drake to keep ten thousand pounds worth) Publicly, Elizabeth received Drake at court, listened with delight to his story, and later visited Deptford where she boarded his ship the Golden Hind and knighted him. At this critical juncture in English-Spanish relations, Elizabeth’s actions were impudent bravura, but they were also political art.2 For the Queen was well aware of the power gained by gift giving and used prestation (acts of giving that are implicitly obligatory3)extensively to ensure her subjects’ loyalty at a time of international and domestic political instability. The bounty became Elizabeth’s gift to Drake, even though it was Drake’s material property since he had plundered it. The personal visits and attention from Elizabeth ‘made ‘Drake a beneficiary of an intangible gift that was Elizabeth’s alone to bestow, the gift of her bodily presence. It was a gift she used skilfully to manage her courtiers. What does Elizabeth’s use of the gift tell us about how gifts functioned in early modern England? How did status affect the gift? How did gender affect the gift? If the female body was considered a gift, how could it be bestowed? In the male- dominated society of early modern England, what agency did gift giving afford women? These questions raise issues that I will explore in this dissertation through historical examples and the drama of early modern England. Elizabeth’s use of her body as a gift was not unique. Women in early modern England used their bodies as gifts when bestowing themselves in marriage and this practice was taken up in the drama. Fathers bestowing their daughters in marriage was the cultural standard, one 1 reinforced in both the period’s conduct literature and the drama. Historians have begun to revise this opinion, however, by demonstrating that few women were actually forced into unwanted marriages, but the impression persists, perhaps because of the vivid examples of Lady Penelope Devereux Rich and Frances Coke Villiers.4 Yet, even in the cases of unwanted marriages women often still retained a sense of self and agency in bestowing themselves in marriage. For instance, A Midsummer Night Dream opens with Egeus appealing to Duke Theseus for justice because his daughter, Hermia, has beeri promised in marriage to Demetrius but has exchanged tokens with Lysander, thus making her own marital arrangements. Duke Theseus sides with Egeus and threatens Hermia with death or a cloistered convent if she does not comply with the proposed marriage to Demetrius. Theseus is trying to usurp Hermia’s power to deny her body and thus eliminate a suitor.5 Still, Hermia responds to the Duke, So I will grow, so live, so die, my lord, Ere I will yield my virgin patent up Unto his lordship whose unwishèd yoke My soul consents not to yield sovereignty (1.1 .7982).6 According to Claude Levi-Strauss, women in “primitive” societies are exchanged between men in marriage to affirm male bonds, a function women also fulfilled in early modern England.7 Yet in Shakespeare’s play, Hermia refuses to be such an object of exchange. What does this tell us about female agency in the period? Can refusing to be a gift passed between men be an expression of agency on par with, or even exceeding that of, giving a gift? In refusing to yield up her sovereignty, what claims is Hermia making for herself? She is surrounded by men, father, lord, lover, who claim her as property, (Egeus, “As she is mine, I may dispose of her” (1.1.42); Demetrius speaks of his right to her, etc.), but she stakes a property claim for herself and the privilege of giving, and refusing to give, herself 2 Using anthropological models of gift exchange and providing connections between the cultures of these studies and that of early modem England, I will consider how the dynamics of gift exchange functioned in the drama of the period. Although work has been done in this area,8 my approach is different. In addition to looking at women’s use of gifts, I suggest that women in the period were self-conscious gifts, that is, they deliberately fashioned themselves as gifts in marriage, whether it was a marriage of their own making or one that was arranged for them. Women’s use of their bodies as gifts also occurred throughout the subtle and nuanced marital negotiations that transpired after the formal marriage ceremonies as couples sought to establish and maintain personal relationships with one another. Although the subject of my dissertation is historically specific, the question of woman as gift has larger implications for discourse on the “traffic in women” and for feminism in general.9 Claude Levi-Strauss argues in The Elementary Structures ofKinship that women are the ultimate form of the gift. Although he positioned women as an object of exchange, his contention about woman as gift can be valid when women are both subject and object of the exchange, when they consciously fashion themselves as gifts, and specifically, when they fashioned themselves as erotic gifts in marriage in early modem England. My argument avoids the subject/object dichotomy created by gift theory because women are both the subject and object in the exchange, a formulation akin to Jan van Baal’s proposal that women are subjects acting as objects when passed between men in marriage in some “primitive” societies.10 My argument also complicates the gift/commodity dichotomy of gift theory because when women metamorphose themselves into gifts, they are simultaneously a gift and a (self-negotiated) commodity. This metamorphosis permits women to place an inherent value on themselves, as Hermia does. More importantly, it 3 opens up possibilities of agency that are free from the usual gift obligations Marcel Mauss identified. In courtship, women are able to refuse gifts aicl torefuse reciprocation of gifts, even when expected or compelled to do so. This refusal is not just a refusal of a suitor, it is a refusal of an identity, namely the future identity of spouse and thus giver of future sexual gifts. The refusals are, simply, women’s refusal of themselves as gifts. According to Mauss, the refusal to accept a gift and the refusal to give are tantamount to a declaration of war. Of course Mauss was analyzing gift exchange between groups and I am dealing with gift exchange between individuals, but the refusal of a gift is still a refusal of social relations and would, at the very least, result in tense relations. In courtship negotiations, refusals are certainly a refusal of a certain kind of social relation, the formation of marriage, but the refusal does not, necessarily, cause tense relations between those seeking to afflrm bonds via the marriage and thus does not support Mauss’s conclusion about obligatory facets of the gifts. My exploration of courtship gifts and women’s refusals of courtship gifts (and thus to be made gifts) were, perhaps, more powerful expressions of female agency. Gift Exchange: the work thus far Marcel Mauss established the tenets of gift theory in his work Essai sur le Don, Forme archaique de 1 ‘échange, translated as The Gfl: Forms and Functions ofExchange in Archaic Societies. Studying what he termed “so-called primitive societies”, Mauss shows that gift exchange both dominates and regulates social intercourse. These societies lack currency in the modem sense, i.e., there is no coined money, modem contracts, sales or capital. Gifts have economic significance, but also have legal, social, political, religious, and aesthetic significance. Gift exchange may appear voluntary, but i actually obligatory and there are three obligatory 4 facets to the gift system: the gift must be given, received, and reciprocated.” Gifts take diverse forms, ranging from goods of value, to services, to women and children, which leads Mauss to locate the gift’s value in the mutually dependent social bonds it establishes and articulates.’2 Gifts create and reinforce hierarchical relationships; until the gift is repaid, the recipient is in the giver’s debt, and if the giver’s gift exceeds the recipient’s ability to repay the gift, then a perpetual debt is established, thus garnering power for the gift giver until the gift is repaid. The gift is also a way of buying peace since to refuse any of the three obligatory facets of the gift is tantamount to a declaration of war.13 For example, the North Andaman pygmies believe the function of gift exchange is to produce friendly feelings between partners and therefore gifts cannot be refused. For this tribe and other “primitive societies,” to refuse a gift is essentially to declare war because friendship and social intercourse are being refused. Simultaneously, gift exchange can have hostile undertones. Rivalries may emerge as individuals attempt to surpass each other in lavishness. Moreover, gifts can be used as a power strategy since giving beyond the recipient’s ability to reciprocate causes humiliation. Arguing that each gift is endowed with a spiritual part of the bestower, Mauss locates the power of the bestower over the recipient in this mystic facet of the gift. Whether used to buy peace or garner power, the social function of gift exchange far exceeds material considerations. Mauss is analyzing cultures that are based entirely on the gift, and argues that the money economy saps the gift, though he also argues that the gift is a permanent feature of social life. To this end, he cites examples from contemporary 1 920s France that reflect the obligatory facets of the gift and the rivalry of the potlatch)4Subsequent studies of gift giving in Modern Western culture have been more critical of gift giving, but confirm that reciprocity remains a key facet of it)5 5 :The diversity of gift forms, the social ties, and the hierarchy created by gift relations until the gift is repaid can be seen in the patronage system of early modem England, where a variety of gifts, including children, were used to ingratiate people to patrons and to further suits with both potential patrons and established patrons at court. Divested of the spiritual qualities Mauss describes, prestation was effectively a power strategy in early modem English society. With reciprocation carefully calculated, prestation was a coercive and interested process. People seeking to further suits also used such gifts in an attempt to indebt the monarch. Consider Elizabeth I’s coronation in 1559, which was ripe with calculated gift exchange. Processing from London to Westminster, Elizabeth stopped at numerous points along the route to express her gratitude for the smooth transition to her reign. Using the vocabulary of exchange, she declared “herself no less thankeflilly to receive her people’s good will, than they lovingly offered it unto her.”16 Given a purse filled with a thousand marks of gold and a Bible by the people of London, the new Queen was told not to esteem the gifts’s value but rather the minds of the givers. Thus, the gifts were calculated to obligate Elizabeth to look after the material and spiritual welfare of the givers.’7 The exchanges in the pageant helped secure her royal power as she faced a seriously disordered political scene that had lacked a strong personality as a centripetal force in the decade since her father’s death.’8Yet, fragility was inherent to Elizabeth I’s rule. The absence of a professional army and paid bureaucracy meant a lack of coercive power, necessitating political persuasion and the wooing of the body politic to maintain her power and retain political stability. As the ultimate giver and receiver of gifts, Elizabeth successfully used the cultural strategy of gift exchange throughout her reign. Needlework, jewellery, and books were given to quell resentments, placate enemies, and flatter foreign ambassadors.’9 Domestically, Elizabeth followed the practice of her predecessors, distributing gifts of money, 6 political privilege, titles, and offices to subjects across the social ranks. In an age where political dissension often manifested itself in violent resistance and uprisings, it was imperative to ensure subjects’ loyalty. Thus, each gift was best6wed with the implied reciprocation of loyalty.20 Building on Mauss, Claude Levi-Strauss formulates marriage as a gift exchange between families and tribes. Analysing kinship systems, Levi-Strauss concludes that kinship is based on men’s exchange of women and that marriage outweighed descent in kinship.2’ He argues for a universal “incest taboo” that ensured one’s women had to be given to other men, thus assuring male alliances and relationships: The prohibition of incest is less a rule prohibiting marriage with the mother, sister, or daughter, than a rule obliging the mother, sister, or daughter to be given to others. It is the supreme rule of the gift. 22 Giving women as gifts in marriage thus guards against endogamy. He goes on to position women as powerless, commodifled objects passed be’tween men in marriage: The total relationship of exchange which constitutes marriage is not established between a man and a woman, where each owes and receives something, but between two groups of men, and the woman figures only as one of the objects in the exchange, not as one of the partners between whom the exchange takes place. This remains true even when the girl’s feelings are taken into consideration, as, moreover, is usually the case. In acquiescing to the proposed union, she precipitates or allows the exchange to take place; she cannot alter its nature.23 For Levi-Strauss, the sexual relations of marriage are assumed to be part of the package, reduced to “an aspect of the total prestations of which marriage provides both an example and the occasion.”24 Feminist writers have responded to Levi-Strauss by alleging that his formulation reduces women to objectified commodities and the resulting4’traffic in women” discourse has been re conceptualized and re-theorized by scholars in various disciplines. These theorists have attempted to problematize, in various ways, the model of women passed between men that 7 Mauss adopted without critique and Levi-Strauss privileged when he proclaimed women the ultimate form of the gift without much regard for the effects this process has on women. Gayle Rubin argues that kinship in the anthropological model objectifies women and establishes male bonds: - L If women are the gifts, then it is men who are the exchange partners. And it is the partners, not the presents, upon whom reciprocal exchange confers its quasi- mystical power of social linkage. The relations of such a system are such that women are in no position to realize the benefits of their own circulation. As long as the relations specify that men exchange women, it is men who are the beneficiaries of the product of such exchange—social organization.25 Rubin points out that the exchange of women functions as the basis of the social order in cultures whose organizational structure is based on kinship (in the absence of other governing institutions such as the law or the state). If woman is an object, she cannot be a conscious actor in the exchange transaction, according to Rubin. In The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir conceptualizes the woman who is a gift as an “Other,” deprived of subjectivity because she is an erotic object through which man seeks himself.26 In other words, Levi-Strauss is not wrong in his observations and conclusions, man is simply seeking himself through woman. Julia Kristeva also denies that women are the object of desire in Levi-Strauss’s model, but for her, women are not an erotic object at all, merely a pseudo-centre “in which man seeks man and finds him”.27 Luce Irigaray, like Rubin, contends that the “traffic in women” discourse renders marriage a male homosocial relationship. In her criticism of Levi-Strauss, women are objectified and commodified by men, unable to endow themselves with value because “[t]he law that orders our society is the exclusive valorization of men’s needs/desires, of exchanges among men” such that women “have value only in that they serve as the possibility of, and potential benefit in, relations among men.”28 Because value is not inherent but relative, a woman cannot endow herself with value, or insist on an inherent value; her value is dependent on male recognition of her in relation :-tu 8 to another female. These critiques attempt to explain why women are passed between men, but do not deny that women are commodified in marriage. Each theorist shows how women are removed from the exchange when objectifled by it and thereby raised consciousness about the “traffic in women” discourse, but each has focused on the effects of the exchange rather than considering that women can insert themselves into the exchange. Taking a somewhat different approach in his critique of Levi-Strauss, Jan van Baal attempts to put women back into the exchange by theorizing that women passed between men willingly behave as objects and in doing so are put in a position of power. In this model women .1 are simultaneous subject and object. By marrying, a woman frees her brother to marry, and thus he is indebted to her, owing her and her future children protection. This intervention cannot be refused, since the husband is indebted to the brother for the gift of the wife, including her labour in the marriage and the children she produces; as long as the wife remains productive in the marriage, the brother is indebted to her while the husband is indebted to her brother.29 Van Baal’s formulation, however, does not allow for the establishment of a marital relationship and although it allows women agency it is not full agency, since women willingly become objects in marriage because of the children they will produce. For van Baal, because a wife is positioned between her husband and brother, she is in a position to manipulate. The assertion of female agency is, however, undercut when van Baal asserts that all women are destined to be mothers and that, when agreeing to the marriage trade, women identify with their offspring who are the “raison d’être of the whole transaction.”30 Annette Weiner also looks at women in relation to the gift, building upon and revising the theories of Branislaw Malinowski, but adding this gender dimension to it. She also looks critically at the nature of giving and introduces the theory of inalienable possessions, making gift 9 exchange more politicized than her predecessors did. Her theory of “inalienable possessions” involves a “keeping-while-giving”. Certain objects are given so that other inalienable objects, or possessions, those which are not traded or given away, can be preserved within families. In this form of gift exchange participants remain aware of what is not being exchanged and their actions are directed not only to the immediate events but to these events in relation to the ownership of inalienable possessions and the power they differentiate. The seemingly linear aspects of reciprocal give and take are merely overt attempts to become part of, to participate in, or conversely, to snare, what is not part of that exchange. Difference denies the concept of a homogeneous circumstance in which the gift given merely elicits a reciprocal return without thought of an inalienable possession’s radiating presence, its political energy, and the danger of irreversible loss.3’ Additionally, she shows that women are part of this gift dynamic because they are the producers of highly valued cloth goods, many of which become inalienable possessions, and that women are also the producers of gifts in rituals of bih, marriage and death.32 She also criticizes Levi- Strauss’s marriage model, stating that it does not acknowledge how women’s “sexuality became a source of their own strategy and manipulation through keeping rather than giving.”33 She thus highlights women’s participation in Levi-Strauss’s marriage model. Like Weiner, Marshall Sahlins complicates gift theory and does so by including issues of status. Gift exchange between people of differing rank is often unequal, reciprocation is often delayed (until it is precipitated by need), and the material flow can be one-sided for quite some time.34 Sahlins also complicated the notion of reciprocity; rather than Mauss’s model of gift and return, Sahlins views reciprocity as a spectrum. In Sahlins’s continuum of forms, social distance is one of the key markers between the poles of recioity. The extent of social distance between those engaged in the exchange of gifts determines the manner of the exchange and kinship distance is of particular relevance to forms of reciprocity. In cases of close kinship, reciprocity is 10 generalized; in the middle, “balanced reciprocity” returns things of comparative value relatively quickly; and in the negative pole where there is little kinship, there is an effort to get something for nothing.35 A contra-distinction to all of these examples is the theory of Jacques Derrida. He removes the gift from the social by assertiiig that exchange nullifies the gift, making the gift impossible.36 In Derrida’s conception of the gift, the gift is idealized, removed from circulation, and the gift can only be possible if there is no reciprocity, return, exchange, countergift, or debt. If the other gives me back or owes me or has to give me back what I give him or her, there will not have been a gift, whether this restitution is immediate or whether it is programmed by a complex calculation of a long-term deferral or differance.37 The very reciprocity that Mauss saw as an obligatory facet of the gift is what Derrida sees as annulling the gift. The gift must, therefore, disrupt the system of gift/countergift. For this disruption to be achieved the recipient cannot reciprocate or contract a debt and the donor cannot expect reciprocation. Neither should the gift be known as a gift to the donor, because when it is known to be such, the donor psychologically gives back to oneself, in the form of praise, gratification, or congratulations, and thus symbolically repays the value of that which is given. At the limit, the gift cannot appear as a gift to either the giver or the recipient, because the recognition of it as such annuls the gift.38 The question of reciprocity and how it affects the gift was one posed in the early modern period, albeit in religious terms. There were questions of whether one could reciprocate God’s gifts, whether humans could obligate God, and what bearing this had on people’s gifts to each other was part of the religious turmoil of the sixteenth century. The Catholic faith was built on reciprocity; saints were offered prayers, candles, and status, and in return they interceded with God for those who prayed to them. The laity gave material gifts of chalices, money, and 11 vestments to priests who reciprocated with prayers and intercession through the mass. Money for a private mass or anniversary mass was a customary gift rather than a purchase of services because the amounts given varied each time. Charity and alms to the poor were another form of gift. These took diverse forms, such as providing food or a poor girl’s dowry, or sheets to a hospital for the sick. These gifts would, it was hoped, be reciprocated with prayers for the donor. Such gifts were, simultaneously, gifts to God and aimed at contributing to the donor’s salvation.39For Catholics, “God rewarded good deeds done to other people rather than reciprocating gifts given to him.”4° Jean Calvin denounced the reciprocal notions of Catholicism, and attempted to dismantle the apparatus of gift and obligation. Instead, he recast, where he could, such reciprocal relations as gratuitousness. Where the Catholics referred to eternal life as wages, reward, or recompense, Calvin reinterpreted these as a free gift made to people by the Lord. This reinterpretation meant that salvation was not won by good works but something given to the elect by God.41 God was not obliged by anything; instead all gifts and decisions flowed from him. Within Protestant practice fewer things served as gifts; candles were, for example, expunged from the religious service. Charity still had an important role, but a refocused one; instead of an interested return, charity was to be given freely, without considering to whom it was given or obliging the recipient, and with the aim of helping as many people as possible.42 Calvin’s arguments against Catholicism are akin to a restatement of the value of the original, singular salvation gift: “Christ died once for all” meant to him and to many Protestants that salvation-by-works was either a refusal of Christ’s gift, or a suggestion that the gift was inefficacious. Both Calvin and Derrida attempt to free the gift from the obligation of reciprocity; Demda by theorizing the ideal gift, free of the circulation and clearly distinct from a commodity 12 it while Calvin places the gift in the realm ofthe divine, given freely by God at his choosing since He could not be obliged by human deeds. Gift and Commodity Derrida’s conception of the ideal gift is an attempt to draw a distinction between gift and commodity. Gift and market economies can exist simultaneously and gifts and commodities can interpenetrate. One such area where they often do is marriage, where women are both commodity and gift. Accordingly, theorists have attempted to distinguish between gift and contractual exchange, differences which can be summed up in the following table adapted from Jan van Baa!.43 Contracts Gift Exchange Partners in the contract are Participants not always equal functionally each others equals Social relations are weak and ended by the Strong social relations, which are completed contact. strengthened by the completed exchange Aims at the goods of the other. Aims at the person of the other. Strict, balanced reciprocity Reciprocity not always balanced No obligation to trade or to accept an offer Obligations of the gift enforced (to give, receive and reciprocate) Contract protected by law Gift exchange not protected by law Contracts and trade do not bind participants Gifts bind participants, turning them into partners Of course, in a marital exchange, there is a strong legal element, since it straddles both gift and commodity exchange in addition to involving a legal pledge. The contractual element complicates the gift because contracts enforce obligation where gifts often elide obligation and make reciprocation implicit by appearing voluntary. Gifts are, on the whole, an invitation to a social relationship, and as such cannot be refused without serious consequences, according to Mauss. A contract, however, does not carry with it a social relationship, only a temporary partnership that is dissolved once the terms of the contract are fulfilled and/or commodities 13 exchanged. A commodity can become a gift when purchased to be one, and the commodity and gift systems can exist simultaneously, as they did in early modern England with the flourishing patronage system. Contracts, commodities, sales, and the like, however, are transitory transactions that do not forge lasting bonds between thdse who engage in them.44 In a contractual exchange, one’s obligations under the contract and the form of repayment are stipulated in the contract. In gift exchange, the terms of reciprocation (when and how are gifts are repaid) are left to the recipient of the gift and are not enforceable by law if the terms of reciprocation prove unsatisfactory.45 To put it simply, gift exchange does not negotiate terms. One assumes that if a gift is given it will be reciprocated; paradoxically it is imperative that the assumption of reciprocation not be an expectation.46Because an object can be a gift or commodity at different times, it is not the object that defines its status as one or the other. The situation in which the object is given will determine whether it is a gift (given) or commodity (sold or negotiated for trade via a contract).47 Since gift and commodity exchange are historically and culturally determined practices, these types of exchange do not follow universal rules. How both systems worked in early modern England, came into contact, and could be destabilized, will be topics throughout my thesis but particularly in my discussion of The Merchant of Venice. The drama of early modern England, and the particular examples I explore, show that commodity, contract and gift overlapped and interpenetrated in the period. Whether something was a gift usually depended on the presentation and the motive behind the giving. For example, in The Merchant of Venice, Bassanio attempts to borrow money from Shylock with Antonio standing as surety for the bond. Shylock is a man who deals in contracts and precise terms. Yet, when he presents the bond to Antonio, Shylock implies a social dimension to the bond, and thus implies a gift, when he points out the many abuses Antonio has heaped upon him. Antonio states 14 that such abuse will continue and rejects, moreover, any social bond with Shylock by refusing the gift and demanding a strict contract: If thou wilt lend this money, lent it not As to thy friends; for when did friendship take A breed for barren metal of his friend? But lend it rather to thine enemy, Who if he break, thou mayst with better face Exact the penalty. (1.3.130-135) Shylock takes the cue of friendship and makes the gift explicit, mimicking Antonio’s practice of collapsing business and gift practices. Deviating from prior practice, Shylock drops all claim to interest on the loan and presents the bond purely as a gift: I would be friends with you, and have your love, Forget the shames that you have stained me with, Supply your present wants, and take no doit Of usance for my moneys; and you’ll not hear me. This is kind I offer. (1 .3.136-140) Of course, the motive behind the gift is twofold. The first is to stop, or at least, temper that abuse the Antonio regularly heaps upon Shylock. When it is clear that Antonio has no intention of doing so, the gift then becomes vengeful with the entrapment in the flesh bond should Antonio default on the bond. The flesh bond seems harmless, and indeed Antonio accepts it as such since he is convinced both that he can repay the bond and that Shylock’s gift is harmless. Bassanio, who understands the danger of forfeiture, is reluctant to have Antonio stand to such a bond and questions the motives behind such a gift.48 Gift and contract are, therefore, distinguished by the rhetoric surrounding them, but the two can overlap and interpenetrate as they do in this scene. Similarly, contracts could be turned into gifts, as is shown in The Changeling. Beatrice Joanna enters into what she believes to be a contract with the ugly and repugnant De Flores to kill Alonzo, complete with the payment of gold. De Flores, however, is enamoured of Beatrice 15 Joanna, and seizes on the opportunity to his own ends. Beatrice Joanna thinks that she is merely using De Flores and can dispose of him once the contract ends, but he transforms the contract into a gift after the murder when he presents Beatrice Joanna with Alonzo’s finger as proof of the murder. Significantly, upon the finger is her first gift to him, a ring that she was forced to give as a love token. Returning the ring in this way signifies not only the end of one relationship, it declares De Flores’ intentions toward Beatrice Joanna. She attempts to buy De Flores off with increasing amounts of gold, but he demands her body in reciprocation for his gift of murder, which, if discovered, will cost his life. Beatrice Joanna then becomes a forced sexual gift to De Flores, who demands: Come, kiss me with a zeal now... I have eased you Of your trouble, think on’t, I’m in pain And must be eased of you; ‘tis a charity. Justice invites your blood to understand me. (3.4.92, 97-100) Beatrice Joanna attempts to deny him, but fmds that she has no choice but to give in to his demands because the contract has been transformed into a gift, for which De Flores will take no reciprocation other than her sexual self. She then becomes a forced gift to him. Thus, the lines between contract and gift were permeable and sometimes blurred. Gifts create debt, and when dealing with woman as gift, the debt created is an emotional one. What is given are not just simply love tokens that can be rescinded and returned, as in the case of Ophelia’ s return of gifts to Hamlet to call off their engagement, but women’s gifts of their physical, sexual bodies. The debt created is therefore an emotional one because what is offered is not a material object but rather an interpersonal relationship, and the most intimate relationship of all. In the early modern marriage ceremony, sex was pledged as part of the marriage ceremony, since both partners vowed “With my body I thee worship”, and sex was a 16 duty within the marriage as set out in I Corinthians.49 Yet, sex could not be forced, and thus it could be transformed into a gift within the context of the marriage, as my exploration of the drama will show throughout the dissertation. Sex straddled both gift and contract, mirroring the marriage ceremony which likewise straddled these two economies. Since it was a gift to be given, it could also be withheld, and such giving and withholding applied to both genders. Of course, other duties, such as obedience, could also be reformulated into gifts by the prestation, as my discussion of Taming ofthe Shrew will explore. Woman as gift In these anthropological models, women are usually the ones exchanged in marriages arranged by men, although mothers did have some say in the choice of spouse in some cultures. Both situations, women exchanged by men, and women arranging marriages for their children, are analogous to situations in early modem England, as examples in Chapter Two will show. Marriage was changing in early modem England, and although many people were making their own matches and then seeking parental blessing to the match, the perception remained that parents, that is fathers, had the right to bestow their daughters in marriage. Conduct literature admonished children to yield to parental advice and the drama is filled with examples of fathers giving their daughters in mwriage, sometimes against their will for dramatic effect. This perception has remained with Jistorians and critics, although it is being revised through more recent work. Marriage in early modem England was more than the transfer of property or the establishment of a new household; it was a mutual pledging of the spouses to each other. Gift giving marked the different stages of the courtship, culminating in the marriage, which was itself marked by the gift. William Gouge, in hs popdar conduct book, figures daughters as gifts to be given in marriage,50as did the marriage ceremony itself. The marriage bond was a kind of gift in 17 that it was a mutual bestowing of selves and was expressed in the “Homily on the State of Matrimony”, which described marriage as a “perpetual friendly fellowship”.5’Whether bestowed by her family or through her own choice, across rank it was the woman who gave herself as a gift in marriage and left home with her possessions to enter the husband’s household in early modem England, and this is perhaps the strongest tie the period has to the anthropological studies. My interest lies in women as gifts in marriage, particularly in women as self-conscious gifts in marriage. I have found gaps in existing gift theory, and these gaps point to places where women’s agency existed and was asserted. Levi-Strauss based his formulations on the denial of female desire.52 When Lawrence Stone wrote his work on marriage in early modem England, he accepted Levi-Strauss’s anthropological model and alluded to a gap in the existing work, but did not explore it. Instead, Stone reiterated that women were interchangeable, “one girl [was] as good as another, provided she [was] a good housekeeper, a breeder, and a willing sexual playmate”53. After the public negotiations between men, the willingness (or lack of it) of the wife to be a sexual playmate opens a space for a woman to transform herself into a gift, specifically a sexual gift, which can be given or withheld. After the marriage ceremony, what did happen between the spouses now left alone together? Certainly there were domestic duties a woman was expected to fulfill as a wife, and she was expected to produce an heir for the family. Sexual duties were, however, ones that could be negotiated, as both my historical and dramatic examples will show. In the middling and lower ranks, women increasingly were making their own matches. Circa 1572, Alice Porter engaged an intermediary, Regenold Smith, to act on her behalf in negotiations with Regenold Aderyn, whom Smith knew. Alice promised to take Aderyn for her husband, and to bestow herself and her goods upon him in marriage. She urged her intermediary to relay her ‘promis and 18 contractes’, urging that he should, in return, receive ‘all such promis, faith and trouth, and contracts as he would make to him, in behalf of Alis Porter.M The formulation is significant. She is giving both herself and her goods, (“promis and contract”) thus marking herself out as a thing of value equal to the material goods, but one is a thing given by promise while the other is a thing negotiated via contract. In giving herself in marriage, Alice was giving a gift, one that she will keep on giving, potentially, in the form of labour and sex, both of which could be withheld during the marriage. Her giving was also something she expected reciprocated, immediately and with an increased pledge (‘promis, faith and trouth’). In the upper ranks, where marriages were often arranged, sex could be restricted, but was no less a gift. Anne Clifford records in her diary the date she lay with her first husband, the Earl of Dorset, despite their marital disputes. Katherine Acheson has suggested that Anne knew when she was likely to conceive and this knowledge accounts for the record. Such an explanation seems plausible, but Anne still records on April 23 1617 that “this night my Lord shou’d have layen with me in my Chamber, but he & I fell out about Mathew[.J”56It seems that even the necessities of conceiving an heir were not immune to marital strife; one, or both, spouses could always withhold sex. Nor are the records of the two sharing a bedroom restricted to the conception of an heir, as Acheson suggests. Clifford records that Dorset also “lay in my Chamber” on April 7th, just two weeks before the 23’ when he should, and did not, lie with her again. Indeed, April 7th seems to have been a reconciliation, since on the 6th Anne had their daughter, Margaret, brought to her father in Anne’s chamber.57Marriages could also break up or remain unconsummated. In the cases of early marriages, the spouses were married publicly and then kept apart, as in the case of Frances Howard and the Earl of Essex, because early pregnancy was risky. When Essex returned from a few years on the continent, he found his wife had no 19 interest in him sexually. They eventually sought an annulment. In the middling ranks, Anne Welles only spent one night with her husband, John Brewen, and then refused to even live with him until he got her a better house.58 In the cases ofAnne Clifford and Anne Welles, there is a promise of future sexual fulfillment. But there is also a crucial withholding. Anne Clifford refused to sign away her rights to her inheritance, despite enormous pressure from her husband and prominent figures such as the Archbishop of Canterbury and King James. She thus retained her identity as a Clifford and heir to the earidom of Cumberland for herself and her successors. Anne Welles refused to fuliy give herself as a wife by refusing to take her husband’s name or place of residence. Woman’s self-awareness as gift allows her to refuse gifts and to refuse to reciprocate gifts without the attendant problems that Mauss posited as the consequence of such actions.59 In rejecting a courtship token, a woman is not only rejecting a material object, she is rejecting an identity. In his work on the gift, Barry Schwartz asserts that the gift imposes an identity, both on the giver and the receiver of the gift, and thus “to reject a gift is to reject a definition of oneself.”6°This is especially true of courtship tokens, where to accept a gift is to accept the courtship and if the gift is a betrothal gift, the redefmition of oneself in social terms as part of a couple to be married. To reject the token is to reject the redefmition of oneself in these terms. In the specific terms of my thesis, for a woman in early modem England to reject a courtship token was to refuse to be defined as a gift, whether it was a gift that she would give in marriage or a gift to be passed from one man to another, as part of larger political or economic negotiations. In the latter case, her refusal is a refusal to be the means of reciprocity or to be the gift that will elicit reciprocity. In both cases, the refusal would have social ramifications, since women’s refusal to be a means of men affirming their bonds with each other could render those bonds 20 ambiguous and tenuous. In the middling and lower ranks, the redefinition was not necessarily of a woman being passed between men, since there was more freedom to make their own matches. In these matches, giving a gift signified consent, and, just as important, refusing a gift rejected unwanted suitors. For example, in 1574 Jane Salisbury rejected gifts from would-be suitor William Lloyd and returned those gifts he sent via his servant.61 In doing so, Jane rejected the ardent suitor but more important, she rejected the particular social relationship the suitor was trying to establish and the identity the suitors were attempting to form for her with the gifts. Rejection of a gift is, therefore, as important as an act of giving and, in the case of early modern England where female obedience was expected, rejection was probably more important than giving. The refusal of a gift is a corollary to another aspect of courtship gifts: the refusal to reciprocate. Women could be pressured to give or to reciprocate an unwanted gift in early modern England, but they could also refuse to do so. Courtship gifts carried with them the implication of a woman’s acceptance of the courtship or betrothal and thus were binding. Similarly, a betrothal gift carried with it consent to the betrothal and acceptance of the identity as one betrothed to wed. Because such gifts articulated consent, they could be refused and reciprocation could be refused as a way of refusing the suitor. The ability to refuse reciprocation was particularly important in early modern England because of the existence of forced gifts, which men would force on women who would then either return or be barred from these gifts.62 Women’s non-reciprocation of gifts then became the means of ending the suit. By not reciprocating the gift, they did not requite the social relations and thus rejected the suitors. Non reciprocation became another means of women expressing choice by eliminating unwanted suits. 