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A dancing of attitudes : Burke’s rhetoric on Shakespeare Rowan, Stephen Charles 1985

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A DANCING BURKE'S  OF  ATTITUDES:  RHETORIC  ON  SHAKESPEARE  By STEPHEN M.A.,  The U n i v e r s i t y  A T H E S I S SUBMITTED THE  CHARLES  ROWAN  of B r i t i s h IN PARTIAL  REQUIREMENTS  FOR  DOCTOR OF  THE  Columbia,  F U L F I L L M E N T OF ' DEGREE  OF  PHILOSOPHY  in THE  F A C U L T Y OF GRADUATE  STUDIES  DEPARTMENT OF E N G L I S H  We  accept  this  tA> t h e  THE  thesis  conforming  required^-s^tandard.  U N I V E R S I T Y OF  BRITISH  September, ©  as  Stephen  C.  1975  COLUMBIA  1985  Rowan, 1 9 8 5 .  In p r e s e n t i n g  this  thesis i n partial  f u l f i l m e n t of the  r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an a d v a n c e d d e g r e e a t t h e of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that it  freely  t h e L i b r a r y s h a l l make  a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y .  agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r extensive for  University  s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may  for  financial  English of  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h 1956 Main M a l l V a n c o u v e r , Canada V6T  1Y3  September 18,  1985  Columbia  my  It is thesis  s h a l l n o t be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my  permission.  Department  thesis  be g r a n t e d by t h e h e a d o f  copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s  gain  further  copying of t h i s  d e p a r t m e n t o r by h i s o r h e r r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . understood that  I  written  ABSTRACT  S i n c e F.S. T r o i l u s and  Boas c o i n e d the term i n 1896,  C r e s s i d a , and  A l l ' s W e l l That Ends W e l l ,  Measure For Measure have been g e n e r a l l y accepted  "problem p l a y s , " and many c r i t i c s have o f f e r e d b i o g r a p h i c a l , t h e m a t i c , formal e x p l a n a t i o n s o f why  these p l a y s are so  endings.  Drawing on Kenneth Burke's p h i l o s o p h y of l i t e r a r y o f man  as the symbol-using  animal,  death or marriage  their his plays  for a definite  ending  which would d e f i n e the "terms" c h a r a c t e r i z e d i n each  p l a y ; s e c o n d l y , he p r o v i d e s no scapegoat audience  form and  I show t h a t i n these  Shakespeare f r u s t r a t e s the e x p e c t a t i o n s of an audience through  I propose a  e x p l a n a t i o n f o r d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with them, e s p e c i a l l y w i t h  anthropology  and  "dark."  In t h i s t h e s i s , I accept t h a t t h e s e p l a y s are "problems" and rhetorical  as  whose v i c t i m a g e would allow  to r e c o g n i z e an order c l e a r l y proposed f o r i t s acceptance;  the finally,  he s u p p l i e s no symbol of order which c r e d i b l y demonstrates i t s power to e s t a b l i s h a renewed  society.  As r h e t o r i c , these p l a y s show an i n t e n s e "dancing  o f a t t i t u d e s " toward  symbols o f o r d e r and  toward c o n v e n t i o n a l forms which would p r o v i d e a c l e a r  sense of an e n d i n g .  As such, they show what Burke c a l l s  on the p a r t of the p l a y w r i g h t —  "self-interference"  a d e l i b e r a t e b a l a n c i n g o f arguments f o r the  sake o f " q u i z z i c a l i t y " toward language as symbolic  action.  A c c o r d i n g to t h i s a n a l y s i s , the problem p l a y s remain problems f o r an audience  which seeks i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with symbols o f o r d e r ; they a r e , however,  a t r i b u t e to the a g i l e mind of a master r h e t o r i c i a n .  - i i -  TABLE OF CONTENTS I.  INTRODUCTION  1  SMALL LATINE, LESSE GREEKE, BUT MUCH RHETORIC II.  BURKE'S RHETORIC:  LANGUAGE AS SYMBOLIC ACTION  23  CRITICISM AS CONVERSATION:  30  TWO REJOINDERS TO BURKE  FORM AND MEANING  37  A RHETORICAL ANTHROPOLOGY  43  SHAKESPEARE AS RHETORICIAN  46 54  THE AMBIGUOUS VALUE OF HONOR IN WAR  56  THE AMBIGUOUS VALUE OF HELENA  62  THE ATTEMPT TO ESTABLISH CERTAIN VALUE  75  THE CLOWN'S PERSPECTIVE  82  THE AMBIGUITY OF THE ENDING OR ALL SEEMS WELL  85  TROILUS AND CRESSIDA  97  "WHAT A PAIR OF SPECTACLES IS HERE!"  99  THE GREEKS IN COUNCIL: THE FACTION OF FOOLS  107  THERSITES: A PRIVILEGED MAN  112  HELEN:  119  A THEME OF HONOR AND RENOWN?  A GORY EMULATION V.  17  LITERATURE AS A DEFINITION OF TERMS  III. ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL  IV.  7  .  123  MEASURE FOR MEASURE ANGELO AND ISABELLA:  128 A FIERCE DISPUTE  ..129  THE FRAILTY OF OUR POWERS  134  THE COMIC SUB-PLOT:  I HOPE HERE BE TRUTHS  142  HIS GRACE THE DUKE:  LIKE PROVIDENCE DIVINE?  147  - iii  -  LUCIO:  AN "INWARD" OF THE DUKE  THE CONCLUSION: VI.  THIS LOOKS NOT LIKE A NUPTIAL  LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER  157 163  THIS, THEN, I S THE PRAISE OF SHAKESPEARE  171  IS THIS THE PROMISED END?  178  IMAGINARY GARDENS AND REAL TOADS VII.  153  ENDNOTES  ..183 189 2 0 5  V I I I . BIBLIOGRAPHY  - iv -  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  As I c o n c l u d e t h i s t h e s i s , I f i n d  t h a t " I count myself i n n o t h i n g  so happy/ As i n a s o u l remembering my good f r i e n d s "  (Richard II I I . i i i . 4 6 - 4 7 ) .  My thanks e s p e c i a l l y t o my r e a d e r s , Nan Johnson, J o e l Kaplan, and my Tony Dawson, a l l  else  o f whose c a r e f u l r e a d i n g s and c o n s t a n t  adviser,  encouragement  c o n t r i b u t e d many improvements o f substance and s t y l e ; t o John Hulcoop and the Graduate Committee o f The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h  Columbia who helped  f i n a n c i a l a s s i s t a n c e and g u i d a n c e ; t o the B a s i l i a n community C o l l e g e whose g r a c i o u s h o s p i t a l i t y f r i e n d s who  supported me with t h e i r  provide  of S t . Mark's  I enjoyed f o r t h r e e y e a r s ; to my f a m i l y and i n t e r e s t and understood my absence,  e s p e c i a l l y my f a t h e r , C h a r l e s Rowan, my s i s t e r , E i l e e n Walton, and F r s . Lawrence R e i l l y and Paul Magnano; t o Don Beach, who  patiently initiated  me  i n t o the m y s t e r i e s o f the word p r o c e s s o r and to h i s f a m i l y who made room f o r me i n t h e i r home; f i n a l l y ,  to Raymond E. Brown, S.S., whose example o f  s c h o l a r s h i p , c l e a r w r i t i n g , and d e d i c a t e d t e a c h i n g have been e f f e c t i v e even a t a distance.  - v -  I.INTRODUCTION  Most c r i t i c s have sensed  some k i n s h i p among the p l a y s o f  "middle p e r i o d " (from approximately distinguishing quality Shakespeare's Boas f i r s t  Shakespeare's  1600-1604) and have t r i e d t o d e f i n e t h e i r  i n order t o a p p r e c i a t e b e t t e r the nature o f  s t y l e , ways o f t h i n k i n g , and c r a f t s m a n s h i p .  c o i n e d the term  "problem  p l a y " i n 1896,  and  Since Frederick  i n c l u d e d Hamlet, A l l ' s  W e l l , Measure f o r Measure, and T r o i l u s and C r e s s i d a i n the g r o u p i n g , the  term  has been a p p l i e d t o v a r i o u s p l a y s .  Most c r i t i c s  i n c l u d e A l l ' s W e l l , Measure f o r Measure, and T r o i l u s  and  C r e s s i d a i n the c a t e g o r y , w h i l e e i t h e r r e t a i n i n g Hamlet ( T i l l y a r d ) , o m i t t i n g it  (Lawrence, R o s s i t e r ) or r e p l a c i n g i t w i t h another c a n d i d a t e (Doran). I t  seems, then, t h a t a consensus r e t a i n e d from Boas's l i s t  The  criteria  e x i s t s c o n c e r n i n g at l e a s t t h r e e p l a y s t o be  and t o be i n c l u d e d i n the "problem" g r o u p i n g .  f o r d e t e r m i n i n g a "problem  (E.K.Chambers) were e n u n c i a t e d by Boas and may thematic and  structural.  For Boas, the moral  p l a y " or "dark comedy" be d i s t i n g u i s h e d concern  as moral  i n these p l a y s i s with  u n b r i d l e d p a s s i o n s e r u p t i n g i n s o c i e t i e s " r i p e unto r o t t e n n e s s " and w i t h of  c o n s c i e n c e s o l v e d by "unprecedented"  r e l a t e d t o the "unprecedented"  Succeeding criteria  methods: the massive  weight  of  issues,  c r i t i c s have not improved  So,  and  i s precluded.^  f o r t h i s grouping remain  difficulties.  cases  methods; the s t r u c t u r a l awkwardness i s  a c c o r d i n g t o Boas, i s not s u s t a i n e d by the framework o f the p l o t , t h e r e f o r e a s a t i s f a c t o r y ending  or  much on Boas's d e f i n i t i o n .  moral or thematic and  f o r example, W.W.  Lawrence (who  these p l a y s as problems) p o i n t s i n i t i a l l y  to t h e i r  structural  argues,  i n fact, against  e x p l o r a t i o n o f the darker  c o m p l e x i t i e s o f human nature which i s too a n a l y t i c f o r comedy and too  - 1 -  The  light  f o r tragedy; T i l l y a r d  notes t h a t dogma and a b s t r a c t s p e c u l a t i o n are s e r i o u s l y  t r e a t e d but are not absorbed  w e l l i n t o the a c t i o n ; and R o s s i t e r suggests  that  g e n e r a l i z a t i o n s on the theme o f man's t r a g i - c o m i c " s h i f t i n g n e s s " are t r e a t e d with a s e r i o u s n e s s t h a t i s unexpected with  i n comedy and may even be incongruous  it.^  S t r u c t u r a l l y , the problems are l i k e w i s e viewed  as Boas saw them and  mostly concern a p u t a t i v e mismanagement o f e f f e c t toward plays.  the ending o f the  So, f o r example, the t r a g i c mood i s without t r a g i c  "grand  i s s u e (Lawrence); a  f i n a l e " o f f o r g i v e n e s s i s " e n g i n e e r e d " a f t e r time i s merely  filled in  between a dramatic climax a t mid-play and the c o n c l u s i o n ( T i l l y a r d ) ; the problems a r e r e a l i s t i c a l l y viewed, but the endings are n o t ; t h a t i s , they n e i t h e r i s s u e i n tragedy where expected  (as i n T r o i l u s and C r e s s i d a ) nor i n  the c o n v e n t i o n a l l y happy ending o f comedy (Doran). The s t r u c t u r e o f t h e p l a y s i s a l s o confused throughout  by a m i n g l i n g or even c l a s h i n g o f c o n v e n t i o n s , as  when romance c o n v e n t i o n s are examined w i t h u n s p a r i n g r e a l i s m  For some c r i t i c s ,  two o f these p l a y s at l e a s t are not  M o r a l l y or t h e m a t i c a l l y they may be i n t e r p r e t e d moral  e d u c a t i o n or redemption  (Lawrence).  a problem  3  at a l l .  as a l l e g o r i e s o f mankind's  ( f o r example, G.Wilson Knight and  R.W.Chambers  on Measure and G.K.Hunter on A l l ' s W e l l ) ; s t r u c t u r a l l y , they can be defended as comic  because  they employ c o n v e n t i o n s o f f a i r y t a l e and f o l k l o r e t h a t would  be w e l l understood because (Frye).  as " p o i n t e r s " t o an E l i z a b e t h a n audience  they e x h i b i t the comic  framework and are t h e r e f o r e t o be taken as such  4  E r n e s t Schanzer argues  (Lawrence) or  i s an e x c e p t i o n t o the f o r e g o i n g d i s c u s s i o n because he  f o r a d i f f e r e n t d e f i n i t i o n o f a problem  critical  play.  Dissatisfied  w i t h the  t h i n k i n g on these p l a y s which does n o t , he b e l i e v e s , d i s t i n g u i s h them  sufficiently  from the theme and mood o f other p l a y s i n the canon, and l o o k i n g  - 2-  f o r a grouping t h a t w i l l o f f e r c l e a r e r i n s i g h t by s u g g e s t i n g unique among the p l a y s i n c l u d e d , Schanzer o f f e r s h i s own d e f i n i t i o n . i s one " i n which we f i n d it,  affinities  A problem  play  a concern with a moral problem which i s c e n t r a l t o  presented i n such a manner t h a t we are unsure o f our moral b e a r i n g s , so  t h a t u n c e r t a i n and d i v i d e d responses t o i t i n the minds o f t h e audience are p o s s i b l e or even probable."5  Using these c r i t e r i a ,  o n l y J u l i u s Caesar, Measure f o r Measure, problem  and Antony  Schanzer suggests t h a t and C l e o p a t r a q u a l i f y as  plays.  Schanzer's c r i t e r i a not, f o r example,  are not e n t i r e l y s a t i s f a c t o r y , however.  c r e a t e a unique grouping a f t e r a l l ,  They do  as can be seen when  ^  P a t r i c k Murray, who a c c e p t s Schanzer's d e f i n i t i o n , proceeds t o extend the l i s t of Schanzer's c a n d i d a t e s f o r the grouping t o i n c l u d e Hamlet, C r e s s i d a , and A l l ' s W e l l . limited  t o a moral one?  6  T r o i l u s and  B e s i d e s , why should the "problem" with a p l a y be What about the " e x i s t e n t i a l " problem o f how t o  respond t o L e a r ' s death, the a t t r a c t i v e n e s s o f Macbeth's e v i l , or the f a t e o f C o r i o l a n u s ? More t o the p o i n t , how brush a s i d e the many s t r u c t u r a l d i f f i c u l t i e s with T r o i l u s , A l l ' s W e l l , and Measure which have t r o u b l e d many critics?  Most c r i t i c s ,  i t seems, have not accepted Schanzer's d e f i n i t i o n or  r e v i s e d g r o u p i n g , nor have they been persuaded by those f o r whom the u s u a l problem p l a y s are n o t , f o r some r e a s o n , a problem.  In much the same way t h a t  Boas d e l i n e a t e d the problems, r e c e n t c r i t i c s c o n t i n u e t o p o i n t t o the thematic and s t r u c t u r a l d i f f i c u l t i e s which make some kind o f g r o u p i n g out o f the p l a y s analyzed  in this  thesis.  For example,  P h i l i p Edwards, echoing E l l i s - F e r m o r , c a l l s T r o i l u s and  C r e s s i d a " a n t i - a r t " and suggests t h a t i t may be Shakespeare's e x p r e s s i o n o f doubt about the power o f form t o shape e x p e r i e n c e .  S i n c e incoherence i s the  "matter" o f the p l a y , form i s r e f u s e d . f o r Measure Shakespeare  L i k e w i s e , i n A l l ' s W e l l and Measure  attempts t o deepen comedy by g i v i n g i t r e a l wounds to  h e a l , but he d i s c o v e r s t h a t the form o f comedy cannot be made to manipulate some m a t e r i a l s i n t o a redemptive  conclusion.^  L i k e Edwards, other c r i t i c s suggest t h a t the problem l i e s w i t h Shakespeare's congenial.  ambivalence about romance c o n v e n t i o n s which he had always found  For Howard F e l p e r i n , T r o i l u s , A l l ' s W e l l , and Measure show a  new  ambivalence toward the romance mode, a l s o e v i d e n t i n Hamlet, J u l i u s Caesar, and Henry V.  On a l l s i d e s , the romantic i m a g i n a t i o n i s " s u b j e c t e d . . . t o  unprecedented  s t r e s s e s " as Shakespeare  humanity  f a c e s up t o the r e c a l c i t r a n c e o f  i n the face o f easy s o l u t i o n s . ^  Shakespeare  A c c o r d i n g t o E.C.  Pettet,  abandons romance i n A l l ' s W e l l , r e c o i l s from i t i n T r o i l u s ,  shows c y n i c i s m about i t i n Measure.  and  H i s mind, i t seems, i s drawn t o e v i l i n  p r e p a r a t i o n f o r the w r i t i n g o f the t r a g e d i e s , w h i l e h i s a r t i s t i c him back t o the c o n v e n t i o n a l romance ending.  h a b i t s draw  The v e h i c l e cannot c o n t a i n the  tenor o f "the s e n s i b i l i t y , thought, and v i s i o n t h a t were soon t o be expressed i n the g r e a t t r a g e d i e s . " 9  Finally,  R.S. White, commenting o n l y on A l l ' s Well and Measure, a l s o  argues a problem. Shakespeare  For him, they mark a temporary withdrawal from romance as  experiments w i t h the p o t e n t i a l l y e n d l e s s ending o f t h a t mode.  Knowing t h a t i n " n a i v e romance" such as Sidney's New  A r c a d i a one  adventure  f o l l o w s as soon as another f i n i s h e s , Shakespeare, i t seems, i s s t r u g g l i n g w i t h how  t o end i n a way  romance.  t h a t e x p l i c i t l y acknowledges  the o s c i l l a t i n g rhythms o f  He c o n t i n u e s i n the problem p l a y s the " d i s q u i e t i n g h i n t " a t the end  o f T w e l f t h N i g h t , t h a t as much i s excluded from the f e s t i v e s p i r i t o f a comic ending as i s i n c l u d e d  in i t ,  and  he  p r e s e n t s the a c t i o n i n such a way t h a t we become c o n s c i o u s o f the elements o f m a n i p u l a t i o n , and even a h i n t o f tyranny, i n the _ 4 _  i m p o s i t i o n o f the comic ending upon a p o t e n t i a l l y e n d l e s s p r e s e n t a t i o n o f people's f i c t i o n a l l i v e s . . . T h e p l a y s would be more c o n v e n t i o n a l , l e s s w o r r y i n g , i f the author d i d not seem so c l e a r l y aware o f the nature o f such m a n i p u l a t i o n . His somewhat f r u s t r a t i n g sense t h a t the p o t e n t i a l l y e n d l e s s n a r r a t i v e must somehow be f o r m a l l y concluded r e v e a l s i t s e l f i n d i f f e r e n t ways i n each p l a y , and i m p l i e s a more t r a n s p a r e n t l y s c e p t i c a l a t t i t u d e towards the happy e n d i n g . ^  Echoing the thoughts o f Frank Kermode on Shakespeare's Ending  ( t h a t he sensed  i t as an a r b i t r a r y  Sense o f an  i n t e r r u p t i o n o f a continuum  of  e x p e r i e n c e ) t h i s a n a l y s i s a l s o r e f l e c t s the a r t i s t ' s s t r u g g l e as Paul deMan has a r t i c u l a t e d  i t i n B l i n d n e s s and  e x p e r i e n c e o f time."  I n s i g h t : how  t o communicate "the  Through i r o n y (a s y n c h r o n i c s t r u c t u r e ) , a w r i t e r  p o r t r a y the " d i f f e r e n c e s " or c o n f l i c t i n g  c l a i m s and d i s j u n c t i o n s o f the  moment; through a l l e g o r y (a s u c c e s s i v e mode), a w r i t e r w i l l  spread out those  d i f f e r e n c e s through "an i d e a l time t h a t i s never here and now past or an e n d l e s s f u t u r e . " q u a l i f i c a t i o n s to f u l l which a r i s e because  but always a  In both modes, the w r i t e r i s aware o f  knowledge or to a never-ending d u r a t i o n o f e x p e r i e n c e  of l i v i n g  s t r u g g l e o f every w r i t e r : how a way  will  i n time.  Shakespeare's  s t r u g g l e , then, i s the  t o formulate a t t i t u d e s toward  e x p e r i e n c e i n such  t h a t he p r e s e r v e s the sense o f the " a u t h e n t i c e x p e r i e n c e o f  t e m p o r a l i t y , " "the predicament  o f the c o n s c i o u s s u b j e c t , " and  "the  u n w i l l i n g n e s s o f the mind t o accept any stage i n i t s p r o g r e s s i o n as d e f i n i t i v e , s i n c e t h i s would s t o p . . . i t s  The problem how  'infinite  agility'."^  p l a y s are e s p e c i a l l y d e l i b e r a t e experiments,  I suggest, with  t o i n c o r p o r a t e " r e c a l c i t r a n t , " p o t e n t i a l l y t r a g i c , developments i n t o a  form which p r e s e n t s e i t h e r a stalemate or an o s t e n s i b l y happy ending, along with the c o n v i c t i o n t h a t the ending has concluded n o t h i n g .  In these p l a y s  t h e r e are no s a t i s f a c t o r y marriages or worthy deaths; r h e t o r i c a l l y , t h e r e i s no merger or d i v i s i o n o f terms with which an audience can Shakespeare's  identify.  p l a y s u s u a l l y p r o v i d e one or the o t h e r , t a k i n g a comic or  - 5 -  tragic  route t o a d e f i n i t i o n o f terms.  However, i n the problem p l a y s , t h e r e i s an  u n r e l i e v e d p r e s e n t a t i o n of s e r i o u s i s s u e s , r e s u l t i n g i n n e i t h e r o f the conventional kinds of transformation a playwright u s u a l l y provides death or  through  marriage.  Shakespeare seems t o be d e l i b e r a t e l y f r u s t r a t i n g h i s  audience's  e x p e c t a t i o n s o f a c o n v e n t i o n a l ending, perhaps t o make i t aware of the a m b i g u i t i e s o f the i s s u e s presented decisive solutions.  and  t o make i t q u e s t i o n i t s y e a r n i n g f o r  Of c o u r s e , Shakespeare has  qualified  his issues e a r l i e r :  c o n t r a s t i n g Jaques with Arden, f o r example, M a l v o l i o with I l l y r i a , with Belmont, and F a l s t a f f with h e r o i c k i n g s h i p .  But the problem p l a y s appear  at the " b o t t l e n e c k " o f Shakespeare's dramatic development and some k i n d o f i n t e n s e experiment while working h i s way  with themes and  i n t o the t r a g e d i e s and  i n d i c a t i o n t h a t the order presented  For reasons  that w i l l  seem to mark  forms he has used  romances.  even-handed, a l l o w i n g n e i t h e r an easy acceptance clear  Shylock  earlier  H i s a r g u i n g i s more  o f a f i n a l order nor even a  i s intended t o be a c c e p t a b l e .  be obvious both at the end o f t h i s  introduction  and i n the course o f the next c h a p t e r , I b e l i e v e t h a t the r h e t o r i c a l o f Kenneth Burke w i l l o f the problem p l a y s .  prove  especially helpful  Both h i s p h i l o s o p h y o f l i t e r a r y  o f i d e n t i f i c a t i o n between author a m b i g u i t i e s are presented "ironic  f o r understanding  and  audience  i n p l a y s , how  form  criticism  the problem  and h i s r h e t o r i c  p r o v i d e a means to analyze  the audience  how  expects t o overcome  impasse" by the p r e s e n t a t i o n o f some motive f o r a c t i o n , and how  i t is  bound to be f r u s t r a t e d when no such c o n v i n c i n g motive or symbol o f order i s provided.  Before a t t e n d i n g to Burke's r h e t o r i c , however, a b r i e f survey o f  r h e t o r i c a l t h e o r y i n the Renaissance meaning and  will  clarify  some assumptions about  communication commonly h e l d by r h e t o r i c i a n s now  - 6 -  and  then and  will  show how  Burke's p h i l o s o p h y o f l i t e r a r y form d i f f e r s ,  of l i t e r a t u r e ,  as a r h e t o r i c a l  theory  from more narrow d e f i n i t i o n s o f the p r o v i n c e and methods o f  rhetoric.  SMALL LATINE, LESSE GREEKE, BUT  In h i s c l a s s i c study o f W i l l i a m Shakespeare's  MUCH RHETORIC  Small L a t i n e and  Lesse  Greeke (1944), T.W.Baldwin r e c o n s t r u c t s the c u r r i c u l u m o f s t u d i e s Shakespeare would p r o b a b l y have undergone i f he d i d , i n f a c t , attend the Edward VI Grammar School i n Stratford-Upon-Avon.  Baldwin  argues t h a t numerous  correspondences  can be found between authors Shakespeare would have s t u d i e d ( O v i d , f o r example) and r e f e r e n c e s i n the p l a y s ; l i k e w i s e , he shows how  a training in  r h e t o r i c would have made Shakespeare f a m i l i a r not o n l y w i t h a d i s p u t a t i o u s s t y l e o f a r g u i n g o p i n i o n s (guided by Erasmus's De Copia) but a l s o w i t h • numerous t r o p e s and  f i g u r e s which would h e l p him t o present these arguments  effectively.  Even i f Shakespeare had never Baldwin's  attended S t r a t f o r d ' s Grammar s c h o o l ,  study documents the p e r v a s i v e t r a i n i n g  s c h o o l boy was Shakespeare's  submitted  i n order t o prepare him  i n r h e t o r i c t o which every for public l i f e .  Since  p l a y s show c l o s e f a m i l i a r i t y with t h i s t r a i n i n g , i t i s  reasonable t o assume t h a t he a c q u i r e d knowledge o f i t somehow, e i t h e r or through c o n v e r s a t i o n with those who  Shakespeare's it was  "exposure"  had i t .  t o r h e t o r i c , then, i s not i n q u e s t i o n .  i s n e c e s s a r y t o a s c e r t a i n the e f f e c t o f t h i s exposure the commonly taught c o n c e p t i o n o f r h e t o r i c and  Shakespeare's  poetics?  directly  Moreover, how  how  on h i s p l a y s .  i s that related  are these c o n c e p t i o n s r e l a t e d  Kenneth Burke's r h e t o r i c which I w i l l be u s i n g t o a n a l y z e the problem  - 7 -  Rather, What to  to plays?  The  Renaissance  conception o f r h e t o r i c  i s i n no way uniform  very c o n t e n t was the s u b j e c t o f t e c h n i c a l , in-house  disputes.  since i t s  C i c e r o had  denominated f i v e " o f f i c e s " o f r h e t o r i c : i n v e n t i o n , d i s p o s i t i o n , e l o c u t i o n , memory, and d e l i v e r y .  The t r a d i t i o n a l  C i c e r o n i a n and medieval  r h e t o r i c i a n s , c a r r y i n g on the  i n h e r i t a n c e , i n c l u d e d the " i n v e n t i o n " o f arguments and  t h e i r " d i s p o s i t i o n " within the province o f r h e t o r i c .  They r e c o g n i z e d ,  A r i s t o t l e , t h a t r h e t o r i c had i t s c o u n t e r p a r t i n d i a l e c t i c , borrowed " p r o o f s , " but t h a t i t a l s o used " p r o b a b l e "  with  from which i t  p r o o f s drawn from  certain  commonplaces or " t o p o i " t h a t would p r o v i d e matter f o r argument.  The  reformers  o f r h e t o r i c i n the Renaissance,  proposed t o separate  i n v e n t i o n and d i s p o s i t i o n  o f f i c e s under d i a l e c t i c elocution —  l e d by Peter  Ramus,  from r h e t o r i c , t o i n c l u d e these  alone, and t o l e a v e f o r r h e t o r i c the o f f i c e o f  t h a t i s , d r e s s i n g up i d e a s w i t h f i t "ornaments" and with a  "garment o f s t y l e . " Ramus always assumed t h a t i n h i s system a student would study both d i a l e c t i c and r h e t o r i c ; he merely wanted t o reduce d u p l i c a t i o n o f o f f i c e s . "12  At q u e s t i o n i n t h i s d i s p u t e i s the degree t o which r h e t o r i c i s a way o f knowing. had  To the r e f o r m e r s , i t was merely a way o f e x p r e s s i n g e f f e c t i v e l y what  t o be known i n the more r i g o r o u s but s u r e r d i s c i p l i n e o f d i a l e c t i c s .  the t r a d i t i o n a l i s t s , however, r h e t o r i c was concerned w e l l as with s e t t i n g them f o r t h .  with  To  f i n d i n g arguments as  Through r h e t o r i c , one c o u l d come t o know as  much as might be known by common assent t o arguments drawn from t h e commonplaces o f probable should not obscure recognized  opinions.  found  d i f f e r e n c e s , however,  the c r u c i a l p o i n t o f agreement: t o some e x t e n t a l l  r h e t o r i c ' s important  own or those  These in-house  r o l e as the communicator o f i d e a s , e i t h e r i t s  by d i a l e c t i c s .  -  8 -  The  textbook Renaissance  emphasis on r h e t o r i c as a way  supplement any study o f the e f f e c t i v e n e s s o f t r o p e s and a p p r e c i a t e the f u l l literature.  example o f j u s t such a broader taught both s t u d e n t s and  view.  on the t r o p e s and  drama.  On the o t h e r hand, S r .  study on R h e t o r i c i n Shakespeare's  Time and B r i a n  R h e t o r i c i n E n g l i s h Poetry c o n c e n t r a t e so w e l l and  f i g u r e s o f r h e t o r i c t h a t they can m i s l e a d a person  Ciceronians, a part of i t —  r h e t o r i c what was  That  so much  into  o n l y , at l e a s t f o r  elocution.13  Kenneth Burke, t o o , r e c o g n i z e s the t r o p e s and  f i g u r e s as p e r s u a s i v e  i s , figures l i k e "antithesis"  and  " g r a d a t i o " do more  than d e c o r a t e an i d e a t h a t c o u l d have been expressed j u s t as w e l l them.  in rhetoric  t o argue o p p o s i t e s ("in utramque  i n Renaissance  t a k i n g f o r the whole o f Renaissance  forms o f speech.  a training  t h i s h e l p s t o e x p l a i n the m u l t i p l e p o i n t s o f view  on any t o p i c u s u a l l y encountered classic  Renaissance  Tudor P l a y o f Mind i s an  Altman shows how  p l a y w r i g h t s how  partem") when they wrote and  Vickers's C l a s s i c a l  f i g u r e s i n order to  range o f r h e t o r i c a l t h i n k i n g at work i n  Among o t h e r s , J o e l B. Altman's, The  Miriam Joseph's  o f knowing must  Rather, they c a r r y the hearer along with the speaker  without  because by  s a t i s f y i n g the h e a r e r ' s sense o f form they h e l p to t r a n s f e r acceptance o f the f i g u r e to acceptance o f the argument. adding "energy"  The  f i g u r e s , as Longinus  t r a n s p o r t the hearer t o agreement through  under the i n f l u e n c e o f the f i g u r e s w i l l  l e a v e i t s own  said,  e c s t a s y : an  thoughts  behind  by audience and  1u i d e n t i f y w i t h the s p e a k e r ' s .  For Burke, the t r o p e s and  f i g u r e s are  undeniably important t o the r h e t o r i c i a n ; they a r e , a c c o r d i n g t o Puttenham's submerged analogy, l i k e a g e n e r a l ' s p l a n o f war, overcome the o p p o s i t i o n . ^ Burke c a l l s the t r o p e s and  However, they are not the whole o f r h e t o r i c . f i g u r e s "minor forms," which w i l l have p e r s u a s i v e  e f f e c t o n l y w i t h i n an argument s e t up, other k i n d s o f " p r o o f . "  employed s t r a t e g i c a l l y to  as A r i s t o t l e p r e s c r i b e d , by the use o f  Burke's r h e t o r i c , then, i s concerned - 9 -  with more than  f i g u r e s o f speech; i t agrees w i t h the t r a d i t i o n a l i s t s i n r e g a r d i n g r h e t o r i c a way  o f knowing or a t l e a s t o f coming t o agree about what speaker  as  and  audience t h i n k t h a t they know.  Burke  goes f u r t h e r than the t r a d i t i o n a l i s t s , however, by  l i t e r a t u r e or f i c t i o n  as a kind o f r h e t o r i c .  He mentions  including  t h a t the  literary  forms which he c a l l s " c o n v e n t i o n a l , " " p r o g r e s s i v e , " and " r e p e t i t i v e " work as a kind o f argument, p e r s u a d i n g an audience t o accept the outcome o f t h e i r development minor  as a t r u e account o f a s i t u a t i o n .  The major forms work l i k e the  forms by s e t t i n g up an audience's e x p e c t a t i o n s and then s a t i s f y i n g them,  thus l e a d i n g  i t to transfer  s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h the form t o s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h  the "argument."  Burke's  expansion o f the realm o f r h e t o r i c  i n t o l i t e r a t u r e has met  o b j e c t i o n from o t h e r r h e t o r i c i a n s , l i k e Wilbur S.  Howell, who  maintain a s t r i c t  distinction  language d i r e c t l y  addressed t o an audience (non-mimetic)  want t o  between r h e t o r i c and p o e t i c s : t h a t i s , between  addressed t o an audience through a f a b l e or f i c t i o n seems to share t h i s view when he ponders the minor  with  and  language  ( m i m e t i c ) . ^ Brian  the problem o f how  rhetoric  Vickers  (that i s ,  forms) can be u s e f u l f o r e x p l a i n i n g the movement o f an e n t i r e  play.  As he s a y s :  The problem f a c i n g r h e t o r i c s t u d i e s , e s p e c i a l l y i n drama, i s how to move from m i c r o - t e x t s — the presence and f u n c t i o n i n g o f r h e t o r i c a t the l e v e l s o f word, phrase, sentence, even whole speeches — t o macro-texts, the o v e r a l l s t r u c t u r e s or p a t t e r n s within plays. One can t r a c e the r h e t o r i c a l form o f a speech by Berowne, or Brutus, or U l y s s e s , but when i t comes t o d e s c r i b i n g p l o t , l e x i s has t o y i e l d t o mythos. A r i s t o t l e ' s R h e t o r i c must g i v e way t o h i s P o e t i c s . R h e t o r i c seems t o have a c u t - o f f p o i n t beyond which i t cannot be taken as an a n a l y t i c a l t o o l , or i f so only i n increasingly generalized forms.^  Howell m a i n t a i n s t h a t Renaissance t h e o r i s t s knew v e r y w e l l t h a t the l i t e r a t u r e s " d i f f e r e d , i f not i n aim  -  "two  (which i n both cases i s to persuade) at  10 -  least  i n method.  Burke's r e j o i n d e r i s t h a t he cannot accept the need t o draw  such a hard and a r t i f i c i a l t h e o r y emphasized  line.  Renaissance  literary  figures.  agrees  from r h e t o r i c at l e a s t the "energy" o f i t s  What Burke has done i s t o r e v i s e the n o t i o n  so t h a t i t i n c l u d e s both non-mimetic and  agrees t h a t  the d i d a c t i c f u n c t i o n o f l i t e r a t u r e , and everyone  t h a t the poet f r e e l y borrowed t r o p e s and  Everyone  and mimetic w r i t i n g .  of r h e t o r i c  Along w i t h Howell  Renaissance t h e o r i s t s , then, Burke a c c e p t s t h a t the f a b l e persuades;  however, i n h i s p h i l o s o p h y o f l i t e r a r y show how  i t does  form he goes f u r t h e r and attempts t o  so.17  Of c o u r s e , the i d e a t h a t l i t e r a t u r e "persuades" i n any way r e s i s t a n c e from those who " p r o f i t " o f any k i n d .  r e g a r d a work o f a r t as f r e e o f " i n t e r e s t " or  Aesthetic  or paraphrase o f any kind  meets  t h e o r i e s that suspect d i d a c t i c i s m ,  ideology,  as n e c e s s a r i l y p a r t i s a n d i s t o r t i o n s o f e x p e r i e n c e  focus a t t e n t i o n on the s t r u c t u r e o f a work i t s e l f as a " r e c o n c i l i a t i o n o f opposites"  (Coleridge)  or a b a l a n c i n g  of tensions  a r t i s t or the audience as communicating t h i s a e s t h e t i c , the emphasis  ( R i c h a r d s ) and not on the  a n y t h i n g through the s t r u c t u r e .  To  on d i d a c t i c i s m i n Renaissance t h e o r y seems  p u z z l i n g i f not p e r v e r s e , and a woeful m i s r e a d i n g o f the b e s t drama and p o e t r y which  f l o u r i s h e d a l l around i t .  In my  use o f r h e t o r i c a l a n a l y s i s , I hope t o show t h a t a s u b t l e  appreciation communication audience.  o f a work's form and t e x t u r e need o f something  not d e t r a c t  from the  artist's  about e x p e r i e n c e t h a t concerns both him and h i s  I assume, however, t h a t t h i s "something"  i s not r e d u c i b l e t o a  thematic paraphrase, nor t h a t i t i s s e p a r a b l e from the form through which i t i s communicated.  Granted, some l i t e r a t u r e can seem l i k e b l a t a n t  l i k e Gorboduc, f o r example. take i t t h a t way  —  propaganda,  Other l i t e r a t u r e seems t o ask e x p l i c i t l y t h a t  as a j u s t i f i c a t i o n o f the ways o f God  t o man,  we  perhaps, or  as a warning t o "the wise/ Only t o wonder at u n l a w f u l t h i n g s , / Whose  deepness  doth e n t i c e such forward w i t s / To p r a c t i c e more than heavenly power p e r m i t s " (Marlowe's Dr.  Faustus, E p i l o g u e ) .  p r e s e n t a t i o n o f such i s s u e s —  But Burke b e l i e v e s t h a t a  e s p e c i a l l y a d r a m a t i c one —  literary  i s inescapably  more s u b t l e than what appears as the obvious m o r a l .  To put i t simply, every p r o t a g o n i s t needs an a n t a g o n i s t f o r the of  a drama, j u s t as God  begin. of  needs Satan i n P a r a d i s e L o s t b e f o r e the a c t i o n  The c h a r a c t e r s are i r o n i c a l l y  their  d e f i n e d by one  combat, one w i l l win and the other w i l l  interest  i n the outcome a l l the keener  e i t h e r way,  another.  drama i n c l u d e s a " t r a g i c  l o s e , w i t h an  audience's  t o the extent t h a t the c o n t e s t c o u l d go  been r e q u i r e d  ambiguity": although one  o f f because  can  In the course  or t o the extent t h a t the s t r u g g l e has been i n t e n s e .  e x p e l l e d or k i l l e d  staging  A l s o , every  character i s necessarily  the a c t i o n r e q u i r e s i t , t h a t same c h a r a c t e r has  f o r the dramatic enactment i n the f i r s t  he i s " r i g h t " or "wrong," and he w i l l  always  place.  Iago i£ b e f o r e  be, even i f he must always  be  denied.  Now,  i n s t e a d o f " c h a r a c t e r s , " s u b s t i t u t e " a t t i t u d e s " or "terms" f o r  understanding some e x t r a - t e x t u a l s i t u a t i o n , and i t i s obvious how can d i v i d e i n i t s response t o the c o n f l i c t . at  the c l o s e depending  the o r d e r e s t a b l i s h e d  I t may  an  audience  cheer or h i s s the  upon i t s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with the c h a r a c t e r s who at the end.  As my  a n a l y s i s o f Burke's  rhetoric  make c l e a r , the c h a r a c t e r s i n a drama are not a l l e g o r i e s o f i d e a s .  victory uphold will  What they  " r e p r e s e n t " must be a s c e r t a i n e d by as thorough an " i n d e x i n g " as p o s s i b l e o f t h e i r " s t a n c e " : they are agents who purposes  and means o f a c t i n g .  act w i t h i n a c e r t a i n c o n t e x t , with c e r t a i n  But as the i n t e r a c t i o n o f these c h a r a c t e r s i n  the course o f the drama begins to show who audience w i l l  will  win and who  w i l l lose,  an  "agree" t o the outcome o n l y t o the e x t e n t t h a t they agree with  the "terms" themselves  and how  they end  -  12 -  up.  As a r h e t o r i c i a n , Burke r e c o g n i z e s t h a t t r a g i c ambiguity it  is —  cannot  " v o t e s " f o r one  f o r l o n g prevent some k i n d o f a c t i o n , and  more s u b t l e than most p l a y w r i g h t s and  obvious  as  as the p l a y w r i g h t  a c t i o n over another, he i n v i t e s the audience  r e j e c t h i s e x p r e s s i o n or a r g u i n g o f the i s s u e .  —  t o accept or t o  Shakespeare, of c o u r s e , i s  v o t e s , so t o speak, by s e c r e t b a l l o t .  I t i s i m p o s s i b l e t o do more than guess what he h i m s e l f thought and the l o s e r s i n h i s p l a y s because the chameleon poet  o f the winners  expressed  every shade  o f o p i n i o n as f o r c i b l y as p o s s i b l e and w i t h n e g a t i v e c a p a b i l i t y opened h i s mind t o many arguments. and c o g e n t l y  The  f a c t t h a t J u l i u s Caesar  contains simultaneously  the views of Caesar/Marc Antony and the views o f B r u t u s / C a s s i u s  on the value o f "Caesarism"  makes i t , t o some, p r i m a r i l y the tragedy of  and, t o o t h e r s , p r i m a r i l y the tragedy of B r u t u s .  O b v i o u s l y , the p l a y does not  change, o n l y the v e r d i c t o f the m a j o r i t y o f the audience w i l l depending on what i t t h i n k s o f how  the p l a y has ended  differ,  up.  Burke's r h e t o r i c , then, l i k e the best of Renaissance both a purpose f o r which the poet w r i t e s and a w e l l - a r g u e d t h a t purpose.  Caesar  poetics,  assumes  presentation of  What s e p a r a t e s the best o f p o e t r y from narrow d i d a c t i c i s m i s  the poet's comprehensive, s o p h i s t i c a t e d and well-formed  v i s i o n o f an order or  a t t i t u d e toward e x p e r i e n c e which s a t i s f i e s the u n i t e d f a c u l t i e s o f mind, emotions, and  imagination.  t h e o r y o f Renaissance  As Rosemond Tuve has e x p l a i n e d i t , the  didactic  p o e t i c s assumes ( b l u n t l y ) t h a t p o e t r y t e a c h e s ; i t  appeals t o the mind as w e l l as t o the o t h e r f a c u l t i e s because i t b e l i e v e s t h a t the " c o n t e m p l a t i n g Poetry teaches  i n t e l l e c t " can "apprehend the t r u e nature o f t h i n g s . "  i n the sense  t h a t i t communicates "a h i t h e r t o  unperceived  r a t i o n a l l y a p p r e h e n s i b l e o r d e r , " and Tuve emphasizes t h a t a " r a t i o n a l " apprehension all  the  i s not c o n f i n e d t o the i n t e l l e c t : i t r e q u i r e s the i n t e r a c t i o n o f  faculties.  1 8  -  13  -  Writing i n 1947, Tuve seems e s p e c i a l l y s e n s i t i v e t o "modern" (New C r i t i c a l ) objections against d i d a c t i c i n t e n t i o n s i n poetry while, at the same time, she t r i e s t o e x p l i c a t e the undeniable bias toward d i d a c t i c i s m i n Renaissance theory.  To that end, she makes a h e l p f u l d i s t i n c t i o n , I t h i n k ,  between a poem's "subject" or the poet's purpose for w r i t i n g , and the content of the poem —  what gets said on behalf of the purpose.  purpose as i t i s embodied i n the form.  The "teaching" i s the  Tuve's d i s t i n c t i o n s coincide with  Burke's theory of how l i t e r a r y forms argue f o r an a t t i t u d e which, the poet believes, w i l l "encompass" a s i t u a t i o n ; the a t t i t u d e to be taken or the order to be upheld would be the purpose for w r i t i n g ; the formal presentation would be the "inventions" of the poet's imagination.  Tuve's remarks should, I  think, be quoted at length:  ...one cannot pick out i n i t [Wilson's Arte of Rhetoriquej the ordinary modern notion of some content as the purpose of a piece, or of a 'subject matter* ( d i d a c t i c a l l y important) d i v i s i b l e from the form ( d i d a c t i c a l l y n e g l i g i b l e ) . To what i s the matter 'apt'? What does the d i s t i n c t i o n between 'matter' and 'purpose', made several times, mean — i f not that the d i r e c t i n g conception determines my s e l e c t i o n of things true and l i k e l y as w e l l as my way of 'commending' or making impressive those things? How can words and sentences (probably figures of words and figures of thought) confirm the cause, unless the process i s one of f i t incarnation of an i n t e n t i o n , j u s t as I have suited my matter to my purpose by the way I have ordered i t ? I do not beautify my s t y l e ; I beautify the cause. I do not s t a r t out with my matter; I f i n d i t .  ...I believe that the root of much modern c r i t i c a l d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with the d i d a c t i c theory of poetry i s i t s supposed i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of content with purpose — and I do not think that the Renaissance made t h i s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n . Many of our quarrels with d i d a c t i c poems turn out to be quarrels not with the poet's aim but with the subject matter and devices through which he has made h i s aim apparent — and no element i n poetry i s so subject to the changing fashions of d i f f e r e n t times as the f i r s t of these."19  I f Tuve i s r i g h t , then the praise of Shakespeare for what he has to teach us does not imply praise of h i s abstractable precepts; r a t h e r , i t implies praise  - 14 -  for  the thoroughness  of h i s invention —  d i v e r g e n t a t t i t u d e s toward more c l e a r l y , certainly,  f o r the way he has f u l l y  a s u b j e c t so t h a t we can understand  i t s complexity  even i f we do not accept t h e o s t e n s i b l y proposed o r d e r .  i s the way Kenneth Burke sees Shakespeare:  c o u l d see the " q u a l i t y o f the a c t i o n by views could e x c e l so many o t h e r s i n h i s a b i l i t y even i f he " v o t e s " i n the end f o r one over  T h i s concept o f r h e t o r i c  s t a r t i n g with premises i t w i l l and d i v i s i o n s u n t i l i f not t o a l l .  This,  as a d i a l e c t i c i a n  who  from v a r i o u s a n g l e s , " and who  t o marshal a l l a v a i l a b l e another.^  arguments,  u  i s not d i d a c t i c , then, i n a narrow sense.  Rather, i t assumes t h a t an a r t i s t  for  argued  needs t o b u i l d  agreements w i t h h i s audience,  accept and moving i t through v a r i o u s mergers  the c o n c l u s i o n i s , as f a r as p o s s i b l e , a c c e p t a b l e t o most,  I t i s t h i s concept o f r h e t o r i c t h a t I expect w i l l  a n a l y z i n g the problem w i t h the problem p l a y s .  be h e l p f u l  I f , i n f a c t , an audience  needs t o " i d e n t i f y " w i t h a r a t i o n a l l y comprehensible o r d e r , and i f i t expects to  do so a t the end o f a p l a y , and i f the a r t i s t  will  t h e r e not be a problem?  What i f Shakespeare  prevents i t from d o i n g t h a t , i s t r y i n g t o communicate the  " i d e a o f d i s j u n c t i o n " i n the problem p l a y s , as E l l i s - F e r m o r suggests i n relation  t o T r o i l u s and C r e s s i d a ?  W i l l he not have t o use every r h e t o r i c a l  means a t h i s d i s p o s a l t o c o n v i n c e the audience t h a t i t s urge t o i n d u l g e a c o n v e n t i o n a l response i s mistaken?  I b e l i e v e t h a t Burke's p h i l o s o p h y o f l i t e r a r y  form and h i s r h e t o r i c  o f f e r a f l e x i b l e and f r u i t f u l way o f e x p l a i n i n g what i s happening Shakespeare's  most t r o u b l i n g p l a y s as w e l l as i n o t h e r s throughout the canon.  Therefore, after All's  i n three o f  an e x p l a n a t i o n o f Burke's  c r i t i c a l method, I w i l l  analyze  Well That Ends W e l l , T r o i l u s and C r e s s i d a , and Measure f o r Measure, and  I w i l l c o n c l u d e with s u g g e s t i o n s f o r d i s t i n g u i s h i n g these p l a y s from the t r a g e d i e s and the romances which  f o l l o w them.  -  15 -  The  order  i n which I study the p l a y s i s s t r a t e g i c and  d e c i s i o n about t h e i r d a t i n g . have put  i t i n the middle,  Since T r o i l u s i s the " d a r k e s t " o f the t h r e e , I  u s i n g i t as a c o n t r a s t t o the o t h e r s whose romance  m o t i f s l i g h t e n the t r o u b l i n g tone but do not c o m p l e t e l y glimpse Well  and  a r a y o f hope or imagine t h a t t h e r e i s l i g h t Measure, but  does not imply a  a c c o r d i n g t o t h i s a n a l y s i s , one  - 16 -  r e l i e v e i t . One  at the c l o s e o f is still  i n the  may 1  All s tunnel.  II. BURKE'S RHETORIC: LANGUAGE AS SYMBOLIC ACTION  Kenneth Burke's essay on Adolf H i t l e r ' s "word magic" i n Mein Kampf provides a s t a r t i n g point f o r a c l e a r understanding of Burke's r h e t o r i c as "symbolic a c t i o n . "  According t o Burke, the purpose of r h e t o r i c i s t o persuade  an audience t o change i t s a t t i t u d e or stance toward some tension i n i t s s i t u a t i o n through i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with those symbols of a new i d e n t i t y presented by the speaker.  The new i d e n t i t y i s welcomed i n d i r e c t proportion  to an audience's d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with i t s lack of i d e n t i t y or i t s i n a b i l i t y t o act  p u r p o s e f u l l y with others i n the present context.  W r i t i n g h i s analysis of "The Rhetoric of H i l t e r ' s B a t t l e " i n the summer of  1939, Burke welcomed the unexpurgated  e d i t i o n of H i t l e r ' s book not only as  a chance t o study the t a c t i c s of a master r h e t o r i c i a n who provided i d e n t i t y for a people, but also t o defuse the s i n i s t e r e f f e c t s of those t a c t i c s by exposing them to a q u i z z i c a l a n a l y s i s .  Since the r e s u l t s of t h i s study are  a p p l i c a b l e to any use of language as symbolic a c t i o n , they w i l l help to explain t o some extent the "problem" of the problem plays.  I f , as Burke  maintains, an audience expects a "persuasion to change" by attending t o an author's symbolic action and yet i s prevented from doing so, there w i l l be problems f o r the audience stemming from a f r u s t r a t i o n of formal expectations and anthropological needs.  For Burke, H i t l e r ' s r h e t o r i c i s e f f e c t i v e p r e c i s e l y because he provides a c l e a r symbol of a new order which w i l l redeem h i s audience from the burdens of i t s h i s t o r i c a l c o n d i t i o n .  H i t l e r ' s r h e t o r i c works because i t i s "the  b a s t a r d i z a t i o n of fundamentally r e l i g i o u s patterns of thought" (PLF, p.219);  1  that i s , as a " s a l v a t i o n device," i t draws upon ways of t h i n k i n g which appeal to deeply grounded human needs f o r purpose, f e l l o w s h i p , and freedom.  - 17 -  However,  as Burke goes on t o show, H i t l e r ' s r h e t o r i c i s s i n i s t e r i n e f f e c t i v e because i t b a s t a r d i z e s these  and  ultimately  r e l i g i o u s p a t t e r n s o f thought,  a p p l y i n g them i n " i l l e g i t i m a t e " ways.  H i t l e r ' s "medicine" (or " s n a k e o i l , " to be more exact) was prescription was  f o r the c o n d i t i o n s o f post-war Germany.  a breakdown o f the c a p i t a l i s t  national pride after defeat  The  context  of  i n war,  and  at the same time by t h e i r w r a n g l i n g .  a " b a b e l " o f v o i c e s at the c e n t e r  "poverty,  Hitler  and  equated Vienna, the c a p i t a l  p r o s t i t u t i o n , immorality,  r e s p o n s i b i l i t y ' ) death, i n t e r n a t i o n a l i s m , s e d u c t i o n , thumbs-down s o r t the a s s o c i a t i v e e n t e r p r i s e cared (PLF,  Using the c i t y speaking,  and  coalitions,  anything  to add  of  preventing i t  measures, i n c e s t , democracy ( i . e . , m a j o r i t y r u l e l e a d i n g t o ' l a c k o f  balance"  situation  economy i n a world-wide d e p r e s s i o n , wounded  the " t o t t e r i n g Hapsburg Empire," a l l o f them u r g i n g reform  the former empire, with  his  of half-  personal  else of  on t h i s s i d e o f  the  p.200).  i d e a s j u s t as a poet uses images, H i t l e r  c h a r a c t e r i z e d Vienna  as  from which h i s audience o b v i o u s l y needed to move, f i g u r a t i v e l y i f i t wanted to transcend  i t s present  troubles.  The  new  c i t y was  to  be Munich, the headquarters f o r the Nazi p a r t y , the p e r f e c t s e t t i n g f o r H i t l e r ' s philosophy  o f an Aryan race with  inborn d i g n i t y o f blood  and  the  c e n t e r o f v i t u p e r a t i o n a g a i n s t the common enemy, the " i n t e r n a t i o n a l Jew" blood one  would " p o l l u t e " the Aryan i f mixed with  i t . H i t l e r d e l i b e r a t e l y chose  enemy a g a i n s t which to d i r e c t h i s a t t a c k s , because, as he  h i m s e l f , i t makes t h i n k i n g e a s i e r and one's own  The  was  " d e f i n e d , " then,  as the " d e v i l "  s t r o n g l e a d e r , wooing the masses ( c o n c e i v e d l e a d e r ' s one  voice.  His aim was  and  18  -  of  direction.  the r i v a l male to the  i n feminine  t o seduce the " f o l k "  -  acknowledges  c a s t s l e s s doubt on the s t r e n g t h  p o s i t i o n i f o b j e c t i o n s t o i t come from o n l y one  Jew  whose  terms) away from  the  i n t o f o l l o w i n g ideas  ( l i k e democracy) t h a t would drag them back i n t o the burdensome c o n d i t i o n s under which they had  suffered.  For H i t l e r , the Jew  was  to be a scapegoat,  whose back the Aryan c o u l d l o a d the d e t e s t e d burdens o f h i s own f a i l u r e o f h i s own  economy, the ignominy of h i s own  expel them and thus t o p u r i f y h i s own  situation  on (the  wounded p r i d e ) i n order  i d e n t i t y as one  to  no l o n g e r burdened or  polluted.  Burke's a n a l y s i s c l e a r l y shows the p o e t i c way works: f i r s t ,  f o r Vienna,  i d e n t i f y t h a t c i t y as the f i t s e t t i n g  i d e a l i s m , obedience  Jewish  o f these o p p o s i t e equations  'cunning'  and  Next, H i t l e r  'arrogance'"  p i t s one  were Aryan  (PLF, pp.  "And,  sacrifice,  o f c o u r s e , the  'heroism'  and  'sacrifice'  as r i v a l s and  to e x p e l the one  By drawing upon the commonly accepted  then  as a r i v a l male and  p r o s t i t u t i o n , or i n c e s t . "inborn d i g n i t y " —  i n order to save  values of h i s  audience  audience  hence as a " p o l l u t a n t " l i k e  i s i n v i t e d to i d e n t i f y i t s e l f ) ,  i t s power d e r i v e s from i t s s i n c e r i t y .  " s a l v a t i o n d e v i c e " which had  proved  -  the  o f the s u p e r i o r race ( w i t h which H i t l e r ' s the i n f e r i o r r a c e s must be e x p e l l e d .  Burke's i n c i s i v e c r i t i q u e o f H i t l e r ' s r h e t o r i c of  by  syphilis,  The message i s c l e a r : i n o r d e r to p r e s e r v e  blood p u r i t y —  vs.  points  toward s e x u a l i t y , H i t l e r p o i n t s the arrows i n the d i r e c t i o n o f the Jew i d e n t i f y i n g him  two  207-208).  term a g a i n s t the other  the "arrows o f e x p e c t a t i o n " toward having the o t h e r .  nation.  It  identification,  army, r e s p o n s i b i l i t y ,  to n a t u r e , r a c e , and  the  by a d i f f e r e n t s e t o f e q u a t i o n s .  with H i t l e r ' s innner v o i c e , l e a d e r - people  u n i t y , R e i c h , plow, sword, work, war,  keystones  a l r e a d y mentioned, merge t o  f o r the common enemy; Munich, on  other hand, i s d i s t i n g u i s h e d from Vienna identified  rhetoric  by making mergers among some i d e a s and d i v i s i o n s between o t h e r s ;  so, f o r example, the equations  is  i n which H i t l e r ' s  Hitler  a l s o p o i n t s out t h a t much  i s o f f e r i n g to o t h e r s a  s u c c e s s f u l f o r h i m s e l f when h i s  19  -  first  formulations of a p o l i t i c a l Bolshevist r i v a l s . end of the l i n e .  philosophy i n Vienna had met with attack from  H i t l e r had discovered hate as a way out and took i t to the Mein Kampf i s H i t l e r ' s b a t t l e , as Burke t r i e s to emphasize  by the t i t l e for h i s essay, and although H i t l e r ' s plans may be dismissed as i r r a t i o n a l , they worked p r e c i s e l y because they were presented i n the name of reason and i n a form which c a r i c a t u r e s a r e l i g i o u s way of t h i n k i n g .  In a shrewd d i s t i n c t i o n , Burke points out that Mein Kampf i s "the bad f i l l i n g of a good need" (PLF, p.218).  "The yearning f o r unity," he says, " i s  so great that people are always w i l l i n g to meet you halfway i f you w i l l give i t to them by f i a t , by f l a t statement, regardless of the f a c t s " (PLF, p.205). H i t l e r ' s r h e t o r i c i s "bad," however, not only because i t i s l i t e r a l l y murderous, but because i t solves nothing; i t provides a noneconomic i n t e r p r e t a t i o n f o r burdens which are economically engendered.  By making a  scapegoat of the Jew as the advocate of "bad c a p i t a l i s m , " H i t l e r allows the Aryans to continue the same economic p r a c t i c e s which had brought about the depression i n the f i r s t place. the  Instead of getting h i s audience to recognize  babel of voices within themselves and to sort them out there before taking  a c t i o n , H i t l e r s i m p l i f i e s the t h i n k i n g of h i s audience by encouraging them to project the cause of t h e i r burdens elsewhere and to p u r i f y themselves by k i l l i n g o f f what i s supposedly not themselves.  Burke's s o l u t i o n f o r H i t l e r ' s word magic i s as ingenious as h i s analysis.  Since we cannot change the way r h e t o r i c works, he argues, we ( i n  1939) should take a lesson from H i t l e r ' s masterful, s i n i s t e r use of i t and make of H i t l e r the scapegoat.  In that way, people w i l l be motivated f i r s t to  defeat H i t l e r ' s fascism and then, once the outside danger to democracy i s removed, to e x t i r p a t e those elements of fascism which threaten democracy from within.  "Our j o b , then," says Burke, "our a n t i - H i t l e r B a t t l e , i s to find a l l  a v a i l a b l e ways of making the H i t l e r i t e d i s t o r t i o n s of r e l i g i o n apparent, i n - 20 -  o r d e r t h a t p o l i t i c i a n s o f h i s kind i n America swindle.  The d e s i r e f o r u n i t y i s genuine  be unable t o perform a s i m i l a r  and a d m i r a b l e .  The d e s i r e f o r  n a t i o n a l u n i t y , i n the p r e s e n t s t a t e o f the world, i s genuine  and  admirable.  But t h i s u n i t y , i f a t t a i n e d on a d e c e p t i v e b a s i s , by emotional t r i c k e r i e s s h i f t our c r i t i c i s m  that  from the a c c u r a t e l o c u s o f our t r o u b l e , i s no u n i t y at  a l l " (PLF, p.219).  As Burke has analyzed i t ,  t h e n , H i t l e r ' s use o f r h e t o r i c  i s a "salvation  d e v i c e , " synonomous with "medicine," with "equipment f o r l i v i n g , " "ritual  o f r e b i r t h " t h a t uses a r e l i g i o u s way  and w i t h a  o f t h i n k i n g t o h e l p a people  t r a n s f o r m t h e i r sense o f i d e n t i t y from t h a t o f a people damned t o t h a t o f a people saved.  