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A dancing of attitudes : Burke’s rhetoric on Shakespeare 1985

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A DANCING OF ATTITUDES: BURKE'S RHETORIC ON SHAKESPEARE By STEPHEN CHARLES ROWAN M.A., The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , 1975 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF ' THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH We a c c e p t t h i s t h e s i s as c o n f o r m i n g tA> t h e r e q u i r e d ^ - s ^ t a n d a r d . THE UNIVERSITY OF B R I T I S H COLUMBIA S e p t e m b e r , 1985 © S t e p h e n C. Rowan, 1 9 8 5 . I n p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f t h e r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I agree t h a t t h e L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y 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 . I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be g r a n t e d by t h e head o f my department 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 . I t i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l n o t be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . English Department o f The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 September 18, 1985 ABSTRACT Since F.S. Boas coined the term i n 1896, A l l ' s Well That Ends Well, T r o i l u s and Cressida, and Measure For Measure have been generally accepted as "problem plays," and many c r i t i c s have offered biographical, thematic, and formal explanations of why these plays are so "dark." In t h i s t h e s i s , I accept that these plays are "problems" and I propose a r h e t o r i c a l explanation for 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 with t h e i r endings. Drawing on Kenneth Burke's philosophy of l i t e r a r y form and his anthropology of man as the symbol-using animal, I show that i n these plays Shakespeare f r u s t r a t e s the expectations of an audience for a d e f i n i t e ending through death or marriage which would define the "terms" characterized i n each play; secondly, he provides no scapegoat whose victimage would allow the audience to recognize an order c l e a r l y proposed for i t s acceptance; f i n a l l y , he supplies 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 plays show an intense "dancing of a t t i t u d e s " toward symbols of order and toward conventional forms which would provide a clear sense of an ending. As such, they show what Burke c a l l s " s e l f - i n t e r f e r e n c e " on the part of the playwright — a deliberate balancing of arguments for the sake of " q u i z z i c a l i t y " toward language as symbolic a c t i o n . According to t h i s a nalysis, the problem plays remain problems for an audience which seeks i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with symbols of order; they are, 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 7 II. BURKE'S RHETORIC: LANGUAGE AS SYMBOLIC ACTION 17 LITERATURE AS A DEFINITION OF TERMS 23 CRITICISM AS CONVERSATION: TWO REJOINDERS TO BURKE 30 FORM AND MEANING 37 A RHETORICAL ANTHROPOLOGY 43 SHAKESPEARE AS RHETORICIAN 46 III. ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL 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 IV. 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: A THEME OF HONOR AND RENOWN? 119 A GORY EMULATION . 123 V. MEASURE FOR MEASURE 128 ANGELO AND ISABELLA: 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 - i i i - LUCIO: AN "INWARD" OF THE DUKE 153 THE CONCLUSION: THIS LOOKS NOT LIKE A NUPTIAL 157 VI. LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER 163 THIS, THEN, IS THE PRAISE OF SHAKESPEARE 171 IS THIS THE PROMISED END? 178 IMAGINARY GARDENS AND REAL TOADS ..183 VII. ENDNOTES 189 VI I I . BIBLIOGRAPHY 2 0 5 - i v - ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS As I conclude t h i s t h e s i s , I find that "I count myself i n nothing else so happy/ As i n a soul 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 to my readers, Nan Johnson, Joel Kaplan, and my adviser, Tony Dawson, a l l of whose c a r e f u l readings and constant encouragement contributed many improvements of substance and s t y l e ; to John Hulcoop and the Graduate Committee of The University of B r i t i s h Columbia who helped provide f i n a n c i a l assistance and guidance; to the B a s i l i a n community of St. Mark's College whose gracious h o s p i t a l i t y I enjoyed for three years; to my family and friends who supported me with t h e i r i n t e r e s t and understood my absence, e s p e c i a l l y my father, Charles Rowan, my s i s t e r , Eileen Walton, and Frs. Lawrence R e i l l y and Paul Magnano; to Don Beach, who p a t i e n t l y i n i t i a t e d me into the mysteries of the word processor and to his family who made room for me i n t h e i r home; f i n a l l y , to Raymond E. Brown, S.S., whose example of scholarship, clear w r i t i n g , and dedicated teaching have been e f f e c t i v e even at a distance. - v - I.INTRODUCTION Most c r i t i c s have sensed some kinship among the plays of Shakespeare's "middle period" (from approximately 1600-1604) and have t r i e d to define t h e i r d i s t i n g u i s h i n g q u a l i t y i n order to appreciate better the nature of Shakespeare's s t y l e , ways of thinking, and craftsmanship. Since Frederick Boas f i r s t coined the term "problem play" i n 1896, and included Hamlet, A l l ' s Well, Measure for Measure, and T r o i l u s and Cressida i n the grouping, the term has been applied to various plays. Most c r i t i c s include A l l ' s Well, Measure for Measure, and T r o i l u s and Cressida i n the category, while either r e t a i n i n g Hamlet ( T i l l y a r d ) , omitting i t (Lawrence, Rossiter) or replacing i t with another candidate (Doran). I t seems, then, that a consensus e x i s t s concerning at l e a s t three plays to be retained from Boas's l i s t and to be included i n the "problem" grouping. The c r i t e r i a for determining a "problem play" or "dark comedy" (E.K.Chambers) were enunciated by Boas and may be distinguished as moral or thematic and s t r u c t u r a l . For Boas, the moral concern i n these plays i s with unbridled passions erupting i n s o c i e t i e s " r i p e unto rottenness" and with cases of conscience solved by "unprecedented" methods; the s t r u c t u r a l awkwardness i s related to the "unprecedented" methods: the massive weight of issues, according to Boas, i s not sustained by the framework of the p l o t , and therefore a s a t i s f a c t o r y ending i s precluded.^ Succeeding c r i t i c s have not improved much on Boas's d e f i n i t i o n . The c r i t e r i a for t h i s grouping remain moral or thematic and s t r u c t u r a l d i f f i c u l t i e s . So, for example, W.W. Lawrence (who argues, in f a c t , against these plays as problems) points i n i t i a l l y to t h e i r exploration of the darker complexities of human nature which i s too a n a l y t i c for comedy and too l i g h t - 1 - for tragedy; T i l l y a r d notes that dogma and abstract speculation are ser i o u s l y treated but are not absorbed well into the action; and Rossiter suggests that generalizations on the theme of man's tragi-comic "shiftingness" are treated with a seriousness that i s unexpected i n comedy and may even be incongruous with i t . ^ S t r u c t u r a l l y , the problems are likewise viewed as Boas saw them and mostly concern a putative mismanagement of e f f e c t toward the ending of the plays. So, for example, the t r a g i c mood i s without t r a g i c issue (Lawrence); a "grand f i n a l e " of forgiveness i s "engineered" after time i s merely f i l l e d i n between a dramatic climax at mid-play and the conclusion ( T i l l y a r d ) ; the problems are r e a l i s t i c a l l y viewed, but the endings are not; that i s , they neither issue i n tragedy where expected (as in T r o i l u s and Cressida) nor in the conventionally happy ending of comedy (Doran). The structure of the plays i s also confused throughout by a mingling or even clashing of conventions, as when romance conventions are examined with unsparing realism (Lawrence). 3 For some c r i t i c s , two of these plays at le a s t are not a problem at a l l . Morally or thematically they may be interpreted as a l l e g o r i e s of mankind's moral education or redemption (for example, G.Wilson Knight and R.W.Chambers on Measure and G.K.Hunter on A l l ' s Well); s t r u c t u r a l l y , they can be defended as comic because they employ conventions of f a i r y t a l e and f o l k l o r e that would be well understood as "pointers" to an Elizabethan audience (Lawrence) or because they exhibit the comic framework and are therefore to be taken as such ( F r y e ) . 4 Ernest Schanzer i s an exception to the foregoing discussion because he argues for a d i f f e r e n t d e f i n i t i o n of a problem play. D i s s a t i s f i e d with the c r i t i c a l thinking on these plays which does not, he believes, d i s t i n g u i s h them s u f f i c i e n t l y from the theme and mood of other plays i n the canon, and looking - 2 - for a grouping that w i l l o f f e r clearer i n s i g h t by suggesting unique a f f i n i t i e s among the plays included, Schanzer o f f e r s his own d e f i n i t i o n . A problem play i s one " i n which we find a concern with a moral problem which i s central to i t , presented in such a manner that we are unsure of our moral bearings, so that uncertain and divided responses to i t in the minds of the audience are possible or even probable."5 Using these c r i t e r i a , Schanzer suggests that only J u l i u s Caesar, Measure for Measure, and Antony and Cleopatra q u a l i f y as problem plays. Schanzer's c r i t e r i a are not e n t i r e l y s a t i s f a c t o r y , however. They do not, for example, create a unique grouping after a l l , as can be seen when ^ Patrick Murray, who accepts Schanzer's d e f i n i t i o n , proceeds to extend the l i s t of Schanzer's candidates for the grouping to include Hamlet, T r o i l u s and Cressida, and A l l ' s W e l l . 6 Besides, why should the "problem" with a play be limi t e d to a moral one? What about the " e x i s t e n t i a l " problem of how to respond to Lear's death, the attractiveness of Macbeth's e v i l , or the fate of Coriolanus? More to the point, how brush aside 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 Well, and Measure which have troubled many c r i t i c s ? 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 revised grouping, nor have they been persuaded by those for whom the usual problem plays are not, for some reason, a problem. In much the same way that Boas delineated the problems, recent c r i t i c s continue to point to 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 of grouping out of the plays analyzed in t h i s t h e s i s . For example, P h i l i p Edwards, echoing Ellis-Fermor, c a l l s T r o i l u s and Cressida " a n t i - a r t " and suggests that i t may be Shakespeare's expression of doubt about the power of form to shape experience. Since incoherence i s the "matter" of the play, form i s refused. Likewise, in A l l ' s Well and Measure for Measure Shakespeare attempts to deepen comedy by giving i t r e a l wounds to heal, but he discovers that the form of comedy cannot be made to manipulate some materials into a redemptive conclusion.^ Like Edwards, other c r i t i c s suggest that the problem l i e s with Shakespeare's ambivalence about romance conventions which he had always found congenial. For Howard Fe l p e r i n , T r o i l u s , A l l ' s Well, and Measure show a new ambivalence toward the romance mode, also evident in Hamlet, J u l i u s Caesar, and Henry V. On a l l sides, the romantic imagination i s "subjected...to unprecedented stresses" as Shakespeare faces up to the r e c a l c i t r a n c e of humanity in the face of easy so l u t i o n s . ^ According to E.C. Pettet, Shakespeare abandons romance in A l l ' s Well, r e c o i l s from i t in T r o i l u s , and shows cynicism about i t in Measure. His mind, i t seems, i s drawn to e v i l in preparation for the writing of the tragedies, while h i s a r t i s t i c habits draw him back to the conventional romance ending. The vehicle cannot contain the tenor of "the s e n s i b i l i t y , thought, and v i s i o n that were soon to be expressed in the great tragedies."9 F i n a l l y , R.S. White, commenting only on A l l ' s Well and Measure, also argues a problem. For him, they mark a temporary withdrawal from romance as Shakespeare experiments with the p o t e n t i a l l y endless ending of that mode. Knowing that i n "naive romance" such as Sidney's New Arcadia one adventure follows as soon as another f i n i s h e s , Shakespeare, i t seems, i s struggling with how to end in a way that e x p l i c i t l y acknowledges the o s c i l l a t i n g rhythms of romance. He continues in the problem plays the "di s q u i e t i n g h i n t " at the end of Twelfth Night, that as much i s excluded from the f e s t i v e s p i r i t of a comic ending as i s included in i t , and he presents the action i n such a way that we become conscious of the elements of manipulation, and even a hint of tyranny, in the _ 4 _ imposition of the comic ending upon a p o t e n t i a l l y endless presentation of people's f i c t i o n a l lives...The plays would be more conventional, l e s s worrying, i f the author did not seem so c l e a r l y aware of the nature of such manipulation. His somewhat f r u s t r a t i n g sense that the p o t e n t i a l l y endless narrative must somehow be formally concluded reveals i t s e l f i n d i f f e r e n t ways in each play, and implies a more transparently s c e p t i c a l a t t i t u d e towards the happy ending.^ Echoing the thoughts of Frank Kermode on Shakespeare's Sense of an Ending (that he sensed i t as an a r b i t r a r y i n t e r r u p t i o n of a continuum of experience) t h i s analysis also r e f l e c t s the a r t i s t ' s struggle as Paul deMan has a r t i c u l a t e d i t in Blindness and Insight: how to communicate "the experience of time." Through irony (a synchronic s t r u c t u r e ) , a writer w i l l portray the "differences" or c o n f l i c t i n g claims and disjunctions of the moment; through allegory (a successive mode), a writer w i l l spread out those differences through "an id e a l time that i s never here and now but always a past or an endless future." In both modes, the writer i s aware of q u a l i f i c a t i o n s to f u l l knowledge or to a never-ending duration of experience which arise because of l i v i n g i n time. Shakespeare's struggle, then, i s the struggle of every w r i t e r : how to formulate attitudes toward experience in such a way that he preserves the sense of the "authentic experience of temporality," "the predicament of the conscious subject," and "the unwillingness of the mind to accept any stage in i t s progression as d e f i n i t i v e , since t h i s would s t o p . . . i t s ' i n f i n i t e a g i l i t y ' . " ^ The problem plays are e s p e c i a l l y deliberate experiments, I suggest, with how to incorporate " 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 into a form which presents either a stalemate or an ostensibly happy ending, along with the conviction that the ending has concluded nothing. In these plays there 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 , there i s no merger or d i v i s i o n of terms with which an audience can i d e n t i f y . Shakespeare's plays usually provide one or the other, taking a comic or t r a g i c - 5 - route to a d e f i n i t i o n of terms. However, in the problem plays, there i s an unrelieved presentation of serious issues, r e s u l t i n g in neither of the conventional kinds of transformation a playwright usually provides through death or marriage. Shakespeare seems to be d e l i b e r a t e l y f r u s t r a t i n g his audience's expectations of a conventional ending, perhaps to make i t aware of the ambiguities of the issues presented and to make i t question i t s yearning for decisive s o l u t i o n s . Of course, Shakespeare has q u a l i f i e d his issues e a r l i e r : contrasting Jaques with Arden, for example, Malvolio with I l l y r i a , Shylock with Belmont, and F a l s t a f f with heroic kingship. But the problem plays appear at the "bottleneck" of Shakespeare's dramatic development and seem to mark some kind of intense experiment with themes and forms he has used e a r l i e r while working his way into the tragedies and romances. His arguing i s more even-handed, allowing neither an easy acceptance of a f i n a l order nor even a clear i n d i c a t i o n that the order presented i s intended to be acceptable. For reasons that w i l l be obvious both at the end of t h i s introduction and i n the course of the next chapter, I believe that the r h e t o r i c a l c r i t i c i s m of Kenneth Burke w i l l prove e s p e c i a l l y h e l p f u l for understanding the problem of the problem plays. Both hi s philosophy of l i t e r a r y form and his rhe t o r i c of i d e n t i f i c a t i o n between author and audience provide a means to analyze how ambiguities are presented in plays, how the audience expects to overcome " i r o n i c impasse" by the presentation of some motive for action, and how i t i s bound to be frustrated when no such convincing motive or symbol of order i s provided. Before attending to Burke's r h e t o r i c , however, a b r i e f survey of r h e t o r i c a l theory in the Renaissance w i l l c l a r i f y some assumptions about meaning and communication commonly held by r h e t o r i c i a n s now and then and w i l l - 6 - show how Burke's philosophy of l i t e r a r y form d i f f e r s , as a r h e t o r i c a l theory of l i t e r a t u r e , from more narrow d e f i n i t i o n s of the province and methods of r h e t o r i c . SMALL LATINE, LESSE GREEKE, BUT MUCH RHETORIC In h i s c l a s s i c study of William Shakespeare's Small Latine and Lesse Greeke (1944), T.W.Baldwin reconstructs the curriculum of studies Shakespeare would probably have undergone i f he did, in f a c t , attend the Edward VI Grammar School i n Stratford-Upon-Avon. Baldwin argues that numerous correspondences can be found between authors Shakespeare would have studied (Ovid, for example) and references in the plays; likewise, he shows how a t r a i n i n g in r h e t o r i c would have made Shakespeare f a m i l i a r not only with a disputatious s t y l e of arguing opinions (guided by Erasmus's De Copia) but also with • numerous tropes and figures which would help him to present these arguments e f f e c t i v e l y . Even i f Shakespeare had never attended Stratford's Grammar school, Baldwin's study documents the pervasive t r a i n i n g i n r h e t o r i c to which every school boy was submitted in order to prepare him for public l i f e . Since Shakespeare's plays show close 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 to assume that he acquired knowledge of i t somehow, either d i r e c t l y or through conversation with those who had i t . Shakespeare's "exposure" to r h e t o r i c , then, i s not in question. Rather, i t i s necessary to ascertain the e f f e c t of t h i s exposure on h i s plays. What was the commonly taught conception of r h e t o r i c and how i s that related to Shakespeare's poetics? Moreover, how are these conceptions related to Kenneth Burke's r h e t o r i c which I w i l l be using to analyze the problem plays? - 7 - The Renaissance conception of rh e t o r i c i s in no way uniform since i t s very content was the subject of t e c h n i c a l , in-house disputes. Cicero had denominated f i v e " o f f i c e s " of r h e t o r i c : invention, d i s p o s i t i o n , elocution, memory, and d e l i v e r y . The t r a d i t i o n a l r h e t o r i c i a n s , carrying on the Ciceronian and medieval inheritance, included the "invention" of arguments and t h e i r " d i s p o s i t i o n " within the province of r h e t o r i c . They recognized, with A r i s t o t l e , that r h e t o r i c had i t s counterpart i n d i a l e c t i c , from which i t borrowed "proofs," but that i t also used "probable" proofs drawn from ce r t a i n commonplaces or "topoi" that would provide matter for argument. The reformers of r h e t o r i c in the Renaissance, led by Peter Ramus, proposed to separate invention and d i s p o s i t i o n from r h e t o r i c , to include these o f f i c e s under d i a l e c t i c alone, and to leave for rh e t o r i c the o f f i c e of elocution — that i s , dressing up ideas with f i t "ornaments" and with a "garment of s t y l e . " Ramus always assumed that in his 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 to reduce duplication of o f f i c e s . "12 At question i n t h i s dispute i s the degree to which r h e t o r i c i s a way of knowing. To the reformers, i t was merely a way of expressing e f f e c t i v e l y what had to be known i n the more rigorous but surer d i s c i p l i n e of d i a l e c t i c s . To the t r a d i t i o n a l i s t s , however, rhet o r i c was concerned with finding arguments as well as with s e t t i n g them f o r t h . Through r h e t o r i c , one could come to know as much as might be known by common assent to arguments drawn from the commonplaces of probable opinions. These in-house d i f f e r e n c e s , however, should not obscure the c r u c i a l point of agreement: to some extent a l l recognized r h e t o r i c ' s important role as the communicator of ideas, either i t s own or those found 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 of knowing must supplement any study of the effectiveness of tropes and figures in order to appreciate the f u l l range of r h e t o r i c a l thinking at work in Renaissance l i t e r a t u r e . Among others, Joel B. Altman's, The Tudor Play of Mind i s an example of j u s t such a broader view. Altman shows how a t r a i n i n g i n r h e t o r i c taught both students and playwrights how to argue opposites ("in utramque partem") when they wrote and t h i s helps to explain the multiple points of view on any topic usually encountered in Renaissance drama. On the other hand, Sr. Miriam Joseph's c l a s s i c study on Rhetoric in Shakespeare's Time and Brian Vickers's C l a s s i c a l Rhetoric in English Poetry concentrate so well and so much on the tropes and figures of r h e t o r i c that they can mislead a person into taking for the whole of Renaissance r h e t o r i c what was only, at l e a s t for Ciceronians, a part of i t — elocution.13 Kenneth Burke, too, recognizes the tropes and figures as persuasive forms of speech. That i s , figures l i k e " a n t i t h e s i s " and "gradatio" do more than decorate an idea that could have been expressed j u s t as well without them. Rather, they carry the hearer along with the speaker because by s a t i s f y i n g the hearer's sense of form they help to transfer acceptance of the fig u r e to acceptance of the argument. The figures, as Longinus sai d , by adding "energy" transport the hearer to agreement through ecstasy: an audience under the influence of the figures w i l l leave i t s own thoughts behind and 1 u i d e n t i f y with the speaker's. For Burke, the tropes and figures are undeniably important to the r h e t o r i c i a n ; they are, according to Puttenham's submerged analogy, l i k e a general's plan of war, employed s t r a t e g i c a l l y to overcome the o p p o s i t i o n . ^ However, they are not the whole of r h e t o r i c . Burke c a l l s the tropes and figures "minor forms," which w i l l have persuasive e f f e c t only within an argument set up, as A r i s t o t l e prescribed, by the use of other kinds of "proof." Burke's r h e t o r i c , then, i s concerned with more than - 9 - figures of speech; i t agrees with the t r a d i t i o n a l i s t s i n regarding r h e t o r i c as a way of knowing or at l e a s t of coming to agree about what speaker and audience think that they know. Burke goes further than the t r a d i t i o n a l i s t s , however, by including l i t e r a t u r e or f i c t i o n as a kind of r h e t o r i c . He mentions that the l i t e r a r y forms which he c a l l s "conventional," "progressive," and " r e p e t i t i v e " work as a kind of argument, persuading an audience to accept the outcome of t h e i r development as a true account of a s i t u a t i o n . The major forms work l i k e the minor forms by s e t t i n g up an audience's expectations and then s a t i s f y i n g them, thus leading i t to transfer s a t i s f a c t i o n with the form to s a t i s f a c t i o n with the "argument." Burke's expansion of the realm of r h e t o r i c into l i t e r a t u r e has met with objection from other r h e t o r i c i a n s , l i k e Wilbur S. Howell, who want to maintain a s t r i c t d i s t i n c t i o n between rh e t o r i c and poetics: that i s , between language d i r e c t l y addressed to an audience (non-mimetic) and language addressed to an audience through a fable or f i c t i o n ( m i m e t i c ) . ^ Brian Vickers seems to share t h i s view when he ponders the problem of how r h e t o r i c (that i s , the minor forms) can be useful for explaining the movement of an en t i r e play. As he says: The problem facing r h e t o r i c studies, e s p e c i a l l y in drama, i s how to move from micro-texts — the presence and functioning of rh e t o r i c at the l e v e l s of word, phrase, sentence, even whole speeches — to macro-texts, the o v e r a l l structures or patterns within plays. One can trace the r h e t o r i c a l form of a speech by Berowne, or Brutus, or Ulysses, but when i t comes to describing p l o t , l e x i s has to y i e l d to mythos. A r i s t o t l e ' s Rhetoric must give way to his Poetics. Rhetoric seems to have a c u t - o f f point 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 in in c r e a s i n g l y generalized forms.