21 Women giving themselves as gifts in marriage allows them to transgress the rigid gender conventions while remaining within conventional gendered behaviours of early modern England. If we accept, as Aaflce Komter asserts, that “[g]ifts offer the precious symbolic nourishment which keeps interpersonal relationships alive”,63 and that marriage is one of the most intimate interpersonal relationships, then recognizing women’s sexuality as gift in the male-dominated society of early modem England complicates gift exchange theory. Woman’s body as an erotic and sexual gift is a gift that is constantly in flux since it is subject to the negotiations and tribulations of the marriage. The female sexual body is a gift that can be constantly given, withheld and/or redirected when not appreciated or not recognized as a gift. Komter’s work on giving clarified that gifts are not always valued because they are not always recognized as gifts. In her study of gift-giving in the Netherlands, she asks about a variety of gifts given and received (including money, dinner, hospitality, and care/help) in a recent period. It is remarkable, she notes, “that everyone has the feeling of giving more that they receive.” Among the explanations for this phenomenon Komter offers the intriguing possibility that “some types of received care may be overlooked, because they are so normal.M A corollary problem of woman as gift is that their status as gift might not be recognized because a wife is, “normally”, expected to be a wife. With that may be the male expectation of a full sexual life, which may not be the expectation of the wife he has married, who may only expect to fulfill the public duties of her role. (Alternately, if she freely made the match herself, she may feel that her husband is indebted to her because she gave herself to him in marriage, along with her possessions.) My thesis will show that women’s gift of themselves is not always valued because they can easily be taken for granted, or they are not recognized as gifts. Women’s gifts are also problematic because the results of giving cannot be controlled and therefore it is not always beneficial for women to use 22 themselves as gifts or to enter into gift relations. The reciprocation and hierarchal power relations which Mauss posits as obligatory facets of the gift do not come into play if the gift is neither recognized as gift nor appreciated. By becoming a gift, a woman becomes an agent in a transaction that could objectify her and rob her of agency. Stone alludes to this potential when he contends that women’s capacity to give or withhold sexual favours was a potential lever for power for women within the household.65Stone is obviously talking about sex as a weapon and means to power within the household. I am not arguing that the sexual self is used to gain a dominant position. Rather, in the male-dominated society of early modem England, I am arguing that gifts were a means of social power, and one that women could, paradoxically, access. In maniage, when duties and things taken for granted were transformed into gifts they could be used to negotiate the marital relationship that was in general skewed in favour of the husband. The inherent danger of women’s gift of their sexual bodies is, as the drama shows, that husbands may not recognize the gift as a gift. When recognized as gift and able to wield agency as such, women could construct themselves as the ultimate form of the gift. In the male-dominated society that denied them legal and political enfranchisement, the gift allowed women considerable social agency, especially in marriage, where they could gain agency to bestow or refuse to bestow themselves on their husbands. Women’s access to power through gift exchange was not, however, limitless. Gifts could be misrecognized, and the results of giving were not fully controllable. Giving was not, therefore, always beneficial. Drama and the Gift Early modem drama participated in both commodity and gift systems, straddling two worlds; that of the rising mercantile class and that of the court. Drama was a gift when it was an 23 offering to a guild, university, aristocratic patron, or the court, such as Gorboduc or The Masque ofQueenes. Drama became a commodity with the rise of the public theatre, and it transformed into a commercial transaction between actor, theatre-owner, and playgoer. Dramas were flexible enough to be both gift and commodity, depending on the audience to whom they were presented, as plays often transferred from court to the public theatre. Dramatists were similarly transformed; servants of noblemen, at whose plays the audience was comprised of guests, they now took on additional roles as artisan-like entrepreneurs, where the audience was comprised of paying customers.66Unlike the homogeneous audiences in the noble homes, the public theatre audiences were diverse in rank and occupation, and in their views, which prompted a variety of responses to the drama. Yet people in the public theatre audience were engaged in the same mercantile and gift discourses that were enacted in the drama and thus were aware of how these discourses were reflected, exploited, and manipulated in the drama. Many in the audience were women, of the emerging “middling sort”67 who would be engaging in many of the gifts behaviours enacted onstage. Drama was in a unique position to exploit the complexities and tensions between gift and commodity because it was itself embedded within those very discourses, straddling the world of the court (gift) and commercial (commodity) theatre. Although the historical documents and drama are mutually illuminating, I focus on early modem drama because it is the most fruitful way to investigate these issues of women’s agency in marriage in the cultural nexus of early modem England. Marriage was itself understood in terms of exchange in the period; the exchange of property, selves, vows, rings, and female chastity. The drama of the period repeatedly returns to the subject of marriage and to women’s agency, or lack thereof, in marriage formation. Since courtship gifts permitted women the right of refusal, they thus enabled heightened dramatic possibilities. But in presenting a woman 24 refusing, as in the case of Evadne’ s refusal to consummate her marriage to Amintor in The Maid’s Tragedy or Annabella’s refusal of Bergetto’s jewel in ‘Tis Pity, the drama is taking part in the larger cultural issue of the phenomenon of women’s right to refuse in a society that expected female obedience. The drama thus puts the private negotiations I wish to investigate on public display for audiences comprised ofpeople across rank. The conduct literature I draw upon was widely disseminated and while it cannot be known if the dramatists actually read it, they were sure to be familiar with the arguments of the marriage tracts frequently read out at church. They were also certainly aware of the conflicting demands placed on women in their culture. The drama offered a range of perspectives on women and exchange and offered its audience a variety of possibilities for social and sexual agency. I proceed in my reading of the plays on the assumption that the theatre is a sphere of influence in which dramatists and audiences attempt to work through contradictions and conflicts of their society.68 I do not argue that dramatist held a “mirror up to nature” but rather that they took existing cultural phenomena and explore them in order to both work through the social anxiety and to enhance dramatic effect upon the stage. By exploring questions of women’s gifts and women as gift, dramatic genre was opened up and transfonned as the drama was frequently unable to answer the questions or contain the issues raised by woman as gift. Endings were left open, as in the case of The Merchant of Venice, which ends uneasily—Lorenzo and Jessica are married, but she is socially marginalized; Antonio remains unmarried and is bound to Portia and Bassanio in a kind of threesome through the gift entanglements. Endings are forced, as is the case with ‘Tis Pity where Annabella and Giovanni die but she is the only repentant person in the play and the only one to find true salvation before her death. Or, forms were used ironically, as in Women Beware Women, where 25 the best relationship in the play, that of the Duke and Bianca, is simultaneously the most exploitative. For both ‘Tis Pity and Women Beware Women the exact nature of the tragedy is indefmable. Playwrights used genre itself as a comment on the issue of women as gift. Drama thus participated in the cultural debate on gift exchange and found itself transformed by it. By examining plays that reflect the cultural practices and paradoxes of a wife’s agency, I intend to show that women’s agency made marriage both a public and private giving, in which duties and mutual benefits were constantly negotiated between husband and wife. The agency that gift giving afforded added to anxieties about women in this male-dominated society, and many of these anxieties were played out on the public stage. Women’s participation in gift giving was paradoxical and unsettling because, while it was considered appropriate female behaviour, it was potentially subversive because it gained women social power.69 Specifically, I focus on dramatic representations of women using themselves as erotic gifts to resist their commodification by men and to create an exchange relationship with their husbands. Thus they establish marriage as a much more complex web of gift exchange than usually appreciated by scholars and historians. Before discussing the drama itself, Chapter One contextualizes the function and limitations of women’s gift exchange, with examples of women across rank using themselves as gifts. It raises issues that the drama reflected upon and wrestled with and which I explore in the subsequent chapters, which are arranged thematically rather than chronologically. Chapter Two is an exploration of the gift in the Merchant of Venice, which sets out how the gift economy differs from the monied or contract exchange. In particular, this chapter considers different strategies of women giving themselves in marriage, with and without parental consent. The 26 question becomes “what is a gift, and “how do you know it is one?” Chapter Three is about women using the gift to gain the object of their transgressive desire. Helen in All’s Well That Ends Well makes herself into a gift to marry Bertram and thus transgress social and economic barriers. Annabella in ‘Tis Pity She ‘s a Whore refuses gifts, and in doing so, refuses to be her father’s gift to her many suitors so that she can give herself to her chosen suitor, her brother, Giovanni. The chapter questions whether giving and refusing are equal expressions of women’s agency and if, given the tenuous ending ofAll’s Well, and the moral puzzles of ‘Tis Pity, women’s giving is always a positive thing. Helen wins Bertram as her husband, but he is not the prize that she once envisioned him to be. Annabella is a heroine, but is also an incestuous adulterer. Chapter Four is about the negotiation of marriage in public and private terms as presented in The Taming ofthe Shrew and Women Beware Women. These plays offers us insights into how matches are made, and how women insert themselves into the process by using gifts and offering themselves as gifts. Women’s complex and dynamic giving in both plays has mixed results; in Shrew, marital duties such as obedience and physical necessities such as sleep, are transformed into gifts in marital negotiations that remain ongoing beyond the play’s conclusion. In Women Beware Women, Bianca gives herself to a husband who hoards her instead of appreciating her gift and she redirects that gift to the Duke when he does appreciate the gift of her sexuality. The play questions if the gift of a woman’s sexual body may indeed be redirected if it is misrecognized, unappreciated and unreciprocatecl by a husband. Juxtaposing these two plays that explore the complex and contradictory nature ofwomen’s participation in the gift system leads into my conclusion. Women’s participation in the early modem gift system was a paradoxical and complex phenomenon; considered “appropriate” female behaviour, women’s gift giving was, 27 simultaneously, an issue of contention, contradiction, and anxiety. My reading of dramatic representations of women’s use of themselves as gifts, and the agency that such giving won them, adds to the increasingly complex view ofwomen’s position in early modem England. The drama’s negotiation of women’s giving, moreover, suggests that gift giving may be more complex than currently theorized. I conclude, therefore, by hypothesizing that perhaps the interest in women’s creation of themselves as gifts, both for early modem dramatists and my reading of them, lies not in concrete answers about women’s agency, but in the questions raised vis-â-vis women’s status, conceptions of acceptable behaviour, and male anxiety about women’s agency in early modem England. 28 Chapter One Notes 1 J.E. Neale, Essays in Elizabethan History (London: Cape, 1958) 39. 2Neale39. The term prestation is central to the anthropologiial works of gift exchange that are central to this thesis, such as Marcel Mauss’s The Gfi and Claude Levi-Strauss’s The Elementary Structures ofKinship and as such is often retained by translators of these texts even though it is obsolete in English. Keeping to Mauss’s analysis of gift exchange as dominating social intercourse, I use prestation to connote acts of giving that are implicitly obligatory or coercive. “Lady Penelope Devereux was married to Lord Robert Rich in 1581 by her guardian, the Earl of Huntingdon. Devereux never consented to the match and even spoke in protest at the wedding, but faced with little alternative, went through with the ceremony. The marriage produced children, but Devereux did not develop affection for her husband, always calling him “Lord Rich” as though he was an acquaintance rather than the usual “my lord” or “my lord husband”. Sometime around 1590, Devereux began an open affair with Charles Blount that Rich tolerated until the death of Essex in 1601, when he separated from Devereux. See Michele Margett, “Stella Britannia: The early life (1536-1592) of Lady Penelope Devereux, Lady Rich (d. 1607),” diss., Yale University, 1992, esp. 195-201. Francis Coke was a pawn in a political game. Her father, Edward Coke was out of favour at court, and to regain both his seat on the Privy Council and King James’s favour, Coke promised his daughter in an alliance with Buckingham, the current favourite. The bridegroom, John Villiers (Buckingham’s brother) was physically and psychologically weak and when Coke’s wife refused to consent to the match, Coke forcibly abducted his daughter. Lady Coke regained custody by appealing to the Privy Council, a move James countered by ordering that Francis be surrendered to her father. The marriage was then expedited with the banns read on three consecutive days. On the second day, Coke was returned to his Privy Council and on the third, September 29, 1617, the couple married at Hampton Court (King James gave away the bride). Lady Coke could not prevent the marriage since she had been held at Sir William Craven’s during the ceremony. Afterward she did refuse all attempts to get her to contribute to the dowry. G.P.V. Akrigg, Jacobean Pageant: or The Court ofKing James ICarnltidge: Harvard: 1963) 216-18. Louis Montrose argues that Hermia wants the limited privilege öfgiving herself. The source of her power, the ability to deny her body to men, is usurped by Theseus and his power to deny her the use of her body. “Her own words suggest that the female body is a supreme form of property and a locus for the contestation of authority. The self-possession of single blessedness is a form of power against which are opposed the marriage doctrines of Shakespeare’s culture and the very form of his comedy.” Louis Montrose, “Shaping Fantasies’: Figurations of Gender and Power in Elizabethan Culture,” Representations, No. 2. (Spring, 1983): 67-8. 6 All Shakespeare quotations in this thesis are to The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works, ed., Stanley Wells, Gary Taylor, et al (1997. Oxford: Clarendon, 1988). Claude Levi-Strauss, The Elementary Structures ofKinship (Les Structures élémentaires de la Parenté), Revised edition, Trans., James Harle Belle, John Rickard von Sturmer and Rodney Needham, ed., Rodney Needham (Boston: Beacon 1969). ‘Ronald Sharp, “Gift Exchange and the Economies of Spirit in The Merchant of Venice,” Modern Philology 83 (1986): 250-265 discusses the significance of usury by distinguishing gift exchange from commodity exchange. He does not, however, fully explore gift exchange because his interest lies in the exchange of material gifts, not immaterial one. Karen Newman, “Portia’s Ring: Unruly Women and Structures of Exchange in The Merchant of Venice,” SQ 38.1 (1987): 19-33 focuses on immaterial gifts, but her discussion one-sided, focusing on Belmont and leaving out an analysis of Venice. Other works on the gift in the early modem period include: Patricia Fumerton, CulturalAesthetics: Renaissance Literature and the Practice ofSocial Ornament (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1991); Mark Thornton Burnett “Giving and Receiving: Love’s Labour’s Lost and the Politics of Exchange,” ELR 23 (1993): 287-3 13; and Coppélia Kahn, “‘Magic of Bounty’: Timon ofAthens, Jacobean Patronage, and Maternal Power,” SQ 38 (1987): 34-57. I realize that Karen Newman writing in 1990 argued that the usefulness of the “traffic in women” paradigm had been exhausted as it was currently used in feminist analysis for several reasons. First because reading women as objects of male exchange constructed a victim s discourse that risks reinscnbing the very sexual politics it ostensibly seeks to expose and change”. Second bcause “reading women as objects exchanged by desiring subjects partakes of a degraded positivism that relies on an outmoded, humanist view of identity characterized by a metaphysics of presence; it assumes an unproblematic subjectivity for ‘men’ as desiring subjects and concomitantly 29 assumes as directly accessible woman-as-object.” She goes onto call for a change, “It is as if there were two theoretical regimes, uneasily conjoined in feminist cultural analysis: one that recognizes and analyzes the fragmentary, non-unitary subject in certain critical contexts, the other, governed by the exchange paradigm, that assumes untroubled, unified subjects exchanging women/objects. We need to reconsider how contemporary theories of the subject and the subject/object problem have rendered the ‘traffic in women’ paradigm as it is currently used untenable.” See her essay, “Directing traffic, Subjects, Objects, and the Politics of Exchange,” d/Jerences 2:2 (1990): 47. ‘°Jan van Baal, Reciprocity and the Position of Women: Anthropological Papers (Amsterdam: Van Gorcum, 1975) 76-9. “Marcel Mauss, The G/i: theform and reasonfor exchange in archaic societies, trans., W.D. Halls (London: Routledge, 1990) 3, 13, 39-43. ‘2MausS posits the relationship established in the Maori concept of hau, a mystic or spiritual power by which the donor gives a part of himself with the gift. The hau always wishes to return to its place of origin and can only do so through an object given in return for the original gift. Failure to reciprocate a gift, therefore, can have serious consequences; including death and thus it is the hau in the gift that forces reciprocation, according to Mauss, in what he terms “the spirit of the gift” (10). Consequently, what one gives is not just an object or person, but a part of oneself and therefore to accept a gift is to accept a part of that person’s spiritual essence. To retain that essence is dangerous because it against law and morality, but more importantly, that essence, those items, exert a magical hold over you. These items seek to return to the place of origin. (12-13). Mauss’s recourse to the hau has been criticized. Raymond Firth (1929) and Marshall Sahlins (1976) have shown that Mauss quoted his source out of context. Levi- Strauss contended that the hau explained nothing; it was just a native theory for the binding force of the gift. Does this property [that forces gifts to circulate] exist objectively, like a physical property of the exchanged goods? Obviously not. ... So this property must be conceived in subjective terms. But then we find ourselves faced with an alternative; either the property is nothing other than the act of exchange itself as represented in indigenous thinking, in which case we are going round in a circle, or else it is a power of a different nature, in which case the act of exchange becomes, in relation to this power, a secondary phenomenon. The only way to avoid the dilemma would have been to perceive that the primary, fundamental phenomenon is exchange itself.. . the mistake was to take the discrete operations for the basic phenomenon. (Claude Levi-Strauss, Introduction to the Work ofMarcel Mauss (London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1987) 46, quoted in Maurice Godlier, The Enigma ofthe Gjf4 trans., Nora Scott (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1999; first published by Librairie Arthéme Fayard, 1996) 17. Mauss 13. Branislaw Malinowski was a contemporary of Mauss and also wrote on the gift. Although he reached the same conclusions regarding the need for reciprocity, he was more an observationalist. His work includes the notion that all gift relationships are balanced, which they are not, and he included the category of “free gift” as the first category of gifts, one he had to withdraw in a later work. ‘4Mauss 65-70. 15 See, for example, Aaflce Komter, “The Social and Psychological Significance of Gift Giving in the Netherlands,” in The gjft: an interdisciplinaryperspective, ed., Aafke E. Komter (Amsterdam: Amsterdam UP, 1996) 107-118; David Cheal, The Gft Economy (London: Routledge, 1988); David Cheal, “Showing Them You Love Them: Gift Giving and the Dialectic of Intimacy,” Sociological Review 35:1(1987): 150-169; T. Caplow, “Christmas gifts and kin networks,” American Sociological Review 47:3 (1982): 383-392; T. Caplow, “Rule enforcement without visible means: Christmas gift-giving in Middletown,” American Journal ofSociology 89:6 (1984): 13 06-23. Cheal’s work examines women’s participation in gift exchange and finds women to be the most active giversand recipientsif gifts as part of maintaining kin relations. Komter’s work also finds women to be among the most active participants in gift exchange (along with students) but also finds a negative side to reciprocity, as those who cannot participate in gift exchange are excluded the pattern of reciprocity (including the (long-term) unemployed and the elderly, and thus the principle of reciprocity functions both as a principle of inclusion and exclusion; see her essay “The Social and Psychological Significance of Gift Giving in the Netherlands”). ‘6Iichard Mulcaster, “Richard Mulcaster’s Account of Queen Elizabeth’s Speech and Prayer During Her Procession Through London to Westminster the day Before Her Coronation, January 14, 1559,” Elizabeth I, Collected Works, eds., Leak S. Marcus, Janel Muller, and Mary Beth Rose (Chicago and London: U of Chicago P, 2000) 53. Adrian Montrose, “Gifts and Reasons: The Contexts of Peele’s Araygnement ofParis,” ELH43:3 (1980) 448-9. 30 Wallace T. MacCaffrey, “Place and Patronage in Elizabethan Politics,” Elizabethan Government and Society: Essays Presented to Sir John Neale, eds., S.T. Bindoff, J. Hurstfield, and C.H. Williams (London: U of London Athione P. 1961) 96. 19 MacCaffrey 97. 20Although Elizabeth I did not marry, there were times in her reign when she seemed willing to marry. She also consistently used courtship as a viable strategy in her foreign relations policy for most of her reign. Often, she would promise herself as a gift, only to later refuse it when the international situation stabilized or no longer made the proposed match advantageous for England (See Chapter 2). 21 Levi-Strauss, The Elementary Structures ofKinshz 6 1-68. Levi-Strauss did not accept Mauss’s interpretation of the spirit of the gift, regarding the latter’s “discussion of the hau as a regrettable instance of the anthropologist allowing himself to be mystified by the native, whose culturally specific rationalizations cannot possible explain a general structural principle” according to Jonathan Parry (1986,456) as cited in Yan (7). Others criticized Mauss’s interpretation of hau, including Bronislaw Malinowski, Crime and Custom in Savage Society (1926. Paterson: Littlefield, Adams, 1986); Raymond Firth, Economics ofthe Zealand Maori (Wellington: Government Printer, 1959); Geoffrey MacCormack, “Mauss and the ‘Spirit’ of the Gift,” Oceania, 52: 286-93; and Marshall Sahlins, Stone Age Economics (New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 1972). For an overview of their criticisms, see Yunxiang Yan, “introduction,” The Flow ofGjfts: Reciprocity and Social Networks in a Chinese Village (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1996) 6-7. 22L6vi..Strauss Elementary Structures 481. 23 Levi-Strauss, Elementary Structures 115. Levi-Strauss continued this argument in his essay “The Principal of Reciprocity,” arguing that in modem society the relation which exists between marriage and gifts is not arbitrary; marriage is itself an inherent part of as well as a central motive for accompanying reciprocal gifts. Not so long ago it was the custom in our society to ‘ask for’ a young girl in marriage; the father of the betrothed woman ‘gave’ his daughter in marriage; in English the phrase is still used, ‘to give up the bride’. And in regard to the woman who takes a lover, it is also said that she ‘gives herself’. He concludes, “It would then be false to say that one exchanges or gives gifts at the same time that one exchange or gives women. Because the woman herself is nothing else than one of these gifts, the supreme gift amongst those that can only be obtained in the form of reciprocal gifts.” See his essay “The Principal of Reciprocity” in Komter, p. 24. 24vi.Suss Elementary Structures 115. The assumption that sexual relations are part of marriage is taken for granted in his marriage model, part of the total giving of the woman in the exchange between men. Rubin 174. 26SimOne de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, trans., H.M Parshley (New York: Knopf, 1953). 27 Julia Kristeva, Texte du roman (The Hague: Mouton, 1970) 160. 28LUCe Irigaray, “Women on the Market,” The Logic ofthe Gift: toward an ethic ofgenerosity, ed., Alan D. Schrift, trans. Catherine Porter, with Catherine Burke (New York: Routledge, 1997) 175. 29van Baal 76-9, 96. 30van Baal 80. 31 Annette Weiner, Inalienablepossessions: the paradox ofkeeping while giving (Berkeley and Los Angeles: U of California Press, 1992)2-3,42. 32 See Weiner 47. Polynesia is one example where women’s cloth production is highly valued and their items often become such inalienable possessions. Weiner 14. Sahlins 206. Sahlins 193-6. 36 Derrida, Given Time: Counterfeit Money, trans., Peggy Kamuf (Chicago and London: U of Chicago P, 1992) 7. Derrida 12. 38 Derrida 13-14. 39Natalie Zemon Davis, The Gjft in Sixteenth-Century France (Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 2000) 100-103. ° Davis 105. 41 Davis 114-15. Passages referring to salvation as recompense, reward, or wages include Proverbs 12:14, Proverbs 13:13, Matthew 5:12 and I Corinthians 3:8-9. 42Davis 116, 119. 31 van Baal 50. He uses the heading “Trade” rather than Contract, but the trading facets he identifies are applicable to contracts and I have used them accordingly. For more on the distinction of commodity exchange, see C.A. Gregory, Gifts and Commodities (New York: Academic Press, 1982), 19. Lewis Hyde and C. A. Gregory have both written on the gift as establish the social bond that is lacking in commodity exchange. See Hyde The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life ofProperty (New York: Random House, 1983) 56 and Gregory, 41. See Peter Blau, Exchange and Power in Social Life (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1964) 93-4 for an opinion on the differences between contract and gift. Sharp 253. and commodities as systems for understanding social relations are, of course, contingent upon cultural and historical contexts. Bassanio is the only suitor to give Portia gifts, and like the rest of the giving in the play, such giving is calculated. Since they have a prior relationship, he knows about the casket test. If he is successful, he has nothing to offer financially since he has no money and is heavily indebted. The gifts, therefore, are an offering to indebt Portia emotionally before actually winning her and the disclosure of Bassanio’s embarrassing fmancial situation. See Chapter Two. 49Church of England, The Book ofCommon Prayer 1559: The Elizabethan Prayer Book, ed., John Booty [Charlottesville: UP ofVirginia, 1976] 293. I Corinthians 7:45 cites the withholding of sexual relations as a failure of one’s marital duty: 4. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband; and likewise also the husband hath not power ofhis own body, but the wife. 5. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fusting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. Bible, King James version (1611) December 21, 2008. <>. Gouge, OfDomesticall Duties (London: John Haviland, 1622) 563. For Gouge, it was the parents’ responsibility to find spouses for the children, and in his advice only daughters were figured as gifts in marriage: “Take wiues to your sonnes, and give your daughters to husbands.” 51 “An Homily of the State of Matrimony” (1562 edition), in Kate Aughterson, ed., The English Renaissance: An anthology ofsources (London and New York: Routledge, 1998) 435. Marriage was described in the homily as “the singular gift of God” (435). 52 Susannah B. Mintz, “The Power of ‘Parity’ in Ford’s ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore,” Journal ofEnglish and Germanic Philology 102:2 (2003): 273. Lawrence Stone, The Family, Sex and Marriage in England 1500-1800, Abridged Edition (New York: Harper and Row, 1979) 128-9 (my emphasis). Stone’s claim is, of course, problematic, as Karen Newman has shown, in its generalization and pseudo-scientific diction to suggest that attitudes were widely held in England and elsewhere. Newman goes on to argue that Stone’s choice of “girl” is, moreover, surprising since social historians, including Stone himself, have shown that women’s average age at marriage was in their early twenties and therefore far from girthood. As Newman contends, “Stone moves from describing a hegemonic ideology of elite marriage.. .to an ideologically suspect anthropology that conjures up visions of native girls paraded before men and chosen for their domestic and erotic talents.” See her essay, “Directing Traffic” (44). My interest, however, is not to criticize Stone but to look at the gap between the arranged marriage and the way women could negotiate themselves as sexual gifts after the marriage ceremony by the willingness to be a sexual playmate after the public ceremony. ‘ See Chapter 2. 35Katherine 0. Acheson, ed., The Diary ofAnne Clffor4 1616-1619: A Critical Edition (New York: Garland, 1995) 163. 56Acheson 80. 57Acheson 78. Anne was clearly using Margaret as a pawn to rouse paternal feelings in Dorset, just as Dorset had used Margaret by taking her away from Anne in an attempt to get Anne to sign away her rights to her property in Westmoreland. Both strategies worked. Presumably the two continued to sleep in the same room, since they were doing so on the next recorded date, the 11th, which opens with the remark that “my L’ was very ill this day & cou’d not sleep, so that I lay on a pallet[.]” It is only because of Dorset’s illness that Anne moves into another chamber (Acheson 78). Anne records throughout the diary sharing a chamber with various people, such as her daughter Margaret, (May 14 and Aug 3 1617) and Mrs. Matthews (December 11, 1616). 58 See Chapter 2. 32 Of course, the refusing gifts and refusing to reciprocate gifts are also Monarchical powers, since monarchs, especially in this period, are exempt from the usual rules of reciprocity. See Chapter 2. 60arry Schwartz, “The Social Psychology of the Gift,” in Komter [rpt American Journal ofSociology 73:1 (1967) 1-11]: 70-1. Quote from page 71. 61 See Chapter 2. 62 See Chapter 2. 63Aafice E. Komter, “Introduction” 3. 64Komter “Social” 111. 65 Stone 139. Jean E. Howard, “The Materiality of Ideology: Women as spectators, spectacles, and paying customers in the English public theatre,” The Stage and Social Struggle in Early Modern England (New York: Routledge, 1994) 75. See also M.C. Bradbrook, The Rise ofthe Commonplayer: a study ofactor and society in Shakespeare’s England (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1962). 6776. Discussion ofhow drama interacts with the culture that produces it is by no means new. L. C. Knights concludes that drama “embodies” the life of a period in his book Drama and Society in the Age ofJonson (1937. London: Chatto & Windus, 1962) 177. My approach is more in line with that of Marianne Novy, who argues that Shakespeare’s plays are “theatrical transformations of the social tensions that give them some of their subject matter and their appeal to a divided audience, not examples of Elizabethan social history”. See her Comic Transformations in Shakespeare (London: Methuen, 1980) 6. 69As early as the 1590s, English drama was exploring women’s assertion of themselves as valuable individuals. Thomas Dekker, Henry Chettle and William Haughton’s play Patient Grissil (1599), is one remarkable example of this assertion and its social ramifications. Drawing on the medieval tradition of Griselda, the playwrights use a familiar storyline of a wife forced to marry, stripped of all material comforts, and isolated from her family and children by her husband (Thomas Dekker, Henry Chettle and William Haughton. Patient Grissil: A Comedy. [London: Shakespeare Society, 1841]. ) This Grissil, however, is not the suffering wife of medieval tradition; she expresses her subjectivity and her ability to withhold that subjectivity from her husband. In Gwalter’s first test, Grissil is forced to hang up the russet gown that signifies her humble origins, a humiliation this Grissil does not suffer in silence. Deviating from tradition, Grissil urges her husband to also take away her rich attires, declaring “you may take all this outside, which indeede/Is none of Grissils” (2.2.71-2). Grissell’s obedience satisfies Gwalter, but she simultaneously defies him by asserting and withholding the very thing he wants, Grissil herself. (For a fuller discussion of this play, see Edward Pechter, “Patient Grissil and the Trials of Marriage,” The Elizabethan Theatre XIV eds., A.L. Magnusson and C.E. McGee [Toronto: P.D. Meany, 19961 95.) 33 Chapter Two: “She is herself a dower”: Women’s Presence/Presents as Social Power Women’s status in early modern England is a subject under continual revision.2 This chapter provides the historical background to the literary analysis by focusing on various facets (giving, withholding, refusing, rejecting) of women’s participation in the gift system of early modem England. Women became powerful in the patronage system through gift giving, but created anxiety. Giving was an acceptable female behaviour but allowed women to transgress status and economic barriers, and the drama was one ri3edium through which such anxieties were expressed and exposed. Colliding with the rise of the gift under the Tudors was Henry Viii’s shift to Protestantism. By closing the convents, Henry eliminated an important avenue of choice for women, who could no longer establish an independent life through this monastic option. Consequently, there was increased pressure on women to marry and to marry well. Protestantism also opened up a new avenue of negotiation for women. The religious change involved an important ideological shift; Catholicism posited celibacy as the highest ideal for people, especially women, to attain, whereas Protestantism emphasized the importance of marriage and posited the role of wife as the highest ideal for women, while simultaneously desacramentalizing marriage.3 Women’s participation in the gift exchange system that was integral to early modem society coalesced with this shift in marriage; women could and did fashion themselves as sexual gifts both in and out of marriage and thus inserted themselves into the existing power system. Mary I gave herself in marriage despite public and councillor opposition and Elizabeth I promised to give herself to foreign suitors with the courtship negotiations that formed a large part of her international policy. The few times Elizabeth was prepared to marry, she found her ability to give herself blocked by councillor opposition. Women’s ability to give, even for a queen, was not limitless or unproblematic. Across rank, women’s gifts and women as gifts could 34 be given and withheld, thus women were able to wield power in a society in which they were legally and politically disenfranchised. In a society where female obedience was expected, gifts allowed women to give, refuse, withhold, and reject, regardless of rank or economic status. Marriage is of particular interest, in this and subsequent chapters, because of the various agencies it afforded women and the attendant anxieties these created. In the period, marriage was an important event, socially, politically, and economically—it marked a couple’s entry into society as adults, with the obligations and the privileges adulthood entailed. Although for women the break from the authority of a parent or master was supposed to be replaced with that of a husband, marriage was more often a partnership, as demonstrated by the many examples of men whose wives ran the household while their husbands were away on business or at court.4How this relationship was to work, exactly, was to be negotiated between the couple. Marriage also entailed a redistribution of power, status, and economic resources, and thus was a political event. The Protestant redefmition of maniage as a comparnonate relationship changed attitudes about how marriages were formulated.6 In this changing milieu, how much choice did people have? Particularly, how much choice did women have, how was this choice affected by rank, and how, if at all, could women reject marriages arranged for them? In this chapter, I contend that women’s right to refuse a marriage was signified by refusing courtship tokens offered or given by prospective suitors. In making marriages, women were able to insert themselves into the social power structure of gift exchange by using their bodies as erotic/sexual gifts that could be given or withheld in marriage. They could also withhold this gift to reject or nullify unwanted marriages. I will draw on examples of women’s gifts to add another dimension to the ongoing revision of women’s status in early modem England. 35 Gifts and Patronage The patronage system was a way of securing offices and favours in early modern England. The gift system was integral to the patronage system (although it functioned in other realms) and both systems became increasingly important under the Tudors; under Henry VII political opportunities were opened to more men, most notably the gentry, rendering the sixteenth century the age of the successful courtier and politician. This strategy permitted diversity of opinion at court and in politics as these new men became patrons and the patronage system created a vast network of gifts and favours.1 Henry Vii’s governing strategies were adopted and expanded by his successors. Women participated in this gift system, maintaining the kinship ties that allowed the system to function and exchanging children, thus perpetuating the system between generations.5 Women also participated in the patronage system directly, using gifts to secure offices and court positions for relatives. In the early Tudor period, Lady Lisle was extremely adept at this practice, using gifts and tokens to secure favours at court from prominent figures such as the Countess of Rutland and William Coffin, a gentleman of the Privy Chamber to Henry VIII. Lady Lisle was thus able to get her daughter a position at court as lady- in-waiting to Queen Jane (Seymour) through the influence of the Countess of Rutland. Lady Lisle and her husband were also petitioned by women such as Mary, Duchess of Suffolk, and the Countesses of Rutland, Salisbury, and Sussex while Viscount Lisle was Lord Deputy of Calais.9 Lady Lisle skilfully used gifts to retain close ties with the court she was geographically isolated from and therefore could easily lose her status in. Later in the period, Elizabeth Cooke, Dowager Lady Russell, invoked a complex network of familial and courtly obligations in a suit for her daughter, Elizabeth. Elizabeth Cooke wanted to secure the Dunnington lease and she asked her nephew, Sir Robert Cecil, to intercede. She listed each gift sent to the queen (including 36 jewellery, clothing, curtains, hats, and her daughter, who had been a maid ofhonour to Elizabeth I for six years) in pursuit of said lease. In the letter Cooke sent to Cecil she was also careful to remind him of her daughter’s useful position close to the queen and the benefits of that as Bess ‘will be most ready to acquit any service to yourself.”° Lady Russell’s multiple gifts to the queen were calculated to accumulate symbolic capital; gift-giving was a means by which subjects attempted to make the queen obliged to them by forcing reciprocation.” Elizabeth Lennox also sought to assure reciprocation from Elizabeth I when making her will in January 1582. Lennox left the queen ‘her best jewel set with great diamonds’12in the hope that her lands, granted by Elizabeth, would be left to her daughter, Arbella Stuart. As added insurance, Elizabeth Lennox also invoked the patronage of the Earl of Leicester, Sir Christopher Hatton, Lord Burghley, and Francis Walsingham, all of whom she asked “to continue their good will to her ‘smale orphant’.”3Elizabeth Lennox died shortly thereafter, and her family attempted, unsuccessfully, to get an increase to Arbella’s annual pension.’4 These attempts to obligate reciprocation from the queen through gifts were not always successful, therefore, since any gift exchange with the monarch was an unequal exchange because the monarch’s reciprocation was not assured. The inequality was clearly demonstrated in the yearly prestation of the New Year’s gifts and the annual Tilts.’5Queen Elizabeth could delay reciprocation, or she could, of course, refuse gifts or she could refuse to reciprocate them. 16 This unequal giving between subject and monarch is a lesson King Lear forgets after giving land to his daughters; he makes them rulers and expects them to be indebted to him for the remainder of his life for his gifts of land and power. But as rulers they are not obligated to reciprocate gifts and Lear is genuinely surprised when they abuse his gifts by eroding his household and strip him of everything. 