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Admission : figuring the early modern theatre Preus, Eve 2017

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	ADMISSION:	FIGURING	THE	EARLY		MODERN	THEATRE			by		EVE	PREUS		B.A.	(Honors),	The	University	of	Washington,	2004	M.A.,	The	University	of	British	Columbia,	2008			A	THESIS	SUBMITTED	IN	PARTIAL	FULLFILMENT	OF	THE	REQUIREMENTS	FOR	THE	DEGREE	OF		DOCTOR	OF	PHILOSOPHY		in		THE	FACULTY	OF	GRADUATE	AND	POSTDOCTORAL	STUDIES		(English)			THE	UNIVERSITY	OF	BRITISH	COLUMBIA	(Vancouver)		December	2017		 ©	Eve	Preus,	2017	 ii	Abstract		Drawing	from	theories	of	the	theatre	that	interrogate	the	master	image/metaphor	of	theatre-as-life,	my	thesis	“Admission:	Figuring	the	Early	Modern	Theatre”	develops	a	poetics	of	admission,	or	a	theory	of	early	modern	theatrical	form	that	takes	into	account	its	penchant	for	metatheatrical	device	and	its	obsession	with	the	incorporation	of	strangers.	What	is	a	stranger?	What	might	it	mean	to	integrate	the	Other	into	the	self	and	into	society?	The	theatre	stages	a	face-to-face	encounter	between	two	ostensible	strangers—the	performers	and	the	audience.	At	the	level	of	the	medium,	then,	is	an	interest	in	the	ways	we	come	to	know	and	let	others	in.	The	early	modern	stage	was	extremely	interested	in	this	process,	self-consciously	experimenting	with,	interrogating,	and	evaluating	the	tensions	and	possibilities	inherent	in	the	articulation	of	the	human	via	live	illusion.	While	the	influx	and	management	of	strangers	were	growing	concerns	in	the	burgeoning	metropolis	of	early	modern	London,	the	theatre	became	a	sight	to	organize	these	concerns	in	a	way	that,	perhaps	unconsciously,	returned	them	to	their	metaphysical	origins.		My	thesis	examines	several	early	modern	characters	that	are	strangers,	or	become	strangers,	within	the	communities	of	their	respective	play	realities:	the	deposed	King	Richard	II;	the	outcast	Jewish	money-lender,	Shylock;	the	bastard	son	of	Troy,	Thersites;	and	the	revenge	tragedians	and	madmen,	Hieronimo	and	Hamlet.	These	characters,	I	argue,	double	as	constitutive	elements	of	theatrical	practice:	the	character	that	seems	to	pre-exist	its	live	iteration;	the	actor	who	must	embody	a	character;	the	audience	who	watches	on	the	periphery;	and	the	theatrical	event	as	a	whole,	or	the	constructed	world	that	recedes	once	the	performance	is	over.	The	metatheatrical	effect	of	these	characters	who	double	as	strangers	and	theatrical	practice	is	a	stage	whose	illusions	and	performance	conditions	consistently	render	the	process	of	becoming	human—	of	being	recognized	and	incorporated	into	new	worlds—as	a	process	of	admission.					 iii	Lay	Summary		The	theatre	stages	a	face-to-face	encounter	between	two	groups	of	strangers—performers	and	audience.	At	the	level	of	the	medium,	then,	is	in	interest	in	how	we	come	to	recognize	and	give	access	to	others.	My	thesis	is	interested	in	this	process	of	admission,	arguing	that	live	illusion	asks	us	to	consider	what	it	means	to	belong	to	given	worlds.	I	take	as	my	laboratory	and	case	study	the	early	modern	theatre.	I	examine	several	characters	who	function	as	strangers	within	their	play	worlds,	and	I	examine	how	they	also	function	as	constituent	elements	of	theatrical	practice	itself—the	actor	and	the	audience	for	example.	By	appearing	both	as	strangers	within	the	world	of	illusion	and	as	properties	of	illusion-making,	these	early	modern	characters	suggest	that	the	process	of	becoming	human—of	being	recognized	and	incorporated	into	new	worlds—is	a	theatrical	process	of	admission.																									 iv	Preface		This	dissertation	contains	original,	independent,	unpublished	work	by	the	author,	Eve	Preus.																																					 v	Table	of	Contents		Abstract…………………………………………………………………………………………………………...…ii	Lay	Summary	……………………………………………………………………………………………………iii	Preface	…...……………………….………………………………………………………………………………..iv	Table	of	Contents…………………………………………………………………………………………….…v	Acknowledgements...............................................................................................................................vi	1	 Introduction.	Admitting	Shakespeare…………………………………………………….1		1.1		 The	Critic:	Knowing	the	Shudder…………………………………………...………11	1.2		 The	Stranger:	Developing	a	Poetics	of	Admission…………..……..……..….14	1.3		 The	Character:	Reading	the	Plays………………………………………..……....…38	2	 Disappearing	Richard:	The	Character	Shadow……...……………………………..45		2.1		 Recognizing	Richard:	The	Shadow……………………….………….…..………...54	2.2		 Desiring	Access:	The	Divine	King	is	Eclipsed……………………….....………63	2.3		 Admitting	the	Absence:	The	Poet	King……………………………………....…...78		3	 Authenticating	Shylock:	The	Actor’s	Dilemma…………………………......…..…..85	3.1		 Shylock’s	Crisis	of	Admission:	Theatricality	as	a	Moral	Wrong...….…..90	3.2			 Recognizing	the	Actor:	A	Theo-politics	of	Possession	and	Authenticity………………………………………………………………………………..105	3.3	 Given	Access:	The	Actor	as	Shameful	Labourer………………….….….......124	4	 The	Most	Characteristic	Thersites:	Or,	the	Proper	Audience……………..138		 4.1		 Recognizing	the	Proper	Audience:	From	Romance	to	Satire………….144		 4.2	 Admitting	Thersites:	Spectacular	Legitimacy………..………………………154		 4.3	 Accessing	History:	The	Endogenous	Witness	from	Outside……....…..178	5	 Conclusions.	Hieronimo	and	Hamlet’s	Apocalypse:		The	Revelation	of	the	Theatre………………………………………….……………..…..183	5.1	 Recognizing	Memory:	Staging	Revenge…..............................………………..187	5.2		 Accessing	Revelation:	The	Apocalypse	Can’t	Be	Scripted…..………..…195	5.3		 Admitting	Hamlet:	On	the	Archetype……………………………….……..……202	Works	Cited………………………………………………..………………..……………….………….….…210		 											 vi	Acknowledgements		On	some	level,	I	find	writing	my	acknowledgments	to	be	a	more	all-encompassing	project	than	the	dissertation	itself,	especially	for	a	dissertation	about	acknowledgment.	One	is	tempted	to	write	a	genealogy	of	influence.			I	owe	and	feel	the	most	gratitude	to	my	supervisor	and	mentor,	Patricia	Badir.	Her	intelligence,	patience,	wit,	playful	encouragement,	and	critical	and	creative	eye	have	made	this	book	what	it	is.	I	always	looked	forward	to	our	conversations	and	our	meetings,	and	I	look	forward	to	future	collaborations.	I	also	want	to	thank	Vin	Nardizzi	and	Stephen	Guy-Bray	of	my	supervisory	committee.	Vin’s	critical	expertise	and	impeccable	editing	modeled	a	kind	of	scholarship	to	which	I	aspired,	and	Stephen’s	irreverent	sense	of	humour	and	unfailing	support	always	helped	me	put	my	project	in	perspective.	I	feel	lucky	to	be	able	to	call	my	whole	committee	not	just	my	mentors,	but	my	friends.		The	Department	of	English	at	The	University	of	British	Columbia	provided	excellent	material	support.	I	especially	want	to	thank	my	Graduate	Program	Advisor	Louise	Soga	whose	guidance	and	humour	made	her	office	a	second	home	for	me.	I’d	also	like	to	recognize	Paul	Yachnin	and	the	Early	Modern	Conversions	Project	for	connecting	me	to	an	incredible	group	of	scholars	as	well	as	creative	research	and	workshop	opportunities.			Several	colleagues	encouraged	and	supported	me	along	the	way:	Raquel	Baldwinson,	Mike	Borket,	Pavlina	Cerna,	Sarah	Crover,	Alicia	Fahey,	Bill	Green,	John	Green,	Paisley	Mann,	and	Corey	Moseley.	Finally,	there’s	nothing	quite	like	unconditional	love	when	it	comes	to	completing	a	project.	Thank	you	to	my	family:	Katrina,	Phillip	and	Elliott	Caron,	Candis	Houser,	Rachel	and	Rob	Mattern,	Klem	Preus,	and	Klemet	and	Janet	Preus.				 vii	There	are	many	more	who	deserve	thanks	and	acknowledgement—I’ve	only	named	a	few.	To	all	my	friends	especially:	thank	you	for	admitting	me.																																	 1	1	 Introduction.	Admitting	Shakespeare		On	May	22,	1934,	Fritz	Frankel	gave	Walter	Benjamin	20	mg	of	mescaline	subcutaneously	in	the	thigh	and	then	recorded	his	reactions.	A	“particular	gesture”	was	made	by	Benjamin	that	sparked	Frankel’s	attention:	“Subject	lets	his	raised	hands,	which	are	not	touching,	glide	from	a	distance	very	slowly	over	his	face”	(Benjamin,	“Protocols”	12).	Benjamin	explained	that	his	hands	were	drawing	together	the	“ends	of	a	net,	but	rather	than	it	being	a	net	just	covering	his	head,	it	was	a	net	covering	the	cosmos”	(12).	He	then	began	a	discourse	on	the	net:			 B[enjamin]	proposes	a	variation	on	the	seemingly	insignificant	Hamlet-question,	to	be	or	not	to	be:	net	or	mantle,	that	is	the	question	here.	He	explains	that	the	net	represents	the	night	side	and	everything	in	existence	that	makes	us	shudder.	"Shuddering,"	he	explains,	"is	the	shadow	of	the	net	upon	the	body.	In	shuddering,	the	skin	imitates	a	network."	This	explanation	was	connected	to	a	shudder	that	traversed	the	test	subject's	body.1	(“Protocols”	12)		Of	course	Benjamin’s	hallucination	here	generates	a	philosophical	musing	that	is	more	evocative	than	literal.	My	interest	in	that	musing	lies	in	what	exactly	it	evokes																																									 																					1	“Ausführungen	über	das	Netz:	B.	schlägt	vor,	die	ziemlich	belanglose	Hamlet-Frage:	Sein	oder	Nichtsein,	so	zu	variieren:	Netz	oder	Mantel,	das	ist	hier	die	Frage.	Er	erklärt,	daß	das	Netz	für	die	Nachtseite	und	alles	Schauervolle	des	Daseins	steht.	‘Schauer,’	erklärt	er,	‘ist	der	Schatten	des	Netzes	auf	dem	Leib.	Im	Schauer	bildet	die	Haut	ein	Netzwerk	nach.’	Diese	Erklärung	erfolgt	im	Anschluß	an	einen	Schauer,	der	der	V.P.	über	den	Leib	ging”	(Benjamin,	Über	Haschisch	134).			 2	and	how.	Benjamin	metaphorizes	Hamlet’s	“to	be”	as	a	net	and	“not	to	be”	as	a	mantle2	in	order	to	turn	the	gloomy	prince’s	existential	dialectic	into	a	felt	human	phenomenon:	the	experience	of	shuddering.	To	be	or	not	to	be,	from	the	vantage	point	of	the	shudder,	is	not	a	question	of	comparison	or	contradiction,	it	is	a	question	of	boundary—both	the	boundary	between	what	is	endogenous	and	what	is	adventitious	as	well	the	boundary	between	what	is	felt	and	what	is	expressed.	When	we	shudder3	the	feeling	of	something	that	covers,	enfolds	and	envelops	(the	mantle,	or	the	“not	to	be”	sense	of	disappearing)	is	coextensive	with	the	feeling	of	something	that	catches,	carries	and	lifts	(the	net,	or	the	“to	be”	sense	of	aggregation).	Significantly,	it	is	the	skin	that	shudders,	and	by	shuddering	it	imitates	a	network.	Skin,	that	soft	outer	covering	that	keeps	the	wrong	things	out	and	the	right	things	in,	is	the	body’s	fundamental	threshold	between	the	out-there-that-is-not-me	and	the	in-here-that-is-me.	Benjamin’s	Netzwerk	coalesces	the	net	and	the	mantle	into	one	system	of	mutual	coordination	where	the	body	itself	is	implicated	in	the	impossibility	of	its	own	project:	contemplating	not	being	while	being.	The	shudder	via	the	skin	paradoxically	reveals	the	possibility	and	even	proximity	of	death4	(fear,	horror)	and	the	absolute	immediacy	of	being	alive	(goosebumps,	shivers).																																										 																					2	The	German	word	Mantel	is	more	accurately	translated	as	coat,	or	sometimes	shell	or	cover,	with	an	evocation	of	Weltenmantal,	“or	World-mantle,	a	concept	related	to	the	‘world-soul’”	(Thompson	“Protocols”	14).		3	The	German	word	Schauer	is	a	cognate	of	"shower"	which	refers	to	either	a	sudden	downpour	or	to	anything	that	makes	us	tremble	in	coldness	or	fear.	4	In	his	2006	translation	of	Benjamin’s	1972	posthumously	published	Über	Hashish,	Howard	Eiland	takes	some	poetic	liberties	by	introducing	the	word	“horror”	as	metonymy	for	shuddering:	"Elaborating	on	the	net,	B	proposes	a	variation	on	Hamlet's	rather	anodyne	question,	'To	be	or	not	to	be':	Net	or	mantle—that	is	the	question.	He	explains	that	the	net	stands	for	the	nocturnal	side	of	existence	and	for	everything	that	makes	us	shudder	in	horror.	'Horror,	'	he	remarks,	'is	the	shadow	of	the	net	on	the	body.	In	shuddering,	the	skin	imitates	the	meshwork	of	a	net.'	This	explanation	comes	after	a	shudder	has	traveled	over	the	test	subject’s	body"	(93).	The	word	horror	does	not	occur	in	the	original,	although	the	sense	of	a	darkness	that	produces	a	shuddering,	I	think,	does	evoke	a	certain	terror.	That	said,	the	sense	of		 3			 I’m	invoking	Benjamin’s	entheogenic	experience	of	Hamlet’s	dialectic	for	a	few	reasons.	The	first	is	that	it	exemplifies	embodied,	phenomenological	reasoning,	and	this	thesis	is	very	much	indebted	to	a	similar	method	of	inquiry.	As	Stanton	B.	Garner	astutely	observes,	“The	phenomenological	approach—with	its	twin	perspective	on	the	world	as	it	is	perceived	and	inhabited,	and	the	emphasis	on	embodied	subjectivity	that	has	characterized	the	work	of	certain	of	its	practitioners…is	uniquely	able	to	illuminate	the	stage’s	experiential	duality”	(3).	Inasmuch	as	the	theatre	is	a	spectacle	experienced	by	objective	witnesses,	it	is	also	a	subjective	space	“bodied	forth”	by	actors	(3).	The	theatre,	then,	cannot	help	but	be	“phenomenal	space,”	or	a	space	in	which	“the	categories	of	subject	and	object	give	way	to	a	relationship	of	mutual	implication”	(3).	It	would	appear	at	first	glance	that	Garner	is	merely	reinscribing	for	the	theatre	the	basic	rhetorical	situation	of	all	cultural	production—that	essential,	transactional	model	of	communication,	sender-message-channel-receiver,	and	the	complicated	palimpsests	of	mutuality	that	emerge	synchronically	in	an	art	form’s	given	realization	and	diachronically	in	its	reception	over	time.	The	difference	in	Garner’s	theatrical	phenomenology,	however,	is	its	“central	preoccupation	with	the	body	as	agent	of	theatrical	experience”	(5).		But	what	is	a	body?	Is	it	a	material	threshold	that	mediates	between	the	out-there	that	is	not	me	and	the	in-here	that	is	me?	Or	is	it	system,	irreducible	to	singular	agency	and	mutually	coordinate	with	mind	and	culture,	that	mediates	how	we																																									 																																								 																																								 																																								 																					shuddering	as	a	kind	of	showering	does	not	evoke	this	sense	of	horror	as	strongly,	hence	my	preference	for	the	Scott	Thompson	translation.		 4	“remember,	feel,	think,	sense,	communicate,	imagine,	and	act,	often	collaboratively,	on	the	fly,	and	in	rich	ongoing	interaction	with	our	environments”	(Tribble	94)?5	These	questions	highlight	the	second	reason	I	am	invoking	Benjamin’s	shudder.	The	shudder	is	important	not	necessarily	because	it	can	be	felt	by	a	material	body,	but	because	it	can	generate	the	idea	of	the	network;	it	is	the	image	of	this	net-mantle	that	serves	to	organize	Benjamin’s	interpretation	of	Hamlet.	Similarly,	Garner’s	theatrical,	embodied	phenomenology	is	important	not	because	it	can	access	relationships	between	real	audiences	and	real	actors	in	live	time,	but	because	it	can	generate	the	image	of	the	dramatic	text	as	“a	blueprint	for	performance	and	a	specific	discipline	of	body,	stage,	and	eye”	(6).6	The	shudder	and	the	dramatic	text,	then,	are	embodied	insofar	as	they	are	ideas	that	perceptually	emerge	and	are	therefore	able	to	be	read.	What	I	find	interesting	about	this	kind	of	hermeneutics	is	its	insistence	on	poesis,	or	the	act	of	making,	as	an	a	priori	principle	for	interpretation.	Phenomenology	allows	these	thinkers	to	create	a	body,	or	a																																									 																					5	I	want	to	distinguish	this	thesis’s	interest	in	the	metaphor	of	the	network—and	my	interrogation	of	theatrical	embodiment	as	both	material	substrate	and	semiotic	complex—from	a	systems-theory	approach	(from	which	Lynn	Tribble’s	quote	here	on	cognitive	ecologies	derives),	and	specifically	from	Bruno	Latour’s	actor-network	theory.	Benjamin’s	body,	and	specifically	his	skin,	is	a	net-mantle	insofar	as	it	is	an	investiture	of	entrapment;	shuddering	is	a	reflexive	movement	of	the	body	and	skin	to	throw	off	that	which	might	hold	it	captive	and	disempower	it.	The	network,	in	this	sense,	is	a	metaphor	for	the	phenomenological	experience	of	the	body’s	paradoxically	bounded	and	expansive	existence	in	space	and	time.	In	actor-network	theory,	the	network	similarly	functions	to	breach	the	seemingly	unbreachable	split	between	subject	and	object	(and	past	and	present	as	Jonathan	Gill	Harris	has	argued	in	Untimely	Matter	in	the	Time	of	Shakespeare)	by	revealing	the	interconnected	relationships	that	make	a	system	what	it	is.	But	where	actor-network	theory	and	recent	work	in	cognitive	ecology	are	interested	in	the	polychronic	interactions	of	human	and	non-human	entities	and	contexts	(the	social,	the	natural,	and	the	technological	not	being	considered	distinct),	my	interest	in	the	network	metaphor	remains	figural	and	rhetorical:	what	kind	of	work	and	thinking	does	the	image	of	the	network	accomplish	and	make	possible?	To	put	another	way,	what	kind	of	poetry	does	the	network	image	elicit?		6	Even	Garner	observes	that	his	method	is	unusual:	“It	may	appear	surprising	to	some	that	a	study	concerned	with	the	phenomenological	parameters	of	theatrical	performance	should	conduct	its	investigation	largely	in	reference	to	the	dramatic	text,	that	prescriptive	artifact	whose	traditionally	literary	authority	contemporary	performance	theory	has	sought	to	overthrow”	(5).			 5	complete	organization	of	elements	having	the	force	of	a	real	entity,	and	then	from	that	body	derive	a	poetics	of	form,	or	a	theory	of	the	creative	principles	informing	its	creation—in	Garner’s	case	a	poetics	of	theatre	derived	from	the	body	of	the	play	text	that	he	imagines	as	embodied	space;	and	in	Benjamin’s	case	a	poetics	of	existence	derived	from	a	re-imagination	of	his	own	body	as	a	net-mantle,	the	mescaline	injection	serving	to	defamiliarize	Benjamin	from	his	physical	body	so	that	he	can	make	it	anew.		If	such	a	method	sounds	recursive—creating	an	image	so	that	the	principles	governing	its	creation	may	be	derived—it’s	because	it	is.	W.J.T.	Mitchell	in	his	seminal	text	Iconology	observes,	“Any	attempt	to	grasp	‘the	idea	of	imagery’	is	fated	to	wrestle	with	the	problem	of	recursive	thinking,	for	the	very	idea	of	an	‘idea’	is	bound	up	with	the	notion	of	imagery”	(5).	The	way	to	solve	this	problem	is	not	necessarily	to	replace	the	word	‘idea’	with	another	word	such	as	‘concept,’	but	to	“allow	the	recursive	problem	full	play”	(5).	For	Mitchell,	such	an	allowance	would	involve	“attention	to	the	way	in	which	images	(and	ideas)	double	themselves:	the	way	we	depict	the	act	of	picturing,	imagine	the	activity	of	imagination,	figure	the	practice	of	figuration”	(5).	The	way	we	imagine	the	activity	of	imagination	depends	a	lot	on	what	intellectual	discipline	we	are	in.	For	instance,	verbal	imagery	belongs	to	literary	studies,	mental	imagery	to	psychology	and	graphic	imagery	to	art.	In	his	genealogy	of	image	families	(graphic,	optical,	perceptual,	mental,	and	verbal),	Mitchell	notes	that	perceptual	images	specifically,	or	those	images	derived	from	sensory	data,	“occupy	a	kind	of	border	region	where	physiologists,	neurologists,	psychologists,	art	historians,	and	students	of	optics	find	themselves	collaborating		 6	with	philosophers	and	literary	critics”	(10).	It	is	in	this	border	region	where	Garner’s	play	text	and	Benjamin’s	shudder	reside.			 This	is	the	region	occupied	by	a	number	of	strange	creatures	that	haunt	the	border	between	physical	and	psychological	accounts	of	imagery:	the	“species”	or	“sensible	forms”	which	(according	to	Aristotle)	emanate	from	objects	and	imprint	themselves	on	the	wax-like	receptacles	of	our	senses	like	a	signet	ring;	the	fantasmata,	which	are	revived	versions	of	those	impressions	called	up	by	the	imagination	in	the	absence	of	the	objects	that	originally	stimulated	them…and	finally,	those	“appearances”	which	(in	common	parlance)	intrude	between	ourselves	and	reality	and	which	we	so	often	refer	to	as	“images”—from	the	image	of	a	skilled	actor,	to	those	created	for	the	products	and	personages	by	experts	in	advertising	and	propaganda.			(Mitchell	10)		Mitchell’s	list	of	perceptual	images	here	has	its	own	intrusion	of	an	image	that	generates	the	very	kind	of	overlapping	that	he	is	interested	in	giving	“full	play.”	The	ghost,	or	that	strange,	haunting	creature	that	hovers	on	the	threshold	of	the	physical	and	the	mental,	serves	not	only	to	typify	the	genealogies	of	these	border-crossing,	perceptual	images,	but	also	to	figure	the	very	practice	of	their	figuration.	Put	another	way,	the	figure	of	the	ghost	articulates	a	way	of	knowing	an	object	that	cannot	be	accounted	for	by	perception	alone.	These	images	of	“intermediate		 7	agencies	that	stand	between	us	and	the	objects	we	perceive”	and	the	prevalence	of	these	images	across	disciplines	suggest	that	imagery	is	not	merely	signification,	but	a	way	of	generating	what	we	don’t	know	and	organizing	it	into	what	we	know	(10).		The	recursive	relationship	between	image-production	and	hermeneutic	method	is	at	the	heart	of	this	thesis,	both	in	the	poetics	I	am	attempting	to	create	about	the	early	modern	theatre	and	in	the	intervention	I	wish	to	make	in	the	critical	scholarship	on	this	theatre.	Historically	speaking,	there	is	no	English	precedent	for	early	modern	London’s	permanent	commercial	theatre	venues.	In	conjunction	with	the	canon	of	play	texts	that	emerged	quickly	after	these	venues	opened	their	doors,	the	early	modern	theatre	presents	itself	to	scholars	as	a	perfect	laboratory	for	historical	and	philosophical	reflection.7	Stephen	Greenblatt	famously	articulated	the	parameters	of	this	project	when	he	expressed	a	desire	to	recreate	the	past	in	his	scholarship:	“If	I	never	believed	the	dead	could	hear	me,	and	if	I	knew	that	the	dead	could	not	speak,	I	was	nonetheless	certain	that	I	could	re-create	a	conversation	with	them”	(1).	The	last	three	decades	of	early	modern	theatre	criticism	can	indeed	be	said	to	be	attempts	to	recreate	conversations	with	the	stage	and	its	component	parts:	its	plays	and	playbooks,	its	actors	and	companies,	its	environs,	and	its																																									 																					7	Perhaps	the	best	articulation	of	Shakespeare’s	theater	as	a	laboratory	is	Henry	S.	Turner’s	Shakespeare’s	Double	Helix,	a	playful	monograph	that	examines	how	science	is	in	Shakespeare	and	Shakespeare	is	in	science.	Textually	mimicking	the	recursive	image	of	DNA’s	double	helix,	two	essays	are	entwined	together:	one	is	a	reading	of	Midsummer	Night’s	Dream	that	explores	how	Shakespeare,	like	a	modern	day	geneticist,	grafts	new	chimerical	worlds	and	forms;	the	other	is	an	examination	of	contemporary	biotechnology,	which	also	creates	new	forms	through	biological	engineering.	The	chasm	between	science	and	poetry,	Turner	argues,	is	more	illusion	than	reality:	Elizabethan	poetics	and	contemporary	scientific	method	depend	upon	the	same	logics	of	mimesis.	Both	imagine	the	impossible	and	push	the	boundaries	of	what	we	consider	human	using	very	similar	means:	the	stage-laboratory.	This	thesis	is	indebted	to	and	influenced	by	Turner’s	exploration	of	image-production—particularly	the	metaphor	of	stage	as	laboratory	and	laboratory	as	stage—as	the	foundation	upon	which	to	build	a	poetics,	as	well	the	creative,	hermeneutic	method	he	employs	to	make	that	poetics—the	grafting	of	each	essay	onto	the	other	and	the	chimerical	insights	that	result.		 8	institutional,	political,	and	religious	associations	and	affiliations.	Early	modern	scholars	of	the	theatre,	like	myself,	are	generously	indebted	to	this	work.8		While	I	am	also	interested	in	creating	a	conversation,	I	am	not,	however,	interested	in	creating	that	conversation	by	re-materializing	the	conditions	of	my	topic’s	past.	Instead,	I	hope	to	move	away	from	an	explanation	of	the	early	modern	stage	as	an	archival	site	that	scholars	must	place	in	relation	to	the	materials	of	culture—theirs	and	ours.	Like	Garner,	I	think	that	early	modern	play	texts	are	blueprints	for	performance	and	that	these	blueprints	provide	phenomenological	insights	about	the	anxieties	governing	the	theatrical	situation.	Most	importantly,	the	early	modern	theatre’s	penchant	for	metatheatrical	device	reveals	a	stage	that	is	uniquely	interested	in	the	possibilities	of	representation	and	the	double	valences	commercial	theatre	affords.	These	include	the	mutually-implicating	relationships	between	audience	and	performer,	character	and	persona,	actor	and	profession,	and	spectator	and	customer,	to	name	only	a	few.		The	conversation	I	aim	to	recreate	will	be	between	a	character	in	a	given	play	text	and	the	operations	of	performance	that	“illuminate	the	play	of	possible	actuality	already	posited	by	the	dramatic	text”	(Garner	7);	or	in	other	words,	between	a	character	and	the	formal	elements	of	the	theatre	that	make	it	the	theatre,	such	as	the	actor	and	the	audience.	I	want	to	build	this	conversation	by	generating	an	image	that	I	see	as	both	haunting	the	border	regions	of	image	production	within	the	embodied,	intersubjective	space	of	the	theatrical	event	as	well	as	an	image	that																																									 																					8	For	a	recent	and	comprehensive	examination	of	the	history,	proponents,	and	legacies	of	New	Historicism	within	the	field	of	Shakespeare	Studies,	see	Neema	Parvini’s	Shakespeare	and	New	Historicist	Theory.			 9	doubles	as	a	figuration	for	a	given	character	within	a	specific	play	reality.	That	image	is	the	image	of	the	stranger,	or	the	Other	that	you	do	not	know	and	do	not	let	in.		 This	thesis	imagines	the	ghostly	image	of	the	stranger	as	the	doubled	image	of	the	character/performance	objective,	an	image	that	is	generated	by	what	I	am	calling	a	poetics	of	admission.	When	I	say	“poetics	of	admission,”	this	is	what	I	mean:	as	a	way	of	coming	to	know	ourselves	and	our	surroundings	and	as	a	physical	site	of	enacting	that	process,	the	theatre	offers	a	schematic	of	inside	and	outside,	of	entrance	and	exit,	of	representation	and	reality	that	opens	itself	up	to	critiques	of	what	it	means	to	be	allowed	in,	to	be	recognized,	indeed	to	be	included	as	“human.”	If	allowed	in,	what	then?	If	poetics	at	its	most	broad	application	is	a	theory	of	how	a	work’s	different	elements	come	together	to	produce	certain	effects,	then	a	theory	of	the	early	modern	theatre,	I	contend,	must	simultaneously	offer	a	poetics	of	admission,	or	how	the	theatre	produces	the	effect	that	we	can	recognize	and	have	access	to	human	figures	that	we	do	not	actually	know.	In	Bridget	Escolme’s	articulation,	how	does	Shakespeare’s	stage	“ask	us	to	rethink	the	moments	in	the	theatre	and	in	the	world	when	we	‘recognise’	another	human	being,	when	we	think	we	know	what	someone	else	means”	(17)?	What	will	emerge	from	this	poetics,	I	hope,	is	a	heuristic	of	access	and	recognition	that	reveals	and	explains	the	subject/object	displacements	inherent	in	the	theatrical	event	and	specifically	manipulated	in	the	plays	of	this	period.	Part	Two	of	this	introduction	will	detail	how	I	see	the	image	of	the	stranger	operating	towards	a	poetics	of	admission;	it	will	also	develop	more	fully	my	methodology,	which	I	see	as	both	a	compromise	and	an		 10	intervention	between	two	polemics	within	Shakespeare	criticism:	page	versus	stage	criticism,	or	that	disjuncture	between	text	and	performance	studies.	Part	Three	will	outline	the	arguments	of	each	chapter.	What	I	want	to	do	now	is	return	to	Greenblatt	and	the	New	Historicists,	whose	work	this	thesis	both	depends	upon	for	its	insights	and	its	mode	of	response.	The	next	section,	Part	One,	examines	more	fully	the	image	of	the	net	and	the	possibilities	it	affords	early	modern	scholarship—which	brings	me	to	my	final	reason	for	introducing	this	thesis	with	an	ostensibly	non-sequitur	anecdote	by	a	Frankfurt	School	philosopher.	In	her	insightful	historicization	of	New	Historicism,	Catherine	Belsey	reveals	a	stylistic	penchant	of	the	theory’s	advocates:	“the	inclusion	of	a	substantial	excerpt	from	another	text,	drawn	from	a	different	field	of	knowledge,	non-fictional,	contingent,	an	allusion	to	the	‘real’”	(29).	The	extract,	of	course,	draws	parallels	between	its	own	method	of	inquiry	and	the	method	of	the	author.	While	my	endeavors	are	not	historicist,	I	appreciate	this	stylistic	maneuver.	My	gesture	here	toward	that	style	serves	as	an	homage	to	my	indebtedness	to	New	Historicism	and	an	explicit	move	toward	a	more	figural	content	analysis.	I	hope	that	my	contingent	excerpt	of	Walter	Benjamin’s	hallucination	will	act	as	a	starting	point	for	the	analysis	of	image	production	in	early	modern	studies	of	theatricality	and	will	suggest	that,	like	Hamlet,	perhaps	one	needs	a	spectral	visitation	to	reveal	the	stranger	in	the	other	and	in	oneself.					 11	1.1	 The	Critic:	Knowing	the	Shudder	This	thesis	is	indebted	to	and	a	response	to	the	methods,	assumptions,	and	metaphors	that	New	Historicism	uses	to	construct	literary	imagination	and	reception.9	In	his	foundational	essay	“New	Historicisms,”	Louis	Montrose	describes	the	school’s	cultural	model	as	having	“its	origins	in	a	cross	between	Geertzian	and	Foucauldian	conceptual	schemes”	(401).	Clifford	Geertz’s	foundational	text	The	Interpretation	of	Cultures	produced	a	symbolic	anthropology	in	which	humans	functioned	within	"a	system	of	inherited	conceptions	expressed	in	symbolic	forms"	(89).	To	get	at	these	inherited	concepts,	Geertz’s	coined	a	method	of	interpretive	ethnography	called	“thick	description.”	Geertz’s	ethnographic	symbolism	together	with	Foucault’s	episteme,10	or	that	a	priori	condition	of	possibility	that	grounds	all																																									 																					9	Arguably,	much	of	early	modern	studies	today	can	be	characterized	by	scholars	responding	to,	embellishing,	denying,	and	subtending	what	was	in	its	time	a	radical	and	much	needed	move	away	from	the	centralized	subject	and	toward	a	politics	of	mediation.	Several	schools	of	thinking	about	Shakespeare’s	stage	have	emerged	or	re-emerged	in	response	to	this	politics.	The	recent	turn	to	religion,	with	proponents	such	as	Ken	Jackson	and	Arthur	Marotti	argues	for	a	more	historically-engaged	interpretation	of	Reformation	subjectivities.	Linked	to	their	critique	is	an	explicit	turn	to	questions	of	ethics,	to	what	Shakespeare’s	plays	teach	us	about	love	or	hospitality	(Martha	Nussbaum,	Julia	Reinhard	Lupton).	Historical	phenomenologists	have	used	New	Historicist	methodology	to	understand	how	these	stages	actually	expressed	emotional	experience	(Mary	Floyd-Wilson,	Elizabeth	D.	Harvey,	Gail	Kern	Paster).	In	a	similar	vein,	more	performance-centered	affect	theorists	have	examined	how	Shakespeare	as	a	dramatist	created	affect	on	these	stages:	Steven	Mullany’s	“affective	technologies”	and	Paul	Yachnin’s	“making	publics”	project,	for	instance,	historicize	the	performance	situation	itself,	both	in	its	own	terms	and	in	terms	of	how	those	technologies	informed	a	contemporary	performance	affect	(see	also	Anthony	Dawson,	Bridgette	Escolme,	Nicholas	Ridout).	Another	major	response	and	extension	of	New	Historicist	methodology	has	been	to	move	away	from	early	modern	subjects	and	to	engage	directly	with	objects.	Ecocritical	scholarship	and	its	auxiliary	“thing	theory”	take	up	the	lives	of	the	very	materials	in	question,	not	simply	the	relations	of	those	materials	to	each	other	(Gabriel	Egan,	Randall	Martin,	Paula	Findlen,	Vin	Nardizzi).	Cognitive	theorists	have	also	begun	examining	this	stage	in	terms	of	new	research	on	neurological	embodiment	(Bruce	McConachie,	F.	Elizabeth	Hart,	Evelyn	Tribble).	Finally,	queer	theorists	take	a	more	polemical	approach	to	New	Historicist	assumptions	of	time,	arguing	for	a	radical	redefinition	of	history	that	does	not	take	difference	and	alterity	as	its	order	of	operations,	but	instead	posits	sameness	and	parallelism	as	central	features	that	construct	subjectivity	(David	Halperin,	Medhavi	Menon,	Stephen	Guy-Bray).	Taken	together,	early	modern	criticism	today	is	more	dynamic	and	robust	than	it	has	ever	been	thanks	to	the	foundational	assumptions,	methods,	and	metaphors	of	New	Historicism.		10	See	Foucault’s	The	Order	of	Things	for	a	description	and	analysis	of	the	episteme.		 12	succeeding	discourse,	provided	New	Historicism	with	its	critical	lynchpin:	a	new	way	of	describing	the	relationship	between	time	and	space.	Foucault	famously	metaphorized	this	relationship	in	the	image	of	a	network:	“We	are	at	a	moment,	I	believe,	when	our	experience	of	the	world	is	less	that	of	a	long	life	developing	through	time	than	that	of	a	network	that	connects	points	and	intersects	with	its	own	skein”	(Of	Other	Spaces	22).	New	Historicist	scholars	produced	readings	of	texts	that	diagnosed	the	historical	subject	as	contiguously	symbolic,	as	part	of	a	broader	network	of	cultural	relationships,	while	treating	that	contiguity	with	synchronically	“thick"	descriptions	of	the	various	institutions	and	power	relations	that	generated/influenced/parasited	its	condition.		There	is	perhaps	no	more	fruitful	place	to	examine	the	relationship	of	time	and	space	as	it	historically	emerges	than	on	the	stages	of	the	past—theatre,	that	medium	uniquely	interested	in	manipulating	the	operations	of	time	and	space,	and	history,	that	subject	curiously	obsessed	with	the	appearances	and	disappearances	of	space	over	time.	Sure	enough,	some	of	the	best	New	Historicist	scholars	took	as	their	medium	and	muse	Shakespeare.	Often	dubbed	the	father	of	New	Historicism,	Stephen	Greenblatt	articulated	the	school’s	theory	of	literary	production	and	consumption	in	Shakespearean	Negotiations.	Fascinated	in	how	dead	authors	seemed	to	speak	to	him	through	their	living	texts,	Greenblatt	presented	a	model	of	social	energy	and	personal	identity	that	is	almost	identical	to	Foucault’s	network.	In	both	the	network	metaphor	and	Greenblatt’s	preferred	metaphor	“energy,”	the	circulation	among	seemingly	oppositional	though	touching	forces—the	living	and	the	dead,	the	spatial	and	the	temporal,	the	producer	and	the	receiver—generated		 13	the	material	reality	of	the	thing	itself:	Shakespeare’s	stage.	Not	surprisingly,	Greenblatt’s	analysis	encompassed	not	only	Shakespearean	play	texts,	but	law	books,	theological	tracts,	and	contemporary	lectures	of	the	period.		By	pulling	back	from	“the	notion	of	artistic	completeness”	and	“the	celebration	of	a	numinous	literary	authority,”	Greenblatt’s	analysis	of	Shakespeare	eschewed	theorizing	the	human	subject	as	a	supremely	literary	invention	and	a	distinctly	Shakespearean	one	at	that	(3).	Instead,	Greenblatt	and	his	fellow	New	Historicists	aimed	to	construct	a	fundamentally	mediated	human	subject	that	appeared	within	a	system	of	institutional	relations	that	were	constantly	producing	and	reproducing	it	because,	as	Greenblatt	articulated	it,	“there	is	no	escape	from	contingency”	(3).11	The	paradox,	of	course,	was	that	this	method	did	situate	itself	as	autonomous,	as	an	external	observer	to	“the	myriad	of	boundaries	that	both	constitute	and	separate	cultural	forms,”	despite	all	its	efforts	and	remonstrations	that	it	wasn’t	doing	that,	a	uniquely	theoretical	version	of	the	lady	doth	protest	too	much	(Palmer	24).	The	poetics	of	admission	I	am	developing	in	this	thesis	derives	from	a	similar	understanding	of	my	own	critical	position	as	uniquely	dependent	upon	and	mediated	by	a	cultural	tradition	of	which	I	am	inextricably	a	part.	That	said,	my	focus	on	close-reading	characters	in	terms	of	the	effects	of	their	play	realities	as	opposed	to	reading	the	plays	through	the	realities	of	their	respective	cultural	institutions,	is	an	attempt	to	speak	to	a	blind	spot	I	see	in	this	kind	of	criticism:	the	images	we	use	to	situate	our	interpretations	are	images	that	are	figured	within	the																																									 																					11	See	Greenblatt’s	prequel	to	Shakespearean	Negotiations,	Renaissance	Self-Fashioning:	From	More	to	Shakespeare	for	a	comprehensive	analysis	on	the	nature	and	structure	of	self-hood.		 14	materials	of	observation	themselves.	I’d	like	to	think	that	the	joyfully	paradoxical	work	the	New	Historicists	were	performing	was	something	only	the	literary	imagination	could	do:	actively	participating	in	the	inversions	and	manipulations	of	subject	and	object	figured	by	the	corpus	of	texts	or	“body”	we	call	the	early	modern	theatre.			1.2	 The	Stranger:	Developing	a	Poetics	of	Admission	 	The	word	stranger	comes	from	the	Old	French	estrangier	which	itself	comes	from	the	Latin	extraneous:	foreign,	alien,	external	(OED).	The	stranger	is	external	to	a	set	of	familiars,	be	it	kin,	parish,	government,	or	country.	In	his	famous	1908	essay	“The	Stranger,”	Georg	Simmel	defines	the	stranger	as	a	spatial	paradox,	whereby	the	“specific	form	of	interaction”	that	the	stranger	inhabits	is	a	simultaneous	“nearness	and	remoteness”	(402).	In	order	to	be	perceived	and	identified	as	something	from	without,	however,	that	something	has	to	have	already	arrived	within	the	system	of	which	it	has	no	ostensible	part.	But	if	it’s	not	within	that	order	or	exactly	outside	it,	where	is	it?	Richard	Kearney	distinguishes	between	the	hermeneutic	traditions	of	the	Foreigner,	the	Other,	and	the	Stranger	by	arguing	that	the	stranger	shows	up	in	a	different	place	than	the	other	two.	Kearney	observes,	“The	place	where	we	encounter	the	stranger	is	a	threshold”	(4).	As	Kearney	notes:		 It	is	not	easy	to	read	the	Stranger.	To	cite	Hamlet,	“the	face	of	another	is	like	a	book	where	men	may	read	strange	matters.”	The	Stranger	occupies	the	threshold	between	the	Other	and	the	Foreigner.	It	is	a		 15	hinge	that	conceals	and	reveals,	pointing	outward	and	inward	at	the	same	time.	Foreigner	and	Other	are	two	faces	of	the	Stranger,	one	turned	toward	us,	the	other	turned	away:	the	Foreigner	is	the	Stranger	we	see;	the	Other	is	the	Stranger	we	do	not	see.	Two	sides	of	the	same	visage—visible	and	invisible,	inner	and	outer,	immanent	and	transcendent.	The	stranger	is	double	in	that	it	is	always	similar	and	dissimilar	in	a	play	of	unsettling	ambivalence.	(5)		I	do	not	think	it	is	an	accident	that	Kearney	cites	Hamlet	when	describing	the	stranger.	There	is	indeed	a	place	of	cultural	production	that	is	overtly,	consistently,	and	aggressively	trying	to	recreate	and	reproduce	the	paradoxical	experience	of	being	a	stranger:	the	theatre,	or	that	laboratory	configuration	of	others	acting	as	others	and	being	watched	by	others	acting	as	themselves,	that	threshold	between	the	world	we	perceive	and	the	world	we	imagine.	12			The	theatrical	situation—in	its	most	basic	organization	of	players	and	audiences—is	a	closed	system	encounter	between	two	groups	of	strangers,	who,	if	not	actual	strangers	to	each	other	(for	instance,	the	woman	playing	Gertrude	might	be	my	cousin),	are	strangers	insofar	as	they	inhabit	different	worlds	with	different	expectations.	Similarly,	those	players	are	playing	characters	who	are	also	strangers	to	each	other	and	to	themselves.	What	the	theatre	brings	to	a	meditation	on	the	stranger	is	a	topos	that	is	at	once	cultural	as	well	as	psychological	and	perceptual:																																									 																					12	For	a	comprehensive	genealogy	of	the	trope	of	the	stranger,	particularly	its	relevance	to	contemporary	social	thought	and	theory,	see	Vince	Marotta’s	Theories	of	the	Stranger:	Debates	on	Cosmopolitanism,	Identity	and	Cross-Cultural	Encounters.			 16	how	is	the	stranger	constituted	within	the	social	dynamics	of	its	performance	conditions	and	how	is	the	stranger	constituted	on	the	level	of	the	character	within	the	drama	of	the	play?	Most	importantly,	what	and	where	are	the	confluences	of	these	constitutions?		There	are	a	few	good	reasons	for	locating	answers	to	these	questions	within	a	specific	historical	moment	and	the	plays	that	emerged	within	that	moment.	The	first	and	most	obvious	reason	is	archival.	This	is	the	first	large	corpus	of	plays	we	have	in	modern	English	written	for	a	purpose-built	playhouse.	London’s	sixteenth	century	playhouses	did	what	Western	theatre	arguably	hadn’t	done	since	the	classical	period:	they	produced	an	extraordinary	amount	of	plays,	playwrights,	productions,	and	audiences	in	a	very	short	amount	of	time.	That	is	the	definition	of	a	laboratory:	a	specially	designed	room	equipped	for	alchemy,	for	experimentation,	for	a	variety	of	new	Petri	dish	productions.13	The	second	reason	is	auxiliary	to	the	first.	Shakespeare’s	plays	are	still	performed	today.	We	study	Shakespeare	and	his	moment	because	that	moment	was	big	and	because	we	are	still	involved	in	recreating	it.	Something	big	that	we	keep	reproducing	is	called	culture:	that	ostensibly	closed	system	of	familiar	things	wherein	that	which	is	out	of	place	most	obviously,	and	most	strangely	appears.	The	early	modern	theatre	is	a	ripe	phenomenological	arena	to	interrogate	the	experience	and	production	of	strangeness.14																																									 																					13	Alan	Read	further	notes	in	Theatre,	Intimacy,	&	Engagement,	“Laboratory,	a	word	first	used	in	England	as	Shakespeare	was	finishing	The	Tempest,	had,	after	all,	long	described	the	labour	of	making	things	speak:	labour,	the	work,	of	oratory,	the	eloquence	of	speech”	(2).	14	In	Untimely	Matter	in	the	Time	of	Shakespeare,	Jonathon	Gil	Harris	addresses	the	recent	vogue	in	early	modern	criticism	for	the	strange:	“Indeed,	a	recurrent	strategy	in	scholarship	on	Renaissance		 17	The	third	reason	is	the	distinctive	theatrical	practices	of	the	Elizabethan	theatre	that,	as	Robert	Weimann	has	argued,	are	“marked	by	doubleness	and	contrariety”	(3).	Existing	on	the	geographical	threshold	of	the	city	of	London	and	its	Liberties	as	well	as	the	European	cultural	threshold	in	its	transition	from	oral	and	manuscript	culture	to	print	culture,	Shakespeare’s	stage	was	uniquely	positioned	as	a	“moment	of	differentiation	and	inclusion”	between	these	binaries	(Weimann	3).	As	Stephen	Mullaney’s	foundational	text	The	Place	of	the	Stage	argues,	the	boundary	between	the	official	city	of	London	and	its	Liberties,	where	the	brothels,	hospitals,	lazar-houses,	execution	scaffolds,	and	prisons	performed	according	to	the	logic	of	the	threshold,	variously	contested	and	upheld	the	ideological	authority	of	the	city	center.	Mullaney	observes,	“Marginal	spectacle	was	a	complex	variety	of	cultural	performance,	an	equivocal	way	that	premodern	European	cultures	had	of	making	sense	of	themselves,	to	themselves,”	a	way	that	“in	all	their	complexity	and	ambivalence,”	generated	a	“new	forum	for	theatre”	(31).	This	new	forum	for	theatre	created	a	new	kind	of	dramaturgy—what	Weimann	has	called	the	locus	and	platea	of	Elizabethan	stage	convention,	where	the	locus	signifies	stability	and	decorum,	realized	theatrically	in	verisimilitude	and	linked	to	the	space	of	writing	(the	author’s	pen),	and	where	the	platea	signifies	flux	and	topsy-turvydom,	realized	theatrically	in	disguise,	clowning,	and	disruptions	of	precise	mimesis	and	linked	to	the	place	of	performance	(the	actor’s	voice)	(181).	The	liminal,	ambivalent	play	between	the																																									 																																								 																																								 																																								 																					material	culture	is	to	allege	that	its	things	are	particularly	worthy	of	attention	because	of	their	strangeness,	at	least	to	the	palate	of	the	modern	literary	and	cultural	historian”	(2).	While	Harris’s	critique	is	aimed	at	thing	theory,	I	take	his	point.	My	own	investigation	of	strangeness,	therefore,	is	less	interested	in	the	theatre’s	strange	materials	and	more	interested	in	putting	pressure	on	how	the	experience	of	strangeness	is	generated.			 18	contesting	authorities	of	the	city	and	its	margins	reflected	the	ambivalent	play	between	the	contesting	authorities	of	textual	and	performative	representations	on	the	stage,	giving	the	Elizabethan	theatre,	in	Weimann’s	culled	phrase	from	Shakespeare’s	Troilus	and	Cressida,	a	characteristic	“bifold	authority”—an	authority	that	is	remarkably	similar	to	Kearney’s	description	of	the	stranger	as	“double	in	that	it	is	always	similar	and	dissimilar	in	a	play	of	unsettling	ambivalence”	(5).	This	dissertation	is	indebted	to	Mullaney’s	insightful	interrogation	of	the	threshold	as	physical	space	and	performance	condition	for	Shakespeare’s	stage	as	well	as	Weimann’s	notion	of	a	fundamental	doubleness	in	Elizabethan	stagecraft	that	likewise	depends	upon	the	logic	of	the	limen.	But	where	Mullaney	was	more	concerned	with	the	kinds	of	social	identity	and	subjectivities	that	emerged	in	the	spectacle	of	the	threshold	and	Weimann	with	the	stage’s	ability	to	entertain	a	“double	reference	to	the	world-in-the-play	and	to	playing-in-the-world,”	I’m	more	interested	in	the	image	of	the	threshold	itself	and	the	opportunities	it	affords	an	epistemology	of	the	stranger—that	haunting,	implicit	figure	that,	I	think,	makes	possible	an	articulation	of	Shakespeare’s	stage	as	liminal	(245).	My	aim	throughout	this	thesis,	then,	is	to	perform	the	difficult	task	of	reading	how	the	stranger	is	figured	on	Shakespeare’s	stage	by	locating	it	as	the	idea-image	that	conceals	and	reveals	the	double	valence	between	a	character’s	identity	and	the	operations	of	the	theatre	that	construct	it.	To	understand	the	relationship	between	the	stranger	and	admission,	I’ll	need	to	spend	some	time	first	surveying	what	admission	means,	as	a	concept	and	as	an	event.	Admission	has	to	do	with	what	is	allowed	in	and	what	is	kept	out.	The	OED		 19	has	a	range	of	definitions	for	admission:	“acceptance	into	or	appointment	to	an	office”;	“acknowledgment	of	something	as	true	or	valid;	concession	of	a	fact;	acceptance;	approval”;	“the	process	or	fact	of	entering	or	being	allowed	to	enter”;	“access	to	an	event,	performance,	exhibition.”	Coming	from	the	Latin	admissiōn-,	which	denotes	being	admitted	to	an	interview	or	audience,	the	first	uses	of	the	Anglo-Norman	word	were	in	the	fourteenth	century	in	reference	to	being	admitted	into	a	benefice.	By	the	sixteenth	century,	admission	had	come	to	refer	to	the	action	of	approving	a	law.	It	was	not	until	the	eighteenth	century	when	admission	came	to	be	associated	with	more	secular	entertainments	such	as	concerts	or	performances.	Coextensive	with	these	definitions	were	definitions	of	admission	that	were	more	cognitive	than	spatial:	acknowledgment,	concession,	approval.	As	early	at	the	fifteenth	century	the	word	was	used	in	this	way,	though	often	in	conjunction	with	the	word	“acceptance”	(OED).	Acceptance,	acknowledgment,	access,	concession,	approval—admission	denotes	a	host	of	psychological	and	material	realities	that	share	a	simple	supposition:	that	which	is	outside	must	be	incorporated.		I’d	like	to	posit	this	definition	of	admission	that	draws	access	and	acknowledgment	together:	access	to	a	given	entity	and	acknowledgment	that	one	uniquely	belongs	to	it.	As	a	transitive	verb,	admission	can	be	performed	by	a	subject	and	it	can	also	take	a	direct	object,	making	the	interplay	between	subject	and	object	productively	ambiguous.	A	few	examples:	1.	I	am	admitted	to	a	university:	I	am	acknowledged	by	the	university	as	having	met	a	specific	set	of	criteria	and	am	given	access	to	its	resources.	I	am	admitted	into	a	performance:	I	am	acknowledged	by	the	theatre	company	as	a	paying	audience	member	and	am	given	access	to	the	spectacle.		 20	In	both	these	cases,	the	self,	as	object,	is	being	admitted	by	someone/thing	else	to	something/place	of	which	that	someone/thing	else	is	a	part.	2.	I	admit	I	ate	the	last	cookie.	I	admit	I	didn’t	do	the	dishes.	In	these	cases,	the	self,	as	subject,	is	admitting	another	version	of	the	self,	as	object:	I	recognize	the	one-who-ate-the-last-cookie	as	myself,	and	I	give	that	self	access	to	the	self-that-did-not-think-to-save-the-last-cookie-for-someone-else-and-ate-it.15	3.	I	admit	that	something	is	rotten	in	the	state	of	Denmark.	I	admit	the	excuse	of	time,	of	number	and	due	course	of	things,	which	cannot	in	their	huge	and	proper	life	be	here	presented.	In	these	cases,	the	self	is	not	the	one	being	admitted,	but	instead	the	subject	doing	the	admitting,	while	the	implicit	place	of	admission	is	the	subject	itself,	or	at	least	the	horizon	of	what	the	subject	knows,	understands,	or	can	imagine	consciously:	I	acknowledge	a	fact	and	I	allow	it	access	to	myself,	to	my	consciousness	where	I	hold	all	the	other	facts	of	the	world.		The	only	other	possible	sentence	construction	would	be	a	subject	admitting	an	object	that	isn’t	recognized	as	itself.	But	this	isn’t	really	tenable,	semantically	speaking.	For	instance:	The	announcer	admitted	the	musicians	into	the	hall	of	fame.	While	the	announcer	may	not	be	a	musician	herself	and	may	have	nothing	to	do	with	the	committee	that	selects	the	list	of	nominees,	she	nonetheless	represents	the	hall	of	fame	and	so	functions	as	a	constitutive	part	of	it.	What	I	want	to	emphasize	in	all	of	these	examples	is	that	admission	must	not	only	give	a	person,	an	idea,	or	a																																									 																					15	Whether	or	not	remorse	emerges	from	the	two	selves	recognizing	and	partaking	of	one	another	is	a	question	more	for	repentance	and	forgiveness	than	for	admission,	but	it	might	explain	why	repentance	and	forgiveness	seem	to	always	require	that	the	person	admit	that	it	was	he	in	fact	that	did	the	act,	not	someone	else.		 21	truth	access	to	a	given	person(s),	institutions,	or	ideologies,	it	must	do	so	in	terms	of	acknowledging	that	person	as	representative	or	as	part	of	itself.	While	the	word	“admission”	never	occurs	in	Shakespeare’s	plays,	the	word	“admit”	occurs	23	times	and	“admits”	eight	times.	