H i t l e r ' s success comes not from the content o f h i s mergers  which f a l l s a p a r t under a n a l y s i s — to " f i l l  —  but from the f a c t t h a t h i s message i s used  i n " a p a t t e r n o f t h i n k i n g which s a t i s f i e s an audience by a r i t u a l or  formal kind o f p r o g r e s s i o n .  A c c o r d i n g t o Burke, end: t o persuade equated  every use o f symbols works, i n e f f e c t , f o r the same  people t o change through i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h a term which i s  w i t h the way  out o f a p r e s e n t predicament  by s u r v i v i n g a c o n t e s t with r i v a l predicament. reenactment  terms or other e x p l a n a t i o n s f o r the same  Every a c t o f p e r s u a s i o n i s , so t o speak, o f a r e l i g i o u s way  "combat myth" i n which one mastery  and which proves i t s potency  a l o c a l and  ritual  o f t h i n k i n g employed, f o r example, i n the  term  (or god or power) s t r u g g l e s w i t h i t s r i v a l f o r  over the a l l e g i a n c e s o f a p e o p l e .  Commenting on Python, A Study o f D e l p h i c Myth and  I t s O r i g i n s by  Joseph  Fontenrose, Burke applauds the a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l i n s i g h t s which h e l p to e x p l a i n the r o l e o f mythic n a r r a t i v e i n the founding o f c u l t s ,  and he emphasizes  e s p e c i a l l y t h a t the r i v a l gods or terms are i n p e r p e t u a l d i a l e c t i c a l As p o l a r o p p o s i t e s , they w i l l  always  imply one  - 21 -  tension.  another as s u r e l y as p o s i t i v e  i m p l i e s n e g a t i v e and order i m p l i e s chaos, even i f one power i s accepted  as god  f o r t h e moment.  The  reason f o r a "combat myth" o r n a r r a t i v e o f t h e i r  s t r u g g l e i s t o show  how they end up and t h e r e f o r e which i s the god with which a people would want to i d e n t i f y and i n the process t o overcome t h e i r d i v i d e d As Burke e x p l a i n s , " I n themselves, or p r i o r i t y , but merely mythic  as ' p o l a r ' terms,  imply each o t h e r .  and burdensome s t a t e .  they have no p r o g r e s s i o n  When t r a n s l a t e d  i n t o terms o f  n a r r a t i v e , however, such o p p o s i t i o n can become a q u a s i - t e m p o r a l  'combat' between the two terms, the terms can be p i c t u r e d  with the c o r r e s p o n d i n g p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t one o f  as ' v a n q u i s h i n g ' the o t h e r .  Or they can be thought  o f as a l t e r n a t i v e l y uppermost, i n p e r i o d i c o r c y c l i c s u c c e s s i o n (an arrangement t h a t comes c l o s e r t o r e t a i n i n g the n o t i o n o f t h e i r involvement  i n each o t h e r , even while d i s t i n g u i s h i n g between them and g i v i n g  each a measure o f predominance). modulated by the thought  (LSA, pp.  S i m i l a r l y , the p a t t e r n can be f u r t h e r  o f an inter-regnum,  and-out v i c t o r but a temporary other"  mutual  with one o f the terms not an o u t -  i n t e r r e x , e v e n t u a l l y t o be r e p l a c e d by the  387-388, Burke's emphases).  Burke emphasizes t h a t a combat myth i s t o l d not o n l y f o r a e s t h e t i c p l e a s u r e but a l s o t o e x p l a i n t h e founding o f a c u l t which i s "a system o f governance"  with s a n c t i o n s f o r p a r t i c u l a r  a t t i t u d e s and a c t i o n s .  Therefore,  the s t r u c t u r e o f t h e myth w i l l be b r o a d l y a p p l i c a b l e t o any a c t o f p e r s u a s i o n , but i t w i l l  c o n v i n c e a people o n l y t o the e x t e n t t h a t i t draws on the b e l i e f s ,  hopes and f e a r s o f a p a r t i c u l a r " c o n t e x t o f s i t u a t i o n " accept one order as good and the o t h e r as bad — and always w i l l  be.  and persuades  even though both are p o s s i b l e  As Burke s l y l y s u g g e s t s , t h e k i l l i n g  cause him t o d i e o f f ; r a t h e r , i t makes him immortal. up, the s t o r y d e f i n e s the scapegoat  them t o  o f a god does not  By showing where he ends  as the g o d - t o - b e - e x p e l l e d , but i t a l s o  - 22 -  shows that t h i s i s the r i v a l a t t i t u d e of the reigning order and that i f i t i s ever revived, chaos w i l l come again. The ending of a combat myth i s simultaneously a transcendence of a struggle (or i r o n i c impasse of c o n f l i c t i n g terms) and a c a t h a r s i s of an unwanted burden.  I t could represent a moving on to a more i n c l u s i v e term, as  i n a P l a t o n i c dialogue of contending opinions, but more often i t takes the route of t r a g i c expulsion.  To some extent, both movements occur  simlutaneously, with only an emphasis on one or the other to mark the difference.  Burke then extrapolates from these comments on mythic n a r r a t i v e and applies them to poetic n a r r a t i v e i n general, e s p e c i a l l y tragedy and comedy. Just as the combat myth p i t s against one another r i v a l gods (which u l t i m a t e l y represent the powers of Love and Death, as Freud believed) and then t e l l s  how  one god won and founded the c u l t while the other l o s t and survives to threaten i t , poetry, too, i n dramatic ways, defines terms by c l u s t e r s or equations of images and ideas, p i t s them against one another, and points the arrows of expectation toward the defeat of the d e v i l term and the s u r v i v a l of the god term.  S t r u c t u r a l l y , then, tragedy and comedy are modifications of the same  combat myth, applying the formula to d i f f e r e n t kinds of character ("better" than ordinary i n tragedy, "worse" than ordinary i n comedy), a l l the time " f i t t i n g " the characters to t h e i r end so that an audience can be s a t i s f i e d by knowing how and when and whom to applaud (LSA, pp.  399-400).  LITERATURE AS A DEFINITION OF TERMS  For Burke, poetry, l i k e the combat myth and every other kind of symbolic action ( i n c l u d i n g s i n i s t e r kinds, l i k e Mein Kampf), uses both a r e l i g i o u s  - 23 -  way  o f t h i n k i n g and  a dramatic  audience to accept  the  kind o f p a t t e r n to d e f i n e terms and  to move an  definition.  As c h a r a c t e r s i n a drama, the terms cannot be d e f i n e d , o b v i o u s l y , paraphrase or a b s t r a c t i o n to a t e r m i n o l o g y c h a r a c t e r s are a c t o r s on a p a r t i c u l a r agencies.  Therefore,  and  why.  an audience l e a r n s what to t h i n k o f the c h a r a c t e r s  (Obviously,  t e x t r a t h e r than  with great  as p o s s i b l e o f who  a more thorough job can  witnessing  c o n s t i t u e n t s o f any  The  scene, a c t i n g w i t h c e r t a i n purposes  terms by making as thorough an " i n d e x i n g " how  o u t s i d e o f the p l a y .  a performance.) Burke c a l l s these  act the "Pentad" and,  as simple  manipulate the " r a t i o s "  between one  i n t e g e r and  C o n s t i t u t i o n o f the United  has  as i t sounds, he uses i t r h e t o r i c i a n s can  another to c o n s t r u c t  instrument  like  for  philosophy  States.  f o r m a l i s t s with whom he  i s sometimes c o n t r a s t e d , Burke  s e t f o r the d e f i n i t i o n o f h i s terms.  So,  a poet or  f o r example, what i t be  i r o n i c a l l y by n o t i n g not o n l y what he does but where he does i t .  Ibsen d e f i n e s the term by showing Stockmann a c t i n g on s a f e t y and  anything  the  means to say t h a t Dr.Stockmann i s an "enemy" o f the people comes t o understood  b e h a l f o f the  then s u f f e r i n g t h e i r h o s t i l e r e a c t i o n because they  the t r u t h he has  a  five  advocates as thorough a c h a r t i n g as p o s s i b l e o f the " e q u a t i o n s " philosopher  or  i s studying  from the symbol s t r u c t u r e o f a p l a y l i k e Enemy o f the People, t o a l i k e pragmatism or i d e a l i s m , or to a p o l i t i c a l  and  does what, where,  be done i f one  i n g e n u i t y i n h i s Grammar o f Motives to show how  Much l i k e  by  to t e l l  them.  people's  are not  ready  Burke then d e s c r i b e s the s e t t i n g o f  the  final action:  In Act V, the stage d i r e c t i o n s t e l l us t h a t the hero's c l o t h e s are t o r n , and the room i s i n d i s o r d e r , with broken windows. You may c o n s i d e r these d e t a i l s e i t h e r as p r o p e r t i e s o f the scene or as a r e f l e c t i o n o f the hero's c o n d i t i o n a f t e r h i s r e c e n t s t r u g g l e with the f o r c e s o f r e a c t i o n . The scene i s l a i d i n Dr. Stockmann's study, a s e t t i n g so symbolic o f the d i r e c t i o n taken by the p l o t - 24  -  that the play ends with Dr. Stockmann announcing h i s plan to e n r o l l twelve young d i s c i p l e s and with thern t o found a school i n which he w i l l work for the education of s o c i e t y (GM, p.5, Burke's emphases). The meaning of the poet's terms, then, emerges by studying not only the integers of the Pentad but the r a t i o s between them ( f o r example, that Stockmann's act of saving the people through education i s contained within the scene of h i s study i n the company of twelve d i s c i p l e s such as Jesus had).  In addition to the Pentad, the poet also uses imagery t o i n d i c a t e the q u a l i t y of an action from d i f f e r e n t angles.  Imagery or metaphor are what  Burke, following Nietzsche, c a l l s "perspectives by incongruity" (ATH, p.269); they are a "screen" or " f i l t e r " through which an audience i s persuaded to see the essence of the a c t i o n .  Impressed with Caroline Spurgeon's book on  Shakespeare's imagery, Burke notes that "her method can d i s c l o s e s t a t i s t i c a l l y how Shakespeare frequently organized a play about a key or p i v o t a l  metaphor,  which he repeated i n v a r i a n t s ( l i k e a musical 'theme with v a r i a t i o n s ' ) throughout the play."  So, f o r example, "Romeo and J u l i e t i s organized about  images of l i g h t ; Hamlet, the ulcer or tumor, and King Lear, b o d i l y t o r t u r e " (ATH, pp. 274-275).  The metaphoric perspectives are complicated s t i l l further by Shakespeare's favoring of puns t o i n d i c a t e that the q u a l i t y of the action may be perceived from at l e a s t two d i r e c t i o n s at once.  Burke does not comment on  the following plays s p e c i f i c a l l y , but i n Romeo and J u l i e t love and death imply one another i n a pun on " d i e " : "Thus, with a k i s s , I d i e " ( V . i i i . 1 2 0 ) I n Hamlet, "union" i s a g r i s l y pun on the pearl with which Claudius poisons a drinking cup and the incestuous marriage with which he has poisoned Denmark, and Hamlet's use of t h i s pun, by l i n k i n g the marriage to the poisoning act, underscores the poetic j u s t i c e of Claudius's death: "Here, thou incestuous, murd'rous, damned Dane,/ Drink o f f t h i s potion. - 25 -  I s thy union here?/ Follow my  mother" (V.II.336-338).  And, in King Lear, a pun on "kind" shows that one's  "kind" or family may not necessarily be "kind" or caring and the wrenching apart of these two senses of the word complements the images of bodily torture in t h i s play.  According to the Fool, only the fathers "that bear bags/ Shall  see their children kind" ( I I . i v . 5 1 ) ,  and Lear, who had trusted f i r s t in the  "kind" nursery of Cordelia and then of Goneril and Regan, i s stung by " f i l i a l ingratitude" u n t i l he discovers, as i f for the f i r s t time, Cordelia as a "kind and dear princess" ( I V . v i i . 2 8 ) .  Puns and metaphoric perspectives, then, are ways in which a poet attempts to direct the audience's attention toward an understanding of the terms he i s setting up.  But each term i s defined not only in i t s e l f by  imagery and in ways analyzed by the Pentad (by mergers); i t i s also defined in opposition to another term which serves as i t s r i v a l p o s s i b i l i t y (by division).  There can be no action or dramatic development unless a contest  can be staged, just as there can be no positive idea of a s o c i e t y ' s goals without implying what these goals are not.  This, says Burke, i s the "paradox  of substance" — that nothing can be defined as what i t i s without reference to what i t i s not (GM, pp.21-23).  The etymology of "substance" i t s e l f  (to stand under) shows that when we  enunciate the "stance" of anything, i t i s always in r e l a t i o n to an "understood" context or scene.  Thus, every term for encompassing a situation  i s inherently ambiguous since i t evokes i t s polar opposite or r i v a l p o s s i b i l i t y even when i t i s taken to be "substantially" t r u e .  In dramatic  terms, t h i s means that the hero cannot be accepted as such unless an audience both recognizes a struggle against a v i l l a i n and agrees to expel him. The r i s k for a playwright, then, i s in the choice of terms for mergers and divisions.  If done with an accurate gauging of an audience's b e l i e f s ,  playwright can direct his audience's agreements where he wants them. - 26 -  the However,  i f h i s e q u a t i o n s and c o n t r a s t s are unappealing o r misjudged, fail  an audience may  t o go along w i t h the argument.  The unforseen changes i n p e r c e p t i o n because o f h i s t o r i c a l further complicate the playwright's task. Merchant  o f Venice i s d i f f i c u l t  For example, the response t o The  enough because  o f d r a m a t i c i r o n i e s between  Belmont and V e n i c e and the use o f money i n both s c e n e s . Jewishness adds something  But S h y l o c k ' s  t o t h e e q u a t i o n t o which a t w e n t i e t h c e n t u r y  audience i s e s p e c i a l l y s e n s i t i v e . semitism w i l l  developments  The f e a r t o be i d e n t i f i e d  with a n t i -  cause some i n the audience t o make Shylock a martyr and i n no  way a comic b u t t o r scapegoat.  On the o t h e r hand, some w i l l  Jewishness t o c o n f i r m t h e i r own p r e j u d i c e s and w i l l  ignore the ambiguities of  S h y l o c k ' s r e l a t i o n s h i p t o the C h r i s t i a n s o f V e n i c e . the f e s t i v e c o n c l u s i o n Jewish, Shakespeare  use h i s  By making the o u t s i d e r t o  has r i s k e d , perhaps  intentionally,  a d i f f e r e n t r e c e p t i o n t o h i s d e f i n i t i o n o f terms.  F i n a l l y , t h e "substance" o f a p l a y w r i g h t ' s argument i s d e f i n e d by where the terms end up.  Speaking o f death as one k i n d o f ending, Burke c a l l s i t the  " n a r r a t i v e e q u i v a l e n t o f the A r i s t o t e l i a n  entelechy.  For the poet  could  d e f i n e the essence o f a motive n a r r a t i v e l y o r d r a m a t i c a l l y ( i n terms o f a h i s t o r y ) by showing  how t h a t motive ended; t h e m a t u r i t y or f u l f i l l m e n t o f a  motive, i t s ' p e r f e c t i o n ' o r ' f i n i s h e d n e s s , ' i f t r a n s l a t e d  i n t o terms o f t r a g i c  outcome, would e n t a i l the i d e n t i f y i n g o f t h a t motive w i t h a n a r r a t i v e whose a c t s l e d t o some f i t t i n g  figure  form o f death" (RM, p.14).  In r h e t o r i c a l terms, t h e moment o f death or e x p u l s i o n i s a t r a n s f o r m a t i o n o f terms, the s i g n i f i c a n c e o f which must be determined  i n the  c o n t e x t o f each p l a y and, u l t i m a t e l y , by the judgement o f those i n the audience.  As Burke e x p l a i n s , "a poet's i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h imagery o f murder  or s u i c i d e , e i t h e r one o r t h e o t h e r , i s from t h e ' n e u t r a l ' p o i n t o f view,  - 27 -  merely a concern with terms f o r t r a n s f o r m a t i o n "kill  o f f " a term, t h e n , may  (RM,  p.11).  mean t h a t i t deserves to d i e : i t i s the  scapegoat f o r an a t t i t u d e which "has" be  i n general"  to go.  On  the o t h e r  a martyrdom, showing t h a t the p r i n c i p l e or term t h a t  To  ritual  hand, the death  is sacrificed  has  too good f o r t h i s world which i s then condemned f o r the a c t o f murder. Burke, s u i c i d e , as s e l f murder, e i t h e r shows the  self-stifling  a t t i t u d e or becomes the v e h i c l e f o r s e l f - t r a n s c e n d e n c e cause f o r which one i s worth d y i n g  gives h i s l i f e .  o f f and  a c t of death can  f o r or t h a t something i s " f i t "  a t t i t u d e with which the killed  The  to d i e .  audience i d e n t i f i e s i s being  been  For  e f f e c t s of  i n the name o f show t h a t  may  an  that  something  In e i t h e r case, some transformed by  t h e r e f o r e , i f a eulogy i s spoken, i t i s on  being  behalf of that  of i t s e l f which an audience b e l i e v e s i t must r e l i n q u i s h f o r the  part  sake o f what  survives.  Burke's a n a l y s i s o f drama as symbolic a c t i o n can a r t i c l e " O t h e l l o : An  best  Essay to I l l u s t r a t e a Method" i n which  assumptions o f h i s kind o f a n a l y s i s are c l e a r l y e x p l a i n e d assumption o f a "context  analysis of characters  o f the c o u n t e r s t a t e m e n t and  case h i s t o r i e s ; the  progression  not  o f the  might s u r v i v e  and  a t t i t u d e p o i n t i n g t o the way  illustrated: the for  implied  where one  term i s s a c r i f i c e d  the whole v i s i o n accepted by the  the  so  audience as  that an  out o f i t s burden.  in his c a l l i n g Othello a "viaticum"  assuming t h a t one  - 28 -  device"  f o r the burdens o f Using o n l y the terms o f  the p l a y , which enact O t h e l l o ' s j e a l o u s y or f e a r o f l o s i n g what he i n Desdemona, and  play  argument from the s e t t i n g up o f terms  Shakespeare's audience as owners o f p r i v a t e p r o p e r t y .  "invested"  the  psychological  Burke's b e l i e f i n drama as a " r i t u a l o f r e b i r t h " or a " s a l v a t i o n is clearly  in his  salient  as terms " f i t "  as p e r s o n a l i t i e s with  through t h e i r p e r i p e t y to the c o n c l u s i o n the other  and  the  o f s i t u a t i o n " ( u s u a l l y economic) t o which  i s a "counterstatement"; the arguing  be s t u d i e d  kind o f r e l a t i o n s h i p  has (property  ownership) may be expressed  i n terms o f another  (monogamous marriage i n which  the husband i s " l o r d " o f the w i f e , as O t h e l l o i s c a l l e d ) , Burke s t u d i e s how the p r i n c i p a l terms o r c h a r a c t e r s ( O t h e l l o , Desdemona, and Iago) f i t t o g e t h e r for  d e f i n i n g what i s e s s e n t i a l l y or s u b s t a n t i a l l y the t e n s i o n i n v o l v e d w i t h  i n c r e a s e d attempts t o a c q u i r e and t o keep p r i v a t e p r o p e r t y .  In t h i s a n a l y s i s , Desdemona i s the p r o p e r t y which O t h e l l o would keep t o himself.  Her value i s i n c r e a s e d by a t o p i c a l appeal t o t h e audience's  i n the value o f monogamous marriage. to  As O t h e l l o ' s w i f e , Desdemona  O t h e l l o , and any v i o l a t i o n o f her would be promiscuous.  l o s e her and what she r e p r e s e n t s " p r i d e , pomp and c i r c u m s t a n c e "  belief  "belongs"  I f O t h e l l o were t o  (the " t r a n q u i l mind," " c o n t e n t , "  and a l l the  o f O t h e l l o ' s o c c u p a t i o n ) , chaos would  truly  come a g a i n .  Iago e n t e r s as an a t t i t u d e not so much d i s t i n c t counterpart.  He appears a t O t h e l l o ' s e a r , w h i s p e r i n g  kneels at O t h e l l o ' s s i d e , pledging h i s support. i n s i d e O t h e l l o as a p l a y w r i g h t  can make him, and he r e p r e s e n t s the f e a r o f  from h i s foredoomed d e s i r e t o extend  t a s k i s t o induce  Given  h i s s u s p i c i o n s ; he  He i s as c l o s e t o being  estrangement which accompanies the a c t o f ownership.  uses a r e prevented.  from O t h e l l o ' s as i t s  O t h e l l o ' s tragedy  arises  h i s ownership so a b s o l u t e l y t h a t o t h e r s '  O t h e l l o ' s "engrossment" i n h i s p r o p e r t y ,  Iago's  j e a l o u s y from what appears t o be C a s s i o ' s promiscuous  h a n d l i n g o f the h a n d k e r c h i e f .  Iago succeeds so w e l l i n making O t h e l l o s u f f e r  estrangement from h i s p r o p e r t y p r e c i s e l y because O t h e l l o has attempted t o extend  h i s ownership t o such an extent t h a t he cannot d i s t i n g u i s h  from l e c h e r y .  O t h e l l o , then, k i l l s  Desdemona, attempting  courtesy  t o t r a n s f o r m her  i n t o a c r e a t u r e who belongs e n t i r e l y t o him, even i f she w i l l then be dead t o his  own "uses"  as w e l l as t o o t h e r s ' , and then he k i l l s  t o l d t h a t h i s f e a r o f estrangement was without  reason.  r h e t o r i c a l terms, r e p r e s e n t s the r e f l e x i v e nature  h i m s e l f when he i s The s u i c i d e , i n  o f O t h e l l o ' s burden: the  s t i f l i n g and s e l f - k i l l i n g  e f f e c t s o f the attempt  t o make o f p r i v a t e p r o p e r t y  an a b s o l u t e l y p e r s o n a l p o s s e s s i o n .  The p l a y , then, s e r v e s as a counterstatement t o the "tension." own  I f they weep f o r O t h e l l o , i t i s because  j e a l o u s engrossments are "ending up"  hate Iago i t i s because t h e i r own  jealous fantasies.  audience, i t w i l l is  they need him  audience's  they r e a l i z e where t h e i r  (what they "amount" t o ) , and i f they  as a t a n g i b l e v i l l a i n , a scapegoat  of  I f the drama i s t o work as a " v i a t i c u m " f o r the  l e a d them t o a more q u i z z i c a l a n a l y s i s o f the a t t i t u d e t h a t  a b s o l u t e l y engrossed  i n private property.  The  substance o f O t h e l l o ' s  a t t i t u d e cannot be understood without remembering the "paradox  o f substance":  t h a t every c l a i m t o p r o p e r t y i m p l i e s a f e a r o f r i v a l  that  claims —  every  "exchange" o f l o v e i s " d i s c o u n t e d " t o some extent by f e a r o f j e a l o u s y .  In  f a c t , t o the e x t e n t t h a t one's a t t i t u d e i s " a b s o l u t e " i n i t s demands, i t i s sure t o provoke  i t s opposite.  Given h i s a p p r e c i a t i o n of  the p l a y , Burke f a v o r s two  i r o n y , which w i l l competing  f o r the " f i t " o f the c h a r a c t e r s i n the argument t r o p e s e s p e c i a l l y as master  methods o f a n a l y s i s :  keep the c r i t i c aware o f the d i a l e c t i c a l t e n s i o n s among  a t t i t u d e s , and synechdoche,  which w i l l  t r a i n the c r i t i c t o see  p a r t o f the p l a y as c o n t r i b u t i n g t o the d e f i n i n g o f the whole. the p l a y , then, w i l l  finally  be gauged by the way  responds t o the " f i t " o f competing  i n which an  a t t i t u d e s and t o the way  The  each  effect  of  audience  i n which they  end  up. •  CRITICISM AS CONVERSATION: TWO  REJOINDERS TO BURKE  There are two q u a l i f i c a t i o n s I would have t o make t o Burke's b e f o r e u s i n g i t f o r my  own  purposes.  - 30  First,  -  Burke's  assumption  analysis  o f economic  t e n s i o n s as the audience's "context  of s i t u a t i o n " needs some s o p h i s t i c a t i o n i f  t h i s method o f a n a l y s i s i s to be more f l e x i b l e , more r e s p e c t f u l of the o f concerns i n Shakespeare's p l a y s , and Burke assumes the economic context always t h e r e . in  every  therefore acceptable  c r e a t i n g t e n s i o n s between those who  h i e r a r c h y and  Versions  distribution  order.  Burke d e r i v e s these  are up or down i n the  share  a p l a c e i n the same  i d e a s from W i l l i a m Empson who,  of P a s t o r a l , argues t h a t the conventions  a c t u a l l y a paradigm f o r how  t h e i r ideas played  out  of the " h i g h e r " o r d e r s  are argued out  s e r v e t h i s purpose; i n a n o v e l , d i f f e r e n t  juxtaposition.  to Paul de Man,  a n a l y s i n g a p o e t i c convention  seeing  i n "terms" of the lower o r d e r s ; i n  a t t i t u d e s toward a s i t u a t i o n i n i r o n i c  poetic" i t s e l f ,  by  In p a s t o r a l , the moral concerns  can express the d i v e r g e n t According  are  a l l o f l i t e r a t u r e works: i n every work d i f f e r e n t  i n the same c o n t e x t .  drama, a double p l o t can  i n Some  of " p a s t o r a l l i t e r a t u r e "  c o n s t i t u e n c i e s of the audience are "wooed" i n t o a sense of union  and  exist  r e q u i r i n g " c o u r t s h i p " o f a k i n d between the c l a s s e s to assuage  t h e i r s e p a r a t i o n by p r o v i d i n g a sense t h a t they overarching  critics.  because he b e l i e v e s t h a t i n some form i t i s  C l a s s d i f f e r e n c e s on the b a s i s o f p r o p e r t y  age,  to more  range  characters  Empson under the p r e t e n s e  i s a c t u a l l y e x p l a i n i n g "the o n t o l o g y  of of  namely, the "problem o f s e p a r a t i o n " between poet and  the audience  between d i f f e r e n t c l a s s e s i n the audience i t s e l f which a poet c o n t r i v e s t o  overcome by symbolic takes  means though he  i s never completely  from Empson the i d e a o f a separated  successful.^  Burke  audience, but he too o f t e n , I t h i n k ,  e x p l a i n s t h a t s e p a r a t i o n merely i n economic terms.  S u r e l y , Burke i s r i g h t the p l a y and  t h a t they  which the audience has not  to assume t h a t economic c o n d i t i o n s e x i s t  form a " s u b s t r u c t u r e " adopted.  But  (in Marxist  according  terms) f o r the  values  as Burke h i m s e l f admits, Shakespeare does  seem o v e r t l y i n t e r e s t e d i n the economic s u b s t r u c t u r e .  s t r a t e g y as a d r a m a t i s t , "  outside  t o Burke," was  - 31 -  "Shakespeare's  formed by  [the]  relation  between f e u d a l and  bourgeois  values.  This  ' s u p e r s t r u c t u r a l ' m a t e r i a l was  the  o b j e c t i v e , s o c i a l m a t e r i a l he manipulated i n e l i c i t i n g h i s audience's response.  Economic f a c t o r s gave r i s e to the t r a n s i t i o n i n v a l u e s , but  d e a l t w i t h the t r a n s i t i o n i n v a l u e s "  Burke's assumption, then, audience, persuading  (PLF,  he  p.309).  t h a t a p l a y i s a r i t u a l o f r e b i r t h f o r an  i t t o a way  out of i t s t e n s i o n s by a n a r r a t i v e  f o r m u l a t i o n o f terms, t h i s assumption i s more c r e d i b l e and assumes a more than economic d e f i n i t i o n o f these Theodore Spencer i n Shakespeare and the Renaissance between Copernican  concerns.  the Nature of Man and  Ptolemaic  h e l p f u l i f one So,  analyses  f o r example, the t e n s i o n s i n  systems of astronomy which  a l t e r e d the p e r c e p t i o n o f man's p l a c e i n the cosmos; between C i c e r o n i a n M a c h i a v e l l i a n t h e o r i e s of s t a t e c r a f t , which d i f f e r e d moral nature  of p u b l i c l i f e ;  Raimond Sebond and "Thus," he  o f the n o b i l i t y  and  between the o p t i m i s t i c anthropology  the d e f l a t i n g commentaries on i t by M i c h e l  concludes,  sixteenth century,  and  i n t h e i r view of  two  of a  de Montaigne. late  main a t t a c k s were being made on the i d e a l i s t i c p i c t u r e  d i g n i t y o f man.  There was  the t r a d i t i o n a l a t t a c k , which  but which was  s t i l l based on a  f i r m b e l i e f i n man's c r u c i a l p l a c e i n the c e n t e r o f t h i n g s ; and newer a t t a c k , which i n a t h r e e f o l d way,  The  the  " i n the immediate i n t e l l e c t u a l background o f the  d e s c r i b e d man's wretchedness s i n c e the f a l l ,  itself."  and  threatened  to destroy  t h e r e was  that  belief  4  list  of polar opposites  i n the c o n t e x t  of s i t u a t i o n  i n d e f i n i t e l y extended, s i n c e the Renaissance i n England was  could  one  of  be those  watershed moments i n h i s t o r y when a t t i t u d e s o f v a r i o u s k i n d s were b e i n g out t h o r o u g h l y  b e f o r e one  paradigm.  context  way, to  and,  the  The  argued  of them would c l e a r l y come to predominate as a  o f s i t u a t i o n , then, must be understood i n a  flexible  i f t h a t i s done, i t can h e l p e x p l a i n the p l a y as a counterstatement  the audience's t e n s i o n s and  a more or l e s s accepted - 32  -  a r g u i n g out of i t s  concerns.  Othello may or may not be about the burdens of private property  economically considered, but i t i s c e r t a i n l y about a jealous man who w i l l not keep a corner of the thing he loves for others' uses.  As the tension of  jealousy in some sense is argued out, i t w i l l be a viaticum only for those who feel "consubstantial" with Othello's tragedy.  Thus modified, Burke's assumption of a context of s i t u a t i o n for a play coincides precisely with the practice of contemporary directors who choose those plays for production whose concerns seem to overlap with those of the audience and which therefore seem to be the plays "for the moment." In his interviews with several contemporary directors of Shakespeare's plays, Ralph Berry discovered that, given a choice, and not just box office  considerations,  directors chose those plays which would say something to a situation (usually p o l i t i c a l ) p a r t i c u l a r l y burdensome to the audience.  Hence, Michael Kahn  "would have liked the opportunity to do T r o i l u s and Cressida during the Vietnam war"; Konrad Swinarski staged A l l ' s Well i n his native Poland "because I think i t i s a picture of a world that i s very s i m i l a r to the world I'm l i v i n g in and collaborating with; and I'm trying to show i t s face." For him, t h i s meant showing how the Court in A l l ' s Well, l i k e the power of the State in Poland, " f i n a l l y determines what i s going on between people." And Robin P h i l l i p s ' production of Measure for Measure was staged in part because the "sexual core" of the play was able to be explored in 1975 in a way not possible previously.  As P h i l l i p s believes:  There have been periods since i t was written when t h i s would not have been possible. And here we are at the time when people are prepared to accept i t ; a play that pivots on that central theme is permissible in 1975, for a s t a r t . I think also that the other themes of power, corruption in power, sexual blackmail in power, are i n t e r e s t i n g . I suppose a thousand plays can r e l a t e in some sense to Watergate [a p o l i t i c a l scandal in the United States at that time]; but corruption, whether or not Watergate had any sexual motives at i t s core, i s neither here nor there. The fact that we've had a major scandal at that l e v e l allows one to explore  - 33 -  a p l a y with t h a t as p l o t . And consequently one i s prepared t o d e l v e i n t o the reasons — not the ones t h a t we've e x p l o r e d i n our newspapers, but t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t . ^  According  t o the p r a c t i c e of these  d i r e c t o r s , then,  i t seems t h a t drama  s e r v e very w e l l as a " c o u n t e r s t a t e m e n t " f o r an audience's s i t u a t i o n , of course, expressed  t h a t one  can  grant  the m e t a p h o r i c a l  e q u i v a l e n t s of one  can  provided,  tension  as  i n terms o f a n o t h e r .  A second c a u t i o n needs t o be r a i s e d c o n c e r n i n g the endings of Shakespeare's p l a y s . s u b s t a n c e " commits him  to recognize  the p l a y .  T h i s can best be  i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of Coriolanus  For Burke, C o r i o l a n u s  Burke i n t e r p r e t s  Although h i s concept of the "paradox of a d i a l e c t i c a l a r g u i n g out o f terms, h i s  response t o a p l a y ' s ending f r e q u e n t l y takes s i g n i f i c a n c e as a t r a n s f o r m a t i o n  the way  a one-sided  o f terms and,  view both o f i t s  a c c o r d i n g l y , o f the essence of  i l l u s t r a t e d by a c o n t r a s t between Burke's and  Norman Rabkin's.  is "fit"  t o be the s a c r i f i c e or scapegoat of  an  a t t i t u d e which i s a burden f o r Shakespeare's c l a s s - c o n s c i o u s s o c i e t y . Coriolanus's  v i t u p e r a t i o n s a g a i n s t the lower o r d e r s embody and  a t t i t u d e t h a t "has"  t o go  i f the body p o l i t i c  i s t o work harmoniously  the l i n e s of Menenius's analogy to the human body. Coriolanus  exaggerate  f o r h i s r o l e as scapegoat by the way  created  " d e s t i n y " o f C o r i o l a n u s : A u f i d i u s , the s l a y e r , of course,  and,  above a l l ,  audience f o r two c o n s u l and constructed but  also  but  fits  characters  whose r o l e i n the p l a y i s " d e r i v e d " from t h e i r f u n c t i o n i n f o r w a r d i n g  the devoted w i f e , who  along  Shakespeare f u r t h e r  he has  an  the  also V i r g i l i a  g i v e s us a glimpse o f the v i c t i m ' s more l o v a b l e s i d e ,  Volumnia, whose i n f l u e n c e over her t u r n s o f the p l o t —  C o r i o l a n u s ' s d e c i s i o n t o stand  h i s d e c i s i o n not t o march on Rome. t h a t the death o f C o r i o l a n u s w i l l  inevitable.  - 34  son h e l p s to prepare  -  These c h a r a c t e r s are  the  for  so  be made t o seem not only good  For Burke, then, the ending well r i d of i t s v i c t i m . Motives,  i s c l e a r l y p u r g a t i v e , and  But as Burke h i m s e l f has  the meaning o f a death i s ambiguous and  Oregon, J e r r y Turner  has t o be i n t e r p r e t e d i n the In h i s 1981  showed how  i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f C o r i o l a n u s ' s death c o u l d be staged  and  an  to Alan Dessen's review  production  opposite  be w e l l r e c e i v e d  making o f C o r i o l a n u s a hero whom the p l e b i a n s were not prepared According  feels  stated i n Rhetoric of  c o n t e x t o f the e n t i r e development o f terms i n a t e x t . o f C o r i o l a n u s at Ashland,  an audience  to  by  accept.  i n the Shakespeare Q u a r t e r l y ;  Arndt [the l e a d i n g a c t o r ] , without d i s t o r t i n g or changing Shakespeare's l i n e s , found a sympathetic s i d e to t h a t war machine C o r i o l a n u s . . . h i s r e j e c t i o n o f p r a i s e , honors, and s p o i l s o f t e n came a c r o s s to the Ashland audience as an a p p e a l i n g modesty, while h i s contempt f o r the p l e b i a n s (who, i n h i s eyes, d i d not deserve t r i b u n e s or corn g r a t i s ) o f t e n e l i c i t e d cheers from the s p e c t a t o r s , along with l a u g h t e r at the mob, the t r i b u n e s , and, at times, Volumnia. The gown o f h u m i l i t y scene ( I I . i i i ) thereby became more a d i s p l a y o f C o r i o l a n u s ' r e s t r a i n t than an expose o f f a l s e p a t r i c i a n hauteur; s i m i l a r l y , the o u t b u r s t s t r i g g e r e d by the tribunes in I I . i . and I I I . i i i seemed l o g i c a l , even i n e v i t a b l e . For the most p a r t , t h i s C o r i o l a n u s d i d not rage i n I . i and i n o t h e r p o t e n t i a l d i a t r i b e s , but r a t h e r d e l i v e r e d the l i n e s r a p i d l y and c u r t l y , so as to p r o v i d e a d i s m i s s i v e contempt t h a t the p l e b i a n s seemed to accept as t h e i r due, a contempt l a t e r j u s t i f i e d i n the b a t t l e scenes when C o r i o l a n u s backed up h i s words with deeds and the c i t i z e n s behaved l a r g e l y as he had p r e d i c t e d . 6  Dessen does not mention t h i s , but audience's  i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g t o c o n j e c t u r e how  r e c e p t i o n to t h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n r e f l e c t s a mood i n the  S t a t e s at t h a t time o f wanting a hero a f t e r a p e r i o d o f war s c a n d a l s and  o f choosing  and  much the  United  political  to make a scapegoat of the poor i n the hope t h a t  " d i s g r a c e " o f t h e i r c o n d i t i o n would thereby  go away.  In any  case,  in  the  Turner's  p r o d u c t i o n , C o r i o l a n u s i s c e r t a i n l y not the scapegoat, but a m a r t y r .  Norman Rabkin's a n a l y s i s o f C o r i o l a n u s proceeds scene by scene to show how  Shakespeare m a n i p u l a t e s an audience's  C o r i o l a n u s the honorable  and  p e r c e p t i o n s e i t h e r on b e h a l f of  b l o o d - d e a l i n g man  a g a i n s t C o r i o l a n u s , the t r a i t o r o u s man  and  - 35 -  ( h i s mother's view),  "breaker  of b u t t e r f l i e s "  or (the  p l e b i a n s ' view).  Coriolanus's  e f f e c t i v e n e s s seems i n s e p a r a b l e from h i s  b l o o d i n e s s , r a i s i n g a moral dilemma f o r the audience because i t cannot have one  without  the other.  Writing his a r t i c l e  h i s own context o f s i t u a t i o n  i n 1966, Rabkin seems c o n s c i o u s o f  (the U n i t e d S t a t e s d u r i n g t h e Vietnam War) as he  f u r t h e r e x p l i c a t e s t h e p o l i t i c a l dilemmas o f t h i s p l a y and a l l u d e s t o t h e difficulty  of being simultaneously  a man o f p r i n c i p l e and a p o l i t i c a l  animal.  Up t o a p o i n t , he says, C o r i o l a n u s ' s view o f honor as something t o be deserved makes him seem haughty but pardonably not worth s e r v i n g .  proud because t h e people  a r e shown t o be  But e v e n t u a l l y t h i s p r i n c i p l e l e a d s C o r i o l a n u s t o b e t r a y  Rome and t o be k i l l e d .  "Defining his entire l i f e  i n terms o f h i s i n n e r  p r i n c i p l e o f i n t e g r i t y , C a i u s M a r t i u s C o r i o l a n u s has destroyed  h i s very  identity.  Obviously,  then, C o r i o l a n u s ' s c h o i c e does not work and must be disowned.  Thus f a r , Rabkin would agree f o r d i f f e r e n t reasons o f M a r t i u s ' s death. Coriolanus?  w i t h Burke's  interpretation  But, asks Rabkin, what a r e t h e a l t e r n a t i v e s t o  C e r t a i n l y not A u f i d i u s , a t r a i t o r  as w e l l as an o p p o r t u n i s t ?  C e r t a i n l y not t h e compromisers l i k e Cominius, Menenius, o r even Volumnia who would concede " t h a t value i s d i c t a t e d not by t h e nature  o f t h e o b j e c t but by  the t a s t e s o f t h e v a l u e r , so t h a t C o r i o l a n u s i s honorable r e s c u e s Rome as when he r e c e i v e s t h e a c c o l a d e s  not so much when he  of i t s worthless  citizens?"^  With c a r e f u l a t t e n t i o n t o what he has come t o c a l l t h e "complementarity" o f a Shakespearean p l a y , Rabkin sums up t h e dilemma: "Shakespeare o f f e r s us two  a l t e r n a t i v e s , t h e i d e a o f t h e s t a t e as unbending moral i m p e r a t i v e  i d e a o f t h e s t a t e as a community o r g a n i z e d  and t h e  f o r the b e n e f i t o f i t s members  —  on t h e one hand t h e s t a t e as worthy o f a l l e g i a n c e o n l y when i t r e p r e s e n t s t h e h i g h e s t moral i d e a l s , on t h e other my country  r i g h t o r wrong.  And he seems t o  be t e l l i n g us h o p e l e s s l y t h a t n e i t h e r o f these n o t i o n s o f t h e s t a t e w i l l  - 36 -  work."  T h e r e f o r e , c o m p l e t e l y c o n t r a r y t o Burke's a n a l y s i s , f o r Rabkin  "no  catharsis i s possible."9  As I have s a i d , Burke h i m s e l f r e c o g n i z e s t h a t the f a c t o f death as a t r a n s f o r m a t i o n o f terms i s i n i t s e l f an ambiguous a c t . expect e q u i v o c a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s o f i t s s i g n i f i c a n c e .  T h e r e f o r e , one  can  Burke has shown one  such i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i n C o r i o l a n u s ' s case, and J e r r y Turner has shown another, w h i l e Norman Rabkin has shown those f e a t u r e s o f the t e x t which would them both.  I do not b e l i e v e , then, t h a t a c c e p t i n g Burke's method  t h a t i n every case one accept a u n i v o c a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f how ended lip.  An audience may  r e a c h a consensus one way  explain  requires  the terms have  or another, but i f r i v a l  terms have t r u l y been w e l l argued, the " d e v i l " w i l l always have h i s advocate.  With c e r t a i n adjustments, then, t o Burke's concept o f " c o n t e x t o f s i t u a t i o n " and t o h i s u s u a l p r a c t i c e o f i n t e r p r e t i n g a death as s i m p l y c a t h a r t i c r a t h e r than p r o b l e m a t i c , I would propose t h a t h i s r h e t o r i c a l t h e o r y of drama as p e r s u a s i o n t o change through i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h some "god  term"  and e x p u l s i o n o f a " d e v i l term" w i l l e x p l a i n much o f the problem with the problem p l a y s .  In them, such i d e n t i f i c a t i o n  i s made i m p o s s i b l e by e q u i v o c a l  d e f i n i t i o n s o f terms or c h a r a c t e r s and by no t r a n s f o r m a t i o n o f terms  through  death or e x p u l s i o n o f a scapegoat.  FORM AND  MEANING  A c c o r d i n g t o Burke's p h i l o s o p h y o f l i t e r a r y  form, a r h e t o r i c i a n g a i n s  acceptance f o r h i s d e f i n i t i o n o f terms by engaging h i s audience's c o o p e r a t i o n i n the making o f meaning. audience and then, by  F i r s t he c r e a t e s formal e x p e c t a t i o n s i n h i s  s a t i s f y i n g them, c o n t r i v e s t o c o n v i n c e the audience  t h a t the argument or " c o n c l u s i o n " i s i n e v i t a b l e .  - 37 -  As Burke analyzed i t i n Mein  Kampf, f o r example, the way  out or s a l v a t i o n d e v i c e i s always a c h i e v e d  by  d e l i b e r a t e l y f o r m a l means.  Minor forms i l l u s t r a t e t h i s p r i n c i p l e most e a s i l y .  So,  f o r example, a n t i t h e s i s s e t s up e x p e c t a t i o n s o f what t o t h i n k , f i r s t  one  s i d e , then the o t h e r .  of  As Burke e x p l a i n s i n R h e t o r i c o f M o t i v e s , "...we  know t h a t many p u r e l y f o r m a l p a t t e r n s can r e a d i l y awaken an a t t i t u d e o f c o l l a b o r a t i v e e x p e c t a n c y i n us.  For i n s t a n c e , imagine a passage b u i l t about a  s e t o f o p p o s i t i o n s (we do t h i s , but they on the o t h e r hand do t h a t ; we h e r e , but they go t h e r e ; we l o o k up_, but they l o o k down, e t c . ) .  stay  Once you  grasp the t r e n d o f the form, i t i n v i t e s p a r t i c i p a t i o n r e g a r d l e s s o f the subject matter"  (RM,  p.58).  In Language As S y m b o l i c A c t i o n , Burke comments f u r t h e r on e f f e c t i v e n e s s o f t h i s form e s p e c i a l l y i f one  the  needs a s c a p e g o a t : "One  h i m s e l f hard put t o d e f i n e a p o l i c y p u r e l y i n i t s own  may  t e r m s , but one  advocate i t p e r s u a s i v e l y by an urgent a s s u r a n c e t h a t i t i s d e c i d e d l y such-and-such o t h e r p o l i c y w i t h which p e o p l e may  be d i s g r u n t l e d .  find  can against  For  this  reason a l s o , the use o f a n t i t h e s i s h e l p s d e f l e c t e m b a r r a s s i n g c r i t i c i s m  (as  when r u l e r s s i l e n c e d o m e s t i c c o n t r o v e r s y by t u r n i n g p u b l i c a t t e n t i o n t o a n i m o s i t y a g a i n s t some f o r e i g n c o u n t r y ' s p o l i c i e s ) .  And,  i n t h i s way,  of  c o u r s e , a n t i t h e s i s h e l p s r e i n f o r c e u n i f i c a t i o n by scapegoat" (LSA,p.19).  L i k e the minor forms, c e r t a i n l a r g e r forms a l s o arouse an a u d i e n c e ' s e x p e c t a t i o n s and Conventional  f u l f i l l them.  These are the R e p e t i t i v e , P r o g r e s s i v e ,  forms d e s c r i b e d by Burke i n " L e x i c o n  Rhetoricae"  and  from  Counterstatement.  " R e p e t i t i v e form i s the c o n s i s t e n t m a i n t a i n i n g o f a p r i n c i p l e under guises.  I t i s a restatement  o f the same t h i n g i n d i f f e r e n t ways.  f a r as each d e t a i l o f G u l l i v e r ' s l i f e among the L i l l i p u t i a n s i s a e x e m p l i f i c a t i o n o f the d i s c r e p a n c y  i n s i z e between G u l l i v e r and  - 38 -  new  Thus, i n so new  the  L i l l i p u t i a n s , S w i f t i s u s i n g r e p e t i t i v e form" (CS,p.125).  R e p e t i t i v e form  means the same t h i n g as r e c o g n i z i n g "what goes w i t h what." a c t i o n s and action  purposes f o r a c t i o n , the means of a c t i n g and  (the i n t e g e r s o f the Pentad and  " i n d e x e d " i n order put  i t another way,  t o d e f i n e what the c h a r a c t e r the c l u s t e r o f equations  progression.  form i s s u b d i v i d e d  "stands  everything f a l l s together,  and  term i n the  and  qualitative  murder of Duncan prepares  arrows of our d e s i r e s are turned  of s y l l o g i s t i c p r o g r e s s i o n "  . . . i s subtler.  Instead  of one  p o s s i b l e i n c i d e n t of p l o t  form can  form i s "the  become c o n v e n t i o n a l ,  be as complex as the Greek tragedy Conventional  (CS,  p.124).  i n c i d e n t i n the  (the grotesque  one  seriousness  of the  appeal and  o f form as form."  be sought f o r i t s e l f —  or as compact as the sonnet"  form d i f f e r s from p r o g r e s s i v e and  c a t e g o r i c a l l y expected by the audience. and  i s obviously  porter  pp.124-125).  F i n a l l y , Conventional t h a t "any  The  us f o r the d y i n g of Macbeth), the presence o f  us f o r the i n t r o d u c t i o n of another  in a  (as Macbeth's  o f the murder scene p r e p a r i n g us f o r the grotesque b u f f o o n e r y (CS,  I t i s the  the p l o t f o l l o w s the d i r e c t i o n of the arrows.  p l o t p r e p a r i n g us f o r some other  scene)"  "merger,"  "argument."  as i n a s t o r y of r a t i o c i n a t i o n by Poe.  "Qualitative progression  To  I t i s the form o f a mystery s t o r y , where  o f the keenest m a n i f e s t a t i o n s  q u a l i t y prepares  a l l be  f o r " i n the p l a y .  p e r i p e t y , or r e v e r s a l of the s i t u a t i o n , d i s c u s s e d by A r i s t o t l e , one  the  i s the form o f a p e r f e c t l y conducted  form of a demonstration i n E u c l i d . . . T h e certain direction,  the scene o f  i s a l s o d e f i n i t i o n by  into syllogistic  " S y l l o g i s t i c progression  argument, advancing step by s t e p .  character's  the r a t i o s among them) can  w i t h the c h a r a c t e r summing up the meaning o f one  Progressive  A  g r a t i f i c a t i o n s of p r o g r e s s i v e and  - 39  Burke notes whether i t  (p.126).  r e p e t i t i v e forms i n being  "That i s , whereas the a n t i c i p a t i o n s  r e p e t i t i v e form a r i s e d u r i n g the  -  process  of r e a d i n g , the e x p e c t a t i o n s reading"  (CS,  All may  forms may  be s e r v i n g more than one  dramatic  form may  be  i n t e r m i n g l e , of course; formal  function.  t h a t i s , any  i n t h a t i t has  conclusion of  about i t something  the  context"  t h a t forms may  conflict  fall  independently  of the problem p l a y s , Burke  as w e l l as i n t e r m i n g l e .  c r e a t e a c h a r a c t e r which, by the  have made t h i s c h a r a c t e r so a p p e a l i n g  s y l l o g i s t i c and  "An  of  should  Or,  be  he may  wholly  between  d e p i c t a wicked  i f the p l o t i s to work c o r r e c t l y , must suddenly  'reform,'  v i o l a t i n g r e p e t i t i v e form i n the i n t e r e s t s of s y l l o g i s t i c  character  thereby  progression"  In other words, the ambiguity o f a d e f i n i t i o n w i l l be  especially  i f the forms through which the d e f i n i t i o n o f terms i s presented  the a r o u s i n g and  fulfilling  of d i f f e r e n t  on b e h a l f of terms  out o f an audience's burdens or t e n s i o n s , Burke  from both f o r m a l i s t s and  d e c o n s t r u c t i o n i s t s at the same time t h a t he  with them c e r t a i n c r i t i c a l  assumptions and  lead  expectations.  Because, f o r Burke, forms are means of p e r s u a s i o n which d e f i n e the way  "may  destroyed;  t h a t the audience  Here would be a c o n f l i c t  q u a l i t a t i v e progression.  recognizes  a r t i s t , " he s a y s ,  l o g i c of the f i c t i o n ,  d e s i r e s the c h a r a c t e r ' s s a l v a t i o n .  (CS,p.129).  categorically  (CS,p.128).  Of s p e c i a l importance f o r a study  but he may  proclaim  minor or i n c i d e n t a l i n t h a t i t c o n t a i n s  a speech d i s p l a y i n g a s t r u c t u r a l r i s e , development, and  to  be  matter; r e p e t i t i v e i n t h a t the c h a r a c t e r s once again  t e r m i n a l , as a f a r e w e l l or death; and  evident  incident  premises; q u a l i t a t i v e i n t h a t i t e x e m p l i f i e s some mood made d e s i r a b l e  their i d e n t i t y ; conventional  who,  the  one  "A c l o s i n g scene may  i n t h a t i t s p a r t i c u l a r events mark the dramatic  by the p r e c e d i n g  its  anterior to  p.127).  o f these  syllogistic  of conventional  procedures.  differs shares  L i k e the f o r m a l i s t s ,  Burke advocates as thorough an " i n d e x i n g " as p o s s i b l e o f a work's imagery,  - 40  -  equations, "all  i r o n i e s and paradoxes; u n l i k e them, however, Burke wants to use  t h a t there i s to use,"  including h i s t o r i c a l  to determine the context o f s i t u a t i o n and corpus  and  biographical information  a knowledge o f the author's  to a s c e r t a i n h i s p e c u l i a r d e f i n i t i o n of key terms.  Shakespeare's d e f i n i t i o n s of O t h e l l o and  entire  For example,  Iago, Burke suggests, might g a i n  g r e a t e r c l a r i f i c a t i o n by comparing them with Aaron the Moor i n T i t u s Andronicus  i n whom the t r a i t s o f O t h e l l o and  Iago seem to be  combined.  10  L i k e the d e c o n s t r u c t i o n i s t s , Burke r e c o g n i z e s t h a t every work c o n t a i n s "always a l r e a d y " a suppressed  attitude.  Where Jacques D e r r i d a w i l l  " t r a c e s " o f such an a t t i t u d e , Burke f i n d s the "paradox o f  substance,"  r e c o g n i z i n g t h a t every p o s i t i v e term n e c e s s a r i l y i m p l i e s a n e g a t i v e , order a chaos, and  every god  a devil.  some a c t i o n — animal  a r i v a l understanding,  however inadequate  —  every  However, where D e r r i d a would urge  d e c o n s t r u c t i o n o f the o s t e n s i b l e order f o r the sake o f i n s i g h t i n t o t a c t i c s which have suppressed  find  the  Burke w i l l argue t h a t  i s always necessary  f o r the  symbol-using  i f he i s to s a t i s f y h i s "yearning f o r u n i t y " not o n l y with a symbol o f  order but with o t h e r s who  a l s o accept t h a t symbol.  As he says i n R h e t o r i c o f  Motives:  I d e n t i f i c a t i o n i s a f f i r m e d with earnestness p r e c i s e l y because there i s d i v i s i o n . I d e n t i f i c a t i o n i s compensatory to d i v i s i o n . I f men were not apart from one another, there would be no need f o r the r h e t o r i c i a n to p r o c l a i m t h e i r u n i t y . I f men were wholly and t r u l y o f one substance, absolute communication would be of man's very essence. I t would not be an i d e a l , as i t now i s , p a r t l y embodied i n m a t e r i a l c o n d i t i o n s and p a r t l y f r u s t r a t e d by these same c o n d i t i o n s ; r a t h e r , i t would be as n a t u r a l , spontaneous, and t o t a l as with those i d e a l p r o t o t y p e s o f communication, the t h e o l o g i a n ' s angels, or 'messengers' (RM, p.22).  The d r a m a t i s t , l i k e the h i s t o r i a n , knows t h a t "a t h i n g [ f o r example, a movement i n h i s t o r y ] has many a s p e c t s , good, bad,  indifferent.  'transcend' t h i s c o n f u s i o n when, by s e c u l a r p r a y e r , you aspects i s the essence  o f the l o t " (ATH,  - 41 -  p.260).  And  You  'vote' t h a t ONE  o f the  a d r a m a t i s t "votes" by  showing through the n a r r a t i v e p r o g r e s s i o n o f h i s drama where a term As " d i s h o n e s t " as i t may  seem, t h e r e i s no way  ends  up.  beyond an o p p r e s s i v e c o n d i t i o n  other than by p a r t i a l l y adequate a c t s on the scene o f one's s i t u a t i o n . problem o f e v i l , "  says Burke, " i s met  s e c u l a r prayer whereby a man and  by transcendance  —  the p r o c e s s o f  sees an i n t e r m i n g l i n g o f good and  evil  factors  'votes' t o s e l e c t e i t h e r the good ones or the e v i l ones as the  o f the l o t . 'lesser e v i l '  And  another  l e s s e r - e v i l p o l i c i e s , w i t h one other"  'essence'  c h o i c e between p o l i c i e s i s not a c h o i c e between one  p o l i c y and  that i s not.  "The  that i s a  I t i s a c h o i c e between  two  o f them having more o f a l e s s e r e v i l than  the  (ATH.p.314).  I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g t o s p e c u l a t e on whether the d i f f e r e n c e s between Burke's p h i l o s o p h y o f language as symbolic d e c o n s t r u c t i o n may, G a l l i c and power and  a c t i o n and  Derrida's philosophy of  i n p a r t , be e x p l a i n e d by the d i f f e r e n c e s between the  American scenes: one  has experienced  the o p p r e s s i o n o f an  i s t h e r e f o r e s c e p t i c a l o f language as m a n i p u l a t i o n ; the other  e x p e r i e n c e d the working o f democracy i n the "human barnyard" more c o n f i d e n t t h a t an a c t i o n taken w i l l needed.  occupying  and  i s therefore  r o u g h l y approximate the  In any case, i t i s i n l a r g e p a r t h i s concept  has  action  of l i t e r a r y  form as a  kind o f p e r s u a s i o n t o a c t i o n which has made Burke something o f a maverick many l i t e r a r y c r i t i c s .  As Frank  S o c i a l Change, "Modernist  L e n t r i c c h i a sums i t up i n C r i t i c i s m  l i t e r a r y t h e o r i s t s s i n c e C l e a n t h Brooks,  c r u s a d e r s f o r l i t e r a r y autonomy, have been openly h o s t i l e  other  [ t o Burke] —  they  The newest academic  from Jacques D e r r i d a t o Paul deMan, m a i n l y  i g n o r e s him:  f a t h e r , the mere thought  impotence, Burke must be f o r g o t t e n .  - 42  and  and  sense h i s m o r e - t h e n - l i t e r a r y commitments.  accomplished  to  avant-garde,  l i k e a powerfully  o f whom c r e a t e s those queasy f e e l i n g s o f He knew too much, too soon."  -  A RHETORICAL ANTHROPOLOGY  Burke grounds h i s l i t e r a r y t h e o r y i n a d e f i n i t i o n o f man which he enunciates i n f i v e c o d i c i l s .  Through t h i s anthropology Burke c l a r i f i e s h i s  understanding o f how any language people who, by n a t u r e , respond  as symbolic a c t i o n e l i c i t s c o o p e r a t i o n from  t o symbols.  To the e x t e n t t h a t the d e f i n i t i o n  i s a c c u r a t e , i t e x p l a i n s why r h e t o r i c a l c r i t i c i s m probable e f f e c t o f symbols on an audience.  1.  Man i s t h e symbol-using  animal.  " e n t i t l e s " o r sums up an a t t i t u d e toward u n d i f f e r e n t i a t e d chaos o f f o r c e s . p e r s p e c t i v e on i t ,  can do much t o e x p l a i n the  For Burke:  That i s , through language  man  h i s world which would otherwise be an  Every name f o r a s i t u a t i o n i s a  and, a t t h e same time, i t i s a " s c r e e n , " c o l o r i n g one's  perception of r e a l i t y .  Words are i m p l i c i t p e r s u a s i o n s about what t o n o t i c e  and about what a c t i o n t o take toward  what i s n o t i c e d , and s i n c e they are  n e c e s s a r i l y p a r t i a l e n t i t l e m e n t s o f r e a l i t y , words need t o be juxtaposed one  another  f o r a f u l l e r p e r s p e c t i v e on the c o n t e x t o f s i t u a t i o n .  naive v e r b a l r e a l i s m which assumes t h a t r e a l i t y  with  Against a  is. as i t i s named, Burke  admonishes t h a t the symbol i s a p a r t i a l p e r s p e c t i v e and an i m p l i c i t p e r s u a s i o n : " I n responding t o words," he says i n Language As Symbolic A c t i o n , "with t h e i r o v e r t and c o v e r t modes o f p e r s u a s i o n ('progress'  i s a t y p i c a l one  t h a t u s u a l l y s e t s e x p e c t a t i o n s t o v i b r a t i n g ) , we l i k e t o f o r g e t the k i n d o f r e l a t i o n t h a t r e a l l y p r e v a i l s between t h e v e r b a l and t h e n o n v e r b a l .  