^ Howell maintains that Renaissance t h e o r i s t s knew very well that the "two l i t e r a t u r e s " d i f f e r e d , i f not in aim (which in both cases i s to persuade) at - 10 - least i n method. Burke's rejoinder i s that he cannot accept the need to draw such a hard and a r t i f i c i a l l i n e . Everyone agrees that Renaissance l i t e r a r y theory emphasized the d i d a c t i c function of l i t e r a t u r e , and everyone agrees that the poet f r e e l y borrowed from r h e t o r i c at least the "energy" of i t s tropes and f i g u r e s . What Burke has done i s to revise the notion of r h e t o r i c so that i t includes both non-mimetic and mimetic wr i t i n g . Along with Howell and Renaissance t h e o r i s t s , then, Burke accepts that the fable persuades; however, in his philosophy of l i t e r a r y form he goes further and attempts to show how i t does so.17 Of course, the idea that l i t e r a t u r e "persuades" in any way meets resistance from those who regard a work of art as free of " i n t e r e s t " or " p r o f i t " of any kind. Aesthetic theories that suspect didacticism, ideology, or paraphrase of any kind as necessarily partisan d i s t o r t i o n s of experience focus attention on the structure of a work i t s e l f as a " r e c o n c i l i a t i o n of opposites" (Coleridge) or a balancing of tensions (Richards) and not on the a r t i s t or the audience as communicating anything through the structure. To t h i s aesthetic, the emphasis on didacticism i n Renaissance theory seems puzzling i f not perverse, and a woeful misreading of the best drama and poetry which flourished a l l around i t . In my use of r h e t o r i c a l analysis, I hope to show that a subtle appreciation of a work's form and texture need not detract from the a r t i s t ' s communication of something about experience that concerns both him and his audience. I assume, however, that t h i s "something" i s not reducible to a thematic paraphrase, nor that i t i s separable 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 blatant propaganda, l i k e Gorboduc, for example. Other l i t e r a t u r e seems to ask e x p l i c i t l y that we take i t that way — as a j u s t i f i c a t i o n of the ways of God to man, perhaps, or as a warning to "the wise/ Only to wonder at unlawful things,/ Whose deepness doth entice such forward wits/ To pra c t i c e more than heavenly power permits" (Marlowe's Dr. Faustus, Epilogue). But Burke believes that a l i t e r a r y presentation of such issues — e s p e c i a l l y a dramatic one — i s inescapably more subtle than what appears as the obvious moral. To put i t simply, every protagonist needs an antagonist for the staging of a drama, j u s t as God needs Satan in Paradise Lost before the action can begin. The characters are i r o n i c a l l y defined by one another. In the course of t h e i r combat, one w i l l win and the other w i l l lose, with an audience's i n t e r e s t in the outcome a l l the keener to the extent that the contest could go either way, or to the extent that the struggle has been intense. Also, every drama includes a " t r a g i c ambiguity": although one character i s necessarily expelled or k i l l e d o f f because the action requires i t , that same character has been required for the dramatic enactment in the f i r s t place. Iago i£ before he i s " r i g h t " or "wrong," and he w i l l always be, even i f he must always be denied. Now, instead of "characters," substitute " a t t i t u d e s " or "terms" for understanding some extra-textual s i t u a t i o n , and i t i s obvious how an audience can divide in i t s response to the c o n f l i c t . It may cheer or hiss the v i c t o r y at the close depending upon i t s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with the characters who uphold the order established at the end. As my analysis of Burke's r h e t o r i c w i l l make cl e a r , the characters in a drama are not a l l e g o r i e s of ideas. What they "represent" must be ascertained by as thorough an "indexing" as possible of t h e i r "stance": they are agents who act within a c e r t a i n context, with ce r t a i n purposes and means of acting. But as the i n t e r a c t i o n of these characters in the course of the drama begins to show who w i l l win and who w i l l lose, an audience w i l l "agree" to the outcome only to the extent that they agree with the "terms" themselves and how they end up. - 12 - As a r h e t o r i c i a n , Burke recognizes that t r a g i c ambiguity — obvious as i t i s — cannot for long prevent some kind of action, and as the playwright "votes" for one action over another, he i n v i t e s the audience to accept or to r e j e c t h i s expression or arguing of the issue. Shakespeare, of course, i s more subtle than most playwrights and votes, so to speak, by secret b a l l o t . I t i s impossible to do more than guess what he himself thought of the winners and the losers in his plays because the chameleon poet expressed every shade of opinion as f o r c i b l y as possible and with negative c a p a b i l i t y opened his mind to many arguments. The fact that J u l i u s Caesar contains simultaneously and cogently the views of Caesar/Marc Antony and the views of Brutus/Cassius on the value of "Caesarism" makes i t , to some, pr i m a r i l y the tragedy of Caesar and, to others, p r i m a r i l y the tragedy of Brutus. Obviously, the play does not change, only the ve r d i c t of the majority of the audience w i l l d i f f e r , depending on what i t thinks of how the play has ended up. Burke's r h e t o r i c , then, l i k e the best of Renaissance poetics, assumes both a purpose for which the poet writes and a well-argued presentation of that purpose. What separates the best of poetry from narrow didacticism i s the poet's comprehensive, sophisticated and well-formed v i s i o n of an order or attitud e toward experience which s a t i s f i e s the united f a c u l t i e s of mind, emotions, and imagination. As Rosemond Tuve has explained i t , the d i d a c t i c theory of Renaissance poetics assumes (bluntly) that poetry teaches; i t appeals to the mind as well as to the other f a c u l t i e s because i t believes that the "contemplating i n t e l l e c t " can "apprehend the true nature of things." Poetry teaches i n the sense that i t communicates "a h i t h e r t o unperceived r a t i o n a l l y apprehensible order," and Tuve emphasizes that a " r a t i o n a l " apprehension i s not confined to the i n t e l l e c t : i t requires the i n t e r a c t i o n of a l l the f a c u l t i e s . 1 8 - 13 - Writing in 1947, Tuve seems especially sensitive to "modern" (New C r i t i c a l ) objections against didactic intentions in poetry while, at the same time, she t r i e s to explicate the undeniable bias toward didacticism in Renaissance theory. To that end, she makes a helpful d i s t i n c t i o n , I think, between a poem's "subject" or the poet's purpose for writing, and the content of the poem — what gets said on behalf of the purpose. The "teaching" i s the purpose as i t i s embodied in the form. 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 for an attitude which, the poet believes, w i l l "encompass" a si t u a t i o n ; the attitude to be taken or the order to be upheld would be the purpose for writing; 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 in 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 directing conception determines my selection of things true and l i k e l y as well 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 intention, just 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 start out with my matter; I find 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 didactic 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 didactic poems turn out to be quarrels not with the poet's aim but with the subject matter and devices through which he has made his aim apparent — and no element in poetry i s so subject to the changing fashions of different times as the f i r s t of these."19 If 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 his abstractable precepts; rather, i t implies praise - 14 - for the thoroughness of his invention — for the way he has f u l l y argued divergent attitudes toward a subject so that we can understand i t s complexity more c l e a r l y , even i f we do not accept the ostensibly proposed order. This, c e r t a i n l y , i s the way Kenneth Burke sees Shakespeare: as a d i a l e c t i c i a n who could see the " q u a l i t y of the action by views from various angles," and who could excel so many others in his a b i l i t y to marshal a l l available arguments, even i f he "votes" i n the end for one over another.^ u This concept of rh e t o r i c i s not d i d a c t i c , then, i n a narrow sense. Rather, i t assumes that an a r t i s t needs to buil d agreements with h i s audience, s t a r t i n g with premises i t w i l l accept and moving i t through various mergers and d i v i s i o n s u n t i l the conclusion i s , as far as possible, acceptable to most, i f not to a l l . It i s t h i s concept of r h e t o r i c that I expect w i l l be h e l p f u l for analyzing the problem with the problem plays. I f , in f a c t , an audience needs to " i d e n t i f y " with a r a t i o n a l l y comprehensible order, and i f i t expects to do so at the end of a play, and i f the a r t i s t prevents i t from doing that, w i l l there not be a problem? What i f Shakespeare i s t r y i n g to communicate the "idea of d i s j u n c t i o n " in the problem plays, as Ellis-Fermor suggests i n r e l a t i o n to T r o i l u s and Cressida? W i l l he not have to use every r h e t o r i c a l means at his disposal to convince the audience that i t s urge to indulge a conventional response i s mistaken? I believe that Burke's philosophy of l i t e r a r y form and his rh 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 of explaining what i s happening i n three of Shakespeare's most troubling plays as well as in others throughout the canon. Therefore, after an explanation of Burke's c r i t i c a l method, I w i l l analyze A l l ' s Well That Ends Well, T r o i l u s and Cressida, and Measure for Measure, and I w i l l conclude with suggestions for d i s t i n g u i s h i n g these plays from the tragedies and the romances which follow them. - 15 - The order in which I study the plays i s s t r a t e g i c and does not imply a decision about t h e i r dating. Since T r o i l u s i s the "darkest" of the three, I have put i t in the middle, using i t as a contrast to the others whose romance motifs ligh t e n the troubling tone but do not completely r e l i e v e i t . One may glimpse a ray of hope or imagine that there i s l i g h t at the close of A l l 1 s Well and Measure, but according to t h i s analysis, one i s s t i l l in the tunnel. - 16 - 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 st a r t i n g point for a clear understanding of Burke's rhetoric as "symbolic action." According to Burke, the purpose of rhetoric i s to persuade an audience to change i t s attitude or stance toward some tension i n i t s situ 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 iden t i t y i s welcomed i n direct 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 ide n t i t y or i t s i n a b i l i t y to act purposefully with others i n the present context. Writing his analysis of "The Rhetoric of H i l t e r ' s Battle" i n the summer of 1939, Burke welcomed the unexpurgated edition of H i t l e r ' s book not only as a chance to study the t a c t i c s of a master rhetorician who provided id e n t i t y for a people, but also to defuse the s i n i s t e r effects of those t a c t i c s by exposing them to a q u i z z i c a l analysis. Since the results of t h i s study are applicable to any use of language as symbolic action, they w i l l help to explain to some extent the "problem" of the problem plays. I f , as Burke maintains, an audience expects a "persuasion to change" by attending to an author's symbolic action and yet i s prevented from doing so, there w i l l be problems for the audience stemming from a frust r a t i o n of formal expectations and anthropological needs. For Burke, H i t l e r ' s rhetoric i s effective precisely because he provides a clear symbol of a new order which w i l l redeem his audience from the burdens of i t s h i s t o r i c a l condition. H i t l e r ' s rhetoric works because i t i s "the bastardization of fundamentally r e l i g i o u s patterns of thought" (PLF, p.219);1 that i s , as a "salvation device," i t draws upon ways of thinking which appeal to deeply grounded human needs for purpose, fellowship, and freedom. However, - 17 - as Burke goes on to 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 and ultimately i n e f f e c t i v e because i t bastardizes these r e l i g i o u s patterns of thought, applying 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 "snakeoil," to be more exact) was h i s p r e s c r i p t i o n for the conditions of post-war Germany. The context of s i t u a t i o n was a breakdown of the c a p i t a l i s t economy in a world-wide depression, wounded national pride a f t e r defeat in war, and a "babel" of voices at the center of the " t o t t e r i n g Hapsburg Empire," a l l of them urging reform and preventing i t at the same time by t h e i r wrangling. H i t l e r equated Vienna, the c a p i t a l of the former empire, with "poverty, p r o s t i t u t i o n , immorality, c o a l i t i o n s , h a l f - measures, i n c e s t , democracy ( i . e . , majority rule leading to 'lack of personal r e s p o n s i b i l i t y ' ) death, internationalism, seduction, and anything else of thumbs-down sort the associative enterprise cared to add on t h i s side of the balance" (PLF, p.200). Using ideas just as a poet uses images, H i t l e r characterized Vienna as the c i t y from which his audience obviously needed to move, f i g u r a t i v e l y speaking, i f i t wanted to transcend i t s present troubles. The new c i t y was to be Munich, the headquarters for the Nazi party, the perfect s e t t i n g for H i t l e r ' s philosophy of an Aryan race with inborn d i g n i t y of blood and the center of vituperation against the common enemy, the " i n t e r n a t i o n a l Jew" whose blood 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 one enemy against which to d i r e c t his attacks, because, as he acknowledges himself, i t makes thinking easier and casts less doubt on the strength of one's own p o s i t i o n i f objections to i t come from only one d i r e c t i o n . The Jew was "defined," then, as the " d e v i l " and the r i v a l male to the strong leader, wooing the masses (conceived in feminine terms) away from the leader's one voice. His aim was to seduce the " f o l k " into following ideas - 18 - ( l i k e democracy) that would drag them back into the burdensome conditions under which they had suffered. For H i t l e r , the Jew was to be a scapegoat, on whose back the Aryan could load the detested burdens of h i s own s i t u a t i o n (the f a i l u r e of his own economy, the ignominy of his own wounded pride) i n order to expel them and thus to p u r i f y his own i d e n t i t y as one no longer burdened or p o l l u t e d . Burke's analysis c l e a r l y shows the poetic way in which H i t l e r ' s r h e t o r i c works: f i r s t , by making mergers among some ideas and d i v i s i o n s between others; so, for example, the equations for Vienna, already mentioned, merge to i d e n t i f y that c i t y as the f i t s e t t i n g for the common enemy; Munich, on the other hand, i s distinguished from Vienna by a d i f f e r e n t set of equations. It i s i d e n t i f i e d with H i t l e r ' s innner voice, leader- people i d e n t i f i c a t i o n , unity, Reich, plow, sword, work, war, army, r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , s a c r i f i c e , idealism, obedience to nature, race, and nation. "And, of course, the two keystones of these opposite equations were Aryan 'heroism' and ' s a c r i f i c e ' vs. Jewish 'cunning' and 'arrogance'" (PLF, pp. 207-208). Next, H i t l e r p i t s one term against the other as r i v a l s and then points the "arrows of expectation" toward having to expel the one in order to save the other. By drawing upon the commonly accepted values of h i s audience toward sexuality, H i t l e r points the arrows in the d i r e c t i o n of the Jew by i d e n t i f y i n g him as a r i v a l male and hence as a "pollutant" l i k e s y p h i l i s , p r o s t i t u t i o n , or i n c e s t . The message i s c l e a r : in order to preserve the "inborn d i g n i t y " — blood purity — of the superior race (with which H i t l e r ' s audience i s i n v i t e d to i d e n t i f y i t s e l f ) , the i n f e r i o r races must be expelled. Burke's i n c i s i v e c r i t i q u e of H i t l e r ' s r h e t o r i c also points out that much of i t s power derives from i t s s i n c e r i t y . H i t l e r i s o f f e r i n g to others a "salvation device" which had proved successful for himself when his f i r s t - 19 - formulations of a p o l i t i c a l philosophy in Vienna had met with attack from Bolshevist r i v a l s . H i t l e r had discovered hate as a way out and took i t to the end of the l i n e . 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 his 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 precisely because they were presented i n the name of reason and i n a form which caricatures a r e l i g i o u s way of thinking. 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 for 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 facts" (PLF, p.205). H i t l e r ' s rhetoric 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 interpretation for burdens which are economically engendered. By making a scapegoat of the Jew as the advocate of "bad capitalism," H i t l e r allows the Aryans to continue the same economic practices which had brought about the depression in the f i r s t place. Instead of getting his audience to recognize the babel of voices within themselves and to sort them out there before taking action, H i t l e r s i m p l i f i e s the thinking of his audience by encouraging them to project the cause of their burdens elsewhere and to purify themselves by k i l l i n g off what i s supposedly not themselves. Burke's solution for H i t l e r ' s word magic i s as ingenious as his analysis. Since we cannot change the way rhetoric works, he argues, we (in 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 extirpate those elements of fascism which threaten democracy from within. "Our job, then," says Burke, "our a n t i - H i t l e r Battle, i s to find a l l available ways of making the H i t l e r i t e distortions of r e l i g i o n apparent, in - 20 - order that p o l i t i c i a n s of his kind in America be unable to perform a s i m i l a r swindle. The desire for unity i s genuine and admirable. The desire for national unity, in the present state of the world, i s genuine and admirable. But t h i s unity, i f attained on a deceptive basis, by emotional t r i c k e r i e s that s h i f t our c r i t i c i s m from the accurate locus of our trouble, i s no unity at a l l " (PLF, p.219). As Burke has analyzed i t , then, H i t l e r ' s use of r h e t o r i c i s a "salvation device," synonomous with "medicine," with "equipment for l i v i n g , " and with a " r i t u a l of r e b i r t h " that uses a r e l i g i o u s way of thinking to help a people transform t h e i r sense of i d e n t i t y from that of a people damned to that of a people saved. H i t l e r ' s success comes not from the content of his mergers — which f a l l s apart under analysis — but from the fact that his message i s used to " f i l l i n " a pattern of thinking which s a t i s f i e s an audience by a r i t u a l or formal kind of progression. According to Burke, every use of symbols works, in e f f e c t , for the same end: to persuade people to change through i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with a term which i s equated with the way out of a present predicament and which proves i t s potency by surviving a contest with r i v a l terms or other explanations for the same predicament. Every act of persuasion i s , so to speak, a l o c a l and r i t u a l reenactment of a r e l i g i o u s way of thinking employed, for example, in the "combat myth" in which one term (or god or power) struggles with i t s r i v a l for mastery over the allegiances of a people. Commenting on Python, A Study of Delphic Myth and Its Origins by Joseph Fontenrose, Burke applauds the anthropological i n s i g h t s which help to explain the role of mythic narrative in the founding of c u l t s , and he emphasizes e s p e c i a l l y that the r i v a l gods or terms are in perpetual d i a l e c t i c a l tension. As polar opposites, they w i l l always imply one another as surely as p o s i t i v e - 21 - implies negative and order implies chaos, even i f one power i s accepted as god for the moment. The reason for a "combat myth" or narrative of t h e i r struggle i s to show how they end up and therefore which i s the god with which a people would want to i d e n t i f y and in the process to overcome t h e i r divided and burdensome s t a t e . As Burke explains, "In themselves, as 'polar' terms, they have no progression or p r i o r i t y , but merely imply each other. When translated into terms of mythic nar r a t i v e , however, such opposition can become a quasi-temporal 'combat' between the two terms, with the corresponding p o s s i b i l i t y that one of the terms can be pictured as 'vanquishing' the other. Or they can be thought of as a l t e r n a t i v e l y uppermost, in periodic or c y c l i c succession (an arrangement that comes closer to retainin g the notion of t h e i r mutual involvement i n each other, even while d i s t i n g u i s h i n g between them and giving each a measure of predominance). S i m i l a r l y , the pattern can be further modulated by the thought of an inter-regnum, with one of the terms not an out- and-out v i c t o r but a temporary interrex, eventually to be replaced by the other" (LSA, pp. 387-388, Burke's emphases). Burke emphasizes that a combat myth i s t o l d not only for aesthetic pleasure but also to explain the founding of a c u l t which i s "a system of governance" with sanctions for p a r t i c u l a r attitudes and actions. Therefore, the structure of the myth w i l l be broadly applicable to any act of persuasion, but i t w i l l convince a people only to the extent that i t draws on the b e l i e f s , hopes and fears of a p a r t i c u l a r "context of s i t u a t i o n " and persuades them to accept one order as good and the other as bad — even though both are possible and always w i l l be. As Burke s l y l y suggests, the k i l l i n g of a god does not cause him to die o f f ; rather, i t makes him immortal. By showing where he ends up, the story defines the scapegoat as the god-to-be-expelled, but i t also - 22 - shows that t h i s i s the r i v a l attitude 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 catharsis of an unwanted burden. I t could represent a moving on to a more inclusive term, as in a Platonic dialogue of contending opinions, but more often i t takes the route of tragic 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 narrative and applies them to poetic narrative in general, especially tragedy and comedy. Just as the combat myth p i t s against one another r i v a l gods (which ultimately represent the powers of Love and Death, as Freud believed) and then t e l l s how one god won and founded the cult while the other l o s t and survives to threaten i t , poetry, too, in dramatic ways, defines terms by clusters 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 survival of the god term. Struc t u r a l l y , then, tragedy and comedy are modifications of the same combat myth, applying the formula to different kinds of character ("better" than ordinary in tragedy, "worse" than ordinary in comedy), a l l the time " f i t t i n g " the characters to the 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 (including 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 way - 23 - of thinking and a dramatic kind of pattern to define terms and to move an audience to accept the d e f i n i t i o n . As characters in a drama, the terms cannot be defined, obviously, by paraphrase or abstraction to a terminology outside of the play. The characters are actors on a p a r t i c u l a r scene, acting with c e r t a i n purposes and agencies. Therefore, an audience learns what to think of the characters or terms by making as thorough an "indexing" as possible of who does what, where, how and why. (Obviously, a more thorough job can be done i f one i s studying a text rather than witnessing a performance.) Burke c a l l s these f i v e constituents of any act the "Pentad" and, as simple as i t sounds, he uses i t with great ingenuity in his Grammar of Motives to show how r h e t o r i c i a n s can manipulate the " r a t i o s " between one integer and another to construct anything from the symbol structure of a play l i k e Enemy of the People, to a philosophy l i k e pragmatism or idealism, or to a p o l i t i c a l instrument l i k e the Constitution of the United States. Much l i k e formalists with whom he i s sometimes contrasted, Burke advocates as thorough a charting as possible of the "equations" a poet or philosopher has set for the d e f i n i t i o n of h i s terms. So, for example, what i t means to say that Dr.Stockmann i s an "enemy" of the people comes to be understood i r o n i c a l l y by noting not only what he does but where he does i t . Ibsen defines the term by showing Stockmann acting on behalf of the people's safety and then s u f f e r i n g t h e i r h o s t i l e reaction because they are not ready for the truth he has to t e l l them. Burke then describes the s e t t i n g of the f i n a l action: In Act V, the stage d i r e c t i o n s t e l l us that the hero's clothes are torn, and the room i s in disorder, with broken windows. You may consider these d e t a i l s either as properties of the scene or as a r e f l e c t i o n of the hero's condition after h i s recent struggle with the forces of 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 of the d i r e c t i o n taken by the plot - 24 - that the play ends with Dr. Stockmann announcing his plan to enr o l l twelve young di s c i p l e s and with thern to found a school in which he w i l l work for the education of society (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 ratios between them (for example, that Stockmann's act of saving the people through education i s contained within the scene of his study in 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 to indicate the quality of an action from different 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 action. Impressed with Caroline Spurgeon's book on Shakespeare's imagery, Burke notes that "her method can disclose s t a t i s t i c a l l y how Shakespeare frequently organized a play about a key or pivotal metaphor, which he repeated in variants ( l i k e a musical 'theme with variations') throughout the play." So, for 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, bodily torture" (ATH, pp. 274-275). The metaphoric perspectives are complicated s t i l l further by Shakespeare's favoring of puns to indicate that the quality of the action may be perceived from at least two directions at once. Burke does not comment on the following plays s p e c i f i c a l l y , but in Romeo and J u l i e t love and death imply one another in a pun on "die": "Thus, with a k i s s , I die" ( 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 off t h i s potion. Is thy union here?