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That reverend vice : a study of the comic-demonic figure in English drama and fiction Levenson, Geraldine Bonnie 1976

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"THAT REVEREND VICE" A Study of the Comic-Demonic Figure in English Drama and F i c t i o n by GERALDINE BONNIE LEVENSON B . A . , U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1968  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of English  We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September, 1976  (c)  Geraldine Bonnie Levenson, 1976  In presenting t h i s thesis in p a r t i a l f u l f i l l m e n t of the requirements  for  an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e for reference and study.  I  further agree that permission for extensive copying of t h i s thesis f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives.  It  i s understood that copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of  t h i s thesis f o r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my w r i t t e n permission.  Department of English The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5  ABSTRACT One of the most puzzling thematic patterns prevalent in the l i t e r ature of almost every c u l t u r e i s the recurrent a s s o c i a t i o n of the d e v i l and clown; both in myth and a r t , there i s a d i s c e r n i b l e r e l a t i o n s h i p between the s p i r i t of comedy and the dark, destructive forces of the demonic realm.  It i s the purpose of the d i s s e r t a t i o n to examine the comic and  demonic forces which are interfused in the l i t e r a r y representations of a number of clown-demons, to explain the nature of what may be termed " d i a b o l i c a l humour," and to demonstrate why, in the words of Baudelaire, "the comic i s one of the c l e a r e s t tokens of the Satanic i n man."  This inves-  t i g a t i o n i s approached from the vantage point of a f i g u r e widely popular in English medieval and Tudor drama, namely the j e s t i n g Vice of the morality and i n t e r l u d e , in whom the elements of the comic and demonic converge. While the f i r s t h a l f of the d i s s e r t a t i o n examines the r e l a t i o n ship between comedy and e v i l in l i g h t of the o r i g i n s and dramatic charact e r i s t i c s of the V i c e , the second half attempts to demonstrate that t h i s f i g u r e can serve as a kind of prototype f o r a number of s i m i l a r l y morally ambiguous characters in both drama and f i c t i o n , characters whose doublevisaged natures would otherwise appear somewhat i n e x p l i c a b l e .  The f i r s t  three chapters are mainly h i s t o r i c a l , concentrating on the development of the comic-demonic f i g u r e i n early English drama and e s t a b l i s h i n g a s o c i o l o g i c a l foundation upon which f u r t h e r discussion of the r e l a t i o n s h i p between e v i l and comedy can be based.  The following chapters are l a r g e l y  a n a l y t i c a l i n nature, focusing upon f i v e problematical figures in English i i  iii 1 i t e r a t u r e - - F a l s t a f f in Henry IV, Volpone in Jonson's play by that name, Becky Sharp in Vanity F a i r , Fagin in O l i v e r Twist and Quilp in The Old C u r i o s i t y Shop--and using the comic-demonic a t t r i b u t e s of these figures as a threshold through which to enter the dramatic or f i c t i o n a l worlds of Shakespeare, Jonson, Thackeray, and Dickens.  In each of the works d i s -  cussed, not only are the forces of comedy and e v i l i n t r i n s i c a l l y  related  to the major strands of imagery and thematic m o t i f s , but also each w r i t e r emphasizes a d i f f e r e n t aspect of the comic-demonic prototype whose composite features are i d e n t i f i e d in the f i r s t half of the d i s s e r t a t i o n . In Henry IV, F a l s t a f f ' s comic d i a b l e r i e considerably elucidates the intermediary p o s i t i o n w i t h i n the s o c i o - p o l i t i c a l framework which Shakespeare i s d e l i n e a t i n g - - t h e amoral, median p o s i t i o n between v i r t u e and v i c e , order and d i s o r d e r , court and tavern.  In Volpone, Jonson  employs the magnifico as a kind of i n f e r n a l p r i e s t whose idolatrous worship of his gold and l i c e n t i o u s indulgence of his baser passions take the form of a comic profanation of the sacred, r e s u l t i n g in the temporary ascendency of a demonic, s a t u r n a l i a n world.  The discussion of Vanity  F a i r examines a female representation of t h i s f i g u r e .  In t h i s n o v e l ,  Becky Sharp emerges as a demonic comic-heroine whose womanhood defines the q u a l i t y of both the comedy and the e v i l she perpetrates.  And f i n a l l y ,  in 01iver Twist and The Old C u r i o s i t y Shop, Fagin and Quilp f u l f i l l traditional  the  V i c e - r o l e , acting as aged corrupters of youthful innocence.  Both men function thematically as surrogate f a t h e r - f i g u r e s whose comicdemonic a t t r i b u t e s make them at the same time menacing and a t t r a c t i v e the c h i l d r e n with whom they each i n t e r a c t .  to  The conclusion looks at the c e n t r a l question of the moral ambiguity of t h i s f i g u r e , his or her simultaneous a t t r a c t i v e n e s s and repreh e n s i b i l i t y , from the wider perspective of the i n t e r a c t i o n between the comic and demonic domains.  The study closes with the a s s e r t i o n that  the forces of comedy and e v i l function in a complementary manner as both instruments of engagement and d i s t a n c i n g d e v i c e s , and that the comicdemonic f i g u r e w i l l  be represented i n l i t e r a t u r e as long as there con-  tinues to be a r e l a t i o n s h i p between the s p i r i t of comedy and the dark, hidden impulses of mankind.  TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter .  I.  II.  III.  IV.  V.  Page INTRODUCTION  1  THE COMIC AND DEMONIC DOMAINS  4  FORERUNNERS OF THE VICE—THE COMIC-DEMONIC CHARACTER IN THE ENGLISH RELIGIOUS DRAMA OF THE MEDIEVAL PERIOD  23  THE TWO FACES OF THE VICE  57  A CONGENIAL SOIL FOR TRANSPLANTATION  A "GENTLEMAN OF THE SHADE"—FALSTAFF AS VICE IN HENRY J_V  VI.  VII.  VIII.  107  120  THE BLACK SATURNALIA—THE COMIC-DEMONIC REALM OF VOLPONE  146  "FLEXIBLE IN THE JOINTS AND LIVELY ON THE WIRE"—THE DEMONIC COMIC-HEROINE IN VANITY FAIR . . .  173  THE CHILD AND THE CLOWN-DEMON—FATHERS AND CHILDREN IN OLIVER TWIST AND THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP  201  CONCLUSION: BETWEEN ENGAGEMENT AND DETACHMENT . . . .  245  LIST OF WORKS CONSULTED  252 v  O  "THAT REVEREND VICE" A Study of the Comic-Demonic Fig in English Drama and F i c t i o n  INTRODUCTION One of the most puzzling thematic patterns prevalent in the l i t e r a t u r e of almost every c u l t u r e i s the recurrent a s s o c i a t i o n of the representations of the devil and the clown; both in myth and a r t ,  there  i s a d i s c e r n i b l e r e l a t i o n s h i p between the s p i r i t of comedy and the dark, destructive forces of the demonic realm. in The Hero With A Thousand Faces  For example, Joseph Campbell  affirms that inherent in every myth,  there i s a conception of the pre-existence of e v i l .  "Universal too i s  the casting of the antagonist, the representative of e v i l , i n the role of the clown.  D e v i l s - - b o t h the l u s t y thick-heads and the sharp clever  deceivers--are always clowns."^  S i m i l a r l y , Ernst K r i s in his section on  the comic in Psychoanalytic Explorations in Art  makes the following  comment: We are f a m i l i a r with the great company of comic figures which are to be found in the a r t and l i t e r a t u r e of a l l c i v i l i z e d peoples. We can often discover t h e i r genealogy and trace i t r i g h t back to the antique satyr p l a y , or even f u r t h e r . It i s a f a c t that as a general r u l e , we can perceive behind them another more s i n i s t e r shape once feared or dreaded. Satyrs who were at f i r s t goat demons, the p u l c i n e l l a of S o u t h - I t a l i a n comedy, descendant of the cock dancers, the comic d e v i l s of the mystery p l a y s , even the lovable Mephisto in Goethe's Faust, are the best known examples of such ci-devant demons now t r a v e s t i e d as f o o l s . 2 It w i l l be the purpose of my d i s s e r t a t i o n to examine the comic and demonic forces which are interfused in the l i t e r a r y  representations  of a number of such clown-demons, to explain the nature of what may be termed " d i a b o l i c a l humour," and to demonstrate why, in the words of Baudelaire, "the comic i s one of the c l e a r e s t tokens of the Satanic in 3  man."  I intend to approach t h i s question from the vantage point of a 1  2 f i g u r e widely popular i n English medieval and Tudor drama, namely the j e s t i n g Vice of the morality and i n t e r l u d e , in whom the elements of the comic and demonic converge.  Having examined the o r i g i n s and dramatic  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of t h i s f i g u r e , I s h a l l then attempt to demonstrate that the Vice can serve as a prototype f o r a number of s i m i l a r l y ambivalent characters in both drama and f i c t i o n , characters whose double-visaged natures would otherwise appear somewhat i n e x p l i c a b l e . The emphasis of the f i r s t half of the d i s s e r t a t i o n w i l l , consequently, be mainly h i s t o r i c a l , concentrating on the development of the comic-demonic f i g u r e in e a r l y English drama and e s t a b l i s h i n g a s o c i o l o g i c a l foundation upon which f u r t h e r discussion of the r e l a t i o n s h i p between e v i l and comedy can be based.  The second half w i l l be l a r g e l y  a n a l y t i c a l in nature, focusing upon f i v e problematical  figures—two  dramatic and three f i c t i o n a l - - w h o s e comic-demonic features are i n t r i n s i c a l l y r e l a t e d to the thematic patterns and imagery of each of the l i t e r ary works i n which they operate.  3 Notes f o r Introduction The Hero With a Thousand Faces (Cleveland and New York: Meridian Books, 1956J7 p. 294. 1  Psychoanalytic Explorations in A r t (New York: Shocken Books, 1964), p. 213. 3 "On the Essence of Laughter, and, in General, on the Comic in the P l a s t i c Arts [1855]," in Comedy: Meaning and Form, ed. Robert W. Corrigan (San Francisco: Chandler Publishing C o . , 1965), p. 453.  Chapter I THE COMIC AND DEMONIC DOMAINS The perplexing nature of the V i c e ' s incorporation of the two forces of comic and demonic, of the roles of both devil and clown, i s well outlined in a series of questions posed by William W i l l e f o r d during his discussion of the development of the fool character in his recent work, The Fool and His Scepter: [0]n the medieval stage . . . the Devil and the fool interacted with each other, and the Devil himself was often clownish, as were Herod, P i l a t e , and other "bad" characters. In a common form of t h i s i n t e r p l a y , the D e v i l , not a comic f i g u r e , acted upon the f a r c i c a l f i g u r e of the V i c e , the t e r r i b l e knave and the s i l l y v i c t i m developing in the course of time in the d i r e c t i o n of the f a m i l i a r knockabout fool p a i r . . . . Some features of these developments are not at a l l c l e a r ; among the questions that have been r a i s e d about them are these: What i s the o r i g i n of the Vice as a fool character in England? Was the Vice always d i s t i n c t from the Devil? Did the stage fool simply grow out of the Devil or V i c e , or was the Devil a fool much e a r l i e r ? . . . And whatever the developments were in d e t a i l , why did they take p l a c e ? 1  It i s toward the issues raised i n the above questions that t h i s chapter will  be d i r e c t e d . A SURVEY OF THE LITERARY CRITICISM CONCERNED WITH THE ORIGINS OF THE VICE The origin* of the Vice as a dramatic character i s a matter of  dispute among c r i t i c s and theatre h i s t o r i a n s who are divided according to their interpretation  of his function on the medieval and Tudor stage.  There are those who see him p r i m a r i l y aligned with the a l l e g o r i c a l forces of e v i l , namely the Devil and the Seven Deadly S i n s .  4  Another group of  5 c r i t i c s , however, lays more s t r e s s upon the comic function of the Vice and traces his evolution from the court j e s t e r and the fool of English f o l k drama.  The dispute over the development of the Vice i n e a r l y English  drama was i n i t i a t e d over three-quarters of a century ago by L. W. Cushman in the only f u l l - l e n g t h study of t h i s f i g u r e published to date, The Devil and the Vice in the English Dramatic L i t e r a t u r e before Shakespeare. According to Cushman, the Devil and the Vice are d i s t i n c t e n t i t i e s ,  re-  lated only i n s o f a r as a l l agents of e v i l have the same metaphysical source; the Devil i s a theological being, the adversary of God, while the Vice i s an e t h i c a l person, "an a l l e g o r i c a l representation of human weakness and v i c e s , in s h o r t , the summation of the Deadly S i n s . "  Cushman i s  i n c l i n e d to underplay the comic d e r i v a t i o n of the V i c e ' s r o l e and sees him c l o s e l y aligned with the moral forces of e v i l , his p r i n c i p a l being the temptation of man.  function  He recognizes that in the course of time,  the Vice became separated from his a l l e g o r i c a l r o l e , and "the term Vice came to be simply a synonym f o r buffoon";  3  he regards t h i s f a c t , however,  as evidence f o r the f i g u r e ' s comic degeneration. Later c r i t i c s have tended to disagree with Cushman, and with each other as w e l l , i n t h e i r discussion of the V i c e ' s o r i g i n s .  Some, such as  Robert Withington and A. P. R o s s i t e r , do not accept Cushman's d i s t i n c t i o n between Devil and V i c e , but rather f i n d the ancestor of the Vice f i g u r e in the d i a b o l i c a l l y j o c u l a r character of the Devil drawn in the medieval 4 mystery play.  In R o s s i t e r ' s view: "Much has been argued about the  Deadly Sins and the V i c e ; but a f t e r noting the comic and always undignif i e d d e v i l s of the M i r a c l e - p l a y s , the d e r i v a t i o n of the Vice as riotous  6 clown and his usual supplantation of the other s i x - - o r a l l seven--needs 5  l i t t l e explanation."  On the other hand, Bernard Spivack, i n the chapter  e n t i t l e d "Emergence of the Vice" i n Shakespeare and the Allegory of E v i l , supports Cushman i n his i n s i s t e n c e upon the separation of the roles of the Devil and the V i c e ; he finds himself at odds, however, with other aspects of Cushman*s theory: The Vice i s not, as some scholars have supposed, the "summation of the Seven Deadly S i n s " ; but he s p r i n g s , by a century-long process of d o c t r i n a l emphasis and dramatic s p e c i a l i z a t i o n , from the numerous v i c e s , including the Deadly S i n s , who came upon the morality stage out of the d i f f u s e homiletic a l l e g o r y of medieval C h r i s t i a n i t y . 6 Also disagreeing with Cushman, some scholars have emphasized the comic o r i g i n s of the V i c e , while o t h e r s , i n sharp contrast to Spivack, have r e garded the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the Vice and the fool of t r a d i t i o n as much stronger than that between the Vice and the themes and characters of medieval homiletic l i t e r a t u r e .  Tempe A l l i s o n finds untenable Cushman's  view that the Vice was o r i g i n a l l y a s i n i s t e r rather than a comic f i g u r e : "As we now see i t  . . . the Vice of the early sixteenth century m o r a l i -  t i e s represents the fusion of a group of minor v i c e s , and as f a r back as we are able to trace these characters we f i n d them e x h i b i t i n g comic elements."^  distinctly  S i m i l a r l y , both Chambers and Ramsay believe that the  comic side of the V i c e ' s character requires more a t t e n t i o n ; both dispute Cushman's r e j e c t i o n of the fool-element i n the r o l e of the V i c e , but r a t h e r , have discovered a f f i n i t i e s  between the comic a n t i c s of t h i s  f i g u r e and those of the medieval clown or j e s t e r .  Supporting a s i m i l a r  standpoint, R. J . Tiddy traces the o r i g i n of the Vice through the Devil in the mystery play to the black-faced fools of the English f o l k play.  7 It i s Tiddy's conviction that "the Morris f o o l , the Doctor's man, Beelzebub, the Fool of the Mummers' P l a y , the clown of the Sword P l a y , the d e v i l s of the M o r a l i t i e s and the Interludes are a l l by d i n t of  their  mischief or t h e i r black faces or t h e i r f o o l i n g , u l t i m a t e l y one and the Q  same.'  More r e c e n t l y , F. H. Mares has taken Tiddy's argument one step  f u r t h e r , and has attempted to demonstrate that "the Vice comes into the drama from the popular f e s t i v a l , that he i s already established as a stage clown before he appears in the morality at a l l , and that he does not do so u n t i l the morality i s in d e c l i n e . " ^ Not a l l the c r i t i c a l research has regarded the question of the V i c e ' s o r i g i n s as narrowly as my summary up to t h i s point would i n d i c a t e . Some t h e o r i s t s have recognized the double nature of the V i c e ' s dramatic character, his tendency to combine elements of both comic and d i a b o l i c , to incorporate aspects of the roles of both demon and clown.  In a recent  unpublished Ph.D. d i s s e r t a t i o n , Larry Gray, a f t e r discarding the devil of the miracles as a source for the o r i g i n of the V i c e , f i n d s t h i s  figure's  ancestry in both the theological " v i t i a e " of the medieval period (the a l l e g o r i c a l representations of human weakness), and e s p e c i a l l y , i n the 11 timeless representations of "the archetypal f o o l . S i m i l a r l y , Boughner regards the c h i e f function of the Vice f i g u r e , "to compound viciousness 12 with buffoonery," as an i n d i c a t i o n of his mixed o r i g i n s .  Spivack, too,  in his i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of morality drama i n terms of "the comedy of e v i l " ^ asserts that the V i c e , " l i k e the morality play i t s e l f of which he i s the essence, i s a composite of homiletic 'sadness' and dramaturgic  'mirth.  None of the c r i t i c s and theatre h i s t o r i a n s , however, has provided a  1  8 s a t i s f a c t o r y explanation f o r the puzzling d u a l i t y manifest in both the o r i g i n s and functions of the V i c e .  Indeed, a f t e r a l l the research i n  t h i s area has been analyzed, W i l l e f o r d ' s f i n a l and, to my mind, most s i g n i f i c a n t question remains to be answered: Whatever the developments were i n respect to the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the V i c e , the D e v i l , and the f o o l , "why did they take place?"  The remainder of t h i s chapter w i l l attempt to  provide an answer f o r t h i s question. THE COMIC ASPECTS OF THE DEMONIC REALM Bernard Spivack i s undoubtedly correct when he remarks that " i t  is  e a s i e r to observe than explain t h i s comic portrayal of e v i l everywhere 15 v i s i b l e in medieval a r t and l e t t e r s .  I s h a l l begin to account for  t h i s a s s o c i a t i o n of viciousness and buffoonery, embodied i n both the f i g u r e of the Vice and the l i t e r a t u r e from which he emanates, by examining two fundamental concerns: f i r s t , why, in medieval drama, are the forces of the demonic portrayed i n e s s e n t i a l l y comic terms, and, second, why does comedy present i t s e l f with manifestly e v i l overtones?  At f i r s t  glance, these questions appear i d e n t i c a l , but, as we s h a l l d i s c o v e r , the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the comic and the demonic i s at l e a s t twofold; and the answers to these d i s t i n c t , yet c o r r e l a t i v e questions w i l l  provide  i n s i g h t s not only into the convergence of both forces during the medieval p e r i o d , but also into t h e i r recurrent a s s o c i a t i o n in l i t e r a t u r e to the present time.  During the medieval p e r i o d , the d e v i l , the supernatural  enemy of both God and man, became the leading comic character in the a r t and homiletic l i t e r a t u r e of the time.  In a d d i t i o n , another group of  9 characters, including the numerous vices i n the d e v i l ' s r e t i n u e , as well as C a i n , Herod, P i l a t e , Noah's w i f e , and the t o r t u r e r s of C h r i s t , also developed in such a way as to provide a source of comic horse-play on the medieval stage.  A l l of these characters shared with the devil  one common a t t r i b u t e that was singled out as a target for  himself  laughter.  Within t h i s context then, humour during the medieval period served the purposes of s a t i r e .  This s a t i r i c aim was, of course, supported by homi-  l e t i c teaching which demonstrated not only that e v i l was stupid and s t u p i d i t y was comic, but also that the powers of the demonic could be overcome by v i r t u e and obedience to the divine w i l l .  ultimately  In other words,  because e v i l was represented to be laughable, i t s e s s e n t i a l f o l l y , tence, and v u l n e r a b i l i t y were exposed.  In f a c t , the B i b l i c a l  impo-  definition 1g  of the word f o o l , a term "applied to vicious or impious persons,"  i s in  keeping with the medieval and renaissance persuasion that f o l l y was a n a l ogous to s i n . Besides the purpose of s a t i r e , a second function of humour in r e l a t i o n to the forces of the demonic was that of providing comic r e l i e f . The presence of humour during the course of a sermon or a l i t u r g i c a l drama a s s i s t e d in sweetening the moral p i l l , and f u l f i l l e d both requirements of what has been viewed since the time of Horace, as the dual function of l i t e r a t u r e - - d u ! c e entertain and i n s t r u c t .  et u t i l e , to sweeten and make u s e f u l , to  The average spectator could have l i t t l e in com-  mon with the i d e a l i z e d , verbose and a b s t r a c t l y treated C h r i s t , Mary, the various s a i n t s , or the a l l e g o r i c a l representations of v i r t u e .  He shared,  however, with the d e v i l , his accompanying band of personified v i c e s , and  10 the various "lurdans" and " l o s e l l s " [rascals and low c h a r a c t e r s ] , the exuberance and v i t a l i t y of ordinary human weakness.  The considerable  comic entertainment provided by the demonic character i n medieval drama i s affirmed in Jonson's The Staple of News, as Gossip T a t t l e reminisces about the old days: My husband Timothy T a t t l e , God rest his pore s o u l ! was.wont to say there was no play without a fool and a devil i n ' t ; he was f o r the devil s t i l l , God bless him! The devil for his money, would he say, I would f a i n see the devil The power of comic r e l i e f , embodied in the numerous characters metaphoric a l l y aligned with e v i l , resulted i n t h e i r dramatic overshadowing of the forces of v i r t u e on the e a r l y English stage.  Although the forces of  good were u l t i m a t e l y shown to be morally s u p e r i o r , the characters assoc i a t e d with the demonic realm were, quite understandably, the most applauded by the theatre audiences of the times. The comic rendering of the demonic element in medieval a r t can also be viewed from a psychological perspective which casts a d i f f e r e n t l i g h t on the notion of comic r e l i e f .  Not only did the i n j e c t i o n of farce  into medieval drama provide an element of l e v i t y for the spectator amidst a superabundance of homiletic teaching, but a l s o , in many respects, served as a defense against anxiety.  it  By perceiving the menacing forces  of hell as r i d i c u l o u s , by laughingly degrading the d i a b o l i c a l character so that he becomes a clown or a f o o l , the audience is able to distance i t s e l f from the threatening and oppressive aspects of the demonic realm, and thereby obtain r e l i e f from anxiety and f e a r .  It i s t h i s process of  psychological distancing to which Spivack i m p l i c i t l y refers when he speculates that the comic portrayal of e v i l during the Middle Ages probably  11 "obeyed the same impulse evident today in the p o l i t i c a l cartoon--the degradation by c a r i c a t u r e of a dangerous enemy, and an anodyne, t h e r e f o r e , 18 applied to fear and p a i n . "  Pursuing a s i m i l a r r e l a t i o n s h i p between  the fearsome and the ludicrous in his examination of the Grotesque in German L i t e r a t u r e , Lee Byron Jennings also suggests that a c e r t a i n " d i s arming mechanism" i s at work whenever a fear-producing image evokes a comic response in the observer.  Jennings goes so f a r as to question  "whether, i n the p r i m i t i v e condition of man, a l l expressions of the t e r r i b l e may not pass through t h i s disarming phase, whereby the  stability  and well-being of the mind i s in some measure preserved and protected 19 against d i s r u p t i v e f o r c e s . " Most of the c r i t i c s concerned with the comic rendering of the e v i l element in medieval drama have used one or more of these three basic explanations—that the e v i l characters are made ludicrous in order to f u l f i l l the purposes of s a t i r e , to provide comic r e l i e f , or to allow the audience a measure of psychological distancing from the malevolent forces of h e l l .  In s h o r t , the l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m i n the area has focused  p r i m a r i l y on the demonic realm i t s e l f in an attempt to explain why the forces of e v i l have been depicted with expressly humorous overtones.  We  can, however, gain a f u r t h e r perspective in our c o n s i d e r a t i o n , i f we turn to a discussion of comic theory, for here we can f i n d an i n t r i n s i c r e l a tionship between the nature of comedy and the demonic realm of the human psyche.  12 THE DEMONIC FORCES OF COMEDY Attempting to define the essence of laughter in 1855, Charles Baudelaire expressed his b e l i e f that there was a v i t a l  interconnection  between the comic mode and the demonic impulse i n human experience.  For  Baudelaire, "the comic i s a damnable element and one of d i a b o l i c o r i g i n . " Associated with the ancient idea of a physical and moral F a l l from Grace, "the comic i s one of the c l e a r e s t tokens of the Satanic i n man, one of 20 the numerous pips contained in the symbolic a p p l e . "  Interestingly,  V.  A. Kolve i n The Play Called Corpus C h r i s t i , i d e n t i f i e s a s i m i l a r convict i o n prevalent in medieval theology.  Using the twelfth century  writings  of S t . Hildegard of Bingen as his source, Kolve states that during the Middle Ages " i t was possible to believe that the f a c u l t y of laughter was one of the r e s u l t s ' o f the F a l l of Man, and that in our o r i g i n a l 21 t i o n we voiced our higher joys in less carnal ways."  perfec-  Few c r i t i c s have  stated t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p between the comic and the demonic with the boldness of Baudelaire; however, i m p l i c i t i n the t h e o r e t i c a l w r i t i n g s  devoted  to the nature of comedy, an explanation f o r t h i s interconnection may be found. According to a prevalent and convincing theory, comedy and humour release psychological tensions r e s u l t i n g from the i n h i b i t i n g process of maintaining the i n s t i t u t i o n s of c i v i l i z a t i o n .  From i t s e a r l i e s t o r i g i n s ,  developing out of the Dionysiac revels and f e r t i l i t y r i t e s in Ancient 22 Greece,  the comic genre has represented i t s e l f  in the form of a holiday  from everyday l i f e , a c e l e b r a t i o n of the v i t a l i t y of the human i n s t i n c t s and t h e i r temporary triumph over the repressive forces of c i v i l i z a t i o n .  13 This theory i s well documented by Professor Cornford's study of the r i t u a l pattern of Aristophanic comedy in The Origins of A t t i c Comedy. Commenting on the major theme which i s recurrent i n most of Aristophanes' p l a y s , Cornford w r i t e s : "The reign of Zeus stood in the Greek mind f o r the e x i s t i n g moral and s o c i a l order; i t s overthrow, which i s the theme of so many of the comedies, might be taken to symbolise . . . the breaking up of a l l ordinary r e s t r a i n t s .  23  A number of l i t e r a r y c r i t i c s , including C. L. Barber, James Feibleman, Susanne Langer, Wylie Sypher, and Northrop Frye, have supported the view that comedy i s a f e s t i v e a r t form which momentarily provides a p u b l i c l y useful l i b e r a t i o n from the constraints of authority and 24 social institutions.  It i s i n t e r e s t i n g that Freud too, i n psycho-  a n a l y t i c a l terms, has affirmed the widely-held theory of l i t e r a r y  criti-  cism that comedy involves a "breaking up of a l l ordinary r e s t r a i n t s . " 25 According to Freud, "humour has something l i b e r a t i n g about i t , " comedy provides pleasure by permitting the temporary g r a t i f i c a t i o n  and of  some hidden and forbidden w i s h , while the anxiety which normally causes the i n h i b i t i o n of the wish i s reduced.  More p r e c i s e l y , laughter occurs  when the psychic energy b u i l t up i n the unconscious i s able to overwhelm the i n h i b i t i n g r e s t r a i n t s of the superego which generally exercises cont r o l over the i n d i v i d u a l ' s pattern of behaviour.  As when any r e s t r a i n t  i s suddenly l i f t e d , a reduction of tension takes place and, in t h i s case, the discharge of energy manifests i t s e l f i n the form of c a t h a r t i c laughter. With t h i s view of comedy as a v e h i c l e of psychological l i b e r a t i o n ,  14 i t i s not d i f f i c u l t to demonstrate i t s r e l a t i o n s h i p to the forces of the demonic realm.  The unconscious i s , of course, that region of the mind  which i s the seat of the repressed "demonic" d e s i r e s ,  the dark, destruc-  t i v e urges of the human psyche, which are permitted to be momentarily released through the emancipatory processes of comedy.  We might f u r t h e r  consider that there has been an obvious h i s t o r i c a l r e l a t i o n s h i p between the comic and the sacred, r e s u l t i n g from the f a c t t h a t , as one t h e o r e t i cian suggests, "the comic cannot approach sacred things without appearing 27 blasphemous."  This r e l a t i o n s h i p i s indicated by the comic profanation  of the sacred which takes place during the f e s t i v e celebrations of almost a l l cultures.  D i s c e r n i b l e i n the Dionysian f e r t i l i t y r i t e s , the Roman  S a t u r n a l i a , the Medieval Feast of F o o l s , the seasonal c a r n i v a l s of c o n t i nental Europe, and the various r i t u a l s of the North and South American Indian, the comic "burlesque of the sacred" appears to have an almost u n i 28 versal occurrence.  Common to a l l of these f e s t i v a l s i s the r e l a x a t i o n  of the r i g i d structures of s o c i e t y , an attack on conventional value and b e l i e f , and the l i f t i n g of c e r t a i n taboos, during which time, acts bordering on s a c r i l e g e are permitted. During the Middle Ages, f o r example, a f e s t i v a l known as the Feast of Fools was c e l e b r a t e d , despite numerous e c c l e s i a s t i c a l p r o h i b i t i o n s , from the t w e l f t h to sixteenth century i n the cathedral churches of northwestern Europe.  The feast usually began on 1 January, the Day of  the C i r c u m c i s i o n , and i t generally took the form of a l i c e n t i o u s parody of church r i t u a l conducted by the minor c l e r g y : the sub-deacons, v i c a r s , c h a p l a i n s , and c l e r k s .  "The r u l i n g idea of the f e a s t , " as Chambers  15 observes, " i s the inversion of status and the performance, i n e v i t a b l y burlesque, by the i n f e r i o r clergy of functions properly belonging to 29 their betters."  This inversion and the d e l i b e r a t e profanation of the  sacred order i s evident in a f i f t e e n t h - c e n t u r y  document issued by the  Dean of the Faculty at the U n i v e r s i t y of P a r i s , which in i t s condemnation, g r a p h i c a l l y describes the customs of the f e a s t : P r i e s t s and c l e r k s may be seen wearing masks and monstrous visages at the hours of o f f i c e . They dance i n the choir dressed as women, panderers or m i n s t r e l s . They sing wanton songs. They eat black puddings at the horn of the a l t a r while the celebrant i s saying mass. They play at dice there. They sense with s t i n k i n g smoke from the soles of old shoes. They run and leap through the church, without a blush at t h e i r own shame. F i n a l l y they drive about the town; and rouse the laughter of t h e i r fellows and bystanders i n infamous performances with indecent gestures and verses s c u r r i l o u s and unchaste. It i s s i g n i f i c a n t that t h i s document i n t e r p r e t s the s a c r i l e g i o u s l i c e n c e r e f l e c t e d i n the Feast of F o o l s , as an i n d i c a t i o n not only of the s u r v i v a l of the r i t e s of paganism but also of the f a i l u r e to r e s i s t the "snares of d e v i l s . "  3 1  The Feast of Fools was far more widespread i n France than in England, although the custom was celebrated in several English l o c a l i t i e s , p a r t i c u l a r l y at Lincoln and Beverley.  O f f i c i a l censure was, apparently,  more powerful on the northern side of the channel, and there are no English records of t h i s f e s t i v a l a f t e r the end of the fourteenth century. Far more popular i n England than the Feast of Fools was the Feast of the Boy Bishop or the Feast of Innocents.  This feast also involved an i n v e r -  sion of s t a t u s , f o r during i t s c e l e b r a t i o n the boys of the cathedral choir took on the o f f i c e s and a u t h o r i t y of the senior c l e r g y .  Although  the Feast of the Boy Bishop involved a mockery of the d i v i n e service and  16 often led to l i c e n t i o u s r e v e l r y , i t was not held to be so much of an abomi n a t i o n by e c c l e s i a s t i c a l reformers f o r , as Chambers surmises, "the c h o i r boys must have been more amenable to d i s c i p l i n e , even in moments of 32 festivity,  than the adult c l e r k s . "  This f e s t i v a l , however, shared with  the Feast of Fools the general condemnation and p r o h i b i t i o n s afforded a l l such o s t e n s i b l y subversive customs, and both feasts gradually died out by the time of the Reformation. Both the Feast of Fools and the Feast of the Boy Bishop are examples of celebrations i n which laws lose t h e i r r e s t r a i n i n g force and the s p i r i t of comic inversion reigns in a topsy-turvy world.  These f e s t i v a l s  were, of course, l i m i t e d in d u r a t i o n , and the sacred order which had been mockingly desecrated during the period of r e v e l r y was, u l t i m a t e l y , reasserted at the end of the c e l e b r a t i o n .  Yet the e x i s t e n c e , however  tem-  porary, of an order of comic profanation i n which even the most sacred customs and values of a s o c i e t y are held up to r i d i c u l e , provides us with an i l l u s t r a t i o n of the kind of i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d "pressure release" which i s endemic to the f e s t i v i t y of a l l c u l t u r e s . The f a c t that humour i s often a v i t a l response to that which i s sacred i s also i l l u s t r a t e d by what we may c a l l the laughing-in-church syndrome, in which a s i m i l a r kind of "pressure release" i s involved.  It  has frequently been observed that people often experience the intense need to laugh in church, or in any s i t u a t i o n i n which an atmosphere of solemnity i s demanded.  As Carlo Weber comments in an a r t i c l e  entitled  "A God Who Laughs," "our need to laugh i s apparently greatest at the most sacred moments.  For laughter i s an escape from smug, pretentious bondage.  17 Placed in bondage, we e i t h e r submit to i t or laugh at i t .  . . . Laughter  tends to correct abuses and release our aggressions against the binding 33 force."  In much the same way, Wylie Sypher has suggested that "comic  r i t e s are n e c e s s a r i l y impious, for comedy i s s a c r i l e g e as well as release . . . [M]an must p e r i o d i c a l l y befoul the holy and reduce himself to 34 folly."  From t h i s perspective then, i t i s not s u r p r i s i n g that the  medieval Church viewed the Feast of Fools as r e s u l t i n g from the "snares of d e v i l s , " nor that the dramatic representations of e v i l , both the devil and the V i c e , became the leading comic characters on the medieval and Tudor stage.  Because the comically subversive a n t i c s of both figures  were a challenge to the a u t h o r i t y of God and the e c c l e s i a s t i c a l teachings of C h r i s t i a n i t y , the audience was a b l e , through laughter, to discharge i t s pent-up tensions against the moral r e s t r i c t i o n s and r e l i g i o u s tures of the heavily-bound society in which they l i v e d .  struc-  Furthermore, an  inversion of status i s evident here as w e l l , f o r the demonic realm supplanted that of Heaven, during the i n f e r n a l characters' comic r e i g n . It i s also important to recognize that the comic revelry of the demonic characters was s h o r t - l i v e d , and the forces of v i r t u e were u l t i mately v i c t o r i o u s at the end of the dramatic presentation.  This process  was supported not only by r e l i g i o u s doctrine,which sought always to demonstrate that the road to v i r t u e was morally superior to that of v i c e , but also by the s o c i a l functions of comedy i t s e l f .  Although comedy i s  an agent of s o c i a l l y sanctioned r e l e a s e , i t i s , at the same time, a v e h i c l e of s o c i a l r e g u l a t i o n .  It  i s true that the unbridled expression  of man's natural i n s t i n c t s may, from time to time, be necessary to  18 c u l t u r a l s u r v i v a l ; saturnalian r e v e l i n g , however, cannot e x i s t as a permanent s t a t e .  Shakespeare has Prince Hal acknowledge t h i s f a c t in Henry  IV, Part 1: If a l l the year were playing h o l i d a y s , To sport would be as tedious as to work, But when they seldom come, they wish'd f o r come. (I.ii.228-30) What Hal i s saying i s that everyone looks forward to a holiday because i t provides a break from the work-a-day- world.  If,  however, holidays were  to become the general r u l e rather than a b r i e f r e s p i t e from i t , s u l t would be tedium.  the r e -  Furthermore, we can s a f e l y surmise that " i f  all  the year were playing h o l i d a y s , " man would eventually develop a counterrevolutionary movement against the order of f e s t i v e c e l e b r a t i o n . r a t e , i t i s the purpose of comedy to provide a momentary interlude  At any during  the course of everyday l i f e , an i n t e r r u p t i o n and suspension of the rules of d a i l y l i v i n g .  It does so because holidays are necessary for the main-  tenance of the structures of c i v i l i z a t i o n .  Once the holiday i s over,  the members of society are temporarily purged of t h e i r anarchic and a n t i s o c i a l impulses, and are ready to embrace once more the values they have mockingly f l o u t e d .  Moreover, comedy, i n a sense, serves the i n t e r e s t s  of s o c i a l , p o l i t i c a l , and r e l i g i o u s authority as w e l l .  The f a c t that  the comic attack on conventional value i s permitted and i n some cases, 35 even encouraged,  suggests that the a u t h o r i t i e s and s o c i a l  institutions  are both powerful and t o l e r a n t enough to deal e f f e c t i v e l y with the forces which threaten the p r e v a i l i n g order. We have seen that comedy often involves a l i b e r a t i n g  profanation  of the sacred, and we are now, perhaps, i n a better p o s i t i o n to appreciate  19 the element of demonic insinuation gleaming from w i t h i n the comic mask. We must a l s o consider, however, that the comic s p i r i t i s , a f t e r a l l , as George Meredith recognized, "the ultimate c i v i l i z e r . "  36  Moreover, a  "holiday" i s also a "holy day," and comedy not o n l y * i n Sypher's words, 37 "desecrates what i t seeks to s a n c t i f y , "  but a l s o , at the same time,  s a n c t i f i e s what i t seeks to desecrate'.  With t h i s in mind, we s h a l l now  turn to the desecrations and s a n c t i f i c a t i o n s wrought by the comicdemonic f i g u r e in his e a r l i e s t appearances on the English stage.  20 Notes f o r Chapter I The Fool and His Scepter: A Study in Clowns and Jesters and t h e i r Audience (Evanston, 111.: Northwestern Univ. Press, 1969), p. 123. 1  The Devil and the Vice in the English Dramatic L i t e r a t u r e before Shakespeare ( H a l l e , 1900), p. 63. Charles M. Gayley supports a s i m i l a r generic d i s t i n c t i o n between the Devil and Vice i n his introduct i o n to Representative English Comedies (New York: Macmillan, 1912-36), pp. l i - l i i : "The Vice i s neither an e t h i c a l nor dramatic d e r i v a t i v e of the D e v i l ; nor i s he a pendant to that personage, as f o i l or i r o n i c a l decoy, or even antagonist. The Devil of the early drama i s a mythical character, a f a l l e n archangel, the anthropomorphic Adversary. The V i c e , on the other hand, i s a l l e g o r i c a l , - - t y p i c a l of the moral f r a i l t y of mankind. Proceeding from the concept of the Deadly S i n s , u l t i m a t e l y focusing them, he dramatizes the e v i l that springs w i t h i n . " 3  Cushman, p. 68.  4 Robert Withington, "Braggart, Devil and V i c e : a note on the development of the comic figures in the early English drama," Speculum, XI (1936), 124-29. 5 A. P. R o s s i t e r , English Drama: From Early Times to the E l i z a bethans (London: Hutchinson & C o . , 1950), pp. 90-92, 158-59. Shakespeare and the Allegory of E v i l (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1958), p. 135. This work w i l l be subsequently c i t e d as The Al1egory of E v i l . "The Paternoster Play and the Origin of the V i c e , " PMLA, XXXIX (1924), 789-804. 7  o  E. K. Chambers, The Medieval Stage (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1903), I I , 203-4. R. L. Ramsay, e d . , Magnyfycence, E . E . T . S . , 1908, i n t r o d . pp. x c i v - c i v . 9 The Mummers' Play (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1923), p. 113. ^ "The Origin of the Figure C a l l e d 'the V i c e Huntington Library Quarterly, XXII (1958-59), 11-29.  1  i n Tudor Drama,"  ^ "The V i c e : His Nature and O r i g i n s , " D i s s . Univ. of Notre Dame, 1971 (University M i c r o f i l m s , Ann Arbor, M i c h . , Order 71-27, 758). 12  Daniel C. Boughner, The Braggart i n Renaissance Comedy: A Study in Comparative Drama from Aristophanes to Shakespeare (Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1954), p. 147.  21 1 3  The Allegory of E v i l , pp. 121, 193.  I b i d . , pp. 148, 193 f f . Also see Ernst R. Curtius, " J e s t and Earnest in Medieval L i t e r a t u r e , " European L i t e r a t u r e and the Latin Middle Ages, t r . W i l l a r d R. Trask (New York Pantheon Books, 1953]T~pp. 415-35. 1 4  1 5  The Allegory of E v i l , p. 121.  1 6  OED, s . v .  "Fool."  ^ Ben Jonson, eds. C. H. Hereford and Percy Simpson, VI (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1938), I . i . 3 2 - 3 5 . 1 8  The Allegory of E v i l , p. 121.  19 Lee Byron Jennings, The Ludicrous Demon: Aspects of the Grotesque in Post-Romantic German Prose (Berkeley and Los Angeles: Univ. of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1963), pp. 14-15. "On the Essence of Laughter," p. 453. u  21 (London: Edward Arnold L t d . , 1966), p. 127. According to A r i s t o t l e , "Comedy originated with the leaders of the P h a l l i c Songs" ( P o e t i c s , 1449 a9). 2 2  Frances M. Cornford, The Origin of A t t i c Comedy, ed. Theodore Gaster (New York: Doubleday & C o . , 196lf", p. 76 2 3  24 C. L. Barber, Shakespeare's Festive Comedy (Cleveland and New York: The World Publishing C o . , 1963); James K. Feibleman, In Praise of Comedy (New York: Russell & R u s s e l l , 1962); Susanne K. Langer, "The Great Dramatic Forms: The Comic Rhythm," Feeling and Form: A Theory of Art (New York: Charles S c r i b n e r ' s Sons, 1953); Wylie Sypher, "The Meanings of Comedy," Comedy (Garden C i t y , N.Y.: Doubleday & C o . , 1956); Northrop Frye, Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1957). 25 "Humour" (1927), The Complete Works of Sigmund Freud, t r . James Strachey, in c o l l a b o r a t i o n with Anna Freud, a s s i s t e d by Alex Strachey and A l l a n Tyson (London: The Hogarth Press, 1961), p. 162. Freud's concept of the " i d , " and Jung's archetype of "the Shadow," are both attempts to d e s c r i b e , in e s s e n t i a l l y demonic terms, the repressed, hidden impulses of the human unconscious. 27  Ernst K r i s , Psychoanalytic Explorations in A r t , p. 216. It should be recognized that while t h i s statement i s true of C h r i s t i a n i t y , i t does not exactly function t h i s way in other r e l i g i o n s . For example, in Hinduism the sacred and the comic are often mingled together in a complementary manner.  22 28  J u l i a n H. Steward in "The Ceremonial Buffoon of the American Indian," Papers of the Michigan Academy of Science, A r t s , and L e t t e r s , XIV (Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan, 1931), 187-207, includes the "burlesque of the sacred" in his categorization of the four comic themes of universal occurrence. This category r e f l e c t s those "themes of humor in which sacred and v i t a l l y important ceremonies and sometimes persons are r i d i c u l e d and burlesqued, o r , at times, themes of the nature of p r a c t i c a l j o k e s , which r i o t o u s l y disregard those folkways and mores which are so essential to the smooth functioning of s o c i e t y " (p. 180). Other anthropological studies in t h i s area i n c l u d e : S i r J . G. F r a z e r , The Golden Bough (London: Macmillan, 1923); Mircea E l i a d e , Patterns in Comparative R e l i g i o n (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1958), pp. 358-59, 398 f f . ; and Jacob Levine, "Regression in P r i m i t i v e Clowning," in Motivation in Humor, ed. Jacob Levine (New York: Atherton Press, 1969), pp. 167-78. Chambers i s the best authority f o r the s a c r i l e g i o u s mockery which took place during the medieval Feast of Fools and the Feast of the Innocents, commonly known in England as the feast of the Boy Bishop (The Medieval Stage, I, 274-371; I I , 279-87). 29 3  30 31 32  The Medieval Stage, I,  325.  I b i d . , p. 295. Ibid. I b i d . , p. 349.  33  In A Celebration of Laughter, ed. Werner M. Mendel (Los Angeles: Mara Books, 1970), p." 221. 3 4  "The Meanings of Comedy," p. 223.  35  The h i s t o r i c a l r e l a t i o n s h i p between the king and the court j e s t e r (whose r o l e was to mock his master) i s a case in point. In the words of Middleton and Rowley in The Changeling: "There's nothing in a play to a clown, i f he / Have but the grace to h i t o n ' t ; t h a t ' s the thing indeed:, / The king shows w e l l , but he sets o f f the k i n g . " 36 The E g o i s t , ed. Lionel Stevenson (Boston: Houghton M i f f l i n C o . , Riverside e d . , 1958), p. 7. 3 7  "The Meanings of Comedy," p. 224.  Chapter  II  FORERUNNERS OF THE VICE—THE COMIC-DEMONIC CHARACTER IN THE ENGLISH RELIGIOUS DRAMA OF THE MEDIEVAL PERIOD My aim i n t h i s chapter i s to trace the development of the comicdemonic f i g u r e i n the English mystery and morality play of the Middle Ages in order to demonstrate the r e l a t i o n of t h i s e a r l y , i f crude character to the various representations of the Vice as he appears in the l a t e r morality and Tudor i n t e r l u d e .  Because the story of the o r i g i n of  English drama i s both well-documented and well-known, and because an i n depth a n a l y s i s of the dramatic conventions of the medieval period does not f a l l w i t h i n the scope of t h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n , i t would be both redundant and unproductive to o u t l i n e t h i s h i s t o r i c a l development at great length.  1  A general summary i s , however, required in order to examine  the i n t r u s i o n of the comic element into the e a r l y r e l i g i o u s drama, f o r such an examination w i l l t e s t the v a l i d i t y of the comic-demonic r e l a t i o n ship which I have postulated in the preceding chapter. Early C h r i s t i a n drama had i t s beginnings in the services of the Church; the r i t u a l i s t i c element of the Mass, p a r t i c u l a r l y the symbolic receiving of the Host, l e n t i t s e l f rather well to dramatic presentation. Because the l i t u r g y was i n L a t i n , visual representations were introduced as e a r l y as the f i f t h century i n order to increase the appeal.of public worship to the unlettered masses.  Other dramatic q u a l i t i e s to be found  in the Church s e r v i c e of e a r l y Christendom included the emphasis of c e r t a i n portions of the Scriptures through dialogue chanting--short passages 23  24 in L a t i n were chanted by a solo voice or a section of the c h o i r , and were answered by another section or a l l the voices in unison. of C h r i s t became the main subject of the l i t u r g i c a l  The l i f e  hymns or tropes,  which were i n t e r p o l a t i o n s of dialogues employed to dramatize a s p e c i f i c part of the authorized Mass.  Of the tropes, the best known i s the Quern  Quaeritis which became adjoined to the Easter s e r v i c e , and dealt with the v i s i t of the three Marys to the empty tomb of the resurrected C h r i s t (Mark 16:1-7; Matthew 28:1-7).  The Easter Quern Quaeritis dates back to  the end of the ninth century, and in t h i s trope, according to Chambers, 3 "the l i t u r g i c a l  drama was born."  Soon tropes dealing with the b i r t h of C h r i s t found t h e i r way into the Christmas s e r v i c e , and gradually the l i t u r g i c a l  presentations at  Christmas and Easter were extended both forwards and backwards i n time, u n t i l a f a i r l y complete c y c l e of the B i b l i c a l story from the F a l l to the Day of Judgment had developed.  As the plays grew longer and t h e i r spec-  tators increased in number, they began to separate themselves from the regular Church s e r v i c e .  By the t h i r t e e n t h century, they began to be per-  formed in the church-yards o u t s i d e , as well as in the churches themselves, and the use of the vernacular began to be preferred to that of the L a t i n tongue.  Moreover, scenes and characters which were of secondary impor-  tance in the o r i g i n a l B i b l i c a l narrative were introduced, and as these came to be depended upon by the audiences to provide humorous r e l i e f from the solemnities of prayer and homiletic teaching, the comic element in r e l i g i o u s drama began to appear.  As the popular element increased, the  element of devotion began to wane, and as moral e d i f i c a t i o n ( u t i l e ) began  25 to be replaced by spectacle and entertainment ( d u l c e ) , the drama i t s e l f grew more and more profane.  Once outside the Church, the large crowds  and e c c l e s i a s t i c a l disapproval combined to force the drama into the market place where i t was even more heavily influenced by the s p i r i t of comic profanation. The r i t u a l i s t i c element in the f o l k f e s t i v a l s which survived in England, as well as in the rest of Europe, as remnants of the PreC h r i s t i a n e r a , also contributed to the development of early English drama. These v i l l a g e f e s t i v i t i e s were usually seasonal and provided not only a v e h i c l e f o r the expression of the pagan c e l e b r a t i o n of the spring or harvest p e r i o d , but also an opportunity for the expression of the natural urge to mime.  Moreover, i t should be recognized that the p r e v a i l i n g  s p i r i t of f e s t i v i t y i s comic rather than t r a g i c .  "Comedy," declares  Susanne Langer, " i s an a r t form that a r i s e s n a t u r a l l y whenever people are gathered to celebrate l i f e , in spring f e s t i v a l s , triumphs, b i r t h d a y s , weddings or i n i t i a t i o n s . "  4  Consequently, j u s t as the p r i m i t i v e and pagan 5  f e r t i l i t y r i t e s influenced the o r i g i n s of both Greek and Roman comedy, so these f o l k r i t u a l s , inherent i n the v i l l a g e c e l e b r a t i o n s , contained the germ of the comic s p i r i t in England during the Middle Ages. The f i r s t volume of Chambers' Medieval Stage i s an exhaustive account both of the f e s t i v a l s and folk-drama of the period—the May game, the Sword Dance, the Mummers' P l a y , the Feast of Fools, the Feast of the Boy Bishop—and of how these v i l l a g e l u d i incurred the condemnation of the Church. In Chambers' view: . . . the t r a d i t i o n a l b e l i e f s and customs of the Medieval or modern peasant are i n nine cases out of ten but the d e t r i t u s of heathen  26 worship, enduring with but l i t t l e external change in the shadow of a h o s t i l e creed. This i s notably true of the v i l l a g e f e s t i v a l s and t h e i r l u d i . Their f u l l s i g n i f i c a n c e only appears when they are r e garded as fragments of forgotten c u l t s , the naive c u l t addressed by a p r i m i t i v e f o l k to the beneficent d e i t i e s of f i e l d and wood and r i v e r , or the shadowy populace of i t s own dreams.6 Chambers explains that the basic approach of the early C h r i s t i a n m i s s i o n a r i e s i n Western Europe was not to completely destroy a l l vestiges of heathen b e l i e f , but rather to bring about conversion wherever possible through the process of s y n t h e s i s , or absorption of pagan practices into the creed of C h r i s t i a n i t y i t s e l f . was, u l t i m a t e l y ,  7  And according to another s c h o l a r ,  it  the cleverness of the medieval clergy that "turned the  S a t u r n a l i a into Christmas and the pagan licenses of May-day into the r e j o i c i n g s of Easter, converted the love of f i c t i o n , the impulse for play and disguises and mumming into a potent means wherewith to spread a knowo  ledge of b i b l e story and an acceptance of C h r i s t i a n d o c t r i n e . " A s i m i l a r view i s taken by A. P. R o s s i t e r who also traces the o r i g i n s of medieval comedy to the survival of pagan r i t u a l ,  particularly  that attached to the worship of the Greek f e r t i l i t y gods who were invoked g " i n the f r e n z i e s of i n t o x i c a t i o n or of animal l u s t . "  It i s  interesting  f o r the purposes of t h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n that Rossiter maintains that " i n the nominally C h r i s t i a n Europe of the Middle Ages, the pagan underlay of dance, r i t e and revel had some e f f e c t at l e a s t on the nature of the drama and the dramatic, because the older gods had been subsumed by the legions of C h r i s t i a n d e v i l s "  1 0  (emphasis mine).  