37 Women also had a prominent role in the patronage system through Elizabeth’s Privy Chamber. Although she had banned her women from political participation early in her reign, Elizabeth’s gentlewomen had politically significant functions by the nature of their duties. More importantly, Elizabeth used these women “to extend and amplify her physical presence” and they, in turn, managed access to the queen.17 Although many of the women of the Privy Chamber were married, the influence of these women depended as much on their own association with the queen as on the position of any male relation at court. The positions of these women might not have been acknowledged formally, but they were positions of power, acknowledged by other courtiers who continually curried favour with the Privy Chamber women or sought their support.18Elizabeth also used the Privy Chamber as part of her exercise of power. She allowed them to bring her suits and sometimes granted them, and sometimes used her women to defer the suits without answer, thus allowing her women a role with real political consequences. Elizabeth I’s women were part of her complex power management and, like Cleopatra in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, Elizabeth I used the women closest to her “simultaneously as an extension of her body for public display and as a way to reinforce her remoteness and inaccessibility”.’9 Elizabeth’s women were not mere pawns of their queen, they also acted independently. In 1562, two ladies of the chamber were put under house arrest for aiding the King of Sweden in his suit for Elizabeth. Katherine Ashley and Dorothy Broadbent wrote to the Swedish Chancellor Nils Guildenstern, motivated by encouraging a great match for Elizabeth and averting a scandalous one with Dudley.2°The women of the Privy Chamber also influenced Elizabeth in 1581 against the Anjou match, after she had announced that she would marry the Duke. The women thus participated in the courtships of Elizabeth despite her ban on political interference. 38 These women also had several books dedicated to them in the 1590s, in hopes they would seek rewards for the authors.2’Women continued to be important in the patronage at the Stuart court. Lucy Harrington, Countess of Bedford, and Susan Villiers, Countess of Denbeigh, were both more important than their husbands at the courts of both James I and Charles I in the dispensing of patronage; their influence extended beyond their positions as waiting women to Queen Anne and Henrietta Maria.22 Through the dispensing of gifts, women held prominent positions at court throughout the Tudor and Stuart periods. Marriage in a state of flux The Reformation changed religious theology, but it also rendered what exactly constituted a marriage ambiguous.23 Canon law recognized mutual consent as the basis of matrimony, and thus the various fonns of betrothal, including handfasting and spousals, constituted matrimony as long as the vows had been voluntary and conditions fulfilled.24 There were, in essence, three types of contract; the verba de presenti, which used words in the present tense, the verba defuturo, which used words in the future tense and became valid immediately if consummated by sexual intercourse, and conditional contracts, which involved stipulations such as getting the goodwill of parents and friends and were binding upon fulfilment of the stipulated condition.25 Law did not govern marriage, however, so much as social custom. Parental wishes were to be respected, and the couple themselves, as social commentators noted, should be compatible, “especially in respect of religious commitment, virtue, age, birth and breeding, and wealth and estate.”26 In practice, social rank affected the amount of choice individuals had in spouses. In lower ranks, where there was little economic gain in the dowries, there was more choice than in the upper ranks, where money, property, and titles, and the inheritance of these, were at stake.27 39 It seems that the couple themselves often initiated marriages in the middling and lower ranks, as in the case of William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway, as well as both of their daughters, Susannah and Judith.28 Across rank, individuals had the right to veto a marriage and only at highest ranks and in the case of wards, was marriage usually enforced through coercion or simply ignoring the protests of the spouses, as in the case of Penelope Devereux Rich29 or Kate in The Taming ofthe Shrew. It was just as likely that a mother would negotiate the marriage as a father.3° Parents across rank could exert considerable pressure to force their choice of spouse, as Capulet does in Romeo and Juliet. The new emphasis on marriage was particularly important to women, who were defined legally and socially in regard to marriage, as maid, wife, or widow.3’ Juan Luis Vives’s The Instruction ofa Christian Woman was divided into three books, each one dealing with one stage of a woman’s life, “youth until marriage, married domesticity, and widowhood.”32The social formulation was pointed out by T.E. in The Lawes Resolutions of Women’s Rights: all women “are understood either married or to bee married and their desires [are] subject unto their husband. I know no remedy though some women can shift it well enough.”33 Many women used gifts as the means to “shift it”. Social status was derived from father, and then husband, and for an untitled woman, the principal marker of social identification was marital status. Upon marriage, moreover, women were subject to the law of coverture, whereby their personal property and real property was surrendered to their husband, and their legal identity was eclipsed34as Petruccio crudely summarizes in The Taming ofthe Shrew when declaring Kate to be “my goods, my chattels. She is my house! My house-hold stuff, my field, my barn,! My horse, my ox, my ass, my anything” (3.3.102-4). Despite this law, considerable evidence has been amassed to show that women regarded personal possessions as their own, 40 especially the money and items they brought to marriage, and that husbands acknowledged this ownership.35 The marriage settlements of the period show women’s retention of their property during marriage in the form of a separate estate, pin money, or paraphernalia.36 Marriage settlements were, primarily, “to preserve the wife’s property rights” and were taken seriously across rank.37 Conveyance manuals such as Thomas Phayer’s Newe Boke ofPresidents (1543) and William West’s Symbolaeography (1594) gave sample forms ofjointures with different features for use, such as setting an amount ofjointure, allowing a wife to make a will under coverture, obliging a husband to leave his wife a set amount at the time ofhis death, binding him to pay portions to her children by a previous husband, and establishing a separate estate.38 A separate estate could also be made during the marriage by will or deed of gift, arid these deeds of gift were made across rank, from the Countess of Shrewsbury, who sought the deed to preserve her property by a previous marriage for her children by that marriage, to Margaret Edmonds of Sussex, who retained the money from her pre-marital days for herself alone.39 Courtship and Marriage Gifts Diana O’Hara’s work has shown that gifts were an integral part of courtship in early modern England. A range of gifts marked the stages of courtship as it moved toward marriage, such that gift-giving had social and symbolic significance in marriage rituals and in marriage formation.4°Simultaneously, the gift transactions were part of the cultural milieu of gift exchange in England. Marriage was a ‘social drama’; certainly there was a legal dimension to its making and breaking, but more encompassing was the social aspect of marriage, the rituals and symbols (i.e., gifts and tokens) that played dynamic roles in the formation and dissolution of marriage. Gift giving was a vital economy in early modern England, and marriage gifts were a special category within this economy, used by a society that often transacted its relations via the 41 language of symbolic objects and encoded gestures.41 Gifts and tokens were thus a form of articulation and communication when negotiating marriage. It was not just the gift (its economic and symbolic value) that mattered in courtship transactions, but the “prestation,” the manner in which it was given and the intention behind the giving, that determined the meaning of specific exchanges. In Merchant of Venice, for example, Graziano dismisses Nerissa’s ring as “a hoop of gold, a paltry ring” (5.1.147) and does not understand her anger at his having lost it. But the ring was given at their marriage and he pledged to keep it. It is the manner of giving, the relationship it symbolizes, and Graziano’s oath that are lost with the ring. The ring is also a symbolic giving ofNerissa’s self since it is a wedding ring. For Graziano to so casually and carelessly part with it is a breach of the relationship. Conversely, Shylock mourns the loss of his engagement ring from Leali; indeed be values the turquoise ring beyond its economic worth because he understands the circumstances endow the object with an intangible significance. Gifts were versatile, ranging from money to items of clothing (most commonly handkerchiefs, like Desdemona’s in Othello) to household items, and this versatility made gifts particularly appropriate to the ambiguity of matrimonial negotiation.42 Gifts played an important role in contracting marriage and signifying consent. Children could be espoused before the age of legal consent (twelve for girls, fourteen for boys), upon reaching which they could nullify the union by withholding consent. The union became binding if, upon coming of age, the couple gave their consent explicitly in words, or implicitly, by exchanging tokens or by consummating the marriage.43 Both sexual consummation and acceptance of a gift implied tacit consent to the marital union contracted in childhood, requiring a nullity suit to dissolve such a union. Perhaps gifts and sexual consummation were equated in this way because each could be considered a form of prestation, a deliberate giving of the self 42 that signified consent to the marriage. Gifts were also integral to spousals and the contracting of marriages. Preliminary marriage negotiations were held at a meeting before the marriage, usually attended by the couple, witnesses, and family members. Agreements were negotiated, and the couple was contracted by a minister, family member, or trusted neighbour. After the couple was cautioned on the gravity of marriage and their mutual consent was affirmed, they would join hands, repeat the words of the contract, and seal it by exchanging tokens, kissing, and celebrating with a drink or a meal. The marriage ceremony followed soon after the espousal ceremony, with the publishing of the banns or the obtaining of a licence.44 The casket test in Merchant is a kind of espousal ceremony, since Portia is transferred from her father to the successful suitor. Portia gives the gift of a ring at the espousal and negotiates her courtship, since she adds to her dowry the gift of herself and adds her forfeiture clause when giving the ring. Gifts were thus a language for expressing and negotiating courtship, in which the intention of the donor often affected the binding force of the gift. To the larger community, gifts signalled that important stages in the economic, social and political transaction had been achieved. The language of gifts was not a direct symbolic language, however, and disputes arose when parties disagreed about how far the courtship had progressed.45 Gifts were such a part of courtship relations and spousals that they were presented as evidence in cases where marriages had been promised or made before few or no witnesses. Since plaintiffs often could not establish the exact words of a contract in these disputes, ritual actions and symbols were often appealed to as circumstantial evidence to support their contention that a contract existed. Plaintiffs offered a range of gifts exchanged as marriage tokens either during the courtship or at the marriage — ‘a little gold ring enamelled in blue with the inscription to express my love’; ‘a piece of gold often shillings’; ‘a gilded nutmeg’; ‘a silver bodkin with a point in it knit in a true lover’s knot’.46 As 43 evidence, the tokens themselves were insufficient proof of a contract or marriage in legal terms, however, because defendants often claimed these objects were only ‘tokens of goodwill’ or ‘fairings’, which were gifts that did not have matrimonial significance.47Since the tokens themselves lacked objective value, they were insufficient as evidence to prove a marriage contract. The circumstances under which tokens were given and received transformed them from love tokens to marriage tokens, and in court such circumstances were often retrospectively changed by both plaintiff and defendant to suit the claims of their cases. Such redefinition of the gift in court cases was possible because gifts are symbolic, which leaves room for manipulative play in their definition and interpretation. In the case of Packenam v. Johnson alias Gybs, Anne Johnson (alias Gybs) confessed to a conditional contract with Arthur Packenam. She admitted that he gave her a purse and a pair of gloves; in return, she gave him a handkerchief. Her defence, however, was that ‘all was given and received before the words aforesaid and therefore not in the way of marriage.’48 Similarly, in All’s Well that Ends Well, Diana presents Bertram’s ring as proof of their marriage while he claims that the token merely refers to a sexual encounter as he slanders her as a common gamester of the camp. Mary I and Elizabeth I: woman given and woman willing to give Mary I proclaimed herself queen, defeated the Janeite coup without bloodshed and triumphantly rode into London on August 3, 1553. Dressed in purple velvet, Mary was accompanied by the King’s heralds, trumpeters, and sergeant-at-arms, as well as nobles, knights, ladies, and ambassadors. All told, the procession numbered over 3,000 (including horses) and was a display of her lull, royal power.49 Her coronation procession a few weeks later, however, was something of a missed propaganda opportunity. Rather than capitalizing on her recent victory and showing her power as sole monarch, Mary dressed as a queen consort and rode in a 44 litter. By not riding to her coronation as a full monarch, Mary presented herself as something less than a full royal ruler; queens did have a considerable share in royal power, but that share depended on their married status. In the coronation ceremony itself, Mary was anointed full monarch, but the public display which preceded the ceremony reportedly confused the onlookers.’0 Mary had entered London as a full royal monarch with a show of strength, but did not follow that up in her coronation. Instead, her coronation presented her in the lesser position of queen rather than a monarch in her own right. Mary followed the precedents for female monarchs before her rather than setting her own and in doing so, send mixed signals to a confused populace. Mary did not publish her own record of the event5’ and therefore neither cleared the confusion nor controlled the message of the coronation, for contemporaries or posterity. Elizabeth I, on the other hand, used her coronation procession as a lavish occasion to both give and receive gifts and thus foster loyalty for the new regime. Elizabeth stopped the procession on several occasions to received flowers and tokens of goodwill from “baser personages” as well as hearing suits.52 Elizabeth is here the recipient of gifts, but she also the giver of gifts, of her time and of her presence to people who are deemed special recipients by the author, Richard Mulcaster, because ‘base’ and therefore unlikely to have such access to the queen. Yet this was just the first of many occasions on which Elizabeth allowed such public access to her person during her reign and such instances of gift exchange with her people. Richard Mulcaster is more approving when describing Elizabeth’s gift of gold from the London City officials. Elizabeth responded with thanks and a pledge that she would keep the peace with her blood, if needed.53 With the gift exchange of the coronation procession, Elizabeth displayed a common touch Mary never managed. 45 Mary was successful in giving herself in marriage, however, a feat Elizabeth never achieved. It was assumed that both queens would marry, and indeed marriage was the one thing Mary’s domestic and foreign advisers agreed upon.54 Unbeknownst to her councillors, however, Mary negotiated her own match to Phillip II of Spain, which she then presented as a fait accompli. Although the Spanish marriage garnered the expected opposition, from council, parliament, and populace, Mary did not back down, even when faced with Wyatt’s rebellion.55 How news of the marriage was delivered is uncertain; one report has Mary forcefully informing the Lord Mayor and aldermen of her intention to marry Philip of Spain and advising them ‘like obedient subiects to accept her.. .pleasure, and to be content and quiett themselves.’ Another report has Gardiner diplomatically announcing in the chamber of presence at Westminster.. .to the lordes. nobilitye, and gentyilmen. . .that the quenes majesty, partely for the weithe and enryching of the reahne, and partely for frendeship and other waighty consideration, hathe. . .determyned, by the consent of hir counsaille and nobylyty, to matche herselfe [to the king of SpayneJ. • Ultimately, how the news was delivered is a moot point—what is important is that Mary bestowed herself, as is clear from Gardiner’s account. Mary was queen, but this position did not come without limits, as her sister Elizabeth found when she attempted to marry. Mary’s negotiation of the marriage, which was completed largely without her councillors, allowed her to bestow herself in marriage and, in so doing, she put her in a position ofpower when it came to the marriage itself, in terms of the rituals of the court and the marriage treaty. Hostility to the match was based on conventional models of spousal relationships, which would mean that Mary as wife would be subordinate to her husband and control of the kingdom would, in consequence, pass to Philip, who was a foreigner and a Catholic.57 Mary’s councillors sought to limit Philip’s powers in England, and consequently, he was granted titles but all policy- 46 making and patronage was reserved for Mary.58 The traditional argument is that Mary did not abide by the treaty, specifically allowing Philip control of foreign policy and as a result England was pulled into war with France and lost Calais. Recently, however, opinion of Mary’s reign has come under some review. Mary denied Philip the personal allowance that would allow him an independent patronage base, and she did little to push his coronation through parliament. Court rituals asserted Mary as sovereign and Philip as consort, from her larger throne to their different plate (hers was gold while his was silver). Philip had to pay the costs of his household, as per the treaty, and Council approved the war with France after the French raid on Scarborough Castle.59 These rituals and denials of gifts were possible because Mary had initiated the marriage and given more to Philip than he had given to Mary; thus through the gift Mary had achieved the dominant position in her marriage and retained the power in both her marriage and her realm. The treaty had reinforced her dominant position and through the gift she had been able to enforce its clauses, despite the models of husband-wife relationships of the period. Likewise, in Merchant, Portia bestows herself in marriage, and is thus able to dictate the terms of the forfeiture clause to Bassanio. Mary I was not unique in initiating courtship negotiations. Some other women of lower rank did so as well, and used gifts as the means to do it. Conversely, Elizabeth I succeeded Mary without having to fight for the throne, but Elizabeth still faced many problems; there was no standing army and the crown was bankrupt. To establish and consolidate her power, Elizabeth not only used and manipulated the gift exchange system that her father and grandfather had established,60she used her presence as a gift to manage her courtiers, and used the promise of her body as a gift (without actually fulfilling the promise) in many ofher courtship negotiations. Her complex manipulation of the gift exchange system extended or limited her courtiers’ power, both maintaining a delicate balance of power 47 among her courtiers and ensuring their loyalty to her.6’ Elizabeth was also careful to put her body on public display. Her progresses were a way of doing this, and during them she engaged in the giving and receiving of gifts.62 Another example is the St. George’s Garter ceremony, when the procession to the ceremony was deliberately developed because it was the portion of the ceremony that was seen by ordinary onlookers.63 Elizabeth was reluctant throughout her reign to confer the Order of the Garter, but when she did decide to confer it in 1592 on the Earls of Shrewsbury and Cumberland, she insisted that she confer it personally.TM That is, Elizabeth used her physical presence to bestow favour on courtiers just as, at other times, she withdrew her presence as a sign of displeasure. When courtiers, including her favourite Leicester, married without her permission or against her will, she exiled them to their country estates. At various times throughout the reign her councillors were banished from her presence.65 The most powerful examples are, perhaps, the events following the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots. Elizabeth directed her anger at her councillors, particularly those she deemed responsible for Mary’s execution. Secretary Davison was publicly scapegoated, having secured the warrant for the execution; the council was berated; Burghley was refused all communication with the queen, banished from her presence and his letters refused for weeks.66 Elizabeth’s withdrawal thus brought the country to a standstill and simultaneously demonstrated that although her male councillors had forced her to unwanted actions, no matter how necessary, she had the power to express her displeasure by completely withholding her presence from them and thereby nullified their ability to perform their roles in her government. By controlling access to her person, Elizabeth kept the power balance at court, such that one’s position depended on a personal relationship with the queen as much an actual title. The 48 manipulation of personal relationships also allowed Elizabeth to minimize clashes, personal and philosophical, between her closest advisors, such as Leicester and Burghley.67Elizabeth went beyond the politics of access though, making her presence a type of gift that could be given or withheld. Her presence in and of itself was a sign of favour. When Burghley was sick, Elizabeth sent him her own physician, went to see him personally, and fed him herself. When Leicester was on his sickbed the queen would visit him also.68 In 1566, in order to weaken Leicester’s influence during the conflict between the Dudley and Howard alliances she deliberately and openly flirted with Sir Thomas Heneage. Elizabeth was thus more successful than her sister at managing her courtiers, but her strategy for doing it was not always successful. In the rivalry between Charles Blount and the Earl of Essex in the winter of 1588-89, Elizabeth sent Blount a golden queen from her personal chess-set. Blount wore the gift on a ribbon on his arm to display the queen’s favour, to which Essex jibed ‘Now I perceive that every fool must have a favour!’.69 Instead of Elizabeth’s gift managing her courtiers, the intended result of the giving, the actual result was beyond her control, inciting violence between them. Elizabeth was the queen, at the pinnacle of society and the fount of gifts, but even she could not control the results of her giving. Affection and sexuality were features of her political relationships, and her use of her presence as a gift forced courtiers to compete for her attention, putting a premium on her presence as much as the presents that she gave out so frugally. Elizabeth I also rejected and refused to give gifts as part of the personal aspect of her courtships, which was separate from the political aspect of these courtships. For example, Eric of Sweden was rather persistent in his pursuit of Elizabeth, despite being refused in 1559. In September of that year, he sent his brother Duke John to England to woo in his place. John gave 49 many presents as bribes to courtiers, as well as charity to the poor, to show Sweden's largesse. Elizabeth did nothmg to curb his actions, but refitsed the ring worth 5000-6000 crowns that was pKsented to her. In 1560, Eric sent gold bullion to England, which Elizabeth kept, even though she had no interest in the match.^° Elizabeth's reAtsal of the personal gift stemmed &om her disinterest in Eric; the gold bullion she could justi^ keeping because it could be put to state use and thus was a gift to England. The ring, however, was a courtship token and would personally oblige her. Since the diplomatic negotiations were still ongoing, one gift could be kept while the other could not. Similarly, in 1565 while Adam Zwetkovich was in England negotiating the suit on the part of Charles of Austria, Elizabeth reAised to give a gift and thereby showed her personal lack of interest in Charles as a suitor while simultaneously maintaining the diplomacy of the suit. Elizabeth maintained, as she always did, that she would not marry an unseen suitor and thus, in July, the imperial envoy wrote Maximilian 'that the Queen becomes fonder of His Princely Highness and her impatience to see him grows daily. Her marriage is, I take it, certain and resolved on.' On August 13, 1565, while Elizabeth was walking with Zwetkovich and De Silva, the former noticed a ruby ring Elizabeth was wearing and suggested she give it to him as a token for the Archduke. Elizabeth reAtsed. Enticingly, she reiterated her request that Charles visit her in England, for then a marriage could be concluded "and he would get much more than one ring Aom her Anger." Elizabeth was promising herself and all that came with her as queen. De Silva saw through the queen's ploy and bluffed, suggested that Charles was already at court and had come in disguise. Elizabeth was horriAed that her condiAons had been met. *̂ Elizabeth had reAtsed to give a token and thus rejected the personal aspect of the suit at a Ame when negoAaAons were not going well. Yet, she held out the promise of herself as a giA if her premarital condiAons were met. Her strategy had backfired, but Elizabeth recovered, claiming that many princes visited her covertly. She did not, in Êict, have any interest in marrying Charles, and her refusal to send the ring as a token was a sign of this lack of intent. Women's ability to bestow themselves as gifts in marriage was not without limits, and neither was Elizabeth's. It seems Elizabeth I was willing to marry at least twice, and these attempts to bestow herself as a gift, as her sister Mary had, were thwarted by councillor opposition.̂ ^ This opposition proved to be a powerful limit on Elizabeth's power as monarch for, unlike her sister, Elizabeth would not marry without councillor approval and consensus on a match proved impossible. Although Elizabeth was celebrated as the "Virgin Queen", this view and the iconography associated with it were imposed upon her in the 1570s surrounding the negotiations with François of Anjou.From the time Elizabeth ascended the throne at the age of twenty-6ve until the negotiations with François of Anjou finally were aborted, she presented herself and more importantly repreygM/g J herself as a marri^eable virgin.̂ "* Elizabeth's first intended was, of course. Sir Robert Dudley, a match that was hampered Rrst by his marriage and then by the mysterious circumstances stnrounding the death of his wife Amy in September 1560. In the months following Amy's death, Elizabeth retreated &om the idea of marriage to Dudley, signalled in November 1560 by her last minute withdrawal of his ennoblement.̂ ^ Elizabeth thus withheld a giA Aom Dudley to signal to the court and the councillors her refusal to give herself to him in marriage. Dudley continued to pursue Elizabeth, but for her the idea of marriage to him had passed. Elizabeth also appears to have espoused herself to François, Arst Duke of Alençon and then Duke of Anjou, in 1581. This event was probably the closest she came to marriage and certainly caused a backlash of reacAon in the court. Catherine de Medici had Arst proposed the match in the early 1570s, subsAtuAng François &)r his brother Henri when the latter refused to many Elizabeth on religious grounds. Elizabeth had, at the time, tried to dismiss the match since she had no interest in the youth, but, as her letter to Francis Walsingham in July 1572 expresses, she could not deny the suit altogether because of pressure &om her councillors: And in the end after their many con&rences had both with us and with our CouncU, when we perceived them very much perplexed to see our strangeness &om assenting to their desires and how loath they were to have any flat denial, we were advised to forbear from making a plain refUsal....^^ In August the St. Bartholomew Day's massacre of French Protestants rendered the marriage negotiations nothing more than a diplomatic tool to keep the lines of cotnmtmication between France and England open.̂ ^ In 1578, the negotiations were revived and Elizabeth seems to have been prepared to force a marriage despite the opposition of her councillors. François was now Duke of Aitjou, heir to the French throne and, more importantly, was Sghting in the Dutch states against Spain. With the Netherlands breaking up, some of the states were reconciling with Philip II of Spain, who was again a threat to England.̂ ^ Elizabeth sent Anjou gifts in October 1578 as the courtship renewed, and although she began to prevaricate, in January 1579, Jean de Simier arrived in England as Anjou's representative, with costly jewels for the queen and a large expense account to press the suit. Elizabeth was courteous to Simier, seeing him often and giving him gifts (gloves, flowers craAed in gold, and miniatures of herself) as love tokens for Anjou. Simier was also invited to feasts, dances, masques, and jousts, all social expressions of giA exchange. Elizabeth agreed to proceed with negoAations. CouncA was divided as usual on the marriage and throughout the fall the council prevaricated while the queen grew increasingly infuriated with their excuses. By October key councillors were banished Aom her presence, including Hatton and Leicester; by November a marri^e Aeaty was in place, which Simier took to France.̂ " Rather than backing down m the &ce of council's opposition, Elizabeth took a stand and forced them to negotiate her marriage. It was a strategy that, at least momentarily, succeeded. Anjou arrived in England and opposition to the match was stifled, since many councillors were absent &om court. Popular opposition was considerable, however, most notably Philip Stubbs' publication of 7?!̂  DMcoverfe Qfy^ Gcp̂ wg GM(̂  far which both he and his publisher lost their hands.̂ * Popular opposition to the match continued unabated.̂ ^ There was mdirect opposition in Parliament and open councillor objections. Elizabeth signed a marriage treaty, but effectively nullified it almost immediately.̂ ^ She had stood up to her councillors, but unlike her sister who &ced down an armed rebellion, Elizabeth's resolve waned under such popular opposition. By early November 1581, Anjou was again in London for a three-month, public visit; he had lifted the siege at Cambrai, a Protestant town in France, but now had no money and his army had disbanded. He was warmly received by the Queen and her councillors, the latter partly because of Anjou's victory at Cambrai, but mostly because they were fairly sure the marriage issue was dead. ^ Yet, Elizabeth had developed a fondness for Anjou, and this fondness brought her to the brmk of marriage. It also revealed that her ability to give, both as a woman and as queen, was not without limit. During the Ascension Day activities of 22 November 1581, as the Queen and Anjou were together in public, the French ambassador asked her intentions toward the Duke. Elizabeth declared that she would marry Anjou, kissed him (on the mouth) and gave him her ring. In retum, he gave her his ring. Those witnessing the event assumed it to be an espousal.̂ ^ In the cases of Eric of Sweden and Archduke Charles, Elizabeth refused a gift and to give a gift, of a ring, because she had no interest in the matches. In the case of François of Anjou, Elizabeth gave Mm the gift of a ring and received the giR of a ring, the very gifts she earlier refused to signify her refusal to give herself in marriage. In light of Elizabeth's earlier actions, the exchange of rings with Anjou is more than a mere token giving; it is not that the rings are important (although they would certainly carry significance as betrothal tokens). What is significant is that Elizabeth earlier had refiised to receive and to give personal items to signify her refusal of the courtship and here, with Atijou, she was not only giving and receiving personal tokens, she was the initiator of the gift exchange which signified in a larger sense her giving herself in marriage. Elizabeth was, it appears, genuinely giving herself to someone, something she had never before done in her reign, and the espousal was probably taken as genuine because Aiijou had Atlfilled her conditions; he had journeyed to England to be seen, not once but twice. He was also willing to compromise on the religious issues and was a prince, fulfilling the status requirement. Anjou was thus the single most likely successful foreign candidate for Elizabeth's hand. If only for a few moments, Elizabeth had bestowed herself on a man. Until the espousal, there had been no opposition to Anjou during this visit, but in the &ce of the backlash of opposition, &om the ladies of her chamber and her councillors, which would serve as a taste of the popular opposition &om her people, bestowing herself in marriage was a gift Elizabeth would be forced to retract. Ultimately, neither Elizabeth nor Mary was successM at marriage. Mary gave herself, but her marriage and reign were perceived as unsuccessAil. Elizabeth was willing to marry, but her council and parliaments could not agree on a candidate. The result was the failure to provide for the succession. Neither reign solved the questions and problems of a queen regnant in a male-dominated society. BestowmgtheSeif Social rank affected the amount of choice individuals had in spouses. In lower ratiks, where there was little economic gain in the dowries, there was more choice than in the upper ranks, where money, property, and titles were at stake. GiAs, however, allowed women to iniAate courtship negoAaAons and to make their own marriages. This was true A)r women of various social rank and economic status. Mary I made her own match by transA)nning herself into a giA, and lower down the social scale, women used giAs to bestow themselves in marriage as well. Elizabeth GodAey, a well-off widow, offered John Smyth a considerable sum of money, pouring out a bag of gold containing around 100 marks and requiring him to take it, or as much as he would.̂ ^ Similarly, Alice Porter, a widow of St. Mary-in-the-Marsh engaged an intermediary, Regenold Smith, to act on her behalf in negoAaAons with yeoman Regenold Aderyn, who lived in Dymchurch, a neighbouring parish and whom Smith knew. Alice promised to take Aderyn A)r her husband, bestowing herself and her goods, a promise she repeated in Aont of Alice's brother who acted as witness.̂ ^ Both Elizabeth and Alice used giAs to iniAate the negoAaAons that included themselves as giAs in marriage, Elizabeth impliciAy, but Alice expUciAy, stating herself as part of the bargain, making herself simultaneously a self-negoAated commodity and giA. Likewise Livia in ^y^^gw Rewarg ^̂ b/wgw offers her economic assets to LeanAo when seducing him and thus uses the commodity as an offered giA to oSer herself as his mistress. Women also insisted on a certain level of reciprocaAon in marriage if they were to bestow themselves and their goods in it. In 1570, Katherine Marshall Aom Durham and of Aie middling-sort had a house and land worth f 4 annually and €10 in moveables. She asked the &Ater of her intended to setAe £13 6s 8d (20 marks) on the prospecAve marriage, to which he of^ed f 5, which she accepted. She later changed her mind and called the marnage offL̂ ° In Suffolk, the widow Yarmouth's projected match fell through A)r similar reasons; the father of her intended young man would only give MO and she had demanded f 60 Aom him. In 1558 she blamed the &ilure of the match on Aie father.̂ ^ It appears that both Katherine and the widow Yannouth had a value that had to be reciprocated. That value was tiot simply ecotiomic and each woman brought more to the marriage than the econotnic value of their holdings. Their gifts had to be adequately recognized by the fathers' settlement on the marriage and when it was not, both women withdrew from the proposed matches. Bianca in ^/waw Ĵ eware will insist on this reciprocation when complaining to her mother-in-law: Wives do not give away themselves to husbands. To the end to be quite cast away; they look To be the better used, and tendered rather, Highlier respected, and maintained the richer; They're well rewarded else for the &ee gift Of their whole life to a husband. (3.1.47-52) Of course, a wife's gift is not &ee if Bianca is seeking such a return. But what she is expressing is that wives expect reciprocation of themselves in marriage, and that reciprocation has economic considerations ("tendered", "maintained"). Despite the obstacles put before them in the form of family and community, women did marry clandestinely, insisting they could bestow themselves on others without &eling the need for the consent of parents or, in their place, other family or Mends. Some examples include Elizabeth Throckmorton, and Catherine and Mary Grey.^ In 1570 Alice Cheeseman ofthe middling ranks insisted on her choice of husband despite the opposition of her community, Aom which she was &cing expulsion. Wishing 'her to be preferred to a better marriage', the parishioners stayed the banns and marriage of Alice to her chosen husband, even though She did offend in camallye knowing Cheseman before marriage notwithstanding she made as he thitiketh in recompense in that she being persuaded to him bye her Mends, she ever said that she should have him and in respecte allso that she hath reconciled herself to god and the world by marrying of her husband. Chesemen was required to fetch testimonials of his behaviour &om Sussex, and the resulting two-month delay to the tnarriage meant Alice was two month's pregnant when the couple finally married; consequently the child was not bom 'in sufficient cumpas of tyme aAer marriage. The offence of the early birth was forgiven, since it was the community that delayed the marriage. Alice was able to insist on the marriage she wanted and to bestow herself in the marriage despite the resistance of the parish and the threat of expulsion Aom her home. Giving herself sexually before marriage was a risky proposiAon. Other women also gave themselves before marriage as a means of obtaioing marriage and such acAons did not always end well. In Alice's case, however, the community had to recognize the circumstances in which the giA was given and thus reconcAe themselves to Cheseman and the marriage. Shmlarly, Othello and Desdemona marry secreAy to the outrage of her father, but when the marriage is tried before the Duke, it is clear that Desdemona has given herself to the Moor and thus Brabanzio, Roderigo, and the rest of Venice must accept it. Other women resorted to cohabitaAon with men before marriage to get the match they wanted. Although cases of premarital sex did not AequenAy come before the court, especiaUy aAer 1600, there were such prosecuAons against women who gave themselves sexually to men. These cases were usually blatant and usuaHy resulted in the couple being married when brought to court. So in 1591, it was reported in Woodborough "that 'Henry Cantry was taken in bed with Agnes Cantry before they were married'." '̂* The cases, according to Martin Ingram, often came to court because the bride was pregnant at the Ame of marriage or, in rare cases, had delivered before the actual marriage. Hence another Agnes, 'Agnes Hellier alias Bowdler the wife of Roger Hellier' came to the aAenAon of authoriAes in 1592 for being 'delivered of a child within a month aAer they were married'.^^ Ingram argues that most such cases involved betrothed or seriously courting couples who had engaged in sexual relaAons before the church ceremony. Nonetheless, some women chose to live with their intended husbands before marriage. In Shomcote in 1621, Margaret Greene and John Prater were contracted to be married and Ûie banns had been published when Jane Haskins claimed the John was engaged to her, thus &)rbidding the banns. Margaret proceeded to have sexual relations with Prater, subsequently had a baby, and then con&ssed that 'she doth live m the house with the said Prater and purposeth forthwith to be married'.^^ Such cases as Margaret's were rare, but do show that women could use their bodies to achieve the desired marriage. Similarly, Helen in ^M?// will pursue Bertram to his bed, trick him mto intercourse, and become pregnant to fiilRll his conditions and force him to accept their marriage. Women refusing gifts/suitors. Diana O'Hara asserts that while women did participate in gift exchange, giving in retum to suitors, Nevertheless, the unevenness of the exchange assigned to women the primarily passive and more obligated role of recipient. Widows were found to be more forthcoming, but women usually acted in response to their suitors, either in returning tokens and, by implication, terminating negotiations, or in reciprocation, reassurance and positive encouragement. What is interesting, but what O'Hara does not explore, is that by rejecting the gift, women could refitse a suitor. This rejection of the gift was as powerful as giving and is taken for granted by O'Hara and by early modem society as a woman's right, since O'Hara acknowledges that women reject gifts and therefore suits, but does not pursue the implications of the agency that this afR)rds women in a male-dominated society. Yet, this rejection of the courtship gift does not invoke the complications that Mauss envisioned in his theory of the gift. The role of recipient was thus not as passive as O'Hara asserts, since the recipient was the one to determine whether negotiations would proceed or not by accepting or refusing the giA. For example, Henry Marche went to see Agnes Cobbe in her parish of Saltwood, and calling her to the door, put an old gold royal into her hand. She kept it until he called again with his three Mends, when Agnes returned the gold. Henry threw it in the doorway, where an old woman picked it up and gave it Agnes again. About a Cartnight later, Henry tried again to get Agnes's consent to marry and forced on her two old royals. Another fortnight later he returned, at which time Agnes oi&red him his three gold pieces, telling 'him that she wold not have him nor anie of his gold.' Agnes's retum of the gold conveys her answer to the suit ^ Yet it is not just Henry that Agnes is rejecting, but commtmity pressure in the form of the old woman who gives Agnes the coin, and in the form of Henry's friends. Nonetheless, it is a gift she is able to resist by returning the unwanted gift to him, thus ending the suit. The case also brings up the question of forced gifts, since Henry attempts to force the suit by forcing the coins on Agnes. The forced gift was a notion not uncommon in early modem courtship, according to O'Hara. For example, Margaret Barnes, acting as httermediary, gave a ring to Joanne Stupple, telling her "that George More had sent it for a token, 'forsing' her to keep it until such time as she should see him again." The day before, Margaret had delivered a silver and gilt enamelled button in similar &shion. Within three days of the ring's delivery, Joatme admitted granting her goodwill to George, except 'said that she could not tell wherunto she had granted her goodwill'. Thus, it seems that Joanne submitted to the forced giR, but the ambiguity ofthe intentions that came with it allowed her to reserve some of her agency. In giving her goodwill in retum, she of^red nothing else. Other women refused the forced gift outright. Edward Culling claimed Joan Essex 'said she wold interprète her body by the grace of god as she wold forsake all other men, and submit herself to [him] to be his wif And because she promised this, he tooke her a pece of gould at that time valued at 13s 4d upon condition that she shold be his wif̂  which she upon that condition willingly received/ For her part, Joan accused Edward of utijust boasting, and claimed that when he put the gold in her hand she refused to receave and cast it agen aAer him on a table, and saith that he delivered to her an handkercher to wash wherin was an old grote, and purse he gave her for a iayring, and the neckercher he thrust into her pockeA which she took out and cast to him agen on the ground at Hithe &yer, and an old 6d he gave her also.