More	often	than	not,	“admit”	connotes	literal	entrance	or	exit,	as	when	Cleopatra	responds	to	her	servant’s	announcement	that	there	is	a	messenger	from	Caesar	who	has	just	arrived:	“What,	no	more	ceremony?	See,	my	women,/Against	the	blown	rose	may	they	stop	their	nose/That	kneel'd	unto	the	buds.	Admit	him,	sir”	(3.13.38-40).	Sometimes,	however,	the	word	“admit”	gains	traction	and	complexity	through	the	course	of	a	play.	In	Henry	V,	the	chorus	uses	the	word	“admit”	in	the	prologue	and	it	does	again	in	its	penultimate	speech	when	the	play	has	nearly	ended.	The	meaning	of	the	word	changes	from	a	one-dimensional	sense	of	“to	let	in”—“Admit	me	Chorus	to	this	history”	(Pro.32)—to	the	double	sense	of	to	let	in	and	recognize:	“Vouchsafe	to	those	that	have	not	read	the	story,/That	I	may	prompt	them:	and	of	such	as	have,/I	humbly	pray	them	to	admit	the	excuse/Of	time,	of	numbers	and	due	course	of	things,/Which	cannot	in	their	huge	and	proper	life/Be	here	presented”	(5.1-6).	The	chorus	is	saying,	let	in	to	your	understanding	of	the	story,	dear	audience,	the	due	course	of	time	and	all	the	other	things	that	cannot	be	represented	here	given	theatrical	constraints,	but	also	recognize	the	excuse	for	their	absence	as	theatrical	constraint.		Perhaps	the	best	example	of	admit	and	its	dual	sense	of	access	and	recognition	comes	from	Hamlet’s	famous	exchange	with	Ophelia	when	he	cleverly	and	cruelly	admonishes	her	for	returning	his	remembrances.	Handing	back	the	gifts		 22	to	Hamlet,	Ophelia	argues,	“Their	perfume	lost,/Take	these	again,	for	to	the	noble	mind/Rich	gifts	wax	poor	when	givers	prove	unkind”	(3.1.98-100).	Hamlet	socratically	replies,	“Ha,	ha!	Are	you	honest”	(3.1.102)	and	then	“Are	you	fair?”	(3.1.104)	and	then	deduces	“That	if	you	be	honest	and	fair,	your	honesty	should	admit	no	discourse	to	your	beauty”	(3.1.106-107).	Ophelia’s	honesty	should	have	nothing	to	do	with	her	beauty	in	the	same	way	the	beauty	of	Hamlet’s	gifts	should	not	be	diminished	by	the	giver’s	loss	of	integrity.	“Admit”	here	rhetorically	functions	in	the	same	way	“allow”	does,	with	a	suggestion	that	beauty	and	honesty	actually	appear	together	all	too	often	when	they	“should”	not.	Indeed,	Ophelia	responds,	“Could	beauty,	my	lord,	have	better	commerce	than	with	honesty?”	(3.1.108-109).	Hamlet	agrees	and	contradicts	his	early	sentiment:	“Ay,	truly,	for	the	power	of	beauty	will	sooner	transform	honesty	from	what	it	is	to	a	bawd	than	the	force	of	honesty	can	translate	beauty	into	his	likeness.	This	was	sometime	a	paradox,	but	now	the	time	gives	it	proof.	I	did	love	you	once”	(3.1.110-114).	In	Hamlet’s	logic,	beauty	cannot	recognize	honesty	as	itself	and	so	cannot	give	it	access	to	itself—it	can	only	turn	it	into	its	opposite,	something	bawdy	and	ugly.	Honesty,	however,	can	recognize	beauty	as	itself,	translating	it	“into	its	likeness.”	Hamlet’s	“paradox”	is	a	paradox	of	admission:	why	can	beauty	not	admit	honesty	while	honesty	can	admit	beauty?	Hamlet	is	basically	telling	Ophelia,	I	used	to	love	you	because	you	were	beautiful,	not	because	you	were	honest,	but	beauty	could	never	have	given	us	full	admission	to	each	other.	In	fact,	he	treats	her	now	as	if	she	is	a	stranger,	famously	telling	her	to	“Get	thee	to	a	nunn’ry”	where	she	may,	by	being	truly	honest,	access	the	beauty	of	God’s	love	and	grace	(3.1.120).	Of	course,	the	whole	exchange	is	being		 23	surreptitiously	watched	by	Polonius	and	Claudius,	creating	a	physical	and	spatial	enactment	of	Hamlet’s	philosophical	musings	on	due	access	and	right	admission.		I	think	it’s	significant	that	time	bears	out	Hamlet’s	paradoxical	proof	of	honesty’s	full	admission	and	beauty’s	failure.	Foregrounding	access	and	recognition	as	admission’s	fundamental	features	reveals,	I	argue,	an	aporia,	or	internal	paradox,	that	gets	us	closer	to	the	threshold	and	the	stranger	in	it.	If	recognition	precedes	access	temporally,	what	is	the	logic	of	recognition	that	governs	the	stranger	before	that	stranger	is	incorporated	into	the	self	or	into	the	community?	If	recognition	doesn’t	precede	access,	then	how	did	the	stranger	get	assimilated	in	the	first	place?	To	put	the	aporia	more	succinctly,	how	do	I	even	recognize	the	stranger	if	they	are	not	already	a	part	of	me?	These	questions	of	temporal	ambiguity	beg	further	questions	of	spatial	ambiguity.	If	I	am	given	access,	does	that	not	mean	there	is	a	place	that	I	(or	that	which	was	admitted)	am	now	in	that	I	wasn’t	in	before?	But	if	I	am	in	a	new	place,	where	is	the	other	place	I	used	to	be	in?	For	instance,	can	I	return	to	it,	or	has	that	place	been	converted	completely	into	the	place	to	which	I	have	been	absorbed?	The	ambiguities	between	when	I	became	incorporated	and	where	I	came	from	before	I	was	incorporated	cannot	be	resolved	because	they	depend	upon	a	clear	distinction	between	subject	and	object,	a	distinction	admission	as	an	event	erases.		By	posing	these	questions	that	interrogate	the	ambiguous	temporal	and	spatial	logic	of	admission,	I	aim	to	ultimately	reveal	that	admission	as	a	heuristic	stakes	itself	along	two	major	lines	of	inquiry:	how	beings	enter	new	worlds	and	how	beings	become	citizens	of	the	worlds	they	are	already	in.	The	first	is	a	metaphysical		 24	inquiry,	while	the	second	is	a	political	one.	Importantly,	both	inquiries	depend	upon	the	subject-object	ambiguity	that	is	constitutive	of	being	a	body	in	a	“habitational	field,”	or	that	field	where	you,	as	a	body	in	space	and	time,	experience	the	Other	as	an	object	and	yourself	as	a	subject	(Garner	100).	I’d	like	to	put	Emmanuel	Levinas’s	metaphysics	in	discussion	with	Jacques	Derrida’s	definition	of	politics	to	get	a	sense	of	how	the	metaphysical	and	political	being-body	interact	in	terms	of	admission.	As	Levinas	observes,	“In	metaphysics	a	being	is	in	relation	with	what	it	cannot	absorb,	with	what	it	cannot,	in	the	etymological	sense	of	the	word,	comprehend”	(Totality	and	Infinity	80).	To	comprehend	comes	from	the	Latin	comprehendĕre,	which	literally	means	“to	seize.”	At	the	heart	of	Levinas’s	philosophy	is	an	interrogation	of	intersubjectivity,	or	a	person’s	encounter	and	connection	with	the	Other.	By	equating	absorption	with	seizure,	Levinas	suggests	that	my	being,	metaphysically	speaking,	is	always	in	relation	to	this	force	that	I	cannot	absorb	or	seize	but	that	simultaneously	seems	to	seize	me	into	being	incorporated	with	it.	While	Levinas	claims	to	be	developing	a	first	philosophy,	he	is	untraditionally	neither	metaphysical	nor	logical	in	his	claims,	but	rather	ethical	and	phenomenological.16	Indeed,	Levinas’s	most	famous	claim	is	that	it	is	the	“face	to	face”	encounter	that	is	at	the	precognitive	core	of	experience	and	that	throughout	conscious	life	remains	its	“ultimate	situation”	(81).17																																										 																					16	In	his	essay	“Violence	and	metaphysics:	an	essay	on	the	thought	of	Emmanuel	Levinas,”	Derrida	calls	Levinas’s	ethics	“an	Ethics	of	Ethics,”	insofar	as	it	is	not	trying	to	deduce	moral	rules	but	is	more	interested	in	exploring	the	meaning	and	effects	of	intersubjectivity	itself.	17	A	useful	distillation	of	Levinas’s	unique	metaphysics,	I	think,	comes	from	the	Stanford	Encyclopedia	of	Philosophy:	“By	metaphysics,	Levinas	means	an	event	that	repeats	in	the	everyday,	but	is	not	reducible	to	the	existence	conceived	phenomenologically	as	the	object	of	intentional	aiming	or	representation.	This	resistance	to	representation	is	due	to	the	curious	time	structure	of	the	encounter	called	the	face-to-face.	It	comes	to	pass	in	an	instant	that	‘interrupts’	intentional		 25	Politically	speaking,	on	the	other	hand,	my	being	is	schematized	by	my	affiliations,	which	are	more	taxonomic	than	transcendent.	The	political	organization	of	my	being	derives	from	the	metaphysical	speculations	about	it.	As	Derrida	observes:	 	The	concept	of	politics	rarely	announces	itself	without	some	sort	of	adherence	of	the	State	to	the	family,	without	what	we	call	a	schematic	of	filiation:	stock,	genus	or	species,	sex	(Geschlecht),	blood,	birth,	nature,	nation,—autochthonal	or	not,	tellurian	or	not.	This	is	once	again	the	abysmal	question	of	the	phusis,	the	question	of	being,	the	question	of	what	appears	in	birth,	in	opening	up,	in	nurturing	or	growing,	in	producing	by	being	produced.	Is	that	not	life?	(The	Politics	of	Friendship	viii)			Life,	in	other	words,	is	a	question	of	appearances	described	from	the	objective	point	of	view	of	those	watching	others	entering	into	a	shared	world,	a	world	of	creation	and	reproduction,	a	world	of	bodies.	But	the	question	of	course	is	rhetorical.	Without	answering	whether	or	not	his	list	really	is	life,	Derrida	resolves,	“That	is	how	life	is	thought	to	reach	recognition”	(The	Politics	of	Friendship	viii).	The	implicit	conclusion	is	that	he—and	perhaps	no	one—is	able	to	answer	what	life	is	subjectively	(or	precognitively).	What	he	does	know	is	how	life	is	comprehended:	it																																									 																																								 																																								 																																								 																					consciousness,	in	its	alone	or	solipsistic	quality.	Thus,	‘meta-physical’	is	approached	in	light	of	the	phenomenology	of	consciousness	and	its	‘temporality’,	but	not	in	terms	of	a	first	or	highest	being	or	cause”	(“Notes	to	Emanual	Levinas”).		 26	is	comprehended	(or	seized)	through	recognition.	Derrida	is	careful	enough	not	to	overtly	say	who	is	doing	the	comprehension,	leaving	room	for	a	Levinassian	intersubjectivity	that	lies	at	the	heart	of	life	itself.	It	is	the	metaphysical	recognition	of	life	by	the	Other	(whatever	and	wherever	that	Other	is)	that	at	once	schematically	places	life	into	the	world	of	species,	family,	State—that	is,	into	politics.18		If	metaphysics	is	how	beings	belong	to	each	other	and	politics	is	how	they	show	up	to	one	another,	admission	is	the	event	that	renders	the	two	the	same.	So	where	does	this	leave	the	stranger,	that	being	which	is	not	fully	incorporated	but	is	somehow	still	recognizable?	The	figure	of	the	stranger	is	the	being	on	the	threshold	of	belonging	and	appearing,	pointing	to	what	a	given	world	cannot	fully	accept	or	see.	The	figure	of	the	stranger	“conceals	and	reveals,	pointing	outward	and	inward	at	the	same	time”	(Kearney	5).	That	is,	the	figure	of	the	stranger	is	the	aporia	in	a	poetics	of	admission,	pointing	to	the	temporal	and	spatial	paradoxes	that	characterize	the	metaphysical	and	political	dimensions	of	existing	in	a	world	already	and	always	full	of	others.	 	***	I	began	this	introduction	by	situating	this	thesis’s	interests	and	claims	in	relation	to	New	Historicism,	ultimately	arguing	that	the	implicit	image	of	the	network	served	to	organize	the	school’s	critical	project.	This	gesture	allowed	me	to	situate	my	own	recursive	image—the	stranger—in	a	similar,	albeit	explicit	manner.																																									 																					18	And	also	into	poetics,	as	Susan	Stewart	has	argued	in	Poetry	and	the	Fate	of	the	Senses,	where	“poiesis	as	figuration	relies	on	the	senses	of	touching,	seeing,	and	hearing	that	are	central	to	the	encounter	with	the	presence	of	others,	the	encounter	of	recognition	between	persons”	(3).			 27	Given	my	project’s	emphasis	on	the	structure	and	nature	of	performance	itself,	I’d	like	to	similarly	position	this	thesis	within	the	broader	field	of	Shakespeare	and	performance	studies.	This	thesis	exists	on	a	critical	threshold	of	its	own:	stage-centered	criticism	and	page-centered	criticism,	or	performance	studies	and	literary	studies.	The	history	of	this	divide	began	in	the	1970s,	with	J.L.	Styan’s	The	Shakespeare	Revolution:	Criticism	and	Performance	in	the	Twentieth	Century	being	one	of	the	first	articulations	of	the	stage-centered	approach.	As	James	C.	Bulman	remarked	in	his	introduction	to	the	1996	critical	collection	Shakespeare,	Theory,	and	Performance,	“Ever	since	John	Styan	coined	the	phrase	‘the	Shakespeare	revolution’	twenty	years	ago	to	characterize	the	emergence	of	stage-centered	criticism	from	traditional	literary	study,	critics	have	wrestled	with	the	idea	that	Shakespeare	wrote	playscripts	whose	potentials	are	best	realized	in	performance”	(1).	Stage-centered	scholarship	sought	to	recreate	the	live	history	of	the	theatre	via	the	imaginative	implications	found	in	the	text;	in	this	way,	theatre	history	became	as	much	the	domain	of	literary	analysis	and	English	departments,	as	it	did	of	performance	analysis	and	Theatre	departments.	The	problem,	however,	with	this	kind	of	reading	of	Shakespeare’s	plays	was	a	tendency	to	re-inscribe	the	authority	of	the	author	and	the	stability	of	the	text	onto	the	impossibly	volatile,	improvisatory,	and	ephemeral	nature	of	actual	performance.	The	“(unspoken)	ideal	(it	was	not,	as	yet,	an	ideology)	of	this	stage-centered	critical	practice,”	argues	Barbara	Hodgdon,	“had	to	do	with	attempting	to	discern	Shakespeare’s	‘intentions,’	with	revealing	the	theatrical	strategies	traced	out	on	the	printed	page”	(2).	By	the	1980s,	however,	this	tendency	waned	as	stage-centered	criticism	began	drawing	more	from	multi-disciplinary		 28	approaches	to	performance,	specifically	anthropology,	sociology,	and	semiotics.	Eventually	stage-centered	critics	became	performance	critics	and	eventually	performance	criticism	became	a	discipline	itself—performance	studies—spearheaded	by	heavyweights	in	the	field	such	as	Richard	Schechner	and	Peggy	Phelan.				The	emphasis	on	the	limits	of	the	text	and	the	prominence	of	performance,	however,	didn’t	proceed	without	its	critics.	Harry	Berger,	for	instance,	famously	decried	the	privileging	of	the	play-going	experience	to	that	of	the	readerly	experience	in	Imaginary	Audition	(1989).	By	the	1990s,	the	publication	of	Bulman’s	collection	similarly	served	as	a	polemic	against	twenty	years	of	what	it	still	considered	mostly	essentializing	stage-centered	criticism.	It	would	be	another	twenty	years	of	developments	in	the	field	of	Shakespeare	and	performance	studies	for	an	equally	provocative,	though	less	contentious,	collection	to	stage	its	own	retrospective.	Hodgdon	and	Worthen’s	Blackwell	Companion	to	Shakespeare	and	Performance	aimed	more	at	cataloguing	the	variety	and	breadth	of	approaches	to	the	relationship	of	Shakespeare	and	performance,	two	terms	that	had	taken	on	a	ubiquity	of	meaning	by	the	turn	of	the	twenty-first	century.	These	approaches	can	be	characterized	by	an	investment	in	the	interest	of	space	and	place,	broadly	conceived	as	“actual	performance	spaces,	classroom	theatres,	or	theatres	of	the	mind’s	eye”	(2).	The	interest	in	Shakespeare	and	performance	by	the	end	of	the	twentieth	century	became	an	interest	in	the	critical	study	of	performance	itself,	what	exactly	it	meant,	and	how	to,	as	scholars,	acknowledge	performance	as	both	an	event	and	a	subject	of	study	with	a	real	critical	history.					 29	The	last	decade	or	so	of	criticism	in	the	field	of	Shakespeare	and	performance	studies	has	been	an	elaboration	of	these	strategies	and	heuristics,	with	texts	that,	I	suggest,	can	be	organized	into	four	major	veins:	1.	studies	on	the	historical	and	material	conditions	of	the	Elizabethan	and	Jacobean	stages	and	the	kinds	of	cultures	of	play-going	therein;19	2.	analyses	of	Shakespeare’s	plays	in	actual,	live	performances	across	cultures	and	across	time;20	3.	studies	of	Shakespearean	performances	across	different	media;21	4.	more	theoretically-inflected	studies	on	the	relationship	of	representation	and	performance;22	and	finally,	anything	by	W.B.	Worthen	whose	work	on	poetry	and	performance	in	the	Shakespearean	dramatic	arts	is	foundational.23	I	situate	my	own	work	within	the	fourth	category,	insofar	as	I																																									 																					19	See,	for	example,	Marketing	the	Bard:	Shakespeare	in	Performance	and	Print	1660-1740,	Don-John	Dugas;	This	Wide	and	Universal	Theatre:	Shakespeare	in	Performance:	Then	and	Now,	David	Bevington;	Shakespeare	and	the	Cultures	of	Performance,	eds.	Paul	Yachnin	and	Patricia	Badir;	Playwright,	Space,	and	Place	in	Early	Modern	Performance:	Shakespeare	and	Company,	Tim	Fitzpatrick;	Shakespeare	and	the	Materiality	of	Performance,	Erika	T.	Lin;	Moving	Shakespeare	Indoors:	Performance	and	Repertoire	in	the	Jacobean	Playhouse,	eds.	Andrew	Gurr	and	Farah	Karim-Cooper;		and	Unearthing	Shakespeare:	Embodied	Performance	and	the	Globe,	Valerie	Clayman	Pye.	While	several	of	these	titles	also	speak	to	contemporary	performance	cultures,	they	ground	their	observations	within	the	material	conditions	of	Shakespeare’s	stage.		20	Recent	titles	include	Shakespeare	in	Stages:	New	Theatre	Histories,	eds.	Christine	Dymkowski	and	Christie	Carson;	Shakespeare	in	Performance:	Inside	the	Creative	Process,	Michael	Flachmann;	and	Anecdotal	Shakespeare:	A	New	Performance	History,	Paul	Menzer.	21	See,	for	example,	Remaking	Shakespeare:	Performances	Across	Media,	Genres	and	Cultures,	eds.	Pascale	Aebischer	et	al	and	Shakespeare	in	Performance,	eds.	Eric	C.	Brown	and	Estelle	Rivier.	Both	collections	focus	on	adaptations	of	Shakespeare	plays	for	the	circus,	cinema,	musicals,	documentary,	and	soap	opera.		22	See	Bridget	Escolme’s	Talking	to	the	Audience:	Shakespeare,	Performance,	Self;	Peter	Holland’s	Shakespeare,	Memory	and	Performance;	Douglas	Bruster	and	Robert	Weiman’s	Shakespeare	and	the	Power	of	Performance;	and	Barbara	Hodgdon’s	Shakespeare,	Performance	and	the	Archive.	All	of	these	works	take	a	theoretical	interest	in	the	question	of	representation	itself	and	the	often	invisible	persistence	of	performance	in	and	across	time—archival,	mnemonic,	and	characterological.				23	After	Worthen’s	canonical	and	highly	influential	Shakespeare	and	the	Authority	of	Performance,	he	went	on	to	publish	several	more	tomes	on	the	subject	including,	Shakespeare	and	the	Force	of	Modern	Performance,	Drama:	Between	Poetry	and	Performance,	and	Shakespeare	Performance	Studies,	his	most	recent	synthesis	of	over	a	decade’s	work	examining	the	relationship	between	the	dramatic	performance	and	the	literary	play	text.	Worthen	argues,	“But	a	broader	and	more	urgent	Shakespeare	Studies	undertakes	a	different	kind	of	inquiry,	asking	not	how	performance	can	interpret	the	text	in	light	of	its	ways,	means,	and	concerns,	but	how	performance—in	its	ineluctably	contemporary	ways	of	using	text,	space,	acting,	audience,	the	entire	‘distribution	of	the	sensible’—	 30	am	interested	in	how	performance	is	structurally	represented	within	the	playscript.	Inasmuch	as	my	research	is	not	of	a	materialist	bent,	I	still	do	follow	Ric	Knowles’	model	of	the	theatre	in	Reading	the	Material	Theatre.	The	theatre	for	Knowles	is	“a	triangular	formation	in	which	conditions	of	production,	the	performance	text	itself,	and	the	conditions	for	its	reception,	operate	mutually	constitutive	poles”	(19).	On	the	one	hand	there	is	the	“performance	text”	composed	of	the	script,	mise	en	scene,	design,	actor’s	bodies,	and	movement	and	gesture	as	they	are	reconstituted	in	text;	on	the	other	hand	there	are	the	“conditions	of	reception”	such	as	the	publicity/review	discourse,	front-of-house,	auditorium,	neighborhood,	and	the	historical/cultural	moment	of	reception;	and	finally	there	are	the	“conditions	of	production,”	which	include	the	actor,	director,	rehearsal	process,	stage	and	backstage	architecture	(19).	My	own	performance	analysis	is	located	exclusively	within	the	“performance	text”	angle	of	the	triangle,	whereby	the	actors	(conditions	of	production)	and	audience	members	(conditions	of	reception)	are	imagined	as	occurring	within	the	discourse	of	the	play	text	itself.		While	my	approach	to	early	modern	plays	is	situated	within	this	performance	studies	background,	I	am	simultaneously	guided	by	phenomenological	theatre	research	and	the	insights	of	its	major	proponents	such	as	Bruce	Wilshire,	Bert	O.	States,	and	Stanton	B.	Garner	who	focus	on	the	plays	themselves,	usually	as	written	works.	My	analysis	of	early	modern	plays	draws	from	Garner’s	dramatic	text																																									 																																								 																																								 																																								 																					represents	a	genre	of	Shakespearean	knowledge,	framed	in	the	distinctive	idioms	of	the	stage”	(21).	The	epistemological	question	of	the	non-textual	knowledge	that	performance	produces	is	similarly	at	the	center	of	my	thesis’s	concerns,	although	my	approach	does	not	seek	answers	in	the	analysis	of	live	productions,	the	way	Worthen’s	does.			 31	of	“possible	actuality”	as	well	as	Berger’s	idea	of	“imaginary	audition,”	which	privileges	how	the	reader,	as	opposed	to	the	playgoer,	follows	the	movements	of	meaning	and	is	able	to	imagine	characters	as	“listening	to	and	acting	on	themselves”	(75).	Berger	asks:		 Why	should	I,	poised	at	the	crossroads	between	the	generosity	or	generativity	of	the	text	and	the	perceptual	limits	of	the	playgoer,	sacrifice	the	first	pleasure	for	the	second?	Since	there	is	much	virtue	in	If,	why	should	I	read	a	play	as	if	I	could	only	take	in	what	I	could	when	actually	watching	it	rather	than	pretending	to	watch	a	play	that	contains	everything	I	see	in	the	text?	(31)		Berger’s	virtuous	counterfactual	argues	that	the	process	of	reading	a	play	is	as	much	a	process	of	imagining	its	performance	as	going	to	the	theatre;	in	fact	it	is	a	better	process	because	you	can	more	adequately	attend	to	the	way	the	text	contains	“conspicuous	echoes,	parallels,	and	similarities	that	encourage	juxtapositions”	(31).	I	agree	with	Berger,	although	I’d	like	to	rephrase	his	query	for	more	phenomenological	purposes:	“How	can	I,	poised	at	the	crossroads	between	the	generosity	or	generativity	of	the	text	and	the	perceptual	limits	of	the	playgoer,	understand	the	two	in	terms	of	each	other?”	By	invoking	the	topos	of	stranger	to	describe	both	the	characters	in	the	play	texts	as	well	as	the	perceptual	limits	of	the	theatre,	I	will	be	able	to	reveal	how	the	character	doubles	as	himself	and	a	constitutive	element	of	the	play-going	experience.			 32	While	my	method	is	character	analysis,	I	do	not	see	this	thesis	as	performing	the	kind	of	character	analysis	that	governed	Shakespeare	studies	up	until	the	mid-twentieth	century	when	the	characters	were	“best	understood	as	mimetic	representation	of	imagined	persons”	(Yachnin	and	Slights	2-3).	Nor	do	I	do	see	my	approach	as	an	offshoot	of	poststructuralism,	which,	in	its	response	to	the	thematic	and	linguistic	analyses	of	the	New	Criticism,	sought	to	reinvest	the	text	with	a	notion	of	personhood,	albeit	persons	that	were	socially	determined	and/or	devoid	of	psychological	interiority	as	we	moderns	know	it.	As	Northrop	Frye	has	observed,	“In	every	play	that	Shakespeare	wrote,	the	central	character	is	always	the	theatre	itself.	Shakespeare	is	inexhaustibly	curious	about	the	ways	in	which	people	spend	every	moment	of	their	lives,	especially	when	they	are	with	other	people,	throwing	themselves	into	the	dramatic	roles	that	seem	to	be	suggested	by	the	group	they	are	in”	(Stratford	Lecture	1).	Frye	argues	that	Shakespeare	is	interested	in	theatricality	itself,	or	the	ways	in	which	we	perform	our	lives	for	ourselves	and	for	others.	I	agree	with	Frye,	but	as	my	poetics	of	admission	suggests,	I	also	think	that	the	theatre	is	quite	literally	interested	in	what	it	means	to	show	up	as	a	person	in	the	world,	to	be	a	character	in	a	given	world,	insofar	as	that	world	stages	the	intersubjective	phenomena	of	being.	While	my	analysis	of	Shakespeare’s	plays	explores	how	the	characters	perform	themselves—to	other	players,	to	the	audience,	and	to	themselves—I	also	examine	how	the	conditions	of	performance	perform	them.	In	summary,	I	understand	my	approach	to	be	a	hybrid	between	performance	studies,	which	reads	Shakespeare’s	plays	as	best	understood	in	terms	of	their	performative	value,	and	aesthetic	phenomenology,	which	understands	the	work	of		 33	art	as	having	the	ability	to	take	us	somewhere	else	that	is	not	entirely	elsewhere	but	a	“different	kind	of	here”	(States	4).	As	Bert	O.	States	notes,	a	painting,	for	instance,	“is	a	place	of	disclosure,	not	a	place	of	reference.	What	is	disclosed	cannot	be	found	elsewhere	because	it	does	not	exist	outside	the	painting”	(4).	Shakespeare’s	plays	disclose	the	figure	of	the	stranger,	the	Other	that	we	simultaneously	know	and	do	not	know,	that	we	let	in	but	also	keep	out.	This	figure	is	not	a	direct	reference	to	something	that	exists	in	the	“real	world”;	rather,	it	uniquely	emerges	within	the	intersubjective,	threshold	space	of	the	theatrical	event,	where	questions	of	what	is	allowed	in	and	what	is	kept	out	govern	the	production	of	illusion.	That	said,	as	Bruce	Wilshire	has	observed,	theatre	is	life-like	as	much	as	life	is	theatre-like.	Theatre,	as	“an	aesthetic	detachment	from	daily	living	that	reveals	the	ways	we	are	involved	in	daily	living,”	cannot	help	but	suggest	that	the	ways	we	encounter	the	stranger	in	the	“somewhere	else”	of	the	stage	are	not	unlike	the	ways	we	encounter	this	figure	in	real	life	(Wilshire	ix).	I	expect	the	metaphors	of	theatre	as	life	and	life	as	theatre	to	surface	throughout	this	thesis	in	my	discussion	of	the	illusion	that	is	the	stranger,	and	I	hope	the	reader	will	allow	the	tautology	somewhat	full	play,	in	the	hopes	that	what	emerges	is	both	an	accident	of	what	Lakoff	and	Johnson	would	call	the	“metaphors	we	live	by”	as	well	as	a	design	that	clarifies	what	it	means	to	exist	as	subjects	in	a	world	with	other	people	who	experience	us	as	objects.	As	Julia	Reinhard	Lupton	articulates	it,	“Drama,	moreover,	is	the	medium	that	most	insistently	stages	this	contest	between	the	one	and	the	many:	between	the	one	life	worth	living	and	the	many	lives	that	circle,	support,	and	subtend	it”	(2).			 34	To	clarify	what	I	mean	by	a	“hybrid	approach,”	I’d	like	to	put	into	conversation	Bridget	Escolme,	a	stage-centered	Shakespeare	scholar	and	dramaturg,	and	Stanton	B.	Garner,	a	text-centered	theatre	phenomenologist,	who,	as	I	mentioned	earlier,	understands	the	dramatic	text	as	blueprint	for	performance.	Both,	I	think,	conceive	of	the	theatre’s	place	of	disclosure	as	very	similar,	despite	their	different	ways	of	getting	there.	In	Talking	to	the	Audience:	Shakespeare,	Performance,	Self,	Escolme	investigates	how	dramatic	subjectivity	is	created	during	performance,	focusing	her	study	on	the	stage	convention	of	direct	address	and	clarifying	her	position	as	more	philosophical	than	historical:		 Though	I	do	see	talking	to	the	audience	as	a	key	convention	of	Shakespeare’s	theatre,	I	don’t	want	simply	to	take	up	the	cry	of	the	stage-centered	critics	of	the	1970s	and	1980s	and	argue	that	we	can	learn	from	Elizabethan	and	Jacobean	staging	conventions	and	conditions	of	production.	I	rather	want	to	ask	what	it	is	possible	for	the	human	figure	to	mean	when,	pretending	to	be	someone	else,	he	or	she	addresses	or	acknowledges	those	who	are	not	pretending—who	are	always,	sometimes	recalcitrantly,	themselves.	(5)			I	think	Escolme	is	asking	a	phenomenological	question	here.	What	“someone	else”	does	the	human	enter	into	in	the	theatrical	event?	What	is	uniquely	disclosed,	and	how	is	that	disclosure	essential	to	the	production	of	illusion	itself?	Escolme	contends	that	we	have	inherited	a	naturalistic	theatre	indebted	to	a	Stanislavskian		 35	method	that	does	not	allow	for	the	possibility	of	a	human	to	be	produced	within	the	theatrical	situation	itself.	The	naturalistic	theatre	of	the	nineteenth	century	redacted	the	actorly	management	of	the	audience’s	engagement;	an	invisible	fourth	wall	and	a	fully-formed	capitalist	industry	sat	its	customers	in	a	passive,	voyeuristic	black	lit	arena.	Contemporary	theatre	critic	Nicholas	Ridout	notes,	“Much	theatre	history,	including	much	influential	work	on	Shakespeare’s	theatre,	views	naturalism	as	the	telos	of	modernizing	developments	in	the	Elizabethan	and	Jacobean	theatre,	and	thus	views	direct	address	as	one	set	of	rhetorical	conventions	that	a	modernising	theatre	seeks	to	eradicate”	(71).	Escolme	describes	this	theatrical	heritage	as	“ultimately	an	anti-theatrical	set	of	assumptions	about	what	theatre	should	be,	as	the	dramatic	subjectivities	it	produces	are	to	be	imagined	by	the	actor	as	living	outside	the	theatre	in	which	they	are	produced”	(13).	An	example	of	naturalistic	theatre	would	be	an	actor	preparing	to	play	a	serial	killer	and	becoming	the	role	most	effectively	by	researching	the	psychology	and	motivations	of	real	serial	killers	who	live	outside	the	live	moment	of	theatrical	illusion.	As	a	result,	illusion,	the	constitutive	part	of	theatre	as	a	medium,	is	denied	access	by	the	live	characters	that	actually	produce	that	illusion.	In	an	attempt	to	gain	access	to	the	kind	of	human	created	by	live	illusion,	Escolme	re-appropriates	Stanislavski’s	concept	of	objectives	in	actor	training.	An	objective	is	what	the	actor	asks	from	the	person/thing	whom	he	is	playing:	who/what	am	I	actually	trying	to	represent?	What	is	my	goal?24	Escolme	introduces	the	idea	of	a	“performance	objective,”	or	what	the	actor	asks	of	the	theatrical																																									 																					24	See	also	chapter	seven,	“Units	and	Objectives”	in	Constantin	Stanislavski’s	An	Actor	Prepares,	pp.	111-126.		 36	situation	of	which	she	is	also	part:	how	am	I	asking	the	audience	to	participate	with	me	and	my	goal?	Escolme	reasons,	“Shakespeare’s	stage	figures	have	another	set	of	desires	and	interests,	inseparable	from	those	of	the	actor.	They	want	the	audience	to	listen	to	them,	notice	them,	approve	of	their	performance,	ignore	others	on	stage	for	their	sake.	The	objectives	of	these	figures	are	bound	up	with	the	fact	that	they	know	you’re	there”	(16).	In	order	to	be	successful,	the	actor	must	manage	the	character	she	is	being	as	well	as	manage	the	impression	she	is	making	on	another	group	of	people	who	are	watching	that	character.			 Escolme’s	method	sounds	very	similar	to	theatrical	movements	post-realism	(Modernism,	Expressionism,	Futurism)	that	consistently	tried	to	vitiate	stage	conventions	that	placed	audiences	outside	the	production	of	illusion,	and	arguably	outside	a	capacity	to	know	the	manner	in	which	they	as	subjects	were	complicit	in	the	production	of	illusion.	Antonin	Artaud’s	theatre	of	cruelty,	for	instance,	imagined	a	theatre	that	could	access	the	subconscious,	non-linguistic	instincts	and	emotions	of	its	audiences	by	overwhelming	and	stunning	them,	with	actors	ritualistically	dancing	around	the	audience	and	with	stage	effects	such	as	extremely	loud	sounds	and	lighting.	Soon	after	the	theatre	of	cruelty	came	Brecht’s	epic	theatre,	which	sought	to	hinder	the	audience	from	“simply	identifying	itself	with	the	characters	in	the	play.	Acceptance	or	rejection	of	their	actions	and	utterances	was	meant	to	take	place	on	a	conscious	plane,	instead	of,	as	hitherto,	in	the	audience's	subconscious"	(Willet	91).	Both	Artaud	and	Brecht	wanted	the	audience	to	engage	with	theatricality	itself,	with	theatre	as	capable	of	taking	the	audience	somewhere	else,	but	to	a	somewhere	else	that	was	the	audience	itself—in	Artaud’s	case	the		 37	subconscious	mind	and	in	Brecht’s	case	the	critical	mind.	Both	understood	that	by	manipulating	illusion—the	formal	language	of	the	theatre—they	could	manipulate	the	audience.	And	both,	like	Escolme’s	Shakespeare,	were	much	more	interested	in	the	impressions	their	plays	had	on	their	audiences	than	with	accurate	mimetic	representation.		Not	surprisingly,	this	is	the	kind	of	theatre	that	Garner	is	most	interested	in	as	well:	“Although	the	issues	considered	in	this	book	are	by	no	means	exclusive	to	any	single	historical	moment,	Bodied	Spaces	focuses	on	drama	produced	between	early	1950	(the	year	of	Bertolt	Brecht’s	last	plays	and	Beckett’s	first)	and	1993”	(7).	It’s	almost	as	if	Garner	needs	the	twentieth	century	and	its	anti-naturalisitic	traditions	of	theatre	praxis	to	be	able	to	perform	a	phenomenology	of	the	theatre.	There	is	perhaps	something	about	the	kinds	of	illusions	produced	in	this	period	that	lend	themselves	to	a	rendering	of	the	dramatic	text	as	embodied	space.	By	situating	Escolme	and	Garner	as	scholars	interested	in	the	same	place	of	theatrical	disclosure,	albeit	in	different	historical	periods,	I	aim	to	link	that	disclosure	to	my	own	poetics	of	admission.	The	human	figure	created	from	live	illusion	that	Escolme	wants	to	understand	and	the	intersubjective	body	of	dramatic	space	in	which	Garner	is	interested	together	speak	to	the	stranger,	or	what	I	have	been	calling	that	paradoxically	external	element	within	an	ostensibly	closed	system	that	reveals	the	aporia	of	what	it	means	to	arrive	as	a	being	in	a	world	that	precedes	you.	Both	would	agree,	I	think,	that	this	stranger	is	located	in	the	characterological	dimension	of	the	play,	however	differently	they	see	that	character	manifest	within	the	theatrical	situation.	This	character—the	most	familiar,	mimetic	element	in	our		 38	laboratory—enacts	a	performance	objective	that	produces	the	illusion	that	nothing	actually	is	strange	through	an	active	production	of	itself	as	a	stranger.		It	seems	to	me	that	what	the	intersubjective	space	of	the	theatre	uniquely	offers	all	of	its	participants,	or	at	least	tries	very	hard	to,	is	an	unmitigated	phenomenological	reduction:	the	double	self	manifest	at	the	very	point	of	contradiction.	Kearney,	a	philosopher,	calls	this	point	of	contradiction	a	threshold.	Freud,	a	neurologist,	calls	it	something	more	psychological—the	uncanny.	“It	is	because	it	is	like	us	and	yet	not	like	us	at	all,	hovering	between	the	knowable	and	the	unknowable,”	Kearney	notes,	“that	it	strikes	us	as	uncanny”	(5).	Mitchell,	an	art	historian,	points	out	that	all	these	figurations	of	the	border	regions	in	perceptual	thinking,	no	matter	what	discipline,	can’t	help	but	double	themselves	in	an	intrinsic	recursion.	My	aim	as	a	literary	scholar	is	to	situate	this	recursive,	contradictory	figure,	this	stranger,	within	the	context	of	its	play-textual	emergence.	Admission	is	my	useful,	if	not	lyrical,	heuristic	that	will	allow	me	to	understand	and	articulate	the	early	modern	theatre	as	a	space	that	examines	the	anxieties	of	being	a	character	in	a	world	governed	by	entrances	and	exits.		1.3	 Character	Analysis:	Reading	the	Plays	The	theatre	as	an	art	form	stages	the	paradox	between	the	life	of	belonging	and	the	life	of	appearing,	between	the	felt	life	and	the	watched	life,	figured	in	the	very	set	up	of	player	and	audience.	As	I	suggested	earlier,	the	early	modern	theatre	in	particular	was	fascinated	in	the	metaphysical	and	political	possibilities	of	the	human	figure	as	created	by	live	illusion.	Shakespeare	and	his	contemporaries	consistently	wrote		 39	plays	that	manipulated	and	exposed	the	experiential	duality	of	the	theatrical	situation.	Indeed,	as	James	L.	Calderwood	has	remarked,	“the	dramatic	art	itself—its	materials,	its	media	of	language	and	theater,	its	generic	forms	and	conventions,	its	relationship	to	truth	and	the	social	order—is	a	dominant	Shakespearean	theme,	perhaps	his	most	abiding	subject”	(5).	One	need	only	think	of	the	embedded	magical	worlds	attended	and	watched	over	by	characters	within	the	already	magical	world	of	the	play—Bohemia	in	A	Winter’s	Tale,	the	wooded	Fairyland	in	A	Midsummer	Night’s	Dream,	and	Prospero’s	island	in	The	Tempest;	the	embedded	commentator	on	the	play’s	action,	such	as	the	Chorus	in	Henry	V,	the	citizen-actor	in	Fletcher’s	Knight	of	the	Burning	Pestle,	or	the	Shakespearean	wise	fool	who	speaks	outside	of	the	confines	of	the	play’s	morality;	the	play-within-the-play	device,	masterfully	rendered	in	Thomas	Kyd’s	The	Spanish	Tragedy	and	employed	in	several	of	Shakespeare’s	plays	including	The	Taming	of	the	Shrew,	Love’s	Labour’s	Lost,	and	Hamlet;	or	the	shape-shifting	and	gender-bending	antics	of	characters	who	use	disguise	to	achieve	their	ends	such	as	Viola	in	Twelfth	Night,	Rosalind	in	As	You	Like	It,	or	the	Duke	in	Measure	for	Measure,	to	name	only	a	few.	These	self-conscious	theatrical	practices	of	the	early	modern	stage	consistently	toyed	with	the	implications	of	existing	in	a	world	that	was	both	lived	and	performed,	watched	and	experienced.			The	five	plays	I	have	chosen	to	examine	in	this	thesis	are	also	exemplary	of	the	early	modern	stage’s	characteristic	metatheatricality:	Shakespeare’s	Richard	II	(Chapter	Two),	The	Merchant	of	Venice	(Chapter	Three),	Troilus	and	Cressida	(Chapter	Four),	and	Thomas	Kyd’s	The	Spanish	Tragedy	which	served	as	a	prototype		 40	for	Shakespeare’s	Hamlet	(Chapter	Five).	What	each	of	these	plays	has	in	common	is	a	character	who	in	one	way	or	another	is	not	admitted	into	his	play-reality,	or	in	other	words,	is	a	stranger.	Each	chapter	performs	a	close-reading	of	these	characters	(Richard	II,	Shylock,	Thersites,	and	Hieronimo	and	Hamlet)	in	terms	of	one	performative	element	of	the	theatre:	the	character,	the	actor,	the	audience,	and	the	theatrical	event	as	a	whole,	respectively.	The	link	that	I	am	developing	between	these	characters	as	strangers	on	the	threshold	of	their	play	realities	and	as	ersatz	elements	of	theatrical	experience	itself	is	not	arbitrary.	In	all	five	examples,	the	character	doubles	as	“himself”	and	as	an	essential	element	of	theatrical	figuration	with	the	effect	of	highlighting	an	anxiety	pertaining	to	admission,	or	to	being	let	in	and	recognized.	Significantly,	the	anxieties	these	characters	stage	are	intrinsic	to	the	anxieties	that	the	theatre	stages	as	medium,	and	they	are	different	depending	on	the	formal	element.25																																									 																					25	Marotta	makes	an	excellent	observation	regarding	the	gender-blind	discussion	of	the	stranger	across	disciplines:	“Throughout	my	exploration	of	the	stranger,	there	has	been	little	work	conducted	on	how	the	qualities	of	the	stranger	can	be	reconceptualised	from	a	feminist	perspective.	Most	of	the	work	examined	here	assumes	a	gender-neutral	and	in	some	cases	a	gender-blind	account	of	the	stranger.	Simmel,	Park	and	Bauman	make	no	attempt	to	distinguish	the	experience	of	women	as	strangers,	whereas	theories	of	the	stranger	have	altogether	ignored	gender.	It	is	not	that	women	have	not	been	studied	as	strangers	or	outsiders,	rather	what	these	studies	adopt	is	an	idea	of	the	stranger	that	is	already	gender	blind	(Durbin,	2016;	Prashizky	and	Remennick,	2012).	In	other	words,	they	adopt	a	view	of	the	‘classical	stranger’	that	is	already	gendered.	As	a	consequence,	I	will	adopt	the	masculine	pronoun	when	discussing	the	stranger,	not	because	I	want	to	exclude	the	experiences	of	women	but	to	highlight	the	gender-blind	approach	adopted	by	various	thinkers.	There	will	be	times	however	when	the	gendered	dimension	of	the	discourse	on	the	stranger	needs	to	be	foregrounded	to	contest	particular	accounts	of	the	stranger”	(7).		It	should	be	said	that	this	thesis	has	also	adopted	a	“gender	neutral”	account	of	the	stranger,	mostly	because	of	its	interest	in	the	stranger	as	figural	and	spatial.	That	said,	I	do	locate	this	stranger	within	a	lived	phenomenon—the	embodied	forms	of	characters	on	a	stage/within	the	imagination—and	I	recognize	that	all	of	the	characters	I	have	chosen	to	examine	are	men.	While	I	don’t	intend	to	make	the	claim	that	early	modern	theatre	situates	the	paradox	of	the	stranger,	metatheatrically	and	culturally,	as	a	fundamentally	masculine	paradox,	I	don’t	intend	to	make	the	opposite	claim	either—that	this	theatre	is	gender	neutral	in	its	claims	to	personhood	that	the	stranger	topos	evokes.	Arguably,	there	is	something	about	the	status	of	Richard’s,	Shylock’s,	Thersites’s,	Hamlet’s,	and	Hieronimo’s	masculinity	that	is,	for	lack	of	a	better	word,	strange.	I	touch	on	this	strangeness	mostly		 41	Chapter	Two,	“Disappearing	Richard	II:	The	Character	Shadow,”	argues	that	Shakespeare’s	Richard	II	treats	the	performance	element	of	character	by	presenting	us	with	an	iteration	of	an	historical	king	who	embodies	the	transhistorical	nature	of	legend,	but	cannot	dynamically	function	within	his	situation,	ultimately	tethered	by	the	character	he	is	and	must	become.	Richard	II,	the	perpetual	character,	is	not	given	full	recognition	or	access	to	his	kingship—by	his	kinsmen	and	even	by	himself.	In	fact,	he	deposes	himself,	as	if	he	already	knows	how	fixed	his	fate	really	is,	a	uniquely	Shakespearean	take	on	the	historical	deposition.	The	character’s	anxious	question	is	usefully	framed	as	am	I	permanent?	Is	the	character	the	semiotic	material	from	which	the	play’s	language	is	derived,	the	interiority	of	the	actor’s	body,	or	the	mimetic	element	par	excellence?	Most	importantly,	will	this	“character”	last,	or	will	its	identity	constantly	change	as	new	actors,	new	genres	and	new	narratives	take	it	up?	My	analysis	of	Richard	as	character,	as	a	result,	depends	upon	an	interrogation	of	the	shifting	construction	of	identity	within	a	framework	of	changeless	fate.	Chapter	Three,	“Authenticating	Shylock:	The	Actor’s	Dilemma,”	argues	that	the	way	The	Merchant	of	Venice	renders	the	production	condition	of	actor	is																																									 																																								 																																								 																																								 																					in	relation	to	Richard	II	and	Thersites,	but	an	argument	could	be	made	that	all	of	these	characters	are	far	and	near	to	their	societies—and	to	their	metatheatrical	illusions—precisely	insofar	as	they	are	far	and	near	to	the	idea	of	how	a	man	should	be.	Similarly,	by	choosing	male	characters	as	my	case	studies,	I	don’t	mean	to	suggest	that	there	are	no	female	characters	in	the	early	modern	canon	of	play	texts	who	are	strangers	or	who	similarly	function	as	constitutive	elements	of	theatrical	practice.	Given	that	female	characters	were	played	by	boys	on	the	Elizabethan	stage,	the	fundamental	paradox	of	nearness	and	remoteness	at	the	heart	of	the	stranger	relation	was	manifest	explicitly	in	the	very	performance	conditions.	There	are	many,	many	avenues	to	take	up	in	regards	to	the	gendered	nature	of	the	stranger	on	the	early	modern	stage.	My	hope	is	that	the	reader	will	entertain	this	thesis’s	reading	of	the	“classical	stranger”	on	the	early	modern	stage	and	what	that	reading	accomplishes	in	terms	of	a	poetics	of	admission,	with	an	understanding	that	gendered	readings	are	not	only	implicit	but	should	be	exploited	by	further	research	and	interrogation	that	is	not	within	the	scope	of	this	thesis’s	project.		 42	metatheatrically	imagined	through	the	character	Shylock,	the	Jewish	outsider	who	self-consciously	performs	his	social	identity	while	never	authentically	gaining	access	to	the	Christian	system	that	others	him.	In	fact,	Shylock	must	perform	a	false	contentedness	to	a	forced	conversion	for	the	pleasure	of	his	Christian	audience.	The	actor’s	anxious	question	can	be	articulated	as	am	I	knowable?	Is	the	actor	a	distinct	presence	that	is	the	conduit	of	a	character,	a	presence	subordinate	to	the	presence	of	the	illusion,	or	an	image	projected	upon	the	fictive	object?	Maybe	all	of	these?	My	analysis	of	Shylock	as	actor	will	depend	upon	a	broader	examination	of	the	Judeo-Christian	dialectic	of	acting	for	God	the	spectator’s	pleasure	and	the	theological	and	socioeconomic	valences	of	authenticity	that	that	dialectic	imagines.	Chapter	Four,	“The	Most	Characteristic	Thersites:	Or,	the	Proper	Audience”	argues	that	Troilus	and	Cressida’s	Thersites,	a	loud-mouthed,	invective-spewing	Statler	and	Waldorf	figure,	functions	as	a	merciless	audience	member	to	the	other	characters’	transactions;	within	the	text,	then,	there	is	an	embedded	condition	of	reception.	Thersites,	the	tawdry	audience	member	to	the	big	boys	of	Troy,	is	never	given	access	to	the	fictional	world	of	legend	or	heroism.	In	fact,	he	repeatedly	confines	himself	to	the	role	of	surly	commentator.	The	audience	is	different	every	performance	iteration,	making	it	recognizable	only	on	the	level	of	function	as	opposed	to	composition.	The	audience	as	witness	reproduces	a	history	that	keeps	repeating	if	only	because	that	history	keeps	being	watched.	How	unique,	then,	is	any	audience	given	its	function?	The	audience’s	anxious	question	is	am	I	unique?	My	analysis	of	Thersites	as	audience	will	depend	upon	an	interrogation	of	observation	as	emulation	and	the	paradoxical	split	consciousness	that	emulation	produces.			 43	Finally,	Chapter	Five,	“Conclusions:	Hieronimo’s	and	Hamlet’s	Apocalypse:	The	Revelation	of	the	Theatre”	examines	how	Hamlet	and	Hieronimo	function	metatheatrically	as	the	entire	theatrical	event,	or	that	fundamental	dynamic	between	two	partners—player	and	audience—who	engage	in	a	playful	relationship	dependent	upon	an	agreed	upon	illusion.	After	the	nefarious	murders	of	Hamlet’s	father	and	Hieronimo’s	son,	both	men	become	estranged	from	social	life	and	its	promises	of	eternity	found	in	lineage.	As	famous	early	modern	revenge	tragedians	consumed	by	infernal	remembrances,	each	man	appears	to	his	respective	courtly	family	as	a	madman,	or	the	manifest	singularity	of	an	entire	alternate	universe.	The	madness	of	each	is	made	coherent	through	the	play-making	practices	of	theatre	itself:	each	man	stages	a	play	within	the	actual	play	for	the	purpose	of	taking	revenge	and	revealing	the	truth.	But	their	plays	are	only	coherent	to	themselves,	failing	to	both	publically	indict	the	perpetrators	of	the	crimes	or	even	get	them	to	realize	their	guilt,	precisely	because	the	realness	of	the	theatrical	event	being	staged	is	not	taken	seriously	by	the	audience.	The	anxious	question	that	governs	the	articulation	of	the	theatrical	event	as	a	whole,	I	argue,	is	is	this	real?	Where	chapters	two,	three	and	four	make	the	case	for	Richard	II,	Shylock,	and	Thersites	metatheatrically	operating	as	the	three	main	parts	of	theatrical	figuration—the	illusion	of	character,	the	actor	performing	that	illusion,	and	the	spectator	watching	and	participating	in	it—this	final	chapter	that	concludes	my	poetics	of	admission	situates	Hamlet	and	Hieronimo,	strangers	on	the	threshold	of	social	and	physical	existence,	as	encompassing	all	three	at	once	in	the	private	theatre	of	the	mind—a		 44	theatre	that	is	the	most	real	thing	available	to	a	subjective	self	and	the	furthest	thing	from	real	to	an	objective	observer	of	that	self.			Will	I	last?	Who	am	I?	Am	I	unique?	Am	I	real?	The	character,	the	actor,	the	audience,	and	the	theatrical	event	in	these	dramas	each	propose	a	fundamental	paradox:	each	offers	a	material	demonstration	of	the	existential	anxieties	it	elicits	through	a	character	who	exists	on	the	threshold	of	the	play’s	world	of	belonging	and	appearances.	My	aim	throughout	this	thesis	is	not	to	fix	the	emergence	of	the	stranger	onto	specific	early	modern	characters.	Rather,	it	is	to	interrogate	how	the	characterological	dimension	of	the	early	modern	theatre	renders	the	experience	of	being	admitted,	perceptually	and	existentially,	where	the	stranger	emerges	not	in	the	failure	to	admit,	but	as	the	constitutive	contradiction	of	admission	itself.												 45	2	 Disappearing	Richard	II:	The	Character	Shadow	“Not	all	the	water	in	the	rough	rude	sea	Can	wash	the	balm	off	from	an	anointed	king.”	—Richard	II	(3.2.54-55)		If	brevity	is	the	soul	of	wit,	then	the	opening	to	Shakespeare	and	Character:	Theory,	History,	Performance,	and	Theatrical	Persons	is	playfully	on	point:	“Character	has	made	a	comeback”	(Yachnin	and	Slights	1).	Highlighting	the	marked	lack	of	character	criticism	in	the	latter	half	of	the	twentieth	century,	Paul	Yachnin	and	Jessica	Slights’s	volume	aims	to	recognize	“the	development	in	Shakespeare	studies	of	what	might	be	best	termed	a	‘new	character	criticism’”	(1).	But	it’s	not	as	if	character	ever	left.	What	left	was	the	idea	of	a	unified,	internally-consistent	subject.	The	post-structuralist	“case	against	the	character”	made	cogent	historical	arguments	against	the	possibility	of	an	agential	personhood	existing	in	the	early	modern	period	as	well	as	theoretical	arguments	against	the	possibility	of	that	subject	ever	existing	(3).	The	“comeback”	of	character	criticism,	then,	refers	to	a	renewed	interest	in	asking	what	a	character	is	exactly	and	why	the	study	of	Shakespeare’s	plays	has	had	such	“a	long	and	rich,	if	often	vexed,	relationship	to	the	idea	of	character”	(1).	I’d	like	to	think	that	the	answers	to	these	questions	are	simpler	than	they	seem:	because	Shakespeare	has	a	long,	rich,	and	vexed	relationship	to	the	idea	of	character.	The	word	character	comes	from	the	Greek	kharaktēr	which	means	both	a	“stamp,	impress,	distinctive	mark”	as	well	as	an	“instrument	for	marking	or	graving,		 46	engraver,	letter,	symbol,	brand”	(OED).26	An	individual	person	who	is	a	character	is,	by	comparison,	a	distinctive	sort	or	brand.	In	his	essay	“Personnage:	History,	Philology,	Performance,”	Andre	Bourassa	makes	the	case	for	a	closer	linkage	of	the	English	sense	of	character	to	the	French	personnage,	which	literally	means	both	“mask”	and	“to	lead	and	manage	the	mask,”	from	personam	agere	(to	act,	to	manage)	(85).	Bourassa	situations	this	bifold	authority	of	personnage	on	the	stage	itself:	“In	fact,	the	relationship	between	the	mask	and	its	carrier	was	a	subject	of	Hellenistic	illustrations	in	which	actors	hold	their	mask	in	their	hand	and	contemplate	it	as	if	to	impregnate	themselves	with	its	character	before	wearing	it”	(86).	In	this	etymology,	the	mask	of	personhood	and	the	actor’s	managing	of	that	mask	generate	character.		