R o s s i t e r supports Chambers'  assertion that the v i l l a g e ludi not only bear witness "to the deep-lying dramatic i n s t i n c t s of the f o l k , " but also made "a contribution to medieval and Renaissance drama and dramatic spectacle . . . greater than has been  27 fully recognized."^  To Chambers' observation R o s s i t e r s i g n i f i c a n t l y  adds, however, that t h i s contribution p a r t i c u l a r l y emanates from the heathen survival "of a kind of d e v i l - w o r s h i p : an odd mingle of magic, t r i c k s f o r l u c k , dancing and f o o l i n g , farce and blasphemy, from which 12 springs the strong element of the grotesque i n a l l medieval  art."  Rossiter uses t h i s premise as the basis f o r his argument that a profound ambivalence determines the i n t r i n s i c q u a l i t y of medieval drama, an ambivalence deriving from the simultaneous presence of two r i t u a l s , two cont r a d i c t o r y value systems—one C h r i s t i a n and the other pagan, "one standing for reverence, awe, n o b i l i t y , pathos, sympathy; the other for mockery, blasphemy, baseness, meanness or s p i t e , Schadenfreude, and 13 derision."  For R o s s i t e r , i t i s the f a c t that the "other s p i r i t "  is  comic which i s of foremost s i g n i f i c a n c e , for t h i s s p i r i t of comic defamation i s , i n his view, the most important contribution of the medieval legacy to English drama. In the preceding chapter, I attempted to explain why the forces of comedy became attached to characters who were e s s e n t i a l l y e v i l nature.  in  We are now, perhaps, i n a p o s i t i o n to review t h i s problem from  a s l i g h t l y more enlightened perspective.  It  i s now evident that although  the values and p r i o r i t i e s of each group were widely d i f f e r e n t ,  the comic  portrayal of e v i l i n the r e l i g i o u s drama of the Middle Ages f u l f i l l e d paradoxically both the edifying purpose of the clergy and the underlying i n c l i n a t i o n s of the f o l k .  When the plays became separated from the ad-  juncts of the Church s e r v i c e , and moved out of the church into the  28 churchyard, and then into the market and the v i l l a g e green, both forces --the c l e r i c a l endeavor to increase the attractiveness of the C h r i s t i a n creed, and the profanation of the sacred which i s almost u n i v e r s a l l y chara c t e r i s t i c of a l l f o l k r i t u a l liturgical  14  --combined to give the comic element in  drama i t s most powerful  impetus.  Moreover, i n the mystery-cycles, v i l l a i n s such as L u c i f e r , C a i n , Herod, P i l a t e , Judas, and the torturers of C h r i s t were treated humorously because, from the point of view of the c l e r g y , these characters were e v i l , and thus the target f o r r i d i c u l e , s a t i r e , and d e r i s i v e laughter. From the point of view of the audience, these characters were mockingly blasphemous, a challenge to the authority of God, and thus provided, through a kind of l i b e r a t i n g laughter, a momentary release from the sober r e s t r a i n t s of r e l i g i o u s d o c t r i n e .  For these reasons, the comic-demonic  figure played an i n c i s i v e r o l e in the development of early English comedy, a r o l e so substantial as to lead one c r i t i c to comment: "It  would be  hardly too much to say that comedy in the c r a f t c y c l e was the work of 15 the D e v i l , whether in person or human d i s g u i s e . "  Leaving the person of  the Devil aside f o r the moment, we s h a l l now examine some of his human representatives i n the mystery plays of the medieval p e r i o d . Of the many mystery cycles which once e x i s t e d , a few have surv i v e d , most notably the more or less complete cycles from Chester, York, Wakefield, and N-Towne (often c a l l e d Coventry).  Although there are  comic episodes present to some degree i n a l l four c y c l e s , the Wakefield cycle (or Towneley p l a y s , from the name of the owners of the manuscripts) i s p a r t i c u l a r l y r i c h in i t s manifestation of a kind of robust humour.  29 S t r i k i n g s i m i l a r i t i e s among some of the Wakefield p l a y s , e s p e c i a l l y in v e r s i f i c a t i o n and comic s p i r i t , suggest that one person, a postulated Wakefield Master, wrote a number of them and revised several others. According to A. W. P o l l a r d , the Wakefield Master was "a w r i t e r of genuine dramatic power, whose humour was unchecked by any respect f o r conven1c tionality."  Because t h i s i s p r e c i s e l y the kind of humour under  s c r u t i n y in t h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n , an examination of some of the plays a t t r i b u t e d to the Wakefield Master should provide some f r u i t f u l  insights.  Mactacio Abel (The K i l l i n g of A b e l ) , the second play in the Wakefield c y c l e , i s commonly associated with the work of the master. Cain i s , of course, the f i r s t v i l l a i n in the B i b l e .  As the perpetrator  of the f i r s t murder, he i s t r a d i t i o n a l l y viewed as a c r i m i n a l , a despiser of God and man.  Interestingly,  in Beowulf, Cain i s i d e n t i f i e d as the  ancestor of a l l e v i l s p i r i t s and monsters, and Grendel, that "feond on 17 h e l l e " (1. 10) i s designated as one of his o f f s p r i n g (1. 1267). Wakefield p l a y , the murder i t s e l f i s r e a l l y only of i n c i d e n t a l cance i n terms of the dramatic a c t i o n .  In the signifi-  Instead we are given a rather  humorous and r e a l i s t i c p i c t u r e of C a i n , a s u r l y and i l l - t e m p e r e d husbandman out of humour with his brother, his ploughboy and his God.  His  r e l a t i o n s h i p with his G a r c i o , or ploughboy, i s a source of much amusement. Cain berates his boy f o r his slowness and his i n s o l e n c e , while the continues to provoke his master by his sardonic remarks.  latter  Cain's offer  to f i g h t i s exuberantly accepted by his boy, but they are interrupted by Abel who reminds his brother that i t i s time to o f f e r a s a c r i f i c e to God. Cain sharply responds with an obscene remark which must have provoked  30 much raucous laughter among the members of the audience.  Abel continues  to p r e v a i l upon him, and although Cain swears p r o f u s e l y , he f i n a l l y agrees to o f f e r a portion of his crop.  He chooses, however, two of his  worst sheaves of g r a i n , continuing grossly to berate both his brother and God in the d e v i l ' s name.  When God reproves him for his r e b e l l i o u s  s p i r i t and his insolence, Cain s a r c a s t i c a l l y r e p l i e s : Whi, who was that hob-over-the wall? We! who was that who piped so small? Com go we hens f o r perels a l l ; God i s out of hys w i t J ^ When A b e l ' s s a c r i f i c e burns c l e a r , while his brother's only smokes and s p u t t e r s , C a i n ' s anger provokes him to f r a t r i c i d e .  A concluding note of  humour i s provided a f t e r the murder, when as Cain laments his outcast s t a t e , his boy mocks him in asides to the audience. C a i n ' s obscene oaths, his assertions that the Almighty has l o s t his mind, and his l a t e r suggestion that God look for Abel i n h e l l are a l l s a l i e n t examples of demonic humour.  By profanely diminishing the stature  and might of the D i v i n i t y , and by reducing His a l l - s e e i n g and all-knowing power to i n s a n i t y , C a i n ' s mocking blasphemies provide a vehicle of comic l i b e r a t i o n for the audience.  This l i b e r a t i o n i s only momentary, however,  and the play ends with C a i n ' s recognition of his eternal banishment from both God and his fellow-men.  This i s in keeping with the homiletic pur19  pose of the mystery cycle p l a y s .  Also i n keeping with t h i s purpose i s  the f a c t that humour i s directed d e r i s i v e l y at Cain as w e l l .  Through the  sardonic comments of G a r c i o , Cain becomes the target of much of the audience's laughter, besides providing an element of comic r e l i e f i n his r e v i l i n g of both God and his brother.  31 The most famous of the plays a t t r i b u t e d to the Wakefield Master and perhaps, one of the greatest representatives of comedy i n the E n g l i s h drama before the Renaissance i s the Secunda Pastorum or the Second Shepherds ' Play.  As in The K i l l i n g of A b e l , the central B i b l i c a l s t o r y , in  t h i s case, the adoration of the shepherds at the N a t i v i t y of C h r i s t , i s completely overshadowed by a combination of secular realism and robust farce.  By f a r the greatest portion of the play i s devoted to the story  of Mak, a notorious s h e e p - t h i e f , who s t e a l s a sheep from the shepherds and puts i t i n a c r a d l e , pretending i t i s his infant son to whom his wife Gyll has j u s t given b i r t h .  Mak's deception i s ultimately discovered by  the shepherds when the " c h i l d " s t i c k s his snout out from the swaddling c l o t h e s ; and i n order to restore j u s t i c e , the shepherds t r e a t Mak very roughly by tossing him in a blanket. The f o l k - t a l e analogues to t h i s story have been pointed out by a 20 number of c r i t i c s ,  but by f a r the most s i g n i f i c a n t feature of t h i s drama  i s the manner i n which the Mak incident i s s k i l l f u l l y interwoven with the traditional  scheme of the shepherds' p l a y - - t h e adoration of the infant  C h r i s t by the shepherds.  As the shepherds l i e down to rest a f t e r  their  strenuous dealings with Mak, an angel appears, bidding them go to Bethlehem to behold the newly-born son of God.  If the parody of the N a t i v i t y i n the  Mak story was not evident heretofore, i t becomes at t h i s p o i n t , unavoida b l e , as the shepherds, f o r the second time that evening, journey from the moors to look upon a newborn c h i l d .  The Mak s t o r y , taken by i t s e l f ,  an example of r e a l i s t i c English comedy.  is  The three shepherds are drawn  with contemporary realism and good-natured fun--they complain about the  32 weather, taxes, l a n d l o r d s , and t h e i r troubles with shrewish women and marriage.  S i m i l a r l y , the humour of the sheep-stealing incident i s in  s e l f i r r e s i s t a b l y funny.  it-  When, however, the story of Mak, G y l l , the shep-  herds and the " c h i l d " i s perceived as an almost blasphemous parody of the manger scene which i s described in the l a s t few pages of the drama, the comedy takes on decidedly demonic overtones. i n the Mak story are manifold.  The B i b l i c a l a l l u s i o n s  The "lamb," of course, has long been the  symbol of C h r i s t , and when the shepherds v i s i t Mak's house, the t h i r d shepherd refers to the " c h i l d " as "that l y t y l l day-starne" ( l i t t l e day 21 star)  and o f f e r s a g i f t , in keeping with the t r a d i t i o n a l  shepherds at the N a t i v i t y .  r o l e of the  During her a l t e r c a t i o n with the three shep-  herds, Mak's wife prays t h a t . i f she has beguiled them, she w i l l eat the c h i l d "that lygys i n t h i s c r a d l e , " a statement which may be taken as a rather profane a l l u s i o n to the sacred receiving of the Host during Communion. If the humour contained in the t a c i t i d e n t i f i c a t i o n  of Mak and  Gyll with Joseph and Mary i s , in i t s e l f , charged with an element of b l a s phemy, the demonic aspects of the comedy are even f u r t h e r r e i t e r a t e d by a number of s p e c i f i c a l l u s i o n s to the a f f i l i a t i o n between Mak and the devil.  When Mak knocks at the door of his house, his wife c a l l s out:  "Then may we see here / the d e u i l l i n a bande / Syr G y l e . " , Another o b v i ous a l l u s i o n occurs when Mak states that i f his t h e f t i s discovered, he w i l l be forced to cry "Out Haroo!"--the t r a d i t i o n a l 22 the medieval stage.  roar of the d e v i l on  In an a r t i c l e e n t i t l e d "Satan as Everyshepherd,"  J e f f r e y Helterman suggests that "Mak i s Satanic in his claims of mastery,  33 in his r o l e as magician, i n the wolf imagery that surrounds him, and as 23 a deceiver."  Helterman f u r t h e r adds, however, that Mak's satanic embodi-  ments are funny as. a r e s u l t of his ineptitude in carrying his scheme o f f . For Helterman i t i s Mak's f a i l u r e which "reduces him and the devil that 24 he represents from e v i l power to comic bungler."  Although Helterman i s  correct in t h i s a s s e r t i o n , he i s approaching the r e l a t i o n s h i p between comedy and e v i l i n The Second Shepherds' Play from only one point of view --the one discussed in the f i r s t chapter under the heading of "The comic aspects of the demonic realm."  In other words, Mak in his representation  of the devil i s made ludicrous in order to f u l f i l l the homiletic purpose, namely the degradation of the demonic character through the forces of humour.  We have also seen how t h i s comic degradation provides a c e r t a i n  "disarming mechanism" f o r the audience, a psychological distancing from the threat of anxiety and f e a r .  What Helterman i s i g n o r i n g , however, i s  that j u s t as humour serves to degrade the forces of the demonic realm, serves to undercut the realm of the sacred as w e l l .  it  This comic profana-  t i o n of the sacred, which, as previously noted, takes place during the f e s t i v e r i t e s of almost a l l cultures and had a p a r t i c u l a r prominence in the f o l k eelebrations of Medieval Europe, i s d e f i n i t e l y at work in most of the plays a t t r i b u t e d to the Wakefield master.  Although the comic-  demonic character loses in the end--Cain i s an outcast; Mak i s roughly tossed in a blanket by the avenging shepherds--and the plays end on a t r a d i t i o n a l l y devotional note, humorous s a c r i l e g e i s , in f a c t , the predominant s p i r i t in the greater portion of each work.  34 Hardin C r a i g , in his study of medieval r e l i g i o u s drama i n England, reproaches those c r i t i c s who "are u n w i l l i n g that mystery plays should be what they a r e , namely r e l i g i o u s plays and want them to be, as they were 25 not, f a r c e s , comedies, and romantic dramas."  V. A. Kolve takes a sim-  i l a r stance in his discussion of r e l i g i o u s laughter i n the medieval c y c l e s : "the drama texts themselves o f f e r our best proof that neither  in  d e t a i l nor i n s p i r i t do the cycles display any tendency to mock, blaspheme, oc  or make merry with the sacred characters of the s t o r y . "  According to  Kolve, the comic action in the sheep-stealing incident of The Second Shepherds ' Play has as i t s purpose "to p a r a l l e l the central action of the p l a y , to honour and adumbrate that action by playing i t twice, i n d i f f e r e n t 27 modes."  Again, we must confront the c r i t i c a l p r e d i l e c t i o n to overstate  the devotional purpose of the miracle c y c l e s - - t o i d e n t i f y the serious r e l i g i o u s themes and to dismiss or ignore the ambivalence towards these themes r e f l e c t e d in play a f t e r play.  Contrary to Kolve's view, there i s  a d i s c e r n i b l e tendency in several of these dramatic works to mock, b l a s pheme, and make merry with the sacred characters.  As we have seen with  the Wakefield plays discussed above, God i s , at one p o i n t , described as a "hob-over-the-wall" who has l o s t his mind, while C h r i s t i s associated with an ignoble, bleating lamb--a marvelous parody of r e l i g i o u s symbolism. S u r e l y , i f the Mak story has as i t s purpose, as Kolve suggests, to honour and s a n c t i f y the central r e l i g i o u s action of the p l a y , i t also quite c l e a r l y functions as an i r r e v e r e n t burlesque and desecration of that very same action. It i s also d i f f i c u l t to agree completely with William G. McCollom  35 who holds that in the r e l i g i o u s drama " C h r i s t and Mary are  inviolate,  28  but the men and women surrounding them . . . are not."  In the York,  Chester, Wakefield, and N-Towne plays dealing with the b i r t h of C h r i s t , Mary's v i r g i n i t y i s comically c a l l e d into question time and time again as Joseph has serious misgivings about his w i f e ' s pregnancy, and suspicions about his own cuckolded s t a t e .  It i s true that i t i s Joseph who i s the  comic character in a l l of these p l a y s , and that Mary i s generally with both pathos and pious d i g n i t y ,  treated  but at the same time we must recog-  nize that one of the reasons Joseph's doubts are so comic i s that they are directed toward the concept of the "immaculate conception"--a tenet of the C h r i s t i a n creed which even devout believers have been known to question.  In much the same way, the cycle plays dealing with C h r i s t ' s  t r i a l and c r u c i f i x i o n are f i l l e d with a kind of macabre and barbarous humour.  In the York C r u c i f i x i o n (Play No. XXXV) the four s o l d i e r s take a  f i e n d i s h d e l i g h t in t o r t u r i n g C h r i s t as they n a i l him to the Cross, which turns out to be s l i g h t l y too large for C h r i s t ' s arms to extend the d i s tance between the augur-holes.  The comedy i s grimly irreverent as they  s t r e t c h the body with a rope so that the limbs w i l l reach the holes, and then r a i s e the cross and drop i t with a j o l t , g l e e f u l l y i n f l i c t i n g pain upon the c r u c i f i e d man.  further  Juxtaposed to the demonic merriment of the  t o r t u r e r s i s the poignant human anguish of C h r i s t - - a n anguish which i s only heightened in dramatic i n t e n s i t y by the savage comedy which has preceded i t .  Nevertheless, to a medieval audience accustomed to the sport  and revelry which accompanied the event of a public execution, the dramatic presentation of C h r i s t ' s c r u c i f i x i o n could also a f f o r d considerable  36 fun.  A s i m i l a r double view i s r e f l e c t e d in the Wakefield Talent Play  (Processus Talentorun), a t t r i b u t e d to the Master, i n which the three t o r turers and P i l a t e dice f o r the coat of the dead C h r i s t .  In both p l a y s ,  i t i s of course the v i l l a i n s who are i n f e r n a l l y comic, and C h r i s t himself as a dramatic character i s never presented in a humorous v e i n .  The comic  innuendo i n many of the plays of the c r a f t - c y c l e s i s , however, s a c r i l e g ious in s p i r i t , and although i t is s h o r t - l i v e d and purged,  ultimately,  by devout doctrine at the end of the drama, the sacred characters themselves do not escape t o t a l l y untainted.  The comic v i l l a i n s of the mystery c y c l e s - - C a i n , Mak, Herod, P i l a t e , the t o r t u r e r s of C h r i s t - - a l l provided with t h e i r r a n t i n g , obscene oaths and irreverent horseplay, a source of fun and amusement f o r the audiences of e a r l y English drama.  But we have yet to examine the c o n t r i -  butions of the supreme representative of e v i l , the devil himself, to the development of demonic humour on the medieval stage.  According to  Cushman, "the character of the d e v i l i n the English Mysteries i s almost entirely serious.  This p e c u l i a r i t y i s due, not only to the nature of  the devi1-scenes, which a r e , in themselves t r a g i c a l , but also preeminently to the f a c t that the d e v i l of the English stage i s the c r e a 29 t i o n , not of the people, but of theology."  Cushman concedes, however,  that a f r e e r and more humorous treatment of t h i s character occurs in the representations of some of the under-devils ( i f not Satan or L u c i f e r himself) and in the l a t e r i n t e r p o l a t i o n s and r e v i s i o n , p a r t i c u l a r l y of 30 the Wakefield and N-Towne c y c l e s . While i t i s true that the devil i n  37 the mystery plays was a t r a d i t i o n a l l y  humourless character who was f r i g h -  tening to the audiences, we should also recognize that he was, at the same time, even in the e a r l i e s t plays decidedly laughable.  Through his  grotesque appearance, his o b s c e n i t i e s , and his constant roaring and b e l lowing, the d e v i l i n the cycle dramas depicting The F a l l of L u c i f e r , The F a l l of Man, and The Harrowing of Hell i n c i t e d a kind of elementary humour. In the Chester and York versions of The F a l l of L u c i f e r , the d e v i l s are self-admiring and f o o l i s h l y v a i n .  The Wakefield L u c i f e r i s  even more absurdly foppish and pompously conceited; he s i t s on God's throne, i n f l a t e d with his beauty and power, and bids that the world k i s s his toe.  In the M-Towne v e r s i o n , L u c i f e r ' s r e a l i z a t i o n of his impending  doom i s accompanied by a mild obscenity: Now to h e l l e the wey I take, In peyn evyr to be pyght. [ f i x e d ] For fere of a f y r e a f a r t I crake; 21 In h e l l e donjoone myn dene i s dyth. [den i s ready] In a number of p l a y s , the d e v i l ' s entrance and e x i t i s marked by roars of "Out, Out," "Welaway," or "Harrow"--the l a t t e r being, as Cushman points out, a cry of old Norman o r i g i n which expresses dismay, conster32 n a t i o n , or p a i n .  The roaring and bellowing of the d e v i l s , which  appears quite monotonous to the modern reader, was undoubtedly a comic convention highly popular with the medieval spectators.  Another conven-  t i o n which apparently furnished a s i m i l a r source of great audience appeal was the d e v i l ' s costume. t a t t e r e d , and f r i g h t e n i n g .  His appearance was usually grotesque—black, He was generally equipped with a hairy black  s u i t , a black mask and a club or s t i c k which was employed i n d r i v i n g  the  38 damned to Hell-Mouth.  While the humour provoked by these conventions  seems often i n e x p l i c a b l e to the modern point of view, John B. Moore accounts f o r i t by observing that today there are numerous opportunities "to corroborate the f a c t that spectators trained to laugh upon a p p l i c a t i o n of a c e r t a i n stimulus w i l l continue to laugh u n c r i t i c a l l y whenever 33 i t is applied.  The old joke i s the best joke to them."  Most of the devil-humour in the mystery plays i s , when i t does occur, c l e a r l y stereotyped and, f o r the most p a r t , unimaginatively i m i t a tive.  It was not u n t i l the d e v i l broke away from his t r a d i t i o n a l  theo-  l o g i c a l r o l e that he became a humorously malevolent f i g u r e whose pranks, w i t , and d i a b o l i c a l mischief a n t i c i p a t e d the demonic comedy of his successor, the V i c e .  Before we turn to these l a t e r developments, however,  we should recognize that the kind of devil-humour discussed to t h i s point i s , in f a c t , concomitant with the e c c l e s i a s t i c a l purpose of the degradat i o n of e v i l through s a t i r i c laughter.  The d e v i l s were made comic in  both t h e i r s i l l y vanity and t h e i r subsequent discomfiture i n order to demonstrate that e v i l was f o l l y and, hence, l u d i c r o u s .  The element of  entertainment i s , of course, also present here—scenes of l e v i t y were permitted i n order to entertain the audience and increase the a t t r a c t i v e ness of r e l i g i o u s e d i f i c a t i o n .  Moreover, in the conventional comic  response e l i c i t e d by the monstrous appearance of the d e v i l s and t h e i r ranting and raging, we can also perceive traces of the "disarming mechanism" previously discussed, i n which laughter provides an anxietyr e l i e v i n g e f f e c t from the menace of f e a r .  It i s i n t e r e s t i n g that the  comic response directed towards the d e v i l s in the early mystery plays i s  39 in accord with Saint Augustine's view that the devil was created by the Lord, not as a f r i g h t e n i n g monster but, r a t h e r , as a kind of f o o l i s h plaything s p e c i f i c a l l y designed f o r the amusement of his angels: Likewise, i t i s w r i t t e n in the Book of Job, where i t speaks of the d e v i l : "This i s the beginning of the Lords c r e a t i o n , which he made f o r the sport of His a n g e l s , " which seems to agree with the psalm, where i t i s w r i t t e n : "Here i s the dragon which Thou hast made to be a laughingstock."34 A f r e e r and more i n d i v i d u a l i z e d comic treatment i s d i s c e r n i b l e , when the d e v i l becomes a s e l f - c o n s c i o u s humorist, a s a t i r i s t rather than a target for s a t i r e , a c l e v e r comedian himself rather than a bungling laughingstock.  The Wakefield Juditium or Doomsday P l a y , which deals with  the f i n a l judgment, contains such a character--the d e v i l T u t i v i l l u s who, along with his companions, presents what i s , according to Cushman, except 3 f o r a few traces here and there "the only d e v i l humour i n the M y s t e r i e s . "  C  v  There i s some c r i t i c a l dispute as to whether the Doomsday Play i s the work of one author, or whether c e r t a i n portions represent l a t e r r e v i s i o n s , but at any r a t e , the comic-devil-scenes are generally a t t r i b u t e d to the pen of the Master.  The comedy in these scenes i s directed s a t i r i c a l l y  against the vices and f o l l i e s of contemporary l i f e .  The two under-devils  consult t h e i r r o l l s and r e g i s t e r s ; one of them has a "bag f u l l of brefes" which contains l i s t s of the sins of the time.  The s a t i r e i s  particularly  leveled at the "feminine gender" whose sins are assembled on more r o l l s than the second demon i s capable of c a r r y i n g .  A f t e r enumerating the  various wrong-doings of the condemned, the two d e v i l s conclude that  if  the Last Judgment had been delayed i t would have been necessary to enlarge Hell.  The s o c i a l c r i t i c i s m becomes j o c u l a r l y animated when T u t i v i l l u s  40 enters and introduces himself as the Chief R e g i s t r a r , T a x - c o l l e c t o r , and Master L o l l a r d of H e l l , who has been responsible f o r conducting more than ten thousand souls per hour into the nether regions.  With graphic v i g o r ,  he describes the various s i n n e r s - - t h e e x t o r t i o n i s t s , usurers, " b a c k b i t e r s , " gossips and scandalmongers, the a d u l t e r e r s , gamesters, " a l e - s i t t e r s , " and dicers.  He dwells with p a r t i c u l a r comic emphasis on the f a u l t s of women  - - t h e i r v a n i t i e s and deceits—and s a t i r i c a l l y sketches the foppery of the male coxcombs who s t r u t in t h e i r f i n e r y while t h e i r c h i l d r e n go hungry. The carnal abuses of both sexes are sharply depicted—those of the lechers and wenches—and T u t i v i l l u s borders on humorous obscenity as he picturesquely describes N e l l ' s "smock" which i s open behind a n t i c i p a t i n g the c a p r i c i o u s gusts of a westerly wind.  The demons d i s c l o s e that b u s i -  ness has been so heavy of l a t e that the porter of Hell has had to work overtime—"up early and down l a t e " —in order to process the throngs of condemned s o u l s .  A f t e r the Final Reckoning, however, the devil humour  lapses into i t s more conventional form of roaring and shouting at the end of the p l a y , as T u t i v i l l u s and his demon-companions drive the damned souls to Hell with malevolent j o y .  V. A. Kolve comments that at a recent  production of the Wakefield Doomsday P l a y , the d r i v i n g of the condemned into Hell was s t i l l  exceedingly funny, even to a modern audience: "In  part we enjoyed the way the d e v i l s r o l l e d , shoved, pricked and tossed the damned into Hell Mouth unceremoniously, as one might toss coal into a 37 furnace; but f a r more than that we enjoyed a comedy of v i c t o r y . "  What  i s manifest here i s , of course, yet another representation of the doubleview, the v i t a l ambivalence i n t r i n s i c to demonic comedy.  From a  41 C h r i s t i a n point of view, the damned and the d e v i l s are f o o l i s h buffoons who behave s t u p i d l y , thereby provoking in the audience a kind of s e l f righteous laughter of d e r i s i o n .  On the other hand, T u t i v i l l u s and his  sub-demons are also s k i l l f u l comedians in t h e i r own r i g h t , and consequently the laughter they i n c i t e i s outwardly directed as w e l l .  In other  words,-the dragon which God has made to be a laughingstock, has become, paradoxically, a rival  laughingstock-maker.  Another r e a l i s t i c and t o t a l l y unconventional example of d e v i l humour occurs in a s i x t y - l i n e passage found in some of the manuscripts of the Chester Plays at the end of The Harrowing of H e l l .  This passage i s  obviously a l a t e i n t e r p o l a t i o n , and i t consists of a humorous interlude between Satan, his two sub-demons and an ale-woman, who has remained i n Hell at the time of C h r i s t ' s d e l i v e r y of the s o u l s .  The d e v i l s are de-  l i g h t e d that t h i s unredeemed woman has been l e f t behind, and they welcome her with z e s t f u l j u b i l a t i o n .  One of them, in f a c t , decides that he w i l l  marry her: Salthanas: Welckome, deare d a r l i n g - - t o us, a l l Tho Jesus be gone with our meayne. Second Demon:  three;  Welckome, dere ladye, I s h a l l thee wedd!  Third Demon: Welckome, dere d a r l i n g , to endless b a l l e . ^ 3  This comic episode i s c l e a r l y an extraneous addition to the play  itself,  and presents one of the only occasions in the B r i t i s h mysteries in which the drama does not close on a t r a d i t i o n a l  r e l i g i o u s note.  Although J . C.  39 Adams finds i t to be "not of any special m e r i t , "  i t does i l l u s t r a t e  the f a c t that the d e v i l i s breaking away from his conventional  theological  42 character, and developing in the d i r e c t i o n of broad comedy. Before we leave the question of demonic humour i n the mystery p l a y s , b r i e f mention should be given to the c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of the d e v i l i n the Digby Conversion of S t . Paul and Mary Magdalene.  These p l a y s ,  which were probably not a part of a complete c y c l e but rather i s o l a t e d dramatic presentations acted in small communities during the f i f t e e n t h century, are t r a n s i t i o n a l  in nature, providing an o s t e n s i b l e juncture  between the mysteries and the morality play.  The devil scenes in the  Digby plays are considerably enlarged, and violence and sensation are prominently employed f o r i n t e n s i f i e d t h e a t r i c a l e f f e c t .  The t r a d i t i o n a l  crying and roaring of the d e v i l s i s even f u r t h e r played up, and the special a t t r a c t i o n of the Digby plays includes the use of f i r e as part of the d e v i l ' s machinery.  Almost every stage d i r e c t i o n in the Conversion  of St. Paul c a l l s f o r f i r e , thunder, or both: "Here to enter a dyvel with 40 thunder and f y r e " ;  and s i m i l a r l y : "Here s h a l l entere another devyll  c a l l y d Mercury with a f y e r i n g , commyng in hast, crying and r o r y i n g " 44).  (p.  S i m i l a r l y , another sensational use of fire-works occurs in Mary  Magdalene when Satan and his a s s i s t a n t s punish the Bad Angel and the Seven Sins by s e t t i n g t h e i r house on f i r e .  The character of the devil  in the Digby group i s more l i k e that of T u t i v i l l u s or the demons at the end of the Chester Harrowing of H e l 1 , than of the t r a d i t i o n a l the mysteries.  devil of  Boastful and happily complacent (at l e a s t u n t i l the  respective conversions of Mary and Paul take p l a c e ) , the Digby d e v i l s play pranks, t e l l j o k e s , and indulge i n a number of verbal puns and obs c e n i t i e s , a n t i c i p a t i n g , in many r e s p e c t s , the l a t e r stage-character of  43 the V i c e .  It i s i n t e r e s t i n g that Mary Magdalene, which resembles the  morality i n i t s theme of temptation and f a l l , contains as characters the Seven Deadly Sins who are to appear, according to the stage d i r e c t i o n , "arrayed l i k e VII d y l f " (p. 76) and are l a t e r e x p l i c i t l y referred to as "the VII d y l l y s " (p. 81).  We s h a l l return to t h i s point when we discuss  the ancestry of the Vice—whether t h i s f i g u r e i s a descendant of the devil or the Deadly Sins—but for the present i t i s s u f f i c i e n t to observe that while the Digby play employs the character of the d e v i l in the r o l e of tempter, Lewis Wager's morality play The L i f e and Repentance of Mary Magdalene of 1567  dispenses with the devil a l t o g e t h e r , and employs  instead the Vice in much the same manner. Like Satan i n the Digby Mary Magdalene, the d e v i l in the e a r l y m o r a l i t i e s . i s not the sole representative of e v i l but r a t h e r , he i s joined by a number of p e r s o n i f i e d human weaknesses and v i c e s , often i n cluding among them the Seven Deadly S i n s .  The major purpose of the e v i l  powers in morality drama was the temptation of man, and in order to understand both t h i s thematic s h i f t of emphasis and the observable increase in the number of characters associated with the demonic realm, we must turn to the o r i g i n s of the morality play i t s e l f .  Just as the mysteries  emanated from the Church service of the early Middle Ages with t h e i r rudimentary dramatization of S c r i p t u r a l events, so the m o r a l i t i e s found, in the l a t e r Medieval p e r i o d , a s i m i l a r derivation from the a l l e g o r i c a l d i d a c t i c i s m which was employed to dramatize the p u l p i t sermon. G. R. Owst, i n L i t e r a t u r e and P u l p i t in Medieval England, has shown how medieval preaching made dramatic use of a l l e g o r y i n the sermon  44 as i t sought to present a v i v i d and often t h e a t r i c a l i z e d warning against 41 the e v i l powers which threatened man's s a l v a t i o n .  The central  subject  matter of the morality p l a y - - t h e dramatic representation of the c o n f l i c t between the personified v i r t u e s and vices for the possession of Mankind-was f i r s t dealt with in C h r i s t i a n l i t e r a t u r e by the f i f t h - c e n t u r y a l l e g o r i c a l Psychomachia or C o n f l i c t of the Soul by Prudentius in which the contention i s presented i n a s e r i e s of Homeric combats between the good and bad powers of the human s o u l .  Although the Psychomachia was among  the most frequently read works of the Medieval p e r i o d , the a l l e g o r i c a l b a t t l e between the v i r t u e s and the vices was not i t s e l f dramatized u n t i l the l a t e fourteenth century.  The f i r s t dramatization probably occurred  in the now l o s t Paternoster p l a y s , which Bernard Spivack describes as follows: The e a r l i e s t records of the performances of m o r a l i t i e s i n Europe are E n g l i s h , and they r e f e r to Paternoster plays i n which apparently the separate clauses of the Lord's Prayer were related to the Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven C h r i s t i a n V i r t u e s , and dramatized in c y c l i cal pageants that displayed these two sets of moral p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n s i n a l l e g o r i c a l competition f o r the human s o u l . The existence of such a play at York i s mentioned by Wyclif about 1376, and in i t , according to a l a t e r document (1389), " a l l manner of vices and sins were held up to scorn, and the v i r t u e s were held up to p r a i s e . " 4 2 Because these Paternoster plays have not s u r v i v e d , the e a r l i e s t extant examples of the morality play are the fragmentary Pride of L i f e , and The Castle of Perseverance, both of which belong to the f i r s t quarter of the f i f t e e n t h century.  From then on, the morality play i t s e l f and i t s var-  ious dramatic offshoots and transformations enjoyed tremendous popularity on the English stage f o r almost a hundred and f i f t y y e a r s . The a l l e g o r i c a l contention between the v i r t u e s and the vices in  45 the morality provided, at f i r s t , only l i m i t e d opportunity for imaginative development.  The plots were extremely stereotyped, and the p e r s o n i f i e d  abstractions of good and e v i l , schematically r i g i d in c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n . A c e r t a i n dimension of c r e a t i v i t y was, however, afforded not only by the p o t e n t i a l i t y f o r narratives no longer confined to B i b l i c a l s t o r i e s and legends of the s a i n t s , but also by the f a c t that the element of entertainment was u l t i m a t e l y focused on the e v i l characters some of whom became r e a l i s t i c a l l y humanized as they resorted to a l l kinds of pranks, o b s c e n i t i e s , and s l a p s t i c k brawling in t h e i r h i g h - s p i r i t e d attempts to ensnare and debauch t h e i r human v i c t i m .  While i t i s probably indebted  equally to the sermon and the Psychomachia in i t s d e r i v a t i o n , the morality play d i f f e r s e s s e n t i a l l y from both in two s i g n i f i c a n t a s p e c t s - - f i r s t l y , the b a t t l e of the vices and v i r t u e s does not take place w i t h i n the human s o u l , but rather centers upon the temptation, subsequent f a l l  into s i n ,  and f i n a l redemption of Mankind, who i s presented not as a p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n but as a u n i v e r s a l i z e d character type i n his own r i g h t , and as such, i s representative of both human weakness and moral worth; and secondly, while the e v i l characters are given a decidedly serious homiletic purpose, namely the temptation of man, a t l e a s t some of them d i s p l a y tendencies which are markedly comic i n nature. In the morality playswritten before 1500, most notably the Macro p l a y s , The Castle of Perseverance, Wisdom, and Mankind, the devil i s a prominent f i g u r e whose major purpose i s to bring about the damnation of mankind.  Although there are scattered segments of comedy present in The  Castle of Perseverance and Wisdom, the devil-humour in both these plays  46 i s almost completely overshadowed by the serious homiletic theme. Castle (c. 1425), the d e v i l , B e l i a l appears i n an a l l e g o r i c a l with Mundus (the World) and Caro (the F l e s h ) . the Seven Deadly Sins owe t h e i r a l l e g i a n c e .  In The  trilogy  To t h i s t r i o of o v e r l o r d s , The humour associated with  these e v i l powers.is pretty well confined to the t r a d i t i o n a l  ranting,  boasting, and foul language which we have seen in the mysteries; there i s however, a blend of horror and comedy when B e l i a l enters to lead the assault on the c a s t l e (where the forces of v i r t u e have housed Humanum Genus) with the conventional fireworks burning in his hands, his e a r s , and his " a r s e " as w e l l .  B e l i a l does not at any time r e f l e c t the dramatic  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the j o v i a l d e v i l .  He i s , f o r the most p a r t , grim and  malevolent, the dangerous enemy of mankind.  It  i s i n t e r e s t i n g that the  most prominent comic character in The Castle i s Detractio or B a c k b i t e r , who i s neither a d e v i l nor one of the deadly s i n s , but rather the messenger of the World.  Detractio seems to glean much pleasure i n backbiting  f o r i t s own sake, and expresses his gleeful s a t i s f a c t i o n when even his own cohorts are thrashed and abused.  When B e l i a l beats P r i d e , Envy, and  Wrath because they have allowed Humanum Genus to escape, Detractio chuckles at t h e i r d i s t r e s s : Ya' f o r God t h i s was well go, Thus to work with Backbiting I work both wrack and woe  43  And make each man the other to dynge. He then addresses the audience d i r e c t l y , r e f e r r i n g to them as f e l l o w backbiters and urging them to learn from his example  so there w i l l be  dissension between brother and s i s t e r , and so that they w i l l spur one man to k i l l  the next.  Like the l a t e r V i c e , Detractio i s e s s e n t i a l l y the  47 amoral i n t r i g u e r , d e l i g h t i n g equally in the discomfiture of the agents of good and e v i l .  We are also reminded of the Vice by D e t r a c t i o ' s  inti-  mate discourse with the audience i n v i t i n g t h e i r c o m p l i c i t y in his moral (or rather amoral) stance.  S i m i l a r l y , in his r o l e of messenger he i s  one of the prime propellants of the action of the play  i n the same  manner as the V i c e , in the l a t e r m o r a l i t y , was responsible f o r conducting the dramatic  intrigue.  In the second of the Macro m o r a l i t i e s , Wisdom or Mi nd, W i l l and Understanding (c. 1460), there are very few d i s c e r n i b l e comic notes. Like B e l i a l , L u c i f e r i s not a comic d e v i l .  Although he wears the clothes  of a g a l l a n t beneath his d e v i l ' s costume, there i s i m p l i c i t in a l l his actions an obvious hate f o r mankind and a powerful rage which i s expressed in loud boasts about his future triumphs over his human v i c t i m s .  A single  rather incongruous comic i n c i d e n t , however, accompanies his e x i t i n the middle of the play.  Having announced how, by c r a f t , he wins over many  a soul from Heaven to H e l l , he goes roaring o f f the stage, taking with him a "shrewd [naughty] boy," presumably from the audience.  In Cushman's  view, t h i s incident "does not at a l l correspond with L u c i f e r ' s r o l e in 44 t h i s play and i s c e r t a i n l y to be regarded as an i n t e r p o l a t i o n . " If the comic element i s not very prevalent i n the f i r s t two of the Macro p l a y s , the t h i r d , Mankind (c. 1475), c e r t a i n l y overcompensates f o r what the e a r l i e r m o r a l i t i e s lack in the way of demonic humour.  Accord-  ing to Douglas Boughner, Mankind "shows what happens to the moral f i b r e of t h i s drama when, the inn having replaced the church as the theatre, 45 the audience flocked to hear a joke and not a sermon." This i s not to  48 say that the play i s devoid of serious homiletic i n t e n t . structure of the morality i s , in f a c t , r e t a i n e d .  The conventional  Mankind, the protag-  o n i s t , i s tempted, f a l l s , repents, and i s f i n a l l y redeemed from the degenerate forces of e v i l by Mercy, a p r i e s t who i s the only p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n of v i r t u e in t h i s p l a y .  But w i t h i n t h i s s t r u c t u r e , the dramatic  action i s immoderately subversive of both morality and r e l i g i o u s venerat i o n as the v u l g a r i t y and raucous humour of the demonic characters comp l e t e l y undermine  the moral and devotional framework upon which the  play i s o s t e n s i b l y b u i l t . As i n the Digby plays and the two e a r l i e r Macro p l a y s , the devil i s not the sole representative of the demonic realm, but T i t i v i l l u s  in  Mankind shares his r o l e of temptation with four comic rogues—Mischief, Nought, Now-a-days and New-guise.  These figures are not the convention-  a l i z e d p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n s of e v i l ( t h e i r names suggest p l a y f u l  frivolity  rather than moral s i n ) ; they a r e , i n s t e a d , r e a l i s t i c , medieval lower world types—Now-a-days i s a church-robber, New-guise i s a horse t h i e f , and Mischief i s an escaped c o n v i c t .  The play opens with Mercy's appeal  to the audience to persevere in good works and not to surrender to tempt a t i o n , so that on the Day of Judgment they may be counted with the "corn" which w i l l be saved, and not with the "chaff" which w i l l be burnt. Mischief breaks i n , and in a burlesque of Mercy's speech which has been f u l l of Latinisms, puns on the metaphor of the corn and the c h a f f ,  ulti-  mately demonstrating that the l a t t e r has as much use as the former. Mischief i s , of course, pure " c h a f f , " and his main purpose at t h i s i s the " c h a f f i n g " of Mercy.  point  He i s soon joined in t h i s attempt by his  49 three subordinates—Nought, New-guise and Now-a-days--who enter with t h e i r minstrels and t r y to persuade Mercy to dance.  Mercy refuses to  j o i n them i n t h e i r r e v e l r y and disdains them in his l o f t y and pedantic manner: Mercy i s my name and my denomynacyon I conseyne (conceive) you have but a „g l y t e l l f a i r s (force) in my communycacyon. New-guise contemptuously r i d i c u l e s Mercy for his "Englysch L a t i n " (1. 123) and Nought u t t e r s a rather graphic obscenity and challenges Mercy to t r a n s l a t e i t into e c c l e s i a s t i c a l terminology: Now open your sachel with L a t i n wordis, And say me t h i s i n c l e r i c a l manner. (11. 128-29) A f t e r being barraged with more i n s u l t s and o b s c e n i t i e s , Mercy f i n a l l y succeeds i n convincing the four r a s c a l s to l e a v e , and i n a short s o l i l o q u y , warns the audience of the Final Judgment that awaits these wanton pranksters. The f i r s t portion of Mankind i s , i n e f f e c t , a concise statement of the dramatic c o n f l i c t of the e n t i r e play.  Mercy's solemn preachings  open and close the s e c t i o n , as they i n i t i a t e and conclude the larger drama.  Although the forces of e v i l a r e , u l t i m a t e l y , driven off the stage,  Mercy's v i c t o r y i s a dubious one f o r he has been made r i d i c u l o u s as the target of the rogues' j i b e s , p r o f a n i t i e s , and s a r c a s t i c remarks.  His  tedious sermonizing and his propensity f o r Latinisms has been i r r e v e r ently mocked; and moreover, the contrast between his sententious speech and the crude v i t a l i t y and exuberant coarseness of the rogues' language only serves to d i r e c t the sympathies of the audience away from, rather  50 than toward, the forces of v i r t u e .  The humour of M i s c h i e f , Nought, New-  guise and Now-a-days i s c l e a r l y demonic i n nature.  It i s grossly subver-  sive and c e r t a i n l y functions so as to provide the audience with a l i b e r a t i n g b e l l y - l a u g h directed against the s t r i c t u r e s of the a s c e t i c ideal.  Furthermore, j u s t as the rascals reappear a few pages l a t e r to  continue t h e i r beleaguering of Mercy and his charge, Mankind, so at the end of the p l a y , the audience i s l e f t with the f e e l i n g that the v i c t o r y over the e v i l powers i s only temporary. pressible.  Comic vice in Mankind i s i r r e -  The pranks, noisy banter, blasphemous mockery and rough-and-  tumble horseplay of the demonic figures not only serve great t h e a t r i c a l d e l i g h t , but also contravene v i r t u e i s always preferable to v i c e . less and t e d i o u s l y verbose.  as a source of  the homiletic theme that  Mercy i s a s t a t i c f i g u r e , colour-  While he i s able only to preach, the e v i l  powers exuberantly s i n g , dance, brawl, and conduct t h e i r merry i n t r i g u e s , thereby demonstrating that although the path of v i r t u e may be superior i n every-day l i f e , the course of vice i s , at l e a s t from the t h e a t r i c a l point of view, undoubtedly the more a t t r a c t i v e one. The movement of the second section of the play i s very s i m i l a r . Mankind, a farmer, who i s attempting, under the guidance of Mercy, to t i l l the s o i l and lead a l i f e of good works, i s tormented by the four pranksters who r i d i c u l e him as he t o i l s with his spade.  Like that of  Mercy, the speech of Mankind i s bombastically pious, and as A. W. P o l l a r d comments, " i n the wonders of his 'Englysch L a t i n  1  [he] leaves  47 Mercy altogether in the shade." New-guise, and Now-a-days  Again, in d i r e c t c o n t r a s t , Nought,  i n v i t e the audience to j o i n them in a song  51 so f i l t h y that J . C. Adams has omitted i t from his e d i t i o n of the p l a y , 48 deeming i t " u n p r i n t a b l e . "  We might f u r t h e r observe that not only i s  the song uncommonly obscene but .also i t concludes with a s a c r i l e g i o u s parody of the sacred words, "Holy, Holy, Holy."  Mankind, no longer able  to countenance the harassment and badgering, f i n a l l y beats the tormenters from the stage with his spade.  Although he and the doctrine of good  works, which he i s , at t h i s p o i n t , espousing, are v i c t o r i o u s , Newg u i s e ' s comic clamour bemoaning the state of his battered "jewels" i s the most memorable part of the s k i r m i s h . Once more the defeat of the demonic figures i s only temporary, f o r T i t i v i l l u s , whom we are l a t e r t o l d "sygnyfies the fend of h e l l e " (1. 879), soon enters and announces to the audiences his plans to bring about Mankind's f a l l from p i e t y .  He i s extremely c l e v e r in carrying out  his i n t r i g u e as he buries a plank of wood in the ground making i t imposs i b l e f o r Mankind to continue t i l l i n g the s o i l , s t e a l s his spade, and interrupts  him during his prayers by profanely suggesting that "nature  compels" (1. 553) the young farmer to r e l i e v e himself.  When Mankind  leaves the stage to "go do that needis must be done" (1. 556),  Titivillus  s t e a l s his prayer beads and asks the audience's approval f o r the considerable s k i l l he has demonstrated.  When Mankind returns, he r e f l e c t s  his waning piety by deciding to go to sleep rather than continue with his prayers.  T i t i v i l l u s then whispers into the ear.of the sleeping  man that Mercy has stolen a horse and now "rydeth over the galous" (1. 591), and recommends that Mankind seek the forgiveness of Mishchief, Nought, Now-a-days, and New-guise.  Having "brought Mankynde to myscheff  52 and to schame" (1. 599), T i t i v i 1 1 us bids farewell to the audience and leaves the stage. Like his predecessor of the same name in the Wakefield Doomsday, Ti t i vi11 us i s an a u t h e n t i c a l l y comic d e v i l .  He indulges in the occa-  sional obscenity, blasphemously blesses his four subordinates with his l e f t hand, cracks jokes [for example, he s a r c a s t i c a l l y informs the a u d i ence that "the Devil i s dead" (1. 586)], and contrives several pranks in his attempts to bring about the downfall of Mankind.  We are l e f t with  the impression that the actions of Ti t i v i l l u s , unlike those of the other d e v i l s and most of the a l l e g o r i c a l representatives of e v i l i n the early m o r a l i t i e s , are not prompted by his conventional r o l e as the Archenemy of God and man.  Rather, he d e l i g h t s so h e a r t i l y i n the cleverness of  his i n t r i g u e s , i t appears that he i s in the business of temptation more out of the pure fun and sport of i t , to the perpetration of e v i l .  than out of any firm moral a l l e g i a n c e  Having f u l f i l l e d  his promise to the audience  of providing them with "good sport" (1. 569), he departs from the stage, his f i n a l comment being "I Spivack  have don my game" (1. 598, emphasis mine).  sees Ti t i vi11 us as "a figure in t r a n s i t i o n from devil to  49 vice,"  and we should note here that the leading demonic f i g u r e of  Mankind i s r e a l l y the l a s t example of the s e l f - c o n s c i o u s l y comic devil the morality t r a d i t i o n .  Medwall's Nature (c. 1500) i s the f i r s t  in  morality  that does not include the character of the d e v i l , and from t h i s time on, t h i s f i g u r e appears very r a r e l y on the English stage.  While a few of his  subsequent appearances contain humorous elements, the d e v i l , when comic, becomes a stupid buffoon who functions more as the target f o r the jokes  53 of the V i c e , than as a s e l f - c o g n i z a n t comedian or j o v i a l moral c o r r u p t i o n .  i n s t i g a t o r of  At the close of the f i f t e e n t h century, English drama  moved out of the sphere of other-worldly C h r i s t i a n d o c t r i n e , and into the realm of secular l i f e .  Because the issues of heaven and hell no  longer were the primary e t h i c a l concerns of the new dramatists, the d e v i l , the t r a d i t i o n a l  theological Adversary, l o s t his domain and could no  longer function as a v i a b l e t h e a t r i c a l personage.  Accordingly, both  the roaring Satans, L u c i f e r s , and B e l i a l s , and the w i l y , j o c u l a r T i t i v i l l u s e s , a l l of whom were immensely popular with the medieval audiences, ultimately disappeared from the stage.  The d i a b o l i c a l humour  they r e f l e c t e d in both the mysteries and the early m o r a l i t i e s was, however, taken over by another f a r more human f i g u r e , a comic v i l l a i n who dominated the stage f o r the greater part of "the sixteenth century. This f i g u r e was, of course, the V i c e , and a discussion of his dramatic character, i t s d e r i v a t i o n and various manifestations, w i l l be the p r i mary focus of the following chapter.  