*"* Edward attempted to A)rce the money upon Joan and she reAtsed it by throwing it onto a table. When he tried to conceal it in a handkerchief, she again refused it by casting it onto the ground. The concealing of gifts in items such as handkerchiefs and gloves was not uncommon, but to keep them could be implied as consent, and thus Joan cast away the giA to refuse it. In 7we(̂ A JVi(g  OAvia sends a forced giA to Cesario (Viola in disguise). As a sign of affecAon, Olivia has Malvolio give Cesario a ring, claiming to be returning it to Orsino. Cesario refuses the ring and only aAer Malvolio has thrown the ring on the ground does Cesario realize that it is a love token, intended for her, of Olivia's affecAon (2.2.1-41). Because ofthe coimotaAons of giAs between men and women, especially the impAcaAons for marriage, women were careful to avoid any giA with implicaAons.*"^ Constance Awsten was of^red a pair of gloves by James Haffynden, 'whiche she in no wise wold receive, James saying. Why Custaunce you may take them if it were of one that you never saw. And therapon she answering, and receaving the gloves said, I take them at yor handes as thoughe you were but a straunger towards me'.*°^ Constance refused the giA at first because she did not want the suitor, and when pressed, she took the giA but alienated the suitor as a stranger, thereby nulHfying any attempt at obligating her through the giA. In 1574, Jane Salisbury refused giAs Aom her would-be suitor William Lloyde, paid him for giAs he aAempted to force on her, and returned the gifts he sent via a servant: while the sayde Lloyde was a sueter unto her she hadd occasyon to sende for a payre of hoose and a payre of siegers whereof the sayde Lloyde having understandinge payde for them him selffe and att the delivery of them to this respondent caused it to be signii^ed unto her that he bestowed them uppon her which this respondent mislyked because she purposed to deserve no suche matter.. .partley &)r his money layde owte in that behalffe and partlye for wyen which he wolde sende unto her chamber againste her will she sent unto him 10 shillmgs in golde further she saithe that the sayde Lloyde beinge uppon a tyme in her chamber in greate rage he left there halfe an angell which this respondent dmst not then presse uppon him backe againe for feare he shulde have donne some hurt other of his goodes she never received but certaine parcells here mentyoned as the scarffe and stomacher the scarffe being worth 15 shillings and the stomacher worthe a mark and no more.. .being delyvered to her servante without her privitye she caused to be sente unto him backe again which he receaved.*^ In this case, Jane carefully recounts gifts returned, and refused, and the forced gifts that have been paid for, thereby cancelling the obligations of the gift transactions. By thus refusing the gift relationship, she refuses the ardent suitor. Other women refused to be gifts by refusing suits. Mary Boyle, daughter of the Earl of Cork, had been promised to Mr. Hambletone, son of Lord Cladeboyes. The match had been concluded years before; in 1639 he was returned from France and she had reached the age of consent. The Earl received Hambletone as a son-in-law, and Mary was commanded by her father '*to receive him as one designed to be my husband". Mary stood to gain Snancially, since his estate was settled on him, "yet by all his kindness to me nor that I could be brought to endure to think of having him, though my father pressed me to it; my aversion to him was extraordinary". Despite her father's displeasure, and the ensuing trouble, she "could never be brought by either fair or foul means to it; so as my father was at last forced to break it off̂  to my father's unspeakable trouble, and to my unspeakable satisfaction".*"^ Even though pressure was exerted upon her to AtlBll her father's promise and to be his gift to the suitor, Mary could not be forced mto the marriage, and she resisted the coercion to be made into her father's gift. Similarly, Capulet exerts tremendous pressure on Juliet to marry Paris m J?o/Mgo a/Mf jM/ : e ( as he threatens to withhold her dowry and throw her out in the street, but she still refuses to be made her other's gift and secretly marries Romeo. Women could also retum gifts to end a courtship. Alice Fryer retumed the angel noble she had received &om Richard Rolf She claimed they 'had further cowwMMfca^foM of tnariage and there brake of because [she] cold not as she saith fynd in her hart to love hym' and so she retumed the coin, saying 'that she was not mynded to have hym'. Similarly, Helen Throwley and Thomas Mayhewe exchanged various tokens, including sixpenny pieces and a little silver cmciSx, which were restored after a falling out and ending of the courtship.*"^ The retum of the courtship gifts thereby ends the courtship, since the gifts were symbolic of the relationship, the promises made and the Aiture promises to be kept, including the giving of themselves to each other. To dissolve the promises, the gifts had to be retumed. Refusing a match Women's right to refuse a marriage was often nulliSed by coercion and by pressure exerted by family and friends.*"̂  Because there were few employment opportunities for single women, there were few alternatives to marriage. In higher social ranks, the threat of withholding dowries and withdrawing financial support was often used to coerce reluctant women into accepting a marriage. Across rank, pressure exerted by family and Mends could also coerce such consent. The public ceremony, however, did not always achieve the desired marriage because women could reAtse to consummate the marriage and this refusal to give their bodies sexually to their husbands was an expression of power on par with, i f not greater than, giving that body, since culturally, women were to be passive and yielding and therefore were expected to submit to their husbands. Such private marital negotiations can be found in public documents, like Thomas Kydde's pamphlet about Anne Welles (1592).*°*^ Welles is first described in the pamphlet as "a proper young woman" who is "beloued of diuers young men, especially of two Goldsmithes.. .".*"^ John Parker is the "better beloved, but least deserved" while John Brewen has a longstanding suit, the goodwill of her friends and &mily, and has given "gifts and fauours" but is "still disdained and cast ofF\* *° Brewen's gold and jewels were given "upon a promise betweene them" but since this came to naught, he called for the retum of the gifts. When Welles did not retum the giAs, Brewen had her arrested, to her astonishment On condition thai Brewen let the action &11, Welles agreed to marry him before witnesses. Parker was angry, and Welles tumed against Brewen. The pamphlet alleges that a plan was hatched to poison Brewen. Coerced into marriage by Brewen, Welles refised to act as a wife. She would not lay with him aAer the Arst night of her marriage; neither would she abide to be caUed aAer his name, but sAA to be termed Anne Welles, as she was before: and to excuse her Aom his bed, she sayd she had vowed neuer to lie by him more All he had goAen her a better house. And more to shadow her trecherie, and to shew the discontent she had of his dwelling, she lodged neuer a night but the first in his house, but prouided her a lodging neere to the place where this graceless Parker dwelt* Welles only entered Brewen's house when she went to poison him. Kydde's pamphlet was intended to show women's agency as dangerous, but, though Welles's first assertions of agency created tension, they were not violent. Her insistence on her own idenAty allowed Welles to resist her objecAAcaAon in a coerced marriage. Her present withholding of herself with the promise of future sexual fulfilhnent (whether she meant it or not) allowed her to make demands within the marriage.**^ Neither was Welles's reported refusal to retum Brewen's courtships giAs an anomaly; Diana O'Hara's analysis of early modem court records analyzes several cases in which people across rank sued or were sued over courtship gifts. Welles was not unique in using this withholding strategy. In 1565 John Bennet's wife reAised to live with him, despite his extensive negotiaAons with her stepfather and other Aiends. He had tried to get into bed with her, but he claimed that she 'did suddenly rise out of her bed refitsed to company with him... saying that she was the worse when she saw him'. Similarly, in 1588, Julian Cordwell was pressured 'by means of importunity, suit and earnest soliciting of [Henry Cordwell of Corsley] unto her Mends, viz. her father and mother, her master and her lady and mistress with other of her dear friends, who altogether thereupon did so menace and evil intreat her'. Eventually, she submitted to the marriage, but immediately regretted her decision and would not live with Henry.* Playwrights alluded to gift discourse to illuminate and complicate the drama. In T^w/e/̂ 3.1, in which Ophelia attempts to retum Hamlet's gifts, Shakespeare invokes the gift and issues of returning gifts. Since Ophelia returns the tokens on her father's cotnmand, she is not fully asserting agency. Although there is no spoken protnise of marriage between these two (indeed the only one to speak of such a marriage is Gertmde), there are indications that the couple were expecting to marry and, as with the historical cases cited earlier, courtship tokens are invoked to symbohze that prospective marriage and the end of the relationship. Hamlet, however, responds to the retumed gifts by denying he was the giver and thus repudiating their involvement altogether rather than accepting Ophelia's rejection of him. Nonetheless, she persists in returning the tokens and her second attempt shows their increased value (beyond the material) because they symbolized marriage and that the marriage is no longer possible: My honoured lord, you know right well you did [give them]. And with them words so sweet breath composed As made the things more rich. Their perfume lost. Take these things again; for to the noble mine Rich things wax poor when givers prove unkind (3.1.99-102). Ophelia may be acting on her father's direction to retum the gift, but she is not entirely without agency, since she blames the change in Hamlet for the relationship souring. Gift discourse is Ûius a kind of shorthand to explain the relationship between Ophelia and Hamlet while simultaneously complicating issues of Ophelia's agency and relationship to her &ther and Hamlet. Breaking a match Once made, a marriage was difficult to break. Divorce and annuhnent were difficult to obtain, especially for women unhappily married. Amy Cooke, a Wiltshire shoemaker's daughter, had been forced into a marriage by her mother. The man was described as a 'lewd idle jMlow' and because Amy neither lived with him nor consummated the marriage, she was able to secure an annulment. Perhaps a more famous case is Frances Howard, who was married at thirteen to Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex, a match arranged by James I to settle the enmity between their two families. After three years of marriage, two of which he spent abroad, Essex returned to England in 1610 and tried to live with his wi&. Frances wanted very little to do with Essex, however, and refused to live with him, since in his absence she had enjoyed &eedom afR)rded her as an unencumbered married woman at court and she had become enamoured of the King's favourite, Robert Carr. Upon his return, Essex expected to return to Chartley House in Staffordshire, but Frances wanted to stay for Prince Henry's investiture as Prince of Wales on June 4,1610. After the ceremonies, she fted to Audley End, her parent's home, where Essex visited over the sunamer in attempts at reconciliation. When Essex got her father's sympathies, Frances fled to her lodging at Whitehall, where Essex &)llowed and demanded she prepare to go to Chartley House. Frances fled again, this time to her uncle Northampton, who took her part, leaving Essex to return to Chartley alone.""* After a bout of smallpox, Essex returned in May 1611 to claim his wi&; it is uncertain whether the marriage was ever consummated, but in 1613, Essex agreed to an annulment on the basis of non-consummation, and the annulment was Anally granted under pressure Aom James 1.**̂ These cases represent rare occasions in the period; Anne Welles's resorting to murder was certainly an anomaly. Her actions to control her own body, to stake a claim for herself in marriage, like those of the other cases I have cited, show women seeking control of their own sexual bodies, and the choice to refuse to consummate or continue a marriage. The few cases that came before Church courts or other authorities are indicaAve of more widespread marital discord. I do not want to use a few examples to argue that all women did use their bodies as sexual gifts to be given or withheld, but I do believe that these examples indicate a widespread pracAce women that could, and did, use to make a stake for themselves in marriage. Across rank, women negoAated the conflicting demands placed upon them and found ways to circumvent the restricAons placed them upon in their male-dominated world. Women's parAcipaAon in the giA exchange system of early modem England was simultaneously acceptable and transgressive; it allowed women public and acAve roles while remaining within acceptable gendered behaviour. Women's bodies, moreover, did not absolutely belong to their husbands in marriage, even though men had the right to beat their wives, in moderaAon."^ Women's giving was not, however, without risk. The consequences of the giving could not be conAolled, as Mary I found when she bestowed herself on a foreign husband. The ability to give was not without limit either, as Elizabeth I discovered when she attempted to bestow herself in marriage and found her ability to do so curbed by councillor as weA as popular opposiAon. Women's giving, and their giving of themselves, was a complex issue in early modem England, and one which the drama explored. Chapter Two Notes ' 77:g7yMyoryo/'Ar;?:g Lear (1.2.233) ^ Women's political and legal disen&anchisement has led historians such as Lawrence Stone to posit women as largely powerless objects passed between men in marriage to solidify political and/or economic alliances. More recent work by Alan MacFarlane, Sara Mendelson, and Patricia Crawford has shown that early modem Englishwomen did, in fact, have choice in their marriages and more social &eedom than previously recognized. See Sara Mendelson and Patricia Crawford, Far/y Modern Fug/aw^ (Oxford: Clarendon, 1998) and Alan MacFarlane, Marriage awcf Low :M FMg/a?!< .̂ Afocfe.y of ReprocfMcHow (London: Blackwell, 1987). In the medieval period, women had supported themselves, but this became more difficult in the hardening economic climate of later fifteenth century (P. J. P. Goldberg, "Gender and Matrimonial Litigation in the Church Courts in the Later Middle Ages: The Evidence of the Court of York" GgK^er ^ My^o/y, 19:1 [2007] 45). There were five hundred guilds in England; only five excluded women. Prior to the Tudor period, girls had apprenticed in various trades, but by the sixteenth century, few apprenticed to skilled trades. Women's guild membership was usually acquired by marnage, since they played a vital role in the business of their husbands, and usually carried on the business if widowed; they even took on apprentices (Alison Sim, 77;̂  fM^or 77oM.yew(/ê [Montreal: McGill- Queen's UP, 1996] 97-8). Women's wages and the status of their work were subject to restrictions &om both the community and guilds, and these restrictions became increasingly harsh in the early modem period (Barbara Kreps, "The Paradox of Women: The Legal Position of Early Modem Wives and Thomas Dekker's The Honest Whore," EL7769:1 [2002]: 87). ^ See Christine Peters, "Gender, Sacrament and Ritual: The Making and Meaning of Marriage in Late Medieval and Early Modem England," Pa.ŷ  awcf Prê gw^ 169 (2000), 64. Christine Peters, "Single Women in Early Modem England: Attitudes and Expectations," CoMnwMtY)̂  ancf CAawge 12:3 (1997): 236. Susan Dwyer Amussen points out, however, that this subordination was not total, but was, rather to be learned within the family, where each member of the family had his or her obligations and where power relations were reciprocal, such that "obedience and subordination were mirrored by care, protection and wise leadership." In this model, the order of the household could be dismpted by either the subordinates or the head of the household. See her "'Being Stirred to Much Unquietness': Violence and Domestic Violence in Early Modem England," J o M r M a / of W^^wen'y7yMro?y 6:2 (1994): 73. The conduct literature of the period delegated women to the domestic sphere, but the household was the sight of economic production and thus the boundary betweep public and private was permeable. Women in landed households were responsible for administering estates that included a range of social, political, and legal responsibilities that could include inheriting a local office, as in the case of Lady Anne Clifford (although hers was a hard-won inheritance). See Judith M . Richards, "'To Promote A Woman To Beare Rule': Talking Of Queens In Mid-Tudor England," ̂ 'ùĉ eeMfA Cgw^Mry VoMrwa/ 28:1 (1997): 102. Lady Margaret Hoby's diary is full of apt examples of the permeable boundary between the public and the private spheres. The diary includes both domestic details and business Lady Margaret would tend for her husband, including mnning estates (Sim 40-1). There are also business considerations that are Lady Hoby's alone since, â  the time of the diary's writing, she had not signed all of her property over to her husband (Lady Margaret Hoby and Joanna Moody, ed., 77!g Pnva^e Li/ê of aw F/fzaAe^Aa?! Lacf)̂ . 77!e D:a/y o f L a ^ Margaret RoAy [Phoenix Mill , Thmpp, Stroud: Sutton, 1998]: 177 and n 304). One example of this marriage as partnership surviy^ through the letters of John Johnson and his wife Sabine (m. 1541). He was a merchant who travelled to the Coiiit!nent oAen and in his absence Sabine was in charge of the household, business, and apprentices. Their letters record the business she conducted 6)r him, including selling wool for their customers. Their lives are detailed and their letters excerpted in Barbara Winchester, TM^or Faw:7y Por̂ rafy (London: Jonathan Cape, 1955) . ^ John Gillis, For Fê êr, For Ĥ ô FnYMA A/arr:age.y, 7600 ô Frê yeŵ  (New York and Oxford: Ox6)rd UP, 1985) 57. Since the husband now had authority over his wife (and potentially servants) and the wife had authority over the household (and any servants), the wedding and formation of a new household was a political event. The courtship was a private relationship, marnage was not; it was a both a "public institution and a private relationship, in which a husband's formal authority was balanced and, at times, contradicted by, the very real power of wives" (82). ^ Marriage itself was reformulated in the period, as the conduct books and sermons show; the roles and duties of husbands and wives were subjects of debate as marriage underwent social, political, and religious redefinitions that t promised change &om medieval ideas of marriage. These redeSnitions, however, oAen conflicted with each odter. The Protestant rede&iition of marriage promised equality between spouses yet the political Tudor model ofthe household as "a little commonwealth" 0̂ °*̂  and Cleaver) structured that equality as a hierarchy withm the household with &e &ther as head and &us replicated the power structure the Tudors were seeking to establish. Socially, the rising middle class and patronage system meant that rank, economic status, and gifts were things to be carefully considered when ûtvours were needed and, especially under Elizabeth I, these dungs became crucial when negotiating marriage. John Dod and Robert Cleaver, /4 Gô Ç̂  Fo/w q/̂ Aw.yeAoM GoMernme/̂ . Âe or&rwg q/̂ prwo/e FaMF/:ay, accor̂ wg Go& wor4 ^̂ AereMH/̂ o w aJïoMywĝ / M a more /?ar̂ CM/ar manner, TAe êMera// A*̂ e$ Âe HmAaMd ̂ owardh AM w{/ê; a?:J /Ae wwey ôwarak Aer HM^Aawi 7Ae f arew($ (̂ M/!e /owar(& /Aefr cA!/(̂ êw; aŵ  fAe cAF/â ew ôwor̂ f /Aê r Pare/̂ & 7Ae M^M/ery (A(̂ :e ̂ owarah Aiy .yerMawR. awaf aZyo Âe yerHa?M̂ ( 07 /owar& ̂ Aetr A^M^ery. (London: Thomas Creede &r Thomas Mann, 1598) sig Bl . ^ Wallace MacCaf&ey, "Place and Patronage in Elizabethan Politics," in E/caAê Aaw Governmeŵ  a/M^ 5oc!ê .̂' Eî̂ gyy Prgyeŵ ê ro -S/r JbAw Nea/e, eds., S. T. Bindof̂  J. HurstSeld, C. H. Williams (London: U of London, The Adilone Press, 1961) 95-7. * Patricia Fumerton argues dtat children were exchanged as part of the gift milieu of early modem England in her essay, "Exchanging GiAs: die Elizabedian Currency of Children and poetry," ELR53:2 (1986): 241-278. See also Cv/^a/ 74ay^Aê e$. TïewaMMWce f ĵ eraÔ re a?Kf Âe PracAce q/̂ 5oc:a/ Or̂ aweM^ (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1991). ^ Barbara J. Harris, "Women and Politics in Early Tudor England," 7Ae RM/owa/Joarwa/ 33:2 (1990): 265-8. Tokens were dif&rent &om gifts in that tokens were personal beloî^ings, particularly associated with their owner. The value was e?q)ressed in the relationship to die recipient, not in the material value of the object itself dius underscoring the symtwlic meaning of giA-giving. The token was uldmately meant to be retumed to the giver, further emphasizing its symbolic signiAcance. Because of the impHed intimacy. Lady Lisle reserved her tokens Air women, widi one notable exception: TTiomas Culpeper. When he requested one of Lady Lisle's tokens she sent it, rather reluctantly. For further examples of women's participation in the patronage system in the early Tudor period, see Harris, "Women and PoAtics" 259-81. A more detailed discussion of women's use of gifts and the patronage system in diis period can be found in Chapter 8, "Beyond the Household—Family and Frien&, Patronage and Power" of Barbara J. Harris, EMg/MAy4rM/ocra(:c W m̂ê  7̂ 30-7330. A^rr/age aŵ Faw/̂ M, Prcper̂ ^ a?Kf Careery (OxAird: OxAitd UP, 2002) 175-209. '° Lisa M. Klein, "Your Humble Handmaid: Elizabedian Gifts of Needlework," /^ewatMawce gMar̂ erf)̂  50:2 (1997): 460-1. "Klein 466. David N. Durant, Be;y.y q/^^^/cA.- Por&-a/̂  q^ aw EycaAê Aaw D)^May/ (London: Weiden&ld and Nicolson, 1977) 111. " Durant 111. Elizabedi Lennox was a widow at die time of her death. Elizabedi leA her daughter to the care of her mother, Elizabedi Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury, (aka Bess of Hardwick) and leA die rest of her money to Arbella in trust widi Bess until Arbella reached die age of sixteen. Durant 111. Arbella was a claimant to die throne through her Ather, Charles Stuart, Earl of Lennox, who had married without Elizabeth I's pemiission. Arbella lacked independent means since James VI and Elizabedi I had seized her inheritance. Elizabedi granted Arbella and her mother a small annual pension, which leA Arbella to be maintained by her maternal grandmodier, Elizabedi Talbot. See Sarah Jayne Steen, ed., "Introduction," 77!e lèvera (^La^ ̂ rAe//a g!(Mar̂  (OxAird and New York: OxAird UP, 1994) 5,11. ' As Queen, Elizabedi was exempt Aom the usual rules of reciprocity that govem the giA dynamic. An apt example is the annual tilts held for her ascension day, which presented occasions Air giA giving to the Queen. In 1593, Robert Cary used die opportunity to present Elizabedi widi a jewel to molli^ her Air marrying widiout her permission. These highly ceremonial events were expensive to the nobility who pardcipa^ in them. Yet Elizabedi did not give prizes or gifts to the tUters, she merely dianked diem. For a full discussion ofthe tilting pageant, see Roy Strong, T?!e Cw/̂  qfE/caAê A. E/craAê Aaw Por̂ -â /we awJP̂ ĝeaw^ (Wallop: Thames and Hudson: 1977) 134-46. *̂  Klein 468-9. According to Marshall Sahlins, in hierarchal exchange, reciprocation does not necessarily bear an equivalence to die original gift, and the material Aow of gifts can be in Atvour of one side for some time (5!̂ 0Me y4ge EcowoFH/c$ [New York, 1972] 206. Mary Stuart tried to obAgate Elizabedi by using gifts while under arrest in England and used the French Ambassador to send Elizabedi a crimson skirt she had emlavidered. Elizabedi did not reciprocate and since Mary remained incarcerated, the obAgatory relationship she sought was not created. Elizabedi also denied Mary's request Air some of the Queen's gowns, instead sendmg some black cloth and suggesting a suitabîe mourning period for Lord Damley, aAer whose death Mary had hastily remarried (Klein 475-6,469 [note 38]). *̂  Elizabeth A. Brown, '"Companion Me with My Mistress': Cleopatra, Elizabeth I, and Their Waiting Women," AAïfdb owcf  N̂ reyyey, CoMsrvM ow(f gMeewN. ŷbwew y4//!awcay w Ear()̂  M?(ferw EKg/a?Mf, eds., Susan Frye and Karen Robertson (New Yo& and OxAwd: OxAard UP: 1999) 131-2. Brown 132-3. Sir Robert Sidney promoted his interests through the women ofthe Privy Chamber, as evidenced through the Roland Whyte letters, which cover Ave years of Whyte pursing Sidney's interests at court (133-4). *̂  Brown 134. °̂ 22, July 1562, Ashley and Broadbent to Guildenstem, SP 70/ 39 A)l. 119, cited in Susan Doran, MiwarcAy aŵ A /̂wowM- 77!e coMr̂ Âyg E/caAerA 7 (London and New York: Routle(̂ e, 1996) 34. Doran points out that those men also wrote to the Swedish court were sent to the Tower. See also Christopher Haigh, E/caAê A 7. Prq /̂e w Power, 2nd ed (London and NY :Longman 1998) 102-3. For Aese and further instances of their poUAcal patronage, see Haigh 102-3. ^ Linda Levy Peck, Cowr̂ â/rowage aŵ f Com^^/oM :w EarTy ̂ f̂Mor̂  EHg/aH<7 (Boston, Lond(m, etc.: Unwin Hyman, 1990) 68. For women's inAuence at the Stuart Court, see Peck 68-74. ^ Unlike Catholic Europe, where a decree by (he Council of Trent (1563) invalidated (hose marriages not perAirmed pubhcly by parish priests, and similar decrees in tnany of the Contmental Protestant countries, England still validated uniorts marriages made without witnesses, church services, or even clergy (Martin Ingram, CAwrcA Coŵ y, -yexr aw(7M3arrMgg /w Ewg7aM4 737(̂ -7(̂ /0 [1987. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1990] 132). ^ Gillis 20. Heinrich Bullinger (1540s) had written on the pracAce of hand&sting, and had approved it, under the condiAon Aiat a church ceremony not be delayed too long. Gouge wrote that contracted persons were in a middling state between being single and being married, and (hat taking the hberty to know each other in this state was a dishonourable practice (Gillis 20). Robert Cleaver wrote that those afSanced should abstain Aom "the use of marriage" (sexual intimacy) (Gillis 52). ^ Ingtam 190. Ingram 136. The Medieval Church had insisted on individual consent as the basis of marriage and qualiAed this by recommendmg compAance with parental advice. The Protestant Church held that parents had the initiative in making a marriage and qualiAed (his by urging parents to consider (heir cbildrens' mclinaAons (Ralph A. Houlbrooke, 77!e Ewg/iyA FamfT)' 7̂ 307700 [London and New York: Longman, 1984] 68). Thomas Becon's Câ ecAtym (1560) advised children to A)llow the advise of their parents, who are more learned and parents "to place children in marriage to their proAt, 'and thai with the good-will and consent of the children, to whom the matter chieAy pertain; that the authority of the parents and the consent ofthe children may go together, and make an holy and blessed marriage'." (Thonias Becon, 7Ae Câ ecAwm... W!/A ô Aer/?Mcay wr/#ew Ay A/w w Âe 7?e/gw qfX̂ fwg E^araf Âe ^oc^A, J. Aryre [ed.], ParAer ̂ oc/ê , 11 [1844] 372, c i ^ in Houlbrooke 69). Kreps 85. Mutual consent was the prescripAve norm in the manuals ofthe day. Of course, the marriage required consent ofthe cotq)!e to be legal. At higher economic levels, marriages were usually arranged to enhance patronage netwodcs or economic ties. Daughters were dependent on dowries and these could be withheld as coercive means to assure a match. The age of naarriage was usually quite young, avoiding the possibility of elopement and clandestine matches, although such marriages did occur and were somethnes accepted by the &milies of of&nding daughters (Harris, Ewg/wA y4rM ôcra(!c W?mgw 43-59). ^ Carol Thomas Neeley, "Shakespeare's Women: Historical Facts and Draniatic RepresentaAons," ̂ AaAeapeare y Perwna7/i(y, eds., Norman N. Holland, Sidney Homan, and Bernard J. Paris (Berkeley and Los Angeles, U of California P, 1989) 120. Of course, William and Anne's marriage was somewhat extraordinary in that Anne was eight years older than William and, of course, was pregnant at the time of their marriage. But then again, then- daughter Judith would many a man Ave years her junior, Thomas Quincey in February 1616, so perhi^ the age dif&rence was not so unique. Like Aeir par^ts, both Judith and Susannah seem to have made their own marital arrangements. (119-21). ^ Penelope Devereux was Elizabeth I's goddaughter, cousin, and mai& She was also the Earl of Huntingdon's ward. Penelope opposed her proposed match to Robert Rich and even spoke in protest at her wedding, but had liAle choice oAer Aian to many Rich (Michèle Margetts, "Stella Britanna: The early life (1563-1592) of Lady Penelope Devereux, Lady Rich (d. 1607)," diss., Yale University, 1992,182-201). °̂ Amy Louise Erickson shows (hat "throughout (he early modem period one child in three lost at least one parent before age 21" (̂ ^̂ /wew a w ^ Prqper(y w EarT̂   /̂erM Ewg/a?K7 [London and New YoA: Routledge, 1991] 93). Anne Hathaway had, A)r example, lost boAi parents when she married WiUiam Shakespeare, as had Shakespeare's mother, Mary Arden, when she married (Neeley, "Shakespeare's Women" 120). The statisAc notwithstandmg, women arranged their children's marriages even when their husbands were alive and well. In 1635 John Green's mother arranged his sister's marrî e while he was studymg at Lincoht's Inn. Upper class letter &om the period show that marriage negotiations were largely carried out by women, whether thek husband's were alive or not (Erickson, ^ybMcw 93). Further up the soci^ scale, Barbara J. Harris has cited numerous examples of women arranging the marriages of Aeir children, mcluding the widows Dame Katherine Blount and Margaret, marchioness of Dorset as well as married women negotiating marriages for children by previous marriages, such as Lady Elizabeth St. Loe (Bess of Hardwick) and Maf̂ aret, Countess of Bath. See her "Women and Politics" 261 and Chapter 8, "Beyond (he Household—Fanùly and Friends, Patronne and Power" in her book Ewg/txA ŷ ŵ ocrô c y^bMCM 175-209. '̂ Erickson, ŷbmcM 4. Juan Luis Vives, De fw!$/!/M^M/M^w/wae cAra/iowae. In J b a w w M Z.H(/ov!c/ MfvM Ha/eŵ ŵ  Qpera o w M M , ed. Gregorius Majanius, 4:70-304. 8 vols. Valentiae: Benedictus Mont&)rt, 1782-1790. Facs. Reprint. London: Gregg Press, 1964.4:66 (I^&tio) as re&renced in Margaret L. King, Women qf ̂ Ag RewaMMwce (Chicago and London: U ofChicagoP, 1991)23-24. T.E. 7Ae Zoway Rasfo/M^MyM qf Womgw '̂  /KgA&. Or, /Ae Aawas; ProvMMW ̂ r (̂ loewew (London: John More, 1632)6. Eridcson, ^̂ bmew 39,3. Coverture debarred women &om legal action; a basic economic exchange, coverture transferred Ae bride's portion m exchaĵ e &)r her mamtenance during marriage. As part of coverture, the husband was now responsible &)r her legal contracts and a guarantee of subsistence in her widowhood (a dower or jointure). ConsequenUy, women were legally disenfranchised on the basis of marital status (not gender) and diey had no leg^ remedy if a husband &iled in his part of Ae agreement See Erickson, Womew 100. Many women also made wills dispensing of that pK^rty, usually, bttt not always, with their husbands' consent. Domestic Snancial arrangements remain unexplored, and men could msist on their rights, but evidence suggests that women regarded their savings and/or earnings as their own. For example, Mary Gorse in 1637 discovered money missmg &om her pocket. She went to an astrologer's, who described her husband, and Mary con&onted him. Her husband con&ssed and returned the money. Bodlein MS Ashmole 418, A)s 107, cited in Bernard C^p, Gon̂ (P$ ê .- Fa?M:(M, a?KyA'g(gAAowAooJMEar(MM9(<̂ erwEwg/aw (̂Oxfbrd:Ox&rd notes shnilar cases at Bodlein MS Ashmole 418, fos 24,261. See also Erickson, f̂owew chs 6-8 and T. Stretton ^̂ l̂ mew )yag/Mg Low w E/tzô ê Aaw Ewg/aŵ  (Cambridge 1998) 26-8. ^ There were two types of marriage settlements m the period; the strict settlement that had the principle feature of entailing land on eldest sons and thus protected the principle of primogeniture and the separate estate. These latter settlements were used across rank since Aeir principle purpose was the preservation of (he wife's property rights. The settlements were de&nsible only in the Court of Chancery and while (here has not been a study of such settlements m die court record, Erickson estimates that 2 per cent of the bills of complaint identified settlements as (heir subject of dispute. See her "Common Law versus Common Practice: The Use of Marri^e Settlements m Early Modem England," Ecow/Mic#M^o;y 7?ev:ew 43:1 (1990): 21-2,28. In a separate estate, die property speciSed in the settlement was held in trust for Âe wi&'s use. Another &)rm of settlement was pm money, which was a speciRc amount paid annually by a husband to his wi&, with which she expected to out6t household and {q)parel as beHt her husband's rank. Although unenforceable during marriage, pin money could be claimed up to one year in arrears once widowed. Another 6)rm of settlement, paraphernalia, included clothes, jewels, plate, and bed linens that belonged to a wi& but became her husband's property under coverture. This &)rm of settlement was originally under ecclesiastical jurisdiction, but in the early modem period became recoverable m equity. Although, a husband could dispose of these items during the marriage, those that remained reverted to Ae wi& at his death (Erickson, yybMw 26). Erickson, )ybmew 104. In the middling ranks, women's economic resources were her labour and earning power as opposed to any portion she brought to the marriage, unlike the upper ranks, where women usually came widi an economic settlement Nonetheless, women and their wealth, in any &)rm, needed to protected within the system of coverture (Erickson, "Common" 22). The majmity of the population delayed marriage until economic resources could be built tq). See Houlbrooke 66 and Lawrence Stone, 77!e Fom /̂)', ̂ ex awĉ M t̂rrMge w Fwg/awJ 7JOO-7dOO, Abridged Edition (New York: Harper and Row, 1979) 45. Erickson, WjmgM 104. 77:g JVewe AoAe qfpray/d!gK̂ :y was published in 1543 and contained sample forms such as a bill m Charicery Sled by a woman, conveyances that mcluded (he wi& as a party (thus showing her as part-owner of die land), and an indenture of a marriage between a groom and Ae bride's mother that allowed the wi& to marry her daughter (presummg she was a widow) as she pleased, with what portion she pleased, and with the proviso that the wi& could make a will disposing of ilOO of the groom's possessions. William West put out another early manual. bis ^mAo/ocogrqp/y (1594), which included sixteen sample fbnns covering various settlements. There were &)rms to leave a wife worth f67 (100 maiks) or f 100 upon death, &)rms allowing a wi& to make a will of designated amounts (f40 or tlOO), and forms to establish a separate estate. For remarrying widow there were &rms protecting property &om their Srst husbands; by establishing trusts the property could not be sold away by the second husband. As in other handbook, there were covenants reserving the widow's right to marry a daughter and set the dowry as she pleased without hindrance from her new husband (Erickson, "Common" 27). Erickson, ^ybmew 136 and Durant 77. Separate estates were widely used. For example, Margaret Edmonds had acquired t528 (largely in the form of debts due) while single and retained it in a separate estate while married to John Taylor. When he administered the estate in 1635, the residual ofthe estate went to Mm. It is unusual that Margaret retained die separate estate &)r herself alone, having no children. [Erickson, î /Hew 136. (Margaret Taylor a/y Edmonds, €528/518 (1635) Midhurst, WSRO: Ep 1/33/1635 and Ep 1/29/138/027.)] The deed of gift between Elizabeth and George Talbot, Earl and Countess of Shrewsbury, in 1572 was remarkable. In it, he gave William and Charles Cavendish, her sons by a previous marri:̂ e, the lands that she had brought to die marriage, while Bess retained li& interest In retum, die Earl was released from paying substantial sums of money he had pledged for Bess's younger children and for her debts. Since Bess and her 6irmer husband (Cavendish) had bought considerable land holdings, Talbot was giving up a lot, but Bess had also incurred considerable debt when Elizabeth I fined another of her husbands, William St. Loe, for abuse of ofKce. (See Durant). For other cases, see Erickson, ^̂ M̂gw 144. It is significant that women below the aristocracy made marriage settlements at all. At higher economic levels women married younger and usually to older men, who were more likely to own &eehold land. Since freeholds were passed automatically to the eldest son, this put women at risk in widowhood, and thus women in these types of marriage, where they were more likely to be widowed, were more likely to have setdements to protect (heir interests (Erickson, "Common" 36). ^ Fifty-seven per cent of the matnmony cases in the Canterbury diocese between 1542 and 1602 "discuss the giving of giAs and tokens" at various stages of courtships, not just at Airmal occasions such as betrothals and ofAcial reUgious ceremonies, according to Diana O'Hara's research. See her Cot^Ay a?M/ CoM$̂ a/M .̂ rê AwAwg Âe mâ wg marrMge w TWor Ewg/aŵ / (Manchester; New York: Manchester UP, 2000) 64. *̂ O'Hara 64. O'Hara 57. Although giAs and tokens played a part in the MAgadon of courtship also, (here was no unanimous agreement among canonists about their evidential status. Generally, giAs and tokens were regarded as expressing the mutual consent of a couple, but some jurists reject such objects as '&eble conjectures'. Legally, spousals did require speech, not just signs and tokens. In die spousal, the giving and receiving of a ring was the sign above all odiers, legally, depending on the manner of deUvery and acceptance, which signalled mutual consent to die marriage. The ring acted as a token of the exchanged promises in the ceremony. Of course, there were excepAons. In the diocese of Norwich and Winchester, couples pre&rred tokens other than rings in contracting spousals, which were delivered in a less solemn manner that demonstrated the value male suitors in parAcular attached to the gifts. In legal cases, gifts were useAil addiAonal testimony. In legal principles, they consAtuted only siqiporAng evidence. See O'Hara 62-3. Ingram 173. ^ Ingram 196. O'Hara 74. ^ Ingram 197. In addiAon to such tokens, proof thai the couple had behaved as though they were engaged was also of^red as evidence. Ingram 198. In r̂esdngly, giAs had been cited as part of die { H w f of Anne Boleyn's incestuous adultery. It was announced Aom Westminster that Anne "had procured and incited her own natural brother, George Boleyu, Lord RochAird, Gentleman of the Privy Chamber, to violate and carnally know her, with her tmigue in the said George's moudi, and the said George's tongue in hers, and also with open-mouthed kisses, gifts and jewels." Josephine Ross, ^MF̂ ord! Âe gveew (London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1975) 3. ^ O'Hara 74. C.C.A.L., MS. X/10/11, &)s 255v.