/ Follow my - 25 - 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 this play. According to the Fool, only the fathers "that bear bags/ Shall see their children kind" (II . iv .51) , and Lear, who had trusted f i r s t in the "kind" nursery of Cordelia and then of Goneril and Regan, is stung by " f i l i a l ingratitude" unt i l he discovers, as i f for the f i r s t time, Cordelia as a "kind and dear princess" ( IV.v i i .28) . 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 is setting up. But each term is 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 poss ib i l i ty (by div is ion) . There can be no action or dramatic development unless a contest can be staged, just as there can be no positive idea of a society's goals without implying what these goals are not. This, says Burke, is the "paradox of substance" — that nothing can be defined as what i t is without reference to what i t is 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 relation to an "understood" context or scene. Thus, every term for encompassing a situation is inherently ambiguous since i t evokes i t s polar opposite or r i v a l poss ibi l i ty even when i t is taken to be "substantially" true. In dramatic terms, this 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 risk for a playwright, then, is in the choice of terms for mergers and divis ions. If done with an accurate gauging of an audience's bel iefs , the playwright can direct his audience's agreements where he wants them. However, - 26 - i f h i s equations and contrasts are unappealing or misjudged, an audience may f a i l to go along with the argument. The unforseen changes i n perception because of h i s t o r i c a l developments further complicate the playwright's task. For example, the response to The Merchant of Venice i s d i f f i c u l t enough because of dramatic i r o n i e s between Belmont and Venice and the use of money in both scenes. But Shylock's Jewishness adds something to the equation to which a twentieth century audience i s e s p e c i a l l y s e n s i t i v e . The fear to be i d e n t i f i e d with a n t i - semitism w i l l cause some in the audience to make Shylock a martyr and in no way a comic butt or scapegoat. On the other hand, some w i l l use h i s Jewishness to confirm t h e i r own prejudices and w i l l ignore the ambiguities of Shylock's r e l a t i o n s h i p to the Christians of Venice. By making the outsider to the f e s t i v e conclusion Jewish, Shakespeare has risked, perhaps i n t e n t i o n a l l y , a d i f f e r e n t reception to his d e f i n i t i o n of terms. F i n a l l y , the "substance" of a playwright's argument i s defined by where the terms end up. Speaking of death as one kind of ending, Burke c a l l s i t the "narrative equivalent of the A r i s t o t e l i a n entelechy. For the poet could define the essence of a motive n a r r a t i v e l y or dramatically ( i n terms of a history) by showing how that motive ended; the maturity or f u l f i l l m e n t of a motive, i t s 'perfection' or 'finishedness,' i f translated into terms of 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 of that motive with a narrative figure whose acts led to some f i t t i n g form of death" (RM, p.14). In r h e t o r i c a l terms, the moment of death or expulsion i s a transformation of terms, the s i g n i f i c a n c e of which must be determined in the context of each play and, ultimately, by the judgement of those in the audience. As Burke explains, "a poet's i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with imagery of murder or suicide, e i t h e r one or the other, i s from the 'neutral' point of view, - 27 - merely a concern with terms for transformation i n general" (RM, p.11). To " k i l l o f f " a term, then, may mean that i t deserves to d i e : i t i s the r i t u a l scapegoat for an a t t i t u d e which "has" to go. On the other hand, the death may be a martyrdom, showing that the p r i n c i p l e or term that i s s a c r i f i c e d has been too good for t h i s world which i s then condemned for the act of murder. For Burke, s u i c i d e , as s e l f murder, either shows the s e l f - s t i f l i n g e f f e c t s of an attitude or becomes the vehicle for self-transcendence in the name of that cause for which one gives h i s l i f e . The act of death can show that something i s worth dying for or that something i s " f i t " to d i e . In either case, some attitude with which the audience i d e n t i f i e s i s being transformed by being k i l l e d o f f and therefore, i f a eulogy i s spoken, i t i s on behalf of that part of i t s e l f which an audience believes i t must r e l i n q u i s h for the sake of what survives. Burke's analysis of drama as symbolic action can best be studied in his a r t i c l e "Othello: An Essay to I l l u s t r a t e a Method" i n which the s a l i e n t assumptions of h i s kind of analysis are c l e a r l y explained and i l l u s t r a t e d : the assumption of a "context of s i t u a t i o n " (usually economic) to which the play i s a "counterstatement"; the analysis of characters as terms " f i t " for the arguing of the counterstatement and not as p e r s o n a l i t i e s with psychological case h i s t o r i e s ; the progression of the argument from the s e t t i n g up of terms through t h e i r peripety to the conclusion where one term i s s a c r i f i c e d so that the other might survive and the whole v i s i o n accepted by the audience as an attitude pointing to the way out of i t s burden. Burke's b e l i e f in drama as a " r i t u a l of r e b i r t h " or a "salvation device" i s c l e a r l y implied in his c a l l i n g Othello a "viaticum" for the burdens of Shakespeare's audience as owners of private property. Using only the terms of the play, which enact Othello's jealousy or fear of l o s i n g what he has "invested" in Desdemona, and assuming that one kind of r e l a t i o n s h i p (property - 28 - ownership) may be expressed i n terms of another (monogamous marriage i n which the husband i s " l o r d " of the wife, as Othello i s c a l l e d ) , Burke studies how the p r i n c i p a l terms or characters (Othello, Desdemona, and Iago) f i t together for d efining 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 tension involved with increased attempts to acquire and to keep private property. In t h i s a n alysis, Desdemona i s the property which Othello would keep to himself. Her value i s increased by a t o p i c a l appeal to the audience's b e l i e f i n the value of monogamous marriage. As Othello's wife, Desdemona "belongs" to Othello, and any v i o l a t i o n of her would be promiscuous. I f Othello were to lose her and what she represents (the " t r a n q u i l mind," "content," and a l l the "pride, pomp and circumstance" of Othello's occupation), chaos would t r u l y come again. Iago enters as an attitud e not so much d i s t i n c t from Othello's as i t s counterpart. He appears at Othello's ear, whispering h i s suspicions; he kneels at Othello's side, pledging his support. He i s as close to being inside Othello as a playwright can make him, and he represents the fear of estrangement which accompanies the act of ownership. Othello's tragedy arises from h i s foredoomed desire to extend h i s ownership so absolutely that others' uses are prevented. Given Othello's "engrossment" i n h i s property, Iago's task i s to induce jealousy from what appears to be Cassio's promiscuous handling of the handkerchief. Iago succeeds so well i n making Othello suff e r estrangement from h i s property p r e c i s e l y because Othello has attempted to extend his ownership to such an extent that he cannot d i s t i n g u i s h courtesy from lechery. Othello, then, k i l l s Desdemona, attempting to transform her into a creature who belongs e n t i r e l y to him, even i f she w i l l then be dead to his own "uses" as well as to others', and then he k i l l s himself when he i s t o l d that his fear of estrangement was without reason. The su i c i d e , i n r h e t o r i c a l terms, represents the r e f l e x i v e nature of Othello'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 of the attempt to make of private property an absolutely personal possession. The play, then, serves as a counterstatement to the audience's "tension." I f they weep for Othello, i t i s because they r e a l i z e where t h e i r own jealous engrossments are "ending up" (what they "amount" t o ) , and i f they hate Iago i t i s because they need him as a tangible v i l l a i n , a scapegoat of t h e i r own jealous f a n t a s i e s . I f the drama i s to work as a "viaticum" for the audience, i t w i l l lead them to a more q u i z z i c a l analysis of the attitu d e that i s absolutely engrossed i n private property. The substance of Othello's attitude cannot be understood without remembering the "paradox of substance": that every claim to property implies a fear of r i v a l claims — that every "exchange" of love i s "discounted" to some extent by fear of jealousy. In f a c t , to the extent that one's at t i t u d e i s "absolute" i n i t s demands, i t i s sure to provoke i t s opposite. Given h i s appreciation for the " f i t " of the characters i n the argument of the play, Burke favors two tropes e s p e c i a l l y as master methods of analysis: irony, which w i l l keep the c r i t i c aware of the d i a l e c t i c a l tensions among competing at 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 to see each part of the play as contributing to the defining of the whole. The e f f e c t of the play, then, w i l l f i n a l l y be gauged by the way i n which an audience responds to the " f i t " of competing attitudes and to the way in 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 to make to Burke's analysis before using i t for my own purposes. F i r s t , Burke's assumption of economic - 30 - tensions 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 of analysis 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 range of concerns in Shakespeare's plays, and therefore acceptable to more c r i t i c s . Burke assumes the economic context because he believes that in some form i t i s always there. Class differences on the basis of property d i s t r i b u t i o n e x i s t i n every age, creating tensions between those who are up or down i n the hierarchy and r e q u i r i n g "courtship" of a kind between the classes to assuage t h e i r separation by providing a sense that they share a place i n the same overarching order. Burke derives these ideas from William Empson who, i n Some Versions of Pastoral, argues that the conventions of "pastoral l i t e r a t u r e " are a c t u a l l y a paradigm for how a l l of l i t e r a t u r e works: in every work d i f f e r e n t constituencies of the audience are "wooed" into a sense of union by seeing t h e i r ideas played out in the same context. In p a s t o r a l , the moral concerns of the "higher" orders are argued out i n "terms" of the lower orders; i n drama, a double pl o t can serve t h i s purpose; in a novel, d i f f e r e n t characters can express the divergent attitudes toward a s i t u a t i o n i n i r o n i c j u x t a p o s i t i o n . According to Paul de Man, Empson under the pretense of analysing a poetic convention i s a c t u a l l y explaining "the ontology of the poetic" i t s e l f , namely, the "problem of separation" between poet and audience and between d i f f e r e n t classes i n the audience i t s e l f which a poet contrives to overcome by symbolic means though he i s never completely successful.^ Burke takes from Empson the idea of a separated audience, but he too often, I think, explains that separation merely in economic terms. Surely, Burke i s r i g h t to assume that economic conditions e x i s t outside the play and that they form a "substructure" (in Marxist terms) for the values which the audience has adopted. But as Burke himself admits, Shakespeare does not seem ove r t l y interested in the economic substructure. "Shakespeare's strategy as a dramatist," according to Burke," was formed by [the] r e l a t i o n - 31 - between feudal and bourgeois values. This 'superstructural' material was the objective, s o c i a l material he manipulated i n e l i c i t i n g h i s audience's response. Economic factors gave r i s e to the t r a n s i t i o n i n values, but he dealt with the t r a n s i t i o n i n values" (PLF, p.309). Burke's assumption, then, that a play i s a r i t u a l of r e b i r t h for an audience, persuading i t to a way out of i t s tensions by a narrative formulation of terms, t h i s assumption i s more credible and h e l p f u l i f one assumes a more than economic d e f i n i t i o n of these concerns. So, for example, Theodore Spencer i n Shakespeare and the Nature of Man analyses the tensions in the Renaissance between Copernican and Ptolemaic systems of astronomy which altered the perception of man's place i n the cosmos; between Ciceronian and Machiavellian theories of s t a t e c r a f t , which d i f f e r e d i n t h e i r view of the moral nature of public l i f e ; and between the o p t i m i s t i c anthropology of a Raimond Sebond and the d e f l a t i n g commentaries on i t by Michel de Montaigne. "Thus," he concludes, " i n the immediate i n t e l l e c t u a l background of the l a t e sixteenth century, two main attacks were being made on the i d e a l i s t i c p i c t ure of the n o b i l i t y and d i g n i t y of man. There was the t r a d i t i o n a l attack, which described man's wretchedness since the f a l l , but which was s t i l l based on a firm b e l i e f i n man's c r u c i a l place in the center of things; and there was the newer attack, which i n a threefold way, threatened to destroy that b e l i e f i t s e l f . " 4 The l i s t of polar opposites in the context of s i t u a t i o n could be i n d e f i n i t e l y extended, since the Renaissance i n England was one of those watershed moments in h i s t o r y when attitudes of various kinds were being argued out thoroughly before one of them would c l e a r l y come to predominate as a paradigm. The context of s i t u a t i o n , then, must be understood in a f l e x i b l e way, and, i f that i s done, i t can help explain the play as a counterstatement to the audience's tensions and a more or le s s accepted arguing out of i t s - 32 - concerns. Othello may or may not be about the burdens of private property economically considered, but i t is certainly 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 situation 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 po l i t i ca l ) part icularly burdensome to the audience. Hence, Michael Kahn "would have liked the opportunity to do Troilus and Cressida during the Vietnam war"; Konrad Swinarski staged A l l ' s Well in his native Poland "because I think i t is a picture of a world that is very similar to the world I'm l iv ing in and collaborating with; and I'm trying to show i t s face." For him, this meant showing how the Court in A l l ' s Well, l ike the power of the State in Poland, "finally determines what is 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 Ph i l l ips believes: There have been periods since i t was written when this 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 start . I think also that the other themes of power, corruption in power, sexual blackmail in power, are interesting. I suppose a thousand plays can relate 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 level allows one to explore - 33 - a play with that as p l o t . And consequently one i s prepared to delve into the reasons — not the ones that we've explored i n our newspapers, but t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t . ^ According to the p r a c t i c e of these d i r e c t o r s , then, i t seems that drama can serve very well as a "counterstatement" for an audience's s i t u a t i o n , provided, of course, that one can grant the metaphorical equivalents of one tension as expressed i n terms of another. A second caution needs to be raised concerning the way Burke in t e r p r e t s the endings of Shakespeare's plays. Although his concept of the "paradox of substance" commits him to recognize a d i a l e c t i c a l arguing out of terms, his response to a play's ending frequently takes a one-sided view both of i t s s i g n i f i c a n c e as a transformation of terms and, accordingly, of the essence of the play. This can best be i l l u s t r a t e d by a contrast between Burke's i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of Coriolanus and Norman Rabkin's. For Burke, Coriolanus i s " f i t " to 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 for Shakespeare's class-conscious society. Coriolanus's vituperations against the lower orders embody and exaggerate an a t t i t u d e that "has" to go i f the body p o l i t i c i s to work harmoniously along the l i n e s of Menenius's analogy to the human body. Shakespeare further f i t s Coriolanus for his r o l e as scapegoat by the way he has created characters whose ro l e in the play i s "derived" from t h e i r function in forwarding the "destiny" of Coriolanus: A u f i d i u s , the slayer, of course, but also V i r g i l i a the devoted wife, who gives us a glimpse of the victim's more lovable side, and, above a l l , Volumnia, whose influence over her son helps to prepare the audience for two turns of the plot — Coriolanus's decision to stand for consul and h i s decision not to march on Rome. These characters are so constructed that the death of Coriolanus w i l l be made to seem not only good but also i n e v i t a b l e . - 34 - For Burke, then, the ending i s c l e a r l y purgative, and an audience f e e l s well r i d of i t s v i c t i m . But as Burke himself has stated in Rhetoric of Motives, the meaning of a death i s ambiguous and has to be interpreted in the context of the entire development of terms i n a t e x t . In h i s 1981 production of Coriolanus at Ashland, Oregon, Jerry Turner showed how an opposite i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of Coriolanus's death could be staged and be well received by making of Coriolanus a hero whom the plebians were not prepared to accept. According to Alan Dessen's review i n the Shakespeare Quarterly; Arndt [the leading 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 side to that war machine Coriolanus...his r e j e c t i o n of praise, honors, and s p o i l s often came across to the Ashland audience as an appealing modesty, while his contempt for the plebians (who, in his eyes, did not deserve tribunes or corn g r a t i s ) often e l i c i t e d cheers from the spectators, along with laughter at the mob, the tribunes, and, at times, Volumnia. The gown of humility scene ( I I . i i i ) thereby became more a display of Coriolanus' r e s t r a i n t than an expose of 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 outbursts triggered 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 part, t h i s Coriolanus did not rage in I . i and in other p o t e n t i a l d i a t r i b e s , but rather delivered the l i n e s r a p i d l y and c u r t l y , so as to provide a dismissive contempt that the plebians 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 in the b a t t l e scenes when Coriolanus 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 i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to conjecture how much the audience's reception 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 in the United States at that time of wanting a hero after a period of war and p o l i t i c a l scandals and of choosing to make a scapegoat of the poor i n the hope that the "disgrace" of t h e i r condition would thereby go away. In any case, in Turner's production, Coriolanus i s c e r t a i n l y not the scapegoat, but a martyr. Norman Rabkin's analysis of Coriolanus proceeds scene by scene to show how Shakespeare manipulates an audience's perceptions either on behalf of Coriolanus the honorable and blood-dealing man (his mother's view), or against Coriolanus, the t r a i t o r o u s man and "breaker of b u t t e r f l i e s " (the - 35 - plebians' view). Coriolanus's effectiveness seems inseparable from hi s bloodiness, r a i s i n g a moral dilemma for the audience because i t cannot have one without the other. Writing h i s a r t i c l e i n 1966, Rabkin seems conscious of hi s own context of s i t u a t i o n (the United States during the Vietnam War) as he further explicates the p o l i t i c a l dilemmas of t h i s play and alludes to the d i f f i c u l t y of being simultaneously a man of p r i n c i p l e and a p o l i t i c a l animal. Up to a point, he says, Coriolanus's view of honor as something to be deserved makes him seem haughty but pardonably proud because the people are shown to be not worth serving. But eventually t h i s p r i n c i p l e leads Coriolanus to betray Rome and to be k i l l e d . "Defining h i s e n t i r e l i f e i n terms of his inner p r i n c i p l e of i n t e g r i t y , Caius Martius Coriolanus has destroyed his very i d e n t i t y . Obviously, then, Coriolanus's choice does not work and must be disowned. Thus f a r , Rabkin would agree for d i f f e r e n t reasons with Burke's i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of Martius's death. But, asks Rabkin, what are the al t e r n a t i v e s to Coriolanus? C e r t a i n l y not Aufidius, a t r a i t o r as well as an opportunist? C e r t a i n l y not the compromisers l i k e Cominius, Menenius, or even Volumnia who would concede "that value i s dictated not by the nature of the object but by the tastes of the valuer, so that Coriolanus i s honorable not so much when he rescues Rome as when he receives the accolades of i t s worthless c i t i z e n s ? " ^ With c a r e f u l attention