Embedded	in	this	three-part	imagery	of	character—the	ephemeral	actor,	her	mask,	and	the	enduring	mark	or	impression	generated	from	their	communion—is	a	potential	crisis	of	admission.	A	character	depends	on	the	productive	admissibility	of	the	mask	to	its	carrier.	Indeed,	Bourrassa’s	metaphor	is	one	of	pregnancy:	character	is	the	invisible	structure	produced	when	the	actor’s	body	is	successfully	impregnated	by	the	mask.	If	character	is	the	part	of	the	image	that	lives	on,	then	implicit	in	the	metaphor	linking	character	to	embryo	is	a	reproductive	futurism,	whereby	the	constant	reproduction	of	the	child	represents	the	possible	future	iterations	of	the	character.	Another	perhaps	more	helpful	way	to	imagine	character	is	as	the	third	part	generated	between	the	friction,	as	opposed	to	union,	of	two	organisms,	where	character	is	like	the	pearl	that	forms	between	an	oyster’s	mantle	and	a	foreign	body.	Put	this	way,	character	is	the	pearl	of	performance.	The	pearl,	of																																									 																					26	It	should	be	noted	that	Shakespeare	rarely	uses	the	word	character	and	when	he	does	it	mostly	refers	to	the	idea	of	an	inscription,	moral	or	otherwise	(Bourassa	85).		 47	course,	will	outlast	the	oyster.	While	the	oyster	and	the	parasite	will	ultimately	die,	it’s	the	inanimate	pearl	that	will	live	on	in	the	jewelry	and	pendants	of	well-dressed	humans.	Similarly,	the	character	of	a	play—a	Cleopatra,	Falstaff,	or	Othello—will	live	on	in	cultural	memory,	to	be	taken	up	repeatedly	in	live	performance,	while	the	actor	will	retire	after	each	performance	along	with	the	mask	and	the	specific	performance	objectives	she	employed	to	become	that	character.	Whether	by	means	of	metaphors	of	reproduction	or	production,	union	or	intrusion,	character	is	generated	from	the	struggle	to	admit	the	persona	into	the	person	and	vice	versa,	and	when	successful,	becomes	the	most	enduring	part	of	the	ephemeral	theatrical	event.		My	purpose	in	breaking	down	the	meaning	of	character	into	metaphors	that	depend	upon	a	three-part	arrangement	is	two-fold.	The	first	is	to	suggest	that	character	evokes	the	topos	of	the	stranger,	occupying	the	threshold	between	the	mask	of	persona	and	the	actor’s	managing	of	that	mask.	The	second	reason	I	am	interested	in	the	metaphor	of	character	as	a	three-part	arrangement—actor,	mask,	and	enduring	entity	produced	from	their	relationship—is	because	I	understand	this	metaphor	and	its	execution	within	Shakespeare’s	play	Richard	II	to	be	critical	in	understanding	the	titular	king’s	seemingly	deliberate	fall	from	grace—not	only	in	terms	of	his	monarchial	deposition,	but	also	in	terms	of	his	more	personal,	and	painful,	loss	of	self.	As	Scott	McMillin	has	observed,	“The	theatre	is	often	taken	to	be	the	perfect	place	for	Richard	himself,	on	grounds	that	such	a	histrionic	man	belongs	on	a	stage”	(44).	Indeed,	in	the	famous	deposition	scene,	Richard	willingly	gives	up	the	crown	in	a	theatrical	display	of	grief	and	loss,	a	uniquely	Shakespearean	take	on		 48	Holinshed’s	Chronicles.	Where	“Holinshed’s	Richard	is	the	mere	victim	of	a	treacherous	ambush,”	Shakespeare’s	Richard	“seems	to	betray	himself	by	his	capitulation	to	Bolingbroke”	(Dawson	and	Yachnin	46).	As	McMillin	continues,	under	the	surface	of	this	performative	betrayal	of	oneself	“is	a	desire	to	unravel	the	kingly	role	and	to	lose	the	broad	audience	of	the	nation	in	favor	of	the	personal	audience	of	oneself”	(43).	An	existential	desire,	in	other	words,	to	understand	his	own	character.		As	Ernst	Kantorowicz’s	canonical	text	on	medieval	political	theology	The	King’s	Two	Bodies	has	argued,	“The	Tragedy	of	Richard	II	is	the	tragedy	of	the	King’s	Two	Bodies”	(26)	whereby	the	play	continuously	stages	“the	same	cascading:	from	divine	kingship	to	kingship’s	‘Name,’	and	from	the	name	to	the	naked	misery	of	man”	(27).	The	split	that	Richard	allows	himself	to	articulate	between	these	two	bodies—the	ephemeral	human	on	the	one	hand	and	the	enduring,	divine	body	politic	on	the	other—happens	only	when	he	begins	to	take	a	much	greater	interest	in	his	own	inwardness,	or	the	part	of	him	that	really	is	invisible.	Arguably,	what	is	truly	invisible	and	permanent	within	Richard	is	not	his	kingship,	which	can	be	reduced	to	a	name	and	exchanged	by	means	of	a	material	crown,	but	loss	itself.	Indeed,	when	Richard	does	hand	over	the	crown	to	Bolingbroke,	he	tells	him,	“I	must	nothing	be”	(4.1.202)	and	“Now	mark	me	how	I	will	undo	myself”	(4.1.203).	The	metonymies	Richard	makes	between	hiddenness,	loss,	nothing,	and	undoing	generate	an	empty,	negative	space	that	is	paradoxically	fully	animate	and	overflowing	with	poetic	expression.	As	James	Winny	has	famously	argued	and	in	contradiction	to	Kantorowicz’s	claims	that	Richard’s	fall	into	nothingness	is	a		 49	tragedy,	“This	consciousness	is	not	tragic,	for	Richard	finds	in	being	nobody	a	distinction	which	compensates	for	his	ignominious	loss	of	majesty”	(58).		I’d	like	to	think	that	something	more	complicated	is	happening	with	Richard’s	desire	to	be	a	nobody	than	a	compensatory	refusal	to	accept	the	loss	of	divine	kingship	and	an	opportunistic	chance	to	be	lionized	as	a	Poet	King.	Contemporary	critical	scholarship	on	the	play	has	consistently	been	interested	in	the	possibilities	Richard’s	“strange	meditation	on	nothingness”	affords,	both	theatrically	and	metaphysically	(McMillin	45).	As	Love	observes,	“Like	Richard,	scholars	of	the	play	have	been	drawn	to	the	productive	and	powerful	possibilities	of	negative	space;	and	like	Richard,	they	have	filled	this	space—down	to	its	most	impenetrable	depths—with	fantasies	that	animate	these	possibilities”	(270).	I’m	not	interested,	necessarily,	in	filling	this	negative	space	with	theoretical	possibilities;	rather,	I’m	interested	in	understanding	the	logic	behind	the	theatrical	construction	of	an	absence,	a	logic	with	which	the	play	is	itself	obsessed,	and	which,	I	think,	reveals	how	a	theatrical	character	is	generated.	What	I	want	to	suggest	throughout	the	rest	of	this	chapter	is	a	way	of	reading	absence—variously	articulated	within	the	play	as	nothingness,	shadowed	void,	or	undoing—that	takes	into	account	Richard’s	status	as	a	stranger	within	his	play	reality	as	well	as	his	self-conscious	embodiment	of	one	of	the	chief	components	of	dramatic	practice:	being	a	character.	Richard	is	a	stranger	on	two	counts:	first,	his	ostensibly	queer,	effeminate	personality	that	others	him	to	the	heterotemporal	orders	of	monarchal	succession;	second,	his	very	real	estrangement	from	the	court	that	reaches	its	final	expression	in	his	deposition	and	regicide.	Richard	begins	the		 50	play	as	a	strange	king	and	ends	the	play	as	a	completely	estranged	one.	Perhaps	due	to	his	liminality,	Richard	is	uniquely	interested	in	the	sources	of	identity	that	are	invisible,	that	lie	beyond	representation.	He	is	fascinated	in	the	unperceivable,	yet	enduring	sense	of	character	that	seems	to	emerge	when	the	self	admits	the	mask	in	the	process	of	performance.			The	next	three	sections	will	examine	the	three	characters	of	Richard	as	I	understand	them—the	stranger,	the	divine	king,	and	the	transcendent	poet.	The	character	of	the	stranger	emerges	when	Richard	wears	the	mask	of	kingship.	In	section	one,	I	argue	that	the	figure	of	the	shadow	is	used	to	describe	Richard’s	characterization	as	a	liminal	stranger,	who	is	both	near	and	far	from	his	society.	I	locate	Richard’s	absence	as	it	is	actually	figured	in	the	play	and	in	scholarship	on	the	play:	over	and	over	again,	Richard	is	figured	as	a	shadow.	His	overt	theatricality	is	described	in	the	play	as	shadow-like,	and	his	latent	homosexuality	is	figured	by	queer	scholars	as	shadowy.	My	own	critical	move	in	this	section	is	to	put	these	two	shadows	in	conversation	by	linking	them	to	their	shared	critical	foundation:	time.	Richard	is	a	stranger	insofar	as	he	is	out	of	time	and	fits	more	appropriately,	as	Judith	Brown	has	argued,	into	queer	aesthetics.	The	character	that	emerges	when	Richard	wears	the	persona,	or	mask,	of	king	is	a	stranger,	a	liminal	shadowy	presence	unable	to	effectively	govern	because	he	is	out	of	time	with	the	orders	that	constitute	that	governance.		The	second	section	looks	at	the	character	of	the	divine	king.	The	play	is	about	a	struggle	for	power	between	Richard	and	Bolingbroke,	a	struggle,	essentially,	to	inherit	the	character	of	divine	king.	While	wearing	the	mask	of	king,	Richard		 51	becomes	aware	that	the	divine	king	is	not	the	permanent	entity	created	from	the	friction	between	his	person	and	his	kingly	persona.	The	divine	king	precedes	him,	and	as	such,	belongs	more	to	history	than	to	performance.	Instead,	the	entity	that	emerges	from	this	friction,	as	I	argued	in	section	one,	is	figured	as	a	strange	“nothing”	within	the	play.	In	this	section,	then,	I	consider	how	the	figure	of	a	shadow	that	is	out	of	time	is	actually	generated	within	the	imagery	of	the	play	to	undo	Richard	the	divine	king.	To	do	so,	I	suggest	that	we	read	King	Richard’s	nothingness	in	cosmographical	terms,	where	Richard’s	shadowed	absence	is	like	an	eclipse.	The	historical	King	Richard	II	character’s	crisis	of	admission	into	the	future	of	his	divine	kingship	is	figured	as	occlusion	within	Shakespeare’s	play,	as	a	shift	of	positions	between	himself,	the	usurper	Bolingbroke,	and	England	caught	in	between.	He	is	not	really	gone,	he	just	appears	to	be	gone.	Indeed,	his	regicide	will	haunt	all	the	future	Henry’s.	The	purpose	of	this	section	is	to	provide	a	model—that	I	think	the	play’s	meteorological	imagery	and	interest	in	prophesy	and	forecasting	explicitly	elicits—for	how	Richard	the	historical	king	becomes	undone,	or,	more	accurately,	is	rendered	a	strange	shadow.	Section	three,	then,	examines	the	character	of	the	Poet	King,	or	the	Richard	who	seems	to	be	able	to	lyricize	his	own	fall	before	it	happens.	Richard	eventually	becomes	aware	that	the	character—the	permanent,	invisible	entity—that	has	actually	emerged	from	wearing	the	mask	of	the	king	is	ultimately	a	nothing	and	a	nobody.	In	a	remarkably	metatheatrical	move,	Richard	takes	on	the	character	of	nothingness	as	a	mask	that	he	will	wear	as	the	persona	he	must	become.	The	friction	between	Richard	and	the	mask	of	nothingness	produces	lyric	itself,	the	Poet	King,	or		 52	that	permanent	entity	that	transcends	the	limits	of	tragedy	and	the	prescriptions	of	history.	The	question,	I	think,	that	has	pervaded	scholarship	on	Richard	II	is	why	Richard	seems	to	undo	himself,	as	if	it	is	part	of	some	artistic,	or	even	spiritual	project	of	decreation,	as	opposed	to	simply	the	directives	of	fortune.	Richard	is	constantly	struggling	against	a	divine	cosmology	and	a	classical	model	of	tragedy	that	would	each	see	him	characterized	as	a	fallen	king.	He	responds	by	taking	on	this	fallenness—again,	figured	in	the	play	as	void	or	nothingness—not	as	the	character	he	must	become,	but	as	the	mask	he	will	wear	to	become	the	character	he	perhaps	more	truly	is:	an	artist.	Both	poet	and	performance	artist,	Richard	turns	the	horrors	of	fate	and	tragedy	into	something	more	beautiful	than	they	otherwise	would	be.	In	all	these	ways,	Richard	of	Bordeaux	metatheatrically	doubles	as	a	character	who	must	play	a	character.		The	first	character	of	Richard’s	comes	from	tragedy,	the	second	comes	from	history,	and	the	third	from	art,	or	more	specifically	the	uniquely	Shakespearean	art	of	poetry	as	theatre.	At	this	point,	I	understand	there	will	be	a	few	metaphorical	balls	in	the	air:	the	metaphor	of	the	shadow	used	to	describe	Richard’s	characterization	as	a	stranger	who	is	out	of	time;	the	metaphor	of	the	eclipse	used	to	describe	both	the	generation	of	this	shadow	in	cosmographical,	divine	terms	and	how	that	generation	disappears	the	character	of	divine	king;	and	finally,	the	implicit	metaphor	of	the	theatre	as	world,	whereby	the	Poet	King	theatrically	and	prophetically	enacts	his	own	kingly	undoing,	knowing	that	the	poetry	of	that	undoing	will	turn	the	impermanence	of	his	two	bodies	into	something	truly	permanent,	truly	able	to	be	perceived	by	those	who	have	not	recognized	or	been		 53	able	to	see	him.		All	three	characterizations	taken	together,	Richard’s	“character”	is	the	permanent	entity	produced	between	the	mask	of	persona—the	shadowed	void	of	the	fallen	king—and	the	unique	wearing	of	that	mask	in	the	world	of	the	theatre:	the	Poet	King.	This	chapter	ultimately	argues	that	the	hysterical,	theatrical	Poet	King	is	the	parallax	view	of	a	deliberate,	thoughtful	character	struggling	through	the	recognition	of	his	own	paradoxical,	indeed	threshold	existence	within	the	body	of	the	actor	and	within	the	cipher	of	time.	What	emerges	in	this	struggle	is	an	existential	crisis	of	admission,	where	Richard’s	character	appears—to	him,	to	others,	and	to	us—as	a	nothing,	a	void.	In	order	to	admit	that	void,	Richard	takes	it	on	as	the	character	he	must	be.	What	appears	is	the	permanent	something	of	Shakespeare’s	poetry;	indeed,	unlike	any	other	play	in	the	Shakespearean	canon,	Richard	II	is	rendered	entirely	in	verse,	most	of	which	comes	out	of	Richard’s	mouth.		Character,	as	I	have	and	will	be	conceiving	it	throughout	this	chapter,	is	the	permanent	entity	produced	between	the	mask	of	persona	that	an	actor	must	wear	and	the	unique	wearing	of	that	persona	in	the	world.	If	the	terms	by	which	Richard	defines	his	sense	of	character	keep	shifting,	I’d	like	to	think	it’s	because	that	is	exactly	Richard’s	struggle—trying	to	define	who	exactly	he	is	when	who	he	is	simultaneously	textual,	performative,	and	a	product	of	memory.	If	character	is	making	a	comeback,	then	King	Richard	II,	the	man	who	never	really	seemed	to	leave	the	Plantagenet	throne,	whose	shadow	haunted	the	succeeding	Henry,	might	be	the	perfect	place	to	understand	the	vexed	and	vexing	relationship	of	the	very	idea	of	character	and	why	it	appears	to	be	so	inadmissible,	on	the	stage	and	in	our	criticism.		 54	This	chapter	argues	that	Richard’s	anxiety	about	his	own	impermanence	is	ultimately	a	meditation	on	what	it	is	to	be	a	character,	to	dwell	on	the	threshold	between	the	visible	and	invisible	and	in	that	dwelling	find	a	paradoxical	something:	a	nothingness.	My	interest	throughout	this	chapter	will	be	in	how	Richard,	the	queer	outsider,	is	figured	as	a	strange	shadow	within	the	context	of	the	play	world	as	well	as	within	the	situation	of	the	theatre	as	a	character,	and	how	that	tension	generates	the	first	anxiety	of	admission	this	thesis	is	staging:	what	it	means	to	be	a	permanent	self	subject	to	the	vicissitudes	of	time	and	material	disappearance.			2.1	 Recognizing	Richard:	The	Shadow		Who	is	Richard	II?	Perhaps	the	moment	in	the	play	that	best	illustrates	Richard’s	vexed	relationship	with	his	own	subjectivity	is	his	dialogue	with	the	mirror	in	the	deposition	scene.	Not	only	do	Bolingbroke	and	Northumberland	want	Richard	to	give	up	his	crown	willingly	and	publically,	but	they	also	want	him	to	read	“These	accusations	and	these	grievous	crimes/Committed	by	your	person	and	your	followers/Against	the	state	and	profit	of	this	land”	(4.1.221-224).	Richard	cannot	do	it.	Rather	than	ravel	out	his	“weaved-up	follies,”	he	ravels	out	his	weaved	up	sorrows,	his	watery	dissolution	against	the	rising	and	usurping	“sun	of	Bolingbroke”	(4.1.260).	He	then	asks	for	a	mirror,	“That	it	may	show	me	what	a	face	I	have/Since	it	is	bankrupt	of	his	majesty”	(4.1.262-266).	They	give	him	the	glass,	and	like	an	ancient	Greek	actor	on	the	proscenium,	Richard	holds	the	mirror	to	his	face	and	imbues	himself	with	his	kingly	character:				 55	Give	me	that	glass	and	therein	I	will	read.	No	deeper	wrinkles	yet?	Hath	sorrow	struck	So	many	blows	upon	this	face	of	mine	And	made	no	deeper	wounds?	Oh	flattering	glass,	Like	to	my	followers	in	prosperity	Thou	dost	beguile	me.	Was	this	face	the	face	That	every	day	under	his	household	roof	Did	keep	ten	thousand	men?	Was	this	the	face	That	like	the	sun	did	make	beholders	wink?	Is	this	the	face	which	faced	so	many	follies,	That	was	at	last	outfaced	by	Bolingbroke?	A	brittle	glory	shineth	in	this	face.	As	brittle	as	the	glory	is	the	face,			 	 	 	 	 [Smashes	the	glass]	For	there	it	is,	cracked	in	a	hundred	shivers.	Mark,	silent	king,	the	moral	of	this	sport,	How	soon	my	sorrow	hath	destroyed	my	face.	(4.1.275-290)		The	face	Richard	sees	in	the	mirror	reveals	the	mask	he	has	been	wearing—the	persona	of	the	king.	In	this	way,	the	mirror	acts	an	objective	reflection	of	that	which	he	has	been	subjectively	wearing	for	others.	Richard	ostensibly	wants	to	know	if	the	face	he	sees	in	the	mirror	really	is	the	mask	of	the	king,	though	he	never	fully		 56	describes	that	face	as	he	sees	it	reflected.27	Instead,	he	models	a	method	of	Socratic	hermeneutics	in	which	each	successive	question	seems	to	interpret	the	previous	question	as	an	answer	in	and	of	itself.	The	purpose	of	this	method	is	to	create	a	consistency	of	belief	by	unearthing	inconsistencies	through	the	process	of	dialectic	examination.	The	dialectical	struggle	here	is	between	the	person	and	the	persona:	the	earthly	man	of	wrinkles	and	sorrow	and	the	divine	mask	of	the	king.	Richard’s	performative	conversation	with	the	mirror-as-reflected-mask,	however,	is	more	hysterical	than	calmly	dialectical—indeed,	he	fitfully	smashes	the	mirror,	as	if	its	reflective	answers	only	perpetuate	a	circular	reasoning	about	his	identity	that	he	has	been	trying	to,	quite	literally,	break	through.	As	Slavoj	Žižek	has	argued,	“The	basic	problem	of	the	drama	is	that	of	the	hystericization	of	a	king,	a	process	whereby	a	king	loses	the	second,	sublime	body	which	makes	him	a	king	and	is	confronted	with	the	void	of	his	subjectivity	outside	the	symbolic	mandate-title	‘king’”	(32).	The	mirror,	in	its	revelation	of	the	ephemeral	human	king	with	no	“deeper	wrinkles	yet”	hidden	behind	the	mask	of	the	divine	king	“that	like	the	sun	did	make	beholders	wink,”	shows	Richard	the	void	of	his	subjectivity—a	void	that																																									 																					27	Herbert	Grabes	has	argued	in	The	Mutable	Glass:	Mirror-Imagery	in	Titles	and	Texts	of	the	Middle	Ages	and	English	Renaissance	that	between	the	thirteenth	and	seventeenth	centuries,	the	mirror	metaphor	shifted	from	a	divine	ideal	to	a	more	human	consciousness.	Sabine	Melchoir-Bonnet	has	further	ascribed	this	shift	to	the	decline	in	investing	mirrors	with	magical	properties,	a	decline	that	reflected	a	more	modern	sense	of	subjectivity	(The	Mirror:	A	History).	That	said,	Robert	M.	Schuler’s	“Magic	Mirrors	in	Richard	II”	makes	a	strong	case	for	Richard’s	explicitly	magical	use	of	the	mirror	in	this	scene.	While	the	mirror	reveals	Richard’s	subjectivity,	and	specifically	his	“anguished	and	courageous	determination	to	confront	his	own	moral	being,	his	own	demons,”	it	also	serves	as	“a	literal	looking	glass	wielded	ritualistically,”	allowing	Richard	“to	simulate	Elizabethan	mirror	magic	in	a	last	effort	to	identify	and	indict	Bolingbroke	as	demonic	thief”	(Schuler	152).	See	also	Amy	Cook’s	analysis	of	Hamlet’s	“mirror	up	to	nature”	for	a	cognitive	reading	of	how	we	continue	to	make	sense	of	mirrors	across	historical	periods	despite	vastly	different	material	referents	(“Mirror	|	Mirror;	Mirror	|	rorriM”	in	Shakespearean	Neuroplay,	pp.	43-63).			 57	he	parses	out	by	means	of	logical	deductions	that	only	bring	him	closer	and	closer	to	his	own	destruction.					Bolingbroke	certainly	seems	to	think	that	the	mirror	shows	Richard	the	void	of	his	subjectivity.	He	responds	to	Richard’s	dialectic	on	the	form	and	undoing	of	his	face	with	an	important	image:	“The	shadow	of	your	sorrow	hath	destroyed/The	shadow	of	your	face”	(4.1.291-292).	In	an	amused	retort,	Richard	replies,	“Say	that	again./The	shadow	of	my	sorrow.	Ha,	let’s	see”	(4.1.291-292).	The	Socratic	game	is	on.	Richard	has	managed	to	pull	Bolingbroke	into	his	hyperbolic	ruminations	of	self	(a	must,	given	how	little	the	mirror	seemed	to	play	along),	and	Bolingbroke	manages	to	provide	a	poetic,	albeit—and	in	true	Bolingbroke	fashion—extremely	reasonable	explanation	for	Richard’s	crisis	of	character.	A	shadow	has	no	material	reality.	It	is	the	area	a	light	source	cannot	reach	due	to	the	obstruction	of	an	object;	whatever	image	is	made	is	due	to	the	perceptual	absence	of	light	rather	than	an	existing,	material	form.	Moreover,	a	shadow—specifically	in	Renaissance	parlance—is	also	another	word	for	“actor.”28	Bolingbroke	seems	to	be	telling	Richard	that	the	acting	out	of	his	sorrow	quite	literally	shattered	the	reflected	image	of	his	face.			The	double	play	on	shadow	here	as	both	an	actor	and	a	delusive	semblance	allows	Bolingbroke	to	make	an	implicit	critique	of	Richard’s	reign:	as	a	vain,	melodramatic	king,	he	could	never	project	an	external	image	to	the	people	that	would	garner	respect	and	loyalty.	Indeed,	the	historical	king	and	Shakespeare’s	king	are	both	characterized	by	their	courtliness	and	their	expenditures	on	jewelry,																																									 																					28	Perhaps	Puck’s	epilogue	in	Midsummer	Night’s	Dream	is	the	most	famous	Shakespearean	example	of	shadow	meaning	actor:	“If	we	shadows	have	offended/Think	but	this,	and	all	is	mended,/That	you	have	but	slumb’red	here/While	these	visions	did	appear”	(5.1.423).		 58	textiles,	paintings,	and	art.29	As	Brown	has	noted,	Richard	of	Bordeaux	“is	defined	by	his	tastes	in	drink,	in	men,	in	gay	apparel,	in	gorgeous	surroundings,	in	jewels,	in	pretty	words.	Indeed,	he	is	the	superficial	king,	the	king	of	glam”	(287).	To	Bolingbroke,	Richard’s	existential	dialog	with	himself	is	just	another	show.				But	this	glam	king	isn’t	buying	Bolingbroke’s	interpretation,	and	he’s	certainly	not	one	to	be	deposed	metaphysically	as	well	as	physically.	“‘Tis	very	true,”	he	retorts,	“my	grief	lies	all	within/And	these	external	manners	of	laments/Are	merely	shadows	to	the	unseen	grief/That	swells	with	silence	in	the	tortured	soul./There	lies	the	substance”	(4.1.294-298).	Richard	takes	Bolingbroke’s	shadow-void	and	fills	it	with	substances	unseen.	It’s	as	if	he	is	saying	to	Bolingbroke,	I	am	not	the	vain,	superficial	king	of	nothingness	you	seem	to	think	I	am.	Rather,	I	am	a	king	of	absolute	substance,	affective	and	aesthetic	substance	that	you	cannot	see.	Shadows,	or	“these	external	manners	of	laments,”	are	merely	the	artifacts	of	performance	that	have	attempted—and	failed—to	fully	impersonate	the	substance	that	“swells	with	silence”	from	within.	The	playful	irony,	of	course,	is	that	Richard	has	been	performing	his	grief	throughout	the	entire	exchange.	The	King’s	retort	makes	Bolingbroke’s	implicitly	antitheatrical	critique	of	Richard	explicit.	Where	Bolingbroke	saw	Richard’s	histrionic	performance	as	ruinous	of	his	kingly	character,	Richard	generalizes	Bolingbroke’s	critique	to	a	critique	of	the	theatre	more	broadly:																																									 																					29	For	one	of	the	most	comprehensive	treatments	of	the	historical	King	Richard	II,	see	Nigel	Saul’s	Richard	II.	Saul	notes	that	much	of	Richard’s	interest	in	the	arts	was	propagandistic:	“If	he	was	to	reestablish	his	authority	and	power,	Richard	needed	not	only	to	build	up	support	and	win	friends,	but	also	do	something	more:	to	convince	his	subjects	that	he	was	mightier	than	he	was.	Around	1395	Richard	commissioned	a	massive	portrait	of	himself	for	Westminster	Abbey,	in	which	he	was	shown	in	an	angelic	and	heavenly	company”	(238).			 59	there	is	a	difference	between	the	inner,	silent	character	and	the	performance	strategies	employed	to	make	that	character	speak.		What	have	emerged	in	Richard’s	performance	are	Platonic	shadows:	visible	nothings	that	attempt	but	fail	to	represent	real,	invisible	somethings.	Yet,	the	question	remains	unanswered.	Who	is	Richard?	What	invisible	something	does	the	mirror-reflected-as-mask	beget	in	Richard	now	that	the	kingly	identity	is	gone	and	the	human	one	is	drowning	in	its	own	tears?	Bolingbroke	asks	again,	“Are	you	contented	to	resign	the	crown?”	(4.1.200).	Richard	responds	with	a	perplexing	staccato	of	double	negatives	that	paradoxically—and	poetically—render	him	a	positive	nothing:	“Aye—no.	No—aye,	for	I	must	nothing	be,/Therefore	no	‘no’,	for	I	resign	to	thee”	(4.1.199-200).	Without	the	crown,	Richard	is	a	nothing,	although	the	connotation	is	more	existentially	serious	than	a	decline	in	status.	As	Brown	argues,				Richard	forgoes	his	place	in	history	so	that	he	may	speak	without	the	constrictions	of	identity:	“Ay,	no;	no,	ay:	for	I	must	nothing	be./Therefore	no,	no,	for	I	resign	to	thee/Now	mark	me	how	I	will	undo	myself”	(4.1.200-202).	To	enter	Richard	II	is	to	enter	negative	space,	a	queer	cavity	of	undoing.	Unkinged,	undecked,	unmanned,	undone,	Richard	floats	free	of	history,	in	all	its	baseness,	and	into	the	more	fitting	sovereignty	of	queer	aesthetics.	(288)			Brown	is	referring	to	a	performance	history	that	has	overtly	rendered	Richard	II	homosexual	as	well	as	a	contemporary	direction	within	queer	studies	that	examines		 60	the	relationship	between	desire	and	historical	time.	As	Goran	Stanivukovic	has	observed,	“To	say	that	homoeroticism	resonates	through	Richard	II,	an	early	chronicle	play,	is	also	not	to	say	anything	new”	(59).	It	was	the	twentieth	century	stage,	specifically,	that	saw	the	queering	of	King	Richard	II.	In	their	introduction	to	the	Oxford	edition	of	the	play,	Anthony	Dawson	and	Paul	Yachnin	provide	a	comprehensive	summary	of	the	play’s	productions	from	the	sixteenth	to	the	twentieth	centuries.	They	reveal	how	the	emphasis	of	the	productions	over	the	years	consistently	moved	away	from	contemporary	political	analogies	and	toward	the	psychological	dynamics	of	the	characters:	“Richard	II	locates	its	politics	in	the	minds	and	bodies	of	the	men	that	make	that	politics,	and	it	reminds	us	again	and	again	of	the	symbols	and	rituals	that	tend	to	bind	the	protagonists	to	courses	of	action	that	they	would	be	better	to	avoid”	(89).	By	the	end	of	the	twentieth-century,	the	psychology	of	the	main	character	and	the	courses	of	action	that	he	would	be	better	to	avoid	were	becoming	more	and	more	overtly	queer.	In	1951,	Michael	Redgrave	performed	Richard	as	a	homosexual;	in	1995,	a	woman,	Fiona	Shaw,	played	the	poet	king.	Most	recently,	David	Tennant	played	Richard	II	in	the	Royal	Shakespeare	Company’s	2013	production,	in	which	Tennant	passionately	kisses	his	adored	Aumerle	in	the	scene	just	before	his	deposition.	For	a	king	“who	so	often	in	the	past	had	been	described	as	effeminate,”	productions	of	the	twentieth	and	twenty-first	centuries	used	the	language	and	insights	of	queer	identity	politics	to	make	explicit	what	arguably	went	without	saying	in	earlier	productions	(Dawson	86).			 61	When	Brown	says	that	Richard	“floats	free	of	history”	and	into	“queer	aesthetics,”	however,	she	is	saying	something	more	complicated	than	that	Richard	is	an	aesthete	with	a	penchant	for	male	flatterers.	She	is	saying	there	is	something	about	Richard’s	undoing	that	is	less	about	the	prescriptions	of	historical	time	and	more	about	the	way	time	renders	identity	itself,	and	specifically	sexual	identity.		Historicist	methodology,	with	its	emphasis	on	difference	in	sexual	identity	across	time,	privileges	what	Medhavi	Menon	has	called	“a	compulsory	heterotemporality	in	which	chronology	determines	identity”	(Unhistorical	Shakespeare	1).	Queer	time	or	what	Menon	terms	“homohistory,”	aims	to	rethink	two	assumptions	on	queerness	and	queer	theory:	“The	first	is	the	idea	that	queerness	has	a	historical	start	date.	The	second	is	that	queerness	is	a	synonym	for	embodied	homosexuality”	(2).30	Indeed,	Menon	adopts	the	image	of	the	shadow	to	articulate	the	rhetorical	expression	of	queerness	in	early	modernity:	“The	shadowy	nature	of	Renaissance	(homo)sexuality,	and	its	potentially	corrupting	influence,	is	distinctly	reflected,	I	argue,	by	the	textual	use	of	an	in-distinguishable	metonymy,	in	which	it	is	almost	impossible	to	tell	one	trope	and	one	sexuality	from	the	partner	that	‘[lies]	alongside’	it”	(Taint	of	Metonymy	660).	Menon	points	out,	for	instance,	that	Richard’s	crimes	cannot	be	named	and	therefore	remain	“shadowy”	precisely	because	they	are	sodomitical	and	outside	the	classificatory	realm	of	language.																																										 																					30	It	is	extremely	difficult	to	find	homosexuality	in	the	early	modern	period	given	that	the	modern	categories	we	have	for	it	are	incommensurable	with	the	way	it	appeared	and	was	defined.	Sodomy,	for	instance,	was	used	to	denote	a	whole	range	of	deviant	acts	from	sexual	debauchery	to	atheism.	As	Alan	Bray	has	famously	noted,	homosexuality	was	defined	relationally,	“as	part	of	a	universal	potential	for	disorder	which	lay	alongside	an	equally	universal	order.	It	was	part,	in	a	word,	of	its	shadow”	(26).				 62	There	is	something	about	the	image	of	the	shadow,	I	think,	that	is	able	to	both	describe	the	parts	of	Richard	that	are	ineluctably	invisible	and	to	reveal	the	manner	in	which	these	invisible	aspects	actually	show	up.	In	undoing	himself,	Richard	substantiates	the	void,	a	void	which	is	made	up	of	crimes	which	are	never	fully	named	in	the	play	and,	significantly,	cannot	be	named	by	Richard	himself.31	These	crimes	constitute	a	wrongness	that	is	linked	to	queerness	insofar	as	they	reveal,	in	Brown’s	terms,	an	“aesthetic”	of	undoing	time	itself,	and	in	that	undoing	a	generation	of	a	negative	space,	which	is,	essentially,	another	name	for	a	shadow.		In	order	to	understand	the	invisible,	shadowy	nature	of	Richard’s	undoing,	I	think	it’s	important	to	understand	his	manifest	crimes,	or	the	crimes	with	which	he	is	actually	accused.	What	is	Richard’s	error,	or	the	“course	of	action”	that	conditions	his	fall?	He	manages	the	affairs	of	the	state	poorly,	confiscating	Bolingbroke’s	rightful	lands	to	fund	an	Irish	war.	Base	flatterers	who	do	not	have	the	interests	of	the	people	in	mind	lead	him.	And	his	timing	is	generally	poor:	he	prematurely	ends	a	dual	between	Bolingbroke	and	Mowbray	in	order	to	ostensibly	save	both	their	lives,	yet	ultimately	kills	each	man’s	honour32;	and	he	arrives	in	Wales	too	late	to	gather	and	lead	an	army.	They	leave	the	day	before	he	gets	there,	distrustful	and	weary.		As	Northrop	Frye	has	observed,	“We	are	reminded	here,	as	so	often	in	Shakespeare,	that	successful	action	and	successful	timing	are	much	the	same	thing”	(65).	It	would	seem	the	king’s	incompetence	hinges	less	on	deliberate	mismanagement	and	more	on	a	“mental	schedule”	that	is	“so	different	from	those	of																																									 																					31	The	play,	for	instance,	never	mentions	or	alludes	to	the	Peasant’s	Revolt	of	1381.	32	Of	course	Richard’s	motivations	aren’t	about	saving	both	their	lives.	Mowbray	is	responsible	for	the	Duke	of	Gloucester’s	murder,	a	murder	Bolingbroke	knows	Richard	sanctioned.					 63	people	who	advance	one	step	at	a	time,	like	Bolingbroke”	(Frye	65).	Indeed,	as	the	gardener’s	famous	indictment	of	Richard	in	Act	III	argues,	the	king	was	wasteful	and	idle	and	failed	to	trim	and	dress	the	garden	that	was	England:	“Oh	what	a	pity	is	it/That	he	had	not	so	trimmed	and	dressed	his	land/As	we	this	garden!”	(3.4.55-57).	Arguably,	the	king	was	wasteful	and	idle	because	he	did	not	manage	time	or	his	own	desires	in	a	way	that	becomes	a	king,	namely	one	step	at	a	time,	pruning	each	“superfluous	branch,”	or	enemy,	one	at	a	time	(3.4.63).	Interestingly,	Frye	also	uses	the	imagery	of	shadows	to	describe	this	mental	schedule	that	is	so	antithetical	to	chronological	progression	and	its	analog	husbandry:	“Bolingbroke	lives	in	a	world	of	substance	and	shadow:	power	is	substantial	to	him,	and	Richard	with	his	mirror	has	retreated	to	a	world	of	shadows”	(67).		Richard’s	substance-less	world	of	shadows	evokes	a	temporal	alterity	that	renders	him	idle	and	ultimately	invisible.	It	is	this	alterity	that	conditions	his	strangeness,	his	queerness.	Richard,	the	subjective	person	struggling	to	wear	the	objective	mask	of	the	king’s	persona,	floats	free	of	history	and	hovers	like	the	stranger	on	the	threshold	of	being	and	becoming.					2.2	 Desiring	Access:	The	Divine	King	is	Eclipsed	Given	how	readily	the	image	of	the	shadow	is	employed	by	both	Shakespeare	and	literary	critics	to	describe	King	Richard’s	otherness	and	his	dissolution,	I’d	like	to	spend	some	more	time	looking	at	it	as	an	act	of	figuration	itself.	What	does	the	image	of	the	shadow	afford,	and	what	kinds	of	triangular	figurations	produce	it?	A	shadow	is	literally	the	darkness	created	from	the	interception	of	light	by	another		 64	object	(OED).	Its	existence	is	perceptual	insofar	as	it	is	not	a	material	reality,	but	an	effect	created	by	the	relationship	between	three	material	things:	a	light	source,	an	object	upon	which	that	light	source	is	directed,	and	an	object	blocking	the	direct	ray	of	the	light	source.	The	object	upon	which	the	light	source	is	directed	is	darkened—that	is,	it	becomes	a	shadow—as	that	light	source	is	blocked.		One	classic	model	of	this	triangular	relationship	that	figures	the	shadow	is	a	planetary	eclipse.	An	eclipse	is	produced	when	one	celestial	body,	for	example	the	moon,	obscures	the	light	of	another,	namely	the	sun,	generating	a	perceptual	dark	void.	Celestial	bodies,	those	perfect	metronomes	of	time	and	order,	are	arguably	the	ideal	template	to	think	through	the	divine	king	Richard’s	temporal	alterity	and	shadowy	existence.33	Richard	II’s	character	emerges	as	a	liminal	stranger,	I	have																																									 																					33	As	Heninger	has	famously	noted	in	his	canonical	text	Cosmographical	Glass:	Renaissance	Diagrams	of	the	Universe,	“In	the	Renaissance	the	true	cause	of	eclipses	was	generally	known,	and	technical	discussions	explaining	the	mechanics	of	how	one	celestial	body	obscured	the	Sun’s	light	from	another	were	easily	available	in	such	popular	textbooks	of	astronomy	as	Sacrobosco’s	De	sphaera	and	Robert	Recorde’s	Castle	of	Knowledge”	(145).	There	is	perhaps	a	good	argument	to	be	made	regarding	Richard	II’s	figurative	rehearsal	of	the	political	upheavals	taking	place	at	the	turn	of	the	seventeenth	century	as	Europe	shifted	from	geocentricism	to	heliocentrism;	although,	the	integrity	of	the	eclipse	figuration	holds	whether	in	a	geocentric	or	a	heliocentric	universe.	The	seeming	impossibility	of	Richard	being	fully	extinguished	as	king—both	in	his	own	eyes	and	in	Bolingbroke’s	who	knows	he	must	“make	a	voyage	to	the	Holy	Land,/To	wash	this	blood	off	from	my	guilty	hand”	(5.6.49-50)—might	have	as	much	to	do	with	the	instability	of	the	divine	body	politic	as	it	does	to	a	hidden	allegorical	argument	that	the	sun	is	the	centre	of	the	universe.	It	is	an	intriguing	topic	of	debate	within	Shakespeare	studies	whether	or	not,	or	perhaps	how	much,	Shakespeare	accepted	the	heliocentric	world	view	and/or	alluded	to	it	in	his	plays	and	poetry.	As	scientific	historian	Robert	S.	Westman	has	noted	in	The	Astronomer’s	Role	in	the	Sixteenth	Century:	A	Preliminary	Study,	“Between	1543	and	1600,	I	can	find	no	more	than	ten	thinkers	who	choose	to	adopt	the	main	claims	of	the	heliocentric	theory”	(106);	“These	include:	Thomas	Digges	and	Thomas	Hariot	in	England;	Giordano	Bruno	and	Galileo	Galilei	in	Italy;	Diego	de	Zuniga	in	Spain;	Simon	Stevin	in	the	Low	Countries;	and,	in	Germany,	the	largest	group—Georg	Joachim	Rheticus,	Michael	Maestlin,	Christopher	Rothmann,	and	Johannes	Kepler”	(136).	Consequently,	much	debate	about	Shakespeare’s	invocation	of	heliocentrism	has	revolved	around	his	knowledge	of	Digges’	work.	Peter	Usher,	for	instance,	is	convinced	that	Shakespeare	knew	of	and	experimented	with	the	perspective	glass	or	perspective	trunk:	“These	devices	were	in	use	at	least	by	1570,	as	reported	by	John	Dee	in	that	year	and	by	Leonard	and	Thomas	Digges	in	1571	in	Pantometria.	In	the	Preface,	Thomas	Digges	refers	to	his	father's	‘continual’	use	of	‘proportional	Glasses.’	It	should	be	significant	that	Leonard	Digges	was	the	grandfather	of	another	Leonard	Digges,	one	of	four	writers	who	contributed	dedicatory	poems	to	Shakespeare's	Folio	of	1623”	(135).	Ultimately,	Usher	argues,	“Shakespeare	showed	great	sensitivity		 65	been	arguing,	because	he	is	out	of	time.	As	Brown	elaborates,	“Richard	is	removed,	one	might	say,	from	his	lineage	and	from	justice	bound	up	in	the	enforcement	of	royal	power.	Instead,	he	finds	his	home	in	the	disjuncture	of	time,	the	removal	from	one	moment	in	time—the	time	of	history—and	into	an	unboundaried,	shattered	time,	a	time	that	plays	across	history	and	into	the	willing	ears	of	those	who	would	hear	differently”	(290).	Indeed,	the	imagery	of	Shakespeare’s	play	overwhelming	links	this	unboundaried,	shattered	time	to	planetary	spheres	and	the	watery	transmutations	that	ensue	when	they	disturb	each	other’s	orbits.	The	question	is,	why	is	Richard	out	of	time?	This	section	argues	he	is	out	of	time	because	he	is	being	eclipsed	by	Bolingbroke.34																																											 																																								 																																								 																																								 																					to	the	need	for	burying	the	New	Astronomy	in	an	allegory	that	only	his	inner	circle	could	appreciate”	(145).		34	My	impulse	to	consider	the	figuration	of	eclipse	as	it	relates	to	Richard’s	undoing	draws	from	some	significant	astrometeorological	metaphors	within	the	play.	Astrological	predictions	and	readings	of	the	heavens	were	intimately	linked	with	the	study	of	meteorology	in	the	medieval	and	early	modern	periods.	As	Craig	Martin	has	pointed	out	in	Renaissance	Meteorology:	Pomponazzi	to	Descartes,	“Renaissance	forecasts	were	based	on	the	reading	of	signs.	These	signs	could	be	celestial	in	the	case	of	astrometeorology,	or	terrestrial,	based	on,	for	example,	the	behavior	of	animals	or	the	motions	of	the	winds.	Weather	forecasting	from	signs,	both	astrometeorological	and	terrestrial,	has	its	roots	in	antiquity”	(11).	We	see	an	astrological	prediction	based	on	a	combined	astrometeorological	and	terrestrial	forecast	in	Act	II	of	the	play.	The	Welsh	captain	predicts	Richard	II’s	fall	by	witnessing	meteors	moving	out	of	position:	“‘Tis	thought	the	King	is	dead.	We	will	not	stay./The	bay	trees	in	our	country	are	all	withered,/And	meteors	fright	the	fixed	stars	of	heaven”	(2.4.7-9).	In	the	early	modern	period,	meteors	were	thought	to	exist	in	the	sublunary	realm;	as	such,	the	study	of	meteors	was	a	terrestrial	study.	By	moving	into	the	heavens,	the	Welshman’s	meteors	reflect	the	growing	changes	taking	place	in	Renaissance	cosmology.	As	Patrick	J.	Boner	points	out	in	Change	and	Continuity	in	Early	Modern	Cosmology,	models	of	the	universe	were	rapidly	changing	while	still	trying	to	stay	continuous	with	their	classical	roots:	“Aristotelian	meteorology	was	deployed	by	astronomers	to	make	sense	of	celestial	mutability.	By	blurring	the	distinction	between	the	celestial	and	terrestrial	realms,	they	extended	earthly	physical	processes	into	the	heavens	to	explain	comets	and	new	stars”	(3).	The	Welshman’s	extension	of	earthly	physical	processes	into	the	heavens	is	just	one	example	in	the	play	of	how	meteorological	signs	foretell	cosmic	truths:	the	divine	king	Richard	will	fall.			Perhaps	even	more	significant	than	the	Welshman’s	augury	is	the	amount	of	rain,	water,	cloud,	and	snow	imagery	in	Shakespeare’s	play	and	how	that	imagery	is	linked	to	Richard’s	divine	undoing.	The	transmutations	of	dew,	rain,	and	snow	occur	within	the	Aristotelian	middle	region	of	the	air—the	same	region	in	which	comets	and	meteors	exist—and	are	motivated	by	the	exhalations	and	vapors	of	the	sun’s	thermal	energy	(Grant	610).	Weather,	and	specifically	the	element	of	water,	is	throughout	the	play	metaphorically	linked	to	the	dissolution	of	the	king—both	the	watery	transmutation	of	his	power	and	the	teary	grief	associated	with	it.	Richard	compares	the	crown	to	a	“deep	well”	of	which	he	is	the	heavy,	grieving	bucket	(4.1.184);	when	Northumberland	tells	Richard		 66	The	triangulating	occlusions	produced	between	the	Sun	King	Richard	II,35	the	usurping	rival	Bolingbroke,	and	the	earthly	garden	of	England’s	denizens	caught	in	between	mirror	a	celestial	eclipse	where	the	sun	is	eclipsed	by	a	smaller,	albeit	strategically	positioned	sphere.	In	a	theater	called	The	Globe,	no	less,	these	occlusions	take	on	theatrical	valences:	Richard’s	crisis	of	admission	into	the	future	of	his	divine	kingship	is	theatrically	rendered	as	a	shift	of	positions.	Indeed,	at	the	very	start	of	Shakespeare’s	play,	the	question	of	where	to	put	the	characters—and	how	long	they	are	going	to	stay	there—is	critical.	Instead	of	allowing	a	death	(a	“real”	absence)	to	ensue	in	the	dual	between	Bolingbroke	and	Mowbray,	Richard	banishes	Bolingbroke	to	another	land	for	six	years	and	Mowbray	permanently.	The	men	respond	as	follows:		Boling:	Your	will	be	done.	This	must	my	comfort	be:	That	sun	that	warms	you	here	shall	shine	on	me,	And	those	his	golden	beams	to	you	here	lent,	Shall	point	on	me	and	gild	my	banishment.	(1.2.148-156)																																										 																																								 																																								 																																								 																					to	read	over	his	crimes,	the	king	says	he	cannot	because	“Mine	eyes	are	full	of	tears;	I	cannot	see”	(4.1.258).	A	few	lines	later,	in	perhaps	one	of	the	most	famous	lines	of	the	play,	the	king	exclaims,	“O	that	I	were	a	mockery	king	of	snow;/Standing	before	the	sun	of	Bolingbroke,/To	melt	myself	away	in	water	drops!”	(4.1.274-276).	Renaissance	meteorology	considers	“objects	that	are	without	their	own	substantial	forms”	(Martin	27).	When	Richard	loses	his	own	substantial	form,	Shakespeare	uses	the	language	of	astrometeorology	to	predict	it.		35	Richard	II	and	the	sun-king	analogy	have	been	explored	extensively	in	twentieth	century	criticism	from	Caroline	F.E	Spurgeon’s	Shakespeare’s	Imagery;	Samuel	Kliger’s	“The	Sun	Imagery	in	Richard	II”;	S.K.	Heninger’s	“The	Sun-King	Analogy	in	Richard	II”;	Kathryn	Montgomery	Harris’s	“Sun	and	Water	Imagery	in	Richard	II:	Its	Dramatic	Function”;	Grace	Mary	Garry’s	“Unworthy	Sons:	Richard	II,	Phaethon,	and	the	Disturbance	of	Temporal	Order”;	and	Julia	M.	Walker’s	“Eclipsing	Shakespeare’s	Eikon:	Milton’s	Subversion	of	Richard	II.”			 67	Mowb:	Then	thus	I	turn	from	me	my	country’s	light	To	dwell	in	solemn	shades	of	endless	night.	(1.3.186-187)		Bolingbroke	knows	he	is	still	in	the	monarchial	circuit.	He	can	still	exert	influence	and	the	sun	will	still	shine	on	him,	even	if	his	orbit	is	farther	away.	He	is	still	a	rival	for	England.	Mowbray,	on	the	other	hand,	has	been	sentenced	to	full	occlusion,	not	the	least	in	part	due	to	his	involvement	in	Gloucester’s	murder.	While	Bolingbroke	is	out	of	sight,	Richard	seizes	Hereford’s	land	and	goes	away	to	Ireland.	While	Richard	is	gone,	Bolingbroke	makes	his	move	to	return,	much	to	York’s	chagrin.	York	asks	him,	“Why	have	those	banished	and	forbidden	legs/Dared	once	to	touch	a	dust	of	England’s	ground?.../Comest	thou	because	the	anointed	King	is	hence?”	(2.3.97-102).	Bolingbroke	responds,	“As	I	was	banished,	I	was	banished	Hereford;/But	as	I	come,	I	come	for	Lancaster”	(2.3.119-120).	Positions	have	changed.	Frye	comments	on	the	ambiguity	of	Bolingbroke’s	return	in	gravitational	terms:	“In	the	demoralized	state	of	the	nation	a	de	facto	power	begins	to	gather	around	Bolingbroke,	and	he	simply	follows	where	it	leads,	neither	a	puppet	of	circumstance	nor	a	deliberately	unscrupulous	usurper”	(58).		Ostensibly,	Bolingbroke	returns	to	consummate	a	desire	for	the	inheritance	that	is	his	home	country.	The	model	in	this	circuit	of	Girardian	mimetic	desire	and	rivalry	is	the	earth/England	and	the	object	that	forecloses	access	to	that	model	is	the	law/the	king.36	In	order	for	Hereford	to	get	his	land,	he	must	occlude	the																																									 																					36	In	A	Theater	of	Envy,	Rene	Girard	famously	argues	that	desire	is	always	mimetic,	always	born	out	of	an	interaction	among	individuals.	Girard	develops	an	erotic	triangle	that	schematizes	the	way	these	individuals	interact;	the	three	points	on	the	Girardian	triangle	are	the	subject,	the	model,	and		 68	law/the	king;	in	that	occlusion,	“power	begins	to	gather”	around	Bolingbroke.	Immediately	after	Bolingbrook	returns,	he	starts	acting	like	the	king,	ordering	the	deaths	of	Bushy	and	Green	and	gathering	an	army.	He	is	occluding	Richard,	the	sun	king,	and	putting	himself	within	the	shadow	of	that	occlusion,	for	safety	and	for	tactical	advantage.	Even	Richard	understands	the	cosmographical	metaphor.	While	chiding	Aumerle	for	warning	him	of	Bolingbroke’s	growing	strength,	Richard	uses	the	metaphor	of	occlusion	to	argue	for	his	own	eventual	resurgence:			 Discomfortable	cousin,	knowest	thou	not	That	when	the	searching	eye	of	heaven	is	hid	Behind	the	globe	and	lights	the	lower	world	Then	thieves	and	robbers	range	abroad	unseen	In	murders	and	in	outrage	boldly	here.		But	when	from	under	this	terrestrial	ball	He	fires	the	proud	tops	of	the	eastern	pines																																									 																																								 																																								 																																								 																					the	object,	where	the	subject	fixes	his	admiring	attention	on	the	model	because	the	model	is	exactly	what	he	doesn’t	have.	Each	point	on	the	triangle	contributes	to	the	emergence	of	the	other	as	a	rival.	According	to	a	Girardian	model	of	rivalry	and	desire,	the	model	in	Shakespeare’s	play	would	be	England,	the	object	King	Richard	and	the	subject	Bolingbroke.	In	the	pursuit	of	the	model,	the	object	is	distinguished.		The	problem	with	Girard’s	erotic	triangle	is	that	it	assumes	each	side	is	equilateral	and	that	there	are	no	racial,	gendered,	or	class	hierarchies	at	play	among	participants.	In	Between	Men:	English	Literature	and	Male	Homosocial	Desire,	Eve	Kosovsky	Sedgwick	updates	Girard’s	equilateral,	ahistorical	triangle	by	pointing	out	that	the	subject	and	object	in	nearly	all	of	his	literary	examples	are	men,	and	the	model	is	always	a	woman.	She	argues	that	the	Girardian	triangle	is	itself	a	register	for	delineating	the	very	relationships	of	patriarchal	power	and	meaning	that	it	attempts	to	disambiguate.	Sedgwick	then	develops	a	case	for	homosocial	desire	as	figured	by	a	non-equilateral,	historically	contingent	triangle	that	more	adequately	explains	why	there	is	such	a	discontinuity	between	male	homosociality	and	male	homosexuality:	two	men	(subject	and	object)	need	an	empty	cipher	of	a	woman	(the	model)	to	make	possible	the	love	they	have	for	one	another.	Applying	this	formulation	to	Richard	II,	the	crown—synecdoche	for	the	husbandry	of	the	Eden	that	is	England—is	the	cipher	that	enables	a	homosocial	desire,	indeed	a	nationalistic	fraternity,	to	express	itself.				 69	And	darts	his	light	through	every	guilty	hole	Then	murders,	treasons	and	detested	sins,		The	cloak	of	night	being	plucked	from	off	their	backs,	Stand	bare	and	naked,	trembling	at	themselves?	So	when	this	thief,	this	traitor,	Bolingbroke,	Who	all	this	while	hath	reveled	in	the	night	Whilst	we	were	wandering	with	the	antipodes	Shall	see	is	rising	in	our	throne	the	east	His	treasons	will	sit	blushing	in	his	face,	Not	able	to	endure	the	sight	of	day,	But	self-affrighted	tremble	at	his	sin.	(3.2.36-53)		Richards’	prophecy,	of	course,	never	happens,	perhaps	because	he	doesn’t	understand	how	fully	he	has	been	eclipsed.	Bolingbroke	is	not	simply	a	meddlesome	cloud	that	will	dissipate	when	the	Sun	returns.	Bolingbroke	is	another	force	of	gravity,	capable	of	obstructing	the	king	and	denying	him	access	to	his	country.		The	word	eclipse	comes	from	the	Greek	ekleipsis,	meaning	“to	forsake	its	accustomed	place,	to	fail	to	appear”	(OED).	Anne	Carson	notes	that	the	experience	of	totality	produced	by	an	eclipse	has	historically	and	mythologically	created	an	“instant	feeling	of	wrongness”	and	yet	a	simultaneous	desire	to	make	love,	perhaps	because	of	the	sudden	sense	of	abandonment:	“Drastic	analogies	abound	in	the	literature	of	totality;	also	typical	at	this	blasted	moment,	to	turn	to	thoughts	of	kissing	and	marrying.	Many	mythological	explanations	of	eclipse	involve	copulation		 70	or	the	hope	of	it”	(150).37	Unquestionably,	a	majority	of	the	romantic	love	rhetoric	in	Shakespeare’s	play	is	between	a	man	and	his	England,	figured	as	both	physical	land	and	its	people,	just	as	that	land	is	abandoning	him.	Consider	Gaunt’s	famous	death	bed	speech	to	the	England	he	loves:	“This	royal	throne	of	kings…This	other	Eden,	demiparadise/This	fortress	built	by	nature	for	herself”	(2.1.45-47);	Bolingbroke’s	mournful	parting	with	his	country	when	he	is	banished	by	Richard:	“Then,	England’s	ground,	farewell;	sweet	soil,	adieu,/My	mother,	and	my	nurse,	that	bears	me	yet!”	(1.3.321-322);	and	Richard’s	emotional	arrival	in	his	long-lost	Wales	to	an	empty	shore	where	an	army	has	deserted	him:	“So	weeping,	smiling,	greet	I	thee,	my	earth,—/And	do	thee	favors	with	my	royal	hands”	(3.2.10-11).	In	the	2012	British	television	film	adaptation	of	Richard	II,	the	The	Hollow	Crown,	Bolingbroke	and	Richard	each	fall	to	the	ground	and	kiss	the	earth	in	these	scenes.	Clearly,	the	producers	also	turned	to	thoughts	of	kissing.		Carson	is	particularly	interested	in	how	the	activation	of	eros	in	the	experience	of	totality	“calls	for	three	structural	components—lover,	beloved,	and	that	which	comes	in	between,”	an	activation	that	typifies	the	structural	movement	of	eclipse	(16).	