-6 (71569). Judidi M., Richards, "Mary Tudor as 'Sole Quene?' Gendering Tudor Monarchy," ̂ M ôWcaf J o H r w a / 40:4 (1997): 898-9. ^ The ceremonies of the coronaAon were speciAed in manuals and included how a king and queen should ride, be dressed, and how their hair should be worn. According to the surviving ofBcial records, the day before her coronation, Mary was dressed in white cloth and sat in a 'litter richly garnished.. .having upon her head a circlet of gould sett widi rich stones and pedes'. In short, 'aU things there were apertening' were done 'according to die Presidents'. AU the precedents were Air a queen consort, however, not a fully royal monarch. AU agreed that Mary wore 'a magnificent head-dress', but she presumably went, 'in her hair', as tradition dictated. Richards, "Gendering Tudor Monarchy," 897-904. '̂ Richards, "Gendering Tudor Monarchy" 900. Unlike the other Tudors who targeted domestic opinion by publishing records of events, such as Henry Vm's record of Anne Boleyn's coronation, Mary I did not publish a record of her coronation. On the whole, the Marian reghne's pubhcation agenda was Innited to rehgious texts and the shaping of Rireign opinion (see Richards n. 21, p. 900) ^̂ Richard Mulcaster, "Richard Mulcaster's Account of Queen Elizabeth's Speech and Prayer During Her Procession Through London to Westminster the Day Be&ire Her Coronation, January 14,1559," E/tzaAê A 7. Co//eĉ eJ l̂ brAy, eds., Leah S. Marcus, Janel Mueller, and Mary Beth Rose (Chicago and London: U of Chicago P, 2000) 53. Mulcaster 54. ^ Richards, "Gendering Tudor Monarchy," 905. Her cousin, the Emperor Charles V advised marriage on (he basis of providing heirs and assistance to Mary, but was probably more interested in a marriage that assured him of influence over English afÊùrs (Richards, "Gendering Tudor Monarchy" 905). Edward VI's minority had heightened (he dangers of a weak succession, (hereby placing emphasis on the need &)r Mary, who was approaching menopause, to marry and assure (he succession (Ross 40). Judith M. Richards, "Mary Tudon Renaissance Queen of England," "RigA aw J w^g/̂  ?Meews" of ear()̂  /woJerw Ewg/aw7. reaMen aŵ f rQ?re$eŵ â !ow, eds., Carole Levin, Jo Eldridge Carney, Debra Barrett-Graves, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003) 32-3. In the beginning, all of Maiy's councillors were hostile to the match, with the possible exception of Paget. Gardiner's opposition was so intense it endangered his position. See Richards, "Gendering Tudor Monarchy" 906. ^ Richards, "Gendering Tudor Monarchy" 907. Richards pronounces the second to be more plausible, probably because of its diplomacy. Richards, "Renaissance Queen" 34. The treaty gave Philip a share in Mary's titles and allowed him to assist her government, except in the laws, rights, privileges, and customs of her domirdons. All patronage rights remained with Mary, the dispensation of which was reserved to the native English. The succession was limited to Mary's children (Don Carlos was specifically excluded) and Philip was forbidden to take (he children from England wi(hou( &e consent ofthe nobility (Constance Jordan, "Woman's Rule in Sixteenth-Century British Political Thought," 7 ? g w a t M a M c g gMar̂ grT)̂  40:3 [1987]: 427). A royal proclamation of January 14,1554 published (he (erms of the treaty to the reahn. The proclamation did no&ing to dispel the widely-held belief that, once wed, Mary could not function as a fiilly autonomous monarch. Protests to the match continued, ultimately cuhnmating in Wyatt's rebellion. Mary publicly promised to call a parliament about (he marriage as part of her rallying siqiport against Wyatt's supporters when they threatened London. Parliament met m April 1554 and although it was ostensibly to rati^ the queen's marriage, two other acts were passed that were had bearing on the marriage. One declared "a queen's power to be identical to (hat of a king" and (he other impinged directly on marriage by deSning the future relationship between Mary and Philip. The Act redeSned the royal marital relationship: For the moore expresse explanation and decimation of the premisses, we your &ythful loving and obedyent Subiectes doo moost humblye beseche your hignes, that it may be provyded, enacted and establyshed by the aucthorytye of this present parliament, thai youre maiestye as our onely Quene, shal and may, solye and a sole queen use, have, and enioye the Crowne and Soverayntye, ô  and over your Realmes, Dominions, and Subiectes...m suche sole and onelye estate, and in as large and ample maner and fourme...after the solemnisation of Ae sayde maryage, and at all tymes durynge the your grace ha& had, used, exercised and enioyed; or myghte have had, used or enioyed the same before the solemnization of the sayde marriage.... [-1 Mary 3,2 'Anno Mahae Primo Actes made in the Parlyament' (April 1554)] Such a blatant redeSnition of marriage reveals the anxiety created by the match; the redeSnition ensures thai monarchy is deSned aside &om gender and that one takes precedence over the other. See Richards, "Gendering Tudor Monarchy" 907-̂ . Doran, A^narcA)/ 9. ^ MacCaf&ey, "Place" 95-126. '̂ The relationship between the queen and her nobles was celebrated annually by the exchange of New Year*s îts. The Queen received gifts &om her nobles, bishops, and courtiers and gave out silver-gilt plate in retum (Haigh 61). Haigh contends "that the exchange became a bureaucratic routine rather than a personal giving, but the system did emphasise the close relationship between Crown and peerage" (61). The thought put into the New Year's gift by Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewbury and the personal gifts she gave to the queen, however, suggests that the giving was not routme but a chance to make a personal connection with the monarch to curry favour. In 1575, her standing with the queen was tenuous. The previous year the Countess had married her dau t̂er to Charles Stuart without the queen's knowledge or :q)provai; in 1575 Arbella Stuart was bom, further displeasing the queen. Also, earlier in the year some ofthe Countess's servants had been arrested on suspicion of carrymg messages for Mary, queen of Scots, who the Earl and the Countess had in their custody. In light of these circumstances, the Countess took great care with her New Year's giA for Elizabeth, and wrote to Anthony WingAed, the husband of her half- sister and one of ElizabeAi's genAeman ushers. He m tum consulted Aie ladies of Aie Privy Chamber; Lady Sussex provided detaAed suggesAons for an embroidered cloak. The Countess had it made and sent, and in January, WingAeld's wife wrote "her majesAe never liked any thinge you gave her so well....[She] sayd that good nobell copell the[y] show in all thirds what love the[y] here me and surely my lord I wyll not be found unthankefi!ll[.] if my lord and yow ladywhip had geven v hundred poun& in my opennon yt would not have bene so weU taken." The giA thus reassured the Queen of Aie Shrewsbury's loyalty, and alAiough she hmts at future thanks, no parAcular reciprocaAon is speciAed. The giA afBrms the mutual but hierarchical relaAonship wlule gently coercing the queen into continued reciprocity (Klein 470-471). The giA also achieved the intended result, which was to smooth over the tensions ofthe past months through a personal giA. In addiAon to Aie gifts she received Aom towns on her progresses, Elizabeth engaged m personal exchanges. In 1572, she took shelter Aom the rain in a bam while on progress through OxEjrdshire. Waiting for the storm to pass, she was told by an old woman that the copyhold on her &mily's small Atrm was about to expire; Elizabeth intervened by having her CouncA write to the landlord and requesting that the tenancy be extended. The chance personal encounter resulted in the extension of the queen's patronage. Since the CouncA spread the story. Aie giving was not entirely altruisAc. She did, however, give casual alms on her progresses in addiAon to the ahns that were given daily by her ahnoner's staff at the palace gates (Haigh 157). By 1592, Aie crowd was so thick the arriving Knights could not get through. See SAong 172-3 for a Aill discussion. ^ The Garter Knights voted for new members, however, (he Queen had the Anal decision of con&rence. Shrewsbury was brought Aom his lodging at Greenwich into the Queen's presence to receive the Order. Cumberland was at Plymouth and the Queen refused Aw the Order to be conveyed by anyone other than herself In 1564, Bacon was banished Aom court for six months Ay covertly supporting the Grey succession claints. In 1579 boAi Leicester and Walsingham were banished for their opposiAon to the Artjou match. The banishment Aom Aïe queen's presence meant, of course, a banishment Aom her patronage (Haigh 87). ^ Peter E. McCullough, "Out of Egypt: Richard Fletcher's Sermon beA)re ElizabeAi I after Aie ExecuAon of Mary Queen of Scots" Diy^Mg E/̂ aAê A. TVegâ e 7?eprayeŵ a/:ow o/̂ G/or/awâ  ed. Julia M. Walker (Dutham: Duke UP, 1998) 122-3. On 12 February, the councA wrote seeking the queen's grace. By 25 February Burghley was stiU being denied access (note 21, page 145). In March Burghley was AnaUy allowed into ElizaiieAi's presence, when she pubAcly abused him. He stood trial and was back m favour in late June (Wallace T. MacCafAey, E/̂ aAê A 7 [London, etc: Edward Arnold, 1993] 352-3). ^ Lysbeth Benkert, "TranslaAon as Image-Making: Elizabeth Ts TranslaA(m of BoeAuus's Cowo/a/:ow PA//ô cpAM." Ear()7 M7<&rM f Aerayy 6.3 (January, 2001). 9 September, 2006. < ht̂ :// 3/benkboet.htm>. ^ Haigh 87. Leicester used such iUnesses to gamer the queen's sympathy when in dis&vour. *̂  Haigh 104. Doran,  warcA)̂  30. Despite the refusal, the Swedes persisted and in December formally presented the terms of the suit. In a letter dated 25 February 1560, Elizabeth told Eric Aiat she was determined 'not to marry an absent husband' (Quoted in John N. King, "Queen EAzabeAi I: RepresentaAons ofthe Virgin Queen." T̂ ewaM̂ awce gaar̂ erTM 43:1 (1990): 39). In September of that year, Gustavus died and Eric, now king, began to reconsider the marriage; he sent new, less Avountble terms to England. Although he continued to pursue theTnarn̂ e;"Eriĉ ost mterest m the match when ElizabeAt Mled to show any. Eric did send a few letters to ElizabeAi, but was looking elsewhere A)r a bride and in the autunm of 1562, became engaged to the daughter of Landgrave of Hesse. See Doran, A{!bHarcA)7 32-5. Carole Levin, "TAe TTear̂  aŵ  &omacA q/̂ a ATwg". E/caAĉ A 7 aw/ Âc Po/î jcs q/'5!ey aM(7 Power (Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1994) 53. ^ Once Queen, Elizabeth used the promise of her body as a giA to be given in marriage as a means of managing the ever-changing intemaAonal poHAcal scene, and, consequently, whether or not EAzabeth actually intended to many has been a subject of debate. Wallace MacCaf&ey, Christopher Haigh, Ilona Bell, and Susan Doran are among those who have argued that Elizabeth did intend to marry. See thek wods, Susan Doran, A^warcA -̂ ow/ A^/mo?y, Haigh E/coAê A 7; Rona Bell, "Elizabeth and die Politics of Elizabethan Courtship," E/izaAê A /. Âvar̂ w Ner Own Free ^̂ m̂<̂ M, eds., Carole Levm, Jo Eldridge Carney and Debra Barrett-Graves (Aldershot and Burlington: Ashgate, 2003) 179-191; Wallace T. MacCafErey, "The Anjou Match and die Makmg of Elizabethan Foreign Policy m die English Commonwealth, 1547-1640," E$̂ cŷ  w Fo/F /̂cs awJ5̂ oc/eÔ , eds., Peter Clare et al (Leicester Leicester UP, 1979) 59-75. John Neale argues that Elizabedi's resolve to many in the negotiations with Henry of Anjou (1571) was probably smcete in his gMeew F/KaAê A7(1934. rpt. Garden City: Anchor Books, 1957) 227. Carole Levin argues that the issue of Elizabeth's virginity is more complex: "For while Elizabedi clahned virgmity as her ideal state, and eventuaUy resisted all demands on her to marry, she also loved proposals and courtship. These were not only politically valuable to her, they also seem to have had some deeper emotional resonance" (39). She also argues that Elizabedi considered marriage and that her Mlure to wed is hindsight (41) in her book "77:e Reor̂  aM^&OTwocA of a ̂ wg'. Alison Heisch agues that Elizabeth's decision not to marry was "taken slowly, m graduated steps of wishM thinking", but whether it was intended or not is ultimately unknowable. See her essay "Queen Elizabeth I and die persistence of patriarchy," Fem:wM /̂?ev!ew 4 (1980): 49. Others have denied that Eliz^th wanted to marry at ^1, a premise that began with William Camden's annals. Camden reports that in response to her Srst parliament's petition that she many, Elizabeth responded diai she was married to her kingdom, and was content to live and die a virgin. The chief problems with Camden's account are that the speech he cites has no source m the Cecil p:q)ers or parliamentary record and that he was writing in Jacobean period. AAer havmg left (he project, he returned to it at James I's request and thus the work is a Jacobean representation q̂ er the Cult of die Virgm Queen iconogr^hy had taken hold (King 33-36). Josephine Ross asserts in ^Mf^o/n Âe gMeew that Elizabeth never mtended to marry and that she "lacked the normal inward satis&ction of sexual love" (122) although she concedes that Elizabeth came close to marriage in the Anjou match of 1579-81. Susan Bassnet argues that Elizabeth refused to marry &om the begmning of her reign; having Snally attamed power, and seeing the exanq)les of her sister and Mary of Scots, Elizabeth must have determmed to stay single to keep the power she had. Bassnet does of&r other motivadons 6)r Elizabedi's resolve, such as her being the centre of a courtly love game. See her E/coAê A /. v4 FewwM^ Fer^pec^e (1988. Ox&rd and New York: Berg, 1997), especially chapter 2, "This Virgin's Estate". Esther Clifford argues that Elizabeth had a "hysterical aversion to matrimony, an aversion that extended to all diings sexual if it is true that she said that a pregnant woman was no better than a sow" (39). Clifford attributes Elizabeth's aversion to marriage to bodi her &mily history and personal history with Thomas Seymour, which included a lack of protection by servants as well as "her sexual disability" (39-40). See Clifford's "Marriage Of True Minds," ĉĉ eeŵ A Cew^ JoMrna/15:1 (1984): 36-46. Larissa J. Taylor-Smidier uses psychoanalytic theory to explore various traumas in Elizabedi's li& to e?q)lam why she did not marry. See her "Elizabedi 1: A Psychological ProSle," g'Ëĉ eeŵ A Cew^./bMrHa/15:1 (1984): 47-72. The essay is, I Snd, unconvincmg. Elizabedi seems to have learned &om the marriages of her predecessors radier than be tainted against marriage. For example, she refused to many any suitor she had not seen, a lesson she probably learned &om the flattermg portrait sent of Anne of Cleves during the negotiations 6)r her marriage to Henry VIII (a contention levied by various historians including King, p 39). Ehzabedi also seems to have learned from her sister's marriage. In 1560, she wrote Eric of Sweden that she had resolved, "not to many an absent husband", undoubtedly recalling the negative consequences stemming &om Philip's prolonged absences durmg Mary's reign. ^ Doran, A/b/MTcAM 10,217. This particular line of argument is taken by Bell, "Elizabeth" 179. Susan Doran similarly argues that &om the beginnmg of the reign, there is little evidence to support the contention that Elizabedi was determined not to many. See her A&?/Mrc/y 1-2. Doran pomts out that early portraits did use emblems of virginity, but were clearly representing a marriageable queen, not one whose power rested on celibacy. See her "Why Did Elizabedi Not Many?" in Dw wg E/izaAê A. TVegâ rve 7?̂ reyeŵ â Mw qf G/onaw(̂  ed., Julia M. Waiker (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1998) 37. Although Amy Robsart's death was ruled an accident, the rumours of a cover sq) or murder persisted, especially since rumours about Dudley and the queen had aheady been circulatmg be&re Amy's death. Following Amy's death, Elizabeth had sent Dudley to Kew to distance Mm &om her, and Dudley had distanced himself &om the inquest into Amy's deadi but the rumours and taint of her death remained. Cecil was also opposed to a Dudley match, worried diat it would damage Elizabedi's reputation (Doran, A^warc/y 42-6). Her withdrawal was con&med in January when Cecil was awarded die lucrative position of mastership of Court of die Wards, not Dudley. Dudley tumed to the Spanish for support for the match in 1561, and Elizabeth allowed these Spanish intrigues. The plays and entertainments at the Irmer Temple in January 1562, including GorAo^c and the masques, the Pr/wce q/̂ Pa/ZapAf/oy and Feaw^ awJDay/re, presented the dire consequences for the realm if Elizabeth did not many and offered Dudley's credentials as consort. There was, however, no support for the Dudley match at the meeting of the Garter Knights in 1561 and at the same meeting in 1562, the council was divided. By Âe end of April 1562, Dudley lost Spanish support in his wooirtg of Elizabeth, and tumed his attentions to foreign af&irs. Susan Doran argues that in 1563, following Elizabeth's bout with smallpox, the wordii^ of Parliament's petition urging Elizabeth to marry strongly suggests that it accepted Dudley as her choice, (he had a strong backing in parliament) but even if this is true, her council remam divided on Dudley as consort. If parliamentary :̂ proval came, it was too late. In 1563, Eli^beth was proposing Dudley as a match to Mary, queen of Scots. See Doran, A^worcAy 58-9,62-5. ^ Elizabeth I, "Queen Elizabeth to Sir Francis Walsingham, Ambassador to France, July 23,1572," E/fraAê A 7. Co/Zeĉ ê f ̂ rah, eds., Leah S. Marcus, Janel Muller, and Mary Beth Rose (Chicago and London: U of Chicago P: 2000)206. ^ Doran, AfoMarc/y 132-138. Throughout 1572 and 1573 the French made overtures to reopen negotiations, but Elizabeth &11 back on religion and Alençon's youth as excuses. Alençon called her bluff for a personal interview, which Elizabedi could not allow because of the religious persecution. The marriage negotiations broke off for two years in 1576, during which Alençon became Anjou. The Portuguese throne had recently Mien to an elderly Roman Catholic cardinal. Philip was waitmg to assert his claim to this throne, and with it, reclaim the remaming Nedierlands states. From there, he could easily invade England. See Doran, A^warc/y 155. *° Doran, AfbwarcAy 155-163. *̂ Stubbs's attack on the marriage two-fold; first Protestant and Cathohc marriage was against God's law and would be punished and second, it would not beneSt personally or either state. It would not resolve the succession, nor would England gain a strong ally; thus it reflected Sussex's answer's during the debates in March/April 1579. Elizabeth suspected ̂ 4 gapwg g^y was a collaborative work by opposing councillors at court. See Natalie Mears, "Counsel, Public Debate, and Queenship: John Stubbs's lAe DMcwer/e Qf^ G^wg Gw^ 1579" TAe Riŷ oWca/ JbM7M/44:3 (2001): 631-3. Ilona Bell argues that with the treatise, Stubbs used the tiook to sway pubhc opinion. Addressing the argument to Elizabedi and, simultaneously, to the people, Stubbs used die press to deny Elizabedi her &eedom to choose a husband, a &eedom she had defended since becommg queen. Anjou was, ultimately, unable to gamer the approval of the necessary parties (queen, parliament. Privy Council, church and populace) for die queen's hand any more than earher suitors. Pubhc opposition to the match aroused by the treadse, the proclamation and Stubbs's punishment made the match so unpopular that it was, in the end, in^ssible, regardless of Elizabeth's desire ( "Souereaigne Lord of lordly Lady of this land': Ehzabedi, Stubbs, and die Gaping GvH" in DtMwgE/KaAê A. Nggâ we R̂ rayeŵ â /ow q/̂ G/orfawĉ  ed. Julia M. Walker (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1998) : 113). The commissioners who ratiBed die contract were made to sign a statement which stated diat Elizabedi was not obligated to marry Arijou until both were satisAed in all matters and gave Elizabeth a grace period of six weeks to reach a decision before the treaty took ef&ct (Doran, MiwarcA)̂  182-3). *̂  Doran, A/bwarcA)' 187. Doran,  warcA)̂  187. Camden records it thus in his Annals: He ariued sa& in Ewg/a/Mf, and was magniScently entertained, and receiued with all royall courtesies could be expected, euident testimonies of honour and loue, which her Maiestie shewed apparendy, insomuch that on a time on the day of the solemnization of her Coronation (he being entred into amorous Discoose-widi her Maiestie) the great loue which shee bore him, drew a Rmg &om her Snger, which shee gaue him vpon certain condidons meant an agreed vpon betwixt them. The assistants took that for an argument and assurance of manage was reciprocall promise contracted betweene them. Amongst others, /̂&geH(;̂ Gouemor ofthe City of ŷ nnveype, dispatched messengers suddenly ouer, into the Low-Countriesrw êre for great ioy at the hearing thereof both in ^ w / w g / p , and all ouer F/aw&ry were made great bon&es, and their great Artillerie shot off. But this bred sundry opinions among the Courtiers: For as some reioyced exceedingly, others were astonisht at it, & some quitestmcke downe with sadnesse. The Earle of Ze/ceŷ er who had laid a secret plot to preuent the marriage, the Vice Chamberlaine A!/̂ o/!, and !̂ ^&wgAam, were most all malecontented, as if the Queene, Religion and Kmgdome had been vndone. Her women which were about her &11 all in sorrow and sadnesse, and the terror they put her into, so troubled her mmde, that she passed all that night without sleepe amongst her houshold semants, who made a confort of weeping. and Sghting. The next morning Snding the Duke, and taking Mm aside, had serious discourse with him. The Duke retiring himself aAer hee ieA her, into Ms Chamber, piuckeA off the Ring, casteth it on the ground, taketh it vp againe, rayleth on the lightnesse of women, and inconstancie of slanders. (Camden Bk m annais, London, 1625 p 12-13] *̂  Elizabeth did take a vow regarding marriage, but not the one that Mstorians usually cite. She did not vow to live and die and vir̂ irt, but 'to marry no man whom she has not seen.' See Thomas Hill, 77:e /KM p̂/eayaMw ê or̂ e o/̂ (Ae /w^e/pre/ac/ow q /^&gawM (London: T. March, 1576): quoted in Ilona Bell, "Elizabeth" 181. TMs vow was a condiAon that EAzabeth did not alter throughout her courtsMps, even though Aie condiAon was unprecedented. "As she told the Aireign ambassadors, she had no intenAon of marrying unless a suitor {̂ peared 'pleasing her so much as to cause her to desire what at present she has no wish Air'" (C5!P 1:123). ElizabeAi's insistence that she would not many anyone she had not met was a condiAon she would not alter since she has vowed 'to see and know the man who was to be her husband.'" (Great Britain, Ca/ewJ!ar Zê ery awJ&â e P^ery /?e/â !wg Ewg/wA 4!̂ ^̂ *̂ . P/-a$e/veJP/-!MC!pa/()7 w ^Acŷ rcAFvay q/̂ ^̂ //Mawcay, vol. 1, E/craAê A, ed., Martin A. S. Hume ( London, 1892; NendeM, Liechtenstein: Kraus, 1971), vol. XIV 70.) Emperor MaxiniAian though ElizabeAi's resolve not to marry anyone she had not seen "was 'entirely novel and unprecedented, and we cannot approve of it.'" (Victor Von KlarwiU, ed., gMcewE/cyaAê A aŵ f ̂ ôMeFore/gwery [New York: Brentano's, 1928] 241). The legal solution to Mary's marriage (wMch inverted Aie usual power Merarchy) had proved unworkable in pracAce and ElizabeAi's enforced cehbacy was equally as AoubHng since ProtestanAsm advocated married chasAty over celibacy (Jordan 426). " O'Hara 72. C.Cj^.L., MS. XlO/12, f 44v., -Swŷ A v. Gô iŜ ty (1564). *̂  O'Hara 104-5. AAce's brother was needed as a witness to Smith's empowoment to act of Alice's behalf AAce would subsequently change her mind and deny having made any promise to Aderyn, although she did acknowledge having made a promise to SmiAi on Adetyn's behalf See O'Hara 104-5. C.C.A.L., MS. X/10/14,Ais 229-3IV, ^ Jgyyw V. Po/ter (1573). ^ Erickson, ŷ̂omew 94-5. KaAierine was sued Air breach of contract hi the ecclesiasAcal court (D^o^Mow anJ Ô Aer Ecc/e$!aŷ !ca/ Procee^Awgy^Ae CoMr!:y <̂ Z)MrAaw, gŷ ewJSfwgyy-OTK 7377 Âe rê gw q/̂ E/KaAeZA [1845] 226-8, also quoted in GAlis 48). *̂ Norwich, Norfolk ad Norwich Record OfBce, DEP 6A, f272. Cited in Houlbrooke 214. ^ Elizabeth Throckmorton married Walter Ralegh, and the marriage resulted in their bamshment Aom court, although Ralegh's was temporary. Karen Robertson, "Tracing Women's ConnecAons Aom a Letter by Elizabedi Ralegh," A/a/ab aw(7 AA/̂ ayy, CoM$/wn a?K7 g M e e w ; ^̂ m̂ew y y477!awces! 7w EarT)̂  A ^ & r w EHg7aw4 eds., Susan Frye and Karen Robertson (Oxford and New York, OxAird UP, 1999) 150-151. Cadierine Grey married Aie Earl of HertAird, a marriage that was too close to die succession and declared iAegal. The couple was incarcerated in the Tower. Mary had married a lesser servant of the court, but her marriage was also invalidated. See Anne McLaren, "The Quest For A King: Gender, Marriage, and Succession in Elizabedian England," J b M r w a / qfBr/̂ iyA ^̂(MdCay 41:3 (2002): 280. O'Hara 44-45. (C.C.A.L., MS. X/10/1 l,Ais 275-80 (1570).). Mgram 223. W.R.O., AW/Dê eĉ a Bk, 1586-99, Ails. 57, 77v. Ingram 223. W.R.O., AW/f)ê gc/a Bk, 1586-99, fois. 57,77v. These cases wô e never common. For die period 1615-29 there were 34 in the three main Wiltshire jurisdicAons, and 17 of these appeared voluntarily, oftento get a marriage Acence. ^ Ingram 225. Peter LasleA has suggested that tolerance Air premarital sex was extended between espoused couples, but Ingram contends that local customs aUowing such relaAons is insecurely based (Ingram 226). He ofBars die example of a case Aom Wootton Basset, in wMch John PaAer and Margaret Webb were too long ahmeim chamber togedier, and her uncle reported diis to Margaret's brodier, who 'would not Ake well diereof. Sindlar sancAons were displayed in 1631 when George Cooke told Anne, to whom he was bethrodied, 'Let every man go to bed widi Ms own wife; come, Anne, let you and I go to bed together'. George was stopped by the master ofthe house, Anne's uncle, who asserted Ms own noAons of propriety and refused to aUow the coiqile to sleep together (Ingram 228; W.R.O., B/DB 48, fois. 27v-8; B/DB 46, Ail. 50). Throughout Aie period, not aU diose charged widi premarital incontinence could claim even an inAirmal promise of marriage, let alone a Airmal one beAire witnesses. AAitudes toward antemqitial AimicaAon were ambivalent, according to Ingram, but tending toward tolerance beAire the end of Elizabeth's reign. Involved were a variety of circumstances and moAves, and in the end, the line between bridal pregnancy and bastardy was narrow one. Besides, courAng couples were eiqiected to be AuMHar widi each other and physical contact was to be expected (230). ^ Ingram 224. W.R.O., AW/ABO 5,2/6/1621, Q^ce v. Greew. CF. C.U.L., Ely D.R., B/2/18, Ail. 33. ^0'Ham65. " O'Ham 77. (C.C.A.L. MS. X./10/12, fbs 103v.-4 (1564)). '°° O'Hara 65. C.C.A.L., MS. X/10/18, &)s 154v..5, v. ̂ (̂!(Rp/e (1579). O'Hara 66. C.C.A.L., MS. X/10/16, &)s 277-v., 283, E$set v. CM^wg, (1577). '"̂  Laura Cowing Do/weŷ /c Dangers. Womew, ̂ b̂rdh, an̂ -̂Sey :w Ear/)' A/b(/erw foŵ /ow (Ox&)rd: Clarendon, 1996) 160. She argues diat bodi men and women engaged m giA-giving in courtship, but women were most obligated by them. "A man's gifts held, as a wonaan's did not, the implication of an emotional and, potentially, a marital bond, a woman's receipt of giAs hnplied consent to that bond." O'Hara 86-87. C.C.A.L., MS. X/10/7, A)s 165v..6v. (1560-61). William Lloyde c. Jane Salisbury (1574), DL/C 211/2, A). 281v. quoted in Gowmg 161. Mary Rich, Countess of Warwick, y4M ôÂ/ogr̂ A)' of A/ary, CoMŵ eM qf ̂ l̂arw/ĉ  ed T. CroAon Croker (London: Percy Society, 1848) 2-3. MicroShn: Micropublished in "History of Women." New Haven: Research Publications, 1975. Real 1551. Houlbrooke contends that the match was dependent on mutual liking, but there is no such contmgency mentioned m die original source (Houlbrooke 70). O'Hara 77. C.C.A.L., MS. X 10/9, f. 28, T̂ ô v. F̂ êr (7JdĴ ) awJ C.C.A.L., MS. X /10/12. fbs 173,175-6, A^Aewe v. T^ow/Q/ (1565). Courtship giAs were conditional and thus there was an obhgation to retum them if die partner proved unsuitable or undesirable. If such gifts were not returned in a thnely manner, citations could be issued Air their retum. Hence, Jane BedAird was required to take an oath that she was clear Aom Oliver Symons under such a citation. Jane's father answered diat she would not appear in the court, but was told that her ^pearance was mandatory, since she was still m possession of Oliver's tokens, speciAcally 'a bracelet, a gold ring and odier things which she must now restore' (O'Hara 77). C.C.A.L., MS. XlO/6, fbs 200v.-l, ^̂Mmow v. Be^^rJ (1558). **" A notable exception was Maiy Boyle, the future Countess of Warwick. Her &ther was the Earl of Cork. '°*Thomas Kydde, 77:e Tlraê A of ̂ Ae A/b^^ Î 'icitê f aŵ î  &cre^ A^Aerwg of JoAw Brewew, Go/dhw://A ofLonJow, co7M7H!̂ e(/ Ay AM oww W ! / ë ÂroMgA Âe provocâ on of owe ^Aw Par/ter wAow: yAe /ovê f. y&r wA/cA yàc/ ̂ Ae wa$ AMrMe4 awcf Ae Aawgê / w <Sw/̂  e/4 on )̂ d̂î e$&y Âe qf.A(Me, 7JP2, ̂ oyearay q̂ er Âe mŵ Acr way cow!w:̂ e4 (London: John Kid,1592). Reprinted m J. Payne Collier, ed., 7HMs(râ MM$ qfEar()? Ewg/wA PqpM/ar Z/̂ eraoyg, Volume 1 (New York: Benjamin Blom, 1863) 5-15. '̂̂  Kydde 6. ""Kydde 6. Kydde 7-9. My reading here dii&rs Aom France Dolan's, who argues that Welles uses her resistance to coverture (her keeping of her maiden name and her own residence) to de&nd her right to make such demands. See her DangeroMy FaM//!ar$. i?̂ rayeŵ â /ow qfDomay/!c Cnwte w Eng/aw^ 73J0-7700 (Ithaca and London: Cornell UP, 1994) 46. Ingram 182. We know of these two examples Aom restitution suits. W.R.O., B/DB 5, Ails. 30,36; B/DB 10, Ails 17V-18. Edward Le Comte, 77!e A'b̂ or/oay Z a ^ Eŷ gy (New York: Dial Press, 1969) 32-8. The commission of Aiur bishops and six lawyers deadlocked on the granting of the armuhnent until James I ^pointed two bishops who would grant the annuhnent so that Frances would be Aee to marry Robert Carr. The cause of the deadlock was, in part, a lack of precedent Air the case, which sued on the basis of non-consummation, specifically impotence towards her. The Archbishop of Canterbury was the main opponent to the annuhnent, reAismg to grant die annuhnent since it seemed it was a case of an arranged marriage in which there was a lack of love, the solution Air which was prayer. Among the reasons Air reAismg the annuhnent, interestingly,1he Archbishop cited die Earl's testimony diat his wi& somethnes refused him sexually. The Archbishop, a man of integrity, would not bow to the pressure or bribes Aom the crown and as such spent his li& in dis&vour once the Anal decision was rendered. Shordy after the dissolution of the marriage, Frances Howard married Robert Carr, the King's Atvourite and the two were nnplicated m the deadi of Thomas Overbury. They were A)und guilty, buttâmes commuted then- death sentences (Le Comte 11,32-45,98-113). Whedier or not the marriage of Frances and Essex was consummated has been the subject of debate ever since the annulment proceedmgs, and will undoubtedly continue to be debated by historians. There is insufBcient evidence to make a determination on consummation. If Frances did, in &ct, consummate the marriage, her giving of herself was a giA she was certamly willing to retract and re-give. The giA of herself m marriage was coerced when given to Essex, and one she went to great lengdis to retract Aom him m order to give herself Aeely to Carr. Carolme Bmgham has argued that Frances Howard's actions in die Overbury murder were motivated by her desire to be Robert Carr's wi&, not merely his mistress, "Had she been content to conduct an adulterous af&ir with him, she could have done as many Court ladies did, and taken her pleasure w l̂e incurring little censure." Caroline Bingham, Jamas / q/̂ Ewg/aw/ (London: Weiden&ld and Nicolson: 1981) 141. For speciSc cases of neighbours mtervenmg in cases of domestic violence, see Susan Dwyer Amussen, "'Beii^ Stirred To Much Unquietness': Violence And Domestic Violence In Early Modem England," JoMwa/ q/̂ iyomewS; Niŵ oyy 1994 6(2): esp. 78-83.She cites examples of women separating &om abusive husbands with community support and women usmg the scrutmy of neighbours to protect themselves. She argues that because the Amily was a public institution, neighbours and &mily would intervene when domestic violœce exceeded the acceptable parameters (it was accepted, but with rules—it was to be a correction of a speciSc &ult, not generalized anger). Wives had a public role, in marketing and provisioning the hotisehold, and were, there&re, difBcult to isolate. The beating of a wi& was a public matter, and she did not believe that it resulted &om her Mlure as a wi& but rather &om her husband's abuse of his power. A wi& who suf&red a beating could ask for intervention, and she usually got it, although such measures were not Awlproof Chapter Three: "The gift hath made me happy"*: Redefining the Gift in 7^^ M^rc^aw^ q/̂ I explore the dynamics of giA exchange in 77:e MercAo/ï̂  q/'^^/ï:ce by A)cusing on Portia's and Jessica's fashioning of themselves as giAs in marriage. Although inspired by Karen Newman's essay "Portia's Ring," ̂  I argue that the economic metaphor that Portia uses in her betrothal speech is used to separate herself Aom her dowry. In doing so, Portia endows herself with a far greater value than the material items that she bestows on Bassanio and it is this giA of herself that he cannot adequately reciprocate. Bassanio, as a man with a keen understanding of the giA dynamic, is thus indebted to Portia as a person and to Portia as a bestower of economic giAs, but she ensures that he is bound to her more than her money. Similarly, I consider Jessica and the agency she takes in her marriage to Lorenzo. She gives herself to Lorenzo to change status Aom Jew to Christian, but her entry into ChrisAan society is not Ailly accepted and she is leA in a kind of limbo; neither ChrisAan nor Jei^, Jessica is increasingly marginalized. Lorenzo's failure to reciprocate her giAs, including ti& dowry she steals Aom her lather, shows that he does not value her as a giA. Portia and Jessica thus use the same giA strategy, but have different outcomes. Through the juxtaposition the play explores not just women's use of giAs and their fashioning of themselves of giAs, but the consequences of that giving, which is not always positive. Through the responses of the husbands, Bassanio and Lorenzo, it becomes apparent that women's giving, like the venture for Portia, runs the risk of failure. 77:e MercAow^ q/'Few:ce is dominated by giA exchange, ranging Aom easily reciprocated giAs, such as a dish of doves, to less easily reciprocated or unreciprocated giAs, such as Portia's and Jessica's giving of themselves in marriage. ReciprocaAon is an important facet of the giA and is important to this play because giAs are cà-efûliy calculated, with varying results. This calculated reciprocation arises at key moments in the play; the dish of doves, for example, is intended to achieve peace with Shylock but is redirected and, with the addition of Lancelot himself̂  is used to attain a new domestic position. I focus on these instances of calculated reciprocation that involves commodification of the self̂  especially because the success of such giving is left open to question at the play's conclusion. Jessica gives to gain Christian status, but is leA in a kind of social limbo; no longer a Jew, she is not accepted as a ChrisAan. The Anal ring episode is also symbolic of calctilated giving, since I read it not as a trial of the husbands as some criAcs have suggested, but a criAque and expression of the giA system. The scene shows that giving is not so much about dominance as the need 6)r appropriate fbrtns of giAs, and speciAcaUy, is about the giA of self in marriage. GiAs are represented as a good thing m the play, but the varying degrees of success of PorAa's and Jessica's use of giAs, and of themselves as giAs within the play, suggest that while giA exchange was a social power women could access, giAs do not enstn-e a posiAve outcome, but are part of a complex, dynamic exchange and may, in fact, fail. Shakespeare thus explores posiAve and negaAve aspects of women's participaAon in giA exchange. In doing so, he compAcates the comic genre, since the marriages take place in the tniddle of the play, and in one instance the happiness of the couple is in question by the play's conclusion whAe the two other marriages have then consummaAon deferred beyond the scope ofthe play, and their happiness is only temporarily setAed. Antonio remains unmarried but is not a lone Agure, since he is bound to PorAa and Bassanio thtough the bonds of the giA in an uneasy threesome. ConsequenAy, A^rc/M/ï/ ends with unresolved quesAotis and thus deAes its comic getire because the play cannot contain the quesAons it raises about women's giving and then giving of themselves. 0!d Gobbô s dbh of doves: the ca!cu!ated gift paradigm Old Gobbo's dish of doves has been read as an example of a &ee gift, given without expectation of reciprocation.^ Old Gobbo's gift, however, does provide a connection to Mauss's gift exchange system. Aware that relations between Lancelot and Shylock are strained. Old Gobbo brings the dish of doves as "a present" (2.2.95) for Shylock. Lacking monetary value, the doves have a weighted symbolic value as the Christian emblem of peace.̂  The prestation therefore has the ulterior motive of buying peace, even with a Jew; the symbol may be Christian, but the giA transcends religious boundaries, evidenced as Old Gobbo addresses Lancelot: "How dost thou and thy master agree? I have brought him a present. How 'gree you now?" (2.2.94-6). UnspeciAed at this point, the giA's value Aes in the social relaAonship it arAculates, not in the object's monetary value, and Old Gobbo clearly expects his present wiU facilitate an improvement in the relaAonship between his son and Shylock. Old Gobbo's giA is therefore part of an interested exchange, not the act of Aee givmg Michael Shurgot describes in his theological reading. Lancelot's subsequent appropriaAon and redirecAon of the giA to Bassanio pushes it into the commercial exchanges that characterize Voiice.^ Telling his &iher "My master's a very Jew. Give him a present?—give him a halter!" (2.2.99-100), Lancelot clearly rejects &)rging any social relaAonship with his master Shylock. Threatening to run away, Lancelot urges his &ther to give the giA to Bassanio and, in an addition that is crucial, Lancelot commodiAes himself as part of the exchange, of^ring the dish of doves and himself when seeking a place m Bassanio's household and, calculatingly, the reciprocal giA of a "rare new liver[y]" (2.2.103-4). Old Gobbo's giA is Aius redirected to Bassanio, prefaced as a reciprocal exchange: "I have here a dish of doves that I would bestow upon your worship, and my suit is— "̂ (2.2.129-30), which Lancelot interrupts with the offer of himself in service to Bassanio. Lancelot's of&r of himself as simultaneous giA and self-negoAated commodity is not just for the new Avery; Lancelot seeks a place in Bassanio's household because he seeks a change in social status—to be Aie servant of a ChrisAan nobleman rather than that of Jewish moneylender. That Shylock has already preferred Lancelot to Bassanio is a moot pomt; what the scene shows is that the act of giving is not the Aee giving Shurgot describes, but rather the exchange dynamic links giving to calculated reciprocaAon while demonstrating that business can be transacted via gifts rather than contract in Venice.^ Jessica: the unappreciated gift Like Lancelot, Jessica gives herself as a giA and does so, partly, in the hope of beAering her social posiAon since she wiU attain ChrisAan status by marrying Lorenzo. Jessica is ituAally presented as constrained by her father, like PorAa, but Shylock seeks to keep his daughter locked away, hoarding her rather than commodifying her in marriage.̂  Jessica's first appearance in the play displays her own struggle with such parental control; she declares, "Our house is heU" (2.3.2), yet she grapples with disobeying her Aither: Alack, what heinous sin is it in me To be ashamed to be my father's child! But though I am a dau^ter to his blood I am not to his manners (2.3.16-20). The struggle echoes that of Lancelot a few scenes before; where Lancelot wresAed with his conscience about running away Aom Shylock, whom he called "a kind of devil" (2.2.22), Jessica's struggle also echoes that of PorAa who chafes against the wiA of her dead &Aier. Yet, where PorAa decides to remain an obedient daughter and matiipulate the giA system Aom withm, Lancelot and Jessica use the giA system as a means of escape—^Lancelot redirects the dish of doves and adds himself to the bargain to gain the posiAon in Bassanio's household; Jessica tises herself as a giA and steals a dowry to marry into ChrisAan society, seeking to become a "Christian at/Mf [Lorenzo's] loving wife" (2.3.21 my emphasis). Critics have noted that Jessica seems to assume that her conversion upon marriage is a given fact. Yet, Jessica's wording opens up an intriguing possibili^, and merits close attention: "O Lorenzo,/ If thou keep promise I shall end this stri&y Become a Christian and thy loving wife" (2.3.19-21). Since she is giving up her status as a rich Jew's daughter, Jessica has much to lose socially and economically. Conversion means a complete social break with the Jewish community and, as Shylock's only heir, she is giving up her future, secured inheritance for Lorerizo (though she does steal some of it), a man who has little financial solubility. Given that this is a play in which giving is always calculated, one must ask, what exactly is Lorenzo's "promise"? If Jessica is seeking Christian status and marriage, her statement suggests that Lorenzo has promised both of these things to her and it is for both of these things that she is giving herself. Although she does not explicitly &shion herself as a gift, there is an implicit givmg of herself in the elopement scene: "Loretizo, certain, and my love indeed/ For who love I so much? And now who knows/ But you, Lorenzo, whether I am yours?". Lorenzo acknowledges and accepts this gift with "Heaven and thy thoughts are witness that thou art" (2.6.29-32). The impromptu giving of self is sealed with Jessica throwing down the casket of stolen coins and jewels and it is she who is resportsible, despite what Antonio later says (4.1.384-5), for the theft and the giA. Jessica's elopement is not a simple matter of a daughter undennining her father's power in her marriage. Her words "I have a &ther̂  you a daughter lost" (2.5.56) express more than regret; as a Jew marrying a Christian Jessica has crossed religious, cultural, and social barriers that cannot be restored. Her status as Shylock's (lost) possession is displayed as he raises the Duke to And her and blames the ChrisAan community that stole her. Camille Slights has argued that Jessica's break with the past is "a decision to Airfeit her isolated security as a rich Jew's daughter in order to become part of the familial, social, and divine harmonies that bind people together in Christian society."^ Jessica certainly &)rfeits the former but the argument among Shylock, Salerio and Solanio in 3.1 shows that her attempt to attain the latter proves problematic. The ducats Jessica stole can easily change their meaning; once Shylock's but stolen by Jessica who has married the Christian Lorenzo, the ducats easily convert in Shylock's lament &om his ducats to "Christian ducats" because they are "[fjled with a Christian" (2.8.16). Jessica's conversion, however, is not so easily achieved. Salerio and Solanio taunt Shylock with Jessica's flight and deny that she is damned for it, also denying any inheritance to her Jewishness (3.1), which makes it ̂ pear as though her conversion is a &it accompli. Of course, Jessica's conversion is used against Shylock as an outsider, a kind of closing of social rank. A few scenes later, however, doubts are cast on the acceptance of that conversion within the Christian community. Lancelot teases Jessica, telling her that she is damned because she is the daughter of a Jew (3.5). Underlying the joke is the sense that Jessica's conversion is not Adly achieved by marriage, since she remains a Jew's daughter and the question of inheritance lingers. James Shapiro's work has shown that in early modem period the medieval conceptions of Jewish identity that had been based on biological, social and religious grounds began to be questioned and challenged by the emerging concepts of nationhood and race.