to what he has come to c a l l the "complementarity" of a Shakespearean play, Rabkin sums up the dilemma: "Shakespeare o f f e r s us two a l t e r n a t i v e s , the idea of the state as unbending moral imperative and the idea of the state as a community organized for the benefit of i t s members — on the one hand the state as worthy of allegiance only when i t represents the highest moral i d e a l s , on the other my country r i g h t or wrong. And he seems to be t e l l i n g us hopelessly that neither of these notions of the state w i l l - 36 - work." Therefore, completely contrary to Burke's analysis, for Rabkin "no catharsis i s possible. " 9 As I have said , Burke himself recognizes that the fact of death as a transformation of terms i s in i t s e l f an ambiguous act. Therefore, one can expect equivocal i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of i t s s i g n i f i c a n c e . Burke has shown one such i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i n Coriolanus's case, and Jerry Turner has shown another, while Norman Rabkin has shown those features of the text which would explain them both. I do not believe, then, that accepting Burke's method requires that in every case one accept a univocal i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of how the terms have ended lip. An audience may reach a consensus one way or another, but i f r i v a l terms have t r u l y been well argued, the " d e v i l " w i l l always have his advocate. With c e r t a i n adjustments, then, to Burke's concept of "context of s i t u a t i o n " and to his usual pra c t i c e of i n t e r p r e t i n g a death as simply c a t h a r t i c rather than problematic, I would propose that his r h e t o r i c a l theory of drama as persuasion to change through i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with some "god term" and expulsion of a " d e v i l term" w i l l explain much of the problem with the problem plays. In them, such i d e n t i f i c a t i o n i s made impossible by equivocal d e f i n i t i o n s of terms or characters and by no transformation of terms through death or expulsion of a scapegoat. FORM AND MEANING According to Burke's philosophy of l i t e r a r y form, a r h e t o r i c i a n gains acceptance for h i s d e f i n i t i o n of terms by engaging his audience's cooperation in the making of meaning. F i r s t he creates formal expectations i n his audience and then, by s a t i s f y i n g them, contrives to convince the audience that the argument or "conclusion" i s i n e v i t a b l e . As Burke analyzed i t in Mein - 37 - Kampf, f o r example, the way out or s a l v a t i o n device i s always achieved by d e l i b e r a t e l y formal 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, for example, a n t i t h e s i s sets up expectations of what to t h i n k , f i r s t of one s i d e , then the other. As Burke e x p l a i n s i n Rhetoric of Motives, "...we know that many purely formal patterns can r e a d i l y awaken an a t t i t u d e of c o l l a b o r a t i v e expectancy i n us. For i n s t a n c e , imagine a passage b u i l t about a set of o p p o s i t i o n s (we do t h i s , but they on the other hand do t h a t ; we stay here, but they go t h e r e ; we look up_, but they look down, e t c . ) . Once you grasp the trend of 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 of the subject matter" (RM, p.58). In Language As Symbolic A c t i o n , Burke comments f u r t h e r on the e f f e c t i v e n e s s of t h i s form e s p e c i a l l y i f one needs a scapegoat: "One may f i n d h i m s e l f hard put to define a p o l i c y purely i n i t s own terms, but one can advocate i t p e r s u a s i v e l y by an urgent assurance that i t i s decidedly against such-and-such other p o l i c y with which people may be d i s g r u n t l e d . For t h i s reason a l s o , the use of a n t i t h e s i s helps d e f l e c t embarrassing c r i t i c i s m (as when r u l e r s s i l e n c e domestic controversy by t u r n i n g p u b l i c a t t e n t i o n to animosity against some f o r e i g n country's p o l i c i e s ) . And, i n t h i s way, of course, a n t i t h e s i s helps 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 audience's expectations and 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 , and Conventional forms described by Burke i n "Lexicon Rhetoricae" 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 maintaining of a p r i n c i p l e under new g u i s e s . I t i s a restatement of the same t h i n g i n d i f f e r e n t ways. Thus, i n so f a r as each d e t a i l of 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 new e x e m p l i f i c a t i o n of the discrepancy i n s i z e between G u l l i v e r and the - 38 - L i l l i p u t i a n s , Swift i s using r e p e t i t i v e form" (CS,p.125). Repetitive form means the same thing as recognizing "what goes with what." A character's actions and purposes for action, the means of acting and the scene of the action (the integers of the Pentad and the r a t i o s among them) can a l l be "indexed" in order to define what the character "stands f o r " in the play. To put i t another way, the c l u s t e r of equations i s also d e f i n i t i o n by "merger," with the character summing up the meaning of one term in the "argument." Progressive form i s subdivided into s y l l o g i s t i c and q u a l i t a t i v e progression. " S y l l o g i s t i c progression i s the form of a p e r f e c t l y conducted argument, advancing step by step. I t i s the form of a mystery story, where everything f a l l s together, as i n a story of r a t i o c i n a t i o n by Poe. I t i s the form of a demonstration i n Euclid...The arrows of our desires are turned i n a c e r t a i n d i r e c t i o n , and the p l o t follows the d i r e c t i o n of the arrows. The peripety, or r e v e r s a l of the s i t u a t i o n , discussed by A r i s t o t l e , i s obviously one of the keenest manifestations of s y l l o g i s t i c progression" (CS, p.124). "Q u a l i t a t i v e progression . . . i s s u b t l e r . Instead of one incident i n the pl o t preparing us for some other possible incident of plot (as Macbeth's murder of Duncan prepares us for the dying of Macbeth), the presence of one q u a l i t y prepares us for the introduction of another (the grotesque seriousness of the murder scene preparing us for the grotesque buffoonery of the porter scene)" (CS, pp.124-125). F i n a l l y , Conventional form i s "the appeal of form as form." Burke notes that "any form can become conventional, and be sought for i t s e l f — whether i t be as complex as the Greek tragedy or as compact as the sonnet" (p.126). Conventional form d i f f e r s from progressive and r e p e t i t i v e forms i n being c a t e g o r i c a l l y expected by the audience. "That i s , whereas the a n t i c i p a t i o n s and g r a t i f i c a t i o n s of progressive and r e p e t i t i v e form ar i s e during the process - 39 - of reading, the expectations of conventional form may be anterior to the reading" (CS, p.127). A l l of these forms may intermingle, of course; that i s , any one incident may be serving more than one formal function. "A c l o s i n g scene may be s y l l o g i s t i c in that i t s p a r t i c u l a r events mark the dramatic conclusion of the dramatic premises; q u a l i t a t i v e i n that i t exemplifies some mood made desirable by the preceding matter; r e p e t i t i v e in that the characters once again proclaim t h e i r i d e n t i t y ; conventional i n that i t has about i t something c a t e g o r i c a l l y terminal, as a farewell or death; and minor or i n c i d e n t a l in that i t contains a speech displaying a s t r u c t u r a l r i s e , development, and f a l l independently of i t s context" (CS,p.128). Of s p e c i a l importance for a study of the problem plays, Burke recognizes that forms may c o n f l i c t as well as intermingle. "An a r t i s t , " he says, "may create a character which, by the l o g i c of the f i c t i o n , should be destroyed; but he may have made t h i s character so appealing that the audience wholly desires the character's s a l v a t i o n . Here would be a c o n f l i c t between s y l l o g i s t i c and q u a l i t a t i v e progression. Or, he may depict a wicked character who, i f the plot i s to work c o r r e c t l y , must suddenly 'reform,' thereby v i o l a t i n g r e p e t i t i v e form in the i n t e r e s t s of s y l l o g i s t i c progression" (CS,p.129). In other words, the ambiguity of a d e f i n i t i o n w i l l be e s p e c i a l l y evident i f the forms through which the d e f i n i t i o n of terms i s presented lead to the arousing and f u l f i l l i n g of d i f f e r e n t expectations. Because, for Burke, forms are means of persuasion on behalf of terms which define the way out of an audience's burdens or tensions, Burke d i f f e r s from both formalists and deconstructionists at the same time that he shares with them ce r t a i n c r i t i c a l assumptions and procedures. Like the formalists, Burke advocates as thorough an "indexing" as possible of a work's imagery, - 40 - equations, ironies and paradoxes; unlike them, however, Burke wants to use " a l l that there i s to use," including h i s t o r i c a l and biographical information to determine the context of s i t u a t i o n and a knowledge of the author's entire corpus to ascertain his peculiar d e f i n i t i o n of key terms. For example, Shakespeare's d e f i n i t i o n s of Othello and Iago, Burke suggests, might gain greater c l a r i f i c a t i o n by comparing them with Aaron the Moor in Titus Andronicus in whom the t r a i t s of Othello and Iago seem to be combined. 1 0 Like the deconstructionists, Burke recognizes that every work contains "always already" a suppressed att i t u d e . Where Jacques Derrida w i l l f i n d "traces" of such an attit u d e , Burke finds the "paradox of substance," recognizing that every positive term necessarily implies a negative, every order a chaos, and every god a d e v i l . However, where Derrida would urge deconstruction of the ostensible order for the sake of insight into the t a c t i c s which have suppressed a r i v a l understanding, Burke w i l l argue that some action — however inadequate — i s always necessary for the symbol-using animal i f he i s to s a t i s f y his "yearning for unity" not only with a symbol of order but with others who also accept that symbol. As he says in Rhetoric of Motives: I d e n t i f i c a t i o n i s affirmed 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 for the rh e t o r i c i a n to proclaim t h e i r unity. I f men were wholly and t r u l y of 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 , partly embodied in material conditions and p a r t l y frustrated by these same conditions; rather, i t would be as natural, spontaneous, and t o t a l as with those ideal prototypes of communication, the theologian's angels, or 'messengers' (RM, p.22). The dramatist, l i k e the h i s t o r i a n , knows that "a thing [for example, a movement in history] has many aspects, good, bad, i n d i f f e r e n t . You 'transcend' t h i s confusion when, by secular prayer, you 'vote' that ONE of the aspects i s the essence of the l o t " (ATH, p.260). And a dramatist "votes" by - 41 - showing through the narrative progression of h i s drama where a term ends up. As "dishonest" as i t may seem, there i s no way beyond an oppressive condition other than by p a r t i a l l y adequate acts on the scene of one's s i t u a t i o n . "The problem of e v i l , " says Burke, " i s met by transcendance — the process of secular prayer whereby a man sees an intermingling of good and e v i l factors and 'votes' to s e l e c t either the good ones or the e v i l ones as the 'essence' of the l o t . And choice between p o l i c i e s i s not a choice between one that i s a 'lesser e v i l ' p o l i c y and another that i s not. It i s a choice between two l e s s e r - e v i l p o l i c i e s , with one of them having more of a l e s s e r e v i l than the other" (ATH.p.314). It i s i n t e r e s t i n g to speculate on whether the differences between Burke's philosophy of language as symbolic action and Derrida's philosophy of deconstruction may, i n part, be explained by the differences between the G a l l i c and American scenes: one has experienced the oppression of an occupying power and i s therefore s c e p t i c a l of language as manipulation; the other has experienced the working of democracy i n the "human barnyard" and i s therefore more confident that an action taken w i l l roughly approximate the action needed. In any case, i t i s in large part his concept of l i t e r a r y form as a kind of persuasion to action which has made Burke something of a maverick to many l i t e r a r y c r i t i c s . As Frank L e n t r i c c h i a sums i t up in C r i t i c i s m and Soc i a l Change, "Modernist l i t e r a r y t h e o r i s t s since Cleanth Brooks, and other crusaders for l i t e r a r y autonomy, have been openly h o s t i l e [to Burke] — they sense h i s more-then-literary commitments. The newest academic avant-garde, from Jacques Derrida to Paul deMan, mainly ignores him: l i k e a powerfully accomplished father, the mere thought of whom creates those queasy feelings of impotence, Burke must be forgotten. He knew too much, too soon." - 42 - A RHETORICAL ANTHROPOLOGY Burke grounds h i s l i t e r a r y theory i n a d e f i n i t i o n of 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 of how any language as symbolic action e l i c i t s cooperation from people who, by nature, respond to symbols. To the extent that the d e f i n i t i o n i s accurate, i t explains why r h e t o r i c a l c r i t i c i s m can do much to explain the probable e f f e c t of symbols on an audience. For Burke: 1. Man i s the symbol-using animal. That i s , through language man " e n t i t l e s " or sums up an at t i t u d e toward h i s world which would otherwise be an undifferentiated chaos of forces. Every name for a s i t u a t i o n i s a perspective on i t , and, at the same time, i t i s a "screen," 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 persuasions about what to notice and about what action to take toward what i s noticed, and since they are necessar i l y p a r t i a l entitlements of r e a l i t y , words need to be juxtaposed with one another for a f u l l e r perspective on the context of s i t u a t i o n . Against a naive verbal realism which assumes that r e a l i t y is. as i t i s named, Burke admonishes that the symbol i s a p a r t i a l perspective and an i m p l i c i t persuasion: "In responding to words," he says i n Language As Symbolic Action, "with t h e i r overt and covert modes of persuasion ('progress' i s a t y p i c a l one that usually sets expectations to v i b r a t i n g ) , we l i k e to forget the kind of r e l a t i o n that r e a l l y p r e v a i l s between the verbal and the nonverbal. In being a l i n k between us and the nonverbal, words are by the same token a screen separating us from the nonverbal" (LSA,p.5). An a r t i s t ' s symbols, then, are new d e f i n i t i o n s of terms, new perspectives which could not be enunciated as well i n any other way. As Burke says in Counterstatement, "The symbol might be c a l l e d a word invented by the a r t i s t to specify a p a r t i c u l a r grouping or pattern or emphasizing of experiences — and the work of art in which the symbol figures might be c a l l e d a d e f i n i t i o n of t h i s word. . The novel, Madame Bovary, i s an elaborate d e f i n i t i o n of a new word i n our vocabulary" (CS,p.153K 2. The second c o d i c i l explains how man's symbols a r i s e . Man i s inventor of the negative or moralized by the negative. That i s , every purposeful human action i s a 'yes* to one course of action and an i m p l i c i t 'no' to another. Human action implies freedom to choose and therefore a competition among contending at t i t u d e s to determine which one "should" be the way to go. Polar opposites belong inseparably to human ways of thinking and acting, and Burke's "paradox of substance," discussed e a r l i e r , i s only a further s o p h i s t i c a t i o n of the recognition that no choice i s s e l f - e v i d e n t or stands outside of a l i m i t i n g context. As a matter of f a c t , "There i s an implied sense of n e g a t i v i t y in the a b i l i t y to use words at a l l . For to use them properly, we must know that they are not the things they stand f o r " (LSA.p.12). 3. Because of h i s symbols, man i s separated from his natural condition by instruments of h i s own making. That i s , the c l a s s structure and s o c i a l h ierarchies of a l l kinds are established f i r s t and l a s t by man's capacity and need for defining where he "stands" symbolically. Contrary to orthodox Marxism, Burke presumes that man's de f i n i n g capacity comes f i r s t , followed by tool-making or economic c a p a c i t i e s . It i s shown to be the more " e s s e n t i a l " t r a i t because "In choosing any d e f i n i t i o n at a l l , one i m p l i c i t l y represents man as a kind of animal that i s capable of d e f i n i t i o n (that i s to say, capable of symbolic a c t i o n ) . Thus, even i f one views the powers of speech and mechanical invention as mutually involving each other, i n a t e c h n i c a l or formal sense one should make the implications e x p l i c i t by t r e a t i n g the g i f t s of symbolicity as the 'prior' member of the p a i r " (LSA,p.14). - nn - 4. After h i s use of symbols has established several 'orders' of society (economic, p o l i t i c a l , r e l i g i o u s , for example), man i s goaded by the s p i r i t of hierarchy or moved by a sense of order. That i s , he n a t u r a l l y desires to accept h i s place in an order by a kind of "courtship" in which he i d e n t i f i e s with those on top of the hierarchy and they, in turn, can be seen to "woo" h i s a l l e g i a n c e . Burke e s p e c i a l l y admires how E. M. Forster has shown the "embarrassments" of hierarchy (or s o c i a l mystery) in A Passage to India, how these are interwoven with the idea of cosmic mystery, and how they are transcended by courtesies and other r i t u a l s of respect between the c o l o n i a l s and the c o l o n i z i n g power (LSA,p.227). 5. The f i n a l c o d i c i l i s a "wry" one: that man i s rotten with pe r f e c t i o n. That i s , since every symbol s t r i v e s to be the 'perfect' d e f i n i t i o n or the 'proper' naming of a tension, i t usually employs a scapegoat, as in drama, to d i f f e r e n t i a t e the ' f a l s e ' or 'imperfect' symbols from the 'true' or 'perfect' ones. The yearning for perfection, however, i s ultimately i l l u s o r y , since every assertion w i l l always imply some polar opposite or option as surely as God implies the D e v i l , and ultimately dangerous as well, because without some other perspective on the s i t u a t i o n , the chance of missing what i s " r e a l l y " there increases. As Burke explains in Philosophy of L i t e r a r y Form, "Dictatorships, i n s i l e n c i n g the opposition, remove the intermediary between error and r e a l i t y . Silence the human opponent, and you are brought f l a t against the unanswerable opponent, the nature of brute r e a l i t y i t s e l f " (PLF,p.445). Of course, since warnings l i k e t h i s have not kept p r e c i s i o n i s t s of every kind from t r y i n g to s t i f l e debate, Burke c a l l s t h i s a "wry" c o d i c i l and advocates a p o l i c y of i r o n i c contemplation of contending attitudes (a "parliamentary" of representative opinions) in order to expose the l i m i t a t i o n s of any symbol that claims to provide an absolute understanding of the "substance" of the human s i t u a t i o n . - 45 - SHAKESPEARE AS RHETORICIAN "Burke," said h i s friend Howard Nemerov, " i s Shakespearean, I believe, in h i s delight i n what some of us deplore: ambiguity, the range of meanings hidden and evident i n , i t may be, a sing l e word; and Shakespearean, too, in his willingness to l e t perspectives c r i t i c i z e one another 'dramatically'."1 2 I f t h i s i s so, and I have t r i e d to show that i t i s , then the use of Burke's method seems p a r t i c u l a r l y promising for a study of Shakespeare. From the time of h i s f i r s t play, 1 Henry VI, Shakespeare demonstrates his a b i l i t y to dramatize the claims of r i v a l perspectives. At the same time, he shows that he knows about the r h e t o r i c a l e f f e c t s of a scapegoat as a st r u c t u r i n g p r i n c i p l e ; i f one term can be established as the " f a l s e " explanation of events, the other w i l l be accepted as "true." However, a b r i e f but closer look at t h i s play w i l l show that even i n t h i s apprentice work, the master dramatist was showing signs of scepticism about the absolute claims of either p a r t i a l perspective. In t h i s way, Shakespeare gives an early i n d i c a t i o n of h i s s t y l e throughout the canon of h i s work, and e s p e c i a l l y in the "problem plays" where r i v a l terms are presented more even-handedly than elsewhere. According to Bullough, 1 Henry VI was written about 1591/2 and was therefore of t o p i c a l i n t e r e s t to an English audience since the country was again at war with France. The figures of brave Talbot and h i s son become a way of i d e n t i f y i n g true English behavior and of r a l l y i n g p a t r i o t i c f e e l i n g s against the French led by Joan of Arc who i s , f i t t i n g l y enough, c a l l e d a witch and a d e v i l . - 46 - In t h i s play, Shakespeare gives h i s audience in the French as tangible a v i l l a i n as Iago, and, even more than he does i n Othello, d i r e c t s h i s audience to the "lynching" of the v i c t i m who i s c l e a r l y other than themselves. Now, i f t h i s were a l l that he was doing, the piece would be no more than melodramatic propaganda. However, Shakespeare has other i n t e r e s t s to pursue in t h i s play, a clear sign of which i s that he deviates from h i s chronicle sources to present a garden scene in which the War of the Roses o r i g i n a t e s . Shakespeare focuses attention, then, not so much on the enemy without as the enemy within, so that Talbot i s shown to die not so much because of treachery by the French as because of discord among the English. In the garden (Eden before the F a l l ? ) Plantagenet (York) and Somerset are arguing over Plantagenet's claim to the throne - "a case of t r u t h . " When Warwick i s asked to adjudicate between the r i v a l s , he shows how d i f f i c u l t i t i s to d i s t i n g u i s h t h e i r claims: Between two hawks, which f l i e s the higher p i t c h ; Between two dogs, which hath the deeper mouth; Between two blades, which bears the better temper: Between two horses, which doth bear him best; Between two g i r l s , which hath the merriest eye; I have perhaps some shallow s p i r i t of judgement; But in these nice sharp q u i l l e t s of the law, Good f a i t h , I am no wiser than a daw. (II.iv.11-18) Neither r i v a l , however, accepts t h i s v e r d i c t . Each one t r i e s to e s t a b l i s h that h i s claim i s the only t r u t h : i t i s either so "naked" as to be obvious (York) or so well "well apparell'd" (Somerset) as to be evident even to "a blind man's eye." The imagery, of course, shows how the same kind of claim 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 to the same argument. Further d i s t i n c t i o n s are likewise misleading. As York picks a white rose and Somerset a red, and as each urges his followers 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 possible and since Somerset w i l l not accept the expedient of a majority decision. The colors of the roses can even be used to suggest emblematic interpretations, depending upon whose perspective one wants to adopt (emphasis on the w i l l f u l n e s s of the decision). York chides Somerset for cowardice: "Meantime your cheeks do counterfeit our roses;/ For pale they look with fear, as witnessing/ The truth on our side." Somerset r e p l i e s : "No, Plantagenet,/ 'Tis not for fear but anger that thy cheeks/ Blush for pure shame to counterfeit our roses,/ And yet thy tongue w i l l not confess thy error." And, since each faction 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 indistinguishable claims to the throne, but even closer to the throne exist r i v a l s who weaken the position of an already weak king. Winchester, great-uncle to Henry VI, and Gloucester, uncle and Protector, also contend over which of them w i l l t r u l y rule the king and, through him, England. Their r i v a l r y i s exacerbated by the 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 di s t i n g u i s h ) , and therefore i t i s a most revealing perspective on t h e i r feud when Winchester challenges Gloucester at one point, "be thou cursed Cain/ To slay thy brother Abel, i f thou w i l t " ( I . i i i . 