In being  a l i n k between us and the n o n v e r b a l , words a r e by t h e same token a screen s e p a r a t i n g us from the n o n v e r b a l "  An a r t i s t ' s symbols,  (LSA,p.5).  then, are new d e f i n i t i o n s o f terms,  new  p e r s p e c t i v e s which c o u l d not be enunciated as w e l l i n any o t h e r way. says i n Counterstatement,  As Burke  "The symbol might be c a l l e d a word invented by the  a r t i s t t o s p e c i f y a p a r t i c u l a r grouping o r p a t t e r n or emphasizing o f  experiences — called  and  a d e f i n i t i o n o f t h i s word. . The  d e f i n i t i o n o f a new  2. inventor  The  word i n our  second c o d i c i l  o f the n e g a t i v e  purposeful 'no'  the work o f a r t i n which the novel,  vocabulary"  e x p l a i n s how  or m o r a l i z e d  Madame Bovary, i s an  by the n e g a t i v e .  Human a c t i o n i m p l i e s  course of a c t i o n and  freedom t o choose and  among contending a t t i t u d e s t o determine which one  way  Polar opposites  a c t i n g , and  belong i n s e p a r a b l y  stands o u t s i d e implied  r e c o g n i t i o n t h a t no  of a l i m i t i n g context.  sense o f n e g a t i v i t y i n the  them p r o p e r l y ,  As  Man  is  an  implicit  therefore  a  "should"  be  to human ways o f t h i n k i n g  Burke's "paradox o f s u b s t a n c e , " d i s c u s s e d  f u r t h e r s o p h i s t i c a t i o n o f the  elaborate  That i s , every  competition to go.  be  (CS,p.153K  man's symbols a r i s e .  human a c t i o n i s a 'yes* t o one  to a n o t h e r .  symbol f i g u r e s might  earlier,  choice  i s only  the and  a  i s s e l f - e v i d e n t or  a matter o f f a c t , "There i s an  ability  to use  we must know t h a t they are not  words at a l l .  For  the t h i n g s they stand  to  use  for"  (LSA.p.12).  3. by  Because o f h i s symbols, man  i n s t r u m e n t s o f h i s own  h i e r a r c h i e s of a l l kinds  making. are  i s separated  That i s , the  established  first  from h i s n a t u r a l  c l a s s s t r u c t u r e and and  need f o r d e f i n i n g where he " s t a n d s " s y m b o l i c a l l y .  trait man  because "In c h o o s i n g any  Contrary  mechanical i n v e n t i o n formal  sense one  definition  at a l l , one  of symbolicity  as the  implicitly  by  represents  ( t h a t i s to say,  views the powers o f speech  as m u t u a l l y i n v o l v i n g each o t h e r , make the  followed  I t i s shown to be the more " e s s e n t i a l "  Thus, even i f one  should  and  t o orthodox  comes f i r s t ,  as a k i n d o f animal t h a t i s c a p a b l e o f d e f i n i t i o n  o f symbolic a c t i o n ) .  social  l a s t by man's c a p a c i t y  Marxism, Burke presumes t h a t man's d e f i n i n g c a p a c i t y tool-making or economic c a p a c i t i e s .  condition  and  i n a t e c h n i c a l or  i m p l i c a t i o n s e x p l i c i t by t r e a t i n g the  ' p r i o r ' member o f the p a i r "  - nn -  capable  (LSA,p.14).  gifts  4.  A f t e r h i s use o f symbols has  (economic, p o l i t i c a l , hierarchy  religious,  established  f o r example), man  or moved by a sense o f o r d e r .  accept h i s p l a c e  i n an order  'orders'  of society  i s goaded by the s p i r i t  That i s , he n a t u r a l l y d e s i r e s  by a k i n d o f " c o u r t s h i p "  with those on top o f the h i e r a r c h y allegiance.  several  and  i n which he  they, i n t u r n , can  Burke e s p e c i a l l y admires how  E. M.  to  identifies  be seen to "woo"  F o r s t e r has  (or s o c i a l mystery) i n A Passage to I n d i a ,  these are  i d e a o f cosmic mystery, and  transcended by c o u r t e s i e s and and  other  r i t u a l s of respect  his  shown the  "embarrassments" o f h i e r a r c h y interwoven with the  of  how  they  how  are  between the c o l o n i a l s  the c o l o n i z i n g power (LSA,p.227).  5.  The  perfection.  final codicil  i s a "wry"  one:  t h a t man  That i s , s i n c e every symbol s t r i v e s to be the  d e f i n i t i o n or the  'proper' naming o f a t e n s i o n ,  scapegoat, as i n drama, to d i f f e r e n t i a t e the from the  i s rotten  ' t r u e ' or  ' p e r f e c t ' ones.  The  with  'perfect'  i t u s u a l l y employs a  ' f a l s e ' or  yearning  'imperfect'  symbols  f o r p e r f e c t i o n , however, i s  u l t i m a t e l y i l l u s o r y , s i n c e every a s s e r t i o n w i l l  always imply some p o l a r  opposite  D e v i l , and  or o p t i o n  as s u r e l y as God  i m p l i e s the  dangerous as w e l l , because without some other the chance o f m i s s i n g  what i s " r e a l l y " there  perspective increases.  ultimately on the s i t u a t i o n ,  As Burke e x p l a i n s  P h i l o s o p h y o f L i t e r a r y Form, " D i c t a t o r s h i p s , i n s i l e n c i n g the remove the  intermediary  opponent, and  you  nature of brute t h i s have not  between e r r o r and  are brought f l a t  reality itself"  reality.  against  codicil  S i l e n c e the human  provide  i n order  an a b s o l u t e  to expose the  the  (PLF,p.445). Of c o u r s e , s i n c e warnings l i k e  and  from t r y i n g to s t i f l e  advocates a p o l i c y o f  contemplation o f contending a t t i t u d e s (a " p a r l i a m e n t a r y " opinions)  opposition,  the unanswerable opponent,  kept p r e c i s i o n i s t s o f every k i n d  Burke c a l l s t h i s a "wry"  in  l i m i t a t i o n s o f any  u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f the  - 45  -  of  debate,  ironic representative  symbol t h a t c l a i m s  to  "substance" o f the human s i t u a t i o n .  SHAKESPEARE AS RHETORICIAN  "Burke," s a i d h i s f r i e n d Howard Nemerov, " i s Shakespearean, I b e l i e v e , i n h i s d e l i g h t i n what some o f us d e p l o r e : ambiguity, the range o f meanings hidden and e v i d e n t i n , i t may be, a s i n g l e word; and Shakespearean, t o o , i n his  w i l l i n g n e s s t o l e t p e r s p e c t i v e s c r i t i c i z e one another  I f t h i s i s so, and I have t r i e d  'dramatically'."1  2  t o show t h a t i t i s , then the use o f Burke's  method seems p a r t i c u l a r l y p r o m i s i n g f o r a study o f Shakespeare.  From the time o f h i s f i r s t his  ability  p l a y , 1 Henry VI, Shakespeare demonstrates  t o dramatize t h e c l a i m s o f r i v a l  perspectives.  At the same time,  he shows t h a t he knows about the r h e t o r i c a l e f f e c t s o f a scapegoat as a s t r u c t u r i n g p r i n c i p l e ; i f one term can be e s t a b l i s h e d as t h e " f a l s e " e x p l a n a t i o n o f e v e n t s , the other w i l l but  c l o s e r look at t h i s play w i l l  be accepted as " t r u e . "  However, a b r i e f  show t h a t even i n t h i s a p p r e n t i c e work, the  master d r a m a t i s t was showing  s i g n s o f s c e p t i c i s m about the a b s o l u t e c l a i m s o f  either p a r t i a l perspective.  In t h i s way, Shakespeare g i v e s an e a r l y  i n d i c a t i o n o f h i s s t y l e throughout the canon o f h i s work, and e s p e c i a l l y i n the  "problem p l a y s " where r i v a l  terms a r e p r e s e n t e d more even-handedly than  elsewhere.  A c c o r d i n g t o B u l l o u g h , 1 Henry VI was w r i t t e n about 1591/2 and was therefore of topical  i n t e r e s t t o an E n g l i s h audience s i n c e the c o u n t r y was  again a t war w i t h F r a n c e .  The f i g u r e s o f brave T a l b o t and h i s son become a  way o f i d e n t i f y i n g t r u e E n g l i s h b e h a v i o r and o f r a l l y i n g p a t r i o t i c a g a i n s t the French l e d by Joan o f Arc who i s , f i t t i n g l y and a d e v i l .  - 46 -  feelings  enough, c a l l e d  a witch  In villain to  t h i s p l a y , Shakespeare g i v e s h i s audience i n the French as t a n g i b l e a as Iago, and, even more than he does i n O t h e l l o , d i r e c t s h i s audience  the " l y n c h i n g " o f the v i c t i m who  t h i s were a l l t h a t he was propaganda. a clear  i s c l e a r l y o t h e r than themselves.  d o i n g , the p i e c e would  Now,  if  be no more than melodramatic  However, Shakespeare has o t h e r i n t e r e s t s t o pursue i n t h i s  play,  s i g n o f which i s t h a t he d e v i a t e s from h i s c h r o n i c l e sources t o  p r e s e n t a garden scene i n which the War  o f the Roses o r i g i n a t e s .  Shakespeare  f o c u s e s a t t e n t i o n , then, not so much on the enemy without as the enemy w i t h i n , so  t h a t T a l b o t i s shown t o d i e not so much because o f t r e a c h e r y by the French  as because o f d i s c o r d  In are  the garden  among the E n g l i s h .  (Eden b e f o r e the F a l l ? ) P l a n t a g e n e t (York) and  Somerset  a r g u i n g over P l a n t a g e n e t ' s c l a i m t o the throne - "a case o f t r u t h . " When  Warwick i s asked t o a d j u d i c a t e between the r i v a l s , he shows how i s to d i s t i n g u i s h t h e i r  difficult i t  claims:  Between two hawks, which f l i e s the h i g h e r p i t c h ; Between two dogs, which hath the deeper mouth; Between two b l a d e s , which bears the b e t t e r temper: Between two h o r s e s , which doth bear him best; Between two g i r l s , which hath the m e r r i e s t eye; I have perhaps some s h a l l o w s p i r i t o f judgement; But i n these n i c e sharp q u i l l e t s o f the law, Good f a i t h , I am no w i s e r than a daw. (II.iv.11-18)  Neither r i v a l ,  however, a c c e p t s t h i s v e r d i c t .  that h i s claim  i s the o n l y t r u t h : i t i s e i t h e r so "naked"  (York) or so w e l l " w e l l a p p a r e l l ' d " b l i n d man's eye."  Each one t r i e s to e s t a b l i s h as t o be obvious  (Somerset) as t o be e v i d e n t even t o "a  The imagery, o f c o u r s e , shows how  the same kind o f c l a i m  can be argued i n ways which look d i f f e r e n t but which r e a l l y  amount t o the same  argument. F u r t h e r d i s t i n c t i o n s are l i k e w i s e m i s l e a d i n g . rose and Somerset  As York p i c k s a white  a r e d , and as each urges h i s f o l l o w e r s to do the same, the  - 47 -  audience knows that a red rose and a white rose are equally roses and that i t w i l l take a c i v i l war to s e t t l e the claims between such r i v a l s since any reasonable d i s t i n c t i o n between them i s hardly p o s s i b l e and since Somerset w i l l not accept the expedient of a majority d e c i s i o n . The c o l o r s of the roses can even be used to suggest emblematic i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s , depending upon whose perspective one wants to adopt (emphasis on the w i l l f u l n e s s of the d e c i s i o n ) .  York chides Somerset f o r cowardice:  "Meantime your cheeks do c o u n t e r f e i t our roses;/ For pale they look with fear, as witnessing/ The t r u t h on our s i d e . " 'Tis  Somerset r e p l i e s : "No,  Plantagenet,/  not for fear but anger that thy cheeks/ Blush for pure shame to  c o u n t e r f e i t our roses,/ And yet thy tongue w i l l not confess thy e r r o r . " And, since each f a c t i o n i s a rose, each contains a hidden disease or danger : "Hath not thy rose a canker, Somerset?/ Hath not thy rose a thorn, Plantagenet?" (II.iv.62-69). These r i v a l s , who w i l l lead a nation to war, maintain i n d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e claims to the throne, but even closer to the throne e x i s t r i v a l s who weaken the p o s i t i o n of an already weak k i n g .  Winchester, great-uncle to Henry VI,  and Gloucester, uncle and P r o t e c t o r , a l s o contend over which of them w i l l t r u l y r u l e the king and, through him, England.  Their r i v a l r y i s exacerbated  by t h e i r t i e s of blood (since close family t i e s make the claims of one over the other even harder to d i s t i n g u i s h ) , and therefore i t i s a most r e v e a l i n g perspective on t h e i r feud when Winchester challenges Gloucester at one p o i n t , "be thou cursed Cain/ To slay thy brother Abel, i f thou w i l t "  (I.iii.39).  And, i n a r e p r i s e of the red rose/white rose r i v a l r y , Gloucester urges h i s blue coated men to oust Winchester's tawny coated men  from t h e i r place at the  Tower of London, a l l to the d i s t r e s s of the general c i t i z e n r y l e d by the Mayor, who c r i e s out: "Fie Lords! that you, being supreme magistrates,/ Thus contumatiously should break the peace!" - 48  -  (I.iii.57-58).  The r i v a l r y among the English themselves, then, seems of more pressing danger than that from the French.  Shakespeare has provided a v i l l a i n i n the  French so that simple-minded p a t r i o t s can have t h e i r lynching, but also so that more sober-minded p a t r i o t s can recognize that a lynching solves nothing since the r e a l enemy i s w i t h i n .  I r o n i c a l l y , Gloucester comments on the  treachery of the Duke of Burgundy against Henry VI when he and Winchester have been p l o t t i n g even more treacherously closer to home under outward signs of f r i e n d s h i p : "0 monstrous treachery! can t h i s be so,/ That i n a l l i a n c e , amity and oaths,/ There should be found such f a l s e dissembling g u i l e ? " (IV.i.61-63).  Shakespeare, thus e a r l y i n h i s career, i s showing h i s a b i l i t y to argue opposites.  Moreover, he also shows t h a t , as every r h e t o r i c i a n knows, the way  out i s usually through a scapegoat —  a character or term whose death w i l l  "prove" something about the term that survives. In t h i s play, Talbot's death i s the intended scapegoat, but since the l o s s of the bravest Englishman i n France w i l l be used for d i f f e r e n t purposes by York and Somerset, i t w i l l prove nothing toward s e t t l i n g t h e i r feud. easier contrast of t h e i r r i v a l p o s i t i o n s , Shakespeare juxtaposes t h e i r d i f f e r e n t versions of h i s t o r y i n successive scenes:  York: A Plague upon that v i l l a i n Somerset, That thus delays my promised supply Of horsemen, that were l e v i e d f o r t h i s seige! Renowned Talbot doth expect my a i d , And I am lowted by a t r a i t o r v i l l a i n And I cannot help the noble c h e v a l i e r : God comfort him i n t h i s necessity! I f he miscarry, f a r e w e l l wars i n France. (IV. i i i . 9-16)  Somerset: I t i s too l a t e ; I cannot send them now: This expedition was by York and Talbot Too rashly p l o t t e d : a l l our general force Might with a s a l l y of the very town Be buckled with: the over-daring Talbot Hath s u l l i e d a l l h i s gloss of former honour By t h i s unheedful, desperate, wild adventure: - 49 -  For  York set him on to f i g h t and die i n shame, That, Talbot dead, great York might bear the name. (IV.iv.1-9) Of s p e c i a l i n t e r e s t for an a n a l y s i s of the problem p l a y s , i t should be emphasized that these r i v a l p o s i t i o n s , which cannot sort themselves out even by the death of an o s t e n s i b l e scapegoat, a r i s e and continue because the King i s young and i n e f f e c t i v e .  The symbol of order i s weak, able to remonstrate  only feebly with the warring f a c t i o n s of Winchester and Gloucester, "0,  how  t h i s discord doth a f f l i c t my s o u l ! " ( I I I . i . 1 0 6 ) .  Moreover, the King i s  dangerously l e d by h i s "fancy," not h i s reason.  He i s so i m p o l i t i c as to  imagine that he can s e t t l e the York/Somerset f a c t i o n by a r b i t r a r i l y plucking a red rose and expecting that i t w i l l be i n t e r p r e t e d as a gesture that proves nothing.  Then, addressing the contending f a c t i o n s during the campaign i n  France, he urges them:  0, think upon the conquest of my f a t h e r , My tender years, and l e t us not forgo That for a t r i f l e that was bought with blood! Let me be umpire i n t h i s doubtful s t r i f e . I see no reason, i f I wear t h i s rose, That any one should therefore be suspicious I more i n c l i n e to Somerset than York: Both are my kinsmen, and I love them both: As w e l l they may upbraid me with my crown, Because, forsooth, the king of Scots i s crown'd. (IV.i.148-157) Commenting on t h i s performance, Warwick t e l l s York: "My Lord of York, I promise you, the k i n g / P r e t t i l y , methought, d i d play the o r a t o r . " York r e p l i e s , "And so he d i d : but yet I l i k e i t not,/ In that he wears the badge of Somerset." Warwick assures him, "Tush, that was but h i s fancy, blame him not; / I dare presume, sweet p r i n c e , he thought no harm." "An i f I wist he d i d , —  But York muses over  but l e t i t r e s t " (IV.i.174-180).  - 50 -  it,  Later, Henry's " w i l l " leads him to take the dangerous step of o v e r r i d i n g Gloucester's  choice of a bride and of accepting S u f f o l k ' s choice of Margaret  of France, through whom S u f f o l k hopes to r u l e the king himself.  With an  i r o n i c perspective on h i s action that draws a t t e n t i o n to i t s danger, S u f f o l k concludes the play:  Thus S u f f o l k hath p r e v a i l ' d ; and thus he goes, As did the youthful P a r i s once to Greece, With hope to f i n d the l i k e event i n love, But prosper better than the Trojan d i d . Margaret s h a l l now be queen, and r u l e the king; But I w i l l r u l e both her, the king and realm. (V.v.103-108) Obviously, Shakespeare, from the s t a r t of h i s dramatic career, knew how  to  argue opposites and also knew what he would have to do i n order to resolve an " i r o n i c impasse." At the same time, he i s showing scepticism already about the "better" claims of e i t h e r r i v a l and knows that the f a c t of death i t s e l f can be manipulated for d i f f e r e n t purposes.  With t h i s much understanding of r i t u a l  drama to begin with, he continues the most extensive and  probative  explorations imaginable of the dilemmas that a r i s e over any human value l i k e honor, l o v e , reason, mercy, or j u s t i c e , or of any human enterprise l i k e war  or  marriage.  In the problem plays, I b e l i e v e , Shakespeare's arguing of opposites i s p a r t i c u l a r l y intense and unrelieved.  Using Burke's r h e t o r i c , I w i l l examine  how Shakespeare's equations f o r terms l i k e Helena, Cressida, and I s a b e l l a are inherently ambivalent; besides t h a t , t h e i r r i v a l r y with other terms i s not resolved by any c r e d i b l e scapegoat or by any clear acceptance of how the terms end up.  More than t h a t , the a u t h o r i t i e s i n these plays, l i k e Henry VI, are  e i t h e r weak or a r b i t r a r y , c o n t r i b u t i n g to the concourse of discord rather than helping to resolve i t .  F i n a l l y , the playwright's d e l i b e r a t e interference with  the progression of h i s p l o t , e s p e c i a l l y toward the endings of these plays,  - 51 -  throws doubt, I suggest, on the r e s o l u t i o n which the audience t h i n k s i t i s g e t t i n g and may  even d e s i r e .  R e c a l l i n g R.S. White's a n a l y s i s o f the e n d l e s s  ending o f romance, I t h i n k the problem p l a y s show t h a t Shakespeare knows he could c o n t i n u e the argument the  i n d e f i n i t e l y , has t o conclude somehow, but reminds  audience t h a t i t c o u l d have ended o t h e r w i s e .  In  a l l o f these ways, Shakespeare f r u s t r a t e s the e x p e c t a t i o n s o f the  audience f o r a symbolic a c t i o n t h a t w i l l h e l p them t o encompass t h e i r s i t u a t i o n , and he t h e r e f o r e l e a v e s them not o n l y d i s s a t i s f i e d but even anxious at  having been shown o n l y the dilemma  and not the way o u t .  I do not know why  Shakespeare wrote t h e s e p l a y s , but I t h i n k i t i s s i m p l i s t i c t o assume t h a t he was s u f f e r i n g some kind o f c o l l a p s e or p e r i o d o f d e p r e s s i o n .  I t i s j u s t as  p o s s i b l e t o argue t h a t i n  A l l ' s W e l l , T r o i l u s and C r e s s i d a , and Measure f o r  Measure, he i s at the f u l l  peak o f h i s powers,  a r g u i n g o p p o s i t e s a t white heat  and d a r i n g the consequences o f audience d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n .  A c c o r d i n g t o Stephen Booth, Shakespeare shows i n h i s w r i t i n g o f Love's Labor's L o s t t h a t he knows how  t o v i o l a t e an audience's e x p e c t a t i o n s o f an  ending i n the i n t e r e s t o f a g r e a t e r awareness o f what i s so about r e a l i t y (or the  c o n t e x t o f s i t u a t i o n ) but which has not been formulated i n the p l a y and  perhaps can never be.  The drama "ends not l i k e the o l d p l a y " i n order t o  r e s p e c t the " i n d e f i n i t i o n " o f e x p e r i e n c e i t s e l f . 1 3  What Shakespeare does i n  Love's Labor's L o s t and, i n d e e d , throughout the canon from IHenry VI t o the Tempest he does, I suggest, i n an e s p e c i a l l y u n r e l i e v e d way plays.  i n the problem  With what Burke c a l l s comic ambivalence, he c h a r t s the range o f human  conduct, knowing  the v a l u e o f as comprehensive a v o c a b u l a r y as p o s s i b l e i n  order t o "gauge the f u l l  Shakespeare's own  range o f human p o s s i b i l i t i e s "  (ATH,p.74).  a t t i t u d e , i t seems, i s one o f " m e t h o d i c a l q u i z z i c a l i t y  toward language" whereby he a l l o w s a f u l l  - 52 -  appreciation of i t s resourcefulness  for  encompassing the human c o n d i t i o n  perspectives,  h i s puns, h i s arguing  r e v e a l s the l i m i t s o f any other  (GM,pp.441-442).  o f terms a r e so thorough t h a t he c l e a r l y  a t t i t u d e as t h e " f i n a l "  Shakespeare's mastery o f language served s t r a t e g y o f "planned i n c o n g r u i t y "  word.  as a model f o r Burke's own  ( t h e t r a n s f e r r i n g o f words from one c a t e g o r y  o f a s s o c i a t i o n t o another by the " c o a c h i n g " o f t h e i r implications).  His metaphorical  metaphorical  In h i s p r a i s e f o r Shakespeare's s t y l e , Burke c l e a r l y  i d e n t i f i e s h i s sympathies as a t h i n k e r w i t h Shakespeare, and t h i s provides  a fitting  praise  l i n k between an e x p o s i t i o n o f Burke's method and the  a n a l y s i s o f Shakespeare's p l a y s which  follows:  In Shakespeare, c a s u i s t r y was a b s o l u t e and c o n s t a n t . He c o u l d make new 'metaphorical e x t e n s i o n s ' at random. He c o u l d l e a p a c r o s s c a t e g o r i e s o f a s s o c i a t i o n as r e a d i l y as walking...We propose by the c a s u i s t r y o f 'planned i n c o n g r u i t y ' t o f o l l o w i n [our] c o n c e p t u a l v o c a b u l a r y t h e l e s s o n t h a t Shakespeare taught us w i t h h i s (ATH,p.230).  - 53 -  I I I . ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL  In h i s Arden e d i t i o n of A l l ' s W e l l , G.K. provokes such d i v e r g e n t responses  Hunter suggests  t h a t Helena  i n c r i t i c s t h a t the problem f o r  i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s whether to f i t Helena i n t o the p l a y or t o f i t the p l a y t o her.  I s she a h e r o i n e of romance whose completion  of i m p o s s i b l e t a s k s  proves  her to be not o n l y the worthy w i f e but a l s o the s a l v a t i o n of her husband? i s she a scheming s o c i a l c l i m b e r whose success  i n g e t t i n g her man  Or  proves t o be  a p y r r h i c v i c t o r y f o r " p r e d a t o r y monogamy" ( T i l l y a r d ' s p h r a s e ) , matching t o g e t h e r , as i t does, an unwanted w i f e w i t h an u n d e s e r v i n g then suggests  that c r i t i c i s m ,  husband?  to be most h e l p f u l , should p r o v i d e  Hunter  "a  context  w i t h i n which the genuine v i r t u e s of the p l a y can be a p p r e c i a t e d . " ^  The  c o n t e x t I propose i s t h a t of the p l a y as r h e t o r i c i n Burke's  the use o f forms f o r the d e f i n i n g o f terms.  As a d r a m a t i s t and  r h e t o r i c i a n , Shakespeare i s used to a r g u i n g o p p o s i t e s , but  sense:  skilled  i n t h i s p l a y , as i n  T r o i l u s and C r e s s i d a and Measure f o r Measure, he p r e s e n t s a p a r t i c u l a r l y u n r e l i e v e d divergence  of p e r s p e c t i v e s on the a c t i o n , so t h a t Helena's  v i c t o r y i s by no means c e r t a i n or d e s i r a b l e .  Not  apparent  o n l y do the " e q u a t i o n s " f o r  Helena's c h a r a c t e r c l a s h , but the s y l l o g i s t i c movement of the p l o t i s d e l i b e r a t e l y f r u s t r a t e d , e s p e c i a l l y a t the ending, w i t h the r e s u l t audience  i s made s e l f - c o n s c i o u s of i t s d e s i r e f o r a happy ending  t o q u e s t i o n the adequacy of c o n v e n t i o n a l forms t o account  t h a t an  and  f o r every  i s forced situation  and t o encompass i t .  S i n c e A l l ' s W e l l i s concerned and  heroine,  is,  i n some way,  symbolic  i t seems to i l l u s t r a t e  action.  so e x p l i c i t l y w i t h a c l a s s c o n s c i o u s as w e l l Burke's t h e o r y t h a t c l a s s  the "context o f s i t u a t i o n " to be addressed As I have mentioned i n Chapter  - 54  -  division  by a p l a y ' s  2, however, i t i s not  hero  my  concern t o assume a s p e c i f i c e x t r a - t e x t u a l t e n s i o n or burden.  I would  want t o argue, f o r example, t h a t Bertram r e p r e s e n t s a money-poor but a r i s t o c r a c y b e i n g pursued by a "mounting"  not  titled  bourgeois c l a s s i n search of t i t l e s ,  and t h a t i f h i s proud r e s i s t a n c e to a match s a n c t i o n e d by h i s mother and h i s K i n g i s not checked but  i t t h r e a t e n s not o n l y t o endanger  to t e a r apart the commonwealth as w e l l .  the f u t u r e of h i s c l a s s  This i s a plausible  r e c o n s t r u c t i o n of c l a s s r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n England a f t e r the r i s e of the Tudors and b e f o r e the c i v i l for  example.  war —  a s i t u a t i o n much a l l u d e d to i n " c i t i z e n comedy,"  But i t i s not n e c e s s a r y t o assume t h i s s p e c i f i c  s o c i a l context  i n order t o a p p r e c i a t e i n more g e n e r a l terms the p u r s u i t o f Helena and the flight  o f Bertram.  Some c r i t i c s ,  l i k e G.  W i l s o n K n i g h t , f o r example, have  used the imagery of the p l a y t o argue a C h r i s t i a n r a t h e r than an message: t h a t Helena i s D i v i n e Grace and t h a t Bertram i s all  t h a t he can to r e j e c t h i s own  These problems, to  presented. the  who  does  be, the problems caused by the  t o d e f i n e Helena and of how  i n t u r n , c r e a t e a more d i f f i c u l t  i d e n t i f y with a way  S i n f u l Man  redemption.^  Whatever the e x t r a - t e x t u a l i s s u e s may t e x t are those of how  economic  t o respond to her  victory.  problem f o r the audience:  how  out of a t e n s i o n when o n l y the dilemma has been  The d i v i s i o n  " c h a r a c t e r i z e d " by Helena and Bertram i s g r e a t , and  a c t i o n o f the p l a y g i v e s the audience no c l e a r reason to b e l i e v e t h a t i t  can be b r i d g e d .  I n s t e a d , A l l ' s W e l l b e t r a y s the audience t o i t s e l f  c r a v i n g the "promised end" of a way  as so  out t h a t i t i s w i l l i n g to g l o s s over an  embarrassing amount o f i n c o n s i s t e n c y i n o r d e r t o enjoy i t .  In Lambert and how,  h i s review o f John Barton's 1968 g i v e s away j u s t how  p r o d u c t i o n of A l l ' s W e l l ,  J.W.  much an audience t r u l y c r a v e s a d e f i n i t e ending  i n h i s view, Barton p r o v i d e d i t , e s p e c i a l l y by making Bertram more  l i k e a b l e and excusable (by emphasizing h i s b o y i s h n e s s ) and by making Helena's t r i c k e r y more a c c e p t a b l e .  " A l l ' s W e l l t h a t Ends W e l l , " he w r i t e s , " i s a good  - 55 -  play a f t e r a l l ,  t h i s p r o d u c t i o n t e l l s me.  And  g e n t l e r i t u a l o f the end, when as one d i s c o r d eyes s m e l l o n i o n s ' e x c l a i m s Lafew, and  after  another i s r e s o l v e d ,  f o r a well-tempered  view,  harmony a t the  emotional  last."3  the a e s t h e t i c demand i s c e r t a i n l y t h e r e , and o b v i o u s l y i t  can be s a t i s f i e d  by v a r i o u s p r o d u c t i o n s .  i s not mistaken,  and  But a t r o u b l e d response to the t e x t  i t a r i s e s from disappointment t h a t the a e s t h e t i c demand  i s not b e i n g s a t i s f i e d t h a t Shakespeare  'Mine  yet r a t i f i e s our unquenchable  a c o r r e c t a e s t h e t i c demand, not a s u p e r f i c i a l  surrender —  In my  f i n e l y i t manages the  i n t h a t s i n g l e phrase r e c o g n i z e s the  a b s u r d i t y of the c o n t r i v a n c e , s m i l e s at i t , insistence —  how  as generously as i t might be and  from the s u s p i c i o n  i s d e l i b e r a t e l y f r u s t r a t i n g a simple response t o t h i s p l a y ,  e s p e c i a l l y t o the ending.  THE  Shakespeare's  AMBIGUOUS VALUE OF HONOR IN  WAR  r h e t o r i c a l q u a l i f y i n g o f s e l f - e v i d e n t v a l u e s , which he  does throughout the p l a y , can be seen, f o r example, i n how Bertram  he suggests  that  has gained o n l y a d o u b t f u l honor by f i g h t i n g f o r the Duke of F l o r e n c e .  Although Diana r e p o r t s t h a t "they say the French count has done most honorable service"  ( I I I . v . 3 - 4 ) and a l t h o u g h the Duke has c r e a t e d Bertram G e n e r a l o f the  horse f o r t h i s ,  t h e r e are many h i n t s t h a t t h i s honor which any  value has, i n f a c t , no r e a s o n a b l e b a s i s and i s , b e s i d e s , hollow ostentatious.  and  4  Expanding Shakespeare  gentleman would  on one sentence  adds two  undercut Bertram's  i n h i s source, P a i n t e r ' s Palace of Pleasure,  s h o r t scenes  achievement.  (Ill.i  and I I I . i i i ) and o t h e r commentary t o  A c c o r d i n g t o P a i n t e r , "when [Beltramo] was  - 56 -  on  horsebacke hee went not [home] but toke h i s journey i n t o Tuscane, where understanding that the F l o r e n t i n e s and Senois were at warres, he determined  to  take the F l o r e n t i n e s parte, and was w i l l i n g l y received and honourablie entertained, and was made captaine of a c e r t a i n e nomber of men,  continuing i n  t h e i r s e r v i c e a long time."^  From the way he handles the subject of the war, Shakespeare, I suspect, took a h i n t from the word "determined" because i t suggests an act of choice with no reason given, the kind of w i l l f u l act which i s impossible to evaluate as r i g h t or wrong i n the absence of reasonable c r i t e r i a .  Then, i n I l l . i  he  presents the Duke of Florence, marvelling to h i s entourage of the l o r d s of France that t h e i r King "would i n so j u s t a business [as t h i s war] shut h i s bosom against our borrowing prayers" ( I I I . i . 7 - 8 ) .  Because the l o r d s cannot o f f e r any explanation for t h e i r King's r e f u s a l of a i d , the Duke implies an a r b i t r a r y one: "Be i t h i s pleasure" ( I I I . i . 1 7 ) . We know from h i s f a r e w e l l to the young l o r d s ( I . i i ) that the King of France i s , i n f a c t , i n d i f f e r e n t to the claims of either the F l o r e n t i n e s or Senoys. "They have fought," he says, "with equal fortune, and continue/ A braving war" (I.ii.2-3). (I.ii.14).  And so the young l o r d s have "leave/ to stand on either p a r t " Since the King cannot d i s t i n g u i s h between the r i v a l s , i t makes no  d i f f e r e n c e to him which side k i l l s the other. be gained e i t h e r way,  Honor, whatever i t may be, can  and at l e a s t the war may allow young hot bloods a chance  to work o f f excess energy.  The wars w i l l o f f e r a "nursery" f o r the young men  who are " s i c k / For breathing and e x p l o i t " ( I . i i . 1 6 - 1 7 ) .  Despite the King's i n d i f f e r e n c e , the Duke has convinced h i s company that he has "fundamental reasons" f o r t h i s war which make h i s cause seem "holy" and h i s r i v a l ' s cause seem "black and f e a r f u l . "  According to the r h e t o r i c , i t i s  obvious that f i g h t i n g for the Duke i s the r i g h t t h i n g to do, and that v i c t o r y  - 57 -  i n h i s cause i s an honorable would f i g h t  prize.  f o r the Duke, he w i l l  "fundamental r e a s o n s "  have to "determine"  are never presented  When he l e a v e s France, choose s i d e s .  But Shakespeare knows t h a t i f Bertram to do so.  t o the audience,  The  Duke's  nor a r e Bertram's.  i t i s o n l y "to the wars"; he does not at t h a t p o i n t  Shakespeare, then, s t r e n g t h e n s P a i n t e r ' s h i n t t h a t the  hero's  c h o i c e of whom t o serve i s a r b i t r a r y by s u p p r e s s i n g any d i s c u s s i o n of f o r the q u a r r e l and making i t the King's with almost  " p l e a s u r e " to stand a p a r t from i t  comic detachment or at l e a s t wise p a s s i v e n e s s .  F l o r e n t i n e s and Senoys are so c l o s e to one how  i s one  to be d i s t i n g u i s h e d from the  reasons  another  I f , indeed,  t h a t they  are "by t h ' e a r s , "  other?  S i n c e , i n f a c t , the r i v a l s are a l s o b r o t h e r s , t h e i r wars are even more bloody  f o r the c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p of the c o n t e s t a n t s and  c l e a r l y d i s t i n g u i s h i n g one's r i g h t s from the o t h e r ' s . i s " h o l y " and  t h a t the o t h e r i s " b lack and  with a t r o w e l . killed  Why,  s i d e and any way?  had k i l l e d  To say t h a t one  f e a r f u l " i s to l a y on the  then, should Bertram win  the Duke's b r o t h e r i n b a t t l e  6  the d i f f i c u l t y  of side  rhetoric  d i s t i n c t i o n or honor f o r having  (III.v.7)?  I f he had  the Duke, would an audience's  fought  f o r the other  e s t i m a t i o n of him change i n  Shakespeare, then, takes no p a i n s to p r o v i d e a r e a s o n a b l e b a s i s f o r  Bertram's honor even as he parades the s o l d i e r s i n v i c t o r y w i t h "drums and c o l o r s " b e f o r e the s o l d i e r - s t r u c k c i t i z e n s of F l o r e n c e , the Widow, Diana,  and  Mariana.  As the n o i s y p r o c e s s i o n passes makes a loud and  hollow sound.  by,  the drum of Mars which Bertram l o v e s  In f a c t , the v i c t o r y i t s e l f  hollow, or a t l e a s t muted, because the s o l d i e r s have l o s t drum, much to the c h a g r i n of P a r o l l e s .  The  their  little regimental  r e g i m e n t a l c o l o r s which t r o o p  b e f o r e them are matched f o r o s t e n t a t i o n by the "plume" which Bertram and  is a  the " s c a r v e s " which P a r o l l e s wears.  help to mark the heroes out as members of the new  identifies  These conspicuous g e n e r a t i o n "whose  clothes  judgments," the King had s a i d , "are/ Mere fathers of t h e i r garments; whose constancies/  Expire before their fashions" ( I . i i . 6 1 - 6 3 ) .  This qualifying  perspective on the young heroes i s reenforced by the comments of the Widow and Diana.  To them, the honor Bertram gains in war does not excuse his f a i l u r e to  be l o y a l to his wife.  Honor and honesty belong together.  In a scene that  much resembles the return of the soldiers to Troy i n T r o i l u s and Cressida, the glory of a m i l i t a r y procession i s undercut by the objective, of disinterested  moral commentary  observers:  Diana: He That with the plume; ' t i s a most gallant fellow. I would he loved his wife. I f he were honester He were much goodlier. (III.v.77-80)  The honor gained in the service of Mars, then, i s shown to be doubtful. Moreover, the purpose for which the young lords have gone to war i s in suspicious terms.  presented  As the F i r s t Lord says to the Duke, echoing what was  said to the King about war's therapeutic value, the war may, indeed, prove a "physic" for those of "the younger of our nature,/ That s u r f e i t on their ease" ( I I I . i . 1 7 - 1 8 ) . But this implies that war i s for "sick" people, who have chosen i t , wisely or not, as their remedy.  Besides,  purged does not mean that honor has replaced  just because "ease" has been it.  In l i g h t of these disparagements of war's r i t u a l s , e f f e c t s ,  and causes,  we should not be surprised to find puns which evaluate war ambivalently even as the Duke explains his case at the opening of  Ill.i.:  Duke. So that from point to point now have you heard The fundamental reasons of t h i s war, Whose great decision hath much blood l e t f o r t h , And more t h i r s t s after.  - 59 -  F i r s t Lord. Holy seems the quarrel Upon you Grace's part; black and On the Opposer.  fearful  Duke. Therefore we marvel much our cousin France Would i n so j u s t a business shut h i s bosom Against our borrowing prayers. ( I I I . i.1-8) According to the O.E.D., the f i r s t use of "fundamental" i n i t s "immaterial" sense occurs i n t h i s play.  P r i o r to t h i s , i t was the a d j e c t i v a l form of  "fundament" i n the sense of the foundation of a b u i l d i n g or the buttocks of the body, e s p e c i a l l y the anus.  Shakespeare i s s t r e t c h i n g the word to include  an immaterial sense at the same time that more earthy denotations would be more prominent f o r h i s audience.  As he u s u a l l y does, Shakespeare wants to  suggest a two-edged commentary with a pun, and i t i s consistent with the imagery he i s using i n reference to the  war.  The King has already said that war i s merely a physic or c a t h a r t i c f o r those who  " s u r f e i t " on t h e i r ease; why,  then, should i t s reasons not be  "fundamental" i n two senses: foundational and s t i n k y ?  The f a c t that the  quarrel seems "holy" further corroborates the suggestion of war as a "hole" through which the v i l e matter of s i c k people can be purged. of a pun on "fundamental" i s strengthened  This p o s s i b i l i t y  by the fact that Shakespeare uses  the word only one other time i n h i s plays, and once again i t i s i n a context where physic i s needed to restore the body p o l i t i c to health.  In Coriolanus,  Coriolanus addresses the senators of Rome, saying: You that w i l l be l e s s f e a r f u l than d i s c r e e t , That love the fundamental part of s t a t e More than you doubt the change on't, that prefer A noble l i f e before a long, and wish To jump a body with a dangerous physic That's sure of death without i t , at once pluck out The multitudinous tongue. ( I I I . i.150-156)  - 60 -  As i n A l l ' s W e l l , the s o c i e t y ' s burden i s concealed i n a pun which not only p r o v i d e s a s c a t o l o g i c a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f the burden but a l s o i m p l i e s t h a t i t should be purged.  I f t h i s r e a d i n g of a pun i s c o r r e c t , i t would make the  Duke's reasons " f u l l  of h o l e s , " a t the same time t h a t the q u a r r e l only seems  " h o l y " i n i t s r i g h t e o u s sense.  A l l ' s W e l l w i l l end w i t h a s i m i l a r  q u a l i f i c a t i o n : t h a t a l l seems w e l l , but i t i s important t o note t h a t e x p l i c i t ambivalence has marked the p l a y e a r l y on. of honor through war this  and o f Helena through marriage are c r a f t i l y  acquiring  qualified in  play.  A l s o of i n t e r e s t war  Both Bertram's  this  as a " b u s i n e s s . "  i n t h i s s h o r t exchange i s the Duke's r e f e r e n c e to the There may  be d e f l a t i o n a r y overtones i n the use o f the  word, as when Iago speaks of the " t r a d e of war"  (Othello I . i i . 1 ) .  But, more  than t h a t , the e p i t h e t " b u s i n e s s " w i l l a l s o d e s c r i b e Bertram's marriage t o Helena, which he d e s p i s e s , h i s c o u r t s h i p of Diana, f o r which even c r i t i c i z e s him, Helena's p l o t t o use Diana t o t r a p Bertram, and fatuous p l a n to r e c o v e r the drum.  Parolles  Parolles'  When the c y n i c a l clown says t h a t h i s  " b u s i n e s s " i s to f e t c h Helena f o r the Countess and, l a t e r , t h a t h i s " b u s i n e s s " —  l i k e Helena's —  i s to the c o u r t , we hear a word accumulating unsavory  c o n n o t a t i o n s at the same time t h a t i t l i n k s a l l l e v e l s o f the a c t i o n .  In a more s u b t l e l i n k i n g of the two a c t i o n s , the Duke promises t o reward those who  f o l l o w him w i t h the words, " a l l honor t h a t can f l y from us/ S h a l l on  them s e t t l e . "  (III.i.20-21)  I t undercuts the Duke's promise o f honor t o  r e c a l l t h a t Bertram had c a u s t i c a l l y r e f e r r e d  i n s i m i l a r terms to the "honor"  which the K i n g had c o n f e r r e d by bestowing Helena on him: "When I c o n s i d e r , " he had s a i d , "what d o l e [ d o l o r ? ] o f honor/ F l i e s where you b i d i t , she, which l a t e / Was the K i n g ; who,  i n my n o b l e r thoughts most base, i s now/  so ennobled,/ I s as 'twere  - 61 -  I find  that  The p r a i s e d of  born so" ( I I . i i i . 1 6 9 - 1 7 3 ) •  Bertram, seconded by P a r o l l e s , has e n r o l l e d  i n the wars i n o r d e r to  a c h i e v e an honor i n deed which would complement the honor of h i s noble l i n e a g e , but the language o f the t e x t suggests t h a t he may in his plan. so  He wants t o prove h i m s e l f a man  not have succeeded  and b e l i e v e s t h a t he cannot do  i f he i s kept back f o r b e i n g "too young" and i s " c l o g g e d " w i t h a w i f e  who  i s not o n l y below h i s s t a t i o n but, more t o the p o i n t , not o f h i s c h o o s i n g . Bertram e n v i e s the other young l o r d s o f France whom t h e K i n g had urged upon l e a v i n g f o r t h e wars not t o "woo  honor, but to wed  l e a v i n g home and France f o r I t a l y ,  i t " ( I I . i . 1 5 ) . Therefore,  Bertram has s h i f t e d  t h e scene o f h i s a c t i o n  to where he w i l l be f r e e from c o n s t r a i n t and f r e e f o r achievements i n war l o v e which he can determine to undertake as he p l e a s e s . to  and  He succeeds at l e a s t  the e x t e n t t h a t he wins promotion from t h e Duke and t h a t F o r t u n e seems h i s  "auspicious mistress."  Shakespeare shows, however, t h a t Bertram's g a i n i n g of honor l e a s t dubious, and he w i l l house  show e x p l i c i t l y  i n the attempt to seduce Diana.  assured by some gentlemen  i n war  i s at  t h a t Bertram l o s e s the honor of h i s  Back i n R o u s i l l o n , the Countess,  the "The Duke w i l l  l a y upon [Bertram] a l l the honor/  That good convenience c l a i m s " ( I I I . i i . 7 3 - 7 4 ) , remains unimpressed.  In her  view, "His sword can never win/ The honor t h a t he l o s e s " f o r h a v i n g d e s e r t e d Helena  (III.ii.97-98).  THE AMBIGUOUS VALUE OF HELENA  So much i n t h i s p l a y seems t o show t h a t Helena i s Bertram's unquestioned good, t h a t i t sometimes remains u n d e r a p p r e c i a t e d how  much Shakespeare  q u a l i f i e d the v a l u e o f Helena j u s t as he has q u a l i f i e d  - 62 -  has  the honor Bertram  supposedly g a i n s i n war.  Helena, I s u g g e s t , i s d e f i n e d i n d e l i b e r a t e l y  ambiguous terms because an audience i s supposed t o remain f r u s t r a t e d by not knowing how t o a c c e p t her m a r r i a g e w i t h B e r t r a m .  H e l e n a , on t h e one hand, i s d e s c r i b e d as a prove t o be Bertram's s a l v a t i o n .  "herb o f g r a c e " and s h o u l d  She i s w e l l " d e r i v e d " from a wise f a t h e r and  has i n h e r i t e d h i s v i r t u o u s q u a l i t i e s w i t h no a d m i x t u r e o f "an u n c l e a n mind." Moreover, b o t h h e r s t a t u s and h e r a c t i o n s combine t o d e f i n e h e r p e r f e c t i o n i n the Countess's e s t i m a t i o n : "She d e r i v e s her honesty and a c h i e v e s her goodness" (I.i.47-48).  Heaven l o v e s t o hear t h e p r a y e r s o f such a woman, and w i t h good  r e a s o n : she i s heaven's agent ( " m i n i s t e r " ) f o r c u r i n g t h e K i n g and may w e l l be e q u a l l y i n s t r u m e n t a l , t h e Countess hopes, i n r e p r i e v i n g Bertram "from t h e wrath o f g r e a t e s t j u s t i c e "  As W.W.  (III.iv.28-29).  Lawrence has argued, Helena's deeds a r e c o n s i s t e n t w i t h t h e  i d e n t i t y o f t h e c o n v e n t i o n a l " c l e v e r wench" o f f o l k t a l e and romance.  8  By  c u r i n g t h e K i n g and s o l v i n g t a s k s , she a s s u r e s t h e r e g e n e r a t i o n o f her society.  She i s , as w e l l , a v i r g i n and an honest woman, one who i s t w i c e  w i l l i n g t o l a y down h e r l i f e t h a t t h e K i n g and B e r t r a m might  live.  Helena's exemplary q u a l i f i c a t i o n s as a "god term" a r e c o r r o b o r a t e d by t h e K i n g ' s and t h e Countess's endorsements.  The K i n g g i v e s "honor" and  " w e a l t h " as h i s dowry t o H e l e n a , a l o n g w i t h a r i n g which i s d i s c o v e r e d o n l y l a t e i n A c t V.  Moreover, he warns B e r t r a m , "As thou l o v ' s t h e r , / Thy l o v e ' s  t o me r e l i g i o u s ; e l s e , does e r r " ( I I . i i i . 1 8 3 - 1 8 4 ) .  The Countess  adopts  Helena, and n o t o n l y i n I . i i i where she p l a y s w i t h t h e word "daughter" i n order t o d i s c o v e r Helena's i n t e n t i o n s o f m a r r i a g e toward B e r t r a m . Bertram d e s e r t s H e l e n a , t h e Countess adopts h e r i n e a r n e s t .  "He was my s o n /  But I wash h i s name o u t o f my b l o o d / And thou a r t a l l my c h i l d " 69).  She t e l l s Lafew t h a t " i f  When  (III.ii.68-  [ H e l e n a ] had p a r t a k e n o f my f l e s h and c o s t me  - 63 -  the dearest groans of a mother, I could not have owed her a more rooted love" (IV.v.10-13). R h e t o r i c a l l y , then, Helena i s " c o n s u b s t a n t i a l " with the aged a u t h o r i t i e s of t h i s play.  She i s i d e n t i f i e d with whatever they, i n t h e i r wisdom,  recognize as honesty, worth, goodness, and deserving.  The equations which,  together, e s t a b l i s h Helena as the "herb of grace" seem most strongly v a l i d a t e d by her miraculous act of r a i s i n g the King.  Helena comes to ,the court of the  dying King so recommended by Lafew for "wisdom and constancy"  ( I I . i . 8 6 ) that  the King orders him to "bring i n the admiration that we with thee/ May spend our wonder too, or take o f f t h i n e / By wondering how thou took'st i t " ( I I . i . 9 0 92).  The solemn tone of romance i s sounded by these words and  continues  through those incantatory verses i n which Helena, modestly at f i r s t ,  presents  her c r e d e n t i a l s as the "weakest m i n i s t e r " of "[Him] that of greatest works i s finisher" (II.i.138).  She prays, i n e f f e c t , that the King awake h i s f a i t h ,  and appeals to the precedent of great miracles recorded i n "holy w r i t " to assure him that " o f t expectation h i t s / Where hope i s coldest and despair most s i t s " (II.i.145-146). She counts h e r s e l f among those whose " i n s p i r e d merit" may be doubted by men but whose acts are heaven's i t s e l f . make an experiment" ( I I . i . 1 5 6 ) .  "Of heaven not  me,  In paradoxical terms and with d r u i d - l i k e  c a l c u l a t i o n s of time, Helena promises the "The greatest grace lending grace/ Ere twice the horses of the sun s h a l l b r i n g / Their f i e r y torcher h i s d i u r n a l ring/...Health s h a l l l i v e f r e e , and sickness f r e e l y d i e "  (II.i.163-165/170).  Then, as surety of her confidence i n her c r e d e n t i a l s and her cure, she lays down her l i f e as the f o r f e i t i f her promises prove f a l s e .  I t i s pure magic!  Thus paraphrased, the action of r a i s i n g the King represents Helena as the "god-term" —  the one whose worth defines the good which, i f chosen, leads  to comedy and which, i f r e j e c t e d , leads to tragedy.  But i t i s also obvious  that Helena's actions are undercut throughout t h i s scene, c a l l i n g into - 64 -  question any reasonable basis f o r d e f i n i n g her as an unmixed b l e s s i n g .  Before  she enters, f o r example, Lafew's joking with the King insinuates with p h a l l i c innuendo that the King's r a i s i n g may indeed involve a rather ordinary v i s i b l e sign of an i n v i s i b l e grace:  Lafew:  I have seen a medicine That's able to breathe l i f e i n t o a stone, Quicken a rock, and make you dance canary With s p r i g h t l y f i r e and motion, whose simple touch Is powerful t o araise King Pippen, nay, To give great Charlemain a pen i n ' s hand, And write to her a l o v e - l i n e . (11.1.74-79)  And, i n a most daringly denigrating perspective on Helena's v i s i t , Lafew remarks that she looks l i k e a t r a i t o r and that he i s "Cressid's uncle/ That dare leave two together" (II.i.99-100). Moreover, Helena's reason f o r coming to the King i s at best a h a l f truth.  She t e l l s him: ...hearing your high Majesty i s touched With that malignant cause wherein the honor Of my dear father's g i f t stood c h i e f i n power, I come to tender i t and my appliance, With a l l bound humbleness. (II.i.112-116)  She has already t r i e d out t h i s high-sounding motive on the Countess, swearing "by grace i t s e l f " ( I . i i i . 2 2 2 ) f o r i t s v e r a c i t y , but had been forced to admit: My l o r d your son made me to think of (curing the King) Else P a r i s , and the medicine, and the King, Had from the conversation of my thoughts Haply been absent then. (I.iii.234-237) I t seems, then, that Helena's i n t e n t i o n s t o marry Bertram are f i x e d but that her motives, l i k e Cressida's, are hard to a s c e r t a i n . hard bargain, however, i s obvious.  Her a b i l i t y to drive a  As the scene ends and before she  - 65 -  undertakes any cure, she exacts from the King the p r i c e of h i s cooperation i n her choosing of a husband from among h i s wards. In l i g h t of the trapping of Bertram which Helena i s p l o t t i n g from the beginning and of the King's being brought to comply with i t through t h i s scene, I wonder i f an a l l u s i o n to Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy i s more than a mnemonic i r r e l e v a n c e .  When Lafew goes to f e t c h Helena, he uses the famous  words which precede Hieronymo's  staging of a play (or action) c a l c u l a t e d to  take i n the spectators and to seal t h e i r doom.  "Nay, I ' l l f i t you," ( I I . i . 9 3 )  says Lafew, and so said Hieronymo (The Spanish Tragedy, I V . i . 7 0 ) .  I f an  audience catches t h i s a l l u s i o n , Helena's action appears i n the perspective of a trap as w e l l as a cure.  As Bertram w i l l put i t , by r a i s i n g up the King,  Helena contrives to bring down Bertram.  I t seems, then, that even i n the scene where Helena shows h e r s e l f most powerful f o r good, most s e l f - s a c r i f i c i n g , and " g r a c e f u l , " q u a l i f i c a t i o n s a r i s e , however l i g h t l y touched upon, that compromise from w i t h i n any simple d e f i n i t i o n of her character. These q u a l i f i c a t i o n s recur throughout the play and j u s t i f y the pun which the Clown, Lavatch, makes on her epithet.  Not only i s she the "herb of  grace," which i s rue or mercy; she i s also a herb of "grass" (IV.v.17-22), a reference, as the Clown explains i t , to the grass which Nebuchadnezzar ate only a f t e r he had gone mad (Daniel 4:28-37). Helena, f o r example, claims that she i s heaven's minister but a l s o knows, as she mentions i n s o l i l o q u y , that Our remedies o f t i n ourselves do l i e , Which we ascribe to heaven; the fated sky Gives us free scope; only doth backward p u l l Our slow designs when we ourselves are d u l l . ( I . i.223-226)  - 66 -  There i s nothing untoward about s e l f reliance i t s e l f ,  of course, but when i t  cloaks sheer w i l l power behind references to heavenly destiny, a person's s i n c e r i t y .  i t compromises  Thus, Helena's attempting to convince the Widow that  "heaven/ Hath brought me up to be your daughter's dower,/ As i t hath fated her to be my motive/ And helper to a husband" (IV.iv.19-22)  sounds pious enough,  but i t follows soon after some tough negotiating for which, we have seen, Helena has some s k i l l .  As Helena walks hand in hand with heaven, i t i s hard  to t e l l who i s leading whom.  Acts of s e l f r e l i a n c e , then, break the equation between heaven and Helena as heaven's instrument, as do references to Helena's ambition.  As she  leaves Rousillon on pilgrimage, Helena offers as her explanation that "Ambitious love hath so in me offended/ That barefoot plod I the cold ground upon,/ With sainted vow my faults to have amended" ( I I I . i v . 5 - 7 ) .  Whether she  means to repent or not, Helena has recognized in soliloquy that she does, indeed, desire to "mount" to a status above her and that her appetite to do so may, i n f a c t , be sick and even dangerous, no less so than Bertram's "sick" desires which arise in his wooing of Diana.  "Th' ambition in my love," she  admits, "thus plagues i t s e l f : / The hind that would be mated by the l i o n / Must die for love" ( I . i . 9 6 - 9 8 ) .  Moreover, l i k e her namesake i n Midsummer Night's  Dream, t h i s Helena shows an equal eagerness in pursuit of a man who does not want her mingled with a l i t t l e masochism i n the process.  Given Helena's s e l f reliance and ambition, her "fixed  intents"  ( I . i . 2 3 6 ) , the imagery that would make of her Bertram's s i s t e r by adoption takes on an added s i g n i f i c a n c e .  As I suggested when discussing the r i v a l r y  theme in the war p l o t , Shakespeare shows scepticism about any "fundamental" reasons which can distinguish one brother's claims from another's.  The closer  the r i v a l s , the more equal their claim and the harder to t e l l them apart.  If  Helena, then, claims the right to choose for herself a husband and takes the - 67 -  s t e p s t o do so, why Moreover,  should her " b r o t h e r " Bertram have any l e s s a r i g h t ?  what fundamental reason can c o n v i n c e him to choose her f o r a w i f e  when i t cannot be s a i d f o r c e r t a i n whether she i s a herb of grace or a herb o f grass?  The  l e s s " s a v o r y " s i d e o f Helena shows c l e a r l y  use o f the bed t r i c k t o f u l f i l l win him f o r a husband. of  heaven  f o r most c r i t i c s  i n her  the t a s k s Bertram has g i v e n her i f she would  I t i s here t h a t she shows h e r s e l f l e s s of a handmaid  and more of an e n t e r p r i s i n g woman w i t h c a s h advances  f o r inducement  and a manual o f i n s t r u c t i o n s f o r the " b u s i n e s s " at hand.  However, t r o u b l e f o r i n t e r p r e t e r s begins even b e f o r e Helena a r r i v e s i n Florence.  As B e r t r a n d Evans has n o t i c e d , Shakespeare,  u s u a l l y keeps an audience as f u l l y stage so t h a t the audience may and those who  i n h i s comedies,  informed as the most informed c h a r a c t e r on  enjoy the " d i s c r e p a n t awareness"  suspends  a s o l i l o q u y , Shakespeare  p r o v i d e s Helena w i t h a speech i n which  w i l l be gone"; she w i l l  she  s a f e t y i n the wars and u p b r a i d s h e r s e l f  having caused him t o expose h i m s e l f to danger.  she w i l l  dupe and p u z z l e  V i o l a t i n g the c o n v e n t i o n t h a t an audience can t r u s t the d i s c l o s u r e s  expresses f i e r c e concern f o r Bertram's for  But,  h i s u s u a l p r a c t i c e and a l l o w s Helena t o  dupe or at l e a s t to p u z z l e an audience as s u r e l y as she w i l l  of  itself  are duped or i n other ways manipulated by t h a t c h a r a c t e r . ^  i n A l l ' s W e l l Shakespeare  Bertram.  between  Twice she promises, "I  not remain a t home t o d i s c o u r a g e h i s r e t u r n .  Instead,  expose h e r s e l f to dangers r a t h e r than submit Bertram to the "mark/ o f  smoky muskets" ( I I I . i i . 