Throughout	Eros	the	Bittersweet	and	Decreation,	Carson	traces	this	circuitry	of	desire	and	displacement	in	her	readings	of	Sappho,	Longus,	and	Homer:		 We	may,	in	the	traditional	terminology	of	erotic	theorizing,	refer	to	this	structure	as	a	love	triangle	and	we	may	be	tempted,	with	post-																																								 																					37	See,	for	instance,	Annie	Dillard’s	classic	essay	“Total	Eclipse,”	in	which	she	notes	that	“Seeing	a	partial	eclipse	bears	the	same	relation	to	seeing	a	total	eclipse	as	kissing	a	man	does	to	marrying	him”	(6-7).			 71	Romantic	asperity,	to	dismiss	it	as	a	ruse.	But	the	ruse	of	the	triangle	is	not	a	trivial	mental	maneuver.	We	see	it	in	the	radical	constitution	of	desire.	For,	where	eros	is	lack,	its	activation	calls	for	three	structural	components—lover,	beloved,	and	that	which	comes	between	them.	They	are	three	points	of	transformation	on	a	circuit	of	possible	relationships,	electrified	by	desire	so	that	they	touch	not	touching.	Conjoined	they	are	held	apart.	The	third	component	plays	a	paradoxical	role	for	it	both	connects	and	separates,	marking	that	two	are	not	one,	irradiating	the	absence	whose	presence	is	demanded	by	eros.	(16)			The	erotic	triangle	as	a	“circuit	of	possible	relationships”	evokes	the	circular	movements	of	three	points	that,	at	some	period,	interfere	in	each	other’s	paths,	as	opposed	to	all	staying	in	the	same	circuit	like	mechanical	rabbits	on	a	greyhound	racing	ring:	one	point,	at	some	point,	comes	in	between	the	other	two.	The	implicit	model	of	triangular	circuitry	in	Carson’s	erotic	figurations	of	desire	is	an	elliptical	one.	Indeed,	Bolingbroke	as	that	which	comes	between	England	and	Richard	connects	and	yet	also	separates	England	from	Richard,	who	becomes	the	illuminating	absence—the	shadowed	Sun	King	no	less—whose	“hidden”	presence	allows	Bolingbroke	to	touch	and	yet	not	quite	touch	England.	Furthermore,	what	makes	Carson’s	erotic	triangle	so	applicable	to	the	triangular	machinations	of	desire	for	the	crown	is	in	how	the	triangle	is	“formed	by	their	perception	of	one	another,	and	in	the	gaps	in	that	perception.	It	is	an	image	of	the	distances	between	them”		 72	(13).	An	eclipse,	of	course,	is	the	image	of	the	distances	between	three	points	rendered	linearly—at	least	perceptually.38	If	Richard	is	“a	negative	space,	a	queer	cavity	of	undoing,”	I’d	like	to	think	it	is	because	the	linear,	historical	orders	that	deconstruct	his	kingship	have	closed	the	distance	between	Bolingbroke	and	England,	and	the	theatrical	orders	that	construct	how	he	wears	that	persona	of	divine	king	have	closed	the	distance	between	himself	and	the	role	he	must	play.	What	emerges	in	both	cases	is	nothing:	an	irradiating	absence	whose	presence	is	demanded	by	the	very	forces	that	constitute	it.				I’d	like	to	move	away	for	a	moment	from	Richard’s	elliptical	occlusion	as	divine	king	and	explore	another	paradoxically	embodied	absence	as	it	is	developed	and	interrogated	by	Richard’s	queen.	Specifically,	I’d	like	to	look	more	closely	at	the	queen’s	analysis	of	the	“nothing”	that	is	her	grief.	My	point	in	doing	so	will	be	to	emphasize	that	at	the	heart	of	the	elliptical	figuration	of	undoing	that	generates	a	positive	absence	is	an	interest	in	the	production	of	illusion	itself—or	in	other	words,	an	interest	in	the	theatre	and	how	it	produces	the	positive	nothing	that	is	a	character.	The	elliptical	figuration	of	desire	that	I	have	mapped	on	to	Richard,	Bolingbroke,	and	England—whereby,	in	the	pursuit	of	England	by	Bolingbroke,	Richard	the	king	emerges	as	a	shadow—can	be	mapped	onto	that	other	triangle	that																																									 																					38	It	is	an	image	that	imagines	the	forsaking	of	three	dimensional	space	into	two	dimensional	space.		Arguably,	it	is	also	an	image	that	usefully	describes	how	the	theatre	as	a	three-dimensional	spatial	art	is	rendered	as	script,	or	the	two	dimensional	space	of	the	poetic	line,	and	vise	versa.	As	Henry	S.	Turner	has	noted	in	The	English	Renaissance	Stage:	Geometry,	Poetics,	and	the	Practical	Spatial	Arts,	“This	book	takes	as	its	point	of	departure	the	deceptively	obvious	premiss	that	the	English	drama	of	the	late	sixteenth	and	early	seventeenth	centuries	must	be	considered	above	all	as	a	highly	spatialized	mode	of	representation	performed	in	the	public	theatres	and	not	simply	as	an	artefact	of	print”	(2).	It	is	the	contention	of	this	chapter,	and	this	thesis	more	broadly,	that	figures	found	within	the	poetic	line	reflect	the	theatrical	process	itself.	In	Richard’s	case,	there	is	an	almost	prophetic	awareness	of	the	performance	objectives	that	constitute	a	character	as	being	productively	eclipsed	by	the	totality	of	the	character	rendered	in	verse.				 73	this	chapter	has	been	pursuing:	the	person,	the	mask	of	persona,	and	the	character	that	emerges.	Put	another	way,	the	very	way	Richard	becomes	undone	as	a	king,	I	think,	simulates	the	way	an	illusion	of	character	is	generated	on	stage.39	The	shadow	as	an	illusion	of	“something	that	is	nothing”	is	generated	from	the	ostensibly	totalizing	relationship	between	two	other	somethings;	similarly,	only	when	“something”	stands	in	front	of,	or	masks,	another	“something,”	another	persona,	does	the	illusion	of	character	emerge.	This	illusion	is	itself	invisible,	a	nothing,	an	absence,	and	yet	it	is	the	very	thing	that	allows	the	mask	and	the	persona	to	“touch,	not	touching.”	I	think	it	is	the	queen	who	early	on	in	the	play	articulates	the	play’s	logic	of	elliptical	undoing	and	its	emergent	shadows.	The	queen’s	analysis	of	the	“nothing”	that	is	her	grief	sets	the	proverbial	stage	for	how	Richard	will	take	on	the	nothingness	of	his	character	as	a	mask	in	its	own	right.		Long	before	Richard	becomes	a	mournful	nothing	in	the	deposition	scene	the	Queen	has	already	discussed	with	Bushy	the	substance	and	meaning	of	the	“heavy	nothing”	that	is	her	grief	and	its	imaginary,	albeit	foreboding,	shadows:	“Yet	again	methinks/Some	unborn	sorrow	ripe	in	Fortune’s	womb/Is	coming	towards	me,	and	my	inward	soul/With	nothing	trembles;	at	some	thing	it	grieves,/More	than	with	parting	from	my	lord	the	king”	(2.2.9-13).	The	Queen’s	play	on	nothing	and	something	is	not	lost	on	her	confidant.	To	calm	her	down,	Bushy	tells	her	that	her	grief	is	“nothing”:																																										 																					39	I	do	not	want	to	suggest	that	there	is	a	one	to	one	correlation	between	the	politically	rivalrous	triangle	of	Bolingbroke,	England,	and	Richard	and	the	theatrical	triangle	of	mask,	persona,	and	character.	Rather,	I	am	suggesting	that	the	triangles	operate	the	same	insofar	as	the	production	of	illusion	is	concerned.		 74	Bushy:	Each	substance	of	a	grief	hath	twenty	shadows,		Which	shows	like	grief	itself,	but	is	not	so;		For	sorrow's	eye,	glazed	with	blinding	tears,		Divides	one	thing	entire	to	many	objects;		Like	perspectives,	which	rightly	gazed	upon		Show	nothing	but	confusion,	eyed	awry		Distinguish	form:	so	your	sweet	majesty,		Looking	awry	upon	your	lord's	departure,		Find	shapes	of	grief,	more	than	himself,	to	wail;		Which,	look'd	on	as	it	is,	is	nought	but	shadows		Of	what	it	is	not.	Then,	thrice-gracious	queen,		More	than	your	lord's	departure	weep	not:	more's	not	seen;		Or	if	it	be,	'tis	with	false	sorrow's	eye,		Which	for	things	true	weeps	things	imaginary.	(2.2.14-27)		Most	readings	of	Richard	II	gloss	Bushy’s	“perspectives”	as	referring	to	anamorphic	perspective	paintings	such	as	Holbein’s	The	Ambassadors	or	the	distorted	portrait	of	Edward	VI	by	William	Scrots	(Shickman	218).	In	these	paintings,	you	must	look	at	the	picture	from	an	acute	angle	in	order	to	see	another	image;	that	is,	“eyed	awry”	they	“distinguish	form.”	Bushy	tries	to	tell	the	queen	that	her	grief	is	like	an	anamorphic	painting	which	suggests	images	that	are	“not	so.”	This	is	not	a	bad	tactic	for	a	man	who	makes	his	living	as	an	advisor	who	enables	the	king	to	see	the	state’s	affairs	more	clearly.	But	if	Bushy’s	advising	abilities	are	as	good	as	his	metaphorical		 75	ones,	Richard	is	in	trouble.	While	Bushy	is	trying	to	tell	the	queen	that	her	sorrow	distorts	the	truth,	that	seeing	through	tears	creates	fractured,	imaginary	falsehoods,	his	metaphor	seems	to	suggest	just	the	opposite	as	well:	“so	your	sweet	majesty,/Looking	awry	upon	your	lord's	departure,/Find	shapes	of	grief,	more	than	himself,	to	wail;/Which,	look'd	on	as	it	is,	is	nought	but	shadows/Of	what	it	is	not.”	Looked	on	directly,	Richard’s	situation	is	full	of	immaterial	shadows	of	“what	it	is	not,”	while	looked	at	awry,	it	is	full	of	grief.	If	the	anamorphic	perspective	holds	true,	viewing	the	matter	obliquely	and	with	tears	is,	paradoxically,	the	only	way	to	see	the	truth—a	misplaced	prophesy	that	becomes	altogether	too	true	for	Richard	later	on	in	the	play.	Where	Bushy	exceeded	his	figurative	intentions,	the	Queen’s	retort	teases	them	out	and	purposefully	lingers	on	a	productive	paradox:	the	nothing	that	is	something.					 Queen:	It	may	be	so;	but	yet	my	inward	soul		Persuades	me	it	is	otherwise:	howe'er	it	be,		I	cannot	but	be	sad;	so	heavy	sad		As,	though	on	thinking	on	no	thought	I	think,		Makes	me	with	heavy	nothing	faint	and	shrink.			 Bushy:	‘Tis	nothing	but	conceit,	my	gracious	lady.			Queen:	'Tis	nothing	less:	conceit	is	still	derived			 76	From	some	forefather	grief;	mine	is	not	so,		For	nothing	had	begot	my	something	grief;		Or	something	hath	the	nothing	that	I	grieve:		'Tis	in	reversion	that	I	do	possess;		But	what	it	is,	that	is	not	yet	known;	what		I	cannot	name;	'tis	nameless	woe,	I	wot.	(2.2.28-40)		The	queen	knows	that	nothing	is	not	nothing.	It	is	something,	something	capable	of	begetting.	She	seems	to	be	able	to	perceive	the	orders	of	generation	and	admission	at	play	in	the	production	of	an	absence,	or	the	invisible	something	that	is	her	grief.	She	does	not	see	the	shadow	as	partaking	in	a	kaleidoscope	of	perceptual	confusions,	but	rather	as	being	constitutive	of	the	very	something	that	she	is	trying	to	identify:	“For	nothing	had	begot	my	something	grief;	Or	something	hath	the	nothing	that	I	grieve:	‘Tis	in	reversion	that	I	do	possess.”	Reversion	here	connotes	the	legal	sense	of	“the	return	of	an	estate	to	the	original	owner,”	but	it	also	suggests	the	broader	sense	of	its	etymological	root	reversiō,	“the	act	of	returning	or	coming	around	again”	(OED).	The	queen’s	shadowy	grief	is	not	inherited	in	a	linear	model	of	forefather	succession;	rather	it	is	inherited	cyclically,	from	something	that	appeared	gone	but	has	come	around	again,	mirroring	the	cyclical	movement	of	eclipse.		The	queen’s	response	to	Bushy’s	mollification	of	her	grief	fixates	on	its	incoherence	and	makes	it	coherent	with	a	dialectic	of	nothing	and	something	that	foreshadows,	even	prophesizes,	Richard’s	own	dissolution	into	nothingness	and	at	the	same	time	explains	how	it	happens.	Richard	of	Bordeaux	isn’t	really	gone;	he	is		 77	simply	caught	and	eclipsed	in	the	perceptual	absences	generated	from	the	friction	between	the	prescriptions	of	historical	destiny—Bolingbroke	will	be	the	next	king—and	the	affordances	of	theatrical	illusion-making—being	overshadowed	and	then	becoming	a	shadow.	At	the	heart	of	the	play’s	interest	in	absence	is	an	interest	in	the	production	of	illusion,	and	specifically	the	production	of	illusion	that	is	Richard’s	character—the	eclipsed	king.	The	queen	seems	to	know	this	well	before	even	Richard	does.	***		 If	Richard’s	queer,	temporal	alterity	undid	him	in	the	eyes	of	a	world	who	couldn’t	perceive	him	differently,	what	I	have	suggested	throughout	this	section	is	a	way	of	reading	that	temporality	in	a	way	that	explains	why	they	couldn’t	see	him.	Richard’s	access	to	his	crown	and	recognition	as	king—what	I	have	been	calling	his	admission	into	the	future	of	his	kingship—is	not	taken	away	from	him,	per	se.	The	triangulation	of	desire	for	the	crown	eclipses	King	Richard,	and	the	prophecies	laid	upon	that	black-out	reveal	that	the	future	of	the	body	politic	depends	upon	an	ability	to	understand	the	way	illusion	is	actually	produced:	not	by	being	eyed	awry,	but	by	dwelling	on	the	invisible	somethings	that	emerge	when	domains	of	influence—mask	and	persona—move	into	each	other’s	localities.	The	enduring	entity	of	Richard’s	character	as	king	is,	ironically,	an	illusion:	a	positive	nothing,	an	absence	that,	like	all	of	Mitchell’s	perceptual	images,	exists	on	the	threshold	of	being	and	becoming.					 78	2.3	 Admitting	the	Absence:	The	Poet	King	I	have	been	arguing	that	the	figuration	of	absence	throughout	Richard	II	is	central	to	the	play’s	understanding	of	character.	Richard’s	character—the	“permanent”	entity	that	comes	from	the	friction	between	the	person	and	the	mask	of	persona—can	be	understood	as	a	shadow,	where	nothingness	emerges	both	as	perceptual	occlusion	and	the	paradoxical	substance	of	that	friction.	I	argued	in	the	first	section	that	this	shadow	generated	Richard’s	queerness,	or	the	out-of-timeness	that	conditions	his	fall	and	that	also	makes	him	timeless	as	a	character;	section	two	examined	how	Richard’s	character	as	deposed	king	was	rendered	elliptically,	suggesting	that	the	illusion	of	character	is	like	an	occluded	“nothing.”	My	aim	in	this	final	section	is	to	think	through	Richard’s	paradoxically	positive	absence,	his	nothingness,	in	terms	of	his	identity	as	a	theatrical	character,	the	Poet	King,	seemingly	conscious	that	the	dissolution	of	his	kingliness	and	his	subjective	self	will	become,	and	indeed	already	is,	a	work	of	art.		While	history’s	narrative	demands	Richard’s	deposition	and	death,	Richard’s	investment	in	how	that	plays	out	theatrically	to	an	audience	of	spectators	makes	Shakespeare’s	play	fundamentally	metatheatrical.	Jeremy	Lopez	notes,	“Much	of	the	work	of	Richard	II	criticism	from	Johnson	to	the	early	twentieth	century	involved	finding	a	critical	vocabulary	that	would	allow	students	of	the	play	to	see	Shakespeare’s	characterization	of	Richard	and	his	casual	handling	of	historical	detail	as	evidence	of	an	artistic	project	that	was	commensurate	with	the	play’s	frequently	glorious	poetic	language”	(103).	That	critical	vocabulary,	from	Samuel	Johnson	to	William	Butler	Yeats,	turned	Richard	into	the	Poet	King,	the	ineffectual	monarch		 79	who	managed	to	turn	his	blunders	into	what	Harold	Bloom	has	called	“an	extraordinary	aesthetic	dignity,	both	lyrical	and	dramatic”	(Shakespeare’s	Richard	II	3).	That	dignity,	even	while	subverted	by	the	rival	Bolingbroke,	still	manages	to	have	“the	more	effective	power”	(Frye	667).		Richard	seems	to	know	that	he	is	both	a	real	king	that	exists	in	the	present	and	the	past	and	will	be	deposed,	as	well	as	a	work	of	art	over	which	death	has	no	hold	“when	in	eternal	lines	to	Time”	he	will	grow	(Shakespeare	Sonnet	18.12).	He	knows	this	when	he	all	too	easily	gives	up	the	fight	for	the	crown	upon	hearing	news	of	Bolingbroke’s	armed	arrival,	famously	telling	his	men,	“For	God’s	sake	let	us	sit	upon	the	ground/And	tell	sad	stories	of	the	death	of	kings”	(3.2.155-156).	He	is	only	too	ready	to	lyricize	his	own	fall	before	it	happens.	He	knows	this	when	he	sits	in	Pomfret’s	prison,	alone	with	his	thoughts:			 	 I	have	been	studying	how	I	may	compare		 	 This	prison	where	I	live	unto	the	world,		 	 And	for	because	the	world	is	populous	And	here	is	not	a	creature	but	myself	I	cannot	do	it.	Yet	I’ll	hammer’t	out.	My	brain	I’ll	prove	the	female	to	my	soul,	My	soul	the	father,	and	these	two	beget	A	generation	of	still	breeding	thoughts,	And	these	same	thoughts	people	this	little	world	In	humours	like	the	people	of	this	world,		 80	For	no	thought	is	contented.	(5.5.1-11)		Here	we	have	another	triangle:	the	brain,	the	soul,	and	the	thoughts	their	union	creates.	Richard	tries	to	populate	his	lonely	world	through	his	imagination,	but	just	like	the	world,	his	mind	is	filled	with	a	multitude	of	discontented	people:		 Thus	play	I	in	one	person	many	people,	And	none	contented.	Sometimes	am	I	king.	Then	treasons	make	me	wish	myself	a	beggar,	And	so	I	am.	Then	crushing	penury	Persuades	me	I	was	better	when	a	king.	Then	am	I	kinged	again,	and	by	and	by	Think	that	I	am	unkinged	by	Bolingbroke,	And	straight	am	nothing.	(5.5.30-37)	 Whether	Richard	is	sitting	upon	the	ground	ready	to	give	up	or	talking	to	himself	in	a	dark	prison,	he	is	trying	to	construct	desire	for	himself,	a	self	that	all	alone	experiences	its	own	totality	as	nothing:	“But	whate’er	I	be/Nor	I	nor	any	man	that	but	man	is/With	nothing	shall	be	pleased	till	he	be	eased/With	being	nothing”	(5.5.38-41).	The	triangulation	within	Richard’s	mind	undoes	him,	disappears	him	entirely,	returns	him	to	an	absence.	This	process	of	undoing	is	both	existential	and	aesthetic.	In	his	2001	production	of	Richard	II	at	the	American	Repertory	Theatre,	Director	Robert	Woodruff	describes	Richard’s	project	of	existential	undoing	as		 81	purposeful	and	creative:	“I'm	now	attracted	to	Richard	II	as	a	play	about	an	artist,	a	man	who	continually	reinvents	himself.	The	text	is	traditionally	treated	as	a	struggle	for	power	between	Richard	and	Bolingbroke,	but	that	doesn't	excite	me.	I	see	Richard	as	a	man	who	deliberately	undermines	his	own	power,	who	understands	that	the	ultimate	artistic	act	is	to	destroy	his	own	work,	and	with	it	his	self”	(Woodruff).	 	Richard’s	art	“work”	is	the	poetry	he	is	able	to	make	out	of	his	situation.	Indeed,	it	is	that	poetry	that	undoes	him—both	in	its	very	figurations	that	render	him	a	nothing	and	in	its	performances	that	render	him	hysterical	and	histrionic.	But	what	exactly	about	his	situation	is	Richard	aestheticizing?	Just	after	Richard	argues	that	every	man	can	only	be	contented	once	he	is	content	to	be	nothing,	he	hears	music	playing	in	the	distance,	albeit	music	that	is	off	beat,	or	out	of	time.	In	these	final	moments	before	he	dies,	realizing	that	he	really	is	out	of	time,	Richard	aestheticizes	time	itself.		For	now	hath	time	made	me	his	numb'ring	clock.	My	thoughts	are	minutes,	and	with	sighs	they	jar	Their	watches	on	unto	mine	eyes,	the	outward	watch,	Whereto	my	finger,	like	a	dial's	point,	Is	pointing	still	in	cleansing	them	from	tears.	Now,	sir,	the	sound	that	tells	what	hour	it	is	Are	clamorous	groans	which	strike	upon	my	heart,	Which	is	the	bell.	So	sighs,	and	tears,	and	groans		 82	Show	minutes,	times,	and	hours.	But	my	time	Runs	posting	on	in	Bolingbroke's	proud	joy,	While	I	stand	fooling	here,	his	jack	of	the	clock.	(5.5.50-60)		In	Richard’s	extended	metaphor,	both	time	and	Bolingbroke,	whom	time	favors,	play	him:	the	former	turns	him	into	a	clock	that	measures	the	hours	by	expressions	of	sadness,	while	the	latter	makes	him	a	fool	for	that	sadness,	a	silly	jack	of	that	clock.	In	both	cases,	Richard’s	character’s	fate	is	objectified	and	mocked	by	Richard	the	poet	who	ventriloquizes	time	and	his	usurper.	Richard’s	metaphor	of	clock-time	here	is	ultimately	a	metaphor	for	fate,	that	unavoidable	wheel	of	fortune	that	determines	one’s	destiny.	The	relationship	between	Richard’s	lyricism	and	Richard’s	fate	is	one	of	mutual	dependency.	Fate	and	lyric	share	the	same	time	signature,	or	the	same	temporal	paradox,	depending	on	how	you	look	at	it.	Lyric	is	characterized	by	the	expression	of	a	spontaneous	outflowing	of	feeling,	and	yet	it	nonetheless	comes	out	in	perfect	rhythm	and	meter;	fate	is	characterized	by	that	which	is	predetermined,	and	yet	it	always	seems	to	respond	so	well	to	new	inputs.	Behind	both,	of	course,	is	the	imperative	of	performance,	which	is	sprezzatura:	the	effort	of	practice	is	revealed	in	the	effortlessness	of	what	is	finally	shown.		The	distinctive	mark,	then,	of	both	fate	and	lyric	is	the	mask	of	performance	that	is	the	wearing	of	it—that	struggle	to	incorporate	acting	with	being	and	to	produce	from	that	struggle	the	effortless	appearance	of	character.	Fate	acts	out	the	lives	of	mutable	humans	by	wearing	the	mask	of	inalterability;	lyric	acts	out	volatile	feeling	by	wearing	the	mask	of	metrical	feet.	Richard’s	poetic	and	fatalistic	project	of		 83	decreation,	if	it	may	be	called	a	project,	is	the	wearing	of	the	mask	that	is	the	fallen	king.	His	task	is	to	effortlessly	become	this	mask.	But	how	do	imbue	your	acting	self	with	the	mask	of	nothingness?	How	do	you	become	a	something	that	must	be	a	nothing?	You	turn	that	process—life	or	fate	or	time	or	whatever	it	is	that	makes	us	turn	from	something	into	nothing—into	poetry.	You	turn	it	into	metaphors	that	make	a	future	absence	permanent	insofar	as	they	will	be	taken	up	again	and	again	by	future	iterations	of	“somethings”:	the	next	actor	to	take	on	the	mask	of	Richard’s	persona.	For	what	is	the	theatre	itself	but	a	constant	reversion	of	something	into	nothing	into	something	again,	spirits	that	melt	into	thin	air,	as	Prospero	would	call	them,	but	then	reconstitute	again	for	the	next	performance?	And	what	is	the	invisibly	permanent	thing	that	gives	them	life?	Character:	“So	long	as	men	can	breathe,	or	eyes	can	see,/So	long	lives	this,	and	this	gives	life	to	thee”	(Shakespeare	Sonnet	18.13-14).	Richard	plays	his	character	of	fallen	king	as	a	mask	itself,	and	by	doing	so	becomes	the	more	permanent,	the	more	ineluctably	invisible	character	of	the	Poet	King	who	truly	does	float	free	of	history	and	into	the	ears	of	those	who	know	how	to	hear	differently.	***	Richard	II	is	the	organizing	principle	for	the	“formal	and	ideological	dimensions”	of	the	play	as	a	whole,	a	play	which	dramatizes	the	wheel	of	fortune	in	a	way	only	a	play	can:	by	hinging	that	fortune	on	the	invisible,	on	that	hidden	pearl	of	performance	that	is	becoming	a	character	(Yachnin	and	Sights	6).	I	began	this	chapter	wanting	to	understand	why	Richard	became	so	wrong	and	why	he	deposed	himself,	believing	that	there	was	not	an	easy	causal	relationship	between	the	two,		 84	despite	what	tragedy	would	want	to	suggest.	I	wanted	to	know	why	he	was	so	often	cast	as	homosexual	in	contemporary	productions.	I	wanted	to	understand	Richard’s	strangeness,	his	inadmissibility	into	the	future	of	his	kingship,	and	his	paradoxical,	shadowy	presence	within	the	event	that	is	the	history	play.	Finally,	I	wanted	to	understand	his	poetry	that	reified	his	sense	of	loss,	his	nothingness	in	a	way	that	almost	seemed	to	predict	it	as	well.	Richard	became	a	nothing	in	every	iteration	of	self—the	grieving	man,	the	fallen	king,	and	the	dramatic	poet—because	a	nothing,	unlike	a	something,	lasts	precisely	because	it	cannot	be	reduced	any	further.	And	this	is	exactly	what	a	character	is—the	thing	that	lasts,	the	thing	that	is	in	time	and	yet	out	of	time	within	the	ephemeral	world	of	the	theatrical	event.														 85	3	 Authenticating	Shylock:	The	Actor’s	Dilemma		“I	am	not	bound	to	please	thee	with	my	answers.”	—Shylock	(4.1.65)				The	title	page	to	William	Shakespeare’s	first	quarto	of	The	Merchant	of	Venice	reads,	“The	most	excellent	Historie	of	the	Merchant	of	Venice.	With	the	extreame	crueltie	of	Shylock	the	Jewe	towards	the	said	Merchant,	in	cutting	a	just	pound	of	his	fleshe	and	the	obtaining	of	Portia	by	the	choyse	of	three	chests.”	Although	the	titular	character	is	Antonio	the	merchant,	the	title	piece	reveals	the	agency	and	centrality	of	the	play’s	villain,	Shylock.	While	the	play	was	unpopular	in	its	own	time	and	received	little	if	any	productions	for	nearly	150	years,	it	is	now—along	with	Hamlet—the	most	often	performed	play	in	Shakespeare’s	canon,	not	in	the	least	part	due	to	the	complex	character	that	is	Shylock	(Mahood	42).		Arguably,	it	was	the	nineteenth	century’s	romantic	fascination	with	the	exotic	Other	that	enabled	Shylock	to	be	seen	as	more	than	a	stock	villain	or	comedic	stereotype.	Edmund	Kean’s	famous	1814	portrayal	of	Shylock	at	Drury	Lane	convinced	spectators	that	he	“indeed	suffered,”	as	M.M.	Mahood	notes:	“The	collapse	of	this	intelligent	and	vulnerable	being	was	horrible	to	watch”	(44).	Since	then,	theatrical	productions	and	scholarly	criticism	of	The	Merchant	of	Venice	have	remained	fascinated	in	Shylock’s	tragic	portrayal.	Shylock	is	no	obvious	Machiavel	the	way,	for	instance,	Christopher	Marlowe’s	famous	Jew	in	The	Jew	of	Malta	seems	to	be.	Akin	to	classical	tragic	heroes,	Shylock’s	motivations	appear	to	come	from	sources	of	love	and	honor—protecting	his	family	and	his	traditions—as	well	as		 86	places	of	legitimate	pain.	Shylock	the	Jew	has	been	oppressed	by	a	Christian	hegemony	that	has	deported,	killed,	and	abused	his	people	for	centuries.	Half-way	through	the	play,	Shylock	makes	these	injustices	explicit:	Antonio	“hath	disgraced	me,	and	hindered	me	half	a	million;	laughed	at	my	losses,	mocked	at	my	gains,	scorned	my	nation,	thwarted	my	bargains,	cooled	my	friends,	heated	mine	enemies;	and	what's	his	reason?	I	am	a	Jew”	(3.1.45-50).	Shylock’s	arguments	and	appeals	for	justice	appear	to	come	less	from	a	place	of	unmitigated	spite	and	more	from	a	place	of	righteous	indignation,	an	appeal	to	the	Christian	order	to	be	evaluated	as	a	human	being	and	not	as	a	Jew:	“If	you	prick	us,	do	we	not	bleed?”	(3.1.56).	An	appeal	for	recognition	as	a	human	being.	An	appeal	for	just	access	as	that	being.	Access	and	recognition	taken	together	is	what	I	have	been	calling	admission.	Shylock’s	tragedy	in	this	play,	if	it	is	indeed	a	tragedy,	is	a	crisis	of	admission,	where	Shylock	functions	as	the	quintessential	Other,	the	stranger	who	resides	inside	and	outside	of	society	simultaneously.		I	am	not	the	first	person	to	identify	Shylock	as	a	stranger.	Leslie	A.	Fielder’s	1972	The	Stranger	in	Shakespeare	examined	the	archetype	of	the	Jew	as	a	“borderline	figure,	who	defines	the	limits	of	the	human”	(15).	As	a	money-lending	Jew,	Shylock	exists	as	a	cultural	and	spiritual	outsider	to	the	Christian	socio-economic	order,	yet	he	is	instrumental	to	its	functioning;	in	this	way	he	skirts	the	borders	of	access	and	recognition	within	this	order.	As	opposed	to	Kearney’s	heuristic	of	the	stranger	functioning	as	a	phenomenological	hermeneutics	of	the	self,	Fielder	identifies	the	stranger	as	a	villainous	archetype	upon	which	the	public	mythologies	of	Elizabethans	(and	their	modern	descendants,	albeit	in	different		 87	ways)	depended.	In	his	reading	of	The	Merchant	of	Venice,	Fiedler	reveals	Shylock	to	be	a	vengeful,	cannibalistic	monster—with	associative	valences	to	that	other	English	monster,	the	Puritan40—that	Shakespeare	had	in	mind	long	before	a	few	centuries	of	history	made	that	reading	untenable	if	not	utterly	queasy.41	A	few	decades	after	Fiedler’s	analysis,	Shylock’s	stranger	status	is	still	critical	to	the	play’s	interpretation.	Janet	Adleman’s	2008	Blood	Relations,	a	comprehensive	analysis	of	the	figure	of	the	converted	Jew	in	Shakespeare’s	play	and	the	concomitant	queasiness	that	underpins	the	play’s	reception	and	criticism,	is	similarly	interested	in	the	villainous	role	assigned	to	the	Jew.	As	Adelman	argues,	“the	spectacle	of	the	Jewish	convert	to	Christianity	requires	the	desperate	remedies	of	a	proto-racism	and	a	contradictory	desire	that	the	Jew	continue	at	all	costs	to	play	the	bloody	role	assigned	to	him	by	the	Christian”	(36).	Even	as	recently	as	Marianne	Novy’s	2013	Shakespeare	&	Outsiders	with	its	first	chapter	devoted	to	“The	Merchant	of	Venice	and	its	Pressured	Conversions,”	Shylock	the	Jew	is	“the	character	whose	outsider	status	might	be	considered	the	clearest	in	Shakespeare”	(17).			My	addition	to	this	conversation	of	Shylock	as	outsider	is	to	link	his	role	of	stranger	to	his	function	as	an	actor	within	the	drama	itself,	revealing	how	each	begets	the	other	and	speaks	to	a	poetics	of	admission	the	play	is	staging.	I	think,																																									 																					40	In	“Shylock’s	Tribe,”	Stephen	Orgel	argues,	“Shylock	can	be	seen	as	a	kind	of	Puritan”	(46).	In	his	analysis	of	Shylock’s	uncharacteristically	English	name,	he	concludes,	“So	one	way	to	play	Shylock	‘authentically’	would	be	as	one	of	the	Puritan	moneylenders	of	Shakespeare’s	London,	for	whom	the	Old	Testament	rhetoric	would	be	entirely	in	character,	and	the	Jewishness	a	moral	comment	on	the	profession”	(45).	41	Fiedler	observes,	“The	final	and	irrevocable	redemption	of	Shylock,	however,	was	the	inadvertent	achievement	of	the	greatest	anti-Semite	of	all	time,	who	did	not	appear	until	the	twentieth	century	was	almost	three	decades	old.	Since	Hitler’s	‘final	solution’	to	the	terror	which	cues	the	uneasy	laughter	of	The	Merchant	of	Venice,	it	has	seemed	immoral	to	question	the	process	by	which	Shylock	has	been	converted	from	a	false-nosed,	red-wigged	monster	(his	hair	the	color	of	Judas’s),	half	spook	and	half	clown,	into	a	sympathetic	victim”	(98).		 88	perhaps,	what	is	equally	significant	in	the	“bloody	role”	assigned	to	Shylock	is	not	the	blood,	or	the	ancestral	relations	at	the	center	of	Christianity	that	subsume	the	Jew,	but	the	assignment	itself:	he	must	perform	this	role.	Shylock	has	to	constantly	play	two	parts	to	live	a	whole	life:	one	for	his	Christian	audience,	and	another	for	himself	and	his	daughter,	or	us,	as	is	the	case	when	he	speaks	in	direct	address	to	the	live	audience	about	his	personal	feelings.	In	one	such	potential	direct	address,	he	exclaims	after	looking	upon	Antonio,	“How	like	a	fawning	publican	he	looks!	I	hate	him	for	he	is	a	Christian”	(1.3.33-34).	His	survival	within	this	social	world	depends	upon	his	dissimilation,	his	ability	to	perform	approval	and	amity	toward	his	Christian	audience	while	at	the	same	time	feeling	so	much	disapproval	and	angst	toward	them	in	his	heart.	In	other	words,	his	survival	depends	upon	his	ability	to	be	a	good	actor.		In	the	first	part	of	this	chapter,	I	will	examine	how	Shylock’s	forced	conversion	demands	him	to	feign	an	acceptance	that	is	insincere,	reducing	his	compliance	to	mere	theatre.	By	theatre,	or	theatricality,	I	mean	the	“experiential	duality”	inherent	in	playing	a	part—that	disjuncture	between	the	acting	self	and	the	self	that	is	represented.	Shylock’s	tragedy,	I	argue,	is	the	discovery	of	a	moral	law	that	situates	acting	as	both	the	crime	and	the	solution	to	the	incorporation,	or	admission,	into	society—a	uniquely	Shakespearean	take	on	antitheatricalism.	In	the	second	section,	I	ground	Shylock’s	stranger’s	tragedy	in	a	discussion	of	the	actor	more	broadly,	specifically	the	actor	as	a	construct	of	Judeo-Christian	consciousness,	whereby	God	functions	as	spectator.	I	examine	how	two	opposing	models	of	acting	are	embodied	and	articulated	by	Shylock	and	the	Christians’	two	opposing	models	of		 89	theological	and	economic	value.	This	section	locates	how	exactly	Shylock’s	authentication	fails	by	taking	a	closer	look	at	Portia’s	mercantile—and	theatrical—logic	of	mercy	and	Antonio’s	proto-capitalism,	arguing	that	each	frames	Shylock’s	fundamental	possession	of	himself	and	his	capital	as	inauthentic	precisely	because	it	does	not	please	God	the	watcher	of	men.	Finally,	in	part	three	I	bring	these	economic	models	of	spiritual	authenticity	to	a	discussion	of	the	actor	as	labourer,	arguing	that	the	actor	as	both	a	commodity	and	a	seller	of	that	commodity	exposes	an	affective	shame	intrinsic	to	the	social	situation	that	the	theatre	stages:	how	to	be	a	“real”	person	behind	the	political	masks	of	identity,	or	an	individual	within	the	obliterating	collective.	This	shame	is	revealed,	I	think,	both	in	Shylock’s	confrontation	of	himself	by	himself	in	the	famous	trial	scene	as	well	as	the	anxieties	that	have	plagued	The	Merchant	of	Venice’s	production	and	reception	on	stage	and	in	the	classroom.	My	hope	is	that	by	linking	Shylock’s	theo-political	and	economic	stranger	status	to	his	metatheatrical	function	as	an	actor	within	the	play	world,	I	can	exemplify	how	the	practices	of	the	theatre	as	a	medium	double	back	on	the	metaphysical	questions	of	admission	that	the	play—and	this	thesis—is	staging.				Tracy	C.	Davis	and	Thomas	Postlewait	provide	a	detailed	introduction	to	the	history	and	definitions	of	“theatricality”	in	their	2003	collection	of	essays	under	the	same	name.	Aware	how	indistinct	the	relationships	between	performance,	ritual,	theatre	as	activity	and	theatre	as	stage	can	and	have	become,	they	define	their	topic	as	“the	idea	of	theatricality	in	its	various	manifestations	throughout	many	periods”	(3).	This	is	helpful	insofar	as	it	is	generous.	By	resisting	“the	apparent	need	to	stipulate	one	meaning	for	theatricality,”	Davis	and	Postlewait	are	able	to	explore	a		 90	whole	domain	of	human	behavior—namely,	people	acting	as	other	people	and	other	things—as	it	appears	across	cultures	and	as	it	becomes	institutionalized.	The	anthropological	turn	in	theatre	scholarship	of	the	twentieth	century,	under	the	influence	of	thinkers	such	as	Bakhtin	and	Turner,	has	sought	to	explicitly	provide	an	all-encompassing	idea	of	theatre,	performance,	and	culture.	“Theatricality”	has	become	the	theoretical	by	which	“histrionic	practice	and	an	interpretive	idea	of	human	behaviour”	are	wed	(94).		I	will	similarly	be	employing	theatricality	in	this	way	in	my	analysis	of	Shylock—both	as	a	functional,	mediated	practice	and	a	metaphor	for	human	behavior	and	relationships	more	broadly.	I	will	be	examining	the	concepts	of	labor	and	authenticity	with	the	assumption	that	they	are	like	two	prongs	on	the	theatricality	pitchfork,	the	former	the	functional,	mediated	practice	and	the	latter	the	metaphor	for	how	humans	are	or	should	be.	My	interest	throughout	this	chapter	will	be	in	how	Shylock,	the	money-lending,	Jewish	outsider,	is	figured	as	a	stranger	within	the	context	of	the	play	world	as	well	as	an	actor	within	the	situation	of	the	theatre	and	how	that	tension	generates	the	second	anxiety	of	admission	this	thesis	is	staging:	what	it	means	to	be	an	authentic	individual	in	the	maddening	crowd.			3.1	 Shylock’s	Crisis	of	Admission:	Theatricality	as	a	Moral	Wrong	After	Shylock’s	forced	conversion	in	the	famous	trial	scene	of	The	Merchant	of	Venice,	Judge	Balthazar	(the	cross-dressed	Portia)	asks,	“Art	thou	contented,	Jew?	What	dost	thou	say?”	(4.1.389).	Shylock	responds,	“I	am	content.”	(4.1.390).	Is	he	truly	content?	No,	of	course	not.	But	he	does	have	to	say	the	right	lines	or	things		 91	could	get	much	worse	for	him	than	they	already	are.	Half	of	his	goods	have	just	been	confiscated	and	the	other	half	promised	to	his	betraying	daughter	and	her	Christian	husband	upon	Shylock’s	death.	I’ve	always	considered	these	three	words,	“I	am	content,”	to	be	the	punctum	of	the	play’s	possible	interpretive	trajectories,	dramaturgically	and	conceptually.	I’m	not	alone.	Critical	scholarship	of	the	past	several	decades	has	generally	conceded	that	Shylock’s	statement	suggests	a	pitiful	submission	to	what	Harry	Berger	has	called	a	brutal	Christian	“mercifixion”	(70).	Barbara	K.	Lewalski	has	argued	that	Shylock’s	penultimate	line	is	a	numbing	recognition	of	the	“logic	which	demands	his	conversion,”	albeit	a	logic	“he	finds	too	painful	to	admit	explicitly”	(341).	Whether	Shylock	recognizes,	as	the	Christians	would	hope,	that	the	purpose	of	the	law	is	to	reveal	to	him	his	own	sinfulness	or	whether	he	recognizes	that	the	law’s	tables	have	turned	on	him	unjustly,	the	performative	result	is	the	same:	“acknowledgement	that	he	can	no	longer	make	his	stand”	(341).		Lawrence	Danson,	on	the	other	hand,	interprets	Shylock’s	laconic	resignation	as	less	of	a	recognition	of	the	logic	that	demands	his	conversion	and	more	of	a	“profound	weariness”	in	light	of	that	“successive	weakening	we	have	observed	in	him	since	his	first	bold	appearance”	in	the	play,	suggesting	that	the	brevity	of	that	submission	could	only	be	accomplished	because	Shylock	is	unable	to	say	more	(168).	Similarly	interested	in	Shylock’s	sudden	inability	to	speak,	Stanley	Cavell	suggests	Shylock’s	“I	am	content”	is	more	penetrating	than	mere	fatigue:	Shylock	is	“spiritually	disabled,	without	recognizable	emotion	or	comprehension,	not	even	angry	or	contemptuous”	(222).	In	a	play	that	is	permeated	with	discourse	on	the		 92	importance	of	speech	acts,	Shylock’s	sudden	reduction	to	a	“creature	without	the	right	to	speak”	suggests	that	the	disavowal	of	his	bond	is	as	much	about	rejection	as	it	is	about	submission	(223).	As	Cavell	puts	it,	“The	Merchant	of	Venice,	most	single-mindedly	among	Shakespeare’s	works,	displays,	to	the	point	of	caricature,	the	fact	that	the	failure	to	be	known	(hence	eventually	to	know	another)	is	not	fundamentally	a	matter	of	ignorance	(an	epistemological	lack)	but	a	gesture	of	rejection	(a	moral	stance)”	(221).	Janet	Adelman	has	argued	that	this	complex	gesture	of	ignorance	and	rejection	is	constitutive	of	the	Christian	conversion	of	the	Jew.	Despite	Shakespeare’s	attempt	at	humanizing	Shylock,	the	spectacle	of	his	conversion	and	his	ostensible	contentment	serve	to	assuage	the	anxiety	inherent	in	Judeo-Christian	blood	relations	(38).	As	Adelman	argues:		Both	Catholics	and	Protestants	of	various	stripes	were	fond	of	accusing	one	another	of	Judaizing;	but	what	if	the	Jew	was	there,	in	the	Christian,	not	through	some	inadmissible	excess	or	residue	but	constitutively,	at	the	heart	of	his	Christianity?	The	converso	is	a	haunting	figure	in	part,	I	think,	because	the	Jew-as-stranger	has	the	potential	to	recall	Christianity	to	its	own	internal	alien;	converted	or	not,	he	can	become	a	figure	for	the	disowned	other	within	the	self.	(13)			 93	For	Adelman,	Shylock’s	conversion	reveals	not	what	the	Christian	has	rejected,	but	what	the	Christian	has	disowned	within	itself	and	therefore	cannot	recognize	and	acknowledge.		At	stake,	I	think,	in	the	critical	discussion	of	Shylock’s	famous	speech	act	is	not	whether	it	is	sincere	or	not,	but	whether	Shylock—and	his	Christian	converters—are	aware	of	how	absolutely	insincere	it	really	is.	While	Cavell	and	Adelman	would	agree	that	Shylock	becomes	a	caricature	to	secure	Jewish	difference	and	Christian	priority,	I’m	not	so	sure	they	would	agree	that	Shylock	is	conscious	of	this	fact.	Adelman’s	important	historicist	and	psychoanalytic	reading	of	race	and	Jewish	conversion	is	not	as	concerned	with	the	performative	gymnastics	required	of	a	complex	character	who	must	say	“I	am	content”	and	not	mean	it.	Cavell,	on	the	other	hand,	a	philosopher	of	aesthetics	and	value,	is	much	more	fascinated	in	the	dramaturgical	effect	of	Shylock’s	implausible	satisfaction,	finding	in	himself	an	affective	resonance:	“I	have	never	satisfied	myself	about	the	ending	of	The	Merchant	of	Venice,	reading	it	or	attending	it”	(222).	It	is	also	clear	that	Cavell	takes	Shylock’s	humanizing	seriously	and	understands	him	to	be	a	tragic	figure,	concluding	his	interpretation	of	Shylock	as	a	man	“becoming	drained	of	the	effort	to	continue	assuming,	to	the	extent	he	has	ever	assumed,	participation	in	the	human”	(230).	The	difference	between	Cavell	and	Adelman’s	Shylock—and	I	think	between	most	readings	of	Shylock	in	this	scene—is	that	one	is	conscious	and	the	other	isn’t,	one	is	tragic	and	the	other	isn’t.	Cavell’s	reading	of	Shylock’s	tragic	ending	implicitly	references	Albert	Camus’s	articulation	of	the	relationship	between	consciousness	and	tragedy.	In	his		 94	meditation	on	Sisyphus,	the	mythological	hero	who	is	punished	by	the	gods	to	eternally	roll	a	boulder	up	a	hill	only	to	watch	it	roll	back	down	again	and	again,	Camus	argues,	“If	this	myth	is	tragic,	that	is	because	its	hero	is	conscious.	Where	would	his	torture	be,	indeed,	if	at	every	step	the	hope	of	succeeding	upheld	him?”	(2).	Indeed,	at	every	step	throughout	Shakespeare’s	play	and	most	evocatively	throughout	the	trial	scene,	egged	on	by	Portia’s	Balthazar,	Shylock’s	hope	of	getting	his	bond	and	enacting	revenge	upon	his	Christian	relations	uphold	him.	Arguably,	it	is	only	when	he	becomes	conscious	of	the	litigious	set-up,	of	the	elaborate	punishment	that	is	to	be	his	forced,	theatrical	conversion	that	he—weary,	submissive,	and	spiritually	disabled—says,	“I	am	content”	and	his	torture	truly	begins.	But	Shakespeare	forecloses	our	view	of	the	tortured,	conscious	Sisyphus-Shylock.	Shylock	falls	ill	just	after	saying	he	is	well	and	leaves	the	stage	never	to	come	back	again:	“I	pray	you	give	me	leave	to	go	from	hence;/I	am	not	well”	(4.1.391-392).	The	fifth	act	shenanigans	of	his	Christian	relations	remain	only	haunted	by	the	tragedy	of	the	future	torture	of	a	man	who	has	just	become	fully	conscious	of	the	absolute	inexorability	of	his	situation.		Camus’s	purpose	in	linking	consciousness	to	tragedy,	interestingly	enough,	is	to	interrogate	what	it	means	for	a	human	to	be	truly	content,	famously	ending	his	essay,	“One	must	imagine	Sisyphus	happy”	(3).	Humans,	those	absurdly	insignificant	mortal	things	so	uniquely	capable	of	positing	meaning	and	yet	unable	to	keep	themselves	from	suffering	under	that	meaning,	can	be	happy	only	when	they	realize	that	their	lives,	metaphorized	as	the	burden	of	the	rock,	are	theirs:	“Thus,	convinced	of	the	wholly	human	origin	of	all	that	is	human,	a	blind	man	eager	to	see	who	knows		 95	that	the	night	has	no	end,	he	is	still	on	the	go.	The	rock	is	still	rolling”	(3).	Clearly	Shylock’s	rock	is	also	still	rolling,	but	do	we,	like	Camus,	really	imagine	him	happy	when	he	leaves	the	stage	not	feeling	well?	Does	Shylock	suddenly	become	content	because	he	realizes	that	his	oppression	and	this	punishment	by	means	of	conversion	are	his	life,	and	that	nothing—not	even	a	cleverly	crafted	revenge—can	extricate	himself	from	it?		I	don’t	think	that	Cavell	imagines	Shylock	to	be	authentically	content	at	the	end	of	the	trial	scene	the	way	Camus	imagines	Sisyphus	to	be—a	man	who	reaches	a	perfect	disillusionment	with	God,	and	so	is	able	to	stop	hoping	for	rescue	as	well	as	stop	fighting	for	justice,	essentially	a	man	who	extricates	himself	from	the	vicissitudes	of	desire.	Such	a	reading	of	Shylock’s	speech	act	would	make	his	contentment	sincere;	he	has	accepted	his	conversion	because	he	has	suddenly	become	disillusioned	with	his	Jehovah	and	ceases	desiring	a	more	perfect	world.	Shylock’s	disillusionment	would	seem	to	demonstrate	the	validity	of	a	Christian	conversion	and	a	Jewish	scapegoating	even	more,	as	it	negates	Shylock’s	God	by	reifying	the	Jew’s	due	burden.42	I	too,	like	Cavell	and	most	modern	audiences	of	Shakespeare’s	most	performed	play,	am	unsatisfied	with	Shylock’s	exit.	As	Julia	Reinhard	Lupton	observes,	“The	play’s	answer	to	the	modern	Jew,	namely	to	convert	Shylock	to	Christianity	at	the	end	of	the	play	and	thus	bring	him	into	the	loving	circle	of	nations,	has	been	felt	by	even	the	most	typologically-committed																																									 																					42	See	also	Rene	Girard’s	A	Theatre	of	Envy,	where	he	argues	that	there	are	two	possible	interpretations	of	Shylock:	one	which	scapegoats	him	and	another	which	reveals	the	process	of	scapegoating	itself,	pp.	248-250.				 96	critics	as	a	strained	and	painful	one”	(133).43	We	seem	to	intuitively	register	that	Shylock	is	not	happy.	We	know	he	is	not	within	the	loving	circle	of	nations,	if	the	machinations	of	his	Christian	relations	are	any	measure.	Shylock’s	speech	act	must	be	a	lie,	a	performance	generated	from	a	moment	of	consciousness	whose	desire	is	twofold:	to	protect	itself	from	just	the	sort	of	torture	Sisyphus	endures	and	to	prevent	his	audience	from	becoming	aware	that	that	is	what	he	is	doing.	As	Berger	notes,	Shylock’s	contentment	may	“read	as	a	conspicuous	refusal	to	betray	true	feelings	to	the	enemies	who	fill	the	courtroom”	(71).	By	dissembling	to	these	enemies,	Shylock’s	interiority	remains	intact,	remains	unconverted.	While	Shylock’s	“I	am	content”	signals	the	beginning	of	his	awareness	of	his	tragedy,	it	simultaneously	tries	to	foreclose	its	possibility	by	pretending	it	isn’t	tragic.		It’s	important	to	note	that	Camus,	however,	never	says	Sisyphus	is	happy;	he	says	one	must	imagine	him	happy.	The	difference	is	phenomenological:	that	difference	between	the	place	of	subjective	embodiment—Shylock’s	lived	reality—and	the	objective	imagination	of	that	embodiment—Portia’s,	Antonio’s,	the	live	audience’s,	and	even	Shylock’s	image	of	Shylock.	An	actor,	of	course,	is	both:	a	real,	subjective	body	in	time	and	space	putting	on	the	objective	illusion	of	a	character.	Moreover,	a	good	actor,	as	Hamlet	famously	argues,	suits	“the	action	to	the	word,	the	word	to	the	action”	(3.2.18-19),	advice	that	“implies	a	temperance	in	the	delivery	that	is	ultimately	aimed	at	putting	the	actor,	as	a	real	stranger,	at	home	in	the	unreal	world	of	the	play”	(States	120).	Good	acting	is	when	the	worlds	of	subject																																									 																					43	Lupton’s	essay	“Exegesis,	Mimesis,	and	the	Future	of	Humanism	in	The	Merchant	of	Venice”	does	a	remarkable	job	historicizing	the	humanist	interpretations	of	Shylock	since	the	Romantics	that	have	sought	to	substantiate	Shylock’s	claims	to	a	common	humanity.		 97	and	object	merge	into	one.44	This	is	of	course	what	Shylock’s	conversion	is	all	about,	making	him	“at	home	in	the	unreal	world”	of	Portia’s	theatre	disguised	as	Law.	The	metatheatricality	of	the	scene	is	not	just	painful	to	watch,	it’s	difficult	to	decipher.	When	Shylock	says	“I	am	content,”	he	is	playing	the	role	of	an	actor	who	is	both	the	subjective	man	Shylock,	the	Jewish	plaintiff	at	court,	and	the	objective	character	he	must	now	become,	the	contented	converso	who	agrees	with	the	court’s	verdict.	That	the	two	must	come	together	is	simultaneously	Shylock’s	success	and	his	tragedy:	success	because	he	has	authenticated	himself	to	this	unreal	world	and	tragedy	because	he	has	done	so	by	being	inauthentic.		I	think	a	particularly	useful	articulation	of	tragedy	in	terms	of	a	character’s	authentication	(as	opposed	to	an	Aristotelian	catharsis	which	focuses	on	the	audience’s	experience	of	itself	watching	tragic	figures)	comes	from	twentieth	century	playwright	Arthur	Miller.	In	Tragedy	and	the	Common	Man,	Miller	defines	tragedy	as	“the	consequence	of	a	man’s	total	compulsion	to	evaluate	himself	justly”	(1168).	Miller	continues	with	his	syllogism:		Now,	if	it	is	true	that	tragedy	is	the	consequence	of	a	man's	total	compulsion	to	evaluate	himself	justly,	his	destruction	in	the	attempt	posits	a	wrong	or	an	evil	in	his	environment.	And	this	is	precisely	the	morality	of	tragedy	and	its	lesson.	The	discovery	of	the	moral	law,																																									 																					44	Indeed,	the	master	metaphor	of	drama-as-life	suggests	that	good	living	is	similar:	to	be	in	the	world	well	is	to	be	of	the	world.	As	James	L.	Calderwood	observes	in	Shakespearean	Metadrama,	“Everyone	knows	that	Shakespeare	fairly	early	got	onto	the	master	metaphor	of	life-as-drama	and	used	it	extensively	to	illuminate	the	experiences	of	his	characters”	(5).			 98	which	is	what	the	enlightenment	of	tragedy	consists	of,	is	not	the	discovery	of	some	abstract	or	metaphysical	quantity.		The	tragic	right	is	a	condition	of	life,	a	condition	in	which	the	human	personality	is	able	to	flower	and	realize	itself.	The	wrong	is	the	condition	which	suppresses	man,	perverts	the	flowing	out	of	his	love	and	creative	instinct.	(4)			Shylock	is	a	man	with	a	total	compulsion	to	evaluate	himself	justly.	Shylock’s	demand	for	his	pound	of	flesh	is	a	demand	steeped	in	a	desire	for	authenticity:	to	be	evaluated	and	witnessed	as	a	Jew	who	is	justly	owed,	and	in	that	deliverance	of	what	is	owed	him,	a	Jew	whose	Law-abiding	Jehovah	is	consequently	more	genuine	than	the	Christian’s	God	who	deals	in	mercy.	He	will	have	his	one	pound	of	Antonio’s	flesh	because	that	pound	represents	that	he	should	be	rewarded	because	he	is	right:	“By	my	soul	I	swear/There	is	no	power	in	the	tongue	of	man/To	alter	me.	I	stay	here	on	my	bond”	(4.1.236-238).	His	destruction	in	the	attempt	to	evaluate	himself	justly	by	enacting	revenge	upon	Antonio—“If	a	Jew	wrong	a	Christian,	what	is	his	humility?	Revenge”	(3.1.53-54)—posits	a	wrong	or	evil	in	his	environment:	theatricality	itself.	Shylock’s	demise	in	the	attempt	to	get	his	bond,	I	argue,	posits	the	theatre	as	the	evil	ultimately	responsible	for	that	demise	because	it	is	responsible	for	his	own	inauthenticity:	his	acting	content	for	an	audience	who	demands	that	illusion.	By	theatre,	I	am	referring	to	Portia’s	theatre	of	mercy	specifically,	a	theatre	that	I	will	examine	more	closely	in	the	next	section.	What	I	want	to	establish	here	is	that	Shylock	is	forced	into	performing	a	certain	role	in	this	theatre—that	of		 99	contented	converso.	By	acting	content	within	a	context	that,	through	its	very	theatrical	inauthenticity—Portia	herself	is	pretending	to	be	a	real	judge—forces	Shylock	to	play	along,	Shylock	exposes	Portia’s	theatre	of	mercy	as	fundamental	to	his	destruction.	If	we	follow	Miller,	the	enlightenment	of	Shylock’s	tragedy	consists	of	the	discovery	of	a	moral	law:	the	dissimulation	inherent	in	public	life	is	the	wrong	that	“suppresses	man,	perverts	the	flowing	out	of	his	love	and	creative	instinct.”		Ironically,	the	ideal	of	authenticity	that	is	constitutive	of	Shylock’s	tragedy	mirrors	the	ethical	ideal	espoused	by	critics	of	the	theatre	from	Plato	to	Augustine	to	Nietzsche.45	This	“antitheatrical	prejudice”	as	Jonas	Barish	has	coined	it,	is	suspicious	of	the	theatre	precisely	because	of	its	mimetic	faculty.	“The	search	for	authenticity,”	Barish	argues,	“involves	a	denial	of	theater,	because	the	theater	itself	is	a	denial	of	reality”	(451).	