3 9 ) . And, in a reprise of the red rose/white rose r i v a l r y , Gloucester urges his 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 distress of the general c i t i z e n r y led by the Mayor, who cries out: "Fie Lords! that you, being supreme magistrates,/ Thus contumatiously should break the peace!" (I.iii.5 7 - 5 8 ) . - 48 - 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 patriots can have thei r lynching, but also so that more sober-minded patriots can recognize that a lynching solves nothing since the real enemy i s within. 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 plotting even more treacherously closer to home under outward signs of friendship: "0 monstrous treachery! can t h i s be so,/ That in a l l i a n c e , amity and oaths,/ There should be found such false dissembling guile?" (IV.i.61-63). Shakespeare, thus early in his career, i s showing his a b i l i t y to argue opposites. Moreover, he also shows that, as every rhetorician 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 loss of the bravest Englishman in France w i l l be used for different purposes by York and Somerset, i t w i l l prove nothing toward s e t t l i n g their feud. For easier contrast of their r i v a l positions, Shakespeare juxtaposes their different versions of history 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 levied for t h i s seige! Renowned Talbot doth expect my aid, 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 chevalier: God comfort him in t h i s necessity! I f he miscarry, farewell wars in 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 plotted: 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 his gloss of former honour By t h i s unheedful, desperate, wild adventure: - 49 - York set him on to fight and die in shame, That, Talbot dead, great York might bear the name. (IV.iv.1-9) Of special interest for an analysis of the problem plays, i t should be emphasized that these r i v a l positions, which cannot sort themselves out even by the death of an ostensible scapegoat, arise 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 factions of Winchester and Gloucester, "0, how t h i s discord doth a f f l i c t my soul!" ( I I I . i . 1 0 6 ) . Moreover, the King i s dangerously led by his "fancy," not his 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 faction 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 interpreted as a gesture that proves nothing. Then, addressing the contending factions during the campaign in France, he urges them: 0, think upon the conquest of my father, 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 in 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 well 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 king/ P r e t t i l y , methought, did play the orator." York r e p l i e s , "And so he did: 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 his fancy, blame him not; / I dare presume, sweet prince, he thought no harm." But York muses over i t , "An i f I wist he did, — but l e t i t rest" (IV.i.174-180). - 50 - Later, Henry's " w i l l " leads him to take the dangerous step of overriding Gloucester's choice of a bride and of accepting Suffolk's choice of Margaret of France, through whom Suffolk hopes to rule the king himself. With an i r o n i c perspective on his action that draws attention to i t s danger, Suffolk concludes the play: Thus Suffolk hath prevail'd; and thus he goes, As did the youthful Paris once to Greece, With hope to find the l i k e event in love, But prosper better than the Trojan did. Margaret s h a l l now be queen, and rule the king; But I w i l l rule both her, the king and realm. (V.v.103-108) Obviously, Shakespeare, from the st a r t of his dramatic career, knew how to argue opposites and also knew what he would have to do in 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 either r i v a l and knows that the fact of death i t s e l f can be manipulated for different 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 arise over any human value l i k e honor, love, 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 believe, 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 rhet o r i c , I w i l l examine how Shakespeare's equations for terms l i k e Helena, Cressida, and Isabella are inherently ambivalent; besides that, t h e i r r i v a l r y with other terms i s not resolved by any credible scapegoat or by any clear acceptance of how the terms end up. More than that, the authorities in these plays, l i k e Henry VI, are either weak or ar b i t r a r y , contributing to the concourse of discord rather than helping to resolve i t . F i n a l l y , the playwright's deliberate interference with the progression of his p l o t , especially 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 thinks i t i s getting and may even d e s i r e . Recalling R.S. White's analysis of the endless ending of romance, I think the problem plays show that Shakespeare knows he could continue the argument i n d e f i n i t e l y , has to conclude somehow, but reminds the audience that i t could have ended otherwise. In a l l of these ways, Shakespeare f r u s t r a t e s the expectations of the audience for a symbolic action that w i l l help them to encompass t h e i r s i t u a t i o n , and he therefore leaves them not only d i s s a t i s f i e d but even anxious at having been shown only the dilemma and not the way out. I do not know why Shakespeare wrote these plays, but I think i t i s s i m p l i s t i c to assume that he was s u f f e r i n g some kind of collapse or period of depression. I t i s just as possible to argue that i n A l l ' s Well, T r o i l u s and Cressida, and Measure for Measure, he i s at the f u l l peak of h i s powers, arguing opposites at white heat and daring the consequences of audience d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n . According to Stephen Booth, Shakespeare shows in h i s writing of Love's Labor's Lost that he knows how to v i o l a t e an audience's expectations of an ending in the i n t e r e s t of a greater awareness of what i s so about r e a l i t y (or the context of sit u a t i o n ) but which has not been formulated in the play and perhaps can never be. The drama "ends not l i k e the old play" in order to respect the " i n d e f i n i t i o n " of experience i t s e l f . 1 3 What Shakespeare does in Love's Labor's Lost and, indeed, throughout the canon from IHenry VI to the Tempest he does, I suggest, in an e s p e c i a l l y unrelieved way i n the problem plays. With what Burke c a l l s comic ambivalence, he charts the range of human conduct, knowing the value of as comprehensive a vocabulary as possible i n order to "gauge the f u l l range of human p o s s i b i l i t i e s " (ATH,p.74). Shakespeare's own a t t i t u d e , i t seems, i s one of "methodical q u i z z i c a l i t y toward language" whereby he allows a f u l l appreciation of i t s resourcefulness - 52 - for encompassing the human condition (GM,pp.441-442). His metaphorical perspectives, h i s puns, h i s arguing of terms are so thorough that he c l e a r l y reveals the l i m i t s of any other at t i t u d e as the " f i n a l " word. Shakespeare's mastery of language served as a model for Burke's own strategy of "planned incongruity" (the t r a n s f e r r i n g of words from one category of association to another by the "coaching" of t h e i r metaphorical i m p l i c a t i o n s ) . In h i s praise for 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 thinker with Shakespeare, and t h i s praise provides a f i t t i n g l i n k between an exposition of Burke's method and the analysis of Shakespeare's plays which follows: In Shakespeare, c a s u i s t r y was absolute and constant. He could make new 'metaphorical extensions' at random. He could leap across categories of association as r e a d i l y as walking...We propose by the ca s u i s t r y of 'planned incongruity' to follow i n [our] conceptual vocabulary the lesson that Shakespeare taught us with h i s (ATH,p.230). - 53 - III. ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL In his Arden e d i t i o n of A l l ' s Well, G.K. Hunter suggests that Helena provokes such divergent responses i n c r i t i c s that the problem for i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s whether to f i t Helena into the play or to f i t the play to her. Is she a heroine of romance whose completion of impossible tasks proves her to be not only the worthy wife but also the salva t i o n of her husband? Or i s she a scheming s o c i a l climber whose success in getting her man proves to be a pyrrhic v i c t o r y for "predatory monogamy" ( T i l l y a r d ' s phrase), matching together, as i t does, an unwanted wife with an undeserving husband? Hunter then suggests that c r i t i c i s m , to be most h e l p f u l , should provide "a context within which the genuine v i r t u e s of the play can be appreciated."^ The context I propose i s that of the play as r h e t o r i c i n Burke's sense: the use of forms for the defining of terms. As a dramatist and s k i l l e d r h e t o r i c i a n , Shakespeare i s used to arguing opposites, but in t h i s play, as i n T r o i l u s and Cressida and Measure for Measure, he presents a p a r t i c u l a r l y unrelieved divergence of perspectives on the action, so that Helena's apparent v i c t o r y i s by no means cer t a i n or desirable. Not only do the "equations" for Helena's character 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 at the ending, with the r e s u l t that an audience i s made self-conscious of i t s desire for a happy ending and i s forced to question the adequacy of conventional forms to account for every s i t u a t i o n and to encompass i t . Since A l l ' s Well i s concerned so e x p l i c i t l y with a class conscious hero and heroine, i t seems to i l l u s t r a t e as well Burke's theory that class d i v i s i o n i s , in some way, the "context of s i t u a t i o n " to be addressed by a play's symbolic action. As I have mentioned in Chapter 2, however, i t i s not my - 54 - concern to assume a s p e c i f i c extra-textual tension or burden. I would not want to argue, for example, that Bertram represents a money-poor but t i t l e d a r i s t o c r a c y being pursued by a "mounting" bourgeois class i n search of t i t l e s , and that i f his proud resistance to a match sanctioned by his mother and his King i s not checked i t threatens not only to endanger the future of h i s c l a s s but to tear apart the commonwealth as w e l l . This i s a p l a u s i b l e reconstruction of cl a s s r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n England af t e r the r i s e of the Tudors and before the c i v i l war — a s i t u a t i o n much alluded to in " c i t i z e n comedy," for example. But i t i s not necessary to assume t h i s s p e c i f i c s o c i a l context in order to appreciate in more general terms the pursuit of Helena and the f l i g h t of Bertram. Some c r i t i c s , l i k e G. Wilson Knight, for example, have used the imagery of the play to argue a C h r i s t i a n rather than an economic message: that Helena i s Divine Grace and that Bertram i s S i n f u l Man who does a l l that he can to re j e c t his own redemption.^ Whatever the extra-textual issues may be, the problems caused by the text are those of how to define Helena and of how to respond to her v i c t o r y . These problems, in turn, create a more d i f f i c u l t problem for the audience: how to i d e n t i f y with a way out of a tension when only the dilemma has been presented. The d i v i s i o n "characterized" by Helena and Bertram i s great, and the action of the play gives the audience no clear reason to believe that i t can be bridged. Instead, A l l ' s Well betrays the audience to i t s e l f as so craving the "promised end" of a way out that i t i s w i l l i n g to gloss over an embarrassing amount of inconsistency i n order to enjoy i t . In his review of John Barton's 1968 production of A l l ' s Well, J.W. Lambert gives away just how much an audience t r u l y craves a d e f i n i t e ending and how, in his view, Barton provided i t , e s p e c i a l l y by making Bertram more li k e a b l e and excusable (by emphasizing h i s boyishness) and by making Helena's t r i c k e r y more acceptable. " A l l ' s Well that Ends Well," he writes, " i s a good - 55 - play a f t e r a l l , t h i s production t e l l s me. And how f i n e l y i t manages the gentle r i t u a l of the end, when as one discord after another i s resolved, 'Mine eyes smell onions' exclaims Lafew, and in that single phrase recognizes the absurdity of the contrivance, smiles at i t , yet r a t i f i e s our unquenchable insistence — a correct aesthetic demand, not a s u p e r f i c i a l emotional surrender — for a well-tempered harmony at the l a s t . " 3 In my view, the aesthetic demand i s c e r t a i n l y there, and obviously i t can be s a t i s f i e d by various productions. But a troubled response to the text i s not mistaken, and i t a r i s e s from disappointment that the aesthetic demand i s not being s a t i s f i e d as generously as i t might be and from the suspicion that 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 a simple response to t h i s play, e s p e c i a l l y to the ending. THE AMBIGUOUS VALUE OF HONOR IN WAR Shakespeare's r h e t o r i c a l q u a l i f y i n g of self-evident values, which he does throughout the play, can be seen, for example, in how he suggests that Bertram has gained only a doubtful honor by f i g h t i n g for the Duke of Florence. Although Diana reports that "they say the French count has done most honorable se r v i c e " (III.v.3-4) and although the Duke has created Bertram General of the horse for t h i s , there are many hints that t h i s honor which any gentleman would value has, i n f a c t , no reasonable basis and i s , besides, hollow and o s t e n t a t i o u s . 4 Expanding on one sentence in h i s source, Painter's Palace of Pleasure, Shakespeare adds two short scenes ( I l l . i and I I I . i i i ) and other commentary to undercut Bertram's achievement. According to Painter, "when [Beltramo] was on - 56 - horsebacke hee went not [home] but toke his journey into Tuscane, where understanding that the Florentines and Senois were at warres, he determined to take the Florentines parte, and was w i l l i n g l y received and honourablie entertained, and was made captaine of a certaine nomber of men, continuing in t h e i r service a long time."^ From the way he handles the subject of the war, Shakespeare, I suspect, took a hint 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 right 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 his entourage of the lords of France that t h e i r King "would i n so just a business [as t h i s war] shut his bosom against our borrowing prayers" ( I I I . i . 7 - 8 ) . Because the lords cannot offer any explanation for t h e i r King's refusal of aid, the Duke implies an arbitrary one: "Be i t his pleasure" ( I I I . i . 1 7 ) . We know from his farewell to the young lords ( I . i i ) that the King of France i s , in fact, indifferent to the claims of either the Florentines or Senoys. "They have fought," he says, "with equal fortune, and continue/ A braving war" ( I . i i . 2 - 3 ) . And so the young lords have "leave/ to stand on either part" ( I . i i . 1 4 ) . Since the King cannot distinguish between the r i v a l s , i t makes no difference to him which side k i l l s the other. Honor, whatever i t may be, can be gained either way, and at least the war may allow young hot bloods a chance to work off excess energy. The wars w i l l offer a "nursery" for the young men who are "sick/ For breathing and e x p l o i t " (I.ii.16-17). Despite the King's indifference, the Duke has convinced his company that he has "fundamental reasons" for t h i s war which make his cause seem "holy" and his r i v a l ' s cause seem "black and f e a r f u l . " According to the rhetoric, i t i s obvious that f i g h t i n g for the Duke i s the right thing to do, and that victory - 57 - i n h i s cause i s an honorable p r i z e . But Shakespeare knows that i f Bertram would f i g h t for the Duke, he w i l l have to "determine" to do so. The Duke's "fundamental reasons" are never presented to the audience, nor are Bertram's. When he leaves France, i t i s only "to the wars"; he does not at that point choose sides. Shakespeare, then, strengthens Painter's hint that the hero's choice of whom to serve i s a r b i t r a r y by suppressing any discussion of reasons for the quarrel and making i t the King's "pleasure" to stand apart from i t with almost comic detachment or at l e a s t wise passiveness. I f , indeed, Florentines and Senoys are so close to one another that they are "by th'ears," how i s one to be distinguished from the other? Since, i n f a c t , the r i v a l s are also brothers, t h e i r wars are even more bloody for the close r e l a t i o n s h i p of the contestants and the d i f f i c u l t y of 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 other's. 6 To say that one side i s "holy" and that the other i s "black and f e a r f u l " i s to lay on the r h e t o r i c with a trowel. Why, then, should Bertram win d i s t i n c t i o n or honor for having k i l l e d the Duke's brother i n b a t t l e (III.v.7)? I f he had fought for the other side and had k i l l e d the Duke, would an audience's estimation of him change in any way? Shakespeare, then, takes no pains to provide a reasonable basis for Bertram's honor even as he parades the s o l d i e r s in v i c t o r y with "drums and c o l o r s " before the s o l d i e r - s t r u c k c i t i z e n s of Florence, the Widow, Diana, and Mariana. As the noisy procession passes by, the drum of Mars which Bertram loves makes a loud and hollow sound. In f a c t , the v i c t o r y i t s e l f i s a l i t t l e hollow, or at l e a s t muted, because the s o l d i e r s have l o s t t h e i r regimental drum, much to the chagrin of P a r o l l e s . The regimental colors which troop before them are matched for ostentation by the "plume" which i d e n t i f i e s Bertram and the "scarves" which Parolles wears. These conspicuous clothes help to mark the heroes out as members of the new generation "whose judgments," the King had said, "are/ Mere fathers of their garments; whose constancies/ Expire before their fashions" (I . i i .61-63) . This qualifying perspective on the young heroes is reenforced by the comments of the Widow and Diana. To them, the honor Bertram gains in war does not excuse his fai lure to be loyal to his wife. Honor and honesty belong together. In a scene that much resembles the return of the soldiers to Troy in Troilus and Cressida, the glory of a military procession is undercut by the objective, moral commentary of disinterested observers: Diana: He - That with the plume; ' t i s a most gallant fellow. I would he loved his wife. If he were honester He were much goodlier. (III.v.77-80) The honor gained in the service of Mars, then, is shown to be doubtful. Moreover, the purpose for which the young lords have gone to war is presented in suspicious terms. 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 surfeit on their ease" (III. i .17-18). But this implies that war is for "sick" people, who have chosen i t , wisely or not, as their remedy. Besides, just because "ease" has been purged does not mean that honor has replaced i t . In l ight of these disparagements of war's r i tua l s , effects, 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 I l l . i . : Duke. So that from point to point now have you heard The fundamental reasons of this war, Whose great decision hath much blood let forth, And more thirsts after. - 59 - F i r s t Lord. Holy seems the quarrel Upon you Grace's part; black and f e a r f u l On the Opposer. Duke. Therefore we marvel much our cousin France Would i n so just a business shut his 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" in i t s "immaterial" sense occurs i n t h i s play. Prior to t h i s , i t was the adj e c t i v a l form of "fundament" i n the sense of the foundation of a building or the buttocks of the body, especially the anus. Shakespeare i s stretching the word to include an immaterial sense at the same time that more earthy denotations would be more prominent for his audience. As he usually 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 cathartic for those who " s u r f e i t " on their ease; why, then, should i t s reasons not be "fundamental" i n two senses: foundational and stinky? The fact that the quarrel seems "holy" further corroborates the suggestion of war as a "hole" through which the v i l e matter of sick people can be purged. This p o s s i b i l i t y of a pun on "fundamental" i s strengthened by the fact that Shakespeare uses the word only one other time i n his 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 less f e a r f u l than discreet, That love the fundamental part of state 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 Well, the society's burden i s concealed i n a pun which not only provides 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 of the burden but also implies that i t should be purged. I f t h i s reading of a pun i s correct, i t would make the Duke's reasons " f u l l of holes," at the same time that the quarrel only seems "holy" i n i t s righteous sense. A l l ' s Well w i l l end with a s i m i l a r q u a l i f i c a t i o n : that a l l seems well, but i t i s important to note that t h i s e x p l i c i t ambivalence has marked the play early on. Both Bertram's acquiring of honor through war and of Helena through marriage are c r a f t i l y q u a l i f i e d i n t h i s play. Also of i n t e r e s t i n t h i s short exchange i s the Duke's reference to the war as a "business." There may be deflationary overtones i n the use of the word, as when Iago speaks of the "trade of war" (Othello I . i i . 1 ) . But, more than that, the epithet "business" w i l l also describe Bertram's marriage to Helena, which he despises, his courtship of Diana, for which even Parolles c r i t i c i z e s him, Helena's plot to use Diana to trap Bertram, and P a r o l l e s ' fatuous plan to recover the drum. When the c y n i c a l clown says that his "business" i s to fetch Helena for the Countess and, l a t e r , that h i s "business" — l i k e Helena's — i s to the court, we hear a word accumulating unsavory connotations at the same time that i t l i n k s a l l l e v e l s of the action. In a more subtle l i n k i n g of the two actions, the Duke promises to reward those who follow him with the words, " a l l honor that can f l y from us/ S h a l l on them s e t t l e . " (III.i.2 0 - 2 1) I t undercuts the Duke's promise of honor to r e c a l l that Bertram had c a u s t i c a l l y referred i n s i m i l a r terms to the "honor" which the King had conferred by bestowing Helena on him: "When I consider," he had said, "what dole [dolor?] of honor/ F l i e s where you bid i t , I find that she, which l a t e / Was i n my nobler thoughts most base, i s now/ The praised of the King; who, so ennobled,/ Is as 'twere born so" (II.iii.1 6 9 - 1 7 3 ) • - 61 - Bertram, seconded by P a r o l l e s , has enrolled i n the wars in order to achieve an honor i n deed which would complement the honor of his noble lineage, but the language of the text suggests that he may not have succeeded i n h i s plan. He wants to prove himself a man and believes that he cannot do so i f he i s kept back for being "too young" and i s "clogged" with a wife who i s not only below his s t a t i o n but, more to the point, not of h i s choosing. Bertram envies the other young lords of France whom the King had urged upon leaving for the wars not to "woo honor, but to wed i t " ( I I . i . 1 5 ) . Therefore, leaving home and France for I t a l y , Bertram has sh i f t e d the scene of his action to where he w i l l be free from constraint and free for achievements i n war and love which he can determine to undertake as he pleases. He succeeds at least to the extent that he wins promotion from the Duke and that Fortune seems his "auspicious mistress." Shakespeare shows, however, that Bertram's gaining of honor i n war i s at least dubious, and he w i l l show e x p l i c i t l y that Bertram loses the honor of his house i n the attempt to seduce Diana. Back i n Rousillon, the Countess, assured by some gentlemen the "The Duke w i l l lay upon [Bertram] a l l the honor/ That good convenience claims" (III .ii.73-74), remains unimpressed. In her view, "His sword can never win/ The honor that he lo s e s " for having deserted Helena (III.ii.97-98). THE AMBIGUOUS VALUE OF HELENA So much i n t h i s play seems to show that Helena i s Bertram's unquestioned good, that i t sometimes remains underappreciated how much Shakespeare has q u a l i f i e d the value of Helena just as he has q u a l i f i e d the honor Bertram - 62 - supposedly gains i n war. Helena, I suggest, i s defined i n d e l i b e r a t e l y ambiguous terms because an audience i s supposed to remain f r u s t r a t e d by not knowing how to accept her marriage with Bertram. Helena, on the one hand, i s described as a "herb of grace" and should prove to be Bertram's s a l v a t i o n . 