112-113). t h a t Helena w i l l  What i s an audience t o t h i n k ?  be gone! But where?  Certainly,  S u r e l y not to F l o r e n c e i f she i s as  s o l i c i t o u s f o r Bertram's comfort as she c l a i m s t o be.  Furthermore, what i s an audience to b e l i e v e when a l e t t e r the  Countess announces t h a t she i s " S a i n t Jacques' p i l g r i m "  - 68 -  from Helena to  (III.iv.D?  Shakespeare has added t h i s information to h i s source i n a d e l i b e r a t e e f f o r t , i t seems, to throw h i s audience o f f the scent of Helena's whereabouts. Painter's heroine, G i l e t t a , "toke her w a y . . . t e l l i n g no man whither shee wente, u  and never rested t i l l shee came to Florence." ^ Shakespeare's heroine follows a more c i r c u i t o u s route, even while she pens sanctimonies to the Countess. "Bless him at home i n peace," she w r i t e s , "whilst I from f a r / His name with zealous fervor s a n c t i f y " ( I I I . i v . 1 0 - 1 1 ) .  She even h i n t s at a death wish:  "He  i s too good and f a i r for death and me/ Whom I myself embrace to set him free" (III.iv.16-17).  Like P o r t i a i n The Merchant of Venice, Helena uses the smokescreen of having holy business i n hand i n order to hide her true i n t e r e s t s .  Portia,  however, confides her plans completely to Nerissa and, through Nerissa, to the audience.  Moreover, her deception i s f o r an unambiguously good purpose: t o  save the l i f e of her husband's "bosom l o v e r . "  By contrast, Helena t e l l s no  one her plans and proceeds to win back Bertram only because she wants him back, not f o r any c l e a r advantage to him. Helena's l i e s and deceptions may prove the strength of her single-minded purpose,  but they also h i n t at a  desperate desire to have her way which w i l l not be r e s i s t e d .  Later, Helena's  hint to the Countess of death to come i s made t o seem a f a c t as she l e t s i t drop i n conversation with the Widow that she i s "supposed dead" (IV.iv.11) and has somehow gotten the rector of Saint Jacques to confirm i t i n a l e t t e r written to one of Bertram's companions ( I V . i i i . 5 8 - 6 3 ) . the  Meanwhile, however,  audience, which has been l e d to suspect that Helena i s a languishing  p i l g r i m on the way to Spain, discovers that she has, i n f a c t , a r r i v e d i n Florence with no explanation, and i t watches as she busies h e r s e l f with i n t e r e s t i n Bertram, the t a l k of the c i t y .  Evans throws up h i s hands at such d u p l i c i t y .  "Excepting the moment of  openness when she needed Diana to help her trap Bertram," he complains, " t h i s - 69 -  heroine has not spoken s t r a i g h t to anyone.  She has not taken us into her  confidence, but has kept s i l e n t , hinted l o o s e l y , or put us o f f the track with falsehood.  Unlike our sense of e a r l i e r heroines, our awareness of what she i s  grows and changes.  Our understanding of her past conduct i s repeatedly  revised by our view of her present conduct." And t h i s r e v i s i o n , Evans maintains, does not show Helena i n a favorable l i g h t .  1 1  Besides her deviousness, Helena shows a mercenary streak which t a i n t s her act of trapping Bertram, however l a w f u l i t can be made t o seem, because of the agency she uses.  Shakespeare's t e l l i n g of how Helena wins the Widow's  cooperation f o r her plan d i f f e r s again from h i s source i n several ways to the e f f e c t of strengthening the impression that Helena has bribed the Widow as much as she has convinced her.  For example, Painter's Widow i s e x p l i c i t l y compassionate "after that the 1  Countesse had rehearsed the whole circumstance" of her "estate of l o v e " . ^ Shakespeare spares the audience a lengthy conversation between the women, which makes dramatic sense, but, contrary t o P a i n t e r , he i n d i c a t e s that the the Widow i s not so much compassionate as she i s uneasy with Helena's plan. "I was w e l l born," she demurs, "Nothing acquainted with these businesses/ And would not put my reputation now/ In any s t a i n i n g a c t " ( I I I . v i i . 4 - 7 ) . When the Widow h i n t s that her b e l i e f i n Helena can be swayed by Helena's wealth ("I should believe you/ FOR you have showed me that which w e l l approves/ Y'are great i n fortune" [ I I I . v i i . 1 3 - 1 5 ] ) , Helena sees her opening: "Take t h i s purse of gold/ And l e t me buy your f r i e n d s h i p thus f a r , / Which I w i l l over-pay and pay again/ When I have found i t " ( I I I . v i i . 1 4 - 1 7 ) .  This  o f f e r of personal recompense to the Widow i s Shakespeare's addition to h i s source, as i s the important d e t a i l that the purse contains gold.  Painter's  heroine o f f e r s the Widow an unspecified sum i n exchange f o r her cooperation,  - 70 -  but i t i s intended f o r the daughter's dowry, not f o r h e r s e l f .  Even so,  Painter's Widow, needy as she i s , agrees t o cooperate only " i f i t be a thinge honest"; Shakespeare's Widow expresses no doubts once she has been offered the money.  Shakespeare returns to h i s source for the d e t a i l about the dowry but, again, with a d i f f e r e n c e .  Painter s p e c i f i e s that the sum of 500 pounds passes  to the Widow only a f t e r G i l e t t a has s l e p t with Beltramo and, even then, since the Widow refuses to accept i t as a reward f o r services rendered, G i l e t t a r e p l i e s , " I doe not purpose to give unto you the thing you s h a l l demaunde i n reward, but f o r consideration of your w e l l doing, which dutie f o r c e t h me to do."13  Shakespeare, s i g n i f i c a n t l y , r a i s e s the sum of the dowry t o 3.000  crowns and has Helena promise i t t o the Widow before the f a c t , almost as an added i n c e n t i v e .  " A f t e r , / To marry her, I ' l l add three thousand crowns/ To  what i s passed already" ( I I I .vii.34-36).  I f the exchanges of a bawdy house  come to mind, the e f f e c t , I think, i s not a c c i d e n t a l .  Moreover, the  "business" i s e x p l i c i t l y c a l l e d a " d e c e i t " even i f i t be a " l a w f u l " one.  Further denigration of the bed t r i c k a r i s e s by Shakespeare's arranging the scenes i n which Helena plans to trap Bertram to f a l l a l t e r n a t e l y between the scenes i n which the Dumaine brothers plan to expose P a r o l l e s f o r "the love of laughter" and the education of Bertram.  Shakespeare i s obviously i n v i t i n g  a comparison between the analogous actions of entrapment and exposure, but the intended e f f e c t i s ambiguous.  The simple j u x t a p o s i t i o n of the two actions  teases the mind i n t o making the connections and then sends i t i n several directions.  I w i l l , i n a moment, explain how the p a r a l l e l p l o t can r e f l e c t  favorably on Helena's a c t i o n .  But to f i n i s h the h i g h l i g h t i n g of her  deceitfulness and mercenary savvy, there should be noticed the mention of gold i n the subplot ( e n t i r e l y Shakespeare's invention) which corresponds to the purse of gold that Shakespeare has added to h i s source i n the main p l o t .  Gold i s mentioned twice; the f i r s t i s i n a l e t t e r found on P a r o l l e s and w r i t t e n by him to Diana i n which he advises the woman to demand payment i n advance for her services because of Bertram's d e c e i t f u l n e s s .  Dian, the Count's a f o o l , and f u l l When he swears oaths, bid him drop A f t e r he scores, he never pays the Half won i s match w e l l made; match He ne'er pays a f t e r debts, take i t  of gold... gold, and take i t ; score. and w e l l make i t before. (IV.iii.225/236-239)  Helena i s at l e a s t tarnished by t h i s resemblance between Bertram's dealings and her own paying of gold to the Widow before she "scores" with the trick.  bed  I t i s as i f she i s as d e c e i t f u l as Bertram, which makes payment i n  advance advisable, or i s at l e a s t as p r o s t i t u t i n g i n her i n t e n t i o n s .  The second mention of gold emphasizes i t s power to corrupt.  The  I n t e r p r e t e r , i n t e r r o g a t i n g P a r o l l e s about Bertram, allows that "His q u a l i t i e s being at t h i s poor p r i c e , I need not to ask you i f gold w i l l corrupt him revolt" (IV.iii.289-291).  to  The suggestion i s c l e a r : has not the Widow l i k e w i s e  been corrupted when she agrees to r e v o l t from her misgivings  and to cooperate  with Helena's deceit? A more damaging r e f l e c t i o n on Helena derives from the e n t i r e action of entrapping P a r o l l e s since i t does more than show him to be a braggart and t r a i t o r to h i s f r i e n d s .  As he betrays them to themselves, P a r o l l e s also  the t r u t h about them and e s p e c i a l l y ' about Bertram, "one  Count R o u s i l l o n , a  f o o l i s h , i d l e boy, but for a l l that very r u t t i s h " ( I V . i i i . 2 2 6 - 2 2 8 ) . reveals the l o r d s to be as wicked i n t h e i r way  tells  Parolles  as he i s i n h i s , and he shows  Bertram e s p e c i a l l y to be ensconced i n a s e l f - s e r v i n g and seeming knowledge of himself.  Although i t i s fun to see a braggart and a l i a r exposed for what he  i s , P a r o l l e s also gains sympathy from the f a c t that he has been surprised superior numbers i n a place he l e a s t expected.  - 72 -  by  We grant him h i s reason for  chagrin: "Yet who would have suspected an ambush where I was taken?" ( I I I . i i i . 3 1 5 - 3 1 7 ) , and we admit that Everyman i s l i a b l e to the same exposure: "Who cannot be crushed with a plot?" ( I V . i i i . 3 4 0 ) .  Put Bertram in P a r o l l e s ' place, and we see him as a person exposed for the faults he has, even a t r a i t o r to himself and others, overwhelmed by deceit and superior numbers.  but also one  We see Helena, for a moment, as  one who d i f f e r s from Bertram only i n one respect: her own faults w i l l never be exposed.  In many ways, then, the bed t r i c k represents Helena as a "herb of grass" just as the healing of the King had represented her as a "herb of grace."  But  just as the r a i s i n g of the King was q u a l i f i e d i n a lewd d i r e c t i o n , the bed t r i c k and the actions surrounding i t are qualified i n a romantic and even moralistic d i r e c t i o n .  For a l l the unsavory connotations which Shakespeare has allowed to a r i s e , the bed t r i c k remains, as W.W. Lawrence pointed out, a staple convention of folk t a l e and romance.  No one, insofar as they respond to that  convention alone, w i l l blame Helena for using i t .  Moreover, bribed or not,  the Widow does agree that the deceit i s "lawful," and just when they are needed most to suggest the world or "scene" of romance, Shakespeare cranks out some paradoxical and incantatory couplets to gloss Helena's plans:  Let us assay our p l o t , which, i f i t speed Is wicked meaning i n a lawful deed, And lawful meaning in a lawful act, Where both not s i n , and yet a s i n f u l f a c t . (III.vii.44-47)  As Helena makes her way back to France with the Widow and Diana, she  alludes  to heaven's aid and heaven's hand in the "fated" events, and she strikes  - 73 -  the  proper attitude of a romantic heroine as she invokes the cooperation of time for the unfolding of the p l o t ' s d i r e c t i o n :  . . . t h e time w i l l bring on summer When briars s h a l l have leaves as well as thorns And be as sweet as sharp. We must away; Our wagon i s prepared, and time revives us. A l l ' s well that ends well; s t i l l the fine's the crown. Whate'er the course, the end i s the renown. (IV.iv.31-36)  These romance motifs are complemented by allusions to the morality t r a d i t i o n in the exposure of P a r o l l e s , and these r e f l e c t favorably on Helena as one whose grace w i l l save Bertram from himself.  Like Everyman, Bertram "o'erflows  himself" i n an act of "rebellion" whereby he i s merely his own t r a i t o r for fleshing his w i l l in the attempted s p o i l of Diana's honor.  His companions  lament his g u i l t "for shaking off so good a wife and so sweet a lady" and for having earned "the everlasting displeasure of the King" ( I V . i i i . 6 - 8 ) .  They  expect that P a r o l l e s ' exposure w i l l teach Bertram not to trust in the judgment of his companion, and they observe a reason for hope which some c r i t i c s take to be the rueful and summarizing wisdom of the play:  The web of our l i f e i s of a mingled yarn, good and i l l together; our virtues would be proud i f our faults whipped them not, and our crimes would despair i f they were not cherished by our v i r t u e s . (IV.iii.74-78)  According to t h i s reading of the subplot, i f Bertram's f o l l y i s surprised and exposed for what i t i s , and i f he i s cherished nonetheless, he has reason to be grateful that he has been saved from himself and, in the words of Dr. Johnson, "dismissed to happiness."  - 74 -  THE ATTEMPT TO ESTABLISH CERTAIN VALUE  So f a r , then, we have seen t h a t Shakespeare has e s t a b l i s h e d  discordant  e q u a t i o n s f o r Helena, which f o r c l a r i t y ' s sake I have c l u s t e r e d around t h e pun on t h e e p i t h e t "herb o f g r a c e " or " g r a s s . "  R h e t o r i c a l l y s p e a k i n g , Helena i s a  term i n h e r e n t l y ambiguous and o b v i o u s l y s o . it  can be shown which u n d e r s t a n d i n g i s " t r u e "  "false"  ( t h e d e v i l term), Helena w i l l  Unless i n t h e a c t i o n o f t h e play ( t h e god term) and which i s  remain ambiguous, and t h e d e s i r e o f the  audience both t o i d e n t i f y t h e god term and t o i d e n t i f y w i t h i t w i l l  remain  frustrated.  At  one p o i n t i t seems, indeed, t h a t some attempt i s made t o d i s t i n g u i s h  r i g h t from wrong, t r u e from f a l s e , a c c o r d i n g t o some s t a b l e c r i t e r i o n o f value.  T h i s i s when Helena i s p r e s e n t e d t o Bertram as t h e g i f t o f t h e K i n g  and when Bertram's r e j e c t i o n o f her on t h e grounds o f her poor b i r t h the  King's s t e r n l y -argued d e f i n i t i o n o f t r u e honor.  speech and i t s c o n t e x t , however, w i l l  provokes  A c l o s e r look at t h i s  show t h a t no s t a b l e and s e l f - c o n s i s t e n t  d e f i n i t i o n o f honor a r i s e s and t h a t , as a r e s u l t , no r e a s o n a b l e c r i t e r i o n f o r Helena's worth i s p r o v i d e d .  The King's f i r s t interest  speech, which summarizes  t h e views on a s u b j e c t o f much  t o Shakespeare's c o n t e m p o r a r i e s , d i s t i n g u i s h e s between two  d e f i n i t i o n s o f honor: a c h i e v e d by deeds  one t h a t d e r i v e s from t i t l e  (acts).  1 4  ( s t a t u s ) and one t h a t i s  Of c o u r s e , the two d e f i n i t i o n s o f honor need not  c o n t r a d i c t one another, but l i k e  Chaucer, Dante, and B o e t h i u s b e f o r e him, the  King's d e f i n i t i o n o f " t r u e " n o b i l i t y  c l e a r l y f a v o r s t h a t which i s shown i n  deed:  ' T i s o n l y t i t l e thou d i s d a i n ' s t i n her [ H e l e n a ] , the which I can b u i l d up. Strange i t i s t h a t our b l o o d s ,  - 75 -  Of c o l o r , weight, and heat, poured a l l t o g e t h e r , Would q u i t e confound d i s t i n c t i o n , yet stands o f f In d i f f e r e n c e s so mighty. I f she be A l l t h a t i s v i r t u o u s , save what thou d i s l i k ' s t A poor p h y s i c i a n ' s daughter — thou d i s l i k ' s t Of v i r t u e f o r the name. But do not so: From lowest p l a c e when v i r t u o u s t h i n g s proceed, The p l a c e i s d i g n i f i e d by t h ' d o e r ' s deed. Where g r e a t a d d i t i o n s w e l l s and v i r t u e none, I t i s a d r o p s i e d honor. Good alone Is good, w i t h o u t a name; v i l e n e s s i s so: The p r o p e r t y by what i t i s s h o u l d go, Not by the t i t l e . She i s young, wise, f a i r ; In these to n a t u r e she's immediate h e i r ; And t h e s e breed honor. That i s honor's s c o r n Which c h a l l e n g e s i t s e l f as honor's born And i s not l i k e the s i r e . Honors t h r i v e When r a t h e r from our a c t s we them d e r i v e Than our f o r e g o e r s . The mere word's a s l a v e , Deboshed on every tomb, on every grave A l y i n g t r o p h y , and as o f t i s dumb Where dust and damned o b l i v i o n i s the tomb Of honored bones i n d e e d . What should be s a i d ? I f thou canst l i k e t h i s c r e a t u r e as a maid, I can c r e a t e the r e s t . V i r t u e and she I s her own dower; honor and wealth from me. (II.iii.118-145)  M u r i e l Bradbrook, who it  sees t h i s speech as the "germ of the p l a y , "  i s " d o c t r i n e o f a kind  which ought to c o n v i n c e Bertram.  I t i s only  he has o b j e c t e d , 'I cannot l o v e her, nor w i l l s t r i v e to do i t , ' e x e r c i s e s h i s power t o compel s u b m i s s i o n " (my Bradbrook,  i n consequence  emphasis).^  after  t h a t the K i n g  A c c o r d i n g to  of the grounds o f Helena's n o b i l i t y  her c u r i n g o f the K i n g by heaven's  argues t h a t  (which  include  power) Bertram's o f f e n s e i n r e f u s i n g her i s  g r e a t l y aggravated.  But i f we g r a n t t h a t Helena i s noble because o f her v i r t u e virtue clearly  coexists with w i l l f u l ,  (though  this  c a l c u l a t i n g a m b i t i o n , as we have seen),  and i f we r e c o g n i z e t h a t the K i n g ennobles Helena f o r s e r v i c e s rendered to him, we may  still  ask w i t h Bertram,  "But f o l l o w s i t ,  down/ Must answer f o r your r a i s i n g ? "  my  (II.iii.112-115).  l o r d , to b r i n g  me  Bertram i s c h a l l e n g i n g  the a u t h o r i t y of t h e K i n g t o determine f o r him what he should v a l u e as n o b l e . Even i f Helena were unambiguously  good, Bertram c l a i m s the r i g h t to choose  - 76 -  her for himself.  " I s h a l l beseech your Highness," he says, " i n such a  business give me leave to use/ The help of mine own eyes" ( I I . i i i . 1 0 7 - 1 0 9 ) . He sees no reason why he must pay the p r i c e for b e n e f i t s bestowed on someone else.  Through Bertram's response, Shakespeare f r u s t r a t e s the c o n f e r r i n g of  the conventional good fortune of romance and requires an audience to think about the King's o f f e r rather than to accept i t without question.  Bertram's stated reason f o r objecting to the match i s c h u r l i s h and follows a f t e r h i s protest i n the name of free choice: " I know her w e l l /  She  had her breeding at my father's charge/ A poor physician's daughter my wife! Disdain/ Rather corrupt me ever!" ( I I . i i i . 1 1 3 - 1 1 7 ) . King's rebuke as an ignoble statement. not have acted so.  Rather, "who  I t w e l l deserves the  Bertram's f a t h e r , for example, would  were below him/ He used as creatures of  another place,/ And bowed h i s eminent top to t h e i r low ranks,/ Making them proud of h i s h u m i l i t y , / In t h e i r poor praise he humbled" ( I . i i . 4 1 - 4 5 ) . However, i s not the King's rebuke i n some ways beside the point?  The root of  Bertram's o b j e c t i o n l i e s not i n Helena's b i r t h but i n h i s desire to choose for himself i n t h i s "business," and he sees no reason why the King's w i l l should compel h i s own choice.  I f , i n f a c t , "Honors t h r i v e / When rather from our acts  we them derive/ Than our foregoers," why should Bertram be prevented  from  achieving greatness j u s t because the King i s so i n t e n t on having i t thrust upon him?  Bertram has wanted to woo honor i n the wars and has been forbidden  to do so.  Now he i s t o l d to find honor s o l e l y i n the g i f t of the King.  Throughout t h i s play, Bertram i s forbidden to grow up by acting for himself at the same time that the values of the dead and older characters (with whom Helena i s i d e n t i f i e d ) are held up f o r i m i t a t i o n .  I t seems u n f a i r . Why  should  Helena be allowed to achieve honor by deeds while Bertram must l i v e with only the f r u s t r a t e d desire to do so?  - 77 -  The King i n anger during h i s second speech only strengthens Bertram's case.  The King's "honor" at the stake seems to be neither that achieved by  deeds nor derived from noble blood; i t seems more l i k e reputation and wounded pride seconded by force:  My honor's at the stake, which to defeat, I must produce my power. Here, take her hand, Proud s c o r n f u l boy, unworthy t h i s good g i f t , That dost i n v i l e m i s p r i s i o n shackle up My love and her desert; that canst not dream We, poising us i n her defective s c a l e , S h a l l weigh thee to the beam; that w i l t not know, I t i s i n us to plant thine honor where We please to have i t grow. Check thy contempt; Obey our w i l l , which t r a v a i l s i n thy good; Believe not thy d i s d a i n , but presently Do thine own fortunes that obedient r i g h t Where both thy duty owes and our power claims; Or I w i l l throw thee from my care forever Into the staggers and the careless lapse Of youth and ignorance; both my revenge and hate, Loosing upon thee i n the name of j u s t i c e , Without a l l terms of p i t y . . . (II.iii.151-167) Where i n the second speech (or even i n the f i r s t ) i s there any reason given for Bertram's honoring Helena which i s not merely personal to the King and which would cogently and unambiguously e s t a b l i s h Helena as Bertram's c e r t a i n good?  I suggest that no such reason can be found and that Bertram  signals  t h i s by saying that only when he looks with the King's eyes, and not h i s own, does he recognize that Helena i s ennobled ( I I . i i i . 1 6 8 - 1 7 4 ) .  The King's speech, then, l i k e Ulysses' speech on degree i n T r o i l u s and Cressida i s f u l l of commonplace orthodoxies of the time but provides no stable moral center f o r the play as i t might at f i r s t appear to do.  I t speaks beside  the point of Bertram's assertion that he should be free to choose a wife f o r himself, and i t o f f e r s no reasonable means of arguing Helena's worth for Bertram.  Ominously, as w e l l , i t promises to loose "revenge and hate...in the  - 78 -  name o f j u s t i c e " which would f u r t h e r confound a p o i n t o f complete  the t e r m i n o l o g y o f t h i s p l a y t o  ambiguity.  S i n c e t h i s scene o f r o y a l judgment w i l l be repeated w i t h a d i f f e r e n c e a t the end o f t h e p l a y , s e v e r a l moments r e q u i r e mentioning w i l l throw by analogy on t h e l a t e r scene.  f o r the l i g h t  they  Helena, as t h e King's p r e s e r v e r by  heaven's power, i s presented t o t h e l o r d s as one whom they a r e powerless t o refuse.  Even s o , she seems humble i n t h e i r presence and draws back.  " I am a  simple maid," she s a y s , "and t h e r e i n w e a l t h i e s t / That I p r o t e s t I simply am a maid./ P l e a s e i t your Majesty, I have done a l r e a d y " ( I I . i i i . 6 7 - 6 9 ) . i m p o s s i b l e t o say f o r c e r t a i n , but i s Helena's  It i s  h o l d i n g back a c a l c u l a t e d move  to assure h e r s e l f o f her King's support?  I s she a c t i n g as Buckingham a d v i s e d  Richard I I I : " P l a y t h e maid's p a r t , s t i l l  answer nay, and take i t "  III,  (Richard  III.vii.51)?  In any case, the King w i l l hear no o b j e c t i o n s and, a f t e r t h i s  slight  f r u s t r a t i o n o f s y l l o g i s t i c p r o g r e s s i o n , pushes Helena forward t o make her choice.  Shakespeare  has added the l o t t e r y o f l o r d s t o h i s s o u r c e , and t h i s  has t h e e f f e c t o f showing Helena's a r b i t r a r y nature o f her c h o i c e .  " f i x e d i n t e n t " on Bertram as w e l l as the  A l l o f t h e l o r d s a r e e q u a l l y q u a l i f i e d ; "not  one o f those but had a noble f a t h e r " ( I I . i i i . 6 3 ) , and a l l are e q u a l l y by her e i t h e r f o r no reason a t a l l or f o r reasons which  rejected  are d e c l a r e d by them  to be b e s i d e t h e p o i n t .  Helena: You a r e too young, too happy, and too good To make y o u r s e l f a son out o f my b l o o d .  Fourth Lord:  F a i r one, I t h i n k not s o .  (II.iii.77-99)  O b v i o u s l y , Helena's  i n t e n t s have l o n g s i n c e been f i x e d on Bertram,  going through t h e motions  and her  o f the l o t t e r y f u n c t i o n s as a way o f c o n f i r m i n g t h i s  f a c t f o r the audience and of showing how Helena w i l l achieve her end any f a l s e s t a r t s or even apparent obstacles i n the  despite  way.  Lafew's comments serve two purposes: they show that at l e a s t to h i s mind Helena would make a d e s i r a b l e match ("I had rather be i n t h i s choice than throw ames-ace f o r my l i f e " ) ; they also show that Lafew can at times be an u n r e l i a b l e chorus.  He believes that the lords are r e j e c t i n g Helena ("Do  they  a l l deny her?") when, i n f a c t , she i s r e j e c t i n g them.  Bertram's response to the King's second speech shows that he has the wisdom to know when r e s i s t a n c e i s useless.  He asks for "pardon," admits that  Helena i s the "praised of the King," but when t o l d "Take her hand/ And  tell  her she i s yours," r e p l i e s only " I take her hand" ( I I . i i i . 1 7 4 - 1 7 5 / 1 7 7 ) .  The  King, i n what seems indecent haste to cover up the omission, declares i t a "contract," to be blessed by "good fortune and the favor of the King" and then e x i t s with the court.  He leaves behind Lafew and P a r o l l e s , who  repeat i n a more e x p l i c i t  way  the r o l e s of the King and Bertram r e s p e c t i v e l y . Lafew i s glad that Bertram has made h i s "recantation," and P a r o l l e s objects to the word.  Lafew then  r e l e n t l e s s l y exposes P a r o l l e s as one "good f o r nothing but taking up"; heaps "egregious i n d i g n i t i e s " on P a r o l l e s who  he  i s powerless to respond because  of Lafew's " p r i v i l e g e of a n t i q u i t y . " Like Bertram, P a r o l l e s knows the l i m i t of h i s options.  "Well, I must be p a t i e n t , " he says, "there i s no f e t t e r i n g of  authority" (II.iii.237-238).  He may  h u r l i n v e c t i v e s i n Lafew's absence and  threaten to "beat him and i f I could but meet him again."  But when Lafew  returns at once and faces P a r o l l e s with the chance to make good h i s t h r e a t , P a r o l l e s i s , as usual, only "words."  Having suffered t h i s r e l e n t l e s s  e x c o r i a t i o n and heavy-handed t r u t h t e l l i n g , P a r o l l e s not only shares Bertram's  - 80 -  e x p e r i e n c e o f i n d i g n i t y , he a l s o seconds Bertram's of h i s own  c h o o s i n g i n the Tuscan  Those who  s o l u t i o n : t o seek an honor  wars.  would see P a r o l l e s simply as a V i c e who  m i s l e a d s Bertram  (and  whose exposure would r e l i e v e Bertram of a l l i l l u s i o n s ) should n o t i c e t h a t i t i s Bertram's  i d e a to go t o the wars.  P a r o l l e s may  be Bertram's  companion and accomplice, but he i s not the complete being.  Bertram,  l i k e Helena, has " f i x e d  "fit"  seducer he i s blamed f o r  i n t e n t s " o f h i s own  without  o f s e d u c t i o n , and he sees no c e r t a i n reason to s u r r e n d e r h i s w i l l  benefit  to t h a t of  another  As we dubious.  have seen, however, the honor Bertram  seeks elsewhere  will  be  As i n T r o i l u s and C r e s s i d a , the v a l u e s of l o v e and honor are shown  to be not s e l f e v i d e n t but dependent f o r t h e i r worth on the e s t i m a t i o n o f the one who  v a l u e s them.  That i s what makes t h i s p l a y so p r o b l e m a t i c and  t r o u b l i n g ; the d e f i n i t i o n s o f v a l u e are so even-handedly  presented t h a t not  only the c h a r a c t e r s but a l s o the audience w i l l be f r u s t r a t e d t r y i n g t o d e f i n e a t r u e and  On Bertram's  c e r t a i n good i n t h i s p l a y .  a m o r a l i t y or a l l e g o r i c a l l e v e l , the King's w i l l to work f o r good by marrying him  to Helena may  Providence f o r wayward Humanity.  Bertram's  w e l l suggest the d i s p o s i t i o n s of stubborn r e s i s t a n c e may  " n a t u r a l r e b e l l i o n " c r y i n g out f o r redemption g r a c e f u l woman who .for h i s sake.  saves him from h i s worst  by the p a t i e n t ,  suffering,  i n t e n t s by l a y i n g down her  life  But t h i s m o r a l i t y p a t t e r n must i g n o r e the ambiguous equations  f o r Helena, the l e s s than godly motives o f the King who i s s u e , and the u n d e r s t a n d a b l e f r u s t r a t i o n o f a youth who who  figure a  wants to g a i n honor by deeds,  and who  h i m s e l f by c h o o s i n g f o r h i m s e l f .  - 81 -  seeks to c o n s t r a i n wants t o be a  man,  without reason i s f o r b i d d e n to be  the  THE CLOWN'S PERSPECTIVE  The Clown's remarks are often too oblique to be interpreted easily or precisely,  and yet they serve as another perspective on the action,  the response to the play according to the interpretation taken.  affecting  Dowden, for  example, understood the words "That man should be at woman's command, and yet no hurt done" ( I . i i i . 9 3 - 9 4 ) as a straightforward comment and, in f a c t , motto of the play.  W.W.  as the  Lawrence interpreted i t i r o n i c a l l y , but maintained  that Helena's conduct i s i n contrast to i t .  Other c r i t i c s w i l l grant the  irony but interpret i t as a damaging c r i t i q u e of Helena's eventual control 1  over Bertram. ?  Granted the openness of the text, I suggest that the Clown's comments usually show two features:  a double a p p l i c a b i l i t y to the actions of Helena and  Bertram and a deflating of those actions to a level below that of any highsounding i n t e r p r e t a t i o n .  Some comments, of course, apply only to Helena, as when Lavatch i s sent to fetch her for the Countess and i s reminded by her name of another Helen and of the damage she caused for Troy:  Was t h i s f a i r face the cause, quoth she, Why the Grecians sacked Troy? Fond done, done fond, Was this King Priam's joy? (I.iii.71-74)  Other comments, on the other hand, apply as much to Bertram as to the Clown's situation.  Explaining to the Countess, for example, his reasons for marrying,  Lavatch says, "I so marry that I may repent" ( I . i i i . 3 6 - 3 7 )  and "I am out of  friends, madame, and I hope to have friends for my wife's sake" ( I . i i i . 3 9 - 4 0 ) . The interpretation of these lines i s uncertain, but the i r o n i c a l and s e l f - 82 -  s e r v i n g meaning i s always p o s s i b l e .  F o r example, one may marry e i t h e r t o  repent former wrongs o r t o have t h e chance o f r e p e n t i n g t h e marriage as t h e Countess  p o i n t s out.  itself,  The " f r i e n d s f o r my w i f e ' s sake" may not be t h e  husband's f r i e n d s a t a l l but may, i n f a c t , be c l o s e t o t h e w i f e f o r t h e i r own purposes  and f o r h e r s .  Bertram's,  I will  The Clown's meaning i s not c e r t a i n , but n e i t h e r i s  suggest, a t the p l a y ' s c o n c l u s i o n !  The r e f e r e n c e s t o I s a b e l l i k e w i s e a p p l y more c l e a r l y  t o Bertram and show  t h a t what a man may d e s i r e i n one c o n t e x t o r a t one time he may r e j e c t a t another time and p l a c e .  The a p p e t i t e i s not always c e r t a i n o r s t a b l e , so t h a t  although t h e Clown wants t o "do" w i t h " I s a b e l t h e woman" i n I . i i i , given her over i n I l l . i i  w i t h o n l y t h e e x p l a n a t i o n , " I have no mind t o I s a b e l  s i n c e I was a t c o u r t " ( I I I . i i . 1 2 ) . foreshadow Bertram's  he has  Does t h i s w i l l f u l  and c a l l o u s  r e j e c t i o n o f both Helena and Diana?  rejection  I think i t i s  p o s s i b l e to see such a c o n n e c t i o n and to see i n both " c a s e s " a wry comment on the u n c e r t a i n , s i c k l y  appetite.  Marriage may come by d e s t i n y , as L a v a t c n s a y s , but "Your cuckoo kind" ( I . i i i . 6 4 ) .  I t i s o n l y n a t u r a l , i t seems, t h a t men and women w i l l  d e c e i v e one another d e s p i t e t h e promises may  s i n g s by  t h i n k they d i f f e r  o f a l a s t i n g and f a i t h f u l u n i o n .  Men  from one another as " r i v a l s , " but they a r e more a l i k e i n  t h e i r d e c e i v a b l e humanity than they may want to b e l i e v e : " I f men c o u l d be contented t o be what they a r e , t h e r e would be no f e a r i n marriage; f o r young Charbon t h e p u r i t a n and o l d Poysam t h e p a p i s t , howsome'er t h e i r h e a r t s a r e severed i n r e l i g i o n , l i k e any deer i  The clown,  1  t h e i r heads a r e both one; they may jowl horns t o g e t h e r  t h ' herd"  (I.iii.51-56).  then, throws up moral o b j e c t i o n s t o any a r t f u l l y  contrived  happy ending j u s t as s u r e l y as t h e King's i l l n e s s w i l l c h a l l e n g e t h e a r t o f Helena's  cure.  Although her s u c c e s s f u l h e a l i n g marks a temporary  - 83 -  victory of  art over nature, the play points out more severe l i m i t s to a r t ' s power, stubborn f a c t s of m o r t a l i t y and immorality —  deceit and treachery of a l l 1  kinds — t h a t w i l l not be e a s i l y coerced into a f i n a l harmony. ^  These reductive views of human motives and human l i m i t a t i o n s can be applied equally to Helena and Bertram, as can other comments which have no specific referent.  For example, when the Clown desires to "go to the world,"  he gives as h i s explanation, "I am driven on by the f l e s h , and he must needs go that the d e v i l d r i v e s " ( I . i i i . 2 8 - 3 0 ) .  This follows both Bertram's going to  the King's court and Helena's planning to do l i k e w i s e . I t r e f l e c t s s u s p i c i o u s l y on both of them, as does the pun on "holy" and  "reasons"  ("raisings") i n the Clown's further explanation of h i s wishes:  "I have other  holy reasons, such as they are" ( I . i i i . 3 2 - 3 3 ) .  Moreover, Lavatch knows how a r t f u l l y hypocrisy can hide the pride of a "big  heart" under the seeming virtuous actions e i t h e r of healing a King or of  acquiescing i n h i s e d i c t s .  "Though honesty be no p u r i t a n , yet i t w i l l do no  hurt; i t w i l l wear the s u r p l i c e of h u m i l i t y over the black gown of a big heart" ( I . i i i . 9 4 - 9 6 ) .  F i n a l l y , the Clown believes that "Service i s no heritage" ( I . i i i . 2 3 ) ; that i s why he wants to go to the world.  He throws s u s p i c i o n , then, on both  the motives and the l i k e l y outcome of Helena's and Bertram's diverse o f f e r s of service.  I f Helena o f f e r s to serve Bertram ("I dare not say I take you, but I  give/ Me and my s e r v i c e , ever w h i l s t I l i v e / Into your guiding power" [II.iii.104].),  Bertram, i n t u r n , both serves the Duke of Florence  (III.ii.53)  and o f f e r s to serve Diana: " . . . I love thee/ By love's own sweet c o n s t r a i n t , and w i l l forever/ Do thee a l l r i g h t s of s e r v i c e " ( I V . i i . 1 5 - 1 7 ) . Are they both deceived i n t h e i r o f f e r s of a l l e g i a n c e and both as l i k e l y to be knaves and f o o l s serving the d e v i l , the "prince of the world" (IV.v.25-56)?  - 84 -  The p e r s p e c t i v e s which t h e Clown's comments open up o n l y i n c r e a s e t h e difficulty  of i n t e r p r e t i n g the actions of t h i s play.  Some might seek t o  n e u t r a l i z e t h e Clown's p e r s p e c t i v e by i n t e r p r e t i n g i t as Shakespeare's way o f i n d i c a t i n g t h a t t h e c y n i c a l p o i n t o f view i s "low" — c h u r l i s h household r e t a i n e r .  But t h i s i s too easy.  the thoughts o f a The a c t i o n s o f Helena and  Bertram show i n themselves an ambiguity which t h e Clown's comments o n l y serve to m i r r o r and t o magnify.  THE AMBIGUITY OF THE ENDING OR ALL SEEMS WELL  D e s p i t e t h e s u b t l e t y w i t h which Shakespeare through A c t IV, he seems e s p e c i a l l y i n s i s t e n t w i t h a comic r e s o l u t i o n .  has d e f i n e d h i s terms  from I V . i v onwards t o end w e l l  Helena invokes t h e s a v i n g power o f time and t h e  approach o f summer as she r e t u r n s to F r a n c e ; Lafew a r r i v e s a t R o u s i l l o n to announce the King's proposed match o f Lafew's  daughter t o Bertram which  will  r e c o n c i l e t h e men a f t e r Helena's supposed death; P a r o l l e s i s r e c o n c i l e d to Lafew, and a f t e r t h e King e n t e r s Bertram's home w i t h t h e Countess, Lafew and o t h e r s i n attendance, Bertram i s r e c o n c i l e d  to h i s sovereign.  K i n g : The time i s f a i r a g a i n .  Bertram: My h i g h - r e p e n t e d blames, Dear s o v e r e i g n pardon t o me.  K i n g : A l l i s whole. (V.iii.36-39)  In  r h e t o r i c a l terms, Shakespeare  syllogistic  i s s e t t i n g up e x p e c t a t i o n s through  progression that the action w i l l  lead to r e c o n c i l i a t i o n ,  even  though t h e audience knows t h a t r e c o n c i l i a t i o n cannot occur by a marriage w i t h - 85 -  Lafew's daughter.  A l l the pointers i n d i c a t e that marriage with Helena i s  Bertram's "destiny" from the time that she f u l f i l l s  h i s tasks with Diana's  help and Diana says i r o n i c a l l y to Bertram, "You have won/ A wife of me, though there my hope be done" (17.11.64-65).  In f a c t , the haste with which events begin to move toward a comic close struck Dr. Johnson as indecent, considering as he d i d "that Bertram's double crime of c r u e l t y and disobedience, joined l i k e w i s e with some hypocrisy, should r a i s e more resentment."^  But the speed i s deceptive.  Soon enough  Shakespeare deviates from h i s source by r a i s i n g charges against Bertram f o r the  alleged murder of Helena, blackening Bertram further by showing him to be  a l i a r and a coward i n defense of himself, and tuning the action t o such a p i t c h that only the a r r i v a l of Helena can resolve the accumulating d i s c o r d s .  2 u  Shakespeare's d e l i b e r a t e f r u s t r a t i o n of the progress of the p l o t takes place i n three stages, each of which seeks t o e s t a b l i s h the true s t a t e of Bertram's m a r i t a l status, and each of which concludes with a c l i m a c t i c r e v e l a t i o n about a r i n g . In the f i r s t stage of the r e s o l u t i o n , the King i s reconciled to Bertram and then, a f t e r concluding Helena's eulogy, sends f o r Lafew's daughter, a l l i n the  space of two l i n e s : "Be t h i s sweet Helen's k n e l l , and now forget her./  Send f o r t h your amorous token for f a i r Maudlin" ( V . i i i . 6 7 - 6 8 ) . indecent haste to proceed toward another marriage (which Dr.  The seemingly Johnson  a t t r i b u t e d to Shakespeare's desire to f i n i s h h i s play and to seize h i s reward) i s soon stopped by Bertram's handing Lafew a r i n g which, i t turns out, the King had given t o Helena and, with i t , "bade her, i f her fortunes ever stood/ Necessitated t o help, that by t h i s token/ I would r e l i e v e her" ( V . i i i . 8 4 - 8 6 ) .  The second stage takes longer to develop as the King turns the scene into a t r i a l and seeks to unravel the mystery of how Bertram came to possess - 86 -  the r i n g .  A l l of the testimony ( i n c l u d i n g h i s mother's) i s against Bertram;  the r i n g i s c l e a r l y Helena's, and Bertram's l i e that i t was thrown to him from a casement does not convince anyone. suspicion of murder.  He i s sent away under guard and under  When Diana Capilet i s admitted i n t o court and claims  that he has promised to marry her, Bertram i s brought back and adds detraction of Diana and another l i e t o h i s d i s c r e d i t as he denies that he had taken her v i r g i n i t y : "She's impudent, my l o r d , " he says, "And was a common gamester to the camp" (V.iii.187-188). At t h i s point, Diana brings the nature of Bertram's m a r i t a l status into further confusion by denying h i s charge and d r a m a t i c a l l y presenting the evidence: He does me wrong, my l o r d ; i f i t were so He might have bought me at a common p r i c e . Do not believe him. 0, behold t h i s r i n g , Whose high respect and r i c h v a l i d i t y Did lack a p a r a l l e l ; yet f o r a l l that He gave i t t o a commoner o' the camp, I f I be one. As the Countess l e t s the audience know, "He blushes, and ' t i s h i t ! / . . . T h i s i s h i s wife,/ That r i n g ' s a thousand proofs" (V.iii.189-199). In the t h i r d stage, the court s i f t s t h i s new evidence i n l i g h t of Bertram's d e n i a l that i t proves he promised Diana anything, i n l i g h t of Diana's claiming that the r i n g on the King's f i n g e r (which he had given to Helena) i s a c t u a l l y hers, and i n l i g h t of Bertram's r e t r a c t i o n of h i s e a r l i e r story that Diana had thrown i t to him from a casement.  Diana c a l l s i n  P a r o l l e s to witness her story and he does, but t h i s s t i l l leaves unsolved the question of where Diana got the r i n g that the King had given to Helena. From the evidence so f a r extracted, i t seems to the other characters that Bertram has at l e a s t promised marriage to Diana and that Diana i s  - 87 -  u n w i l l i n g to explain i n what way she has received the r i n g .  The  King's  impatience and displeasure turn against them both: "Take her away; I do not l i k e her now./  To prison with her.  And away with him" ( V . i i i . 2 8 1 - 2 8 2 ) .  Diana then confounds the confusion further by withdrawing her charge against Bertram and by p u t t i n g h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p to her i n c o n d i t i o n a l and paradoxical terms: Diana: King: Diana:  By Jove, i f ever I knew man, 'twas you. Wherefore hast thou accused him a l l t h i s while? Because he's g u i l t y and he i s not g u i l t y : He knows I am no maid, and h e ' l l swear to i t : I ' l l swear I am a maid and he knows not. Great King, I am no strumpet; by my l i f e I am e i t h e r maid or e l s e t h i s old man's wife (V.iii.287-293).  These i n c i d e n t s i n the t r i a l of Bertram f r u s t r a t e the expectation of an easy s o l u t i o n aroused by the e a r l i e r progression of events and, i n doing so, the delay accomplishes two purposes: i t allows a l l the characters on stage, i n c l u d i n g P a r o l l e s , to unite against Bertram, making h i s p o s i t i o n even l e s s tenable i n l i g h t of t h e i r testimony against him and h i s own a c t i o n ; a l s o , i t allows the obscuring of Bertram's true m a r i t a l status to such an extent that i t f r u s t r a t e s the King and brings Bertram to the point of maximum danger unless that i d e n t i t y can be sorted out. In The Merchant of Venice Shakespeare handled much d i f f e r e n t l y the s i t u a t i o n of confusion over the ownership of r i n g s (which, of course, have a sexual as w e l l as m a r i t a l s i g n i f i c a n c e ) .  L i k e A l l ' s W e l l , Merchant also  concludes with some confusion about who has the rings which, i n t h i s case, were given by P o r t i a and Nerissa to t h e i r husbands, but the momentary embarrassment of Bassanio and Gratiano i s nothing compared to Bertram's predicament.  More to the p o i n t , the husbands of Belmont c l e a r l y d e s i r e t h e i r  wives, however much they may have compromised t h e i r promises and given away - 88 -  the r i n g s i n order t o h e l p a d e s e r v i n g f r i e n d .  Generosity, i n t h i s play, i s  e a s i l y d i s t i n g u i s h e d from p r o m i s c u i t y which, f o r a moment, i t seems t o resemble.  Bertram's case another  i n t h a t he has t r i e d to g i v e away h i s r i n g t o  woman i n an a c t of i n f i d e l i t y  significance  i n having done s o .  clear definition. comic hero; tragedy.  i s darker  and then has t r i e d  t o deny any  As a r e s u l t , h i s s t a t u s as a hero b a f f l e s  He does n o t want Helena o r Diana,  and so i s u n f i t t o be a  on t h e other hand, n e i t h e r he nor h i s predicament i s f i t f o r a  What i s t o be made o f Bertram's s t a t u s ?  Does he end up w i t h a  c l e a r l y d e f i n e d r e l a t i o n s h i p t o Helena?  A c c o r d i n g t o some c r i t i c s evidence Son"  a g a i n s t the "hero"  l i k e R.Y. Turner,  suggests  p l a y i n which c i r c u m s t a n c e s  t h e b u i l d up o f damaging  t h e c o n v e n t i o n a l ending  at a t r i a l  of a " P r o d i g a l  are "so i n t e n s e t h a t by  i m p l i c a t i o n t h e s u f f e r i n g t h e hero undergoes would be momentous enough t o change him, an e x p e r i e n c e we now c a l l  traumatic.'"  to t h i s r e a d i n g , Shakespeare i s u s i n g the repeated  11  In other words, a c c o r d i n g f r u s t r a t i o n s of s y l l o g i s t i c  p r o g r e s s i o n t o c r e a t e i n Bertram a sense o f l o n g i n g f o r r e l i e f  and a welcoming  of i t when i t comes, making h i s f i n a l p l e a f o r "pardon" a genuine s i g n o f repentance.  Moreover, f e a r and dread on b e h a l f o f Bertram and Diana and  f r u s t r a t i o n w i t h t h e d e l a y of d e l i v e r a n c e prepare  the audience  to t h e o p p o s i t e q u a l i t y o f j o y when t h e s o l u t i o n r e v e a l s  f o r the change  itself.  That Shakespeare i n t e n d s t o o f f e r some such r e f u g e i n a c o n v e n t i o n a l , comic r e s o l u t i o n can be a s c e r t a i n e d by h i s i n t r o d u c t i o n , once a g a i n , o f i n c a n t a t o r y c o u p l e t s t o mark a marvelous p o i n t o f t r a n s i t i o n . o r d e r s her t o p r i s o n , Diana Helena w i l l  As t h e King  sends her mother o f f to f e t c h her " b a i l "  s u r e l y prove t o be) and then winds up her charm w i t h  paradox and p r i e s t l i k e  competence:  - 89 -  (which  summarizing  Stay, r o y a l s i r , The jeweler that owes the r i n g i s sent f o r And he s h a l l surety me. But f o r t h i s lord Who hath accused me as he knows himself, Though he never harmed me, here I q u i t him. He knows himself my bed he hath d e f i l e d And at that time he got h i s wife with c h i l d . Dead though she be, she f e e l s her young one k i c k . So there's my r i d d l e : one that's dead i s quick. And now behold the meaning. (V.iii.295-303) Enter Helena with the Widow.  The e f f e c t , of course, i s pure magic.  At one  stroke Helena proves that the accusations against Bertram are f a l s e , and she resolves the i d e n t i t y of h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p with Diana, p o i n t i n g to the r i n g from o f f h i s f i n g e r as the sign that she has, indeed, completed the tasks required of her i n h i s l e t t e r .  Like Hero i n Much Ado and Hermione i n The  Winter's Tale, Helena r i s e s up as i f from the dead to save an apparently impossible s i t u a t i o n . In the romances generally, Shakespeare presents such a "wonder" which engages a l l who gaze on i t , characters and audience a l i k e .  The r e s o l u t i o n ,  which i s "the more delay'd, delighted" (Cymbeline, V.iv.102), a r r i v e s with the power to compel acceptance because i t not only r e l i e v e s burdens but also solves paradoxes, dilemmas, and confused i d e n t i t i e s at once.  Unlike Hero and  Hermione, however, Helena has taken considerable pains to ensure the ending she wants.  The wonderful e f f e c t of her entry i s such that an audience w i l l no  doubt forget f o r the moment that Helena has been stage managing the s o l u t i o n through Diana a l l of the time.  On the way to the reunion with Bertram, Helena  has given Diana her " i n s t r u c t i o n s " (IV.iv.27) to the end that Helena w i l l appear a welcome r e l i e f a f t e r the confusion which she h e r s e l f has set afoot.  For  the moment, however, the scheming i s forgotten and i t seems that a l l  i s ending w e l l .  In f a c t , says Kenneth Muir, i f Bertram were to be given a  longer speech at the end and the Clown better jokes, the ending would be  - 90 -  s a t i s f a c t o r y indeed. critics  But Shakespeare has not o b l i g e d P r o f e s s o r Muir, and  are almost unanimous i n t h e i r agreement t h a t the ending does not  satisfy.  B e s i d e s a d m i t t i n g t h a t c e r t a i n romance or " P r o d i g a l Son" c o n v e n t i o n s have l o s t t h e i r savor f o r contemporary  audiences, those t r o u b l e d by the ending  present three p r i n c i p a l o b j e c t i o n s : f i r s t ,  a c c o r d i n g to T u r n e r , because  is  and Bertram i s no p r i z e  as much a M a c h i a v e l as a m i r a c l e worker  "our moral s e n s i b i l i t y  f l i n c h e s at the a g g r e s s i v e Helena who  Helena  either,  t r a p s the hero  i n t o marriage and at the same time i s r e p e l l e d by Bertram who s n o b b i s h l y r e j e c t s Helena and l i e s r u t h l e s s l y i n the t r i a l  Secondly, the ending seems f o r c e d of  scene."^  and moves so q u i c k l y to take  advantage  Helena's reappearance t h a t no one seems to have l e a r n e d very much.  King i s ready t o marry  The  o f f Diana t o another u n s u s p e c t i n g ward, Helena seems,  a c c o r d i n g t o Howard F e l p e r i n ,  " b l i t h e l y unaware t h a t the s e l f - d i s c o v e r i e s  [she  has] p r e c i p i t a t e d r e p r e s e n t only h a l f the s t r u g g l e toward s e l f r e c o v e r y , " and, a c c o r d i n g t o Anthony  Dawson, the p r i n c i p a l s " l e a v e the s t a g e w i t h o u t  coming to terms w i t h themselves, t h e i r e v i l , o r the e v i l around  F i n a l l y , many c r i t i c s the  c l a s h of forms or modes.  s o l u t i o n we might  2  them." -*  e x p l a i n t h e i r u n s e t t l e d f e e l i n g s by an a p p e a l to A c c o r d i n g t o A.P.  R o s s i t e r , "the f a i r y  tale  l i k e to b e l i e v e i n (and are a d j u r e d t o by the t i t l e ,  and the  ' h i s t o r i c a l method' i n t e r p r e t e r s ) i s i n c o n f l i c t w i t h the r e a l i s t i c , p s y c h o l o g i c a l exposure —  which  i s very much more c o n v i n c i n g . " ^  Leech says, "A t r a d i t i o n a l s t o r y and r e a l i s t i c 2  as i n Lear...But here t h e r e i s no f u s i o n . " ^  As  Clifford  c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n can be fused A variant of t h i s  e x p l a n a t i o n supposes t h a t the c l a s h of modes i s a s i g n o f  last  Shakespeare's  e x p e r i m e n t i n g w i t h the genre o f romance, t e s t i n g both i t s a b i l i t y t o c o n t a i n r e c a l c i t r a n t m a t e r i a l l i k e unrepentant people and  - 91 -  i t s sense o f an " e n d l e s s  ending" which can be i n t e r r u p t e d o n l y a r b i t r a r i l y by the need  to f i n i s h a  play.  A c c o r d i n g to the r h e t o r i c a l a n a l y s i s o f t h i s t h e s i s , t h e ending does indeed l e a v e t h e audience uneasy because i d e n t i f y with the presented s o l u t i o n . h i s . f o r m a l development  f o r s e v e r a l reasons i t i s unable t o  Shakespeare  has d e l i b e r a t e l y  frustrated  i n such a way t h a t the q u a l i t a t i v e change i n t r o d u c e d by  Helena's e n t r y i s undercut; no e f f e c t i v e scapegoat takes away those  attitudes  which t h r e a t e n t h e acceptance o f a new o r d e r ; and Helena h e r s e l f remains an ambiguous good, l e a v i n g audiences not o n l y u n r e c o n c i l e d t o Bertram, as Dr. Johnson was, but u n r e c o n c i l e d t o t h e h e r o i n e as w e l l .  Thus, d e s p i t e T i l l y a r d ' s b e l i e f t h a t " t h e r e i s not the l e a s t cause f o r d o u b t i n g [Bertram's] s i n c e r i t y , " ^ would ask upon h e a r i n g Bertram's before?"  A comparison  presented t o Bertram  an audience w i l l harbor some doubts i f i t  p l e a f o r "pardon,"  "Haven't we heard  between the T r i a l scene and Helena's f i r s t  'pardon'  being  f o r marriage r a i s e s t h e s u s p i c i o n t h a t Bertram may very  w e l l be e x e r c i s i n g the b e t t e r p a r t o f h i s reputed v a l o r and g i v i n g up o n l y because  " t h e r e i s no f e t t e r i n g o f a u t h o r i t y . "  Moreover,  Lafew's c h o r i c  comment t h a t h i s eyes " s m e l l o n i o n s " may be no more t r u s t w o r t h y a guide to audience response than h i s comments i n t h e e a r l i e r were r e j e c t i n g  Bertram's  scene t h a t t h e young  Helena.  c o n d i t i o n a l acceptance ("If she, my l i e g e , can make me know  t h i s c l e a r l y , / I ' l l l o v e her d e a r l y , e v e r , ever d e a r l y " V . i i i . 3 1 4 - 3 1 6 ) , has t r o u b l e d a l l but t h e most o p t i m i s t i c c r i t i c s , r e e n f o r c e s to  lords  which  t h e resemblance  t h e marriage scene i n which Bertram had taken Helena's hand i n obedience t o  the  King but d i d not promise t o say t h a t she would be h i s .  not  o n l y has f r u s t r a t e d t h e p r o g r e s s o f t h e p l o t by the i n t r o d u c t i o n o f  c o n f l i c t i n g testimony a t Bertram's  trial,  - 92 -  Shakespeare,  then,  but has a l s o undercut the q u a l i t y o f  the r e s o l u t i o n by a c t i o n s analogous t o those e a r l i e r l e a s t Bertram's r e s i s t a n c e t o t h e promised j o y .  i n t h e p l a y which show a t  T h i s i s an example o f what  Burke c a l l s " s e l f - i n t e r f e r e n c e " on t h e p a r t o f the p l a y w r i g h t , the a c t o f counteracting the d r i f t or t r u l y open  o f h i s own r e s o l u t i o n i n the name of "pure p e r s u a s i o n "  interpretation.  Besides u s i n g f o r m a l f r u s t r a t i o n s , Shakespeare has f a i l e d  to show t h a t  Bertram has l e a r n e d a n y t h i n g about h i m s e l f which would i n c l i n e him t o repent l i k e t h e P r o d i g a l Son and F a l l e n Humanity which an a l l e g o r i c a l supposes him t o be.  A q u i c k comparison w i t h t h e unmasking  reading  o f P a r o l l e s has  convinced some c r i t i c s t h a t Bertram has been s i m i l a r l y r e l i e v e d o f any i l l u s i o n s about h i m s e l f .  As G.K. Hunter m a i n t a i n s : "... Bertram's promise t o  marry Diana i s based on n o t h i n g but words, and h i s unmasking than P a r o l l e s ' i n I V . i i i ,  in V.iii,  no l e s s  i s a s t r i p p i n g away o f the s c r e e n o f words w i t h 2  which he, no l e s s t h a t P a r o l l e s , has c o n c e a l e d h i m s e l f from h i s own deeds." 9  However, as I b e l i e v e , P a r o l l e s ' i n f l u e n c e on Bertram i s not so d e c i s i v e t h a t h i s exposure need prove a n y t h i n g t o t h e young man.  Besides, during  P a r o l l e s ' i n t e r r o g a t i o n , Bertram d i s t a n c e s h i m s e l f from h i s companion, r e f u s i n g e i t h e r t o admit or to deny t h e damaging r e v e l a t i o n t h a t he i s a "whale t o v i r g i n i t y . "  He l e a v e s the scene o f the unmasking  t h a t i t has changed him f o r t h e b e t t e r . be acknowledged  Moreover,  showing  no s i g n  To be e f f e c t i v e , a scapegoat has t o  and disowned; Bertram does  neither.  i f any analogy i s t o be drawn between Bertram and P a r o l l e s , i t  should be noted t h a t P a r o l l e s remains unchanged  by the unmasking.  He knows  who he i s b e f o r e i t takes p l a c e , and he determines t o l i v e by f i n d i n g a p l a c e f o r h i m s e l f as he i s once i t i s o v e r .  What looks l i k e an unmasking  of f a l s e  seeming t u r n s out to be no such t h i n g , and i f t h i s i s an analogy f o r Bertram's  - 93 -  s i t u a t i o n at the T r i a l ,  i t means t h a t he has not changed  any more than  P a r o l l e s has.  With no scapegoat t o s e r v e a p l a y w r i g h t - r h e t o r i c i a n s ' s purpose o f s e p a r a t i n g out t h e t r u e from t h e f a l s e a t t i t u d e s , t h e audience cannot be moved to see t h e " d r i f t " o f t h e argument i n some p l a u s i b l e d i r e c t i o n and consequently cannot prepare i t s e l f t o i d e n t i f y w i t h t h e proposed  conclusion.  