54 Notes f o r Chapter  II  There are several e x c e l l e n t and well known c r i t i c a l works which deal with the o r i g i n s and t h e a t r i c a l conventions of medieval drama. The most important are: E. K. Chambers, The Medieval Stage, 2 v. (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1903); Hardin C r a i g , English Religious Drama of the Middle Ages (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1955); Glynne Wickham, Early English Stages 1300-1600, 2 v. (London: Routlege and K. P a u l , 1959, 1963); Karl Young, The Drama of the Medieval Church, 2 v. (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1933). 2 One of the few versions of the Quern Quaeritis preserved from England i s that from the Regularis Concordia of S t . Ethelwood, which was i n use at Winchester Cathedral at the end of the tenth century. Ethelwood's i n s t r u c t i o n s to the Benedictines f o r the presentation of the Sepulchre trope included the suggestion that i t be performed with both costumes and increased mimesis. Chambers, The Medieval Stage, I I , 14-21, 306-9; Young, pp. 249-52, 581-83; C r a i g , p. 33. The Medieval Stage, I I ,  3  10.  4 Feeling and Form, p. 33.  5  See James K. Feibleman, In Praise of Comedy, p. 34, for a d i s cussion of the influence of Fescinine f e r t i l i t y r i t e s on the development of Roman comedy. The Medieval Stage, I,  6  94.  7  I b i d . , pp. 95-99  8  F e l i x E. S c h e l i n g , English Drama ( D e l h i : S. Chand & C o . , 1963),  p. 12.  ff.  g 1 0  The English Drama from Early Times to the Elizabethans, p. 15. I b i d . , p. 19. The Medieval Stage, I,  1 1  90.  12 13  R o s s i t e r , pp. 38-39, emphasis mine.  I b i d . , p. 70. He i s p a r t i c u l a r l y convincing when he connects the ambivalences of Medieval drama to the j u x t a p o s i t i o n of r e l i g i o u s adoration and blasphemous clowning d i s c e r n i b l e i n the "Gothic" paintings of Bosch, Bruegel, and other a r t i s t s of the period. ^ See Chapter I, pp. 15-17 above. 4  55 1 5William G. McCollom, "From Dissonance to Harmony: The Evolut i o n of Early English Comedy," Theatre Annual, XXI (1964), 70. 1 6  p.  "Introduction,"  The Towneley P l a y s , E . E . T . S . (London, 1897),  xxviii.  Cushman sees the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of Grendel with Cain as "an i n t e r e s t i n g instance of an early contact of heathen and C h r i s t i a n demonology." The Devil and the Vice i n the English Dramatic L i t e r a t u r e before Shakespeare, p. 3. 1 7  1 8  II,  Towneley P l a y s , ed. A. W. P o l l a r d , E . E . T . S . (London, 1897),  14. 19  In Kolve's view, the p l a y ' s "lesson i s about murder, contemporary as well as h i s t o r i c a l ; about unregenerate man in any age, cut o f f from God; and i n a smaller, less important way but also wholly contempora r y , about men who cheat the Church of i t s t i t h i n g . " The Play Called Corpus C h r i s t i , p. 105. A. S. Cook, "Another P a r a l l e l to the Mak S t o r y , " Modern P h i l ology, XIV (1916), 11-15; A. C. Baugh, "The Mak S t o r y , " Modern P h i l o l o g y , XV 0 9 1 8 ) , 728-34; Robert C. Cosbey, "The Mak Story and Its F o l k l o r e Analogues," Speculum, XX (1945), 310-17. 2 1  Towneley P l a y s , ed. P o l l a r d , I,  577.  2 2  L. W. Cushman, The Devil and the V i c e , pp. 28-29.  23 Texas Studies in L i t e r a t u r e and Language, X I I , 525. 2 4  iMd.  25  English Religious Drama, p. 255. The Play Called Corpus C h r i s t i (London: Edward Arnold L t d . , 1966), p. 137. 2 7  28 29 3 0  I b i d . , p. 173. "From Dissonance to Harmony," p. 77. Cushman, p. 16. Ibid.  31 "The F a l l of L u c i f e r " (N-Towne), i n Chief Pre-Shakespearean Dramas, ed. Joseph Q. Adams(Boston: Houghton M i f f l i n C o . , 1924), p. 87. Cushman, p. 28. 3 2  56 0  0  The Comic and the_ R e a l i s t i c i n English Drama (New York: Russell & R u s s e l l , 1965]", pp. 14-15. 3 4  The C i t y of God, Bk. XI.17.  35 Cushman, p. 34. See Cushman, The Devil and the V i c e ; P o l l a r d , " I n t r o d u c t i o n , " Towneley P l a y s ; G. R. Owst, L i t e r a t u r e and P u l p i t in Medieval England, 2d ed. (Cambridge, 1933); R o s s i t e r , English Drama From Early Times; Martial Rose, " I n t r o d u c t i o n , " The Wakefield Mystery Play (New York: W. W. Norton, 1969). 3 6  3 7  The Play C a l l e d Corpus C h r i s t i , p. 141.  oo  The Harrowing of Hell i n Chester P l a y s , ed. Thomas Wright (London, 1843-47), XVII, 329. 39  Chief Pre-Shakespearean Dramas, p. 190.  4 0  Digby Mysteries, ed. F. J . F u r n i v a l l , E . E . T . S . (London, 1896),  4 1  (Cambridge, 1933), pp. 56-109, 526-47.  p. 43.  4? H  The Allegory of E v i l , p. 60.  43 The Castle of Perseverance, in The Macro P l a y s , eds. F. J . F u r n i v a l l and A. W. P o l l a r d , E . E . T . S . (London, 1904), 11. 1779-82. 44 Cushman, p. 47. 45 Braggart in Renaissance Comedy, p. 150. 4 6  Mankind, in The Macro P l a y s , IT.  122-23.  47 " I n t r o d u c t i o n , " The Macro P l a y s , p.  xiv.  Chief Pre-Shakespearean Dramas, n. 1, p. 311. 4 9  The Allegory of E v i l , p. 125.  Chapter  III  THE TWO FACES OF THE VICE Two plays from the early years of the sixteenth century, Henry Medwall's Nature (c. 1500) and John R a s t e l l ' s The Nature bf the Four Elements (c. 1518) represent the t r a n s i t i o n a l form of the morality play i n e a r l y Tudor drama.  This new humanistic m o r a l i t y , or moral  interlude,  as i t i s sometimes c a l l e d j r e f l e c t s the secular s p i r i t of the Renaissance --God and the realm of Heaven are replaced by the p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n of Nature; the v i r t u e s go by such new names as Reason and Studious D e s i r e , and are opposed to the vices of the "new l e a r n i n g " such as Sensual Appet i t e and Ignorance.  The m o r a l i t i e s which f o l l o w Nature and The Four  Elements continue to g r a f t a v a r i e t y of secular themes upon the d i d a c t i cism of the conventional temptation p l o t .  Spivack summarizes the e f f e c t  of the "secular r e v o l u t i o n " on the development of the m o r a l i t i e s i n the sixteenth century: From the arena of C h r i s t i a n metaphysics the a c t i o n moves . . . into the arena of the world, and f i n d s habitation even more l o c a l i n England or London. The s i n g l e transcendental subject i s replaced by a world of p a r t i c u l a r s — b y d e t a i l e d issues respecting the Reformation, youthful delinquency, education, p o l i t i c a l u n i t y , s o c i a l j u s t i c e , national p r o s p e r i t y , domestic happiness, and other topics equally s p e c i a l i z e d and s e c u l a r . Simultaneously the a s c e t i c ideal withdraws before the advance of moral standards in and of t h i s world.2 Accompanying the s e c u l a r i z a t i o n of the morality was an increased emphasis on the element of entertainment, which resulted i n the greater prevalence of the elements of humour and f a r c e .  This tendency i s already  operative in Mankind which, in Chambers' view, " i s a very degraded type  57  58 of morality aiming at entertainment rather than e d i f i c a t i o n . "  3  As we  have seen, the forces of comedy s i n c e the e a r l i e s t beginnings of English drama served both the edifying purpose of the clergy and the unregenerate i n c l i n a t i o n s of the f o l k .  This d u a l i t y of purpose was sustained with  various transformations and s h i f t s of emphasis in the new m o r a l i t i e s of the sixteenth century.  The conclusion of the Prologue to The Four  Elements i s , i n f a c t , an a f f i r m a t i o n of the p r i n c i p l e s of u t i l e et dulce: . . . because some f o l k be l i t t l e disposed To sadness, but more to mirth and s p o r t , This philosophical work i s mixed With merry concerts, to give men comfort, And occasion.to cause them to resort To hear t h i s matter, whereto i f they take heed, Some learning to them thereof may proceed.4 Here R a s t e l l i s expressing his hope that a measure of comic r e l i e f  will  induce his audience to pay a t t e n t i o n as well to the serious d i d a c t i c concerns of the play.  The d i d a c t i c i s m of the "new l e a r n i n g " d i f f e r e d pro-  foundly from the other-worldly concerns of the C h r i s t i a n myths; neverthel e s s , the same purpose underlined the concession to comedy made by the playwrights of both groups.  There i s also d i s c e r n i b l e in the drama of  the Tudor period a growing propensity toward the presentation of comedy f o r i t s own sake, not merely as a "leavening agent"  or a "sweetener"  f o r the moral p i l l , but simply because i t was a dramatic form which ref l e c t e d the popular t a s t e .  Even R a s t e l l , in the explanatory note which  accompanies the t i t l e of The Four Elements, suggests that t h i s new and "mery" interlude can be considerably shortened by omitting much of the non-humorous m a t e r i a l : " i f ye l i s t , ye may leave out much o f / t h e sad [serious] matter."  In much the same way the prologue of the l a t e r  59 m o r a l i t y , Like W i l l to L i k e , expresses F u l w e l l ' s i n t e n t to pursue the favour of his audience through m i r t h : And because divers men of divers minds be Some do matters of mirth and pastime r e q u i r e : Other some are delighted with matters of g r a v i t y , To please a l l men i s our author's c h i e f desire Whereforth mirth with measure to sadness i s annexed: g Desiring that none here at our matter w i l l be perplexed. In these l i n e s there i s no suggestion of the u t i l i z a t i o n of merriment to enhance the e d i f y i n g message of the work, but rather there i s only an expression of the author's concern that the disparate demands of the playgoers be s a t i s f i e d . The humorous portions of the sixteenth-century m o r a l i t y , as in the drama that had preceded i t , were l a r g e l y given over to the characters who were aligned with the side of e v i l .  Nature i s the f i r s t morality  without a d e v i l , and with the disappearance of the Prince of Darkness from the English stage, the remaining p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n s of e v i l  (no  longer representative so much of metaphysical e v i l as of human weakness and man's baser i n c l i n a t i o n s ) were i n c r e a s i n g l y r e l i e d upon to provide amusement.  We should remember that the devil was not the only comic  f i g u r e in e a r l y English drama, and he shared his r o l e of comic v i l l a i n y with a host of human characters including C a i n , Mak, Herod, and the t o r t u r e r s of C h r i s t .  Moreover, some of the sub-demons and minor e v i l  p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n s in the l a t e r i n t e r p o l a t i o n s to the mysteries and i n the e a r l y morality p l a y s , r e f l e c t a s p i r i t that i s decidedly comic in nature; these include such characters as Satan's subordinates i n the appendage to the Chester Harrowing of Hel1; the two l e s s e r demons in the Wakefield Doomsday; Detractio in The C a s t l e of Perseverance; and M i s c h i e f ,  60 Nought, New-guise and Now-a-days i n Mankind.  The forces of comedy i n  the morality t r a d i t i o n of the sixteenth century continued to be assoc i a t e d with the side of e v i l ; and while the comic element  initially  appeared d i f f u s e d (although usually more prominent in one wicked character than another), i t gradually became concentrated in one f i g u r e who ultimately. developed into the o f f i c i a l perpetrator of both fun and damn a t i o n , the stock f i g u r e widely known as the V i c e . At t h i s point we should d i s t i n g u i s h the word " v i c e " in i t s lower case from i t s upper case designation of the V i c e , himself.  In the  morality t r a d i t i o n , " v i c e , " from the L a t i n " v i t i u m , " was the term used to r e f e r i n a general and c o l l e c t i v e sense to the a l l e g o r i c a l p e r s o n i f i c a tions of e v i l , including the Seven Deadly Sins and various other i n i q u i ties.  In The Castle of Perseverance, one part of the action i s described  i n the following manner: "Thus vycys agens vertues fytyn f u l s n e l l e " (1. 70); and in a document describing the Pater Noster play at York, we are informed that " a l l manner of vices and sins were held up to s c o r n . "  7  Since the side of personified e v i l was represented by characters genera l l y designated as " v i c e s , " i t seems both natural and expedient that the character who became dramatically the most important of the p e r s o n i f i c a tions of e v i l would be designated as "the V i c e . "  The f i r s t appearance  of a dramatic character o f f i c i a l l y l a b e l l e d "the Vice" occurs in two plays by John Heywood--Pj_ay_ of the Weather and Play of Love--both of which were printed in 1533.  In order to i n v e s t i g a t e t h i s f i g u r e ' s emer-  gence, we w i l l f i r s t look at the elements of comedy r e f l e c t e d by the vice characters in the Tudor m o r a l i t i e s which immediately preceded Heywood's p l a y s .  61 Nature by Henry Medwall i s a morality in the t r a d i t i o n a l  "ages  of man" p a t t e r n ; i t presents the h i s t o r y of Man from infancy to old age, his f a l l from innocence, his temptation into a l i f e of debauchery by the a l l e g o r i c a l representatives of e v i l , and his ultimate repentance in old age.  The vice r o l e i s dispersed i n the play among S e n s u a l i t y , the c h i e f  agent on the side of e v i l , Mundus, Worldly A f f e c t i o n and the Seven Deadly Sins.  Pride i s the most important of t h i s l a t t e r group of v i c e s , and i s ,  at one p o i n t , i d e n t i f i e d as "radix viciorum" which Sensuality humorously Q  t r a n s l a t e s as the "root of a l l v i r t u e . "  There i s some disagreement  among drama c r i t i c s concerning which of the e v i l characters i s the p r i n c i p a l v i c e , Cushman designating the r o l e to S e n s u a l i t y , while Spivack and Boughner consider Pride to be the most l i k e l y contender. c a l l s Sensuality "the V i c e " ( i n the upper case)  Cushman  even though he i s not  e x p l i c i t l y i d e n t i f i e d as such i n the text of the p l a y ; Boughner does the same with P r i d e , ^ while Spivack more prudently includes P r i d e ' s r o l e in his discussion of early examples of "the d o c t r i n a l and dramatic s u p e r i o r i t y of one vice over his f e l l o w s . " ^  The humour of the p l a y , at  any r a t e , revolves p r i m a r i l y around the e v i l characters who engage in much bawdy language and verbal wit in t h e i r temptation of Man.  Sensu-  a l i t y d i r e c t s a great deal of humorous s a t i r e against the Church, i n f o r ming Man that his former whore, Margery, "hath entred into a r e l i g i o u s place" (p. .92), meaning "a b r o t h e l , " and at a l a t e r point he informs Envy that Covetise "dwelt with a p r i e s t . . . / For he loveth well / Men of the Church and they him a l s o " (p. 119).  Sensuality i n many respects func-  tions in a manner s i m i l a r to that of the l a t e r V i c e - - h e i s b a s i c a l l y  62 amoral, as r e f l e c t e d i n the a l l e g o r i c a l meaning of his name; he i s probably the most important character i n the p l a y ; and in his roles as both tempter and fun-maker, he indulges i n obscenity and great w i t . P r i d e , too, r e f l e c t s aspects of the V i c e - r o l e .  The most important of  the Deadly S i n s , he i s represented as a swaggering dandy, dressed ostent a t i o u s l y in the l a t e s t f a s h i o n s , his sword so heavy, that he requires the services of a page to carry i t .  He p a r t i c u l a r l y foreshadows the  Vice i n his r e l a t i o n s h i p with the audience, informing them of his schemes to bring about the downfall of Man, and subtly i m p l i c a t i n g them in his p r o f l i g a c y by feigning ignorance and asking the men i n the crowd the way to the b r o t h e l : Now must I go to the stewes, as f a s t as I may To fetch t h i s gentleman; but s i r s ! I say, Can any man here t e l l me the way? For I came never here. Ye know the way, Parde! of o l d ; I pray t e l l me which way s h a l l I hold. (pp. 101-2) Replacing the m i l i t a r y b a t t l e between the vices and the virtues of the Psychomachia and e a r l y m o r a l i t y (most notably The Castle) i s a structure of i n t r i g u e i n which the vices of the play attempt to corrupt man through deception and verbal cunning.  Nature r e f l e c t s the device  which i s to be repeated over and over again in the l a t e r m o r a l i t i e s , of having the vices d i s g u i s e themselves by assuming "reputable" names i n order to deceive Man and avoid d e t e c t i o n .  Pride becomes "Worship,"  Gluttony becomes "Good-Fellowship," and so f o r t h .  Although a pitched  b a t t l e never takes p l a c e , a " f r a y " i s planned, and Gluttony,  prefiguring  F a l s t a f f , enters "with a cheese and b o t e l l " (p. 112), his only "harness" for the, impending combat.  63 According to A. P. R o s s i t e r , in the Tudor period "comic drama can be watched getting nearer and nearer to the seething London streets,"^ and i n Nature, there i s much of the s p i r i t of the tavern and the "stews." Indeed, t h i s s p i r i t i s suggested r i g h t from the beginning of the p l a y , where Nature bids Man make the journey of l i f e governed j o i n t l y by Reason and S e n s u a l i t y .  Although Reason i s deputized as Man's c h i e f  guide, the necessity f o r man's expression of his i n s t i n c t u a l passions i s recognized and o v e r t l y supported. A s i m i l a r s p i r i t informs R a s t e l l ' s The Four Elements in which the c h i e f vice i s Sensual A p p e t i t e , who i s Humanity's tutor in the d i s s i pations of tavern and town.  Convincing Humanity to leave the droning  geographical lessons of Studious D e s i r e , Sensual Appetite takes him to a tavern.  He c a l l s the Taverner, orders wine and dinner and engages t h e i r  host i n a bout of verbal w i t .  He then decides that more company i s  needed and proposes to introduce Humanity to some of the town wenches: Then we w i l l have l i t t l e N e l l , A proper wench she danceth w e l l , And Jane with the black l a c e , We w i l l have bouncing Bess a l s o , And two or three proper wenches mo. Right f a i r and smoother of face. (p. 22) Like Margery i n Nature, " l i t t l e N e l l , " " J a n e , " and "bouncing Bess" are never a c t u a l l y presented on the stage; t h e i r names suggest, however, that the emphasis on s e c u l a r i z a t i o n has influenced the c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of the m o r a l i t y , moving away from the depiction of a l l e g o r i c a l abstractions towards the creation of more humanized character types. Sensual A p p e t i t e , l i k e Sensuality in Nature, i s representative of  64 the v i c e - c h a r a c t e r as riotous man, and a n t i c i p a t e s the l a t e r Vice i n several aspects. and a merry song.  His entrance i s rowdy and marked by a mild obscenity He i s both a tempter and a gay prankster, as well as  a master of verbal w i t .  Moreover, in his bragging d e s c r i p t i o n of the  "shrewd f r a y " i n which he has fought, there are r e a d i l y d i s c e r n i b l e F a l s t a f f i a n antecedents.  Swearing by "Gog's n a i l s " and "Gog's body," he  b o a s t f u l l y answers Ignorance's q u e s t i o n ,  "Hast thou any of them s l a i n ? "  Yea, I have s l a i n them every man, Save them that ran away. (p. 37) As Ignorance continues to interrogate him, i t becomes apparent that a l l had run away with the exception of one man, whose leg Sensual Appetite cut o f f .  He f i n a l l y admits that he would have cut o f f his head as w e l l ,  i f someone e l s e had not previously accomplished that f e a t . It i s i n t e r e s t i n g that i n keeping with the growing humanistic trend of the m o r a l i t y , Sensual Appetite i s a vice not to s p i r i t u a l but rather to the secular v i r t u e s of knowledge and moderation.  virtue,  The  homiletic message of the play i s given in the l a s t speech of Natura Naturata who advises Humanity against the over-indulgence of the senses: Though i t be f o r thee f u l l necessary For thy comfort sometime to s a t i s f y Thy sensual a p p e t i t e , Yet i t i s not convenient f o r thee To put therein thy f e l i c i t y And a l l thy whole d e l i g h t . (p. 45) An even more pointed emphasis on the necessity for temperance and moderation marks S k e l t o n ' s Magnificence in which a prince i s tempted from the rule of Measure, the c h i e f representative of v i r t u e , by a number of  65 a l l e g o r i c a l p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n s of c o u r t l y e v i l .  The implied target i s  Cardinal Wolsey and S k e l t o n ' s v e i l e d purpose i s presumably to warn the young King Henry VII against the extravagance and excess of Wolsey's policy.  What p a r t i c u l a r l y concerns us here i s that the v i c e - r o l e i s  divided between four e v i l c o u r t i e r s — C o u n t e r f e i t Countenance, Crafty Conveyance, Cloaked C o l l u s i o n , and Courtly Abusion—and two fool --Fancy and his brother F o l l y .  figures  The four rogues who comprise the former  group of vices are p r i m a r i l y tempters and schemers.  Although they par-  t i c i p a t e in some humorous interchanges and u t t e r obscene oaths, they a r e , above a l l , dedicated to t h e i r a l l e g o r i c a l roles as e v i l i n t r i g u e r s .  The  theme of deception i s p a r t i c u l a r l y manifest in t h i s . p l a y , as almost a l l the vice characters disguise themselves and assume respectable pseudonyms. Cloaked C o l l u s i o n p a r t i c u l a r l y reveals the ambiguous and double-sided nature of the e v i l characters as he declares himself to the audience: "Two faces in a hood c o v e r t l y I bear," and "Double Dealing and I be a l l „13 one. This double-visaged aspect grew to be d e f i n i t i v e of the V i c e , and i t stems, at l e a s t in p a r t , from the dual function of his role—that fun-maker and i n s t i g a t o r of c o r r u p t i o n .  of  In Magnificence, both groups of  characters aligned with the forces of e v i l , the four c o u r t i e r s and the two f o o l s , d i s p l a y both aspects of the vice r o l e , but in the former group the i n t r i g u e and dissembling i s emphasized, while in the case of Fancy and F o l l y , the r o l e of fun-making i s predominant.  As R. L. Ramsay points  out in the Introduction to his e d i t i o n of the p l a y , Fancy and F o l l y are representative of the two types of professional court f o o l s .  Fancy, a  66 man "so l y t e l l  of stature" (1. 522), i s apparently a dwarf, and much i s  made of his weak-brained and feeble-minded nature.  He, according to  Ramsay, i s the " n a t u r a l " f o o l , while F o l l y , l i k e Feste and Touchstone, 14 i s an " a r t i f i c i a l " f o o l , a professional court j e s t e r .  In contrast to  his " b r a i n s i c k " brother, F o l l y i s a shrewd and extremely w i t t y f e l l o w . He i s the s e l f - c o n s c i o u s fun-maker who acknowledges that i t i s his job to reduce everyone around him to the f o l l y which he a l l e g o r i c a l l y represents.  F o l l y i s b a s i c a l l y amoral; he makes even his e v i l cohorts the  butts of his j e s t s .  He c l e v e r l y beguiles Crafty Conveyance, beating him  in a wager and d i v e s t i n g him of his coat.  Fancy, too, i s the target for  a number of F o l l y ' s pranks and mocking humour.  In a comic exchange,  F o l l y s e l l s his brother his mangy pet dog, f l a g r a n t l y cheating him in the bargain.  When Crafty Conveyance acclaims F o l l y as a fool "that hast  no peer" (1. 1196), the l a t t e r explains in much the same manner as L e a r ' s f o o l , that he i s not a fool at a l l , but rather he makes f o o l s of a l l men, regardless of s o c i a l s t a t u r e : Nay, i t i s I that f o l e s can make; For he be cayser or he be kynge To fellowshyp with Foly I can hym brynge. (11. 1214-16) In S k e l t o n ' s depiction of the two f o o l s , both elements of comedy and e v i l are intertwined. As Ramsay observes: [The] " V i c e s " Fancy and F o l l y , as we have seen are c a r e f u l l y drawn f o o l s ; but they also f i t into the a l l e g o r i c a l scheme of the p l a y , and i t i s important not to neglect t h i s side of t h e i r p o r t r a i t u r e . Fancy, or capricious self-indulgence i s the cardinal s i n of the p l a y ; when Magnificence y i e l d s to t h a t , a l l his subsequent degradation follows as a natural r e s u l t . Its l a s t stage i s the embracing of F o l l y . 1 5 Despite his scatter-brained d i s p o s i t i o n of the " n a t u r a l , " Fancy i s , i n  67 f a c t , the prime schemer i n the p l a y .  He i s the f i r s t to gain admission  into the favour of the p r i n c e , and i t i s he who ushers in the four e v i l sycophants who f u r t h e r tempt Magnificence, and bring him to his r u i n . On the other hand, while F o l l y shares i n his brother's i n t r i g u e and tempt a t i o n , he i s , above a l l , a comic character whose prime job i s to i n c i t e laughter.  In the l a t e r m o r a l i t y , the demands of both compression and  dramatic unity required the two roles--malevolent i n t r i g u e r and funmaker—to be fused i n one c h a r a c t e r , namely the V i c e : S k e l t o n ' s play i s , however, s i g n i f i c a n t in i t s presentation of the various for the Vice r o l e .  potentialities  This spectrum of c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n ranges from the  emphasis on conspiracy and deception r e f l e c t e d by the four e v i l  courtiersj  to the median r o l e held by Fancy as both the prime mover of the  intrigue  and the dim-witted " n a t u r a l " or buffoon, and f i n a l l y to the j e s t i n g a n t i c s of F o l l y who, i n his amorality and shrewd w i t , approaches the r o l e of the pure fool and i s responsible f o r most of the comedy of the play. The remaining m o r a l i t i e s before 1533 can be q u i c k l y discussed. In Mundus et Infans (The World and the C h i l d ) , the v i c e r o l e i s sustained almost e n t i r e l y by F o l l y , who despite his name i s more of a tempter than a fool f i g u r e .  His entrance i s raucous—ful1 of noisy bluster and inde-  cent language.  He succeeds in tempting Manhood away from Conscience by  o f f e r i n g to be his servant, and then leads him to London "to learn r e v e l , " by indulging his baser passions in d i n i n g , d r i n k i n g , and whoring at the taverns  and stews.  The d e r i v a t i o n of the c h i e f vice from a composite  of the Seven Deadly Sins i s at one point in t h i s play o v e r t l y asserted. Conscience i n s t r u c t s Manhood that he abstain from F o l l y , and when Manhood  68 asks, "what thing c a l l e s t thou f o l l y , "  Conscience r e p l i e s :  S i r , i t i s P r i d e , Wrath and Envy, S l o t h , Covetous, and Gluttony, Lechery the seventh i s , These seven sins I c a l l f o l l y . (p. 182) Like Sensuality and Sensual A p p e t i t e , F o l l y i s representative of the riotous vice character who tempts man to give free reign to his senses and natural i n c l i n a t i o n s .  It i s also worth noting that as a r e s u l t of  the new s p i r i t of s e c u l a r i z a t i o n , with i t s emphasis on the material  world,  the tavern and the stews have replaced Hell as the seat of the demonic realm.  Furthermore, as i n the three plays previously discussed, the  v i c e - r o l e i s directed toward the corruption of youth, a motif which i s to be repeated in almost a l l of the dramas and novels which w i l l be discussed i n the second h a l f of t h i s  dissertation.  The Interlude of Youth, as the t i t l e i m p l i e s , i s a morality also concerned with the moral delinquency of the younger generation. r o l e i s shared by R i o t , P r i d e , and Lechery.  The v i c e -  R i o t , a t h i e f who has r e -  cently escaped from Newgate ( l i k e Mischief in Mankind), plays the convent i o n a l v i c e - r o l e of the d i s s o l u t e or " r i o t o u s " man, as his name would suggest.  His entrance i s marked by both b l u s t e r and comic nonsense.  In  answer to Youth's query "What brought thee hither today," Riot r e p l i e s , 18 "That did my l e g s , I t e l l thee."  The tavern scene, by now a stereo-  typed comic s i t u a t i o n , i s again central to t h i s p l a y , and Riot leads Youth there to have a good time d r i n k i n g , wenching and carousing. A s i m i l a r atmosphere of revelry and debauchery pervades Hickscorner, which l i k e Mankind appears to have been designed to demonstrate  69 the dramatic popularity of unregenerate v i c e .  The virtuous characters  P i e t y , F r e e w i l l , and Contemplation are bland f i g u r e s , rather  uninterest-  ing in t h e i r p i e t y and e d i f i c a t i o n , and are completely overshadowed by the rowdiness and bawdy humour of the three sensual r o i s t e r e r s , F r e e w i l l , Imagination and Hickscorner.  This play i s extremely unusual i n the mor-  a l i t y t r a d i t i o n because the temptation motif i s t o t a l l y l a c k i n g , and the character representing Mankind i s e i t h e r absent or already so corrupt as to be morally i n d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e from the vice characters.  Hickscorner  i s the most l i k e l y candidate f o r the c h i e f v i c e - r o l e of the play.  He i s  a s a i l o r and a seasoned t r a v e l l e r , and he amuses the other vices with his account of his recent voyages replete with the conventional t a l e s of debauchery at the taverns and b r o t h e l s .  Like Mischief and R i o t , he too _  has spent time at Newgate, and i t i s becoming evident that the p r i s o n , as well as the tavern and the b r o t h e l , i s emerging as another image of the underworld, the s e c u l a r i z e d version of the demonic realm.  The central  comic action in the play involves a rowdy dagger f i g h t among the v i c e s , and the b a i t i n g of P i t y , a scene in which the three r o i s t e r e r s abandon t h e i r q u a r r e l l i n g and j o i n forces to mock and deride P i t y , and set him in the s t o c k s .  The l a t t e r s i t u a t i o n i s present as well i n Youth where Riot  and Pride bind Charity in chains when he attempts to prevent them from leading Youth to the tavern, and to a l e s s e r extent in Mankind where Mercy i s monstrously r i d i c u l e d by the four rogues.  This pattern i s com-  mensurate with the schematic structure of the morality dating back to the Psychomachia, and presenting the combat between the vices and virtues^ The motif of m i l i t a r y confrontation in the e a r l y morality (as best  70 exemplified by the pitched b a t t l e in The Castle) has, however, been gradually replaced by verbal b a t t l e s of d e r i s i o n between the vices and the v i r t u e s , b a t t l e s of i n t r i g u e , scenes of b a i t i n g and s t o c k i n g , and the rowdy quarrels and brawling horseplay among the vices themselves.  It  must be remembered, however, that each a l l e g o r i c a l representative of e v i l , i n his o r i g i n a l homiletic conception, was a m i l i t a r y s o l d i e r on the side of the forces of H e l l .  Although the dagger of lathe became, u l t i m a t e l y ,  the only remaining symbol of the v i c e ' s demonic armament, t h i s f i g u r e continues to be an enemy to the r e s t r a i n t s of a l l moral i d e a l s , and therein l i e s a great deal of his comic power. As we approach 1533, the date of Heywood's two plays in which the t h e a t r i c a l label "the Vice" occurs for the f i r s t time, the morality play has not as yet consolidated i t s various a l l e g o r i c a l representatives of 19 e v i l into a s i n g l e v i c e - r o l e .  From our examination of some of the  plays of the e a r l y Tudor p e r i o d , however, i t i s apparent that the drama i s on the verge of elevating one of the vices into a p o s i t i o n of dramatic prominence.  Spivack, in his chapter e n t i t l e d "The Emergence of the V i c e , "  discusses what he c a l l s the "fu'hrer p r i n z i p " among the v i c e s , which i s d i s c e r n i b l e in the m o r a l i t i e s of the f i r s t half of the sixteenth century: The crux of the development we are discussing e x i s t s in the f a c t that one of the vices i s almost always d i s t i n g u i s h e d from the others as t h e i r immoral superior and dramatic leader. He i s captain of the forces of e v i l and they are his p r i v a t e s . When they contest his supremacy or show him i n s u f f i c i e n t deference, he puts them down with threats and blows, producing the inveterate quarrel of the vices along with i t s homiletic purpose, the exposition of who i s top dog in the hierarchy of e v i l . 2 0 Within t h i s context then, i t i s not s u r p r i s i n g that as the r o l e of t h i s "immoral superior" increased in dramatic prominence, the roles of the  71 other a l l e g o r i c a l representatives diminished a c c o r d i n g l y , nor that the t h e a t r i c a l designation "the V i c e , " d i s t i n g u i s h i n g the leader on the side of e v i l from his subordinates, began to appear in the cast l i s t s , the stage d i r e c t i o n s and even in the t i t l e s of the l a t e r m o r a l i t i e s . What i s somewhat p u z z l i n g , however, i s the f a c t that t h i s  theatri-  cal label makes i t s f i r s t appearance in Heywood's Plays of Weather and Love, both of which are not m o r a l i t i e s at a l l but rather d i d a c t i c s o c i a l comedies depicting c l a s s - t y p e s as opposed to abstract p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n s of the categories of good and e v i l .  This f a c t has contributed to much  of the c r i t i c a l dispute over the o r i g i n s of the V i c e , a number of scholars employing Heywood's "unvicious" Vices as a basis for the argument that the Vice i n i t i a l l y developed outside the morality t r a d i t i o n from the fool or popular stage clown, and that he was l a r g e l y imported into the 21 l a t e r morality in order to provide i t s comedy.  On the other hand,  Spivack, commenting on the overzealousness of some c r i t i c s in emphasizing the comic side of the V i c e - r o l e while neglecting the serious and sometimes t r a g i c aspects of the e v i l he attempts to i n f l i c t ,  offers an a l t e r -  nate explanation: In any moral play the indispensable roles of the v i c e s , and of the V i c e , were t r a d i t i o n a l and taken for granted, and they revealed themselves at once by t h e i r names in the l i s t of p l a y e r s . In the mora l i t y of Youth, for example, there could be no question as to who the vices were in a cast that contained Youth, C h a r i t y , H u m i l i t y , R i o t , P r i d e , and Lechery. And in the morality p l o t i t s e l f . . . one of the important homiletic aims i s e x a c t l y to demonstrate who, among several cognates of e v i l , i s the V i c e - i n - c h i e f by v i r t u e of his p r i macy as radix malorum, so that his designation as "the Vice" i n the cast or stage d i r e c t i o n i s a c t u a l l y a piece of supererogation. These homiletic c o n d i t i o n s , however, did not hold for Heywood's two p l a y s , or for the other secular plays that l i k e w i s e borrowed the V i c e ; and i t was p r e c i s e l y because they did not hold that he was ih special need of his generic t i t l e . In such plays he was not a t r a d i t i o n a l f i g u r e  72 but a t h e a t r i c a l l y a t t r a c t i v e importation. Nor did his homiletic eminence appear in them from his a s s o c i a t i o n with other v i c e s , because he was borrowed without the company of his a l l e g o r i c a l cohorts, and exploited t h e a t r i c a l l y f o r his dramatic verve, not h o m i l e t i c a l l y for his immoral primacy or metaphorical s i g n i f i c a n c e . In such plays t h e r e f o r e , he received the t i t l e that made his dramatic function patent. If i t was of some use to have the Vice in a play to which he was not n a t i v e , i t was also useful to i n d i c a t e his presence.22 Before us we have tv/o contradictory views, one that the Vice was i n i t i a l l y a buffoon who was imported into the morality from the r o l e of the f o l k fool or stage clown, and the other, that he was i n i t i a l l y a serious a l l e g o r i c a l p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n morally aligned with the forces of e v i l , who was imported into the secular drama from the m o r a l i t y .  I s h a l l attempt to  reconcile these opposing views in more d e t a i l at a l a t e r point in the next chapter when we examine more c l o s e l y the question of the V i c e ' s o r i g i n s , but for now i t i s s u f f i c i e n t to recognize that the vice characters in the plays we have discussed heretofore have p r a c t i c a l l y , without exception, manifested c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and actions which are comic as well as e v i l in nature.  We have seen them sing and dance, j e s t and brawl, indulge in  nonsense, obscenity, verbal w i t , and riotous buffoonery.  In other words,  comedy has never been extraneous to the dramatic representation of v i c e . We have also seen in S k e l t o n ' s Magnificence a spectrum of for the v i c e - r o l e .  potentialities  What Heywood has done in his two plays i s to concen-  t r a t e on the comic extreme of t h i s spectrum without, however, t o t a l l y foregoing the demonic, as a c l o s e r examination of the two works in quest i o n wil1 r e v e a l . The dramatic action in both The Play of Love and The Play of Weather takes the form of debate.  In Love four characters argue end-  l e s s l y about which of them suffers the most pain and enjoys the most  73 pleasure in t h e i r experiences of love.  Neither Lover Nor Loved i s the  Vice of the p l a y , and he constantly interrupts the arguments of the other debaters with coarse j e s t s and verbal horseplay.  As his name would sug-  gest, he i s an amoral character outside the realm of love i t s e l f , and, indeed, a non-participant in human r e l a t i o n s h i p s .  As he admits during a  long monologue to the audience, he i s , at the same time, t o t a l l y caring f o r no one but himself.  egocentric,  A c l e v e r schemer and a p r a c t i c a l  joker,  he delights in playing a somewhat cruel t r i c k on his opponent in the debate, Lover Loved. thereafter,  Leaving to get a book, the Vice returns  shortly  the following s t a g e - d i r e c t i o n marking his re-entrance on the  stage: Here the Vice cometh in running suddenly about the place among the audience with a high copper tank on his head f u l l of squibs f i r e d c r y i n g , water! water! f i r e ! f i r e ! f i r e ! water! water! f i r e ! t i l l the f i r e in the squibs be spent.23 He announces that he has seen the house of his opponent's beloved burn down and that she has died in the b l a z e .  Lover Loved i s g r i e f - s t r i c k e n ,  and when he states that he i s going to die with his beloved, the Vice triumphantly reveals that i t has a l l been a t r i c k he has contrived in order to win the debate.  He has proven that his p o s i t i o n , outside the  realm of l o v e , i s more conducive to pleasure and joy than that of an i n d i v i d u a l whose love i s r e q u i t e d , for the l a t t e r i s always  potentially  susceptible to the agony of l o s i n g the object of his adoration. Although Neither Lover Nor Loved i s e s s e n t i a l l y a comic f i g u r e on whom rests the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of amusing the audience, his a s s o c i a t i o n with the realm of e v i l i s a l s o i m p l i c i t throughout the play.  The tempta-  t i o n motif i s admittedly l a c k i n g ; nevertheless, the Vice i s the most  74 convincing of the four characters in his argument, and despite the f a c t that the outcome of the debate i s judged to be a t i e , the audience i s most sympathetic to the V i c e ' s point of view.  He reveals himself to be  t o t a l l y egocentric, and in t h i s sense, we might add, c l o s e l y related to the a l l e g o r i c a l abstraction of Pride which i s , according to Chaucer's 24 Parson, "the c h i e f and spryng of a l l other sinnes, the general r o o t e . " Moreover, he implicates the audience by e n l i s t i n g them as his partners and making them his secret confidants: And synce my parte now doth thus well appear, Be ye my partners now a l l of good cheer; But s i l e n c e every man upon a p a i n , For master woodcock i s now come again. As we have seen, the use of f i r e and fire-works was conventionally part of the t h e a t r i c a l equipment of the d e v i l , and in Castle and the Digby Mary Magdalene, the devil i s responsible for s e t t i n g a house ablaze. Armed with a huge tank of squibs or f i r e - c r a c k e r s , the Vice in The Play of Love also shares with the representatives of the demonic realm the a t t r i b u t e s of deceit and i n t r i g u e , making the other characters of the play his dupes, a l b e i t in a humorous and e s s e n t i a l l y harmless manner. The Play of the Weather has a s i m i l a r debate structure in which a number of characters present various arguments, t h i s time about t h e i r preferred kinds of weather.  Merry Report, the Vice of the p l a y , i s a  more f u l l y developed character than Neither Lover Nor Loved, and he i s responsible f o r conducting the dramatic a c t i o n .  Having gotten himself  appointed as J u p i t e r ' s c r i e r , he l i s t e n s to the weather-preferences of the various s u i t o r s , and presents t h e i r p e t i t i o n s to the God.  Like the  Vice in Love, Merry Report i s outside the realm of the debate—he claims  75 impartiality,  s t a t i n g he i s i n d i f f e r e n t  to a l l weather:  For a l l wethers I am so i n d y f f e r e n t , Without affeccyon, standynge so upryghte, Son-lyght, mone-lyght, s t e r - l y g h t , twylyght,  torch-lyght,  Temperate or dystemperate, what-ever y t be, I promise your lordshype, a l l i s one to me.25 This i n d i f f e r e n c e i s a s i g n i f i c a n t feature of the V i c e - f i g u r e ' s character make-up, and i s associated with the q u a l i t y of f o r t u i t o u s amorality he represents.  Even in those figures morally aligned with the forces of  e v i l , the aspect of i n d i f f e r e n c e i s operant as the V i c e ' s cohorts in v i l l a i n y are as often his dupes as the virtuous and morally upstanding. Merry Report i s s i m i l a r l y on intimate terms with the theatre audience.  He e n t e r s , in f a c t , from the audience, volunteering to be  Jupiter's crier.  His f o r t u i t o u s q u a l i t y i s r e f l e c t e d as well in his a t t i -  tude to the theatre-goers.  Despite the sense of camaraderie he assumes  with them, he cracks jokes at t h e i r expense, showers them with humorous verbal abuse, c a l l i n g them " c a i t i f f s " and "drunken whoresons" (p. 401), and demands that they curtsy before him in deference to his a u t h o r i t y . Merry Report's comic irreverence i s also extended to the p e t i tioners.  The f i r s t to present his s u i t i s a gentleman hunter, whom the  Vice greets with the following mocking i n s i n u a t i o n : On my f a i t h , your maship has a merry l i f e But who maketh a l l these homes, your s e l f or your w i f e . (p. 400) When the gentleman chides him and states that he i s , in f a c t , Merry Report's "head," the Vice indulges in a b i t of obscene verbal sport: By god, since ye came h i t h e r I can set my head and t a i l together This head s h a l l save money, by Saint Mary  76 From henceforth I w i l l no 'pothecary' For at a l l times, when such things s h a l l m i s t e r , My new head w i l l give mine old t a i l a g l i s t e r [purge] And, a f t e r a l l t h i s , then s h a l l my head wait Upon my t a i l , and there s h a l l stand at r e c e i p t . (p. 403) Merry Report's comic o b s c e n i t i e s , word p l a y , and nonsense are a l l of the V i c e ' s s t o c k - i n - t r a d e .  part  Another c h a r a c t e r i s t i c device, r e f l e c t e d  by various l a t e r Vices as w e l l , i s the "who-am-I" game which Merry Report plays in response to J u p i t e r ' s request that he i d e n t i f y Jupiter:  Why! what arte thou that approachest so nigh?  Merry Report: Jupiter:  himself:  Forsooth, and please your l o r d s h i p , i t i s I  A l l that we know very w e l l , But what I?  Merry Report: What, I some say I am I per se I But, what manner I so ever be I I assure your good l o r d s h i p , I am I. (p. 399) This game i s related to the ambiguity of the Vice as r e f l e c t e d in the various motifs surrounding his nomenclature: his i n a b i l i t y to remember his name; his refusal to i d e n t i f y himself; his change of name in play a f t e r play.  A l l of these devices have to do with the Vice f i g u r e ' s de-  s i r e to evade r e c o g n i t i o n .  To know the name of an i n d i v i d u a l i s , as 26  Jung has i n d i c a t e d , to define and control that person,  and the  ineffable  Protean q u a l i t y of the comic-demonic f i g u r e circumvents any attempt to apprehend him. Another c h a r a c t e r i s t i c manifested by a number of Vices i s the a l l e g a t i o n of being a great t r a v e l l e r .  Several of the Vice f i g u r e s , i n -  cluding Merry Report, present long narratives describing the places they have v i s i t e d and the experiences they have had during t h e i r  travels.  77 While Mares finds t h i s f a c t puzzling and can discover for i t no obvious 27 dramatic explanation,  a clue to i t s meaning can be found in Merry  Report's speech o u t l i n i n g his expeditions.  A f t e r presenting an extensive  l i s t of the places to which he has been, he concludes: The devil himself without more l e i s u r e Could not have gone h a l f t h i s much, I am sure. (p. 401) According to medieval b e l i e f , the devil was ubiquitous, ever-present throughout the world, ready at any moment to lure mankind to damnation. Within t h i s context then, the V i c e ' s claim to being a great t r a v e l l e r can be viewed as a remnant of his demonic h e r i t a g e , and a symbol of the pervasiveness of the comic v i l l a i n y which he perpetrates. Both of Heywood's Vices are e s s e n t i a l l y comic figures who in t h e i r buffoonery resemble more the fool of t r a d i t i o n , than the a l l e g o r i c a l representatives of e v i l of the morality drama.  Nevertheless, as we have  seen, Neither Lover Nor Loved and Merry Report i m p l i c i t l y  demonstrate  a f f i l i a t i o n s with the demonic realm, and, in t h i s sense, the label " V i c e " applied to these characters i s not, contrary to c r i t i c a l o p i n i o n ,  entirely  28 a "misnomer." A f t e r Heywood, there are some twenty plays containing characters s p e c i f i c a l l y designated as V i c e s , a l l of whom p a r t i c i p a t e to 29 a greater or l e s s e r extent., in both the comic and demonic realms. Rather than t r e a t each play i n d i v i d u a l l y , we w i l l focus on the general lineaments of the Vice f i g u r e , employing s p e c i f i c i l l u s t r a t i o n s from the plays themselves in an attempt to develop a dramatic overview of t h i s enigmatic f e l l o w .  78 In the l a t e Tudor period and f i r s t two decades of E l i z a b e t h ' s r e i g n , the Vice was a character of such great popularity on the English stage that his name figures in the t i t l e s of several plays emanating from 30 t h i s period in dramatic h i s t o r y .  He was a great f a v o u r i t e with the  audience, and generally the most important character in the plays in which he appeared.  Most of the plays in the l a t e r morality 31  both the conventional m o r a l i t i e s and the "hybrid plays"  tradition--  --were w r i t t e n  to be played by a small company of f i v e or s i x p l a y e r s , and a great deal of doubling of parts was, t h e r e f o r e , required.  Because the V i c e ' s r o l e  was so i n t r i n s i c to the action of the drama, and because his was almost c o n s i s t e n t l y the longest p a r t , the actor playing the Vice usually had no time for doubling.  In f a c t , part of his r o l e was to entertain the  audience with various comic improvisations, while other members of the cast were changing costumes.  The Tide T a r r i e t h No Man, for example, con-  tains the following s t a g e - d i r e c t i o n : "And [the Vice] f i g h t e t h to prolong the time while Wantonness maketh her ready" (Schell and Shuchter, p. 346). As the most important character, the Vice i s responsible for prop e l l i n g the dramatic action and conducting the main c o n f l i c t .  He occu-  pies the stage almost c o n s t a n t l y , presenting other characters to the audience, explaining his i d e n t i t y and the nature of his i n t r i g u e ,  fulfil-  l i n g the c l a s s i c a l functions of both messenger and chorus by commenting on the action and reporting what has gone on behind the scenes. Although he i s c l o s e l y aligned with the forces of e v i l , the Vice i s pre-eminently a comic f i g u r e whose basic function i s to i n c i t e  79 laughter.  As a comic character he i s given to obscenity and grossness,  singing and dancing, brawling and buffoonery, s a t i r e and mockery, nonsense and verbal w i t .  The nonsense of the Vice usually takes the form  of meaningless mumbo-jumbo, a mixture of English and foreign phrases or a stream of i l l o g i c a l , incongruous and contradictory utterances.  In  The L i f e and Repentance of Mary Magdalene, I n f i d e l i t y sings the f o l l o w ing nonsensical parody of church songs: With heigh down down and downe a down a , Salvator mundi Domine, K y r i e l e y s o n , I t e , Missa e s t , with pipe up a l l i l u y a , Sed l i b e r a nos a malo and l e t us be at one.  3 2  Courage, the Vice in The Tide T a r r i e t h No Man, weaves an adventure story out of a h i l a r i o u s sequence of absurd non s e q u i t u r s : But in f i n e these three began to agree And k n i t themselves up in one t r i n i t y . And a f t e r , they loved l i k e brother and brother, For every love they did k i l l one another. And then they were b u r i e d , I do well remember In Stawtons straw-hat, 7 mile from December, Where they had not l a i n the space of a day But four of those three were thence fun away. The Constable came, with a back on his b i l l , And because they were gone he did them k i l l . I, Courage, so c l e f t t h e i r cushions asunder To see how they bled i t made me to wonder. I myself was smitten twice to the ground I was very sore hurt, but I had not a wound. (Schell and Shuchter, p. 320) The s a t i r e of the Vice i s directed at a v a r i e t y of targets i n cluding the Church, new fashions in d r e s s , money-lenders, the legal prof e s s i o n , marriage and the defects of women. prolific  The Vice i s  particularly  in the number of i r r e v e r e n t remarks he l e v e l s at both the Church  and marriage; and the reason for t h i s comic irreverence i s e s s e n t i a l l y twofold, r e f l e c t i n g the double-nature of his character.  In the f i r s t  80 p l a c e , because marriage i s a sacrament of the C h r i s t i a n r e l i g i o n , and the Church i s C h r i s t i a n i t y ' s prime d w e l l i n g - p l a c e , the Vice as an i n h a b i tant of the demonic realm  i s i n t r i n s i c a l l y at variance with both.  Secondly, both the Church and marriage are s o c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s , and i t i s the purpose of comedy to provide a momentary l i b e r a t i o n from the oppressions of the p r e v a i l i n g s o c i a l order. the r e l a t i o n s h i p between i n s t i t u t i o n s  Feibleman's observations on  and the function of comedy are also  relevant here: It i s a notorious h i s t o r i c a l observation that customs and i n s t i t u tions never enjoy more than a comparatively b r i e f l i f e : and yet while they are the accepted fashion they come to be regarded as brute given, as i r r e d u c i b l e f a c t s , which may be depended upon with perfect s e c u r i t y . . . It i s the task of comedy to make t h i s p l a i n . Thus comedy r i d i c u l e s new customs, new i n s t i t u t i o n s , for being insuff i c i e n t l y i n c l u s i v e ; but even more e f f e c t i v e l y i t makes fun of old ones which have o u t l i v e d t h e i r usefulness and have come to stand i n the way of f u r t h e r progress.33 In much the same way, the d e r i s i v e comedy of the Vice points out the absurd weaknesses and r i d i c u l o u s constraints of the i n s t i t u t i o n s of marriage and r e l i g i o n , and c a l l s into question the "brute givens" upon which these i n s t i t u t i o n s  operate.  Moreover, j u s t as comedy generally involves a "breaking up of a l l r e s t r a i n t s , " so the humour of the Vice also provides a momentary release of the baser i n s t i n c t s , namely those of sex and aggression, which are normally held in check during the course of c i v i l i z e d existence.  The  sublimated release of the sexual i n s t i n c t i s r e f l e c t e d i n the numerous o b s c e n i t i e s , l a s c i v i o u s remarks, and coarse earthy humour displayed by every V i c e , while the aggressive overtones in his comedy are manifested not only i n his impudent mockery and b a i t i n g of the representatives of  81 v i r t u e , but also in the q u a r r e l s , brawls, and rough-and-tumble  fighting  which take place between the Vices and various other characters in the 34 drama.  Anthony Ludovici in The Secret of Laughter claims that the  response of laughter i s an expression of "superior adaptation"; i t i s a r e f l e x action deriving from the need to show one's t e e t h , to demonstrate the effectiveness of one's weapons against that which threatens his sur35 vival.  