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 admixture of "an unclean mind." Moreover, both her s t a t u s and her a c t i o n s combine to define her 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 derive s her honesty and achieves her goodness" ( I . i . 4 7 - 4 8 ) . Heaven loves to hear the prayers of such a woman, and with good reason: she i s heaven's agent ("minister") f o r c u r i n g the King and may w e l l be equally i n s t r u m e n t a l , the Countess hopes, i n r e p r i e v i n g Bertram "from the wrath of greatest j u s t i c e " ( I I I . i v . 2 8 - 2 9 ) . As W.W. Lawrence has argued, Helena's deeds are c o n s i s t e n t w i t h the i d e n t i t y of the conventional " c l e v e r wench" of f o l k t a l e and romance. 8 By cur i n g the King and s o l v i n g t a s k s , she assures the regeneration of her s o c i e t y . She i s , as w e l l , a v i r g i n and an honest woman, one who i s twice w i l l i n g to l a y down her l i f e that the King and Bertram might l i v e . Helena's exemplary q u a l i f i c a t i o n s as a "god term" are corroborated by the King's and the Countess's endorsements. The King gives "honor" and "wealth" as h i s dowry to Helena, along with a r i n g which i s discovered only l a t e i n Act V. Moreover, he warns Bertram, "As thou l o v ' s t her,/ Thy love's to 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 not only i n I . i i i where she play s with the word "daughter" i n order to discover Helena's i n t e n t i o n s of marriage toward Bertram. When Bertram deserts Helena, the Countess adopts her i n earnest. "He was my son/ But I wash h i s name out of my blood/ And thou a r t a l l my c h i l d " ( I I I . i i . 6 8 - 69). She t e l l s Lafew t h a t " i f [Helena] had partaken of my f l e s h and cost me - 63 - the dearest groans of a mother, I could not have owed her a more rooted love" (IV.v.10-13). Rhetorically, then, Helena i s "consubstantial" with the aged authorities of t h i s play. She i s i d e n t i f i e d with whatever they, i n their wisdom, recognize as honesty, worth, goodness, and deserving. The equations which, together, establish Helena as the "herb of grace" seem most strongly validated 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" (II.i.86) that the King orders him to "bring i n the admiration that we with thee/ May spend our wonder too, or take off thine/ 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 credentials as the "weakest minister" of "[Him] that of greatest works i s f i n i s h e r " (II.i.138). She prays, in e f f e c t , that the King awake his f a i t h , and appeals to the precedent of great miracles recorded in "holy w r i t " to assure him that "oft expectation h i t s / Where hope i s coldest and despair most s i t s " (II.i.145-146). She counts herself among those whose "inspired merit" may be doubted by men but whose acts are heaven's i t s e l f . "Of heaven not me, make an experiment" (II.i.156). In paradoxical terms and with dr u i d - l i k e calculations of time, Helena promises the "The greatest grace lending grace/ Ere twice the horses of the sun s h a l l bring/ Their f i e r y torcher his diurnal ring/...Health s h a l l l i v e free, and sickness freely die" (II.i.163-165/170). Then, as surety of her confidence i n her credentials 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 rejected, leads to tragedy. But i t i s also obvious that Helena's actions are undercut throughout this scene, c a l l i n g into - 64 - question any reasonable basis for defining her as an unmixed blessing. Before she enters, for 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 into a stone, Quicken a rock, and make you dance canary With sprightly f i r e and motion, whose simple touch Is powerful to araise King Pippen, nay, To give great Charlemain a pen in's hand, And write to her a love - 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 for coming to the King i s at best a half 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 chief 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 ) for i t s veracity, but had been forced to admit: My lord your son made me to think of (curing the King) Else Paris, 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 intentions to marry Bertram are fixed but that her motives, l i k e Cressida's, are hard to ascertain. Her a b i l i t y to drive a hard bargain, however, i s obvious. As the scene ends and before she - 65 - undertakes any cure, she exacts from the King the price of his cooperation i n her choosing of a husband from among his 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 all u s i o n to Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy i s more than a mnemonic irrelevance. When Lafew goes to fetch Helena, he uses the famous words which precede Hieronymo's staging of a play (or action) calculated to take i n the spectators and to seal their doom. "Nay, I ' l l f i t you," (II.i.93) says Lafew, and so said Hieronymo (The Spanish Tragedy, IV.i.70). 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 well 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 herself most powerful for good, most s e l f - s a c r i f i c i n g , and "graceful," q u a l i f i c a t i o n s arise, however l i g h t l y touched upon, that compromise from within 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 after he had gone mad (Daniel 4:28-37). Helena, for example, claims that she i s heaven's minister but also knows, as she mentions i n soliloquy, that Our remedies oft 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 is nothing untoward about self 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, i t compromises a person's s inceri ty . 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 is leading whom. Acts of self reliance, 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" (III . iv .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, in fact, 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 .96-98). Moreover, l ike her namesake in Midsummer Night's Dream, this 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 in the process. Given Helena's self reliance and ambition, her "fixed intents" (I . i .236), the imagery that would make of her Bertram's sister by adoption takes on an added significance. As I suggested when discussing the r iva lry theme in the war plot, 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 - steps to do so, why should her "brother" Bertram have any le s s a right? Moreover, what fundamental reason can convince him to choose her for a wife when i t cannot be said for c e r t a i n whether she i s a herb of grace or a herb of grass? The le s s "savory" side of Helena shows c l e a r l y for most c r i t i c s i n her use of the bed t r i c k to f u l f i l l the tasks Bertram has given her i f she would win him for a husband. I t i s here that she shows h e r s e l f l e s s of a handmaid of heaven and more of an e n t e r p r i s i n g woman with cash advances for inducement and a manual of i n s t r u c t i o n s for the "business" at hand. However, trouble for i n t e r p r e t e r s begins even before Helena a r r i v e s i n Florence. As Bertrand Evans has noticed, Shakespeare, i n his comedies, usually keeps an audience as f u l l y informed as the most informed character on stage so that the audience may enjoy the "discrepant awareness" between i t s e l f and those who are duped or i n other ways manipulated by that character.^ But, i n A l l ' s Well Shakespeare suspends his usual pra c t i c e and allows Helena to dupe or at l e a s t to puzzle an audience as surely as she w i l l dupe and puzzle Bertram. V i o l a t i n g the convention that an audience can t r u s t the disclosures of a s o l i l o q u y , Shakespeare provides Helena with a speech i n which she expresses f i e r c e concern for Bertram's safety i n the wars and upbraids he r s e l f for having caused him to expose himself to danger. Twice she promises, "I w i l l be gone"; she w i l l not remain at home to discourage h i s return. Instead, she w i l l expose h e r s e l f to dangers rather than submit Bertram to the "mark/ of smoky muskets" ( I I I . i i . 112-113). What i s an audience to think? C e r t a i n l y , that Helena w i l l be gone! But where? Surely not to Florence i f she i s as s o l i c i t o u s f o r Bertram's comfort as she claims to be. Furthermore, what i s an audience to believe when a l e t t e r from Helena to the Countess announces that she i s "Saint Jacques' p i l g r i m " ( I I I . i v . D ? - 68 - Shakespeare has added t h i s information to his source i n a deliberate e f f o r t , i t seems, to throw his audience off the scent of Helena's whereabouts. Painter's heroine, G i l e t t a , "toke her way...telling no man whither shee wente, and never rested t i l l shee came to Florence." ^ u Shakespeare's heroine follows a more circuitous route, even while she pens sanctimonies to the Countess. "Bless him at home i n peace," she writes, "whilst I from f a r / His name with zealous fervor sanctify" (III.iv.10-11). She even hints 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 Portia i n The Merchant of Venice, Helena uses the smokescreen of having holy business i n hand i n order to hide her true interests. P o r t i a , however, confides her plans completely to Nerissa and, through Nerissa, to the audience. Moreover, her deception i s for an unambiguously good purpose: to save the l i f e of her husband's "bosom lover." 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 for any clear advantage to him. Helena's l i e s and deceptions may prove the strength of her single-minded purpose, but they also hint at a desperate desire to have her way which w i l l not be resisted. Later, Helena's hint to the Countess of death to come i s made to seem a fact as she l e t s i t drop in 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 (IV.iii.58-63). Meanwhile, however, the audience, which has been led to suspect that Helena i s a languishing pilgrim on the way to Spain, discovers that she has, in fact, arrived i n Florence with no explanation, and i t watches as she busies herself with interest i n Bertram, the talk of the c i t y . Evans throws up his 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, "this - 69 - heroine has not spoken straight to anyone. She has not taken us into her confidence, but has kept s i l e n t , hinted loosely, or put us off 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 taints her act of trapping Bertram, however lawful i t can be made to seem, because of the agency she uses. Shakespeare's t e l l i n g of how Helena wins the Widow's cooperation for her plan d i f f e r s again from his source in several ways to the effect 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 Countesse had rehearsed the whole circumstance" of her "estate of love". 1^ Shakespeare spares the audience a lengthy conversation between the women, which makes dramatic sense, but, contrary to Painter, he indicates that the the Widow i s not so much compassionate as she i s uneasy with Helena's plan. "I was well born," she demurs, "Nothing acquainted with these businesses/ And would not put my reputation now/ In any staining act" ( I I I . v i i . 4 - 7 ) . When the Widow hints 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 well 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 friendship 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 offer of personal recompense to the Widow i s Shakespeare's addition to his source, as i s the important d e t a i l that the purse contains gold. Painter's heroine offers the Widow an unspecified sum i n exchange for her cooperation, - 70 - but i t i s intended for the daughter's dowry, not for herself. Even so, Painter's Widow, needy as she i s , agrees to 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 his source for the d e t a i l about the dowry but, again, with a difference. Painter specifies that the sum of 500 pounds passes to the Widow only after G i l e t t a has slept with Beltramo and, even then, since the Widow refuses to accept i t as a reward for 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 for consideration of your well doing, which dutie forceth me to do."13 Shakespeare, s i g n i f i c a n t l y , raises the sum of the dowry to 3.000 crowns and has Helena promise i t to the Widow before the fact, almost as an added incentive. "After,/ 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 ef f e c t , I think, i s not accidental. Moreover, the "business" i s e x p l i c i t l y called a "deceit" even i f i t be a "lawful" one. Further denigration of the bed t r i c k arises by Shakespeare's arranging the scenes i n which Helena plans to trap Bertram to f a l l alternately between the scenes i n which the Dumaine brothers plan to expose Parolles for "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 effect i s ambiguous. The simple juxtaposition of the two actions teases the mind into making the connections and then sends i t i n several directions. I w i l l , in a moment, explain how the p a r a l l e l plot can r e f l e c t favorably on Helena's action. But to f i n i s h the highlighting of her deceitfulness and mercenary savvy, there should be noticed the mention of gold in the subplot (entirely Shakespeare's invention) which corresponds to the purse of gold that Shakespeare has added to his source i n the main plot. Gold i s mentioned twice; the f i r s t i s i n a l e t t e r found on Parolles and written by him to Diana in which he advises the woman to demand payment in advance for her services because of Bertram's deceitfulness. Dian, the Count's a f o o l , and f u l l of gold... When he swears oaths, bid him drop gold, and take i t ; After he scores, he never pays the score. Half won i s match well made; match and well make i t He ne'er pays after debts, take i t before. (IV.iii.225/236-239) Helena i s at least 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 bed t r i c k . 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 in advance advisable, or i s at least as p r o s t i t u t i n g i n her intentions. The second mention of gold emphasizes i t s power to corrupt. The Interpreter, interrogating Parolles about Bertram, allows that "His q u a l i t i e s being at t h i s poor price, I need not to ask you i f gold w i l l corrupt him to rev o l t " (IV.iii.289-291). The suggestion i s clear: has not the Widow likewise been corrupted when she agrees to revolt 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 entire action of entrapping Parolles since i t does more than show him to be a braggart and t r a i t o r to his friends. As he betrays them to themselves, Parolles also t e l l s the truth about them and especially' about Bertram, "one Count Rousillon, 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 " (IV.iii.226-228). Parolles reveals the lords to be as wicked in t h e i r way as he i s i n h i s , and he shows Bertram especially to be ensconced i n a self-serving 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 , Parolles also gains sympathy from the fact that he has been surprised by superior numbers i n a place he least expected. We grant him his reason for - 72 - chagrin: "Yet who would have suspected an ambush where I was taken?" (III . i i i .315-317), and we admit that Everyman is l iable to the same exposure: "Who cannot be crushed with a plot?" ( IV . i i i . 340) . Put Bertram in Parolles' place, and we see him as a person exposed for the faults he has, even a trai tor to himself and others, but also one overwhelmed by deceit and superior numbers. We see Helena, for a moment, as one who differs from Bertram only in one respect: her own faults w i l l never be exposed. In many ways, then, the bed tr ick 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 raising of the King was qualified in a lewd direct ion, the bed tr ick and the actions surrounding i t are qualified in a romantic and even moralistic direct ion. For a l l the unsavory connotations which Shakespeare has allowed to arise, the bed tr ick remains, as W.W. Lawrence pointed out, a staple convention of folk tale 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 is "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 plot , which, i f i t speed Is wicked meaning in a lawful deed, And lawful meaning in a lawful act, Where both not s in , and yet a s inful fact . (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 the - 73 - proper attitude of a romantic heroine as she invokes the cooperation of time for the unfolding of the plot's direction: . . . the time w i l l bring on summer When briars shall have leaves as well as thorns And be as sweet as sharp. We must away; Our wagon is 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 is the renown. (IV.iv.31-36) These romance motifs are complemented by allusions to the morality tradition in the exposure of Parolles, and these reflect favorably on Helena as one whose grace w i l l save Bertram from himself. Like Everyman, Bertram "o'erflows himself" in an act of "rebellion" whereby he is merely his own trai tor for fleshing his w i l l in the attempted spoil of Diana's honor. His companions lament his gui 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 Parolles' 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 is 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 virtues. (IV.i i i .74-78) According to this reading of the subplot, i f Bertram's fo l ly is surprised and exposed for what i t i s , and i f he is 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 that Shakespeare has established discordant equations for Helena, which for c l a r i t y ' s sake I have clustered around the pun on the epithet "herb of grace" or "grass." R h e t o r i c a l l y speaking, Helena i s a term inherently ambiguous and obviously so. Unless i n the action of the play i t can be shown which understanding i s "true" (the god term) and which i s " f a l s e " (the d e v i l term), Helena w i l l remain ambiguous, and the desire of the audience both to i d e n t i f y the god term and to i d e n t i f y with i t w i l l remain f r u s t r a t e d . At one point i t seems, indeed, that some attempt i s made to d i s t i n g u i s h r i g h t from wrong, true from f a l s e , according to some stable c r i t e r i o n of value. This i s when Helena i s presented to Bertram as the g i f t of the King and when Bertram's r e j e c t i o n of her on the grounds of her poor b i r t h provokes the King's s t e r n l y -argued d e f i n i t i o n of true honor. A closer look at t h i s speech and i t s context, however, w i l l show that no stable 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 of honor arises and that, as a r e s u l t , no reasonable c r i t e r i o n for Helena's worth i s provided. The King's f i r s t speech, which summarizes the views on a subject of much in t e r e s t to Shakespeare's contemporaries, distinguishes between two d e f i n i t i o n s of honor: one that derives from t i t l e (status) and one that i s achieved by deeds ( a c t s ) . 1 4 Of course, the two d e f i n i t i o n s of honor need not contradict one another, but l i k e Chaucer, Dante, and Boethius before him, the King's d e f i n i t i o n of "true" n o b i l i t y c l e a r l y favors that which i s shown i n deed: 'Tis only t i t l e thou disdain'st i n her [Helena], the which I can buil d up. Strange i t i s that our bloods, - 75 - Of c o l o r , weight, and heat, poured a l l together, Would quite confound d i s t i n c t i o n , yet stands o f f In differences so mighty. I f she be A l l that i s virtuous, save what thou d i s l i k ' s t - A poor physician's daughter — thou d i s l i k ' s t Of v i r t u e for the name. But do not so: From lowest place when virtuous things proceed, The place i s d i g n i f i e d by th'doer's deed. Where great addition swells and virt u e none, It i s a dropsied honor. Good alone Is good, without a name; vileness i s so: The property by what i t i s should go, Not by the t i t l e . She i s young, wise, f a i r ; In these to nature she's immediate he i r ; And these breed honor. That i s honor's scorn Which challenges i t s e l f as honor's born And i s not l i k e the s i r e . Honors thriv e When rather from our acts we them derive Than our foregoers. The mere word's a slave, Deboshed on every tomb, on every grave A l y i n g trophy, 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 indeed. What should be said? I f thou canst l i k e t h i s creature as a maid, I can create the r e s t . Virtue and she Is her own dower; honor and wealth from me. (II.iii.118-145) Muriel Bradbrook, who sees t h i s speech as the "germ of the play," argues that i t i s "doctrine of a kind which ought to convince Bertram. I t i s only a f t e r he has objected, 'I cannot love her, nor w i l l s t r i v e to do i t , ' that the King exercises his power to compel submission" (my emphasis).^ According to Bradbrook, in consequence of the grounds of Helena's n o b i l i t y (which include her curing of the King by heaven's power) Bertram's offense i n refusing her i s greatly aggravated. But i f we grant that Helena i s noble because of her v i r t u e (though t h i s virtue c l e a r l y coexists with w i l l f u l , c a l c u l a t i n g ambition, as we have seen), and i f we recognize that the King ennobles Helena for services rendered to him, we may s t i l l ask with Bertram, "But follows i t , my l o r d , to bring me down/ Must answer for your r a i s i n g ? " ( I I . i i i . 1 1 2 - 1 1 5 ) . Bertram i s challenging the authority of the King to determine for him what he should value as noble. Even i f Helena were unambiguously good, Bertram claims 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" (II.iii.107-109). He sees no reason why he must pay the price for benefits bestowed on someone else. Through Bertram's response, Shakespeare frustrates the conferring of the conventional good fortune of romance and requires an audience to think about the King's offer rather than to accept i t without question. Bertram's stated reason for objecting to the match i s churlish and follows after his 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!" (II.iii.113-117). I t well deserves the King's rebuke as an ignoble statement. Bertram's father, for example, would not have acted so. Rather, "who were below him/ He used as creatures of another place,/ And bowed his eminent top to their low ranks,/ Making them proud of his humility,/ In the i r poor praise he humbled" (I.ii.41-45). However, i s not the King's rebuke i n some ways beside the point? The root of Bertram's objection l i e s not i n Helena's b i r t h but i n his 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 his own choice. I f , i n fact, "Honors thriv e / When rather from our acts we them derive/ Than our foregoers," why should Bertram be prevented from achieving greatness just because the King i s so intent 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 told to find honor solely 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 for imitation. I t seems unfair. Why should Helena be allowed to achieve honor by deeds while Bertram must l i v e with only the frustrated desire to do so? - 77 - The King i n anger during his 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 scornful boy, unworthy t h i s good g i f t , That dost i n v i l e misprision shackle up My love and her desert; that canst not dream We, poising us i n her defective scale, Shall 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 disdain, but presently Do thine own fortunes that obedient right 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 in 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 establish Helena as Bertram's certain 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 his own, does he recognize that Helena i s ennobled (II.iii.168-174). The King's speech, then, l i k e Ulysses' speech on degree i n Troilus and Cressida i s f u l l of commonplace orthodoxies of the time but provides no stable moral center for 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 for himself, and i t offers 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 of j u s t i c e " which would further confound the terminology of t h i s play to a point of complete ambiguity. Since t h i s scene of roy a l judgment w i l l be repeated with a difference at the end of the play, several moments require mentioning for the l i g h t they w i l l throw by analogy on the l a t e r scene. Helena, as the King's preserver by heaven's power, i s presented to the lords as one whom they are powerless to refuse. Even so, she seems humble i n t h e i r presence and draws back. "I am a simple maid," she says, "and therein wealthiest/ That I protest I simply am a maid./ Please i t your Majesty, I have done already" (II.iii.67-69). I t i s impossible to say for c e r t a i n , but i s Helena's holding back a calculated move to assure h e r s e l f of her King's support? Is she acting as Buckingham advised Richard I I I : "Play the maid's part, s t i l l answer nay, and take i t " (Richard I I I , I I I . v i i . 