F i n a l l y , Bertram's c o n d i t i o n a l acceptance o f Helena m i r r o r s t h e predicament o f t h e audience which has n o t been shown any d e f i n i t i o n o f her c h a r a c t e r which i s n o t a m b i v a l e n t . promised r e l i e f punishment.  from t h e burden o f confused i d e n t i t i e s and t h e t h r e a t o f  However, she i s a l s o f o r c e d on Bertram by t h e King and t h e  Countess who have i d e n t i f i e d t h e i r tried  She i s t h e p r e s e n t e d s o l u t i o n , t h e  i n t e r e s t s w i t h hers and who have e i t h e r  t o prevent Bertram from a c h i e v i n g an honor o f h i s own o r have d i s p a r a g e d  the honor he has r e c e i v e d .  M a r r i a g e w i t h Helena i s a t once Bertram's  destiny  and a r e g r e s s i v e a c t i o n , b i n d i n g Bertram t o h i s f o r t u n e i n a p l a c e he thought he had l e f t  behind.  In b r i n g i n g t h e f u l l weight o f a u t h o r i t y a g a i n s t Bertram,  Shakespeare  has c o n t r i v e d t o b r i n g t h e King t o R o u s i l l o n and thus a s s u r e s t h e r h e t o r i c a l f i t n e s s o f having the t r i a l  as w e l l as t h e e n f o r c i n g o f t h e marriage take  p l a c e at Bertram's "home."  As a r e s u l t o f t h i s , Lafew's words t o t h e Countess  and Bertram i n I . i prove i r o n i c a l l y p r o p h e t i c : "You s h a l l f i n d  o f t h e King a  husband, madam; you, s i r , a f a t h e r . " And Bertram's words i n t h e same scene come t r u e more g r i m l y than he had expected: " I must attend h i s Majesty's command, t o whom I am now i n ward, evermore i n s u b j e c t i o n "  (I.i.4-6).  A l l of  t h i s l e a v e s an audience, as w e l l as Bertram, unable t o move beyond an acceptance o f Helena which i s not somehow q u a l i f i e d .  - 94 -  I f t h i s p l a y i s t o end  at a l l ,  i t must end w i t h " a l l seems w e l l " and " i f  Touchstone knows, your " i f "  i t end so meet" because, as  i s a g r e a t peacemaker.  I b e l i e v e t h a t Shakespeare's r h e t o r i c a l s k i l l s  i n t h i s play, i n T r o i l u s  and C r e s s i d a , and i n Measure f o r Measure l e a v e an audience more aware than u s u a l o f i t s c r a v i n g f o r a r e s o l u t i o n w i t h which i t can i d e n t i f y . whatever  r e a s o n , Shakespeare has r e f u s e d to p r o v i d e i t ;  us w i t h an a l t e r n a t i v e : e i t h e r we to "what we w i l l , "  "crush t h i s a l i t t l e "  For  i n s t e a d , he p r e s e n t s so t h a t the p l a y bows  as M a l v o l i o d i d , or we f a c e the f a c t o f an u n s a t i s f i e d  a p p e t i t e f o r o r d e r and remain c o n t e n t w i t h c o m p l e x i t y .  Perhaps, as John Barton s u g g e s t s , Shakespeare had become d i s s a t i s f i e d with c o n v e n t i o n a l forms as adequate accounts o f e x p e r i e n c e . concerned w i t h how of r e a l i t y  Perhaps he  was  to s o p h i s t i c a t e the form so t h a t i t c o u l d g i v e " t h a t sense  b r e a k i n g i n on c o n v e n t i o n . . . a wry sense o f what l i f e ' s  really  like  and what people are r e a l l y l i k e . . . a t odds w i t h what the s t o r y - l i n e dictates."3  U  Barton sees t h i s sense o f a s p l i t between romance c o n v e n t i o n and  a sense o f r e a l i t y as "coming  t o a b o i l " i n Shakespeare's d r a m a t i c  development  from t h e time o f As You L i k e I t and T w e l f t h N i g h t ; Stephen Booth, as I have s a i d i n chapter 2, would  l o c a t e Shakespeare's e x p e r i m e n t i n g w i t h a sense o f  " i n d e f i n i t i o n " at l e a s t as f a r back as Love's Labor's L o s t .  Shakespeare, the  g r e a t s t o r y t e l l e r , knew w i t h what c o n t r i v a n c e an ending has t o be p r o v i d e d ; as a r h e t o r i c i a n , he knew t h a t where the s t o r y ends up i s a matter o f d e c i d i n g on what s i d e one chooses t o argue.  For whatever  r e a s o n , Shakespeare, i n the s o - c a l l e d problem p l a y s , i s  more c o n t e n t than he i s elsewhere t o l e a v e the argument open-ended and to p r o v i d e the kind o f ending which John Fowles i n The Magus suggests i s more true-to-life,  at l e a s t t o an audience i n the t w e n t i e t h c e n t u r y :  - 95 -  The s m a l l e s t hope, a bare c o n t i n u i n g to e x i s t , i s enough f o r the a n t i h e r o ' s f u t u r e ; leave him, says our age, l e a v e him where mankind i s i n i t s h i s t o r y , at a c r o s s r o a d s , i n dilemma, w i t h a l l to l o s e and o n l y more b f the same to win; l e t him s u r v i v e , but g i v e him no d i r e c t i o n , no reward; because we too are w a i t i n g , i n our s o l i t a r y rooms where the telephone never r i n g s , w a i t i n g f o r t h i s g i r l , t h i s t r u t h , t h i s c r y s t a l of humanity, t h i s r e a l i t y l o s t through i m a g i n a t i o n , to r e t u r n ; and to say she r e t u r n s i s a l i e .  But the maze has no c e n t r e . An ending i s no more than a p o i n t i n sequence, a s n i p of the c u t t i n g shears. Benedick k i s s e d B e a t r i c e at l a s t ; but ten years l a t e r ? And E l s i n o r e , t h a t f o l l o w i n g spring?31  Dr. Johnson, who "dismissed  accepted  to h a p p i n e s s . "  Helena as simply But  good, complained because Bertram i s  Bertram, I suggest, i s d i s m i s s e d  what t h i s w i l l mean f o r both of them remains  - 96 -  undefined.  to Helena,  and  IV. TROILUS AND CRESSIDA  ...my soul aches To know, when two a u t h o r i t i e s are up, Neither supreme, how soon confusion May enter 'twixt the gap of both and take The one by th*other. Coriolanus (III.i.108-112) For Shakespeare  and h i s contemporaries, s t o r i e s of the f a l l of Troy had  a s p e c i a l s i g n i f i c a n c e insofar as they could be t r a n s l a t e d into s t o r i e s about England i t s e l f .  According to popular b e l i e f , Great B r i t a i n had been founded  by Brutus, a Trojan general, and London was New Troy.  The inherent drama of a  c i t y subject to siege and of h e r o i c action i n i t s defense was complemented by the sense t h a t , i n the case of Troy, t h i s was family h i s t o r y .  Before Shakespeare  1  t r i e d h i s hand at i t , the Troy story had become  popular p r i m a r i l y through Caxton's e d i t i o n of The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye (0.1474), Chaucer's T r o i l u s and Criseyde (c.1480), and Lydgate's Troybook (1513).  Not much evidence of dramatic versions survives, although the  o u t l i n e e x i s t s of a play w r i t t e n by Dekker and C h e t t l e f o r the Admiral's Company c. 1596.  As Chaucer t e l l s the s t o r y , the poem i s a meditation i n the manner of Boethius on the f i c k l e n e s s of Fortune, the i n s t a b i l i t y of a l l goods of the world (of which Criseyde i s the best example), and on the importance of t r u s t i n Providence over a l l .  I n Chaucer's presentation of her, Criseyde i s not so  much blamed f o r abandoning T r o i l u s as p i t i e d f o r her "slydynge corage," and T r o i l u s i s p i t i e d , too, f o r h i s helpless condition and blindness to the consolations of philosophy.  According to one i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of t h i s subtle  poem, Chaucer, who a l s o l i v e d i n times troubled by "lak of stedfastnesse," wrote of a way out f o r h i s audience through an a t t i t u d e which i s granted to  - 97 -  T r o i l u s o n l y a f t e r he has l e f t behind of h i s heavenly  the p e r s p e c t i v e of t h i s world f o r that  home.  A c c o r d i n g t o B u l l o u g h , Henryson, who f o l l o w s Chaucer, began t h e t r a d i t i o n o f blaming C r e s s i d a f o r t r e a c h e r y and o f p u n i s h i n g her w i t h l e p r o s y , thus s i m p l i f y i n g Chaucer's s t o r y by making t h e woman a scapegoat o f t h o s e v a l u e s which were t o be shunned by a s o c i e t y s e e k i n g t o p a t t e r n i t s e l f on t h e h e r o i c v i r t u e s r e p r e s e n t e d by T r o i l u s .  L i k e w i s e , Caxton,  and e s p e c i a l l y  L y d g a t e , s i m p l i f y t h e s t o r y by e x a l t i n g t h e c h i v a l r y and w a r l i k e courage o f T r o i l u s and H e c t o r through whom T r o j a n (and i m p l i c i t l y E n g l i s h ) v i r t u e s a r e commended.  2  Shakespeare approaches t h e s t o r y o f Troy d i f f e r e n t l y , w i t h t h e r e s u l t that h i s i s , indeed, a t r o u b l i n g p l a y . commendable.  F o r Shakespeare, no a t t i t u d e i s  T r o j a n s a l o n g w i t h Greeks, T r o i l u s and C r e s s i d a a l i k e , a r e a l l  sunk i n t h e q u i c k s a n d s  o f t i m e , and t h e r e i s no way out f o r any o f them.  Shakespeare eschews t h e r h e t o r i c o f t h e c h r o n i c l e r s (who commend t h e T r o j a n s a t t h e expense o f t h e G r e e k s ) , o f Chapman (whose t r a n s l a t i o n o f t h e I l i a d i n 1598  r e s t o r e s t h e Homeric emphasis on Greek v i r t u e s ) , and of Chaucer (who  p i t i e s both T r o i l u s and C r i s e y d e and then s u p p l i e s t h e p e r s p e c t i v e t h a t would transcend t h e i r  troubles).  A l o n g w i t h B u l l o u g h , t h e r e f o r e , I do n o t b e l i e v e t h a t a n a l y s e s l i k e G. W i l s o n K n i g h t ' s , f o r example, a c c u r a t e l y account  f o rthe play.  Knight's  t h e s i s i s t h a t Shakespeare i s c o n t r a s t i n g T r o j a n i n t u i t i o n and Greek i n t e l l e c t , between which T r o i l u s i s t o r n as C r e s s i d a , s y m b o l i c a l l y , i s t r a n s f e r r e d from Troy t o t h e Greek camp.  A c c o r d i n g t o K n i g h t , "The T r o j a n  p a r t y stands f o r human beauty and worth, t h e Greek p a r t y f o r t h e b e s t i a l and s t u p i d elements o f man, t h e b a r r e n stagnancy  o f i n t e l l e c t d i v o r c e d from  a c t i o n , and t h e c r i t i c i s m which exposes these t h i n g s w i t h j e e r s . "  - 98 -  Therefore,  " T r o i l u s champions, not o n l y Troy, a g a i n s t the demonic powers o f  but the f i n e v a l u e s of humanity  fighting  cynicism."3  I do not t h i n k t h a t Shakespeare b e l i e v e d i n such simple c o n t r a s t s , and, by examining  the f o r m a l c o n s t r u c t i o n of the p l a y , i t w i l l be obvious  Shakespeare makes i t i m p o s s i b l e f o r an audience  to i d e n t i f y with  T r o j a n s or Greeks.  E l l i s - F e r m o r , who  My  r e a d i n g owes much t o Una  how  either suggests  t h a t Shakespeare i s u s i n g form t o c r e a t e the e x p e r i e n c e of f o r m l e s s n e s s i d e a of chaos), and how  t o K a t h e r i n e S t o c k h o l d e r and R o s a l i e C o l i e , who  Shakespeare f r u s t r a t e s an audience's  order to empty a l l v a l u e s and  (the  analyze  g e n e r i c and f o r m a l e x p e c t a t i o n s i n  a l l c a t e g o r i c a l e x p e c t a t i o n s of  significance.  These a n a l y s e s c o i n c i d e e x a c t l y w i t h Kenneth Burke's p h i l o s o p h y of literary  form: t h a t i t s u s u a l purpose i s to arouse  i n order to f u l f i l l  them, thus l e a d i n g the audience  out of a p r e s e n t e d t e n s i o n . audience  i s unable  r e s o u r c e s and  audience  t o agreement about the  When t h i s purpose of form i s f r u s t r a t e d ,  t o i d e n t i f y w i t h a way  thrown back on i t s own  e x p e c t a t i o n s i n an  out through  the p l a y and  way  the  i s both  f o r c e d t o r e c o g n i z e the l i m i t s of  any  formal c o n s t r u c t s or a t t i t u d e s t o encompass a s i t u a t i o n .  "WHAT A PAIR OF SPECTACLES IS HERE!" ( T r o i l u s and C r e s s i d a I V . i v  Shakespeare s e t s to work immediately  as T r o i l u s ' s entrance  f r u s t r a t e s the e x p e c t a t i o n s s e t up by the Prologue audience  i n t o a p a t t e r n t h a t w i l l be observed  Prologue had  entered  (Prologue, 1.25), and  14-15)  and  in I.i.1  thus i n i t i a t e s  throughout  the p l a y .  the  The  armed, " s u i t e d / In l i k e c o n d i t i o n t o our argument" had  announced the " q u a r r e l " of the T r o j a n war.^  - 99 -  Troilus  e n t e r s , announcing t h a t he w i l l  "unarm a g a i n , " l e a v i n g t h e b a t t l e without  because o f the b a t t l e w i t h i n h i s h e a r t .  He seems, l i k e Romeo, t o o l o v e  f o r b a t t l e , and, f o r t h e moment appears t o p r o v i d e through l o v e .  an a l t e r n a t i v e t o war  He seems, so to speak, an audience's "way i n " to t h e p l a y so  t h a t through him i t w i l l f i n d  a way out o f t h e burden r e p r e s e n t e d  by t h e war.  However, u n l i k e Romeo's l o v e , T r o i l u s ' s does not develop i n t o any deep constant,  sick  or transforming  commitment.  rooted,  He disengages h i m s e l f from t h e war but  f i n d s no l a s t i n g a l t e r n a t i v e t o i t .  Moreover, T r o i l u s ' s l o v e i s subverted  from t h e s t a r t .  L i k e Romeo,  T r o i l u s uses many s i m i l e s t o d e s c r i b e h i s h e a r t - s i c k c o n d i t i o n . than a woman's t e a r , / Tamer than s l e e p , fonder L i k e Romeo, T r o i l u s has h i s M e r c u t i o more s e n s u a l  than ignorance  " (I.i.9-10).  i n the person o f Pandarus t o i n s i n u a t e a  i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f the motives and t h e p r o g r e s s  i n Romeo's case,  He i s "weaker  of love.  the p r o v e r b i a l c o n c e i t s and t h e b a n t e r i n g o f M e r c u t i o  However, are a  way  o f measuring t h e d i f f e r e n c e between Romeo's commonplace l o v e f o r R o s a l i n e  and  h i s transforming  Juliet; up"  love f o r J u l i e t .  Romeo does not joke w i t h M e r c u t i o  i n f a c t , he does not mention her.  hisspirit  Even as h i s f r i e n d s seek to " r a i s e  i n the name o f h i s m i s t r e s s R o s a l i n e , Romeo i s t u r n i n g h i s back  away from them and h i s f a c e toward the l i g h t  Troilus,  about  by c o n t r a s t , speaks openly  i n J u l i e t ' s window.  of C r e s s i d a t o Pandarus, and h i s  l o v e f o r her s u f f e r s a cheapening by Pandarus's l i k e n i n g her "somewhat" to Helen and by reminding t h e audience t h a t he and C r e s s i d a a r e k i n . between and instrument  As the go-  o f t h e i r l o v e , Pandarus i s l i k e J u l i e t ' s nurse, the  drudge i n t h e i r s e r v i c e .  But t h e Nurse, l i k e M e r c u t i o ,  f u n c t i o n s as a way o f  d i s t i n g u i s h i n g a merely s e n s u a l  i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f l o v e from i t s t r a n s f o r m i n g  nature.  hand, f u n c t i o n s as a reminder t h a t t h e love o f  Pandarus, on t h e o t h e r  T r o i l u s and C r e s s i d a w i l l not t r a n s f o r m  e i t h e r o f them.  Knowing t h a t he can  r e l y on an audience's common knowledge o f how t h e T r o j a n war and the l o v e o f -  100 -  T r o i l u s end up, Shakespeare uses Pandarus as a way high-sounding assessment o f h i s own  condition.  of undercutting  Troilus's  T r o i l u s i s not a Romeo; he i s  as s e l f - d e l u d i n g as O r s i n o , and, as such, i s more l a u g h a b l e than t r a g i c .  To emphasize t h a t T r o i l u s ' s l o v e cannot be taken as s e r i o u s l y as he t r i e s t o make i t sound, Shakespeare ends the scene w i t h T r o i l u s ' s arming once again a t the c a l l o f Aeneas,  l e a v i n g h i s thoughts o f l o v e f o r the " s p o r t  abroad" i n the f i e l d .  In 120 l i n e s , Shakespeare enacts the rhythm of the e n t i r e p l a y by f r u s t r a t i n g s y l l o g i s t i c p r o g r e s s i o n at the b e g i n n i n g and a t the end of the o scene.  The P r o l o g u e ' s promise o f an armed c o n f l i c t  i s undone by the entrance  of T r o i l u s unarming h i m s e l f , and h i s purpose t o unarm h i m s e l f f a i l s as he takes to the f i e l d .  By f r u s t r a t i n g f o r m a l e x p e c t a t i o n s i n t h i s  way,  Shakespeare p r e p a r e s an audience f o r T r o i l u s ' s a c t i o n s l a t e r when, once a g a i n , he w i l l d e s e r t C r e s s i d a f o r b a t t l e ;  at the same time, Shakespeare  warns an audience not t o i d e n t i f y w i t h any a c t i o n as a way  implicitly  out of the  s i t u a t i o n of t h e war. Shakespeare a l s o shows t h a t the purpose f o r a c t i o n may f r i v o l o u s or a r b i t r a r y , thus v i t i a t i n g the a c t as unworthy attention.  i n fact  be  of serious  C r e s s i d a i s no J u l i e t , we soon d i s c o v e r , and n e i t h e r  i s Helen.  In  h i s s o l i l o q u y a f t e r the e x i t o f Pandarus and b e f o r e the e n t r a n c e of Aeneas, T r o i l u s sums up h i s a t t i t u d e toward Helen and toward C r e s s i d a which, under a n a l y s i s , shows him t o be u n t r u s t w o r t h y not o n l y f o r h i s i n c o n s t a n c y but a l s o for his arbitrary  idealism.  F i r s t , T r o i l u s r e a s s e r t s h i s r e s o l u t i o n to r e t i r e  from t h e f i g h t i n g  because Helen i s not worth the b a t t l e ; she i s o n l y made worthy by the amount of blood s p i l l e d  on her b e h a l f :  - 101 -  Peace, you u n g r a c i o u s clamors! Peace, rude sounds! F o o l s on both s i d e s ! Helen must needs be f a i r , When w i t h your blood you d a i l y p a i n t her t h u s . I cannot f i g h t upon t h i s argument; I t i s too s t a r v e d a s u b j e c t f o r my sword.  (I.i.93-97)  T h i s p o s i t i o n , which he t a k e s up now, reversing himself i n Troy.  to propose the w o r t h i n e s s of f i g h t i n g to keep Helen  l i k e w i s e be r e v e r s e d  but when Diomede succeeds  Given the i n c o n s t a n c y w i l l become p r o b l e m a t i c . asking,  " T e l l me,  Pandar, and so hot  and  her own  lawless  life,  not o n l y when T r o i l u s succeeds i n winning  too.  of a c t i o n s i n t h i s p l a y , the q u e s t i o n  T r o i l u s h i n t s that t h i s i s already  (I.i.102-103).  I r o n i c a l l y , Apollo's  i n i t s p u r s u i t t h a t i t l o s t him  when she was  of  identity  the case  by  changed i n t o a bay  to f i n d i n g an answer to h i s q u e s t i o n .  l o v e f o r Daphne  the nymph, who  he w i l l  not  lost  come no  as i t i s .  To  which name i t as  him,  Her [ C r e s s i d a ' s ] bed i s I n d i a ; t h e r e she l i e s , a p e a r l . Between our I l i u m and where she r e s i d e s L e t i t be c a l l e d the w i l d and wand'ring f l o o d , O u r s e l f the merchant, and t h i s s a i l i n g Pandar Our d o u b t f u l hope, our convoy, and our b a r k . (I.i.104-108)  The  key  to T r o i l u s ' s s e l f - d e l u d i n g s t a t e i s the phrase "Let i t be  Obviously,  the s i m i l e he suggests i s a r b i t r a r y .  imagery makes T r o i l u s ' s l o v e - q u e s t but  sound at f i r s t  i t i s at the same time i m p l i c i t l y  acquisition.  The  102  e x o t i c and  called."  mercantile  adventuresome,  r e d u c t i v e , making of l o v e a purchase or  same imagery of t r a d e w i l l -  Moreover, the  -  6  closer  T h i s i s l a r g e l y because T r o i l u s i s a  adept at f i n d i n g s i m i l e s f o r h i s e x p e r i e n c e  he would l i k e i t to be and  also  was  t r e e t r y i n g to escape from h i m .  l o v e w i l l meet a s i m i l a r f r u s t r a t i o n , and  idealist,  against a l l s u i t "  A p o l l o , f o r thy Daphne's l o v e , / What C r e s s i d i s , what  what we"  T r o i l u s ' s hot  naive  r e t r a c t i n the T r o j a n c o u n c i l ,  H i s assessment of C r e s s i d a as "stubborn, c h a s t e ,  (I.i.101) w i l l her,  i n order  he w i l l  reappear i n arguments f o r the  keeping of Helen, l i k e w i s e c a l l e d a " p e a r l , " and besides l i n k i n g Helen with Cressida w i l l reduce both of them to bartered o b j e c t s . There i s a l s o , I think, an i r o n i c suggestion f o r Shakespeare's audience i n T r o i l u s ' s l i k e n i n g himself to a merchant i n search of a f i n e p e a r l .  According to the parable of  Jesus i n Matthew 13:45-46, a merchant w i l l s e l l a l l that he has to buy a pearl of great p r i c e (the Kingdom of Heaven), but the merchant a c t u a l l y loses nothing f o r the exchange because of the pearl's i n t r i n s i c worth.  T r o i l u s and  the Trojans, on the contrary, are g i v i n g everything they have f o r "pearls" of doubtful worth, making t h e i r service greater than the god, as Hector w i l l say, and thus c a l l i n g t h e i r wisdom into question.  T r o i l u s , then, i s an i d e a l i s t who cannot be trusted to name h i s experience accurately and who cannot be expected to remain constant even to the purpose he has mistakenly conceived.  A f t e r r e s o l v i n g that he cannot  f i g h t , T r o i l u s , immediately a f t e r t h i s s o l i l o q u y , goes o f f to b a t t l e along with Aeneas.  As the play continues, Shakespeare uses the f r u s t r a t i o n of  formal expectations to show that every action on the scene of the war i s l i k e T r o i l u s ' s : without constant or c r e d i b l e purpose.  This leaves an audience able  to i d e n t i f y neither with T r o i l u s nor Cressida, n e i t h e r with Hector nor Achilles.  As r i v a l a t t i t u d e s contend f o r which w i l l win or l o s e , an audience  becomes i n c r e a s i n g l y disturbed by the suspicion that the outcome makes no difference either way.  There i s small choice i n rotten apples.  betrayal of T r o i l u s i s i n d e f e n s i b l e , but so i s naive i d e a l i s m .  Cressida's Achilles'  butchery of Hector i s b a r b a r i c , but Hector's c h i v a l r y i s beside the p o i n t . the scene of war, no action presents i t s e l f as s e r i o u s l y able to wrest s i g n i f i c a n c e from impending doom. In I . i i , the entrance of Cressida continues the pattern of f r u s t r a t i n g expectations.  According to T r o i l u s ' s account of her, we expect a s c o r n f u l  mistress of rare beauty; i n s t e a d , she enters asking t r i v i a l questions i n - 103 -  On  ordinary prose, e l i c i t i n g gossip about Hector and Ajax from her servant Alexander.  However, Cressida  inquisitive.  quickly shows h e r s e l f to be shrewd as w e l l as  As Pandarus enters, Cressida makes sure that he overhears her  p r a i s i n g Hector to Alexander:  Cressida: Hector's a g a l l a n t man Alexander: As may be i n the world, lady. Pandarus: What's that? What's that? (I.ii.39-41)  Thus begins a game between uncle and niece i n which Pandarus t r i e s to forward the s u i t of T r o i l u s , Cressida  a n t i c i p a t e s h i s moves, puts him o f f by  pretending to be unimpressed with T r o i l u s ' s q u a l i t i e s , and ends up  revealing  her true f e e l i n g s only i n s o l i l o q u y .  In t h i s scene, as i n the f i r s t , the question of i d e n t i t y comes to the fore as Pandarus matches T r o i l u s with Hector to T r o i l u s ' s advantage and Cressida  r e j e c t s the comparison, g i v i n g the impression that she thinks Hector  i s the better man, Pandarus: Cressida: Pandarus: Cressida: Pandarus: Cressida: Pandarus: Cressida: Pandarus: Cressida:  while e x p l i c i t l y saying only that each man  i s what he i s :  T r o i l u s i s the better man of the two. 0 J u p i t e r ! There's no comparison. What? not between T r o i l u s and Hector? Do you know a man i f you see him? Ay, i f I ever saw him before and knew him. Well, I say T r o i l u s i s T r o i l u s . Then you say as I say, for I am sure he i s not Hector. No, nor Hector i s not T r o i l u s i n some degrees. 'Tis j u s t to each of them; he i s himself. Himself? A l a s , poor T r o i l u s , I would he were. So he i s . (I.ii.61-75)  Cressida also refuses to be made jealous by Pandarus's saying that Helen praised T r o i l u s ' s complexion above P a r i s ' s . (I.ii.102). possible.  C l e a r l y , the men  To her, "Paris hath color enough"  are what they are, and there i s no comparison  I r o n i c a l l y , what each one i s w i l l never become c l e a r because they - 104  -  a l l end up looking a l i k e i n t h e i r merely w i l l f u l pursuit of questionable goals. After Pandarus t e l l s Cressida a long t a l e about the hair on T r o i l u s ' s chin (where, once again, the b u i l d up to a punch l i n e leads to the l e t down of the actual joke), uncle and niece review the return of the s o l d i e r s to Troy. Pandarus describes each of the heroes while b u i l d i n g up a n t i c i p a t i o n f o r T r o i l u s , but when T r o i l u s enters the e f f e c t i s d e f l a t i n g .  F i r s t of a l l , h i s  place i n the procession i s a f t e r Helenus, a p r i e s t who f i g h t s " i n d i f f e r e n t w e l l " ; then, Cressida points to T r o i l u s with the question, "What sneaking fellow comes yonder?".  Pandarus, who ought to know h i s man, confuses T r o i l u s  with Deiphobus and recovers without much c o n v i c t i o n : Deiphobus.  'Tis T r o i l u s !  "Where? Yonder?  That's  There's a man, niece, hem? Brave T r o i l u s , the  prince of c h i v a l r y ! " (I.ii.235-237).  F i n a l l y , to cap the anticlimax, more  s o l d i e r s enter a f t e r T r o i l u s , i d e n t i f i e d by Pandarus as "Asses, f o o l s , d o l t s ; chaff and bran, chaff and bran; porridge a f t e r meat" (I.ii.250-251)J  D e f l a t i o n by association  could hardly be more complete, and then  Cressida suggests another comparison: "There i s amongst the Greeks A c h i l l e s , a better man than T r o i l u s " (I.ii.256-257).  Pandarus chides her f o r not knowing  what a man i s , praises her f o r defending h e r s e l f s k i l l f u l l y , and then leaves to attend on T r o i l u s .  The comparison with A c h i l l e s i s not a c c i d e n t a l .  It  suggests a contrast between Greek and Trojan, warrior and l o v e r , which w i l l end up merely as a d i s t i n c t i o n without a d i f f e r e n c e .  I f T r o i l u s ' s love f o r  Cressida u n f i t s him for b a t t l e , A c h i l l e s ' love f o r Polyxena w i l l do the same; i f A c h i l l e s ' f i e r c e rage at the loss of Patroclus w i l l cause him to hack at Hector, T r o i l u s ' s rage at the loss of Cressida and Hector w i l l cause him to vow revenge on Diomede and A c h i l l e s .  - 105 -  At the conclusion of scene i i , Cressida's s o l i l o q u y shows her true f e e l i n g s f o r T r o i l u s and her shrewd assessment of h i s unstable i n t e n t i o n s . "Men," she says, " p r i z e the thing ungained more than i t i s ; / That she  was  never yet, that ever knew/ Love got so sweet as when desire did sue" (I.ii.301-303).  Cressida knows that "Things won  the doing" ( I . i i . 2 9 9 ) .  are done, joy's soul l i e s i n  Unlike T r o i l u s , who t r u s t s i n the time to come f o r  fame to canonize him, Cressida knows that the present i s the moment that matters, and she knows also how q u i c k l y the present becomes the past. In t h i n k i n g t h i s , she i s no d i f f e r e n t from Ulysses when he urges A c h i l l e s to remember that "To have done, i s to hang/ Quite out of fashion, l i k e a rusty m a i l / In monumental mock'ry"; therefore, "Take the i n s t a n t way" (III .iii.152-154).  Cressida and the Greeks share a pragmatic stance toward  a c t i o n ; they are without i l l u s i o n s .  I r o n i c a l l y , however, t h e i r best l a i d  plans cannot come to any s a t i s f a c t o r y conclusion i n t h i s play.  Cressida  c a l c u l a t e s the opportune moment f o r g i v i n g i n to T r o i l u s , only to lose him overnight.  What she c a l l s her " f i r m love" i s doomed from the s t a r t , not only  by the chance of war, which sends her to the Greeks, but also by her pragmatic s k i l l at adaptation to those circumstances.  She survives by her w i t s , but no  better f o r Diomede than f o r T r o i l u s .  A c h i l l e s , too, seizes the opportune moment to k i l l Hector, but the r e s u l t i s only increased i n c e n t i v e for slaughter by the Trojans and a war that continues past the end.  The argument that the Greeks eventually win the war  i s beside the p o i n t , since the play does not present t h i s and since outside the play they are defeated by time i n any case.  The tragedy of Agamemnon by  Aeschylus begins at the point where the I l i a d ends. With the close of scene i i , the audience should be a c t i v e l y  cooperating  i n a c r i t i q u e of r i v a l a t t i t u d e s represented by T r o i l u s and Cressida.  - 106 -  The  c o n v e n t i o n a l u n d e r s t a n d i n g of C r e s s i d a as a whore f o r b e t r a y i n g T r o i l u s u n d e r c u t s her p r o f e s s i o n o f " f i r m l o v e " and makes her d a l l y i n g not o n l y t r i v i a l but even s i n i s t e r ; on the o t h e r hand, T r o i l u s ' s v a c i l l a t i o n between l o v e and war  proves him t o be l e s s than the c o n s t a n t l o v e r he c l a i m s t o be,  w h i l e the p r e s e n t a t i o n of C r e s s i d a undercuts the n a i v e i d e a l i s m w i t h which he i n s i s t s on e v a l u a t i n g h e r . trustworthy  C r e s s i d a i s no p r i z e , and T r o i l u s i s no  appriser.  Working d i f f e r e n t l y than he has i n A l l ' s W e l l , Shakespeare representing r i v a l  a t t i t u d e s i n two d i f f e r e n t  c h a r a c t e r s and two  is different  camps; t h u s , having begun w i t h an even-handed c r i t i q u e o f both a t t i t u d e s i n the l o v e r s , Shakespeare  THE  The  first  opens up the stage o f f o o l s t o i n c l u d e the  GREEKS IN COUNCIL: THE  l o n g moments o f I . i i i  Greeks.  FACTION OF FOOLS  are devoted  t o the speeches  o f the  g e n e r a l s i n c o u n c i l , whose r e i t e r a t i o n s of some p r o v e r b i a l wisdom from p h i l o s o p h y make i t sound hollow even as they speak. tried  in fire,  t r i a l s t e s t the constancy o f men  To say t h a t as metal i s  i s t r u e enough.  a s u b t l e d i f f e r e n c e between a proverb and a c l i c h e ,  moral  and the  But t h e r e i s  long-winded,  s i m i l e - l a d e n , r e p e t i t i o u s development o f t h i s s i m p l e thought by Agamemnon and Nestor h e l p s t o empty t h e i r  speeches  o f whatever wisdom they c o n t a i n .  Moreover, they seem to be u s i n g a kind o f argument, but i t amounts t o a r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n f o r the s t a l e m a t e a t which the war u s i n g moral inactivity  wisdom i n t h i s way,  a c t i o n has a r r i v e d .  they show the d i s j u n c t i o n between  and any r e a s o n a b l e e x p l a n a t i o n f o r i t .  t h e i r " m e t t l e " or not, the r e s u l t  their  Whether Jove i s t e s t i n g  i s the same: events have gone beyond  - 10? -  By  their  power t o manage them, and  they are l o o k i n g f o r a way  constancy but to act w i t h  effectiveness.  U l y s s e s ' speech or "degree"  on the importance  has a s i m i l a r  effect.  not t o bear  i t with  of o b s e r v i n g "the s p e c i a l t y o f  I t c o n t a i n s commonly accepted  rule"  images  and  a n a l o g i e s (the g e n e r a l i s l i k e "the h i v e / To whom the f o r a g e r s s h a l l a l l r e p a i r " ; the commandment o f a k i n g i s l i k e the m e d i c i n a b l e  e f f e c t of t h e  sun  on e v i l p l a n e t s ) but these have o n l y a d e s c r i p t i v e , not a p r e s c r i p t i v e power. They amount t o a r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n of the o r d e r t h a t happens t o e x i s t at the moment; they are not a cogent t r u e enough t h a t without  defense  some accepted b a s i s f o r d i s t i n c t i o n ,  r i g h t , or r a t h e r r i g h t and wrong — / —/  Should  of an order t h a t ought to e x i s t .  l o s e t h e i r names, and  speech  so should j u s t i c e t o o " ( I . i i i . 1 1 6 - 1 1 8 ) .  l a s t eat up i t s e l f "  p r o v i d e s no c r i t e r i a  be  (I.iii.122-124).  Rather,  It  power,/ Must make p e r f o r c e But U l y s s e s '  f o r d e t e r m i n i n g which person or which  s e r v e as the " a u t h e n t i c " b a s i s of o r d e r .  h i s speech  an u p h o l d i n g of the p r e s e n t a u t h o r i t i e s with the i m p l i c a t i o n is right.  "Force should  Between whose e n d l e s s j a r j u s t i c e r e s i d e s  i s t r u e t h a t mere a p p e t i t e , "seconded with w i l l and a u n i v e r s a l prey/ And  It is  principles  amounts merely  to  t h a t whatever i s ,  Moreover, h i s b e l o n g i n g to the i n n e r c i r c l e of the order t h a t  e x i s t s c r e a t e s a c o n f l i c t o f i n t e r e s t which undercuts  the f o r c e of h i s  argument.  U l y s s e s ' arguments may or even a c l i c h e ;  be t r u e i n the a b s t r a c t , they may  be  as such, they can p r o v i d e a means f o r an audience  these o r t h o d o x i e s t o i d e n t i f y momentarily w i t h the wisdom o f the However, U l y s s e s ' use of these arguments i s pragmatic: h e e l as an e f f e c t i v e instrument  attuned t o  analysis.  to b r i n g A c h i l l e s to  i n the hands of those who  T h i s speech on degree i s a s e t p i e c e of orthodox because i t appears  proverbial  have a use f o r him.  E l i z a b e t h a n t h e o r y , but  i n the mouth of the w i l y U l y s s e s , i t s wisdom i s q u a l i f i e d ;  -  108  -  i t s a p p l i c a b i l i t y t o a c t u a l events  i s questionable.  I t i s like  Rosencrantz's  a p p l y i n g t o C l a u d i u s the orthodox t e a c h i n g t h a t :  The cess o f majesty Dies not a l o n e ; b u t , l i k e a g u l f , doth draw What's near i t with i t : i t i s a massy wheel F i x ' d on the summit o f the h i g h e s t mount, To whose huge spokes t e n thousand l e s s e r t h i n g s Are m o r t i s ' d and a d j o i n ' d ; which, when i t f a l l s , Each s m a l l annexment, p e t t y consequence, Attends the b o i s t ' r o u s r u i n . Never alone Did the K i n g s i g h , but w i t h a g e n e r a l groan. (Hamlet I I I . i i i . 1 5 - 2 3 )  Since Claudius i s a usurper,  t h e d i s t u r b i n g q u e s t i o n a r i s e s : even i f t h i s  d o c t r i n e i s t r u e , how does i t a p p l y ?  How can i t serve as a c r i t e r i o n f o r  d i s t i n g u i s h i n g a t r u e symbol o f order from a f a l s e one?  The  l e n g t h y d i s c u s s i o n o f t h e g e n e r a l s e s t a b l i s h e s t h a t the danger o f  o t h e r s ' i m i t a t i n g A c h i l l e s ' i n s u b o r d i n a t i o n i s g r e a t and t h a t t h e i r a u t h o r i t y must be r e a s s e r t e d . and  the abrupt  At t h i s p o i n t , a trumpet c u t s s h o r t the speech making,  a r r i v a l o f Aeneas f u r t h e r undercuts  the c r e d i b i l i t y  o f the  g e n e r a l s ' a u t h o r i t y and even the g r e a t n e s s o f t h e danger.  Aeneas, e i t h e r p r e t e n d i n g not t o r e c o g n i z e Agamemnon or i n t e n d i n g t o i n s u l t him, c a l l s he asks,  i n t o q u e s t i o n any i n t r i n s i c b a s i s f o r h i s a u t h o r i t y : "How,"  "may/ A s t r a n g e r t o those most i m p e r i a l l o o k s / Know them from eyes o f  other m o r t a l s ? "  (I.iii.223-224).  T h i s i s a d a r i n g q u e s t i o n , and one t h a t  r a i s e s again t h e problem o f i d e n t i t y .  Among r i v a l p o s i t i o n s o r c l a i m a n t s t o  power, how i s one t o determine the d i f f e r e n c e between them and the p r i o r i t y o f one  over t h e o t h e r ?  L e a v i n g t h i s q u e s t i o n i n the a i r , Aeneas i s s u e s a c h a l l e n g e from Hector which d e f l a t e s t h e s e r i o u s nature o f the r i v a l r y between Greeks and T r o j a n s . The  c h i v a l r i c c h a l l e n g e i s over  a lady who bears o n l y a c o n v e n t i o n a l  resemblance t o t h e r e a l woman i n q u e s t i o n . -  109 -  Hector  boasts t h a t "He hath a lady  w i s e r , f a i r e r , t r u e r , / Than ever Greek d i d compass i n h i s arms" 276).  (I.iii.275-  T h i s e s t i m a t e o f Andromache's c h a r a c t e r d i d not prevent H e c t o r from  c h i d i n g her on h i s r e t u r n from b a t t l e , t a k i n g out on her h i s anger a t Ajax, nor w i l l  i t keep him from s i l e n c i n g her when she p l e a d s w i t h him not to go  i n t o b a t t l e i n A c t V.  H e c t o r ' s c h a l l e n g e i s over something  or someone  who  does not e x i s t and, as such, r e f l e c t s not o n l y T r o i l u s ' s e s t i m a t i o n of C r e s s i d a , but Helen h e r s e l f , t h e o s t e n s i b l e cause of t h e war.  As Diomede and  Hector h i m s e l f w i l l argue, Helen's worth i s out of a l l p r o p o r t i o n t o the blood s p i l t on her b e h a l f .  There i s something u n c o n v i n c i n g about the r i v a l r y  Greeks and T r o j a n s i f they f i g h t  f o r causes t h a t cannot be  Aeneas*s c h a l l e n g e , then, demonstrates  of  substantiated.  the i m p o s s i b i l i t y  of a p p l y i n g  U l y s s e s ' p h i l o s o p h y on a u t h o r i t y and degree w i t h any c e r t i t u d e , a t the same time t h a t i t shows the hollowness o f the T r o j a n a l t e r n a t i v e . U l y s s e s and Nestor come t o g e t h e r t o p l o t how Ajax f o r the d i s c o m f o r t i n g o f A c h i l l e s . b e a r i n g the seeming-substance  At h i s e x i t ,  t o use t h i s c h a l l e n g e t o b u i l d  As they do so, they show how  up  little  o f U l y s s e s ' p r e v i o u s arguments has on p r a c t i c a l  policy.  Nestor at f i r s t  suggests the common sense response o f waking A c h i l l e s to  answer H e c t o r; a f t e r a l l ,  he i s t h e i r best man  and s u r e s t chance o f w i n n i n g .  U l y s s e s , however, suggests the more devious approach o f u s i n g Ajax whose s u c c e s s i n the c o n t e s t w i l l  shame A c h i l l e s i n t o a c t i o n and whose f a i l u r e  prove n o t h i n g a g a i n s t the Greeks.  This rapid s h i f t  will  from a b s t r a c t p h i l o s o p h y  to p r a c t i c a l p o l i c y makes U l y s s e s ' m o r a l i z i n g on a p p e t i t e seem a l l the more p l a t i t u d i n o u s and unable e i t h e r to account f o r the a c t i o n s he h i m s e l f undertakes or t o i n f l u e n c e t h e i r d i r e c t i o n .  In t h i s p l a y , r i v a l p a r t i e s and  r i v a l a c t i o n s w i l l seek t o a f f e c t the course o f the war  and t o d e f e a t opposing  p o s i t i o n s , but i n the absence o f c l e a r c r i t e r i a f o r d i s t i n g u i s h i n g  - 110 -  their  worth, n e i t h e r w i l l emerge as the undisputed way their  out  of the chaos caused  by  strife.  Given the p r e s e n t a t i o n c l o s e s w i t h two  of a l l the a t t i t u d e s so f a r , Act One  d e f l a t i n g perspectives  images of t r a d e and  on the immediate a c t i o n drawn from  e a t i n g which a l s o r e c u r throughout the p l a y .  compares h i s scheme of e n t e r i n g Ajax i n t o the practices:  fittingly  lists  Ulysses  to sharp b u s i n e s s  '  Let us, l i k e merchants, F i r s t show f o u l wares, and t h i n k perchance t h e y ' l l sell; I f not, the l u s t r e of the b e t t e r s h a l l exceed By showing the worse f i r s t . (I.iii.358-361 )  And  Nestor " d i g e s t s " t h i s advice r e a d i l y :  Now, U l y s s e s , I begin to r e l i s h thy a d v i c e , And I w i l l g i v e a t a s t e t h e r e o f f o r t h w i t h To Agamemnon. (I.iii.386-388)  According  t o C a r o l i n e Spurgeon, the images of food, 8  cooking i n t h i s  p l a y f a r exceed t h e i r use  i n other  images, which i n c l u d e the  act of t a s t i n g , f i t the p l a y w e l l because they  express two  s i d e s of the d i g e s t i v e p r o c e s s :  l u x u r i a n t , d e l i c a t e , and opposition  plays.  d r i n k and  As Derek T r a v e r s i e x p l a i n s ,  these  "Taste i s a sense at once  t r a n s i t o r y ; a l s o , i t can  be connected, i n gross  to T r o i l u s ' s b o d i l e s s i d e a l i s m , w i t h d i g e s t i o n and  the  functioning  of the body...In f a c t , the very  sense which expresses the r e l a t e d i n t e n s i t y  and  l i g h t n e s s of T r o j a n  becomes, i n the Greeks, a symbol of i n a c t i o n  and  distemper out of which i s s u e the b o i l s ,  passion  'the bothcy c o r e , '  of T h e r s i t e s '  disgust.  Of c o u r s e , U l y s s e s subjects  c l e a r l y knows t h a t "Love, f r i e n d s h i p , c h a r i t y , are  a l l / To envious and  calumniating  time" ( I I I . i i i . 1 7 2 - 1 7 3 ) which puts  the "scraps" of "good deeds past" i n t o h i s w a l l e t , "devoured/ As f a s t as they are made, forgot as soon/ As done" ( I I I . i i i . 1 4 8 - 1 5 0 ) .  But taste serves w e l l  to show that a l l the transformations i n t h i s play are from the r e f i n e d to the vulgar, from (as T r o i l u s says) "love's thrice-repured nectar" to the " o r t s , " " b i t s , " and "greasy r e l i c s " of Cressida's "o'ereaten f a i t h " ( I I I . i i . 2 1 V.ii.155-157).  and  Obviously, cynicism, couched i n g a s t r o - i n t e s t i n a l language, i s  not confined to the Greeks.  The appetites of both Greeks and Trojans w i l l seek to devour one another for the sake of "sweet" Helen who, her country.  i t w i l l be s a i d , i s , i n f a c t , " b i t t e r " to  They w i l l become more a l i k e one another i n t h e i r  rapacious  r i v a l r y than they are d i f f e r e n t from one another i n p r i n c i p l e .  That i s why  Nestor's concluding couplet neatly summarizes the action of a l l the r i v a l s , even though he applies i t only to the immediate plan of p i t t i n g Ajax against Achilles: Two curs s h a l l tame each other; pride alone Must t a r r e the m a s t i f f s on, as 'twere a bone. (I.iii.389-390)  THERSITES: A PRIVILEGED MAN Patroclus: Then t e l l me, I pray thee, what's t h y s e l f ? T h e r s i t e s : Thy knower, P a t r o c l u s . (II.iii.48-50) By Act I I a f r u s t r a t i o n of purposeful action i s emerging as the rhythm of the play so that we w i l l not be surprised to discover that the seeming-wise plan of Ulysses and Nestor comes to nothing.  As Thersites reports: "They set  me up i n p o l i c y , that mongrel cur, Ajax, against that dog of as bad a kind, A c h i l l e s ; and now i s the cur Ajax prouder than the cur A c h i l l e s , and w i l l not arm today"  (V.iv.12-16). - 112 -  It  i s b e g i n n i n g to emerge t h a t one  r i v a l a t t i t u d e l o o k s very much l i k e  the o t h e r , both as i n t r i n s i c a l l y flawed of  events.  and  as powerless  N e i t h e r T r o i l u s ' s v i s i o n a r y i d e a l i s m nor C r e s s i d a ' s s h o r t - s i g h t e d  pragmatism can recommend i t s e l f t o an audience through  t o c o n t r o l the flow  significant  s e e k i n g a k i n d of s a l v a t i o n  a c t i o n i n the t e e t h of devouring time.  As Act I I begins,  the c h o r i c comments o f T h e r s i t e s v o i c e a f e e l i n g of d i s g u s t as purpose i s reduced  to a p p e t i t e , a c t i o n to motion, and man  to b e a s t .  i n v e c t i v e to o f f e r , but i t s e r v e s as an audience's  T h e r s i t e s has o n l y  o u t l e t f o r nausea a t what  i s being " d i g e s t e d " i n t h i s p l a y .  No sooner  i s the c o u n c i l concluded  than T h e r s i t e s e n t e r s r a i l i n g : over, g e n e r a l l y ? . . . A n d run then? him.  the p l o t t i n g of U l y s s e s begun  "Agamemnon, how  those b o i l s d i d run? —  Were not t h a t a botchy  I see none now"  and  core?  (II.i.1-9).  The  i f he had say so —  boils —  full, a l l  d i d not the g e n e r a l  Then would some matter  come from  g e n e r a l s have j u s t d e c i d e d t h a t  A c h i l l e s i s t o blame f o r the " f e v e r whereof a l l our power i s s i c k " (I.iii.139), The  and  now  T h e r s i t e s suggests  d i s e a s e i s " g e n e r a l , " and,  the person of the "head and (I.iii.222),  and  matter  as the pun  Through him,  There i s no "matter"  of an erupted  suggests, t h i s means t h a t i t a f f e c t s  g e n e r a l , " as Agamemnon d e s c r i b e s h i m s e l f  does so c o m p l e t e l y .  camp i s a f f e c t e d .  t h a t the d i a g n o s i s i s not t h a t simple.  i n t h e i r designs worth more than  t o s i c k men  and v i g o r . scapegoat head.  the  boil.  From t h i s p e r s p e c t i v e , the Greeks at war reduced  of c o u r s e , the e n t i r e Greek  l o s e a l l h e r o i c s t a t u r e and  are  whose a c t i o n s are symptomatic of d i s e a s e , not of h e a l t h  If Thersites i s right,  i t w i l l not work f o r U l y s s e s to make a  out of A c h i l l e s i n o r d e r t o save the order of which Agamemnon i s the  The order i t s e l f i s too " g e n e r a l l y " f a r gone to be saved.  This i s l i k e  the s t a t e o f Denmark i n which King C l a u d i u s c a l l s Hamlet ( h i s "mighty o p p o s i t e " ) the " h e c t i c " i n h i s blood and -  113  -  an u l c e r , w h i l e he i s h i m s e l f ,  according  t o the Ghost, the one  whose i n c e s t u o u s  l u s t and  f r a t r i c i d e have  poisoned a l l of Denmark.  The  disease  imagery i s one  of s e v e r a l ways i n which the r a i l i n g  of  T h e r s i t e s reduces the h e r o i c a c t i o n , however r a t i o n a l i z e d , t o mere a p p e t i t e motion w i t h only an o s t e n s i b l y d e f e n s i b l e purpose. imagery to reduce the animal with d i s e a s e  a c t i o n s of men  T h e r s i t e s a l s o uses animal  to a b e s t i a l counterpart.  imagery, T h e r s i t e s t u r n s on Ajax who  plague of Greece upon thee, thou mongrel b e e f - w i t t e d T h e r s i t e s ' b e s t i a r y would make of Ajax and  lord!"  Greek or T r o j a n  "The  ( I I . i . 12-13) •  Menelaus a b u l l  makes c l e a r , T h e r s i t e s ' i n v e c t i v e a p p l i e s to a l l —  excepted.  h e r o i c a c t i o n to the  By t a k i n g a l l men  l e v e l of sensual  i s no r e a s o n a b l e d i s t i n c t i o n  v i c t o r y on e i t h e r s i d e w i l l troubling perspective  to be beasts and  a  baited  between the  gain n o t h i n g  r i v a l s and  f o r anyone.  i n a l l of Shakespeare's p l a y s .  seek to r e g a i n Helen nor  the T r o j a n s  who  Neither  have s t o l e n her  f o r the t h e f t of t h e i r aunt) "deserve" to win.  a  a more  the Greeks  (in retaliation  "A plague on both your  say.  Because T h e r s i t e s t r i e s one  that therefore  I f Thersites i s right,  who  destroying  by r e d u c i n g a l l  There i s h a r d l y  a c t i o n i s merely a r a t i o n a l i z e d l i c e n s e to s l a u g h t e r .  houses!", as M e r c u t i o would  no  a p p e t i t e , T h e r s i t e s makes c l e a r t h a t  all  i n t e n t on  s t r u c k him:  Paris.  As t h i s l i s t  there  has  Combining  A c h i l l e s mongrel c u r s , U l y s s e s  dog-fox, T r o i l u s an ass, Diomede a h u n t i n g hound, and by the dog  or  to debunk the h e r o i c  p o s t u r e s of men  another, Kenneth Burke c a l l s him  who  Saint Thersites  an example of q u i z z i c a l i t y toward symbol s t r u c t u r e s which are e r e c t e d f o r a deadly purpose:  And what of T h e r s i t e s , Despised of a l l h i s t r i b e Whipped by power, wisdom, and -  114  heroic -  are  love, a l l three:  —  or used  (By Agamemnon, U l y s s e s , and A c h i l l e s ) , Loathed by t h e bard t h a t made him, U l t i m a t e f i l t h , speaking a g a i n s t epic war? What of T h e r s i t e s ? Salute — to Saint T h e r s i t e s . 1 0  T h e r s i t e s ' i n v e c t i v e may s e r v e a p u r g a t i v e purpose, but as mere r a i l i n g i t does not o f f e r  any way out through a c t i o n .  c o n f l i c t , man, t h e symbol-using animal, that there  With a war on and with  i s radically  f r u s t r a t e d i f he  i s no a c t i o n he can take which i s not i l l u s o r y .  however, i s not o b l i g e d t o p r o v i d e  answers.  rivals in suspects  Thersites,  He t e l l s o n l y what he knows and  l e a v e s o t h e r s to make o f h i s remarks what they  will.  As A c h i l l e s e x p l a i n s t o P a t r o c l u s , T h e r s i t e s i s a " p r i v i l e g e d "  man  ( I I . i i i . 5 9 ) . He i s l i k e t h e F o o l who i s l i c e n s e d t o speak h i s mind f o r h i s betters' instruction  and entertainment.  The analogy e x p l a i n s much about  T h e r s i t e s , i n c l u d i n g t h e vehemence w i t h which he i s made to speak out i n t h i s play.  As a b a s t a r d  and as a s o l d i e r s e r v i n g v o l u n t a r y among t h e Greeks,  T h e r s i t e s i s an o u t s i d e r , able t o take a d i s i n t e r e s t e d p e r s p e c t i v e on t h e action.  However, as a F o o l , T h e r s i t e s belongs t o a household o f s o r t s ,  o b l i g e d t o share what he knows with  L i k e Lear's  h i s master.  F o o l , T h e r s i t e s speaks out not only because i t i s h i s j o b ,  but, even more, because i n some sense he c a r e s about h i s f e l l o w s . Lear's one  True,  F o o l speaks i n g e n t l e r , more r i d d l i n g ways, but h i s message i s a hard  f o r a l l t h a t : Lear has made a mistake, and he w i l l  F o o l ' s a s t r i n g e n t comments seek t o cure Lear proves to be h i s undoing.  pay a p r i c e .  The  o f the b l i n d i n g p r i d e which  In no way, however, does the F o o l use what he knows  to d e s e r t h i s master; he can a d v i s e Kent, a c c o r d i n g t o common sense, t h a t no one  should  f o l l o w a wheel as i t goes down h i l l ,  warning and f o l l o w s a f t e r Lear  i n t o t h e storm.  -  115 -  but he r e f u s e s to heed h i s own The p e r s p e c t i v e he o f f e r s ,  then, i s a sympathetic c r i t i q u e of L e a r ' s tragedy, not merely a s a t i r i c a l i n d i c t m e n t of L e a r ' s  folly.  Thersites' bitter  s t y l e c o n c e a l s h i s c a r e about what i s happening  Ajax and t o A c h i l l e s , h i s two masters.  to  H i s concern i s not as e v i d e n t as  L e a r ' s F o o l ' s , but i t i s t h e r e , exasperated by the f o l l y which l e a d s men t h e i r own  slaughter.  T h e r s i t e s ' words t o Ajax are harsh but t r u e : "Thou hast  no more b r a i n than I have i n my scurvy-valiant and  elbows;  an a s i n i c o may  tutor thee.  Thou  ass, thou a r t here but t o t h r a s h Troyans, and thou a r t bought  s o l d among those of any w i t l i k e a b a r b a r i a n s l a v e " ( I I . i . 4 5 - 5 0 ) .  not sound l i k e a c a r i n g c r i t q u e , but i t i s a t r u e a b s t r a c t of A j a x ' s and,  to  to t h a t e x t e n t , i t i s a s e r v i c e to say i t .  doing so he i s s i l e n c i n g the o n l y one who  condition  Ajax beats T h e r s i t e s , but i n  can t e l l  T h e r s i t e s has s i m i l a r words f o r A c h i l l e s :  I t does  him who  he i s .  "A g r e a t d e a l of your w i t ,  too, l i e s i n your sinews, or e l s e t h e r e be l i a r s . "  Then, a d d r e s s i n g both  A c h i l l e s and Ajax, he says, "Hector s h a l l have a g r e a t c a t c h i f he knock out e i t h e r of your b r a i n s .  'A were as good c r a c k a f u s t y nut w i t h  k e r n e l . . . T h e r e ' s U l y s s e s and o l d Nestor...yoke  you  no  l i k e d r a f t oxen and make  you plow up the wars" ( I I . i . 1 0 2 - 1 1 1 ) .  T h i s i s p r e c i s e l y how  U l y s s e s views A c h i l l e s —  forehand o f our h o s t " ( I . i i i . 1 4 4 ) , who, ( I . i i i . 3 8 0 ) s h o u l d submit ram  to those who  as the "sinew  will  guide h i s power l i k e a b a t t e r i n g reason  T h e r s i t e s , then, o f f e r s a p e r s p e c t i v e  which sounds r a d i c a l l y r e d u c t i v e but which i s a l s o p a r t i a l l y t r u e . half-way to compassion  the  a l o n g w i t h " d u l l b r a i n l e s s Ajax"  i n the hands of those " t h a t w i t h the f i n e n e s s of t h e i r s o u l s / By  guide h i s e x e c u t i o n " ( I . i i i . 2 0 7 - 2 1 0 ) .  and  through c o n c e r n .  L i k e other s a t i r i s t s  I t i s even  such as V o l t a i r e  and Mark Twain, T h e r s i t e s ' r a i l i n g i m p l i e s v a l u e s he i s t r y i n g to p r o t e c t ,  - 116  -  and  the s c u r r i l i t y of h i s i n v e c t i v e i n d i c a t e s how desperate he has become when he i s not heeded. Even more than h i s verbal commentary, Thersites' functioning at two points serves to reenforce the awareness that i n t h i s play r i v a l a t t i t u d e s both i n love and war —  —  are more a l i k e than d i f f e r e n t and equally have no  e f f e c t on the flow of events.  On the f i e l d of b a t t l e i n Act V, T h e r s i t e s , surprised by Hector, admits that he i s "a r a s c a l , a scurvy, r a i l i n g knave, a very f i l t h y rogue," and he i s allowed to l i v e (V.iv.29-30). In t h i s encounter Thersites shows that he i s obviously not " f o r Hector's match" (V.v.27), and Hector's c h i v a l r y i n l e t t i n g him go seems e a s i l y to d i s t i n g u i s h heroic from v i l e behavior.  For the moment,  T h e r s i t e s , l i k e F a l s t a f f on the f i e l d of Shrewsbury, survives because he comically side-steps any commitment to a serious action or i d e n t i t y .  He  l i v e s , but at the p r i c e of diminshing h i s s i g n i f i c a n c e f o r anyone t r y i n g to i d e n t i f y a reason for l i v i n g .  For the moment, Hector's code, which can  d i s t i n g u i s h man from man, stands out as the one a t t i t u d e able to guide events in some s i g n i f i c a n t  way.  However, the i l l u s i o n that t h i s i s so i s s h o r t - l i v e d .  Two short scenes  l a t e r , Hector, a f t e r once more showing courtesy by l e t t i n g A c h i l l e s r e t i r e , hunts a nameless Greek i n armor for h i s hide.  The r e s u l t i s that Hector's  courtesy seems a r b i t r a r y and h i s c h i v a l r y without reasonable motivation. I r o n i c a l l y , he r e f e r s to the cause of h i s own death when he addresses the corpse of h i s v i c t i m :  "Most p u t r i f i e d core, so f a i r without,/ Thy goodly  armor thus hath cost thy l i f e " ( V . v i i i . 1 - 2 ) .  Hector i s admirable f o r h i s  courtesy but contemptible f o r h i s s t u p i d i t y .  Perhaps T r o i l u s i s r i g h t to c a l l  Hector's standards " f o o l ' s play" even as Hector defends them as " f a i r play" (V.iii.43).  - 117 -  In any c a s e , T h e r s i t e s l i v e s t o comment on the c o n f l i c t ,  and h i s most  t e l l i n g commentary f a l l s  i n the scene between H e c t o r ' s p u r s u i t o f the armor  and h i s r e t u r n w i t h i t .  T h e r s i t e s meets h i s o p p o s i t e i n the b a s t a r d son of  Priam:  Bastard: Thersites: Bastard: Thersites:  Turn, s l a v e , and f i g h t . What a r t thou? A b a s t a r d son of Priam's. I am a b a s t a r d too; I l o v e b a s t a r d s . I am b a s t a r d begot, b a s t a r d i n s t r u c t e d , b a s t a r d i n mind, b a s t a r d i n v a l o r , i n everything i l l e g i t i m a t e . One bear w i l l not b i t e another, and wherefore should one bastard? (V.vii.13-20)  From one p e r s p e c t i v e , t h i s exchange c o n f i r m s the e a r l i e r T h e r s i t e s as merely  a coward i n order to l i v e ;  meeting m i r r o r s a l l the o t h e r s . B a s t a r d , has not Menelaus met are at i t .  Now,  b u l l ! Now,  I f T h e r s i t e s has met  Has  not Hector met  h i s exact double i n the  c u c k o l d and  (V.vii.9-10)?  double i n Diomede: "Hold thy whore, G r e c i a n ! (V.iv.24-25)?  from another p e r s p e c t i v e , t h i s  h i s i n P a r i s : "The  dog!"  impression of  Has  Now  the  cuckold-maker  not T r o i l u s met  his  f o r thy whore,/ Troyan!"  h i s exact double i n A c h i l l e s ?  Ajax t h i n k s  so:  Diomedes: Ajax:  Hector may  The b r u i t i s , H e c t o r ' s s l a i n , and by Achilles. I f i t be so, y e t b r a g l e s s l e t i t be; Great Hector was as good a man as he. (V.ix.3-5)  be more c o u r t e o u s than A c h i l l e s , and A c h i l l e s more r u t h l e s s  Hector, but they t a l k the same under b a t t l e c o n d i t i o n s . Greek, Hector s a y s , "Rest, sword; thou h a s t thy f i l l ( V . v i i i . 