̂  Within the play, Jessica's objectives seem to be threefold, to escape from Shylock and his reputation, to marry Lorenzo and, thereby, to gain entry into Christian society, all three of which she plans to achieve all three by stealing a dowry and fashioning herself as a gift. Her considerations are what she is losing and gainmg in the world, which places emphasis on her giving; there does not seem to be a theological consideration to her decision. The consequences of Jessica's giving, however, are not ones she can control and events do not tum out as she expected. When she arrives in Behnont, she is unwelcomed and unnamed, referred to only by Graziano who calls her Lorenzo's "infidel" (3.2.216). Graziano is in a joking mood having just laid a wager for the first son in the marriages, but the remark is hardly a segue to the comfort he sends when he bids Nerissa to "cheer yon stranger" (3.2.234), a welcome that comes twenty lines aAer Jessica has arrived. More importanAy, it is Graziano who noAces Jessica's need of comfort, not her husband Lorenzo, and Nenssa is a sAanger to Jessica, as the two have not even been introduced. Calling Jessica "iaAdel" and "stranger", simultaneously, signals her status as an outsider and is a reversal Aom having earher called her a "genAle and no Jew" (2.6.51), a reversal emphasized by the fact that Graziano later calls Shylock an "inAdel" (4.1.331) duritig the trial. Jessica does have important infbrmaAon about Antotiio's bond forfeiture, but it only serves to underscore her marginaiizaAon: When I was with him [Shylock] I have heard him swear To Tubal and to Cush, his countrymen. That he would rather have Antonio's Aesh Than twenty Ames the value ofthe sum That he did owe him; and I know, my lord, If law, authority, and power deny not. It wiA go hard wiAi poor Antonio. (3.2.282-8) Here she excludes herself Aom the Jewish cotnmunity. The speech is given unprompted, however, since no one has addressed her and after she speaks no one responds to her; indeed no one speaks to her at all m the scene, thus emphasizing her marginaiizaAon. Her advice goes unheeded, moreover, since Portia sends Bassanio to Venice with money to pay Shylock "twenty times over" (3.2.305) even Aiough Jessica has clearly stated that Shylock wiU not take the money.*" Her ambivalent status in the ChrisAan community, not really accepted as a ChrisAan but no longer a Jew, leaves her status unsetAed socially and Lorenzo's promise of ChrisAan status unfulfiUed. She gave herself in married as part of a calculated exchange in which she anticipated a change in status, but her gift is only partially reciprocated. She has become a Christian's wife and thus lost her status as Shylock's heir, but none of the Christians forgets that she was a Jew and therefore do not accept her as fully Christian. Like Helen in .y Ĵ ^̂ J/, Jessica as a Christian wife is "the name and not the thing" If 5.3.310). Although the complicated issue of Jessica's Jewish identity helps to explain her isolation, there is also the issue of inheritance. It becomes clear that Jessica's gift has failed because Lorenzo neither appreciates nor reciprocates that gift. In 3.5 Lancelot, jokes with Jessica and the inheritance discourse is used again as he tells her she's damned because "the sins of the father are to be laid up the children" (3.5.1-2); her only hope is that her father "got [her] not" (3.5.10), in which case her mother has danmed her by making her a bastard. When Jessica claims her husband has saved her by making her a Christian, Lancelot denies her claim to salvation by stating an economic "fact", "This making of Christians will raise the price of hogs" (3.5.21-22). Teïïsion is created by the fact that, although she has married into Christian society, no one forgets that Jessica was Jewish. When Lorenzo enters, Jessica draws him into the joke, but it is also an appeal for aid, telling him that Lancelot has insulted them both: He tells me ftatly there's no mercy for me in heaven because I am a Jew's daughter, and he says you are no good member of the commonwealth, for in converting Jews to Christians you raise the price of pork. (3.5.30-4) Lorenzo does not defend his wife, probably because he feels there is no need to; instead, he turns the joke on Lancelot stating that he shall answer better to the commonwealth than Lancelot who has gotten the Moor with child. By turning the joke on Lancelot, and making it a competition about who is more culpable, Lorenzo excludes Jessica &om the merriment. His actions are somewhat callous; rather than accepting Jessica's invitation to the merriment, he appropriates the joke with Lancelot and in doing so defends hiniself. Consequently, the underlying sense that Jessica's conversion is not accepted remains unaddressed. Lorenzo finally acknowledges his wife some forty lines later when he asks "How cheer'st thou, Jessica?" (3.5.60) and it is the second time in the play she has been identified as needing cheering. Although this time Lorenzo recognizes the fact, he immediately changes the subject to ask her opinion of Bassanio's wife. Earlier in the play, it is understandable that Lorenzo does not counter Graziano's greeting of Jessica as an "infidel" (3.2.216) in front of a strange court when arriving at Belmont because it would be indecorous. Yet, when Jessica apparently needs cheering &om this greeting, it is Graziano of all people who sends her comfort in the form of Nerissa, it is not Lorettzo who offers it. Here, the threat underlymg Lancelot's joke goes unchecked, and especially in light of Jessica's appeal to her husband, shows that Lorenzo fails to value Jessica's gifts and again her sadness is registered with the question of her cheer. Embedded hi Jessica's opinion of Portia is the valuation Jessica seeks from Lorenzo: It is very meet The Lord Bassanio live an upright life For, having such a blessing in his lady. He Ands the joys of heaven here on earth. And if on earth he do not merit it. In reason he should never come to heaven. (3.5.68-73) Jessica certainly is overestimating Portia's worth, but there also seems to be an expectation that Bassanio should recognize that worth. This recognition is a cue Lorenzo certainly does not take when he responds, "Even such a husband/ Hast thou of me as she is fir a wife" (3.5.78-9). Lorenzo's response is probably a joke, but it is ill-placed. Jessica is seeking to elicit reciprocaAon Aom her husband and thus she draws him in to the joke with Lancelot, but her attempt &ils when he excltides her. When he asks for her opinion of Portia, she intimates the need for recogniAon of a wi&'s value, but again she faAs. Loretizo's narcissisAc remark that shamelessly overvalues himself succeeds in drawing her into back into comic bantering, but her tone is combative, '̂ Nay, but ask my opinion too of that!" (3.5.80). Lorenzo wisely puts her off with the promise that it will "serve for table-talk" (3.5.83) as they go into diimer. This scene thus provides a crucial comment on Jessica's marriage and is more than just playAtl banter; the argument reflects Marshall Sahlins theory of "Balanced Reciprocity" in which a relationship is expressed through gifts and where the failure to reciprocate a gift disrupts the relationship.*^ The argument between Lorenzo and Jessica is truncated in 3.5, but is revived at the beginning of act Rve as they play the game of "in such a night" (5.1.3) in which they place themselves in the company of lovers &om antiquity. Underlying the game, they invoke the fates of those lovers by placing them in moments of betrayal or separation.*^ Lorenzo starts with Troilus, but as the game unfolds ends with Jessica's betrayal of her father, which serves as another reminder of her Jewish heritage and of what her moment of betrayal cost her— â father, an inheritance, a secure future.*"* With Jessica's reply that. In such a night Did young Lorenzo swear he loved her well Stealing her soul with many vows of faith. And ne'er a tme one. (5.1.17-20) Her version of the night shows Lorenzo's &ilings, positioning him as both a thief and liar.*^ Critics have fallen into two camps to explain this game; either Jessica and Lorenzo are arguing and the hst shows that they are doomed, or they are hsting the lovers to show that they have thwarted the fate that befell them.'̂  Is she just following the narrative implications ofthe classical tales in a merry jest? I do not believe so. Throughout the play, Lorenzo has failed to reciprocate Jessica's gifts and here she again calls for reciprocation by reminding him of this failure on his part. The playful accusation of stealing her soul, alluding to the problems of her conversion, first tune draws on the theological implications of her conversion. She has given herself and all she stole in an exchange that clearly was not what she anticipated since she remains on the Rringes of Christian society and lacks the social and secure financial status she used to enjoy; even her tenuous status as a Christian has become a joking matter. Lorenzo does not appreciate Jessica's sacriRce of her status as a rich Jew's daughter to become a poor Christian's wife, and her conversion is something he takes &)r granted. Accordingly, I would argue, she refashions the exchange as his stealing of her soul to voice a sense of betrayal. He retaliates by calling her "a little shrew" and her accusation "slander", but "he forgave it her" (5.1.21-22) and amidst her claims that she would 'outnight' him the argument is again cut off by the approaching messenger. After Portia returns to Belmont at the beginning of act five, Jessica simply recedes into silence and sadness; "I am never merry when I hear sweet music" (5.1.69) are her final words and she is largely ignored for the remainder of the play. Her father's caustic assessment of Bassanio's and Graziano's willingness to sacriRce their wives is apt, "These be the Christian husbands" (4.1.291).*^ Bassanio and Antonio: the gift understood and abused Bassanio is one of the few characters in the play that understands that gifts should and must be appreciated and reciprocated and he is at the centre of the gift nexus of the play. Although various critics have considered him something of a cad, Bassanio's understanding of gifts is clear &om the first scene of the play when he tells Antonio "To you, Antonio,/1 owe the most in money and in love," (1.1.130-1).*^ Throughout the first scene, Bassanio's discomfort with his obligations to Antonio appears in his qualiBed excuses for having spent the money previously lent and his failure to repay the emotional debt. Bassanio is obviously embarrassed at requesting another loan &om Antonio, and tries to evade the subject with a circumlocutory conversation. Casting his pursuit of Portia as business venture, he assures Antonio that he will be successful. Bassanio's reluctance to disclose his request for another loan, even one he feels sure will allow him to discharge all debts to Antonio, both indicates his current niabihty to repay the financial debt and hnplies his uneasiness over Antonio's personalization of the transaction. Despite Bassanio's discomfort during the conversation, it is evident that he understands that his previous debts, both emotional and Snancial, must be reciprocated. Antonio's personalization of his economic dealings transforms the contract into a gift, thereby extending the business relationship into the realm of Briendship. By thus establishing social bonds, Antonio wins both social and economic power. Indeed, Antonio seems to reject contracts altogether, "making loans that do not seem to be secured by any written, or even oral, contract or surety. Certainly, Antonio's loans to Bassanio are not contractual in nature but offered as generous bounty."*^ It is also evident, however, that Antonio's willingness to lend or give economically and his conftation of business and personal relationships is a power strategy; not only does Antonio gain prestige in Venice, he binds the noble Bassanio to him. Some critics have seen Antonio's motivation as homosexual desire; I am not interested in his motivation so much as his method. Antonio's ability to give obviously exceeds Bassanio's abihty to repay or reciprocate the debt since Bassanio has, admittedly, disabled his estate, thus the inequality in the exchange both prolongs ties between the nobleman and the merchant and witis Antonio recogtiized power in the relationship. Antonio responds to Bassaruo's request 6)r another loan by again collapsing the distinction between commodity and giA, transforming the loan into an open gift by ofïermg "My purse, my person, my extremest means/ Lie all unlocked to your occasions" (1.1.138-9).^° Antonio offers an overwhelming gift (money, self, and all) that is both a commodiScation and of&ring of self to Bassanio. It is a giA that Bassanio cannot refuse because of need and then past, estabAshed relaAonship. Antonio is attempting to mdebt Bassanio beyond measure with the very thing that he hopes wili get him &ee of Antonio. The giA is simultaneously a reminder that Antonio possesses the means to give beyond Bassanio's ability to reciprocate, and thereby perpetuates the bond between them. Antonio makes good on his promise and of^rs to try his credit "that shall be rack'd even to the uAermost" (1.1.181)A)r Bassanio. This seemingly selAess generosity ensures that Antonio will And inadequate reciprocaAon. He responds to Bassanio's request for money with his usual generosity and the resulting Aesh bond further indebts Bassanio. The repayment of the Aiendship, however, will prove Antonio's generosity to be as usurious as Shylock's interest rates. Antonio's willingness to give so excessively to Bassanio, not just Anancially but to the point of risking death, has often been read posiAvely, as generosity and selAessness, a reading that has also been given allegorical treatment such that Antonio becomes a Christ-Agure, willing to take on the debts of others and lay down his life for his Aiend.^* CriAcs have recenAy raised objecAons to these readings based on early modem Protestant writings and the Aristotelian virtue of generosity.^ One need only look to Bassanio's excuses about disabling his estate by Aving beyond his means and Antonio's Aesh bond to see how short he falls of Aristotle's descripAon. The genuine virtue of generosity, moreover, beneAts the recipient. Antonio's loans, in effect, do not lead Bassanio to become self-sufEcient and responsible, they just lead to further debt and indulgence.̂ ^ Antonio's generosity is calculated to keep Bassanio dependent upon him in order to elicit love and indebtedness.̂ "̂  Shylock appears greedy, but the terms of his loans are limited economically by the rates he sets and temporally by the terms of the contract. Antonio's lack of a contract means there is no such limit, signalled by Bassanio's perpetual sense of indebtedness and by his presentaAon of Antonio to PorAa as the man "To whom [he is] so inAnitely bound" (5.1.135), signifying a debt he is unable to repay. Antonio may not be a usurer in the economic sense, but just as there was spiritual usury, gifts allow Antonio a social and emotional usury, the rates of which &r exceed Shylock's rates but appear more socially acceptable because they are couched m terms of generosity and gifts.̂ ^ Bassanio and Portia Of Portia's suitors, Bassanio is the one who explicitly objectifies her and many critics have noted her commodification as Bassanio couches courtship of Portia in tenns of an econontic venture. Althottgh Bassanio's talk of Portia as an object of Snancial speculation has unsettled some critics, it was not unusual for impoverished noblemen to trade their status for the wealth of heiresses in marriage in the early modem period, as Alan MacFarlane's work has shown.̂ ^ Many conduct books of the period wamed against marrying women of higher econontic or social status because, in practice, such unequal marriages resulted m the wife's domination of the husband.̂ ^ Under the coverture laws, Portia's fortune would pass to Bassanio upon marriage and thus it is not surprising that Bassanio would present it as security for the loan he requests of Antonio. Antonio raises the question of Bassanio's pursuit in rehgious terms, calling it a "pilgrimage" (1.1.120) in the courtly love tradition and although Bassanio shifts the im^es &om religious to mythological ones, he creates an economic subtext that objectiRes Portia: hi Behnont there is a lady richly left... ... Sometimes &om her eyes I did receive fair speechless messages. Her name is Portia, nothing undervalued To Cato's daughter, Bmtus' Portia; Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth. For the four winds blow in Aom every coast Renowned stutors, and her sunny locks Hang on her temples like a golden Reece, Which makes her seat of Belmont Colchis' strand. And many Jasons come in quest of her. (1.1.161,163-72) Bassanio not only presents Portia as a sound business investtnent, he assures Antonio of Portia's "fair speechless messages" (1.164) a guarantee of a favour and therefore success. The romantic pursuit of Portia is almost lost, subsumed by the characteristics of a commercial enterprise as she is cast as the means that will ermble Bassanio to repay his debts. It is, however, a fairly risky enterprise, if one goes by this speech alone. Portia is mentioned only in first few lines; the remainder of the speech slides into classical allusion before broadening out geographically to the "wide world" (1.167) and mythically to include Jason and the golden fleece. Nonetheless, Antonio readily agrees to the assist with the loan and thus Bassanio is further indebted to Antonio's through the bond with Shylock. Yet, Bassanio incurs further debt m order to buy gifts for Portia and as the only suitor to bestow gifts (2.9.85-90), Bassanio represents the dynamic of exchange, and of the calculated exchange found elsewhere in this play, since the gifts undoubtedly have the aim of wirming Portia's favour in reciprocation. Yet, there is a pre-existing relationship between Portia and Bassanio and therefore he must know about the casket test, and Portia being barred "the right of voluntary choosing" (2.2.16) as she tells Morocco. The gifts Bassanio brings, therefore, can win Portia's favotir, but that favour has no bearing on the outcome of the test. Knowing that Portia's ability to reciprocate is Ihnited, Bassanio still sends the gifts, which makes them a/wo^^ free gifts. If Bassanio is successM in the test, the gifts are still an investment that have won Portia's favour. In the test, Portia is the prize, a gift bestowed by her &ther upon the suitable candidate. The test itself̂  however, criticizes commercial valttes and endorses exchange; the gold and silver caskets express values of acquisition and self-interest while only the lead casket denotes exchange, since Ac successful candidate "must give and hazard all he hath" (2.7.9). Lars Engle has asserted that this dynamic of exchange approximates, vaguely, the usual early modem English marriage settlement, in which the groom was expected to bring some money to the marriage, in the &)rm of a jointure or surety/" The jointure, however, was to provide for the wife in her widowhood and Bassanio's gifts do not provide such Cnancial security; moreover while choosing the lead casket shows Bassanio's willingness to give, the jointure entitled a wi& to a third, or half̂  of a husband's estate/* Bassanio of&rs no such settlement, although he expresses his intention to reciprocate her gifts when he states, "I come by note to give and to receive" (3.2.140) once Portia is won. Of course the of^r is vague and there is little he can actually give, other than himself̂  but he has made the overture of reciprocity. The usual mtarital negotiations of dowry and jointure are absent &om this play altogether, their absence a sign that this play is about gift giving. The scrolls in the caskets exert the usual paternal control as they deny the unacceptable candidates and bestow Portia on the suitable one. Once won, Portia's objectiRcation is reiterated by Graziano's exclamation, "We are the Jasons; we have won the fleece" (3.2.239).̂ ^ Bassanio, however, shifts to the exchange dynamic. He insists that he has come to give and receive, and although Portia is won by the casket test, he asks her to confirm the results of the lottery. By winning Portia and her economic assets, Bassanio may be read as urging a social bond with her father since he becomes heir to the previous Lord of Belmont and has Portia bestowed upon him through the scroll in the lead casket. In a financial position to repay his debts, he is thus m a position to repay the economic bonds with Antonio. Portia's criticisms of her suitors reveal her dissatisfaction at her lack of agency but they also show a need for mutuality, and her father's casket test seems devised to reflect this need.̂ ^ For all of Portia's xenophobic wit, what she most criticizes about her suitors are those qualities that hinder the mutuality of social exchange.^ The Neapolitan prince's failing is that "he doth nothing but talk of his horse" (1.2.39-40); the County Palantine "doth nothing but &own" (1.2.45); Falconbridge "hath neither Latin, French, not Italian" (1.2.66-7) and thus Portia cannot and does not speak to him; but the worst may well be the Duke of Saxony's nephew who apparently is a vile man and gets drunk every afternoon. Underlying the ethnic stereotypes is the fact that each of the stntors is self-involved in some way and it is this self-involvement that Portia criticizes.^^ Her need for mutuality is Imked to the casket test since her criticism of her suitors is mtroduced immediately after Nerissa's assurance that Portia's "ever virtuous.. .and holy" (1.2.27) father devised the test out of some dying inspiration, therefore the lottery that he hath devised in these three chests of gold, silver, and lead, whereof who chooses his meaning chooses you, will no doubt never be chosen by any rightly but by one who you shall rightly love (1.2.28-32). The question then becomes, who is the one that Portia "shall rightly love" (1.2.32)? The sel^ mvolvement that Portia criticizes in her suitors begins to answer the question. Although Bassanio is also self-involved, he shows that he is capable of giving. Her need for mutuality is also reflected in the casket inscriptions, which criticize economic values and the overvaluing of outward appearances, but crucially, Shakespeare deviated from his source in the motto for the lead casket. In the Gê Za J!o7MaworMM, the source for the casket story, the lead casket's inscription was "Who so chooseth mee, shall finde that God hath disposed for him",^^ which Shakespeare changed to "'Who chooseth me mtist give and hazard all he hath'" (2.7.9). The change denotes a denial of self-involvement and thus tendency to the mutuality that Portia has expressed a need for. Since Portia's father devised the test to bestow her where she "shall rightly love" (1.2.32), the casket is not jttst a general criticism of economic values. It is more speciScally focused on Portia, and recognizes that her marriage would be spent with someone she would have to, at the very least, 6nd amiable company. The ittscription on the lead casket denotes, accordingly, Portia's need for mutuality and reciprocity. This need is one she expresses vdien she gives the ring to Bassanio, the disposal of which will prove the ruin of his love.̂ ^ It is Bassanio's willingness to reciprocate, moreover, which makes him stand out among the suitors. His approach is announced with the gifts he has sent for Portia, and although these are an investment, intended to gain Portia's favour, they signal a willingness to give and thus the mutuality that Portia needs. Since Bassanio knows how gifts work, that one must give in order to receive, he is someone who is attuned to social propriety and mutuality in relations. He also realizes that Portia must be wooed with gifts &)r favour, unlike the other suitors who think that the test must simply be passed and her &vour will automatically be given. Although Bassanio would seem to be the sort of suitor the test would guard against because he is so heavily indebted, his comparison to the Scottish Lord suggests otherwise. From Portia's criticisms, the two sound curiously similar; the Scottish Lord is described as one who hath a neighbourly charity in him, for he hath borrowed a box of the ear of the Englishman and swore he would pay him again when he was able. I think the Frenchman became his surety, and sealed under for another. (1.2.76-80) Portia mocks the system of indebtedness when describing the Lords Sghting over her. Although Portia mocks the indebtedness of the Scottish Lord, the test does not seem set to guard against such suitors, suggesting that it must be looking for something else. The comparison of the Scottish Lord and Bassanio suggests that it is the willingness to give that both Portia and the test are looking for in a suitor. When Portia learns of Bassanio's indebtedness to Antonio, she discaisses it as a triûe. What, no more? Pay him six thousand and deface the bond. Double six thousand, and then treble that. Before a &iend of this description Shall lose a hair through Bassanio's fault (3.296-300) Portia is, of course, displaying her vast wealth with the mcreasing stnns of money. Her condition that Bassanio niarry her before leaving to save Antonio assures Bassanio's bond to her, and it is needed in light of the wammg Jessica has given about Shylock refjtsmg monetary payment ofthe bond. Portia's betrothal speech employs economic terms that accept her objectification, as Karen Newman has shown, using a rhetorical manner that is also engagingly personal. Portia objectifies herself socially as the means by which her inheritance is given &om her father to Bassanio and objectiCes herself grammatically through the use of passive languie as she is "to be dnected" (1.164) by and is "converted" (1.167) to Bassanio's control. By objectifying herself̂ Portia suppresses her own agency in giving herself to Bassanio, creatmg the illusion that an unstated agent bestows her. The ring given to Bassanio ratiSes the exchange as Portia takes on the subjected position to Bassanio's rule as husband and signi6es her place in the male- dominated system of male power and privilege. The speech then moves into the future tense with the giving of the ring, and a projected loss of that rmg, in the aftermath of which Portia has ''vantage to exclaim on" Bassanio (3.2.171) and here Newman posits Portia not just as the gift- giver, but as Mauss's "Big Man" of New Guinea who gives more than can be reciprocated, thus wirming prestige and power. According to Newmati, Portia's giving to Bassanio, to Antotiio, and to Venice in her actions at the trial, allows her to short-circuit "the system of exchange and the male bonds it creates, winning her husband away &om the arms of Antonio."^^ Portia, however, first gave herself to Bassanio at the opening of the scene.̂ ^ She then &ames the betrothal speech with this giving of herself̂  and stressing her own worth, transforms herself into a valuable gift. This gift is Portia's alone to bestow on Bassaruo and she is therefore more than merely the means by which the dowry is transferred to him. As the scene opens, Porda tries to get Bassanio to delay the casket test so she can continue to enjoy his company. Tom between her duty to her father and her desire to give Bassanio the answer to the casket test, Portia gives herself to him: Beshrew your eyes. They have overlooked me and divided me. One half of me is yours, the other half yours— Mine own, I would say, but if mine, then yours. And so all yours. (3.2.14-18) Like Desdemona in Shakespeare's other Venetian play, Portia "perceive[s] here a divided duty" (Oy^/Jo 1.3.180), but since Bassanio has not won the test, "these tmughty times/ Put bars between the owners and then rights;/ And so though yours, not yours" (3.2.18-19)."^ Portia is giving herself alone and doing so without her father's consent. When she takes herself back it is so she can give herself again, this time with her dowry in a givmg that is socially sanctioned. Portia then Aames the betrothal speech by giving herself once Bassanio wins the casket test, and thus I propose that Portia, not an unstated agent, does the bestowing. Portia poses as an object in the exchange between men, as van Baal has proposed in his anthropological model,"** but she is a willing object, shnultaneously given (object) and giving herself (subject). Portia begms the speech giving herself agaiti, &shioning herself as a gift that she now has the right to bestow and, as with the initial giving, she is giving herself alone, separate from the dowry and any other economic consideration. Within the betrothal speech itself̂  she stresses that she gives herself alongside the goods inherited &om her father at least three thnes: "Myself and what is mine"(1.166); "Queen o'er myself (1.169); "This house, these servants, and this same myself' (1.170) and all within the space of a few lines. Although Portia does represent herself in mercantile metaphors, what she stresses is her worth as a person, a thing of value, with only a few lines dedicated to describing the actual Sriancial gain—the "fair coansion" and "servants" (1.168,1.170)—that Bassanio will enjoy and this financial gain, carefully itemized to emphasize the value, is each time Imked to the gain of Portia herself thereby emphasizing her value."*̂  The speech ends with Portia giving the dowry &om her father, i.e. the house and servants, and giving herself to Bassanio with the ring that stands as her "vantage to exclaim on [him]" (3.2.174) should he part with it. The ring symbolizes the giving and the conditions of that giving, since Portia creates a fbr&iture clause, one which Bassanio accepts."*̂  StiH, Bassanio's Srst action upon receiving the ring is to reciprocate the gift with an oath pledging to keep the ring. The ring becomes a multi- layered symbol of Portia's betrothal, giving, and Bassanio's oath given ni reciprocity. It is this reciprocity that the casket lottery tested, that Portia's criticisms of her suitors shows she has a need for, and that Bassanio has shown he can give. Although the oath is later transgressed under pressure j&om Antonio, it signals Bassanio's willingness to give and his understanding that gifts require such reciprocation. Giving herself to Bassanio as a gift is part of a ritual; the casket test objectified her as a gift bestowed by her father but through her betrodial speech she metamorphoses herself into a valuable gift and emerges as the actual partner in the exchange, able to give the ring and place conditions on the givmg and thus emerge as a dominant partner in the exchange rather than the object of it. This dynamic is evident as Lorenzo and Salerio arrive j&om Venice. Graziano, just betrothed to Nerissa, quickly assumes the right to welcome them and to send Nerissa to cheer Jessica, but Bassanio, who has just won Portia and thus Belmont does not asstmie the role of Lord of the manor. He does welcome the visitors, but does so after asking Portia's leave, indicating that she has given something for which he is indebted, and I would posit that something as Portia herself In giving herself̂  however, she has endowed herself with value, and this giving has overwhelmed him; thus his unease at assuming the role of master of the house. With the arrival of Antonio's letter, Portia quickly retains the initiative and her position as Lord of Belmont. Shedding her deferential rhetoric, she uses thirteen imperative verbs in sixteen lines (3.2.298-312)'*^ instructing Bassanio to retum to Venice and save Antonio with her money inamediately after the marriage ceremony. Her superiority in the exchange relationship with Bassanio is signalled as she states the he is "dear bought" (3.2.311) providing an analogy to the triumphant Shylock's statement that Antonio's pound of flesh is "dearly bought"(4.1.99). Although Portia's dominance is evident, so is Bassanio's acknowledgement of his indebtedness and his willingness to reciprocate the gifts she has given. Antonio v. Portia: revealing the need for reciprocation Many critics have seen Antonio and Portia as rivals for Bassanio's love, often with Portia as the winner. I think the issue is more complicated. Analyzing Antonio's and Portia's gift giving, and Bassanio's response, demonstrates that Antonio and Portia may start out as rivals, but the rivalry is complicated by its giA dimensions such that they become, ultimately, something else. The giA bonds entwine them in a threesome with Bassanio, with PorAa as wife and Antonio as Aiend, but Antonio is bound to PorAa and Bassanio to both. Juxtaposing Portia's and Antonio's giA giving also reveals the dangers of giA giving. Having given aU he has, including risking his life with the Aesh bond, Antonio has not received anything Arom Bassanio or allowed him to reciprocate the giA; he refitses to accept Bassanio's promise of a speedy retum Aom Belmont (2.8). In the Jessica/Lorenzo plot, the failure to reciprocate a giA dismpts the marriage, and in the main plot, the same thing happens because Antonio's refusal of reciprocaAon leads to the Aesh bond. Only when his life is in jeopardy does Antonio call for reciprocaAon of the giA and taken together, the plots emphasize the need A)r mutuality and reciprocity in giA relaAonships. Martyring himself in the trial, Antonio does not request repayment iirom Bassanio of the Snancial debts despite his ruin, htstead, his use of giving as a power strategy is evident in his behaviour surrounding the trial; Antonio expects "ever- increasing recompenses of Bassanio's love" aiter the bond ibr&iture.^ Antonio is not alone once the bond is forfeit; there are "Twenty merchants/ The Duke himself̂  and the magniScoes/ Of greatest port" (3.2.277-9) trying to persuade Shylock for him, but it is Bassanio's presence that Antonio desires at the trial. His letter to Bassanio describing the for&iture wields emotional power; couched in mercantile terms, it reminds Bassanio of the economic and emotional debt he owes as well as the extreme price Antonio is paying for him: Sweet Bassanio, my ships have all miscarried, my creditors grow cruel, my estate is very low, my bond to the Jew is forfeit, and since in paying it, it is impossible that I should live, all debts are cleared between you and I if I might but see you at my death. Notwithstanding, use your pleasure. If your love do not persuade you to come, let not my letter. (3.2.313-19) By appealing to Bassanio's love while simultaneously reiterating the financial debt he owes, Antonio is demanding a reciprocation of the outstanding emotional debt.̂ ^ Though willing to sacriSce his life for Bassanio, Antonio is not entirely altruistic in performing the deed, fulfilling Morocco's observation that "Men that hazard all/ Do it in hope of fair advantages" (2.7.18-19). Antonio demands the reciprocation that he has, hitherto, delayed or refused from Bassanio. He makes it appear as if Bassanio has a choice "use your pleasure" (3.2.318) but then appeals to the outstanding emotional debt "[i]f your love do not persuade you come" (3.2.319), which recalls Bassanio's earlier statement, "To you Antonio,/1 owe the most in money and in love" (1.1.130- 1). Knowing that Bassanio is indebted emotionally as well as economically, Antonio calls in the emotional debt and in doing so extracts a kind of interest on the Snancial debt. He had claimed in the negotiations with Shylock that he "neither lend[s] nor borrow[s] /By taking nor by giving of excess" (1.3.59-60); yet he does lend money to Bassanio and by transforming the loan into a gift, gives excessively to Bassanio. Shylock remarked on Antonio's business strategy, perhaps noticing his conflation of gift and loan "Methoughts you said you neither lend nor borrow/ Upon advantage" (1.3.68-9). Shylock shifts terms here, &om Antonio's "excess" (1.3.60) to the more general "advantage", a shift that includes the "love" he extracts &om Bassanio; when Bassanio links the debt of money and love, it "suggests that a retum of love may partially compensate Snancial debt, or vice versa"."*̂  Antonio is a man who insists his transactions be read in emotional rather than financial terms, asserts Lars Engle,**̂  and I suggest he does so by making the loans gifts, which allows Mm to bolster his reputation on the Rialto while ensuring that he can rely on reciprocation of the gift and during the trial he demands reciprocation in increasing amounts. Throughout the trial Antonio appears eager that judgment be given and the bond fulfilled, requesting: "with all brief and plain conveniency/ Let me have judgment, and the Jew his will!" (4.1.82-3).̂ *̂  Later, reasserthig Bassanio's debt, Antonio asks to be commended to Portia, "Tell her the process of [his] end" so that she may "be judge/ Whether Bassanio had not once a love" (4.1.271,273-4). Therein, Antonio is using his death as a gift, and it is a death that Bassanio has been made to feel responsible for and been forced to witness. Antonio has thus bound Bassanio to him by not only commodif^g himself with the flesh bond, but giving his life for it, thus bestowing a gift that Portia cannot possibly match.̂ * Antonio then offers what seems to be a release, only to again remind Bassanio how much he is indebted, "Repent but you that you shall lose you Mendy And he repents not Z/MtZ ^ay^^yoMr ^ A ^ " (4.1.275-6 my emphasis). Michael Zuckert asserts that Antonio's selOessness is subtly selfishness,̂ ^ but Antonio's &aming ofthe speech v̂ dth Bassanio's indebtedness wears any subtlety rather thin. Bassanio did try to prevent Antonio &om takmg Shylock's terms; it was Antonio's over confidence about his ships and his misjudgement about Shylock's motives that make the responsibility of the bond his and his alone/^ Yet he is able to draw on Bassanio's guilt and sense of obligation. Bassanio's unease regarding his obligation to Antonio is evident as he only offers his love when Shylock's triumph seems assured. Using hyperbole, Bassanio states that he esteems Antonio above "li& itself̂  [his] wife, and all the world" (4.1.281), all of which he would lose, and sacrifice to Shylock to save Antonio. Although the episode may be read as a sign of Bassanio's ineptitude, the hyperbole combined with the timing suggests an emptiness to the gesture, even though Portia takes offence at it. The offer is, moreover, in response to Antonio's request to convey the circumstances of his death to Portia, and Antonio's reminder that he is dying to pay Bassanio's debt, so it seems Bassanio is attempting to reciprocate the emotional debt Antonio has reiterated. The timing thus implies that the gesture is merely symbolic and Portia's response undercuts the oath's extravagance.^ Much has been written about the significance of usury in this play. There is certainly a contrast drawn within the play between usury and Riendship; Antonio refuses Shylock's attempts to forge social bonds with the loan, "for when did j&iendship take/ A breed for barren metal of his friend?" (1.3.131-2) Antonio's gives knowing that Bassanio will squander the money; even his chances of success with Portia seem slim, although Antonio does not scrutinize the proposed business venture. Antonio's giving seems aimed, therefore, at keeping Bassanio in his perpetual debt. AAer the trial, Antonio again asserts his emoAonal power over Bassanio via PorAa's ring. In refusing to part with the ring, Bassanio again demonstrates his understanding of gifts by distinguishing between the economic and emoAonal value of the ring. In doing so, prioritizes the bond with PorAa over the one with Antonio. Antonio invokes Bassanio's indebtedness again, bidding Bassanio to send the ring, expliciAy setting his "love.. ./'gainst your wife's commandement" (4.1.447-8). Antonio's presence here is a crucial addition to J7 Pecorowe. In the source the husband gives up the ring on first request without any promptmg but Bassanio vacillates, knowing its more than monetary value.̂ ^ Bassanio is now faced with an hnpossible choice; knowing that gifts must be reciprocated, and reminded yet again of the extent of his mdebtedness, how can he choose but to reciprocate the bond with Antonio? How can a vow outweigh the many giRs of Antonio? By sending the ring, however reluctantly, Bassanio confirms, through gift exchange, that Antonio's clahn on him is the stronger, a point Bassanio stresses to Portia claiming that he "was enforced to send [the rmg] after Mm" (5.1.216), a gesture that was an "enforced wrong" (5.1.240). Bassamo is 'forced' by the decorum of gift exchange to repay Antonio's many giAs. With the letter, the desire for Bassamo to witness Ms death, indeed all Ms acAons in the trial, and Anally the plea for the ring, Antomo is calling for reciprocaAon and increasing repayment of Bassamo's debt.̂ ^ With a contractual loan, any terms would have been limited Ascally and temporally, but Antomo's loans are gifts and, as Ronald Sharp has shown, a giA assumes a retum wMle maskmg the expectaAon of retum.̂ ^ Antomo delays Bassanio's reciprocaAon, making the debt an ongoing and unending one, but when Antomo asks for reciprocaAon, it is ever-increasing in intensity and becomes a threat to Bassamo's marriage. The Ring Episode: iimits on giving and reciprocation revealed The ring episode exposes not only the dangers of excessive giving, but the tensions created with the giA obAgaAons come into conAict. AAer all, giAs transcend religious and geograpMcal barriers; they are used by Shylock and Jessica as weA as Antomo and PorAa, wMch means gifts are understood to work in the same fasMon in Behnont and Vemce. Portia has given more than shnply her dowry with the ring, she has given herself and Bassamo's dealings with Antonio have taught him about the conflation of economic transaction and gift. The multiple gifts, moreover, endow the ring with a value greater than its economic one, which is evidenced as Graziano calls Nerissa's similar gift "a hoop of gold, a paltry ring" (5.1.147) and is amazed at her anger over the losing of it; Nerissa chastises him. What talk you of the posy or the value? You swore to me when I did give it you That you would wear it till your hour of death. And Âiat is should lie with you in your grave. (5.1.151-54) The ring's importance is the oath he swore when accepting the gift, a fact Graziano does not seem to realize. Stephen Orgel has contended that Nerissa and Portia "have made their husbands' love equivalent to the rings they have given them"̂ ^ but the issue is not that simple. Nerissa has probably little else to give her husband other than herself and, in part, it is this giving that the ring symbolizes. His failure to appreciate her gift by giving away the ring shows a failure to reciprocate the gift, and his behaviour in the trial, where he wished "she were in heaven" (4.1.288) for Antonio's sake without the reminder of indebtedness that is levied at Bassanio, causes disruption in the relationship just as the Lorenzo's failure to appreciate Jessica causes disruption in their marriage. The ring episode stresses the value of gifts, the consequences of the Êdlure to reciprocate gifts, and raises the terisions of competing giA obligations. Karen Newman argues that Bassanio's obedience to Antotuo in giving away the ring afBrms the male bonds and the exchange in women the ring represents; in thus losmg their rings and breaking their promises to their wives, Bassanio and Graziano "lose the male privileges the exchange in women and the rings ensured."̂ ^ The husbands certainly lose power by failing to keep the gifts Aom their wives, but Bassanio's inAoducAon of Antonio as the man to whom he is "infinitely bound" (5.1.135) shows the extent to which Antonio has extracted interest on debt. Portia's correction of "You should in all sense be much bound to him/ For as I hear he was much bound for you" (5.1.136-137) tempers Bassanio's statement ofthe bond &om hyperbole while recognizing the bond between the two men. Portia's disclosure of her participation in the trial and her final gift to Antonio places him in the position of recipient and therefore erodes his power. It has been argued that at the end of the play, Portia pubUcly resumes her role as Lord of Behnont, referring to Belmont as "my house" (5.1.273) and cotnmanding "Let us go m" (5.1.297), not waiting for direction.