The V i c e ' s laughter--the triumphant "Ha, ha, h a , " which per-  vades the l a t e r moralities—and his comic combats are indeed an expression of his avowed "superior adaptation," f o r p r a c t i c a l l y a l l his actions are geared towards demonstrating his s u p e r i o r i t y not only over the forces of v i r t u e but over his own followers as w e l l .  The most common stage  d i r e c t i o n s of the l a t e r m o r a l i t i e s a r e , in f a c t , those which r e f l e c t V i c e ' s comic pugnacity--"Here the Vice f i g h t e t h " ;  the  "He draweth his dagger  OC  and f i g h t e t h " --and those which r e f l e c t his boisterous laughter as he bares his teeth in exultant d e l i g h t - - " E n t e r I n c l i n a t i o n laughing"; "Here 37 entereth Nichol Newfangle the Vice laughing."  One of the most sensa-  t i o n a l entrances of the Vice takes place in Preston's Cambises, in. which Ambidexter's f i r s t appearance on the stage combines both elements.  The  Vice enters as the braggart s o l d i e r , his appearance a burlesque of the m i l i t a r y overtones of the o l d Psychomachia.  Dressed in armour c o n s i s t i n g  of a "capcase" (hat-box) f o r a helmet, a pot l i d , a large spoon and a rake, Ambidexter b o a s t f u l l y proclaims: Stand away, stand away f o r the passion of God; Harnessed I am, prepared to the f i e l d : I would have been content at home to have bed, But I am sent f o r t h with my spear and my s h i e l d . I am appointed to f i g h t against a s n a i l , If I overcome him, then a b u t t e r f l y takes his p a r t ,  82 His weapon must be a blue speckled hen; But you w i l l see me overthrow him with a f a r t , So without conquest he s h a l l go home again. If I overcome him, I must f i g h t with a f l y , And a black pudding the f l y ' s weapon must be At f i r s t blow on the ground he s h a l l l i e , I w i l l be sure to thrust him through the mouth to the knee. To conquest these fellows the man I w i l l p l a y , Ha, ha, ha, now ye w i l l make me to s m i l e , To see, i f I can a l l men to beguile. (Dodsley, IV:176-77) By f a r the most pervasive symbol of the V i c e ' s comic aggression i s his wooden sword or dagger. the V i c e , and was s t i l l  This came to be the d e f i n i t i v e prop of  commonly associated with the role a f t e r the Vice  as a conventional t h e a t r i c a l character had disappeared from the stage. In Twelfth Night, Feste refers to the "old Vice . . . with his dagger of l a t h e " ( I V . i i . 1 3 4 - 3 6 ) , while T a t l e , in Jonson's The Staple of News, denies the presence of a Vice in the play he has seen because the conventional prop i s missing: Mirth:  . . . How l i k e you the Vice i '  the Play?  Expectation: Which i s he? M i r t h : Three or foure: old Covetousnesse, the sordid Penyboy, the Money-bawd, who i s a flesh-bawd too, they say. T a t l e : But here i s never a Fiend to carry him away. Besides, he has never a wooden dagger! I'Id not give a rush for a V i c e , that has not a wooden dagger to snap at everybody he meetes.38 It  i s s i g n i f i c a n t that the V i c e ' s dagger i s "wooden," and hence not l e t h a l ,  f o r one of the most important features of the aggression displayed in comedy i s the presence of violence without i t s consequences.  It  is  t a c i t l y understood that the aggression i s released only i n j e s t and i s , thus, disguised under the cloak of laughter.  This p r i n c i p l e was implied  83 by A r i s t o t l e who describes the comic mask as being " l u d i c r o u s , without 39 any suggestion of p a i n . "  E r i c Bentley, in a s i m i l a r v e i n , has observed  that violence almost always underlies f a r c e ; the members of the audience are permitted to watch t h e i r v i o l e n t , aggressive fantasies enacted before them on the stage without s u f f e r i n g any g u i l t , because the victims are spared any serious harm: Prongs of a rake in the backside are received as p i n p r i c k s . B u l l e t s seem to pass r i g h t through people, sledge-hammer blows to produce only momentary i r r i t a t i o n . . . . A l l of which s i g n i f i e s t h a t , in f a r c e , as in drama, one i s permitted the outrage but spared the consequence. 40 In play a f t e r p l a y , the Vice batters his cronies and his comic dupes with his "woodknife" (Like W i l l to L i k e , p. 350), and a very common s i t u a t i o n i s l i k e the one occurring in Pickeryng's Horestes in which Courage i n c i t e s a brawl between two country bumpkins, and then beats b o t h  of them with  his dagger w h i l e t h e y are engaged in f i g h t i n g each other. v  Another i d e n t i f y i n g feature of the Vice associated with his comedy i s his apt verbal w i t .  He i s p a r t i c u l a r l y fond of word p l a y , and the  dramas abound in punning, malapropisms, double-entendres, and a charact e r i s t i c kind of verbal d i s t o r t i o n  in which the Vice a l t e r s the statements  of e i t h e r himself of another character, playing on the sound for humorous effect.  The basic structure of t h i s comic device involves the V i c e ' s  r e v e l a t i o n of his true character and motivation only to r e t r a c t i t by pretending he has said something e l s e .  For example, in Respublica,  Avarice ( a l i a s P o l i c y ) assures Respublica that he w i l l  restore her to  wealth: A v a r i c e : W e l l , I w i l l take some p a i n , but t h i s to you be known, I w i l l do i t not f o r your.sake, but for mine own.  84 Respublica:  How say ye t h a t , Policy?  Avarice: This to you be known, I w i l l do a l l f o r your sake, and not for mine own. (Schell and Shuchter, p. 255) Another of many examples of t h i s comic device occurs in The T r i a l of Treasure where I n c l i n a t i o n mocks Lust by undercutting the T a t t e r ' s praise of his m i s t r e s s : Lust:  My lady i s amorous, and f u l l of favour.  Inclination: Lust:  I may say to you she hath an i l l - f a v o u r e d savour.  What sayest thou?  Inclination:  I say she's loving and of gentle behaviour. (Dodsley, 111:292)  The V i c e ' s propensity for word play i s r e c o l l e c t e d at one point in The Two Gentlemen of Verona in an exchange between the two servants: Speed: How now, S i g n i o r Launce? What news with your mastership? Launce: Speed:  With my master's s h i p .  Why, i t i s at sea.  W e l l , your old vice s t i l l — m i s t a k e the word. (III.i.279-81)  We should observe here that although Launce i s adept at the "mistake-theword" game, he does not q u a l i f y for the r o l e of V i c e , f o r the  latter's  use of double meanings in his verbal play generally c a r r i e s more s i n i s t e r overtones, r e f l e c t i n g as i t does, his a f f i l i a t i o n with the demonic realm. In Appius and V i r g i n i a , when Judge Appius requests the V i c e ' s aid in his attempt to deflower V i r g i n i a , Haphazard r e p l i e s , "At hand (quoth the p i c k purse) here ready am I"  (Dodsley, IV:129).  And in A l l For Money, S i n ' s  a s s o c i a t i o n with the forces of e v i l i s revealed when Money asks him about his family 1ineage—"From what stock are you proceeded."  S i n , punning  85 on the meaning of "stocks" as an instruments of punishment, answers, "The l a s t stocks I was i n was even at Bambury" (Schell and Shuchter, p. 451). In i t s equivocal q u a l i t y , the word play of the Vice i s , in e f f e c t , representative of the d u p l i c i t y of e v i l . r e l a t i o n s h i p in another p l a y , Richard I I I ,  Shakespeare acknowledges t h i s during a dialogue between  Richard and the young P r i n c e , which i s a conscious i m i t a t i o n of the pattern of verbal d i s t o r t i o n i n t r i n s i c to the V i c e - r o l e . Gloucester: (aside) long. Prince:  So w i s e , so young they say do never l i v e  What say you, uncle?  Gloucester: I say, without character, fame l i v e s l o n g . (aside) Thus l i k e the formal V i c e , I n i q u i t y , I moralize two meanings in one word. (III.79-83) The double-sided q u a l i t y of the Vice i s not only confined to his comedy; i t i s , as w e l l , a symbol of t h i s f i g u r e ' s demonic h e r i t a g e , for deceit and dissembling are his c h i e f instruments in carrying out his malevolent purpose.  As a representative of e v i l , the V i c e , l i k e the  double-tongued Serpent in the Garden, i s both a tempter and a schemer, seducing his v i c t i m toward corruption and moral damnation, and employing various devious stratagems in order to achieve t h i s g o a l .  Deceit i s the  most common method of operation i n the i n t r i g u e of the V i c e , and a great many of these figures employ both d i s g u i s e and change of name in order to make themselves more a t t r a c t i v e to t h e i r prey.  "Two faces in a hood,  c o v e r t l y I bear," states Cloaked C o l l u s i o n i n S k e l t o n ' s Magnificence in an e x p l i c i t assertion of the double-visaged nature of the V i c e ; and in almost every play the Vice and his cohorts adopt virtuous sounding  86 pseudonymns to mask the q u a l i t y of e v i l a l l e g o r i c a l l y s i g n i f i e d in true names.  their  In Respublica, Avarice disguises and r e - c h r i s t e n s both him-  s e l f and his f e l l o w - v i c e s : Avarice adopts the name P o l i c y , and turns his gown inside-out in order to hide his money bags; Adulation becomes Honesty, Oppression becomes Reformation, and Insolence i s given the name of Monsieur Authority.  The Vice then explains the need for dissembling  to his f o l l o w e r s . But changing your i l l name fewer s h a l l reprove you, As I mine own s e l f , where my name i s known Am r i g h t sore a s s a i l e d to be overthrown. But doing as I w i l l now c o u n t e r f e i t my name, I speed a l l my purpose and yet escape blame. (Schell and Shuchter, p. 250) And in The Marriage of Wit and Wisdom, Idleness, disguised as a p r i e s t , proudly congratulates himself on his s k i l l in the a r t of d i s s i m u l a t i o n . Detected I cannot well be: I am of that condition That can turn into a l l colours l i k e the chameleon.41 Another manifestation of the V i c e ' s dissembling i s the manner in which he feigns sorrow and t e a r s .  Covetousness in Wager's Enough i s As  Good as a Feast puts on a dramatic d i s p l a y of howling and weeping in order to convince Worldly Man of his s i n c e r i t y .  The Vice in Cambises  whose name, Ambidexter, i s an exposition of the q u a l i t y of double-dealing, or the playing with both hands which he represents, c r i e s and then laughs over the f r a t r i c i d e he has i n c i t e d by l y i n g to the King: "Ha, ha, weep! nay laugh, with both hands to play" (Schell and Shuchter, p. 218). at a l a t e r p o i n t , he mourns the death of the Queen, undercutting  And  the  a u t h e n t i c i t y of his g r i e f , however, with a comic obscenity: " 0 , my heart, my heart, 0 my bum w i l l break" (p. 243).  87 Although almost a l l the Vices are both tempters and mischievous schemers, in some of the figures one of these roles predominates.  Those  who are p r i m a r i l y tempters are c l o s e l y aligned with the forces of e v i l - sometimes t h e i r actions are p r e c i p i t a t e d by an agreement with the devil to bring about the damnation of mankind, and sometimes they merely grow out of t h e i r being a l l e g o r i c a l representatives of e v i l , and as such, d i a m e t r i c a l l y opposed to s a l v a t i o n or moral good.  Among t h i s group of  Vices are I n i q u i t y in King Darius, I n f i d e l i t y in Mary Magdalene, Avarice in Respublica, Covetousness in Enough i s As Good As a Feast, and Sin in A l l For Money, a l l of whose names are i n d i c a t i v e of the e t h i c a l e v i l they personify.  In another group of c h a r a c t e r s , however, the temptation  function i s underplayed or even absent altogether.  These figures combine  a h o m i l e t i c a l l y e v i l purpose with a dramatic character that i s p r i m a r i l y amoral in nature; these are the fun-loving pranksters and mischiefmakers whose actions are a r b i t r a r y , and who are not r e a l l y committed to e i t h e r good or e v i l , but are i n s t i g a t o r s of adversity for the "game" or the " s p o r t . "  Again the nomenclature of the most amoral of these char-  a c t e r s , l i k e that of some of the e a r l i e r Vice-incumbents we have examined (namely Neither Lover nor Loved, Sensual Appetite and Sensuality) r e f l e c t s t h e i r uncommitted, a r b i t r a r y , and e s s e n t i a l l y i n s t i n c t u a l behaviour:  Haphazard in Appius and V i r g i n i a , Natural I n c l i n a t i o n in The T r i a l  of Treasure, Desire in Tom T y l e r and his Wife, and Courage (meaning " b l i n d w i l l " or "appetite")  in The Tide T a r r i e t h No Man.  Almost a l l of the V i c e - f i g u r e s , whether they are e s s e n t i a l l y tempters, schemers, or a combination of both, function to some extent  88 outside of the moral law.  Indeed, the amorality or i n d i f f e r e n c e of the  Vice i s one of the most i n t e r e s t i n g and pervasive aspects of his character make-up.  The i n d i f f e r e n c e i s dramatically manifested in the V i c e ' s h a b i t -  ual a t t i t u d e of unconcern, even at the prospect of his own death. Avarice stops in his f l i g h t from the r e t r i b u t i v e forces of v i r t u e in order to sing a song; I l l - R e p o r t in Virtuous and Godly Susannah j e s t s at the point of his own execution.  I n s e n s i t i v e to the threat of his own  doom, he i s equally impassive in face of the s u f f e r i n g of others.  Cove-  tous, who c r i e d and moaned e a r l i e r in Enough i s As Good As A Feast, r e veals his true nature when he f a i l s to demonstrate any sympathy as Worldly Man l i e s in anguish in the moments preceding his own death. Rather, he r e f l e c t s his c a l l o u s merriment with vulgar j e s t s , obscenely punning on the P h y s i c i a n ' s name—Master Physician becomes "Master F l e s h b i s h i t e n " (p. 411)--and suggesting that the l a t t e r look in the p a t i e n t ' s rear-end and examine his urine in order to determine the nature of the malady.  S i m i l a r l y , Natural I n c l i n a t i o n in The T r i a l of Treasure mocks  L u s t ' s c r i e s of pain prompted by the a r r i v a l of God's V i s i t a t i o n : Lust:  Gog's wounds! these pangs increase ever more.  I n c l i n a t i o n : And my l i t t l e f i n g e r i s s p i t e f u l l y sore; You w i l l not believe how my heel doth ache. (Dodsley, IV:294) Although the Vice f i g u r e i s aligned with the side of e v i l , he i s , nonetheless, i n d i f f e r e n t  to the moral categories of good and e v i l .  A  complete egoist by nature, he i s out for himself alone, and delights in the misfortunes of others whether they are friends of foes.  Flatten'e,  the c h i e f of the vices in Lindsay's Three E s t a t e s , betrays his two  89 fellow-conspirators  in order to save his own neck from hanging; and  A v a r i c e , in much the same way, seeks to escape J u s t i c e by exposing the wrongdoings of his f o l l o w e r s .  Ambidexter provokes a " f r a y " between two  neighbours, Hob and Lob, and then reveals his lack of concern over the welfare of e i t h e r of them: "If  they had k i l l ' d one another, I had not  cared a pease" (Dodsley, IV:224).  Perhaps the most amoral of a l l  Vices i s Nichol Newfangle in Ulpian F u l w e l l ' s Like W i l l to L i k e .  the Al-  though as L u c i f e r ' s godson, he i s i n t r i n s i c a l l y a f f i l i a t e d with the forces of e v i l , he mocks and abuses the devil himself, c a l l i n g him "bottle-nosed knave" (Dodsley, 111:311) and refusing to kneel down in deference to him.  Two of N i c h o l ' s victims are his old a c q u a i n t a n c e s -  pickpockets named Cuthbert Cutpurse and Pierce Pickpurse.  He sings and  cavorts with them, warns the audience to guard t h e i r purses against them, and l a t e r halters them and leads them to the hangman, appropriating one of t h e i r coats as payment f o r his part i n capturing them.  The disasso-  ciated s e n s i b i l i t y of the Vice f i g u r e , his freedom from any bonds of human f e e l i n g or e t h i c a l a l l e g i a n c e , i s c r y s t a l l i z e d in the words of Subtle S h i f t , the Vice of S i r Clyomon and S i r Clamydes: W e l l , seeing I have played the c r a f t y knave with the one [man], I ' l l play i t with the other. 42 S u b t i l S h i f t for advantage w i l l deceive his own brother. Another aspect of the amorality of the Vice i s r e f l e c t e d in the seemingly a r b i t r a r y ,  unmotivated or "haphazard" q u a l i t y of his a c t i o n s .  Characters l i k e Jack Juggler in the play of the same name, or P o l i t i c Persuasion i n Patient and Meek G r i s i l l a r e , to a l l appearances, unmotivated in t h e i r i n t r i g u e and mischief-making.  Neither i s an a l l e g o r i c a l  90 representative of e v i l in the s t r i c t morality sense, but each d e l i g h t s in making innocent people the victims of his sport.  As a r e s u l t of t h i s  lack of motivation, some of the Vices are not e v i l masquerading under the guise of v i r t u e , but are agents of e i t h e r good or e v i l  fortuitously,  subject to the laws of b l i n d chance or accident rather than to the laws of any moral code. his a f f i l i a t i o n  Haphazard, as his name suggests, i s not motivated by  to any e t h i c a l stance, but acts "haphazardly" in a random  and purely venturous manner.  His i s the philosophy of taking chances.  He asserts his reckless "come-what-may" a t t i t u d e in his attempt to convince Judge Appius to go ahead in his plans to ravish V i r g i n i a : Do so my l o r d , be you not a f r a i d , And so you may happen to hazard the maid It i s but in hazard and may come by hap, Win her or lose her, t r y you the trap. (Dodsley, IV:132) At his entry, Haphazard attempts to define himself to the audience, to answer the question "What am I?"  He explains that he i s ubiquitous, a  part of a l l men and a l l creatures, and that he prompts a l l things  either  to fortune or to adversity in an e s s e n t i a l l y a r b i t r a r y manner: Most of a l l these my nature doth enjoy, Sometime I advance them, sometime I destroy. (p. 118) In much the same way, in The Tide T a r r i e t h No Man, Courage, whose name does not mean bravery so much as the now obsolete meaning of the word, " b l i n d energy" or " s p i r i t , "  reveals his v i t a l essence to the audience:  Now may you see how Courage can work, And how he can encourage both to good and bad. Thus you may see Courage contagious, And eke contrarious--both in me do r e s t .  91 For I, of k i n d , am always various And change as to my mind seemeth best. (Schell and Shuchter, p. 331) Courage's r o l e e x p l a i n s , perhaps, how the Vice can be both amoral and egot i s t i c a l at the same time. q u a l i t y of his a c t i o n s .  His amorality i s defined by the  fortuitous  He i s completely s e l f - c e n t e r e d , but his s e l f -  seeking more often follows the b l i n d d i c t a t e s of natural law rather than the p r e s c r i p t s of any moral code.  Moreover, in Courage's address we can  perceive not only the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c amorality of the Vice f i g u r e , but also the Protean q u a l i t y of his nature.  Not only i s he i n d i f f e r e n t  to  the moral categories of good and e v i l - - h e serves both randomly—but also he i s e s s e n t i a l l y i n d e f i n a b l e , f o r he changes shape whenever an attempt i s made to grasp him, to encompass him, to bring him under some kind of control.  Furthermore, in l i g h t of the Protean element of the V i c e , some  of his other c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s take on an added dimension.  His dissembling,  his chameleon-like change of both name and appearance, his frequent f a i l u r e to remember or reluctance to admit who he i s , are a l l , in f a c t , designed to evade r e c o g n i t i o n , c a t e g o r i z a t i o n , or  restraint.  Another predominant aspect of the Vice r o l e i s the holiday s p i r i t which underlies t h i s f i g u r e ' s comic progression during the course of the dramatic a c t i o n .  Courage, l i k e Natural I n c l i n a t i o n in The T r i a l of  Treasure, i s representative of the Vice as sensual man, who not only sup43 ports a philosophy of "make hay while the sun s h i n e s , " advocates an unbridled release of the senses.  but who also  D i s c e r n i b l e in the actions  of these two characters i s both "the breaking up of a l l r e s t r a i n t s , " which i s the foundation of the comic s p i r i t , and the expression of the elan v i t a l , the l i f e - f o r c e which i s , according to Susanne Langer, integral  to  92 the f e s t i v e a r t of comedy.  44  Also integral to the forms of comedy i s  the process of i n v e r s i o n , as Henri Bergson observed i n Laughter: P i c t u r e to y o u r s e l f c e r t a i n characters in a c e r t a i n s i t u a t i o n : i f you reverse the s i t u a t i o n and i n v e r t the r o l e s , you obtain a comic scene . . . There i s no n e c e s s i t y , however for both i d e n t i c a l scenes to be played before us. We may be shown only one provided the other i s r e a l l y in our minds. Thus, we laugh at the prisoner at the bar l e c t u r i n g to the magistrate; at a c h i l d presuming to teach i t s parents; in a word, at everything that comes under the heading of "topsyturvydom. "45 Freud, too, in Wit and Its Relationship to the Unconscious, has i m p l i c i t l y affirmed Bergson's concept of inversion as playing a fundamental r o l e in the apprehension of the comic.  According to Freud, the comic response i s  generated when the repressed forces of the unconscious are momentarily able to break through the i n h i b i t i n g controls of the super-ego--a s i t u a t i o n in which inversion does, in f a c t , take place: the p r i m i t i v e ,  irra-  t i o n a l , and amoral forces of the personality overwhelm the forces of reason and m o r a l i t y ; in a metaphorical sense, the c h i l d temporarily dominates his parents; the prisoner rules his keeper; that which was held in subjection below subversively gains the upper hand. The p r i n c i p l e of inversion i s also manifested in such f e s t i v e celebrations as the Dionysian r e v e l s , the Roman S a t u r n a l i a , and the medieval Feast of F o o l s , in a l l of which laws are overturned,  licentious  r e v e l r y becomes the order of the day, and a mock-king reigns i n an upsidedown world.  This s p i r i t of "topsyturvydom" characterizes the comic-  demonic machinations of the Vice throughout almost every play.  In his  breeding of dissension (between vice and v i r t u e , man and v i r t u e , man and man, vice and v i c e ) , chaos replaces order; in his temptation of man away from e t h i c a l ideals and other worldly concerns towards the unhindered  93 expression of his natural i n c l i n a t i o n s , l i c e n c e usurps a u t h o r i t y ; and in his dramatic overshadowing of the representatives of v i r t u e on the stage, the forces of the i n s t i n c t triumph over those of r a t i o n a l i t y and moral law.  We have already seen how, as a r e s u l t of the s e c u l a r i z a t i o n of  e v i l in the l a t e r m o r a l i t y , the tavern, the b r o t h e l , and Newgate prison have gradually replaced Hell as the image of the underworld; and the demonic realm, of which the Vice as sensual man i s representative, i s now given over to the e s s e n t i a l l y lawless material forms of the l i f e of the instincts.  During the b r i e f space of the V i c e ' s topsyturvy  domination  of the stage, he functions as a kind of Lord of M i s r u l e , a King of the Underworld, who permits the audience to g r a t i f y i t s hidden d e s i r e s , to release i t s impulses, to enjoy a l i b e r a t i n g attack against law and value.  traditional  Bentley's d e s c r i p t i o n of the audience-appeal occasioned  by farce also holds true f o r that engendered by the V i c e : Shielded by d e l i c i o u s darkness and seated in the p r i v i l e g e of being t o t a l l y passive while treasured unmentionable wishes are f u l f i l l e d most v i o l e n t l y active.human beings that ever imagination, *  warm s e c u r i t y , we enjoy on stage our most before our eyes by the sprang from the human  4  Comedy, l i k e tragedy, provides an e s s e n t i a l l y c a t h a r t i c experience f o r the audience.  The comic c a t h a r s i s i s both a purgation of the darker  passions and a source of release and relaxation—a holiday from the cons t r a i n t s of routine existence.  This release i s necessary so that we may  be able to return to the rules and regulations of c i v i l i z e d l i f e nated, and, t h e r e f o r e , more capable of complying with them.  rejuve-  Ernst K r i s  has f u r t h e r elucidated the psychological aspects of the A r i s t o t e l i a n concept of c a t h a r s i s :  94 The progress of psychoanalytical knowledge has opened the way f o r a better understanding of the c a t h a r t i c e f f e c t ; we are no longer s a t i s f i e d with the notion that repressed emotions lose t h e i r hold over , our mental l i f e when an o u t l e t f o r them has been found. We believe rather that what A r i s t o t l e described as the purging enables the ego to r e - e s t a b l i s h the control which i s threatened by dammed-up i n s t i n c tual demands.47 The function of r e - e s t a b l i s h i n g control i s decidedly c r i t i c a l here, f o r a permanent expression of unbridled i n s t i n c t u a l energy cannot take place w i t h i n the context of c i v i l i z e d existence.  This i s why the reign of the  V i c e , l i k e that of the mock-king or Lord of M i s r u l e , i s by necessity of l i m i t e d duration.  In order to serve the s o c i a l purposes of comedy, in  order to r e - e s t a b l i s h the control of authority and the status quo, the Vice generally loses in the end--he i s e i t h e r hanged, imprisoned or banished to h e l l . The end of the Vice i s s t r i k i n g l y s i m i l a r to that of the scapegoat king in the seasonal f o l k f e s t i v i t i e s of both ancient and modern times.  Frazer has observed in The Golden Bough that the c a r n i v a l s of  modern Europe share with the Roman S a t u r n a l i a "a burlesque f i g u r e personifying the f e s t i v e season, which a f t e r a short career of glory and d i s s i 48 pation i s p u b l i c l y shot, burnt, or otherwise destroyed."  Frazer  f u r t h e r explains that the scapegoat generally functions as the means by which e v i l and s i n are expelled from the community—on the head of the scapegoat are heaped a l l the misfortunes and transgressions of the s o c i e t y , and through his d e s t r u c t i o n , the forces of e v i l are banished, and the members receive absolution from both g u i l t and f e a r .  It i s  interesting  that Frazer has also observed that t h i s r i t u a l expulsion of e v i l  is  commonly "preceded or followed by a period of general l i c e n c e , during  95 which the ordinary r e s t r a i n t s of society are thrown a s i d e , and a l l 49 offences, short of the gravest, are allowed to pass unpunished."  In  the l i g h t of F r a z e r ' s anthropological research, we might argue that the end of the Vice serves the audience's need f o r expiation from s i n and absolution from g u i l t emanating from the period of l i c e n t i o u s r e v e l r y in which they have v i c a r i o u s l y p a r t i c i p a t e d . The end of the V i c e , of course, also served the homiletic purpose of the morality t r a d i t i o n , which was to demonstrate the ultimate s u p e r i o r i t y of the path of v i r t u e to that of s i n and c o r r u p t i o n .  In King  Darius, I n i q u i t y i s driven from the stage by f i r e and banished to h e l l ; Courage in The Tide T a r r i e t h i s c a r r i e d o f f to prison by C o r r e c t i o n ; 111-Report in Virtuous and Godly Susannah i s p u b l i c l y hanged on stage; and at the end of Respublica, Nemesis sentences Avarice to be squeezed l i k e a sponge u n t i l he i s divested of a l l that he has s t o l e n , and then to be turned over to the a u t h o r i t i e s to await further punishment.  We  have, however, previously noted that one of the dramatic c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the Vice f i g u r e i s his avowed unconcern at the prospect of his own death.  In the Vice dramas, we have what are probably the e a r l i e s t  examples of gallows humour in English l i t e r a t u r e .  I l l - R e p o r t cracks  jokes at the moment p r i o r to his hanging; Courage, under s i m i l a r circumstances, f a c e t i o u s l y asks the members of the audience i f there i s not anyone who would l i k e to change places with him. Is there no man here that has a curst wife? If he w i l l , in my stead he s h a l l lose his l i f e . (Schell and Shuchter, p. 364) Moreover, the i n d i f f e r e n c e of the Vice toward his own destruction to a  96 c e r t a i n extent undermines the seriousness of his death-warrant, and serves to enhance the i m p l i c a t i o n of his ubiquity--an i m p l i c a t i o n we have encountered before in his claims to being a great t r a v e l l e r , in his assertions that he i s a part of a l l things in the universe, and in the Protean q u a l i t y of his nature.  "Nichol Newfangle was and i s and ever  s h a l l b e ! " declares the Vice i n Like W i l l to L i k e , and Idleness, having escaped the punitive forces of j u s t i c e at the end of Wit and Wisdom, voices his ineradicable influence over mankind. Detected I cannot well be; I am of that condition That I can turn into a l l colours l i k e the chameleon: Although some do refuse me, some leaden-heeled lubber w i l l not r e f r a i n me; And when men hath done with me women w i l l r e t a i n me! 5 Q  The play which perhaps best i l l u s t r a t e s the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the end of the Vice and the ubiquity of the l i f e - f o r c e which he represents i s the anonymous The T r i a l of Treasure.  Natural I n c l i n a t i o n ,  the  V i c e , during his f i r s t speech t e s t i f i e s to his great t r a v e l s and his experiences since the beginning of time.  He remembers back to Noah's  s h i p , the cuckholding of Vulcan, and the Garden of Eden: "I can remember, I am so o l d , / Since Paradise gates were watched by night" (Dodsley, 111:267).  He advises the audience that he i s contained in a l l men--"It  i s I that do guide the bent of your bow, / And ruleth your actions also day by day"--and that they are not e a s i l y r i d of him: "I w i l l not away with the casting of stones" (p. 268).  According to the homiletic doctrine  of the morality p l a y , man's i n s t i n c t u a l passions, i f allowed to operate u n c o n t r o l l a b l y , would i n e v i t a b l y lead him to s i n and damnation.  Like  Sensuality i n Medwall's Nature, who, u l t i m a t e l y , i s forced to bow under  97 the authority of Reason, Natural I n c l i n a t i o n  i s p h y s i c a l l y b r i d l e d by  Just on two separate occasions during the course of the drama.  The a l l e -  g o r i c a l meaning here i s obvious, but i s asserted nonetheless: "Thus should every man, that w i l l  be c a l l e d Just / B r i d l e and subdue his  beastly i n c l i n a t i o n " (p. 279).  Natural I n c l i n a t i o n refuses to be sub-  j e c t e d , however, and asserts his unyielding r e b e l l i o u s  spirit:  And l e t not Just think but I w i l l r e b e l , Althouth he b r i d l e me ten times a l l w e l l ; Even s o , though that I be b r i d l e d awhile, The c o l t w i l l at length the courser beguile. (p. 280) Natural I n c l i n a t i o n  i s imaged as a horse throughout the play.  He has  some kind of a t a i l  (perhaps an a l l u s i o n to the dress of the f o o l ) and  in his k i c k i n g , whinnying and c o u r s i n g , a great deal of l i t e r a l comic "horseplay" i s generated.  The Vice i s eventually freed by Lust l a t e r  the p l a y , only to be b r i d l e d by Just at the conclusion.  Natural  in  Inclina-  t i o n ' s l a s t words as he i s led o f f to prison are a r e - i t e r a t i o n of his i r r e p r e s s i b l e and r e c a l c i t r a n t  vitality:  Was there ever poor c o l t thus handled before? F i e , upon i t , my legs be unreasonably sore; W e l l , yet I w i l l r e b e l , y e a , and rebel again, And though a thousand times you shouldest me r e s t r a i n . (p. 299) Natural I n c l i n a t i o n  i s an e x c e l l e n t example of the comic-demonic f i g u r e  whose progression i s , in f a c t , an image of the movement of comedy which we have been d i s c u s s i n g .  Like the forces of comedy which break through  the r e s t r a i n t s of custom and authority f o r a short period of r e v e l r y before the r e s t r a i n t s are re-imposed, Natural I n c l i n a t i o n r e i g n , and allowed to run his course before he i s b r i d l e d .  i s given free It  is  98 impossible to subjugate him t o t a l l y ,  however, for he breaks out again,  i s given free reign for another short space, and then i s b r i d l e d once more. The f i n a l aspect of the character make-up of the Vice to be d i s cussed i s one that we have touched upon at several points without t o t a l l y confronting—his ambiguity.  In his Protean shapes, his J a n u s - l i k e visage,  his c o i n c i d i n g amorality and egotism, his combination of the forces of both comedy and e v i l , and his simultaneous a t t r a c t i v e n e s s and reprehensib i l i t y , the Vice poses something of an enigma.  Like Ambidexter in  Cambises who "with both hands f i n e l y can play" (Dodsley, IV:177), the Vice defies c a t e g o r i z a t i o n , f o r we never know exactly what side he i s on. The ambiguity of the Vice i s p a r t i c u l a r l y manifested in his r e l a t i o n s h i p with the audience.  He i s , p a r a d o x i c a l l y , a dramatic character who stands  outside the action of the p l a y ; he has a fundamental r o l e in the major c o n f l i c t , yet he i s , at the same time, a detached commentator upon the events unfolding on the stage.  He i s on intimate terms with the theatre-  goers—he jokes with them, reveals to them his true i d e n t i t y and devious i n t e n t , warns them against pickpockets, mockingly i n s u l t s them, and, most s i g n i f i c a n t l y , makes them his confidants, thereby i m p l i c a t i n g them in the e v i l he represents.  Avarice i n Respublica addresses the audience  as f o l l o w s : But now what my name i s and what i s my purpose, Taking you a l l f o r friends I fear not to d i s c l o s e , My very true unchristian name i s A v a r i c e , Which I may not have openly known in no w i s e , For who i s so f o o l i s h that the e v i l he hath wrought For his own behoof he would to l i g h t should be brought,  99 Or who had not rather his i l l doings to hide Than to have the same bruited on every side? (Schell and Shuchter, pp. 239-40) The i n s i n u a t i o n in A v a r i c e ' s speech i s quite c l e a r .  The Vice does not  reveal his true i d e n t i t y to those who are to be his v i c t i m s .  The audi-  ence i s , t h e r e f o r e , presumed to be already corrupt, his " u n c h r i s t i a n " confederates in e v i l .  Just as the Vice ultimately convinces his subordi51  nates of his s u p e r i o r i t y ,  he presents himself to the audience as t h e i r  leader in v i l l a i n y , and they become, by i m p l i c a t i o n , his f o l l o w e r s .  "Be  ruled by me," advises Nichol Newfangle at several points in Like W i l l to L i k e ; and Sin in A l l For Money i n v i t e s the complicity of the audience by declaring that a l l of them are his servants for they a l l share in the corruption that love of money i n e v i t a b l y breeds.  Because he i s t h e i r  self-appointed leader, Sin demands his due respect from the crowd: "Off with your caps s i r s !  It becomes you to stand bare" (Schell and Shuchter,  p. 435). The f i n a l d i s p o s i t i o n of the Vice p a r t i c u l a r l y r e f l e c t s the double-sided a t t i t u d e of the audience towards t h i s ambiguous f i g u r e . Rossiter captures t h i s e s s e n t i a l ambivalence when he remarks: "At the end of the p l a y , when the moral r i t u a l wants him hanged or otherwise pun52 ished, the comic wants him to get away with i t . " audience, we partake simultaneously i n both r i t u a l s .  As members of the We want the Vice  to escape punishment for we have enjoyed the comic release of the darker, demonic impulses he has permitted us, but, on the other hand, in order to escape g u i l t f o r p a r t i c i p a t i n g in what Rossiter c a l l s a " s t i r r i n g debauch of w i s h - f u l f i l l m e n t , "  a "crowded hour in the glorious l i f e in the  100 company of the D e v i l ' s d i s c i p l e s , "  53  we require that the Vice be f i t -  t i n g l y chastised for leading us into the temptation of the comic-demonic realm.  The audience becomes, in t h i s way, both the henchmen and the  dupes of the V i c e .  We a r e , u l t i m a t e l y , both his f e l l o w - c o n s p i r a t o r s and  the targets of his i n t r i g u e .  He c l e v e r l y i n g r a t i a t e s himself into our  sympathies and wins us over to his point of view.  In order to absolve  ourselves of the e v i l which he has s k i l f u l l y forced us to acknowledge as a v i t a l part of our human temperament, we must, i n e v i t a b l y , distance ourselves from him, banish him, or attempt to destroy him.  He i s  ubiquitous, however, and although he may be b r i d l e d l i k e Natural  Inclin-  a t i o n , he can never be t o t a l l y subdued. It  i s a further i n d i c a t i o n of our ambivalence toward him that  we, in f a c t , do not want him to be completely suppressed.  He i s an i n -  t r i n s i c a l l y a t t r a c t i v e f i g u r e , despite his moral r e p r e h e n s i b i l i t y , and he too, i s triumphantly aware of his potent magnetism.  Haphazard i s  a s t u t e l y c o r r e c t when he proclaims: "Ay, by the gods, my master, I t o l d you p l a i n / Who companies with me w i l l desire me again" (Appius and V i r g i n i a [Dodsley, IV:136]).  Indeed, the attractiveness and i r r e p r e s -  s i b i l i t y of the Vice i s s i g n i f i e d by his tremendous vogue on the English stage and his s u r v i v a l as a dramatic character f o r several decades a f t e r the passing of the morality t r a d i t i o n that had spawned him.  His i n o r d i -  nate influence on the imagination of playwrights and theatre-goers a l i k e i s even further affirmed by the f a c t t h a t , although the Vice died out as a conventional dramatic character around the beginning of the Elizabethan p e r i o d , his heritage i s r e f l e c t e d in the numerous amoral  101 schemers, clown-demons, and d i a b o l i c a l l y humorous characters whose ambiguous demonic foolery has pervaded the h i s t o r y of English l i t e r a t u r e to the present time.  102 Notes for Chapter  III  The terms " i n t e r l u d e , " "morality" and "moral i n t e r l u d e " are frequently used with much confusion and ambiguity in discussions of PreShakespearean drama. Quite o f t e n , a c r i t i c a l d i s t i n c t i o n i s made between the m o r a l i t y - - a play with a homiletic purpose represented in a l l e g o r i c a l terms—and the interlude—a play which attempts to free i t s e l f from a l l e g o r i c a l didactism and approaches more c l o s e l y the area of farce (see R o s s i t e r , p. 102). On the other hand, Chambers has demonstrated that the term " i n t e r l u d e " was without d i s t i n c t i o n "equally a p p l i c a b l e to every kind of drama known to the Middle Ages" (The Medieval Stage, 11:182). Spivack's e x c e l l e n t a n a l y s i s of the development of the morality in Shakespeare and The Allegory of E v i l usually avoids employing the term " i n t e r lude" as a c r i t i c a l t o o l , but rather includes w i t h i n i t s discussion of the morality t r a d i t i o n a group of l a t e r plays beginning about the middle of the sixteenth century which are given the name of "hybrid m o r a l i t i e s , " or "hybrid p l a y s . " These p l a y s , t r a n s i t i o n a l in nature, are m o r a l i t i e s in that they s t i l l r e t a i n an o s t e n s i b l e d i d a c t i c purpose, but they present s i d e - b y - s i d e with the t r a d i t i o n a l personified abstractions characters out of h i s t o r y , romance, or legend, r e s u l t i n g in a mixed or "hybrid" dramatic metaphor. The Allegory of E v i l , pp. 226-27.  2  3  ' English L i t e r a t u r e at the Close of the Middle Ages (Oxford, 1946), p. 62. 4 The Nature of the Four Elements, in Six Anonymous P l a y s , ed. John S. Farmer, 1st s e r . , Early English Dramatists Ser. (London, 1905), p. 7. 5 The Allegory of E v i l , p. 113. In A Select C o l l e c t i o n of Old English P l a y s , ed. Robert Dodsley, 4th ed. (rev. by W. C. H a z l i t t ) (London, 1 8 7 4 - 7 6 T 7 H I , 308. This c o l l e c t i o n w i l l be subsequently referred to as "Dodsley." Karl Young, "Records of the York Play of the Pater Noster," Speculum, VII (1932), 540-46. 7  g  Nature, in Lost Tudor P l a y s , ed. John S. Farmer, Early English Dramatists Ser. (London, 1907), p. 70. 9 Cushman, p. 61. At one p o i n t , however, Cushman concedes that "Pride plays quite independently a good V i c e - r o l e " (p. 61). ^ 1 1  0  The Braggart in Renaissance Comedy, p. 153. The Allegory of E v i l , pp. 144, 143.  103 1 2  R o s s i t e r , p. 102.  13 Magnyfycence, ed. R. L. Ramsay, E . E . T . S . (London, 1908), 11. 710, 698. 14  " I n t r o d u c t i o n , " Magnyfycence, pp. c - c i .  15 I b i d . , p. c v i . There i s some d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n in t h i s group of characters as w e l l . Courtly Abusion i s representative of the braggart dandy who tempts Magnificence through his c o u r t l y manners, his f l a t t e r y and his extravagance of d r e s s ; Cloaked C o l l u s i o n i s the master of dissemblance, treachery and double-dealing. Crafty Conveyance and Counterfeit Countenance a r e , however, l a r g e l y u n d i f f e r e n t i a t e d . The World and the C h i l d , in English Morality Plays and Moral Interludes, eds. Edgar T. Schell and J . D. Shuchter (New York: H o l t , Rinehart, and Winston, 1969), p. 190. This c o l l e c t i o n w i l l be subsequently referred to as " S c h e l l and Shuchter." 1 7  1 8  The Interlude of Youth, Schell and Shuchter, p. 149.  19 In The World and the C h i l d , F o l l y i s the only v i c e , but t h i s morality i s highly unusual in i t s being so compressed as to be performed by only two a c t o r s . The Allegory of E v i l , p. 141. 2 0  E. K. Chambers, The Medieval Stage, I I , 204; F. H. Mares, "The Origin of the Figure C a l l e d the ' V i c e ' in Tudor Drama," p. 11. 2 1  2 2  The Allegory of E v i l , pp. 149-50.  23 The Play of Love, in The Dramatic Writings of John Heywood, ed. John S. Farmer, Early English Dramatists Ser. ( G u i l d f o r d , Eng., 1966), p. 180. 24 The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, ed. F. N. Robinson (Boston, 19337, p. 285. 25 The Play of the Weather, in Chief Pre-Shakespearean Dramas, ed. Joseph Q. Adams, p. 400. 26 Carl G. Jung, Aion: Research into the Phenomenology of the S e l f , t r . R. F. C. H u l l , Bollingen S e r . , XX (New York: Pantheon Books, 1959), 32. 27 "The Origin of the Figure Called 'The V i c e , ' p. 15.  104 28  R. H. Goldsmith, Wise Fools in Shakespeare ( L i v e r p o o l : L i v e r pool Univ. Press, 1958), p. 21. 29  The following chart of plays (p. 105) containing named Vices i s taken with a few modifications from F. H. Mares, "The Origin of the Figure C a l l e d 'The V i c e , ' p. 12. 30  For example, Common Conditions and Jack Juggler, the t i t l e of each being the name of the respective Vice in each p l a y ; and Pickerynge's A New Enter!ude of V i c e , Contayning the Historye of Horestes, in which there i s the suggestion that the Vice i s the most important aspect of the p l a y , and that the story of Orestes i s circumscribed by the V i c e - r o l e , rather than the other way around. 31 See footnote 1 above. 32 Lewis Wager, The L i f e and Repentance of Mary Magdalene, ed. Frederic Ives Carpenter (Chicago, 1902), p. 7. 33 James K. Feibleman, In Praise of Comedy, p. 178. 34 That the release of sublimated aggression does, in f a c t , underl i e the comic response i s suggested by an examination of the terminology used to describe joking and humour: "to break a j e s t " ; "to crack a j o k e " ; "that destroys ( s l a y s , k i l l s ) me"; "I was t i c k l e d to death"; "I nearly died laughing"; "I laughed so hard I thought I'd d i e . " 3 5  (London: Constable & C o . , 1932), p. 17.  36 The Tide T a r r i e t h No Man, Schell and Shuchter, p. 364; Enough Is as Good as a Feast, Schell and Shuchter, p. 382. 37  The T r i a l of Treasure, Dodsley, III: 278; Ulpian F u l w e l l , Like W i l l to L i k e , Dodsley, I I I : 309. 38 In Ben Jonson, eds. C. H. Herford and Percy and Evelyn Simpson, V I , 323. 3 9  P o e t i c s , 1449 a9.  40 " F a r c e , " in Comedy: Meaning and Form, ed. Robert W. Corrigan (San Francisco: Chandler Publishing C o . , 1965), p. 281. ^ In Five Anonymous P l a y s , 4th s e r . , ed. John S. Farmer, Early English Dramatists Ser. (London, 1908), p. 295. 4  4 2  714-15. 43  Ed. W. W. Greg, Malone Society Reprints (London, 1913), 11 The t i t l e of the play in which Courage i s the c h i e f character  PLAYS CONTAINING NAMED VICES Author  Title  Date  Name of Vice  Type  Play of Love  J . Heywood  1533  Debate  Neither Lover Nor Loved  Play of the Weather  J . Heywood  1533  Debate  Merry Report  The Three Laws  John Bale  1538-47  Morality  Ambition, A v a r i c e , e t c .  Three Estates  D. Lindsay  1540-54  Morality  Dissait, Falset, Flatterie  Respublica  Anon.  1553  Morality  Avarice  Jack Juggler  Anon.  1553-58  Plautine  Jack Juggler  King Darius  Anon.  1565  Scripture  Iniquity  Enough i s as Good as a Feast  W. Wager  1565-70  Morality  Covetousness  Patient G r i s s i l  J.  1565  Romance  P o l i t i c Persuasion  Mary Magdalene  L. Wager  1566  Scripture  Infidelity  Horestes  J.  1567  Classical  Courage or Revenge  The T r i a l of Treasure  Anon.  1567  Morality  Inclination  Appius and V i r g i n i a  R.B.  1567  Classical  Haphazard  Like W i l l to Like  U. Fulwell  1568  Morality  Nichol Newfangle  Cambises  T. Preston  1569  Classical  Ambidexter  Clyomon and Clamydes  Anon.  c. 1570  Romance  Subtle S h i f t  Common Conditions  Anon.  1576  Romance  Common Conditions  The Tide T a r r i e t h No Man  G. Wapull  1576  Morality  Courage  Tom Tyler and His Wife  Anon.  c. 1578  Farce  Desire  A l l f o r Money  T. Lupton  1577-78  Morality  Sin  Susanna  T. Garter  1578  Scripture  111 Report  Wit and Wisdom  F. Merbury (?)  1579  Morality (Secular)  Idleness  Phillip P[ickerynge]  106 r e f l e c t s t h i s philosophy—The Tide T a r r i e t h No Man. It i s s i g n i f i c a n t , however, that t h i s proverb i s to be interpreted i n a double-sense from the point of view of e i t h e r v i r t u e or v i c e . With respect to the former, the i m p l i c a t i o n i s that because time waits f o r no one, man must prepare himself f o r the Day of Judgment, while with respect to the l a t t e r , there i s the suggestion that man must take advantage of what l i t t l e time he has, to l i v e l i f e to the f u l l e s t — t h a t the holiday one can experience on earth i s of l i m i t e d duration. 44  "The Great Dramatic Forms: The Comic Rhythm," Feeling and Form, pp. 326-50. Describing a s i m i l a r aspect of the V i c e - r o l e , Cushman observes: "The Vice appears as the embodiment of worldliness and sensua l i t y , he i s free from al1 r e s t r a i n t s of r e l i g i o n and from al1 bonds of moral i d e a l s . He i s concerned only f o r one t h i n g , that humanity s h a l l give free reign to his i n c l i n a t i o n s , not however that a soul may be by t h i s means ruined, but that man may be led to enjoy an existence of freedom and pleasure, the vicious ideal of happiness being in every sense the reverse of the s p i r i t u a l " (p. 91, emphasis mine). 45 / In Comedy, ed..Wylie Sypher (New York: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1956), p. 121. 4 6  " F a r c e , " p. 285.  47 Psychoanalytic Explorations in A r t , p. 45, emphasis mine. 768.  4 8  49  The Golden Bough, abridged ed. (London: Macmillan, 1963), p. I b i d . , p. 754.  50 Five Anonymous P l a y s , 4th s e r . , ed. John S. Farmer, p. 295. 51 52 53  The Allegory of E v i l , p. 141. R o s s i t e r , p. 91. I b i d . , p. 127.  Chapter IV A CONGENIAL SOIL FOR TRANSPLANTATION Before we leave the Vice of convention and turn to an examination of some of his l a t e r descendants, i t i s necessary to provide a short statement concerning his o r i g i n s .  This was, i n f a c t , the s t a r t i n g point  of the f i r s t chapter of t h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n — a n attempt to discover an answer to W i l l e f o r d ' s question concerning the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the V i c e , the d e v i l , and the fool as dramatic characters.  A f t e r examining  the development of the comic-demonic f i g u r e from his e a r l y , crude beginnings in the mystery cycles to his f u l l - b l o w n r e a l i z a t i o n in the character of the V i c e , we are able to perceive traces of the influence of a l l  of  the f o l l o w i n g : the d e v i l , the f o o l , the e a r l i e r a l l e g o r i c a l v i c e s , as well as two character types of Plautine comedy—the c r a f t y servant and the braggart s o l d i e r .  Contrary to the c r i t i c a l p r e d i l e c t i o n for choosing  one, or less frequently, two, of these four influences and discounting the r e s t , i t i s impossible to i d e n t i f y only a s i n g l e source f o r the d e r i vation of the V i c e — h i s o r i g i n s are unquestionably mixed.  Because he com-  bines both the forces of the comic and the demonic, he i s , in a sense, a composite of a l l the i n f e r n a l v i l l a i n s and merry-making buffoons, t r i c k s t e r s , and clowns who have preceded him. The influence of the a l l e g o r i c a l representatives of e v i l loosely referred to as " v i c e s " i s probably the most obvious to d i s c e r n , because i t i s the most immediate.  We have seen the process of d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n  work w i t h i n the development of the morality t r a d i t i o n , the evolution of  107  at  108 one f i g u r e as the dramatic superior over the other characters morally aligned with the forces of e v i l .  This process of d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n  i s ap-  parent in the prologue and c a s t - l i s t of Respublica, the f i r s t play w i t h i n the morality t r a d i t i o n to use the t h e a t r i c a l  label "the V i c e . "  In the  prologue, the characters Insolence, F l a t t e r y , Oppression, and Avarice are referred to as "these v i c e s , " while in the c a s t r l i s t , Avarice i s d i s tinguished from the others by receiving beside his name the designation, "the Vice of the p l a y . " The influence of the devil and the fool on the V i c e ' s  derivation  i s not as d i r e c t ; however, elements suggesting both of these as the f o r e runners of the Vice are manifested at several points w i t h i n the plays themselves.  The d e v i l , in some of his representations in e a r l y English  drama, was a broadly comic character, whose i n f e r n a l humour spects i s quite s i m i l a r to that of the V i c e .  i n many r e -  Noise, b l u s t e r , and sensa-  t i o n characterize the entrance and e x i t of both f i g u r e s , and the fireworks which were t r a d i t i o n a l l y  part of the d e v i l ' s stage equipment are employed  by perhaps the e a r l i e s t figure to be l a b e l l e d the " V i c e , " in Heywood's Play of Love.  The d e v i l ' s t r a d i t i o n a l  ubiquity and his d u p l i c i t y , as  r e f l e c t e d in his use of disguise and deception, are also q u a l i t i e s shared by the V i c e .  S i m i l a r l y , both are given over to frequent p r o f a n i t i e s and  obscene j e s t s .  Moreover, several of the Vices themselves acknowledge  that they are the d i r e c t descendants of the d e v i l .  I n f i d e l i t y in Mary  Magdalene reveals that he i s the son of Satan, Nichol Newfangle i s i d e n t i f i e d as both L u c i f e r ' s apprentice and godson, and Covetous suggests his affiliation  with the Archenemy as f o l l o w s : " ' C o v e t o u s , ' sayeth the wise  109 man, ' i s the root of a l l e v i l :  1  / Therefore Covetous i s the c h i e f e s t  that cometh from the d e v i l " (Enough Is As Good As A Feast, Schell and Shuchter, p. 382).  Prompted by the forces of s e c u l a r i z a t i o n , the evolu-  t i o n of the more human Vice from the supernatural devil would, t h e r e f o r e , appear to be a natural progression.  An i n d i c a t i o n of t h i s evolutionary  process can be discovered by comparing the dramatis personae of the Digby version of the Mary Magdalene story with the l a t e r play by Lewis Wager. In the c y c l e p l a y , i t i s the Devil who, along with the World and the F l e s h , commissions the seven deadly s i n s , s i g n i f i c a n t l y referred to as the "seven d e v i l s , " to bring about Mary's downfall, while in Wager's p l a y , the d e v i l i s t o t a l l y absent.  Although I n f i d e l i t y refers to Satan  as his f a t h e r , the r o l e of temptation i s conducted completely by the V i c e , aided by the three l e s s e r vices who are his confederates in e v i l . T i t i v i l l u s in Mankind probably provides the most s a l i e n t example of the dramatic r e l a t i o n s h i p between these two characters.  