1 ) , and,  After k i l l i n g his  o f blood and  death"  a f t e r k i l l i n g H e c t o r , A c h i l l e s uses the same imagery  e a t i n g and s l e e p i n g t o d e s c r i b e h i s a c t i o n : "My  - 118  -  than  of  h a l f - s u p p e d sword, t h a t  f r a n k l y would have f e d , / P l e a s e d w i t h t h i s d a i n t y b a i t , thus goes t o bed" (V.viii.19-20).  T h e r s i t e s ' meeting w i t h the B a s t a r d , then, f u n c t i o n s as a d e n i g r a t i n g comment on t h e r i v a l s o f the war p l o t . "bastards."  Earlier  L i k e T h e r s i t e s , they a r e a l l  i n t h e p l a y , h i s t r a n s f e r from the s e r v i c e o f Ajax to the  t e n t of A c h i l l e s served as a d e f l a t i n g comment on t h e t r a n s f e r o f Helen the Greeks to Troy and o f C r e s s i d a from T r o l i l u s to Diomede.  from  In a l l t h r e e  cases t h e r e i s a t r a n s f e r w i t h o u t a change, motion w i t h o u t p r o g r e s s , more s i m i l a r i t y than d i f f e r e n c e between one master P a r i s and Menelaus,  In I I . i .  and another, Ajax and A c h i l l e s ,  T r o i l u s and Diomede.  T h e r s i t e s i s i n Ajax's s e r v i c e ;  inII.ii  the g r e a t debate i n  the T r o j a n c o u n c i l seeks t o determine whether t o s u r r e n d e r Helen, and a t the opening o f I I . i i i ,  T h e r s i t e s comments on t h e e q u a l l y poor m e r i t s o f Ajax and  A c h i l l e s before being " i n v e i g l e d " i n t o A c h i l l e s ' s e r v i c e .  Like Launcelot  Gobbo's d e b a t i n g w i t h h i m s e l f b e f o r e l e a v i n g S h y l o c k ' s s e r v i c e and e n t e r i n g B a s s a n i o ' s , T h e r s i t e s pauses t o weigh t h e a l t e r n a t i v e s .  U n l i k e Gobbo,  however, T h e r s i t e s sees n o t h i n g t o d i s t i n g u i s h one l o u t from another and t h e r e f o r e t r a n s f e r s from Ajax t o A c h i l l e s without e x p l a n a t i o n .  HELEN: A THEME OF HONOR AND RENOWN?  T h e r s i t e s ' r e d u c t i v e views i n which a l l a r e a l i k e and e q u a l l y  less-than-  human i s c o n f i r m e d by the T r o j a n s i n c o u n c i l who are doubles o f the Greeks f o r p u r s u i n g a p o l i c y t h a t sounds honorable but which has no r e a s o n a b l e b a s i s . T r o i l u s ' s defense f o r keeping Helen not o n l y c o n t r a d i c t s h i s e a r l i e r  complaint  ("I cannot f i g h t upon t h i s cause") but i s a l s o unreasonable i n i t s e l f . - 119 -  After  d i s m i s s i n g reason as merely a check t o h e r o i c a c t i o n , T r o i l u s o v e r t u r n s the moral h i e r a r c h y of r e a s o n , w i l l , and senses by l o c a t i n g the v a l u e o f Helen i n an a c t of " w i l l e n k i n d l e d by mine eyes and e a r s / Two dangerous s h o r e s / Of w i l l and judgment"  traded p i l o t s  (II.ii.63-65).  ' t w i x t the  He argues from t h e  analogy t h a t i n e l e c t i n g t o " t a k e " a w i f e , one does not go back on t h e commitment, no m a t t e r , i t seems, what the commitment i s .  "How  A l t h o u g h my w i l l d i s t a s t e what i t e l e c t e d , / The w i f e I chose?"  may  I avoid,/  (II.iii.65-67).  I r o n i c a l l y , i t i s Menelaus's w i f e who has been " t a k e n , " i n t h e sense of s t o l e n , and t h i s s h o u l d suggest t h a t the a c t i s i n d e f e n s i b l e from the o u t s e t . The one p o s s i b l e j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r h a v i n g t a k e n Helen and f o r k e e p i n g her i s t h a t t h e Greeks keep t h e i r aunt, y e t even t h i s reason i s s p u r i o u s s i n c e T r o i l u s admits t h a t t h e r e i s no comparison between an " o l d aunt" and "a G r e c i a n queen, whose youth and f r e s h n e s s / W r i n k l e s A p o l l o ' s and makes p a l e the morning" ( I I . i i . 7 9 - 8 0 ) .  Even as he speaks, however, T r o i l u s i n a d v e r t e n t l y impugns Helen's worth by l i k e n i n g her not o n l y t o s t o l e n goods but t o s o i l e d s i l k s which a r e not t o be r e t u r n e d and t o the "remainder v i a n d s " o f a meal which a r e not to be c a r e l e s s l y discarded.  He makes t h e a c t of her " f a i r r a p e " l e s s h e r o i c by  u s i n g m e r c a n t i l e imagery which a l t e r s Marlowe's w h i l e a l l u d i n g t o them.  famous l i n e s about Helen even  Marlowe had s a i d t h a t Helen's " f a c e " had launched  above a thousand s h i p s and had b u r n t t h e t o p l e s s towers o f I l i u m .  For  Marlowe, t r a g e d y f o l l o w s from a r o m a n t i c cause a t t h e same t i m e t h a t t h e l u r e of  beauty i m p l i e s t r a g i c consequences.  For T r o i l u s , t h e t r a g i c p o t e n t i a l of  t a k i n g Helen i s i g n o r e d , w h i l e the a c t i o n i t s e l f to m e r c a n t i l e a d v e n t u r e s : "Why  i s l i k e n e d not t o h e r o i c but  she i s a p e a r l / Whose p r i c e had launched above  a thousand s h i p s / And t u r n e d crowned  k i n g s t o merchants"  (II.ii.81-83).  F i n a l l y , T r o i l u s argues t h a t the d e c i s i o n t o t a k e Helen cannot be r e v e r s e d w i t h o u t impugning t h a t d e c i s i o n . - 120 -  I n o t h e r words, l o s s o f f a c e w i l l  ensue, even i f the o r i g i n a l deed was a t h e f t .  "0 t h e f t most base," he  concludes, "That we have s t o l ' n what we do fear to keep!" ( I I . i i . 9 2 - 9 2 ) .  A  speech of 34 l i n e s could hardly contain more i l l o g i c a l arguments and s e l f damaging a l l u s i o n s , proving that T r o i l u s and P a r i s , too, are, as Hector says, "not much/ Unlike young men, whom A r i s t o t l e thought/ U n f i t to hear moral philosophy" ( I I .ii.165-167).  The apt comment on t h i s speech and, i n f a c t , the e n t i r e s i t u a t i o n immediately follows i n the w a i l i n g of Cassandra:  Cry, Troyans, c r y ! Practice your eyes with t e a r s ! Troy must not be, nor goodly I l i o n stand; Our firebrand brother, P a r i s , burns us a l l . Cry, Troyans, c r y ! A Helen and a woe! Cry, cry! Troy burns, or else l e t Helen go. (II.ii.108-112)  But Cassandra i s dismissed as mad by T r o i l u s and P a r i s whose honors are engaged to make the quarrel gracious, and Priam — Troy —  the nominal authority of  i s too weak to do more than issue a mild protest: P a r i s , you speak Like one besotted on your sweet d e l i g h t s . You have the honey s t i l l , but these the g a l l ; So to be v a l i a n t i s no praise at a l l . (II.ii.142-145)  Hector knows better than T r o i l u s ; he knows, f o r example, about the "law i n each well-ordered nation/ To curb those raging appetites that are/ Most disobedient and r e f r a c t o r y . " He argues: If As Of To  Helen, then, be wife to Sparta's king, i t i s known she i s , these moral laws nature and of nations speak aloud have her back returned. (II.ii.180-186)  Despite h i s knowing t h i s , Hector agrees to follow a p o l i c y that has no reasonable b a s i s .  Because of that, h i s r e v e r s a l of h i s stand shows l e s s  constancy  than T r o i l u s ' s r e v e r s a l and l e a v e s an audience w i t h l i t t l e  between Greeks and T r o j a n s . both camps l e a v e i t hanging  Both camps know t h e i r orthodox  not o n l y the commentary of Cassandra  Helen's  r a t h e r than noble  w i t h i n the debate and  J u s t as  as a  "pearl,"  Pandarus i s w a i t i n g f o r  jokes w i t h them, j u s t as he does w i t h C r e s s i d a and T r o i l u s .  women are t r i v i a l i z e d by b e i n g compared with one Helen  the commentary of  d e f l a t e d T r o i l u s ' s r e f e r e n c e s t o her  entrance w i t h P a r i s does the same f o r h e r .  them and  idealists is  i t , but a l s o the p r e s e n t a t i o n of Helen h e r s e l f .  C r e s s i d a ' s entrance had  and  fame.  proof t h a t the T r o j a n s are mistaken  Thersites after  philosophy,  i n the a i r i n order t o pursue p o l i c i e s t h a t are  c a l c u l a t e d to b r i n g v i c t o r y and  The  t o choose  another  Both  i n t h i s scene  while  t e l l s bawdy j o k e s , d a l l i e s w i t h P a r i s t o the s o f t sounds of music,  and  encourages Pandarus's lewd l o v e song.  The the scene  c o n s t a n t r e p e t i t i o n of the e p i t h e t s " f a i r " and not o n l y reduces  w i t h nausea at too much sweetness.  Romeo, "The  sweetest  Juliet  d e l i c i o u s n e s s / And  I I . v i . 1 1 - 1 3 ) ; and,  Some p r o d u c t i o n s , l i k e Ashland's  symptoms of v e n e r e a l d i s e a s e . appears  As a r e s u l t ,  as O r s i n o  i n 1984,  w i l l make Helen  as the " p u t r i f i e d  not  the  she, the o c c a s i o n i f not the cause  c o r e " a t the h e a r t of the a c t i o n of  which the G r e c i a n ' s armor i n A c t V I s o n l y another  Helen,  i n the  food causes the a p p e t i t e t o s i c k e n and so d i e ( T w e l f t h  o n l y n a u s e a t i n g but a l s o o b v i o u s l y c o r r u p t by showing her s u f f e r i n g  of the war,  affects  As F r i a r Lawrence c o u n s e l l e d  honey/ I s loathsome i n h i s own  t a s t e confounds the a p p e t i t e " (Romeo and  Night I . i . 1 - 3 ) .  throughout  the c o n v e r s a t i o n t o a banal l e v e l but a l s o  an audience  knows, excess of any  "sweet"  as she i s p r e s e n t e d , d i f f e r s ,  emblem.  then, from the Helen  of T r o i l u s ' s  defense b e f o r e the c o u n c i l  j u s t as s u r e l y as h i s e s t i m a t e of C r e s s i d a d i f f e r e d  from the presented woman.  I f the women are to be blamed f o r f i c k l e  -  122  -  and  even  adulterous behavior — by Shakespeare's the  and t h i s had become t h e c o n v e n t i o n a l a p p r a i s a l o f both  time —  t h e men a r e no b e t t e r f o r t h e i r w i s h f u l t h i n k i n g i n  guise of heroic r h e t o r i c .  Throughout  a t t i t u d e to win out over t h e o t h e r .  t h i s p l a y , Shakespeare  The T r o j a n s and the Greeks  o t h e r over a w o r t h l e s s Helen; T r o i l u s  a l l o w s no fight  each  and Diomede f i g h t over a w o r t h l e s s  C r e s s i d a , but n e i t h e r r i v a l deserves t h e woman more than t h e other nor i s she worth d e s e r v i n g . no l e s s  And, t o r e p e a t , t h e woman who i s not worth  deserving i s also  d e s p i c a b l e than t h e b r u t e s who f i g h t over h e r .  A GORY EMULATION  T h e r s i t e s ' body i s as good as Ajax' When n e i t h e r i s a l i v e . Cymbeline  Throughout significance;  t h i s p l a y , Shakespeare  empties every a t t i t u d e and a c t i o n o f  by a r o u s i n g an audience's e x p e c t a t i o n s o n l y to f r u s t r a t e  he teaches i t t o expect o n l y disappointment. rhythm which In  252-253)  (IV.ii.  arouses f r u s t r a t i o n  them,  He f o r c e s i t t o share i n a  when "The ample p r o p o s i t i o n t h a t hope makes/  a l l d e s i g n s begun on e a r t h below/ F a i l s i n t h e promised l a r g e n e s s "  (I.iii.3-5).  An audience i s f o r c e d to e x p e r i e n c e t h e f a i l u r e o f any symbolic  action t o achieve a s i g n i f i c a n t Shakespeare  o r d e r i n g o f mere motion.  i s e x p l o r i n g to the f u l l  In t h i s  play,  t h a t d r a m a t i z i n g o f o p p o s i t e s and t h a t  s c e p t i c i s m about scapegoats which he began w i t h 1 Henry V I .  It  i s H e c t o r ' s f i g h t w i t h Ajax t h a t shows t h e t r u e s t a t e o f the r i v a l s  i n t h i s p l a y : they a r e so much a l i k e , r e a s o n a b l e i s s u e of t h e i r dissect And  so r e l a t e d  i n fact,  q u a r r e l i s "embracement."  that the only  I n no way can Hector  Ajax so t h a t i t would be p o s s i b l e t o say " T h i s hand i s G r e c i a n a l l , /  t h i s i s Troyan; t h e sinews of t h i s l e g / A l l Greek,  -  123  -  and t h i s a l l Troy; my  mother's b l o o d / Runs on the dexter cheek, and t h i s s i n i s t e r / Bounds i n my father's"  (IV.v.124-128).  The  b u i l d up to t h i s match, which began w i t h Aeneas's c h a l l e n g e to  Agamemnon i n I . i i i , conclusion.  i s f r u s t r a t e d by H e c t o r ' s r e f u s a l t o b r i n g i t t o  L i k e a l l the other f r u s t r a t i o n s of p r o g r e s s i v e form,  d i s a p p p o i n t s an audience's so, i t educates opposing  this  e x p e c t a t i o n of an outcome to the combat.  the audience  stands or r i v a l  any  i n t o the s t a t e of i r o n i c  contemplation  In doing of  a t t i t u d e s i n which a c t i o n i s f r u s t r a t e d w h i l e  the  range of o p i n i o n i s a l s o r e c o g n i z e d .  Hector's rhetorical existence. opposing killed  r e f u s a l to d e f e a t Ajax, whom he might have k i l l e d ,  i s the  e q u i v a l e n t of r e c o g n i z i n g the o p p o s i t e term's i n a l i e n a b l e Throughout the canon of h i s works, Shakespeare's way  or d i s s e n t i n g a t t i t u d e i s h i g h l y r e a l i s t i c :  the term  with  an  i s not t o be  o f f , but i s to s u r v i v e e i t h e r i n o p p o s i t i o n to the dominant order or i n  an uneasy t r u c e w i t h i t .  Shylock  i s not k i l l e d  M a l v o l i o i s e n t r e a t e d to a peace; Jaques' company's f e s t i v e mood and  but o f f e r e d  melancholy  conversion;  u n f i t s him  f o r the  so, with r e l u c t a n c e , he i s allowed t o seek the  s o c i e t y of Duke F r e d e r i c k somewhere on the f r i n g e s of Arden; i n Much Ado, John i s r e t u r n e d t o Messina a u t h o r i t y as he has  under guard  and  from the b e g i n n i n g .  s u r v i v e s to t h r e a t e n h i s b r o t h e r ' s  In these p l a y s , the dominant  accommodates the s u b o r d i n a t e one w i t h some sense with no r e c o g n i t i o n of i t s r i g h t  Don  to dominate.  attitude  of i t s r i g h t t o be heard  but  In T r o i l u s and C r e s s i d a , the  a t t i t u d e s c l a s h more e q u a l l y , f r u s t r a t i n g an audience's  need f o r a symbolic  a c t i o n t h a t shows i t s e l f capable of e s t a b l i s h i n g some order i n the t e e t h of chaos,  some d u r a b l e s i g n i f i c a n c e a g a i n s t the d e s t r u c t i v e f l o w of  A f t e r the match between Ajax between them and  and H e c t o r , and  an amicable  among Agamemnon, U l y s s e s and Nestor, A c h i l l e s  -  124  -  time.  exchange demonstrates  the u s u a l a t t i t u d e o f a r i v a l by r e f u s i n g t o r e c o g n i z e any d i s t i n c t i o n i n Hector's p a r t s .  They are a l l one,  and  a l l worthy of death.  This taunting  draws from Hector a s i m i l a r b o a s t , which he admits i s f o o l i s h even as he it.  The  c o n t r a s t cannot be c l e a r e r between the i s s u e of embracement  r i v a l s are e s s e n t i a l l y r e l a t e d , and the i s s u e of death because  one  r e f u s e s to r e c o g n i z e i n the other the m i r r o r image o f h i m s e l f .  says  because  rival  The  imagery  of  e a t i n g r e t u r n s i n o r d e r to emphasize t h a t the d e s i r e f o r s l a u g h t e r i s more a p p e t i t i v e and  i n s a t i a b l e than r e a s o n a b l e , and would reduce the p r o t a g o n i s t s  to " o r t s and b i t s " of themselves  as soon as they have t a s t e d and d i g e s t e d one  another:  A c h i l l e s : Now, H e c t o r , I have f e d mine eyes on thee, I have w i t h exact view perused thee, H e c t o r , And quoted j o i n t by j o i n t . Hector: Is t h i s A c h i l l e s ? A c h i l l e s : I am A c h i l l e s . Hector: Stand f a i r , I pray thee; l e t me look on thee. A c h i l l e s : Behold thy f i l l . Hector: Nay,I have done a l r e a d y . (IV.v.230-235)  The  imagery  plots,  o f e a t i n g a l s o l i n k s the a c t i o n s of both the war  and the l o v e  s u g g e s t i n g not o n l y t h a t the s l a u g h t e r can be s e n s u a l and  t h a t l o v e can  be a b a t t l e , but t h a t both are a p p e t i t e s which cannot make d i s t i n c t i o n s i n what they do because  Achilles,  o f the mere movement o f t h e i r d e s i r e to be  enraged  by H e c t o r ' s k i l l i n g  of P a t r o c l u s , w i l l  b a t t l e and s l a u g h t e r H e c t o r , but, as I have i m p l i e d e a r l i e r , prove n o t h i n g f o r e i t h e r s i d e .  Granted, Hector w i l l  T r o i l u s , and h i s l o s s w i l l be f e l t because courteous i n an a n a c h r o n i s t i c way. battle  he was,  But he was  i n a bad cause"  ( I I . i i . 1 1 7 ) a g a i n s t h i s own  Andromache, Cassandra,  and  Priam.  - 125  -  r e e n t e r the  the a c t i o n  get a eulogy  will  from  f o r the most p a r t ,  a l s o as v i o l e n t  (Nestor c a l l s him a " b e l c h i n g whale") and  satisfied.  as A c h i l l e s i n  a l s o apt t o seek  "bad  success  reason and a g a i n s t the warnings  of  T r o i l u s , l i k e Hector, holds to b e l i e f s which are endearing f o r t h e i r courtesy and devotion but which are also shown to be f o o l i s h .  Troilus's  estimate of Cressida, as I have s a i d , bears no resemblance to the Cressida an audience knows from legend and from t h i s play. d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t with her i n V . i i .  As a r e s u l t , T r o i l u s ' s  i s simultaneously a sorry shock for him, a  source of wonderment f o r Ulysses ("May  worthy T r o i l u s be h a l f attached/ With  that which here h i s passion doth express?" V.ii.158-159), and a subject for scorn from Thersites ("Will 'a swagger himself out on's own eyes?" V . i i . 133).  T r o i l u s ' s idealism i s , i n f a c t , no more a constant and trustworthy a t t i t u d e than i s Cressida's accommodating pragmatism, the proof of which i s T r o i l u s ' s desertion of Cressida i n Act I , when he follows Aeneas to b a t t l e , h i s s l i n k i n g away from her house i n Act I I I , and h i s r e f u s a l to read her l e t t e r s a f t e r witnessing her t r y s t with Diomede.  T r o i l u s i s hardly as "true  as t r u t h ' s s i m p l i c i t y " ( I I I . i i . 1 7 0 ) , and h i s r i v a l r y with Diomede i s , as a r e s u l t , without a b a s i s . which was misconceived  T r o i l u s becomes as f i e r c e as A c h i l l e s over a cause  from the s t a r t , pursued with only i n d i f f e r e n t l o y a l t y ,  and deserted i n fact while f i g h t i n g i n i t s name.  In t h i s play, Shakespeare leaves an audience no way out of a s i t u a t i o n c l e a r l y presented as corrupted and c o r r u p t i n g .  Neither Greek nor Trojan,  A c h i l l e s nor Hector, T r o i l u s nor Diomede, characterizes an a t t i t u d e which i s superior to another and able to wrest s i g n i f i c a n c e from the' flow of e v e n t s .  11  Instead, t h i s play i s a q u i z z i c a l a n a l y s i s of the a t t i t u d e s which a r i s e i n the attempt to grapple with devouring time i n the guise of war, and, at the same time i t i s a r e f u s a l to argue f o r any one of them.  R h e t o r i c a l l y , then, t h i s  explains the darkness of T r o i l u s and Cressida: an audience i s kept from f i n d i n g i n the drama a " r i t u a l of r e b i r t h " or a " s a l v a t i o n device," i n Burke's terms, which w i l l point to the way out of i t s burden through with a s u r v i v i n g term. - 126 -  identification  In p l a c e o f a symbolic a c t i o n w i t h purpose and hope o f s u c c e s s , T r o i l u s e x i t s a f t e r H e c t o r ' s death w i t h t h e promise o f m o t i v e l e s s motion t h a t n o t h i n g : "Hope o f revenge s h a l l hide our inward woe" (V.x.31), e x p l i c i t l y bequeaths  and  proves  Pandarus  t o t h e audience the c o r r u p t i o n o f d i s e a s e s which  i t has  a l r e a d y shared i n a f i g u r a t i v e sense through i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h b r u t a l and s e l f - d e c e i v i n g T r o j a n s .  The enactment of i n a c t i o n through a q u i z z i c a l  study o f r i v a l a t t i t u d e s c o u l d h a r d l y be more complete and C r e s s i d a .  Greeks  As E l l i s - F e r m o r  p l a y but can o n l y be suggested  than i t i s i n T r o i l u s  suggests, the "way o u t " cannot be found i n t h i s later,  -  i n the t r a g e d i e s and r o m a n c e s .  127 -  12  V. MEASURE FOR MEASURE  R h e t o r i c a l l y , Measure f o r Measure i s a d i s t u r b i n g p l a y because i t p r e s e n t s c o r r u p t i o n or l a w l e s s n e s s i n terms o f l u s t but does not show any " p r o p e r t y o f government," any law o f j u s t i c e or mercy, t h a t can e x t i r p i t from the  life  of a c i t y  or from t h e h e a r t o f a man.  Corruption i s i n t o l e r a b l e  s i n c e i t cannot p r o v i d e the b a s i s f o r p o s i t i v e a c t i o n ; i t f r u s t r a t e s  the  symbol-using animal who o r d e r s t h e l a w l e s s world o f motion through terms which i d e n t i f y h i s purposes f o r a c t i o n and which allow him t o j o i n w i t h o t h e r s i n a c h i e v i n g t h o s e purposes.  Without a u t h o r i t a t i v e p r i n c i p l e s o f o r d e r , a person  f a c e s s o c i a l and even p e r s o n a l  disintegration.  Measure f o r Measure begins as t h e Duke's c o n t r o l l e d experiment t o s o l v e a problem o f government and to t e s t h i s deputy Angelo. put,  i s whether  mercy.  The problem, s i m p l y  l a w l e s s n e s s or c o r r u p t i o n can best be c o n t r o l l e d by j u s t i c e or  These c o n f l i c t i n g a t t i t u d e s q u a l i f y one another i n heated debate but  l e a v e t h e c o r r u p t i o n o f Vienna as unreformed debate, the problem o f the c i t y  as e v e r .  In the c o u r s e o f t h e  becomes the problem o f one person: Angelo  d i s c o v e r s i n h i m s e l f a war between the c o n f l i c t i n g a t t i t u d e s o f sense and honor which l e a d him t o c o n c l u d e "We a r e a l l f r a i l " ;  no one i n V i e n n a can  t r u s t t h a t h i s adherence t o one a t t i t u d e w i l l p r e v e n t him from e s p o u s i n g i t s opposite.  More t r o u b l i n g , no one can be c e r t a i n t h a t one a t t i t u d e i s v i r t u o u s  and t h e o t h e r v i c i o u s , s i n c e v i r t u e and v i c e o f t e n appear as t h e i r  opposites.  The p l a y concludes w i t h the Duke's o f f e r o f pardon t o a l l and an a l l o c a t i o n o f marriages which c o n v e n t i o n a l l y betoken t h a t o b s t a c l e s have been overcome and t h a t d e s t i n i e s have been a c h i e v e d . judgment* not  however, w i l l  A c l o s e r l o o k a t the Duke's  show t h a t the i s s u e s r a i s e d  e a r l i e r i n t h e p l a y have  been s o l v e d but s i d e s t e p p e d . Having seen " c o r r u p t i o n b o i l and bubble/  -  128 -  Till He  i t o'errun the  stew," the Duke, i n e f f e c t , puts the l i d back on  the  pot.  c o v e r s the dilemma over w i t h the appearance of m e r c i f u l judgement and  t o l e r a t i n g a l l a t t i t u d e s p r e v e n t s a r e s o l u t i o n i n terms of any  ANGELO AND  The  with c h i l d —  about C l a u d i o .  T h i s young man  T h e i r s i s not  outward form of p u b l i c r i t e s . the union appears to be  acknowledged c o n d i t i o n s  Angelo, who  has  the abuses o f l i b e r t y a p p l i e s to Claudio's  gotten  dismiss  the o f f e n s e  Claudio  himself,  i n t h e i r own  been given  eyes and  marriages.  the Duke's own  i n Vienna, has case.  Escalus,  drawn the  enforced  as a s t r i c t governor, even C l a u d i o t h a t i t comes w i t h i n  suggests t h a t the r e s t r a i n t to which he  of no  protest that  law  as to be  -  129  But  almost dead,  admits t h a t h i s o f f e n s e  i s subjected  -  may  f o r the sake o f g a i n i n g  the compass of the  A t t i t u d e s of one  law  the  l e g a l importance.  law.  kind  a  can  be  Wryly,  he  comes from too much With t h i s  a movement o f "measure f o r measure" which w i l l  many a c t i o n s of t h i s p l a y .  t h a t the  c i r c u m s t a n c e s of h i s c a s e ,  l i b e r t y , j u s t as f a s t i n g i s the p r i c e of s u r f e i t i n g . describes  how  scope of a u t h o r i t y to c o r r e c t  and  the  play,  1  been so n e g l e c t e d  w h i l e i n s i n u a t i n g t h a t Angelo has  the  to commonly  fast talking friend,  w h i l e a l l e g i n g the e x t e n u a t i n g  " l e c h e r y " and  law  no matter  l i n e i n such a way  Lucio, Claudio's  has  law  according  h i s v i c e r e g e n t , may  as a game of " t i c k t a c k "  law  the  Juliet,  a l a w f u l marriage because i t l a c k s  for clandestine  w h i l e p r o t e s t i n g t h a t the  Claudio  his fiancee,  ends  Of some importance t o the themes of t h i s  be  l i n e i s drawn too w i d e l y , and  called  has  f o r n i c a t i o n i n the eyes of the c i v i l  t r u l y m a r r i e d the c o u p l e may  reputation  the problem of government begins and  a n a t u r a l a c t which, i n t h i s case, f a l l s o u t s i d e  governing i t s e x e r c i s e .  of them.  ISABELLA: A FIERCE DISPUTE  problem of t h i s p l a y and  w i t h what to do  one  by  analogy, characterize  n e c e s s a r i l y provoke t h e i r  o p p o s i t e s , and the two compete as e q u a l l y p l a u s i b l e motives f o r a c t i o n . L i b e r t y and r e s t r a i n t have t h e i r c o u n t e r p a r t s honour, f r a i l t y  and g r a c e .  2  C l a u d i o ' s i s a good t e s t commonwealth.  case f o r a r g u i n g the o r d e r i n g  of the  On the one hand, he i s g u i l t y o f a crime which,  represents w i l l f u l lust  i n j u s t i c e and mercy, sense and  figuratively,  a p p e t i t e a t war with the r i g h t reason o f law.  Lechery or  i n a l l o f i t s forms, i f given t o o much " l i b e r t y , " would d i s s o l v e a l l  s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s l i k e the one r e p r e s e n t e d Claudio's g u i l t  i s slight  by marriage.  and much c l o s e r t o i m p e t u o s i t y  On t h e other  than m a l i c e .  hand,  He  r e s p e c t s t h e law r e g a r d i n g marriage but has been caught i n a t e c h n i c a l i t y on the way t o assuming t h a t r e l a t i o n s h i p .  F o r C l a u d i o , as f o r everyman, t h e law  o n l y serves t o p o i n t out how i m p o s s i b l e i t i s t o a c t p e r f e c t l y . then,  an audience can see i t s e l f  failing  t o achieve  audience's  in its frail  i t completely.  The P r o v o s t  In Claudio,  humanity, wanting t h e good but i s t h e spokesman f o r an  common sense p e r s p e c t i v e when he laments, " A l l s e c t s , a l l ages  smack o f t h i s v i c e , and he/ To d i e f o r ' t ! "  (II.i.5-6).3  The way out o f h i s predicament, i t seems, i s through mercy r a t h e r justice,  and so he appeals  through L u c i o t o h i s s i s t e r I s a b e l l a t h a t she  i n t e r c e d e f o r him w i t h Angelo.  Before  he meets w i t h her, however, Angelo's  p r e c i s e views on j u s t i c e and the law a r e made c l e a r Escalus.  execution. noble  i n an i n t e r v i e w w i t h  F o r Angelo, the law i s not a "scarecrow," s t a n d i n g s t i l l  " b i r d s o f p r e y " perch  as they p l e a s e ; t o be e f f e c t i v e ,  i s c l e a r l y beside  while  i t must be put i n t o  E s c a l u s ' s s p e c i a l p l e a d i n g on C l a u d i o ' s b e h a l f —  father —  than  t h a t he had a  the p o i n t , and h i s more s u b t l e argument,  t h a t Angelo, t o o , c o u l d e a s i l y become s u b j e c t t o the law and should show mercy, r e c e i v e s a most j u s t and severe response:  "You may n o t so  extenuate h i s o f f e n s e / F o r I have had such f a u l t s ; but r a t h e r t e l l  - 130 -  therefore  me/ When I  t h a t censure him do so o f f e n d , / L e t mine own And  n o t h i n g come i n p a r t i a l .  judgement p a t t e r n out my  death/  S i r , he must d i e " ( I I . i . 2 7 - 3 1 ) .  The response, o f c o u r s e , i s i r o n i c i n view of Angelo's but i t shows h i s i m p a r t i a l commitment to j u s t i c e .  subsequent  fall,  I f f a u l t s are to be  e x t i r p a t e d from the commonwealth, they must f i r s t be "open made t o j u s t i c e " and then " s e i z e d , " not i g n o r e d . fault.  I t makes no d i f f e r e n c e who  Angelo's t h i n k i n g on t h i s matter, i n f a c t , echoes  e x p l a i n e d the c o n d i t i o n o f Vienna i n s i m i l a r  has committed the  the Duke's, who  has  terms:  Now, as fond f a t h e r s , Having bound up the t h r e a t e n i n g twigs o f b i r c h , Only t o s t i c k i t i n t h e i r c h i l d r e n ' s s i g h t For t e r r o r , not to use, i n time the rod Becomes more mock'd than f e a r ' d so our d e c r e e s , Dead t o i n f l i c t i o n , to themselves are dead, And l i b e r t y p l u c k s J u s t i c e by the nose, The baby beats the nurse, and q u i t e athwart Goes a l l decorum. (I.iii.23-3D  Much l i k e U l y s s e s ' speech on degree  i n T r o i l u s and C r e s s i d a , t h e s e words  p r e s e n t an image o f s o c i e t y t u r n e d u p s i d e down f o r l a c k of r i g h t In the b a t t l e between mercy and i s to be r e t a i n e d .  relations.  j u s t i c e , then, j u s t i c e must p r e v a i l i f decorum  I f Angelo's views are severe and p r e c i s e , they are a l s o  j u s t and, f o r t h a t reason, r e p r e s e n t an a t t i t u d e which o r d e r i n g o f s o c i e t y which  i t can e f f e c t .  d e s i r a b l e , has o n l y a l i m i t e d  i s d e s i r a b l e f o r the  Of c o u r s e , t h i s a t t i t u d e , however  scope; d e s p i t e t h e i r r i g h t n e s s , the  laws" can never c o e r c e a l l b e h a v i o r .  "biting  So, f o r example, Vienna's bawdiness w i l l  l i v e on i n the person o f Pompey the t a p s t e r d e s p i t e any l i t i g a t i o n  against i t .  In an episode t h a t f o l l o w s immediately upon Angelo's a p o l o g i a f o r j u s t i c e , audience f i n d s t h i s out i n comic  terms.  E s c a l u s , i n t e r r o g a t i n g Pompey, asks  him:  Pompey, you are p a r t l y a bawd, Pompey, howsoever you c o l o u r i t i n being a  - 131 -  the  t a p s t e r , are you not? Come, t e l l me, i t s h a l l be the b e t t e r f o r you. Pompey: T r u l y , s i r , I am a poor f e l l o w t h a t would live. E s c a l u s : How would you l i v e , Pompey? By b e i n g a bawd? What do you t h i n k of the t r a d e , Pompey? I s i t a lawful trade? Pompey: I f the law would a l l o w i t , s i r . E s c a l u s : But the law w i l l not allow i t , Pompey; nor i t s h a l l not be allowed i n V i e n n a . Pompey: Does your worship mean to geld and s p l a y a l l the youth of the c i t y ? E s c a l u s : No, Pompey. Pompey: T r u l y , s i r , i n my poor o p i n i o n , they w i l l t o ' t then. (II.i.216-230)  The  value o f j u s t i c e , then,  must be r e c o g n i z e d  i n order  i s admittedly  limited.  Nevertheless,  to a p p r e c i a t e the dramatic  conflict  i t s value  that  occurs  when the c l a i m s o f j u s t i c e as a p r i n c i p l e f o r the o r d e r i n g of s o c i e t y c l a s h w i t h the c l a i m s o f mercy.  The  question  lawlessness,  any  better?  w i l l mercy do  is this:  i f j u s t i c e cannot e x t i r p  i  I t i s d u r i n g I s a b e l l a ' s p l e a b e f o r e Angelo t h a t Shakespeare s e t s up - c l a s h of a t t i t u d e s — all  of h i s drama —  one and  of the most a b s o l u t e  and  this  famous c o n f r o n t a t i o n s i n  i n t h i s debate Angelo i s not a straw man.  What  emerges from the scene i s no c l e a r v i c t o r y f o r e i t h e r a t t i t u d e but a keen a p p r e c i a t i o n by the audience o f the reasonableness I s a b e l l a h e r s e l f , at the b e g i n n i n g -brother's  fault  condemned and  should  not her  and  l i m i t s o f each.  of her p l e a , admits t h a t  "meet the blow o f j u s t i c e , " but brother.  the  asks t h a t the f a u l t  severe  i n r e c o r d , / And  law!," concedes I s a b e l , "I had  The  be  Angelo responds, r e c a l l i n g h i s e a r l i e r  scarecrow analogy: "Mine were the very c i p h e r of a f u n c t i o n / To f a u l t s , whose f i n e stands  her  l e t go by the a c t o r . "  a brother  fine  the  "0 j u s t  but  then" ( I I . i i . 3 9 - 4 2 ) .  case seems c l o s e d u n t i l prompting from L u c i o causes I s a b e l t o p l e a d  f o r the p o s s i b i l i t y  of mercy as an a l t e r n a t i v e to j u s t i c e .  - 132  -  In e f f e c t ,  since  j u s t i c e cannot be answered, she seeks to supersede i t .  Unlike Cassandra, her  counterpart i n Shakespeare's source (Whetstone's Promos and Cassandra), Isabel o f f e r s no argument that would mitigate the j u s t i c e of Angelo's r u l i n g . Cassandra, f o r example, had argued f o r her brother: Weigh h i s yong' yeares, the force of love, which forced h i s amis Weigh, weigh, that Mariage works amends f o r what committed i s . He hath d e f i l d e no n u p t i a l bed, nor forced rape hath mov'd, He f e l through love, who never ment but wive the wight he lov'd. And wantons sure to keepe i n awe these statutes f i r s t were made, Or none but l u s t f u l l leachers should with rygrous law be payd." ^  I s a b e l l a , however, speaks completely beside the point of what j u s t i c e requires and suggests, instead, that mercy i s p o s s i b l e , that i t i s a becoming a t t i t u d e for r u l e r s , that i n a hypothetical change of places Claudio would not be as stern to Angelo as Angelo i s toward him and, f i n a l l y , that God himself has shown the best example of mercy by f o r g i v i n g a l l the debt owed by a f o r f e i t e d humanity(II.ii.49-78). This l a s t argument might carry weight with the i n d i v i d u a l C h r i s t i a n ; however, i t provides no guidance f o r a l e g a l system which must function according to norms of j u s t i c e interpreted i m p a r t i a l l y f o r a l l .  Angelo seems  to acknowledge the force of Isabel's argument f o r himself as a person at the same time that he r u l e s i t out of court as a judge: " I t i s the law, not I , condemn your brother;/ Were he my kinsman, brother, or my son,/ I t should be thus with him.  He must d i e tomorrow" ( I I . i i . 8 0 - 8 2 ) .  Angelo stands f o r j u s t i c e , as he says, because i t ends present e v i l s i n order to prevent future ones.  With j u s t i c e he shows p i t y both to s o c i e t y ,  whose t h i r s t f o r j u s t i c e must be s a t i s f i e d , and to the c r i m i n a l , who not only gets what he deserves (which i s a kind of s a t i s f a c t i o n ) but i s also prevented from committing further wrongs.  - 133 -  J u s t i c e , then, has many arguments on i t s side at the same time that I s a b e l l a ' s plea f o r mercy seems r i g h t because i t would save Claudio, a person whom no one i n the audience wants to d i e . Shakespeare has done w e l l to make Claudio h i s proving ground for contending a t t i t u d e s .  I f I s a b e l l a had pleaded  for mercy toward a l l the bawds of Vienna, i f she had, i n e f f e c t , argued that nothing be done to prevent babies from beating t h e i r nurses, an audience could not have accepted her plea.  But her arguments, however much beside the point  of what j u s t i c e r e q u i r e s , r e t a i n some cogency because they would e f f e c t what the audience wants —  the l i f e of Claudio.  So f a r , an audience has witnessed the drawing of the l i n e i n a debate between two a t t i t u d e s .  Angelo draws i t i n such a way that Claudio's death i s  required i n the name o f j u s t i c e ; I s a b e l l a has drawn i t so that Claudio's death i s excluded i n the name o f mercy.  THE FRAILTY OF OUR POWERS  I s a b e l l a ' s arguments, however convincing they may be to an audience, do not reach t h e i r most cogent p i t c h u n t i l she uses again an argument that Angelo has already used and answered for himself.  "Go to your bosom," she challenges  him, "Knock there, and ask your heart what i t doth know/ That's l i k e my brother's f a u l t .  I f i t confess/ A natural g u i l t i n e s s , such as i s h i s , / Let i t  not sound a thought upon your tongue/ Against my brother's l i f e " ( I I . i i . 1 3 7 142).  I s a b e l l a would make the execution of j u s t i c e impossible i f the judge were to share the same crime with the c r i m i n a l .  E a r l i e r , Angelo had offered  an a l t e r n a t i v e to t h i s p o s i t i o n : that i m p a r t i a l judgement should "pattern out [his  own] death" i f he were g u i l t y of the same crime which he himself  - 134 -  condemned ( I I . i . 2 7 - 3 1 ) .  However, as Isabel speaks, the Deputy begins to turn  toward her point of view: "She speaks, and ' t i s such sense/ That my sense breeds with i t " ( I I . i i . 1 4 3 - 1 4 4 ) .  No doubt an audience i s supposed to share the Provost's sentiments, whispered i n an aside, "Pray heaven she win him"; no doubt i t i s to welcome the  change i n Angelo's a t t i t u d e because i t w i l l save Claudio.  But f o r Angelo,  t h i s moment i s c l e a r l y a temptation. I t means the abandoning of h i s e a r l i e r c o n v i c t i o n that even thieves recognize a kind of law among themselves and the taking up of an e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t p r o p o s i t i o n : that "Thieves f o r t h e i r robbery have a u t h o r i t y , / When judges s t e a l themselves" ( I I . i i . 1 7 6 - 1 7 7 ) . "Quite athwart goes a l l decorum" i f Angelo's sharing of Claudio's condition means that j u s t i c e must be j e t t i s o n e d .  "0, l e t her brother l i v e ! " i s not the  i m p a r t i a l judgement of a j u s t but severe law; i t i s the abandoning of a sentence because the judge does not want to apply i t to himself as w e l l .  The depth of Angelo's agony has to be measured not only by the depth of depravity which he discovers i n himself at which he exclaims, "Having waste ground enough/ S h a l l we desire to raze the sanctuary/ And p i t c h our e v i l s there?" ( I I . i i . 1 7 0 - 1 7 2 ) . t h i s l u s t leads him —  His agony i s deepened by the conclusion to which  the abandoning of a s t r i c t adherence to j u s t i c e . 5  Shakespeare has so set up the terms of t h i s dilemma that each a t t i t u d e i s an extreme exclusive of the other.  Pure" j u s t i c e i s unmerciful and leads to  death; pure mercy i s unjust and leads to indecorum.  To abandon one untenable  p o s i t i o n leads, by an equal and opposite r e a c t i o n , to the adoption of the other.  I s a b e l l a ' s arguments, then, have meant the v i c t o r y of sense i n two ways. For  the audience, the sparing of Claudio makes reasonable sense; f o r Angelo,  however, i t means the v i c t o r y of appetite.  - 135 -  His sense "breeds," but i t i s with  "the strong and s w e l l i n g e v i l / Of my conception" ( I I . i v . 6 - 7 ) .  He f e e l s i n  himself the force of blood leading to lawless ends and, at the same time, abandons a view of i m p a r t i a l j u s t i c e that would regulate t h i s appetite with deadly f o r c e .  Claudio had, i r o n i c a l l y , a n t i c i p a t e d t h i s e f f e c t o f h i s s i s t e r on the Deputy when he t o l d Lucio of her t a l e n t s as a persuader i n words of double meaning: " i n her youth/ There i s a prone and speechless d i a l e c t / Such as moves men; besides, she hath prosperous a r t / When she w i l l play with reason and discourse/ And w e l l she can persuade" (I.ii.172-176),°  With keen i n s i g h t , Shakespeare presents Angelo's l u s t for I s a b e l l a not the Tightness of her reasons — commitment t o i m p a r t i a l j u s t i c e .  —  as the cause of h i s abandoning a  Moreover, the playwright has so structured  the f i r s t interview with Angelo that Lucio's presence and h i s promptings against I s a b e l l a ' s coldness seem much l i k e pimping f o r a p r o s t i t u t i o n of justice.  As Shakespeare has set up the dilemma, the audience has l i t t l e room  to maneuver.  In wanting Claudio to l i v e , i t must also accept the v i c t o r y of  "sense," and Angelo soon shows what t h i s means by t y r a n n i c a l l y g i v i n g h i s "sensual race the r e i n " and commanding Isabel to " F i t thy consent to my sharp appetite...Redeem thy brother/ By y i e l d i n g up thy body to my w i l l "  (II.iv.159-  163).  Even as he pursues h i s own l u s t f u l i n t e n t i o n s , Angelo shows I s a b e l l a the l i m i t s of her own m e r c i f u l a t t i t u d e .  When Isabel refuses to act as Claudio  has done and as Angelo i s t r y i n g t o do, Angelo points out: "Were you not then as c r u e l as the sentence/ That you have slander'd so?" (IV.iv.109-110). In other words, are there not actions that mercy would proscribe as surely as j u s t i c e would?  Isabel's answer corroborates Angelo's point: "Ignomy i n ransom  and free pardon/ Are of two houses: l a w f u l mercy/ I s nothing k i n to f o u l  - 136 -  redemption" (II.iv.111-113).  She i m p l i c i t l y admits that mercy i s l i m i t e d to  actions that are l a w f u l so that under some conditions redemption can be f o u l . She admits s t i l l further that she would "something excuse" Claudio's deed, even though i t deserves to be hated, "For h i s advantage that I dearly love" (II.iv.119-120).  C l e a r l y , i t i s as unhelpful for mercy to excuse e v i l for the  sake of p r i v a t e f e e l i n g s as i t i s for j u s t i c e to condemn what should be saved merely for the sake of public order.  Angelo's comments on t h i s dilemma show compassion not only f o r h i s own predicament but for what he sees as Isabel's struggle too: "We (II.iv.121).  are a l l f r a i l "  He sees before Isabel does, and he sees with t r a g i c awareness,  that neither perfect j u s t i c e nor perfect mercy i s p o s s i b l e .  At the same time,  he sees that the " a f f e c t i o n that now guides [him] most" makes him f a l s e and tyrannical.  From the f i r s t moments of h i s temptation,  he has seen that h i s  i d e n t i t y i s at stake: "What dost thou, or what a r t thou, Angelo?," he asks (II.ii.173).  I t seems that he cannot be himself without acting j u s t l y and  yet  he cannot act j u s t l y at l e a s t i n t h i s one case where he i s severely tempted. As commendable as he i s for many reasons, Angelo has l o s t h i s honor by wanting to do one deed which w i l l disparage i t .  That i s why  i t i s with  increasing irony that he i s addressed as judge with the t i t l e "your honour" and with the customary good wish, frequently repeated, "Heaven keep your honour" (II.ii.25;27-28;43;158).  In the l a s t exchange of I I . i i , Angelo  e x p l i c i t l y points the irony: I s a b e l l a says, "Save your honour." And Angelo r e p l i e s , "From thee: even from thy v i r t u e ! " ( I I . i i . 1 6 2 ) . It i s also i r o n i c that Angelo's e n t i r e temptation place w i t h i n the context of the Duke's t e s t i n g of him.  of I s a b e l l a has taken This i s made clear by  a d i r e c t verbal p a r a l l e l between I s a b e l l a ' s s i t u a t i o n and Angelo's.  She  presents h e r s e l f for t h e i r second interview with the words, " I am come to know  - 137 -  your pleasure," ( II.iv.31 ) and t h i s w i l l mean, of course, l e a r n i n g of Angelo's w i l l f u l designs upon her.  Likewise, Angelo had presented himself to the Duke  with the words, "Always obedient to your Grace's w i l l , / I come to know your pleasure" (I.i.25-26).  The Duke's designs on Angelo have been to see " I f  power change purpose, what our seemers be" ( I . i i i . 5 4 ) .  The Duke has succeeded  in showing Angelo that given power he would prove unjust, but Angelo has l i k e w i s e shown I s a b e l l a t h a t , given the power to save her brother, she h e r s e l f would prove to be unmerciful.  I t i s d i s t u r b i n g , moreover, to notice that both  t e s t s are " w i l l f u l , " not reasonable. Neither the Duke nor Angelo can appeal to " r i g h t reason" as the basis f o r t h e i r actions. e s p e c i a l l y the a u t h o r i t i e s —  In t h i s play, a l l people  —  proceed w i l l f u l l y and create confusion, a  process whose d i s t u r b i n g i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r order are enacted i n the f r u s t r a t i o n s of formal expectations at the close of the play.  I s a b e l l a learns the f u l l w i l l f u l n e s s of her world when she goes to Claudio i n p r i s o n , seeking h i s support f o r her d e c i s i o n .  She i s frightened  and shaken by Angelo's l o s s of honor and by the proud man of authority who has bid  "the law make curtsy to [his]  w i l l / Hooking both r i g h t and wrong to  th'appetite,/ To follow as i t draws." Surely, she expects, Claudio "Though he hath f a l l ' n by prompture of the blood [as Angelo has]/Yet hath i n him such a mind of honour/ That had he twenty heads to tender down/ On twenty blocks, he'd y i e l d them up/ Before h i s s i s t e r should her body stoop/ To such abhorr'd p o l l u t i o n " (II.iv.174-182).  Claudio's w i l l i n g death would v i n d i c a t e Isabel's p o s i t i o n —  that, i f  l a w f u l mercy cannot be procured, l i f e must y i e l d to a higher p r i n c i p l e .  It  has damaged I s a b e l l a ' s p o s i t i o n i n the eyes of many c r i t i c s that t h i s p r i n c i p l e happens to be her own c h a s t i t y .  A f t e r a l l , the heroine of  Shakespeare's source, Cassandra, consents to lose her c h a s t i t y i n order to save her brother's l i f e , and consents, as w e l l , to lose her honor with i t . - 138 -  Why  should  I s a b e l l a s t i c k at t h i s p o i n t ?  One  Shakespeare i s w r i t i n g a d i f f e r e n t p l a y . Angelo, and  i f , f u r t h e r , he were to go  anyway, as Whetstone t o l d the t h a t of how surrender  her  f o r no  Claudio  would be  simply  should  c o n t i n u e at  pleaded a g a i n s t Angelo's " J u s t i c e " i n the p r i n c i p l e f o r the sake of  (or at l e a s t d e d i c a t i n g ) life  kill  to  I s a b e l l a ' s r e f u s a l to  of whether l i f e  also surrender  c o s t or would not  resolved  a t y r a n n i c a l judge.  I s a b e l l a has  must she  i s " g i v i n g up"  m e r c i f u l at any lived  principle.  to save C l a u d i o ;  which she  i s s u e to be  c h a s t i t y r a i s e s the q u e s t i o n  the c o s t o f any order  I f I s a b e l l a were to consent  back on h i s promise and  s t o r y , the  t o get j u s t i c e a g a i n s t  obvious reason i s t h a t  her  own  life?  l o s e i t s meaning f o r her  Should she i f i t were  purpose?  When I s a b e l  seeks out  Claudio  i n p r i s o n , she  f i n d s t h a t he  is  already  prepared to d i e , thanks to the Duke's " c o n s o l a t i o n , " d e l i v e r e d i n the g u i s e F r i a r Lodowick. p o s i t i o n as we opposites. life,  Claudio,  i n fact, i s "absolute"  have seen, s i n c e a b s o l u t e  c h a s t i t y and  surrenders  to l i v e .  about e n c o u n t e r i n g darkness as a b r i d e and, t o be  Claudio  g i v e s up h i s brave speech  (II.i.220).  a c t s on Angelo's example, t a k i n g courage from h i s c o n v i c t i o n l i k e Angelo must know what he  the s i n t h a t would save him any  He  sister's  l i k e Pompey the bawd, shows  "a poor f e l l o w t h a t would l i v e "  t h a t a wise man  at  their  At the l e a s t glimmer o f hope f o r  h i s w i l l i n g n e s s to d i e f o r the sake of h i s  p l e a d s t h a t he be allowed  of  f o r death, a dangerous  a t t i t u d e s tend to provoke  T h i s , i n f a c t , i s what happens.  Claudio  himself  be  a virtue.  cost, i t i s his Angelo-like  i s d o i n g , and  I t i s h i s desperate pleading  w i l l i n g n e s s to do  anything  w i l l or a p p e t i t e , h i s j u g g l i n g of names f o r v i r t u e and to t u r n on her b r o t h e r  with a l o a t h i n g p r o p o r t i o n a t e  -  139  is willing  -  for  call  life  f o r the sake o f  v i c e , t h a t cause  t o her  to  fear:  Isabel  0, you beast! 0 f a i t h l e s s coward! 0 dishonest wretch! W i l t thou then be made a man out of my v i c e ? " (III.i.135-137) Her r e a c t i o n i s as extreme as her fear of unbridled appetite.  She sees i n  Claudio's a t t i t u d e a surrender of a l l attempts to l i v e for some purpose.  In  r h e t o r i c a l terms, Isabel sees the f a i l u r e of any symbol to order the world of motion —  to provide a purpose for a c t i o n .  not a c c i d e n t a l but a trade."  That i s why she says, "Thy  sin's  Claudio's impetuous f o r n i c a t i o n with J u l i e t  but a h i n t of more unrestrained appetite to come.  was  She who pleaded for mercy  now believes that even that p r i n c i p l e has i t s l i m i t s .  "Mercy to thee would  prove i t s e l f a bawd," she says, "'Tis best that thou d i e s t q u i c k l y " (III.i.147-149)• What to do with Claudio, then, has become a problem both for those who would k i l l him for the sake of j u s t i c e or save him for the sake of mercy.  He  i s not so wicked that he deserves to d i e ; he i s not so innocent that he deserves to l i v e .  He i s the natural ground on which two contending a t t i t u d e s  meet and debate the merits of t h e i r claims to decide h i s f a t e .  A sensitive  response to t h e i r confrontation should be a troubled one, since neither j u s t i c e nor mercy can provide an obvious answer about what to do. at t h i s point cannot i d e n t i f y with e i t h e r p o s i t i o n represented  An audience  by Angelo or  I s a b e l l a , nor can i t allow Claudio to l i v e unless he can i n some way  be  pardoned or exonerated.  The d i f f i c u l t y of f i n d i n g a term that w i l l resolve t h i s dilemma i s complicated by the d i f f i c u l t y of naming anything for what i t i s because appearance and r e a l i t y are often interchangeable.  The c e n t r a l act of  deception (or deceiving a c t ) , of course, i s Angelo's appearing  to be a j u s t  judge and a " p r e c i s e " person while a c t u a l l y being l e s s innocent than Claudio. With Shakespearean i r o n y , h i s d e c e i t f u l i n t e n t i o n i s c l e a r l y stated to I s a b e l : - 140 -  "...on mine honour,/ My words express my Little  honour, t o be much b e l i e v ' d / And  seeming!"  To which  she r e p l i e s ,  most p e r n i c i o u s purpose!  "Ha?  Seeming,  ( I I .iv.146-149).  Angelo's r e a l i t y troublesome  i s clear  q u e s t i o n a r i s e s , how  on i m p a r t i a l or  purpose."  justice  enough, at l e a s t t o I s a b e l , but the o f t e n does the appearance  of a u t h o r i t y  ( i n c l u d i n g t h e Duke's?) h i d e a r e a l i t y  grounded  based  in will  appetite.  0 p l a c e , 0 form, How o f t e n dost thou w i t h thy case, thy h a b i t , Wrench awe from f o o l s , and t i e the wiser s o u l s To thy f a l s e seeming! (II.iv.12-15)  How  o f t e n i s apparent mercy n o t h i n g of the k i n d ?  J u s t i c e : Lord Angelo i s s e v e r e . E s c a l u s : I t i s but n e e d f u l Mercy i s not i t s e l f , t h a t o f t l o o k s so. Pardon i s s t i l l the nurse of second woe. (II.i.279-281)  How  often i s l i f e Duke:  i t s e l f a k i n d of death and death i t s e l f a k i n d of  life?  Thou hast nor youth, nor age, But as i t were an a f t e r - d i n n e r ' s s l e e p Dreaming on both... What's y e t i n t h i s That bears the name o f l i f e ? Yet i n t h i s l i f e L i e h i d moe thousand deaths; yet death we f e a r That makes these odds a l l even. III.i.32-41)  In  such a w o r l d , where t r u t h i s hard enough t o determine, s l a n d e r o f a u t h o r i t y  is  especially  complicated  fearsome  task.  and d e t e s t a b l e because  i t c o m p l i c a t e s an a l r e a d y  Concern w i t h s l a n d e r runs as a m o t i f throughout t h i s  and c u l m i n a t e s i n the t r i a l  o f A c t V, where i t w i l l  - 141  -  be analyzed more  play,  fully.  THE  The  COMIC SUB-PLOT: I HOPE HERE BE TRUTHS  themes which a r i s e over the case o f C l a u d i o a r e repeated by  Shakespeare i n the s u b - p l o t so t h a t a study o f t h a t a c t i o n w i l l up and to f i l l  out what has been s a i d so f a r .  life  i s a d i s e a s e d world,  to  o f Vienna  Most o b v i o u s l y , the b r o t h e l  unreformable  be d e f i n e d and even i f i t i s p e r s o n i f i e d  serve t o sum  by "grace,"  however grace i s  i n h i s Grace the Duke h i m s e l f .  L i k e Pompey, i t s spokesman, the underworld may s u f f e r t h e checks o f law, but it will  find  some means t o l i v e .  When the p r o c l a m a t i o n  f o r p u l l i n g down  houses o f p r o s t i t u t i o n goes i n t o e f f e c t , Pompey c o u n s e l s M i s t r e s s Overdone t o take courage:  "Though you change p l a c e , you need not change your t r a d e "  (I.ii.99-100).  A f t e r E s c a l u s warns him o f a whipping u n l e s s he ceases  t a p s t e r , Pompey b o a s t s : "Whip me?  t o be a  No, no, l e t carman whip h i s j a d e ; / The  v a l i a n t h e a r t ' s not whipt out o f h i s t r a d e " ( I I . i . 2 5 2 - 2 5 3 ) .  And when he i s  f i n a l l y thrown i n t o p r i s o n , he f i n d s t h a t i t i s very much l i k e a house o f p r o s t i t u t i o n once a g a i n ; a l l t h e r e g u l a r s a r e t h e r e , and the " m y s t e r i e s " o f hangman and bawd are much the same: they both "beheading."  t h r i v e on " d y i n g " and  In a d a r i n g pun, Shakespeare a s s o c i a t e s the f o r c e s o f law and  l a w l e s s n e s s as workmen toward a common end: death o r d e r and l i f e . Barnardine  Pompey t h e bawd w i l l  j o i n Abhorson the hangman i n c a l l i n g  to " r i s e and be put to death"  the s t a t e and a l s o , through  and d i s e a s e i n the name o f  ( I V , i i i . 2 8 ) , an a c t i o n r e q u i r e d by  t h e puns on " r i s e " and "death,"  s u g g e s t i v e o f the  bawd's p r o f e s s i o n . 7  The  h i s t o r y o f Pompey suggests  t h a t the d i s e a s e o f s e x u a l l i c e n s e can  never be e r a d i c a t e d from the s t a t e , not o n l y because i t i s a h i g h l y  adaptable  v i r u s , but because no one i s exempt from c a t c h i n g i t . Even m i n i s t e r s o f s t a t e whose purpose i s j u s t judgement can have t h a t purpose changed by power. "heading  Their  and hanging" may serve no s o c i a l purpose a t a l l but o n l y a p p e t i t e , as  -  142 -  the h i s t o r y of Angelo has shown.  He was a man who saw himself as "precise"  and a j u s t judge, but who soon discovered "blood thou a r t blood" ( I I . i v . 1 5 ) . His appetite had been restrained e a s i l y enough before he met I s a b e l , but i t had been piqued by her because i n two ways she represented a challenge worthy of h i s e f f o r t s .  As a " s a i n t " and a v i r g i n , I s a b e l l a i s Angelo's equal, and,  l i k e him, i s keeping powerful sexual f e e l i n g s under s t r i c t c o n t r o l .  Deep i s  c a l l i n g to deep i n t h e i r encounter, a l l the more powerfully because the f e e l i n g s are i m p l i c i t and a mutual union i s o s t e n s i b l y unattainable.  On  another l e v e l , I s a b e l l a i s defending an example of lawlessness that had become known to J u s t i c e ; she represents v i r g i n t e r r i t o r y into which the absolute a p p l i c a t i o n of J u s t i c e might be extended.  Angelo's appetite, then, takes the  form f i r s t of t r y i n g to "behead" I s a b e l l a i n the name of the law which, he claims, "requires" t h i s act as redemption for her brother; then, he t r i e s to behead Claudio anyway to save himself from the danger of revenge against the abuse of h i s a u t h o r i t y .  Through punning, then, and through the sub-plot a c t i o n , Shakespeare r a i s e s d i s t u r b i n g questions about authority and order i n s o c i e t y .  