5 1 ) ? In any case, the King w i l l hear no objections and, aft e r t h i s s l i g h t f r u s t r a t i o n of s y l l o g i s t i c progression, pushes Helena forward to make her choice. Shakespeare has added the l o t t e r y of lords to his source, and t h i s has the e f f e c t of showing Helena's "fix e d i n t e n t " on Bertram as well as the ar b i t r a r y nature of her choice. A l l of the lords are equally q u a l i f i e d ; "not one of those but had a noble father" ( I I . i i i . 6 3 ) , and a l l are equally rejected by her either for no reason at a l l or for reasons which are declared by them to be beside the point. Helena: You are too young, too happy, and too good To make yourself a son out of my blood. Fourth Lord: F a i r one, I think not so. (II.iii.77-99) Obviously, Helena's intents have long since been fixed on Bertram, and her going through the motions of the l o t t e r y functions as a way of confirming t h i s fact for the audience and of showing how Helena w i l l achieve her end despite any false starts or even apparent obstacles i n the way. Lafew's comments serve two purposes: they show that at least to his mind Helena would make a desirable match ("I had rather be i n t h i s choice than throw ames-ace for my l i f e " ) ; they also show that Lafew can at times be an unreliable chorus. He believes that the lords are rejecting Helena ("Do they a l l deny her?") when, in f a c t , she i s rejecting them. Bertram's response to the King's second speech shows that he has the wisdom to know when resistance i s useless. He asks for "pardon," admits that Helena i s the "praised of the King," but when told "Take her hand/ And t e l l her she i s yours," replies only "I take her hand" (II.iii.174-175/177). 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 exits with the court. He leaves behind Lafew and Parolles, who repeat in a more e x p l i c i t way the roles of the King and Bertram respectively. Lafew i s glad that Bertram has made his "recantation," and Parolles objects to the word. Lafew then r e l e n t l e s s l y exposes Parolles as one "good for nothing but taking up"; he heaps "egregious i n d i g n i t i e s " on Parolles who i s powerless to respond because of Lafew's "p r i v i l e g e of antiquity." Like Bertram, Parolles knows the l i m i t of his options. "Well, I must be patient," he says, "there i s no f e t t e r i n g of authority" (II.iii.237-238). He may hurl invectives 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 Parolles with the chance to make good his threat, Parolles i s , as usual, only "words." Having suffered t h i s relentless excoriation and heavy-handed truth t e l l i n g , Parolles not only shares Bertram's - 80 - experience of i n d i g n i t y , he also seconds Bertram's s o l u t i o n : to seek an honor of h i s own choosing i n the Tuscan wars. Those who would see Parolles simply as a Vice who misleads 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 notice that i t i s Bertram's idea to go to the wars. Parolles may be Bertram's " f i t " companion and accomplice, but he i s not the complete seducer he i s blamed for being. Bertram, l i k e Helena, has "fix e d i n t e n t s " of his own without benefit of seduction, and he sees no c e r t a i n reason to surrender h i s w i l l to that of another As we have seen, however, the honor Bertram seeks elsewhere w i l l be dubious. As i n T r o i l u s and Cressida, the values of love and honor are shown to be not s e l f evident but dependent for t h e i r worth on the estimation of the one who values them. That i s what makes t h i s play so problematic and troubling; the d e f i n i t i o n s of value are so even-handedly presented that not only the characters but also the audience w i l l be f r u s t r a t e d t r y i n g to define a true and c e r t a i n good i n t h i s play. On a morality 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 for Bertram's good by marrying him to Helena may well suggest the d i s p o s i t i o n s of Providence for wayward Humanity. Bertram's stubborn resistance may figure a "natural r e b e l l i o n " crying out for redemption by the patient, s u f f e r i n g , graceful woman who saves him from his worst intents by l a y i n g down her l i f e .for h i s sake. But t h i s morality pattern must ignore the ambiguous equations for Helena, the le s s than godly motives of the King who seeks to constrain the issue, and the understandable f r u s t r a t i o n of a youth who wants to be a man, who wants to gain honor by deeds, and who without reason i s forbidden to be himself by choosing for himself. - 81 - 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, affecting the response to the play according to the interpretation taken. Dowden, for example, understood the words "That man should be at woman's command, and yet no hurt done" (I . i i i .93-94) as a straightforward comment and, in fact, as the motto of the play. W.W. Lawrence interpreted i t i ron ica l ly , but maintained that Helena's conduct is in 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 crit ique of Helena's eventual control over Bertram. 1? Granted the openness of the text, I suggest that the Clown's comments usually show two features: a double appl icabi l i ty to the actions of Helena and Bertram and a deflating of those actions to a level below that of any high- sounding interpretation. Some comments, of course, apply only to Helena, as when Lavatch is sent to fetch her for the Countess and is reminded by her name of another Helen and of the damage she caused for Troy: Was this fa ir face the cause, quoth she, Why the Grecians sacked Troy? Fond done, done fond, Was this King Priam's joy? (I . i i i .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 .36-37) and "I am out of friends, madame, and I hope to have friends for my wife's sake" ( I . i i i .39-40) . The interpretation of these lines is uncertain, but the ironica l and self- - 82 - serving meaning i s always possible. For example, one may marry either to repent former wrongs or to have the chance of repenting the marriage i t s e l f , as the Countess points out. The "friends for my wife's sake" may not be the husband's friends at a l l but may, i n f a c t , be close to the wife for t h e i r own purposes and for hers. The Clown's meaning i s not c e r t a i n , but neither i s Bertram's, I w i l l suggest, at the play's conclusion! The references to Isabel likewise apply more c l e a r l y to Bertram and show that what a man may desire i n one context or at one time he may r e j e c t at another time and place. The appetite i s not always c e r t a i n or stable, so that although the Clown wants to "do" with "Isabel the woman" i n I . i i i , he has given her over i n I l l . i i with only the explanation, "I have no mind to Isabel since I was at court" ( I I I . i i . 1 2 ) . Does t h i s w i l l f u l and call o u s r e j e c t i o n foreshadow Bertram's r e j e c t i o n of both Helena and Diana? I think i t i s possible to see such a connection and to see i n both "cases" a wry comment on the uncertain, s i c k l y appetite. Marriage may come by destiny, as Lavatcn says, but "Your cuckoo sings by kind" ( I . i i i . 6 4 ) . I t i s only natural, i t seems, that men and women w i l l deceive one another despite the promises of a l a s t i n g and f a i t h f u l union. Men may think they d i f f e r from one another as " r i v a l s , " but they are more a l i k e in the i r deceivable humanity than they may want to believe: " I f men could be contented to be what they are, there would be no fear i n marriage; for young Charbon the puritan and old Poysam the papist, howsome'er t h e i r hearts are severed i n r e l i g i o n , t h e i r heads are both one; they may jowl horns together l i k e any deer i 1 th' herd" ( I . i i i . 5 1 - 5 6 ) . The clown, then, throws up moral objections to any a r t f u l l y contrived happy ending just as surely as the King's i l l n e s s w i l l challenge the art of Helena's cure. Although her successful healing marks a temporary v i c t o r y of - 83 - art over nature, the play points out more severe l i m i t s to art's power, stubborn facts of mortality and immorality — deceit and treachery of a l l kinds — t h a t w i l l not be easily coerced into a f i n a l harmony.1^ These reductive views of human motives and human lim i t a t i o n s can be applied equally to Helena and Bertram, as can other comments which have no s p e c i f i c referent. For example, when the Clown desires to "go to the world," he gives as his explanation, "I am driven on by the f l e s h , and he must needs go that the d e v i l drives" ( 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 likewise. I t r e f l e c t s suspiciously on both of them, as does the pun on "holy" and "reasons" ("raisings") i n the Clown's further explanation of his 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 either of healing a King or of acquiescing in his edicts. "Though honesty be no puritan, yet i t w i l l do no hurt; i t w i l l wear the surplice of humility 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 suspicion, then, on both the motives and the l i k e l y outcome of Helena's and Bertram's diverse offers of service. I f Helena offers to serve Bertram ("I dare not say I take you, but I give/ Me and my service, ever whilst I l i v e / Into your guiding power" [ I I . i i i . 1 0 4 ] . ) , Bertram, in turn, both serves the Duke of Florence ( I I I . i i . 5 3 ) and offers to serve Diana: "...I love thee/ By love's own sweet constraint, and w i l l forever/ Do thee a l l rights of service" (IV.ii.15-17). Are they both deceived in their offers of allegiance and both as l i k e l y to be knaves and fools serving the d e v i l , the "prince of the world" (IV.v.25-56)? - 84 - The perspectives which the Clown's comments open up only increase the d i f f i c u l t y of i n t e r p r e t i n g the actions of t h i s play. Some might seek to ne u t r a l i z e the Clown's perspective by i n t e r p r e t i n g i t as Shakespeare's way of i n d i c a t i n g that the c y n i c a l point of view i s "low" — the thoughts of a 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 actions of Helena and Bertram show in themselves an ambiguity which the Clown's comments only serve to mirror and to magnify. THE AMBIGUITY OF THE ENDING OR ALL SEEMS WELL Despite the subtlety with which Shakespeare has defined his terms through Act IV, he seems e s p e c i a l l y i n s i s t e n t from IV.iv onwards to end well with a comic r e s o l u t i o n . Helena invokes the saving power of time and the approach of summer as she returns to France; Lafew ar r i v e s at Rousillon to announce the King's proposed match of Lafew's daughter to Bertram which w i l l r e c o n c i l e the men aft e r Helena's supposed death; Parolles i s reconciled to Lafew, and a f t e r the King enters Bertram's home with the Countess, Lafew and others i n attendance, Bertram i s reconciled to his sovereign. King: The time i s f a i r again. Bertram: My high-repented blames, Dear sovereign pardon to me. King: A l l i s whole. (V.iii.36-39) In r h e t o r i c a l terms, Shakespeare i s se t t i n g up expectations through s y l l o g i s t i c 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 the audience knows that r e c o n c i l i a t i o n cannot occur by a marriage with - 85 - Lafew's daughter. A l l the pointers indicate that marriage with Helena i s Bertram's "destiny" from the time that she f u l f i l l s his 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 act, the haste with which events begin to move toward a comic close struck Dr. Johnson as indecent, considering as he did "that Bertram's double crime of cruelty and disobedience, joined likewise with some hypocrisy, should raise more resentment."^ But the speed i s deceptive. Soon enough Shakespeare deviates from his source by r a i s i n g charges against Bertram for 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 to such a pitch 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 deliberate f r u s t r a t i o n of the progress of the plot takes place i n three stages, each of which seeks to establish the true state of Bertram's marital status, and each of which concludes with a climactic revelation about a ring . In the f i r s t stage of the resolution, the King i s reconciled to Bertram and then, after concluding Helena's eulogy, sends for Lafew's daughter, a l l in 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 forth your amorous token for f a i r Maudlin" (V.iii.67-68). The seemingly indecent haste to proceed toward another marriage (which Dr. Johnson attributed to Shakespeare's desire to f i n i s h his play and to seize his reward) i s soon stopped by Bertram's handing Lafew a ring which, i t turns out, the King had given to Helena and, with i t , "bade her, i f her fortunes ever stood/ Necessitated to help, that by t h i s token/ I would relieve her" (V.iii.84-86). 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 (including his mother's) i s against Bertram; the ring 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. He i s sent away under guard and under suspicion of murder. When Diana Capilet i s admitted into 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 to his dis 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 lord," 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 marital status into further confusion by denying his charge and dramatically presenting the evidence: He does me wrong, my lo r d ; i f i t were so He might have bought me at a common price. 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 for a l l that He gave i t to a commoner o' the camp, If I be one. As the Countess l e t s the audience know, "He blushes, and ' t i s hit!/...This i s his wife,/ That ring's a thousand proofs" (V.iii.189-199). In the thi 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 denial that i t proves he promised Diana anything, i n l i g h t of Diana's claiming that the ring on the King's finger (which he had given to Helena) i s actually hers, and i n l i g h t of Bertram's retraction of his 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 Parolles to witness her story and he does, but th i s s t i l l leaves unsolved the question of where Diana got the ring that the King had given to Helena. From the evidence so far extracted, i t seems to the other characters that Bertram has at least promised marriage to Diana and that Diana i s - 87 - unwilling to explain i n what way she has received the ring. 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.iii.281-282). Diana then confounds the confusion further by withdrawing her charge against Bertram and by putting his relationship to her i n conditional and paradoxical terms: Diana: By Jove, i f ever I knew man, 'twas you. King: Wherefore hast thou accused him a l l t h i s while? Diana: 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 either maid or else t h i s old man's wife (V.iii.287-293). These incidents i n the t r i a l of Bertram frustrate the expectation of an easy solution aroused by the e a r l i e r progression of events and, in doing so, the delay accomplishes two purposes: i t allows a l l the characters on stage, including Parolles, to unite against Bertram, making his position even less tenable i n l i g h t of t h e i r testimony against him and his own action; also, i t allows the obscuring of Bertram's true marital status to such an extent that i t frustrates the King and brings Bertram to the point of maximum danger unless that identity can be sorted out. In The Merchant of Venice Shakespeare handled much d i f f e r e n t l y the situation of confusion over the ownership of rings (which, of course, have a sexual as well as marital sign i f i c a n c e ) . Like A l l ' s Well, Merchant also concludes with some confusion about who has the rings which, i n t h i s case, were given by Portia and Nerissa to the i r husbands, but the momentary embarrassment of Bassanio and Gratiano i s nothing compared to Bertram's predicament. More to the point, the husbands of Belmont c l e a r l y desire their wives, however much they may have compromised their promises and given away - 88 - the rings i n order to help a deserving f r i e n d . Generosity, i n t h i s play, i s e a s i l y distinguished from promiscuity which, for a moment, i t seems to resemble. Bertram's case i s darker i n that he has t r i e d to give away his r i n g to another woman i n an act of i n f i d e l i t y and then has t r i e d to deny any si g n i f i c a n c e i n having done so. As a r e s u l t , his status as a hero b a f f l e s clear d e f i n i t i o n . He does not want Helena or Diana, and so i s u n f i t to be a comic hero; on the other hand, neither he nor his predicament i s f i t for a tragedy. What i s to be made of Bertram's status? Does he end up with a c l e a r l y defined r e l a t i o n s h i p to Helena? According to some c r i t i c s l i k e R.Y. Turner, the bu i l d up of damaging evidence against the "hero" suggests the conventional ending of a "Prodigal Son" play i n which circumstances at a t r i a l are "so intense that by implication the s u f f e r i n g the hero undergoes would be momentous enough to change him, an experience we now c a l l traumatic.'" 1 1 In other words, according to t h i s reading, Shakespeare i s using the repeated f r u s t r a t i o n s of s y l l o g i s t i c progression to create i n Bertram a sense of longing for 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 plea for "pardon" a genuine sign of repentance. Moreover, fear and dread on behalf of Bertram and Diana and f r u s t r a t i o n with the delay of deliverance prepare the audience f o r the change to the opposite q u a l i t y of joy when the solution reveals i t s e l f . That Shakespeare intends to off e r some such refuge i n a conventional, comic resolution can be ascertained by his introduction, once again, of incantatory couplets to mark a marvelous point of t r a n s i t i o n . As the King orders her to prison, Diana sends her mother o f f to fetch her " b a i l " (which Helena w i l l surely prove to be) and then winds up her charm with summarizing paradox and p r i e s t l i k e competence: - 89 - Stay, royal s i r , The jeweler that owes the ring i s sent for And he s h a l l surety me. But for t h i s lord Who hath accused me as he knows himself, Though he never harmed me, here I quit him. He knows himself my bed he hath defiled And at that time he got his wife with c h i l d . Dead though she be, she feels her young one kick. 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 his relationship with Diana, pointing to the ring from off his finger as the sign that she has, indeed, completed the tasks required of her i n his l e t t e r . Like Hero i n Much Ado and Hermione i n The Winter's Tale, Helena ri 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 resolution, which i s "the more delay'd, delighted" (Cymbeline, V.iv.102), arrives with the power to compel acceptance because i t not only relieves 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 effect of her entry i s such that an audience w i l l no doubt forget for the moment that Helena has been stage managing the solution through Diana a l l of the time. On the way to the reunion with Bertram, Helena has given Diana her "instructions" (IV.iv.27) to the end that Helena w i l l appear a welcome r e l i e f after the confusion which she herself 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. But Shakespeare has not obliged Professor Muir, and c r i t i c s are almost unanimous i n t h e i r agreement that the ending does not s a t i s f y . Besides admitting that c e r t a i n romance or "Prodigal Son" conventions have l o s t t h e i r savor for contemporary audiences, those troubled by the ending present three p r i n c i p a l objections: f i r s t , according to Turner, because Helena i s as much a Machiavel as a miracle worker and Bertram i s no pr i z e e i t h e r , "our moral s e n s i b i l i t y f l i n c h e s at the aggressive Helena who traps the hero into marriage and at the same time i s repelled by Bertram who snobbishly re 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 s c e n e."^ Secondly, the ending seems forced and moves so quickly to take advantage of Helena's reappearance that no one seems to have learned very much. The King i s ready to marry o f f Diana to another unsuspecting ward, Helena seems, according to Howard F e l p e r i n , " b l i t h e l y unaware that 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 represent only half the struggle toward s e l f recovery," and, according to Anthony Dawson, the p r i n c i p a l s "leave the stage without coming to terms with themselves, t h e i r e v i l , or the e v i l around them."2-* F i n a l l y , many c r i t i c s explain t h e i r unsettled f e e l i n g s by an appeal to the clash of forms or modes. According to A.P. Rossiter, "the f a i r y t a l e s o l u t i o n we might l i k e to believe i n (and are adjured to 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 with the r e a l i s t i c , psychological exposure — which i s very much more c o n v i n c i n g . " ^ As C l i f f o r d Leech says, "A t r a d i t i o n a l story and r e a l i s t i c c h aracterization can be fused as i n Lear...But here there i s no f u s i o n . " 2 ^ A variant of t h i s l a s t explanation supposes that the clash of modes i s a sign of Shakespeare's experimenting with the genre of romance, t e s t i n g both i t s a b i l i t y to contain r e c a l c i t r a n t material l i k e unrepentant people and i t s sense of an "endless - 91 - ending" which can be interrupted only a r b i t r a r i l y by the need to f i n i s h a play. According to the r h e t o r i c a l analysis of t h i s t h e s i s , the ending does indeed leave the audience uneasy because for several reasons i t i s unable to i d e n t i f y with the presented s o l u t i o n . Shakespeare has d e l i b e r a t e l y frustrated his.formal development i n such a way that the q u a l i t a t i v e change introduced by Helena's entry i s undercut; no e f f e c t i v e scapegoat takes away those attitudes which threaten the acceptance of a new order; and Helena h e r s e l f remains an ambiguous good, leaving audiences not only unreconciled to Bertram, as Dr. Johnson was, but unreconciled to the heroine as we l l . Thus, despite T i l l y a r d ' s b e l i e f that "there i s not the le a s t cause for doubting [Bertram's] s i n c e r i t y , " ^ an audience w i l l harbor some doubts i f i t would ask upon hearing Bertram's plea for "pardon," "Haven't we heard 'pardon' before?" A comparison between the T r i a l scene and Helena's f i r s t being presented to Bertram for marriage raises the suspicion that Bertram may very well be exercising the better part of his reputed valor and giving up only because "there i s no f e t t e r i n g of authority." Moreover, Lafew's choric comment that his eyes "smell onions" may be no more trustworthy a guide to audience response than h i s comments i n the e a r l i e r scene that the young lords were r e j e c t i n g Helena. Bertram's condi 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 love her dearly, ever, ever dearly" V.iii.314-316), which has troubled a l l but the most op t i m i s t i c c r i t i c s , reenforces the resemblance to the marriage scene i n which Bertram had taken Helena's hand i n obedience to the King but did not promise to say that she would be h i s . Shakespeare, then, not only has f r u s t r a t e d the progress of the plo t by the introduction of c o n f l i c t i n g testimony at Bertram's t r i a l , but has also undercut the qu a l i t y of - 92 - the r e s o l u t i o n by actions analogous to those e a r l i e r i n the play which show at lea s t Bertram's resistance to the promised joy. This i s an example of what Burke c a l l s " s e l f - i n t e r f e r e n c e " on the part of the playwright, the act of counteracting the d r i f t of h i s own resol u t i o n i n the name of "pure persuasion" or t r u l y open i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . Besides using formal f r u s t r a t i o n s , Shakespeare has f a i l e d to show that Bertram has learned anything about himself which would i n c l i n e him to repent l i k e the Prodigal Son and F a l l e n Humanity which an a l l e g o r i c a l reading supposes him to be. A quick comparison with the unmasking of Parol l e s has convinced some c r i t i c s that Bertram has been s i m i l a r l y r e l i e v e d of any i l l u s i o n s about himself. As G.K. Hunter maintains: "... Bertram's promise to marry Diana i s based on nothing but words, and his unmasking i n V . i i i , no less than P a r o l l e s ' i n I V . i i i , i s a s t r i p p i n g away of the screen of words with which he, no less that P a r o l l e s , has concealed himself from h i s own deeds." 