^ Portia, however, gave the house and servants she commands to Bassanio with the ring conditionally. When he gave the ring away at Antonio's behest, he forfeit Portia's giRs and thus when he pleads If you did know to whom I gave the ring. If you did know for whom I gave the ring. And would conceive for what I gave the rmg. And how unwillingly I left the ring When naught would be accepted but the riog, You would abate the strength of your displeasure (5.1.193-8) it is not sttrprising that Portia does not accept the argument or the privileging of Aiendship over the pledge to her. Instead she reasserts her worth, while rennnding Bassanio of the conditiotis upon which the ring, and all that came with it, was given: If you had known the virtue of the rmg. Of half her worthiness that gave the ring Or your own honour to contain the ring. You would not then have parted with ring. (5.1.199-202) She is, simultaneously, reminding him of his failed reciprocity, since he had pledged to keep the ring. She then gives a lesson on proper gift decorum that is pomted at both Bassanio and Antonio: What man is there so much unreasonable. If you had pleased to have defended it With any terms of zeal, wanted the modesty To urge the thing held as ceremony? (5.1.203-6) Portia knows that Bassanio did de&nd the ring, having refused it to Balthasar to the point of of^nce, and therefore the lesson is aimed more at Antonio for being "so much unreasonable". The fact remains, however, that Bassanio has given the ring away and in doing so he has given away all rights to Portia, including his sexual rights, as she stresses: Since he [the Doctor] hath got the jewel that I loved. And that vdiich you did swear to keep for me, I will be as liberal as you. 77/ woy ^^wy a^^Mwg 7 TVb, Mor Ay Ao^^ /!M$&ayM? ,$ TVbw ^ M we AowoMr, wAFc/: fyyê  wwe oww, r i l have that doctor for my bedfellow (5.1.224-33 my emphasis) Portia now has her "vantage." She has taken back the house, which has shiAed Aom "ours" to "my", but what the sexual teasing and threats of cuckoldry sAess is PorAa's asserAon that her body is her own, a giA to bestow as she wiU. It is a gift, moreover, which she can rescind when her gifts are not reciprocated as promised. When Nerissa levies the same threat Graziano responds with anger, but Bassanio recognizes his failure to reciprocate the giA and responds by pleading for forgiveness, swearing by his soul to "never more.. .break an oath with [PorAa]" (5.1.247). PorAa gives the ring again, this time through Antonio, who pledges his soul as surety for Bassanio. How can one pledge a soul? Surely Antonio is making a grand gesture, increasing the value of his gifts to Bassanio; he has pledged his body with the Aesh bond, so the natural progression for Antotuo may indeed be his soul. PorAa, however, "gives" Antonio his argosies and Antotuo, forced to receive a giA, is thus indebted to PorAa.̂ ^ He has pledged his soul to ensure Bassanio's pledge, she has reciprocated by revealing she was Balthasar and given him argosies, a giA that, while somewhat disguised in a sealed letter, he acknowledges as hers, and the complexity of giving and receiving itisures that the bonds of Aiendship and marriage are intertwined, not short circuited.^^ Antonio has seen the danger of giving without receiving and has finaily been forced to receive at the hands of someone who can out-giA Mm. The play ends with an uneasy conclusion, but Portia has a husband who understands giAs and reciprocity, and thus there is a promise of Atture reciprocaAon A)r her. It is an uneasy resoluAon, as reAected in Graziano's bawdy and Aat joke that ends the play, wMch extends the sexual connotaAons but more powerAAly invokes the ring as giA and conAates the two as woman and token are given. The joke also reAects upon the consequences of failing to keep and reciprocate these giAs. Finally, the spiritual value of the ring as a giA must be read against Shylock's reacAon to the loss of Leah's ring. TMs ring was presumably an engagement present Aom Shylock's now deceased wife, and by valumg the turquoise above all the other thmgs Jessica stole, includmg the Frankfurt diamond that "cost [him] two thousand ducats" (3.1.79), Shylock endows it with an emoAonal value that far exceeds economic considerations. Displayed as an anguished widower who '\vould not have given [the ring] for a wilderness of monkeys" (3.1.114) Shylock elicits pathos because, of the various things that Jessica is described as having stolen, it is the thing of least economic valtte, Leah's turquoise ring, that causes Shylock the most pain because he has endowed it with the greatest symbolic value.̂ ^ The loss of the turquoise ring thus demonstrates that although the giver is gone, the moment of givmg survives and remains potent. His pain at the ring's loss reveals that the memory of Leah lives on not in obligaAon but in love, apAy demotisAating the emoAonal value of the gift, wMch exceeds its material worth. Bassamo demonstrates Ms understandmg of tMs when he demes PorAa's ring to BalAiasar three thnes before succumbmg to Antomo's demand. They are the only two husbands who understand such bonds in the play. The play asks us to compare Portia and Jessica in many ways: both are constrained by then fathers, both struggle with those constraints and their duty to obey, both bestow themselves and their dowries on their husbands, and, in an unusual move for a comedy, the audience sees the result of these women bestowing themselves on their husbands because the marriages occur in the middle of the play. Jessica marries a man who neither appreciates her as giA nor defends her conversion and thus is marginalized, increasingly receding into sHence. Portia marries a man who understands her need for reciprocity, but who is heavAy mdebted to a man who abuses gifts. The play ends with a comphcated layering of exchange; Antonio and Bassanio are indebted to PorAa, who is not the dominant partner so much as one who understands that giAs must be reciprocated and both gifts and reciprocaAon must be appropriately limited. She also has given Antonio lessons on giA decorum through the trial and the Anal ring episode, but whether he has learned them is open to quesAon since he readily offers his soul as surety for Bassanio. Chapter Three Notes ' 77!e r^o Gew /̂ewgw q/'^^wwa (5.4146). ^ Karen Newman, "Portia's Ring: Unruiy Women and Structures of Exchange in 77!e AfercAaw^ q/̂ Mew:ce," 38 (1987): 19-33. ^ Michael Shurgot, "The Gobbos and Christian 'Seeing' in TTte AfercAaw^ of Fewfcg," 77;̂  (Tp.ŷ ar̂  Crow 4 (1982): 57. In Shurgot's view. Old Gobbo's giA of a dish of doves, which is intended for Shylock, lacks an ulterior motive and therefore he stands out &om the other Christians in the play who give either in expectation of repayment or with an objective purpose. "Shurgot 56. ^ Shurgot does acknowledge this aspect of Lancelot's behaviour, but he attributes it to the "un-Christian" view in the play that treats Shylock as other (58). Critics have drawn a sharp distinction between the two worlds of Venice and Belmont, the former being characterized by business and contracts and the latter a fairy tale world or landed, feudal society. GiAs, however, seem to be transcend the distinction. For the distinction, see W.H. Auden, "Brothers and Others," ^Aa^e^yeare. TAe AfgrcAay;̂  of P1ew:ce, ed. John Wilders, Casebook Series (London: Macmillan, 1979) 59-78 and Sigurd Burckhardt, "77!e AfercAaw^ of )t̂ w:ce. The GenAe Bond," EL7y29:3 (1962): 243. ^ CriAcs have been divided regarding Jessica's Aight Aom Shylock. Some have seen it positively, as a move toward the Christian values of the play and others have condemned it as act of cold callousness. ^ Camille Slights has shown, in an essay that seeks to offer a balanced view of Jessica, "In Defense of Jessica: The Runaway Daughter In TAe MercAaw^ of P^w:cg" -$631 (1980): 364. ^ For a full account, see James Shapiro, '̂Aa^e^peare a/Mf Âe Jewj (New York: Columbia UP, 1996). Compounding the problem of a clear definition was the InquisiAon; although some Jews converted to Christianity willingly, many others were forced converts, leaving the Spanish goverrmient to fear apostasy. Foxe has also an account of a false Jewish conversion in his y4ĉ .y aw<̂  AfowMweŵ .y (1570; London; Seeleys, 1875) vol. 2, part 1, 276-77, as found in M . Lindsay Kaplan, ed., î :7J:aw JAaAejpearg. 7Ag A/grcAaw^ of P^mce 7ex̂  aw<y Cow êx̂ j (New York: Palgrave St. Martin's 2002) 301-3. England had expelled the Jews in 1290 but did have Converses living in England and writers were concerned with their reversion to Judaism (Shapiro 19). The most public of these was, arguably, Elizabeth I's physician Roderigo Lopez, who was executed for high Aeason in 1594. Lopez came Aom a Portuguese Converse family and claimed to be a ChrisAan, which did not stop the rumours stemming Aom his heritage; in 1584 he was called '"Lopez die Jew'" in the libellous Le:cej^er j CowwowweaM (Shapiro 73). WheAier or not Lopez actually was a Jew is unclear Aom the historical record, as Stephen Orgel shows in his essay "Shylock's tribe," aw^ Âe Afe<̂ :Yerraweaw. TAe ê/ecre<y rroceg<^:Hg.y of Âe /hrerw^^owa/ ̂ 'AaAejpeare y4M0c : a^ :0M W b̂rM CoHgre.y.y P^/eHc:a, 2007, eds., Tom Clayton, Susan Brock, Vipcen^Porë^i^ëyark: U of Delaware P) 38-53. What is clear is that Lopez was a pawn in international power struggle between Spain and England, and more speciAcally, a victim Essex's plans for advancement by inciting an armed conAict with Spain in which he would play a heroic role. Under the various Tudors, religion has become a political issue not just for Jews but for all people, who were now caught between outward conformity, naAonal loyalty, and personal theological belief To be socially accepted, poliAcally safe, and economically viable, outward conformity to the religion of the current monarch was imperative, personal theological beliefs notwithstanding. See Susan Oldrieve, "Marginalized Voices in 'The Merchant of Venice," Car<̂ ozo AMcfigj :w Law aw<̂  L:Yera^Mre, 5:1 A Symposium Issue on "The Merchant of Venice" (1993): 95. This religious problem Airther complicated the Jewish issue in England by heightening the fear of outward conformity that hid apostasy. Exacerbating the lack of a Jewish definition was the lack of an ofAcial Jewish presence, which meant that the English depictions of Jews in myth, legend, drama and stories for conceptions of what a Jew was, and the emerging noAons of an "English idenAty in which color, religion and class converged" also intersected with the Jewish problem. Mary Janell Metzger "'Now by My Hood, ^ GenAe and No Jew': Jessica, TAe AfercAawr of Plsw:ce, and Aie Discourse of Early Modem English IdenAty," P M M 113:1 (1998): 53. '° Janet Adelman reads Jessica's speech as an aAempt to ingraAate herself into the company by conArming the company's sense of her father's blood-thirstiness and defining his "countrymen" as speciAcally his, not hers ("Her Father's Blood: Race, Conversion, and NaAon in TAe AfercAaw^ of Few:ce," 7?eprMeŵ â :ow.y 81 [2003]: 7). ' ' It also relates her to the larger culturally category of Jewish converts in early modem period; Samuel Purchas noted in the early seventeenth century that such converts existed in a social limbo; unaccepted by ChrisAans they were considered "'apostates, renegados, fugitives,"' by Jews (Samuei Purchas, ParcAoy P/ZgrFwoge [London, 1613,1614,1617,1626] as cited in Shapiro 19-20.) See his & o w e y4ge Ecowm/cy (New Yodt: Aldine de Gruyter, 1972) 194-5. *̂  Leonard Tennenhouse, "The Counter&it Order of 7?!e A/ercAaŵ  qf ^^H!ce, ' /!^reyew(!wg 5AaAe:peare. new py)'cAoa?M!(M !̂c ay^a^^, eds., Murray M. Schwartz and Coppélia Kahn (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1980) 64. The lovers they cite are Troilus and Cressida, Thisby, Dido, Aeneas and Medea. *̂  Burckhardt 250. He argues that we (presumably as audience and readers) are never permitted to forget the Jessica was a Jewess and Lorœzo a Christian. *̂  Paul Gaudet argues that Jessica's charge of the& can, of course, be read as a conventional Petrarchan re&rence, or it may be read with more ominous associations such that "her soul is lost through an act of masculine ^propriation." See his essay "'A Little Night Music': Intertextuality and Status in the Nocturnal Exchange of Jessica and Lorenzo" Eŷ aŷ  M 77:ea(rg 13:1 (1994): 11 *̂  Tennenhouse reads die situations that Jessica and Lorenzo cite for the classical lovers as undercutting the "lyrical celebration of the night and [Jessica and Lorenzo's] love" (64). Lisa Hopkins sees the classical lovers bemg cited as avatars of Jessica and Lorenzo's own situation. "'Like Parrots at a Bagiiper': The Polarides of Exchange m 7Ae AfercAaŵ  qf ^^wfce '̂ Parergon 19:1 (2002): 116. Michael Zuckert reads the remmders of die lovers' fates as reflectmg on Lorenzo and Jessica's own love as well as the unfolding betrayal of Portia and Bassanio ("The New Medea: On Portia's Comic Triumph m 77:e  rcAoM^ qf ^̂ ?Mce ' ̂ AoA^eare 'j Po/F̂ wa/ Pageant. Eyjay  w Z/^era^e awJ Po/Z /̂cy, eds., Joseph Alulis and Vickie Sullivan [Lanham: Rowman and LitdeSeld, 1996] 25-6). Lynda E. Boose rea& die classical lovers as "ominous archetypes of bonds somehow shattered in conjuncdon with attempts to mvalidate &mily or cultural allegiances" m her essay "The Father and the Bride in Shakespeare," /<̂ eo/og!ca/ ŷ pproacAay 5AaitB$peare. TlAe Practice qf 7^o/y, eds., Robert P. Menrix and Nicholas Ranson (Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 1992) 30. Elizabeth A. Spiller argues that Lorenzo and Jessica banter these as "senthnental love stories" m which they insert themselves, understandmg themselves to be inheritors of the romances "without being implicated in theh* tragic consequences" because, having achieved a success cross-cultural marriage by domesticatmg racial dif&rence and thus achieved the union their antecedents could not (155). See her essay "From Imagination to Miscegenation: Race and Romance m Shakespeare's 7Ae A ĉAaw^ qf H?wce" /!ewaKMwce Drama 29 (1988): 134-164. Austin Dobbms and Roy W. Battenhouse argue that the interlude is a jest because Jessica's and Lorenzo's love story has only a superBcial resemblance to these examples of "pagan dotage" ("Jessica's Morals: A Theological View," 5AaAe$peare 5/H(^!ay 9 [1976]: 117). Gaudet oSers alternative readings of die mtertexuality of the mterlude within the play. *̂  Shylock has been harshly treated by critics &r statements about wishmg his Jessica dead in 3.1, and his remarks are harsh. After her elopement, however, he does launch a search to Snd her and recover what may be leS of the money she stole and m the tria!, seemg how easily the Christian husbands would give up dieir wives, he does pause, "I have a daughter. / Would any of die stock of Barabbas/ Had been her husband rather dian a Christian" (4.1.292- 4). Although die evidence for Shylock's af&ction toward Jessica is scant, his use of the present tense, "have a daughter", despite die severance of des caused by her conversion and his wish that she had a better husband than the examples before him do provide evidence of paternal af&ction even after her betrayal. *̂  Critics have taken diis Ime to show that Bassanio's &elings are not as exclusive as Antonio's and he seemslo reluctandy accept the friendship as a means of gainmg Portia (Auden 235). Lars Engle has noted that Bassanio's speech indicating his mdebtedness to Antonio m love is weighed down by an uncomfortable sense of obligadon and Âe clause of owing money and love appears Sill of discomfort (Lars Engle, "'Thrift is Blessing': Exchange and Explanation in TTte MycAan^ qf P̂ wce," 5g 37 [1986]: 24). Other cridcs, mainly femmist, have ai^ed fhat Antonio is a homosexual, a reading for which I believe diere is too little evidence. For diis reading see Janet Adehnan, "Male Bondmg m Shakespeare's Comedies," m ÂaAâ peare'y '7?oHgA A^g/c". /^ewaMyawce Eyya)7y ^wor qf C. Z. Barker, eds., Peter Erickson and CoppéSa Kahn (Newark: U of Delaware P; London: Associated UP, 1985) 88; Lawrence Danson, TTte Rarwoway qf The Merchant of Venice (New Haven: Yale UP, 1978) 34-57̂ ;̂ Leslie. A. Fiedler, TAe ^̂ awger w 5AaAespeare (New Yoî k: Stein and Day, 1972) 132; Stephen Greenblatt, ^Aâ B êareaw TVegô fâ ww. TAe C/rcM/a^/ow qf<yoc/a/ Energy' w /?ewaH^yawe Ewg/a/Kf (Berkeley: U of California P, 1988) 91; Nancy K. Hayles, "Sexual Disguise in 'As You Like It' and 'Twelfth Night,'" 5Aaitaypeare <$Mrve)' 32 (1979) 71,72n; Coppélia Kahn, "The Cuckoo's Note: Male Friendship and Cuckoldry in TlAe Aferc/Mw^ qf Î ewtce" m -Shakespeare ' y '7?oMgA " 106, 110-11 ; Richard A. Levin, Zove a7M/ 5oc/ei!)̂  w -SAakespeareaw Come^ (Newark U of Delaware P; London: Associated UP, 1985) 142; W. Thomas MacCary, Erfewa!y aŵ Zover . ?7:e P/!ewome/!o/og)7 qfDey/re v! gAakespeareaw Come^ (New York: Cohimbia UP, 1985) 167,183; Kenneth Mmr, 5AaAê peare'  Com/c ̂ eqwewe (Liverpool: Liverpool UP, 1979) 60; Stephen Orgel, "Nobody's Per&ct: Or Why did the English Stage Boys &)r Women?" ĝtŵA ^^/oM/fc 88 (1989): 27-8; Graham Midgley, "The Merchant of Venice: A Reconsideration," Eyyqyy w Cn/FcMm 10 (1960): 125. Rather, the relationship between Antonio and Bassanio seems to be homosocial as deSned by Eve Koso&ky Sedgwick, a continuum of relations that may include desire but is distinct &om and include fear of homosexuality. See her Be^een A4ew. Ewg/tyA Z:Zera/Mrg ow^/Mï7eRowo$ocM/Day:re (New York: Columbia UP, 1985) 1-2. Jason Gleckman, "77:e A^rcAa/!̂  qf ^^M:ce. ZawN ^^^f^eM aw(/ Â̂ wn#e7̂  " CnZ:co7 7!ev:ew 41 (2001): 84. ^ Graham Holdemess has noted (he homosexual undertones in this phrase, arguing that Antonio offers himself to Bassanio along with the loan ((^7///aM 5AaAe$pgare, TlAg A ĉAaw^ of P̂ mĉ  Pengum Critical Studies, Bryan Loughrey Advisory Editor [London: Penguin, 1993] 25). *̂ Barbara Kie&r Lewalski, "Biblical Allusion an Allegory in 77!g M?rcAaKy of Few:ce, " 5*613 (1962): 329-43. The Tyndale version of John 15:12 reads "Gretter love then this hath no man / then Aat a man bestowe his lyfe Aor his Rendes." July 8,2006. <>. Michael Zuckert also compares Antonio to a Christ Sgure in his essay "The New Medea" followmg Lewalski. Barbara Tovey also follows Lewalski's allegorical reading in her essay "The Golden Casket," arguing that "Antonio functions as a redeemer", "The Golden Casket: An Interpretation of 77̂  MercAan̂  of P̂ wfcg," SAoAaspgore oLy Po/f̂ icaf TTtiwAer, eds., John Alvis and Thomas G. West (DuAam: Carolina Academic Press, 1981) 232. Paul Franssen has shown "human presumption in wanting to take the part of Christ and confusion about one's own motives &)r doing good works were among the aspects of Catholicism that Protestants found most objectionable." Paul Franssen, "'With All My Heart': The Pound of Flesh and the Execution of Justice" CnOca/ <yey^Fay;,foM!Wg. R^Aen GreewA/a(̂  Âe JVew NM^oncMm. ed., JOrgen Pieters (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1999) 93. Frarissen cites a passage &om Calvin, who made a rigid distinction between the Passion of Christ and that of humans: Moreover, that mixing up of the blood of Christ with the blood of the martyrs, and arming out of them a heterogeneous mass of merits or satis&ctions, to buy off the punishments due to sin, are thmgs which we have not tolerated, and which we ought not to tolerate. For, as Augustine says, (Traĉ  TA Jbaw. 84,) "No martyr's blood has been shed for the remission of sins. This was the woA of Christ alone, and in tMs work he has bestowed not a thing wMch we should imitate, but one we should grateAtlly receive. (John Calvin, 77:e JVecê M/y qfT^rmwg Âe CAwcA, Traĉ ^ awcf Trea^ay ow Âe î r̂mâ ow qf ̂ Ae CAMrc/t trans., Henry Beveridge, Vol L [Grand Riqiids: Eerdmans: 1958]: 164, as qtd in Franssen 93). Franssen points out that Calvin continues by showing that people have a tendency to be confiMed about the motives underlying their behaviour, a &ilure Calvin posits as the Mlure to "proceed &om the pure and per&ct love of God which is demanded by the Law" (94). Antonio seems to have a clear grasp on Ms motives throughout and thus, as Frarissen asserts, his sacriSce in the trial actually is a kind of suicide. Christ-like sacrifice was not a thing, it seems, Antomo could reasonably achieve. Michael Zuckert has similarly challenged the notion of Antonio's generosity via Aristotle's description of the virtue. The possessor of generosity, according to Aristotle, 'will give to the iight persons the right amounts at the right tunes... He who gives to Aose he should not... is not generous but may be given another name.' Aristotle, ̂ fcowacAeaw Ê AFcy, ed. and trans., Hippocrates G. Apostle (Grinnell, Iowa: The Peripatetic Press, 1975), 1120,1126-130 as cited in Zuckert 7. ^Zuckert 7. ^ Tovey 221. Antonio does tMs by buying Bassanio's love wiA lavish amounts of money. Tovey does not eiqilore the dynamics of the gift. ^ In the period there was an acknowledged spiritual usury as cited in Thoaaas Wilson's, .,4 DMcowse Lĵ ow tAwy, "Why didst thou not bestowe my grace and gifts to the proSte of others, by communicatmg the same amuug them? Thus spiritual usurie is called the multiplicacion of the giftes and graces of god" (1595; reprint. New York, 1925) 190, quoted in Ronald A. Sharp, "Gift Exchange and the Economies of Spirit in ?lAg  rcAaŵ  qf Few fee A4bJew PA!/o/ogy 83:3 [1986]: 260). He relates to the conversions of Shylock and Jessica. He also ties to giR exchange in the sense that it increases one's investment, such that gifts, like the Portia's ring, are valuable but only if they are given or spent. It is important to note that Ms deSnition of the gift relies on Lewis Hyde's formulation, in wMch the gift must be kept in circulation such that. Sharp claims, Portia is not distressed by Bassamo giving her ring away (255,260). ^ Particularly illuminatmg discussions include but are not hmited to Holdemess, especially 3-6; Engle 20-37; Zuckert 3-36. Alan MacFarlane, A^/age on̂ f Zove MEwg/aw/.- M)Jay qfR̂ rw ĉ Fow 7J00-7<y40 (London: Blackwell, 1987) 257. ^ Newman "Portia" 26. Eariy modem sources include Bartholomew Battus, TlAe C / v M ^ M w C/o^e/, trans. William Lowdt (London, 1581), Bk n.; William Gouge, (yDomay /̂ca// D r̂/ay (London, 1634), sig. T2'. (bodi noted in Newman, 26). ^ Holdemess 5. Keith Geary has also noted that Bassanio's description of the Belmont undertakmg seems more like a busmess venture than an intended marnage. Keith Geary, "The Nature of Portia's Victory: Turning to Men m 77:e MsrcAaŵ  qf ̂ M̂̂ ce " ÂaAaypeare ^ M r v g y 37 (1984) 59. Engle 33. He argues that Bassanio's gifts and risks in the test shows he of&rs a 'jointure" of sorts and that Portia's name is suggesdve of the mans of relieving debts. See also Ann Jennalie Cook, "Wooing and Weddmg: Shakespeare's Dramatic Distordon of the Customs of His Time," Ŝ AaAespeorg ar̂ y?-om a comporâ wg perqyeĉ h'̂ ed., WendeH M Aycock (Texas Tech Press, 1981) 86. '̂Cook 91. Cridcs have argued over whether or not Portia leads Bassanio to the correct choice of casket, but as Harry Berger, Jr. has convmcmgly mdicated diat if had, Bassanio would clearly be in her debt 6)r the assistance (158). "Marriage and MerciSxion m The Af̂ cAanr of Î wfce. The Casket Scene Revisited," 5̂ 6 32 (1981): 155-62. This line of argument, moreover, tends to underestimate Bassanio; he is the one suitor who does not read the casket mottos and, indeed does not need to, because he understands the logic of die test—his line of reasonmg is based on the decepdveness of appearance, a subject Bassanio would have a pardcular apdtude for smce he is a man, heavily m debt, putting on the ^pearance of what he is not, a man of means who bestows rich gifts to announce his impending arrival. I do not, however, mean to suggest that Portia realizes it. There is no textual evidence to suggest that Portia makes this equation between the mottos and her need far mutuality m social exchanges. ^ Marianne L. Novy, "Giving, Takmg, and die Role of Porda in 77:e MercAaM/ of P̂ ewice" PA!/o/og:ca/ gMar̂ er(y 58 (1979): 143. Russell Astley has also noted this tendency towards self-involvement among Portia's suitors but overstates the case when he argues diat Porda is "won by the only suitor whose love transcends narcissism" in his essay "Through a Looking Glass, Darkly, Judging die Hazards of 7Ae  rcAaŵ  qfVenice," ̂ We/10:2 (1979): 19. ^ History 32 of the Gaŷ a / { o m a M o r M w , translated and "now newly revised and corrected by R Robinson" (1595) as &)und in Tovey 217. Shakespeare altered the source story signiRcantly. In the origmal story, the caskets were used by the Emperor of Rome to ascertam the Prmcess of Ampluy's worthmess to many his son. Shakespeare added both contestants and complexity to the casket test; the pious lady in the source &ced a reladvely simple choice between God's disposidon and the lusts of the ftesh. See Neil Carson, "Hazardmg and Cozening in 7Ae A/ercAaM^ qf Î wfce, "Ewg/KAfawgHageJVo/ay, 9 (1972): 169-170. Lisa Hopkins shnilarly argues diat m Nerissa's speech "Whereof who chooses his meanmg chooses you..." the operative words are "his meanmg" (1.2), suggesting that a correspondence of tastes and preferences will guarantee Porda's h^piness rather than any absolute ethical schema in die casket test (112). Newman "Porda" 23,25,26. Sharp also argues that Porda gives herself to Bassanio as a gift m addidon to her possessions, but sees it as an act of&ee givmg (251). ^ Portia is here walking a 6ne Ime and could ahnost have ventured mto die contemporary marriage debate. Reformers were clearly against matches that did not have parental sancdon, thus Porda msists that she iynot Bassanio's because she is not won. Yet Thomas Aqumas had drawn a clear distincdon that hmited the other's power with regard to the Cormthians passage that was oAen cited when invoking the &dier's power regarding the daughter's marriage. The passage about parental obedience, wrote Aqmnas, re&rred to matters within a Êdher's authority, but did not extend to those matters in which a person is subject under God, and regardmg marriage: The maid is m her other's power, not as a &male slave without power over her own body, but as a daughter, fir the purpose of educadon. Hence, in so &r as she is &ee, she can give herself mto anodier's power without her fMier's consent, even as a son or daughter, since they are &ee, may enter religion without dieir parents' consent. (S.T. St̂ pp/ 43.3 as cited in Dobbms and Battenhouse 112.) *̂ See Chapter One. Hany Berger Jr. also argues Porda that carefidly itemizes herself m this speech, but does so as a &ee and generous gi& while relinquishing control and laying Bassanio "under a burden of gradtude beyond his means to discharge" (161). Berger discusses the use of gifts but not the gift dieory. Coppélia Kahn sees the rmg as Portia's gift, but one limited by a strmgent condidon. He must keep the ring, "or then- love will tum to 'rum', an onunous note reminiscent of Othello's handkerchief but without the magic. Portia's ring has more to with rights and obhgadons because Portia is concemed with "vantage", deSned in OED as gam or proRt, rather than some vague "ruin." For Kahn, Portia "sees marriage as a contract of seicual Rdeiity equaily binding on both parties, for their mutuai 'vantage."' The ring thus symbolizes the marriage bond but it also carries a speciScally sexual meaning, as alluded to in Graziano's Snal lines in the play (108-9). Keith Geary sees Portia as giving herself as a piece of property to a new owner and the ring as "the symbol both of their love in its ideal aspect and ofthe legal bond that embodies it". It is a contract that she spells out the conditions of when she gives the ring and conditions which Bassanio swears adherence to when he accepts the ring (62-3). Laurie Shannon argues that "vantage" lies not in the ring, but in "the generation of a new power out ofthe clear blue sky, as she works by sheer invention to establish leverage outside the tarns of her &ther's will has left her to be distributed" in her essay "Likenings: Rhetorical Husbandries and Portia's 'True Conceit' of Frien&hip," 7?eMaM^;ùwcg Dromo 32 (2002): 16. Harry Berger Jr. argues that the ring turns the giA into a loan which can be for&it (161). Brian Vickers terms Portia's condiAons as a "penalty clause to her gift, unnecessary though it may seem", and Aiat Bassanio reciprocates PorAa's love, but does not elaborate Anther. "The Idea of Exchange in 77:g A^cAw!^ qf ̂ ls!w!cĉ  " Z Timage Je l̂ wMe Tlemp̂ ; ^ /a reFwcM r̂aMce, ed., M. T. Jones-Davies (Paris: Touzot, 1989) 38. "" Lynda E. Boose, "The Comic ConAact and PorAa's Golden Ring," ̂ AaJtespeareaw CrMcM/w 13 (1989): 39. See Adehnan, "Male Bonding" 73-103; Kahn 104-12; MacCary esp. 168; Jan Lawson Hinely, "Bond PrioriAes in TAe A ĉAaw^ qf P̂ wce," 5!EZ 20 (1980): 219-39; Tennenhouse 54-69; Geary 55-68; Zuckert 3-36; Tovey 215-37. Joan Ozark Hohner, 77!c M?rcAaŵ  qf HsM/ce. CAo/ce, Hazard aŵ  Cowe^ewce (London: Macmillan, 1995) 249. This idea is sunilar to Geary's (63). Geary sees the letter as Antonio's "desperate attempt to hold on to Bassanio, to bind the young man to hhn" in response to the threat posed by Bassanio's expediAon to Behnont and the letter as Antonio's claim for payment of Bassanio's love debt, AÏsing the language of love and commerce. OAier criAcs have noted the manipulaAve nature of this letter. Robert W. H^good, "Portia and 77:e A4ercAaŵ  qf ̂ l?wce. The GenAe Bond," A&g 28 (1967) 19-32. Leonard Tennenhouse argues that Antonio's request when he cancels Bassanio's debt "is suspiciously self-indulgent" (61). Michael Zuckert writes that "Antonio has a knack for saying the very Aiings that wiU hei^ten both Bassanio's misery and his guAt" (14). Barbara Tovey notes that "Such a letter is calculated to make Bassanio spend the rest of Ms life in remorseAA remembrance" (225). '"Engle 28,24. Engle 26. ^Gea!y64. Tovey cites an interesting passage &om Aristotle's McowacAeaw Ê AFey that shows that had Antomo truly been selAess, he would have kept Bassamo away Aom the trial, not caUed him to it: '.. .to see [our Aiend] pained at our misfortunes is painful; for everyone shuns being a cause of pain to Ms Aiends.' For tMs reason people of a manly nature guard again making their Aiends grieve with them, and, uMess he be excepAonally insensible to pain, such a man cannot stand the pain that ensues for Ms Aiends.... (1171b5-8) as cited in Tovey 226. Zuckert 15. See Tovey 226. ^ Joan Ozark Hohner, "Loving Wisely and Aie Casket Test: SymboAc and Structural Umty in 7Ae A/ercAaŵ  qf ^̂ wce, " ̂ AaAeypeare <Ŝ (Md!e$ 11 (1978): 69. Hohner, CAoFce 262. ^ Jason Gleckman also argues that Antomo receives an intangible interest Aom Ms debtors and that Bassamo "expresses a theoreAcal wiUingness to repay Antomo many times over for his loans, and indeed acts iqwn this noble desire" but does not go into further detail (84). For Gleckrnan, Antomo only lends to Ms Aiends and thus there has to be a pre-existing social foundaAon (89). I argue that Antomo uses the transacAon to estabUsh and exploit the social relaAonsMp. Sharp 253. ^ Ch êl, "Shylock's Tribe" 49. Newman, 'TorAa" 31. ^ Newman, "PorAa " 32. *̂ CriAcs are divided over whether the ring given through Antomo is a gesture of inclusion or exclusion. Those who argue for inclusion include Joseph Pequigney, "The Two Antomos and Same-Sex Love in TwelfHi Night and The Merchant of Vemce," EZR 22:2 (1992): 201-221; Alexander LeggaA, ÂaAeypeare y Cowecf)̂  qfZove (London: MeAiuen, 1974); Boose, "The FaAier and Aie Bride" 3-38; David Sundelson, "The Dynanucs of Marriage in 7Ae A/ercAaM^ qf P̂ wce, " NMmaw/̂ /ey w Aw/eiÔ  4:2-3 (1981): 245-62; WiUiam Dunlop, "The Virhie of Aie Ring," AÉLg 50 (1989): 3-22; Sharp 250-265. Those who argue for exclusion include Geary 55-68. Paul Franssen follows Newman and sees Portia using the ring plot to loosen male Aes. Newman asserts that Portia short circuits the system of exchange and the male bonds it creates by giving more than can be reciprocated ("Portia" 30). ^ Critics have noted that the shock ofthe loss is also the thing that makes Shylock appear most human. See Tennenhouse 58; Maurice Chamey, "Jessica's Turquoise Ring and Abigail's Poisoned Porridge: Shakespeare and Marlowe and Rivals and Imitators" RcTM^yowce Drama 10 (1979): 39-40. Chapter Four: "'Father as it please me'"^: Women's Choosing and Refusing in ^4//y W /̂J ^^^// and a In ̂ //'.y ^Fe// 77:ô  Ewĉ y j^^^//, Helen both manipulates giAs and exploits herself as a giA to achieve the marriage she desires. Having Aansgressed social and economic barriers in her marriage, Helen then pursues Bertram to his bed, forcing him to accept her as a sexual giA. Yet, because Helen seeks to legitimate her Aansgressive desire through marriage, her behaviour remains "acceptable". The play stays within the comic genre but uncomfortably so, since the progression towards the marnage is halted and averted, and the ending forced. The play is more of a domestic tragedy, narrowly averted, and even with the comic ending, there is a sense that Helen's giving is not to her advantage. Yet the Aagedy is averted because of Helen's unrelenting giving of herself, to the King as a divine giA, to Bertram as a wife, and Anally to Bertram as a sexual body. The play thus takes women's giving to an exAeme by forcing Bertram to accept Helen sexually through the bed-trick (turning her into a forced giA) and in doing so almost shaAers the comic convention. But Helen's desire is legiAmated in marnage, and Bertram does, however temporarily, accept her at the play's conclusion. Shakespeare thus changes the comic genre with his subjection maAer but the genre is also a comment on the issue of women's giving. Even when carried to exAemes, women's giving can be controlled in marnage (hence the comedy) and it can be a posiAve force (restoring Bertram to his rightful place). John Ford's '7:.y Pf^ '.y a ^̂ 7:ore provides a complementary study to because where Shakespeare averts the Aagedy Ford plays it out and inverts the giA dynamic while doing so; Helen pursues Bertram by giving, but Annabella gives herself to her brother Giovanni secreAy by reAising to give herself to the many suitors who are rivals for her hand. Annabella's refusal of a giA and reAisal to reciprocate that giA when directed to do so by her father shows her unwillingness to be connnodified in marriage. For both Helen and Annabella, the gift system allows them to resist their commodification in marriage. More importantly, it allows them to act on their transgressive desires; Helen pursues Bertram and wins him despite the dif&rences in rank and when he spurns her after the marriage, she pursues him to Italy and his bed. Armabella's also gives herself in a kind of marriage, but since her chosen lover is her brother, her marriage cannot be valid and her desire is more transgressive than Helen's. Yet Annabella remains a heroine that transcends her tragedy and, like Shakespeare, Ford twists convention and uses it to comment on the issues he raises about women's giving. Both Helen and Annabella use themselves as gifts to attain their transgressive desires while seenungly remaining within accepted gender behaviour,̂  but whether then use of this system is, ulthnately, to their benefit remains in question for both Shakespeare and Ford. Helen: the Daa! GiA Both Claude Lévi-Strauss's formulation of women as gifts in marriage and some ofthe feminist critiques of his work have alleged that women lack agency m the gift-givmg process. What if a woman was given as a gift in marriage and simultaneously gave herself as a gift? The choosmg scene (2.3) of ̂ 4// *̂  y^ /̂/ 77M!̂  ^̂ e// presents such a situation of shnultaneous givmg. The King presents Helen as a gift to t)e bestowed on one of his wards, but it is Helen who actually selects Bertram for her husband and when she chooses Bertram she gives herself to him as a gift. Her status as this dual gift not only collapses the subject/object dichotomy, it simultaneously transgresses and affirms what a contemporary audience would recognize as acceptable gendered behaviour. While Helen's choosmg of a spouse &om among the Kn^'s wards is a reversal of gender roles and thus transgressive, she fmesses the problem by transforming herself mto a divme gift, one given to the kingdom, "Heaven hath through me restored the King to health" (2.3.65). Her agency in the healing is thus removed to a divine power, but she is the sole agent of that power, and thus a gift to both King and kingdom. By this giA, she has won the power to choose her own husband, as the King twice states m denying the wards the right to reAtse her (1. 57,73-4). Thus assured of success m her suit, Helen approaches the four Lords with an offer but when each seems to accept, she denies them. Then, when she faces Bertram, she changes tacAcs. Rather than presenting a suit that she knows he must accept, she again transforms herself into a gift, one that is hers alone to bestow, and she gives all to Bertram, herself and her service, "I dare not say I take you, but I give/ Me and my service ever whilst I live/ Into your guiding power" (2.3.103-5). The giving of gifts was acceptable behaviour, even if Helen has made a somewhat radical move in transforming herself into a giA. This move is one she makes twice within the scene, both in the King's cure and in giving herself to Bertram, and the effects of her metamorphoses into giAs allow her to achieve her desire while legitimaAng that desne within marriage. She also forges an alliance with the King in which she wiU emerge as the donunant partner, yet retnahis within prescripted gendered behaviour and, unlike many of Shakespeare's other heroines, Helen does not don male atAre to achieve her goals. Commodi^Tng the Se!f Helen's ability to bestow herself on Bertram would not be possible, however, if she had not first healed the King. In order to achieve the healing, she both commodiAes herself and offers herself as a kind of gift, coAapsing the disAncAons between the market and giA economies. In the source, Boccacio's Deca/MgwM, GAetta of Narbonne also seeks a Count in marriage and although she is not noble, she is rich, and she gains the right to marry the Count by healing the ailing King, but in a less dnect way; her reward is a husband the king will choose for her and it is only aAer another request that she is permitted the right to choose a husband for herself̂  a right the king is reluctant to grant.̂  Shakespeare deviates from his source and, as in 77:e A/erc/MW^ q/* H?Mfce, ybM Z,/A^ 7( and 7we(^/: JVtg^, has his central female Agure engage in giA exchange to mobAize the acAon of the play. In .y ̂ 1̂?//, however, he deviates Aom both the source and AA?rc^w^ by giving Helen neither social nor economic status. Unlike Portia, who can give lavishly both of herself a/M? her wealth, Helen has only herself to give. That self is, however, also a body, a thing that can be sold as a commodity, as Paroles makes quite clear, and if it is a commodity, it is also a giA. By using herself as a giA Helen negoAates an alliance with the King, thereby gammg the right to choose Bertram as her husband. Paroles's insistence on virginity as a commodity has been regarded as itispiring Helen to acAon, and he certainly does this, but I propose something diHerent Aom what has hitherto been suggested.̂  The conversaAon begins on the topic of how virginity may be defended and when Paroles insists that there is no defence, Helen seems defeated and proclaims she wiA "therefore die a virgin" (1.1.132-3) because none of the arguments advanced so far aids her in her love for BerAam. The conversaAon then turns as Paroles Aeats vAginity as commodity that can be used for personal gain: "Within t'one year it will make itself two, which is goodly increase, and the principal itself not much the worse. Away with't" (1.1.145-7). When Helen mquires "how might one do, sA, to lose it [virghuty] to her own liking?" (1.1.148), Paroles answers in marketplace terms, "Marry, Al, to like him that ne'er it likes. 'Tis a commodity wiA lose the gloss with lying; the longer kept. Aie less worth. OffwiAi't while 'As vendible." (1.1.149-52). The conversaAon has tumed; Helen's quesAon is much more than an expression of female desAe,̂  it is an inquiry mto the market value of her virginity. Shice her vnghAty is a commodity to be sold, it can also be given as a giA because the two economies were not mutually exclusive, and Aom this point in the conversation Helen becomes increasingly active, taking control of the banter that began as a nuisance to her. When Paroles inquires, "Will you anything with it?" (1.1.160), Helen responds with what has been widely read as a list of conventional references to the loves Bertram will find at court: Not my virginity yet... There shall your master have a thousand loves, A mother and a mistress and a &iend, A phoenix, captain, and an enemy, A guide, a goddess, and a sovereign, A counsellor, a traitress, and a dear: His humble ambition, proud humility. His jarring concord and his discord dulcet. His faith, his sweet disaster, with a world Of pretty fond adoptions Christendoms That blinking Cupid gossips. Now shall he— I know not what he shall. God send him well. (1.1.161-72) "There" is ambiguous, and may refer to the court, or to Helen's giving of her virginity to Bertram. In the folio the punctuation reads "Not my virginity yet:" (the Oxford edition substitutes an ellipsis for the missing half-line), and the line has been read as incomplete due to textual corruption. If "There" refers to the court, Helen may well be listing conventional references, including those in the courtly love tradition. "There" can also be read as Helen's vn-ginity, given to Bertram, which makes the list read as a series of possible gifts she will give him.