Angelo's  appetite f o r order i s shown to be as unruly and d e s t r u c t i v e as l u s t can be i n sexual r e l a t i o n s .  Both the body p o l i t i c and the human body are equally  subject to a rage f o r order that can be deadly.  This creates a dilemma.  On  the one hand, authority i s needed to prevent disorder i n terms of l u s t and disease; i n r h e t o r i c a l terms, authority enables a society to " i d e n t i f y " i t s own purposes and to act together accordingly.  On the other hand, authority i s  l i m i t e d and f a l l i b l e ; i t cannot e x t i r p the l i f e of d i s s i d e n t a t t i t u d e s , and i t cannot keep from acting i n a way i n c o n s i s t e n t from i t s own stated ends. The bawds of Vienna therefore present a problem; they need to be regulated i n some way, but how?  As we have seen, Claudio has become the test  case f o r what to do, and he i s a good choice because an audience w i l l want - 143 -  a u t h o r i t y t o save him.  He i s too much the o r d i n a r y person  too common t o be s a c r i f i c e d C l a u d i o i s t o be spared,  t o any r i g o r o u s reason.  what grounds w i l l  and h i s o f f e n s e i s  On t h e o t h e r hand, i f  authority provide consistent with a  p u b l i c order with which an audience a l s o needs t o i d e n t i f y ? authority  f a c e s i s where t o draw t h e l i n e : how t o name the a c t i o n i n such a  way t h a t an a t t i t u d e can be taken  toward i t .  For Pompey and the bawds, C l a u d i o ' s o f f e n s e p r e s e n t s t h e i r word p l a y suggests in  legal  The problem  no problem, and  both how n a t u r a l i t i s and how d i f f i c u l t t o i d e n t i f y  terms:  M i s t r e s s Overdone: W e l l ! What has he done? Pompey: A woman. M i s t r e s s Overdone: But what's h i s o f f e n s e ? Pompey: Groping f o r t r o u t s i n a p e c u l i a r r i v e r . M i s t r e s s Overdone: What? I s t h e r e a maid w i t h c h i l d by him? Pompey: No: but t h e r e ' s a woman w i t h maid by him. (I.ii.80-85)  But  human s o c i e t y r e q u i r e s names f o r a c t i o n s and r e l a t i o n s h i p s .  "thou  s h a l t nots" i n order t o preserve  i g n o r e the i n j u n c t i o n "thou  t h e order  i t wants.  I t i s f u l l of  Only i f t h i e v e s  s h a l t not s t e a l " can they have warrant f o r what  they do ( I . i i . 7 - 1 6 ) , but even as outlaws t o e s t a b l i s h e d o r d e r ,  thieves  will  make some law t o govern themselves, because no s o c i e t y can e x i s t without i t . "What knows t h e laws/ That t h i e v e s do pass on t h i e v e s ? , " says Angelo 23).  Claudio's  f a t e has t o be decided  (II.i.22-  i n some way; hence the i n c o n c l u s i v e  debate between j u s t i c e and mercy, Angelo and I s a b e l l a  i n A c t I I , scenes 2 and  4.  Shakespeare takes  another  p e r s p e c t i v e on t h e problem o f C l a u d i o by  p r e s e n t i n g Elbow's a r r e s t o f F r o t h and Pompey and t h e i r t r i a l  before  in  fellow  II.iii.  Elbow's m i s p l a c i n g s  constables Dull  (a c u r i o u s d e f e c t shared w i t h  Escalus  and Dogberry) are e s p e c i a l l y a p p r o p r i a t e to the themes o f t h i s  - 144 -  play.  Once again they show how  s l i p p e r y language can  o f f e n s e i s not always a c c u r a t e . malefactors,  and  "Notorious  an "honourable" man  g l a n c i n g at h i s "honour" A n g e l o ) .  be;  i t s naming of  b e n e f a c t o r s " a r e , of  i s c l e a r l y dishonourable  the term, but as Pompey uses i t r e f e r r i n g t o Elbow's w i f e , " r e s p e c t e d " i n two  senses of the word, a l l o w i n g him  keep c l e a r of s l a n d e r a t the same time. l e a n s on J u s t i c e , difficulty  are laughably  of symbolic  The  ironic as Elbow uses  " r e s p e c t e d " means  t o . i n s u l t Elbow and  to  m i s p l a c i n g s o f Elbow, the man  who  c o r r e c t a b l e , but they echo the more p a i n f u l '  a c t i o n i n the main p l o t where a u t h o r i t y ' s naming of  C l a u d i o ' s a c t i o n i s a matter of l i f e or  In the course  course,  (an  "Respected" means "suspected"  an  death.  of the t r i a l , Pompey's defense of F r o t h r e s t s upon  t r u s t i n g t o appearances: "Doth your honour see any harm i n h i s face?...I'11 supposed upon a book, h i s face i s t h e worst t h i n g about him" Of course,  such a c r i t e r i o n  be  (II.i.151-155).  i s dangerous; i t would condemn C l a u d i o because h i s  o f f e n s e i s " w r i t l a r g e " upon J u l i e t  and would p r e s e r v e Angelo because he seems  innocent  Yet,  up u n t i l the t r i a l  scene.  s o l i l o q u y , Angelo's and C l a u d i o ' s crimes  as the Duke i m p l i e s i n a s e n t e n t i o u s are the same:  Shame to him whose c r u e l s t r i k i n g K i l l s - f o r f a u l t s of h i s own l i k i n g ! Twice t r e b l e shame on Angelo; To weed my v i c e , and l e t h i s grow! (III.ii.260-263)  Given  a c h o i c e between Elbow's m i s p l a c i n g of names and Pompey's s o p h i s t i c  reasonings, Iniquity?" to  no wonder E s c a l u s asks, ( I I . i . 169).  be s t r i k i n g l y  here, J u s t i c e or  Once a g a i n , the workings of the law  and  the bawd prove  similar.  In the course o f the t r i a l s u b j e c t of some concern Deputy, i t was,  "Which i s the wiser  the concern  to authority.  with slander i s a l s o r a i s e d , a  When the Duke appointed  Angelo as  i n p a r t , to a v o i d b e i n g s l a n d e r e d f o r a t y r a n t i f he were t o -  145  -  enforce laws whose transgression he had seemed to tolerate  (I.iii.39-43).  Slander w i l l be something of which the Duke disguised as F r i a r w i l l be accused during the t r i a l of Act V and of which Lucio w i l l be convicted.  The State  cannot be slandered for what i t does without losing allegiance to  its  authority, and authority is a l l that mediates between a s o c i e t y ' s yearning for order and the "disease" of lawlessness.  As the t r i a l before Escalus makes  c l e a r , however, i t is not always easy to t e l l when slander has occurred.  The issue arises when Pompey gives Elbow's wife the equivocal compliment that she i s "respected."  When Elbow demands proof of the charge, or " I ' l l  have mine action of battery on thee," Escalus suggests, "If he took you a box o* t h ' ear, you might have your action of slander too" ( I I I . i . 175-178).  Not  only are the actions of slander and battery confused, but the supposed action of slander has l i t e r a l l y been a compliment, even i f i t was intended to be an insult.  In the main action of the play, i t w i l l not be any easier to t e l l  when there has been slander to the State or not.  F i n a l l y , Escalus's judgement seems to mirror what we know of the Duke's rule before the play: namely, a tolerant attitude that has so far l e f t everything as i t i s .  Escalus warns Froth not to frequent tapsters;  he warns  Pompey of a whipping i f he i s caught at his trade again, and he seeks to replace Elbow as constable since i t both pains him and leaves j u s t i c e undone. Such authority may seem a model of moderation or temperance, but in the context of a state which has known fourteen years or more of neglected law enforcement,  the result is indecorous.  By the Duke's own admission to F r i a r  Peter, his giving the"people scope was a "fault" and is to be remedied now by whatever means Angelo can devise  (I.iii.35).  The t r i a l of Froth and Pompey, l i k e the case of Claudio, presents the irreformable fact of lust along with the conviction that something must be  -  146 -  done about i t .  A u t h o r i t y i s provoked to act f o r the sake o f o r d e r , but how i t  should a c t by heading  or hanging or by k i n d l y warning, i s hard  dilemma i s made a l l the more d i f f i c u l t by law e n f o r c e r s who and  merely bumble t h e i r way  HIS  GRACE THE  For some c r i t i c s , is,  to whatever j u s t i c e  DUKE:  i s to be  misname the  the Duke r e p r e s e n t s the s o l u t i o n to t h i s dilemma.  Cassandra,  d e l i v e r s the i n n o c e n t and  Vincentio represents a t h i r d c l a i m s o f J u s t i c e and  crime  LIKE PROVIDENCE DIVINE?  f o r example, the D i s g u i s e d Ruler of f o l k l o r e , l i k e King Severus,  Corvinus o f Promos and  The  found.  out abuses i n d i s g u i s e i n order t o b r i n g them to j u s t i c e .  who  to t e l l .  Mercy.  the a l l - p o w e r f u l and  r e n d e r s j u s t judgement. "term" t h a t can He  transcend  He  is like  f i n a l court of  who  He seeks  King appeal  For o t h e r s , Duke and  so mediate the  i s Temperance, f o r example, l i k e the kind  e n j o i n e d upon r u l e r s i n James I's B a s i l i k o n Doran or he i s A r i s t o t e l i a n Moderation.  More m y s t i c a l l y , he r e p r e s e n t s Providence  Lord o f the C h r i s t i a n p a r a b l e who  itself;  he i s l i k e  the  went away l e a v i n g h i s s e r v a n t s i n charge o f  his  a f f a i r s and  commanding them to spend t h e i r t a l e n t s w e l l u n t i l h i s r e t u r n .  The  Duke i s "Grace" i n c o n t r a s t to Angelo's "honour"; he r e p r e s e n t s a d i v i n e  deliverance for f r a i l  humanity based on a mercy beyond any  j u s t i c e o f human  devising.^  These f o l k l o r i c  and b i b l i c a l m o t i f s are r e e n f o r c e d by the q u a l i t y o f the  verse i n the second h a l f of the p l a y —  the Duke's sphere  times, s e n t e n t i o u s c o u p l e t s p o i n t the moral; e x p o s i t o r y prose  dilemmas, presented  earlier  to be viewed p a r t l y from t h a t p e r s p e c t i v e and  c o n v e n t i o n a l l y romantic  and m y s t i c a l . -  147 -  At  at o t h e r t i m e s , a b r i s k  s e r v e s the n e c e s s i t i e s o f p l o t m a n i p u l a t i o n .  world where r e a l i s t i c now  of a c t i o n .  i n powerful  We  are i n a  blank v e r s e , are  p a r t l y from a p e r s p e c t i v e  In v a r i o u s ways, c r i t i c s have argued the success  o f the Duke's  methods, the wisdom o f h i s supposed p o i n t o f view, and divine identity.  devious  the d i g n i t y o f h i s  They say t h a t he educates Angelo to repentance o f h i s  I s a b e l l a to w o r l d l y r e s p e c t f o r the c l a i m s o f the world defended honor, and  crime,  a g a i n s t her w e l l -  C l a u d i o to the r e c o g n i t i o n t h a t "That l i f e  i s better  life,  past f e a r i n g death,/ Than t h a t which l i v e s to f e a r " (V.i.395-396).9  However, even those  who  defend the Duke remain t r o u b l e d by the sense o f  some f r u s t r a t i o n which remains at the end example, who  of the a c t i o n .  c l a i m s t h a t the Duke succeeds i n " r e h a b i l i t a t i n g " Angelo's  c h a r a c t e r and  provides  a "comic r e s o l u t i o n " adds immediately, " T h i s does not  mean t h a t the many r e a d e r s  who  f i n d the ending of Measure f o r Measure  u n s a t i s f a c t o r y are i n s e n s i t i v e or mistaken. u n s a t i s f a c t o r y i n t h a t i t d i s a p p o i n t s our than the world  a f f o r d s and  lend r e a l i t y and terms, formal  Robert O r n s t e i n , f o r  The  ending of the p l a y i s  l o n g i n g f o r a more p e r f e c t j u s t i c e  because i t a v o i d s the very moral problems which  meaning to a c o n t r i v e d n o v e l l a f a b l e . "  expectations  have been f r u s t r a t e d .  of the c o n f l i c t between j u s t i c e and  The  1 0  In  rhetorical  syllogistic  development  mercy h a l t s w i t h I s a b e l l a ' s r e f u s a l  g i v e i n to Angelo; the Duke's maneuvers s i g n a l a q u a l i t a t i v e s h i f t p e r s p e c t i v e which i s b e s i d e conventional  The  Duke's c h a r a c t e r  a l l u s i o n s t o f o l k l o r e and  to another  the p o i n t o f what to do about l a w l e s s n e s s ,  ending o f marriage i s p r o v i d e d  o n l y to be  to  and  the  resisted.  as supreme a u t h o r i t y , b u t t r e s s e d  as i t i s by  the b i b l e , seems to o f f e r hope o f a r e s o l u t i o n to a  troublesome human dilemma: the o r d e r i n g o f p e r s o n a l  and  social relationships.  But the darkness of t h i s p l a y stems from the f a c t t h a t the Duke's a u t h o r i t y o r d e r s a s o l u t i o n which o r i g i n a t e s merely w i t h h i s w i l l to p r o v i d e o f f e r s no r e a s o n a b l e upon e x a m i n a t i o n .  motive f o r h i s proceeding) and  which proves  I t i s the Duke's k i n d o f r u l e which has  -  148  -  i t (he  ineffective  allowed  the  dilemma  of Claudio to a r i s e i n the f i r s t place, and i t i s the Duke's kind of s o l u t i o n which leaves that dilemma j u s t where i t i s . V i n c e n t i o , l i k e Angelo, begins the play b e l i e v i n g that the laws of Vienna have been neglected:  We have s t r i c t s t a t u t e s and most b i t i n g laws, The needful b i t s and curbs to headstrong jades, Which f o r fourteen years we have l e t s l i p . (I.iii.19-21) Moreover, h i s f i r s t act upon donning h i s d i s g u i s e i s to urge Claudio to be absolute f o r death.  He gives no h i n t to the audience that he has any u l t e r i o r  and beneficent purpose f o r t h i s advice.  He seems, r a t h e r , to be cooperating  with h i s Deputy i n the act of e x t i r p a t i n g lawbreakers.  Even i f Claudio i s  r e l a t i v e l y harmless and innocent, the law must begin somewhere; j u s t i c e must seize what i s open to i t , and Claudio's offense i s undeniably p u b l i c .  Only  a f t e r overhearing I s a b e l l a ' s report of Angelo's i n j u s t i c e and Claudio's pleading f o r h i s l i f e does the Duke spring into a c t i o n . In doing so, he leaves behind the question of whether Claudio deserves to die or not, accepts the assumption that he ought to l i v e , and devotes h i s f u l l energy to f r u s t r a t i n g Angelo's plans.  The focus of the play s h i f t s from a serious  r e s o l u t i o n of a debate over lawlessness to the engineering of an ending i n which everyone l i v e s , i n c l u d i n g those who want to d i e .  A study of the Duke's  methods w i l l show t h a t , as u s u a l , he i s avoiding a r e s o l u t i o n rather that providing one.  Since I s a b e l l a refuses to give i n to Angelo, the Duke must f i n d a s u b s t i t u t e who w i l l s a t i s f y Angelo's conditions f o r saving Claudio's l i f e . Conveniently, Mariana l i e s ready to hand, and the Duke explains to Isabel i n b u s i n e s s - l i k e prose the f o u r f o l d benefit of her going to Angelo: "...by t h i s  - 149 -  i s your brother saved, your honour untainted, the poor Mariana advantaged, and the  corrupt deputy scaled" (III.i.253-256). Elegant as i t i s , the bed-trick s o l u t i o n has always caused problems f o r  critics.  Admitedly, i t i s a "deceit" and, as such, t a i n t s the Duke's  character and the act of h i s saving Claudio.  Shakespeare, however, seems to  have taken pains to defend the device against these charges.  Three times the  Duke gives assurances that the t r i c k i s an acceptable means to a remedy: here, in Act I I I , scene 1; again, i n the s o l i l o q u y of I I I . i i . 2 7 0 - 2 7 5 : C r a f t against vice I must apply, With Angelo tonight s h a l l l i e His o l d betrothed but despised: So disguise s h a l l by th'disguised Pay with falsehood f a l s e exacting, And perform an o l d c o n t r a c t i n g .  and to Mariana i n IV.i.71-75: ...gentle daughter, fear you not at a l l . He i s your husband on a pre-contract: To bring you thus together ' t i s no s i n , With that the j u s t i c e of your t i t l e to him Doth f l o u r i s h the d e c e i t .  The Duke ignores the moral issue of whether the end can ever j u s t i f y the means; instead, he favors the poetic j u s t i c e of the device (deceit defeats deceit) and the dramatic paradox of the t r i c k (deceit w i l l e s t a b l i s h what the Duke regards as the true r e l a t i o n s h i p of Angelo and Mariana).  The bed t r i c k  could, f o r these reasons, be defended by the standards of a "higher law" whose ways are not always human ways. To accept the t r i c k i s to accept the Duke as a Providence who i s free to act f o r h i s own benevolent purposes and whose r e s u l t s should prove the wisdom of h i s actions. We w i l l return to t h i s point momentarily. the  Meanwhile, i t i s c l e a r that  Duke intends to save Claudio by s u b s t i t u t i n g one head f o r another:  - 150 -  Mariana's maidenhead f o r I s a b e l l a ' s . agreement  w i t h I s a b e l l a and d e c i d e s to behead  corners i s cornered again. to  When Angelo, however, reneges on h i s C l a u d i o anyway, the Duke o f dark  Once more he seeks t o get out by a s u b s t i t u t i o n :  submit someone e l s e ' s head  for Claudio's.  T h i s time, however, he meets a  g r e a t e r c h a l l e n g e than the one I s a b e l l a posed f o r him. B a r n a r d i n e , but the man,  like  I s a b e l , r e f u s e s to " d i e . "  C l a u d i o , B a r n a r d i n e i s a poor man  who  would  live.  L i k e Pompey and  He has no s p e c i f i c  j u s t a b r u t e , h a b i t u a l , i n s t i n c t i v e c l i n g i n g to l i f e . l i v e nor t o d i e .  He wants t o use  purpose,  He i s " f i t " n e i t h e r to  S i n c e h i s very presence i n the p r i s o n i s t h e r e s u l t o f the  Duke's e a r l i e r , l e n i e n t d e c i s i o n to l i v e and l e t l i v e , B a r n a r d i n e i s a comic reminder t h a t the Duke has been unable t o do a n y t h i n g about him b e f o r e and cannot do a n y t h i n g  now.  The Duke i s d e l i v e r e d by an " a c c i d e n t t h a t heaven p i r a t e , the Duke now  from the impasse which h i s own provides."  i n a c t i o n has caused  Thanks t o the death of Ragozine the  has another head to send to Angelo, and, w i t h danger  a v e r t e d , he i s f r e e t o proceed t o unmask Angelo f o r what he has done and to wrap up the ending by a s s i g n i n g rewards and punishments.  This  deliverance,  welcome as i t i s , shows t h a t the Duke i s as h e l p l e s s as Angelo or E s c a l u s b e f o r e the l a w l e s s n e s s o f V i e n n a .  He i s as incompetent as he ever was,  audience's l a u g h t e r a t t h i s p o i n t stems from i t s r u e f u l awareness b e s t o f supposedly a u t h o r i t a t i v e wisdom i s a patchwork bottom,  affair;  " a c c i d e n t t h a t heaven  t h a t the  t h a t , at  even the Duke cannot d e c i d e i f B a r n a r d i n e i s f i t f o r l i f e  and t h a t i f a n y t h i n g i s t o be done to move on, i t w i l l  and  or death;  have to depend  on an  provides."  T h i s i s a dark i n d i c t m e n t o f human i n c a p a c i t y , i f looked i n t o too c u r i o u s l y , and i t i s compounded by the q u e s t i o n , do the Duke's s u b s t i t u t i o n s even a c c o m p l i s h the purpose he i n t e n d s f o r them?  C e r t a i n l y Ragozine's head  saves C l a u d i o ' s , and no one, I t h i n k , o b j e c t s t o t h a t .  For reasons i t may  an  never be a b l e to e x p l a i n  (and which i t i s never r e q u i r e d t o understand) the  audience wants C l a u d i o t o l i v e . Isabella's? audience?  But does Mariana's head  The Duke t h i n k s so, but does Angelo?  subsititute for  More i m p o r t a n t l y , does the  Does not H a r r i e t Hawkins speak f o r many when she asks, "...one  w e l l wonder j u s t what might have happened i n the bed of Angelo. [ I s a b e l l a ] have responded?  Could he be r i g h t  s e n s u a l i t y e q u a l t o h i s own?  Who  How  may  would  i n a t t r i b u t i n g to her a l a t e n t  wouldn't l i k e to f i n d t h a t o u t ? . . . I n c e r t a i n  works, the author arouses a d e s i r e , on the p a r t o f h i s audience f o r c l i m a x , not a n t i c l i m a x .  Thus —  sometimes —  f o r the audience, as w e l l as f o r c e r t a i n  dramatic heroes and h e r o i n e s , t h e r e can be no contentment way.  Indeed, f i c t i o n a l c h a r a c t e r s o f v a r i o u s k i n d s may  f o r our own d e s i r e , or  d e s i r e s to ' t r y the utmost,' fear."  but i n going a l l the  s e r v e as s u r r o g a t e s  t o e x p e r i e n c e whatever  i t i s we most  1 1  The o b j e c t i o n t o the bed t r i c k , then, i s not so much on moral as on formal grounds.  I t p r e v e n t s Angelo and I s a b e l l a from r e s o l v i n g  r e l a t i o n s h i p i n the terms t h a t they have s e t up.  their  Angelo's a c t o f l u s t  which he has a l r e a d y l e a r n e d so much about h i s f r a i l t y ,  from  i s countered w i t h a  f o r c e d commitment from which he g a i n s n o t h i n g except a l o v e he does not want.  The Duke, who  cannot d e c i d e what t o do about B a r n a r d i n e , seems t o have  no problem d e c i d i n g about Angelo.  In e f f e c t , he "beheads"  him w i t h Mariana.  I t i s no a c c i d e n t t h a t immediately a f t e r the Duke e x p l a i n s to Mariana the r i g h t n e s s o f her a c t i o n and h i s d e c e i t , the P r o v o s t asks Pompey, "Can you cut o f f a man's head?"  (IV.ii.1).  The Duke i s l i k e Pompey, t h e n , who  a l s o comes  to the p r i s o n and t h e r e t a k e s upon h i m s e l f the d u a l r o l e o f hangman and bawd (IV.ii.14-16).  The Duke may  defend h i s a c t i o n s as b e s t he can, and an audience  yearn to a c c e p t them f o r the sake of the d e s i r e d ending.  - 152 -  may  Both the Duke's  a u t h o r i t y and may  the a u t h o r i t y of the c o n v e n t i o n a l  form of a t r a g i - c o m i c  work to persuade the audience to applaud the s a v i n g of C l a u d i o .  Elbow's entrance Isabella,  immediately a f t e r the Duke's e x p l a i n i n g the bed  l i k e the P r o v o s t ' s  p e r s p e c t i v e on what has  comment, c a s t s an o b l i q u e but  just transpired.  The  Duke has  l i k e b e a s t s , we (III.ii.1-4).  s h a l l have a l l the world L o g i c a l l y , Elbow's " i t "  On  the open E l i z a b e t h a n stage,  "it"  j u s t presented  provide  a happy ending —  their plays.  s e l l men  his "Nay,  if  and women  bastard" concupiscence  a remedy through pimping.  however, w i t h no break i n the a c t i o n , Elbow's  Duke's a u t h o r i t y , then,  p r i n c i p l e of o r d e r on the one  and  r e f e r s to something l i k e  can r e f e r s e m a n t i c a l l y i f not l o g i c a l l y  The  to  damaging  d r i n k brown and white  or sexual a p p e t i t e f o r which Pompey would p r o v i d e  But  trick  "remedy" to I s a b e l l a ( I I I . i . 1 9 8 ) when Elbow e n t e r s , c h i d i n g Pompey: t h e r e be no remedy f o r i t , but t h a t you w i l l needs buy  ending  to C l a u d i o ' s  comes under severe  situation.  scrutiny.  hand; from t h i s a u t h o r i t y we  I t i s the  expect the power t o  j u s t as Oberon and Prospero are a b l e to p r o v i d e i n  On the other hand, t h i s a u t h o r i t y has  and moreover uses methods which make i t , at times, a c t i o n s l i k e pimping which i t would c o n t r o l .  l i m i t s t o what i t can  do,  i n d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e from  T h i s t r o u b l i n g , ambivalent view  of "the p r o p e r t i e s of government" i s brought to " l i g h t " e s p e c i a l l y through r o l e of Lucio.  LUCIO:  AN  "INWARD" OF THE  DUKE  L u c i o i s Shakespeare's most d i s t i n c t i v e a d d i t i o n t o h i s source t h e r e f o r e a sure c l u e not only t o h i s intended t r o u b l e d response of the audience at the end r o l e we  emphases but  of the p l a y .  can see Shakespeare working both to p r o v i d e  - 153 -  and  is  a l s o t o the Through L u c i o ' s  a happy ending and  to  the  f r u s t r a t e i t , and author's and  —  i t i s t h i s dual e f f o r t of authority —  which prevents  the Duke's and  the  an audience from i d e n t i f y i n g with a symbol of  order  which t r o u b l e s them.  L u c i o i s not o n l y the scapegoat the Duke would l i k e to make o f him; is  a l s o a r e f l e c t o r o f the Duke's a t t i t u d e s and,  audience two order; order  as such, c r e a t e s f o r the  p e r s p e c t i v e s on the r o l e of a u t h o r i t y : i t i s the o n l y hope f o r  i t a l s o f a i l s to c o o r d i n a t e i t would  Lucio  competing a t t i t u d e s s u c c e s s f u l l y i n the  establish.  i s f i t f o r h i s r o l e by b e i n g  speaks so much l i k e the Duke.  the o n l y c h a r a c t e r who  commenting on t h e i r  f a t e s , and  u r g i n g them to a c t i o n .  s u b j e c t s a l s o m i r r o r the Duke's. a t t i t u d e i s too severe; way  and  citizens,  H i s thoughts on  several  Both, f o r example, t h i n k t h a t Angelo's  both b e l i e v e t h a t C l a u d i o should be  encourages I s a b e l l a to work toward t h a t end,  a d v i c e to her when these  acts  Only L u c i o goes about as much as the Duke does  i n t o the dark c o r n e r s o f V i e n n a , v i s i t i n g w i t h each o f the  his  he  and  spared;  each i n  each o f f e r s the same  e f f o r t s seem i n v a i n : the Duke's "Show your wisdom,  daughter,/ In your c l o s e p a t i e n c e " L u c i o ' s "0 p r e t t y I s a b e l l a , I am  (IV.iii.117-118)  i s echoed soon a f t e r  p a l e at mine heart to see t h i n e eyes so  by red:  thou must be p a t i e n t " ( I V . i i i . 150-151).  It L u c i o and  i s because the audience wants C l a u d i o  the Duke i n t h e i r e f f o r t s to save him.  q u e s t i o n , as Angelo and L u c i o , the q u e s t i o n t i c k tack?" to for  to l i v e t h a t i t s i d e s  He  "Why  should  assumes t h a t the Duke shares  his disguised face:  I t never r a i s e s the  I s a b e l l a do, on what grounds he  i s absurd:  "Why,  a man  with  should  lose his l i f e  live.  For  f o r a game of  h i s t h i n k i n g on t h i s and  says so  what a r u t h l e s s t h i n g i s t h i s i n [the Deputy],  the r e b e l l i o n o f a codpiece  to take away the l i f e  Duke t h a t i s absent have done t h i s ?  o f a man!  Would  Ere he would have hanged a man  - 154  -  the  f o r the  getting a hundred bastards, he would have paid f o r the nursing a thousand.  He  had some f e e l i n g of the sport; he knew the s e r v i c e ; and that i n s t r u c t e d him to mercy" ( I I I . i i . 1 1 0 - 1 1 7 ) . The Duke's defensiveness  ("I have never heard the absent Duke much  detected for women; he was not i n c l i n e d that way")  i s laughable because he  shows such Elbow-like r e s i s t a n c e to an intended compliment.  He also presents  the very image of repression as he struggles under h i s monk's cowl t o beat back Lucio's suggestion of sexual l i c e n s e and h i s own r i s i n g anger at the charge.  C l e a r l y , he does not want h i s compassion f o r Claudio t o be  misconstrued  as c o m p l i c i t y with h i s crime.  He i s s e n s i t i v e to the "slander"  which suggests that h i s authority winks at lawless behaviour.  Yet he o f f e r s  no explanation for h i s decision to free Claudio consistent with h i s opposition to promiscuity .  That opposition was shown most strongly i n the Duke's s t i n g i n g rebuke to Pompey as he was escorted t o p r i s o n : " F i e , s i r r a h , a bawd, a wicked bawd;/ The e v i l that thou causest to be done,/ That i s thy means to l i v e . . . / Canst thou think thy l i v i n g i s a l i f e , / So s t i n k i n g l y depending?...Take him t o p r i s o n , o f f i c e r : / Correction and i n s t r u c t i o n must both work/ Ere t h i s rude beast w i l l profit" (III.ii.18-32).  And these admonitions are echoed by Lucio who turns  on Pompey i n mock triumph j u s t as he has (we learn l a t e r ) betrayed Mistress Overdone to the a u t h o r i t i e s : amiss, Pompey.  "Art going to p r i s o n , Pompey?...Why, ' t i s not  Farewell: go, say I sent thee t h i t h e r " ( I I I . i i . 5 9 - 6 1 ) .  Lucio's dramatic function i s l a r g e l y to echo the Duke.  When t h i s means  pleading for Claudio's l i f e i n Part One, Lucio i s at I s a b e l l a ' s s i d e , urging her to ever more' impassioned pleas f o r mercy.  When t h i s means condemning  f o r n i c a t i o n as a crime, Lucio even betrays h i s f r i e n d s to do so.  Lucio, then,  serves as an extreme example of both tolerance and harshness and, as such,  - 155 -  d i s t r a c t s from an audiences's c o n t r a d i c t o r y a t t i t u d e s so  The  much V i n c e n t i o ' s l o f t y  to Vienna are bound to f a i l and  i n the man  —  because they  i s "not  inclined  a "complete bosom"; but one  I t i s Lucio's  i n t e n t i o n s of b r i n g i n g  and  t h a t way"  recognizes  as he has i n t h i s an  L u c i o i s l i k e the Duke's shadow s e l f , throwing l i g h t  The  a t t i t u d e , the f o r b i d d e n  both i n the  y e t would l i v e .  assurance which i s bound to crumble as s u r e l y as C l a u d i o ' s  the n e g l e c t e d  i s also far  seek to r e p r e s s —  a t t i t u d e s which are l a w l e s s  Duke t e l l s L u c i o t h a t he t h a t he has  i n Pompey, he  the p u l l toward l e c h e r y i n h i m s e l f .  f u n c t i o n , a g a i n , t o show how  city  own  an i n c o n s i s t e n t p o l i c y toward the examples o f  sees a l t e r n a t e l y i n C l a u d i o and  from u n d e r s t a n d i n g  order  f e e l i n g the Duke's  keenly.  Duke not only has  l e c h e r y which he  n o t i c i n g and  The  told Friar absolute  Peter  self-  and Angelo's have.  in Luciferian fashion  on  fruit.  Duke's response i s to r e p r e s s any  suggestion  of acquiescence  an a t t i t u d e at the same time t h a t he t o l e r a t e s i t i n the case of  i n such  Claudio.  L u c i o w i l l be made a scapegoat f o r supposedly s l a n d e r i n g the Duke's c h a r a c t e r . But,  i n h i s a n t i c f a s h i o n , he a c t u a l l y throws l i g h t on the Duke's  efforts:  to p r o v i d e  a happy ending f o r C l a u d i o  e x t i r p a t e the l a w l e s s n e s s  and,  o f which C l a u d i o ' s o f f e n s e  at the same time, t o i s an example.  a scapegoat o f L u c i o , the Duke and Shakespeare p r e s e r v e as a mean between extremes and  distract  twofold  making  the image of the Duke  from the d i s t u r b i n g f a c t t h a t  Duke, l i k e L u c i o , i s a l s o p a t e n t l y i n c o n s i s t e n t .  By  the  Moreover, L u c i o h e l p s  to  r a i s e more than a s u s p i c i o n t h a t the Duke's a u t h o r i t a t i v e c o n c l u s i o n w i l l little  be  b e t t e r than a whitewash, s i n c e t h e Duke shows more s i g n s of r e p r e s s i n g  l a w l e s s l u s t than of accommodating i t w i t h any  - 156 -  wisdom or  patience.  THE CONCLUSION: THIS LOOKS NOT LIKE A NUPTIAL  As the Duke returns to Vienna for a t r i a l of j u s t i c e i n which Angelo w i l l be c a l l e d to account, the audience expects him to provide the happy ending which he has been preparing.  In the conventional sense, he does.  one d i e s , and m u l t i p l e marriages are provided.  No  But a c l o s e r look at the  Duke's arrangements has caused many audiences to respond with only r u e f u l mirth at b e s t .  1 2  Why  i s t h i s so?  Why  are they unpersuaded?  In r h e t o r i c a l  terms, the answer i s to be sought i n the Duke's f r u s t r a t i o n of formal expectations and i n h i s f a i l u r e to provide a symbol of a u t h o r i t y with which an audience can i d e n t i f y .  The t r i a l i n Act V i s concerned, of course, with discovering the t r u t h and with punishing those who slander a u t h o r i t y . i n d i r e c t l y to f i n d these d i r e c t i o n s out.  However, i t begins most  I s a b e l l a , under i n s t r u c t i o n s from  the F r i a r , accuses Angelo f a l s e l y of having forced her to l i e with him, claiming that her charge i s true "to th'end of reck'ning."  Although her accusation seems l i k e madness, the Duke allows her to t e l l her story but dismisses i t s tenor immediately a r r e s t s I s a b e l l a for slander.  ("This i s most l i k e l y ! " ) and  The Duke's judgement, of course, i s t e c h n i c a l l y  c o r r e c t ; Angelo has never v i o l a t e d I s a b e l , and one wonders why she has been advised to proceed t h i s  way.  At t h i s p o i n t , F r i a r Peter produces the v e i l e d Mariana as a witness against I s a b e l l a .  Mariana w i l l not l i f t her v e i l u n t i l her husband bids her,  and so only a f t e r some puzzled questioning to determine her i d e n t i t y and only at Angelo's command — me; now I w i l l unmask"  "Let's see thy face" — (V.i.204-205).  - 157 -  does she say, "My husband bids  The u n v e i l i n g has a dramatic e f f e c t ; i t " r e v e a l s " the t r u t h of Angelo's r e l a t i o n s h i p with Mariana which, hidden up to now, i s announced to a l l , even to Angelo himself.  This i s also the f i r s t of three u n v e i l i n g s at the t r i a l i n  which the revealing of someone's head seems to contribute to the r e s o l u t i o n . F i t t i n g l y , the punning on "heads" e a r l i e r i n the play i s picked up at the conclusion and reenforced; the energy of l i f e seems i r r e p r e s s i b l e as heads emerge from v e i l s or cowls which have concealed them.  However, as i n A l l ' s  Well (where three climaxes at the t r i a l concerned " r i n g s " ) , the b u i l d ups lead to l e t downs. wasted.  Progressive form i s f r u s t r a t e d and the dramatic moment i s  At t h i s p o i n t , for example, Angelo has no reason to acknowledge  Mariana as h i s w i f e , since he thinks that he has v i o l a t e d I s a b e l l a .  He  therefore dismisses the r e v e l a t i o n and i s given leave to f i n d out who i s behind these seemingly f a l s e accusations. The Duke leaves him to h i s o f f i c e with the i n j u n c t i o n " s t i r not u n t i l you have w e l l determined/ Upon these slanderers" (V.i.257-258). With the discovery of the t r u t h delayed and f r u s t r a t e d , the tension mounts toward a second r e v e l a t i o n .  When the Duke, disguised as the F r i a r i s brought i n to defend himself against the charge of having slandered Angelo through the women he counselled, he not only defends himself but further i n d i c t s the "absent" Duke, Angelo, and Vienna i t s e l f f o r various i n j u s t i c e s and v i l l a i n i e s .  Speaking to Mariana and  I s a b e l l a , he says: The Duke's unjust Thus to r e t o r t your manifest appeal, And put your t r i a l i n the v i l l a i n ' s mouth Which here you come to accuse...  Then, speaking to a l l , he says: My business i n t h i s state Made me a looker-on here i n Vienna, Where I have seen corruption b o i l and bubble T i l l i t o'errun the stew: laws f o r a l l f a u l t s , - 158 -  But f a u l t s so countenanc'd that the strong s t a t u t e s Stand l i k e the f o r f e i t s i n a barber's shop, As much i n mock as mark.  To which accusations the shocked Escalus r e p l i e s : Slander to t h ' s t a t e ! Away with him to p r i s o n ! (V.i.298-321)  I f the Duke's indictments of Vienna and Angelo are t r u e , and not apparent slanders, are they not also true of himself?  Is he not here accusing himself  of i n j u s t i c e for having i n s t a l l e d Angelo as Deputy not only i n t h i s scene but at the beginning?  These questions are answered a f f i r m a t i v e l y i n the contest  that ensues between Lucio and the F r i a r .  Lucio slanders the F r i a r ' s character  and testimony, accusing him of having been the one to speak i l l of the Duke i n h i s absence, whereas i t i s c l e a r to the Duke and to the audience that Lucio himself i s g u i l t y of the charge.  Angelo orders Lucio to help the Provost  arrest the F r i a r , and, i n the f i g u r a t i v e contest between Falsehood and Truth, Lucio forces the hood from the F r i a r ' s face.  A second r e v e l a t i o n of a head occurs as the Duke shows himself for who he i s and Lucio s t a r t s to s l i n k away. end.  I t begins to look that way.  Surely, now,  t h i s w i l l be the promised  The Duke pardons Escalus and  implicitly  establishes the t r u t h of h i s own recent indictments against Vienna; Angelo confesses h i s crime and i s married to Mariana; and even I s a b e l l a i s pardoned for having "employ'd and pain'd" the Duke's sovereignty. has further plans for f r u s t r a t i n g the expected  However, the Duke  ending.  F i r s t , he l i e s to I s a b e l l a and t e l l s her that Claudio i s dead; then he orders Angelo to die for i t , s e t t i n g up the tense scene of Mariana's begging with Isabel to j o i n with her i n a plea for mercy, a l l the time that the Duke i s i n s i s t i n g that "He dies for Claudio's death."  - 159 -  Some see i n I s a b e l l a ' s plea  the high point of her moral development and the true t e s t of her doctrine of mercy.  Her speech i s a b e a u t i f u l moment of s e l f l e s s love, however q u a l i f i e d  i t may be by the suggestion of sadism i n the Duke's f o r c i n g i t upon her. i s b e a u t i f u l , indeed, but i n e f f e c t i v e .  It  The Duke allows I s a b e l l a ' s ingenious  defense of Angelo to proceed, only to announce:  "Your s u i t ' s u n p r o f i t a b l e .  Stand up, I say/ I have bethought me of another f a u l t "  (V.i.453-454).  This time i t i s the Provost who supposedly needs pardoning f o r having supposedly k i l l e d Claudio, but since both he and the Duke know that Claudio i s a l i v e , the pardon i s useless and the stage i s set f o r yet another dramatic climax.  As the Provost leaves to fetch Barnardine and Claudio, Angelo's words  show that he has accepted h i s fate and looks forward to death as the t r i b u t e he owes to j u s t i c e .  Responding to Escalus's o f f e r of sympathy, he says: " I am  sorry that such sorrow I procure,/ And so deep s t i c k s i t i n my penitent heart/ That I crave death more w i l l i n g l y than mercy;/ 'Tis my deserving, and I do entreat i t " (V.i.472-475).  These are the l a s t words Angelo w i l l say, and they are consistent with his t r a g i c h i s t o r y .  R h e t o r i c a l l y speaking, he i s t r y i n g to transform himself  by dying for the sake of j u s t i c e .  He i s t r y i n g to resolve the inconsistency  in h i s i d e n t i t y caused by the act of tyranny into which h i s l u s t led him. t h i s reason, marriage and a happy ending are f u r t h e s t from h i s mind.  For  The  Duke, however, w i l l not l e t Angelo be; he intends to force upon him a future he does not expect and does not want. The Provost brings i n two p r i s o n e r s . One i s Barnardine who, of course, i s promptly forgiven.  The other i s d i s g u i s e d ; however, a dramatic unmuffling  soon takes place f o r the t h i r d time and reveals the t r u t h that Claudio i s alive.  In terms of t h i s play, Claudio's "head" has been spared.  The v i s u a l  pun reenforces the verbal punning on t h i s subject and enacts the fact that  -  160  -  life  i s i r r e p r e s s i b l e , o r , i n o t h e r words, t h a t the heads o f f o r n i c a t o r s who  should  " d i e " f o r t a k i n g maidenheads are not so e a s i l y put down.  Angelo i s then pardoned f o r C l a u d i o ' s to I s a b e l l a f o r the same r e a s o n .  I I I , and  been unnecessary.  when he does i t he  the Duke o f f e r s marriage  I t seems, then, t h a t a l l the machinery o f  j u s t i c e has been e r e c t e d t o no a v a i l . i n Act V has  sake and  The  finally  A l l of the t o r t u o u s  Duke has  groping  known what he would do s i n c e Act  f r u s t r a t e s the p r o g r e s s i o n  knowledge o f what to do about C l a u d i o  for truth  initiated  toward a  by the grand debate between  Angelo and I s a b e l l a .  At f i r s t  g l a n c e , the s o l u t i o n the Duke o f f e r s seems humane and  to the audience; a f t e r a l l ,  C l a u d i o i s to l i v e .  desirable  But h i s s o l u t i o n i s o f f e r e d  by the same a u t h o r i t y which has  fulminated  Duke wants i t both ways; he has  commanded a s o l u t i o n to the problem o f  lawlessness  and,  s o l v e i t . He  at the same time, has  o f f e r s no  tragic  The  f r u s t r a t e d the o n l y e f f o r t s taken to  s o l u t i o n of h i s own,  pardon f o r a l l which he has  Besides  a g a i n s t Vienna's c o r r u p t i o n .  j u s t the same t o l e r a n c e  shown f o r f o u r t e e n  and  years.  f r u s t r a t i n g a p r o g r e s s i v e development t h a t would have l e d to  s u f f e r i n g but  a l s o perhaps to t r a g i c wisdom, the Duke s u p p l i e s h i s  ending which l o o k s c o n v e n t i o n a l l y comic but marriage, except C l a u d i o ' s r e s i s t e d to some degree.  and The  i s nothing  of the k i n d .  J u l i e t ' s , i s commanded, and  own  Every  every marriage i s  Duke acknowledges I s a b e l l a ' s p o s s i b l e h e s i t a t i o n  when he q u a l i f i e s the o f f e r o f h i s hand: "Dear I s a b e l , / I have a motion much imparts yours,  your good,/ Whereto i f y o u ' l l a w i l l i n g ear and  what i s yours i s mine.."  Angelo has  (V.i.531-534).  s a i d t h a t he would r a t h e r d i e , and  wishful t h i n k i n g that spies a "quickening Claudio.  But,  i n c l i n e , / What's mine i s  as u s u a l , the l o u d e s t and  - 161 -  i t may  i n h i s eye" most e x p l i c i t  be o n l y the Duke's  upon the r e v e l a t i o n o f comments come from  Lucio.  L i k e Angelo,  L u c i o has been exposed f o r h i s crime,  m a r r i e d , then t h r e a t e n e d with "The hang'd" (V.i.510-511). forced  i n t o marriage  n u p t i a l f i n i s h ' d , / L e t him be whipp'd  and  J u s t as q u i c k l y , he i s f o r g i v e n h i s s l a n d e r s but  anyway.  L u c i o w a i l s i n p r o t e s t , "Marrying  Lord i s p r e s s i n g t o death,/ Whipping and hanging." response  f o r c e d t o be  i s , " S l a n d e r i n g a p r i n c e deserves  L u c i o i s the intended scapegoat,  a punk, my  To which the Duke's f i n a l  i t " (V.i.520-521).  then, the one whose punishment h e l p s to  d e f i n e what the v i c t o r i o u s o r d e r stands f o r .  However, h i s howls o f p r o t e s t  c a r r y more than a h i n t t h a t t r u t h i s on h i s s i d e as much as on the Duke's. T h i s seems not l i k e a n u p t i a l , nor do the other marriages a r r a n g i n g t o remedy the l a w l e s s f o r n i c a t i o n of Vienna. be f a l s e or t r u e , but they have r a i s e d  which the Duke i s  Lucio's slanders  may  the s u s p i c i o n t h a t the order the Duke  i n t e n d s t o e s t a b l i s h has not r e a l l y worked out a c o o p e r a t i v e a l l i a n c e with a t t i t u d e s r e p r e s e n t e d by Pompey and  the bawds a t one  extreme and  the  Angelo's  J u s t i c e at the o t h e r .  The  commands to obey the arrangements are not enough t o s t i l l  s u s p i c i o n t h a t t h i s a u t h o r i t y does not know what he i s d o i n g . q u e s t i o n r e t u r n s , "Who audience  i s the wiser here, J u s t i c e or I n i q u i t y ? "  asks t h i s , i t goes home t r o u b l e d , not o n l y f a i l i n g  the proposed  haunting  And  when an  to i d e n t i f y  with  symbol of o r d e r i n t h i s p l a y , but a l s o made to wonder i f the  " p r o p e r t i e s o f government" may contending  The  the  not be such t h a t no a u t h o r i t y can  a t t i t u d e s i n t o a c o o p e r a t i v e commonwealth.  - 162  -  coerce  VI.LOOKING BEFORE AND  AFTER  " T r u t h uncompromisingly t o l d w i l l always have i t s ragged edges...". B i l l y Budd, chapter 28  In an i n f l u e n t i a l essay, Una E l l i s - F e r m o r suggested C r e s s i d a i s a p l a y which t e s t s one  that T r o i l u s  of the " f r o n t i e r s of drama" and  and  succeeds i n  crossing i t .  Drama, she s a y s , can e a s i l y  and thoughts;  i t reaches i t s l i m i t s i n the p o r t r a y a l o f r e l i g i o u s emotion,  scope o f a c t i o n more f i t l y  told  c h a l l e n g e coherent development.  encompass o n l y c e r t a i n moods, forms  i n e p i c , and In T r o i l u s  c e r t a i n complex i d e a s which and C r e s s i d a , she  maintains,  Shakespeare c h a l l e n g e s the l i m i t s of what dramatic form can express the very " i d e a o f d i s j u n c t i o n . " r e v e l a t i o n of d i s j u n c t i o n , c o n c e n t r a t i o n of dramatic  In my verdict W e l l and  P a r a d o x i c a l l y , he a c h i e v e s "the  and  enacts  triumphant  of the n e g a t i o n o f a l l o r d e r , w i t h i n the o r d e r e d shape."  1  a n a l y s i s o f the problem  p l a y s , I have, i n e f f e c t ,  about T r o i l u s and C r e s s i d a and have extended  accepted  this  i t s application to A l l ' s  Measure f o r Measure, w h i l e c o r r o b o r a t i n g E l l i s - F e r m o r * s i n s i g h t with,  an examination  a l o n g the l i n e s o f Burkean r h e t o r i c .  to Burke's r h e t o r i c  i s h i s d e f i n i t i o n o f man  h i s d e f i n i t i o n of r h e t o r i c with a symbol o f o r d e r . f u n c t i o n o f language c o n t i n u a l l y born  have seen,  as the symbol-using  animal  to symbols."  causes  by h i s use o f s e v e r a l  forms,  a c o l l a b o r a t i v e e f f o r t between  and the audience which l e a d s i t to see the o r d e r and  - 163 -  and i s  as a symbolic means of i n d u c i n g  As Burke m a i n t a i n s , the d r a m a t i s t persuades i n combination,  and  essential  a f u n c t i o n t h a t i s wholly r e a l i s t i c ,  anew; the use of language  central  "identification"  " R h e t o r i c , " he says, " i s rooted i n an  itself,  each o f which, alone and  As we  as p e r s u a s i o n t o change through  c o o p e r a t i o n i n beings t h a t by nature respond  him  the  the a t t i t u d e he i s  defining.  An audience  p e r s u a s i o n , of c o u r s e ,  i s f r e e to accept or t o r e j e c t the  dramatist's  but o r d i n a r i l y i t i s obvious what k i n d of order i t i s  o s t e n s i b l y persuaded to a c c e p t .  I t i s p o s s i b l e , f o r example, t h a t some w i l l  s e c r e t l y cheer on Macbeth d e s p i t e h i s v i l l a i n y ,  and  p r o v i d e s them w i t h s u f f i c i e n t  Meanwhile, however, o t h e r s  reason  to do so.  I b e l i e v e t h a t Shakespeare are  s e e k i n g revenge f o r Macduff's c h i l d r e n and w i t h a " b l e s s e d rage f o r o r d e r " are p i o u s l y a w a i t i n g the v i c t o r y of Malcolm.  The  d r a m a t i s t ' s use of forms i s o n l y  an attempt t o persuade; i t i s not a guarantee t h a t the p e r s u a s i o n succeed.  He e s t a b l i s h e s the o r d e r , but not without  dramatic  first  having e s t a b l i s h e d  i r o n i e s which make the v e r d i c t on the order more or l e s s  In Macbeth, the o s t e n s i b l e order however, Shakespeare completely i d e n t i f y which i s deeply  is clear.  will  problematic.  In the problem p l a y s ,  f r u s t r a t e s i n s e v e r a l ways the need to  r o o t e d i n the symbol-using  f r u s t r a t e s i t s e x p e c t a t i o n s f o r a d e f i n i t e ending  audience.  through  First,  he  death or marriage  —  s t a t e s of d i v i s i o n or merger r e s p e c t i v e l y which show t h a t the "terms" of the play  (the c h a r a c t e r s ) have undergone a c l e a r t r a n s f o r m a t i o n .  p r o v i d e s no to  "scapegoat"  resolution.  who  can c a r r y o f f the p e r c e i v e d " p o l l u t i o n " or  assent and  to e s t a b l i s h the renewed  f o r example, A l l ' s W e l l and Measure f o r Measure end  r e l u c t a n c e of the groom to take up h i s b r i d e . Much Ado another  are a b l e to convince  block  society.  with the  But Angelo and  I t i s imposed on them and  one  Bertram a r e , at b e s t ,  they a c c e p t .  In  T r o i l u s and C r e s s i d a the p r i n c i p a l s are n e i t h e r d e s t i n e d f o r marriage allowed to d i e . dedication, f i r s t  T r o i l u s maintains to l o v e and  r e l u c t a n t accommodation.  h i s a t t i t u d e of n a i v e and  then to war;  clear  Even B e a t r i c e and Benedick i n  themselves t h a t they r e a l l y must l o v e  a f t e r a l l , deep down, somewhere.  only r e s i g n e d to t h e i r l o t .  of  he  F i n a l l y , he s u p p l i e s no symbol of order which c r e d i b l y  demonstrates i t s power to win  So,  Secondly,  nor  savage  C r e s s i d a p e r s i s t s i n her  attitude  N e i t h e r i s a b l e to act upon the scene of war  -  164  -  in a  way that w i l l alter events, and so the confusion of battle f i t l y closes this enactment of "the idea of d i s j u n c t i o n . "  Appropriately enough, each of the plays either closes or pivots on "if" — a sure sign that the dramatist has intended an ambiguity, that the f r u s t r a t i o n of forms has been deliberate.  T r o i l u s ' s argument in front of  Calchas's tent shows how much depends on his resolving the i d e n t i t y of Cressida:  This she? No, this i s Diomed's Cressida. If beauty have a soul, this i s not she; I f souls guide vows, i f vows be sanctimonies, I f sanctimony be the gods' delight, If there be rule i n unity i t s e l f , This was not s h e . . . This i s , and i s not, Cressid. (V.ii.134-143)  Two perceptions of Cressida remain; "bifold authority" cannot reconcile her behavior and the comforting axioms T r o i l u s l i v e s by.  Therefore, not only i s  there "madness of discourse" but, for the audience, unrelieved s h i f t i n g between Cressida as she i s and Cressida as T r o i l u s would have her be — her attitude and h i s .  In  Measure for Measure, the Duke says cautiously to I s a b e l l a ,  "I have a  motion much imports your good,/ Whereto i f y o u ' l l a w i l l i n g ear i n c l i n e , / What's mine i s yours, and what i s yours  i s mine" (V.i.538-540).  He seems  r i g h t l y aware of the possible resistance  to his suggestion which his e a r l i e r  actions in the play have done something to encourage.  And the King says dubiously at the close of A l l ' s Well, with a nervous look, perhaps, at the apparently reconciled Bertram: " A l l yet seems w e l l , and i f i t end so meet,/ The b i t t e r past, more welcome i s the sweet" ( V . i i i . 3 3 3 334).  The endings of these plays, then, are not c l e a r l y resolved by "worthy"  deaths or happy marriages. -  165 -  Moreover, i n each p l a y t h e r e i s a c o n c e r t e d but f u t i l e scapegoat  whose punishment w i l l  end  the r i v a l r y  e s t a b l i s h which are to be e x p e l l e d and has  s u c c i n c t l y observed,  unconscious  of a t t i t u d e s and  which to be r e v e r e d .  "Even the most banal scapegoat  s t r u c t u r i n g process."3  e f f o r t to f i n d  With the scapegoat  a  clearly  As Rene G i r a r d  effect  i s an  e x p e l l e d , a s o c i e t y can  come t o g e t h e r w i t h a renewed sense of what i t stands f o r .  G i r a r d ' s theory c o i n c i d e s with much of Burke's t h i n k i n g on the n e c e s s i t y of  the scapegoat's  suggests,  f u n c t i o n f o r e s t a b l i s h i n g an o r d e r , but as G i r a r d a l s o  Shakespeare seemed to understand  the d i s h o n e s t y of such  F o r Shakespeare, a l l a t t i t u d e s belong i n " c o o p e r a t i v e c o m p e t i t i o n "  a device. (Burke's  phrase) f o r the w e l l b e i n g of s o c i e t y or f o r the d e f i n i n g of an i s s u e . h i s t o r y were not w r i t t e n by the winners,  and  If  i f people were not u s u a l l y  c o n s c i o u s o n l y of the r e c e n t p a s t , i t would be c l e a r e r t h a t many a t t i t u d e s have always c o e x i s t e d i n any  So, and  order.  i n G i r a r d ' s a n a l y s i s , the scapegoat  Juliet  i s parodied i n the l u d i c r o u s deaths of Pyramus and T h i s b e i n  Midsummer N i g h t ' s Dream. that i t w i l l  The  swallow almost  audience  so much wants i t s " o r d e r " a t the  a n y t h i n g to get i t , i n c l u d i n g the nagging  t h a t t h e s e deaths need not have happened. that f i c t i o n as Northrop or another  d e v i c e i n the deaths of Romeo  i s and  must be a l i e .  F r y e t e l l s us, and will  The  audience  even the t i n i e s t  to death.  i s l o o k i n g f o r i t s pharmakos, little  o n e s e l f , or completely  s i g n i n one  direction  r a v i n g b u f f a l o e s , so l o n g as  The  doubles  or the o t h e r ; b e t t e r g i v e them a s t r o n g and obvious trampled  doubt  "Shakespeare," says G i r a r d , "knows  send everybody c h a r g i n g l i k e  someone i s t h e r e to be trampled  w i l l be t i l t e d one  tilt,  - 166 -  way  i n o r d e r not to be  i g n o r e d , which i s the same t h i n g , r e a l l y ,  a playwright."  end  for  However, even i f Shakespeare knows t h a t he must p l e a s e the end, last,  or even i f he  i s s i n c e r e l y urging  t h e i r acceptance of some order  he always manages to dramatize the best  t h a t can  1  attitudes.  value;  through P a r o l l e s , he  were a v i r g i n , where would v i r g i n s come from? l i k e these  can  r e s o l u t i o n can helps  be  s o r t e d out, with one  occur.  T h i s f a i l u r e to p r o v i d e  Cressida,  Thersites; his reductive to excuse h i m s e l f  imprisonment and  p l a c e h i s a t t i t u d e on  an i d e a l i s t i c (Ulysses  and  l o v e and  Achilles).  preserved,  even as he  plays.  war  would, i n another p l a y ,  and  There would be  a c l e a r attempt In h i s own lover  the pragmatic p o l i c i e s o f men  to  play,  (Troilus),  of a c t i o n  Although h i s c y n i c i s m  and  invective  speaks i t , some of h i s judgment a l s o besmears those at His w e l l - r e a l i z e d a t t i t u d e keeps an audience o f f  reminding i t t h a t i t s d e s i r e f o r a c t i o n w i t h c r e d i b l e  In T r o i l u s and  Cressida,  then, t h e r e  therefore  no way  a t t i t u d e i s to be p r e f e r r e d over  but  t o blame them and  cause  as Jaques does, or s u f f e r  i t s d e s i r e f o r " p e r f e c t " consummation through l o v e or war  Likewise,  no  T h e r s i t e s q u a l i f i e s r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n s of a l l k i n d s  blame more than another, and which one  attitudes  so v i l e t h a t i t reduces a l l a c t i o n s to the motive of b l i n d  balance, constantly  illusory.  i f everyone  I have suggested,  the bottom rung of a s c a l e of v a l u e s .  s o l d i e r (Hector),  whom i t i s d i r e c t e d .  purpose and  a scapegoat,  f e s t i v e conclusion,  of mere motion without purpose.  d i r t i e s him  the o t h e r  shares e q u a l l y w i t h those of an i d e a l i s t i c  from a p e r s p e c t i v e lust —  views on  from the  and  virginity  the obvious c a n d i d a t e f o r scapegoat i s  s e l f - e x i l e l i k e Malvolio.  however, h i s v o i c e  Unless c o n t r a s t e d  at  diverse  shows t h a t  a l s o argues t h a t  expelled  to e x p l a i n the problem of the problem  In T r o i l u s and  him  be s a i d f o r  Through Helena i n A l l s W e l l f o r example, he  i s a much r e s p e c t e d  h i s audience i n  i s no  -  167  -  scapegoat, no one  of e s t a b l i s h i n g an order  to in  another.  i n more s u b t l e ways, P a r o l l e s and  to c a s t them out  is  Lucio  f o r a t t i t u d e s which b l o c k  survive the way  attempts of a  desired r e s o l u t i o n .  Each, of course, i s kept a l i v e , f o r g i v e n , and i n v i t e d to  j o i n the comic procession of the c l o s e .  But each does so without having  changed h i s wry point of view toward the turns of the p l o t .  Therefore, they  cast suspicions on the motives of those characters whose f a t e s resemble t h e i r own.  P a r o l l e s ' determination to remain what he i s casts a q u a l i f y i n g l i g h t on  the s i n c e r i t y of Bertram's repentance; Lucio's protest against being married to a punk casts a suspicious l i g h t on Angelo's w i l l i n g n e s s to " d i e " a f t e r h i s marriage to Mariana.  To the extent that the scapegoat has not c a r r i e d o f f the  q u a l i f y i n g a t t i t u d e , to the extent an audience i s i n v i t e d to have reservations even to the end, to that extent the order can r e t a i n only a shaky hold.  