Man’s	total	compulsion	to	evaluate	himself	justly	is																																									 																					45	Tanya	Pollard	notes	that	early	modern	antitheatricalists	were	largely	“religious	figures,	particularly	preachers,”	and	very	often	Puritan	(xvi).	John	Northbrooke,	John	Rainolds,	and	William	Pryne,	for	instance,	were	all	connected	with	puritanism;	in	his	1577	diatribe	against	the	stage	“A	Treatise	Against	Dicing,	Dancing,	Plays,	and	Interludes,	with	Other	Idle	Pastimes”	(ironically	structured	as	a	theatrical	dialogue),	preacher	John	Northbrooke	argues,	“Truly	you	may	see	what	multitudes	are	gathered	together	at	those	plays,	of	all	sorts,	to	the	great	displeasure	of	almighty	God,	and	danger	of	their	souls,	for	that	they	learn	nothing	thereby,	but	that	which	is	fleshy	and	carnal”	(Pollard	5).	Yet	other	antitheatricalist	pamphleteers	such	as	Stephen	Gosson	who	wrote	Schoole	of	Abuse	and	Philip	Stubbes	who	wrote	The	Anatomie	of	Abuses	were	not	Puritan—indeed	Gosson	was	a	former	stage	actor.	Both	of	these	tracts,	and	many	others	like	them	in	this	period,	argued	that	plays	took	“advantage	of	their	verbal	power	and	aesthetic	pleasure	in	order	to	seduce	viewers	into	vice”	(Pollard	20).	Similar	sentiments	are	found	in	Rousseau	and	Nietzsche	in	later	centuries.	In	Lettre	a	d’Alembert,	for	instance,	Rousseau	famously	argues	that	a	theatre	should	not	be	built	in	Geneva	because	it	would	be	detrimental	to	the	moral,	political,	and	economic	fabric	of	the	town	(Maslan	77).	Rousseau’s	tract	warned	against	playwrights,	actors,	and	hedonistic	theatre-goers	“who	might	attempt	to	impose	the	corruption	of	a	theatrical,	and	theatricalized,	society	upon	them”	(Ravel	183).	Nietzsche	similarly	considered	the	theatre	an	imposition,	albeit	one	that	imposes	itself	over	other	art	forms.	As	Martin	Puchner	has	noted,	“Nietzsche’s	analysis	of	Greek	tragedy	contained	the	impossible	projection	of	a	theater	without	script,	without	an	audience,	and	most	importantly,	without	individual	and	individualized	actors”	(Stage	Fright	3).	For	Plato,	Tertullian,	Prynne,	Gosson,	Stubbes,	Rousseau,	Nietzsche	and	so	many	others,	the	theatre	as	an	art	form	could	not	achieve	a	pure,	organic	coherence	so	long	as	it	actually	existed	in	real	time	and	space,	with	real	actors,	audiences,	and	societies	who	were	all	just	too	susceptible	to	transgression.	Representation	could	stay	honest	so	long	as	no	one	or	no	thing	actually	represented	anything	else	to	anyone	else.				 100	analogous	to	this	search	for	authenticity.	Shylock’s	search	for	authenticity	is	a	search	for	the	expression	of	his	own	creative	instinct,	a	search	for	that	which	is	original	in	him,	is	not	mimetic:	it	is	his	creative	revenge	strategy	against	Antonio	that	is	just	such	an	expression	of	authenticity.		This	revenge	strategy,	however,	is	of	course	theatrical	in	its	own	right.	Staged	in	a	courtroom	with	audience-like	jurors	and	judge,	Shylock	performs	the	roles	of	Businessman,	Jew,	Revenger,	and	betrayed	Father	all	at	once.	The	distinction	between	the	kind	of	playing	Shylock	brings	to	the	courtroom	and	the	kind	of	playing	Portia	demands	of	him	is	not	simply	the	difference	between	authenticity	and	dissimulation.	It’s	a	difference	between	two	kinds	of	actors:	one	who	seems	to	be	in	possession	of	his	own	characterization	and	the	other	whose	characterization	is	under	the	possession	of	someone	else.	Tied	up,	then,	in	the	discussion	of	Shylock’s	demise—indeed	in	the	very	discussion	of	the	morality	upon	which	his	conversion	has	been	either	denounced	or	applauded	over	the	years—is	what	Knowles	calls	the	“conditions	of	production,”	or	that	pole	of	the	performance	triangle	that	is	concerned	with	the	actor,	the	director,	and	the	working	conditions	between	them	(i.e.	as	opposed	to	the	“performance	text”	or	the	“conditions	of	reception”)	(19).	In	physically	staging	the	tragedy	of	a	man	who	is	trying	to	be	authentic,	the	most	obvious	antagonist	to	that	authenticity	is	the	actor	himself,	his	performance,	and	the	fictive	(and	not	so	fictive)	economic,	political,	and	social	hierarchies	that	are	built	upon	that	performance.		Shylock’s	function	within	the	play	as	a	mediator	of	economic	exchange,	therefore,	is	no	coincidence	to	the	nature	of	his	tragedy,	but	rather	essential	to	it.		 101	The	critique	of	himself	as	a	just	man	and	his	demise	as	a	just	man	depend	upon	the	unique	relationship	of	his	labor	to	those	that	consume	it.	Salesmen	and	moneylenders	have	long	been	associated	with	the	protean	nature	of	the	actor	and	actors	with	the	inauthenticity	of	salesmen.	There	is	something	wrong	about	their	labor.	As	Nicholas	Ridout	argues,	“One	can	easily	indulge	in	the	fantasy	that	the	poet,	the	painter,	or	the	composer,	whose	work	is	accomplished	in	your	absence,	might	simply	create	art	for	its	own	sake.	It	is	much	harder	to	keep	this	delusion	intact	in	the	presence	of	workers	who	are	doing	their	work	in	your	presence”	(27).	The	salesman,	the	usurer,	and	the	actor	have	not	created	their	products.	Leave	that	to	designers	and	to	nature.	The	performances	they	cultivate	to	exchange	and	sell	their	products	are	suspect	precisely	because	they	are	several	degrees	removed	from	the	original	source.	Historically	speaking,	there	has	been	a	long	and	“pernicious”	association	in	the	Western	tradition	between	actors	and	Jews:	“The	workings	of	what	we	may	term	hard-line,	fundamentalist	anti-theatricalism	may	perhaps	be	further	clarified	by	comparing	it	with	old-style	antisemitism.	The	historical	connection	between	them,	indeed,	goes	way	back	to	a	day	when	Jews	and	actors	were	lumped	together	as	undesirable	members	of	society,	like	prostitutes”	(Barish	464).	Prostitutes,	Jews,	and	actors.	Inauthentic.	Fake.	Theatrical.	It’s	almost	as	if	Shakespeare	was	purposely	trying	to	create	the	perfect	political,	economic,	and	aesthetic	ogre	for	his	audience.	The	character	Shylock	embodies	the	trifecta	of	Elizabethan	social	indictment:	a	dissembling	actor,	a	usurious	moneylender,	and	a	Jew.	He	is	profoundly	undesirable.	Shylock,	however,	by	virtue	of	being	a	character	within	a	theatrical	situation,		 102	doubles	as	a	constitutive	element	of	that	figuration—the	actor	who	must	play	an	actor.	In	so	doing,	the	play	works	out	the	very	wrong	it	posits	in	the	only	way	a	play	can:	by	acting.		In	the	context	of	The	Merchant	of	Venice,	being	a	good	actor	is	actually	worth	quite	a	bit.	Shakespeare’s	play	is	riddled	with	characters	trying	to	be	better	actors.	Portia’s	suitors	are	judged	as	much	on	their	performance	of	love	as	on	their	choice	of	the	correct	casket,	the	former	being	the	greater	signifier	of	the	men’s	poverty	of	skill.	Bassanio’s	and	Gratiano’s	performances	of	husband	are	bitterly	staked	against	their	performances	of	upright	citizen,	and	as	their	treatments	of	the	rings	Portia	and	Nerissa	give	them	suggests,	they	are	not	capable	of	performing	both	well.	Antonio’s	Christ-like	performance	of	humble	acquiescence	to	the	Law	of	the	Father	never	fully	reaches	a	level	of	genuine	atonement;	sure	he	gives	of	himself	for	the	happy	marriage	of	Portia	and	Bassanio,	but	it’s	questionable	whether	that	marriage	will	actually	be	happy.	The	means	do	not	make	the	ends.	Even	Portia,	chameleon	of	form	par	excellence,	rightly	understands	that	a	good	performance	is	only	as	good	as	its	audience:	“I	think/The	Nightingale,	if	she	should	sing	by	day/When	every	goose	is	cackling,	would	be	thought/No	better	a	musician	than	the	wren”	(5.1.103-106).	This	is	a	deeply	personal	observation	on	the	power	of	performance	strategies	from	a	talented	woman	who	must	try	and	be	heard	through	the	cackling	of	society	men.		While	Shylock’s	Christian	brethren	are	eager	to	play	their	parts,	they	transcend	nothing	but	their	own	machinations	whose	results	were	already	a	given.	That	is,	their	performances	do	not	posit	acting	itself	as	problematic	or	wrong,	but	simply	as	part	of	the	process	of	achieving	and	manipulating	power	within	a		 103	theatricalized	society.	It	is	Shylock’s	onslaught	against	their	performative	world	of	power	that	forces	what	Miller	calls	a	“total	examination	of	the	‘unchangeable’	environment”:	the	theatre.	What	is	the	theatre	exactly?	Is	it	a	microcosm	of	social	order	or	cosmic	order,	or	perhaps	both?	What	does	it	ask	of	its	participants?	What	is	the	relationship	between	everyday	life	and	the	theatre?	Between	commercial	exchange	and	the	theatre?	Shylock’s	tragedy	is	an	ironic	burlesque	of	what	it	means	to	be	authentic,	but	arguably	the	only	kind	of	authenticity	achievable	given	the	doubling	realities	of	the	play	world,	and	arguably,	the	doubling	realities	of	“real”	life.	If	we	must	imagine	Shylock	happy,	like	Sisyphus,	perhaps	it’s	because	that	is	the	exclusive	task	of	any	audience	(or	society)	that	takes	the	playing	of	a	character	(or	another	citizen)	at	face	value.	It’s	just	that	we’re	not—and	seldom	ever	are—at	face	value	in	this	play,	and	that’s	the	point;	rather,	we’re	in	a	Chekhovian	world	of	theatrical	subtext	where	inauthenticity	strategically	generates	a	pathos	that	is	conscious	of	its	own	dissimulation.		Sisyphus,	of	course,	conquered	his	punishment	by	denying	the	existence	of	the	gods	who	ordered	it.	He	took	on	the	role	he	was	forced	to	play	and	by	acting	it	perfectly	became	free	from	its	artifice,	became	authenticated	to	it.	By	becoming	his	part	completely,	Sisyphus	became	at	home	in	the	unreal	world	of	his	punishment.	The	same,	however,	cannot	be	said	of	Shylock.	While	Shylock,	too,	takes	on	the	role	he	is	forced	to	play	and	acts	it	perfectly,	he	never	becomes	free	from	its	artifice.	Shylock’s	refusal	to	betray	his	true	feelings	after	his	conversion—anger,	sadness,	grief—keeps	his	interiority	intact,	yes,	but	it’s	an	interiority	that	conflicts	with	the	happiness	he	must	feign,	a	conflict	that	literally	makes	him	unwell.	His		 104	contentedness	is	a	strategy	that	does	not	authenticate	himself	to	the	Christian	universe,	but	rather	distances	himself	from	it	further	by	dividing	himself	in	two:	the	Shylock	who	dissembles	to	survive	and	the	Shylock	who	really	isn’t	happy,	who	is	silent	and	sick.	The	enemy	is	still	very	much	there.	One	must	imagine	Shylock	to	be,	if	not	a	less	capable	actor	than	Sisyphus,	perhaps	one	of	a	very	different	order.		In	the	next	section,	I’d	like	to	examine	what	order	that	might	be.	To	do	so,	I	move	away	from	the	physical	theatre	of	the	trial	scene	and	move	into	the	theatre	of	the	mind.	I	want	to	examine	the	actor	as	a	construct	of	Judeo-Christian	consciousness.	On	a	basic	level,	you	become	an	actor	when	you	realize	you	are	being	watched,	that	you	are	not	just	a	subject	experiencing	your	reality,	but	an	object	in	the	reality	of	others,	specifically	others	who	are	expecting	something	from	your	behaviour.	Both	Christianity	and	Judaism	imagine	a	God	in	the	heavens	who	is	omniscient,	who	can	see	and	know	your	behavior	(and	arguably	your	thoughts),	and	who	wants	to	be	pleased	by	that	behaviour.	Embedded	in	the	consciousness	of	both	the	Jew	and	the	Christian	merchants	of	Venice,	then,	is	an	awareness	of	themselves	as	objects	in	the	world	being	watched—and	judged—by	a	higher	power.	In	their	respective	theologies,	the	world	is	akin	to	a	theatre	upon	which	they	act,	with	God	being	the	audience	watching	them	that	they	aim	to	please.		Nonetheless,	Antonio	and	Shylock	have	very	different	senses	of	how	they	are	to	act	for	God’s	pleasure.	Given	that	both	men	are	merchants	and	are	intimately	bound	up	in	the	exchange	of	goods	for	profit,	we	might	interrogate	this	distinction	more	specifically:	how	do	the	economic	practices	of	each	merchant	seek	to	please	God?	Ultimately,	I	argue	that	Antonio	imagines	himself	as	a	dispossessed	instrument		 105	of	God’s	pleasure,	and	he	plays	out	that	lack	of	possession	by	being	dispossessed	from	the	teleology	of	his	economic	practices.	Shylock,	on	the	other	hand,	acts	as	a	self-possessed	co-creator	of	God’s	pleasure	and	his	economic	practices	likewise	instrumentalize	this	dynamic.	The	theatrical	practices	these	men	articulate	via	their	economic	practices	ultimately	take	the	guise	of	a	theological	polemic,	whereby	mercy	and	justice	signify	the	mercantile-like	exchanges	among	humans	that	God	watches	and	oversees.	Where	this	first	section	set	up	Shylock’s	tragedy	as	that	of	the	paradoxical	stranger	on	the	threshold	of	the	Christian’s	world	of	belonging	who	tried	to	authenticate	himself	to	his	otherness	by	staging	his	own	theatre	of	justice	within	their	theatre	of	mercy,	the	next	section	locates	how	exactly	that	authentication	fails	by	examining	Portia’s	theatre	of	mercy	and	Antonio’s	proto-capitalism.	I	argue	that	each	situates	Shylock’s	possession	of	himself	and	his	capital	as	inauthentic	precisely	because	it	does	not	please	God	the	spectator	as	they	imagine	Him.			3.2	 Recognizing	the	Actor:	A	Theo-politics	of	Possession	and	Authenticity	Shakespeare’s	play	situates	two	disparate	economic	outlooks	constitutive	of	Europe’s	nascent	capitalism	within	a	theological	polemic	that	doubles	as	a	metatheatrical	polemic	on	acting.	In	other	words,	the	economic	models	to	which	Shylock	and	the	Christians	subscribe	are	also	models	of	theatrical	performance,	but	they	only	appear	us	such	within	the	valences	of	theological	debate:	namely,	mercy	versus	justice.	In	their	examination	of	the	economic	morality	of	the	play,	“Universal	Shylockery,”	Simon	Critchley	and	Tom	McCarthy	point	out	the	etymological	link		 106	between	merchant	and	mercy.	Mercy	“is	derived	from	merches,	that	is,	from	the	same	root	as	merchant,	meaning	‘payment,’	‘recompense,’	and	‘revenue.’	What	is	revenu	in	talk	of	mercy	is	mercantile	revenue.	Christianity	is	the	spiritualization	of	the	originally	material”	(4).	Morality	always	comes	back	to	contractual	relationships,	to	making	things	bind,	to	making	bonds.	Shylock	is	the	mortar	for	an	architecture	of	desire	that	could	not	hold	without	him.	He	lends	the	money,	the	mediation,	to	make	possible	the	contracts	among	Bassanio,	Portia,	and	Antonio,	but	he	never	crosses	the	threshold	into	their	world—until,	of	course,	he	is	forcibly	converted,	albeit	theatrically	converted,	into	that	world.		The	economic	theft	of	Shylock’s	goods	and	his	non-consensual	conversion	are,	significantly,	accomplished	and	justified	by	Portia’s	theatrical	moral	code,	emblemized	by	her	theology	of	mercy:				 But	mercy	is	above	this	sceptered	sway.		 It	is	enthroned	in	the	hearts	of	kings,	It	is	an	attribute	to	God	himself,	And	earthly	power	doth	then	show	likest	God’s	When	mercy	seasons	justice.	Therefore,	Jew,	Though	justice	be	thy	plea,	consider	this:	That	in	the	course	of	justice,	none	of	us	Should	see	salvation.	We	do	pray	for	mercy,	And	that	same	prayer	doth	teach	us	all	to	render	The	deeds	of	mercy.	(4.1.189-198)		 107		Portia’s	famous	speech	on	the	quality	of	mercy	is	as	much	a	litigious	warning	to		Shylock	as	it	is	a	theatrical	foretelling:	in	the	course	of	justice,	Shylock,	don’t	expect	salvation.	Salvation,	from	the	Latin	salvare,	meaning	“to	save,”	connotes	an	economic	strategy	for	the	rendering	of	God’s	reconciliation:	to	keep	something	from	being	lost	or	wasted.	Portia	associates	Shylock’s	desire	for	justice	with	being	lost	or	wasted	to	God.	Prayer,	or	supplication	to	God,	which	“doth	teach	us	all	to	render	the	deeds	of	mercy,”	is	the	spiritualization	of	the	originally	material	way	to	exchange	reciprocities	in	pursuit	of	fairness,	namely	requests	to	one	another	directly.	The	prayerful	desire	for	mercy/payment	galvanizes	fair	distribution	by	means	of	God’s	invisible	hand,	a	sort	of	supply	and	demand	logic	that	generates	equilibrium.		Mercy,	however,	is	not	merely	economic	practice,	according	to	Portia;	rather,	it	is	“an	attribute	to	God	himself.”	According	to	the	Christians,	to	manifest	mercy	in	one’s	economic	exchanges	with	one’s	fellow	man	is	to	manifest	God.	Of	course,	to	manifest	God	is	also	to	manifest	the	condition	of	humankind	before	an	egregious	fall	from	paradise:	“And	God	said,	Let	vs	make	man	in	our	Image,	after	our	likenesse:	and	let	them	haue	dominion	ouer	the	fish	of	the	sea,	and	ouer	the	foule	of	the	aire,	and	ouer	the	cattell,	and	ouer	all	the	earth,	and	ouer	euery	creeping	thing	that	creepeth	vpon	the	earth”	(KJV,	Gen.	1.	26).	Mercy,	then,	is	the	hermeneutical	attempt	by	the	Christians	to	imagine	what	means	of	human	exchange	here	in	a	fallen	earth	most	pleases	God,	insofar	as	God	ultimately	wants	to	see	himself	in	humanity	again.	We	are	getting	closer,	I	think,	to	the	kind	of	spectator	the	Christians	imagine	God	to	be:	God	is	pleased	in	how	they	act	towards	one	another	insofar	as	God	sees		 108	himself	in	their	performances.	The	logic	is	circular,	but	that’s	arguably	what	makes	it	so	useful	in	terms	of	signaling	a	model	of	theatrical	practice:	we	can	know	who	we	are	to	play	insofar	as	we	know	that	we	are	to	manifest	the	audience,	God,	and	we	know	how	to	manifest	that	audience,	God,	because	He	is	happy	when	He	sees	himself	in	us.	The	missing	piece	that	makes	the	model	of	theatrical	practice	coherent	is	the	invisible	hand	of	mercy	that	renders	God	as	both	spectator	and	transcendent	director	of	humans.46	The	prayer	for	mercy,	or	the	direct	communication	with	God	the	watcher	of	men	to	be	kind	and	compassionate	to	their	behaviors	on	earth,	teaches	“us	all	to	render	the	deeds	of	mercy,”	or	to	be	kind	and	compassionate	to	one	another.	In	other	words,	the	practice	of	mercy	is	what	allows	Christians	to	recognize	what	God	wants	and	to	be	recognized	by	God.	Mercy,	in	effect,	is	the	theoretical—and	fundamentally	mercantile	insofar	as	it	yields	the	revenue	of	salvation—lynchpin	that	makes	sense	of	a	Christian	consciousness	that	can	justify	God	as	both	spectator	in	heaven	and	director	on	earth.																																										 																					46	The	link	between	the	audience	and	mercy	is	similarly	invoked	in	Prospero’s	epilogue	to	the	audience	in	The	Tempest:	“Now	I	want/Spirits	to	enforce,	art	to	enchant,/And	my	ending	is	despair,/Unless	I	be	relieved	by	prayer,/Which	pierces	so	that	it	assaults/Mercy	itself,	and	frees	all	faults./As	from	crimes	would	pardoned	be,/Let	your	indulgence	set	me	free”	(Epilogue.14-20).	In	this	epilogue,	Prospero	asks	the	god-like	audience	to	release	him	from	the	fallen,	illusory	world	of	the	theatre	through	their	“indulgence,”	a	metaphor	for	both	their	pleasure/applause	and	the	ability	to	remit	sins.	If	we	follow	the	metaphor	through,	the	sin	or	“fault”	of	Prospero	is	the	onus	of	having	to	play	for	God’s/the	audience’s	pleasure	in	the	first	place—recognition	of	the	fallen	human	condition	that	requires	a	conscious	performance	as	opposed	to	an	unconscious	authenticity.	The	petition,	or	prayer,	to	the	audience	for	mercy	and	clemency	is	“that	same	prayer”	that	teaches	“us	all	to	render	the	deeds	of	mercy”—indeed	Prospero’s	main	argument	that	he	should	be	released	from	the	theater	is	that	he	has	been	merciful	himself	and	“pardoned	the	deceiver,”	namely	Alonso,	Antonio,	Sebastian,	and	Caliban,	the	ones	who	had	tried	to	undo	him	(Epilogue.7).	Mercy,	in	Prospero’s	epilogue,	is	similarly	a	theological	motif	that	doubles	as	a	theatrical	practice	that	renders	the	audience	as	both	watcher	and	director	of	action:	I	have	been	directed	by	your	pleasure	of	me	and	so	have	been	pleasurable,	so	please,	be	pleased	by	me.	The	economic	valences	are	also	implicit:	pay	me	with	your	pleasure	as	I’ve	paid	you	with	my	pleasing	performance.		 109	By	“director”	I	do	not	mean	the	modern	sense	of	a	theatrical	or	even	cinematic	director	who	manages	the	actors,	plot,	and	scene	development	of	a	given	production.47	Rather,	I	mean	the	very	literal	sense	of	one	who	“directs,	rules	or	guides;	one	that	has	authority	over	another”	(OED).	God	has	this	authority,	but	it	is	Portia	who	acts	as	interpreter	of	that	authority	and	then	ultimately	surrogate	for	it.	This	is	important	because	she	is	acting	herself.	Dressed	as	Balthazar	and	playacting	the	part	of	a	judge	allow	Portia	to	direct	the	scene	exactly	as	she	wants.	The	irony	of	course	is	that	the	moral	code	of	mercy	she	espouses	and	the	theatrical	gaze	of	God	it	enacts	is	actually	her	gaze.	I	will	return	to	what	this	gaze	accomplishes	more	explicitly	in	the	final	section	of	this	chapter.	What	I’d	like	to	do	now,	without	losing	track	of	the	comparison,	is	examine	the	relationships	between	Shylock’s	theology	of	justice,	his	model	of	theatrical	performance,	and	the	economic	figurations	that	make	sense	of	each.				If	Portia’s	mercy	is	the	mercantile	logic	of	human	exchange	that	justifies	the	pleasure	of	God	as	both	explicit	spectator	and	implicit	director,	then	what	exactly	is	Shylock’s	economic	model	of	exchange	that	I	argue	also	serves	as	a	model	for	theatrical	practice?	One	of	the	most	contentious	theological	debates	in	the	play	is	between	Antonio	and	Shylock	and	it	tellingly	involves	the	reproduction	of	bodies,	or	the	materialization	as	opposed	to	spiritualization	of	the	creative	instinct.	In	a																																									 																					47	As	John	Astington	notes	in	Actors	and	Acting	in	Shakespeare’s	Time:	The	Art	of	Stage	Playing,	“Extended	rehearsal	periods	under	the	supervision	of	a	director	developed	only	in	the	later	nineteenth-century	theatre,	and	even	then	they	were	something	of	a	luxury…Searching	and	original	work	on	text	and	character	simultaneously	with	attention	to	an	ensemble	style,	overseen	by	one	guiding	artistic	intelligence,	the	kind	of	approach	practised	at	the	Royal	Shakespeare	Company,	for	example,	from	about	1960	onwards,	stems	from	such	experimental	nineteenth-century	practice	as	that	pioneered	by	the	Duke	of	Saxe-Meiningen,	and,	notably,	Konstantin	Stanislavski”	(140).			 110	sophisticated	justification	of	his	own	practice	of	usury,	Shylock	retells	the	biblical	parable	of	Jacob	and	the	flocks.	Jacob,	after	spending	years	in	service	to	Laban	asks	to	finally	go	back	to	his	homeland.	Laban,	seeing	what	a	loss	that	would	be,	suggests	he	pay	him	some	wages	to	stay	instead.	Jacob	counteroffers	this:			 Thou	shalt	not	giue	me	any	thing;	if	thou	wilt	doe	this	thing	for	mee,	I	will	againe	feed	and	keepe	thy	flocke.	I	will	passe	through	all	thy	flocke	to	day,	remoouing	from	thence	all	the	speckled	and	spotted	cattell:	and	all	the	browne	cattell	among	the	sheepe,	and	the	spotted	and	speckled	among	the	goates,	and	of	such	shalbe	my	hire.	So	shall	my	righteousnesse	answere	for	mee	in	time	to	come,	when	it	shall	come	for	my	hire,	before	thy	face:	euery	one	that	is	not	speckled	and	spotted	amongst	the	goates,	and	browne	amongst	the	sheepe,	that	shalbe	counted	stollen	with	me.	(KJV,	Gen.	30.	31-33)							Jacob	then	proceeds	to	use	his	husbandry	to	fix	the	game	in	his	favour,	mating	all	the	strongest	ewes	that	are	spotted.	Shylock	loves	this	parable.	After	retelling	the	story	to	Antonio,	he	concludes,	“This	was	a	way	to	thrive,	and	he	was	blest:/And	thrift	is	blessing,	if	men	steal	it	not”	(1.3.85-86).	The	Christian	Antonio	is	not	convinced.	He	replies,	“This	was	a	venture,	sir,	that	Jacob	served	for/A	thing	not	in	his	power	to	bring	to	pass/But	swayed	and	fashioned	by	the	hand	of	heaven”	(1.3.86-88).		Shylock’s	hermeneutics	figure	humans	as	blest	not	insofar	as	they	are	able	to	be	swayed	by	an	invisible	telos,	but	instead	in	how	careful,	productive,	and	thrifty		 111	they	are	with	what	they	have	been	given.	The	raw	material	of	the	world	is	a	blessing	only	insofar	as	you	fashion	it.	The	pleasure	God	the	audience	takes	in	your	performance	on	the	theatre	of	earth	is	in	how	well	you	have	manipulated	the	resources	of	that	theatre	toward	yours	(and	implicitly	God’s)	success.	In	this	way,	God	is	less	like	an	invisible	director	and	much	more	like	an	impresario,	the	Philip	Henslowe	of	the	stage	who	finances	and	organizes	the	production	but	ultimately	leaves	it	up	the	actors	to	pull	everything	together.		More	importantly,	justice,	for	Shylock’s	Jacob,	does	not	work	under	the	logic	of	an	eye	for	an	eye,	where	the	loss	of	one	thing	finds	its	equilibrium	in	the	loss	of	another.48	While	the	eye	for	an	eye	law	concerns	punishment,	Laban	understands	payment	in	similar	terms:	he	will	pay	Jacob	the	equivalent	of	his	labor	in	wages.	Jacob	redistributes	these	equivalencies	in	his	favor	by	first	taking	away	Laban’s	authority	over	distributing	them	and	second	by	removing	the	symbolic	medium	of	wage	payment	and	replacing	it	with	the	material	objects	themselves:	the	ewes	and	rams.	In	this	way,	just	payment	for	Shylock’s	Jacob	is	not	rendered	by	a	top-down	authority,	but	is	rendered	by	Jacob’s	actual	performance.	What	Jacob	earns	will	depend	on	how	good	his	performance	is,	not	that	he	merely	showed	up.	Likewise,	how	much	God	the	spectator-impresario	will	profit—pleasure-wise	and	other-wise—will	also	depend	on	how	good	Jacob’s	performance	is.	Indeed,	God	makes	Jacob	the	father	of	all	the	tribes	of	Israel,	he	likes	his	performance	so	much.																																									 																					48	“Breach,	for	breach,	eye	for	eye,	tooth	for	tooth:	as	he	hath	caused	a	blemish	in	a	man,	so	shall	it	be	done	to	him	againe”	(KJV,	Lev.	24.	20). 	 112	So	far,	I	have	been	suggesting	that	mercy	and	justice	are	applied	by	Portia	and	Shylock	as	fundamentally	economic	arrangements	that	achieve	coherence	in	theatrical	models	of	being	whereby	God	functions	as	spectator.	What	I’d	like	to	do	now	is	look	more	closely	at	the	economic	models	to	which	Antonio	and	Shylock	actually	ascribe	and	situate	those	models	within	Europe’s	nascent	capitalism.	What	I	hope	to	reveal	by	doing	so	is	twofold:	first,	how	each	merchant	authenticates	himself	to	his	economic	practices;	and	second,	how	that	authentication	doubles	back	on	the	spiritual	conflict	staged	in	the	Jacob	polemic.	The	biggest	difference	between	the	two	merchants,	I	think,	comes	down	to	the	way	they	understand	possession,	where	possession	signals	both	the	act	of	actually	holding	on	to	something	and	the	act	of	appearing	to	others	to	hold	on	to	something.	The	conflict	between	both	Jacobs	is	precisely	this	conflict	between	actually	possessing	wealth	and	appearing	to	God	the	audience	in	the	possession	of	that	wealth.	Both	Jacobs	possess	material	wealth	and	so	God’s	favour,	but	Shylock’s	Jacob	does	not	dissemble	his	agency	in	the	accumulation	of	that	wealth,	whereas	Antonio’s	Jacob	denies	he	has	any	agency	at	all.	The	conflict,	then,	is	a	conflict	about	the	production	of	illusion	in	the	acting	self.	Does	the	actor	possess	and	influence	his	own	characterization	(Shylock)	or	is	the	actor	merely	an	aeolian	harp	of	resonance	whereby	the	character	merely	comes	to	be	(Antonio)?	To	get	at	some	answers	I	want	to	take	a	brief	excursion	into	how	each	merchant	understands	possession—in	terms	of	the	self,	in	term	of	their	capital,	and	in	terms	of	their	broader	socio-political	moment	of	nascent	capitalism—and	then	map	those	valences	back	onto	the	Jacob	parable,	revealing,	I	hope,	two	models	of	an	actor’s	authenticity	within	the	Judeo-Christian	drama	of	God	the	watcher	of	men.				 113	The	Merchant	of	Venice	begins	with	a	meditation	on	possession	itself,	albeit	self-possession.	The	Merchant	Antonio	laments,	“In	sooth	I	know	not	why	I	am	so	sad….such	a	want-wit	sadness	makes	of	me/That	I	have	much	ado	to	know	myself”	(1.1.1-6).	When	it	comes	to	thinking	about	himself,	Antonio	is	dispossessed	and	pessimistic,	but	when	it	comes	to	thinking	about	his	economic	capital,	he	is	unusually	optimistic:	“My	ventures	are	not	in	one	bottom	trusted/Nor	to	one	place;	nor	is	my	whole	estate/Upon	the	fortune	of	this	present	year:/Therefore	my	merchandise	makes	me	not	sad”	(1.1.41-44).	Antonio’s	material	goods	have	no	real	value	yet.	All	his	wealth	is	potential,	trapped	overseas	on	ships	yet	to	reach	portage,	threatened	by	pirates	and	tempests,	yet	this	does	not	seem	to	be	a	problem	for	him.	How	is	it	that	a	self-possessed	man	has	come	to	feel	less	assured	of	that	self	than	of	merchandise	whose	recuperation	and	value	he	only	partially	possesses?	The	merchant	of	Venice	is	a	good	early	modern	businessman	with	a	diversified	portfolio:	his	chips	are	in	several	pots.	Yet	in	terms	of	the	dispossession	of	himself,	the	“much	ado”	to	know	himself,	Antonio	seems	to	have	put	all	of	himself	into	one	pot.	Arguably,	this	is	something	someone	in	love	does,	someone	content	to	stop	gambling	on	affections	and	invest	in	one	potential	paramour.		Bassanio,	Antonio’s	source	of	affection	and	dispossession,	has	a	complementary	set	of	economic	and	romantic	problems.	His	“faint	means”	and	prodigious	debt	are	exceeded	only	by	his	love	of	a	certain	gentlewoman	Portia,	whose	class	is	well	out	of	his	societal	reach	(1.1.125).	To	broker	both,	Bassanio	plans	to	woo	the	lady	and	in	marriage	pay	off	the	debt.	In	order	to	get	the	lady,	however,	he	must	first	have	some	capital.	This	is	where	Antonio	comes	in,	the		 114	optimistic	venture	capitalist	who	also	happens	to	be,	to	use	a	gambling	term,	“all	in”	for	Bassanio.	The	merchant	Antonio,	whom	Bassanio	owes	“the	most	in	money	and	in	love,”	has	enough	credit	to	become	just	such	capital	(1.1.131).	In	terms	of	Sedgwick’s	model	of	homosocial	desire,	if	Antonio	can	get	Portia	for	Bassanio,	then	Antonio	has	Bassanio.49		What	makes	The	Merchant	of	Venice	particularly	interesting	is	that	the	triangular	geometry	in	this	economics	of	desire	and	possession	doesn’t	quite	work.	There’s	a	fourth	player	needed.	Antonio	can’t	get	Portia	for	Bassanio	without	the	money	lender	Shylock.	In	the	first	case,	all	his	capital	is	merely	promise.	In	the	second,	Portia	has	no	real	power	under	the	law	to	circumvent	Antonio’s	or	her	father’s	economic	agency.	Shylock	the	Jewish	outsider	must	provide	the	material	means	for	the	so	far	immaterial	love	unions	of	his	Christian	relations.	Shylock’s	admission	into	this	threesome	is	only	partial:	while	he	is	recognized	as	a	necessary	and	functional	part	of	its	circuitry,	he	is	denied	access	to	its	results.	Portia	will	get	to	be	with	the	man	she	loves,	while	retaining	her	autonomy	and	capital;	Antonio	will	prove	his	love	to	Bassanio	who	will	then	remain	forever	in	his	debt	and	service;	and	Bassanio	will	achieve	economic	solvency	while	simultaneously	gaining	social	acumen	through	his	marriage	and	fraternal	solidarity	with	the	leading	businessman	of	Venice.	It’s	a	win,	win,	win.	Except	for	Shylock.	Should	Shylock’s	money	be	returned	to	him	plus	a	little	interest,	he	will	not	have	gained	any	greater	access	to																																									 																					49	See	Eve	Kosofsky	Sedgwick’s	Between	Men:	English	Literature	and	Male	Homosocial	Desire.	See	also	Janet	Adelman’s	reading	of	homosocial	desire	and	Antonio’s	sadness	in	“Male	Bonding	in	Shakespeare's	Comedies”	in	Shakespeare's	Rough	Magic,	pp.	73–103.			 115	this	society,	any	greater	possession	of	its	network	of	reciprocities.	Shylock	knows	this.	When	Antonio	asks	for	the	ducats,	Shylock	takes	the	ripe	opportunity	to	remind	Antonio	just	how	much	Antonio	has	abused	and	dispossessed	him:			 Signior	Antonio,	many	a	time	and	oft		In	the	Rialto	you	have	rated	me		About	my	monies	and	my	usances:		Still	have	I	borne	it	with	a	patient	shrug,		For	suff’rance	is	the	badge	of	all	our	tribe.		You	call	me	misbeliever,	cut-throat	dog,		And	spit	upon	my	Jewish	gaberdine,		And	all	for	use	of	that	which	is	mine	own.		Well	then,	it	now	appears	you	need	my	help:	(1.3.98-106)		Shylock	makes	it	a	point	to	tell	Antonio	that	the	causes	for	which	he	has	been	treated	cruelly—namely,	his	Jewishness	and	his	wealth	earned	from	usury—are	unjustified	because	both	are	his.	Much	in	the	same	way	Antonio	entered	the	play	with	a	meditation	on	the	relationship	between	identity	and	possession,	so	too	does	Shylock	make	a	similar	gesture	here	in	his	first	physical	entrance	in	the	play.	But	unlike	Antonio,	Shylock	knows	exactly	who	he	is—a	Jewish	Venetian	businessman	who	suffers	precisely	because	he	is	a	Jewish	businessman.	Where	Antonio’s	lack	of	self-possession,	or	self-knowledge,	mirrored	his	tenuous	possession	of	his	material		 116	wealth	and	his	love	relations,	Shylock’s	firm	possession	of	who	he	is	mirrors	the	firm	possession	he	feels	towards	his	economic	practices	and	his	familial	relations.		The	two	merchants’	disparate	ideologies	on	the	relationship	between	self-possession	and	possession	of	capital	can	be	further	linked	to	their	broader	socioeconomic	moment:	capitalism.	The	fact	that	Antonio	is	willing	to	exchange	economic	reciprocities	with	the	Jewish	stranger	is	not	lost	on	Shylock	who	interrogates	and	then	exposes	Antonio’s	request	as	the	proto-capitalist	negotiation	it	really	is—that	is,	much	more	about	the	accumulation	of	capital	and	the	creation	of	a	competitive	marketplace	than	about	gift-exchange.	Shylock	sets	up	Antonio’s	history	of	cruelty	toward	who	he	is	in	order	to	dramatize	what	should	take	place	between	two	such	enemies	when	one	seeks	the	other’s	favours.	Shylock	continues:					Go	to,	then;	you	come	to	me,	and	you	say		'Shylock,	we	would	have	monies:'	you	say	so;		You,	that	did	void	your	rheum	upon	my	beard		And	foot	me	as	you	spurn	a	stranger	cur		Over	your	threshold:	monies	is	your	suit.		What	should	I	say	to	you?	Should	I	not	say		'Hath	a	dog	money?	Is	it	possible		A	cur	can	lend	three	thousand	ducats?'	Or		Shall	I	bend	low,	and	in	a	bondman's	key,		With	bated	breath	and	whispering	humbleness,			 117	Say	this:		'Fair	sir,	you	spit	on	me	on	Wednesday	last,		You	spurn'd	me	such	a	day,	another	time		You	call'd	me	dog:	and	for	these	courtesies		I'll	lend	you	thus	much	monies'?	(1.3.107-120)			I	don’t	think	it	is	a	coincidence	that	Shylock’s	description	of	himself	from	the	vantage	point	of	Antonio	is	“a	stranger	cur	over	your	threshold”	that	Antonio	thoughtlessly	kicks	aside.	By	describing	himself	as	an	abused	stranger	who	exists	on	the	threshold	of	Antonio’s	world	of	power,	Shylock	is	able	to	comically	and	ironically	dramatize	a	convivial	scenario	between	the	two	where	what’s	at	stake	in	its	reconciliatory	success	is	Christianity’s	version	of	recognizing	and	admitting	the	sinner:	mercy.	And	given	the	mercantile	root	at	the	heart	of	mercy,	what	is	also	at	stake	is	a	model	of	economic	exchange.	The	Jew	must	have	mercy	on	the	Christian’s	need	and	not	hold	against	him	his	past	wrongs	in	order	for	the	two	to	genuinely	exchange	reciprocities,	and	more	specifically,	actual	money.	If	Antonio	understands	the	implications	of	Shylock’s	dramatic	re-enactment	correctly,	then	by	agreeing	to	accept	Shylock’s	bond,	he	would	also	be	agreeing	that	the	Jew	is	capable	of	mercy—a	capability	that	would	not	only	put	Shylock’s	“stranger	cur”	status	in	question,	but	would	demand	his	access	and	recognition	within	the	powerful	circles	of	the	Christian	merchants.	After	all,	would	he	not	be	one	of	them,	then?		Realizing	the	dramatic	set-up,	Antonio	counteroffers:	“lend	it	rather	to	thine	enemy,/Who	if	he	break,	thou	mayst	better	face/Exact	the	penalty”	(1.3.127-129).	In		 118	this	way,	Antonio	keeps	the	Jew	his	enemy.	But	how	exactly	do	you	give	to	the	enemy?	What	kind	of	oxymoronic	philosophy	of	giving	is	Antonio	suggesting	when	he	asks	a	man	to	give	to	the	one	person	that	man	wants	to	destroy?	Antonio	is	suggesting	a	model	of	capitalist	enterprise	in	which	the	means	of	production—in	this	case	Shylock’s	monetary	“gift”—operate	entirely	for	profit.	In	Antonio’s	suggested	economy,	the	purpose	of	a	transaction	is	to	create	competition	by	determining	the	prices	at	which	goods	and	services	are	exchanged.	In	market	capitalism,	it	shouldn’t	matter	that	transactions	occur	among	enemies;	if	anything,	the	competition	would	make	the	system	more	robust.	Ironically,	this	is	a	model	of	economic	exchange	linked	to	Jewish	financial	practice.	Jewish	custom	prohibited	usury	among	Jews;	one	could	only	take	interest	from	strangers.50	Shylock’s	counterfactual	dramatic	dialog	between	himself	and	Antonio,	therefore,	playfully	reveals	that	the	Christian	is	as	much	about	self-preservation	as	the	Jew,	if	not	more	so.	Antonio’s	response	to	Shylock	reflects	a	broader	early	modern	response	to	Jews	as	dangerous	harbingers	of	capitalism	itself.51	In	the	same	way	the	Jewish																																									 																					50	“Unto	a	stranger	thou	mayest	lend	upon	usury;	but	unto	thy	brother	thou	shalt	not	lend	upon	usury:	that	the	LORD	thy	God	may	bless	thee	in	all	that	thou	settest	thine	hand	to	in	the	land	whither	thou	goest	to	possess	it”	(King	James	Bible,	Deut.	23.20).	51	The	Renaissance	was	a	period	of	profound	economic	transition	in	Europe	from	manorial	enclaves	governed	by	lords	who	were	in	turn	governed	by	the	King	and	by	God	to	democratic	publics	governed	by	markets.	While	mercantile	capitalism	definitely	existed	in	the	Arab	world	and	other	ancient	trading	empires,	economic	historians	widely	agree	that	Venice	in	particular	was	the	mainspring	of	modern	capitalism,	not	the	least	of	which	was	due	to	abolishing	social	strictures	on	usury.	Yet	as	Gil	Harris	has	observed,	“Antonio’s	trade	interests,	and	his	argosies,	lead	ineluctably	away	from	Venice:	Shylock	reports	that	he	has	ventures	abroad	in	Tripolis,	Mexico,	the	Indies,	and	England	(1.3.15-17)”—sites	which	lead	one	to	conclude	Shylock	must	be	more	northern	European	than	Mediterranean	(Sick	Economies	72).	The	Venice	of	Shakespeare’s	play,	then,	functions	more	symbolically	as	the	origin	of	capitalism	than	historically	as	the	place	where	Shylock	and	Antonio	are	actually	located.	Indeed,	many	scholars	have	argued	for	a	reading	of	Shylock	“against	the	background	of	English	history”	and	have,	according	to	Walter	Cohen,	“justifiably	seen	Shylock,	and	especially	his	lending	habits,	as	the	embodiment	of	capitalism.	The	last	third	of	the	sixteenth	century	witnessed	a	sequence	of	denunciations	of	the	spread	of	usury.	In	The	Specvlation	of	Vsurie,	published	during	the		 119	moneylender	was	needed	both	to	facilitate	European	capitalism	and	to	stand	in	for	its	fundamental	corruption,	so	too	does	the	dispossessed	Antonio	need	the	self-possessed	Jewish	Shylock	to	facilitate	his	economic	interests	and	to	stand	in	for	the	corruption	of	them	simultaneously.		I	have	been	comparing	the	disparate	ways	Shylock	and	Antonio	possess	themselves	and	their	capital	as	well	as	the	ways	they	come	to	make	exchanges	with	one	another	as	enemies	in	order	to	reveal	how	this	socio-economic	set-up	ultimately	takes	on	theological	and	theatrical	valences	in	the	debate	the	two	men	have	about	Jacob:	Antonio	can	dissemble	his	proto-capitalist	philosophies	under	the	guise	of	being	moved	by	transcendent,	spectacular	laws.	Indeed,	Antonio	espouses	a	proto-capitalist	policy	of	economic	transaction	among	strangers,	even	enemies,	that	maintains	the	distance	of	those	relations	for	the	adequate	perpetuation	of	the	system—the	unequivocal	belief	in	the	value	of	his	ship’s	goods	governs	their	absolute	distribution.	Similarly,	he	espouses	a	model	of	relationship	to	God	in	the	Jacob	parable	that	maintains	the	distance	of	God	and	man	through	a	similar	unequivocal	belief	that	the	value	of	heaven	governs	the	conscious	and	unconscious																																									 																																								 																																								 																																								 																					year	Shakespeare's	play	may	first	have	been	performed,	Thomas	Bell	expresses	a	typical	sense	of	outrage.	'Now,	now	is	nothing	more	frequent	with	the	rich	men	of	this	world,	than	to	writhe	about	the	neckes	of	their	poore	neighbours,	and	to	impouerish	them	with	the	filthie	lucre	of	Usurie.’	Behind	this	fear	lay	the	transition	to	capitalism:	the	rise	of	banking;	the	increasing	need	for	credit	in	industrial	enterprises;	and	the	growing	threat	of	indebtedness	facing	both	aristocratic	landlords	and,	above	all,	small,	independent	producers,	who	could	easily	decline	to	working-class	status…”	(767-768).	The	fear	behind	the	transition	to	capitalism	very	often	pointed	its	trembling	finger	at	the	Jew,	whose	increasing	presence	in	England	corresponded	to	the	growth	of	capitalism	throughout	Europe	and	whose	influence	was	often	at	its	center.	Most	significantly,	in	the	early	days	of	undeveloped	capitalism,	the	perceived	threat	of	the	Jew	was	not	that	he	sought	wealth	or	gain,	“only	that	he	did	all	this	openly,	not	thinking	it	wrong,	and	that	he	scrupulously	and	mercilessly	looked	after	his	business	interests”	(Sombart	96).	As	such,	the	Jew	was	“regarded	as	the	representative	of	an	economic	outlook”—an	outlook	that	was	threatening	precisely	because	it	was	open,	self-possessed,	and	did	not	dissemble	(96).			 120	behaviors	of	good	men.	To	be	authentic	in	one’s	economic	transactions	with	one’s	fellow	men	and	with	one’s	God	is	to	be	led,	to	use	Adam	Smith’s	famous	term,	by	an	invisible	hand.		Adam	Smith,	one	of	the	first	political	economists,	argued	in	The	Theory	of	Moral	Sentiments	that	“The	rich...are	led	by	an	invisible	hand	to	make	nearly	the	same	distribution	of	the	necessaries	of	life,	which	would	have	been	made,	had	the	earth	been	divided	into	equal	portions	among	all	its	inhabitants,	and	thus	without	intending	it,	without	knowing	it,	advance	the	interest	of	the	society”	(215).52	It	is	fascinating	to	see	just	how	much	Antonio’s	late	sixteenth-century	socio-economic	logic	mirrors	one	of	the	first	articulations	of	free-market	capitalism,	a	philosophy	that	would	later	be	used	to	justify	laissez-faire	economic	policies.	The	central	ideology—and	irony—behind	the	philosophy	of	ungoverned,	authentic	self-interest	is	that	it	actually	is	governed	by	something	beyond	the	management	of	humans:	an	invisible	circulating	power	that	generates	the	telos	of	the	relations.	It	is	this	invisible	circulating	power	that	Antonio	reasons	comes	from	God	the	spectator—the	“hand	of	heaven”	that	both	watches	and	determines	the	performances.	Shylock,	on	the	other	hand,	espouses	a	philosophy	of	economic	circulation	that	is	absolutely	dependent	on	human	agency	and	manipulation.	He	does	not	dissemble	his	economic	practices,	nor	does	he	assume	that	God	the	spectator	is																																									 																					52	Smith	probably	knew	of,	and	arguably	borrowed,	the	invisible	hand	metaphor	from	Macbeth,	the	protagonist	himself	a	paragon	of	self-interest.	Having	killed	the	Scottish	king	for	his	own	ascendency,	Macbeth	is	soon	caught	in	a	downward	spiral	of	murderous	acts	in	order	to	cover	his	tracks.	In	Act	III,	Macbeth	urges	his	wife	not	to	inquire	into	the	details	of	these	acts,	specifically	the	order	to	kill	Banquo:	“Be	innocent	of	the	knowledge,	dearest	chuck,/Till	thou	applaud	the	deed.	Come,	seeling	night,/Scarf	up	the	tender	eye	of	pitiful	day;/And	with	thy	bloody	and	invisible	hand/Cancel	and	tear	to	pieces	that	great	bond/Which	keeps	me	pale”	(3.2.47-52).	It’s	unclear,	however,	whether	Smith	had	read	The	Merchant	of	Venice	or	not.				 121	managing	those	practices	in	any	explicit	way.	Instead,	he	embraces	a	model	of	relationship	to	God	that	purposefully	uses	the	materials	of	the	world	to	make	a	better	performance.	Like	Jacob,	he	will	fix	the	litigious	game	toward	his	own	profit	by	exacting	one	pound	of	flesh	from	Antonio’s	body,	simultaneously	achieving	his	and	God’s	desires:	revenge	upon	the	spiritual	and	cultural	enemy.	To	be	an	authentic	actor	for	Shylock	is	to	actively	create	the	performance	that	is	your	world	for	the	pleasure	that	is	God	the	spectator;	authenticity	is	the	capacity	to	fully	possess	and	occupy	the	role(s)	you	are	playing	as	your	own	creations	and	the	exchanges	made	in	the	name	of	those	roles	as	yours	as	well.	For	Antonio,	to	be	authentic	is	to	perform	a	world	that	already	precedes	him	for	the	pleasure	of	God	the	spectator	who	knows	and	determines	what	will	happen;	authenticity	is	the	capacity	to	enter	into	and	occupy	a	fully	complete	role,	but	one	that	cannot	take	personal	ownership	of	the	inevitable	exchanges	made	in	the	name	of	that	predetermined	role.			Both	Portia	and	Antonio	situate	Shylock’s	willingness	to	be	publically	open	and	to	publically	own,	so	to	speak,	the	nature	of	his	wealth	and	the	nature	of	his	person	as	ultimately	displeasurable	to	God	the	watcher	and	director	of	men;	Shylock	cannot	authentically	gain	God’s	spectator	approval	because	he	assumes	he	is	in	control	of	it.	And	yet	Portia	and	Antonio	each	betray	their	indictments	of	Shylock	by	revealing	a	paradox	in	their	own	versions	of	right	theatricality:	Portia’s	circular	logic	of	God’s	merciful	salvation	to	which	sinners	must	yield	is	achieved	only	by	paradoxically	standing	in	for	God	herself,	and	Antonio’s	dispossessed	acquiescence	to	the	will	of	God	is	achieved	only	by	paradoxically	participating	in	economic		 122	exchanges	that	benefit	him.	If	“the	Jew-as-stranger	has	the	potential	to	recall	Christianity	to	its	own	internal	alien,”	I’d	like	to	think	that	that	internal	alien	is	the	even	stranger	consciousness	that	someone	up	there	is	watching	you	and	you	must	improvise	your	world	toward	his	pleasure.	Shylock,	as	“a	figure	for	the	disowned	other	within	the	self,”	is	simultaneously	the	figure	of	the	disowned	actor	within	the	Christian	imaginary	of	authenticity.	 ***	Implicit	in	the	metaphor	of	human	as	actor	is	another	master	metaphor:	the	world	as	a	theatre.	The	two	men’s	ethics	of	authenticity	stage	concomitant	ethics	of	admission:	are	you	recognized	and	given	access	by	how	well	you	live	in	the	world	or	how	well	you	let	the	world	live	through	you?	Indeed,	Antonio	famously	espouses	a	theatrum	mundi	view	of	everyday	life:	“I	hold	the	world	but	as	the	world,	Gratiano/A	stage,	where	every	man	must	play	a	part/And	mine	a	sad	one”	(1.1.77-79),	but	unlike	Shylock,	he	seems	incapable	of	playing	more	than	one	part	on	it.	The	ethical	repudiations	of	the	early	church	fathers	and	later	philosophers	had	everything	to	do	with	an	inability	to	accept	this	commensurability	between	the	stage	and	the	world	as	a	legitimate	“critical	concept,”	as	Alan	Read	argues	in	Theatre	and	Everyday	Life:	An	Ethics	of	Performance:		 To	understand	everyday	life	not	just	as	lived	daily	experience,	that	is	talking,	walking,	dwelling,	cooking	and	reading,	but	as	a	critical	concept	which	derives	from	these	quotidian	practices,	provides	a	perspective	from	which	to	understand	theatre.	Everyday	life	is	after		 123	all	the	habitual	world	which	would	appear	to	differ	most	greatly	from	theatre.	(ix)		Read	argues	that	everyday	life	is	infused	by	the	theatrical;	the	boundaries	between	the	real	and	the	theatrical,	he	contends,	become	much	more	interesting	than	those	boundaries	defining	theatrical	practice	and	theory.	I	agree,	but	I	think	the	obscure	boundaries	between	the	real	and	the	theatrical	might	more	accurately	be	described	as	boundaries	between	presence	and	mediation.53	The	“habitual	world”	and	the	stage,	I	argue,	attain	their	greatest	metaphorical	symmetry	not	in	the	theatre	as	home,	as	Read	imagines,	but	in	the	theatre	as	business,	and	specifically	the	actor	as	worker,	where	the	presence	of	the	actor	is	always	mediated	by	the	fact	that	he	or	she	is	working	for	the	audience’s	pleasure.	In	the	next	section,	I’d	like	to	look	more	closely	at	the	boundary	between	the	real	and	the	theatrical	in	terms	of	the	actor	as	worker.	The	muddy	boundaries	between	mercy	and	mercantile	revenue	that																																									 																					53	For	an	innovative,	epistemological	reading	of	the	conflict	between	reality-in-itself	and	the	perception	of	reality	as	experienced	by	early	moderns	amidst	rapid	historical,	theological,	and	technological	change,	see	Robert	N.	Watson’s	Back	to	Nature:	The	Green	and	the	Real	in	the	Late	Renaissance,	especially	his	chapter	on	transubstantiation,	“Chapter	Two:	Theology,	Semiotics,	and	Literature,”	pp.	36-73.	Watson	observes	that	each	contested	way	of	understanding	transubstantiation	in	the	period	implied	“a	particular	phenomenology.	Is	the	reality	fully	present	out	there	in	the	living	material	substances,	does	it	acquire	its	full	reality	only	in	us,	or	are	we	always	limited	to	signals	from	that	reality	that	remind	us	of	a	lost	presence	that	we	can	hope	to	regain	only	by	miracle?	Can	we	(like	angels)	hold	the	essence	of	a	thing,	vital	or	otherwise,	without	fully	participating	in	its	material	substance?	Whether	the	Communion	can	be	good	enough	if	Christ	is	not	physically	present	in	the	Host	is	largely	the	same	question	as	whether	our	communion	with	natural	reality	can	be	good	enough	if	we	cannot	ever	incorporate,	encompass,	comprehend	the	things	in	themselves,	rather	than	just	virtual	representations	of	them	in	our	sensory	and	cognitive	arrays”	(38).	Arguably,	the	phenomenological	questions	that	underlie	the	early	modern	theological	polemic	of	transubstantiation	are	similarly	played	out	in	the	theatrical	question	of	the	actor’s	presence. 				 124	orchestrate	the	conversional	give-over	of	Shylock’s	revenue	to	the	Christians	are	mirrored	in	the	muddy	boundaries	between	being	and	working	that	the	theatre	as	a	commercial	art	form	orchestrates.	Significantly,	at	the	threshold	of	each	is	a	live	body.	While	Shylock’s	lack	of	access	to	Antonio’s	world	depends	upon	an	oppositional	theo-political	poetics	of	authenticity,	those	politics	are	defined	within	a	commercial	relationship—a	relationship,	I	argue,	that	stakes	its	term	of	access	in	the	body	itself	and	the	Judeo-Christian	shame	than	attends	that	body.	Shame	is	a	particular	way	of	coming	to	know	and	possess	the	self.	In	a	play	obsessed	with	the	possession	of	things	and	others,	it	makes	sense,	I	think,	that	by	the	end	of	The	Merchant	of	Venice	almost	every	character	is	in	some	way	or	another	ashamed,	including	the	audience.		 	