Although Spivack  denies a c o n t i n u i t y in dramatic development from the e a r l i e r f i g u r e to the l a t e r one, he nevertheless describes T i t i v i l l u s as "a f i g u r e in t r a n s i t i o n from devil to v i c e . " ^  Despite the f a c t that T i t i v i l l u s i s ex-  p l i c i t l y i d e n t i f i e d as "the fiend of h e l l , " his c l e v e r i n t r i g u e and deceptions, his o b s c e n i t i e s , his p r a c t i c a l j o k e s , and j o v i a l s p i r i t are a l l elements of the l a t e r , more humanized Vice r o l e .  Also l i k e the V i c e ,  T i t i v i l l u s i s on intimate terms with the audience: he reveals his plans to them, promises them much " s p o r t , " and i n v i t e s t h e i r respect f o r the great s k i l l he has demonstrated in bringing about the downfall of Mankind. The comedy of the Vice i n e v i t a b l y i n v i t e s his comparison to  no another f i g u r e , none other than the archetypal comedian himself, namely the fool of t r a d i t i o n .  In his babbling nonsense, his p r e d i l e c t i o n for  w i t t y verbal p l a y , his horseplay and numerous pranks and j e s t s , the Vice i s , in f a c t , an embodiment of the clown, the j e s t e r , the buffoon, and the t r i c k s t e r — a l l  forms of the fool in his various manifestations.  There a r e , f o r example, numerous references to the V i c e ' s t a i l or foxt a i l , which i s part of the conventional garb of the fool who often wears 2  f o x - t a i l s , donkey's e a r s , coxcombs, c a l f - s k i n s , or other animal r e l i c s . A number of Vices reveal themselves with the " n a t u r a l " aspects of  folly,  and demonstrate what W i l l e f o r d c a l l s the "psychic aberration" of the fool.  Like the " b r a i n s i c k " Fancy, one of the e a r l y clown-vices in  S k e l t o n ' s Magnificence, Avarice has a swarm of bees buzzing in his head, and I n i q u i t y , the f o x - t a i l e d Vice in King Darius announces: "I am mad 4 now to the sole of my f o o t . " The theatre commentaries of the l a t e f i f t e e n t h century suggest 5 that the two roles of Vice and fool were commonly i d e n t i f i e d ,  and the  most famous professional j e s t e r of the Elizabethan p e r i o d , Richard T a r l e t o n , was often referred to as the Vice.*'  Some l i t e r a r y  critics  have argued that there i s yet a p r i o r r e l a t i o n s h i p between the fool and the d e v i l which precedes that between the fool and the V i c e , that the fool of the f o l k games gave r i s e to the d e v i l of the mystery-play who then developed into the V i c e ,  7  while others believe  alternatively.that'the Q  evolution took the formula of: d e v i l became Vice became clown.  The  exact d i r e c t i o n of the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the fool and the Vice can probably never be determined, but in the face of much c o n f l i c t i n g opinion  Ill i t i s expedient to note that the fool in his multiform representations p r i o r to the emergence of the Vice i n e v i t a b l y influenced the V i c e ' s comedy, while the comic aspects of the V i c e - r o l e undoubtedly  influenced  the development of the stage clowns who followed him. A f u r t h e r f a c t o r , which has not been mentioned but probably, to some extent, influenced the development of the V i c e , l i e s in the c o n t r i bution made by Roman comedy to the evolution of Tudor.and Elizabethan drama.  In -some of the plays the r o l e of the Vice resembles that of the  miles g l o r i o s u s , the braggart s o l d i e r - - f o r example, that of Sensuality in The Four Elements, I n i q u i t y in King Darius, Ambidexter in Respublica-while i n other p l a y s , most notably The Play of the Weather, Jack J u g g l e r , Q  and Ralph Roister D o i s t e r ,  the V i c e - f i g u r e functions to a large extent,  l i k e the c r a f t y servant of P l a u t i n e drama.  We should recognize that  neither of these roles i s t o t a l l y extraneous to the character of the Vice—the a l l e g o r i c a l vices were frequently represented as s o l d i e r s on the side of e v i l as a r e s u l t of t h e i r d e r i v a t i o n from the m i l i t a r y Psychomachia; the demonic character has always been loud and boastful about his plans and deeds; and a number of V i c e - f i g u r e s have insinuated themselves into the good graces of t h e i r human v i c t i m by o f f e r i n g to be his servant.  Robert Withington, w r i t i n g about the influence of L a t i n  comedy on the ancestry of the V i c e , argues convincingly that "a f i g u r e from foreign drama cannot be naturalized away from home unless there i s a congenial s o i l in which the transplanted element can root i t s e l f . ^ 1  Such a congenial s o i l f o r the n a t u r a l i z a t i o n of the w i t t y servant and miles gloriosus existed in the evolving character of the V i c e .  112 To extend Withington's metaphor one step f u r t h e r , we can genera l i z e that the ground had, s i m i l a r l y , been prepared for the propagation of the V i c e - f i g u r e himself in a l l the representatives of the comic and demonic realms who came before him or whose development coincided with that of his own.  Indeed, a great deal of the V i c e - f i g u r e ' s perplexing  ambiguity stems from his heterogeneous d e r i v a t i o n .  To over-emphasize  the comic aspects of his character by arguing that the Vice i s preeminently a descendant of the f o o l , or to accentuate the serious homil e t i c nature of his o r i g i n s by i n s i s t i n g that he i s a summation of the Deadly Sins or the a l l e g o r i c a l v i t i a e of the morality t r a d i t i o n i s to deny the e s s e n t i a l d u a l i t y which has defined his character throughout a l l i t s manifestations.  Just as the forces of both comedy and e v i l de-  f i n e the fundamental aspects of the Vice r o l e , so neither force can be u l t i m a t e l y d i s s o c i a t e d from the f a c t o r s which contributed-to of t h i s f i g u r e .  the o r i g i n s  The d e v i l , the f o o l , the a l l e g o r i c a l v i c e s , the figures  from Roman comedy, the characters in the English f o l k p l a y , as well as such i n f e r n a l humorists as Mak, C a i n , Herod, P i l a t e , and the t o r t u r e r s of C h r i s t , a l l contributed to the procreation and f u r t h e r c u l t i v a t i o n of the V i c e , in much the same way as the V i c e , in t u r n , prepared the s o i l for the numerous amoral t r i c k s t e r s , j e s t i n g v i l l a i n s , and d i a b o l i c a l fun makers who succeeded him.  We s h a l l now turn to an examination of f i v e  of these l a t e r representatives of the comic-demonic f i g u r e whose comic e b u l l i e n c e , d e v i l i s h i n t r i g u e , and moral ambivalence would, perhaps, appear somewhat unfathomable, i f we had not previously encountered the Vice.  .  113 In Jonson's play The Devil Is An A s s , Satan reminisces about the past, the old days "when Every Great Man had his Vice stand by him, / his long coat, shaking his wooden d a g g e r . " ^  In  These times have long  since passed, however, and Satan f e e l s that the modern world i s in need of Vices "stranger and newer" (1. 101) in order to f u l f i l l the demonic purpose.  Because the Vice of t r a d i t i o n i s no longer v i a b l e , Satan  explains that We must therefore aim At extraordinary subtle ones now, When we do send to keep us up in c r e d i t : Not old I n i q u i t i e s . (11. 114-17) The remainder of t h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n w i l l examine a number of the " s t r a n g e r , " "newer" and "extraordinary s u b t l e " representatives of the old Vice as they appear transplanted in a few selected works of English drama and f i c tion.  I intend to focus upon f i v e problematical f i g u r e s — F a l s t a f f in  Henry IV, Volpone in Jonson's play by that name, Becky Sharp in Vanity F a i r , Fagin in 01iver Twist, and Quilp in The Old C u r i o s i t y Shop.  All  f i v e of these figures combine features which are both humorous and d i a b o l i c in nature; and in each character, the a t t r i b u t e of comic-demonic ambiguity i s heightened to such an extreme that i t informs an o v e r - a l l ambivalent response to the l i t e r a r y work in which he or she operates. This d i s s e r t a t i o n set out to discover the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the comic and demonic realms by i n v e s t i g a t i n g the workings of a number of l i t e r a r y characters in whom the q u a l i t i e s of both devil and clown are intertwined.  The study of t h i s pattern might have been i n i t i a t e d from  the vantage point of myth, p r i m i t i v e r i t u a l , the l i t e r a t u r e of other  114 cultures., or even p a i n t i n g , because as K r i s , Campbell, R o s s i t e r and others have shown, i t i s possible i n a l l of these to i s o l a t e f i g u r e s who conform to the character-type in question.  The vantage point of the  morality Vice was, however, the one chosen because in t r a c i n g t h i s f i g u r e ' s o r i g i n from the l i t u r g i c a l element in e a r l y English l i t e r a t u r e , i t was possible to provide a h i s t o r i c a l and s o c i o l o g i c a l foundation upon which f u r t h e r thematic exploration of t h i s topic could be s t r u c t u r e d . As we have seen, the a s s o c i a t i o n of the forces of comedy and e v i l  in  medieval drama served not only the e x t e r n a l , regulatory demands of the traditional  order (the d o c t r i n a l authority of the Church), but also the  i n t e r n a l , subversive demands of those bound by that order (the heathen temper of the f o l k ) .  And i t i s , of course, t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p between  external authority and i n t e r n a l subversion which underlies the central problem of the moral ambiguity of the comic-demonic f i g u r e and the ambivalence of the emotional response he p r e c i p i t a t e s . Up to t h i s point then, I have been mainly concerned with the development of the comic-demonic f i g u r e from his rudimentary beginnings in e a r l y drama to his emergence as the most popular personage on the Tudor stage.  My basic purpose i s , however, not to trace the development  of a dramatic character from his e a r l i e s t beginnings to the present time, but rather to explore the factors which underlie the l i t e r a r y represent a t i o n of the converging forces of comedy and e v i l .  In order both to  expand and f a c i l i t a t e t h i s e x p l o r a t i o n , the method of inquiry in the second h a l f of t h i s study w i l l s h i f t i n focus away from a h i s t o r i c a l exami n a t i o n of the d i r e c t influence of the morality Vice on l a t e r  literary  115 characters, towards a discussion of the recurrent psychological patterns which define the e s s e n t i a l ambiguity of the comic-demonic f i g u r e .  The  following chapters w i l l , consequently, be much more a n a l y t i c a l in nature, attempting to demonstrate how the comic-demonic features of each character under scrutiny are i n t r i n s i c a l l y r e l a t e d to the thematic patterns and imagery of the l a r g e r l i t e r a r y work. The characters I have chosen to discuss were selected p r i m a r i l y f o r two reasons. enigma.  In the f i r s t p l a c e , each one presents something of an  In an attempt to make whatever i n s i g h t s as far-reaching as pos-  s i b l e in i m p l i c a t i o n , I decided to concentrate upon figures whose comicdemonic nature places them among the most prominently problematical the body of English l i t e r a t u r e .  Just as the f i e l d of l i t e r a r y  in  criticism  has had d i f f i c u l t y in i d e n t i f y i n g the o r i g i n s of the V i c e , in determining whether t h i s f i g u r e i s b a s i c a l l y a descendant of the d e v i l or the f o o l , so i t has encountered s i m i l a r problems in determining whether each of these f i v e . l a t e r characters i s e s s e n t i a l l y comic or e v i l in nature. F a l s t a f f , Volpone, Becky, Fagin and Quilp a l l experience the characteri s t i c f i n a l d i s p o s i t i o n of the V i c e - - t h e y are u l t i m a t e l y e i t h e r banished, imprisoned, k i l l e d o f f , or considerably reduced in circumstance--and i n every case, commentators have a r t i c u l a t e d an uneasy, ambivalent response towards the fate of these f i g u r e s .  Secondly, the comic-demonic a t t r i b u t e s  of each of the f i v e characters can be viewed as a threshold through which to enter the dramatic or f i c t i o n a l worlds of two major playwrights and two major novelists—Shakespeare, Jonson, Dickens and Thackeray. Moreover, in each of the works I s h a l l be d i s c u s s i n g , not only  116 are the forces of comedy and e v i l s i g n i f i c a n t l y related to the major strands of imagery and thematic m o t i f s , but also each author emphasizes a d i f f e r e n t aspect of the  prototypical  comic-demonic f i g u r e whose com-  posite features we have observed i n our discussion of the dramatic chara c t e r i s t i c s of the V i c e .  In Henry IV, F a l s t a f f ' s comic-demonic nature  considerably elucidates the intermediary p o s i t i o n w i t h i n the s o c i o p o l i t i c a l framework which Shakespeare i s d e l i n e a t i n g - - t h e amoral p o s i t i o n between v i r t u e and v i c e , order and d i s o r d e r , court and tavern.  In  Volpone, Jonson dramatizes the ambiguous underworld of the comic-demonic realm, and employs the magnifico of Venice as a kind of i n f e r n a l  priest  whose idolatrous worship of his gold and .1icentious indulgence of his baser passions takes the form of a comic profanation of sacred value, r e s u l t i n g i n the temporary ascendancy of a demonic, saturnalian world. The discussion of Vanity F a i r examines Thackeray's representation of a female i n f e r n a l humorist.  In t h i s n o v e l , Becky Sharp emerges as a kind  of demonic comic-heroine whose womanhood i n t r i n s i c a l l y defines the q u a l i t y of both the e v i l and the comedy she perpetrates.  And f i n a l l y ,  in Dickens' exploration of the ambivalent f e e l i n g s contained w i t h i n the p a r e n t - c h i l d c o n f i g u r a t i o n , Fagin and Quilp f u l f i l l the t r a d i t i o n a l Vice r o l e , acting as aged corruptors of youthful  innocence.  Both men function  thematically as surrogate father figures whose comic-demonic q u a l i t i e s make them at the same time menacing and a t t r a c t i v e to the c h i l d r e n with whom they i n t e r a c t . There are of course, numerous other f i g u r e s i n English l i t e r a t u r e who might have been included in t h i s study.  Merrygreek in Ralph Roister  117 D o i s t e r , Puck in A Midsummer N i g h t ' s Dream, Subtle and Face in The Alchemist, Horner i n The Country Wife, Richard Lovelace in C l a r i s s a , Macheath i n The Beggar's Opera, S i r Willoughby Patterne in The E g o i s t , C h r i s t y in The Playboy of the Western World and Buck Mul1igan in Ulysses are examples of other dramatic and f i c t i o n a l characters who combine to a greater or l e s s e r extent, features which are both humorous and d i a b o l i c in.nature.  Furthermore, i t i s not d i f f i c u l t to conceive of placing these  characters w i t h i n a h i s t o r i c a l framework, using the antecedent Vice of the morality t r a d i t i o n as the basis for observing the evolution and transformation of the comic-demonic f i g u r e in conjunction with the s o c i o p o l i t i c a l and l i t e r a r y developments of l a t e r c e n t u r i e s .  My basic premise  in t h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n has been, however, that the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the s p i r i t of comedy and the dark, d e s t r u c t i v e forces of the demonic realm i s a recurrent pattern in human experience, a pattern which i s manifested almost u n i v e r s a l l y , regardless of the factors of time, geographical l o c a t i o n , or the form of a r t i s t i c or c u l t u r a l representation.  Without  question, in each of the works which are to be investigated in the f o l lowing chapters, the s o c i o - p o l i t i c a l , economic, c u l t u r a l and a r t i s t i c climate of the times has prepared a congenial s o i l f o r the transplantation of the comic-demonic f i g u r e .  Rather than dwell at length on the h i s t o r -  i c a l developments which have contributed to the preparation of t h i s I have chosen to focus upon the element of c o n g e n i a l i t y i t s e l f .  soil,  Because  the comic-demonic f i g u r e i s e s s e n t i a l l y more an archetype than a dramatic convention, I have found i t more f r u i t f u l to consider extensively the ways in which a few of the most dynamic of these archetypal figures  118 function within the personalized a r t i s t i c v i s i o n of four major English writers.  In t h i s way then, the l a s t h a l f of t h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n w i l l  pre-  sent an a n a l y t i c a l treatment of what a r e , to my mind, f i v e of the most "congenial" representatives of the comic-demonic f i g u r e , employing the Vice not so much as an analogue as an avatar--an e a r l y , pervasive, and s i n g u l a r l y formalized embodiment of the confluent forces of the comic and demonic domains.  119 Notes f o r Chapter IV The Allegory of E v i l , p. 125.  1  2 See Enid Welsford, The F o o l : His Social and L i t e r a r y History (Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith, 1956), p. 123, and William W i l l e f o r d , The Fool and His Scepter: A Study in Clowns and Jesters and Their Audience (Evanston, 111.: Northwestern Univ. Press, 1969), p. 18. 3 The Fool and His Scepter, p. 23. 4 In Anonymous P l a y s , 3d s e r . , ed. John S. Farmer, Early English Drama Ser. (London, 1906), p. 44. 5 For example, P h i l l i p Stubbes writes in The Anatomy of Abuses (1583): "For who w i l l c a l l him a wise man that playeth the part of a fool and a v i c e . " Part I, ed. F. J . F u r n i v a l l (London, 1877-79), p. 146. ^ The following l i n e occurs in L y l y ' s play A Whip For An Ape (1589): "Now T a r l e t o n ' s dead, the Consort lacks a v i c e . " The Complete Works of John L y l y , ed. R. Bond (Oxford, 1902), I I I , 417. R. J . Tiddy, The Mummers' Play (Oxford, 1923); Robert Withington, "The Ancestry of the V i c e , " Speculum, VII (1932), 525-29. 7  8 p. 71.  See Roskoff, The History of the D e v i l , I,  386, c i t e d in Cushman,  g  In Ralph Roister D o i s t e r , Merrygreek, although not s p e c i f i c a l l y designated as a V i c e , d e f i n i t e l y f u l f i l l s a number of the elements of the V i c e - r o l e . ^ "The Corpus C h r i s t i Plays as Drama," Studies in P h i l o l o g y , XXVII (1930), 578. 0  ^ C. H. Herford and Percy and Evelyn Simpson, e d s . , Ben Jonson, VI (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1938), I . i i . 8 4 - 8 5 . From now on t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l be referred to as Herford and Simpson, and a l l subsequent c i t a t i o n s from the works of Jonson r e f e r to t h i s e d i t i o n .  Chapter V "A GENTLEMAN OF THE SHADE"—FALSTAFF AS VICE IN HENRY IV That Shakespeare employed several patterns from the morality t r a d i t i o n in the s t r u c t u r i n g of Henry IV has been acknowledged by a number of c r i t i c s . ^  According to popular c h r o n i c l e and legend, Prince Hal  was a d i s s o l u t e youth, a madcap P r i n c e , who, a f t e r a period of w i l d exp l o i t s and riotous l i v i n g , suddenly underwent a kind of moral p r i o r to his accession to the throne.  reformation  In both parts of Henry IV, Shake-  speare examines H a l ' s licentiousness and reform w i t h i n the morality work.  frame-  The Prince i s presented as a Mankind figure (in some respects  s i m i l a r to S k e l t o n ' s Prince Magnificence) who i s corrupted by the forces of e v i l , y i e l d s to the excesses and revelry of the tavern and the b r o t h e l , and ultimately  repents, abandoning his e v i l companions and a l i g n i n g him-  s e l f at the end with the side of v i r t u e .  In Shakespeare's History P l a y s ,  E. W. T i l l y a r d argues f o r the unity of the two plays p a r t l y on the basis of the s i m i l a r i t y  in the morality structures of both p a r t s .  In Part 1,  the Prince "has to choose M o r a l i t y - f a s h i o n , between Sloth or Vanity, to which he i s drawn by his bad companions, and C h i v a l r y , to which he i s drawn by his father and his b r o t h e r s , " while in Part 2, "he has to choose M o r a l i t y - f a s h i o n , between disorder or m i s r u l e , to which he i s drawn by his bad companions, and Order or J u s t i c e (the supreme kingly v i r t u e ) to which he i s drawn by his father and by his f a t h e r ' s deputy the Lord Chief Justice."  Although he appears only in the second p a r t , the Lord Chief  J u s t i c e i s the p r i n c i p a l representative of v i r t u e in Henry IV, and S i r 120  121 John F a l s t a f f , appearing in and dominating both p a r t s , i s , without quest i o n , the c h i e f representative of v i c e . The metaphor of the morality i s pervasive throughout both plays e s p e c i a l l y in reference to F a l s t a f f .  He i s e x p l i c i t l y i d e n t i f i e d as  3 "that reverend V i c e , " "that grey i n i q u i t y "  "that vanity in y e a r s , "  and  i s imaged as beating Hal out of his kingdom with "a dagger of l a t h " ( 1 , I I . i v . 1 3 4 ) , presumably d r i v i n g him to h e l l .  F a l s t a f f s r o l e as a  tempter i s asserted as the Lord Chief J u s t i c e accuses him of being the Prince's " i l l  angel" (2, I . i i i . 1 8 6 ) - - l i k e the Malus Angelus of The Castle  and the Digby Mary Magdalene--and Hal c a l l s him a " v i l l a i n o u s abominable misleader of youth" ( 1 , I I . i v . 4 5 6 ) , and "the tutor and feeder of my r i o t s " (2, V . v . 6 6 ) .  He i s also associated with the Prince of the demonic  realm, himself; he i s "that o l d white-bearded Satan," "a d e v i l . . . the likeness of an old f a t man" ( 1 , I I . i v . 4 5 7 , 4 4 1 ) .  in  Moreover, as a  dramatic character, F a l s t a f f resembles, in many respects, a number of the Vice figures we have encountered i n the previous chapter.  We have  already remarked upon the Falstaff.ian analogues d i s c e r n i b l e in the character of Gluttony in Medwall's Nature, who arms himself for b a t t l e with a cheese and b o t t l e , and in the swaggering bravado of Sensual Appetite who proves the extent of his m i l i t a r y prowess by " k i l l i n g " an already deceased man.  Other cowardly braggarts preceding F a l s t a f f include  I n i q u i t y in King Darius, who b o a s t f u l l y l i e s of his bravery in confronting Charity and then l a t e r attempts to f l e e to his mother for  protection,  and Ambidexter in Cambises, who also v a i n l y boasts and then runs f o r fear.  F a l s t a f f ' s f i r s t appearance in 2 Henry IV "with his Page bearing  122 his sword and buckler" and his speech about his t a i l o r and the twentytwo yards of s a t i n f o r his new coat, r e c a l l s the flamboyant entry of Pride in Nature, another swaggering dandy whose sword i s so heavy that he requires the services of his boy to carry i t .  As the sensual man  given over to the unbridled release of the baser passions, F a l s t a f f resembles S l o t h , Gluttony, and Lechery of the deadly s i n s , as well as such characters as S e n s u a l i t y , Sensual A p p e t i t e , Courage, and Natural Inclination.  In his a b i l i t y to double-deal, to change positions in the  midst of any s i t u a t i o n , he i s evocative again of Ambidexter who plays with both hands and also of Subtle S h i f t in Clyomon and Clamydes. Furthermore, F a l s t a f f i s an inhabitant of the demonic realm, the secularized underworld of the tavern, the b r o t h e l , and the gallows.  4 Like such figures as M i s c h i e f , R i o t ,  and Hikscorner, he i s a t h i e f , a  highwayman, a taker of purses; and jokes about hanging and incarceration abound throughout both plays so that the ominous r e a l i t y of Newgate, Tyburn, and the Fleet i s never very f a r away from F a l s t a f f ' s person. S i m i l a r l y , in his r o l e as "the v i l l a i n o u s abominable misleader of youth," he f u l f i l l s a function of several of the Vice figures  previously  examined—namely, the t u t o r i n g of the young moral delinquent in the d i s sipations of tavern and stews.  In F a l s t a f f ' s f i r s t dramatic appearance,  we are given a s a l i e n t image of the riotous world in which he d w e l l s . To his scene-opening question of "what time of day i s i t , "  the Prince  replies: What a d e v i l hast thou to do with the time of day? Unless hours were cups of sack, and minutes capons, and clocks the tongues of bawds, and d i a l s the signs of leaping houses, and the blessed sun himself-a  123 f a i r hot wench in flame-coloured t a f f e t a , I see no reason why thou shouldst be so superfluous to demand the time of day. .  (1, I.ii.6-12)  Shakespeare's r i c h idiom as r e f l e c t e d in the words of the Prince conveys a marvelous picture of the landscape of F a l s t a f f ' s demonic universe.  In  i t s embodiment of the timeless realm of the i n s t i n c t s and the eternal presence of sensual g r a t i f i c a t i o n , the world of the f a t knight i s not circumscribed by minutes on the clock or days on the calendar, but rather by the r e p e t i t i v e experiences of eating and d r i n k i n g , and f o r n i c a t i n g at the brothels ("leaping houses") with "hot wenches" wearing the t r a d i t i o n a l t a f f e t a p e t t i c o a t of the  prostitute.  Like a l l Vice f i g u r e s , F a l s t a f f i s both a tempter and a schemer. In his r o l e as tempter, he encourages the Prince to give reign to his p r e d i s p o s i t i o n f o r " r i o t , " a word which the king employs four times when speaking of his son's d i s s i p a t i o n s .  F a l s t a f f , who describes himself as  l i v i n g "out of a l l order, out of a l l compass" ( 1 , I I I . i i i . 1 8 - 1 9 ) , i s , in f a c t , an incarnation of the s p i r i t of disorder or m i s r u l e , and he attempts to make the Prince his pawn in the dissemination of t h i s throughout the kingdom.  spirit  He advises the Prince to rob the k i n g ' s exchequer  "with unwashed hands" ( 1 , I I I . i i i . 1 8 3 ) , and attempts to convince him to eliminate the gallows from the realm: Falstaff: . . . But I prithee sweet wag, s h a l l there be gallows standing in England when thou a r t king? and r e s o l u t i o n thus fubbed as i t i s with the rusty curb of old father A n t i c the law? Do not thou when thou a r t king hang a t h i e f . Prince:  No, thou s h a l t .  F a l s t a f f : Shall I? judge!  0 rare!  By the Lord, I ' l l  be a brave  124 Prince: Thou judgest f a l s e already, I mean thou s h a l t have the hanging of t h i e v e s , and so become a rare hangman. F a l s t a f f : W e l l , H a l , w e l l ; and in some sort i t jumps with my humour, as well as waiting in court, I can t e l l you. Prince:  For obtaining of s u i t s ?  F a l s t a f f : Yea, for obtaining of s u i t s , whereof the hangman hath no lean wardrobe. (1, I.ii.56-71) The above interchange r e f l e c t s a number of Vice-motifs interfused in the character of F a l s t a f f .  Besides the pattern of temptation, the concept of  inversion i s quite conspicuous in F a l s t a f f ' s v i s i o n , as the t h i e f i s to become a judge, and the p o t e n t i a l l y convicted felon to become the hangman.  S i m i l a r l y , the q u a l i t y of r e s o l u t i o n commonly associated with the  forces of j u s t i c e and order here becomes d e s c r i p t i v e of the temperament of the law-breaker, while the law i t s e l f becomes "father A n t i c , " the old buffoon, which i s , of course, an inversion of the r o l e that F a l s t a f f hims e l f plays w i t h i n the context of the drama.  We also are presented with  an example of the double-sided .nature of the V i c e ' s verbal w i t , in the puns on the words "court" and " s u i t s . "  Hal i n t e r p r e t s F a l s t a f f ' s remark  to mean that he would j u s t as soon be a judge or a hangman as a s u i t o r in the k i n g ' s court waiting f o r royal favour.  F a l s t a f f , however, picks up  the alternate meanings of the two words to suggest that he would l i k e to wait in the courts of law f o r the c u l p r i t s ' " s u i t s " or c o a t s , which were t r a d i t i o n a l l y given to the hangman a f t e r the execution.  Like a l l V i c e s ,  F a l s t a f f i s always looking out f o r his own material advantage, and the r o l e of the hangman (which has also been associated with a number of V i c e - f i g u r e s ) appeals to him as a r e s u l t of both the physical benefit  125 and the element of  topsyturvydom which t h i s p o s i t i o n would afford him.  In his r o l e of tempter and as an embodiment of the forces of d i s o r d e r , F a l s t a f f i s d i a m e t r i c a l l y opposed to the f i g u r e of the Lord Chief J u s t i c e , his c h i e f antagonist in the struggle f o r the moral a l l e giance of the Prince in the second part of Henry IV.  He openly defies  the Chief J u s t i c e , ignoring the T a t t e r ' s summons to appear f o r questioning i n respect to the GadshiTl robbery, and uses his p o s i t i o n as an o f f i c e r in the service to escape chastisement.  The i n i t i a l  encounter  between these two i s i n d i c a t i v e of F a l s t a f f ' s a t t i t u d e towards the law-he both mocks i t and evades i t ,  pretending that i t does not e x i s t .  Like  F o l l y in Magnificence, he feigns deafness, making believe that he cannot hear the o f f i c i a l voice of reprimand, and changes the topic of conversat i o n whenever i t i s directed at his misdeeds.  He also b a i t s the Chief  J u s t i c e with "more than impudent sauciness" (2, I I I . i i . 1 2 3 ) , accusing him of being old and i n f i r m , and turning his serious pronouncements to bantering j e s t , another pattern we have previously seen in the mocking a t t i t u d e of the Vice towards the p e r s o n i f i e d representative of v i r t u e : Chief J u s t i c e : W e l l , the t r u t h i s , S i r John, you l i v e in great infamy. Falstaff: less.  He that buckles him in my belt cannot l i v e in  Chief J u s t i c e : i s great.  Your means are very slender and your waste  F a l s t a f f : I would i t were otherwise; I would my means were g r e a t e r , and my waist slenderer. (2, I . i i . 1 5 5 - 6 2 ) Towards the end of Part 2, Shakespeare e x p l i c i t l y asserts F a l s t a f f ' s enmity towards the Chief J u s t i c e , and hence underlines f u r t h e r the  126 morality structure of the p l a y s , as S i r John triumphantly proclaims upon his preparation to leave Gloucestershire to greet the newly-crowned king: "Let us take any man's horses, the laws of England are at my commandment. Blessed are they that have been my f r i e n d s ; and woe to my lord c h i e f j u s t i c e " (2, V.v.142-45). Besides being a tempter f i g u r e , F a l s t a f f i s also an inordinate schemer.  He i s a f l a g r a n t prevaricator whose "incomprehensible l i e s "  (1, I . i i . i 8 0 ) are pervasive throughout both p l a y s .  The Chief J u s t i c e at  one point remarks upon F a l s t a f f ' s "manner of wrenching the true cause the f a l s e way" (2, I I . i i . 1 2 0 - 2 1 ) , and the f a t rogue's "monstrous devices" ( 1 , I I . i v . 3 0 9 ) include hacking his sword and smearing the blood from a s e l f - i n f l i c t e d nosebleed over his garments in order to a t t e s t to his valour during the Gadshill robbery; stabbing the body of the already deceased Hotspur and taking c r e d i t for k i l l i n g him; c l e v e r l y manoeuvring his way out of paying his tavern debts to Mistress Quickly; duping J u s t i c e Shallow out of a thousand pounds; and "misusing the King's press damnably" (1, IV.ii.12)  by accepting bribes from conscripted men who wish to avoid  being sent to  battle.  F a l s t a f f ' s comedy also owes much to his d e r i v a t i o n from the morality V i c e .  In the passages from the plays c i t e d above, several ex-  amples of the double-edged q u a l i t y of the V i c e ' s verbal wit are r e a d i l y apparent; and indeed, the pun and double entendre are i n t r i n s i c components of F a l s t a f f ' s humour.  Moreover, the sublimated release of i n s t i n c -  tual aggressive and sexual energy i s also manifest in the comic response which he generates.  The tavern episodes, p a r t i c u l a r l y in Part 2, are  127 laden with obscene sexual innuendos—references to the pox, "naked weapons," and r i d i n g the "mare" abound; and the comic b a t t l e s with Fang and Snare and with Captain P i s t o l r e c a l l the rough and tumble brawls of the Vice and the low characters i n almost every m o r a l i t y .  During the  s c u f f l e that takes place when Fang and Snare attempt to a r r e s t  Falstaff  for f a i l i n g to pay his tavern debts to Mistress Q u i c k l y , the aggressive overtones are c l e a r l y evident in the f a t knight's mock-heroic c r i e s : "Away v a r l e t s !  Draw, Bardolph: cut me o f f the v i l l a i n ' s head: throw the  queen [Mrs. Q.] in the channel" (2, I I . i i . 5 0 - 5 2 ) .  Like the V i c e ' s dagger  of l a t h e , F a l s t a f f ' s weapons a r e , however, e s s e n t i a l l y n o n - l e t h a l ; he c a r r i e s a b o t t l e of sack in his p i s t o l case at Shrewsbury, and the only person he stabs with his sword in b a t t l e i s already dead. The f i n a l d i s p o s i t i o n of F a l s t a f f at the end of Part 2 - - h i s banishment from the new king's presence—is also in accordance with the morality structure of Henry IV.  T r a d i t i o n a l l y the Vice f l o u r i s h e d u n t i l  the conclusion of the drama, whereupon he was hanged, banished, or served with some other measure of punishment by the triumphant forces of virtue.  F a l s t a f f ' s banishment also i s in keeping with the s o c i a l pur-  poses of comedy: the reassertion of the t r a d i t i o n a l  system of values  which, during the course of the drama, has been mockingly f l o u t e d .  We  s h a l l l a t e r examine more c l o s e l y F a l s t a f f ' s l i b e r a t i n g attack on convent i o n a l value and the comic c a t h a r s i s of repressed i n s t i n c t u a l  desire he  provides, but at t h i s point we should note that S i r John manifests here both the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c unconcern at his own d e s t r u c t i o n , and the t y p i c a l ubiquity of the Vice which transcends a l l attempts to constrain him.  128 Undismayed at his sentence, F a l s t a f f i s more concerned with the thousand pounds he has taken from Shallow, and he advises the l a t t e r that his banishment has been a pretence devised by Hal in order to gain public approval, and that he w i l l be p r i v a t e l y sent f o r that night to be f i t t i n g l y rewarded.  Moreover, in the Epilogue, Shakespeare undercuts the  g r a v i t y of F a l s t a f f ' s punishment by promising the audience that they w i l l see more of " f a t meat" in the sequel to Henry IV. Both F a l s t a f f ' s i n d i f f e r e n c e towards death and his i r r e p r e s s i b i l i t y have, in f a c t , been implied at various points throughout both plays.  When the s h e r i f f knocks at the door to investigate the Gadshill  robbery, F a l s t a f f expresses his lack of alarm with a t y p i c a l verbal jest: " . . .  l e t him enter.  If I become not a c a r t as well as another  man, a plague upon my bringing up!  I hope I s h a l l as soon be strangled  with a h a l t e r as another" ( 1 , I I . i v . 4 9 0 - 9 2 ) .  Punning on the words  "bringing up" which have a double meaning of "the summons before a court of law," and " s o c i a l breeding or upbringing," F a l s t a f f implies that his upbringing has been such that i t would be appropriate f o r him to take his place on the c a r t bearing the condemned to the gallows.  He noncha-  l a n t l y adds that he might as well die by hanging as by any other means, and then proceeds to f a l l asleep behind the arras while the s h e r i f f and his men search the house. death of others as w e l l .  His lack of concern i s extended toward the Without any thought for t h e i r s a f e t y , he leads  his army of "ragamuffins" into the t h i c k of b a t t l e where a l l are slaughtered.  Although some c r i t i c s view t h i s f a c t as an i n d i c a t i o n of his  lack of cowardice, i t i s more l i k e l y that F a l s t a f f , always looking out  129 for his own material advantage, i s more interested in c o l l e c t i n g his men's dead pay, which was generally given to the captain of s o l d i e r s s l a i n in 5  combat.  When Hal comments on the p i t i f u l sight of the band of vagabonds,  F a l s t a f f ' s r e t o r t reveals the almost inhuman indifference of the Vice towards the m o r t a l i t y of his f o l l o w e r s : "Tut, t u t , good enough to t o s s , food f o r powder, food for powder, t h e y ' l l  f i l l a p i t as well as b e t t e r ;  tush, man, mortal men, mortal men" ( 1 , I V . i i . 6 5 - 6 7 ) . The ubiquity of the Vice in his embodiment of the unbridled energy of the i n s t i n c t s i s also r e f l e c t e d by F a l s t a f f on several occasions. When Bardolph informs Poins and the Prince that his master i s " i n bodily h e a l t h , " poins d e c l a r e s : "Marry, the immortal part needs a p h y s i c i a n ; but that moves not him: though that be s i c k , i t dies not" (2,  II.ii.111-13).  And i t i s of course t h i s immortal and demonic part of him that also "dies not" on the b a t t l e - f i e l d at Shrewsbury.  P r e v a i l i n g over such evanescent  values as honour and courage, F a l s t a f f ' s l i f e i n s t i n c t i s so powerful that he p a r a d o x i c a l l y c o u n t e r f e i t s death so that he may l i v e .  Feigning  death in order to escape being s l a i n by Douglas, he l a t e r r i s e s in phoenix-like fashion only to assert himself as "the true and perfect image of l i f e indeed" (1, V . i v . 1 1 8 ) .  Moreover, the sheer pervasiveness of the  l i f e - f o r c e of which he i s representative i s dramatically asserted when at one point he i d e n t i f i e s himself as " S i r John with a l l Europe" (2, I I . i i . 1 4 6 ) , and even more i n c l u s i v e l y , when he warns Hal against severing t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p : "banish plump Jack, and banish a l l the world" (1, I I . i v . 4 7 4 ) .  When Hal r e p l i e s "I do, I w i l l " (1. 475), he i s f o r e -  shadowing the i n e v i t a b l e doom which awaits F a l s t a f f at the end of Part 2.  130 It i s also i n e v i t a b l e , however, that in banishing "plump J a c k , " the Prince w i l l deprive himself of the v i t a l i t y of the l i f e - f o r c e which the "world" of the f a t knight represents. Up to t h i s point we have been examining the morality  structure  of Henry IV and F a l s t a f f ' s embodiment of the r o l e of Vice within that structure.  To view the two plays simply as examples in the l a t e r  morality t r a d i t i o n i s , however, to l i m i t immeasurably the scope of Shakespeare's complex moral v i s i o n .  Using the pattern of the morality  as the foundation for the dramatic a c t i o n , Shakespeare thematically probes the meaning of t h i s conventional structure in both p l a y s . Although the sides of contention are c l e a r l y drawn—order versus d i s order, v i r t u e versus vice—there i s a serious questioning of the v a l i d i t y of t h i s kind of categorical d i v i s i o n , an i m p l i c i t suggestion that neither side i s pre-eminently the morally superior one, that both sides are necessary f o r the development of a complete e x p e r i e n t i a l awareness, and that each side contains both deleterious weakness and nurturing  strength.  Shakespeare suggests t h a t , rather than a c l e a r l y demarcated d i v i s i o n of the cosmic forces into the moral categories of good and e v i l , a profound ambiguity underlies a l l experience, and nowhere i s t h i s suggestion more d i s c e r n i b l e than in his treatment of F a l s t a f f , a character in whom the V i c e - l i k e q u a l i t y of ambiguity i s , perhaps, developed to i t s  fullest  potential. The foregoing chapters have discussed how a profanation of the sacred c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y underlies the comedy of the V i c e , how his blasphemous mockery undercuts the sacred values of the t r a d i t i o n a l  order,  131 r e s u l t i n g in the "breaking up of a l l r e s t r a i n t s " which i s generic to the c o m i c response.  F a l s t a f f ' s comedy contains t h i s very kind of  liberating  irreverence directed against such sacred values as t r u t h , v i r t u e , honour, law, kingship, and death.  valour,  Bradley, in his a n a l y s i s of F a l s t a f f  as "the enemy of anything s e r i o u s , and e s p e c i a l l y everything respectable and m o r a l , " presents an e x c e l l e n t summary of the various ways in which t h i s i n f e r n a l humorist promotes the comic profanation of sacred values in Henry IV: He w i l l make t r u t h appear absurd by solemn statements, which he utters with perfect g r a v i t y and which he expects nobody to b e l i e v e ; and honour, by demonstrating that i t cannot s i t a l e g , and that neither the l i v i n g nor the dead can possess i t ; and law, by evading a l l the attacks of i t s highest representative and almost f o r c i n g him to laugh at his own defeat; and p a t r i o t i s m , by f i l l i n g his pockets with the bribes offered by competent s o l d i e r s who want to escape service while he takes in t h e i r stead the h a l t and maimed and g a o l b i r d s ; and duty, by showing how he labours in his vocation—of t h i e v i n g ; and courage, a l i k e by his mocking at his own capture of C o l v i l l e and gravely claiming to have k i l l e d Hotspur; and war, by o f f e r i n g the Prince his b o t t l e of sack when he i s asked for a sword; and r e l i g i o n , by amusing himself with remorse at odd times when he has nothing e l s e to do; and the fear of death, by maintaining perf e c t l y untouched, in the face of imminent p e r i l , and even while he f e e l s the fear of death, the very same power of d i s s o l v i n g i t in p e r s i f l a g e that he shows when he s i t s at ease in his i n n . ° There i s , however, another f a c t o r underlying F a l s t a f f ' s demonic mockery of the sacred mores of the t r a d i t i o n a l ing up of a l l r e s t r a i n t s . "  order besides "the break-  Shakespeare employs the f a t k n i g h t ' s comic  desecrations as a means of exposing the weakness and corruptions of the prevailing social institutions.  Like the Vice who holds a curious i n t e r -  mediating p o s i t i o n between the audience and the dramatic a c t i o n , F a l s t a f f i s somewhat detached from the incidents presented on stage, and serves as commentator on the p o l i t i c a l overtones of the h i s t o r i c a l events which  132 are the focus of the two p l a y s .  When F a l s t a f f defends thievery as being  his vocation, an honest way to make his l i v i n g , not only i s he d i a b o l i c a l l y parodying the d i v i n e s c r i p t u r e ("Let every man abide in the same vocation wherein he was c a l l e d " [I C o r i n t h i a n s , V I I ] ) , but he i s also i n d i r e c t l y providing a sharp c r i t i c i s m against the ingrained thievery of the world of the court.  While F a l s t a f f ' s vocation i s purse-taking, that  of the court may be defined as throne-snatching; the King has stolen the crown from Richard I I ,  and now the rebels led by the Percies are prepar-  ing to take the throne once more.  In his l a s t speech to Prince H a l , the  king admits that his a c q u i s i t i o n of the crown has not been an honest one, and i t has subsequently resulted in a f u r t h e r r e b e l l i o n by another group of power-seekers: God knows, my son, By what bypaths and i n d i r e c t crook'd ways I met t h i s crown; and I myself know well How troublesome i t sat upon my head. It seem'd in me But as an honour snatch'd with boisterous hand, And I had many l i v i n g to upbraid My gain of i t by t h e i r a s s i s t a n c e s ; Which d a i l y grew to quarrel and to bloodshed. Wounding supposed peace. (2, IV.v.184-96) S i m i l a r l y , F a l s t a f f ' s avowed lack of concern over the slaughter of his men--"food for powder; t h e y ' l l  f i l l a p i t as well as b e t t e r " - - i s  not  only an example of the i n d i f f e r e n c e of the V i c e ; i t i s , as w e l l , a scathing comment on the i n s e n s i b i l i t y of the r u l i n g c l a s s towards the vast expenditure of human l i f e which takes place in b a t t l e s prompted by petty and often unscrupulous causes or the personal desire for power. the same way F a l s t a f f ' s devious nature, his p r e d i l e c t i o n for  In much  telling  133 "incomprehensible l i e s " ( 1 , I . i i . 1 8 0 ) i s mirrored in Prince John's equivocating promise to the rebels that he w i l l redress t h e i r grievances, only to lead them to t h e i r execution a f t e r they have discharged t h e i r armies in good f a i t h .  And his feigning of death on the b a t t l e f i e l d  is  also r e f l e c t e d in the s i m i l a r l y underhanded m i l i t a r y t a c t i c of having several men disguise themselves as the king i n . o r d e r to deceive the enemy.  Furthermore, F a l s t a f f ' s r e j e c t i o n of the c h i v a l r i c ideal of  honour serves as a commentary on the dubious q u a l i t y of the honour manifested even by those nobles who are acclaimed to possess i t .  Where i s  the honour in a man l i k e the king who s t e a l s the crown from another, or in a man l i k e Prince John who, through f a l s e promises, convinces the enemy to agree to a truce?  And f i n a l l y ,  the q u a l i t y of Hotspur's honour  i s l i k e w i s e a s s a i l e d as Shakespeare reveals him to be a man who, while professing his i d e a l i s t i c b e l i e f in the justness of the r e b e l s ' cause, cold-bloodedly plots to d i v i d e the kingdom into three equal p a r t s , a man who goes so f a r as to suggest a l t e r i n g the course of the River Trent  in  order to ensure that his section w i l l have as much land as the others. Like the comedy of the V i c e , that of F a l s t a f f i s characterized by the f e s t i v e s p i r i t of "topsyturvydom."  Shakespeare has c a r e f u l l y  struc-  tured both plays so that the comic sequences, in s t y l e and s t r u c t u r e , represent an inversion of the serious sections of the p l o t : the l i f e of the court i s replaced by the l i f e of the tavern; verse y i e l d s to prose; g r a v i t y of language i s superseded by obscenity and verbal w i t ;  vice sup-  plants v i r t u e ; disorder overwhelms order; a u t h o r i t y gives way to l i c e n c e ; and idleness d i s p e l s the s p i r i t of e n t e r p r i s e .  Although he i s the c h i e f  134 protagonist of the comic s e c t i o n s , F a l s t a f f , p a r a d o x i c a l l y , holds a median p o s i t i o n between both p l o t s : he i s both a knight and a frequenter of taverns.  In a remarkable example of the kind of verbal wit  typical  of the V i c e , he describes himself as a "squire of the n i g h t ' s body" ( 1 , I . i i . 2 4 ) , punning on both "night" and "body" so that the various combinations become "squire of the k n i g h t ' s body," "the n i g h t ' s bawdy," and "the k n i g h t ' s bawdy."  The t r i p l e ambiguity of F a l s t a f f ' s word-play may  i n f a c t , be taken as a graphic c r y s t a l l i z a t i o n of Shakespeare's threedimensional moral v i s i o n .  The f i r s t meaning i s representative of the  side of virtue—the protector or bodyguard of n o b i l i t y ; the second i s an image of the riotous l i v i n g of the underworld realm; and the t h i r d i s a composite of the previous two, and i s the one which most c l o s e l y approximates the hybrid q u a l i t y of F a l s t a f f ' s ambiguous moral stance.  Through  the upside-down impulse of his comedy, F a l s t a f f transports the world of the court to the tavern at Eastcheap when he conducts the money of the " K i n g ' s exchequer" to the " K i n g ' s t a v e r n , " and when he parodies the sovereign r o l e in the great Tavern Scene in Part 1; and conversely, he transports the s p i r i t of the tavern to the a f f a i r s of the court when he c a r r i e s a b o t t l e of sack in his p i s t o l case at Shrewsbury, and when he indulges in s a t i r i c comment and j e s t both on the b a t t l e - f i e l d and at the Council of War at which, s i g n i f i c a n t l y , both he and the king are present. When F a l s t a f f takes a cushion f o r his crown, a dagger f o r his scepter, and ascends his j o i n t - s t o o l  throne at the Boar's Head Tavern  with Prince Hal kneeling at his f e e t , he does, in f a c t , l i t e r a l l y become  135 a mock k i n g , a lord of misrule presiding over a topsyturvy realm.  During  <his sovereignty of disorder marked by the comic v i o l a t i o n of c u l t u r a l value and the undermining of both parental and p o l i t i c a l a u t h o r i t y , laws lose t h e i r r e s t r a i n i n g powers and l i c e n c e becomes the inverted order of the day.  Replacing the serious concerns of b a t t l e and c i v i l government  are the indulgences of the sensual a p p e t i t e s - - t h e e a t i n g , d r i n k i n g , and love-making which are c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of holiday c e l e b r a t i o n .  Although  F a l s t a f f i s never seen a c t u a l l y eating--as a matter of f a c t the tavern bill  in his pocket indicates that the amount of food he consumes i s  excessively outbalanced by "an i n t o l e r a b l e deal of sack" ( 1 , I I . i v . 5 3 5 ) - he i s constantly associated with a kind of epicurean gastronomy, through references to his huge b e l l y and his "gormandizing" gluttony, and through the p r o l i f e r a t i o n of food imagery which surrounds him.  It i s s i g n i f i c a n t  that through t h i s imagery, F a l s t a f f i s presented not only as a glutton but also as a f e a s t .  He i s i d e n t i f i e d as " f a t meat" (2, Epilogue),  "sweet beef" ( 1 , I I I . i i i . 1 7 6 ) , " r i b s " ( 1 , I I . i v . 1 0 9 ) , "chops" ( 1 , I . i i . 1 3 2 ) , a "roasted Manningtree ox with the pudding in his b e l l y " ( 1 ,  II.iv.446-47);  and when Poins refers to him as "Martlemas," or the feast of S t . M a r t i n , and when Doll Tearsheet endearingly c a l l s him "thou whoreson l i t t l e t i d y Bartholomew boar p i g " (2, I I . i v . 2 5 0 ) - - t h e famous sucking-pig served at the Bartholomew f a i r - - t h e a s s o c i a t i o n of F a l s t a f f with both the c a r n i v a l and the feast i s e x p l i c i t l y  affirmed.  7  F a l s t a f f ' s a s s o c i a t i o n with the s p i r i t of f e s t i v i t y  i s also dra-  m a t i c a l l y underlined in Prince H a l ' s s o l i l o q u y at the end of the f i r s t Tavern Scene in Part 1.  Referring to the "unyok'd humour of  [the]  136 idleness" ( I . i i . 1 9 1 ) of his tavern companions (an image of the unbridled release of the i n s t i n c t s d e f i n i t i v e of both the comedy of the Vice and the f e s t i v e order of celebration) the Prince suggests that his d a l l i a n c e with the "loose behaviour" (1. 203) of the underworld realm has provided him with a holiday from the everyday world: If a l l the year were playing h o l i d a y s , To sport would be as tedious as to work; But when they seldom come, they w i s h ' d - f o r come. (11. 199-201) Also contained in the P r i n c e ' s s o l i l o q u y , however, i s the suggestion that the holiday i s only of l i m i t e d duration.  He reveals that he intends  at some future date to reform, to d i s s o c i a t e himself from the idleness of merry-making, to "redeem time" (1. 212) when he returns to the serious concerns of the work-a-day world. banishment i s i n e v i t a b l e . ;  Within t h i s context then, F a l s t a f f ' s  Not only w i l l he be, in s t r i c t l y  expedient  terms, an unsuitable companion f o r the Prince once he ascends the throne, but also as a symbol of the c a r n i v a l and the f e a s t , his reign bf misrule must terminate once the holiday i s over. The r i t u a l i s t i c pattern of comic f e s t i v i t y  i s , however, only one  dimension of the q u a l i t y of topsyturvydom which F a l s t a f f r e f l e c t s in his embodiment of the r o l e of V i c e .  As previously observed, F a l s t a f f ' s  comic profanation of sacred value not only provides a momentary l i b e r a t i o n from the constraints of the p r e v a i l i n g s o c i o - p o l i t i c a l order, but  it  serves as a kind of moral commentary upon the hypocrisy and lack of p r i n c i p l e inherent in that order as w e l l .  Indeed, his power of inversion i s  such that he stands the world on i t s head, revealing the s o - c a l l e d realm of v i r t u e to be as demonic as the c h i e f representative of v i c e .  137 Although t h i s pattern i s present throughout both p l a y s , i t  is  p a r t i c u l a r l y evident in Part 2 where, as has been frequently suggested, F a l s t a f f i s a less a t t r a c t i v e and c e r t a i n l y more v i c i o u s character than in Part 1.  Increasingly obsessed with his schemes--his taking of b r i b e s ,  his f l e e c i n g of Shallow and Mistress Q u i c k l y , his evasion of the law of the Lord Chief Justice—and surrounded by images of his lechery and i n f i r m i t i e s , . , both of body and s p i r i t ,  F a l s t a f f becomes a microcosmic symbol  of the disease and corruption not only of demonic realm but also of the macrocosmic world.  At the beginning of Act I I I ,  i n f i r m state of England, beset by c i v i l  the King describes the  strife:  Then you perceive the body of our kingdom How foul i t i s ; what rank diseases grow And with what danger, near the heart of i t . (2, I I I . i . 