I have implied i n my a n a l y s i s that the problem plays d i f f e r from others i n the canon not for having c o n f l i c t i n g a t t i t u d e s but f o r keeping them so much i n suspense even to the end.  There i s more of a protest against the  imposition of the conventional ending and against the inexorable grinding forward of s y l l o g i s t i c progression than i s to be found i n the other p l a y s . Since the protest i s not " c a r r i e d o f f " or placed securely on a spectrum, the problem of i d e n t i f i c a t i o n f o r the audience i s i n t e n s i f i e d . F i n a l l y , the order to be imposed seems to depend merely on the w i l l of the protagonists and not on any reasonable grounds.  So, f o r example, the  lengthy debate i n the Trojan c o u n c i l demonstrates that the Trojans keep Helen because they want t o , with no regard for the "moral laws/ Of nature and of nations"  ( I I . i i . 1 8 4 - 1 8 5 ) . Likewise, the slaughter of Hector makes i t clear  that the Grecian actions also lack a l l proportionate cause.  In the scene  before he attacks Hector, A c h i l l e s addresses h i s Myrmidons, not with explanations but with a weak e x p l e t i v e ("It i s decreed") and with imperatives that show a rapacious w i l l to consummate Hector's  death:  Come here about me, you my Myrmidons; Mark what I say. Attend me where I wheel. - 168 -  S t r i k e not a s t r o k e , but keep y o u r s e l v e s i n b r e a t h . And when I have the bloody Hector found, Empale him w i t h your weapons round about; In f e l l e s t manner execute your arms. F o l l o w me, s i r s , and my p r o c e e d i n g s eye; I t i s decreed Hector the g r e a t must d i e . (V.vii.1-8)  An audience needs t o know more than the w i l l of the p r o t a g o n i s t i n o r d e r t o i d e n t i f y w i t h the r e s u l t s o f h i s a c t i o n s . even  Some e x p l a n a t i o n must be obvious,  i f o n l y the c o n v e n t i o n a l one t h a t t h i s a c t i o n has brought  d e s i r e d by the more r e a s o n a b l e c h a r a c t e r s .  about  an order  Comedy succeeds when i t i s obvious  t h a t a "saner" s o c i e t y r e p l a c e s an i r r a t i o n a l one; tragedy succeeds when i t i s obvious t h a t something assertive action.  has been l e a r n e d by s u f f e r i n g the response to an  In T r o i l u s and C r e s s i d a , the a c t i o n i s not o n l y without  r e a s o n a b l e e x p l a n a t i o n , but a l s o without any d e s i r a b l e r e s u l t s . f a c t s o f death and d i s e a s e remain  The b r u t e  a f t e r w i l l f u l attempts to wage war  T h e r e f o r e , "Hector i s dead, t h e r e i s no more t o say"  and  love.  (V.x.22).  As I have analyzed them, the same w i l l f u l n e s s c h a r a c t e r i z e s the d e c i s i o n s o f the K i n g i n A l l ' s W e l l and o f the Duke i n Measure f o r Measure. When the K i n g attempts t o marry o f f Helena t o the man at Bertram's mean " w i l l "  r e f u s a l o f t h i s arrangement and h i s e q u i v o c a l use o f "honor"  to  show t h a t h i s motives are at b e s t s e l f - i n t e r e s t e d ; they merely  cooperate w i t h Helena's p l a n to marry Bertram because Bertram's  o f her c h o i c e , h i s anger  i n t e r e s t s are i n no way  consulted.  she has e f f e c t e d a c u r e .  Although the c o n v e n t i o n s o f f o l k  t a l e would suppress such c o n s i d e r a t i o n s f o r the sake o f the s t o r y , Shakespeare,  I b e l i e v e , has r a i s e d them d e l i b e r a t e l y , thus throwing  into  q u e s t i o n the r e a s o n a b l e n e s s o f the King's a c t i o n s and p r e v e n t i n g i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h them.  In the same way,  the Duke's d e c i s i o n s to t e s t Angelo  and then t o t e s t  I s a b e l l a are made without r e a s o n a b l e e x p l a n a t i o n s i n e i t h e r c a s e .  -  169  -  Even i f the  t e s t i n g s c o u l d be j u s t i f i e d  on a l l e g o r i c a l grounds —  such as the Duke's  wanting t o educate them t o a more humane u n d e r s t a n d i n g , f o r example —  why  should the rewards o f v i r t u e be made to l o o k i n d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e from whipping and hanging?  Because marriage i s imposed  on Angelo and L u c i o and o f f e r e d  I s a b e l l a without p r e p a r a t i o n , i t cannot s a t i s f y  The  even i n a c o n v e n t i o n a l way.  s y l l o g i s t i c p r o g r e s s i o n up t o A c t I I I . i . 1 5 2 p o i n t e d the arrows o f  e x p e c t a t i o n toward  the i s s u e o f Angelo's g e t t i n g I s a b e l l a ; w i t h the Duke's  p l o t t i n g from I I I . i . 1 5 3 Mariana.  to  onward, the audience l e a r n s t h a t he i s t o get  In both c a s e s , h i s g e t t i n g o f the woman i s to be the r e s u l t o f an  unexplained w i l l  t h a t i t be so.  To see Angelo trapped i n t o a c c e p t i n g  Mariana  takes away the f e e l i n g o f a "saner" c o n c l u s i o n , even i f m a r r y i n g her means t h a t he w i l l  live.  An audience cannot be expected t o i d e n t i f y w i t h Angelo's  attempt to rape I s a b e l l a i n exchange f o r her b r o t h e r ' s l i f e ; villainy.  I t can accept o n l y a l i t t l e  this i s willful  more e a s i l y the Duke's w i l l f u l  i m p o s i t i o n o f a marriage on Angelo i n order to s a t i s f y the d e s i r e s o f Mariana.  I have e n t i t l e d my r h e t o r i c a l a n a l y s i s o f t h e s e p l a y s "A Dancing o f A t t i t u d e s " because a c t i v e weaving  they dramatize more than Shakespeare's  other plays  an  i n and out o f d i v e r g e n t a t t i t u d e s w h i l e f a i l i n g t o p r o v i d e a  r e a s o n a b l e b a s i s f o r s o r t i n g out which should be p r e f e r r e d over the o t h e r . its  first  b e n e f i t , t h i s r h e t o r i c a l method p r o v i d e s a way  formal terms why  of understanding i n  A l l ' s W e l l , Measure f o r Measure, and T r o i l u s and  have p u z z l e d c r i t i c s and audiences a l i k e .  - 170 -  Cressida  As  THIS, THEN, IS THE  A f u r t h e r use  PRAISE OF  of Burkean r h e t o r i c a l  SHAKESPEARE  a n a l y s i s w i l l h e l p to e x p l a i n  f e a t u r e s o f Shakespeare's s t y l e which Dr.Johnson a l s o n o t i c e d but which l a b e l e d f a u l t s : punning, c o u n t e r a c t i n g , and  According  i t i s l i k e "luminous vapors"  " f a t a l Cleopatra  I t e x e r t s a "malevolent"  and  was  content  R h e t o r i c a l c r i t i c i s m would r e p l y t h a t i n s t e a d of l o s i n g one gained  two,  by f u s i n g i n one  So,  f o r example, Helena i s both " g r a c e "  at I s a b e l l a ' s words; and  telling  influence  t o a t r a v e l l e r o r , worse, i t i s the  f o r which he l o s t the world  has  he  justice.  to Johnson, Shakespeare i n t e r r u p t s the s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d  o f h i s " f a b l e " by t u r n i n g a s i d e f o r a pun. over him;  l a c k of p o e t i c  three  word two  to l o s e  it."^  w o r l d , Shakespeare  p e r s p e c t i v e s on the same s u b j e c t .  and  " g r a s s " ; Angelo's "sense" breeds  Cressida i s kissed in "general."  The  pun  shows i n  l i t t l e what Shakespeare i s doing throughout a p l a y : combining " p e r s p e c t i v e s i n c o n g r u i t y , " arguing the s u b j e c t he  is  o p p o s i t e s , and  i n c l u d i n g a "parliament"  o f a t t i t u d e s on  contemplating.  S e v e r a l decades a f t e r Johnson, C o l e r i d g e defended the pun "one how  by  by c a l l i n g i t  o f the most e f f e c t u a l i n t e n s i v e s of p a s s i o n . B u r k e would agree, n o t i n g a pun  a l l o w s an a r t i s t t o admit even the " t h i n k i n g of the body"  (through  s c a t o l o g i c a l meanings, f o r example) i n t o a thoroughgoing p r e s e n t a t i o n o f a subject.  Commenting on Gaunt's death bed  Richard's  question,  replies,  "Yes!  appear but  "Can  s i c k men  on a death bed  as puns and  scene ( R i c h a r d I I I I . i ) and  p l a y so n i c e l y w i t h t h e i r names?," C o l e r i d g e  there  i s a f e e l i n g which may  e q u i v o c a t i o n . . . i t i s profoundly  make a l l t h i n g s  true t h a t there i s a  n a t u r a l , an almost i r r e s i s t i b l e tendency i n the mind, when immersed i n s t r o n g f e e l i n g , to connect t h a t f e e l i n g with every e s p e c i a l l y i f t h e r e be o p p o s i t i o n , and  - 171 -  s i g h t and  one  o b j e c t around i t ;  the words addressed to i t are i n  any  way repugnant t o the f e e l i n g i t s e l f , unkind  as here i n t h e i n s t a n c e o f Richard's  language: 'Misery makes s p o r t to mock i t s e l f . "'7  For C o l e r i d g e , i t seems, a pun s e r v e s t o r e i n f o r c e a p a s s i o n by merging it,  when provoked, w i t h  ideas and images t h a t h e l p g i v e t h e p a s s i o n  and  extent.  his  s t a t e on the way t o death.  Gaunt's name suggests,  "presence"  e a s i l y enough, "gaunt" images, and such i s  But Gaunt's purpose i n punning i s a l s o  important,  and C o l e r i d g e seems t o miss i t even though he i s , i n B i o g r a p h i a  Literaria,  the best e x p l i c a t o r o f p o e t r y ' s  f u n c t i o n as a r e c o n c i l e r o f  opposites.  "Misery makes s p o r t to mock i t s e l f . " Richard's  That i s , Gaunt momentarily  takes  a t t i t u d e toward h i s dying and, i n doing so, makes s p o r t o f i t , f o r  thus h i s death appears t o R i c h a r d .  The pun, then, has served  as a way not  o n l y o f e x p r e s s i n g Gaunt's p a s s i o n more i n t e n s e l y but a l s o o f conveying Richard's  a t t i t u d e o f mockery a t Gaunt's gaunt c o n d i t i o n .  words s e r v e s t o r e l i e v e Gaunt o f h i s misery  Perhaps the p l a y on  momentarily by g i v i n g him an  incongruous p e r s p e c t i v e on i t , but, i f so, i t serves another By t a k i n g R i c h a r d ' s a s k i n g : "Should admits,  a t t i t u d e , i t f l a t t e r s him, and so i t s u r p r i s e s him i n t o  dying men f l a t t e r with those who l i v e ? "  "men l i v i n g  dying s a y e s t thou  purpose as w e l l .  flatter  those who d i e . " R i c h a r d  "No, no," Gaunt  i s p u z z l e d : "Thou, now a -  f l a t t e r e s t me." And Gaunt can now t u r n the t a b l e s on Richard  by r e v e r s i n g the terms w i t h which each understands h i s s i t u a t i o n : "0 no! thou d i e s t , though I the s i c k e r be/...Thy death-bed i s no l e s s e r than  thy l a n d /  Wherein thou  Here,  then,  them  both.  liest  i n reputation sick"  ( R i c h a r d I I II.i.83-96).  i s an argument o f a t t i t u d e s which began w i t h a pun t h a t c o n t a i n e d  It  i s t h e r h e t o r i c a l u s e f u l n e s s o f a pun which l e d Kenneth Burke t o  d e c l a r e t h a t "[Shakespeare] had t o i n d u l g e i n h i s more a t r o c i o u s puns not only for  the sake o f t h e crowd but f o r h i s own sake as w e l l .  -  172 -  I t gave him t h e b a s i s  f o r r e f i n i n g them i n t o the more s u b t l e m e t a p h o r i c a l l e a p s of which he i s capable."8  Empson suggests even f u r t h e r t h a t "...one source o f the u n i t y o f a  Shakespearean p l a y , however brusque i t s h a n d l i n g o f c h a r a c t e r , i s t h i s coherence o f i t s subdued  puns."9  I t i s Shakespeare's g e n i u s , then, and not  h i s A n t o n y - l i k e t u r p i t u d e which woos the word t h a t w i l l beget a twin u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f any i s s u e he d r a m a t i z e s , any s t o r y he  tells.  As Stephen Booth p o i n t s out, i t i s the pun which e x e m p l i f i e s i n l i t t l e what makes a Shakespearean complexity.  "A pun,"  drama as a whole so t r o u b l i n g or awesome i n i t s  says Booth, " i s the commonest and s m a l l e s t  m a n i f e s t a t i o n o f the f r a g i l i t y  of d e f i n i t i o n s .  e x i s t s t o f i x q u a s i - p h y s i c a l l i m i t s t o an i d e a —  practical  S i n c e a word i s a d e f i n e r  the e x p e r i e n c e o f p e r c e i v i n g  a pun i s a r e a l , though a d m i t t e d l y p e t t y , e x p e r i e n c e o f c o l l a p s i n g The pun i s , as N i e t z s c h e c a l l e d  —  limits."  1 u  i t and as Burke c o n c u r s , a " p e r s p e c t i v e by  i n c o n g r u i t y . " As such, i t i s a most f i t  r h e t o r i c a l form f o r use i n a dramatic  d e f i n i t i o n o f terms.  Shakespeare's second f a u l t , a c c o r d i n g to Johnson, i s h i s tendency to " c o u n t e r a c t " h i m s e l f , o f which t u r n i n g a s i d e f o r a pun i s o n l y one As Johnson puts i t ,  "What he does b e s t , he soon ceases to do.  example.  He i s not long  s o f t and p a t h e t i c w i t h o u t some i d l e c o n c e i t or c o n t e m p t i b l e e q u i v o c a t i o n .  He  no sooner b e g i n s to move than he c o u n t e r a c t s h i m s e l f ; and t e r r o r and p i t y ,  as  they are r i s i n g  i n the mind, are checked and b l a s t e d by sudden  frigidity."  1 1  Johnson, i n thus d e s c r i b i n g Shakespeare's tendency t o q u a l i f y one argument by the i n j e c t i o n o f i t s o p p o s i t e , f e l i c i t o u s l y suggests a resemblance to Burke's i d e a o f drama as an i n t e r - a c t i o n of terms, or the "comic c o n t e m p l a t i o n " of " c o o p e r a t i v e c o m p e t i t i o n " among c o n f l i c t i n g  As I noted i n my Burke c a l l s i t ,  attitudes.  a n a l y s i s , t h i s tendency t o " s e l f i n t e r f e r e n c e , " as  shows e s p e c i a l l y i n the endings o f the problem p l a y s where an  - 173 -  audience i s most eager f o r some order to be e s t a b l i s h e d .  I t i s as i f  Shakespeare i s d e l i b e r a t e l y f r u s t r a t i n g an easy s o l u t i o n either because he does not believe i n i t or because he knows that he could continue the debate indefinitely.  H i s "sense of an ending" i s that i t i s p o t e n t i a l l y endless — 1  that "every e x i t ( i s ) an entrance somewhere e l s e . " 3 Shakespeare's f a i l u r e to end neatly r e l a t e s , I suspect, to Johnson's gravest d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n , that "He s a c r i f i c e s v i r t u e t o convenience and i s so much more c a r e f u l to please than to i n s t r u c t that he seems to w r i t e without 14  any moral purpose." of C o r d e l i a .  ,n  Johnson was e s p e c i a l l y offended, as we know, by the fate  Shakespeare, he acknowledged, may not have v i o l a t e d p r o b a b i l i t y  by showing "the wicked prosper and the virtuous miscarry," because i t i s , a f t e r a l l , a " j u s t representation of the common events of human l i f e . " But i n s o f a r as everyone loves j u s t i c e , they w i l l be better pleased, Johnson argued, by "the f i n a l triumph of persecuted v i r t u e . " He r e s t s h i s case on the public's acceptance of Tate's revised ending, adding, " . . . i f my sensations could add anything to the general suffrage, I might r e l a t e that I was many years ago so shocked by Cordelia's death that I know not whether I ever endured to read again the l a s t scenes of the play t i l l I undertook to r e v i s e them as an e d i t o r . " ^ In our time, however, the public has decided otherwise, with Shakespeare's version not only restored but played more frequently and turned into three f i l m versions f o r even wider d i s t r i b u t i o n (Kozintsev, 1970; Brook, 1971; O l i v i e r , 1983).  I suspect that t h i s play has found i t s audience again  because of an increased scepticism toward the comfort of ideologies and a greater w i l l i n g n e s s to hear out a l l the arguments on behalf of questions such as:  "Who i s i t can t e l l me who I am?" We understand Lear i n Keats's terms as  "a f i e r c e dispute betwixt damnation and impassioned c l a y , " and we s i t s t i l l to learn what can be learned as one human act counteracts another, as clothes are - 174 -  doffed  and  donned, as puns on  " n a t u r e " and  p e r s p e c t i v e s on the human c o n d i t i o n . Edmund's i s s e l f - e v i d e n t l y j u s t , and  We  "kind" encapsulate divergent  know t h a t n e i t h e r L e a r ' s view nor  t h a t t h e r e f o r e the honest  course f o r the  p l a y w r i g h t i s the one t h a t Shakespeare has t a k e n : t o p r e s e n t the i s s u e s and t r u s t the audience  to d e c i d e the m e r i t s of  each.  Shakespeare's m o r a l i t y , then, i s what Burke would c a l l s c e p t i c i s m , which we  synonymize w i t h l i n g u i s t i c  t h a t an a t t i t u d e o f m e t h o d i c a l to  p e r c e i v e the f u l l  tendency  to  "linguistic  a p p r e c i a t i o n , on the grounds  q u i z z i c a l i t y towards language may  scope of i t s r e s o u r c e f u l n e s s . " ^  best equip  us  Given the human  t o " p e r f e c t " any one symbol or a t t i t u d e t o the e x c l u s i o n of o t h e r s ,  Burke sees l i n g u i s t i c s c e p t i c i s m as a s t r a t e g y f o r s u r v i v a l .  Any  method which  shows the l i m i t s or a m b i g u i t i e s of one symbol ( L e a r ' s " n a t u r e , " f o r example, or  Edmund's)  a l s o assures a p l a c e f o r the other i n the unending c o n v e r s a t i o n  of  the "human b a r n y a r d . "  Stalemate  does not s a t i s f y those who  an i d e o l o g y at the expense of a scapegoat,  would  but at l e a s t i t ensures  perfect  the  s u r v i v a l o f a l l a t t i t u d e s , h o n e s t l y r e c o g n i z i n g the t r u t h of each p e r s p e c t i v e .  C o l e r i d g e , I t h i n k , i n a d v e r t e n t l y e x p l a i n e d the " m o r a l i t y " of Shakespeare's p l a y s by n o t i n g one  of the s a l i e n t  f e a t u r e s of h i s  life-like  c h a r a c t e r p o r t r a y a l : " s i g n a l adherence t o the g r e a t law o f n a t u r e , t h a t a l l o p p o s i t e s tend t o a t t r a c t and temper each o t h e r " and, the heterogeneous i s u n i t e d , as i t i s i n n a t u r e . " ^ itself,  show the i n t e r a c t i o n of many a t t i t u d e s and,  whatever t r u t h we we  are prepared  are prepared  t o agree upon.  to a c c e p t , and  The p l a y s , l i k e  by d o i n g so, convey  whatever d e f i n i t i o n of j u s t i c e  the " a v a i l a b l e arguments" t o u c h i n g  i t i s up t o us, the audience,  we b e l i e v e i s most p r o b a b l y the  life  To use the terms of r e n a i s s a n c e r h e t o r i c ,  Shakespeare's i m a g i n a t i o n has found s u b j e c t he i s c o n t e m p l a t i n g ;  a g a i n , "In Shakespeare  case.  - 175 -  the  t o assent to what  I r o n i c a l l y , Johnson h i m s e l f i s the b e s t defender  o f Shakespeare's  m o r a l i t y when he p r a i s e s Shakespeare f o r h a v i n g , above a l l poets, "the and  most comprehensive s o u l . "  largest  Moreover, he s a y s , " T h i s i s the p r a i s e of  Shakespeare, t h a t h i s drama i s the m i r r o r o f l i f e ,  t h a t he who  has mazed h i s  i m a g i n a t i o n i n f o l l o w i n g the phantoms which o t h e r w r i t e r s r a i s e up b e f o r e may  him,  here be cured of h i s d e l i r i o u s e c s t a s i e s by r e a d i n g human sentiments i n  human language, the world  and  by scenes  from which a hermit may  e s t i m a t e the t r a n s a c t i o n s o f  a c o n f e s s o r p r e d i c t the p r o g r e s s o f the p a s s i o n s . "  1 8  Johnson i s  s p e c i f i c a l l y c o n t r a s t i n g Shakespeare with w r i t e r s of s e n t i m e n t a l comedy f o r whom "the u n i v e r s a l agent is  o n l y one  life,  i s l o v e . " Shakespeare, by c o n t r a s t , knew t h a t " l o v e  o f many p a s s i o n s ; and  i t has  little  as i t has no great i n f l u e n c e upon the sum  o p e r a t i o n i n the dramas o f a poet who  from the l i v i n g world and  e x h i b i t e d o n l y what he saw  any o t h e r p a s s i o n , as i t was calamity.Johnson  of  p a s s i o n s or a t t i t u d e s o p e r a t i n g i n l i f e ;  He knew t h a t  a cause of  happiness  p r a i s e s Shakespeare, then, f o r d r a m a t i z i n g a v a r i e t y  dramaturgy i s n a t u r a l i n t h a t "His persons those g e n e r a l p a s s i o n s and whole system o f l i f e  h i s ideas  b e f o r e him.  r e g u l a r or e x o r b i t a n t , was  or  caught  of  furthermore, a c t and  Shakespeare's  speak by the i n f l u e n c e of  p r i n c i p l e s by which a l l minds are a g i t a t e d and  c o n t i n u e d i n motion." Shakespeare's p l a y s are  the  "just  r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s o f g e n e r a l n a t u r e , " then, i n t h e i r m i r r o r i n g both o f the v a r i e t y o f p a s s i o n s and  o f the way  these p a s s i o n s  operate.  2 0  Johnson, l i k e C o l e r i d g e , has r e c o g n i z e d the t r u t h - t o - l i f e i n Shakespeare's drama, and, his  morality.  The  i n doing so, has  l o c a t e d the s a l i e n t p r i n c i p l e o f  p r a i s e of Shakespeare as the poet of n a t u r e means, i n  r h e t o r i c a l terms, t h a t he has shown a v a r i e t y o f p a s s i o n s or  attitudes  i n t e r a c t i n g i n h i s " f a b l e " and has t r a c e d t h e i r p r o g r e s s i n such a way they impress  an audience  as t r u e t o the movement o f i t s own  knowledge of i t s e l f which an audience  -  176  -  g a i n s by such a "comic  spirit.  that  From the  contemplation,"  it  i s more ready t o accept  necessary  If  an i r o n i c  j u x t a p o s i t i o n o f c o n f l i c t i n g terms as t h e  c o n d i t i o n f o r any d e f i n i t i o n o f o r d e r .  t h i s , then,  i s t h e p r a i s e o f Shakesperare, i t should  be enough n o t  o n l y t o e x p l a i n why h i s p l a y s reward a t t e n t i o n , but a l s o why he e x c e l s so many other p l a y w r i g h t s example, granted not enjoy  i n c l u d i n g the b r i g h t e s t candidates.  Bernard Shaw, f o r  Shakespeare h i s "word music" and p i t i e d the person who c o u l d  Shakespeare on t h a t account, but he s c o f f e d a t Shakespeare's i d e a s .  "Shakespear's m o r a l i t y i s a mere reach-me-down," he says,  f u l l o f accepted  i d e a s a g a i n s t which some c h a r a c t e r s , l i k e Hamlet, s t r u g g l e o n l y f i t f u l l y and unsuccessfully. and  Shakespeare had no o r i g i n a l c o n t r i b u t i o n s t o make t o m o r a l i t y  r e l i g i o n and was t h e r e f o r e i n f e r i o r  himself. should  2 1  t o Ibsen —  and, o f c o u r s e ,  t o Shaw  Shaw, l i k e Johnson, seems t o t h i n k t h a t Shakespeare's m o r a l i t y  be i d e n t i f i a b l e with p a r a p h r a s a b l e  That i s why he s a y s :  s e n t e n t i a e or a c o m f o r t i n g  ideology.  "We have got so f a r beyond Shakespeare as a man o f ideas  that there  i s by t h i s time h a r d l y a famous passage i n h i s works t h a t i s  considered  f i n e on any o t h e r  ground than t h a t i t sounds b e a u t i f u l l y , and  awakens i n us t h e emotion t h a t o r i g i n a l l y expressed  itself  by i t s beauty.  S t r i p i t o f t h a t beauty o f sound by p r o s a i c paraphrase, and you have left  nothing  but a p l a t i t u d e t h a t even an American p r o f e s s o r o f e t h i c s would b l u s h t o  o f f e r to h i s d i s c i p l e s "  (my e m p h a s e s ) .  22  The answer t o t h i s , o f c o u r s e , i s  t h a t Shakespeare, u n l i k e Shaw, i s able t o contemplate more than one great at  a time —  e s p e c i a l l y those  a t t i t u d e s which a r e p a r t o f l i f e even i f they  seem repugnant t o a r e a l i s t i c p h i l o s o p h y : and  Cleopatra's  idea  immortal l o n g i n g s .  l i k e Henry V s p a t r i o t i c  speeches  T h e r e f o r e , what seems t o Shaw a muddle i s  a c t u a l l y a complex network o f meaning, t o o " i n t r i n s e t ' u n l o o s e "  (King  Lear  II.ii.81).  As an example o f h i s own dramatic  method, Shaw f e l t  compelled t o t i d y up  the ending o f Cymbeline by o m i t t i n g the r e l i g i o u s r e f e r e n c e s  - 177 -  to Jupiter's  i n t e r v e n t i o n and by p u t t i n g  i n t o Imogen's mouth an e x p l i c i t  i n s t r u c t i o n on the proper way and  t o t r e a t a woman.  and  strident  Shakespeare worked o t h e r w i s e ,  i t i s h i s c o n t e m p l a t i o n o f the i n t e r a c t i o n o f s e v e r a l a t t i t u d e s , h i s  a r g u i n g o f o p p o s i t e s , h i s m e t h o d i c a l q u i z z i c a l i t y toward which c o n s t i t u t e h i s m o r a l i t y . j u s t and  brave man,  who  will  After a l l ,  a l l symbolic a c t i o n s  i t i s a t r u t h f u l man,  t r y t o hear every argument t h a t can be heard  to g i v e every reason t h a t can be g i v e n , even i f he proposes over the o t h e r i n the  as w e l l as a and  to " v o t e " f o r one  end.  IS THIS THE  PROMISED END?  As I have d i s c u s s e d them, the problem  p l a y s show Shakespeare's  at i t s most s c r u p u l o u s , o f f e r i n g s e v e r a l p e r s p e c t i v e s i n an a c t o f  morality "pure  p e r s u a s i o n " which i s so evenly argued  t h a t no a t t i t u d e emerges as the one  audience  The  i s c l e a r l y asked  to accept.  the  arguments i n these p l a y s are more  u n r e l i e v e d by a p e r s u a s i o n t o order at the end than those i n o t h e r p l a y s o f the canon.  With the t r a g e d i e s , Shakespeare once again r e t u r n s to r e s o l v i n g c o n f l i c t o f a t t i t u d e s as he has done i n h i s e a r l i e r p l a y s , at l e a s t  the  in this  sense: he b r i n g s h i s c h a r a c t e r s or terms through the t o t a l t r a n s f o r m a t i o n s i g n i f i e d by death.  R h e t o r i c a l l y , he makes them worthy o f a "eulogy";  p r a i s e s t h e i r worth as the " v e s s e l s o f meaning" or scapegoats us —  the audience —  reach an u n d e r s t a n d i n g  he  t h a t have helped  through t h e i r a c t and  suffering.  Of c o u r s e , i t i s not p o s s i b l e to put t h i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g e a s i l y i n t o the words o f a theme.  What we  l e a r n from Hamlet's pained predicament,  Lear's rashness,  and O t h e l l o ' s j e a l o u s y comes from years o f c o n t e m p l a t i n g the i n t e r a c t i o n o f a t t i t u d e s which have made the deaths o f these c h a r a c t e r s s u r e l y p i t i f u l somehow n e c e s s a r y .  I t would take another  - 178 -  t h e s i s to put my  own  and  paraphrase  into  decent  o r d e r , and  I would, a t t h a t , o n l y be adding  a s m a l l c o n t r i b u t i o n to the  understanding  of so many o t h e r s .  understanding  would be r h e t o r i c a l ; i t would assume t h a t I am " c o n s u b s t a n t i a l "  with these heroes  and w i t h t h e i r a n t a g o n i s t s , t h a t I can see i n them  I have i n myself and differ  N e v e r t h e l e s s , I should emphasize t h a t  from those who  t h a t I t h e r e f o r e can l e a r n from them. are persuaded  otherwise.  f o r example, to whom L e a r ' s rashness accommodate h i m s e l f t o changing sentimental.  attitudes  In t h i s I would  I remember two  undergraduates,  seemed " u n r e a l i s t i c , " h i s r e f u s a l t o  times i m p r a c t i c a l , and h i s c h o i c e of C o r d e l i a  T h e r e f o r e , they l o s t i n t e r e s t i n Lear and  transferred  i t to  Edmund because h i s a t t i t u d e more c l e a r l y matched t h e i r own:  he i s the up  coming man  s o c i e t y and  o f " n a t u r e " who  my  gets shortchanged  by an outdated  and who,  d e s p i t e a s e n t i m e n t a l death-bed c o n v e r s i o n , s u r v i v e s i n the memory as the  one  whose a t t i t u d e c a l l s every L e a r - l i k e and A l b a n y - l i k e o r d e r i n t o q u e s t i o n .  I  b e l i e v e t h a t most people  are persuaded  meaning" i n t h i s p l a y —  but I am  as I am —  t h a t Lear i s the " v e s s e l o f  a l s o convinced  t h a t Shakespeare  presented Edmund's a t t i t u d e so w e l l t h a t l a t t e r - d a y M a c h i a v e l s Nietzschean  supermen ( c e r t a i n l y the two  undergraduates)  will  has  and  neo-  i d e n t i f y with h i s  a t t i t u d e and h i s t r a g e d y , even t o the e x t e n t of downplaying L e a r ' s .  What c o u l d become f o r a few the tragedy o f Edmund does become, f o r many, the tragedy o f Macbeth.  H i s death i s a l s o a " t r a n s f o r m a t i o n . "  h e r o i c e v i l gets no eulogy; i n s t e a d , i t i s made "immortal."  Granted,  his  By d y i n g f o r the  p r i n c i p l e of s e l f - d e t e r m i n a t i o n , as a r e b e l t o Malcolm's o r d e r , Macbeth, i n r h e t o r i c a l terms, shows t h a t such a p r i n c i p l e i s worth d y i n g f o r . reason,  I would q u a l i f y s l i g h t l y Stephen Booth's r e c e n t and  of t h i s p l a y .  For Booth, Macbeth, l i k e any  d e f i n e an i n d e f i n a b l e e x p e r i e n c e .  The  customary, neat moral judgments and how Macbeth.  The  179  -  excellent  analysis  f o r m a l t r a g e d y , i s the attempt  audience  to  f e e l s a c o n f l i c t between i t s  i t really  c l a s h between what i t f e e l s and  -  For t h a t  e x p e r i e n c e s the c h a r a c t e r of  what i t ought to say goes  unrecognized  consciously, but since i t i s sensed sublirninally and endured, the  audience f e e l s good for having survived t h i s grave threat to i t s cosy, everyday assumptions.  Macbeth's lawless a t t i t u d e threatens every attempt to  define a moral order, but h i s death expels that threat at l e a s t w i t h i n the 2  confines of the p l a y . ^  Booth assumes, then, that the audience r e t a i n s some measure of a r h e t o r i c a l a n a l y s i s would not be so sure.  comfort;  Many i n the audience, no doubt,  believe that the s u r v i v i n g order i s w e l l r i d of the "dead butcher and h i s f i e n d l i k e queen."  Others, however, w i l l sense only a f r a g i l e peace i n the  v i c t o r y of Malcolm, a mere act of w i s h f u l t h i n k i n g that h i s coronation at Scone w i l l unite h i s subjects and s a t i s f y t h e i r ambitions.  In h i s f i l m of  Macbeth (1971), Roman Polanski has tinkered with the text to give more weight to t h i s p e s s i m i s t i c view.  As Jack Jorgens describes i t :  The time i s not free at the end of Polanski's melodrama, f o r there w i l l be no end to the chain of ambitious k i l l i n g s , r e p r e s s i o n , and f e a r . In the concluding scene a r i d e r approaches the r u i n s of the witches and the sour bagpipes sound again. I t i s Donalbain, Malcolm's younger brother, whose limp l i n k s him with the young murderer and whose looks were as dark as Macbeth's when Duncan named Malcolm successor. He takes s h e l t e r from the r a i n under the r u i n s as Macbeth and Banquo d i d . Hearing the witches' chanting, he goes to i n v e s t i g a t e . The f i l m ' s f i n a l image i s a sustained long shot of the r u i n i n the r a i n with the horse outside awaiting i t s master. e  Of course, Polanski need not have strayed f a r from the t e x t to make t h i s point.  An a t t e n t i v e audience w i l l hear again i n Malcolm's promise t& plant  "newly with the time" whatever needs to be done ( V . v i i i . 6 6 ) an echo of h i s father Duncan's s i m i l a r promise: to "plant" Macbeth and to make him " f u l l of growing" (I.iv.28-29).  And i n t h i s echoed promise of calm a f t e r a storm i s  also heard the sequel of disappointed ambition and of a r a d i c a l r e f u s a l to serve that can be traced back both to the man  and the woman i n the garden and  to the r e b e l l i o n of Satan to whom Macbeth and h i s Lady have been i m p l i c i t l y  - 180 -  compared.  S i n c e , r h e t o r i c a l l y speaking, every "god  i n order to define i t s e l f , pure grace and peace.  an audience cannot  term" needs a " d e v i l  term"  h e l p but s u s p e c t any promise  of  In the tragedy of Macbeth, the audience has, i n a  sense, witnessed the d e v i l b e i n g g i v e n h i s due, t h a t the d e v i l has o n l y l o s t  a b a t t l e , not the  For Burke, Macbeth i s Shakespeare's  way  and some may  even be  persuaded  o f e x p r e s s i n g "outlaw"  attitudes  war.  w h i l e g i v i n g proper d e f e r e n c e to the order t h a t commands f o r the moment.  He  r e p r e s e n t s a mounting middle c l a s s ambition which t r i e s t o grasp the "golden round" One  for i t s e l f  i n order to e s t a b l i s h a new  need not accept Burke's  o r d e r based  s o c i a l l y weighted  2  on i t s p r i n c i p l e s . ^  a n a l y s i s i n o r d e r t o accept h i s  p r i n c i p a l p o i n t : that Macbeth, l i k e every drama, e n a c t s a t t i t u d e s t h a t appeal i n d i f f e r e n t ways to s e v e r a l c o n s t i t u e n c i e s i n the audience. t o W i l l i a m Empson, who  will  According  i s d i s c u s s i n g i r o n y i n the n o v e l , "double i r o n y i s  somehow n a t u r a l to the s t a g e " where a d r a m a t i s t can appeal t o d i f f e r e n t p a r t i e s i n the audience i n o r d e r to h e l p him  argue a complex matter  of  concern.  I t i s when the i r o n i s t h i m s e l f begins t o d o u b t . . . t h a t the f a r r e a c h i n g i r o n i e s [ o f a n o v e l ] appear; and by then the t h i n g i s l i k e a dramatic appeal to an audience, because both p a r t i e s i n the audience c o u l d swallow i t . The e s s e n t i a l i s f o r the author t o r e p e a t the audience i n h i m s e l f , and he may s a f e l y seem to do n o t h i n g more. No doubt he has c o v e r t l y , i f i t i s a good i r o n y , t o r e c o n c i l e the o p p o s i t e s i n t o a l a r g e r u n i t y , o r suggest a b a l a n c e d p o s i t i o n by s e t t i n g out two extreme views, or a c c e p t a l i e (more or l e s s c o n s c i o u s l y ) to f i n d energy t o accept a t r u t h . . . I t h i n k i t must be c o n c e i v e d as l i k e a f u l l - b l o w n " d r a m a t i c ambiguity," i n which d i f f e r e n t p a r t s o f the audience are meant to i n t e r p r e t the t h i n g i n d i f f e r e n t ways. 2  As the audience  i n t e r p r e t s , heated debate w i l l  f i n a l l y proferred  i s adequate  or not, d e s i r a b l e or n o t .  t r a g e d i e s move away from the problem acceptance or r e j e c t i o n . p o i n t e r t o a comic  ensue over whether the order As I have s a i d ,  the  p l a y s by c l e a r l y p r e s e n t i n g an o r d e r f o r  In the same way,  the romances p r o v i d e a c l e a r  k i n d of acceptance: to the deep j o y t h a t comes when the  - 181 -  lost  are found, i d e n t i t i e s are c l a r i f i e d  forgiven. they The  The  are not  conventions  felt  to be  and  him back.  No one  to defend Helena's a p p a r e n t l y  qualification; elsewhere.  Imogen, f o r It is  f o r Posthumus i s not  would c a l l Imogen a " c l e v e r grounds which W.W.Lawrence  "predatory  monogamy."  even i n the romances, Shakespeare does not  c o n t r a s t i n g a t t i t u d e s and  are  as o b v i o u s l y wrong f o r  wench" of f o l k t a l e , much l e s s defend her on those  Of course,  l e s s formal  i s clearly lovable in return.  A l s o , Imogen's s e a r c h  as a scheme to win  chose i n o r d e r  the s i n f u l  l e s s i n h e r e n t ambiguity.  to harm her w h i l e i t i s not  Bertram to r e s i s t Helena. presented  and  an i m p o s i t i o n on a p l o t s t r u g g l i n g to go  only l o v e s Posthumus but  wrong to doubt her  accepted,  of romance are used with  c h a r a c t e r s are a l s o drawn with  example, not  and  e n t i r e l y give  i n c l u d i n g q u a l i f i c a t i o n s to the order he would  e s t a b l i s h , although  the formal  problem p l a y s .  q u a l i f i c a t i o n s come, i n s t e a d , from reminders w i t h i n  The  p l a y of i t s f i c t i v e  and  c o n s t r u c t i o n i s more of a p i e c e than i n the  illusory  nature  been i n c l u d e d w i t h i n the charmed c i r c l e  and  i n The  of the r e s o l u t i o n .  For example,  Tempest, i t i s c l e a r both t h a t Antonio w i l l never  f o r g i v e n e s s from Prospero and nurture  t h a t C a l i b a n i s one  of a r t w i l l never s t i c k .  wrestled,  of the p l a y i t s e l f  " a n c i e n t " Gower; the r e u n i o n  P e r d i t a "were i t but t o l d  artist  accept the be  i t seems, t o any r e s o l u t i o n .  sung," t o l d by  (Winter's  Winter's T a l e  upon whose nature  as i f t o q u a l i f y i t s c l a i m to s e r i o u s a t t e n t i o n .  o l d was  the  These are r e c a l c i t r a n t m a t e r i a l s , not t o  Moreover, the f i c t i v e nature out  the  of the l o o s e ends t h a t have not  l o o s e bones of Antigonus r a t t l e a g a i n s t the f i n a l harmony of The and,  up  you,  should  T a l e V . i i i . 1 1 6 - 1 1 7 ) ; and  g e n e r a l l y and  of nature  -  182  -  of Hermione, Leontes  be hooted a t / L i k e an o l d  are but  pointed  P e r i c l e s i s a "song t h a t  the pageants of Prospero,  itself,  IV.i.151).  i s relentlessly  a "baseless  and  tale"  l i k e those  fabric"  of  (Tempest  the  L e t A u t o l y c u s , the t h i e v i n g s e l l e r of i n c r e d i b l e b a l l a d s , stand the p l a y w r i g h t h i m s e l f . fish,  t h a t appeared  thousand  in for  L e t him t e s t your c r e d u l i t y w i t h a s t o r y about "a  upon the c o a s t on Wednesday the f o u r s c o r e of A p r i l ,  forty  fathoms above water, and sang t h i s b a l l a d a g a i n s t the hard h e a r t s of  maids; i t was  thought  she was  a woman and  would not exchange f l e s h w i t h one "the b a l l a d  i s very p i t i f u l and  even f o r a s t a t u e t h a t moves cozeners  abroad;  was  t h a t l o v e d h e r . " L e t him  t r u e , " and  f o r she  c o n v i n c e you t h a t  you w i l l be ready  (Winter's T a l e IV.iv.279-287).  t h e r e f o r e i t behooves men  have been warned, but, i f we  turned i n t o a c o l d f i s h  for anything  —  "There are  t o be wary" (IV.iv.256-257).  s t a y i n our s e a t s , i t i s because we  We  have s o l v e d  f o r o u r s e l v e s the r e l a t i o n s h i p between a r t and  nature; we have come t o know  how  "what i s not so," how  "what i s so" about us can reach us through  persuaded  The  t o a t r u t h through  we  can  e s t a b l i s h e d , and  the  a fiction.  argument of a t t i t u d e s , then, has moved to another  abstraction.  W i t h i n the romance, the order i s c l e a r l y  p l a y w r i g h t has used  be  level  every f o r m a l means to move us t o accept i t .  of  The  p r e f e r a b l e o r d e r , then, i s not i n doubt; what remains i n doubt i s the p o s s i b l e r e l e v a n c e of t h i s order to a n y t h i n g we know i n n a t u r e .  IMAGINARY GARDENS AND  The  REAL TOADS  s t r e n g t h of Burke's r h e t o r i c a l method, which a t t e n d s c l o s e l y to the  use of form f o r s p e c i f i c e f f e c t s on an audience,  can b e s t be a p p r e c i a t e d by  comparing i t w i t h the s t r u c t u r a l c r i t i c i s m of Northrop i n the I n t r o d u c t i o n , F r y e sees no problem w i t h how plays.  For him,  the q u e s t i o n i s s e t t l e d  - 183 -  Frye.  As I mentioned  t o i n t e r p r e t the problem  by d e t e c t i n g t h e c o n v e n t i o n or  mythic  s t r u c t u r e which s e r v e s as the g e n e r a l framework o f the n a r r a t i v e . mythos i s comic r a t h e r than t r a g i c , i t s genre obvious.  If i t s  and the response t o i t are  Frye asks the q u e s t i o n b a l d l y : "Does a n y t h i n g t h a t e x h i b i t s  the  s t r u c t u r e of a comedy have t o be taken as a comedy, r e g a r d l e s s of i t s c o n t e n t or our a t t i t u d e to t h a t c o n t e n t ? " yes.  And  h i s response?  A comedy i s not a p l a y which ends h a p p i l y .  c e r t a i n s t r u c t u r e i s present and works through we or the c a s t or the author f e e l happy about  A c c o r d i n g t o F r y e , the problem between the c o n v e n t i o n used  and  "The  answer i s c l e a r l y  I t i s a p l a y i n which a  to i t s own i t or  l o g i c a l end, 2  not." ?  w i t h the problem  p l a y s i s the c l a s h  "the u n a c c e p t a b l e b e h a v i o r " i t imposes on the  c h a r a c t e r s as they are developed.  So,  " I f the hero o f a t h r i l l e r m i r a c u l o u s l y  gets out o f h i s s c r a p e , t h a t i s c o n v e n t i o n : but i f he had to be s t u p i d t o have got i n t o the scrape i n the f i r s t p l a c e , we may with the c o n v e n t i o n . " will  2 8  concerns  e f f e c t the  2  everything." ^  s c a l e d down c h a r a c t e r s i n e x o r a b l y through  myriad  end a r r i v e s .  d i f f e r e n c e between Cymbeline and the e a r l i e r  earlier  and moves h i s  disguisings, disclosures According to Frye,  problem  and  "The  comedies, then, i s t h a t  f o r c e , so to speak, which b r i n g s a f e s t i v e c o n c l u s i o n out  of a l l the mistakes of the c h a r a c t e r s , i s e x p l i c i t l y working  comedies"; i t i s  In i t Shakespeare r e c a p i t u l a t e s  t e a r f u l r e u n i o n s u n t i l the promised  Helena  resolution.  and m o t i f s , i n c l u d i n g the theme of r e c o n c i l i a t i o n ,  the counter-problem  become i m p a t i e n t  w i t h Measure f o r Measure i s how  For F r y e , Cymbeline i s the " a p o t h e o s i s of the problem "much ado about  invincibly  T h e r e f o r e , the problem w i t h A l l ' s W e l l i s how  accomplish her t a s k s ; the problem  Isabella's chastity w i l l  whether  of a d i v i n e p r o v i d e n c e , here c a l l e d  Jupiter.  a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the J u p i t e r i s as much a  p r o j e c t i o n of the author's c r a f t s m a n s h i p as the Duke i n Measure f o r Measure; t h a t i s , the d i f f e r e n c e between Cymbeline and the problem  comedies i s not  Cymbeline i s adding a r e l i g i o u s a l l e g o r y t o the dramatic a c t i o n . - 184 -  that  What i t i s  a d d i n g . . . i s the p r i m i t i v e m y t h i c a l dimension which problem comedies. a more academic  Cymbeline  i s o n l y i m p l i c i t i n the  i s not a more r e l i g i o u s p l a y than Much Ado,  play, with a greater t e c h n i c a l i n t e r e s t  i t is  i n dramatic  structure."3°  The e l e v a t i n g of Much Ado, flattening  of Cymbeline  A l l ' s W e l l , and Measure f o r Measure and  the  would make these p l a y s resemble one another as more or  l e s s e x p l i c i t and s u c c e s s f u l attempts to use romance c o n v e n t i o n s ; they are not "dark comedies,"  t h e r e f o r e , but r a t h e r p l a y s w i t h i n the penumbra of romance.  However, i f my the  a n a l y s i s has any m e r i t , i t has shown t h a t the problem o f  problem p l a y s cannot be r e s o l v e d by i s o l a t i n g the " n a r r a t i v e framework"  alone and making t h a t the s o l e c r i t e r i o n f o r the audience's response.  I say " p r i n c i p a l " because F r y e acknowledges t h a t responses to a  p l a y vary — Jaques.  principal  one may  view the f e s t i v e ending through the eyes o f Orlando or  N e v e r t h e l e s s , he m a i n t a i n s t h a t i f the p l a y i s a comedy or  incipient  romance a c c o r d i n g to i t s s t r u c t u r e , i t must be taken t o be such r e g a r d l e s s o f one's responses o t h e r w i s e . Shakespearean  play should be c o n t r a s t e d , however, w i t h the views o f o t h e r s  have sensed something who  " s u i g e n e r i s " i n Shakespeare's  argues t h a t Shakespeare  B e r r y , who  T h i s p r o c r u s t e a n d e t e r m i n a t i o n of the genre o f a  dramas, l i k e Kenneth  who Muir  wrote t r a g e d i e s , not tragedy, and l i k e Ralph  argues the same f o r the  comedies.  Frye i s l e d to h i s c o n c l u s i o n , I b e l i e v e , by h i s emphasis on mythos or c o n v e n t i o n a l form.  R h e t o r i c a l c r i t i c i s m , however, t a k e s a broader  I t p l a c e s the primary f o c u s on communication then r e c o g n i z e s p r o g r e s s i v e , r e p e t i t i v e ,  complement one another, or they may  - 185 -  between author and audience, and  and minor  c o n v e n t i o n a l forms as means o f p e r s u a s i o n .  approach.  These  forms i n a d d i t i o n t o forms may  o v e r l a p and  c o l l i d e , but i n any case they subserve the  primary purpose o f p e r s u a d i n g the audience t o i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h the c o n t e m p l a t i o n o f a matter which concerns them b o t h . ^  One  of the p r i n c i p a l concerns of Cymbeline,  d i s t i n g u i s h true n o b i l i t y mother are k i l l e d  from t h a t which  artist's  1  f o r example, i s t o  i s merely i n h e r i t e d .  C l o t e n and h i s  o f f w h i l e Posthumus and Imogen are m a r r i e d p a r t l y t o s a t i s f y  an audience's sense of t h e k i n d o f n o b i l i t y which belongs t o a d e s i r a b l e public order. issues.  U n l i k e the problem  The terms  (wicked stepmother  seeks t o p o i s o n b e a u t i f u l daughter  K i n g ) , and the ending i s , f o r a l l the complexity o f i t s u n r a v e l l i n g ,  more d e l a y e d , d e l i g h t e d . " the  does not confuse the  are c l e a r l y d e f i n e d through the c o n v e n t i o n a l form of a  romance or f a i r y t a l e the  p l a y s , Cymbeline  close  In the s p i r i t o f r e c o n c i l i a t i o n which  ("Pardon's the word t o a l l " ) ,  coupled w i t h a generous recognized.  spirit  Not o n l y does the brave Leonatus Posthumus marry the p r i n c e s s  b e h a v i o r i n b a t t l e as w e l l as by G u i d e r i u s ' s d i s t i n c t i v e b i r t h m a r k . endings o f A l l ' s W e l l and Measure f o r Measure, no one  r e s i s t s the p r o g r e s s i v e movement t o mercy and  True, K i n g Cymbeline, r e f u s e s t o grant complete enemies.  However, t h i s i s because  her wickedness,  i n t h i s play  t o h i s own  educated  finally  son and t o h i s Roman  he possesses o n l y p a r t i a l knowledge o f  o f f , " Cymbeline  under  the e v i l  i s t o l d the i d e n t i t y o f h i s sons, and  e x t e n t of  i s shown an example o f  to the p o i n t where he can e f f e c t the f i n a l ' and  As a r e s u l t , fullest  r e c o n c i l i a t i o n o f enemies as he says: "Although the v i c t o r , we  - 186 -  who  i n f l u e n c e of h i s  comes t o l e a r n the f u l l  noble f o r g i v e n e s s through Posthumus's pardoning o f Iachimo. is  Unlike  marriage.  f o r g i v e n e s s at f i r s t  Once she i s " k i l l e d  brave  through whom a l l the r e c o n c i l i a t i o n s are e f f e c t e d ,  i s b e f o r e him and p a r t l y because he i s s t i l l queen.  vigor  are  Imogen, but the King's sons are r e c o g n i z e d t o be such both by t h e i r  the  "the  p r e v a i l s at  both the c l a i m s o f n a t u r a l  and the c l a i m s o f i n h e r i t e d t i t l e  of  submit t o  he  Caesar,/ And t o t h e Roman empire,  p r o m i s i n g / To pay our wonted t r i b u t e ,  the which/ We were dissuaded by our wicked  Cymbeline action."  queen."  does more than add "a r e l i g i o u s  I t uses c o n v e n t i o n a l , r e p e t i t i v e ,  (Cymbeline  U n l i k e t h e problem  V.v.460-463).  a l l e g o r y t o t h e dramatic  and p r o g r e s s i v e forms  of p e r s u a d i n g t h e audience t o t h e k i n d o f n o b i l i t y which close.  from  f o r t h e sake  i s celebrated  at the  p l a y s , t h i s p l a y has made up i t s mind about what  a t t i t u d e i s d e s i r a b l e and argues f o r i t t o the end. As my a n a l y s i s illustrates,  then, t h e d i f f e r e n c e between a r h e t o r i c a l c r i t i c i s m and a  s t r u c t u r a l one i s t h e d i f f e r e n c e between emphasizing  the use o f form f o r t h e  sake o f p e r s u a s i o n t o an a t t i t u d e and t h e use o f form f o r i t s own s a k e . ^  2  I n h i s i n t r o d u c t i o n t o A N a t u r a l P e r s p e c t i v e , Northrop F r y e suggests t h a t t h e r e a r e two k i n d s o f c r i t i c : critic,  depending  one i s e i t h e r  an " I l i a d " o r an "Odyssey"  upon whether one p r e f e r s e i t h e r t h e d i d a c t i c or t h e p l e a s i n g  f u n c t i o n o f l i t e r a t u r e ; whether one l o o k s p r i m a r i l y f o r l i f e - l i k e characterization  and h i g h s e r i o u s n e s s o f theme ( l i t e r a t u r e as a l l e g o r y o f " t h e  n o n l i t e r a r y c e n t e r o f e x p e r i e n c e " ) o r whether one s t u d i e s and responds t o t h e story i t s e l f  (the acceptance o f c o n v e n t i o n s and t h e t o u r de f o r c e r e q u i r e d t o  overcome them). critic,  The I l i a d  critic  comedy and romance.  p r e f e r s tragedy and r e a l i s m ; t h e Odyssey  Shakespeare,  says F r y e , i s an Odyssey w r i t e r ,  u n l i k e Jonson who r e s p e c t e d t o o much an audience's " s u b c r i t i c a l " tendency t o equate stage a c t i o n and r e a l l i f e  and who c o n s c i o u s l y appealed t o i t .  c a s t s i n h i s l o t w i t h t h e Odyssey w r i t e r s and c r i t i c s ; mythoi  i n Anatomy o f C r i t i c i s m which  hence,  Frye  h i s analysis of  he c o n s t r u c t s w i t h consummate s k i l l and  involuted complexity.  In t h e s p i r i t  o f F r y e ' s analogy, I would suggest t h a t i t i s p o s s i b l e t o  be an "Aeneid" c r i t i c : Odyssey  —  one who, l i k e V e r g i l ,  communication  combines both t h e I l i a d  o f a t t i t u d e s and s k i l l  of craftsmanship —  and t h e ina  commentary on a r t and l i f e . critics,  I assume, w i t h Sidney and other  that a r t "imitates" l i f e  Renaissance  i n such a way t h a t through t h e poet's  f i c t i o n one can l e a r n t r u t h s more p h i l o s o p h i c a l than h i s t o r y and more l i v e l y than p h i l o s o p h y .  A t t h e same time, I assume t h a t o n l y through h i s formal  c o n s t r u c t i o n o f an a r t i f a c t can t h e poet communicate h i s i n s i g h t and, i n doing so,  r i s k success or f a i l u r e depending  upon t h e response o f t h e audience t o h i s  e q u a t i o n s f o r terms and t o the c o n v e n t i o n a l , p r o g r e s s i v e , and r e p e t i t i v e movements i n t h e i r  exposition.  I b e l i e v e , then, t h a t Shakespeare i s an Aeneid w r i t e r , whose a r t f u l c o n s t r u c t i o n s and a r g u i n g o f a t t i t u d e s draw us i n t o a never-ending contemplation o f humanity i n a c t i o n and c o n t r i v e i n so doing t o g i v e us t h e p l e a s u r e and the wisdom o f imaginary gardens with r e a l toads i n them.33  - 188 -  VII. ENDNOTES  INTRODUCTION  1. Frederick S. Boas, Shakespeare and h i s Predecessors, (1896; r p t . New York: Greenwood, 1969) pp. 345 and 357-358. 2. W.W. Lawrence, Shakespeare's Problem Comedies, 2nd. ed. (1931; r p t . New York: Ungar, 1960), pp.3-5 and 209; E.M.W. T i l l y a r d , Shakespeare's Problem Plays (1950; r p t . Toronto: U n i v e r s i t y of Toronto Press, 1968), pp. 3-5; A.P. R o s s i t e r , Angel With Horns: F i f t e e n Lectures on Shakespeare, ed. Graham Storey (New York: Longman, 1961), p.117. 3. Lawrence, p.207; T i l l y a r d , pp.139-143; Madeleine Doran, Endeavors of A r t : A study of Form i n Elizabethan Drama (Madison: U n i v e r s i t y of Wisconsin Press, 1954), pp.366-367. 4. Lawrence, p.206: "There appears to be no v a l i d reason f o r necessarily viewing [the problem comedies] as s a t i r i c a l or i r o n i c a l .  There are no r e a l  ambiguities as to which characters are good and which are bad.  Heroism and  v i r t u e s t i l l shine c l e a r l y f o r t h , though sometimes i n ways which appear t o us strange.  To t h i s point we must hold f a s t , f o r g e t t i n g that we are of the  twentieth century...";  Northrop Frye, A Natural Perspective: The Development  of Shakespearean Comedy and Romance (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1965), p.64: "The problems of the problem comedies have to be looked at f i r s t of a l l as conventional descendants of myths.  The 'problem' of A l l ' s Well i s  not any Shavian s o c i a l problem of how a woman gets her man, but the mythical problem of how Helena, l i k e her ancestress Psyche, i s going to solve her three impossible tasks.  S i m i l a r l y , the problem i n Measure f o r Measure i s how  I s a b e l l ' s c h a s t i t y , always a magical force i n romance, i s going to rescue both  - 189 -  the v i o l a t e d J u l i e t t a and the j i l t e d Mariana as a r e s u l t of being exposed t o the s o l i c i t a t i o n s of Angelo." 5. Ernest Schanzer, The Problem Plays of Shakespeare: A Study of J u l i u s Caesar, Measure f o r Measure, Antony and Cleopatra (London: Routledge and Kegan P a u l , 1963), p.6. 6. P a t r i c k Murray, The Shakespearian Scene: Some Twentieth-Century Perspectives (London: Longmans, 1969). 7. P h i l i p Edwards, Shakespeare and the Confines of Art (London: Menthuen,1968), pp.95-119. 8. Howard F e l p e r i n , Shakespearean Romance (Princeton: Princeton U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1972), p.77. 9. E.C. P e t t e t , Shakespeare and the Romance T r a d i t i o n (London: Staples Press, 1949), p.160. 10. R.S. White, Shakespeare and the Romance Ending (Newcastle upon Tyne: p r i v a t e l y p r i n t e d , 1981), p.47. 11. Paul de Man, Blindness and I n s i g h t : Essays i n the Rhetoric of Contemporary C r i t i c i s m 2nd. ed. Theory and History of L i t e r a t u r e , Vol.7 (Minneapolis: U n i v e r s i t y of Minnesota Press, 1983), pp. 220-226. 12. Wilbur Samuel Howell, "The A r t s of L i t e r a r y C r i t i c s , i n Renaissance B r i t a i n : A Comprehensive View," from Poetics Rhetoric, and Logic: Studies i n the Basic D i s c i p l i n e s of C r i t i c i s m (Ithaca: C o r n e l l U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1975), p.86. 13. Howell, i b i d . p. 119, chides Vickers f o r h i s s l i g h t i n g of the concern i n Renaissance r h e t o r i c a l theory f o r content and form as w e l l as f o r tropes and f i g u r e s .  "Vickers's w i l l i n g n e s s to follow Ramus and to i s o l a t e  r h e t o r i c from i t s c l a s s i c a l concern f o r content and form leaves him i n the p o s i t i o n of not being able to l i v e up to the requirements of the t i t l e which he has given to h i s book [ C l a s s i c a l Rhetoric i n E n g l i s h P o e t r y ] . t h i s r h e t o r i c i s not c l a s s i c a l r h e t o r i c , but only a part of i t . " -  190 -  In short,  14. "Longinus r e f e r s to that kind of e l a t i o n wherein the audience f e e l s as though i t were not merely r e c e i v i n g , but were i t s e l f c r e a t i v e l y p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n the poet's or speaker's a s s e r t i o n .  Could we not say t h a t , i n  such cases, the audience i s exalted by the assertion because i t has the f e e l of c o l l a b o r a t i n g i n the assertion?"  Kenneth Burke, Rhetoric of Motives  (Berkeley: U n i v e r s i t y of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1969), pp.57-58. 15. "For to say t r u e l y , what else i s man but h i s mind?...He therefore that hath vanquished the minde of man [by using the f i g u r e s ] hath made the greatest and most g l o r i o u s conquest." George Puttenham, The Arte of English Poesie, ed. Gladys Doidge W i l l o c k and A l i c e Walker (Cambridge: Cambridge U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1970), p.197. 16. Howell, p.104: "To A r i s t o t l e , to Cicero, and to Horace..the c r u c i a l d i s t i n c t i o n to be recognized between delight and d i d a c t i c i s m i n poetry, on the one hand, and d e l i g h t and d i d a c t i c i s m i n oratory, on the other, was that the poem accomplished these ends by f i c t i o n s , the o r a t i o n by statements." The i n f i g