3.3	 Given	Access:	The	Actor	as	Shameful	Labourer		The	trial	scene	in	The	Merchant	of	Venice	is	one	of	the	most	metatheatrical	scenes	in	all	of	Shakespeare.	Trials	in	general	are	almost	perfect	analogs	of	the	theatrical	situation:	lawyers	representing	defendant-characters	and	being	judged	by	a	jury-audience	on	their	ability	to	adequately	represent	the	motives	and	behaviors	of	their	characters.	What	becomes	clear	in	a	trial	is	the	value	of	jury	approval	over	lawyer	responsibility.	That	is,	inasmuch	as	the	lawyer	is	representing	and	working	for	her	client,	what	she	is	really	doing	is	working	for	the	approval	of	the	jury.	The	same	of	course	can	be	said	of	the	commercial	theatre;	it	is	more	concerned	with	spectator	pleasure	than	actor	responsibility.	Actors	are	servants	of	the	audience’s	pleasure,	and	their	labor	is	what	produces	that	pleasure.	Paying	money	for	another’s	work	is		 125	one	thing.	I	buy	a	painting,	a	house,	a	meal,	though	I	am	seldom	in	the	presence	of	the	artist,	the	architect,	or	the	chef	while	they	made	it.	Paying	money	for	the	pleasure	of	watching	another	work	for	you	is	quite	another	thing.	Ridout	points	out:			The	prostitute	who	is	both	seller	and	commodity	is	emblematic	of	modern	capitalism	for	Benjamin,	because	she	makes	visible	the	nature	of	the	underlying	economy.	The	moment	you	recognize	the	actor	in	similar	terms,	a	certain	awkwardness	or	embarrassment	comes	into	the	relationship.	(27)			The	comparison	of	prostitute-client	to	performer-audience	exposes	the	reality	of	the	economic	situation	that	underlies	both.	The	prostitute	and	the	actor	are	working.	At	stake	in	the	comparison	between	them	as	both	seller	and	commodity	is	the	body	itself,	and	more	specifically,	the	pleasure	another’s	body	can	afford.	Antonio	is	both	the	seller	of	a	bond	and	the	bond	itself;	in	this	way	he	is	like	the	actor,	working	for	Shylock’s	pleasure—indeed,	it	was	Shylock’s	idea	to	make	Antonio’s	body	his	bond.	Shylock	wants	the	bond	that	is	Antonio’s	body	regardless	of	the	fact	that	it	has	no	exchange	value	because	the	value	of	Antonio’s	body	is	the	scopophilic	pleasure	it	will	bring	to	Shylock	watching	its	destruction.	Even	the	Duke	does	not	understand	why	Shylock,	the	supposedly	greedy	Jew,	would	want	a	piece	of	Antonio’s	useless	body.	At	the	beginning	of	the	trial	scene,	the	Duke	asks	Shylock	what	he	could	possibly	gain	from	“this	poor	merchant’s	flesh”	(4.1.23)	to	which	Shylock	answers,	“I’ll	not	answer	that!	But	say	it	is	my	humour.	Is		 126	it	answered?”	(4.1.41-42).	What	Shylock	stands	to	gain	is	just	that:	his	humour,	a	uniquely	early	modern	double	entendre	for	both	his	fixation	of	character	and	his	whim,	each	of	which	would	give	him	pleasure	at	having	bought	Antonio’s	pain.	It	is	clear	that	Shylock’s	justification	of	his	humour	is	Antonio’s	punishment,	not	anything	specifically	wrong	Antonio	did.	As	Critchely	and	McCarthy	explain	“punishment	is	a	corporeal	payment	for	a	criminal	act	and	has	nothing	to	do	with	something	as	ethereal	as	responsibility.	The	point	is	that	the	punishment	of	the	criminal	gives	pleasure	to	the	punisher”	(4).	Indeed,	Shylock’s	humour	is	his	point:		 	 What	if	my	house	be	troubled	with	a	rat,		 And	I	be	pleased	to	give	ten	thousand	ducats		 To	have	it	baned?	What,	are	you	answered	yet?		 Some	men	there	are	love	not	a	gaping	pig;		 Some	that	are	mad	if	they	behold	a	cat;	And	others	when	the	bagpipe	sings	i’the	nose	Cannot	contain	their	urine:	for	affection	Masters	oft	passion,	sways	it	to	the	mood	Of	what	it	likes	or	loathes.	Now	for	your	answer:		 As	there	is	no	firm	reason	to	be	rendered		 Why	he	cannot	abide	a	gaping	pig,	Why	he	a	harmless	necessary	cat,	Why	he	a	woolen	bagpipe,	but	of	force	Must	yield	to	such	inevitable	shame		 127	As	to	offend,	himself	being	offended:	So	can	I	give	no	reason,	nor	I	will	not,	More	than	a	lodged	hate	and	a	certain	loathing	I	bear	Antonio,	that	I	follow	thus	A	losing	suit	against	him.	Are	you	answered?	(4.1.52-59)		Aversion	has	no	real	cause	or	justification,	only	effects.	As	Kenneth	Gross	argues,	“In	the	‘gaping	pig’	speech,	Shylock	says	nothing	about	Jews	or	Christians,	or	even	humans	in	general,	only	‘some	men’”	(67).	Some	hate	pigs	and	some	cats;	some	piss	when	they	hear	a	bagpipe.	The	point	is,	every	man	hates	something	and	the	experience	of	that	something	causes	him	to	become	offensive	even	while	the	first	offense	was	put	upon	him.	The	speech	is	certainly	a	parody	(taking	offense	at	offense),	but	it	is	significantly	a	parody	about	all	men’s	bankrupt	moral	self-accounting.	Therein	is	the	bite.	Shylock’s	“strange	apparent	cruelty”	(4.1.21)	is	embarrassing	for	the	whole	court	because	it	makes	visible	the	underlying	nature	of	the	law’s	ethical	foundation:	that	punishment	is	about	the	punisher’s	pleasure,	not	the	citizenry’s	responsibility.		Shylock’s	cruelty	also	makes	visible	the	underlying	nature	of	the	commercial	theatre,	which	is	arguably	schadenfreude:	the	continuation	of	the	show	depends	upon	the	audience’s	pleasure,	not	the	actor’s	authority.	Antonio’s	body,	as	commodity	and	seller	of	that	commodity,	serves	Shylock’s	pleasure	insofar	as	the	theatre	that	is	being	staged	here	is	Shylock’s	revenge	theatre,	with	Shylock	as	audience	and	Antonio	as	performer	of	due	justice.	That	said,	Antonio	turns	his		 128	victimization	into	a	Christ-like	performance	of	sacrifice	for	the	greater	good	of	Bassanio’s	solvency	and	marriage.	When	Bassanio	attempts	to	stand	in	for	Antonio—“The	Jew	shall	have	my	flesh,	blood,	bones,	and	all,/Ere	thou	shalt	lose	for	me	one	drop	of	blood”	(4.1.112-113)—Antonio	does	not	allow	it.	He	responds	to	Bassanio	with	a	speech	that	implicitly	references	the	polemic	he	had	earlier	with	Shylock	on	the	parable	of	the	sheep:				 I	am	a	tainted	wether	of	the	flock,		 Meetest	for	death;	the	weakest	kind	of	fruit		 Drops	earliest	to	the	ground,	and	so	let	me.	You	cannot	be	better	employed,	Bassanio,	Than	to	live	still	and	write	mine	epitaph.	(4.1.114-118)				Antonio	as	the	wether	is	a	castrated	ram,	a	useless	beast	that	the	shepherd	culls	from	the	flock;	as	a	piece	of	poor	fruit,	he	is	similarly	culled	early	from	the	harvest.	In	both	metaphors,	Antonio’s	death	will	be	“swayed	and	fashioned	by	the	hand	of	heaven,”	thereby	confirming	and	authenticating	himself	to	the	Christian	God	who	watches	and	directs	his	life.	In	this	way,	Antonio	plays	his	role	like	a	good	method	actor,	bound	to	a	character	and	a	script	that	cannot	be	improvised	upon	or	changed	according	to	a	more	dynamic	relationship	with	the	audience;	Shylock	is	not	to	be	convinced	otherwise	and	Bassanio	is	not	to	take	Antonio’s	place.	Antonio	turns	Shylock’s	revenge	theatre,	where	he	is	to	play	the	dispossessed	victim	and	Shylock		 129	the	possessed	punisher,	into	a	cosmic	theatre	where	he,	like	Christ,	serves	for	God	in	order	to	redeem	his	friends.		 If	the	play	ended	here—with	Shylock	manipulating	the	game	like	his	Jacob	and	receiving	his	pound	of	flesh,	and	Antonio	being	swayed	by	the	game	like	his	Jacob	and	mercifully	giving	of	himself	for	Bassanio—then	we’d	have	a	fairly	ambiguous,	even	ecumenical,	portrait	of	the	relationships	between	acting	in	the	world,	God’s	spectating	of	that	world,	and	working	for	others	in	the	world.	To	each	his	own.	But	the	play	doesn’t	end	there.	In	fact,	just	after	Antonio	asks	Bassanio	to	write	his	epitaph,	Nerissa	enters	disguised	as	a	lawyer’s	clerk.	The	tables	are	about	to	turn.	Shylock,	the	pleasure-seeking	audience	member	to	Antonio’s	forced	performance	of	due	justice,	is	about	to	become	the	actor	for	an	audience	of	Christians	who,	ironically,	want	to	sway	that	hand	pretty	directly	in	their	favour.	The	way	they	do	this	is	two-fold:	by	shaming	Shylock	and	by	forcing	his	dissimulation.	First,	they	force	him	to	recognize	the	inherent	cruelty	(or	that	underlying	foundation)	that	attends	the	consummation	of	a	body	for	no	purpose	but	one’s	humour;	and	then	in	a	clever	eye-for-an-eye	reversal,	they	turn	him	into	an	actor	who	must	be	swayed	by	their	direction.	By	taking	Shylock’s	scopophilic	pleasure	from	him	and	turning	their	eyes	upon	him	and	his	body,	the	Christians	stage	a	scene	in	which	Shylock	is	now	working	for	their	pleasure.	It	is	in	that	reversal	of	roles	that	Shylock	is	returned	to	his	own	body:	he	physically	becomes	ill.	Most	significantly,	Shylock’s	sudden	experience	of	himself	by	himself,	viscerally	no	less,	happens	by	way	of	becoming	an	actor:	you	become	an	actor	when	you	become	aware	that	someone	is	watching	you	and	expecting	something	from	you	in	that	gaze.			 130	Of	course,	it’s	not	as	if	Shylock	wasn’t	already	aware	of	himself	in	this	way,	imagining	his	life	in	terms	of	God’s	spectatorship.	The	difference	here	is	that	Portia	has	taken	over	Jehovah’s	gaze.	Where	justice	in	the	court	was	to	proceed	according	to	the	gaze	of	a	law-abiding	God,	Shylock	felt	no	shame	as	that	justice	continued	on	its	inevitable	path.	It’s	only	when	Portia	takes	over	the	court	and	has	it	run	according	to	her	gaze,	which	is	the	gaze	of	a	mercy-inclined	God,	does	Shylock	realize	he	is	no	longer	an	actor	for	an	audience	he	has	hitherto	imagined.	What’s	worse,	Shylock’s	desire	for	that	audience	in	his	mind	is	outed	publically.	And	it	is	that	outing	of	his	mind’s	desire	for	a	certain	kind	of	spectatorship	that	returns	him	to	himself,	returns	him	to	a	realization	that	he	must	act	differently,	and	more	importantly,	that	that	acting	will	not	be	authentic.						Ridout	fleshes	out	the	relationships	of	the	actor	and	the	audience	and	of	being	watched	and	feeling	shame	with	a	personal	anecdote	on	attending	the	Royal	Shakespeare	Company’s	2000	production	of	Richard	II.	At	one	point	in	the	production,	Richard	II/Samuel	West	looks	Ridout	in	the	eye	when	delivering	his	lines.	Ridout	comments	that	when	he	was	young	and	Brechtian,	he	was	“all	for	eye	contact”	(70).	Yet	when	Samuel	West	really	does	look	at	him,	Ridout	finds	it	“embarrassing.”	Why?	Ridout	does	not	know	how	to	respond	to	West.	Does	he	smile?	Does	he	make	no	expression?	And	is	it	West	with	whom	he	should	be	communicating	or	is	it	Richard	II?	By	looking	Ridout	in	the	eye,	West	exposes	Ridout’s	excitement:	“To	find	oneself	communicating	this	excitement	to	another	person,	and,	what’s	worse,	to	a	stranger	who	is	strangely	familiar,	is	to	have	one’s	desire	outed”	(88).	The	theatre	invites	and	produces	a	desire	it	can’t	ever	satiate:	a		 131	desire	to	participate	with	another	without	actually	having	to	participate.	An	onanistic	desire	that,	once	revealed	as	such,	can	no	longer	experience	that	desire:		 The	Theatre	invites	and	produces	this	desire	and	then,	in	the	reverse	gaze	which	is	perhaps	the	key	signifier	of	its	ontological	distinction	from	film	and	television,	betrays	it,	dumping	you	back	where	you	are,	in	your	seat,	to	nurse	the	shame	of	having	your	desire	thus	exposed.	(88).		Ridout	feels	shame	because	he	is	suddenly	looked	at	by	one	who	is	strange.	He	expects	the	actor/character	Samuel	West/Richard	II	to	be	familiar	but	he	suddenly	appears	unfamiliar,	and	in	that	disjuncture,	Ridout	suddenly	becomes	self-conscious	of	where	he	is	and	what	he	is	doing.54	Similarly,	in	the	trial	scene,	the	court,	or	“the	stranger	who	is	strangely	familiar”	to	Shylock,	looks	back	at	him,	and	Shylock,	“the	stranger	who	is	strangely	familiar”	to	the	court	looks	back	at	it.	“We	all	expect	a	gentle	answer,	Jew”	(4.1.34).	In	that	moment	of	simultaneous	recognition	and	impasse,	Shylock	names	it:	he	will	not,	like	“some	men,”	“yield	to	such	inevitable	shame/As	to	offend,	himself	being	offended”	(4.1.56-58).	Gross	points	out	that	the	Folio	version	of	the	line	has	no	comma	and	reads,	“As	to	offend	himself	being	offended.”	Gross	concludes	that	Shylock	“implicitly	acknowledges	something	of	his	own	shame,	humiliation,	and	terror	in	this	scene”	(69).	It’s	a	complex																																									 																					54 Ridout’s	description	of	shame	as	an	experience	of	the	self	by	the	self	is	taken	directly	from	Silvan	Tomkins.	Known	as	the	father	of	affect	theory,	Tomkins’	four	volume	book	Affect,	Imagery,	and	Consciousness	explores	in	extensive	detail	the	positive	and	negative	affects	that	motivate	humans	and	how	cognition	affects	these	biologically-based	emotive	systems. 	 132	acknowledgment.	At	the	same	time	as	Shylock	is	rhetorically	refusing	shame	in	the	eyes	of	justice	and	demanding	his	bond,	Shylock	is	also	admitting	that	shame	is	inevitable.	If	Shylock	recognizes	what	the	court	really	is—a	Christian	mafia	aimed	to	make	him	lose—he	offends	himself	being	offended.	If	Shylock	recognizes	what	he	really	is—a	man	with	a	powerful	desire	for	revenge—he	offends	himself	being	offended.	In	the	first	case,	by	admitting	the	court	into	his	concept	of	self,	he	becomes,	as	Gratiano	later	calls	him,	a	“damned,	inexecrable	dog,”	and	he	is	ashamed	(4.1.127).	In	the	second	case,	by	admitting	his	own	motivations,	he	recognizes	that	they	might	actually	be	cruel	and	selfish,	and	he	is	ashamed.	Shylock’s	desire	is	being	outed.	Indeed,	the	entire	fourth	act	trial	scene	can	be	described	as	an	almost	tediously	long	exposure	of	Shylock’s	desires	for	the	purpose	of	profoundly	shaming	him.	Portia,	disguised	as	Doctor	Balthazar,	takes	a	long	time	agreeing	with	“the	Jew’s”	right	to	his	bond	forcing	Shylock	into	what	A.R.	Braunmuller	calls	“a	louder	and	louder	insistence	on	the	bond”	(xliii).				 Portia:		 	 	 Why	then,	thus	it	is:		 	 You	must	prepare	your	bosom	for	his	knife.		 Shylock:	O	noble	judge,	O	excellent	young	man!		 Portia:	For	the	intent	and	purpose	of	the	law		 	 Hath	full	relation	to	the	penalty		 	 Which	here	appeareth	due	upon	the	bond.		 Shylock:	‘Tis	very	true.	O	wise	and	upright	judge,		 	 How	much	more	elder	art	thou	than	thy	looks!	(4.1.240-247)		 133		And	then	shortly	later:		 	 Portia:	A	pound	of	that	same	merchant’s	flesh	is	thine,		 	 The	court	awards	it,	and	the	law	doth	give	it.		 Shylock:	Most	rightful	judge!		 Portia:	And	you	must	cut	his	flesh	from	off	his	breast;		 	 The	law	allows	it,	and	the	court	awards	it.	Shylock:	Most	learned	judge!	A	sentence:	come,	prepare.		(4.1.295-300)		Other	glosses	of	the	line	reveal	Shylock’s	almost	gratuitous	enthusiasm	for	cutting	up	Antonio:	“Most	learned	judge!	A	sentence!	Come,	prepare!”	But	to	whom	exactly	is	Shylock	talking?	Who	is	supposed	to	prepare?	Antonio?	Himself?	Both?	I	prefer	the	subtler	syntax	of	the	colon	in	the	New	Cambridge	Edition:	“A	sentence:	come,	prepare.”	It	is	almost	like	what	God	privately	said	to	Jacob	perhaps,	before	Jacob	took	his	offer	to	Laban.	Come,	prepare	Jacob,	and	you	will	escape.	Shylock’s	desire	is	about	to	be	consummated.	A	desire	that	has	spiritual,	cosmic	relevance.	Portia	has	teased	him	into	a	frenzy	of	excitement,	a	joyful	belief	that	his	rights,	indeed	his	personhood	has	been	recognized	and	given	access	to	the	law,	under—and	this	is	critical—his	own	terms,	which	of	course	being	a	man	who	is	acting	for	God,	are	God’s	terms.	When	she	then	suddenly	takes	the	bait	away—“Tarry	a	little,	there	is	something	else”	(4.1.301)—when	she	uses	equivocation	to	deny	Shylock’s	bond,		 134	something	she	had	planned	on	doing	from	the	start,	Shylock	quickly	realizes	the	trick,	sobers	up,	and	retorts,	“I	take	this	offer	then.	Pay	the	bond	thrice/And	let	the	Christian	go”	(4.1.313-314).	But	it’s	too	late.	The	mercy—and	the	revenue	at	its	root—that	he	did	not	show	Antonio	will	now	not	be	shown	to	him.		By	linking	Ridout’s	shame	to	Shylock’s	shaming,	I	have	attempted	to	reveal	the	crisis	of	admission	and	recognition	at	the	heart	of	the	spectator-actor	relationship	staged	in	the	trial	scene.	The	reason	Ridout	feels	ashamed	is	because	he	recognizes	that	there	is	perhaps	something	dishonorable	about	the	conduct	of	a	spectator:	paying	for	the	pleasure	to	watch	someone	else’s	body	perform	for	you.	The	real	underlying	economy	of	prostitution	and	the	theatre,	arguably,	is	that	both	consume	bodies	for	non-productive	profits.	Portia	attempts	to	shame	Shylock	with	a	similar	gesture—namely,	by	getting	him	to	recognize	that	it	is	dishonorable	and	shameful	to	consume	Antonio’s	body	for	his	own	pleasure.	For	both	Ridout	and	Shylock,	however,	that	shaming	only	works	when	they	are	admitted	as	players	in	their	own	productions,	exposed	and	incorporated	in	the	reverse	gaze	of	the	stage,	each	no	longer	spectators	to	a	show	governed	by	their	private	humours	but	instead	players	having	to	negotiate	how	exactly	to	play	their	new	parts.	The	shame	they	experience—the	self	absorbed	in	its	own	fantasies	now	uncomfortably	returned	to	the	self	revealed	as	producer	of	those	fantasies—comes	from	the	simultaneity	of	becoming	a	player	and	recognizing	the	underlying	foundation	of	playing	itself:	that	it	is	made	of	bodies	working	for	someone	else’s	gratification.	I’m	not	sure	Ridout	would	articulate	his	own	shame	as	coming	from	an	obligation	to	perform	for	Richard	II/Samuel	West’s	pleasures,	but	I	think	that	his	anxiety	of	not	knowing	how		 135	to	act	comes	from	an	awareness	first	and	foremost	that	he	must	now	act.	And	that	is	exactly	what	happens	to	Shylock.	He	must	now	act.	And	not	for	God’s	justice	but	for	the	Christians’	pleasure.	And	it’s	his	body	and	his	goods	now	that	will	be	consumed.	***	I	have	said	some	ostensibly	contradictory	things	in	this	analysis.	On	the	one	hand,	I	have	suggested	that	Shylock	is	a	proponent	of	a	conservative	ethic	of	authenticity	that	figures	constancy	and	order	as	key	characteristics—hence	his	unwillingness	to	be	converted	in	his	heart.	On	the	other	hand,	I	have	argued	that	Shylock	is	a	chameleon-like	master	of	performance,	able	to	manipulate	his	identity	for	his	advantage.	The	first	is	a	philosophy	of	identity,	the	second	a	philosophy	of	work.	Where	the	two	oppose	each	other	rhetorically,	they	meet	in	practice:	the	theatre.	Shylock,	Portia,	and	Antontio	have	a	special	need	for	the	theatre.	It	is	perhaps,	in	the	words	of	Read,	“the	last	human	venue”	capable	of	recreating	their	mutual	crises:	individual	humans	that	must	please	a	divine	spectator	through	the	way	they	act	towards	their	collective	species,	economically	and	socially.	The	theatre	demands	intimacy	through,	paradoxically,	distance:	an	audience	witnessing	moving	bodies.	And	it	achieves	that	intimacy	precisely	in	the	shift	from	the	objective	to	the	subjective:		 If	the	day	ever	dawned	when	men	became	truly	able	to	live	“in	themselves,”	like	Rousseau’s	imagined	savages,	if	the	dangers	of	theatricality	ever	ceased	to	threaten	us	in	our	daily	lives,	then	perhaps		 136	our	special	need	for	the	theatre	as	an	art	form	might	also	vanish:	it	would	no	longer	confront	us	with	an	account	of	our	own	truth	struggling	against	our	own	falsity.	(Barish	477)				These	are	some	of	the	last	few	sentences	of	Barish’s	nearly	five-hundred	page	tome.	I’m	struck	most	by	the	shift	of	pronoun—from	the	objective	“men”	to	the	subjective	“our.”	The	antitheatrical	prejudice	speaks	to	a	fundamental	metaphysical	anxiety:	am	I	knowable—to	myself,	to	others,	to	God—by	what	I	do	or	by	who	I	am,	and	what	exactly	is	the	difference?	It	is	a	prejudice	that	aims	at	something	concrete—a	stage,	an	actor,	an	audience—and	reveals	in	that	aim	that	something	far	more	intangible	is	being	attacked.	Can	we	ever	mutually	recognize	one	another?	Can	we	ever	be	given	access	to	another’s	reality?	Will	we	ever	really	be	known	and	understood	in	our	singularity?				 When	West	looked	at	Ridout,	I	doubt	he	saw	Ridout	in	his	singularity—that	is,	one	man	in	a	nice	suit	looking	back	at	him.	Rather,	he	saw	the	whole	audience.	Similarly,	when	Portia	examines	Shylock,	she	is	not	looking	at	Shylock	the	man	in	front	of	her	with	a	real	life	and	a	real	right	to	the	law.	She	is	looking	at	the	Jewish	race.	The	court’s	reverse	gaze	outs	Shylock’s	pleasure	in	punishing	Antonio	and	simultaneously	shames	not	him,	but	all	of	his	people,	in	that	outing.	Ridout	and	Shylock	assume	the	potency	of	their	own	singularity	over	the	multitude	of	which	they	are	actually	a	part.	Moreover,	they	assume	that	the	face-to-face	encounter—one	face	actually	seeing	another	face—is	the	phenomenological	tool	by	which	selves	are	returned	to	themselves	and	become	singular	again.	Shame,	of	course,	would		 137	have	to	follow.	Someone	is	actually	seeing	me.	I	am	returned	to	myself,	and	as	the	psychological	story	goes,	I	don’t	like	what	I	see.		But	the	tragedy	of	The	Merchant	of	Venice	isn’t	that	Shylock	finally	sees	himself	in	greater	accuracy—Sophocles’s	Oedipus	gouging	his	eyes	out	or	Camus’s	Sisyphus	content	to	carry	his	burden.	Rather,	the	tragedy	is	that	he	assumes	others	have	seen	him,	when	they	haven’t.	Not	unlike	an	actor	on	stage	who	might	think	the	audience	has	seen	him,	when	they’ve	really	just	seen	the	illusion	of	his	performance.	The	commercial	theatre	only	makes	explicit	what	is	always	already	the	case	in	all	symbolically	mediated	relationships:	there	is	something	between	us	that	simultaneously	facilitates	and	indeed	entitles	me	to	see	you	and	you	not	to	see	me.	Shylock,	the	actor,	emerges	not	exclusively	in	the	failure	to	admit	the	Jewish	Other,	but	as	the	constitutive	contradiction	of	performance	itself:	authenticity	is	a	production.													 138	4	 The	Most	Characteristic	Thersites:	Or,	the	Proper	Audience	“I	will	see	you	hanged	like	clotpolls	ere	I	come	any	more	to	your	tents.	I	will	keep	where	there	is	wit	stirring	and	leave	the	faction	of	fools.”	 	 	—Thersites	(2.1.105-107)		By	taking	the	stranger	as	my	access	point	into	the	twentieth-century	critical	tradition	on	human	subjectivity	and	the	theatre	as	the	cultural	laboratory	in	which	this	subjectivity	is	articulated,	I	have	been	able	to	assume	the	legitimacy	of	separation,	or	division,	as	a	fundamental	characteristic	of	the	social	self.	If	the	stranger	is	the	external	element	within	a	closed	system,	then	a	discussion	of	the	stranger,	at	its	most	basic	articulation,	opens	up	a	discussion	of	fracture	within	a	supposed	unity.	Herbert	Blau’s	seminal	tome	on	the	audience	is	interested	in	just	this	division.	A	continuation	of	his	phenomenological	work	on	the	theatre,	The	Audience	finds	its	essence	of	theatre	not	in	the	organic	community	that	supposedly	evolves	from	the	performative,	but	in	the	original	splitting	of	the	self	that	the	performative	reenacts.	Influenced	by	Lacan’s	psychoanalytic	theories	of	fractured	subjectivity	and	Artaud’s	theatre	of	cruelty	that	sought	to	repair	the	breach,	Blau	argues	that	“Both	assume	an	‘original	splitting’	(derichement),	a	suicidal	bias	through	which	at	every	moment	we	constitute	the	world”	(10).	For	theatre	scholar	Blau,	the	suicidal	bias	that	constitutes	the	world	is	fundamental	to	how	we	understand	the	theatrical	event,	and	more	specifically	the	audience:				 139	It	is	the	original	splitting	that	has	to	be	kept	in	mind	in	reconceiving	the	nature	of	the	audience,	who-is-there	mirrored	there,	including	the	pitiful	victim	and	escaped	outlaw	whose	sublimations	doubled	over	in	performance	both	expose	and	disguise	the	fault….What	is	being	played	out,	then,	is	not	the	image	of	an	original	unity	but	the	mysterious	rupture	of	social	identity	in	the	moment	of	emergence.	(10)		The	audience	and	the	performer	do	not	constitute	a	unity	that	repairs	or	even		mediates	social	identity	(i.e.	through	the	virtual,	sensorial	realities	of	hearing	but	not	being	heard	or	seeing	and	not	being	seen).	Rather,	they	constitute	a	separation	that	reifies	the	heart	of	social	identity	itself.	As	Guy	Debord	famously	articulated	it	in	The	Society	of	the	Spectacle,	“Separation	is	the	alpha	and	omega	of	the	spectacle”	(25).		 Critical	to	Blau’s	notion	of	the	audience	is	that	it	“is	not	so	much	a	mere	congregation	of	people	as	a	body	of	thought	and	desire…it	is	not	an	entity	to	begin	with	but	a	consciousness	constructed”	(25).	This	consciousness	is	the	demand	that	something	be	set	apart	in	order	to	be	seen.	Or,	as	Blau	puts	it	in	his	characteristically	evocative	association	of	witnessing	and	understanding:	“To	be	the	audience	remains	the	burden	of	those	who	understand”	(11).55	Using	this	notion	of	the	audience	as	a																																									 																					55	In	“Understanding	in	the	Elizabethan	Theatres,”	William	West	notes	that	the	“understanders”	in	the	Elizabethan	playhouses	were	quite	literally	the	ones	standing	under	the	stage	in	the	pit;	they	were	the	“common	people”	who	were	more	often	than	not	charged	with	not	understanding.	West	argues	the	understanders,	however,	“are	those	most	fully	absorbed	into	the	environment	of	the	theater,	not	set	above	it	to	see	and	be	seen	but	immersed	in	it	indistinctly”	(114).		 140	consciousness	within	the	theatrical	event	that	both	marks	a	fundamental	separation	and	carries	the	burden	of	understanding	that	separation,	I	aim	to	posit	the	character	of	Thersites	in	Shakespeare’s	famously	unclassifiable	play	Troilus	and	Cressida	as	just	such	a	consciousness.		Shakespeare’s	Troilus	and	Cressida	is	one	of	his	most	difficult	plays	to	characterize	in	terms	of	genre	and	pathos.	Indeed,	it	was	left	out	of	the	table	of	contents	in	the	First	Folio,	but	placed	in	between	the	histories	and	the	tragedies,	after	Henry	VIII	and	Coriolanus.		The	story	Shakespeare	creates	is	not	altogether	tragic;	it	is	not	preoccupied	with	historical	accuracy;	and	it	is	not	comically	uplifting.	The	play	opens	in	Troy	in	the	middle	of	the	war—just	as	it	does	in	Homer’s	Iliad—with	the	Greeks	camping	out	on	the	“Dardan	plains”	and	both	sides	ready	and	waiting	to	prove	their	worth	in	the	chances	of	battle:	“Now	expectation,	tickling	skittish	spirits/On	one	and	other	side,	Trojan	and	Greek,/Sets	all	on	hazard”	(Prologue.	20-22).	But	do	they	ever	really	prove	themselves?	As	many	critics	have	observed,	Shakespeare’s	classical	heroes	are	more	content	to	engage	in	lengthy	rhetorical	musings	than	in	actual	battles.56	Indeed,	Troilus	and	Cressida	presents	its	audience	with	a	mythological	topos	of	lifeless	heroes	who	do	little	more	than	preen,	argue,	and	yearn.	These	are	men	and	women	who,	in	the	words	of	the	“scurrilous”																																									 																					56	See,	for	instance,	Joseph	Navitsky’s	“Scurrilous	Jests	and	Retaliatory	Abuse	in	Shakespeare's	Troilus	and	Cressida,”	in	which	he	links	the	persistent	staging	of	verbal	as	opposed	to	physical	violence	in	the	play	to	“late	Tudor	polemical	warfare”	(3).	Nova	Myhill’s	“Who	Hears	in	Shakespeare?	Auditory	worlds	on	Stage	and	Screen,”	also	documents	the	ways	in	which	hearing	and	overhearing	become	the	focal	points	of	action	in	the	play.	She	argues	that	the	play’s	use	of	over-hearing	as	a	substitute	for	physical	action	leaves	the	live	“theater	audience	unable	to	fully	access	any	perspective	except	perhaps	that	of	the	cynical	and	extremely	biased	Thersites.	The	authority	of	the	early	modern	theater	audience	as	interpreter	is	subject	to	question,	since	hearing	and	interpretation	are	presented	as	being	available	only	as	subjective	experiences	open	to	manipulation,	misunderstanding,	and	omission”	(163).			 141	Thersites,	are	empty	nuts	“with	no	kernel”	(2.1.93).	The	wits	of	Achilles,	Ulysses,	Hector,	Troilus,	and	Cressida	lay	outside	them,	in	the	humor	that	comes,	as	Henri	Bergson	famously	observed,	in	“the	absence	of	feeling”	(4).	We	aren’t	supposed	to	feel	pity	or	admiration	for	these	talking	heads	and	cowardly	warriors.	By	vitiating	the	epic	and	affective	value	of	these	Trojan	legends,	Shakespeare	offers	his	audience	the	only	thing	they	have	left	to	feel:	laughter.			The	anonymous	writer	of	the	1609	epistolary	introduction	to	the	play	agrees:	“Amongst	all	there	is	none	more	witty	than	this.”	It’s	an	odd	observation	given	there	is	nothing	overtly	comical	in	the	play.	While	the	writer	was	no	doubt	trying	to	sell	more	copies	of	a	play	that	had	hitherto	little	(if	any)	performance	history57	and	therefore	few	examples	of	popular	reception	from	which	to	draw,	the	play	does	asks	something	of	its	audience	that	a	more	overt	Shakespearean	comedy	also	does:	it	asks	the	audience	to	be	aware	of	itself	as	an	audience,	to	perceive	itself	and	the	activity	of	perception	as	it	enacts	a	perspectival	omniscience	within	the	fury	of	confusions,	misidentifications,	and	burlesques	of	boys	pretending	to	be	women	pretending	to	be	boys,	or	men	with	the	heads	of	donkeys	pretending	to	still	be	men.	The	audience	is	“impelled	to	make	distinctions	about	what	has	always	obsessed	the	theatre”:	that	ambiguous	space	between	what	is	real	and	what	is	appearance,	that	“referential	gap	that	confuses	this	and	that”	(Blau	27).	But	it’s	not	the	confusion																																									 																					57	While	the	play’s	1603	entry	in	the	official	minute-book	of	the	Stationers’	Company	reads	“The	book	of	Troilus	and	Cresseda	as	yt	is	acted	by	my	lo:	Chamberlens	Men,”	there	is	controversy	over	how	true	it	is	that	the	play	was	never	performed	and	if	untrue,	where	it	was	performed	(Dawson	6).	Andrew	Griffen	has	argued	that	the	play	must	have	been	performed	at	the	Globe—as	opposed	to	the	Inns	of	Court—because	Pandarus’s	epilogue	explicitly	addresses	his	“Brethren	and	sisters	of	the	hold-door	trade”	(5.11.49):	“If	the	speech	is	effective	because	it	speaks	to	the	imagined	presence	of	prostitutes	and	bawds	in	the	audience,	doesn’t	their	imagined	presence	suggest	the	type	of	audience	one	might	find	in	the	pit	at	a	public	theatre	in	Southwark?”	(13).		 142	between	this	and	that	that	is	humorous	in	Troilus	and	Cressida;	rather	it’s	the	assurance	these	heroes	seem	to	possess	regarding	their	own	legitimacy,	even	as	they	appear	to	be	bloated	clichés	just	for	show,	acutely	aware,	and	much	too	sure,	of	the	roles	they	have	to	fulfill.	The	referential	gap	here	that	confuses	this	and	that	is	not	a	mimetic	gap,	but	a	historical	one:	the	ambiguous	space	between	the	past	and	the	present.	The	play	needs	the	audience	to	act	as	omniscient	witness	not	to	the	synchronic	material	on	the	stage,	but	to	the	diachronic	matter	that	stage	is	calling	forth—Homer’s	epic,	Chaucer’s	romance,	and	the	erotic	and	political	practices	of	the	Jacobean	present.	Thersites	sees	this,	and	is	the	only	one	“whose	sublimations	doubled	over	in	performance	both	expose	and	disguise	the	fault,”	the	one	who	is	tasked	with	the	“burden”	of	understanding	who	they	really	are	(Blau	10-11).		It’s	just	that	“who	they	really	are,”	according	to	Thersites,	is	terrible.	Thersites	abusively	derides	both	sides	of	the	licentious	quarrel	of	Helen’s	abduction	in	the	characteristic	manner	of	the	“railing	buffoon”	(Goldsmith	71).	Drawn	from	Homer’s	Thersites,	Shakespeare’s	cynical	fool	has	a	“sarcastic	tongue	that	knows	no	measure	and	is	careless	of	the	person	on	whom	it	jests”	(72).	Thersites	is	not	attached	to	the	outcomes	of	war.	More	importantly,	he	is	inadmissible	to	its	strategies	and	efforts.	As	a	result,	he	reduces	all	these	martial	efforts	and	strategies	to	one	common	denominator:	lechery.	This	chapter	argues	that	Thersites-as-audience	is	denied	access	because	his	relationship	to	spectating	polarizes	both	the	emulous	function	of	participatory,	competitive	observation	as	well	as	the	universalizing	ideal	that	there	exists	something	sacred	beyond	the	appearance	of	things.	In	a	play	that	is	obsessed	with	looking	and	being	looked	at,	it	is	Thersites		 143	who	manages	to	emancipate	himself	from	the	quarrelsome	history	that	keeps	repeating	because	he	turns	that	history	into	a	comedy	show	that	he	can	laugh	at.	In	the	next	section	of	this	chapter,	I	aim	to	clarify	the	topography	of	Troilus	and	Cressida’s	literary	emergences	from	Rome	to	England	in	order	to	reveal	how	those	emergences	constitute	shifts	in	literary	genre.	My	purpose	here	is	to	link	the	shifts	in	genre	with	shifts	in	audience	function.	In	section	two,	I	will	examine	how	Thersites	acts	as	the	metatheatrical,	inadmissible	audience	in	the	play,	revealing	both	the	play’s	“wit”	and	its	antitheatrical	understanding	of	the	Troy	Legend.	In	section	three,	I	gesture	toward	the	relationship	between	history	and	audience.	The	audience	members	are	the	ones	upon	whom	Pandarus,	as	syphilitic	epilogue,	bequeaths	both	the	play	and	his	diseases,	and	so	they	are	the	ones	responsible	for	keeping	the	story	alive.	It’s	just	that,	instead	of	the	applause	Prospero	begs	for,	Pandarus	expects	only	“groans”	(5.11.46).	Is	this	all	that	we	have	left	to	say	of	a	rotten	history	that	keeps	repeating?	An	inarticulate	Artaudian	moan?	And	if	so,	does	that	cruelty	bring	us	closer	to	the	“inescapably	necessary	pain	without	which	life	could	not	continue”	(Artaud	80)?	Or	does	it	simply	mark	our	fundamental	dispossession	from	a	past	and	its	ideals	that	are	no	longer	tenable?	My	interest	throughout	this	chapter	will	be	in	how	Thersites,	the	railing	fool,	is	figured	as	a	stranger	within	the	context	of	the	play	world	and	as	the	audience	within	the	situation	of	the	theatre,	and	how	the	tension	between	the	two	generates	the	third	anxiety	of	admission	this	thesis	is	staging:	what	it	means	to	be	unique	within	a	world	that	keeps	repeating.			 144	4.1	 Recognizing	the	Proper	Audience:	From	Romance	to	Satire	Originally	part	of	the	Matter	of	Troy,	the	character	Troilus	is	the	youngest	son	of	King	Priam,	and	Cressida	is	the	daughter	of	a	traitor	to	the	Greeks.	They	are	minor	characters	in	the	drama	of	Troy,	with	Helen,	Paris,	Achilles,	Hector,	and	Ulysses	tending	to	take	up	the	Homeric	stage.58	It	took	Chaucer	in	the	fourteenth	century	to	give	the	lovers	their	English	due.	In	medieval	romantic	tradition,	Chaucer’s	Troilus	and	Criseyde	“created	a	new	type	of	courtly	narrative”	by	its	“fusion	of	epic	action	and	Ovidian	sentiment”	(Barron	21).	Less	concerned	with	the	machinations	and	divinations	of	endless	war,	Troilus	and	Criseyde	is	about	love,	and	more	importantly,	about	love’s	betrayals.	It	is	important	to	note	that	Chaucer	did	not	invent	the	tragic	lovers	Troilus	and	Criseyde.	As	James	M.	Dean	and	Harriet	Spiegle	note	in	their	recent	Broadview	edition	of	Troilus	and	Criseyde:		 Because	medieval	romance	looks	to	the	past,	it	is	indebted	to	literary	tradition.	Chaucer	adapts,	even	sometimes	translates,	several	major	literary	works	in	Troilus	and	Criseyde,	most	centrally	Giovanni	Boccaccio’s	Il	Filostrato,	composed	in	the	Italian	vernacular.	Boccaccio	derived	his	story	from	the	much	longer	Historia	destructionis	Troiae	(History	of	Troy’s	Destruction)	written	in	Latin	by	the	Italian	writer																																									 																					58	As	Robert	Miola	has	noted,	“Shakespeare	encountered	Homer	indirectly	in	Latin	recollections	by	Vergil,	Horace,	Ovid	and	others,	in	English	translations,	in	handbooks	and	mythographies,	in	derivative	poems	and	plays,	in	descendant	traditions,	and	in	plentiful	allusions,”	while	scenes	from	Chapman’s	Iliad	specifically	supplied	“the	comical	and	tragical	satire	Troilus	and	Cressida	(c.	1608)”	(102).				 145	Guido	delle	Colonne	(1287).	Guido’s	Historia,	in	turn,	is	a	prose	summary	of	Benoit	de	Saint-Maure’s	Roman	de	Troie,	originally	rendered	in	French	octosyllabic	couplets	(about	1160).	(xix)				In	all	of	these	source	texts,	the	pair	emerges	and	speaks	loudly	against	a	rumbling	background	of	war.	Arguably,	the	difference	between	Chaucer’s	version	and	his	continental	precursors	is	a	greater	sympathy	toward	Criseyde’s	infidelity.	The	intelligence	of	her	epistolary	prose,	for	example,	and	the	space	given	to	it	in	Chaucer’s	poem	make	Criseyde	less	archetypal	and	more	dimensional.	As	John	Ganim	has	argued,	Criseyde	“is	one	of	the	most	extensive	attempts	by	a	male	author	of	the	Middle	Ages	to	represent	the	consciousness	of	a	woman”	(234).	Not	that	these	human	dimensions	or	sympathies	were	much	taken	up	after	Chaucer.	In	Robert	Henryson’s	fifteenth	century	Scottish	poem	“The	Testament	of	Cresseid,”	Cresseid	is	rejected	by	Diomed,	becomes	a	prostitute	to	the	Greek	camp,	and	eventually	a	leper.	Cresseid	dies	tragically,	and	her	cast	off	lover	Troilus	engraves	the	following	subscription	on	her	tomb	in	golden	letters:	"Lo,	fair	ladyis,	Cresseid	of	Troy	the	toun,/Sumtyme	countit	the	flour	of	womanheid/Under	this	stane,	lait	lipper,	lyis	deid”	(607-609).	As	Bryon	Lee	Grigsby	has	pointed	out,	there	was	a	“moral	connection	between	leprosy	and	sin”	in	the	Middle	Ages:	“Even	the	medical	community	advanced	the	notion	that	lepers	are	falsifiers	and	deceivers	who	have	the	potential	to	threaten	the	community”	(53).	Henryson	indeed	is	not	shy	about	his	lesson,	ending	his	poem	with	an	imperative	for	all	women:	“Ming	not	your	lufe	with	fals	deceptioun”	(line	613).				 146	Chaucer,	Henryson,	Boccaccio	and	Benoit	recompose	the	Matter	of	Troy	into	the	matter	of	their	own	culture	and	ideals,	namely	Medieval	Europe.	Epic	becomes	romance,	and	with	it	comes	a	new	morality.	A	critical	distinction	between	the	two	genres	concerns	the	nature	of	the	hero.	In	his	foundational	study	of	English	Medieval	romance,	William	Barron	argues	that	in	epic	or	myth,	“the	hero	is	superior	in	kind	to	other	men	and	their	environment,	since	he	is	a	divine	being,”	whereas	in	romance,	“the	hero	is	superior	to	other	men	in	degree…and	to	his	environment	by	virtue	of	his	superlative,	even	supernatural,	abilities”	(2).	Realism,	then,	would	be	a	hero	who	is	superior	to	no	man	but	whose	personal	qualities	are	nonetheless	worthy	of	admiration.	Romance,	however,	“is	not	satisfied	with	the	trappings	of	realism	but	strives	for	the	conviction	that	that	world	it	projects	has	existed	in	some	past	golden	age,	or	will	be	in	some	millennia	to	come,	or	might	be	if	men	were	more	faithful	to	their	ideals	than	experience	suggests	them	capable	of	being”	(Barron	4).		Only	a	hero	who	is	superlative	in	degree,	though	still	fundamentally	human,	can	expose	the	failure	of	ideals	fought	against	a	reality	of	positive	experience	and	still	suggest	the	greater	potency	of	those	ideals.	Medieval	romantic	hero	Troilus	needs	his	mythic	past	of	Troy	in	order	to	make	his	fourteenth	and	fifteenth	century	reality	worth	more	than	its	flaws,	worth	more	than	what	it	is	“capable	of	being.”	What	romance	adds	to	folk-tale,	then,	is	a	vision	of	what	could	be.	Troilus	and	Criseyde,	for	both	Chaucer	and	Henryson,	could	have	been	so	great	together,	if	only—if	only	Troilus	wasn’t	so	foolish,	if	only	Criseyde	wasn’t	so	false.	But	they	could	have	been	so	great	precisely	because	they	were	so	great.			 147	Chaucer	pulled	two	minor	figures	from	the	Matter	of	Rome	to	create	a	Middle	English	poem	in	which	society,	female	bankruptcy,	and	male,	selfless	chivalry	all	contribute	to	high	tragic	romance.	I’m	interested	in	what	kind	of	genre	emerges,	then,	when	just	such	a	romance	is	adapted	into	a	commercial	play.	What	happens	to	the	golden	age	of	Troy,	that	world	from	which	Brutus,	descendent	of	Aeneas	and	founder	of	that	great	sceptered	isle	Britain,	is	employed	to	give	authority	to	live	bodies	on	a	stage	with	a	live	audience	who	knows	only	too	well	what	happens?	If	Shakespeare’s	play	is	drawing	from	a	failed	romantic	ideal,	does	this	failure	become	the	new	golden	age	in	which	to	measure	the	new	iteration?	And	if	so,	how	could	that	possibly	bode	well	for	these	legends?	Shakespeare	inherited	a	cast	of	characters	who	had	lived	all	over	Europe,	as	historical	figures,	poetic	tropes,	and	cultural	icons.	While	Shakespeare	no	doubt	used	Troy	to	establish	himself	as	a	legitimate	seventeenth-century	English	playwright,	the	mechanism	of	that	legitimation	is	similarly	a	shift	of	genre.	Shakespeare’s	play	follows	the	general	arch	of	Chaucer’s	tale,	but	it	is	definitely	not	a	romance.	The	drama	of	the	titular	characters	takes	up	less	than	half	of	the	play;	while	Troilus	and	Cressida	pine,	promise,	consummate,	and	ultimately	fail	each	other,	the	Trojan	and	Greek	camps	are	meanwhile	having	a	lot	of	fun	debating	amongst	themselves	various	philosophical	concepts	of	degree,	honour,	and	value.	More	importantly,	while	the	men	are	very	busily	not	fighting,	Thersites	is	spewing	caustic	invectives	at	all	of	them.	Just	who	is	our	hero?	What	kind	of	story	is	being	presented	here?		No	other	play	in	Shakespeare’s	oeuvre	has	confounded	critical	categorization—in	its	own	day	and	in	ours—as	much	as	Troilus	and	Cressida.	At	the		 148	end	of	the	nineteenth	century,	F.S.	Boas	famously	coined	it	one	of	Shakespeare’s	“problem	plays,”	a	critical	epithet	further	taken	up	by	Tillyard	in	the	mid-twentieth	century	and	still	used	today	in	Shakespearean	criticism,	along	with	All’s	Well	That	Ends	Well,	and	Measure	for	Measure.59	The	“problem”	with	these	plays	is	extrinsic,	not	intrinsic.	There’s	nothing	ostensibly	problem-causing	within	the	component	parts	of	the	plays	themselves—plot,	character,	verse,	and	affect	all	generally	cohere.	Rather,	the	plays	do	not	fit	into	an	easy	category	when	considering	Shakespeare’s	plays	as	a	whole—histories,	comedies,	and	tragedies.		The	problem	first	arose	in	1609	when	the	play	was	published	with	the	anonymous	epistle	calling	it	a	comedy.	Of	course	we	don’t	get	anything	typical	of	a	Shakespearean	comedy	in	Troilus:	no	fifth	act	weddings,	no	love	requited,	“no	feeling	the	release	or	joy”	that	would	be	the	expected	response	(Barker	21).	In	fact,	the	play	ends	with	Pandarus	bequeathing	his	diseases	onto	the	audience.	It	is	possible	that	the	play	is	a	satire,	but	could	not	overtly	be	called	a	satire	in	its	day	given	the	Bishops’	Ban	of	1599	on	poetic	satire.	However,	satire	as	a	genre	generally	includes	“the	hope	of	reform”	(Marvick	41).	What	makes	Shakespeare’s	Troilus	so	remarkable	is	that	it	leaves	us	with	no	hope	that	anything	will	or	can	change	for	the	better.	Cressida	is	going	to	deceive	because	she	is	a	woman;	Hector	is	going	to	die	because	of	pride;	men	will	serve	no	woman’s	honor,	no	higher	power,	save	their	own	intellectual	egos	and	physical	needs;	everyone	is	diseased,	everyone	will	suffer,	and	everyone	will	continue	to	suffer.	While	comedy,	as	opposed	to	tragedy	or																																									 																					59	See	F.S.	Boas’s	Shakespeare	and	his	Predecessors,	pp.	344-408,	and	E.M.W.	Tillyard’s	Shakespeare’s	Problem	Plays.			 149	history,	seems	a	far	closer	approximation	to	what	is	going	on	in	Troilus,	the	classification	is	at	best	unsatisfactory	and	at	worst	entirely	missing	the	point.	The	Trojan	legend,	arguably,	is	the	one	story	in	the	canon	of	English	literature	that	requires	the	author	to	justify	his	right	to	even	tell	it.	As	Timothy	Arner	points	out,	“Whereas	the	Arthurian	legend	seems	to	be	available	to	writers	who	wish	to	invent	new	episodes	or	reformulate	established	narratives,	the	Troy	story	necessitates	that	an	author	justify	his	literary	project	by	showing	appropriate	deference	to	the	other	poetic	texts	in	the	Trojan	tradition…No	other	story	in	English	literature	requires	such	a	claim”	(2).	If	the	purpose	of	appropriating	and	transforming	the	Troy	legend	is	to	establish	authorship	and	if	establishing	that	authorship	creates	a	new	genre	of	poetic	expression,	then	the	quality	of	that	poetic	expression	must	be	the	quality	that	sets	the	author	apart,	that	removes	him	or	her	from	the	endless	citationality	of	narrative	retellings.	Or,	as	Coleridge	put	it,	Troilus	and	Cressida	“is	Shakespeare’s	most	characteristic	creation”	(171).		In	his	comprehensive	introduction	to	the	play,	Anthony	Dawson	follows	up	Coleridge’s	nineteenth	century	remark	by	bringing	into	the	conversation	the	poet’s	continental	contemporary,	German	poet	Heinrich	Heine,	noting,	“Heine	was	also	fully	alert	to	the	play’s	dazzling	uniqueness:	‘We	can	acknowledge	its	great	excellence	only	in	general	terms;	for	a	detailed	judgment	we	should	need	the	help	of	that	new	aesthetics	which	has	yet	to	be	written.’”	(5).	Heine	was	probably	right;	in	terms	of	its	performance	and	reception,	Troilus	and	Cressida	did	not	come	into	its	own	until	the	twentieth	century:	“What	was	for	historical	reasons	difficult	to	discern	during	the	eighteenth	and	nineteenth	centuries	has,	in	the	wake	of	cataclysmic	wars		 150	and	modernist	aesthetics,	opened	once	more”	(5).	Entirely	rewritten	and	refigured	as	a	classical	tragedy	by	Dryden	in	the	seventeenth	century,	nearly	forgotten	and	seldom	staged	in	the	eighteen	and	nineteenth	centuries,	the	play	experienced	a	major	renaissance	on	the	twentieth	century	stage.	Gretchen	Minton	details	the	variety	and	breadth	of	these	performances:		 it	has	been	set	in	a	number	of	different	periods,	from	the	Crimean	War	to	the	American	Civil	War	to	World	War	I;	props	have	included	dead	horses,	plexiglass	sheets	hosed	down	with	blood,	and	human	blowup	dolls;	settings	have	ranged	from	stem	baths	to	sand	pits	to	Hollywood;	Pandarus	has	been	played	as	a	drag	queen,	Ajax	as	a	head-banger,	and	Thersites	has	been	dressed	in	every	way	imaginable	(even	at	one	point	wearing	kitchen	utensils).	(114)							Is	the	reason	the	play	was	taken	up	again	with	so	much	energy	in	the	twentieth	century	simply	a	shift	in	aesthetics,	a	new	way	of	seeing	the	world	that	made	“the	edgy	incongruity	of	marrying	romance	to	satire	or	heroism	to	bombast”	finally	tenable	(Dawson	5)?	Moreover,	if	Heine	and	Coleridge	are	correct,	can	the	distinctiveness	of	Troilus	and	Cressida	only	be	appreciated	and	understood,	and	by	extension	the	true	quality	of	its	author,	once	the	audience	has	cultivated	this	aesthetics?			 On	the	one	hand,	we	have	a	literary	lineage	of	authorship	that	is	generated	and	reproduced	by	means	of	a	literary	legend	of	Troy	that	is	itself	peopled	by		 151	characters	who	exist	in	a	paradoxical	nexus	of	historical	belatedness	and	mythic	futurism:	the	result	is	citationality	at	the	level	of	the	text,	wherein	the	author	and	the	story	repeat	ad	infinitum,	albeit	with	differences	and	variations.	On	the	other	hand,	we	have	a	critical	apparatus	that	is	incapable	of	categorizing	Shakespeare’s	play	precisely	because	the	ways	in	which	the	play	is	most	itself,	in	which	it	breaks	free	from	that	literary	citationality,	are	not	the	ways	in	which	criticism	is	able	to	retrospectively	imagine	distinctiveness	without	making	claims	of	ghostly	aesthetics	that	invisibly	haunt	the	past	and	wait	for	their	future	moment	to	become	flesh.	Finally,	we	also	have	a	performance	history	that	suggests	failure,	albeit	up	until	three	hundred	years	after	the	play	was	first	staged,	when	the	audience’s	lack	of	resonance	with	Troy	provided	the	necessary	psychology	for	Troilus	and	Cressida	to	be	interesting	again.	This	last	point	is	critical.	As	Minton	explains,	“the	play’s	efficacy	is	so	dependent	upon	a	prior	knowledge	of	the	Troy	legend,	but	this	is	a	knowledge	that	contemporary	audiences	cannot	be	assumed	to	possess”	(114).	Since	a	Jacobean	audience’s	prior	knowledge	of	the	Troy	legend	generates	the	play’s	efficacy,	Minton	concludes	that	the	main	point	of	the	play	is	lost	in	modern	productions:	“Though	the	awareness	of	origins	and	of	the	drama’s	relationship	to	prior	traditions	is	the	obsessive	interest	of	Troilus	and	Cressida,	it	is	an	interest	that	is	often	ignored	on	stage	today”	(114).		In	his	close	reading	of	the	mercantile	language	of	the	play,	C.C.	Barfoot	argues	that	the	performance	anxieties	the	characters	exhibit	can	also	be	understood	as	commercial	anxieties:	the	characters	do	not	know	their	value.	Or	more	precisely,	the		 152	characters	value	themselves	considerably	higher	than	any	audience—Jacobian	or	modern,	knowledgeable	of	the	Troy	legend	or	not—would:						 However,	the	essential	irony	of	the	play	is	that	the	proper	audience	for	it	is	not	likely	to	be	taken	in	by	the	Homeric	glamour	that	the	heroes	themselves	are	so	affected	by,	nor	to	be	impressed	by	their	self-proclaimed	virtues	and	their	mutual	backslapping...Every	character	in	Troilus	and	Cressida	is	too	secure	in	the	belief	that	present	and	future	audiences,	browbeaten	perhaps	by	the	streams	of	favorable	epithets,	will	evaluate	them	at	their	own	estimation.60	(49)		At	stake	in	this	question	of	the	play’s	efficacy	is	“the	proper	audience.”	Putting	together	Minton’s	and	Barfoot’s	ostensibly	disparate	claims	of	the	characters’	anxieties	and	the	audience’s	most	effective	reception	of	those	anxieties,	the	proper	audience	is	one	who	both	knows	the	legend	well	as	well	as	one	who	is	not	likely	to	be	taken	in	by	the	romance	and	glamour	of	that	legend.		The	proper	audience	must	be	Thersites.			As	Dorothy	and	Samuel	Tannenbaum	remark	in	their	mid-twentieth	century,	concise	bibliography	of	the	play,	“The	characters,	almost	without	exception,	are	said	to	have	been	drawn	without	Shakspere’s	usual	geniality	and	sympathy,	except	(perhaps)—amazingly—the	shrewd-thinking,	keen-seeing	and	sharp-speaking	Thersites”	(vii).	Harry	Berger	agrees,	although	with	more	hesitation:	“I	think																																									 																					60	Harry	Berger	makes	a	similar	comment:	the	atmosphere	of	the	play	world	is	like	“a	Hollywood	night	club”	(130).		 153	Shakespeare	intends	us	to	move	toward	agreement	with	Thersites,	but	to	do	so	unwillingly,	to	feel	or	discover	that	this	was	not	the	only	possible	perspective,	merely	the	one	to	which	we	seem—a	little	reluctantly	–to	find	ourselves	disposed”	(130).	We	turn	to	Thersites	because	he	is	the	most	distinctive	voice	in	the	play;	he	is	the	voice	that	signals	a	marked	shift	in	genre	from	epic	and	romance	to	a	black	comedy	that	we	find	ourselves,	however	reluctantly,	not	only	disposed	to,	but	hermeneutically	inclined.	The	only	way	to	put	the	kernel	back	in	these	empty	shells	of	characters	is	to	laugh	at	them.		If	Thersites	is	the	proper	audience,	indeed	the	metatheatrical	signpost	that	unwaveringly	signals	the	interpretive	valences	of	these	unheroic	heroes,	why	does	everyone	in	the	play	see	him	as	such	a	social	pariah?	