3 8 - 4 0 ) Moreover, the King himself, no less than his kingdom, i s a f f l i c t e d with disease, an i l l n e s s which i s to take his l i f e near the end of the play. In t h i s sense then, the banishment of F a l s t a f f , "that swollen parcel of dropsies" ( 1 , I I . i v . 4 4 4 ) i s a r i t u a l expulsion of disease from the realm; it  i s the i n e v i t a b l e decree of the new King in his attempt to restore  his a i l i n g land to health. such as J . I.  Following a s i m i l a r l i n e of argument,  critics  M. Stewart and C. L. Barber have associated F a l s t a f f ' s  banishment with his embodiment of the r o l e of scapegoat.  According to  Stewart, he "symbolizes a l l the accumulated s i n of the r e i g n , a l l  the  o  consequent s t e r i l i t y of the l a n d , "  and, therefore, must be s a c r i f i c e d  to bring about the regeneration of the kingdom. his i d e n t i f i c a t i o n  S i m i l a r l y , Barber, in  of F a l s t a f f with the s p i r i t of C a r n i v a l , examines his  r e j e c t i o n in l i g h t of "the carrying off of bad luck by the scapegoat of  138 saturnalian r i t u a l . "  g  This r i t u a l i s t i c p a t t e r n , to which both w r i t e r s  r e f e r , was examined in the preceding chapter in a discussion of the s i m i l a r i t i e s between the end of the Vice f i g u r e and F r a z e r ' s d e s c r i p t i o n of the expulsion of the scapegoat, the p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n of the f e s t i v e season, upon whose head were heaped a l l the sins and misfortunes of the community, and whose destruction often followed a period of l i c e n t i o u s revelry during which laws l o s t t h e i r t r a d i t i o n a l  prohibitory powers.  In many  respects, the r e j e c t i o n of F a l s t a f f at the end of Part 2 does f u l f i l l t h i s r i t u a l i s t i c pattern.  He functions as both a symbol of disease and  a p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n of e v i l , and his banishment serves not only to r i d the land of i t s pervasive i n f i r m i t y , but also to provide the new king with a kind of expiation of g u i l t and absolution from s i n d e r i v i n g from his l i c e n t i o u s p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n F a l s t a f f ' s demonic world.  A s i m i l a r expiation  and absolution i s provided for the members of the audience who have l i k e wise p a r t i c i p a t e d , a l b e i t v i c a r i o u s l y , in the v i o l a t i o n of c u l t u r a l value during F a l s t a f f ' s holiday r e i g n . It i s , however, an unfortunate o v e r s i m p l i f i c a t i o n to assert that by banishing F a l s t a f f , Hal removes disease and bad luck from his kingdom, f o r these are but one part of the double-sided nature of the comic-demonic figure.  Throughout both plays F a l s t a f f i s imaged not only as an agent of  e v i l , disease, and d i s o r d e r , but conversely as an instrument of f e r t i l i t y and beneficence as w e l l .  H a l ' s d e s c r i p t i o n of the f a t rogue's f l i g h t  during the Gadshill robbery, although mockingly d e r i s i v e , i s , at the same time, an acknowledgement of the nurturing sustenance with which "plump Jack" i s endowed:  139 F a l s t a f f sweats to death, And lards the lean earth as he walks a l o n g . (1, I I . i i . i 0 3 - 4 ) To l a r d i s to baste with f a t , and in his formal t r i b u t e to sack, F a l s t a f f claims a s i m i l a r l y nurturing e f f e c t on that which i s also lean and barren, namely the Prince himself: Hereof comes i t that Prince Harry i s v a l i a n t ; for the cold blood he did n a t u r a l l y i n h e r i t of his f a t h e r , he hath l i k e l e a n , s t e r i l e and bare land,manured, husbanded, and t i l l e d with e x c e l l e n t endeavor of drinking good and good store of f e r t i l e s h e r r i s , that he i s become very hot and v a l i a n t . (2, I V . i i i . 1 2 7 - 2 3 3 ) F a l s t a f f , "the huge bombard of sack" ( 1 , I I . i v . 4 4 5 ) has indeed c u l t i v a t e d Prince H a l .  In his induction into the generative v i t a l i t y of the demonic  realm, the Prince has been "manured, husbanded and t i l l e d with e x c e l l e n t endeavor" in order that he may emerge in f u l l blossom as a king.  It  is  also relevant to observe that the manure which F a l s t a f f employs in his t o i l i s another double-sided image of the V i c e ' s simultaneous ness and repulsiveness, his comic f e r t i l i t y and his i n f e r n a l  attractiveputrefaction.  In deciding to have Hal r e j e c t F a l s t a f f at the end of Part 2, Shakespeare has apparently made a concession to the side of order and moderation as opposed to that of chaos and excess.  Despite t h i s conces-  sion to order, however, and the re-establishment of t r a d i t i o n a l  authority  conventional to the patterns of comedy, the play closes on a note of dramatic ambiguity as we are l e f t to wonder at the dubious q u a l i t y of that order, at the lack of humanity in a king who has expelled the v i t a l p r i n c i p l e from his realm.  C. L. Barber also questions the dramatic  v a l i d i t y of Shakespeare's decision to r e j e c t F a l s t a f f and, thereby, to l e g i t i m i z e the p r e v a i l i n g s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l power of the play.  In  140 Barber's estimation, F a l s t a f f ' s ruthless opportunism and impersonal p o l i t i c a l manoeuvre as manifested in his philosophy, "if. the young dace be a b a i t f o r the o l d p i k e , I see no reason i n the law of nature but I may snap at him" (2, I I I . i i . 3 5 6 - 5 9 ) , i s deeply ingrained in the e n t i r e society of the play.  To free the society of t h i s a t t i t u d e merely by  getting r i d of F a l s t a f f and s a n c t i f y i n g the emerging order of the new king and his p r i n c i p a l a d v i s o r , the Lord Chief J u s t i c e , i s to deny the pervasiveness of the opportunism which F a l s t a f f represents.  As a r e s u l t ,  Barber argues that the f i n a l scenes of the play p a r t l y f a i l , and he implies that Shakespeare might have done better to " l e t the play end with t h i s a t t i t u d e dominant, a harsh recognition that l i f e i s a nasty business where the big fishes eat the l i t t l e f i s h e s , with the s i n g l e redeeming consideration that p o l i t i c a l order i s better than a n a r c h y . " ^ If we accept, however, the assertion that the play ends on a note of moral ambiguity, then i t i s , in f a c t , possible to adopt such an i n t e r p r e tation.  By banishing from his presence his former close companion, Hal  i s decidedly manifesting the impersonality of p o l i t i c a l manoeuvre, and, in t h i s sense, F a l s t a f f ' s f i n a l r e j e c t i o n only proves that S i r John i s but a small f i s h a f t e r a l l . In Henry IV, Shakespeare has tackled the e s s e n t i a l ambiguity of the comic-demonic f i g u r e .  Represented as both a vehicle of e v i l , disorder  and d i s e a s e , and a l t e r n a t e l y as an agent of f e r t i l i t y and beneficence, F a l s t a f f ' s double nature derives from his dual heritage—he i s a character in whom the forces of e v i l and comedy are i n e x t r i c a b l y  intertwined.  R o s s i t e r ' s observation concerning the presence of two r i t u a l s  underlying  141 the audience-response to the f i n a l d i s p o s i t i o n of the morality Vice i s extremely appropriate in accounting f o r the ambivalence evoked by F a l s t a f f ' s banishment: "At the end of the play when moral r i t u a l wants him hanged or otherwise punished, the comic wants him to get away with it."  1 1  Although Shakespeare o s t e n s i b l y makes a concession to moral  r i t u a l , a f u r t h e r , i f i n d i r e c t concession i s , however, made to the comic as w e l l , when in the Epilogue he promises to "continue the s t o r y , with S i r John in i t , " f a t meat."  i f the audience i s not already "too much cloyed with  Like Ambidexter the V i c e , Shakespeare too i s apparently play-  ing with both hands. It i s because the character of F a l s t a f f i s , in several respects, 12 a study in comic-demonic ambiguity  that so much c r i t i c a l dispute has  a r i s e n over the v a l i d i t y of his banishment and over such moral questions as whether or not he i s a coward, a l i a r , and so f o r t h .  As a r e s u l t of  the unresolved ambiguity of the p l a y s , we can now appreciate that F a l s t a f f ' s f i n a l punishment i s both f i t t i n g l y s a t i s f y i n g and uncomfortably d i s a p p o i n t i n g ; s i m i l a r l y he i s both a coward and a brave man, a l i a r and a t e l l e r of t r u t h s .  And yet he i s none of these as w e l l .  Like the Vice  f i g u r e who, although a l l e g o r i c a l l y aligned with the side of e v i l , was often an amoral character whose actions were haphazardly motivated, F a l s t a f f both encompasses and transcends the moral categories of good and e v i l , coward and brave man, l i a r and t e l l e r of t r u t h s .  Although he  i s o l d , he constantly refers to himself as being young; although he i s p e r n i c i o u s , he i s generative as w e l l ; although he i s dynamically v i r i l e , he i s , nevertheless, depicted with feminine imagery, at one point  142 r e f e r r i n g to his huge b e l l y as his "womb" (2, I V . i i i . 2 5 ) , and at another i d e n t i f y i n g himself with "a sow that hath overwhelmed a l l her l i t t e r but one" (2, I . i i . 1 3 - 1 4 ) ; and although he dies in b a t t l e , he r e s u s c i t a t e s himself in order to l i v e once more.  This l a t t e r pattern i s , i n f a c t ,  d i s c e r n i b l e at several points w i t h i n both plays as F a l s t a f f manages to elude every attempt made to apprehend him.  When he i s duped by Poins and  the Prince at G a d s h i l l , he evades the s i t u a t i o n by explaining that he was aware of t h e i r i d e n t i t i e s a l l along and invented his "incomprehensible l i e s " to amuse them; when he i s reprimanded by the Lord Chief J u s t i c e , and when he i s arrested by Fang and Snare, his evasive t a c t i c i s to demand the rights and respect owing an o f f i c e r in the s e r v i c e ; and when he i s a s s a i l e d by Douglas on the b a t t l e f i e l d , he evades death by assuming i t s mask; and f i n a l l y when he i s banished from the King's presence and c a r r i e d o f f to prison at the end of Part 2, he i s rescued and revived in the Epilogue. An enemy to boundaries and c o n s t r a i n t s , F a l s t a f f ' s ambiguity, l i k e that of the V i c e , defies a l l e f f o r t s not only to b r i d l e him but also 13 to categorize him.  Constantly naming and renaming himself,  and being  named and renamed by others in the p l a y , F a l s t a f f r e f l e c t s a Protean q u a l i t y such that he can never be t o t a l l y grasped.  He can change shape  in the twinkling of an eye, revealing yet another posture of his m u l t i dimensional character.  There i s , however, a name that he applies to him-  s e l f during his f i r s t appearance on stage which, perhaps, more than any other, captures the quintessence of his moral ambiguity.  Referring to  himself as one of the "gentlemen of the shade" ( 1 , I . i i . 2 6 ) , he r e f l e c t s  143 a coalescence of a l l three l e v e l s of the morality pattern which Shakespeare delineates in Henry IV--the realms of v i r t u e and vice as well as the t h i r d morally ambiguous world which l i e s between them.  The topsy-  turvydom of F a l s t a f f ' s verbal w i t , in the f i r s t p l a c e , r e s u l t s in an inversion of the t r a d i t i o n a l  t i t l e used to describe members of the  Royal Household, the Gentlemen of the Chamber who were the personal advisors of the king.  By s u b s t i t u t i n g the word "shade," F a l s t a f f  reveals the place of his origins—he i s an inhabitant of the world of darkness, the nether regions of the demonic realm, "shade" being a synonym for Hades i t s e l f .  Moreover, in t h i s epithet we are again able  to perceive F a l s t a f f ' s r o l e as the intermediary between two worlds.  antithetical  He i s both a "gentleman," a member of the world of order and  n o b i l i t y , and the c h i e f representative of the underworld of disorder and v i c e .  Straddling two worlds, F a l s t a f f paradoxically contains and  transcends both of them.  Defying moral c a t e g o r i z a t i o n , he i s ,  ulti-  mately, a composite of good and e v i l , l i g h t and darkness, an inhabitant of the world of "shade"—the ambiguous in-between realm of the comicdemonic f i g u r e .  144 Notes for Chapter V See Bernard Spivack, " F a l s t a f f and the Psychomachia," Shakespeare Quarterly, VII (1957), 449-59; J . Dover Wilson, The Fortunes of F a l s t a f f (New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1944), pp. 15-35; A. R. Humphries, " I n t r o d u c t i o n , " 1 Henry IV, Arden ed. (London: Methuen and C o . , 1960), pp. x l i - x l i i ; E. M. W. T i l l y a r d , Shakespeare's History Plays (London: Macmillan, 1946), pp. 264-66; and John W. S h i r l e y , " F a l s t a f f as Elizabethan G l u t t o n , " P h i l o l o g i c a l Quarterly, XVII (1936), 271-87. 2 3  Shakespeare's History P l a y s , p. 265.  1 Henry IV, 11.iv.446-48. Subsequent references are to the Arden e d i t i o n of Henry IV, Part 1, ed. A. R. Humphries (London: Methuen and C o . , 1960) and to the Penguin e d i t i o n of Henry IV, Part 2, ed. A l l a n Chester (Baltimore, 1957). 4 Dover Wilson i n The Fortunes of F a l s t a f f has given a thorough account of the s i m i l a r i t i e s between F a l s t a f f and R i o t , the Vice in Youth. 5 See J . W. Draper, " S i r John F a l s t a f f , " Review of English S t u d i e s, VII (1932), 414-24, for a discussion of the Elizabethan custom f o r Captains to draw the "dead pay" of t h e i r s o l d i e r s l o s t in b a t t l e . A. C. Bradley, Oxford Lectures on Poetry (London: Macmillan, 1909), pp. 262-63. Dover Wilson includes a comprehensive section e n t i t l e d "Sweet Beef" in The Fortunes of F a l s t a f f , which deals with the meat imagery associated with the f a t knight; and J . I. M. Stewart uses some of Dover Wilson's observations as a basis f o r his argument that F a l s t a f f i s representative of the animal s a c r i f i c e required to bring about the future f e r t i l i t y of the land. "The B i r t h and Death of F a l s t a f f , " in Character and Motive in Shakespeare (London: Longmans, Green, 1949). 7  8  Q  p. 206. 1 0  "The B i r t h and Death of F a l s t a f f , " p. 138. "Rule and Misrule i n Henry IV," in Shakespeare's Festive Comedy, Barber, p. 217.  ^^ English Drama from Early Times to the Elizabethans, p. 91. 12 Both William Empson in " F a l s t a f f and Mr. Dover W i l s o n , " Kenyon Review, XV (1953), 213-62, and A. P. Rossiter in "Ambivalence: The D i a l e c t i c of H i s t o r i e s , " in Angel with Horns, ed. Graham Storey (London: Longman Group, 1961), pp. 40-64, provide some e x c e l l e n t insights concerning the nature of Shakespeare's dramatic ambiguity.  145 Barber mentions t h i s aspect of F a l s t a f f ' s character in passing but does not expand upon i t ("Rule and Misrule in Henry IV," p. 197).  Chapter VI THE BLACK SATURNALIA—THE COMIC-DEMONIC REALM OF VOLPONE Although Jonson was heavily influenced by c l a s s i c a l models in his development as a dramatist, at the same time he was, l i k e Shakespeare, also indebted to the native element i n English drama, p a r t i c u l a r l y the a l l e g o r i c a l morality t r a d i t i o n of the Tudor and e a r l y Elizabethan periods. A number of scholars have indicated the a s s o c i a t i o n between-the homiletic morality t r a d i t i o n and Jonson's d i d a c t i c comedies.  Charles Gayley, f o r  example, has commented upon the influence of the morality play on Jonson's "humour" comedies; Harry Levin has pointed out the morality conventions 1  in Jonson's casts and p l o t s , in the redende Namen of his characters, in the beast fable of Volpone, or the gaping Hell-mouth of The Devil i s an Ass;  Madelein Doran, while acknowledging the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the  mature comedies and c l a s s i c a l and I t a l i a n models, has stated that " i n t h e i r moral-psychological combination of motives, they seem . . .  to have  3 c l o s e r a f f i n i t y with the morality play t r a d i t i o n " ;  and Alan C. Dessen  in Jonson's Moral Comedy, a work devoted to the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of the elements of the native morality play in Jonson's drama, has concluded that "the three great comedies [Volpone, The Alchemist, and Bartholomew Fair] represent the culmination of the English morality t r a d i t i o n . "  4  One  scholar has even traced the influence of the morality Vice himself on the characters of Volpone and Mosca. Volpone f u l f i l l s  Rainer Pineas has suggested that  the role of the Vice because he openly gloats over his  schemes to corrupt his v i c t i m s , because he employs the instruments of 146  147 disguise and deception, and because he i s "motivated by his love of e v i l 5  f o r i t s own sake rather than for any secondary cause."  Following Spivack's  observations on the emergence of one vice as the dramatic superior over the l e s s e r forces of e v i l , Pineas finds Mosca to be the c h i e f Vice of the p l a y , because the parasite manipulates the action and most of the  intrigue,  because of his use of disguise and the d i s s i m u l a t i o n of laughter and weepi n g , and because of his moralizing against e v i l . While Pineas  1  observations about Volpone's and Mosca's embodiment  of the V i c e - r o l e are suggestive, the dramatic meaning of these observations i s l a r g e l y undeveloped.  Through a more expansive examination of  the V i c e - l i k e q u a l i t i e s of these two figures as they function within the thematic context of the play i t s e l f , i t i s , however, possible to demons t r a t e that not only i s the prototypical Vice present in Volpone,.but.the e n t i r e play i s , in f a c t , a dramatization of the ambiguous underworld of the comic-demonic realm. In the Prologue, Jonson refers to Volpone as "quick comedy r e f i n e d " and promises to rub the cheeks of the theatre-goers u n t i l they are "red with laughter."  Although the abrasive q u a l i t y of the humour i s  here i m p l i c i t l y acknowledged, neither "comedy" nor "laughter" are terms which, alone, are s t r i c t l y appropriate in capturing the p e c u l i a r q u a l i t y of t h i s play.  The world picture Jonson presents i s one of darkness, cor-  r u p t i o n , and profound e v i l , unmitigated by an a f f i r m a t i v e sense of order and decency.  C r i t i c s have voiced t h e i r discomfiture at the p l a y ; they  have protested against the malevolence and savage humour r e f l e c t e d in such s i t u a t i o n s as a f a t h e r ' s unwarranted c r u e l t y toward his son, a  148 husband's abhorrent p r o s t i t u t i o n of his w i f e , and the loathsome rapeattempt that subsequently takes place against her.  On the other hand,  however, they have also protested against the s e v e r i t y of the punishment which Volpone receives at the end of the p l a y , one commentator suggesting that his f a l l leaves the audience "more disturbed at his unhappy l o t than e x h i l a r a t e d at the return of some modicum of j u s t i c e to V e n i c e . "  This  ambivalence d i s c e r n i b l e i n the c r i t i c a l reaction to Volpone i s one which we have previously observed in our discussion of the response generated by the comic-demonic f i g u r e , whose double-visaged nature makes him a character simultaneously a l l u r i n g and repugnant to the audience. Overtones of the demonic realm are c e r t a i n l y pervasive throughout Volpone, both in the i m p l i c i t a s s o c i a t i o n of the magnifico of Venice and his parasite with the r o l e of V i c e , and in t h e i r e x p l i c i t with the forces of d i a b o l i c a l e v i l .  identification  In an a r t i c l e e n t i t l e d "The Satanic  Nature of Volpone," Charles A. H a l l e t has demonstrated the r e l a t i o n s h i p between Volpone and the beast f a b l e t r a d i t i o n , in which the fox i s a symbol of the d e v i l : The modus operandi of a l l these f o x - d e v i l s i s the same. F i r s t the fox plays upon the f l e s h l y desires of man: whatever an i n d i v i d u a l ' s p a r t i c u l a r weakness—pride, a v a r i c e , lust—the fox w i l l use i t to undo him. Having trapped his prey he then proceeds to devour him. Both to manipulate and to punish sinners—therein l i e s the t r a d i t i o n a l r o l e of the f o x - l i k e d e v i l . So also operates Jonson's fox. As a tempter and l a t e r as t o r mentor of those who succumb to his temptations, Volpone i s manifesting the two a t t r i b u t e s e s s e n t i a l to the fox of the fable t r a d i t i o n .  7  Mosca, whose name i s Latin f o r " f l y " of infernal e v i l .  i s also i d e n t i f i e d with the forces  In Jonson's time, the likeness of the f l y was commonly  employed to depict the f a m i l i a r s p i r i t or demon associated with witches  149  o or wizards,  and Volpone's references to his parasite as "my w i t t y mis-  c h i e f " ( V . i i i . 1 0 2 ) and "my f i n e d e v i l " ( V . i i i . 4 6 ) , also suggest that Mosca symbolically functions as the s p i r i t of e v i l which informs Volpone's f o x - l i k e , demonic stratagems. Like the Vice of the morality convention, Volpone and Mosca are f u r t h e r associated with the realm of e v i l by v i r t u e of t h e i r roles as tempters and schemers.  They consciously prey upon the avaricious and  voluptuous desires of t h e i r v i c t i m s , tempting Corbaccio to d i s i n h e r i t son, Corvino to p r o s t i t u t e  his  his w i f e , and Voltore to debase the p r i n c i p l e s  of j u s t i c e to which his profession i s sworn.  Volpone's p r i n c i p a l  instru-  ment of temptation i s his gold and the m a t e r i a l i s t i c pleasures which unlimited wealth can afford the possessor.  The "sensual b a i t s "  (III.vii.  210) with which Volpone, in the remarkable seduction scene, attempts to entice C e l i a - - t h e exotic d e l i c a c i e s , the heady e r o t i c i s m of the imagery, the promise of Protean powers—are, in f a c t , the same lures he holds out to the three capatores, the birds of prey who hover around the death bed, waiting f o r the magnifico to d i e , each one b e l i e v i n g himself to be the h e i r to a boundless fortune. During the f i r s t scene of the p l a y , Volpone in t y p i c a l fashion confides his stratagems f o r  temptation:  Women and men of every sex and age, . . . bring me presents, send me p l a t e , c o i n , j e w e l s , With hope that when I die (which they expect Each greedy minute) i t s h a l l then return Tenfold upon them; w h i l s t some, covetous Above the r e s t , seek to engross me, whole, And counter-work the one unto the other, Contend in g i f t s , as they would seem in love. A l l which I s u f f e r , playing with t h e i r hopes,  Vice-  150 And am content to coin 'em unto p r o f i t , And look upon t h e i r kindness, and take more, And look on t h a t ; s t i l l bearing them in hand, Letting the cherry knock against t h e i r l i p s , And draw i t by t h e i r mouths, and back again. (I.i.77-90) Imaged in terms of a cherry dangled in f r o n t of the l i p s of his v i c t i m , the sensual b a i t of Volpone's gold embodies the potential  gratification  of man's voluptuous d e s i r e s - - a c r y s t a l l i z a t i o n of the v i s u a l , t a c t i l e , gustatory and sexual s e n s i b i l i t i e s .  Spivack's comments on the function  of the Vice to bring about the moral and s p i r i t u a l f a l l of his v i c t i m so as to reveal the fundamental e f f e c t of the e v i l he p e r s o n i f i e s , are a p p l i c a b l e to Mosca and Volpone in t h e i r roles as tempters: "The heart of his r o l e i s an act of seduction, and the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c stratagem whereby the Vice achieves his purpose i s a v i v i d stage metaphor for the s l y insinuation of e v i l into the human b r e a s t " . ( p . 152).  Furthermore,  l i k e the morality V i c e , Volpone and Mosca not only d e l i g h t in the successful temptation of t h e i r v i c t i m s , but also at the same time o f f e r some homiletic commentary on the nature of the f a l l e n state to which they have led t h e i r prey. (I.iv.143-44),  "What a rare punishment / Is avarice to  itself"  declares Volpone a f t e r Corbaccio has been persuaded to  a l t e r his w i l l making the magnifico his h e i r , while Mosca goes so f a r as to moralize upon the nature of the e v i l embodied by his master himself. When, a f t e r the rape attempt, Volpone voices his fears of apprehension and r e t r i b u t i o n by the o f f i c e r s of the law, Mosca r e p l i e s with a maxim which might have come r i g h t out of a p u l p i t sermon: " G u i l t y men / Suspect what they deserve s t i l l "  (III.vii.20-21).  In order to carry out t h e i r plans f o r the temptation and  151 subsequent torment of t h e i r v i c t i m s , Volpone and Mosca devise several schemes.  Both are masters in the use of disguise and d i s s i m u l a t i o n ;  they are both s k i l l f u l a r t i f i c e r s - - V o l p o n e , once a professional actor who appeared in a masque in honour of the future Henry III  of France, takes  great pride in his a b i l i t y to appear in "changed shapes" ( I I I . v i i . 2 2 1 ) , while Mosca boasts of his capacity to "change a v i s o r s w i f t e r than a thought" ( I I I . i . 2 9 ) .  Under Mosca's t h e a t r i c a l d i r e c t i o n , Volpone plays  a s i c k and dying man in order to lure the three capatores, a mountebank in order to catch a glimpse of C e l i a , and a commendatore, a sergeant of the c o u r t , in order to badger and torment his g u l l s f u r t h e r .  Not only  Volpone's coach and t u t o r in the a r t of deception, Mosca himself has wide-ranging acting a b i l i t y .  In order to i n g r a t i a t e himself with  Bonario, he uses a technique c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the V i c e , the d i s s i m u l a t i o n of t e a r s , an a r t i f i c e which ultimately convinces the d i s i n h e r i t e d son that the parasite i s a virtuous man, a f r i e n d who i s concerned with the well-being of others.  altruistically  S i m i l a r l y , Mosca plays the r o l e  of a humble and obsequious servant to p e r f e c t i o n , not only to the g u l l s , but to the magnifico himself, f l a t t e r i n g and manipulating f o r the purposes of his own c r a f t y opportunism. As we have seen, the a b i l i t y to d i s s i m u l a t e , to appear in a guise other than one's natural form i s i n t r i n s i c to the realm of e v i l .  Related  to t h i s propensity to assume other shapes i s Volpone's and Mosca's Satanic desire to transcend the l i m i t s of t h e i r ordained state and become God-like.  In a perceptive reading of the p l a y , A l v i n Kernan emphasizes  the importance of the theme of acting to the o v e r a l l dramatic meaning,  152 suggesting that for both Volpone and Mosca "acting opens up . . .  a brave  new world of the imagination where man can contend with the Gods themg selves."  Both master and servant revel in t h e i r Protean natures--  Volpone promises C e l i a the insurmountable pleasures.of enacting i n "changed shapes" the many "fables of the Gods" ( I I I . v i i . 2 2 1 , 2 2 5 ) and proclaims his a b i l i t y to contend " i n varying f i g u r e s " ( I I I . v i i . 1 5 2 ) with the god Proteus himself, while Mosca congratulates himself on his superhuman u b i q u i t y , his power to "be here / and there, and here, and yonder a l l at once" ( I I I . i . 2 6 - 2 7 ) . The central image of the p l a y , g o l d , also i d e n t i f i e s both Volpone and Mosca with the demonic realm, money being, as the moral axiom would have i t ,  "the root of a l l e v i l . "  Moreover, t h i s image also associates  them with such morality figures as A v a r i c e , the Vice with the money-bags in Respublica, and S i n , the Vice who i s the grandson of the a l l e g o r i c a l p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n of Money in A l l For Money.  It i s s i g n i f i c a n t , however,  that Volpone's fundamental concern i s neither the possession of gold f o r i t s own sake nor i t s use in bringing about the moral damnation of mankind, but rather the power i t provides him as an instrument in making dupes out of others.  He makes t h i s point very e a r l y in the play: Yet, I glory More in the cunning purchase of my wealth Than in the glad possession. (I.i.30-32)  Combined with Volpone's cunning i s a d e l i g h t in the sport that emanates from his p a r t i c i p a t i o n in demonic i n t r i g u e .  Although he i s metaphorically  aligned with the forces of e v i l , he i s , l i k e the prototypical V i c e , an e s s e n t i a l l y amoral character, who i s attached to his e t h i c a l stance more  153 out of the s e l f i s h love of the pleasure i t affords than out of any f i r m i d e o l o g i c a l commitment.  Never s a t i s f i e d with the success of one s t r a t a -  gem, he i s constantly seeking more s t i m u l a t i o n , in quest of "any device now of rare ingenious knavery / That would possess [him] with a v i o l e n t laughter"  (V.i.14-15).  Contained i n the j u x t a p o s i t i o n of the terms "knavery" and "laughter" i s an overt statement of Volpone's comic-demonic nature, his double-sided r o l e as fun-maker as well as devious i n s t i g a t o r of e v i l . The kind of comedy which Volpone generates in his r o l e as fun-maker i s generally a h o s t i l e one in which the humour c a r r i e s with i t overtones of l a t e n t aggression.  Volpone's comedy of aggression i s in accordance both  with the Hobbesian view that laughter r e s u l t s from the "sudden glory" experienced by the i n d i v i d u a l through a momentary perception of his own superiority,  1 0  and with the hypothesis of l a t e r t h e o r e t i c i a n s such as  Anthony Ludovici that laughter i s an expression of "superior adaptation" —a r e f l e x action d e r i v i n g from the p r i m i t i v e need to bare one's teeth in demonstration of the effectiveness of one's weapons.  11  Much of the  comedy of the play does, in f a c t , emanate from Volpone and Mosca's aggressive v i c t i m i z a t i o n of t h e i r dupes i n order to prove t h e i r own "superior adaptation."  Volpone i s not content merely to outwit Corvino, Corbaccio,  and Vol tore in order to make laughingstocks of them.  Having succeeded  in extracting a s i z e a b l e g i f t from each of them, he then prepares f u r t h e r to torment them.  Revealing that Mosca has been made his h e i r , he  assumes a new d i s g u i s e , that of a clownish sergeant of the c o u r t , and openly taunts them each in t u r n .  The aggressiveness of the humour i s  154 also revealed in the language of the play.  Volpone g l e e f u l l y advises  Mosca to "play the a r t i f i c e r now, t o r t u r e 'em r a r e l y " ( V . i i . 1 1 2 ) and "torment  'em more" ( V . i i i . 1 0 6 ) , while he voices his own desire to "vex  'em s t i l l  at every turn" ( V . i i i . 1 1 2 ) .  Mosca, using a conventional  form  of word play c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the morality V i c e , also manifests the underlying aggressive q u a l i t y of the p l a y ' s comedy.  Taking advantage of  Corbaccio's growing deafness, Mosca i n s u l t s him shamelessly: Corbaccio:  I may have my youth restored to me, why not?  Mosca ( a s i d e ) : Corbaccio: Mosca:  Your worship i s a precious a s s - -  What sayest thou?  I do desire your worship to make haste, s i r . (I.iv.129-31)  Volpone, playing the r o l e of a comatose man on his deathbed, can barely contain himself during Mosca's verbal abuse of Corbaccio, and when the l a t t e r leaves, the magnifico responds with the laughter of e x u l t a t i o n also c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the V i c e : 0, I s h a l l burst! Let out my s i d e s , l e t out my s i d e s . (I.iv.133) Furthermore, l i k e the Vice of convention, Volpone and Mosca not only demons t r a t e t h e i r superior adaptation by humorously attempting to set t h e i r dupes at cross-purposes--to "counter-work the one unto the other"  (I.i.83)  --but they are also involved in a b a t t l e of wits with each other, a b a t t l e somewhat evocative of Spivack's d e s c r i p t i o n of the comic contention which traditionally  takes place among the morality vices in order to e s t a b l i s h 12  "who i s top dog in the hierarchy of e v i l . "  Playing r i g h t into Volpone s  scheme to torment his g u l l s , Mosca attempts to dupe his master out of his  155 fortune by refusing to admit to the court that the magnifico i s  still  a l i v e , and Volpone, rather than allowing himself to be outwitted by his servant, decides to condemn himself in order to expose the p a r a s i t e .  '  The comedy of aggression inherent in Volpone i s almost always directed at the undercutting of the human image; and by u l t i m a t e l y making both Volpone and Mosca the butts of each o t h e r ' s strategems, Jonson i s , in f a c t , permitting both himself and the audience to express t h e i r own superior adaptation through the laughter directed at the protagonists' f i n a l discomfiture.  It i s i n t e r e s t i n g that the v i o l a t i o n of the human  image also underlies Jonson's own theory of comedy--the comedy of "humours."  In Jonson's drama, the comic characters are generally moti-  vated by a s i n g l e "humour" or s p e c i f i c psychological t r a i t , s i m i l a r to Pope's concept of the " r u l i n g passion" or Sterne's Shandean "hobby horse"; and i t i s t h i s s i n g l e t r a i t which dominates and propels each c h a r a c t e r ' s behaviour throughout the play.  The theory of humours i s defined by  Jonson in the Induction to Every Man Out of His Humour: . . . when some one p e c u l i a r q u a l i t y Doth so possess a man, that i t doth draw A l l his a f f e c t s , his s p i r i t s , and his powers, In t h e i r c o n f l u x i o n , a l l to run one way, This may be t r u l y said to be a humour. In Volpone, the actions of the three g u l l s are completely determined by t h e i r b l i n d a v a r i c e , Mosca's behaviour.is always prompted by his c r a f t y o p p o r t u n i t i e s , and that of Volpone i s motivated by his love of both sensua l i t y and i n t r i g u e .  Informing the comedy of humours i s Jonson's use of  the metaphor of the beast f a b l e .  Each character i s r i g i d l y conceived in  terms of an animal--a f o x , a f l y , a raven, a crow, a v u l t u r e - - i n order to  156 demonstrate thematically that a l l o f them are s i n g l y ruled by t h e i r b e s t i a l natures; that they have a l l , in f o l l y , substituted the material pleasures of sensual g r a t i f i c a t i o n for the s p i r i t u a l a s p i r a t i o n s of man. The v i o l a t i o n of the human image i s also fundamental to Henri Bergson's assertion that laughter i s provoked through the perception of "something 13  mechanical encrusted on the l i v i n g . "  In other words, when i n d i v i d u a l s  lose the f l e x i b i l i t y and e l a s t i c i t y which are d e f i n i t i v e of being human, and function r i g i d l y and automatically l i k e machines, the comic response i s e l i c i t e d , and we laugh to see the ideal human image thus undercut. When man i s portrayed in terms of a machine o r , as in the world of Jonson's p l a y , in terms of a beast, i t i s also an i n d i c a t i o n that the comic p r i n c i p l e of inversion i s probably at work.  The human and the  mechanical, as well as the human and the b e s t i a l , are generally viewed as antipodal in nature, and when one i s construed in the place of the other, a kind of topsyturvydom r e s u l t s .  The s p i r i t of comic inversion  i s , in f a c t , central to the pervading atmosphere of Volpone. opening scenes a reversal of t r a d i t i o n a l  From the  value i s e s t a b l i s h e d , and t h i s  reversal i s sustained throughout the e n t i r e play. We have seen how the force of inversion integral to the r o l e of the comic-demonic f i g u r e i s generally conveyed by a profanation of the sacred, an overturning of the r e l i g i o u s and moral precepts upon which the t r a d i t i o n a l  order i s founded.  A profanation of sacred values i s i n i -  t i a t e d in the f i r s t scene of the play in which Volpone i s at his morning prayers, his hymn of devotion, a parody of C h r i s t i a n worship from i t s very f i r s t words:  157 Good morning to the day, and next my gold: Open the s h r i n e , that I may see my s a i n t . Hail the world's s o u l , and mine (I.i.1-3) The inversion of t r a d i t i o n a l  value here i s shockingly blasphemous, as the  audience i s abruptly introduced to the upside-down world of Volpone in which the worship of g o l d , a base metal, has replaced the worship of God. The perversion of r e l i g i o u s imagery m u l t i p l i e s throughout the opening speech.  Not only i s gold Volpone's " s a i n t " and " s h r i n e , " i t i s also his  " s o u l " and his " r e l i c " which he kisses with f e r v i d adoration.  Volpone's  displacement of the s p i r i t u a l with the material world i s expanded metap h o r i c a l l y u n t i l i t r e s u l t s in a t o t a l inversion of the natural order. The "splendour" of his gold has "darkened" the sun, the natural source of l i g h t and generation; and j u s t as day has been e c l i p s e d by n i g h t , so the realm of heaven has been o b l i t e r a t e d by the sensual urges of the realm of h e l l : Dear s a i n t Riches, the dumb god that g i v ' s t a l l men tongues That c a n s ' t do nought, and yet makes men do a l l t h i n g s ; The p r i c e of s o u l s ; even h e l l , with thee to boot, Is made worth heaven! (I.i.21-25) In Volpone's idolatrous worship of his g o l d , the s p i r i t of topsyturvydom i s r e l e a s e d , a s p i r i t which i s to inform the r e s t of the drama.  The play  i t s e l f i s , in f a c t , a study in the reversal of values which takes place when h e l l becomes heaven, when the high i s perverted to the low, when men become beasts, and when the comic profanation of the sacred r e s u l t s in the temporary ascendancy of the demonic underworld. Most of the action of the drama takes place in the underworld  158 s e t t i n g of Volpone's chamber, the fox-hole which i s described by Bonario as "the den of v i l l a i n y " ( I I I . v i i . 2 7 3 ) .  As a r e s u l t of the force of i n v e r -  s i o n , the infernal chamber becomes " t h i s blessed room" ( I . i . 1 3 ) , and Volpone's g o l d , a shrine or a l t a r to which various supplicants are drawn to worship.  It i s an i n d i c a t i o n of the outrageous perversion of moral  and s p i r i t u a l value, that Corvino uses the r e l i g i o u s metaphor of C h r i s t i a n i t y in order to r a t i o n a l i z e his motivation for p r o s t i t u t i n g his w i f e . He explains that i t would be "a pious work, mere c h a r i t y " to o f f e r C e l i a to Volpone's bed.  (III.vii.65),  The underworld realm i s also conducive  to the d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of human r e l a t i o n s h i p .  In Volpone's den not only  are the t i e s of marital f i d e l i t y between husband and wife severed, but also the bonds between parent and c h i l d are r u t h l e s s l y broken.  Volpone  reveals his enmity to the natural forms of human connection in his opening speech when he states that the joy he derives from his gold f a r transcends " a l l s t y l e of joy in c h i l d r e n , parents, f r i e n d s " ( I . i . 1 7 ) .  He  l a t e r r e - a s s e r t s his p o s i t i o n , one of emotional freedom, happily cut o f f from the r e s t r i c t i o n s of human bondage: What should I do But cocker up my genius and l i v e free To a l l the d e l i g h t s my fortune c a l l s me to? I have no w i f e , no parent, c h i l d , a l l y To give my substance t o . (I.i.70-74) Volpone's desire to " l i v e free to a l l . . . d e l i g h t s , " unencumbered by the o b l i g a t i o n s of human involvement or by any e t h i c a l or s p i r i t u a l d i c t a t e s , corresponds to Cushman's d e s c r i p t i o n of the V i c e , who "as the embodiment of worldliness and s e n s u a l i t y . . .  i s free from a l l bonds  14 of moral i d e a l s . "  The attempt to achieve the freedom from a l l  159 r e s t r a i n t i s , of course, c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of both the comic and demonic realms, the demonic constantly seeking to overthrow the p r o h i b i t i o n s of d i v i n e law, the comic constantly seeking a release of the psychological tensions emanating from the i n h i b i t o r y processes of maintaining the values and i n s t i t u t i o n s of the s o c i a l order.  Moreover, we are also  f a m i l i a r with the f a c t that the "breaking up of a l l r e s t r a i n t s " which i s the keynote of comedy, often manifests i t s e l f dramatically in a saturnalian mode, a topsyturvy holiday from everyday l i f e .  In the underworld  realm of Volpone's chamber, the r i t e s of a grotesque S a t u r n a l i a are conducted in which the darker passions of the human psyche are momentarily permitted to triumph over the repressive forces of c i v i l i z e d l i f e , and in which we, as members of the audience, are permitted v i c a r i o u s l y to participate. The pattern of l i c e n t i o u s r e v e l r y i s one of the motifs employed by Jonson in his construction of the various symbolic l e v e l s of Volpone. It  i s s i g n i f i c a n t that the real name of Scoto of Mantua, the famous mounte-  bank whose guise Volpone at one point assumes, was D i o n i s i o , as Percy 15 Simpson has pointed out.  As a r e s u l t of t h i s a l l u s i o n , somewhat  obscure to modern audiences but probably f a m i l i a r enough to theatre-goers of Jonson's time, an a s s o c i a t i o n i s made between Volpone and Dionysius, the Greek god of wine and f e r t i l i t y , whose followers celebrated with processions of f r e n z i e d l i c e n c e and drunken debauchery the P h a l l i c r i t u a l s which gave r i s e to the o r i g i n s of comedy in Ancient Greece.  Throughout  Volpone, images of the f e a s t - - o f e a t i n g , d r i n k i n g , and entertainment-abound.  A f t e r each of the g u l l s has presented his g i f t to the magnifico  160 and departed, Volpone i n s t r u c t s Mosca: Prepare Me music, dances, banquets, a l l d e l i g h t s ; The Turk i s not more sensual in his pleasures Than w i l l Volpone. (I.v.86-89) He also informs the parasite that he wishes to postpone meeting Lady Would-be u n t i l he i s "high with mirth and wine" (I.v.99) and speaks of the pleasure he derives from tormenting his v i c t i m in terms of "a rare meal of laughter" ( V . i . 8 6 ) .  In the seduction speech of the Third A c t ,  Volpone attempts to entice C e l i a with a sumptuously exotic banquet composed of rare d e l i c a c i e s : The head of p a r r o t s , tongues of n i g h t i n g a l e s , The brains of peacocks, and of estriches Shall be our food, and could we get the phoenix Though nature l o s t her k i n d , she were our d i s h . (III.vii.202-5) The perversion of r e l i g i o u s value by material voluptuousness which marks the opening scene of the play i s here r e - i n f o r c e d through the language employed by Volpone to describe his "sensual b a i t s . "  Religious imagery  i s used to depict the ecstacy of sensual g r a t i f i c a t i o n .  The "true heaven  of love i s to be ' t a s t e d ' " (1. 140), and t h e i r drink i s to be "prepared gold and amber" (1. 217), a parody of the Divine Sacrament in which g o l d , Volpone's "dumb god," i s i t s e l f to be consumed. In Jonson's saturnalian v i s i o n , sensuality i s c a r r i e d to most debased extreme.  Volpone's i n v i t a t i o n to C e l i a to share his  of gold--as well as to " d i s s o l v e and drink"  its "drink"  (1. 193) a rope of pearls  and to "eat . . . at a meal" (1. 201) a b r i l l i a n t  carbuncle and a diamond  that "would have bought L o l l i a Paulina" (1. 1 9 5 ) - - c a r r i e s with i t ,  in  161 psychoanalytic terms, overtones of c o p r o p h i l i a .  That there i s a symbolic  a s s o c i a t i o n between excrement and money, g o l d , or gems has been f r e quently suggested by Freud and l a t e r psychoanalytic w r i t e r s , and the f a c t that Bbnario subsequently refers to Volpone's gold as " t h i s dross"  (III.  v i i . 2 7 1 ) supports the making of such an assoc-iation-with the underlying * metaphor of the play.  Moreover, t h i s metaphor insinuates that not only  i s gold something to be ingested, but also people themselves are to be c a n n i b a l i s t i c a l l y devoured.  The c a n n i b a l i s t i c a l l u s i o n s of the play  are at one point made quite e x p l i c i t when Volpone admits that he achieves more sensual pleasure in beholding the g i f t s of his v i c t i m than in growing " f a t , by eating once a month a man" ( I . v i . 9 2 ) .  The animal imagery  of the beast fable which underlies the p l o t of Volpone, also functions thematically as an i n d i c a t i o n of the carnivorousness of the central characters.  The crow, the raven, and the vulture are a l l birds of prey;  they f l o c k around Volpone's chamber "to peck f o r c a r r i o n " ( V . i . 6 6 ) , to feed upon the fox who purposefully presents himself as a dying o l d man "turning carcass" ( I . i i . 9 0 ) .  In turn the fox feeds on his gulls--"Who  would / Have l o s t t h i s f e a s t ? " ( V . i i i . 1 0 7 - 8 ) c r i e s Volpone a f t e r witness i n g , from behind a screen, Mosca's consummate s k i l l in tormenting V o l t o r e , Corbaccio, and Corvino.  And f i n a l l y , Mosca, the " f l e s h - f l y "  ( V . i x . l ) , who i s by profession a " p a r a s i t e , " uses his devious opportunism to feed upon everyone with whom he comes in contact. Volpone's s a t u r n a l i a of i n s t i n c t u a l g r a t i f i c a t i o n i s manifested not only through images of eating and drinking but also by the most f o r bidden forms of sexual l i c e n c e .  In the seduction scene, Volpone attempts to  162 entrance C e l i a with a splendid poetic v i s i o n of s e n s u a l i t y , one in which the images of food, d r i n k , and e r o t i c i s m p r o l i f e r a t e one upon the other and are i n t e r f u s e d .  The scene i s (or at l e a s t should be), however, one  that i s profoundly comic in nature, and much of the comedy derives from the j u x t a p o s i t i o n of the sensuously romantic language with the gross r e a l i t y of Volpone's aim.  Volpone i s a lecherous old man who wishes to ravish  the body of an innocent young g i r l .  That C e l i a i s somebody e l s e ' s wife  only adds f i r e to Volpone's d e s i r e , as his imagined pleasure i s i n t e n s i f i e d by the f a c t that he and Mosca have hoodwinked Corvino into playing the r o l e of procurer.  Besides being comic, the scene contains demonic  overtones as w e l l - - C e l i a , whose name means the Heavenly one, i s represent a t i v e of the p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n of v i r t u e whom Volpone, in his r o l e as agent of d i a b o l i c a l e v i l , wishes to corrupt.  There i s ,  furthermore,  i m p l i c i t in the sexual r e l a t i o n s h i p between an old man and a young g i r l an i m p l i c i t v e h i c l e f o r the potential  v i o l a t i o n of the taboo of i n c e s t ,  which may, in t h i s context, be viewed as one of the most threatening and, hence, demonic of the hidden human impulses released in the saturnalian s p i r i t of comedy contained w i t h i n the play. Promiscuity, e s p e c i a l l y that of an exotic nature, characterizes Volpone's sexual urge in a l l i t s manifestations.  Free from the  restraints  of the marital r e l a t i o n s h i p , Volpone has fathered a number of c h i l d r e n whom, we l e a r n , are a l l bastards Some dozen, or more that he begat on beggars, Gypsies, and Jews, and black-moors when he was drunk. (I.v.43-45)  163 One of his bastards, Androgyne i s a hermaphroditic f o o l , a concrete symbol of the confusion in sexual boundaries which r e s u l t s from Volpone's comic-demonic perversion of sexual m o r a l i t y .  This confusion in sexual  r o l e s , the representation in the play of "women and men of every sex" ( I . i . 7 7 ) , i s even extended towards the r e l a t i o n s h i p between master and parasite.  Volpone i s constantly embracing and k i s s i n g Mosca, and addres-  sing him in terms of loving endearment.  The homosexual nature of t h e i r  attachment i s alluded to almost b l a t a n t l y when Volpone emerges from behind the screen a f t e r watching Mosca's performance, and rapturously exclaims: My w i t t y m i s c h i e f , Let me embrace thee. 0 that I could not Transform thee to a Venus. (V.iii.102-4) Jonas A. B a r i s h , in his b r i l l i a n t a n a l y s i s of the sub-plot of S i r P o l i t i c and Lady Would-be, and i t s r e l a t i o n to the main p l o t of the p l a y , finds images of sexual ambiguity in both s e c t i o n s : The confusion of sexes symbolized in Androgyno, in the i n d i s c r i m i n a t e journeyings of the soul of Pythagorus, in Volpone's masquerade as Antinous, in Lady Would-be's e r r o r , as well as in the reversed mascul i n e - f e m i n i n e roles of S i r Pol and Lady Would-be, contributes i t s own kind of abnormality to the deformity of the moral atmosphere c h i e f l y figured by the metamorphoses of beasts into menJ6 To B a r i s h ' s observations we might add that the confusion of forms between male and female, as well as between man and beast, can also be connected to the pattern of saturnalian topsyturvydom which we have been e x p l o r i n g . It has been frequently pointed out by a number of anthropologists and l i t e r a r y c r i t i c s that the donning of animal p e l t s and the masquerading in the clothes of the opposite sex have been c h a r a c t e r i s t i c features of  164 seasonal r i t e s and f e s t i v e celebrations of c u l t u r e s , both ancient and modernJ  7  In t h i s sense, the breaking up of a l l r e s t r a i n t s i n c i t e d by  the forces of the comic-demonic realm i s directed against the boundaries which separate the r a t i o n a l and b e s t i a l aspects of man's nature, as well as those which d i v i d e the human being into two poles of s e x u a l i t y , each one of which has r i g i d l y defined s o c i a l roles which are not permitted to be v i o l a t e d during the normal course of everyday l i f e . It  i s also in keeping with the saturnalian s p i r i t of the play  that the order of l i c e n t i o u s r e v e l r y i s of l i m i t e d duration.  By the end  of Volpone, the holiday feast has reached i t s end; the drive for sensual gratification  has expended i t s e l f in i t s own self-devouring  insatiability.  As one of the j u s t i c e s of the Venetian court proclaims in a statement which r e f l e c t s a symbolic fusion of the imagery of f e a s t i n g ,  bestiality,  and e v i l : Mischiefes feed Like beasts, t i l l they be f a t and then they bleed (V.xii.150-51) Like the prototypical  V i c e , Volpone i s unmasked and punished at the end  of the drama, and the four A v o c a t o r i , the representatives of the t r a d i t i o n a l s o c i a l order, to some extent manage to reassert the system of moral value which has been mockingly flouted and debased during the temporary ascendancy of the underworld realm.  The sentence passed down upon  the magnifico by the F i r s t Avocatori i s a harsh one: Thou a r t to l i e in p r i s o n , cramped with i r o n s , T i l l thou b e ' s t s i c k and lame indeed. (V.xii.123-24) The comic-demonic figure cannot, however, be t o t a l l y r e s t r a i n e d .  Although  165 he may be b r i d l e d l i k e I n c l i n a t i o n , the Vice of The T r i a l of Treasure, he can never be subjugated completely.  While Jonson speaks in the  intro-  ductory E p i s t l e of his aim to "put the s n a f f l e in t h e i r mouths that cry out: We never punish vice in our i n t e r l u d e s , " he seemingly undercuts t h i s statement by having Volpone return from prison in order to speak the f i n a l l i n e s of the play.  Like F a l s t a f f in 2 Henry IV, Volpone i s ex-  p e l l e d from the dramatic society only to be i m p l i c i t l y reintegrated at the conclusion of the drama.  Jonson, as well as Shakespeare, has appar-  ently been caught in the double-bind created by the ambiguous tension of the a n t i t h e t i c a l  responses generated by the comic-demonic f i g u r e .  This ambiguity i s c r y s t a l l i z e d in Volpone's remark upon receiving his sentence: "This i s c a l l e d mortifying of a Fox" ( V . x i i . 1 2 5 ) .  Demon-  s t r a t i n g once more his a f f i n i t y with the Vice f i g u r e who c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y reacts with avowed unconcern at the prospect of his own death or c h a s t i s e ment, Volpone displays a kind of gallows humour which centers around his punning on the word " m o r t i f y i n g . "  On one l e v e l , the verb "mortify" means  to k i l l , destroy, or h u m i l i a t e , and in t h i s sense Volpone i s  articulating  his awareness of his doom; on another l e v e l , " m o r t i f i c a t i o n "  has a meaning  of r e l i g i o u s s e l f - d e n i a l or sensual abnegation, and in t h i s context, r e - a s s e r t i o n of t r a d i t i o n a l affirmed.  value at the end of the play i s  the  tacitly  By forcing the s e l f - i n d u l g e n t voluptuary to become an a s c e t i c ,  the s p i r i t of topsyturvydom u l t i m a t e l y completes i t s f u l l c i r c l e , and the underworld realm i s once again submerged, divested of i t s temporary predominance.  On the other hand, however, i t s power and v i t a l energy are  i m p l i c i t l y acknowledged and even s a n c t i f i e d .  