^ The ideas expressed in the speech show that Helen views hor virginity as both commodi^ and gift, and if "There" refers to Helen giving herself to Bertram sexually, as though she were thinking through her plan, how she would achieve this aim, and how she might be perceived in achieving it, then she is describing various things she will be to Bertram. She is also endowing herself with value such that she becomes an all-encompassing giA, which includes negaAve possibiAAes, by taking all of these roles as the speech moves Aom "Aiend" and "mistress" to "captain" and "enemy" to "goddess" and "sovereign" and finally "counsellor...traitress, and a dear" (163-5). It is when thinking of Bertram that Helen seems to forget momentarily that Paroles is there until she catches herself in the moment when she appears on the verge of speaking her desire by taking the allusions too far and thus revealmg her desire to him. The conversation with Paroles shows Helen how to legitimately attain her desire: by manipulating the gift system. By the end of her second soliloquy, Helen seems to have shed her previous conviction that Bertram is unattainable because of the difference in their social rank and is determined to go to the court to heal the King as a means of obtaining Bertram, with the prescription left by her &ther, the famous physician, Gérard de Narbon. Helen does not adopt a male disguise when achieving her goals of healing the King and marrying Bertram, which are male prerogatives, and therefore she must perform her actions m a way that the male-dominated structure does not recognize as a violation of gender or rank differences. Mary Free argues that Helen uses her linguistic powers,̂  but Helen also plays on the stereotypes of women, performing and exaggerating the submissive female role, taking her cues from her social superiors. This behaviour aids her when she commodifies herself to enact her plan to heal the King. First, Helen must gain the permission of the Countess to go to Paris. Having learned of Helen's love from the steward, the sympathetic and supportive Countess is doubtful that Helen will be admitted to try her cure. When explaining about her father's prescription, Helen alludes to a mysterious element that borders on self-commodification, "There's something in't [the inherited prescription]/ More than my father's skill, which was the great'st/ Of his pro&ssion" (1.3.240-2). In A ^ r c / M M ^ Lancelot added himself to his other's gift when presentmg it to Bassanio and thus commodified hunsetf as part of the gift. Like Lancelot, Helen is seeking a better social position with her marriage and thus as the end result of the gift, but unlike Lancelot, Helen does not explicitly commodi^ herself I believe that the mysterious something in the prescription is Helen, and that it is this combmed gift that she will offer the King as a kind of divine gift. But Helen mystifies herself and her participation in the cure. For now, Helen tells the Countess that she will "venture/ The well-lost life of mine on his grace's cure/ By such a day, an hour" (1.3.245-7) and it is this willingness to risk her life that wins the Countess's consent and help m the endeavour. In Paris, Lafeu acquaints the King with Helen by emphasizing her paradoxical status: first he describes her more as a woman to arouse him than as healer (2.1.71 -7) and then he immediately undermines this erotic description by insisting that Helen is chaste in her wisdom (2.1.78-84). Lafeu withdraws with an allusion to Pandarus, and thus Lafeu ultimately seems to envision the meetmg as a sexual encounter as much as a medical treatment. Critics have noted the sexual connotations ofthe cure, but what is interesting is how Helen exagérâtes La&u's sexual suggestion to make her gender essential.̂  Indeed, throughout the scene she picks up such cues &om the King. He dismisses her cure, even though it is the "dearest issue of his [her father's] practice" ( that has been hoarded. Still, the King dismisses her ability because she is female and relies on the advice given him by male physicians, even though it means his impending death: "But what at full I know, thou know'st no part;/1 knowing all my peril, thou no art" (2.1.131 -2). Taking this cue, Helen casts herself as a "simple source" (2.1.139) &om whom great things might come. When the King dismisses her, almost m desperation, addressing her as "kind maid" (145), Helen invokes the myth of the mystical vngin, "But most it is presumption m us when/ The help of heaven we count the act of men" (2.1.151-2). This statement is an obvious reversal &om her earlier soliloquy that proclaimed "Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie/ Which we ascribe to heaven" (1.1.212-13), and thus suggests thai Helen is invoking a trope to convmce the King to try her cure.̂  Appealmg to heaven, she urges, "Of heaven, not me, make an experiment" (2.1.154). When the King asks what she will venture on the certainty of her cure, the first thing Helen offers is her sexual reputation, a response to the King's earlier assertion that he "must not/.. .prostitute our past-cure malady" (2.1.118-20). Helen has picked up this cue and offered herself as sexualized, yet quasi-mystified, gift in whish she both seduces the King and ensures non-consunmiation by invoking the mystical virgin trope. Her offer is a deviation &om the source; in Boccaccio Giletta only risks death. The risk of her sexual reputation was not a small one; her honour was linked to her chastity, as the vast conduct literature shows. The educator Juan Luis Vives was quite Rank on the subject "As for a woman [she] hath no other charge to see to, but her honestie and chastitie."^* The King assents and it is then that Helen negotiates what she wants in return, the right to choose "What husband m thy power I will command", with the assurance that she will not choose "From forth the royal blood of France" (2.2.194; 196).*̂  In the source, the idea of rewarding Giletta with a husband is the King's but Shakespeare deviates &om his source to make the healing of the King a giA Helen uses to get Bertram. Helen's bargain with the King begins as a contractual exchange: "If thou proceed/ As high as word, my deed shall match thy deed" (2.1.209-10). SAU, Aiere is tension in Aie scene between contract and giA. Helen sets the terms of reciprocaAon, and although giA exchange impAes reciprocaAon, it does not negoAate terms.Yet, what Helen uses her father's prescripAon, which is described as her "dear father's giA" (111), and it is a giA that is cherished because it is not only "the dearest issue of his pracAce" (105) but the only one he had her retain, thus limiting its circulation. It is thus the one giA she can redirect as she sees At. The use of this giA modiAes the exchange Aom one that is merely contractual, especially since Helen adds herself to the exchange, placing herself in the role of mysAcal virgin healer. Bertram is commodiRed in the proposed deal, but Helen is otJy quasi-commodiiied; her body is on offer to the King in a sexualized way, yet she must remain physically untouched to effect the cure. Helen thus mobilizes one giA (her father's) in a commercial transacAoti, adds to that the giA of her sexual body by tantalizing the King, and does so m order to give another giA (herself) to Bertram. Helen as GiA The transacAon between Helen and the King is Aansfbrmed Aom quasi-contract to a giA relaAotiship m which Helen emerges as the donunant partner when the intangible curaAve skiAs he bargained have tangible, physical results that restore his health and sexual vigour. The King's unending reciprocaAon of what he now perceives as Helen's giA establishes an ambiguous social Ac between them and rcAospecAvely transforms the contract into a giA. Kay Stanton argues that Helen deliberately underplays her skiA because she is aware that she has Aaversed into tradiAonal male territory and succeeded where men failed.*^ Facing the court after the King's recovery, Helen publicly states that, "Heaven hath through me restored the King to health" (2.3.65) and by Aansposmg her agency m the cure to the realm of divine intervenAon, she uses the myth of the mysAcal vngin to indeed underplay her skill in the male-dominated society. The myth is a role she uses to convince the King to try her cure and before the court, but it has the ef&ct of transfbnning her into a kind of divine giA. Although it is unclear what exacAy has cured the King, whether it is Helen's prescripAon Aom her Atther, the retum of his sexual vigour Aom then encounter, or the "blessed spnit" (2.1.175) he perceived m her, it is clear that he &els mdebted to her and it is her he credits for his cure.*^ The King's indebtedness is mdicated by his continued reciprocaAon after the uAAal terms have been fulAlled. When Bertram refuses Helen on the basis of social and economic status, the King oHers to bestow a dowry on Helen twice in the choosmg scene (2.3.145, 175) and it becomes clear that restoring the King to health is a giR he cannot reciprocate, because throughout the play he proceeds to enact the Countess's words: "There is more owing her [Helen] than is paid, and more shall be paid her than she'll demand" (1.3.100-2). AAer bestowmg the dowry and enibrcmg the marri^e on Helen's behalf the King remairts sympathetic and indebted to Helen; Bertram's Aight meurs his displeasure. Yet, the King is not done giving; in the Anal act the ring episode reveals that he has given Helen a ring that she may use to call on him A)r help at any tune, thus making the ring an open and perpetual giA. As the Lords are paraded beAire her, Helen's power is publicly displayed as she assumes the King's authority in selecting a husband. Helen prevents her objecAAcaAon m marriage via her exchange with the King and, in a reversal of sexual prerogaAves, claims the right to choose her husband Aom among the King's wards.*^ Helen's agency is a deviaAon Aom Boccaccio in two important ways. FAst, the King in Boccaccio is reluctant to give GAetta because she lacks AAe. Shakespeare transfers the objecAons to Bertram, which means Helen has royal support despite the legitimacy of the objections. Second, the correspondmg scene m the DecaweroM occurs in private. Shakespeare's public scene displays the royal support of Helen as ofRciaAy endorsed. Although the selecAon scene is set up as the King bestowing a giA on Helen, her agency is apparent as the King reiterates his recent healmg, calling her his "preserver" (2.3.48). Helen's agency AAs the scene with tension as she pubAcly assumes the masculine position of desiring subject. Formally conferring on her the power of the gaze with "Fair maid, send Airth thine eye....Peruse them weA" (2.3.53,63) and the masculme privilege of choice "Thou hast power to choose, and they none to forsake" (2.3.57), the King objecAAes his male wards. The objecAAcaAon is an anomaly, as is evident Aom Lafeu's comments that see the Lords rejecting Helen because he can only conceive of women as an object of choice, not the chooser. Carol Rutter has aptly noted that Lafeu's alternate reading of the scene is one that expresses the dominant culture's anxiety about Helen's actions as choosing subject.*^ Critics have debated whether the lords Helen first approaches are eago* to accept her suit or not, given La&u's comments.̂ " When she approaches Bertram however, the scene changes. Critics have read this change as a lack of confidence or as Helen denying her role as desiring subject to carefully situate herself in the feminine position of desired object.̂ ^ Having healed the King, Helen is prized by him as a "good giA" (2.3.152), but he does not bestow Helen on Bertram: mther, he bestows his ward on Helen. The King has stated "Who shuns thy love shuns all his love in me" (2.3.74) indicating that Helen securely has his support and approval. As a ward, Bertram is the gift of the monarch and has little power to refuse the King's command.̂ ^ Thus, despite the social structure's endorsement of the male's right to choose, Helen's use of herself as a gift allows her to circumvent the usual marital exchange and bestow herself upon her choice of spouse, and despite her dalliance with the other wards, that choice will obviously be Bertram, since he is the reason for her bargain with the King. She is a self-negotiated, self- offered commodity, since she offers herself and her service. Her transgressive desire is also tempered by the fact that she is legitimating it with marriage. Julia Briggs argues that Helen's desire for Bertram displays transgressive overtones in numerous ways, "in loving a man who is socially above her, in giving love unsolicited and in acAvely pursuing the fulAlhnent of her desires, she has broken at least three social rules."^ Helen's wording when presenting herself to Bertram, however, shows that she again transforms herself into a gift, thus miAgating the transgression of choosing by invoking acceptable gendered behaviour. Suppressmg her own agency, Helen objectifies herself, approachmg Bertram with the words: I dare not say I take you, but I give Me and my service ever whilst I live Into your guiding power (2.3.103-5). By not "taking" Bertram, Helen disguises her agency by appearmg subordmate to him, and by giving both herself and her service, she is maldng the appropriate private and public offenng by agreeing to fulRll the public and private (presumably sexual) duties of a wife. Helen is, however, also singling out herself i.e. her body and/or interior self, as a thing of value that can be bestowed on another. The scene thus of^rs an example that challenges Lévi-Strauss and the feminist criticism based on his marital exchange system because the woman, as gift, has retained agency by choosing to become the gift itself. Helen's giving is much like Portia's giving of herself to Bassanio, but without the attendant dowry and possessions; Helen has only herself and her "service". Her timidity at the opening of the scene is therefore understandable and recalls her earlier soliloquy about the differences between her status and Bertram's (1.1.78-97). Havmg solidiCed pubhcly the King's support, it seems that her gift is one Bertram cannot refuse because she is simultaneously the King's gift. The GiA Refused Bertram does, nevertheless, rebuff Helen. Giving establishes a social relationship, and Bertram does not want such a relationship with Helen; he also refuses to t)e an object of exchange between Helen and the King. Bertram raises legitimate objections to the marri^e, most importantly that Helen's lower social and economic status will socially degrade him.̂ "* The rejection is directed to the King without responding to Helen, "My wife, my hege? I shall beseech your highness/ In stich a business give me leave to use/ The help of mine own eyes (2.3.107-9)/^ Bertram's reAtsal ofïends the King and creates a tense situation because the King's power has been publicly challenged. The King attempts, however, to resolve the conflict by lecturing Bertram on virtue and honour and of&ring to grant Helen a dowry, insisting that "Virtue and she/ Is her own dower; honour and wealth &om me" (2.3.144-5). When Bertram refuses the marriage again, Helen withdraws her claim with a reminder that the King is "well restored" (2.3.148).̂ ^ She may be withdrawing her claim. Since her manipulation of the giA system was to gain Bertram, it is more likely that here she manipulates the King by reminding him of the outstanding debt. ConsequenAy, the King turns on Bertram, calling him, "proud, scornful boy, unworthy this good giA [Helen]" (2.3.152) and, in a speech reminiscent of Capulet's to Juliet (3.5.187-95), Auieatens: Do thine fortunes that obedient right Which both thy duty owes and our power claims. Or I will throw thee Aom my care for ever Into the staggers and the careless lapse Of youth and ignorance, both my revenge and hate Loosing upon thee in the name of justice Without all terms of pity. Speak. Thine answer. (2.3.161-7) Faced with no altemaAve, Bertram acquiesces by asking the King's pardon but when the King commands "Take her by the hand/ And tell her she is thine" (2.3.174-5) promising again to provide a dowry, Bertram only responds with "I take her hand" (2.3.177), a response the King overlooks while he forges ahead by announcing the wedding will be performed that night and the feast soon thereaAer, warning "As thou lov'st her/ Thy love's to me rehgious; else does err" (2.3.183-4). Yet i f this is to be a spousal, a kind of handfasAng before the proper marriage ceremony, it is a truncated one. Spousals were a dramaAc convenAon, as Alan J. Powers has shown, a way of representing on stage the sacred rite that had to occur offstage, and Shakespeare used them elsewhere, in Two Gew /̂e/MCM q/^P^w^a, 77:g F̂ifM̂ gr .y Ta/e, and 77:e A^rc/Mw^ P^Mfce among other plays.^ Spousals have distinct features, however; they privilege the spoken and they require individual consent,̂ ^ both of which are curiously missing from Uns spousal as Bertram does not consent, he merely describes an action, and then is silent; there are no words approaching a spousal mtention of "takmg" Helen as his wife, either now or in the future.̂ ^ It is remarkable that in this scene Bertram does not speak to Helen and after she of&;rs herself as a gift to him, and she does not speak to him and indeed, does not speak aAer reminding the King of his indebtedness to her.̂ " BerAam's withholding the second half of the statement implies the superAciality of the agreement, which threatens to transform marriage hi the play mto an empty legaAsm.̂ * What is at issue now is the personal relaAonship; Bertram has been compeAed to marry but he cannot be similarly compelled to love and this lack of emoAon becomes the barrier to the comic plot ofthe play.̂ ^ Once married, Helen performs the role of subservient and obedient wi&, but it is signiAcant that there is no exchange of rings or any outward sign of marriage to seal the conAact. AAer Bertram has put off the wedding night by sendmg Paroles with the news, Bertram and Helen Anally come face-to-face m 2.5 to take then leave of each other. While BerAam feigns excuses for the partnig, Helen aAempts to estabAsh some sort of social relaAonship, telling him "SA, I can nothing say/ But that I am your most obedient servant" (2.5.71-2), phrasing that recalls her presentaAon of herself as a giA. Just as Bertram rejected her giA then, he awkwardly rejects her offer here and becomes mcreasingly uncomfortable and Aritable as she proclaims her unworthiness of "What the law does vouch mme own" (2.5.82). FuKJly forcmg Bertram to accept or reject her, Helen asks, m a quesAon couched m paradox, f)r a kiss before parting. In respotise Bertram sends her away, demonstratmg that she has not estabAshed the social Ae she was seeking and thus has failed to win him personally. It appears that Bertram's reducAon to a commodity of exchange between Heien and the King in reciprocation of her gift transforms the marriage into an expression of Helen's agency, which Bertram attempts to resist/^ He rejects the usual promise of marriage and emphasizes the formality of the union in his letter to his mother: "I have wedded her, not bedded her, and sworn to make the 'not' eternal" (3.2.21-2). The importance of the distinction between wedding and bedding can be found in the earlier TofTMWg of Âe -S^ew. As Hortensio and Gremio plot to find a suitor to many Kate and thus remove the obstacle to Bianca, they insist that the prospective man must "thoroughly woo her, wed her, J Aer" (1.1.142 my emphasis). To avoid the empty legalism of marri^e and the possibility of annuhnent or divorce, the consummation must take place "to rid the house of her [Kate]" (1.1.142-3). He!en as Dowry The offer of a dowry is another important addition Shakespeare makes to the source. In Boccaccio, Giletta is rich but not noble and the King makes no offer of a dowry. In .y W?//, the dowry serves two functions. First, it effectively removes Bertram's objection to the status issue, since the King offers both wealth and status. The King's 6rst oHer is somewhat vague, offering "honour and wealth" (145) because he insists that Helen is a thing of value in herself̂ "Virtue and she/ Is her own dower" (144-5). The King's msistence on Helen's value suggests that he is merely balancing economically and in title the value that she brings to the dowry in her own person. The King's second offer to Bertram is less vague and places Helen at a higher value if the King is indeed balancing what she herself is worth, as he promises her "A counterpoise, if not to thy [Bertram's] estate/ A balance more replete" (2.3.176-7). Because marriage was largely indissoluble, questions of rank were carefully considered during marriage negotiations. Aware of the disparity of rank between herself and Bertram, and her lack of dowry, Helen believes that Bertram is unattainable. Consequently, she appears as the unrequited lover in her Srst soliloquy. Once chosen by Helen, Bertram raises the crucial issue of rank as a legitimate objection to the match. In response the King discourses on true nobihty: "From lowest place when vhtuous things proceed/ The place is dignified by th' doer's deed"(2.3.126-8). In Imkmg Helen's deed to the idea of innate nobility, the King is praising her in reciprocation of her giA to him. The dowry again raises the issue of giA versus commodity since with it the King offers a giA ni reciprocaAon to Helen, where Bertram, trapped, Adls back on contractual thinking. Seehig Helen as commodity, Bertram wants her value precisely defined, because he believes that once her value is deAned it wiA be inadequate to his status. The KAig promises to raise Helen to a AAe to match her natural qualiAes and thereby believes he has removed Bertram's objecAon. The status issue is not, however, resolved ni Bertram's mind since the King has, effecAvely, sidestepped the issue. The King values Helen as bestower of gifts, and this may be why he cannot value her precisely whereas Bertram values her as a servant's daughter, and cannot re- evaluate her given the King's imprecise terms. For herself̂  Helen never again protests mferiority, havAig bridged the gap of rank and enjoymg the pubAc admiraAon of the King. BerAam is &ced with a wi& he cannot accept, but he publicly recants his objecAons and accepts here. He then the commits the barbarous act of rejecting her the marriage and returning her to her home. The act may be done in private, but it soon becomes public knowledge and incurs "the everlasting displeasure of the King" (4.3.9-10). The choosAig scene, which would likely have led to a comic resoluAon in earAer plays, has leA many criAcs troubled; yet other Shakespearean comedies have placed marriages in the middle of the play, such as 77:g A/erc/Mw^ q/^ P^Mfce and 77:e 7bwFy:g q/* -SArew. But y ^Fg// is more troubled and unresolved as a play. What is anomalous about this play is the reversal of gender roles, since it is the woman who chooses and does so with the King's endorsement. Conduct manuals and handbooks on marriage were full of advice on how to choose a wife, but there was not advice on how to choose a husband because it was assumed that it was the man, or the parents, who did the choosing of the spouse, not the woman. In the ŷ Mâ OTMy q/̂ A /̂ay:cAo(̂ ^ Robert Burton wamed that " A woman should give unto her parents the choice of her husband lest she be reputed to be malapert and wanton, if she take upon her own choice, for she should rather seem to be desired by a man than to desire a man herself, and as late as 1706 Mary Astell still lamented, " A woman, indeed, can't properly be said to choose: all that is allowed her is to refuse or accept what is offered".^ Most importantly, Helen's manipulation of the gift successfully and publicly insists that women, their bodies and/or interior selves, have value separate &om the economic, political, and social considerations usually emphasized in early modem marriage negotiations, fulfilling the King's assertion that "she is her own dower" (2.3.145). Yet, the marriage is a forced one, and Bertram does raise a legitimate objection, which creates tension m the scene. It is clear (&om Bertram's formal acquiescence) that the union will be one in name otily. Giving in the bed-trick Rejected by Bertram, Helen reflects on the results of her giving. In her speech of self- renunciation, it is clear that she realizes that she has &iled to establish a social relatioriship with him through the gift. Where she has called him Bertram throughout the play, she now calls him "Rossillon", signalling the distance between them emotionally and socially as she berates herself̂ Poor lord, is't I That chase thee &om thy country, and expose. Those tender limbs of thine to the event Of none-spanng war?" (3.2.104-7). Her gift giving has obviously brought about unexpected results; it has won her Bertram only as empty formality. The reality of her giving has driven him away to the war and left her alone to retum to Rossillon, a hated wife with no husband. Nonetheless, Helen rises to the challenges set out in his letter as conditions upon which to win him persoïKdly, and sets out on pilgrimage. The text is ambiguous about vŝ iether or not her arrival in Florence is delibemte. It is curious, however, that Helen's letter to the Countess stating that she will relinquish Bertram is in sonnet form (3.4.4-17), and this combined with its Petrarchan rhetoric suggest Helen's intent to pursue Bertram. Her disguise as a pilgrim is also the conventional im^e of the lover: humble, penitent, and in search of forgiveness.̂ ^ More importantly, her following Bertram shows her determination to attain her desire by any means necessary. Through the bed-trick, Helen procures Bertram's ring and becomes pregnant, thus fulfilling (almost) the conditions of his letter. A sexual encounter within the five acts of comedy is exceptional in Shakespeare, as was a woman actually speaking her desire; tragedy is the genre that manipulates anxieties about female desire and usually does so as a prelude to death.̂ ^ Yet, the bed-trick is integral to the play, not only because it enacts a marriage (simultaneously allowing Helen to act on her desire and to remain chaste), but also because by replacing Diana, Helen forces Bertram to accept her virginity as a gift. The exchange of rings publicizes the consummation that Bertram has hitherto refused, although his lack of awareness of the event complicates the gift.̂ ^ Mary Bly remarks that Helen subdues her desire and does not repent, and this marks the play as an "experiment with &!male erotic rhetoric" but cautions that Helen "may also be destroyed by it."^^ Helen's desire does not require subduing, however, because it the impetus for her transformation of herself into a gift, and she legitimates it within marriage and thus her desire is a cultural paradox. Although transgressive in the terms Bly describes, it is channelled into a gift and socially sanctioned since women could and did give gifts. It is the fbnn the gift takes that produces the paradox since sexual desne is not typically seen as a gift. Bertram later describes the rendezvous as a commercial transaction, a contract that has been fulfilled and is therefore ended.̂ ^ Helen's pregnancy demonstrates, however, that the events of the evening have resulted in a child that establishes a bond between them. Helen has, it appears, nulHRed the threat of dissolution to her marriage."*" Superficially the trick shows women as physically exchangeable commodities, but in substituting herseif for Diana, I would argue that Helen objectifies Bertram and robs him of sexual autonomy since his choice of sexual partner is usurped. Via the restricûons of darkness and silence, Bertram is deprived ofthe two male capacities that define the masculine subject: the gaze and speech.̂ ^ Thus disempowered and deluded, Bertram is forced to accept Helen's gift of her virginity and forced to so publicly with the ring, which the King recogruzes as the one he gave Helen and which she has publicly declared she would only give to Bertram m bed. The rmg thus signiSes sexual bonds and sexual acts, since it is given by the King, whose first gift from Helen was that of her sexual (though non-consummated) body and it was given again to Bertram following the consummation of the marriage, when she did give herself sexually: This ring was nunc, and when I gave it Helen I bade her, if her fortunes ever stood Necessitated to help, that by this token I would relieve her (5.3.84-7). She called the saints to surety That she would never put it &om her Snger Unless she gave it to yourself in bed. Where you have never come, or sent it us Upon her great disaster. (5.3.109-113) With the promises made, the consummation, and the exchange of rmgs, the bed-trick takes the form of a second marriage, expressed by Diana:^^ When you have conquered my yet maiden bed. Remain there but an hour... And on your Rnger in the night 111 put Another ring that, what in time proceeds. May token to the future our past deeds... You have won A wife of me... (4.2.58-66) Consummation not only ratifies the original contract, but renders the second marriage doubly binding, publicly signified by the ring exchange and Helen's pregnancy.The marriage is a fear that Bertram seems to acknowledge. Bertram elides the encounter with Diana in a catalogue of his "sixteen businesses" (4.3.88) that he dispatched, which includes the summary dismissal of Helen's death and his mourning. The last re&rence is to Diana, and while it is *the greatest, but that I have not ended yet" (4.3.94-5) after seducing Diana, Bertram "yields almost inamediately to his fear that Diana will claim him as her husband."^ Whether Bertram will accept this gift as given remains in question as part of the conditional ending of the play, as does Helen's response to the encounter itself Once she has given herself, Helen reflects on how easily men make use of women: But O, strange men! That can such sweet use make of what they hate. When saucy trustmg of the cozened thou^ts Defiles the pitchy night; so lust doth play With what it loathes, for that which is away (4.4.21-5). Barbara Hodgdon notes that Helen attempts to analyze the mental operations of lust, hate and wantormess.̂ ^ Although this is true, I am more interested in the sense of regret she expresses while working through these connections. Helen's giving may not have been the experience she was anticipating, and certainly is a far cry &om her image in act one of the Mnd bemg mated by a lion and dying for love (1.1.90-1). In the final scene, the results of her giving reconcile Bertram to the King, if he accepts Helen, but whether Helen and Bertram can be reconciled to each other is a question that remams unanswered. Helen msists Bertram acknowledge that he is "doubly won", (5.3.316) and therefore that she is both the "name" and "thing" (5.3.310) of wife. Yet there is a sense &om this speech that giving herself to Bertram may not be what she expected, hstead of the usual feelings associated with giAs, namely power and obligation, Helen feels something quite dif&rent. Helen realizes that women are interchangeable R)r men, and that Bertram, tricked, can '*make sweet use of what [he] hate[s]". If he can erqoy her sexually when tricked by these condiAons, surely he could "trick" himself in future by mere thought. The experience is, therefore, diminished by knowledge, and her opituon of Bertram must be affected by this knowledge. There is an element of regret in her relationship; the bed trick proved that he could easAy be fooled by darkness, sAence, and his own unaginaAon. In future, if his mind is always somewhere else, especially sexually, then Helen's giA would never and could never be enough. The doubt would remam because havmg fooled Bertram, she would wonder if she was ever enough or if he was Annkmg of someone else. The play demonstrates that gifts may be given, but Aiey do not have to be accepted and even when they are, the results of that givmg are not always to the giver's beneAt. ReconcHiaHon: MamdMn, Diana, and Heien as Gift Because Bertram's rejection of Helen was the acAon that caused his schism Aom society, he can only retum when she is believed dead. As an act of reconcAiaAon, Lafeu proposes the marriage between his daughter and Bertram to be offered via the King. Appearmg penitent, Bertram accepts the marriage to re-estabAsh Aes with the King and court. Bertram speaks admiringly of both Maudlin and Helen, claiming affecAon for the former and misappraisal of the latter: At Arst I stmck my choice upon her [Maudlin], ere my heart Durst make too bold a herald of my tongue; Where, the Impression of mine eye enfixing. Contempt his scornful perspective did lend me. Which warped the line of every other &vour. Stained a fair colour or expressed it stolen. Extended or contracted all proportions To a most hideous object. Thence it came That she [Helen] whom all men praised and whom myself̂ Since I have lost, have loved, was in mine eye The dust thai did o f ^ d it. (5.3.45-56) The sincerity of the conversion to affection for these women is doubtful since Bertram has expressed and recanted such sentiments previously .̂ ^ The significance of the speech therefore lies in the ties Bertram is attempting to re-establish with the King and the way in which he does it. Bertram accepts Maudlin by claiming she was his first choice of spouse and thus not only accepts her as a gift now, he gives her supremacy of affection over Helen. He also claims that Maudlin is the perspective through which he saw Helen, thus distorting his view of her and causing him to reject her. This is, of course, an excuse for his actions, but he is, more importantly, blaming one woman for the rejection of another. Whether he really chose Maudlin first, and has learned to love Helen since her death is unlikely, but he is saying what the King and Lafeu wish to hear about the beloved Helen and the new prospective bride. Ordered to send Maudlin a token of affection, Bertram must give in order to receive. Her objectiScation into a commodity of exchange is indicated by her absence onstage."*̂  Sending the ring to Maudlin instead of delivering it himself indicates that she is the means to establish ties between Lafeu, Bertram, and the King. Bertram gave his monumental ring to Diana himself̂  after having tokens and letters sent back to him, indicating a personal engagement directly with her. Maudlin's objectiBcation as a facilitator of peace is compounded by the assumption that unlike Diana, Maudlin will accept Bertram's gift. The assumption of Maudlin's agreement indicates that she is the gift whereby Bertram may be reconciled to the court. Bertram's reconciliation is only achieved through Helen and the conditions of that reconciliation suggest that the reconciliation must be a personal negotiaAon. As the bed-trick is revealed, Helen saves Bertram's life. Nonetheless, his reluctance to accept Helen herself as a gift remains. Having pursued Bertram to his bed and iulSlled the conditions of his letter, Helen seeks her rights as a wife, publicly forcing him to either accept or reject her with a statement designed to evoke reciprocation or rejection: "Will you be mine now you are doubly won?" (5.3.316). Bertram seeks to evade her ultimatum by directing his response to the King and couching it in a condition: "If she, my liege, can make me know this clearly/ I'll love her dearly, ever ever dearly" (5.3.317-18). Critics have various cotnments on the conditional ending."*̂  I suggest that Bertram is attemptmg to have it both ways; he attempts to tnitigate his mdebtedness to Helen with the condition that must be satisfied while making the overture to the King that he will accept Helen as the King's gift. What this sttggests is that the marriage will be accepted publicly, thus establishing ties with the King, but the relationship itself must be negotiated between the spouses privately and not before the public forum of the court. Reasserting her power, Helen tells Bertram that if her claims "prove untrue/ Deadly divorce step between me and you" (5.3.319-20), retninding him that without her intervention he would be dead, and as David McCandless argues, there is a sense that Helen schemes to rescue Bertram &om the trouble with the King that she has created m order to elicit feelings of mdebtedness.̂ " When Helen offers herself as a gift to Bertram m the 6nal scene, she comes not as a physician's daughter, but as a woman of rank and wealth, who has almost fulfilled his seemingly impossible conditions, is in possession of his monumental ring, and, moreover, is the woman who has saved his life. The fulfillment of his conditions she will trade for his acceptance,̂ ^ but the recoaining conditions allow Helen to emerge as the dominant partner in an exchange relationship by giving beyond the ability of Bertram to reciprocate. Critics have similarly concerned themselves with what Gerard J. Gross has called "one of the knottiest problems of the play", the question of how Bertram can be as he is, a man who has deserted his wife, attempted to seduce a dif^rent woman, and so shamefully lied about it, and still be attractive to Helen.̂ ^ Gross himself acknowledges that Bertram's wealth of fatdts makes it easy to play him "not as a comic Sgure, but as a totally unsympathetic character—an arrogant, conceited, headstrong, lecherous, deceitful, shallow cad."^^ This may be overstating the case, but it does name several of Bertram's faults and echoes Dr. Johnson's famous condemnation: A man noble without generosity, and young without truth; who marries Helen as a coward, and leaves her as a profligate: when she is dead by his unkindness, sneaks home to a second marriage, is accused by a woman whom he has wronged, defends himself with Msehood, and is dismissed to happiness.̂ ^ Bertram does have good qualities, as Diatm's appraisal of Mm shows, but it is not my intention to defend or condenm character because I am interested in a dif&rent feature of the 6nal scene.̂ ^ Having been given conditions by Bertram to fulfill, and having Ailfilled them, Helen now has the means to form a social relationsMp and she will use these conditiotis to gain acceptance as per the tenns of Ms letter. As Richard Hilhnan suggests, "the bed trick's mechamcal nature and mtimations of interchangeability imply impersonal, becommg personal only when characters use it as a meatis of negotiating power relatiorts."^^ By saving Bertram's life, Helen is building a social relationsMp that Mtherto had not existed and she is giving a gift, one wMch he must accept if he wants to live. By manipulating the gift, Helen acMeves her goal by relentlessly pursing Bertram, even to the point of sextial consummation without Ms knowledge. When joining royal wards, the customary formula was to ask "'Can you like of tMs man?' 'Can you like of tMs maid?'", a formula that, as M.C. Bradbrook has pointed out, "did not hnply love but only the ability to live harmoniously together." The King approximates this formula when he tells Bertram "If thou canstJike this creature as amaid/1 can createjthe rest" (2.3.J43-4). What the King acknowledges in the choosing scene, and what is still present in the 6nal scene, is that love and attraction cannot be compelled; the question is not whether these two will ever 6nd each other attractive or love one another, it is whether, as the King's phrasing suggests, they can live harmoniously together. That can otily be achieved if Bertram acc^ts the gifts Jlelen offers. Non-acceptance has meant exile &om King and country, and in the final scene to not accept the gifts Helen offers means "Deadly divorce" (5 J.20). As Gross indicates, in terms of stage action there is no reasonable opportunity for Helena and Bertram to embrace after her lines "No, my good lord,/ 'Tis but the shadow of a wife you see," (5.3.308-9) without interrupting the dialogue; it is unlikely they would kiss on his line "Both, both. O pardon" (5.3.310) and her final line to him, "Deadly divorce step between me and you." (5.3.320) is an implausible line on which to kiss.̂ ^ The play has shown the two characters to mature: Helena &om her idealistic objectification of Bertram and Bertram from a peevish boy. Helen has certainly advanced socially and economically by use of the gift and herself as gift, and the play ends with steps towards Bertram's acceptance of her as wife. But whether Helen's use of the giA is a posiAve thing remaios in quesAon given the play's tentaAve ending and Helen's feelings after the bed- trick. If women are interchangeable, she may never tie enough. Her giA is, aAer all, forced. The play ends by suggesting that marriage is a negotiation between spouses and that each spouse must be willing to negoAate with the other. Tlie first step in it is Bertram's acceptance of Helen's giA, and it is a step he takes by acknowledging her as both "name" and "thing" (5.3.310) and askhig "pardon" (5.3.310). AnnabeUas Multiple ReAïsais im TYy ^Ac ̂  a ŷ ŵc Soranzo: Annabella: Soranzo: Annabella: Soranzo: Soranzo: Annabella: Tell me his name! Alas, alas, there's all. WiU you believe? What? You shall never know. How! Never: if you do, let me be cursed. Not know it strumpet! ITl rip up thy heart And find it there. Annabella: Do, do. (4.3.50-4) This exchange from John Ford's play draws attention to many aspects of male containment of women in T M P:!)̂  .$ a ŷ 7!ore. Having discovered that his new wi& Annabella is pregnant by someone else, Soranzo attempts to exert force over her, bodily if necessary, to discover the father of her baby. Soranzo's questioning dramatizes early modem anatomical discourse, which held that tmth could be found in the body and was (metaphorically) inscribed on the heart.^ His demands further raise the discourse of confession; Annabella is constantly urged to con&ss her sin of incest but Annabella has the power to resist such confession. Finally, the exchange evokes the question of Annabella's agency; the dialogue foregrounds her physical body and thus recalls not only her earlier pledging of that body to Giovanni in 1.2, but the various rival suits that have objectified and commodiRed that body.̂ * Annabella has married Soranzo only because she is pregnant with Giovanni's child, but despite such forced circumstances, she has chosen Soranzo &om among the three suitors \\^o pursue her after she rejected them earlier in the play. Annabella is able to resist her commodification not only by refusing the suitors and thus refusing to be her father's gift in marriage, but also by refusing to receive and reciprocate Bergetto's gift, as well as by giving herself̂  Rrst to Giovanni and then to Soranzo. Juxtaposing the two conflicting readings of female erasure and &male agency highlights the play's ending as ambivalent and resistant to closure, an ending represented in microcosm through T M in the oxymoronic Snal presentation of Annabella as both vngm and whore. Although much ofthe criticism has focused on Giovanni, the play hinges on Annabell:^ she is the heart ofthe play smce the pursuit of her mtroduces most of the characters as well as the subplots.̂ ^ Placmg the play withm the cultural context of anatomical discourse and gift exchange and focusing on Annabella will raise the question whether her refusal of her suitors is a social power on par with women's ability to give. Anatomica! Discourse: A mode of erasure and appropriation Anatomical illustrations of the early modem period were graphic depictions of the anatomical dissectiotis undertaken in public anatomy theatres. Widely distributed, these illustratiotis were reprinted &om anatomy texts such as Andreas Vesalius's De ̂ /nawf Co/pow -FaAncR, the leading anatomy text of the period, in which the tnale body is depicted both in its enthety and in disembodied fragments, depending on the piece of text the illtistration is elucidating. Conversely, the illustratiotis of women consist only of disemtiodied, pregnant uteruses. The female body in its entirety is absent, which posits the male body as the norm. Simultaneously, the reduction of the &male to a disembodied and pregnant organ effectively erases that body by focusmg attention on the fetus that was always depicted as a fully developed, male, autonomous jRgure that actively negotiated his envnonment.̂ ^ This schema of anatomical representation naturalized social hierarchies and their accompanying gender roles. Karen Newman contends that these illustrations erased &male mdividuality along with the body, which left women physically, linguistically, politically, and legally vuhierable to male appropriation.^ P/yy complicates Newman's view because the play offers conflicting and competing images of Annabella by invoking anatomical language, evident &om the opening scene where Giovanni and Friar Bonaventura debate the morality/hnmorality of mcest. Because Giovanni introduces his sister Annabella to the audience through the conversation, he is able to construct and appropriate her linguistically while suppressing her individuality. He idealizes her as the object of his incestuous desire and dismisses the incest taboo as "a customary form" (1.1.25). Her idealized beauty is immediately undercut, however, by Giovanni's appropriation of Annabella as part of himself He attributes and justifies his incestuous deshre through then: shared parentage, a link that binds them "to be ever one/ One soul, one fl