While	Thersites	is	a	“privileged	man,”	or	a	classic	Elizabethan	licensed	fool,	and	is	subject	to	no	man,	serving	the	Greek	camp	“voluntary”61	(2.1.86),	Nestor	nonetheless	calls	him	a	“slave”	(1.3.194)	and	Ulysses	calls	him	Ajax’s	“fool”	(2.3.82).	It’s	almost	as	if	the	Greek	authorities	cannot	find	a	place	in	their	hierarchical	world	of	degree	and	patriarchal	ownership	for	a	caustic	cynic	who	serves	for	the	sake	and	pleasure	of	railing.	Why	does	Shakespeare	give	us	a	character	that	is	so	inadmissible	and	offensive	to	these	ancestral	authorities	and	yet	simultaneously	the	only	one	who	is	able	to	use	his	capacity	as	witness	to	speak	truth	to	that	power?	Indeed,	Thersites’	capacity	as	witness	is	made	possible	by	his	wit,	that	distinctive	mental	faculty	that	can	see	through	sophistry	and	artifice.	As	Robert	H.	Bell	observes,	“Thersites	offends	everyone.	No	Shakespearean	character—not	Iago,	Edmund,	or	Richard	III—is	more																																									 																					61	Achilles	does	point	out	that	Thersites’s	“last	service	was	sufferance-‘twas	not	voluntary;	no	man	is	beaten	voluntary.	Ajax	was	here	the	voluntary	and	you	as	under	an	impress”	(2.1.86-89).		 154	uniformly	maligned”	(96).	But	unlike	all	of	these	villains,	we	do	find	ourselves,	however	unenthusiastically,	taking	Thersites’s	caustic,	self-avowed	omniscient	perspective	as	our	own.			4.2	 Admitting	Thersites:	Spectacular	Legitimacy	Before	Thersites	even	comes	on	stage,	he	is	described	by	old	Nester	as	“A	slave	whose	gall	coins	slanders	like	a	mint”	(1.3.194).	Thersites’s	final	words	before	he	exits	the	play	reveal	how	he	sees	himself:	“I	love	bastards!	I	am	bastard	begot,	bastard	instructed,	bastard	in	mind,	bastard	in	valour,	in	everything	illegitimate”	(5.8.6-8).	The	emphasis	on	Thersites’s	social	illegitimacy	in	the	introduction	and	conclusion	of	his	character	is	critical	to	how	he	is	treated	not	only	within	the	play	but	within	scholarship.	As	Peter	Hyland	notes,	“Within	the	play	and	throughout	the	critical	history	of	the	play,	the	general	tendency	has	been	to	silence	Thersites.	The	voice	of	Thersites	should	be	heeded,	because	it	reflects	the	real	and	impotent	mass	of	the	dispossessed	whose	voices	are	never	heard”	(1).	Hyland	situates	Thersites	as	the	classic	subaltern,	who	represents	“all	those	who	are	deprived	of	social	identity,	who	are	excluded	and	abused	by	the	established	hierarchy”	(3).	What	an	analysis	of	Thersites	offers,	then,	is	a	presentist	perspective	on	the	ways	in	which	the	politically	powerful	use	their	rhetoric	and	authority	to	mystify	and	silence	the	people	on	whom	their	power	depends.		James	O’Rourke	takes	Hyland’s	critique	one	step	further	by	linking	Thersites	to	his	Trojan	analogue,	Cassandra:	“while	he	curses	those	who	‘war	for	a	placket,’	she	tells	her	brothers	that	‘Our	firebrand	brother,	Paris,	burns	us	all’	(2.2.10)”	(142).		 155	The	link	between	the	slave	and	the	woman	is	no	coincidence.	Both	lie	outside	the	Symbolic	Order	and	as	such	can	tell	the	truth	that	those	caught	within	it	cannot	hear—that	“classic	Hegelian	master-slave	relation,”	O’Rourke	notes,	whereby	“the	master	claims	prestige,	but	it	is	the	repressed	term,	the	Other,	that	carries	the	truth”	(142).	In	a	war	that	is	essentially	about	the	anxieties	of	patriarchal	lineage	and	male	ego,	Thersites’s	feminization	is	critical	to	his	othering.	A	slave,	a	bastard,	and	a	railing	woman,	Thersites	has	no	access,	no	admission	to	this	world	of	male	posturing	and	hierarchical	one-upmanship.	But	like	Shylock,	it’s	not	as	if	he	wants	access.	In	an	aside	probably	spoken	to	the	audience,	Thersites	aphorizes	the	whole	of	the	Iliad,	“Here	is	such	patchery,	such	juggling,	and	such	knavery:	all	the	argument	is	a	whore	and	a	cuckold—a	good	quarrel	to	draw	emulous	factions	and	bleed	death	upon”	(2.3.63-65).	Thersites’s	general	criticism	of	this	world	is	that	it	is	peopled	by	hypocrites	who	use	their	mythic	pasts	to	take	advantage	of	one	another	for	their	own	over-weening	aims.	For	the	most	part,	he	is	right:	Ulysses	uses	his	revered	authority	as	commander	to	puppeteer	Ajax	and	Achilles	against	one	another;	Achilles	uses	his	status	as	the	best	Greek	warrior	to	take	advantage	of	the	rules	of	combat	and	murder	a	resting	Hector;	Hector	uses	his	well-earned	soldier’s	honour	to	disregard	the	warnings	of	his	wife,	his	sister,	and	his	father,	but	ultimately	proves	only	a	venal	appetite	for	shiny	things—he	chases	after	a	Greek	in	“sumptuous	armor”	to	claim	as	a	trophy,	weakening	himself	when	Achilles	and	the	Myrmidons		draw	near	(5.6.26).	These	legends	are	at	worst	frivolous	hypocrites,	and	at	best,	ordinary	humans.	In	fact,	Thersites’s	rhetoric	is	constantly	reducing		 156	them	to	human	bodies,	and	not	just	bodies,	but	diseased	bodies.	When	he	first	comes	on	stage,	Thersites	is	lost	in	a	meditation	on	the	Greek	general	Agamemnon	while	Ajax	calls	for	him,	presumably	on	the	other	side	of	the	stage.				 Ajax:	Thersites!		 Thersites:	Agamemnon,	how	if	he	had	boils—full,	all	over,	generally?		 Ajax:	Thersites!		 Thersites:	And	those	boils	did	run—say	so—did	not	the	general	run		then,	were	not	that	a	botchy	core?		 	 Ajax:	Dog!		 	 Thersites:	Then	would	come	some	matter	from	him,	I	see	none	now.		(2.1.1-7)		According	to	Thersites,	the	most	substantial	thing	about	Agamemnon	is	counterfactual,	puss-filled	boils.	Thersites’s	insult	is	potty	humour	married	to	parody	(pretending	to	be	a	pundit,	in	a	burlesque	which	echoes	the	Greek	camp’s	symposium	in	the	previous	act),	where	the	low	brow	of	the	former	tethers	the	smartness	of	the	latter	and	a	new	referent	is	imagined:	a	body	of	suppurating	sores.	Again,	all	is	reduced	to	the	lowest	common	denominator.	Reasoning	by	puns	is	definitely	the	domain	of	the	Shakespearean	fool,	but	no	fool	in	Shakespeare’s	ouvre	is	this	bitter.	While	Ajax	continues	to	yell	at	him	and	make	demands,	Thersites	eventually	curses	him	too:	“I	would	thou	didst	itch	from	head	to	foot	and	I	had	the	scratching	of	thee:	I	would	make	thee	the	loathsomest	scab	in	Greece”	(2.1.22-25).		 157	Over	and	over	again,	Thersites	undermines	these	Greek	and	Trojan	heroes	by	reimagining	them	as	diseased	bodies	whose	agency	lies	more	in	the	viruses	and	bacteria	that	overtake	them	than	the	valour	they’ve	undeservedly	inherited.		Shakespeare’s	Thersites	is	the	dispossessed	voice	that	in	turn	tries	to	dispossess	the	hegemony,	manifest	in	both	the	political	authority	of	these	heroes	as	well	as	the	mythology	that	buttresses	them.	As	Griffin	notes,	criticism	of	the	play	has	generally	agreed	that	it	is	“historiographically	nihilistic,”	and	that	Shakespeare	was	purposely	undermining	“historiographical	practices	which	worked	to	glorify	England,	London,	Elizabeth	I	and	James	I	by	imagining	epic	Trojan	roots	and	ancestors”	(3).62	Thersites	is	the	most	crucial	part	of	this	project	of	abrading	England’s	mythic	inheritance.	His	implicit	critique	of	England’s	rotten	present,	cynically	deduced	from	the	diseased,	rottenness	of	its	Trojan	ancestors,	has	everything	to	do	with	the	instability	of	the	sixteenth	and	seventeenth	centuries.	Steven	Mullaney	explains,	“in	the	space	of	a	single	generation,	from	1530-1560,	there	were	no	fewer	than	five	official	state	religions,	five	different	and	competing	monotheisms,	incompatible	versions	of	the	one	god,	the	one	faith,	the	one	truth,	the	one	absolute…One	of	the	results	was	a	lasting	sense	of	unsettlement;	another	was	a	lasting	cynicism”	(71).63	While	Thersites	is	the	most	overt	cynic	of	the	play	because																																									 																					62	See	also	Matthew	Greenfield,	“Fragments	of	Nationalism	in	Troilus	and	Cressida”;	Heather	James,	Shakespeare’s	Troy;	Douglas	Cole,	“Myth	and	Anti-Myth:	The	Case	of	Troilus	and	Cressida”;	David	Hillman,	“The	Gastric	Epic:	Troilus	and	Cressida”;	and	Lewis	Walker,	“Troilus	and	Cressida:	An	Epitaph	for	the	History	Play.”	63	For	a	smart	reading	of	the	play	that	links	its	Jacobean	cynicism	to	a	more	specific	historical	event,	see	Heather	James’s	Shakespeare’s	Troy:	Drama,	Politics,	and	the	Translation	of	Empire:	“The	rage	mimicked	and	generated	by	the	play	has	its	roots	in	the	disillusionments	of	the	late	Elizabethan	period,	following	the	spectacular	fall	of	the	earl	of	Essex,	whose	ambition	and	chivalric	virtue	find	their	reflection	in	Achilles	and	Hector,	respectively”	(91).	Eric	Mallin	also	notes	that	George	Chapman’s	translation	of	the	Iliad,	published	four	years	before	Troilus	and	Cressida	was	written,	was		 158	he	situates	himself	outside	of	its	intrigues,	the	other	characters	nonetheless	still	do	betray	an	abiding	sense	of	pessimism.	Putting	Thersites	aside	for	a	moment,	I’d	like	to	look	at	the	kind	of	pessimism	the	main	characters	employ	in	order	to	reveal	how	Thersites’s	self-aware	cynicism	functions	as	an	ironic,	fashioned	critique	of	the	unconscious	pessimism	of	the	player-fools	he	berates.					We	see,	for	instance,	a	precocious	cynicism	in	the	lovers	Troilus	and	Cressida	and	their	priest/pimp	Pandarus	before	the	railing	Thersites	even	comes	on	stage	to	explicitly	reveal	it.	Troilus	and	Pandarus	open	the	play	discussing	how	to	get	Cressida,	the	delicious	piece	of	cake	that	she	is:			 Troilus:	Have	I	not	tarried?	Pandarus:	Ay,	the	grinding;	but	you	must	tarry	the	bolting.	Troilus:	Have	I	not	tarried?	Pandarus:	Ay,	the	bolting;	but	you	must	tarry	the	leavening.	Troilus:	Still	have	I	tarried.	(1.1.17-21)			Troilus	leaves,	Cressida	enters,	and	now	Pandarus	uses	his	persuasive	skills	on	Cressida:			 	 Cressida:	What	sneaking	fellow	comes	yonder?	Enter	Troilus	[and	passes	across	the	stage]																																									 																																								 																																								 																																								 																					inscribed	to	Robert	Devereux,	explicitly	linking	the	earl	with	the	mythic	Achilles:	"to	the	Most	Honored	now	living	Instance	of	the	Achilleian	vertues	eternized	by	divine	Homere,	the	Earl	of	Essex”	(149).			 159	Pandarus:	Where?	Yonder?	That’s	Deiphobus.	‘Tis	Troilus!	There’s	a		man,	niece,	hem?	Brave	Troilus,	the	prince	of	chivalry!	Cressida:	Peace,	for	shame,	peace!	Pandarus:	Mark	him,	note	him.	O	brave	Troilus!	Look	well	upon	him,		niece.	Look	how	his	sword	is	bloodied,	and	his	helm	more	hacked	than	Hector’s—and	how	he	looks,	and	how	he	goes.	O	admirable	youth!	(1.2.229-37)		Arguably,	a	bloody	sword	and	dented	helm	prove	one	a	good	husband	by	proving	one	a	good	fighter.	Cressida	seems	to	take	the	hint	and	figures	she	must	play	a	little	harder	to	get	for	a	warrior	to	love	and	keep	her.	Once	Pandarus	leaves	his	cousin,	she	gives	her	first	and	only	soliloquy	in	the	play,	a	perfect	sonnet	on	her	love	for	Troilus	and	on	the	art	of	being	won:			 	 Words,	vows,	gifts,	tears,	and	love’s	full	sacrifice	He	offers	in	another’s	enterprise;	But	more	in	Troilus	thousandfold	I	see	Than	in	the	glass	of	Pandar’s	praise	may	be.	Yet	hold	I	off.	Women	are	angels	wooing;	Things	won	are	done,	joy’s	soul	lies	in	the	doing.	(1.2.287-292)		Chaucer’s	threesome	is	two	hundred	years	grown	up:	these	three	know	what	they	want	and	what	they	are	doing.	Sneaking	Troilus	wants	the	girl	at	the	least	possible		 160	cost	and	effort;	broker	Pandarus	knows	how	to	get	each	lover	to	buy	in;	and	clever	Cressida	sees	through	the	men’s	machinations	and	plays	her	part	for	her	own	security.	While	the	romantic	medieval	distance	between	the	lovers	is	similarly	enacted	on	Shakespeare’s	stage,	it	is	not	your	typical	courtly	love.	Troilus	is	not	performing	honorable,	chivalric	deeds	to	prove	that	he	is	worthy	of	his	lady’s	favor.	He	doesn’t	even	write	her	a	lovely	Chaucerian	letter.64	He	merely	walks	across	the	stage	as	himself,	a	bit	of	nice	meat	turning	on	the	spit.	This	is	business.	Pandarus	sells	Troilus’s	chivalry	to	Cressida,	Cressida	bargains	it	down	(“Peace,	for	shame,	peace!”)	and	Troilus	waits	for	the	signature	to	seal	the	deal.	For	Troilus	and	Cressida	to	be	a	tragedy,	these	three	would	have	to	be	blind	to	the	products	of	their	own	transactions.	But	business	never	works	like	that.	And	it	is	obvious	these	characters	don’t	either.		The	Jacobean	cynicism	of	Shakespeare’s	epic	heroes	is	revealed	not	only	by	their	loss	of	faith	in	courtly	love—explicitly	rendered	by	their	mercantile	pursuits	of	one	another’s	affection—but	by	their	loss	of	faith	in	the	chivalric	ideals	of	honour	and	duty.	After	Cressida’s	speech,	the	play	moves	to	the	Greek	camp,	where	Agamemnon,	Nestor,	and	Ulysses	partake	in	a	platonic	symposium	on	the	importance	of	martial	hierarchy	and	its	associated	ecological	and	cosmic	laws.	The	Greek	camp	is	suffering;	their	best	man	Achilles	refuses	to	fight,	preferring	to	dally	in	his	tent	with	his	lover	Patroclus.	The	war	is	dragging	on,	and	the	leaders	need	a																																									 																					64	In	fact,	the	only	letter	written	by	one	of	the	lovers	in	the	play	is	from	Cressida,	but	it	is	delivered	when	it	is	already	much	too	late.	Just	as	Troilus	is	armed	and	heading	into	battle	to	confront	his	usurper	Diomedes,	he	receives	her	letter.	He	reads	it,	tears	it	up	and	famously	bemoans,	“Words,	words,	mere	words,	no	matter	from	the	heart./Th’effect	doth	operate	another	way”	(5.3.107-108).	Perhaps	if	these	lovers	had	wooed	each	other	by	words,	the	effect	might	have	operated	the	right	way.				 161	solution.	It	is	here	that	Ulysses	gives	one	of	the	most	famous	speeches	in	the	Shakespearean	canon,	his	long	speech	on	degree.	The	speech	was	made	iconic	in	no	small	measure	by	Tillyard’s	1942	text	The	Elizabethan	World	Picture,	which	understood	Elizabethan	spiritual,	social,	and	political	thought	in	terms	of	the	Great	Chain	of	Being,	a	cosmic	doctrine	in	which	all	things	relate	and	cohere	effectively	only	insofar	as	they	exist	in	proper	hierarchy,	degree,	and	deference	to	one	another.	As	Ulysses	observes,	“Take	but	degree	away,	untune	that	string,/And	hark	what	discord	follows:	each	thing	meets/In	mere	oppugnancy”	(1.3.109-111).	Eric	Mallin	observes	that	the	loss	of	degree	in	the	Greek	camp	can	be	understood	as	a	critique	of	the	loss	of	degree	in	its	contemporary	analogue,	the	Elizabethan	court.	Throughout	Elizabeth’s	court	were	competing	factions	of	noblemen,	and	the	virgin	queen	made,	upheld	and	played	these	factions	against	each	other.	“Designed	to	restrain	disorder,”	Elizabeth’s	political	policy	of	factionalism	employed	the	medieval	chivalric	trope	of	protecting	a	woman’s	honour	for	the	ultimate	purpose	of	advancing	the	commercial	and	martial	power	of	the	country:	the	virgin	queen	as	the	damsel	England	(Mallin	147).	It’s	just	that	men	at	court,	as	opposed	to	men	at	war,	are	not	knights.	They	are	gentlemen.	As	Helen	Cooper	notes,	“By	the	time	Shakespeare	died,	to	behave	like	a	knight	was	an	anachronism,	a	reversion	to	romance,	rather	than	a	living	ideal”	(44).		In	the	same	way	Troilus,	Pandarus	and	Cressida	know	they	are	part	of	a	tenuous	business	transaction	that	might	ultimately	not	come	through,	Ulysses	(and	Hector	in	the	Trojan	court)	is	similarly	aware	that	he	is	not	dealing	with	a	bunch	of	knights	who	still	believe	in	“the	concept	of	defending	a	woman’s	honor”	(Mallin	161).	The	difference	between	a	knight	and	a	gentlemen	is	action:	a	knight	goes	to		 162	battle,	a	gentlemen	does	his	battle	through	speech.	The	characters	in	Troilus	and	Cressida	are	far	more	content	to	talk	about	war—why	they	are	there,	for	what	and	for	whom,	why	things	are	going	wrong,	and	how	to	fix	them—then	to	actually	fight.	Indeed,	Ulysses’s	attack	on	Achilles’s	inaction	corresponds	to	Thersites’s	attack	on	Agamemnon,	whose	potential	boils	possess	more	performance	than	his	person.	If	we	are	to	carry	Mallin’s	analogy	through,	Elizabethan	factionalism,	while	intended	to	promote	order	at	court,	actually	fueled	disorder,	and	the	match	that	lit	that	fuel	was	emulation:	“Emulation	at	Elizabeth’s	court	was	a	method	of	advancement:	imitate	your	fellow	courtiers	so	completely	as	to	make	him	obsolete”	(Mallin	151).65	The	problem	is,	emulation	produces	an	assembly	line	of	“indistinguishable	persons”	(151).	The	patriarchal	violence	that	ensues	when	men	fight	for	nothing	but	to	be	a	copy	of	the	man	before	him	is	a	uniquely	sixteenth	and	seventeenth	century	problem	and	arguably	the	beginnings	of	an	articulation	of	what	it	means	to	be	modern:	knights	who	now	must	be	gentlemen,	but	with	no	concrete	object	to	serve.		Thersites	“brings	the	heroes	up	to	date”	and	cuts	them	“down	to	life	size”	by	withdrawing	himself	from	the	emulous	factions,	situating	himself	as	a	bastard	observer	to	the	quarrel,	with	no	stakes	in	the	outcome	but	an	audience’s	pleasure	(Berger	130).	He	manifests	their	latent	cynicism	in	his	speech	and	in	his	figures	of	speech.	But	why	he	feels	the	need	to	do	this	is	still	unclear.	Is	it	simply	because	he	is	the	oppressed	subaltern	who	must	bitterly	inveigh	against	the	oppressors?	Maybe.	But	the	characters	themselves	seem	to	possess	a	similarly	cynical	awareness	of	their	own	hypocrisy	conditioned	by	an	awareness	of	how	untenable	their	chivalric	virtues																																									 																					65	The	words	“emulous”	and	“emulation”	are	used	a	hefty	eight	times	in	the	play,	by	Nestor,	Ulysses,	Diomedes,	Hector	and	Thersites	alike	(Shakespeare	Concordance).		 163	are	in	the	new	mercantilism.	Is	it	because	this	is	simply	his	function	as	the	provocative	fool	who	exposes	the	folly	of	human	nature?	Perhaps.	Rather	than	merely	tearing	down	the	old,	Thersites	does	seem	to	make	something	out	of	the	debris.	According	to	Griffin,	“the	play	produces	a	characteristically	humanist	‘politic	history’—derived	from	a	logic	of	exemplarity	and	proverbiality—according	to	which	early	modern	London	might	find	in	Troy	a	particularly	perverse	ancestor”	(3).	Humanist	historiography	demands	“the	story	of	universal	truths	grounded	in	individual	human	action	rather	than	in	the	impersonal	forces	of	a	cultural	gestalt”	(7).	In	other	words,	the	project	of	humanist	historiography	is	to	define	a	through-line	of	human	nature.	Thersites	does	seem	to	constantly	provide	just	such	a	through-line;	it’s	just	that	that	human	nature	is	“at	best	banal	and	at	worst	pathological”	(7).	Moreover,	is	it	new	to	say	that	human	nature	is	dreadful?	Is	this	Thersites’	ultimate	purpose?		I	don’t	think	the	project	of	Troilus	and	Cressida	is	to	debunk	humanity	entirely;	nor	do	I	think	Thersites’s	lack	of	admission	into	this	humanity	is	mostly	due	to	a	tokenist	oppression	or	to	being	repurposed	as	a	stock	character	fool,	a	la	commedia	dell’arte.	The	loss	of	degree	that	Ulysses	articulates	might	more	accurately	be	described	as	the	loss	of	discernment,	and	discernment	is	as	much	a	political	problem	as	an	aesthetic	one.	Like	so	many	of	Shakespeare’s	plays,	the	play	is	partly	speaking	to	the	contemporary,	and	partly	exploring	“the	nature	and	limits	of	his	medium”	(Berger	135).	We	can	even	slightly	rephrase	that:	Troilus	and	Cressida	is	speaking	to	the	political	and	erotic	practices	of	the	seventeenth	century	by	means	of	the	aesthetic	limits	of	the	theatre.	The	link	between	the	limits	of	the		 164	theatre	and	the	limits	of	society	is	not	arbitrary.	In	fact,	it	echoes	Thersites’s	chief	criticism:	these	men	and	women	are	players	in	the	spectacle	of	love	and	honour,	more	performance	than	substance.	Rather	than	Troilus	and	Cressida	being	an	example	of	humanist	history	with	Thersites	as	the	chief	witness	and	narrative	executioner	(a	sort	pre-Howard	Zinn	A	People’s	History,	but	of	Britain),	I	think	Mallin	comes	closest	to	an	approximation	of	what	is	going	on:	“The	Shakespearean	emulation	of	the	Troy	story	is	a	profoundly	deforming	project	of	literature	reading	history”	(152).	But	what	exactly	is	the	difference	between	history	and	literature,	given	that	both	are	so	often	rendered	narratively?	By	“history,”	I	don’t	think	Mallin	means	a	chronological	series	of	factual	events;	rather,	it	is	the	stories	that	compose	how	a	given	culture	sees	itself.	And	by	“literature,”	he	is	referring	to	the	aesthetic	medium	that	is	the	play	text	and	its	imaginary	audition.	What	makes	Shakespeare’s	theatrically	mimetic	rendition	of	politically	emulous	factions	so	potent—and	so	deforming—is	precisely	because	the	medium	formally	generates	the	poetics	of	success	that	the	politics	imply:	“as	the	nobility	enacts	an	increasingly	hostile	drama	of	imitative	gesture	and	stratagem,	the	Shakespearean	theater	implicates	itself	in	this	historical	context	by	emulating	it—simultaneously	articulating	and	debasing	the	cultural	referent”	(Mallin	152).	Troilus	and	Cressida’s	reading	of	political	history—past	and	present—through	the	aesthetic	medium	of	the	theatre	has	fundamentally	deformed	that	history,	crippling	how	it	can	proceed,	precisely	because	it	has	turned	that	history	into	a	spectacle.		Debord’s	famous	Marxist	critique	of	spectacular	society,	Society	of	the	Spectacle,	argued	that	modernity	was	characterized	by	the	devolution	of	authentic		 165	life	into	mere	representation.	In	one	of	the	axiomatic	fragments	that	constitute	his	text,	Debord	delineates	the	origin	of	this	devolution:			 The	origin	of	the	spectacle	lies	in	the	world's	loss	of	unity…The	spectacle	divides	the	world	into	two	parts,	one	of	which	is	held	up	as	a	self-representation	to	the	world,	and	is	superior	to	the	world.	The	spectacle	is	simply	the	common	language	that	bridges	this	division.	Spectators	are	linked	only	by	a	one-way	relationship	to	the	very	center	that	maintains	their	isolation	from	one	another.	The	spectacle	thus	unites	what	is	separate,	but	it	unites	it	only	in	its	separateness.	(Axiom	29)		 	For	Debord,	the	spectacle	is	three	things	simultaneously:	the	sign	itself	composed	of	signifier	(representation)	and	signified	(real	world),	the	platonic	ideal	to	which	the	sign	defers	(the	superior	world),	and	the	semiotic	method,	or	language,	that	bridges	the	division.	Debord’s	spectacle	connotes	both	a	vision	of	truth	as	non-separation	and	a	manifestation	of	social	reality	that	is	almost	parasitic	in	its	contamination	of	that	unity.	Arguably,	it	is	Troilus	and	Cressida’s	self-conscious	spectacularization	of	the	legends	of	Troy	that	parasitically	contaminates	the	unifying	and	ordering	vision	of	classical	inheritance.	But	how	exactly?	And	how	is	Thersites	as	a	spectator	complicit	in	this	project?	Debord’s	critique	of	the	spectacle	sets	in	opposition	authentic	human	life	and	the	mimetic	representation	of	that	human	life.	In	his	sketch	of	Debord’s	logic	in	The		 166	Emancipated	Spectator,	Jacques	Rancière	places	The	Society	of	the	Spectacle	within	the	tradition	of	antitheatrical	criticism	that	situates	its	critique	of	society	on	“the	paradox	of	the	spectator”	(2).	Rancière	argues:		 	 	This	paradox	is	easily	formulated:	there	is	no	theatre	without	a	spectator…But	according	to	the	accusers,	being	a	spectator	is	bad	for	two	reason.	First,	viewing	is	the	opposite	of	knowing:	the	spectator	is	held	before	an	appearance	in	a	state	of	ignorance	about	the	process	of	production	of	this	appearance	and	about	the	reality	it	conceals.	Second,	it	is	the	opposite	of	acting:	the	spectator	remains	in	her	seat,	passive.	To	be	a	spectator	is	to	be	separated	from	both	the	capacity	to	know	and	the	power	to	act.	(2)			The	anxiety	of	the	audience,	as	articulated	in	the	paradox	of	the	spectator,	is	that	it	can’t	do	anything	to	stop,	change,	or	redeem	what	it	witnesses.	We	definitely	see	this	with	Thersites,	who	revels	in	his	lack	of	agency	in	changing	the	events	of	history—not	only	in	how	he	takes	pleasure	in	critiquing	all	the	other	players	on	stage,	but	also	in	how	he	refuses	to	be	sucked	into	battle	in	his	final	scene	on	stage.	The	spectator	is	passive	while	the	performers	are	active.	But	it’s	not	as	if	the	other	characters	within	Shakespeare’s	play	are	exactly	active.	The	play	gives	us	automatons	with	all	the	appearance	of	life	and	functionality,	but	with	very	little	felt	life	within	them	or	between	each	other.	We	see	this	most	vividly	in	the	Greek	camp’s	lengthy	debate	on	the	value	of	degree	and	the	Trojan	camp’s	equally	lengthy	debate		 167	on	the	value	of	value.	The	more	they	contemplate	the	war,	the	less	they	seem	to	actively	participate	it	in	a	meaningful	way.	Berger	notes	that	even	the	Prologue	is	“Brusque,	impersonal,	and	indifferent,”	coming	forward	“simply	to	expedite	the	performance”	and	that	beyond	his	function	as	exposition,	“he	and	the	audience	have	nothing	to	do	with	each	other”	(125).	These	epic	heroes	have	become	inactive	bystanders	to	their	own	spectacular	histories,	unable	to	influence	them	or	even	participate	in	them	in	a	full,	embodied	way.	In	effect,	they	are	contemplating	their	own	spectacular	natures	and	the	performative	activities	that	seem	to	stand	just	beyond	them.	As	Rancière	explains,	“What	human	beings	contemplate	in	the	spectacle	is	the	activity	they	have	been	robbed	of;	it	is	their	own	essence	become	alien,	turned	against	them,	organizing	a	collective	world	whose	reality	is	that	dispossession”	(7).	This	collective	world	of	dispossession	is	the	witness	and	the	interpretation	of	what	is	witnessed	made	into	equivalencies,	such	that	what	characterizes	that	equivalency	is	a	fundamental	split	or	division:	myself	and	my	alien	self	equals	one	self	of	fundamental	dispossession.		By	turning	the	history	and	the	legends	of	Troy	into	spectacles,	Shakespeare	creates	a	collective	world	that	is	dispossession—for	Jacobean	and	contemporary	audiences	alike,	for	Thersites	who	metatheatrically	rails	against	this	meta-spectacle,	and	for	the	characters	within	the	spectacle	whose	realities	are	much	more	often	mediated	by	what	they	see	than	what	they	do.	Indeed,	when	Troilus	sees	Cressida	betraying	him	in	the	scene	set	up	so	spectacularly,	with	him	and	Ulysses	as	audience	behind	a	fourth	wall	spying	on	her	and	Diomed,	he	concludes:				 168	This	she?	No,	this	is	Diomed’s	Cressida.		If	beauty	have	a	soul	this	is	not	she,		If	souls	guide	vows,	if	vows	be	sanctimonious,		If	sanctimony	be	the	gods’	delight,		If	there	be	rule	in	unity	itself,		This	is	not	she.	O	madness	of	discourse		That	cause	sets	up	with	and	against	itself—	Bifold	authority,	where	reason	can	revolt		Without	perdition,	and	loss	assume	all	reason		Without	revolt!	This	is	and	is	not	Cressid.	(5.2.135-145)					As	a	spectator,	Troilus’s	ideal	of	Cressida	is	shattered	by	this	new	spectacle.	As	a	spectacle,	Cressid	fulfills	Debord’s	three	characteristics:	she	is	a	sign	of	disunity	and	contradiction,	composed	of	the	adulterer	(the	representation)	and	his	lover	(the	real	world);	she	is	the	platonic	ideal	to	which	that	sign	defers	(the	chaste,	true	Cressida);	and	finally,	she	is	literally	the	language,	the	poetry	that	bridges	the	division.	The	male	poet	must	turn	the	image	of	the	female	body	into	verse	so	he	can	actually	possess	it,	but	it	is	his	very	aestheticization	which	belies	possession.	Spectator	Troilus	finds	in	this	show	a	profound	self-dispossession—“Within	my	soul	there	doth	conduce	a	fight”—that	makes	him	both	incapable	of	knowing	what	is	really	real	and	incapable	of	acting	to	change	it	(5.2.146).	He	never	thinks	to	go	up	to	the	tent	to	find	out	what	is	going	on	or	even	to	chivalrously	protect	Cressida	from	Diomedes	when	he	sees	his	advances.	Troilus’s	ignorance	and	passivity	are	crucial	to	how	he		 169	constitutes	what	is	more	important	than	Cressida’s	infidelity:	the	collective	world	of	dispossession	that	has	robbed	him	of	his	hitherto	direct	access	to	the	gods	when	Cressida	was	real	and	true,	when	she	wasn’t	just	a	show.66	According	to	the	antitheatricalist	paradox	of	the	spectator,	it	is	Troilus	and	his	fellow	heroes	who	are	the	real	spectators,	incapacitated,	dispossessed,	unable	to	act	and	held	“in	a	state	of	ignorance	about	the	process	of	production	of	this	appearance	and	about	the	reality	it	conceals”	(Rancière	2).		Thersites,	then,	is	the	spectator	of	the	spectators.		What	makes	Thersites	relationship	to	viewing	significantly	different	than	the	other	men	of	Troy	is	precisely	that	he	challenges	the	opposition	between	viewing	and	acting.	In	the	kaleidoscopic	scene	in	which	Troilus	and	Ulysses	spy	on	Diomedes	and	Cressida,	Thersites	voyeuristically	spies	on	all	four	with	the	enthusiasm	of	a	spectator	watching	a	brutal	bear-baiting,	calling	out	the	next	maneuver	in	the	sport	with	joyful	anticipation:	“Now	the	pledge,	now,	now,	now!”	he	exclaims	right	before	Cressida	transfers	her	pledge	to	Troilus	onto	Diomed	(5.2.64).	Thersites	is	not	a	spectator	like	Troilus,	watching	in	repressed,	passive	anguish	what	has	been	denied	him.	What	I	find	most	fascinating	about	Thersites’s	spectatorship	is	that	it	is	part	schadenfreude	and	part	critique,	and	the	two	are	more	often	than	not	inseparable.	His	pleasure	comes	not	just	from	a	perverse	joy	that	what	is	happening	is	not	happening	to	him,	but	in	his	critical	interpretation	of	what	is	happening:	all	is																																									 																					66	For	an	interesting	geometric	reading	of	this	scene,	see	“Shakespeare	by	Numbers:	Mathematical	Crisis	in	Troilus	and	Cressida”	by	Edward	Wilson-Lee:	“Troilus	fears	that	Cressida’s	betrayal	betokens	not	simply	a	breakdown	in	interpersonal	trust,	but	a	failure	of	all	moral	and	physical	concepts	that	are	grounded	in	the	idea	of	the	unit;	this	fear	is	grounded	in	destabilizations	of	the	unit	that	were	a	common	part	of	classical	and	early	modern	mathematical	thought”	(451).		 170	lechery.	In	the	same	scene	he	exclaims,	“How	the	devil	Luxury	with	his	fat	rump	and	potato	finger	tickles	these	together.	Fry,	lechery,	fry!”	(5.2.55-56).	I	wouldn’t	call	this	dispossession	or	passivity,	or	even	inactivity.			Indeed,	even	though	Thersites	rails	against	the	hypocritical	histrionics	of	these	heroes,	he	does	so	in	a	surprisingly	anti-antitheatrical	way.	As	Laura	Levin	has	pointed	out,	antitheatricalist	tracts	of	the	Elizabethan	and	Jacobean	periods	“appear	to	revolve	around	the	anxiety	that	there	is	no	such	thing	as	a	stable	identity”	(83).	The	magical	personation	of	a	boy	playing	a	woman,	a	common	citizen	playing	a	king,	or	a	Jacobean	playing	a	Trojan	was	dangerous	because	it	“challenged	the	fixed	notions	of	identity	underlying	Renaissance	notions	of	the	self,	and	revealed	them	to	be	little	more	than	arbitrary	constructions”	(Chalk	84).	Thersites	doesn’t	seem	to	object	to	these	characters	because	they	are	unfixed,	unstable	selves.	Rather,	he	objects	to	them	precisely	because	they	are	such	fixed	selves:	namely,	ignoramuses.	By	spectating	on	spectatorship,	Thersites	invites	a	kind	of	emancipation,	or	relief	from	the	paradox	of	the	spectator	that	the	other	characters	only	seem	to	keep	re-deploying.		In	fact,	as	Darrly	Chalk	has	argued,	if	there	is	any	character	in	Shakespeare’s	play	who	seems	to	consistently	reinscribe	antitheatrical	logic	it	is	Ulysses,	whose	famous	speech	on	degree	forwards	“a	strikingly	similar	argument	to	that	of	Gosson”	(93).	Ulysses	derides	the	play-acting	of	Patroclus	as	Agamemnon,	but	specifically	in	terms	of	the	lesser	taking	on	the	power	of	the	former,	the	spectacular	usurpation	being	“chaos,	when	degree	is	suffocate”	(1.3.126).	Ulysses	speech	here	to	the	Greek	council	has	received	much	critical	attention,	partly	because	it	generates	its	critique		 171	of	the	theatre	via	the	theatre,	and	partly	because	it	functions	as	a	subtle	critique	of	the	Greek	leaders	themselves,	parodying	their	parody	to	parody	them	again.	In	both	cases,	the	irony	is	unmistakable.	While	Ulysses	narrates	the	story	of	Patroclus’s	play-acting	as	if	he	were	the	audience,	it’s	clear	that	in	the	reenactment,	Ulysses	is	a	player	in	both	senses	of	the	word—he	is	on	stage	and	he	is	intimately	involved	in	the	game.	I	make	this	point	because	I	want	to	emphasize	that	Thersites’s	similar	inversions	of	spectatorship	and	playacting	(he	too	parodies	Agamemnon	for	the	pleasure	of	Patroclus	and	Achilles	in	Act	III)	are	different	insofar	as	he	does	not	have	a	stake	in	the	game	the	same	way	Ulysses	does.	The	spectator	distance	he	takes	from	the	lecherous	war	allows	Thersites	to	both	chide	the	chameleon-like	players	who	quarrel	for	a	placket	and	simultaneously	place	them	him	on	his	level	as	fundamentally	illegitimate.	It’s	precisely	this	combined	effect	of	distancing	and	then	leveling	that	makes	Thersites’s	spectatorship	so	emancipating.	Indeed,	Rancière’s	main	aim	in	The	Emancipated	Spectator	is	to	challenge	the	dichotomies	of	viewing	and	acting,	activity	and	passivity,	collective	and	individual,	and	image	and	reality,	arguing	that	this	set	of	oppositions	“in	fact	composes	a	rather	intricate	dramaturgy	of	sin	and	redemption”	whereby	the	theatre	“assigns	itself	the	mission	of	reversing	its	effects	and	expiating	its	sins	by	restoring	to	spectators	ownership	of	their	consciousness	and	their	activity”	(7).	Rancière	evocatively	links	this	dramaturgy	to	another	institution	with	which	we	are	quite	familiar:	school.	“It	is	the	very	logic,”	he	argues,	“of	the	pedagogical	relationship:	the	role	assigned	to	the	schoolmaster	in	that	relationship	is	to	abolish	the	distance	between	his	knowledge	and	the	ignorance	of	the	ignoramus”	(8).	The	anxiety	of	the	ignoramus	in	this	model		 172	of	pedagogy	is	akin	to	the	anxiety	of	the	audience:	what	don’t	I	know	and	how	will	I	know	it?	The	student/spectator	not	only	does	not	know	what	the	teacher/performer	knows,	but	“she	does	not	know	what	she	does	not	know	or	how	to	know	it”	(8).	This	model	of	pedagogy	divorces	the	pupil	from	her	own	capacity	to	understand.	Of	course	she	is	not	entirely	ignorant,	of	course	there	are	many	things	she	has	discovered	and	learned	through	the	human	processes	of	sense	perception	and	evaluation,	but	what	she	lacks	and	“what	the	pupil	will	always	lack	until	she	becomes	a	schoolmistress	herself,	is	knowledge	of	ignorance—a	knowledge	of	the	exact	distance	separating	knowledge	from	ignorance”	(9).		This	distance	is	predicated	on	the	assumption	that	ignorance	is	not	a	lesser	form	of	knowledge,	but	that	ignorance	and	knowledge	are	opposites.	The	“radical	gulf”	separating	the	teacher	from	the	student	is	a	separation	of	two	positions,	characterized	as	two	intelligences:	“one	that	knows	what	ignorance	consists	in	and	one	that	does	not”	(9).	As	Rancière	points	out,	“The	first	thing	it	teaches	her	is	her	own	inability”	(9).	Only	when	the	pupil	believes	her	own	inability	will	she	be	able	to	confirm	the	presupposition	that	supposed	that	inability	in	the	first	place:	“the	inequality	of	intelligence”	(9).	Thersites’s	biggest	critique	of	the	men	and	women	of	Troy	is	that	they	are	empty-headed	and	empty-witted,	commanded	by	animal	instinct	as	opposed	to	intelligence.	Like	a	harsh	pedagogue,	he	assumes	that	the	distance	between	himself	and	these	legends	is	due	to	a	fundamental	inequality	of	intelligence.	Thersites	is	definitely	trying	to	teach	these	heroes	their	own	inabilities.	After	railing	on	Ajax	he	says	to	Achilles,	“E’en	so;	a	great	deal	of	your	wit	too	lies	in		 173	your	sinews,	or	else	there	be	liars”	(2.1.64).	Surprised	as	much	by	the	ostention	as	the	lesson	itself,	Achilles	retorts,	“What,	with	me	too,	Thersites?”	(2.1.94).		And	yet,	at	the	same	time	as	Thersites	seems	to	be	inscribing	a	fundamental	difference	of	wit	between	himself	and	the	players	of	Troy,	he	nonetheless	does	try	to	bridge	the	distance	between	his	intelligence	and	theirs,	albeit	in	an	inverted	way.	Proudly	proclaiming	himself	bastard	in	everything	illegitimate,	Thersites	almost	seems	to	wish	that	the	legends	of	Troy	would	meet	him	at	this	level	and	admit	their	own	illegitimacy.	What	we	see	happening	in	Shakespeare’s	play,	then,	is	a	burlesque	of	antitheatrical	logic	via	its	analog,	pedagogical	logic:	Thersites	situates	himself	as	the	mean,	deriding	schoolmaster	to	a	bunch	of	school	children,	mediating	the	distance	between	himself	and	them	by	inverting	its	oppositional	valences.	This	is	important:	Thersites	does	not	seek	to	obliterate	the	opposition	itself—only	the	values	for	which	those	oppositions	stand.	Rancière	continues,	“Emancipation	begins	when	we	challenge	the	opposition	between	viewing	and	acting;	when	we	understand	that	the	self-evident	facts	that	structure	the	relations	between	saying,	seeing	and	doing	themselves	belong	to	the	structure	of	domination	and	subjection.	It	begins	when	we	understand	that	viewing	is	also	an	action	that	confirms	or	transforms	this	distribution	of	positives”	(13).		The	relationship	between	Thersites	as	emancipated	spectator	and	Thersites	as	pedagogue	becomes	more	interesting	when	we	consider	that	Thersites	is	not	just	a	spectator:	he	is	also	a	performer	for	the	live	audience,	teaching	and	translating	the	action	for	them	in	several	direct	addresses.	In	this	way,	Shakespeare	creates	a	complex	character	who	is	both	a	spectator	and	a	pedagogue	on	spectating.	Rancière		 174	links	“theatrical	reformers,”	or	those	artists	of	the	theatre	who	want	to	teach	the	truth	about	societal	ills	to	their	audiences,	with	“stultifying	pedagogues”	inasmuch	as	both	reify	a	supposed	“gulf”	between	spectator/performer	and	student/teacher	(12).	By	identifying	Thersites	as	both	an	emancipated	spectator	who	closes	this	gulf	between	himself	and	the	legends	of	Troy	and	a	theatrical	reformer	attempting	to	teach	the	live	audience	of	spectators	what	the	play	is	actually	about,	I	aim	to	reveal	just	the	kind	of	paradox	this	thesis	has	been	staging	throughout:	Thersites	lies	on	the	threshold,	on	the	gulf,	of	belonging	to	one	world	and	appearing	to	another,	pointing	to	what	each	given	world	cannot	fully	see	or	accept.	Only	the	stranger	can	occupy	this	dual,	paradoxical	space.	Thersites	as	the	metatheatrical	audience	member	embedded	in	a	live	performance	embodies,	I	think,	the	very	distance	Rancière	is	exposing	as	constitutive	of	both	the	logic	of	theatre	and	education.	A	self-proclaimed	illegitimate	bastard	redistributing	the	structure	of	his	domination	by	actively	spectating	on	the	spectacular	dispossession	of	the	heroes	of	Troy	and	simultaneously	teaching	the	spectators	of	the	spectators	how	to	spectate	is,	in	my	opinion,	a	genius—if	not	deforming—critique	of	antitheatricalist	logic.	I	think	that	it	is	not	insignificant	that	Mallin	uses	the	word	“deforming”	to	describe	the	play’s	project.	The	only	time	the	play	references	explicit	deformation	is	in	the	description	of	Thersites	in	its	list	of	characters	who	is	labeled	“a	deformed	and	scurrilous	Greek.”	While	we	don’t	get	any	direct	reference	to	Thersites’s	deformity	in	Shakespeare’s	play,	we	do	know	that	his	epic	equivalent	was	described	in	detail	in	Homer’s	Iliad:	“But	he	the	filthiest	fellow	was	of	all	that	had	deserts/In	Troy’s	brave	siege:	he	was	squint-eyd	and	lame	of	either	foote,/So	crooke-backt	that		 175	he	had	no	breast,	sharpe-headed.	Where	did	shoote/(Here	and	there	sperst)	thin	mossie	haire”	(Book	II,	lines	186-189).	Homer	does	not	give	us	the	rank	or	parentage	of	this	warrior,	the	way	he	does	for	every	other	character	in	the	Iliad.	Instead,	he	uses	the	voice	of	the	crippled	Thersites	to	insert	a	critique	of	the	aristocratic	code.	Thersites	rails	against	Agamemnon	for	his	greed	and	for	the	inequality	among	ranks:							 Atrides,	why	complainst	thou	now?	What	would	thou	more	of	us?		 Thy	tents	are	full	of	brasse	and	dames:	the	choice	of	all	are	thine—		 With	whom	we	must	present	thee	first	when	any	townes	resign	To	our	invasion.	Wanst	thou	then	(besides	all	this)	more	gold	From	Troy’s	knights	to	redeeme	their	sonnes,	whom	to	be	dearly	sold	I	or	some	other	Greeke	must	take?	Or	wouldst	thou	yet	againe	Force	from	some	other	Lord	his	prise	to	sooth	the	lusts	that	raigne	In	thy	encroaching	appetite?	It	fits	no	Prince	to	be	A	Prince	of	ill	and	governe	us,	or	leade	our	progenie	By	rape	to	ruine.	O	base	Greeks,	deserving	infamie	And	ils	eternal!	Greekish	girls,	not	Greekes	ye	are!		(Book	II,	lines	194-204)		The	speech	is	eloquent	and	piercing.	Odysseus,	seeing	a	potential	revolt	from	the	men,	strikes	Thersites	down,	making	him	cry	in	humiliation.	The	Achaean	men	then	proceed	to	mock	Thersites	and	say	of	Odysseus,	“Author	of	Counsels,	great/In		 176	ordering	armies,	how	most	well	this	act	became	his	heate/To	beat	from	Councell	this	rude	fool!”	(Book	II,	Lines	237-239).	Yet	even	while	the	warriors	scorn	him,	Thersites’s	words	cannot	be	unsaid;	they	sound	out	as	an	example	of	one	of	the	first	critiques	of	the	aristocratic	code	and	first	explicit	calls	for	equality	in	the	Western	canon.	Siep	Stuurmaan	notes,	“By	the	very	act	of	speaking	up,	Thersites	claims	a	voice	for	the	commoners.	His	violent	harangue	against	Agamemnon	creates	a	brief	moment	of	‘discursive	equality’	between	the	great	king	and	a	commoner.	Homer	reinforces	the	effect	by	giving	Thersites	a	good	speech,	despite	his	unfavorable	portrayal	of	the	protester”	(177).	Indeed,	the	disparity	between	the	actual	look	of	Thersites’s	mouth	and	what	comes	out	of	it	couldn’t	be	more	immense.		Thersites’s	theatrical	emergence	is	a	complex	reversal	and	substantiation	of	his	epic	conditions.	Shakespeare’s	Thersites	is	not	referred	to	as	crippled	or	ugly,	by	himself	or	any	other	character	in	the	play;	moreover,	his	railing	is	not	rhetorically	eloquent—it	is	spiteful	and	ad	hominem.	But	Shakespeare’s	Thersites	is	definitely	interested	in	inequality	and	reformation,	although	he	demonstrates	that	interest	in	a	much	more	effective	way	than	Homer’s	fool.	Schoolmistress	Thersites	reverses	and	thus	redeems	the	big	mistake	Homer’s	Thersites	made:	putting	himself	on	stage	when	he	should	have	sat	back	and	put	the	others	on	stage.	Thersites	translates	the	deformation	of	himself	onto	the	myth	itself,	using	the	critique	of	inequality	to	reform	history	precisely	by	undermining	it.	I	argued	at	the	beginning	of	this	section	that	Thersites	is	a	slave,	a	bastard	“in	everything	illegitimate”	(5.8.8).	Ostensibly,	it	is	Thersites	who	is	the	most	dispossessed	character,	the	one	who	lacks	admission	into	the	lived	realities	of	his		 177	soldier	compatriots.	I	think	what	becomes	clear	in	a	reading	of	this	“problem	play”	is	how	Thersites	signals	both	a	kind	of	emancipated	and	controlled	spectatorship	simultaneously.	Sure,	Thersites	knows	what	is	going	to	happen,	the	way	children	know	every	song,	every	piece	of	dialog	in	their	favorite	movies,	and	so	cannot	do	much	to	change	the	course	of	events.	But	the	other	characters	know	what	is	going	to	happen	too:	in	the	famous	“wedding”	scene	of	Troilus	and	Cressida,	Troilus	vows,	“As	truth’s	authentic	author	to	be	cried/‘As	true	as	Troilus’	shall	crown	up	the	verse/And	sanctify	the	numbers”	(3.2.161-163)	and	Cressida	responds,	“Prophet	may	you	be!/If	I	be	false	or	swerve	a	hair	from	truth,…Yea,	let	them	say	to	stick	the	heart	of	falsehood,/‘As	false	as	Cressid’”	(3.2.163-164…175-176).	Before	they	even	consummate	their	union,	the	lovers	know	what	stereotypes	myth	will	make	of	them.	Yet	while	the	lovers	know	this	proverbial	truth	about	their	futures,	they	don’t	seem	to	be	enjoying	the	suspense	in	getting	there	the	way	that	Thersites	does.	Thersites’s	critique	of	mimesis	is	not	that	it	takes	us	away	from	the	real,	sacred	substance	of	life,	but	that	it	is	the	rotten	method	of	a	terrible	history	that	keeps	repeating,	keeps	copying	itself	like	a	virus,	becoming	more	and	more	diseased	in	the	next	iteration.	You	can’t	free	yourself	from	that.	But	you	can	turn	it	into	a	comedy	show	that	both	humors	yourself	and	that	signals—and	even	attempts	to	control—how	that	other	spectator,	the	live	audience	member,	is	to	make	meaning	from	all	the	historical	debris.								 178	4.3	 Accessing	History:	The	Endogenous	Witness	from	Outside	I	began	this	chapter	with	Blau’s	notion	of	an	inherent	split	that	constitutes	the	phenomenology	of	the	spectacle,	a	split	that	is	localized	in	the	audience/spectator.	While	I	don’t	think	Blau	would	agree	with	Debord’s	wholesale	attack	on	the	spectacle	as	lobotomizing	and	anesthetizing,	I	do	think	The	Audience	is	perhaps	an	inverted	rendering	of	the	same	problem—making	sense	of	the	structure	of	society	via	the	structure	of	the	spectacle	and	finding	in	the	coherencies	something	paradoxically	endogenous	and	external	to	both:	the	spectator.	That	is,	inasmuch	as	Blau	is	primarily	concerned	with	mapping	modernity’s	unique	cultural	logics	of	performance—much	like	Debord	is	interested	in	delineating	the	logic	of	Marxist	alienation	as	revealed	in	modern	spectacular	culture—he	is	influenced	by	Turner	and	Schechner’s	performance	theories	that	seek	to	link	primitive	ritual	to	modern	theatre	in	the	hopes	of	recruiting	universal	truths.	For	Debord,	the	truth	of	twentieth	century	spectatorship	is	dispossession.	For	Blau,	it	is	division.	And	for	both	thinkers,	what	precedes	and	structures	that	dispossession	and	division	is	a	primary	coherence—the	authentic,	pre-industrial	self;	the	primitive	sacred.		Indeed,	there	is	a	sense	that	the	question	that	governs	Thersites’s	critique	is	“Where	does	all	this	come	from?”67	In	order	to	answer	that	question—lechery,	lewdness—he	must	materialize	diseased	conditions	that	are	otherwise	invisible.	Jonathan	Gil	Harris	observes,	“Disease	and	their	causes	are	contradictorily	(dare	one	say	problematically?)	figured	in	Shakespeare’s	problem	play;	its	illnesses	are																																									 																					67	In	another	evocative	postulate	on	the	nature	of	spectacular	society,	Debord	links	the	spectacle	to	history	itself:	“But	the	spectacle	is	nothing	other	than	the	sense	of	the	total	practice	of	a	social-economic	formation,	its	use	of	time.	It	is	the	historical	movement	in	which	we	are	caught”	(Axiom	11).		 179	indeterminately	humoral	and	ontological,	endogenous	and	invasive”(88).	Harris	links	this	battle	between	“residual	humoral	and	emergent	invasive	models	of	illness”	with	a	broader	question	of	value,	particularly	economic	value:	“The	questions	with	which	both	Troilus	and	Cressida	and	mercantilist	writing	grapple	are	these:	are	the	origins	of	disease	and	value	endogenous	or	are	they	external?”	(88).	That	is,	is	value	intrinsic	to	the	object	or	does	an	object	acquire	value	only	in	relation	to	an	external	system?	Similarly,	does	disease	develop	inside	the	body	due	to	its	inherent	corruption,	or	can	you	catch	it	in	the	atmosphere?	The	play	is	asking	the	same	questions	about	historical	value.	Are	the	origins	of	historical	value	endogenous	or	external?	Does	history	invade	our	present	or	does	it	infect	us	already?	Is	the	task	to	become	cognizant	of	the	nightmare	we	are	already	in	or	to	brace	ourselves	from	the	creeping	intrusions	of	an	authority	that	is	more	virus	than	humour?	“If	history,”	Blau	asserts,	“remains	the	nightmare	from	which	we	are	trying	to	awaken,	perhaps	it’s	because	in	the	unbalancing	wheel	of	modernity,	rocked	to	hallucination	by	contingency,	we’ve	managed	to	neutralize	history”	(16).	To	neutralize	literally	means	to	render	ineffective.	Thersites’s	project	as	railing	audience-critic	definitely	renders	the	men	of	Troy,	and	by	extension	the	historical	valence	of	a	shared	ancestry,	ineffective.	But	rather	than	just	being	a	purposefully	satirical	take	on	the	similarly	hallucinatory	contingencies	of	the	early	modern	period,	Troilus	and	Cressida	posits,	through	Thersites,	that	historical	value—like	disease	in	the	body,	economic	value	in	society,	and	the	spectator	in	the	theatre—is	paradoxically	endogenous	and	external.		 ***		 180	There	is	a	scene	in	Shakespeare’s	play	with	which	I	want	to	close.	At	the	beginning	of	Act	III,	Pandarus	enters	the	stage	looking	for	Lord	Paris	and	meets	a	servant	instead.	The	stage	notes	remark	“Music	sounds	within.”	The	two	engage	in	a	comedic	exchange	wherein	the	servant	continuously	misunderstands	Pandarus’s	meaning.						 Pandarus:	What	music	is	this?	Servant:		I	do	but	partly	know	sir:	it	is	music	in	parts.	Pandarus:	Know	you	the	musicians?	Servant:	Wholly,	sir.	Pandarus:	Who	play	they	to?	Servant:	To	the	hearers,	sir.	Pandarus:	At	whose	pleasure,	friend?	Servant:	At	mine	sir,	and	theirs	that	love	music.	Pandarus:	Command	I	mean,	friend.	Servant:	Who	shall	I	command,	sir?	Pandarus:	Friend,	we	understand	not	one	another.	I	am	too		courtly	and	thou	too	cunning.	At	whose	request	do	these	men	play?	(3.1.16-27)		The	misunderstanding	revolves	around	the	natural	function	of	an	audience,	in	this	case	over-hearers	as	opposed	to	spectator-patrons.	Is	the	audience	the	one	who	derives	pleasure	from	what	is	experienced	or	the	one	who	requests	what	is	experienced?	And	are	these	two	different	things?	It	is	possible	to	take	pleasure	in	a		 181	performance	that	isn’t	for	you.	I	imagine	nearby	neighbors	listening	to	a	concert	in	the	park	in	the	comfort	of	their	home,	or	a	couple	of	roommates	illegally	downloading	a	movie	to	watch	together	on	a	Saturday	night.	The	conflict	in	these	instances	as	well	as	in	the	misunderstanding	between	Pandarus	and	the	servant	is	a	socio-economic	one.	Pandarus	does	not	accept	that	an	audience	who	has	not	purchased	the	music	by	means	of	its	patronage	could	actually	be	an	audience.	The	radical	democratization	that	the	servant	makes	of	the	audience—that	it	is	composed	primarily	of	those	that	who	are	pleased	by	the	performers—echoes	Thersites’s	spectator	pleasure.	To	whom	do	the	players	of	Troilus	and	Cressida	play?	To	all	those	that	love	making	ribaldry	of	a	pathetic,	forsworn	tragedy.		