As Percy Simpson has  166 i n d i c a t e d , " t o mortify" also i s a cookery term meaning to make meat tender 18 by allowing i t to hang a f t e r i t has been k i l l e d . Volpone becomes both s a c r i f i c e and sacrament.  In t h i s sense then,  Like F a l s t a f f , who i s  also represented in terms of roasted game, Volpone not only p a r t i c i p a t e s in the saturnalian feast but also i s , in himself, both the embodiment and s a c r i f i c i a l v i c t i m of that f e a s t .  Frazer has traced the widespread  custom in p r i m i t i v e a g r i c u l t u r a l s o c i e t i e s of "eating the god sacramen19 t a l l y , e i t h e r in the shape of man or a n i m a l . " also probably at the root of C h r i s t i a n r i t u a l  This custom, which i s in the receiving of the  Host, whereby worshippers consume in symbolic form the body and the blood of the s a c r i f i c i a l d i v i n i t y , permits the members of the community to i n t e r n a l i z e the v i t a l physical energy of the scapegoat f i g u r e .  Volpone,  although a representative of the demonic realm, i s a l s o , as Kernan has 20 indicated,  God-like in his a b i l i t y to transcend the l i m i t a t i o n s of the  human state through the transforming powers of his c r e a t i v e imagination. This e s s e n t i a l d u a l i t y i s contained w i t h i n the m u l t i p l e l e v e l s of the pun, through which the "mortifying of a Fox" r e s u l t s in both his destruct i o n and his regeneration. As a r e s u l t of Volpone's f i n a l d i s p o s i t i o n , he f u n c t i o n s , l i k e most comic-demonic f i g u r e s , as a scapegoat f o r the members of the audience as well as for the Venetian s o c i e t y .  Through the public expulsion of  the e v i l which the scapegoat represents, the dramatic community receives a sense of absolution from both the fear of the menace he poses to the e x i s t i n g s o c i a l s t r u c t u r e , and the g u i l t which springs from the vicarious p a r t i c i p a t i o n in the release of the i n s t i n c t u a l urges d e f i n i t i v e of the  167 comic c a t h a r s i s .  Although i t i s necessary that Volpone be punished for  his transgressions against moral law, we, as members of the audience, at the same time want him to escape, s e c r e t l y g r a t i f i e d by the release of the forbidden* demonic, impulses he has permitted us.  Moreover, we  desire his escape for he i s , despite his moral r e p r e h e n s i b i l i t y , an extremely c a p t i v a t i n g character.  In his imaginative v i t a l i t y , his Protean  powers, his sensual ebullience and passion for l i f e , he t o t a l l y e c l i p s e s C e l i a , Bonario, and the four A v o c a t o r i , the c o l o u r l e s s representatives.of v i r t u e and j u s t i c e in the play.  Both he and Mosca possess the inordinate  a b i l i t y "to make / So rare a music out of discords" ( V . i i . 1 7 - 1 8 ) , a music which, although of " f a l s e pace" ( I . i i . 4 ) l i k e Nano's verse, i s , nevertheless, strangely m e l l i f l u o u s and resonant in timbre. In our contradictory responses to Volpone's f i n a l punishment, we may perceive a restatement of the double-view we i n i t i a l l y encountered in the l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m of Vol pone, some scholars protesting against the malevolence of the comic a c t i o n , others protesting against the unmerited s e v e r i t y of the sentence given the magnifico at the conclusion of the drama.  Jonson, l i k e Shakespeare, dramatically plays upon the state of  unresolved tension which a r i s e s whenever we are confronted with the simultaneously a l l u r i n g and r e p e l l i n g tendencies of the comic-demonic f i g u r e . Both F a l s t a f f and Volpone p a r t i c i p a t e in the ambiguities and confusion in forms of the underworld realm.  Like F a l s t a f f , Volpone i s an old man  who possesses the physical vigor and mental a g i l i t y of youth; l i k e Volpone, F a l s t a f f cannot be bound by the r i g i d categories of male and female.  S i m i l a r l y , both men are i d e n t i f i e d with both the forces of  168 disease and those of regeneration.  Volpone plays the r o l e of a s i c k and  dying old man who has l o s t the senses of sight and hearing as well as the potency of his sexual powers.  As Kernan has observed, the magnifico's  symptoms, although d i s s i m u l a t e d , function symbolically to suggest the disease and deformity of his s o u l , his moral blindness and deafness as 21 well as his s p i r i t u a l s t e r i l i t y .  When the metaphor of sickness and  impotency i s , however, juxtaposed with the remarkable gusto and vibrance of the man, his embodiment of the indomitable v i t a l i t y of the sensual passions, then we again must behold yet another double-visaged manifest a t i o n of a character in whom the forces of both comedy and e v i l converge. Although a state of unresolved t e n s i o n , a sense of strained cont r a d i c t i o n , i s integral to both Volpone and Henry IV, i t i s  particularly  heightened in Jonson's p l a y , and i s dramatically magnified to an almost i n t o l e r a b l e i n t e n s i t y as the action progresses.  Both Barish and Bonamy  Dobree have commented on t h i s atmosphere of perilous equilibrium in Volpone, both of them a r t i c u l a t i n g the uneasy q u a l i t y of the play in s i m i l a r terms.  According to B a r i s h , "Volpone comes nearer to tragedy  than any of Jonson's comedies and contains more b i t t e r and unpleasant scenes.  Jonson asks us to walk a very narrow edge between laughter and  d i s g u s t , and i f we or the actors lose our balance, some scenes may become 22 unbearable."  And Dobree, comparing Volpone with Le Misanthrope, l i k e -  wise describes the play as a kind of comedy " p e r i l o u s l y near tragedy, in which the balance i s so f i n e that i t seems sometimes as i f i t would 23 topple over into the other form." In both Henry IV and Volpone, we a r e , in f a c t , c a l l e d upon to  169 walk the tightrope of moral ambiguity; in the l a t t e r , however, our state of dramatic suspension i s a more precarious one.  This foreboding sense  of loss of balance i s caused by the anxiety which i s provoked in face of the threatening aspects of saturnalian l i c e n c e .  Although a l l  plays a r e , in many r e s p e c t s , representative of a kind of S a t u r n a l i a , a comic-demonic overturning of the t r a d i t i o n a l  three  literary systems of  value, the comic release engendered by the "breaking up of a l l  restraints"  i s , in Volpone, c a r r i e d to such an extreme that the comedy i s , at any p o i n t , in danger of y i e l d i n g to the demonic forces which are also set free within the symbolic context of the dramatic a c t i o n .  We have only to  look at the manifestations of t h i s comic-demonic release submerged w i t h i n the latent meanings of the p l a y ' s imagery and s t r u c t u r e , in order to r e a l i z e that the underworld realm of Volpone unveils the grossest forms of s p i r i t u a l , moral, and physical degeneracy.  Religious blasphemy,  b e s t i a l i t y , physical deformity, hermaphroditism, rape, i n c e s t , sadism, cannibalism, c o p r o p h i l i a - - a l l of these fearsome and forbidden tendencies are l i b e r a t e d w i t h i n the ambiguous darkness of Volpone's "den of viilainy." In the f i r s t chapter we noted that comedy often provides a " d i s arming mechanism," an e f f e c t of psychological distancing through which the audience i s able to detach i t s e l f from the threatening aspects of the demonic f o r c e s , thereby obtaining r e l i e f from anxiety and f e a r . While t h i s disarming mechanism c l e a r l y functions in both Volpone and Henry IV, i t s e f f i c a c y as a safety-providing o u t l e t in Jonson's play i s stretched to i t s furthest l i m i t s .  In Henry IV, the unresolved tension  170 centering around F a l s t a f f ' s moral ambiguity i s sustained in perfect balance throughout the play.  In Volpone, however, the ambiguity of the  comic-demonic realm i s constantly on the verge of c o l l a p s i n g and r e v e a l ing i t s e l f in i t s f u l l unambiguous horror; and, s i m i l a r l y , the comic response i s continuously on the verge of being overwhelmed by the f e a r , outrage, and disgust that are c a l l e d f o r t h whenever the  unmitigated  images of Saturnalian excess unleash the perverse, demonic impulses always at work w i t h i n the underworld of man's consciousness.  171 Notes for Chapter VI Plays of Our Forefathers (New York: Duffied and C o . , 1903),  I  p. 298. Ben Jonson: Selected Works, ed. Harry Levin (New York: Random House, 1938)7 p. 11. 3  Endeavours of Art (Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1954). 4  Jonson's Moral Comedy (Evanston, 111.: Northwestern Univ. Press. 1971), p. 250. "The M o r a l i t y Vice in Volpone," Discourse, V (1962), 452.  5  Robert E. K n o l l , Ben Jonson's P l a y s: An Introduction ( L i n c o l n : Univ. of Nebraska Press, 1964), p. 92. 7  P h i l o l o g i c a l Quarterly, XLIX (1970), 43.  Q  Thomas Mouffet, The Theatre of Insects (London, 1658), pp. 932, 951. This work i s c i t e d i n both K n o l l , Ben Jonson's P l a y s , p. 97, and Hal l e t , "The Satanic Nature of Volpone," p. 45n. Q  " I n t r o d u c t i o n , " Volpone, Yale Ben Jonson ed. (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1962), p. 13. Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, edited with an introduction by Michael Oakeshott (Oxford: B. B l a c k w e l l , 1957). 1 0  I I  The Secret of Laughter, p. 17.  1 2  The Allegory of E v i l , p. 141.  1 3  "Laughter," p. 84.  14 15 1 6  Cushman, p. 91. Herford and Simpson, IX, 704. "The Double P l o t in Volpone," Modern P h i l o l o g y , LI (1953), 89.  Ian Donaldson, The World Upside-Down: Comedy from Jonson to F i e l d i n g (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970), pp. 15-16, discusses the transvestism which often takes place during f e s t i v a l s , and c i t e s Naogeorgus (Kirchmeyer), The Popish Kingdom of A n t i c h r i s t (1570), a document which describes the Elizabethan custom at the Shrovetide holiday as f o l l o w s : "Both men and women chaunge t h e i r weede, the men in maydes a r r a y , / And 1 7  172 wanton wenches drest l i k e men, doe travel by the way." A l s o , see Frazer, The Golden Bough; Chambers, The Medieval Stage; Welsford, The F o o l ; W i l l e f o r d , The Fool and His Scepter; Cornford, The Origins of A t t i c Comedy.• I  o  1 9  Herford and Simpson, IX. The Golden Bough, p. 648.  20 " I n t r o d u c t i o n , " Volpone, p. 13. 2 1  I b i d . , pp. 21-24.  2 2  "The Double Plot in Volpone," p. 85.  2 3  Restoration Comedy 1660-1720 (Oxford, 1924), p. 15.  Chapter VII "FLEXIBLE IN THE JOINTS AND LIVELY ON THE WIRE"-THE DEMONIC COMIC-HEROINE IN VANITY FAIR Although the form of Vanity F a i r unquestionably f a l l s within the category of the n o v e l , there are several thematic and tonal  qualities  d i s c e r n i b l e w i t h i n the work which suggest i t s a f f i n i t y with aspects of the dramatic genre, and p a r t i c u l a r l y with the morality t r a d i t i o n . f i r s t p l a c e , Thackeray's introduction to the n o v e l , which i s  In the  entitled  "Before the C u r t a i n , " c l e a r l y resembles a dramatic Prologue; in i t  the  omniscient author refers to himself as "the manager of the Performance," and to his readers as "patrons" who are s i t t i n g before the c u r t a i n waiting f o r the "show" to b e g i n .  1  Thackeray speaks of the Wicked Nobleman  f i g u r e , one of the major characters of the n o v e l , whom, we l e a r n , "old Nick w i l l fetch away at the end of the performance" (p. 6 ) - - a reference to a dramatic convention extremely popular in both the miracles and l a t e r , the m o r a l i t y , in which the devil customarily ascends from Hell to cart o f f the e v i l characters at the end of the play.  Moreover, the homiletic  nature of the authorial commentary which i s pervasive throughout  Vanity  F a i r , and which most modern c r i t i c s have found so o b j e c t i o n a b l e , i s also sharply reminiscent of the overt d i d a c t i c i s m of morality drama which, as we have seen, o r i g i n a t e d , at l e a s t in p a r t , in the p u l p i t sermon.  At one  point in the n o v e l , Thackeray refers to himself as a " m o r a l i s t " and to the reader as " h i s congregation" (p. 80).  And although he "professes to  wear neither gown nor bands, but only the very same l i v e r y in which his 173  174 congregation i s arrayed" (p. 80), the author's sermonizing d i s p o s i t i o n i s unmistakable.  Furthermore, Bunyan's The P i l g r i m ' s Progress, to which  Thackeray was indebted for both the t i t l e of the novel and, indeed, i t s central metaphor, i s l a r g e l y w i t h i n the a l l e g o r i c a l t r a d i t i o n of the Psychomachia, the morality p l a y , and the homiletic sermon.  And f i n a l l y ,  there a r e , as w e l l , s i m i l a r i t i e s between the method of c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n in Vanity F a i r and that of Jonsonian comedy, which as previously indicated was, in many respects, derived from the a l l e g o r i c a l representation of character in the morality play.  In support of t h i s p o i n t , Arnold K e t t l e  has observed that the characters in Thackeray's novel "are presented to us, by and l a r g e , in the t r a d i t i o n of the comedy of humours; that i s to say, each has p a r t i c u l a r c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s somewhat exaggerated and s i m p l i f i e d by which they are e a s i l y comprehensible." More s i g n i f i c a n t than these evident correspondencies between the world of Vanity F a i r and that of medieval and Tudor drama, however, i s Thackeray's creation of Becky Sharp, whose r o l e w i t h i n the context of the novel i s remarkably l i k e that of the morality V i c e .  Just as the Vice was  the favourite of the audience, and the most important character in each of the plays i n which he appeared, so the central performance in Vanity F a i r belongs to "the famous l i t t l e Becky puppet" (p. 6) who, we might observe, was so popular that she had become "famous" before the novel had been published i n i t s e n t i r e t y .  The v i t a l spark of Vanity F a i r derives  l a r g e l y from Becky's i r r e p r e s s i b l e energy—the novel tends to p a l l whenever she i s absent f o r any extended period of time.  Similarly, it  is  her comic-demonic progression which makes her, again l i k e the V i c e , the  175 main p r o p e l l i n g vehicle of the action in Thackeray's "Novel Without a Hero." It i s i n t e r e s t i n g that when C. S. Lewis, i n his analysis of Satan in Paradise L o s t , attempts to account for the e s s e n t i a l a t t r a c t i v e n e s s of the e v i l character in l i t e r a t u r e ,  Becky i s one of the examples he chooses  to consider: In a l l but a few w r i t e r s the "good" characters are the l e a s t successf u l . . . To make a character worse than o n e s e l f , i t i s only necessary to release imaginatively from control some of the bad passions which in real l i f e are always s t r a i n i n g at the l e a s h ; the Satan, the Iago, the Becky Sharp, w i t h i n each of us, i s always there and only too ready the moment the leash i s s l i p p e d , to come out and have in our books that holiday we t r y to deny them in our l i v e s . . . We do not r e a l l y know what i t f e e l s l i k e to be a man much better than ourselves. His whole inner landscape i s one we have never seen, and when we guess i t we blunder . . . To project ourselves into a wicked character, we only have to stop doing something, and something that we are a l ready t i r e d of doing; to project ourselves into a good one, we have to do what we cannot and become what we are not.4 Becky, as Lewis' passage would i n d i c a t e , i s one of the most notorious of the successful wicked characters in English l i t e r a r y h i s t o r y ,  As she  declares to Amelia a f t e r her i n i t i a l , dramatic "act of insubordination" (p. 18) which occurs near the beginning of the n o v e l , "I'm no angel" (p. 19)--a powerfully understated acknowledgement of her moral p o s i t i o n , one i r r e f u t a b l y a f f i l i a t e d with the demonic realm.  The terms which Lewis has  employed to describe these wicked characters, a r e , however,  strikingly  evocative of those we have been examining in our discussion of the demonic aspects of comedy.  For example, Lewis' d e s c r i p t i o n of the tendency of  these characters to permit us "to release imaginatively from control some of the bad passions which, in real l i f e , are always s t r a i n i n g at the leash" i s , in f a c t , a restatement of the concept of "freedom from  176 r e s t r a i n t , " the vicarious release of the baser i n s t i n c t u a l passions, which i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the comic c a t h a r s i s .  And his use of the term  "holiday" i s also suggestive of the pattern of f e s t i v e c e l e b r a t i o n which, as we have seen, d i s t i n g u i s h e s the comic-demonic f i g u r e ' s p r o g r e s s - - h i s temporary ascendancy during a period of topsyturvy l i c e n c e , and his f i n a l subjugation, s i g n i f y i n g the end of the merry-making and the return to the " l e a s h , " a r e s t o r a t i o n of the r e s t r a i n t s of the work-a-day world. Like F a l s t a f f and Volpone, Becky Sharp i s an embodiment of the c a r n i v a l s p i r i t of comedy.  Both the t i t l e and the most prominent motif  of the novel i n d i c a t e that a thematic rendering of the metaphor of "the F a i r " was one of Thackeray's central concerns.  The opening passage of  the prologue d i r e c t l y evokes a c a r n i v a l - 1 i k e atmosphere: As the Manager of the Performance s i t s before the c u r t a i n on the boards, and looks into the F a i r , a f e e l i n g of profound melancholy comes over him in his survey of the b u s t l i n g place. There i s a great quantity of eating and d r i n k i n g , making love and j i l t i n g , laughing and the contrary, smoking, cheating, f i g h t i n g , dancing, and f i d d l i n g : there are b u l l i e s pushing about, bucks ogling the women, knaves picking pockets, policemen on the lookout, quacks (other quacks, plague take them!) bawling in f r o n t of t h e i r booths, and yokels looking up at the t i n s e l l e d dancers and poor old rouged tumblers, while the l i g h t - f i n g e r e d f o l k are operating upon t h e i r pockets behind, (p. 5) Conspicuous in t h i s passage are the images of excess—the e a t i n g , d r i n k i n g , the merriment, aggression and sexual s p o r t — a l l of them suggesting the release of a l l r e s t r a i n t s and i n h i b i t i o n s , the c e l e b r a t i o n of the i n s t i n c tual passions which i s permitted to take place w i t h i n the confines of the Fair. Throughout the n o v e l , Becky f u l f i l l s Queen of the C a r n i v a l .  a r o l e analogous to that of  She i s an inveterate enemy to both moral and  177 s o c i a l r e s t r a i n t s , and her progress from the bottom rungs of English society to the culmination of her career when she i s presented to the court i s representative of the r u l i n g p r i n c i p l e of comic topsyturvydom, or the " i n v e r s i o n of Status" tivity.  which i s integral to the s p i r i t of f e s -  Moreover, the d i r e c t i o n of her comedy i s one which r e f l e c t s a  kind of profanation of the sacred, a f l o u t i n g defamation of the precepts, a u t h o r i t i e s , and i n s t i t u t i o n s of the s o c i a l order she i s attempting to subvert. Becky's comedy, from the very beginning to the f i n a l page of the n o v e l , i s a comedy of aggression--one in which laughter i s provoked as a r e s u l t of the discomfiture of another character (usually one of eminent s o c i a l p o s i t i o n ) or through a subversive attack on the e t h i c a l p r i n c i p l e s of the status quo.  When, in the f i r s t , and most memorable comic scene  of the n o v e l , she d e f i a n t l y hurls Dr. Johnson's d i c t i o n a r y out the coach window, she i s thumbing her nose in d e r i s i o n not only at Miss Pinkerton's pedantic a i r s and Miss Jemima's tender-hearted nature, but also at the e n t i r e system of education to which she has been exposed at Chiswick Mall.  Becky, Thackeray asserts on several occasions, "had the keenest  sense of humour" (p. 299); and from an e a r l y age, she demonstrates a natural capacity to keep those around her "laughing with her fun and mimicry" (p. 182).  The laughter she provokes, however, i s c l e a r l y the  Hobbesian laughter of s u p e r i o r i t y .  Like Volpone, she i s constantly a t -  tuned to the p o s s i b i l i t y of f i n d i n g a target for her mocking humour; she too i s always searching " f o r any device . . .  of rare ingenious knavery"  that would afford her "a v i o l e n t laughter" (Volpone, V . I . 1 4 - 1 5 ) .  The  178 "devices" she discovers within the context of the novel are numerous, and include such scenes as when she caricatures both Miss Jemmy and Miss Pinkerton to the great delight of her father and his f r i e n d s ; when she g l e e f u l l y revels in the humiliation of Lady Bareacres, refusing to s e l l the Countess her horses during the evacuation of B r u s s e l s ; when she performs a splendid i m i t a t i o n of Lady Southdown's r i d i c u l o u s  fanaticism  towards her a l l - h e a l i n g medicines and zealous r e l i g i o u s t r a c t s ; or when she i s presented to the King, brazenly a t t i r e d in stolen l a c e .  Moreover,  her comedy, l i k e that of the V i c e , i s not only aggressively subversive but often demonically s a c r i l e g i o u s as w e l l .  Thackeray describes her at  one point laughing in Miss Pinkerton's face "with a horrid s a r c a s t i c demoniacal laughter"  (p. 23); and a f t e r she throws the  out the window proclaiming "Vive l a France!  dictionary  Vive 1'Empereur!  Vive  Bonaparte!," Thackeray's remarks once more associate Becky's humour with the profanations of the demonic realm: "This was the greatest blasphemy Rebecca had as yet u t t e r e d ; and in those days, in England to say 'Long l i v e Bonaparte!  1  was as much as to say 'Long l i v e L u c i f e r ! " ' ( p .  19).  S i m i l a r l y , her mocking advice to Rawdon that i f he i s l e f t out of his aunt's w i l l , he should, in the t r a d i t i o n of the younger son of an a r i s t o c r a t i c f a m i l y , " s e l l out and go into the Church" (p. 285), i s surely s a c r i l e g i o u s in i t s i m p l i c a t i o n that a reprobate such as Colonel Crawley could f i n d a place as a member of the supposedly sacrosanct c l e r g y . finally,  And  Becky's l a s t appearance in Vanity F a i r provides an example of  demonic humour which, in some respects, balances the perfection of her s a l i e n t "act of insubordination" at the beginning of the novel.  Here we  179 see the woman who has been p r e v i o u s l y described as "the godless l i t t l e Rebecca" (p. 327) and one of the " F a i t h l e s s , Hopeless, C h a r i t y l e s s " (p. 8 1 ) , now l i v i n g a l i f e which i s an embodiment of C h r i s t i a n probity and benevolence: She has her enemies. Who has not? Her l i f e i s her answer to them. She busies h e r s e l f i n works of p i e t y . She goes to church, and never without a footman. Her name i s i n a l l the Charity L i s t s . The D e s t i tute O r a n g e - g i r l , the Neglected Washerwoman, the Distressed Muffin Man, f i n d i n her a f a s t and generous f r i e n d . She i s always having s t a l l s at Fancy F a i r s f o r the b e n e f i t of these hapless beings, (p. 666) If there are any doubts i n the r e a d e r ' s mind as to the s i n c e r i t y of Becky's moral t r a n s f o r m a t i o n , Thackeray^distinctly undercuts i t s authent i c i t y by r e f e r r i n g again i n the l a s t sentence of the passage to the metaphor of the " F a i r . "  Becky's pseudo-conversion i s , of course, her  l a s t joke i n the n o v e l ; her assumption of a pious l i f e of c h a r i t y i s the ultimate a f f i r m a t i o n  of the profanation of the sacred which underlies  both the i c o n o c l a s t i c tendency of the c a r n i v a l and the s p i r i t of comedy which, as Sypher s t a t e s , "desecrates what i t seeks to  sanctify."  7  Unlike the other comic-demonic characters we have p r e v i o u s l y examined, Becky Sharp i s , however, a woman--a f a c t which heightens s i g n i f i c a n t l y the q u a l i t y of both the comedy and the e v i l she r e f l e c t s . Although she i s e x p l i c i t l y associated with such male representatives of  o v i l l a i n y as the d i a b o l i c a l Napoleon, "the wretched upstart and swindler" (p. 253), and the d e v i l h i m s e l f , Becky i s more often represented through a l l u s i o n s to t r a d i t i o n a l  feminine e v i l and d e c e i t .  Compared at various  points i n the novel to D e l i l a h (p. 158), Clytemnestra (p. 494), C i r c e (p. 640), and the legendary s i r e n s (p. 617), Becky emerges as a kind of  180 femme f a t a l e - - a n archetype of the d e s t r u c t i v e feminine p r i n c i p l e who bewitches and then betrays a l l the men whom she has entrapped in her deadly snares.  In her r e l a t i o n s h i p s with Rawdon, J o s . Sedley, and even George  Osborne, she makes use of the weapons of her s e x - - f l a t t e r y , d e c e i t , and her female a t t r a c t i v e n e s s - - i n order f i r s t to seduce and then to manipulate each man for her own s e l f i s h ends. parable to that of the t r a d i t i o n a l  If Becky's r o l e i n Vanity F a i r i s comV i c e , then surely i t i s her s e x u a l i t y  which functions as her "dagger of l a t h e . "  It i s also relevant that a l l  of the t r a d i t i o n a l l y d e c e i t f u l women with whom Becky i s associated a r e , in f a c t , g u i l t y of sexual crimes against the male sex.  D e l i l a h ' s i s the  symbolic crime of c a s t r a t i o n as she deprives Sampson of his strength and v i r i l i t y when she cuts his h a i r ; Clytemnestra's i s the two-fold s i n of adultery and murder as she i s u n f a i t h f u l  to Agammemnon and then plots  with her lover to k i l l him; both C i r c e and the sirens are perpetrators of the e v i l of sexual enchantment, as C i r c e casts a s p e l l over her lovers transforming them into beasts, and the sirens entice the unsuspecting t r a v e l l e r with the sweetness of t h e i r songs and physical beauty, only to devour him.  In her r e l a t i o n s h i p with Rawdon she plays the roles of both  D e l i l a h and Clytemnestra, depriving her husband of his manhood, as she commands and controls the course of his l i f e , and betraying him in her l i a i s o n with Lord Steyne.  In her r e l a t i o n s h i p with Joseph Sedley she  again functions l i k e Clytemnestra, not so much i n an adulterous manner but in the almost c e r t a i n i m p l i c a t i o n that she murders him a f t e r having seductively contrived to deplete his estate of the greatest portion of his wealth.  With George Osborne she f u l f i l l s  the r o l e of the enchantress,  181 C i r c e , rendering him s w i n e - l i k e in his r i d i c u l o u s professions of love to her when he has been married to Amelia for only a few weeks. Moreover, i t i s also s i g n i f i c a n t that in the two most pervasive creation myths of Western culture—the B i b l i c a l Paradise myth and the myth of Pandora's box—it i s a woman who i s held responsible for about the r u i n of mankind.  bringing  In The Dangerous Sex: The Myth of Feminine  E v i l , H. R. Hays, commenting upon the symbolic p a r a l l e l s between Pandora's "box," and Eve's "snake" and "apple" observes that both the myth of the F a l l and the Pandora myth are part of a t r a d i t i o n which connects women, sex, and s i n , and which condemns the female as dangerous because of her g sexuality.  In t h i s sense, Becky Sharp's s e x u a l i t y which, i n some ways,  i s the most d e f i n i t i v e q u a l i t y of her r o l e in Vanity F a i r , concretely places her i n the t r a d i t i o n of female e v i l .  The f a c t that she i s a woman  has, as w e l l , some bearing upon the other side of her comic-demonic nature, f o r j u s t as there i s a t r a d i t i o n of feminine e v i l , so there i s a t r a d i t i o n of the comic heroine to which Becky also belongs. From the time of Aristophanes' L y s i s t r a t a , i t has been convent i o n a l f o r the female r o l e in comedy to bring about the redemption of a corrupt and diseased s o c i e t y .  Armed with t h e i r c h a s t i t y and t h e i r  virtue,  such comic heroines as V i o l a , R o s a l i n d , and Helena in Shakespearean comedy, Millamant in The Way of the World, Kate Hardcastle in She Stoops to Conquer, Pamela in Richardson's n o v e l , and Sophia in Tom Jones, through a balance of sentiment, self-awareness, and good sense, manage to educate and regenerate the male protagonist in each work, u l t i m a t e l y bringing him and the comic society to the point of c l a r i f i c a t i o n  and integration. (  182 Frye's comments on the comic heroine in Shakespearean comedy and romance a r e , in f a c t , a p p l i c a b l e to a l l the representatives of t h i s r o l e : " i t  is  usually the a c t i v i t y of the heroine, or in some cases, her p a s s i v i t y , that brings about the b i r t h of the new s o c i e t y and the r e c o n c i l i a t i o n of the older one with i t . "  1 0  In Vanity F a i r , Thackeray examines the t r a d i -  t i o n a l r o l e of the comic heroine by d i v i d i n g i t between Becky and Amelia Sedley, one a c t i v e and the other passive. Amelia Sedley i s , of course, the paradigm of passive female constancy.  While Becky r e f l e c t s the t r a i t s of common sense and s e l f -  awareness, both of which are sadly lacking in Amelia, the l a t t e r e x h i b i t s the q u a l i t y of profuse sentiment.  It i s , however, because of Amelia's  lack of awareness, her s e l f - d e c e p t i o n , and her over-abundance of i n s i p i d f e e l i n g that Thackeray d i s q u a l i f i e s her as heroine of his novel.  Amelia  neither educates nor regenerates; r a t h e r , she h e r s e l f i s in need of both education and regeneration.  Becky, on the other hand, while she lacks  sentiment of any k i n d , i s both c l e v e r and quite cognizant of her own capacities—she may be hard-hearted and shrewdly c a l c u l a t i n g , but she i s not s e l f - d e c e i v e d .  While Amelia's empty-headed devotion toward her n e ' e r -  do-well husband and her over-protective smothering of her son undercut the v i a b i l i t y of her r o l e as comic heroine, Becky's i n a b i l i t y to love anyone but h e r s e l f makes her a s i m i l a r l y unacceptable candidate f o r t h i s r o l e . Thackeray, however, uses Becky's comic-demonic nature to advantage here. A m e l i a — b e a u t i f u l , v i r t u o u s , and c h a s t e — i s , in a sense, a representative of the passive romantic heroine who, as a r e s u l t of her s e l f - i n d u l g e n t s e n t i m e n t a l i t y , unfortunately f a i l s to f u l f i l l the r o l e .  On the other  183 hand, Becky—heartless, a c t i v e l y s e l f - s e e k i n g and sexually promiscuous— represents a d i r e c t a n t i t h e s i s of the r o l e .  She i s , to a large extent,  an anti-comic heroine, or r a t h e r , a "demonic" comic heroine, and her inversion of the t r a d i t i o n a l  r o l e only serves to heighten the topsyturvy,  c a r n i v a l s p i r i t of her comedy. Unlike the conventional comic heroine who leads her society to a state of integrated harmony, Becky, more l i k e the V i c e , generally breeds dissension and s t r i f e .  Her r e l a t i o n s h i p with both S i r P i t t and Rawdon  r e s u l t s in a h o s t i l i t y between father and son; and she t o t a l l y  subverts  the domestic concord between husband and wife not only through her sport i v e seduction of Amelia's husband, but in her own marriage as well through her immoral conduct with Lord Steyne.  She admits very e a r l y in  the novel that she i s "no angel" (p. 19); moreover, unlike the t r a d i t i o n a l comic heroine, she i s c e r t a i n l y no v i r g i n e i t h e r .  In view of the repres-  sive nature of V i c t o r i a n m o r a l i t y , Thackeray i s understandably oblique in dealing with Becky's sexual conduct both before and a f t e r her marriage. The l a t e n t suggestions of her promiscuity a r e , however, numerous. we are t o l d , "had never been a g i r l was eight years o l d " (p. 21).  Becky,  . . . she had been a woman since she  We learn of her a f f a i r with Reverend Crisp  while she i s s t i l l at Miss Pinkerton's academy—an a f f a i r which Thackeray implies was not a completely innocent one.  As Becky and Amelia prepare  to leave Chiswick H a l l , Thackeray observes: Thus the world began for these two young l a d i e s . For Amelia i t was quite a new, f r e s h , b r i l l i a n t world, with a l l the bloom upon i t . It was not quite a new one for Rebecca--(indeed, i f the t r u t h must be t o l d with respect to the C r i s p a f f a i r , the tart-woman hinted to somebody, who took an a f f i d a v i t of the f a c t to somebody e l s e , that there  184 was a great deal more than was made public regarding Mr. C r i s p and Miss Sharp . . . ) . But who can t e l l you the real t r u t h of the matter? At a l l events, i f Rebecca was not beginning the world, she was beginning i t over again, (pp. 23-24) And i f the above passage were not s u f f i c i e n t l y pointed in i t s innuendo, Thackeray some four hundred pages l a t e r has Becky r e f l e c t upon "her own youth and the dark secrets of those e a r l y tainted days" (p. 403). About her sexual career a f t e r the d i s s o l u t i o n of her marriage, there i s even l e s s ambiguity.  Becky, we l e a r n , "was very respectable and  orderly at f i r s t , but the l i f e of humdrum v i r t u e grew u t t e r l y tedious to her before long" (p. 622).  Although Thackeray i s again reluctant to  report the graphic d e t a i l s of Becky's moral descent, we see her gambling and d r i n k i n g , and on unpleasantly f a m i l i a r terms with the male guests in the various boarding-houses at which she stops during her r e s t l e s s journey through continental Europe.  Becky, we are t o l d at one p o i n t ,  "was a boarding-house queen" (p. 624); and Thackeray l a t e r declares that "her d i s t a s t e f o r r e s p e c t a b i l i t y grew more and more remarkable.  She be-  came a perfect Bohemian ere l o n g , herding with people whom i t would make your h a i r stand on end to meet" (p. 625). Becky's female s e x u a l i t y , then, functions as a p i v o t a l focus for both the comic and demonic aspects of her c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n .  As an embodi-  ment of the destructive feminine p r i n c i p l e which sexually entices and then.devours, Becky i s an e v i l woman. entirely unjustifiable.  Her wickedness i s , however, not  Thackeray suggests time and time again that Becky  i s not completely blameworthy.  Because she i s a woman who has neither  wealth nor s o c i a l p o s i t i o n , she i s forced to use both her i n t e l l e c t and her sexual attractiveness to survive in a world that values the  185 appearances of s o c i a l prominence and affluence above a l l e l s e .  And i t  is  her s k i l l at making use of her native resources that allows her to play the game of appearances so admirably.  In other words, Becky's manifes-  t a t i o n of the wiles of feminine e v i l generates an ambivalent readerresponse toward her--a response which K e t t l e has perceptively e l u c i d a t e d : Becky, l i k e Moll and C l a r i s s a and Sophia (each a f t e r her own fashion) before her, r e b e l s . She w i l l not submit to perpetual slavery and humiliation w i t h i n the governess trade. And so she uses consciously and s y s t e m a t i c a l l y a l l the men's weapons plus her one natural material a s s e t , her sex, to storm the men's world. And the consequence i s of course morally degrading and she i s a bad woman a l l r i g h t . But she gains our sympathy nevertheless . . . and she too gains i t not in s p i t e but because of her r e b e l l i o n . i l S i m i l a r l y , Becky in her r o l e as comic heroine again evokes a cont r a d i c t o r y set of responses.  She i s both regenerative and deleterious  toward human r e l a t i o n s h i p s ; she r e c o n c i l e s as well as destroys.  Despite  her respective betrayals of both Rawdon and Amelia, she has ultimately a regenerative e f f e c t on both characters.  As a r e s u l t of his marriage to  Becky, Rawdon undergoes a r a d i c a l transformation from an unprincipled gambler and coarse braggart to a generous, s e l f l e s s , and tender-hearted husband and f a t h e r .  S i m i l a r l y , although she has been s e l f i s h l y c r u e l ,  s p i t e f u l and manipulative toward Amelia, she i s also capable of educating her by revealing George's i n f i d e l i t y and d e c e i t , thereby shattering Amelia's s e l f - i n d u l g e n t i l l u s i o n s .  Moreover, i t i s Becky's presence in  Pumpernickel near the end of the novel which provokes the a l t e r c a t i o n between Dobbin and Amelia, a dramatic confrontation which ultimately leads each of them to a sense of c l a r i f i c a t i o n and a loss of s e l f - d e c e p t i o n , and paves the way f o r t h e i r eventual r e c o n c i l i a t i o n .  In t h i s way, then,  i t i s Becky's unconventional f u l f i l l m e n t of the r o l e of comic heroine  186 that i s responsible f o r bringing about the marriage of the two protagoni s t s , a union symbolic of the comic forces of f e r t i l i t y , concord, and r e integration. Becky's sexual conduct, the area in which both the forces of comedy and e v i l are intertwined, also provokes mixed f e e l i n g s in the reader.  On the one hand, her seductiveness i s d e l i b e r a t e l y c a l c u l a t e d  and devoid of f e e l i n g - - a s Barbara Hardy observes: "She i s the kind of u t t e r l y s e l f - c o n t r o l l e d courtesan who feigns passion rather than f e e l s 12 it."  P a r a d o x i c a l l y , however, her promiscuity, e s p e c i a l l y a f t e r  the  d i s s o l u t i o n of her marriage, transcends a purely s o c i a l ambition and r e f l e c t s instead the elan v i t a l of a woman giving free r e i n to the expression of her sensual a p p e t i t e s .  In t h i s sense, then, although Becky's  loose sexual conduct i s odious, e s p e c i a l l y in the l i g h t of V i c t o r i a n m o r a l i t y , there i s another aspect of her character r e f l e c t e d here that i s in keeping with the ambiguous q u a l i t y of demonic comedy.  Like that  of the V i c e , described by Cushman as "the embodiment of worldliness and s e n s u a l i t y " who i s concerned "that humanity s h a l l give free r e i n to his 13 inclinations,"  Becky's s e x u a l i t y i s i n d i c a t i v e of a kind of j o i e de  v i v r e , a celebration of the natural l i f e of the i n s t i n c t s . Perhaps Becky's sexual v i t a l i t y i s most dramatically rendered in the b r i e f but s i g n i f i c a n t scene which takes place between her and Joseph Sedley at the Elephant H o t e l , an establishment of decidedly low repute. Joseph has been searching for Becky's room when he observes a young d i s solute student "bawling through the keyhole supplications to the person within."  As soon as Becky hears Joseph's v o i c e , she opens the door:  187 Becky's l i t t l e head peeped out, f u l l of archness and mischief. She l i g h t e d on Jos--' " I t ' s y o u , " she s a i d , coming out. "How I have been waiting for you! Stop! not y e t - - i n one minute you s h a l l come i n . " In that instant she put a rouge-pot, a brandy b o t t l e , and a plate of broken meat into the bed, gave one smooth to her h a i r , and f i n a l l y let in h e r ' v i s i t o r . (p. 631) In t h i s scene the c a r n i v a l images of i n s t i n c t u a l release—the eating and drinking and love-making which the Master of the Performance has promised in his d e s c r i p t i o n of the " F a i r " in the Prologue—come together in the symbolic overtones of the plate of c o l d meat, the brandy b o t t l e , and, of 14 course, the bed.  Becky begins to t e l l Joseph her t a l e of woe and i s so  overcome with g r i e f and despair that she buries her face in the bedclothes. The brandy-bottle i n s i d e c l i n k e d up against the plate which held the cold sausage . . . And she began forthwith to t e l l her story—a t a l e so neat, simple, and a r t l e s s , that i t was quite evident, from hearing her, that i f ever there was a white-robed angel escaped from heaven to be subject to the i n f e r n a l machinations and v i l l a n y of fiends here below, that spotless being—that miserable, u n s u l l i e d m a r t y r was present on the bed before Jos—.on the bedy s i t t i n g o n the brandy-bottle, (p. 633) ;  Apparent i n the above passage i s a condensation of a number of the patterns we have encountered before in our examination of the d i s t i n g u i s h i n g c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the comic-demonic f i g u r e .  In the f i r s t p l a c e , the  comedy of the s i t u a t i o n derives from the topsyturvy s p i r i t of i n v e r s i o n . The scene functions upon two 1evels--the"appearance, that i s , what Joseph Sedley perceives to be Becky's c o n d i t i o n , and the r e a l i t y , which i s , in f a c t , a d i r e c t inversion of what Becky appears to be.  Far from being "a  white-robed angel" or an " u n s u l l i e d martyr" v i c t i m i z e d by the " i n f e r n a l machinations" of the fiends of h e l l , Becky h e r s e l f i s a member of the d e v i l ' s party who i s about to lure another v i c t i m into the snares of h e l l . Moreover, the re-appearance of the images of the brandy b o t t l e , the plate  188 of meat and the ubiquitous bed (to which Thackeray emphatically refers twice in the f i n a l l i n e ) not only undercuts Becky's professions of unt a i n t e d v i r t u e and innocence, but also re-affirms the f e s t i v e celebration of the sensual appetites inherent in the V i c e - r o l e .  And f i n a l l y ,  the  e n t i r e scene i s at once reprehensibly sordid and supremely funny, again i n v i t i n g in the reader an uneasy ambivalent response. Although Becky's comic-demonic ambiguity i s enhanced by the f a c t that she i s a woman, she r e f l e c t s the double-visaged temperament of the Vice figure i n several other respects.  Throughout the novel she mani-  f e s t s the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c V i c e - l i k e a t t r i b u t e of i n d i f f e r e n c e .  Devoid of  the capacity to love any other human being but h e r s e l f , Becky i s "by no means so much interested about anybody's welfare as about her own" (p. 650).  Like Volpone, she i s not morally committed to the bonds of mar-  r i a g e , c h i l d r e n , or f r i e n d s .  She c r u e l l y f l i r t s with George in order to  s p i t e Amelia who has always been a generous f r i e n d toward her.  She con-  nives to leave her devoted husband in the spunging-house rather than use her ample funds to release him, so that she can spend the evening i n a t e t e - a - t e t e with Lord Steyne.  And perhaps the most powerful example  of her lack of f e e l i n g i s her cold-hearted i n s e n s i b i l i t y toward c h i l d r e n , including a d i s p l a y of "the most utmost i n d i f f e r e n c e " (p. 502) toward her own son: "She spurned c h i l d r e n and c h i l d r e n - l o v e r s .  'I  have no taste  for bread and b u t t e r , ' she would say" (p. 442). Concomitant with t h i s a t t i t u d e of i n d i f f e r e n c e i s her manifestat i o n of the amorality of the comic-demonic f i g u r e .  As previously sug-  gested, Becky's wicked machinations are combined with actions which a r e ,  189 in some respects, beneficent as w e l l .  Like that of the V i c e , Becky's  e s s e n t i a l amorality i s represented in the f a c t that she does both good and e v i l haphazardly.  We are reminded in p a r t i c u l a r of the Vices Hap-  hazard i n Appius and V i r g i n i a and Courage in The Tide T a r r i e t h No Man, both of whom are f o r t u i t o u s agents of good as well as e v i l , both of whose actions are extraneous to the laws of any moral code.  It i s i n t e r -  esting that Courage's d e s c r i p t i o n of his own amorality can be applied with equal p r e c i s i o n to the character of Becky Sharp: Now may you see how Courage can work And how he can encourage both to good and bad Thus you may see Courage contagious And eke contrarious--both i n me do r e s t . For I, of k i n d , am always various And change as to my mind seemeth best. (Schell and Shuchter, p. 331) Becky, too, i s both "contagious" and " c o n t r a r i o u s , " a t t r a c t i v e and subvers i v e , an a r b i t r a r y proponent of e i t h e r good or bad.  Similarly,  like  Courage and several other of the morality V i c e s , and F a l s t a f f and Volpone as w e l l , Becky i s "always v a r i o u s " ; she r e f l e c t s the Protean a b i l i t y change her appearance when i t i s to her own advantage.  to  Through her i n o r -  dinate s k i l l at d i s s i m u l a t i o n , she manages to insinuate h e r s e l f into the good graces of almost everyone with whom she comes in contact,  including  both the elder and younger S i r P i t t , Lady Crawley, B r i g g s , Joseph, Lord 15 Steyne and anyone else who can be of service to her. Becky i s a magnificent a r t i f i c e r :  Like Volpone,  she i s "an a r t i s t h e r s e l f " (p. 488),  a "splendid a c t r e s s " (p. 506), a "comedian," a "consummate tragedian" (p. 639) who has a tremendous f l a i r f o r dramatic performance.  That Thackeray  c o n t i n u a l l y portrays her posing and miming, e f f o r t l e s s l y moving from one  190 "Charade" to another, i s an i n d i c a t i o n of both her chameleon-like a b i l i t y to change shapes and her e s s e n t i a l ambiguity which makes i t  impossible  ever to pin her down or define her. Moreover, Becky's t a l e n t f o r acting and performing provides another l i n k with the metaphor of the f a i r which underlies the novel.  At  one point she admits to the boredom and s t i f l i n g monotony she experiences in her l i f e of s o c i a l r e s p e c t a b i l i t y : '"I said to h e r s e l f . . .  wish I were out of i t , '  she  'Oh how much gayer i t would be to wear spangles and  trowsers and dance before a booth at a f a i r ' "  (p. 487).  Although she pro-  fesses a f e e l i n g of ennui at t h i s p o i n t , dancing before a booth at the f a i r i s exactly what Becky does throughout the novel.  Her dancing, s i n g -  i n g , miming, and charades serve to transport the topsyturvy carnival realm to the world of fashionable London s o c i e t y .  Like F a l s t a f f , she functions  as a kind of monarch of misrule--both characters bring the forces of comic-demonic release to the c o u r t , F a l s t a f f when he dons his mock-crown and scepter at the Boar's Head Tavern, and Becky when she i s presented to the King d e r i s i v e l y bedecked in stolen lace and brocade.  It  i s also s i g -  n i f i c a n t that the culmination of Becky's acting career i s achieved in her portrayal of the r o l e of Queen Clytemnestra, who as murderess and a d u l tress i s c e r t a i n l y a f i t t i n g embodiment of demonic m i s r u l e .  The comic  overtones of Becky's m i s r u l e , although not d i r e c t l y d i s c e r n i b l e in the actual performance, are r e f l e c t e d in Lord Steyne's pun at the conclusion of the charade--"Mrs. Rawdon Crawley was quite k i l l i n g in the part"  (p.  494)--a pun which reverberates both comically and demonically at l a t e r points in the novel when Becky's adulterous l i a i s o n with Lord Steyne and  191 her murder of Joseph Sedley are rather pointedly insinuated. The f a c t that Becky voices the d e s i r e to wear trousers as well as spangles during her performance at the f a i r i s also relevant to the comic-demonic overtones of the c a r n i v a l .  It has been previously indicated  that during a period of r i t u a l i z e d f e s t i v i t y ,  the donning of the clothes  of the opposite sex has often been licenced as representative of the breaking of a l l t r a d i t i o n a l  boundaries, including those which generally  separate the sexual categories of male and female.  Becky's comic-demonic  overturning of the t r a d i t i o n a l order of r e s p e c t a b i l i t y i n v o l v e s , at some l e v e l , the reversal of conventional sexual r o l e s .  Just as F a l s t a f f and  Volpone u l t i m a t e l y cannot be bound by the customary demarcations between male and female, so Becky symbolically dons trousers during her carnival dance through Vanity F a i r .  Her shrewd i n t e l l i g e n c e i s repeatedly compared  to that of a man--she i s complimented "upon the b r i l l i a n t way in which she did business . . . [T]here was no professional man who could beat her" (p. 357).  And on the eve of the B a t t l e of Waterloo, Thackeray pro-  fesses so much admiration for Becky's man-like s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y that he claims her as heroine of his novel: I f t h i s i s a novel without a hero, at l e a s t l e t us lay claim to a heroine. No man in the B r i t i s h army which has marched away, not the great Duke himself, could be more cool or c o l l e c t e d in the presence of doubts and d i f f i c u l t i e s , than the indomitable l i t t l e aide-decamp's w i f e . (p. 288) Becky also drinks and gambles l i k e a man.  We learn how she began  drinking gin with her father at an e a r l y age, a habit she never completely suppresses even during the period of her l i f e when she moves in the highest social c i r c l e s .  And when she takes up the Bohemian l i f e a f t e r her f a l l  192 from r e s p e c t a b i l i t y , her appreciation of the b o t t l e i s even f u r t h e r enhanced by her exhilarated passion for gambling: Here [in B r u s s e l s ] , as at P a r i s , Becky was a boarding-house queen and ruled i n s e l e c t pensions. She never refused the champagne, or the bouquets or the private boxes, but, what she preferred was the ecarte at n i g h t , - - a n d she played audaciously. F i r s t she played only for a l i t t l e , then f o r Napoleons, then for notes: then she would not be able to pay her month's pension: then she borrowed from the young gentlemen: then she got into cash again . . . and would once more take the cards against Monsieur Rossignal, or the Chevalier de Raff. (p. 624) During t h i s period in Becky's l i f e , we are reminded of the  traditional  r o l e of the Vice who, as sensual man given over to the unbridled express sion of the sensual passions, i s often represented indulging his baser i n s t i n c t s in d i n i n g , d r i n k i n g , d i c i n g , and whoring in the underworld realm of the taverns and stews.  The f a c t that Becky i s , however, a woman who  i s p a r t i c i p a t i n g in the debauchery of the underworld heightens the demonic aspects of the s i t u a t i o n as well as the p o s s i b i l i t y for comic r e lease i t provides. When Becky i s banished from high s o c i e t y , the c a r n i v a l i s not over for her.  It i s s i g n i f i c a n t that the underworld realm which i s portrayed  in the d e s c r i p t i o n of Becky's Bohemian l i f e i s almost an exact representat i o n of what the Master of the Performance has promised his audience during the Prologue to the n o v e l - - " a great quantity of eating and d r i n k i n g , making love and j i l t i n g ,  laughing and the contrary, smoking, cheating,  f i g h t i n g , dancing, and f i d d l i n g " (p. 5 ) .  And i t i s , of course, Thackeray's  purpose in the novel to reveal that the depravity of the F a i r i s contained beneath the h y p o c r i t i c a l posturings of s o - c a l l e d respectable s o c i e t y . Thus, when Lord David Cecil comments that a f t e r Becky loses her s o c i a l  193 p o s i t i o n , "she sinks to the underworld of s o c i e t y , " oversimplifying the s i t u a t i o n .  he i s , perhaps,  Becky i s of the underworld--the  carnival  realm i s her spawning ground, she being the daughter of a Bohemian a r t i s t and French o p e r a - g i r l .  In other words, she never leaves the underworld;  she merely exposes the r e a l i t y of the l i f e of the F a i r which underlies the world of appearances of fashionable London.  Becky's easy m o b i l i t y  is,  in some respects, l i k e that of F a l s t a f f who i s comfortable both i n the tavern and at a council of war with the King and highest noblemen of the land.  Both characters f u l f i l l an intermediary r o l e s i m i l a r to that of  the V i c e , who often serves as a commentator on the weakness and corruption of the t r a d i t i o n a l  s o c i a l order.  Becky, as well as F a l s t a f f ,  functions  l i k e a m i r r o r , a r e f l e c t o r of the vice which l i e s hidden beneath the appearances of v i r t u e .  Dorothy Van Ghent, in her chapter on Vanity F a i r ,  perceptively describes Becky's function as a micro-cosmic mirror of the morality of the macro-cosmic world.  According to Van Ghent, Becky " i s at  once a l l the imperatively aggressive, insanely euphoric impulses of a morally s i c k c i v i l i z a t i o n , and an i n d i v i d u a l condemnation of that c i v i l ization."  1 7  In a remarkable passage which takes place toward the end of the novel, Thackeray draws together many of the motifs we have j u s t been considering—the underworld, the c a r n i v a l , the aggressive and euphoric impulses which l i e beneath the surface of appearances, and the of masculine and feminine s e x u a l i t y .  interfusion  The passage begins with the author's  explanation of why he i s unable to r e l a t e the sordid d e t a i l s of Becky's Bohemian l i f e :  194 We must pass over a part of Mrs. Rebecca Crawley's biography with that lightness and d e l i c a c y which the world demands . . . I defy any one to say that our Becky, who has c e r t a i n l y some v i c e s , has not been presented to the public in a p e r f e c t l y genteel and inoffensive manner. In describing t h i s syren, singing and s m i l i n g , coaxing and c a j o l i n g , the author, with modest p r i d e , asks his readers a l l around, has he once forgotten the laws of politeness,and showed the monster's hideous t a i l above water? No! Those who l i k e may peep down under waves that are pretty transparent,and see i t w r i t h i n g and t w i r l i n g , d i a b o l i c a l l y hideous and s l i m y , flapping amongst bones,or c u r l i n g around corpses; but above the water l i n e , I ask, has not everything been proper, agreeable, and decorous . . . When, however, the syren disappears and dives below, down among the dead men, the water of course grows turbid over her, and i t i s labour l o s t to look into i t ever so c u r i o u s l y . They look pretty enough when they sit upon a rock, twanging t h e i r harps and combing t h e i r h a i r , and s i n g , and beckon you to come and hold the l o o k i n g - g l a s s ; but when they sink into t h e i r native element, depend on i t those mermaids are about no good, and we had best not examine the f i e n d i s h marine c a n n i b a l s , r e v e l l i n g and feasting on t h e i r wretched p i c k l e d v i c t i m s . And s o , when Becky i s out of the way, be sure that she i s not p a r t i c u l a r l y well employed, and that the less that i s said about her doings i s in f a c t the b e t t e r , (p. 617-18) This passage i s s t r i k i n g for i t s coalescence of several of the most s i g n i f i c a n t strands of imagery i n the novel.  The demonic overtones of Becky's  r o l e are focused in the d e s c r i p t i o n of her as an i n f e r n a l s i r e n , half-male and h a l f - f e m a l e , whose " t a i l " i s " d i a b o l i c a l l y hideous"; she i s represented as "a f i e n d i s h marine c a n n i b a l " whose bewitching sexual attractiveness tempts her victims to s e l f - d e s t r u c t i o n in the murky depths of the underworld.  S i m i l a r l y , the contrast between the s i r e n ' s beautiful appearance  and the grotesque r e a l i t y of what l i e s beneath the water's surface i s powerfully rendered, and the e v i l and horror of female s e x u a l i t y i s r e i t e r a t e d i n a graphic image which again connects woman, sex, and her aggressive destruction of the male.  There i s also a suggestion of the  equation of the euphoric c a r n i v a l realm and the underworld in Thackeray's d e s c r i p t i o n of the p r i m i t i v e c a n n i b a l i s t i c " r e v e l l i n g and f e a s t i n g " which takes place in the " t u r b i d " depths of the waters below.  It i s p a r t i c u l a r l y  195 s i g n i f i c a n t that the t r a d i t i o n a l  " l o o k i n g - g l a s s " of the s i r e n i s men-  t i o n e d , s a l i e n t l y pointing towards Becky's r o l e as r e f l e c t o r ; within the context of the n o v e l , she holds the mirror and a l l u r i n g l y beckons the r e s t of the world to come and glimpse the shocking r e a l i t y that both she and a l l others e x t e r n a l l y  project.  The passage i s also s t r i k i n g f o r Thackeray's unveiled expression of moral condemnation directed towards Becky. one of unmitigated abhorrence and d i s g u s t .  The f e e l i n g i t conveys i s  Becky i s represented as a  hideous and d i a b o l i c a l monster, a repulsive image of e v i l .  Yet in j u x t a -  p o s i t i o n with t h i s powerful statement of repugnance are the author's previous professions of admiration for Becky, his implied enjoyment of her marvellous sense of humour which includes the a b i l i t y to laugh even at h e r s e l f , and the f a c t that some t h i r t y chapters e a r l i e r , he has proclaimed her the heroine of the novel. Behind Thackeray's obvious ambivalence towards Becky, we once more perceive the sense of moral ambiguity evoked by the double-sided countenance of the Vice f i g u r e , the "two faces in one hood" which embody the converging forces of comedy and e v i l .  And again, as with F a l s t a f f  and Volpone, t h i s a t t i t u d e of ambivalence i s r e f l e c t e d in a body of c r i t i c a l commentary which i s divided i n i t s estimation of the v a l i d i t y of the f i n a l d i s p o s i t i o n of Becky Sharp.  Some of Vanity F a i r ' s c r i t i c s  vehemently support Becky's f a l l from s o c i a l grace, some protest that Thackeray was not hard enough on her, that he "was of Becky's party with19 out knowing i t , "  and s t i l l others feel that her punishment i s too 20 severe, that "she i s treated to something more than j u s t d e s e r t s . "  It  196 can be argued, however, that Becky's f i n a l d i s p o s i t i o n i s neither too stringent nor too l e n i e n t ; i t i s , r a t h e r , e f f e c t i v e l y ambiguous in keeping with the contradictory a t t i t u d e s that are c a l l e d f o r t h in response to the outcome of the comic-demonic f i g u r e .  We want Becky to be punished  for the e v i l she has perpetrated; y e t , on the other hand, we want her to escape for allowing us to p a r t i c i p a t e in the period of comic l i c e n c e she has provided us. A f t e r her betrayal of her husband, Becky i s cast out from eminent society very much in the t r a d i t i o n of the Vice who i s usually banished, hanged, or carted o f f to Hell at the end of the morality drama.  We f o l -  low the successive humiliations of her t r a v e l s abroad through the sordid boarding-house scene of continental Europe, her every attempt to regain some vestige of r e s p e c t a b i l i t y doomed to f a i l u r e : Whenever Becky made a l i t t l e c i r c l e for h e r s e l f with i n c r e d i b l e t o i l s and labour, someone came and swept i t down rudely and she had a l l her work to begin over again. It was very hard, lonely and disheartening, (p. 622) And a few pages l a t e r , Thackeray w r i t e s : She was, in f a c t , no better than a vagabond upon the e a r t h . When she got her money she gambled; when she had gambled i t she was put to s h i f t s to l i v e ; who knows how or by what means she succeeded? (p. 626) Becky's l i f e i s portrayed as one fraught with hardship and degradation; nevertheless, she i s able to remain emotionally unaffected by her i l l cumstances.  cir-  At the same time we learn that "she was happy enough at the  period of her boarding-house l i f e "  (p. 623), and t h a t , in f a c t , "she was  not worse now than she had been in the days of her prosperity—only a l i t t l e down on her luck" (p. 634).  Moreover, there are i n d i c a t i o n s that  not only i s Becky l i t t l e affected by her vagabond l i f e , but also she  197 a c t u a l l y t h r i v e s upon i t .  We are given a sense of her i r r e p r e s s i v e  v i t a l i t y as she wines and dines and gambles her way from one boarding house to the next; she i s , a f t e r a l l , in her "native element": Becky l i k e d the l i f e . She was at home with everybody in the p l a c e , p e d l a r s , punters, students, and a l l . She was of a w i l d , roving nature, inherited from father and mother, who were both Bohemians by taste and circumstance . . . and the general buzz and hum of the place had pleased and t i c k l e d the l i t t l e woman, even when her luck was down. (p. 631) F i n a l l y , Thackeray's d e s c r i p t i o n of Becky at the conclusion of the novel suggests that she has r i s e n considerably in s o c i a l stature since the death of Joseph Sedley, and although she i s now only on the periphery of r e s p e c t a b i l i t y , there i s an i m p l i c a t i o n that her upward m o b i l i t y i s once more in progress. prieved.  In t h i s sense then, Becky i s both punished and r e -  Although she i s doomed to be forever beginning anew, her essen-  t i a l r e s i l i e n c y and indomitable s p i r i t permit her to r i s e again cheerf u l l y whenever she i s cast down.  Like Natural I n c l i n a t i o n , the Vice in  The T r i a l of Treasure, she may be temporarily b r i d l e d , but never completely suppressed. And l e s t we think that the s i m i l a r i t i e s between the r o l e of Becky Sharp in Vanity F a i r and that of the Vice in morality drama are merely c o i n c i d e n t a l , the l a s t l i n e of the novel and Thackeray's accompanying pencil sketch quite powerfully d i s p e l l any such thoughts.  The author r e -  turns once more to the puppet-metaphor introduced in the Prologue to the n o v e l : "Come, c h i l d r e n , l e t us shut up the box and the puppets, for our own play i s played out" (p. 666).  The adjacent i l l u s t r a t i o n depicts two  c h i l d r e n about to close the l i d of the puppet-box in which, amidst a mass of i n d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e f i g u r e s , the Amelia and Dobbin puppets stand f i r m l y  198 upright, the former holding a c h i l d in her arms.  Tossed outside the box  i s the Lord Steyne puppet, who, according to the Master of the P e r f o r mance, was to be fetched away at the end of the show by Old Nick, in true morality f a s h i o n .  S i g n i f i c a n t l y , Becky i s also depicted l y i n g out-  side the box, f o r c i b l y restrained in the arms of a grinning devil puppet.  It seems c l e a r that both Becky and Lord Steyne have been excluded  from the new morally redeemed society which has c r y s t a l 1ized.around Dobbin, Amelia and t h e i r c h i l d r e n .  Like N i c h o l  Newfangle, the Vice in  Like W i l l to L i k e , both have been presumably carted o f f to Hell on the back of the d e v i l .  The f a c t that the devil-puppet i s grinning not only  provides a graphic image of the confluent forces of comedy and e v i l , but his l e e r c a r r i e s i m p l i c i t sexual overtones as w e l l , once more r e - i n f o r c i n g the connection between female s e x u a l i t y and the demonic realm.  Moreover,  the i m p l i c a t i o n i s that while i t has been r e l a t i v e l y easy to subdue the kind of depravity represented by the wicked nobleman-puppet, the b r i d l i n g of Becky's special kind of wickedness requires a f a r greater amount of e x e r t i o n , for her comic v i l l a i n y i s as a t t r a c t i v e as i t i s reprehensible. " F l e x i b l e in the j o i n t s and l i v e l y on the wire" (p. 6 ) , Becky r e f l e c t s both an essential.autonomy and a r e s i l i e n t v i t a l i t y which ultimately transcend the c o n t r o l l i n g s t r i n g s of the puppet-master, and perhaps, even those of Thackeray, himself.  We are l e f t with the impression that her  subjugation at the end of the n o v e l , l i k e that of the V i c e , can only be a temporary one, and that i t w i l l not be long before Becky i s once more adorned with spangles and clad in t r o u s e r s , e n t i c i n g l y performing her comic-demonic dance before a booth at yet another f a i r .  199 Notes f o r Chapter VII Vanity F a i r : A Novel Without a Hero, eds. Geoffrey and Kathleen T i l l o t s o n , Riverside ed. (Boston: Houghton M i f f l i n Company), 1963, p. 5. A l l subsequent page references are to t h i s e d i t i o n of the novel. "Vanity F a i r , " An Introduction to the English Novel, I (London: Hutchinson Univ. L i b r a r y ) , 1951, 159. 3 "Before the C u r t a i n , " in which t h i s reference to Becky Sharp occurs, was w r i t t e n along with the l a s t number of the s e r i a l p u b l i c a t i o n and then placed at the beginning of the novel when i t was published as a volume. 4  p. 98.  A Preface to Paradise Lost (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1942),  5  Although the d i a b o l i c a l element i s unquestionably the most pervasive in the c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of both Satan and Iago, i t i s s i g n i f i c a n t that neither r o l e i s devoid of comic overtones. See Spivack's chapters on Iago in The Allegory of E v i l (pp. 3-27, 415-53) f o r an e x c e l l e n t a n a l y s i s of both the e v i l and the g l e e f u l merriment r e f l e c t e d by t h i s character. c  Chambers uses t h i s term to describe the predominant idea of the Feast of Fools (The Medieval Stage, I, 325; also see pp. 15-17 above). 7  "The Meanings of Comedy," p. 224.  8 For an e x c e l l e n t summary of the p a r a l l e l s between Becky and Napoleon, see Russell A. F r a s e r , "Pernicious C a s u i s t r y : A Study of Character in Vanity F a i r , " Nineteenth Century F i c t i o n , XII (1957), 145 f f . 9  (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1964), pp. 79-95.  ^ Northrop Frye, A Natural Perspective: The Development of Shakespearean Comedy and Romance (New York: Columbia Univ. P r e s s ) , p. 83. 1 1  "Vanity F a i r , " An Introduction to the English Novel, p. 164.  12 The Exposure of Luxury: Radical Themes in Thackeray (London: Peter Oiven L t d . , 1972), p. 79. 13 Cushman, p. 91. 14 It i s also s i g n i f i c a n t that Thackeray uses the metaphor of the F a i r in his d e s c r i p t i o n o f ' t h e top f l o o r of the Elephant H o t e l , "where among students,bagmen, small tradesmen, and country folks,come in for the  200 f e s t i v a l [Prince P o l o n i a ' s renowned evening entertainments], Becky had found a l i t t l e nest" (p. 630). 15  P r a c t i c a l l y the only character of s i g n i f i c a n c e who i s not deceived by Becky's d i s s i m u l a t i o n i s Dobbin. Her a t t i t u d e toward Dobbin i s , however, i l l u s t r a t i v e of her amoral i n d i f f e r e n c e to the categories of good or e v i l . Although she recognizes him as an enemy, she openly admires him and, according to Thackeray "bore him no rancour for the part he had taken against her" (p. 648). In f a c t , she goes out of her way to commend him to Amelia, even though in t h i s case her a t t i t u d e i s surely one of d i s i n t e r e s t since she has nothing to g a i n . Early V i c t o r i a n Novelists (London: Constable and C o . , 1945),  p. 80.  "On Vanity F a i r , " in The English Novel: Form and Function (New York: Harper and Row, 1953), p. 152. 1 7  18  Hays i n The Dangerous Sex explains that the male fear of female s e x u a l i t y i s often dramatized in fantasies of the menacing p h a l l i c woman "whose organ contains the snake which may b i t e and c a s t r a t e " (p. 94). One of the l i t e r a r y examples Hays c i t e s i s M i l t o n ' s d e s c r i p t i o n in Paradise Lost of the female f i g u r e named Sin who s i t s at the gates of H e l l . This f i g u r e - - a beautiful woman from the waist up, the lower half of her body in the form of a serpent endowed with a l e t h a l s t i n g - - i s in many respects s i m i l a r to Thackeray's female siren-demon. 19 Gordon Ray, Thackeray: The Uses of Adversity (1811-1846) (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1955), p. 424. 20 Russell A. Fraser, "Pernicious C a s u i s t r y : A Study of Character in Vanity F a i r , " Nineteenth Century F i c t i o n , XII (1957), 141.  Chapter VIII THE CHILD AND THE CLOWN-DEMON—FATHERS AND CHILDREN IN OLIVER TWIST AND THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP Almost everyone who has w r i t t e n about e i t h e r O l i v e r Twist or The Old C u r i o s i t y Shop has observed that the most i n t e r e s t i n g and v i t a l  parts  of each novel are those which depict the hidden and private world of e v i l , darkness, c r i m i n a l i t y , and dream.  According to Arnold K e t t l e , the  power of O l i v e r Twist "proceeds from the wonderful evocation of the underworld and the engagement of our sympathies on behalf of the of that w o r l d , "  1  inhabitants  while Mark S p i l k a , describing Qui 1p in The Old C u r i o s i t y  Shop as Dickens' "greatest comic v i l l a i n , " not only finds t h i s character "more appealing, in his repulsiveness, than his v i c t i m in her goodness," but also observes that " i t  i s Qui 1p who has survived the nineteenth cen2  tury as the n o v e l ' s great a t t r a c t i o n . "  C e r t a i n l y , both O l i v e r Twist and  The Old C u r i o s i t y Shop o r i g i n a t e d in a s i m i l a r purpose, that which Dickens expressed i n a passage subsequently cut from the Preface to the e a r l i e r novel; there he explains that i n O l i v e r he "wished to show . . . the p r i n c i p l e of Good surviving through every adverse circumstance, and t r i 3 umphing at l a s t . "  A s i m i l a r objective i s suggested i n the f i r s t chapter  of The Old C u r i o s i t y Shop, as Master Humphrey speculates upon l i t t l e N e l l ' s "future l i f e , holding her s o l i t a r y way among a crowd of grotesque companions; the only pure, f r e s h , youthful object in the t h r o n g "  4  (p. 13).  Both novels r e f l e c t the dramatization of the progression of the c h i l d , the symbol of natural Good, moving through a world that i s 201  thoroughly  202 e v i l and corrupt in nature. The contrast of two worlds, one of darkness and e v i l , the other of v i r t u e and l i g h t , i s i n t r i n s i c to the central atmosphere of each n o v e l , and t h i s contrast i s , in several r e s p e c t s , commensurate with a kind of Manichean v i s i o n of the universe.  As Donald Fanger has i n d i c a t e d , the  works of several nineteenth-century n o v e l i s t s are informed by a "Manichean world view" which examines each man's s t r u g g l e , however obscure, in the l i g h t of the ultimate contest between good and e v i l ; and i t dramatizes t h i s framework by incarnating the opposed p r i n c i p l e s through the introduction of purely good characters (most often women and children) and, more important, characters c l e a r l y i d e n t i f i e d as d i a b o l i c a l surrogates. The former tend often to be sentimentalized p o r t r a i t s ; they tend almost always to be v i c t i m s , b e a t i f i e d by C h r i s t i a n p a s s i v i t y and r e s i g n a t i o n . The l a t t e r are a c t i v e , aggressive, predatory; and they tend to appear suprahuman, surrounded with a demonic aura and seemingly possessed of at l e a s t quasi-demonic powers.5 This world view, although not so relevant to Vanity F a i r , s t r i k i n g l y c o r responds to the f i c t i o n a l metaphor of both O l i v e r Twist and The Old C u r i o s i t y Shop; and we might also observe that an almost i d e n t i c a l contention between the forces of good and e v i l i s represented in the Psychomachia which underlies the structure of the morality play.  It i s also  s i g n i f i c a n t that the Vice of the morality t r a d i t i o n , as well as the c h i e f " d i a b o l i c a l surrogates" of Dickens' two novels, Fagin and Q u i l p , respect i v e l y , are invested with d i s t i n c t l y comic overtones.  As we are again  about to d i s c o v e r , i t i s not n e c e s s a r i l y a f a r cry from the world of medieval drama to the f i c t i o n a l world of the nineteenth century. Although i t i s u n l i k e l y that Dickens was consciously employing the old morality framework in e i t h e r O l i v e r Twist or The Old C u r i o s i t y Shop, there are in both novels echoes of P i l g r i m ' s Progress, the same  203 a l l e g o r i c a l work of prose f i c t i o n which informs so much of Vanity F a i r , and which, as previously i n d i c a t e d , was i t s e l f influenced by the morality tradition.  The o r i g i n a l s u b t i t l e of O l i v e r Twist, "The P a r i s h Boy's  Progress," i s a d i r e c t a l l u s i o n to Bunyan's work; and in The Old C u r i o s i t y Shop, Nell and her grandfather are at one point described as "the two p i l g r i m s " (p. 114), an i m p l i c i t reference that i s made quite pointed a few pages l a t e r .  As Nell looks back towards the i n d u s t r i a l  labyrinth  of London which she has l e f t behind, she i s reminded of her "old copy of the P i l g r i m ' s Progress," and turning to her grandfather, she says:  "I  f e e l as i f we were both C h r i s t i a n , and l a i d down on t h i s grass a l l  the  cares and troubles we brought with us; never to take them up again" (p. 116).  Both O l i v e r and Nell a r e , in many r e s p e c t s , on a pilgrimage towards  s a l v a t i o n , and during the course of t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l journeys, each c h i l d i s surrounded by the s e c u l a r i z e d d i a b o l i c forces of urban s o c i e t y .  nineteenth-century  In t h i s sense then, i t i s not only N e l l , but also O l i v e r ,  who "seem[s] to e x i s t in a kind of a l l e g o r y " (OCS, p. 13).  Both c h i l d -  characters are representative of the q u a l i t i e s of v i r t u e , p u r i t y , and i n c o r r u p t i b l e innocence; and both a r e , i n Fanger's words, " b e a t i f i e d by C h r i s t i a n p a s s i v i t y and r e s i g n a t i o n , " as a r e s u l t of t h e i r  victimization  by " a c t i v e , aggressive, predatory" and, moreover, s a l i e n t l y comic f i g u r e s who, despite . t h e i r secularized f o r m a l i z a t i o n a r e , nevertheless, imbued with supernaturally demonic powers. Furthermore, as the c r i t i c a l commentary would i n d i c a t e , i t  is  from the underworld realms of these demonic characters that the v i t a l i t y of each novel s p r i n g s .  As i n medieval drama, comic vice in O l i v e r Twist  204 and The Old C u r i o s i t y Shop i s i r r e p r e s s i b l e .  While the virtuous char-  acters are s t a t i c and c o l o u r l e s s i n t h e i r p u r i t y and p a s s i v i t y , Fagin and Quilp and t h e i r respective henchmen, the A r t f u l Dodger and Charley Bates, the Brasses and the dwarf's acrobatic boy, are a l l v i v i d l y a n i mated and exuberant as they conduct t h e i r e v i l i n t r i g u e s .  And once again  the i m p l i c a t i o n i s obvious that although the path of v i r t u e and suffering may be the way to moral s a l v a t i o n , the course of v i c e , from the perspect i v e of the readers' aesthetic s e n s i b i l i t i e s , i s without question the more a t t r a c t i v e and sustaining one.  Keeping t h i s f a c t in mind, we s h a l l  now turn to the underworld realms of 01iver Twist and The Old C u r i o s i t y Shop, f i r s t surveying the prototypical  comic-demonic a t t r i b u t e s embodied  in both Fagin and Q u i l p , and then suggesting how the ambiguity which governs our double-sided response to each of these clown-demons may poss i b l y reveal some additional  i n s i g h t s concerning Dickens' attempt to con-  f r o n t the ambivalences of the p a r e n t - c h i l d relationship—an area of psychological c o n f l i c t c r u c i a l in his own personal l i f e , and a central concern i n almost every one of his novels. We know from a l e t t e r he wrote to Forster in 1837, that while Dickens was working on the nineteenth chapter of O l i v e r Twist, he was simultaneously engrossed in reading Defoe's History of the D e v i l : I have had great d i f f i c u l t y in keeping my hands o f f Fagin and the rest of them i n the evenings, but as I came down for r e s t , I r e s i s t e d the temptation . . . Did you ever read (of course you have, though) Defoe's History of the Devil? What a c a p i t a l thing i t i s ! I bought i t for a couple of s h i l l i n g s yesterday morning, and have been quite absorbed i n i t ever s i n c e . o While there i s some c r i t i c a l  disagreement in determining the extent to  which Dickens was influenced by his recent reading of Defoe and the  205 extent to which he was spontaneously drawing upon the t r a d i t i o n of d e v i l l o r e which permeates Western c u l t u r e ,  7  his l e t t e r to Forster suggests  that during the composition of O l i v e r Twist, the image of the d e v i l was c l e a r l y f i x e d i n his mind.  C e r t a i n l y , Fagin i s associated with the  demonic realm at numerous points throughout the novel.  Often pictured  hovering over a f i r e , the Jew i s r e p e t i t i v e l y referred to as e i t h e r  "the  o l d 'un" or "the old gentleman," both terms frequently employed in a l l u sion to the d e v i l .  Dickens' concentration on the d e t a i l s of Fagin's  physiognomy also suggests t h i s c h a r a c t e r ' s d i a b o l i c nature.  Fagin's face  i s " v i l l a i n o u s - l o o k i n g and r e p u l s i v e " (p. 56); his f e a t u r e s , which are often d i s t o r t e d i n a "hideous" or "ghastly g r i n " (pp. 59, 145), are at one point marked by an a t t i t u d e of " d e v i l i s h a n t i c i p a t i o n " (p. 358), and at another, "wrinkled into an expression of v i l l a i n y p e r f e c t l y demoniacal" (p. 138).  Sikes shrinks away from the Jew's c o n c i l i a t o r y pat on the  shoulder, d e c l a r i n g , "Reminds me of being nabbed by the devil . . . There never was another man with such a face as yours" (p. 338).  And when  Fagin knocks at S i k e s ' door, the l a t t e r demands of the growling dog: "Don't you know the devil when he's got a great-coat on?" (p. 136). Nancy's words, Fagin i s " d e v i l  In  . . . and worse than d e v i l as he's been to  me" (p. 351), and i t i s S i k e s ' conjecture that the Jew "came s t r a i g h t o  from the old 'un without any father at a l l betwixt"  (p. 338).  Although Qui 1p i s not e x p l i c i t l y i d e n t i f i e d with the Father of E v i l as frequently as Fagin i s , the demonic aspects of the dwarf's character a r e , nevertheless, emphasized again and again i n The Old C u r i o s i t y Shop.  Acknowledged at one point as "the prime mover of the whole  206 d i a b o l i c device" (p. 604) which gives r i s e to the main action of the n o v e l , Q u i l p , as the c h i e f embodiment of malevolent energy, i s constantly " d r i v i n g people about l i k e an e v i l s p i r i t "  (p. 159).  "I r e a l l y don't  believe he's human," exclaims Mrs. Nubbles, i n reference to the dwarf's seemingly supernatural demonic powers; and Dick S w i v e l l e r , a f t e r suggesting to Quilp that the l a t t e r i s "not a choice s p i r i t , " then speculat i v e l y adds: "Devil a b i t , s i r . . . you're an e v i l s p i r i t "  (p. 239).  If y o u ' r e any s p i r i t at a l l , s i r ,  Also described as "the s l y l i t t l e  f i e n d " (p. 391) and "some f a m i l i a r demon" (p. 454), Q u i l p , l i k e Fagin, i s often represented "grinning l i k e a d e v i l " (p. 145), "with a ghastly smile" (p. 68) on his l i p s .  His t y p i c a l a t t i t u d e i s one of "gloating m a l i c i o u s -  ness" (p. 8 1 ) , an a t t i t u d e which i s p a r t i c u l a r l y o s t e n s i b l e during the times he d i a b o l i c a l l y mocks his wife and mother-in-law, and during the incident in which he tauntingly performs "a kind of demon-like dance" (p. 228) around the kennel of a ferocious dog. Both Fagin and Quilp r e f l e c t as well several a t t r i b u t e s charact e r i s t i c of the t r a d i t i o n a l V i c e - r o l e .  Like the morality V i c e , both are  tempters and schemers, and i n t h e i r respective r e l a t i o n s h i p s to O l i v e r and N e l l , Fagin and Quilp function w i t h i n the t r a d i t i o n a l acting as aged corrupters towards youthful  innocence.  pattern of  The f i r s t words  Dickens employs to introduce each v i l l a i n suggest an advancement in years - - F a g i n i s described "as a very o l d s h r i v e l l e d Jew" (p. 57), while Quilp i s presented as "an e l d e r l y man of remarkably hard features and f o r b i d ding aspect" (p. 65). volve  S i m i l a r l y , the temptation aspects of each r o l e r e -  around what Spivackcal1s an "act of s e d u c t i o n . "  For Spivack,  207 the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c stratagem whereby the Vice achieves his purpose i s a v i v i d stage metaphor f o r the s l y i n s i n u a t i o n of moral e v i l into the human breast. For i t s consummation he d i s p l a y s himself as an a r t i s t in persuasion who d e f t l y manipulates his v i c t i m out of his virtuous i n c l i n a t i o n and turns him about in the d i r e c t i o n of his r u i n . 9 Fagin attempts to lure O l i v e r into the realm of e v i l by o f f e r i n g him food, s h e l t e r , and a sense of community w i t h i n the t h i e v e s ' den.  Fagin's  "act of seduction" i s centered upon his perception of O l i v e r ' s e x i s t e n tial  i s o l a t i o n , his being cut o f f from the nurturing guidance, protec-  t i o n , and companionship of both family and f r i e n d s .  As the Jew remarks  to S i k e s : "Once l e t him f e e l that he i s one of us; once f i l l that he has been a t h i e f , and he's ours!  his mind  Ours f o r l i f e " (p. 141).  It  is  not enough for Fagin to capture and imprison O l i v e r ; i t i s rather his purpose to remove from the boy any chance of s a l v a t i o n .  In f a c t , Dickens'  use w i t h i n the novel of an i d e n t i f i a b l e "metaphor f o r the s l y insinuation of moral e v i l into the human breast" makes Fagin's V i c e - l i k e r o l e quite e x p l i c i t : "In s h o r t , the w i l y o l d Jew had the boy in his t o i l s .  Having  prepared his mind, by s o l i t u d e and gloom, to prefer any society to the companionship of his own sad thoughts i n such a dreary p l a c e , he was now slowly i n s t i l l i n g into his soul the poison which he hoped would blacken i t and change i t s hue forever" (p. 134). Qui 1p functions in a s i m i l a r manner towards both l i t t l e Nell and Dick S w i v e l l e r in The Old C u r i o s i t y Shop.  With his o f f e r of d r i n k ,  f r i e n d s h i p , parental p r o t e c t i o n , and a potential fortune in gold and s i l v e r , Qui 1p i s successful in his attempt "to insinuate himself into Richard S w i v e l l e r ' s confidence" (p. 173). t i o n does not succeed as w e l l .  With N e l l , his act of seduc-  While Fagin's r o l e of tempter i n his  208 desire to corrupt O l i v e r may be seen as somewhat analogous to the r e l a t i o n s h i p between F a l s t a f f and Hal i n Henry IV, Q u i l p ' s temptation of l i t t l e Nell i s more along the l i n e s of Volpone's seduction of C e l i a in Jonson's play or Becky's attempt to ensnare Joseph Sedley in Vanity F a i r . In f a c t , although the sexual overtones i n The Old C u r i o s i t y Shop are l a t e n t and symbolic i n accordance with the p r o s c r i p t i o n s of V i c t o r i a n m o r a l i t y , they a r e , nevertheless, as heavily charged as the d i r e c t s t a t e ment of sexual appetite manifested in Volpone.  From Q u i l p ' s wife and  mother-in-law, we learn of the dwarf's seductive magnetism, his " c a p t i vating q u a l i t i e s " and "powers of i n s i n u a t i o n " (p. 132) in his r e l a t i o n s with the female sex.  Mrs. Quilp advises her f r i e n d s that her husband  "has such a way with him when he l i k e s , that the best looking woman here c o u l d n ' t refuse him i f I was dead and she was free and he chose to make love to her" (p. 32).  An acclaimed " l a d y ' s man" (p. 36), Quilp i s iden-  t i f i e d from the very beginning of the novel as an incarnation of d i a b o l i c a l sexual energy, and his overtures towards Nell are openly l a s c i v i o u s in nature.  He proposes marriage to her, o f f e r i n g to make her  his "number two" as soon as his present wife should d i e : "To be Mrs. Quilp the second, when Mrs. Quilp the f i r s t i s dead, sweet N e l l , " said Quilp w r i n k l i n g up his eyes and l u r i n g her towards him with his bent f o r e f i n g e r , "to be my w i f e , my l i t t l e cherrycheeked, red-lipped w i f e . Say that Mrs. Quilp l i v e s f i v e y e a r s , or only f o u r , y o u ' l l be j u s t the proper age f o r me. Ha, ha. Be a good g i r l , N e l l y , a very good g i r l , and see i f one of these days you don't come to be Mrs. Quilp of Tower H i l l . " (p. 45) The seductive q u a l i t y of Q u i l p ' s proposal i s quite obvious here as he i n v i t i n g l y " l u r e s " Nell toward him, and as he lecherously dwells on the physical d e t a i l s of her beauty.  While almost a l l of the other men in the  209 novel react to Nell e x c l u s i v e l y on the basis of her s p i r i t u a l  purity,  Qui 1p i s the only one who acknowledges the f a c t that she has a body.  He  constantly refers to her in immodestly sensual terms, describing her as "chubby, r o s y , cosy l i t t l e N e l l " and "a f r e s h , blooming, modest l i t t l e bud," h i s suggestive words of endearment becoming even more prurient as he simultaneously "nurs[es] his short l e g " in a l a t e n t l y obscene manner (p. 73).  Q u i l p ' s demonic e r o t i c i s m i s , in f a c t , the p r o p e l l i n g force be-  hind l i t t l e N e l l ' s f l i g h t from the inferno of the c i t y , and we w i l l return to a more d e t a i l e d examination of the sexual overtones of that f l i g h t when we discuss Dickens' portrayal of the comic-demonic f i g u r e i n The Old C u r i o s i t y Shop as a lecherous f a t h e r - f i g u r e .  It i s  sufficient  at t h i s point to observe that Q u i l p ' s V i c e - l i k e temptation of Nell moves in the d i r e c t i o n of sexual seduction, and that i t has a purpose s i m i l a r to F a g i n ' s r o l e as tempter in O l i v e r Twist; both characters attempt to poison and corrupt the p u r i t y and innocence of the youthful  representative  of v i r t u e in each novel. It i s also s i g n i f i c a n t that both Fagin and Qui 1p dwell i n the demonic underworld regions; they are both represented as subterranean and r e p t i l i a n creatures—Fagin i s described as a "loathsome r e p t i l e " (OT, p. 135), Qui 1p, as a "Salamander" (OCS, p. 173)--and both have a "den of v i l l a i n y " comparable to that of the magnifico in Volpone.  In 01iver  Twist, Dickens portrays an underworld i n many respects s i m i l a r to that of the secularized version of h e l l in the m o r a l i t i e s .  It i s the world of  the tavern and the stews, of c r i m i n a l i t y and the gallows.  We learn that  Nancy's l i f e "had been squandered in the s t r e e t s and among the most  210 noisome of the stews and dens of London" (p. 301).  The l a t t e r are the  dens which harbour the t h i e v e s ' society in the depths of London's slums, "the foul and frowsy dens" where, as Dickens explains in the Preface, " v i c e i s c l o s e l y packed and lacks the room to turn" (p. x v i ) .  These dens  are only a c c e s s i b l e through "a l a b y r i n t h of dark narrow courts" (p. 108), and at the center of the l a b y r i n t h we f i n d Fagin, perpetually over a d u l l smokey f i r e "  (p. 178).  "brooding  Fagin moves more than once during  the course of the novel in order to dodge e i t h e r the law or the vengeful criminal element, but wherever he sets up his " i n f e r n a l den" (p. 194), i t i s in a series of s q u a l i d , dark rooms which have a d i s t i n c t l y  subter-  ranean q u a l i t y even though they are always situated at the top of winding f l i g h t s of d i m l y - l i t  stairs.  The atmosphere of the i n f e r n a l  underworld  c r y s t a l l i z e d around Fagin i s most g r a p h i c a l l y rendered in a passage in which Dickens describes the Jew "emerg[ing] from his den": The mud lay t h i c k upon the stones and a black mist hung over the s t r e e t s : the r a i n f e l l s l u g g i s h l y down, and everything f e l t cold and clammy to the touch. It seemed j u s t the night when i t b e f i t t e d such a being as the Jew to be abroad. As he glided s t e a l t h i l y along, creeping beneath the s h e l t e r of walls and doorways, the hideous o l d man seemed l i k e some loathsome r e p t i l e , engendered in the slime and darkness through which he moved: crawling f o r t h by night, in search of some r i c h o f f a l f o r a meal. (p. 135) Just as Fagin seems "engendered in the slime and darkness" of-the demonic subterranean regions, Quilp i s described as "looking l i k e the e v i l genius ;  of the c e l l a r s come from underground upon some work of mischief" (OCS, p. 356).  Like Fagin, he too has an " i n f e r n a l den" (p. 497) where he sleeps  "amidst the congenial accompaniments of r a i n , mud, d i r t , damp, fog and r a t s " (p. 379).  Bachelor H a l l , as i t i s c a l l e d , i s s i m i l a r l y associated  with images of infernal f i r e .  The chimney i s erected so as to prevent  211 the smoke from the f i r e - p l a c e from leaving the i n s i d e of the den: " i n the midst of t h i s atmosphere, which must have i n f a l l i b l y smothered any other man," Q u i l p , we are t o l d , passed his evenings with great c h e e r f u l ness, smoking his pipe " u n t i l nothing of him was v i s i b l e through the mist  but a p a i r of red and highly inflamed eyes" (p. 377).  He also  f i n d s solace i n Bachelor H a l l by drinking what he refers to as "melted lead and brimstone" (p. 463)--a powerful whiskey, the e f f e c t of which i s to make him even "more f i e r y and f u r i o u s , and [to]  heat his malice and  mischievousness t i l l they b o i l " (p. 459). The s i n i s t e r , demonic q u a l i t i e s of Fagin and Q u i l p ' s dens of v i l l a i n y a r e , however, somewhat mitigated by an i r r e p r e s s i b l e comic v i t a l i t y which i s also contained within the walls of t h e i r respective abodes.  Not only i s O l i v e r abundantly fed f o r the f i r s t time i n the  novel when he enters Fagin's den, but i t i s here that he laughs f o r the f i r s t time as w e l l .  Juxtaposed to F a g i n ' s representation as a "loathsome  r e p t i l e " i s his r o l e as the " p l e a s a n t , " " p l a y f u l , " and "merry" old gentleman (pp. 61-63).  O l i v e r i s quite captivated by the s p i r i t of con-  v i v i a l i t y and camaraderie which informs the r e l a t i o n s h i p between Fagin and his boys, and he i s convulsed with laughter as he watches the "curious and uncommon game" which they play.  The game involves F a g i n ' s  t r o t t i n g back and f o r t h " i n i m i t a t i o n of the manner i n which old gentlemen walk about the s t r e e t s , " while two of the boys s t e a l t h i l y follow him and attempt to divest him of his valuables.  Fagin performs his part  "in  such a very funny and natural manner that O l i v e r laughed t i l l the tears ran down his face" (p. 62).  The comedy of t h i s scene i s demonically  212 subversive of t r a d i t i o n a l morality at the same time as i t i s regenerative. O l i v e r and the reader p a r t i c i p a t e in a Hobbesian expression of amused s u p e r i o r i t y toward the r i c h c l a s s made to look r i d i c u l o u s and i n e f f e c t u a l through Fagin's c l e v e r parody.  And by j o i n i n g in the t h i e v e s ' aggressive  laughter directed against the honest old gentleman, we, as well as O l i v e r , become momentarily i d e n t i f i e d with the criminal forces of the underworld.  At the same time, the laughter which i s c a l l e d f o r t h i n  O l i v e r i s i n d i c a t i v e of a resurgent f e e l i n g of community; for almost the f i r s t time in his l i f e , the orphan has experienced a sense of belonging, s e c u r i t y , and freedom from oppression.  It i s , t h e r e f o r e , not s u r p r i s i n g  that l a t e r on in the n o v e l , even a f t e r he has been recaptured by Fagin and confined in a dark, s o l i t a r y room, O l i v e r again cannot prevent hims e l f from laughing at the Jew's waggish sense of humour: Fagin t e l l s the boy s t o r i e s of past robberies "mixed up with so much that was d r o l l and c u r i o u s , that O l i v e r could not help laughing h e a r t i l y , and showing that he was amused in s p i t e of a l l his better f e e l i n g s " (p. 134).  Despite  the repulsive appearance of the old man and the i n s i d i o u s q u a l i t y of the e v i l he perpetuates, Fagin i s an exceedingly a t t r a c t i v e character. S p i l k a has i n d i c a t e d , i t  As  i s the Jew's comic b r i l l i a n c e , his " r e v e l a t i o n  of l i f e where l i f e can scarcely f l o u r i s h , " that determines our l a s t i n g impression of him: Here in the dark, foul den of thieves and p r o s t i t u t e s , a greasy Jew i s dancing! This i s what remains with us, long a f t e r we have f o r gotten F a g i n ' s b e s t i a l i t y . The l i f e , the imagination, the cleverness of the old man, shines f o r t h from beneath his matted h a i r ; and l i k e so many of Dickens' v i l l a i n s , he captivates u s J O Quilp i s another one of Dickens' c a p t i v a t i n g v i l l a i n s , and l i k e  213 Fagin, he i s a t t r a c t i v e as a r e s u l t of what Brass c a l l s "a most amazing vein  of c o m i c a l i t y " (OCS, p. 460).  It i s s i g n i f i c a n t that Brass chooses  thus to describe the dwarf's sense of humour a f t e r being greeted by a powerful stream of i n v e c t i v e upon knocking at the door of Bachelor Hall - - Q u i l p ' s c o m i c a l i t y i s "amazing" p a r t i c u l a r l y with respect to v i o l e n t l y aggressive d i s p o s i t i o n .  its  Fagin's comedy of aggression i s mild  in comparison with that of his comic-demonic counterpart in The Old C u r i o s i t y Shop.  Like the conventional V i c e , Qui 1p d e l i g h t s in  torturing  his v i c t i m s ; he derives malicious glee from keeping a l l those around him " i n a constant state of restlessness and a g i t a t i o n " (p. 377).  He torments  his mother-in-law to d i s t r a c t i o n , and he never passes up the opportunity e i t h e r to b i t e his wife or to i n f l i c t pinches on her arms  which, as we  learn, "were seldom f r e e from the impressions of his f i n g e r s i n black and blue colours" (p. 156).  When Mrs. Qui 1p at one point asks him how he  could be so c r u e l , he d e r i s i v e l y mocks her: "How could I be so c r u e l ! c r u e l ! " c r i e d the dwarf. "Because I was i n the humour. I'm in the humour now. I s h a l l be cruel when I l i k e . " (p. 371) Q u i l p ' s comic f o r t e i s unequivocally the humour of c r u e l t y .  On his way  home a f t e r having been i n e x p l i c a b l y absent for three days, he entertains himself with v i s i o n s of his w i f e ' s fears for his s a f e t y .  Deciding that  she i s probably f a i n t i n g constantly in g r i e f and t e r r o r , he expresses his pleasure in shrieks of demonic m i r t h : This facetious p o s s i b i l i t y was so congenial to the dwarf's humour, and so e x q u i s i t e l y amusing to him, that he laughed as he went along u n t i l the tears ran down his cheeks; and more than once . . . vented his d e l i g h t in a s h r i l l scream, which g r e a t l y t e r r i f y i n g any lonely passenger, who happened to be walking on before him expecting nothing so l i t t l e , increased his m i r t h , and made him remarkably cheerful and 1ighthearted. (p. 364)  214 Q u i l p , moreover, i s always represented as being engaged in some form of sensual g r a t i f i c a t i o n .  As an embodiment of the sensual man given  over to the expression of the baser l i f e of the i n s t i n c t s , the dwarf takes t h i s aspect of the V i c e - r o l e to i t s most exuberant and v i o l e n t extreme.  Described as a " f i r e - p r o o f man" (p. 173), he smokes odious  tobacco and drinks alcohol of an i n t o l e r a b l y f i e r y i n t e n s i t y , and " i n the uproarious h o s p i t a l i t y "  of his den, he forces Dick and the Brasses  on separate occasions to j o i n him, t h e i r comic discomfiture only serving to enhance his "boisterous merriment"  (p. 382).  His dining habits are no  l e s s sensually r i o t o u s : He ate hard eggs, s h e l l and a l l , devoured g i g a n t i c prawns with the heads and t a i l s on, chewed tobacco and water-cresses at the same time and with extraordinary greediness, drank b o i l i n g tea without winking, b i t his fork and spoon t i l l they bent again, (p. 40) The dwarf's expression of his sexual appetite i s also aggressively comic as in the scene where he forces Mrs. Quilp to remain awake, seated beside him f o r the e n t i r e night i n case he wants her.  Gabriel Pearson has  pointed out the p h a l l i c symbolism of the "deep f i e r y red" end of Q u i l p ' s c i g a r i n t h i s scene in which the dwarf informs his wife that he i s " i n a smoking humour and s h a l l probably blaze away a l l n i g h t "  1 1  (p. 37).  l a r l y , there i s also a scene in the novel which r e f l e c t s quite  Simi-  saliently  Q u i l p ' s malevolent desire to d e f i l e l i t t l e N e l l , a scene which i s b r i l l i a n t in i t s condensation of the precarious balance between  horrified  outrage and laughter which characterizes our response to demonic comedy at i t s best.  It takes place a f t e r Quilp has appropriated the C u r i o s i t y  Shop and, accompanied by Brass, his legal a d v i s o r , has set up his quarters in l i t t l e N e l l ' s room.  When Nell enters to gather up a few of her  215 possessions, the dwarf addresses her in an o f f e n s i v e l y salacious manner: "What a pretty l i t t l e N e l l ! " c r i e d Q u i l p . "Oh b e a u t i f u l , s i r , beautiful indeed," said Brass. "Quite charming." "Has she come to s i t upon Q u i l p ' s knee," said the dwarf i n what he meant to be a soothing tone, "or i s she going to bed i n her own l i t t l e room i n s i d e here—which i s poor Nelly going to do?" "What a remarkably pleasant way he has with c h i l d r e n ! " muttered Brass, as i f in confidence between himself and the c e i l i n g , "upon my word, i t ' s quite a t r e a t to hear him!" (p. 86) The distancing mechanism provided by Brass' offhand remark serves to explode the heightened anxiety evoked in the reader by Q u i l p ' s asking Nell to choose between two equally opprobrious o p t i o n s , and the tension i s discharged in the response of laughter.  Brass' comment i s funny f o r two  reasons: i n the f i r s t p l a c e , his apprehension of the meaning of the s i t u ation i s a comic inversion of i t s r e a l i t y — Q u i l p , rather than having a pleasant way with c h i l d r e n , has revealed himself to be a perverse, lecherous old man—and secondly, i t r e f l e c t s Brass  1  dim-witted s t u p i d i t y  which makes him unable to d i s t i n g u i s h the innocent form of Q u i l p ' s i n v i t a t i o n from i t s l a t e n t , l a s c i v i o u s content.  Our laughter at Brass'  s t u p i d i t y also serves to camouflage the laughter of v i c a r i o u s sexual l i b e r a t i o n that we are allowed to express in face of the threatened v i o l a t i o n of N e l l ' s p u r i t y .  In other words, Dickens here l e t s us o f f  the  hook, so to speak, and, as a r e s u l t , we do not experience the g u i l t we would otherwise feel f o r condoning Q u i l p ' s morally subversive proposal. Both Fagin and Q u i l p , then, are invested with comic as well as demonic overtones, and i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g that both f i g u r e s , in many r e spects, r e c a l l the exuberant v i t a l i t y manifested by the comic-demonic characters in medieval drama.  Q u i l p , according to G. K. Chesterton, " i s  216 p r e c i s e l y the d e v i l of the Middle Ages; he belongs to that amazingly 12 healthy period when even l o s t s p i r i t s were h i l a r i o u s . "  Chesterton's  observations are supported by a number of passages i n The Old C u r i o s i t y Shop.  The dwarf's roars of malevolent d e l i g h t - - t h e  " h a , ha, h a ! " which  pervades the novel--are evocative of the i n f e r n a l bellows of laughter of both the d e v i l and the Vice of the miracles and the m o r a l i t i e s , and Dickens, at one p o i n t , s p e c i f i c a l l y associates t h i s roaring with "laughing l i k e a f i e n d " (p. 414).  S i m i l a r l y , Q u i l p ' s synthesis of the forces  of comedy and e v i l i s p a r t i c u l a r l y evident in the scene in which Mrs. Nubbles i s v i c t i m i z e d by the dwarf's uproarious s e r i e s of "ingenious t o r t u r e s " during the coach ride back to London: [Mrs. Nubbles'] s o l i t a r y condition enabled him to t e r r i f y her with many extraordinary annoyances; such as hanging over the side of the coach at the r i s k of his l i f e , and s t a r i n g i n with his great goggle eyes, which seemed in hers the more h o r r i b l e from his face being upside down; dodging her i n t h i s way from one window to another; getting nimbly down whenever they changed horses and thrusting his head in at the window with a dismal squint: which ingenious tortures had such an e f f e c t upon Mrs. Nubbles, that she was quite unable f o r the time to r e s i s t the b e l i e f that Mr. Quilp did in his own person represent that E v i l Power, who was so vigorously attacked at L i t t l e B e t h e l , and who . . . was now frolicsome and rampant, (p. 361) Fagin, as w e l l , i s associated with the frolicsome and rampant q u a l i t y of the e v i l personages in medieval drama.  The Jew's "matted red h a i r "  (p.  57) i d e n t i f i e s him with the d e v i l as well as the Jewish character of the m i r a c l e s , both of whom c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y wore a f i e r y red wig.  Accord-  ing to M. F. Modder, the drama of the Middle Ages represented the Jewish characters as "comic types to be derided, hissed at and generally r i d i 13 culed"  i n much the same way as the d e v i l was mockingly v i l i f i e d .  This  process can be seen p a r t i c u l a r l y in the treatment of Judas, the c h i e f  217 Jewish character of the m i r a c l e s , who i s an early representative of the comic-demonic f i g u r e , and l i k e Fagin, i s also distinguished by a massive quantity of red h a i r .  Modder also points to a t r a d i t i o n in English drama  i n which characters " r e s o r t to Jewish disguises to supply comic r e l i e f 14 or to f u r t h e r some v i l l a i n o u s scheme,"  and i t i s c l e a r l y out of t h i s  t r a d i t i o n that Dickens' comic-demonic conceptualization of Fagin emanates. At the end of the novels, Fagin and Quilp suffer the conventional expulsion of the comic-demonic f i g u r e from the morally cleansed society which c r y s t a l l i z e s around the hero or heroine.  Quilp dies by drowning  and, even in death, his appearance r e f l e c t s the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c V i c e - l i k e a t t i t u d e of i n d i f f e r e n c e towards the powers of e x t i n c t i o n . at once comic and f r i g h t f u l in i t s i m p l i c a t i o n .  His end i s  The f i n a l d e s c r i p t i o n of  the dwarf dwells upon his corpse f l o a t i n g down the r i v e r , dragged through the mud and the slime and f i n a l l y flung upon the banks of a swamp. Dickens then focuses his attention upon the hair of the "deserted carcass": The h a i r , s t i r r e d by the damp breeze, played i n a kind of mockery of death--such a mockery as the dead man would have r e v e l l e d i n when alive—about i t s head, and i t s dress f l u t t e r e d i d l y in the night wind. (p. 510) This i s p r e c i s e l y the same kind of "mockery of death" which often charact e r i z e s the stage e x i t of the morality V i c e , a mockery which undercuts both the seriousness and the f i n a l i t y of his d i s s o l u t i o n . One of the most pervasive q u a l i t i e s displayed by both Fagin and Quilp i s t h e i r i r r e p r e s s i b l e u b i q u i t y .  Neither character i s confined to  the subterranean depths of the underworld; both of them turn up suddenly and unexpectedly i n the most u n l i k e l y places and s i t u a t i o n s .  Like the  218 morality V i c e , both are great t r a v e l l e r s , and the i n s i d i o u s , mocking presence of both dwarf and Jew permeates both the urban and rural regions of The Old C u r i o s i t y Shop and O l i v e r T w i s t , r e s p e c t i v e l y .  In t h i s way  then, Dickens' d e s c r i p t i o n of Q u i l p ' s drowning paradoxically affirms the dwarf's ubiquitous, comic v i t a l i t y , a v i t a l i t y which cannot be extinguished even by the powers of death.  This q u a l i t y of i r r e p r e s s i b i l i t y i s further  i n t e n s i f i e d by the f a c t that Quilp has, s y m b o l i c a l l y , outwitted death at an e a r l i e r point in the novel.  Like Volpone and F a l s t a f f , the dwarf feigns  death—he allows his w i f e , mother-in-law, and legal advisor to maintain the i l l u s i o n that he has drowned so that he can gauge t h e i r reactions to the f a c t of his demise.  The scene i s p a r t i c u l a r l y r i c h i n humour as  Q u i l p ' s tenacious s e l f - l o v e u l t i m a t e l y forces him out of his hiding place when he discovers that his nose i s going to be designated as " f l a t " on his d e a t h - c e r t i f i c a t e : " A q u i l i n e ! " c r i e d Q u i l p , thrusting in his head, and s t r i k i n g the feature with his f i s t . " A q u i l i n e , you hag. Do you see i t ? Do you c a l l t h i s f l a t ? Do you? Eh?" "Oh c a p i t a l , c a p i t a l ! " shouted Brass, from the mere force of habit. " E x c e l l e n t ! How very good he i s ! He's a most remarkable man—so extremely whimsical! Such an amazing power of taking people by s u r p r i s e ! " (p. 368) In much the same way, Q u i l p ' s actual death tends to take us by s u r p r i s e in i t s unexpected element of defiant humour; and Brass' subsequent r e mark concerning the dwarf's f i r s t bout with the forces of e x t i n c t i o n i s equally a p p l i c a b l e to the comic-demonic ambiguity of his f i n a l --"Oh exceedingly good!  expiration  There's not another man a l i v e who could carry  i t o f f l i k e that" (p. 462). Fagin, l i k e Q u i l p , becomes paradoxically most a l i v e i n his  219 confrontation with death.  In O l i v e r Twist, Dickens' representation of  the f i n a l d i s p o s i t i o n of the comic-demonic f i g u r e i s divided into two p a r t s , one examining the t r i a l of the A r t f u l Dodger, and the other focusing upon the subjugation of the Jew himself.  The comic overtones of the  conventional casting out of the Vice are e x c l u s i v e l y r e s t r i c t e d to the Dodger's t r i a l , f i r s t as Fagin t r i e s to console Charley Ba