Thersites,	the	cynical	witness	to	a	history	that	paradoxically	alienates	him	and	integrates	him	into	it,	metatheatrically	enacts	the	commercial	theatre’s	spectator’s	relationship	to	viewership,	where	pleasure	is	prime	and	patronage	is	passé.	In	a	play	that	is	obsessed	with	looking	and	being	looked	at,	Thersites	is	not	simply	denied	access	because	he	is	the	subaltern.	He	is	denied	access	because	he	satirizes	the	emulous	factions	of	heroes	who	hypocritically	fight	for	appearances	in	the	name	of	universal	values.	Thersites	absorbs	antitheatricalist	logic	and	the	paradox	of	the	spectator	in	order	to	exploit	it:	he	is	the	priggish	schoolmaster	who	takes	delight	in	his	pupils’	ignorance,	who	reifies	the	distance	between	himself	and	his	lessers	by	reducing	them	to	nothing.	He	is	Miss	Trunchbull,	but	without	the	institutional	assurance	of	impunity.	Thersites	is	the	collective	dispossession	of	history,	emerging	endogenously	and	externally	in	Shakespeare’s	Troilus	and		 182	Cressida,	who	signals	the	fundamental	theatricality	of	the	Matter	of	Troy	as	well	as	the	fault-line,	the	split	intrinsic	in	social	identity	that	the	theatrical	event	rehearses.																							 183	5	 CONCLUSIONS.	Hieronimo’s	and	Hamlet’s	Apocalypse:	The		Revelation	of	the	Theatre	“Though	this	be	madness,	yet	there	is	method	in’t”	—Polonius	(2.2.23-24)		Throughout	this	dissertation	I	have	been	arguing	for	the	metatheatrical	rendering	of	the	theatrical	event	within	Shakespeare’s	plays,	as	figured	by	a	given	character	who	doubles	as	an	inadmissible	stranger	and	as	a	given	component	of	that	event.	The	poetics,	or	theory	of	form,	that	I	am	creating	is	one	in	which	the	theatre	reproduces	the	anxieties	phenomenologically	and	existentially	felt	in	the	‘real’	world,	while	not	attempting	to	substitute	for	that	real,	lived	world.	The	metonymic	equivalencies	I	am	making	between	these	strangers	and	these	theatrical	components	serve	to,	on	the	one	hand,	emphasize	just	how	much	the	formal	elements	of	theatre	are	the	elements	of	“everyday	life”	(human	bodies,	time,	distance,	etc.)	with	the	conclusion	that	any	formal	analysis	of	a	given	theatre	must	take	into	account	the	implicit	metaphorical	valences	of	these	elements;	and	on	the	other	hand,	make	the	somewhat	lyrical	inference	that	the	theatrical	event	itself	reveals	the	aporia	of	trying	to	belong	and	appear	to	others	in	a	world	in	which	we	already	at	once	belong	and	appear.	In	our	trying	to	know	and	integrate	with	the	other,	we	reveal	the	anxious	contradiction	of	being	separated	from	it	in	the	first	place.		The	specific	anxieties	manifest	differently	in	the	articulation	of	each	theatrical	element.	The	character’s	anxious	question	is	am	I	permanent?	My	analysis	of	Richard	as	character,	as	a	result,	depended	upon	an	interrogation	of	the	shifting,		 184	occlusive	construction	of	nothingness	within	a	framework	of	immutable	fate.	The	actor’s	anxious	aporia	is	who	am	I?	My	analysis	of	Shylock	as	actor,	therefore,	depended	upon	a	examination	of	the	theo-political	dialectic	of	authenticity	staged	between	the	two	merchants	of	Venice.	The	anxious	question	that	governs	the	audience’s	articulation	is	am	I	unique?	My	analysis	of	Thersites,	consequently,	depended	upon	an	interrogation	of	emulation	and	historical	iteration,	and	the	paradoxically	endogenous	and	exogenous	spectator	that	emerges	from	each.	All	of	these	characters	hovered	on	the	threshold	of	the	world	of	appearances	and	the	world	of	belonging.	Their	crises	consistently	led	back	to	questions	of	what	it	meant	to	be	recognized	and	to	be	allowed	in,	to	what	it	meant	to	be	admitted.	As	such,	they	all	had	a	special	need	for	the	theatre	precisely	because	the	possibilities	it	afforded	as	an	art	form	potentiated	the	shape	and	nature	of	their	predicaments.		Arguably,	two	characters	in	the	early	modern	dramatic	canon	who	have	the	greatest	need	for	the	theatre	are	Thomas	Kyd’s	Hieronimo	in	The	Spanish	Tragedy	and	Shakespeare’s	Prince	Hamlet.	Both	have	become	strangers	within	their	respective	royal	courts,	and	both	use	the	theatre	to	uncover	and	expose	the	falsity	of	those	who	have	estranged	them.	Where	I	made	the	case	for	Richard	II,	Shylock,	and	Thersites	metatheatrically	operating	as	the	three	main	parts	of	theatrical	figuration—the	illusion	of	character,	the	actor	performing	that	illusion,	and	the	spectator	watching	and	participating	in	it—I	want	to	make	an	argument	for	Hamlet	and	Hieronimo,	strangers	on	the	threshold	of	social	and	physical	existence,	as	encompassing	all	three	at	once.	Hamlet	and	Hieronimo	are	metatheatrically	the	whole	theatrical	event.	I	follow	Vicki	Ann	Cremona’s	lead	in	defining	the	theatrical		 185	event:	“To	mark	an	event	as	theatrical,	the	distinction	from	other	kind	of	doings	might	be	more	important	than	its	content.	The	distinction	is	twofold:	on	the	one	hand	there	is	someone	who	does	something	in	a	different	way	than	in	regular	life;	on	the	other	hand,	there	is	also	someone	who	sees	and	acknowledges	this	difference…Theatre	becomes	theatre	by	being	an	event,	in	which	two	partners	engage	in	a	playful	relationship”	(11).	The	two	partners,	of	course,	are	engaging	in	a	playful	relationship	dependent	upon	an	agreed	upon	illusion.	The	anxious	question	that	governs	the	articulation	of	the	theatrical	event,	then,	is	is	this/am	I	real?	What	makes	Hieronimo	and	Hamlet	so	fascinating	is	that	they	seem	to	be	producing	their	theatre	and	agreeing	upon	its	illusions	within	their	own	minds,	complicating	just	what	is	real	and	what	isn’t	in	each	play	world.		As	arguably	the	two	most	famous	revenge	heroes	of	the	early	modern	period,	Hamlet	and	Hieronimo	stand	on	the	thresholds	of	this	world	and	the	next,	of	belonging	and	exclusion.	Hamlet	begins	with	a	grieving	prince,	dressed	in	“nighted	color,”	who	has	only	recently	become	estranged	to	his	courtly	family	and	the	crown	that	was	to	be	his	inheritance	(1.2.70).	Hamlet’s	father	is	dead,	murdered	by	his	usurping	uncle,	Claudius,	so	that	Claudius	could	marry	Hamlet’s	mother,	Gertrude.	While	The	Spanish	Tragedy	does	not	begin	with	a	similarly	outcast	and	grieving	figure	(nor	does	it	begin	within	any	clear	protagonist),	it	eventually	settles	on	the	grieved-and-suddenly-estranged-from-the-Spanish-court	Knight	Marshal	Hieronimo	as	the	play’s	ultimate	protagonist	and	tragic	hero.	Midway	through	the	play,	the	son	of	Hieronimo,	Horatio,	is	murdered	by	Portuguese	Prince	Balthazar	(with	the	aid	of	the	Spanish	King’s	nephew,	Lorenzo)	for	the	purposes	of	marrying	the	Spanish		 186	Princess	Bel-Imperia	and	consolidating	Portuguese	and	Spanish	power—Horatio	was	Bel-Imperia’s	lover	and	so	stood	in	the	way	of	these	royal	machinations.	Wronged	and	consequently	alienated	by	their	communities,	Hamlet	and	Hieronimo	famously	lose	faith	in	humanity	and	question	what	it	means	to	exist.	As	his	ruminations	and	behavior	throughout	the	play	suggest,	Hamlet	distrusts	his	mother,	his	uncle,	his	friends,	the	very	integrity	of	humanity.	For	Hamlet,	woman’s	name	is	“frailty”	(1.2.150)	and	man	is	“a	piece	of	work,”	a	“quintessence	of	dust”	(2.2.32).	The	social	world	has	lost	all	delight	for	him,	as	he	meditates	on	the	threshold	of	staying	in	it	or	leaving	it	entirely—“To	be	or	not	to	be”	(3.1.64).	Similarly,	Hieronimo’s	grief	turns	into	wild	madness,	and	he	too	ponders	the	poniard	or	the	rope,	the	finality	of	which	would	at	least	lead	him	to	meet	the	eternal	judge	who	could	provide	the	necessary	“justice	for	Horatio’s	death”	(3.12.13).		Yet	each	man	chooses	life,	and	he	chooses	life	so	that	he	can	revenge	the	life	of	someone	he	loved.	Revenge	for	both	men	is	articulated	theatrically	and	takes	on	the	revelatory,	apocalyptic	function	of	exposing	falsity	and	admitting	the	truth.	And	yet,	revenge	also	seems	to	fail	because	it	greatly	exceeds	its	aims.	The	endings	of	Hamlet	and	The	Spanish	Tragedy	are	apocalyptic	bloodbaths:	everyone	dies,	not	just	the	supposed	guilty,	and	the	guilty	don’t	really	admit	to	anything	in	the	process.	The	critical	tension	in	both	plays	is	between	the	hidden	theatre	of	the	mind,	manifest	in	the	intense	remembrances	of	the	dead,	and	the	public	theatre	of	revenge	that	attempts	to	make	that	hiddenness	real	and	coherent.	This	tension	is	similar	to	the	tension	between	the	play	as	written	object	that	corresponds	to	the	mind	of	the	author	and	the	play	as	performance	that	corresponds	to	its	live	iteration.	The		 187	achievement	of	access	and	recognition—admission—for	Hamlet’s	and	Hieronimo’s	ghostly	remembrances	that	hover	between	this	world	and	the	next	is	what	each	man	needs	to	become	“a	prouder	monarch/That	ever	sat	under	the	crown	of	Spain”	and	Denmark	(Addition	5:4.4.10-11).		For	the	estranged	Hamlet	and	Hieronimo,	this	admission	is	achieved	by	metatheatrically	embodying	the	whole	theatrical	event—text	and	performance,	production	of	illusion	and	participation	in	that	illusion.			5.1	 Recognizing	Memory:	Staging	Revenge	Deemed	mad	by	the	other	characters	within	their	respective	play	worlds,	the	last	few	hundred	years	of	criticism,	and	even	at	times	by	themselves,	Hamlet	and	Hieronimo	hold	within	themselves	an	alternate	universe	in	which	they	serve	as	character,	actor	and	spectator	to	a	reality	no	one	else	can	fully	experience	or	fully	penetrate.	This	reality	has	most	often	been	associated	with	the	griever’s	memory.	As	John	Kerrigan	notes,	“Receding	into	the	privacy	of	memory,	Hamlet	excludes	the	audience	from	knowledge	of	'that	within	which	passes	show';	and,	in	the	process,	he	wins	for	himself	a	depth	and	secrecy	of	character	utterly	unlike	anything	to	be	found	in	Greek	tragedy”	(Remembrance	106-107).	Zakariah	Long	associates	this	private	inwardness	of	memory	with	the	otherworldly:	when	revengers	“are	in	the	throes	of	painful	reminiscences,	many	speak	as	though	they	are	suffering	a	form	of	otherworldly	torment”	(154).	While	this	torment	is	not	unlike	another	Renaissance	trope—the	Petrarchan	pathos	for	instance—Long	notes:		What	distinguishes	revenge	tragedy	is	the	metaphysical	seriousness		 188	with	which	it	invests	this	familiar	sentiment.	Subject	to	involuntary,	invasive,	and	irresistible	reminiscences	from	within	and	oppressive	reminders	from	without,	revengers	genuinely	perceive	glimmers	of	the	otherworld	in	their	surroundings.	In	this	sense,	revengers	experience	infernal	memory	not	only	as	a	psychological	but	an	ecological	event—an	example	of	the	imbrication	of	interior	and	exterior	worlds	that	has	become	the	focus	of	recent	critical	work	on	the	early	modern	mind-body.	(154)		Long’s	essay	is	an	incisive,	well-evidenced	articulation	of	the	relationship	between	revengers	and	memory,	a	relationship	that	has	been	well	explored	by	theorists	on	memory	and	remembrance.68	Long’s	contribution	to	the	discussion	of	the	early	modern	revenger’s	mnemonic	experience	is	to	identify	that	experience	as	“infernal,”	ultimately	asking	two	fundamental	questions	of	the	plays:	why	are	Hamlet	and	Hieronimo,	“as	case	studies	of	infernal	memory,”	so	inexorably	tormented	by	the	memories	of	a	dead	father	and	a	dead	son,	in	manners	that	suggests	otherworldly	punishment;	and	why	are	the	plays	so	explicitly	concerned	with	the	otherworld	that	is	the	afterlife	(155)?	The	Spanish	Tragedy	begins	in	a	syncretistic	underworld,																																									 																					68	See	Thomas	Rist,	Revenge	Tragedy	and	the	Drama	of	Commemoration	in	Reforming	England;	Michael	Neill,	“English	Revenge	Tragedy”	in	A	Companion	to	Tragedy,	ed.	Rebecca	Bushnell;	and	John	Kerrigan,	Revenge	Tragedy:	Aeschylus	to	Armageddon.	For	a	reading	of	Hamlet	specifically	in	relationship	to	remembrance,	see	Stephen	Greenblatt’s	Hamlet	in	Purgatory	and	Lina	Perkins	Wilder’s	Shakespeare’s	Memory	Theatre.	And	for	a	comprehensive	treatment	of	the	phenomenology	of	memory,	see	Edward	S.	Casey’s	Remembering:	A	Phenomenological	Study.		 		 189	where	the	ghost	of	recently	slain	Don	Andrea,	a	Spanish	nobleman	and	soldier,	resides	in	a	Catholic	purgatory	limbo	because	the	classical	gods—Pluto	and	Proserpine—do	not	know	what	part	of	the	underworld	in	which	to	place	him.	Hamlet	similarly	begins	with	a	ghost,	but	this	time	one	caught	in	a	real	Purgatory	limbo:	Hamlet’s	father’s	spirit	who	is	“Doomed	for	a	certain	term	to	walk	the	night/And	for	the	day	confined	to	fast	in	fires/Till	the	foul	crimes	done	in	my	days	of	nature/Are	burnt	and	purged	away”	(1.5.15-18).	The	protagonists	of	the	plays	suffer	otherworldly	remembrances	while	at	the	same	time	each	play	“associates	infernal	memory	with	a	different	otherworld,”	Tartarus	and	Purgatory	(154).	The	two	plays’	heuristic	of	infernal	memory	can	be	understood	as	uniquely	early	modern,	Long	observes:	“Ultimately,	I	argue	that	the	existential	context	for	infernal	memory	is	the	early	modern	dilemma	of	feeling	caught	between	worlds,	whether	Classical	or	Christian,	Protestant	or	Catholic,	material	or	spiritual”	(155-156).		 I’d	like	to	extend	this	“dilemma	of	feeling	caught	between	worlds”	to	the	theatrical	situation	itself.	I	think	there	is	something	about	infernal	memory	that	not	only	suggests	the	political	and	religious	turmoil	of	the	period,	but	also	the	nature	of	these	men’s	relationship	to	the	theatre.	Both	Hamlet	and	Hieronimo	are	playwrights	and	actors	in	their	own	right,	staging	plays	within	the	larger	play	world	for	vengeful	purposes	that	have	little	to	do	with	spectator	pleasure,	although	they	use	the	latter	impulse	to	accomplish	the	former.	Hamlet	adapts	and	translates	an	Italian	play	of	the	time—The	Murder	of	Gonzago—into	a	piece	called	The	Mousetrap	that	will	famously	“catch	the	conscience	of	the	King”	(2.2.634),	and	he	also	serves	as	“chorus”	to	the	play	in	performance	(3.2.269).	Hieronimo	adapts	his	own	play	he	wrote	in	his		 190	youth—Solimon	and	Perseda—into	a	piece	that	will	ultimately	kill	Lorenzo	and	Balthazar,	and	he	also	performs	the	murderer’s	role	within	the	play.	What	they	each	accomplish	is	twofold:	theatre	and	revelation.	King	Claudius	who	killed	Hamlet’s	father	and	Lorenzo	and	Balthazar	who	killed	Hieronimo’s	son	will	be	exposed	and	punished.		Another	word	for	revelation	is	apocalypse	from	the	Greek	word	ἀποκάλυψις,	meaning	“to	uncover,	disclose”	(OED).	For	Hieronimo	and	Hamlet,	theatre	and	apocalypse	are	the	same	thing:	each	serves	as	a	revelation	of	the	truth	and	each	imagines	that	revelation	in	terms	of	the	creation	of	a	new	world.	The	purpose	of	Hieronimo’s	and	Hamlet’s	theatre,	or	their	art,	is	to	manifest	their	private,	infernal	memories	into	a	form	that	makes	them	socially	coherent.	At	least	that’s	the	impulse:	to	reorder	creation	into	a	vision	that	incorporates	and	justifies	what	has	been	lost—a	son,	a	father,	a	lineage,	a	home—while	simultaneously	indicting	the	failure	of	justice	and	the	powers	that	be	to	adequately	do	so	themselves.	The	problem	is,	the	latter	doesn’t	exactly	happen.	The	audiences	of	both	plays	do	not	experience	the	intended	indictment:	Gertrude	does	not	feel	remorseful,	Claudius	does	not	confess,	and	the	Kings	of	Spain	and	Portugal	do	not	even	understand	Hieronimo’s	play,	much	less	feel	culpable	in	the	death	of	Horatio.	This	failure	to	engage	in	an	agreed	upon	illusion	between	players	and	audience	is	purposeful	on	both	men’s	parts:	the	theatrical	event	they	stage	is	about	them	and	for	them.		The	Mousetrap	and	Solimon	and	Perseda	cohere	only	insofar	as	they	are	mimetic	representations	of	private—and	personal—wish-fulfillments:	what	they	uncover	is	the	space	inside	the	mind	of	the	dreamer	who	created	them.	The	story	of		 191	Hamlet’s	The	Mousetrap,	and	the	dumb	show	preceding	it,	is	essentially	the	story	of	what	happened	to	King	Hamlet,	with	the	added	flavor	of	a	son’s	righteous	anger:	the	player	king	and	queen	express	lengthy	affections	for	one	another	while	the	queen	exclaims,	“In	second	husband	let	me	be	accurst”	and	promises	never	to	remarry	(3.2.202).	After	their	avowals	of	love,	the	king	sleeps	and	Lucianus,	the	nephew	to	the	king,	slips	poison	in	his	ear	and	kills	him—exactly	how	the	ghost	of	Hamlet’s	father	says	he	was	killed.	Midpoint	in	the	play,	Hamlet	asks	his	mother	“how	you	like	this	play?”	and	she	famously	retorts,	“The	lady	doth	protest	too	much,	methinks”	(3.2.253-254).	So	far,	the	play	hasn’t	exactly	worked	to	catch	Gertrude’s	conscience	and	so	hasn’t	revealed	anything	about	her	guilt.	The	king	fares	differently.	After	witnessing	the	poisoning,	he	stands	up	to	stop	the	play	and	in	the	next	scene	goes	to	confession.	But	Claudius	admits	after	his	attempt	to	purge	himself	through	prayer	that	his	repentant	words	are	not	backed	by	a	repentant	heart:	“My	words	fly	up,	my	thoughts	remain	below;/Words	without	thoughts	never	heaven	go”	(3.3.102-103).	Where	Gertrude	denies	any	mimetic	coherence	between	herself	and	the	player	queen	and	so	any	blame	in	the	events	of	King	Hamlet’s	death,	Claudius	too	ultimately	denies	blame	when	he	fails	to	bring	his	guilty	conscious	to	full	deliverance;	in	fact,	his	next	kingly	maneuvers	are	to	try	and	kill	Hamlet.		The	Mousetrap	uncovers	and	reveals	by	means	of	the	new,	theatrical	world,	but	it	doesn’t	achieve	anything	close	to	punishment	or	retribution	because	its	spectators	do	not	identify	with	the	actors	and	the	story	in	the	way	Hamlet	imagines.	In	fact,	the	only	one	who	seems	to	be	completely	engrossed	and	identified	with	the	play	is	Hamlet	himself—arguably,	this	is	the	happiest	the	gloomy	prince	has	been		 192	since	his	father	died,	naughtily	teasing	Ophelia	throughout	The	Mousetrap	and	then	punning	and	toying	with	his	friends	Rosencrantz	and	Guildenstern	when	the	play	is	over.	Hamlet	writes,	directs,	plays	chorus	to,	and	spectates	a	play	that	serves,	at	best,	to	reveal	his	own	desires	for	a	world	he’d	rather	live	in—one	in	which	his	aggrieved	mother	never	remarries	and	the	murderer	of	his	father	is	wracked	with	a	guilty	conscience—rather	than	reveal	the	guilt	of	the	ones	upon	whom	he	seeks	revenge.69		If	The	Mousetrap	somewhat	baffled	its	audience,	Hieronimo’s	Solimon	and	Perseda	completely	confounds	them.	The	story	of	Solimon	and	Perseda	is	effectively	the	as-yet-to-be	finished	story	of	The	Spanish	Tragedy.	Perseda,	like	Bel-imperia,	is	already	betrothed	to	Erastus	the	knight	of	Rhodes,	but	Solimon,	just	like	Balthazar,	fancies	her	and	conspires	to	have	his	bashaw	kill	her	husband	(Horatio	or	Don	Andrea	in	the	comparison).	Perseda	then	kills	Solimon	and,	to	escape	the	bashaw’s	tyranny,	kills	herself	too.	Hieronimo	doles	out	the	rightful	parts	to	his	players	and	adds	an	extra	prescription:			 Each	one	of	us	must	act	his	part	In	unknown	languages,	That	it	may	breed	the	more	variety.																																									 																					69	As	Alfred	Mollin	points	out,	demonstrating	how	the	Mousetrap	actually	works	to	catch	the	conscience	of	a	king	has	been	a	famous	critical	problem	in	Shakespeare	criticism,	although	“we	have	the	word	of	Hamlet	and	Horatio	for	its	success”	(357).	Focusing,	as	critics	have,	“on	rendering	Claudius’	emotional	reaction	to	the	spoken	play	both	psychologically	plausible	and	consistent	with	the	text,	these	theorists	have	lost	sight	of	Hamlet’s	purpose	in	staging	the	Mousetrap:	evoking	from	Claudius	a	sign	of	his	guilt”	(358).			 193	As	you,	my	lord,	in	Latin,	I	in	Greek,	You	in	Italian;	and	for	because	I	know		That	Bel-imperia	hath	practiced	the	French,	In	courtly	French	shall	all	her	phrases	be.	(4.1.172-178)		Bel-imperia,	already	in	on	the	murderous	plan,	gets	the	meaning	and	responds,	“You	mean	to	try	my	cunning	then,	Hieronimo,”	punning	on	the	word	“cunning”	as	both	skill	in	language	as	well	as	skill	in	artifice	(4.1.179).	Hieronimo’s	creative	revenge	strategy	works	by	exploiting	the	operations	of	theatrical	practice	itself:	he	is	able	to	murder	the	men	who	murdered	his	son	by	“confusing	the	distinction	between	feigning	actor	and	real	victim”	(West	224).	Balthazar	follows	Bel-imperia’s	remark,	protesting	“But	this	will	be	a	mere	confusion,/And	hardly	shall	we	all	be	understood,”	to	which	Hieronimo	quickly	retorts,	“It	must	be	so,	for	the	conclusion/Shall	prove	the	invention	and	all	was	good”	(4.1.180-184).		 	Both	men	are	right:	it	is	mere	confusion	and	the	conclusion	really	does	prove	Hieronimo’s	invention.	After	the	play	is	over	and	the	King	exclaims	it	was	“bravely	done”	(4.4.68),	Hieronimo	stands	amongst	the	dead	bodies	and	reveals	that	they	are	not	acting:	“Haply	you	think—but	bootless	are	your	thoughts—That	this	is	fabulously	counterfeit”	(4.4.76-77).	Then	in	seventy-nine	detailed	lines,	Hieronimo	explains	the	reason	he	has	committed	these	murders,	the	development	of	his	revenge	strategy,	and	how	it	was	enacted	before	their	very	eyes.	He	even	pulls	out	the	corpse	of	his	son	Horatio	and	exclaims,	“See	here	my	show,	look	on	this	spectacle./Here	lay	my	hope,	and	here	my	hope	hath	end”	(4.4.89-90).	The	poetic		 194	metonymies	of	dead	body,	spectacle,	and	affective	finality	completely	elude	the	Viceroy	and	the	King.	The	symbolic	pinnacle	of	government,	these	men	are	so	bureaucratically	inculcated	in	the	semiotics	of	absolute	reference—one	thing	is	this	and	another	thing	is	that—that	the	poetic	gymnastics	Hieronimo’s	play	demands	of	their	cognition	is	beyond	what	they	can	accomplish.	A	body	cannot	be	a	spectacle.	A	show	cannot	be	real.	The	King’s	men	grab	Hieronimo	and	the	King	yells	at	him,	“Speak,	traitor;	damned,	bloody	murder,	speak!/For	now	I	have	thee	I	will	make	thee	speak—/Why	hast	thou	done	this	undeserving	deed?”	(4.4.163-165).	The	Viceroy	modulates	the	kings	cry	with	a	similar	trumpeting,	“Why	has	thou	murdered	my	Balthazar?”	(4.4.166).	Are	the	King	and	Viceroy	deaf?	Have	they	not	just	heard	seventy-nine	lines	of	explanation,	one	of	the	longest	speeches	in	the	entire	canon	of	early	modern	drama?	Have	they	not	just	seen	the	dead,	rotting	body	of	Horatio?	Solimon	and	Perseda	succeeds	insofar	as	it	reveals	a	father’s	love	and	actualizes	his	dream	of	just	retribution,	but	not	insofar	as	it	reveals	the	just	guilt	of	Lorenzo	and	Balthazar—at	least	in	the	eyes	of	their	theatre’s	main	spectators,	their	fathers.70				 If	theatre	“becomes	theatre	by	being	an	event,	in	which	two	partners	engage	in	a	playful	relationship,”	Hamlet’s	Mousetrap	and	Hieronimo’s	Solimon	and	Perseda	are	theatrical	events	only	for	them.	The	playful	relationship	being	staged	here	is	between	the	world	of	the	play	and	the	real	world,	but	only	Hamlet	and	Heironimo	are	aware	of	it.	As	conscious	constructors	of	these	play	worlds,	both	men	are	fully	in																																									 																					70	Of	course,	Don	Andrea	,	the	spectator	and	chorus	of	the	real-life	“play”	in	which	Hieronimo	is	actually	participating,	exclaims	“these	are	spectacles	to	please	my	soul”	and	proceeds	to	place	every	character	who	has	died	within	their	respective	places	in	the	underworld	(4.5.12).	He	leads	Hieronimo	to	“where	Orpheus	plays,/Adding	sweet	pleasure	to	eternal	days”—Orpheus,	the	legendary	Greek	poet,	musician,	and	prophet	who	delights	the	gods	with	the	beauty	of	his	art	(4.5.23).	In	this	way,	Andrea	acts	as	the	eternal	tribunal	of	the	fallen	world,	enacting	justice	in	an	ethically	and	politically	discriminating	way,	a	way	that	was	denied	to	Hieronimo.		 195	on	the	playful	relationship:	Hamlet	will	catch	the	real	guilt	of	the	real	King	and	Hieronimo	will	kill	the	real	murderers	of	his	real	son.	For	both	revenge	tragedians,	the	theatrical	realization	of	their	revenge	strategies	work	insofar	as	they	render	the	illusion	of	theatre	as,	paradoxically,	revelation.	But	it’s	a	personal,	private	revelation	precisely	because	both	productions	fail	in	the	ultimate	coherence	of	any	theatrical	event:	making	a	clear,	agreed-upon	relationship	between	the	performers	of	that	illusion	and	those	watching	it.	Their	scripts	belie	that	agreement	and	as	a	result	confusion	ensues.71				5.2	 Accessing	Revelation:	The	Apocalypse	Can’t	be	Scripted	What	strikes	me	most	about	Hamlet	and	Hieronimo,	then,	is	in	just	how	much	their	failure	of	theatre	is	a	failure	of	scripted	theatre.	Where	the	scripts	of	The	Mousetrap	and	Solimon	and	Perseda	intentionally	serve	only	their	creators,	it	is	the	improvisatory	aftermath	of	the	plays	that	actually	reveal	and	revenge	the	truth.	In	the	case	of	Hamlet,	it	is	at	the	end	of	the	play	during	the	famous—and	similarly	spectacular—duel	between	Laertes	and	Hamlet	when	the	events	and	their	motivations	begin	to	become	revealed:	King	Claudius	killed	King	Hamlet	and	is	now																																									 																					71	As	a	co-revenger	of	Horatio’s	death,	Bel-imperia	is	also	aware	of	the	covert	relationship	being	staged	between	the	world	of	the	play	and	the	real	world.	Indeed,	Bel-imperia	uses	the	play-within-a-play	as	a	cover	to	kill	herself,	an	act	of	which	Hieronimo	was	not	aware	and	did	not	script,	making	him	a	spectator	to	the	play	as	much	as	the	nobility.	That	said,	her	improvisation	on	the	script	does	not	manage	to	confuse	Hieronimo.	In	his	confession	to	the	King	and	Viceroy,	Hieronimo	quickly	interprets	her	maneuver	and	discloses	it	to	the	other	spectators:	“For	though	the	story	saith	she	should	have	died,/Yet	I	of	kindness,	and	of	care	to	her,/Did	otherwise	determine	of	her	end:/But	love	of	him	whom	they	did	hate	too	much/Did	urge	her	resolution	to	be	such”	(4.4.141-145).	While	Bel-imperia’s	improvised	theatrical	illusion	of	death	is	likewise	rendered	as	real-life	revelation,	it’s	not	the	same	kind	of	personal	and	private	revelation	of	Hieronimo’s,	precisely	because	spectator	Hieronimo	immediately	makes	it	coherent	and	understands	it.	Whether	or	not	Bel-imperia	really	killed	herself	out	of	love	for	Horatio,	we’ll	never	know.	But	I’m	reluctant	to	put	her	theatrical	event	in	the	company	of	playwrights	Hieronimo	and	Hamlet,	who,	I	think	uniquely,	and	maybe	purposefully,	fail	at	making	their	revelations	coherent	to	their	audiences.			 196	also	responsible	for	Laertes’,	Hamlet’s	and	Gertrude’s	deaths,	in	his	own	privately	scripted	performance	gone	awry.	Act	V	is	the	real	apocalypse	of	Hamlet	where	everyone	dies,	albeit	in	impromptu	ways.72	If	revelation	and	retribution	truly	occur,	they	can’t	be	scripted.	Similarly,	it	is	the	moment	after	the	play	Solimon	and	Perseda	is	over	when	the	kings	demand	Hieronimo	re-confess	everything	in	an	unscripted,	improvisatory	way	that	the	nature	of	the	deaths	becomes	revealed	to	them.	As	Richard	Proudfoot	notes,	“Modern	performers	of	The	Spanish	Tragedy	(like	their	Elizabethan	forebears,	if	we	can	trust	the	evidence	of	half-a-century	of	parody)	must	face	the	question	how	far	the	play	can	be	taken	straight	and	where,	if	at	all,	it	can	be	allowed	to	burlesque	itself”	(75).	This	moment	of	complete	misprision	when	the	nobility	ask	Hieronimo	to	confess	after	he	has	spent	so	long	confessing	seems	particularly	suited	for	farcical,	improvisational	delivery.	Indeed,	one	of	the	major	rules	of	improvisational	theatre	is	“don’t	negate	and	don’t	ask	questions.”	Hieronimo	does	not	say	back	to	the	King	“Um,	didn’t	I	just	tell	you?”	but	instead	accelerates	the	drama	of	bafflement	by	agreeing	with	the	King’s	ignorant	paroxyms:																																											 																					72	For	a	book-length	study	on	apocalyptic	narratives	in	Shakespearean	cinematic	adaptations,	see	Apocalyptic	Shakespeare:	Essays	on	Visions	of	Chaos	and	Revelation	in	Recent	Film	Adaptations.	See	also	R.M.	Christofides’	Shakespeare	and	the	Apocalypse:	Visions	of	Doom	from	Early	Modern	Tragedy	to	Popular	Culture	for	a	post-structural	linguistics	reading	of	apocalypse.	Christofides	argues	that	apocalypses	always	fail	precisely	because	they	speak	to	that	which	exists	outside	of	language;	any	attempt	to	linguistically	stage	them,	then,	produces	deferral,	not	revelation.	As	such,	they	symbolically	take	on	the	narrative	crisis	in	post-structural	theory:	the	apocalypse	is	present	in	the	imagination	only	insofar	as	it	is	absent.	See	also	Derrida’s	"No	Apocalypse,	Not	Now	(Full	Speed	Ahead,	Seven	Missiles,	Seven	Missives)"	in	which	he	argues	that	apocalypse	takes	on	the	function	of	the	Logos,	an	absolute	referent	for	metaphysical	presence	that	provides	universal	meaning,	but	that	ultimately	can’t	be	accessed.	My	own	interest	in	the	theatrical	apocalypses	of	these	early	modern	tragedians	takes	insights	from	these	post-structural,	presentist	theories,	but	ultimately	aims	to	situate	revelation	not	within	language	but	within	the	figuration	the	theatre,	or	bodies	performing	illusions	to	other	bodies.			 197			 	 	 	 	 	 Indeed,	Thou	may’st	torment	me,	as	his	wretched	son	Hath	done	in	murdering	my	Horatio,	But	never	shalt	thou	force	me	to	reveal	The	thing	which	I	have	vowed	inviolate.	And	therefore	in	despite	of	all	thy	threats,	Pleased	with	their	deaths,	and	eased	with	their	revenge,	First	take	my	tongue,	and	afterwards	my	heart.		 	 	 	 [He	bites	out	his	tongue]	(4.4.184-190)		What	exactly	is	the	thing	that	he	has	vowed	“inviolate”?	Hasn’t	Hieronimo	just	explained	all	the	ways	he	has	been	violated	and	all	the	ways	he	has	chosen	to	violate	back?	What	remains	pure	here?	In	his	essay,	“‘But	this	will	be	a	mere	confusion’:	Real	and	Represented	Confusions	on	the	Elizabethan	Stage,”	William	West	pinpoints	this	scene	as	the	ultimate	moment	of	confusion	for	all	parties	within	the	theatre:		 Hieronimo’s	self-mutilation,	he	insists,	preserves	his	secret	“inviolate”	(about	the	only	thing	onstage	that	is	inviolate	at	this	point)	and	he	dies	with	it	unspoken.	But	what	is	this	secret?	Nothing	that	an	offstage	audience	knows,	either.	In	fact,	it	does	not	even	seem	to	make	sense;	Hieronimo	has	already	revealed	Horatio’s	murder,	his	revenge	on	the	killers	Lorenzo	and	Balthazar,	Bel-Imperia’s	part	in	it,	and	everything	else.	To	this	point	the	audience	has	heard	nothing	of	any	vow,	and	so		 198	it	shares	in	the	confusion	with	which	Hieronimo	leaves	his	reluctant	represented	audience.	The	secret	he	takes	with	him	he	takes	from	us	as	well.	(231)		It’s	almost	as	if	Hieronimo	makes	up	a	secret	to	render	the	bewilderment	of	the	King	and	Duke	coherent.	Lacking	the	scripted	feel	of	the	post-play	confession,	this	improvisation	on	Hieronimo’s	part	manages	to	both	reveal	the	truth	of	the	murders	better	than	his	prepared	speech,	yet	at	the	same	time	it	accelerates	the	drama	of	chaos,	confusing	even	the	live	audience.	Similarly,	Act	V	of	Hamlet	reveals	while	it	confuses.	Everyone	is	dying	and	none	of	it	seems	to	be	planned:	Gertrude	drinks	out	of	the	wrong	cup,	Laertes	gets	stabbed	with	the	poisoned	poniard	meant	for	Hamlet,	and	Claudius	is	force	fed	his	own	poison.	And	yet,	it	is	in	this	chaos	that	the	truth	begins	to	be	revealed:	Laertes’	dying	words	to	Hamlet	reveal	his	and	Claudius’s	plan	to	kill	Hamlet,	ultimately	condemning	the	king	and	mending	the	ruin	with	his	almost-brother-in-law:	“He	is	justly	served/It	is	a	poison	tempered	by	himself./Exchange	forgiveness	with	me,	noble	Hamlet./Mine	and	my	father’s	death	come	not	upon	thee,/Nor	thine	on	me”	(5.2.306-310).	Even	while	it’s	unclear	to	the	spectators	of	the	dual	who	is	to	blame	for	all	the	sudden	deaths,	they	nonetheless	sense	the	truth	and	all	yell	out	“Treason!	Treason!”	suspecting	that	the	deaths	are	indeed	foul	and	treasonous	(5.2.302).	The	problem	is,	everyone	still	might	think	it’s	all	Hamlet’s	fault.	It	will	be	up	to	Horatio,	a	surrogate	for	the	audience,	to	tell	Hamlet’s	story	and	the	full	events	that	actually	conspired	in	order	to	clear	Hamlet’s	reputation:	Hamlet	begs,	“O	God,	Horatio,	what	a	wounded	name,/Things	standing		 199	thus	unknown,	shall	live	behind	me!/If	thou	didst	ever	hold	me	in	thy	heart/Absent	thee	from	felicity	a	while,/And	in	this	harsh	world	draw	thy	breath	in	pain/To	tell	my	story”	(5.2.323-328).	None	of	this	is	scripted	beforehand	by	Hamlet.	The	“chaotic	destructiveness	of	revenge”	seems	to	need	a	theatre	inclined	toward	its	audience	as	improvisatory	participants	as	opposed	to	passive	spectators	(Neill	112).	For	both	The	Spanish	Tragedy	and	Hamlet,	revelation	of	the	truth	and,	more	importantly,	the	apocalyptic	possibility	of	due	punishment,	comes	by	process	of	improvisatory	accumulation,	not	scripted	fantasy.			 The	dichotomy	between	written	theatre	and	what	Weimann	has	called	“presentational”	theatre	is	one	in	which	Hamlet	as	a	playwright	and	director	is	particularly	concerned.73	When	giving	directions	to	his	players	before	The	Mousetrap	opens,	Hamlet	wants	to	make	sure	that	the	clowns	“whose	job	in	the	company	was	to	provide	physical	and	verbal	humor,	both	within	the	fiction	of	the	play	and	as	the	leader	of	the	‘jig’	performed	afterwards”	(Tribble	606),		 speak	no	more	than	is	set	down	for	them.	For	there	be	of	them,	that	will	themselves	laugh,	to	set	on	some	quantity	of	barren	spectators	to	laugh	too,	though	in	the	mean	time,	some	necessary	question	of	the	play	be	then	to	be	considered:	that’s	villainous,	and	shows	a	most	pitiful	ambition	in	the	fool	that	uses	it.	(3.2.40-47)																																										 																					73	For	an	elaboration	of	Weimann’s	distinction	“between	presentation—the	performant	function—and	representation,	the	rendering	of	imaginary	events	and	characters”	see	Author’s	Pen	and	Actor’s	Voice,	pp.	79-108	(21).		 200	As	Lyn	Tribble	notes,	“Here	the	tensions	between	presentational	improvisation	and	the	text	of	the	play	are	made	explicit”	(606).	Hamlet	does	not	want	the	clown	to	exceed	his	written	prescriptions.	In	fact,	Hamlet	generally	denigrates	the	kinds	of	theatrical	audiences	that	take	pleasure	in	“a	jig	or	a	tale	of	bawdry”	(2.2.525).	Of	course,	early	modern	play-going	itself	was	on	the	threshold	of	two	other	important	worlds:	the	world	of	the	“self-contained	fictional	dramatic	representation”	as	recorded	in	the	written	script	and	the	world	of	the	“collaborative	social	dynamic	between	performer	and	audience”	as	generated	in	the	live	action	of	the	play	(607).	The	latter	was	most	clearly	localized	in	the	function	of	the	clown	who	was	given	full	reign	of	the	stage	after	the	play	ended	and	“who	presided	over	the	jig,	which	often	spread	out	to	encompass	the	audience,	sometimes	with	disorderly	results”	(607).	To	prefer	the	jig	over	a	player’s	soliloquy	is	a	bit	like	preferring	coffee	hour	after	church	over	the	pastor’s	homily.	For	an	intellectual	like	Hamlet,	such	a	preference	is	objectionable.		Hieronimo’s	Solimon	and	Perseda’s	use	of	multiple	languages	has	a	similar	purpose	of	forcing	the	players	not	to	exceed	their	own	lines	precisely	because	they	can’t	understand	what	the	other	players	are	saying.74	As	Tribble	notes,	it’s	unclear	how	much	of	the	actual	script	in	early	modern	productions	was	memorized	verbatim	and	how	much	was	improvised	using	the	“languaging	strategies”	of	presentational	theatre:	“The	ideal	of	exact	recall	is	a	classic	example	of	written																																									 																					74	The	play	reimagines	the	biblical	Tower	of	Babel,	whose	similar	purpose	was	to	destroy	the	ambitions	of	the	sons	of	Shem	by	confounding	“their	language,	that	they	may	not	vnderstand	one	anothers	speech”	(KJV,	Gen.	11.7).	In	the	same	way	the	sons	of	Shem	sought	a	name	without	respecting	the	name	of	God,	the	sons	of	Portugal	and	Spain	are	guilty	of	seeking	a	name	without	honouring	the	names	of	those	within	the	kingdom’s	ecology. 	 201	language	bias;	it	has	no	meaning	in	a	culture	without	technologies	of	reproduction,	including	printing	and	audio	and	video	recording”	(599).	Instead,	players	probably	played	off	each	other’s	cues,	words,	and	remembrances,	as	well	as	the	audience’s	feedback,	creating	a	theatrical	event	that	was	always-being-created	as	opposed	to	one	which	authentically	referenced	the	written	word.	Hieronimo	controls	and	stymies	this	improvisatory	function	of	theatre	by	forcing	his	characters	to	speak	in	tongues	that	inhibit	them	from	understanding	and	authentically	playing	off	one	another.	Both	Hamlet	and	Hieronimo	exploit	the	theatre’s	scripted	characteristics	to	enact	and	contain	their	revenge	strategies.	The	paradox,	of	course,	is	that	while	they	imagine	fidelity	to	the	play	script	to	be	the	source	of	revelation,	it	remains	a	private	revelation	in	which	their	audiences	do	not	fully	partake.	It’s	only	when	their	play-dreams	are	over	and	the	collaborations	with	their	audiences	begin	that	revelation	and	revenge	become	symbiotically	coherent.		What	Hamlet	and	Hieronimo	offer	a	poetics	of	admission	on	the	early	modern	theatre	is	a	heuristic	of	access	and	recognition	that	puts	the	idea	of	the	play	itself	into	question:	what	is	the	play?	Who	has	access	to	it?	The	writers	and	performers?	The	audience?	How	do	we	recognize	what	the	play	is?	Put	another	way,	from	where	does	the	truth,	or	revelation,	of	the	play	come?	The	script	or	the	performance?	Hamlet’s	and	Hieronimo’s	private	dreams	of	revenge	metatheatrically	embody	the	conflict	inherent	in	the	early	modern	theatrical	event:	theater	as	both	written	object	and	improvised	live	action.	The	play,	of	course,	is	always	both	a	thing	and	action.	Neither	is	more	real	than	the	other,	and	yet	each	contends	to	be	the	more	legitimate.	As	liminal	strangers	in	their	real	play	worlds,	Hamlet	and		 202	Hieronimo	simultaneously	embody	the	liminality	of	the	theatrical	event	as	both	a	world	that	belongs	to	the	minds	of	authors	and	a	world	that	belongs	to	the	breaths	of	living	people.					5.3	 Admitting	Hamlet:	On	the	Archetype	I	began	this	dissertation	by	making	a	case	for	a	compromise	between	stage-centered	criticism/performance	studies	and	page-centered	criticism/literary	studies,	and	so	I	find	it	fitting	to	end	with	an	analysis	of	two	of	the	most	famous	characters	in	the	early	modern	dramatic	canon	who,	I	think,	embody	this	very	divide.	My	thesis	has	ultimately	situated	this	divide	within	the	world	of	the	image	itself,	or	the	larger	unifying	category	that	I	understand	as	behind	both	the	artistic	articulation	and	the	criticism	of	that	articulation.	I	have	called	this	image	the	stranger	and	the	rendering	of	it	admission.	Given	how	much	the	early	modern	period	was	“a	crucial	moment	of	cultural	transformation,	inaugurating	the	modern	dichotomies	of	drama	between	poetry	and	performance,”	Shakespeare	studies	in	particular	has	been	a	fruitful	source	for	interrogating	just	where	and	how	these	confluences	between	the	work	of	poetry	and	the	work	of	performance	can	and	do	occur	(Worthen,	Drama	196).	Arguably,	my	insistence	that	we	can	read	within	the	plays	a	poetic	image	that	does	the	work	of	performing	live	bodies	and	the	work	of	how	to	interpret	those	bodies	is	a	kind	of	criticism	not	unlike	archetypal	literary	criticism,	which	dates	back	to	the	1930s	with	Maud	Bodkin’s	Archetypal	Patterns	in	Poetry,	but	really	gained	popularity	in	the	1950s	with	Northrop	Frye.	Frye’s	Fearful	Symmetry	led	to	the		 203	wide-scale	reinterpretation	of	William	Blake’s	poetry,	most	notably	his	articulation	of	Blake’s	understanding	and	use	of	the	archetype.	According	to	Frye,	Blake’s	poetry			 was	a	poetry	which	consisted	almost	entirely	in	the	articulation	of	archetypes.	By	an	archetype	I	mean	an	element	in	a	work	of	literature,	whether	a	character,	an	image,	a	narrative	formula	or	an	idea,	which	can	be	assimilated	to	a	larger	unifying	category.	The	existence	of	such	a	category	depends	on	the	existence	of	a	unified	conception	of	art…	Theories	of	poetry	and	of	archetypes	seem	to	belong	to	criticism	rather	than	to	poetry	itself,	and	when	I	speak	of	Blake’s	treatment	of	the	archetype	I	imply	that	Blake	is	a	poet	of	unique	interest	to	critics	like	ourselves.	(522-523)		I’m	not	suggesting	that	Shakespeare	and	his	contemporaries	had	a	unified	conception	of	theatrical	practice	that	was	rendered	archetypically	in	their	plays.	Rather,	I	am	saying	that	the	limits	and	affordances	of	the	new	commercial	theatre	did	render	a	kind	of	archetypical	figuration	to	the	characters	in	the	plays	of	this	period,	if	only	because	the	playwrights	were	so	self-consciously	interested	in	the	possibilities	of	the	medium	itself.	Moreover,	it	is	just	these	figurations,	I	think,	that—as	Frye	contends	about	Blake—make	the	early	modern	period	of	unique	interest	to	critics.	The	theory	of	the	stranger	and	the	poetics	of	admission	on	Shakespeare’s	stage	belong	to	criticism	not	to	that	stage	itself.	Shakespeare’s	stage	is	of	interest	to	critics	because	its	poetry	belongs	also	to	the	poetry	of	criticism	itself.						 204	My	purpose	in	invoking	Frye	is	not	to	reinscribe	the	archetype	for	literary	studies,	but	rather	to	interrogate	just	what	the	relationship	between	criticism	and	literary	imagination	is,	which,	I	think,	is	at	the	heart	of	Frye’s	meditations	on	Blake	and	at	the	heart	of	this	thesis.	I’d	like	to	quote	Frye	at	length	on	this	relationship	because,	even	some	seventy	years	later,	his	insights	remain	foundational	to	the	study	(and	teaching)	of	literature:		 If	criticism	is	more	than	aggregated	commentary,	literature	must	be	somewhat	more	than	an	aggregate	of	poems	and	plays	and	novels:	it	must	possess	some	kind	of	total	form	which	criticism	can	in	some	measure	grasp	and	expound.	It	is	on	this	question	that	the	possibility	of	literary	archetypes	depends.	If	there	is	no	total	structure	of	literature,	and	no	intelligible	form	to	criticism	as	a	whole,	then	there	is	no	such	thing	as	an	archetype.	The	only	organizing	principle	so	far	discovered	in	literature	is	chronology,	and	consequently	all	our	larger	critical	categories	are	concerned	with	sources	and	direct	transmission.	But	every	student	of	literature	has,	whether	consciously	or	not,	picked	up	thousands	of	resemblances,	analogies,	and	parallels	in	his	reading	where	there	is	no	question	of	direct	transmission.	If	there	are	no	archetypes,	then	these	must	be	merely	private	associations,	and	the	connections	among	them	must	be	arbitrary	and	fanciful.	But	if	criticism	makes	sense,	and	literature	makes	sense,	then		 205	the	mental	processes	of	the	cultivated	reader	may	be	found	to	make	sense	too.	(523)			For	Frye,	the	question	of	whether	criticism	and	literature	are	aggregates	or	forms	is	crucial	because	the	answer	fundamentally	informs	how	one	goes	about	doing	literary	criticism.	Do	we	catalogue	influences	or	do	we	develop	some	other	systematic	form	that	is	itself	an	“intelligible	structure	of	knowledge”	(204)?	Developing	a	poetics	of	the	creative	principles	and	effects	that	inform	early	modern	drama	has	been	my	attempt	to	do	the	latter.	The	difference	between	archetypes	and	poetics,	interestingly,	is	that	they	are	inversions	of	one	another:	where	the	archetype	forms	the	foundation	upon	which	patterns	may	be	drawn	and	copied,	poetics	derives	and	articulates	the	patterns	of	a	given	literary	technique	and	imagination.	Inasmuch	as	my	project	is	a	poetics,	I	can’t	help	but	feel	that	perhaps	Frye’s	archetype	is	my	own	recursive	image	that	haunts	this	thesis’	critical-imaginative	project.			For	instance,	I	began	with	the	mental	processes	of	Walter	Benjamin	who	used	the	figure	of	Hamlet	and	his	archetypical,	existential	dialectic	to	make	sense	of	his	own	confounding	hallucination.	I	then	introduced	the	mental	processes	of	Kearney’s	phenomenological	reading	of	the	Stranger	archetype,	which,	he	suggested,	exists	on	the	threshold.	Kearney	also	seemed	to	need	Hamlet:	“It	is	not	easy	to	read	the	Stranger.	To	cite	Hamlet,	the	face	of	another	is	‘like	a	book	where	men	may	read	strange	matters’”	(5).	Indeed,	as	Worthen	has	pointed	out,	the	imagery	of	reading	and	writing	suffuses	Shakespeare’s	most	famous	play:	“Books		 206	and	writing	provide	an	essential	metaphor	for	consciousness	and	character—Hamlet	vows	to	wipe	‘all	trivial	fond	records,	all	saws	of	books’	from	the	‘book	and	volume’	of	his	brain	(1.5.103)’”	(Drama	95).75	The	accumulation	of	facts	and	events	that	constitutes	one’s	memory	and	character	is	comparable	to	the	accumulation	of	facts	and	stories	that	make-up	a	book.	The	problem	is,	Hamlet	never	said	the	face	of	another	is	“like	a	book	where	men	may	read	strange	matters.”	Lady	Macbeth	did.	Indeed,	she	said	it	to	her	husband	in	reference	to	his	clearly	startled	and	bewitched	expression—he	had	just	received	a	hefty	prophecy	from	some	creepy	witches.	The	line	comes	after	her	famous	“unsex	me”	soliloquy	in	which	she	asks	the	spirits	that	“tend	on	mortal	thoughts”	to	“Stop	up	the	access	and	passage	to	remorse,/That	no	compunctious	visitings	of	nature/Shake	my	fell	purpose”	(1.5.34-36).	When	she	sees	the	compunctious	visitings	of	nature	on	her	husband’s	face,	she	tells	him	to	stop	looking	so	weird,	otherwise	people	will	know	something	is	up:	“To	beguile	the	time,/Look	like	the	time”	(1.5.54-55).	The	quote	not	only	has	nothing	to	do	with	Hamlet,	it	has	nothing	to	do	with	the	inherent	inability	to	fully	read	and	know	another	person;	in	fact	it	means	just	the	opposite.	Macbeth’s	looks	give	him	away.	How	could	Kearney	get	this	wrong?	How	could	the	editors	not	catch	it?			 I	think	the	better	question	is,	why	did	Kearney	associate	it	with	Hamlet?	Similarly,	why	does	Benjamin	associate	his	sensation	of	shuddering	with	Hamlet?76	In	both	instances,	the	use	of	Hamlet	makes	sense,	even	while	it	doesn’t	make	sense.	For	what	exactly	is	Hamlet	as	an	archetype?	He	is	the	Stranger	par	excellence.	That																																									 																					75	See	also	James	A.	Knapp’s	Shakespeare	and	the	Power	of	the	Face	for	a	discussion	of	the	interstices	between	the	language	of	the	self	and	the	language	of	the	face.	76	As	L.	C.	Knights	famously	observed	in	An	Approach	to	“Hamlet,”	"more	than	with	any	other	play,	critics	are	in	danger	of	finding	reflected	what	they	bring	with	them"	(11).			 207	figure	who	exists	on	the	thresholds	of	madness	and	sanity,	shuddering	and	horror,	thinking	and	acting,	being	and	not	being,	poetry	and	performance,	script	and	improvisation.	Hamlet	is	arguably	the	most	fundamental	Western	archetype	for	the	experience	of	life-altering	liminality.	He	symbolically	organizes	the	mental	processes	at	work	in	criticism,	and	simultaneously	serves	as	an	imaginative	source	upon	which	criticism	can	speak.	To	speak	of	Hamlet	is	to	explore	the	recursive	relationship	between	literary	imagination	and	critical	imagination	and	how	each	seeks	coherence	in	a	form.		 ***	I	lose	track	of	time	a	lot.	I’ve	never	really	kept	a	clock	in	my	house.	And	I’ve	always	enjoyed	situations	or	events	in	life	that	reflect	back	to	me	a	sense	of	order	that	is	non-chronological	or	atemporal	in	some	way.	I	think	a	lot	of	people	who	like	literature	and	the	arts	are	like	this.	There’s	something	about	both	artistic	practice	itself	and	the	consumption	of	others’	artistic	practices	that	make	time	feel,	well,	a	little	stranger:	the	focused	flow	one	gets	into	when	deep	in	creative	process	(writing,	dancing,	cooking,	playing	music,	acting),	when	time	feels	like	it	has	disappeared	as	an	organizing	principle	of	consciousness.	The	similar	depth	of	immersion	one	experiences	when	reading	a	good	novel	or	watching	an	engrossing	play	or	film,	where	the	experience	of	oneself	for	a	few	hours	on	a	couch	can	feel	like	the	birth	and	death	of	several	generations—time	doesn’t	disappear	so	much	as	shift	velocity.	Central	these	experiences,	I	think,	is	a	loosening	of	self	and	a	relaxing	into	the	spontaneity	of	a	present	and	a	future	one	cannot	foresee	or	measure,	whether	that	is	through	accessing	one’s	own	imagination	or	another’s.			 208	Admission,	as	I	have	been	conceiving	it,	similarly	stakes	itself	along	this	strange	phenomena	of	the	experience	of	time,	as	both	a	sequential,	narrative	pattern	and	a	moment	where	that	pattern	falls	in	on	itself.	We	give	the	Other	access	once	we’ve	recognized	them,	and	so,	on	the	one	hand,	admission	reveals	a	tidy	sequential	narrative	of	recognition	followed	by	access.	On	the	other	hand,	it’s	unclear	how	we	recognize	the	Other	in	the	first	place	if	we	don’t	have	some	sort	of	access	to	them.	The	image	of	the	stranger	on	the	threshold	of	recognition	and	access	somewhat	solves	this	paradox	by	making	it	concrete,	but	it’s	not	quite	enough.	As	I	noted	in	the	introduction,	Bridget	Escolme	articulated	a	similar	interest	in	this	problem	of	recognition	and	access	through	time,	within	an	art	form	and	within	the	world:	how	do	“play	texts	written	four	hundred	years	ago”	get	us	“to	rethink	the	moments	in	the	theatre	and	in	the	world	when	we	‘recognise’	another	human	being,	when	we	think	we	know	what	someone	else	means”	(17).	I’ve	been	arguing	that	those	play	texts	get	us	to	rethink	those	moments	by	actually	staging	crises	of	admission—of	appearing	and	belonging	to	others—via	the	affordances	of	theatrical	practice	itself.	We	recognize	the	estranged	images	of	Richard	II,	Shylock,	Thersites,	Hamlet	and	Hieronimo	because	the	plays	ask	us	to	recognize	the	process	of	imagination	in	which	all	are	rendered:	theatrical	illusion,	or	the	character-actor-audience	network	that	makes	up	the	theatrical	event.	And	they	ask	us	to	recognize	that	process	as	a	process	that	is	as	much	about	an	art	form	that	has	the	capacity	to	stage	a	world	of	entrances	and	exits,	as	it	is	about	the	real	worlds	in	which	we	exist	as	characters	on	the	thresholds	of	competing	realities:	you	on	the	couch,	knowing	and	not	knowing		 209	that	you	are	watching	a	movie;	you	dancing	to	the	music,	knowing	and	not	knowing	the	moves.																								 210	Works	Cited	Adelman,	Janet.	Blood	Relations:	Christian	and	Jew	in	the	Merchant	of	Venice.		University	of	Chicago	Press,	2008.	---.	“Male	Bonding	in	Shakespeare's	Comedies.”	Shakespeare's	Rough	Magic:		Renaissance	Essays	in	Honor	of	CL.	Barber,	edited	by	Peter	Erickson	and	Coppelia	Kahn.	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