29 However, as I believe, P a r o l l e s ' influence on Bertram i s not so decisive that his exposure need prove anything to the 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 distances himself from h i s companion, refusing either to admit or to deny the damaging re v e l a t i o n that he i s a "whale to v i r g i n i t y . " He leaves the scene of the unmasking showing no sign that i t has changed him for the better. To be e f f e c t i v e , a scapegoat has to be acknowledged and disowned; Bertram does neither. Moreover, i f any analogy i s to be drawn between Bertram and Pa r o l l e s , i t should be noted that P a r o l l e s remains unchanged by the unmasking. He knows who he i s before i t takes place, and he determines to l i v e by f i n d i n g a place for himself as he i s once i t i s over. What looks l i k e an unmasking of f a l s e seeming turns out to be no such thing, and i f t h i s i s an analogy for Bertram's - 93 - s i t u a t i o n at the T r i a l , i t means that he has not changed any more than Parol l e s has. With no scapegoat to serve a playwright-rhetoricians's purpose of separating out the true from the f a l s e a t t i t u d e s , the audience cannot be moved to see the " d r i f t " of the argument i n some pl 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 to i d e n t i f y with the proposed conclusion. F i n a l l y , Bertram's c o n d i t i o n a l acceptance of Helena mirrors the predicament of the audience which has not been shown any d e f i n i t i o n of her character which i s not ambivalent. She i s the presented s o l u t i o n , the promised r e l i e f from the burden of confused i d e n t i t i e s and the threat of punishment. However, she i s also forced on Bertram by the King and the Countess who have i d e n t i f i e d t h e i r i n t e r e s t s with hers and who have either t r i e d to prevent Bertram from achieving an honor of his own or have disparaged the honor he has received. Marriage with Helena i s at once Bertram's destiny and a regressive action, binding Bertram to his fortune i n a place he thought he had l e f t behind. In bringing the f u l l weight of authority against Bertram, Shakespeare has contrived to bring the King to Rousillon and thus assures the r h e t o r i c a l f i t n e s s of having the t r i a l as well as the enforcing of the marriage take place at Bertram's "home." As a r e s u l t of t h i s , Lafew's words to the Countess and Bertram i n I . i prove i r o n i c a l l y prophetic: "You s h a l l f i n d of the King a husband, madam; you, s i r , a father." And Bertram's words i n the same scene come true more grimly than he had expected: "I must attend h i s Majesty's command, to whom I am now i n ward, evermore i n subjection" ( I . i . 4 - 6 ) . A l l of t h i s leaves an audience, as well as Bertram, unable to move beyond an acceptance of Helena which i s not somehow q u a l i f i e d . I f t h i s play i s to end - 94 - at a l l , i t must end with " a l l seems we l l " and " i f i t end so meet" because, as Touchstone knows, your " i f " i s a great peacemaker. I believe that 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 Cressida, and i n Measure for Measure leave an audience more aware than usual of i t s craving for a r e s o l u t i o n with which i t can i d e n t i f y . For whatever reason, Shakespeare has refused to provide i t ; instead, he presents us with an a l t e r n a t i v e : either we "crush t h i s a l i t t l e " so that the play bows to "what we w i l l , " as Malvolio did, or we face the f a c t of an u n s a t i s f i e d appetite for order and remain content with complexity. Perhaps, as John Barton suggests, Shakespeare had become d i s s a t i s f i e d with conventional forms as adequate accounts of experience. Perhaps he was concerned with how to so p h i s t i c a t e the form so that i t could give "that sense of r e a l i t y breaking i n on convention...a wry sense of what l i f e ' s r e a l l y l i k e and what people are r e a l l y l i k e . . . a t odds with what the s t o r y - l i n e d i c t a t e s . " 3 U Barton sees t h i s sense of a s p l i t between romance convention and a sense of r e a l i t y as "coming to a b o i l " i n Shakespeare's dramatic development from the time of As You Like I t and Twelfth Night; Stephen Booth, as I have said i n chapter 2, would locate Shakespeare's experimenting with a sense of " i n d e f i n i t i o n " at l e a s t as far back as Love's Labor's Lost. Shakespeare, the great story t e l l e r , knew with what contrivance an ending has to be provided; as a r h e t o r i c i a n , he knew that where the story ends up i s a matter of deciding on what side one chooses to argue. For whatever reason, Shakespeare, i n the so-called problem plays, i s more content than he i s elsewhere to leave the argument open-ended and to provide the kind of ending which John Fowles in The Magus suggests i s more t r u e - t o - l i f e , at l e a s t to an audience i n the twentieth century: - 95 - The smallest hope, a bare continuing to e x i s t , i s enough for the antihero's future; leave him, says our age, leave him where mankind i s i n i t s h i s t o r y , at a crossroads, i n dilemma, with a l l to lose and only more bf the same to win; l e t him survive, but give him no d i r e c t i o n , no reward; because we too are waiting, i n our s o l i t a r y rooms where the telephone never rings, waiting for t h i s g i r l , t h i s truth, 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 imagination, to return; and to say she returns i s a l i e . But the maze has no centre. An ending i s no more than a point i n sequence, a snip of the c u t t i n g shears. Benedick kissed Beatrice at l a s t ; but ten years l a t e r ? And E l s i n o r e , that following spring?31 Dr. Johnson, who accepted Helena as simply good, complained because Bertram i s "dismissed to happiness." But Bertram, I suggest, i s dismissed to Helena, and what t h i s w i l l mean for both of them remains undefined. - 96 - IV. TROILUS AND CRESSIDA ...my soul aches To know, when two authorities 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 his contemporaries, stories of the f a l l of Troy had a special significance insofar as they could be translated into stories 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 heroic action in i t s defense was complemented by the sense that, in the case of Troy, t h i s was family h i s t o r y . 1 Before Shakespeare t r i e d his hand at i t , the Troy story had become popular primarily through Caxton's edition of The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye (0.1474), Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde (c.1480), and Lydgate's Troy- book (1513). Not much evidence of dramatic versions survives, although the outline exists of a play written by Dekker and Chettle for the Admiral's Company c. 1596. As Chaucer t e l l s the story, the poem i s a meditation in the manner of Boethius on the fickleness 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 trust i n Providence over a l l . In Chaucer's presentation of her, Criseyde i s not so much blamed for abandoning Troilus as p i t i e d for her "slydynge corage," and Troilus i s p i t i e d , too, for his helpless condition and blindness to the consolations of philosophy. According to one interpretation of t h i s subtle poem, Chaucer, who also lived in times troubled by "lak of stedfastnesse," wrote of a way out for his audience through an attitude which i s granted to - 97 - T r o i l u s only a f t e r he has l e f t behind the persp e c t i v e of t h i s world f o r that of h i s heavenly home. According to Bullough, Henryson, who f o l l o w s Chaucer, began the t r a d i t i o n of blaming C r e s s i d a f o r treachery and of punishing 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 the woman a scapegoat of those values which were to be shunned by a s o c i e t y seeking to pa t t e r n i t s e l f on the heroic v i r t u e s represented by T r o i l u s . L ikewise, Caxton, and e s p e c i a l l y Lydgate, s i m p l i f y the s t o r y by e x a l t i n g the c h i v a l r y and w a r l i k e courage of T r o i l u s and Hector through whom Trojan (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 are commended.2 Shakespeare approaches the st o r y of Troy d i f f e r e n t l y , w i t h the r e s u l t t h a t h i s i s , indeed, a t r o u b l i n g p l a y . For Shakespeare, no a t t i t u d e i s commendable. Trojans along w i t h Greeks, T r o i l u s and Cressida a l i k e , are a l l sunk i n the quicksands of time, and there i s no way out f o r any of them. Shakespeare eschews the r h e t o r i c of the c h r o n i c l e r s (who commend the Trojans at the expense of the Greeks), of Chapman (whose t r a n s l a t i o n of the I l i a d i n 1598 r e s t o r e s the 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 Criseyde and then s u p p l i e s the perspective that would transcend t h e i r t r o u b l e s ) . Along w i t h Bullough, t h e r e f o r e , I do not b e l i e v e that analyses l i k e G. Wilson Knight's, f o r example, a c c u r a t e l y account f o r the play. Knight's t h e s i s i s that Shakespeare i s c o n t r a s t i n g Trojan 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 to the Greek camp. According to Knight, "The Trojan party stands f o r human beauty and worth, the Greek party f o r the b e s t i a l and st u p i d elements of man, the barren stagnancy of i n t e l l e c t divorced from a c t i o n , and the 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 . " Therefore, - 98 - " T r o i l u s champions, not only Troy, but the f i n e values of humanity f i g h t i n g against the demonic powers of cynicism."3 I do not think that Shakespeare believed i n such simple contrasts, and, by examining the formal construction of the play, i t w i l l be obvious how Shakespeare makes i t impossible for an audience to i d e n t i f y with either Trojans or Greeks. My reading owes much to Una Ellis-Fermor, who suggests that Shakespeare i s using form to create the experience of formlessness (the idea of chaos), and to Katherine Stockholder and Rosalie C o l i e , who analyze how Shakespeare f r u s t r a t e s an audience's generic and formal expectations i n order to empty a l l values and a l l c a t e g o r i c a l expectations of s i g n i f i c a n c e . These analyses coincide exactly with Kenneth Burke's philosophy of l i t e r a r y form: that i t s usual purpose i s to arouse expectations in an audience i n order to f u l f i l l them, thus leading the audience to agreement about the way out of a presented tension. When t h i s purpose of form i s f r u s t r a t e d , the audience i s unable to i d e n t i f y with a way out through the play and i s both thrown back on i t s own resources and forced to recognize the l i m i t s of any formal constructs or attitudes to 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 Cressida IV.iv 14-15) Shakespeare sets to work immediately as T r o i l u s ' s entrance i n I.i.1 fr u s t r a t e s the expectations set up by the Prologue and thus i n i t i a t e s the audience into a pattern that w i l l be observed throughout the play. The Prologue had entered armed, "suited/ In l i k e condition to our argument" (Prologue, 1.25), and had announced the "quarrel" of the Trojan war.^ T r o i l u s - 99 - enters, announcing that he w i l l "unarm again," leaving the b a t t l e without because of the b a t t l e within his heart. He seems, l i k e Romeo, too love sick for b a t t l e , and, for the moment appears to provide an a l t e r n a t i v e to war through love. He seems, so to speak, an audience's "way i n " to the play so that through him i t w i l l f i n d a way out of the burden represented by the war. However, unlike Romeo's love, T r o i l u s ' s does not develop into any deep rooted, constant, or transforming commitment. He disengages himself from the war but finds no l a s t i n g a l t e r n a t i v e to i t . Moreover, T r o i l u s ' s love i s subverted from the s t a r t . Like Romeo, T r o i l u s uses many si m i l e s to describe h i s heart-sick condition. He i s "weaker than a woman's tear,/ Tamer than sleep, fonder than ignorance " (I.i.9-10). Like Romeo, T r o i l u s has h i s Mercutio i n the person of Pandarus to insinuate a more sensual i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the motives and the progress of love. However, i n Romeo's case, the proverbial conceits and the bantering of Mercutio are a way of measuring the difference between Romeo's commonplace love for Rosaline and his transforming love f o r J u l i e t . Romeo does not joke with Mercutio about J u l i e t ; i n f a c t , he does not mention her. Even as his friends seek to "ra i s e up" his s p i r i t i n the name of h i s mistress Rosaline, Romeo i s turning h i s back away from them and his face toward the l i g h t i n J u l i e t ' s window. T r o i l u s , by contrast, speaks openly of Cressida to Pandarus, and his love for her su 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 the audience that he and Cressida are k i n . As the go- between and instrument of t h e i r love, 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 the Nurse, l i k e Mercutio, functions as a way of dis t i n g u i s h i n g a merely sensual i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of love from i t s transforming nature. Pandarus, on the other hand, functions as a reminder that the love of T r o i l u s and Cressida w i l l not transform either of them. Knowing that he can r e l y on an audience's common knowledge of how the Trojan war and the love of - 100 - T r o i l u s end up, Shakespeare uses Pandarus as a way of undercutting T r o i l u s ' s high-sounding assessment of his own condition. T r o i l u s i s not a Romeo; he i s as self-deluding as Orsino, and, as such, i s more laughable than t r a g i c . To emphasize that T r o i l u s ' s love cannot be taken as se r i o u s l y as he t r i e s to make i t sound, Shakespeare ends the scene with T r o i l u s ' s arming once again at the c a l l of Aeneas, leaving h i s thoughts of love for the "sport abroad" in the f i e l d . In 120 l i n e s , Shakespeare enacts the rhythm of the en t i r e play by f r u s t r a t i n g s y l l o g i s t i c progression at the beginning and at the end of the o scene. The Prologue's promise of 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 himself, and h i s purpose to unarm himself 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 formal expectations i n t h i s way, Shakespeare prepares an audience for T r o i l u s ' s actions l a t e r when, once again, he w i l l desert Cressida for b a t t l e ; at the same time, Shakespeare i m p l i c i t l y warns an audience not to i d e n t i f y with any action as a way out of the s i t u a t i o n of the war. Shakespeare also shows that the purpose for action may i n fact be 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 act as unworthy of serious attention. Cressida i s no J u l i e t , we soon discover, and neither i s Helen. In his s o l i l o q u y after the e x i t of Pandarus and before the entrance 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 Cressida which, under analysis, shows him to be untrustworthy not only for his inconstancy but also for his a r b i t r a r y idealism. F i r s t , T r o i l u s reasserts his r e s o l u t i o n to r e t i r e from the f i g h t i n g because Helen i s not worth the b a t t l e ; she i s only made worthy by the amount of blood s p i l l e d on her behalf: - 101 - Peace, you ungracious clamors! Peace, rude sounds! Fools on both sides! Helen must needs be f a i r , When with your blood you d a i l y paint her thus. I cannot f i g h t upon t h i s argument; It i s too starved a subject for my sword. (I.i.93-97) This p o s i t i o n , which he takes up now, he w i l l r e t r a c t i n the Trojan c o u n c i l , reversing himself i n order to propose the worthiness of f i g h t i n g to keep Helen i n Troy. His assessment of Cressida as "stubborn, chaste, against a l l s u i t " (I.i.101) w i l l likewise be reversed not only when T r o i l u s succeeds i n winning her, but when Diomede succeeds too. Given the inconstancy of actions i n t h i s play, the question of i d e n t i t y w i l l become problematic. T r o i l u s hints that t h i s i s already the case by asking, " T e l l me, Apollo, for thy Daphne's love,/ What Cressid i s , what Pandar, and what we" (I.i.102-103). I r o n i c a l l y , Apollo's love for Daphne was so hot and lawless i n i t s pursuit that i t l o s t him the nymph, who also l o s t her own l i f e , when she was changed into a bay tree t r y i n g to escape from him. 6 T r o i l u s ' s hot love 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 he w i l l come no closer to f i n d i n g an answer to his question. This i s l a r g e l y because T r o i l u s i s a naive i d e a l i s t , adept at f i n d i n g s i m i l e s for his experience which name i t as he would l i k e i t to be and not as i t i s . To him, Her [Cressida's] bed i s India; there she l i e s , a p e a r l . Between our Ilium and where she resides Let i t be c a l l e d the wild and wand'ring flood, Ourself the merchant, and t h i s s a i l i n g Pandar Our doubtful hope, our convoy, and our bark. (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 state i s the phrase "Let i t be c a l l e d . " Obviously, the s i m i l e he suggests i s a r b i t r a r y . Moreover, the mercantile imagery makes T r o i l u s ' s love-quest sound at f i r s t exotic and adventuresome, but i t i s at the same time i m p l i c i t l y reductive, making of love a purchase or a c q u i s i t i o n . The same imagery of trade w i l l reappear i n arguments for the - 102 - keeping of Helen, likewise called a "pearl," and besides l i n k i n g Helen with Cressida w i l l reduce both of them to bartered objects. There i s also, I think, an i r o n i c suggestion for Shakespeare's audience in Troilus's likening himself to a merchant i n search of a fine pearl. 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 price (the Kingdom of Heaven), but the merchant actually loses nothing for the exchange because of the pearl's i n t r i n s i c worth. Troilus and the Trojans, on the contrary, are giving everything they have for "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. Tr o i l u s , then, i s an i d e a l i s t who cannot be trusted to name his experience accurately and who cannot be expected to remain constant even to the purpose he has mistakenly conceived. After resolving that he cannot f i g h t , T r o i l u s , immediately after t h i s soliloquy, goes off to battle 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 Troilus's: without constant or credible purpose. This leaves an audience able to i d e n t i f y neither with Troilus nor Cressida, neither with Hector nor A c h i l l e s . As r i v a l attitudes contend for which w i l l win or lose, an audience becomes increasingly disturbed by the suspicion that the outcome makes no difference either way. There i s small choice i n rotten apples. Cressida's betrayal of Troilus i s indefensible, but so i s naive idealism. A c h i l l e s ' butchery of Hector i s barbaric, but Hector's chivalry i s beside the point. On the scene of war, no action presents i t s e l f as seriously able to wrest significance from impending doom. In I . i i , the entrance of Cressida continues the pattern of fr u s t r a t i n g expectations. According to Troilus's account of her, we expect a scornful mistress of rare beauty; instead, she enters asking t r i v i a l questions i n - 103 - ordinary prose, e l i c i t i n g gossip about Hector and Ajax from her servant Alexander. However, Cressida quickly shows herself to be shrewd as well as i n q u i s i t i v e . As Pandarus enters, Cressida makes sure that he overhears her praising Hector to Alexander: Cressida: Hector's a gallant 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 suit of T r o i l u s , Cressida anticipates his moves, puts him off by pretending to be unimpressed with Troilus's q u a l i t i e s , and ends up revealing her true feelings only i n soliloquy. In t h i s scene, as i n the f i r s t , the question of identity comes to the fore as Pandarus matches Troilus with Hector to Troilus's advantage and Cressida rejects the comparison, giving the impression that she thinks Hector i s the better man, while e x p l i c i t l y saying only that each man i s what he i s : Pandarus: Troilus i s the better man of the two. Cressida: 0 Jupiter! There's no comparison. Pandarus: What? not between Troilus and Hector? Do you know a man i f you see him? Cressida: Ay, i f I ever saw him before and knew him. Pandarus: Well, I say Troilus i s T r o i l u s . Cressida: Then you say as I say, for I am sure he i s not Hector. Pandarus: No, nor Hector i s not Troilus in some degrees. Cressida: 'Tis just to each of them; he i s himself. Pandarus: Himself? Alas, poor Tro i l u s , I would he were. Cressida: So he i s . (I.ii.61-75) Cressida also refuses to be made jealous by Pandarus's saying that Helen praised Troilus's complexion above Paris's. To her, "Paris hath color enough" ( I . i i . 1 0 2 ) . Clearly, the men are what they are, and there i s no comparison possible. I r o n i c a l l y , what each one i s w i l l never become clear because they - 104 - a l l end up looking a l i k e in th 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 Troilus's chin (where, once again, the build 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 soldiers to Troy. Pandarus describes each of the heroes while building up anticipation for Troilus, but when Troilus enters the effect i s defl a t i n g . F i r s t of a l l , his place i n the procession i s after Helenus, a pri 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 Troilus with the question, "What sneaking fellow comes yonder?". Pandarus, who ought to know his man, confuses Troilus with Deiphobus and recovers without much conviction: "Where? Yonder? That's Deiphobus. 'Tis T r o i l u s ! There's a man, niece, hem? Brave Tro i l u s , the prince of chivalry!" (I.ii.235-237). F i n a l l y , to cap the anticlimax, more soldiers enter after Troilus, i d e n t i f i e d by Pandarus as "Asses, fo o l s , dolts; chaff and bran, chaff and bran; porridge after meat" (I.ii.250-251)J Deflation 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 Tr o i l u s " (I.ii.256-257). Pandarus chides her for not knowing what a man i s , praises her for defending herself s k i l l f u l l y , and then leaves to attend on Troilus. The comparison with A c h i l l e s i s not accidental. I t suggests a contrast between Greek and Trojan, warrior and lover, which w i l l end up merely as a d i s t i n c t i o n without a difference. I f Troilus's love for Cressida u n f i t s him for b a t t l e , A c h i l l e s ' love for 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, Troilus'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 soliloquy shows her true feelings for Troilus and her shrewd assessment of his unstable intentions. "Men," she says, "prize 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 are done, joy's soul l i e s in the doing" ( I . i i . 2 9 9 ) . Unlike T r o i l u s , who trusts i n the time to come for fame to canonize him, Cressida knows that the present i s the moment that matters, and she knows also how quickly the present becomes the past. In thinking t h i s , she i s no different from Ulysses when he urges Ach 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 mail/ In monumental mock'ry"; therefore, "Take the instant way" (III .iii.152-154). Cressida and the Greeks share a pragmatic stance toward action; 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 satisfactory conclusion i n this play. Cressida calculates the opportune moment for giving i n to Troilus, only to lose him overnight. What she c a l l s her "firm 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 wits, but no better for Diomede than for 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 result i s only increased incentive 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 point, 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 actively cooperating i n a c r i t i q u e of r i v a l attitudes represented by Troilus and Cressida. The - 106 - conventional understanding of Cressida as a whore for betraying T r o i l u s undercuts her profession of "firm love" and makes her d a l l y i n g not only t r i v i a l but even s i n i s t e r ; on the other hand, T r o i l u s ' s v a c i l l a t i o n between love and war proves him to be le s s than the constant lover he claims to be, while the presentation of Cressida undercuts the naive idealism with which he i n s i s t s on evaluating her. Cressida i s no p r i z e , and T r o i l u s i s no trustworthy appriser. Working d i f f e r e n t l y than he has i n A l l ' s Well, Shakespeare i s representing r i v a l attitudes i n two d i f f e r e n t characters and two d i f f e r e n t camps; thus, having begun with an even-handed c r i t i q u e of both at t i t u d e s i n the lovers, Shakespeare opens up the stage of f o o l s to include the Greeks. THE GREEKS IN COUNCIL: THE FACTION OF FOOLS The f i r s t long moments of I . i i i are devoted to the speeches of the generals i n c o u n c i l , whose r e i t e r a t i o n s of some proverbial wisdom from moral philosophy make i t sound hollow even as they speak. To say that as metal i s t r i e d i n f i r e , t r i a l s t e s t the constancy of men i s true enough. But there i s a subtle difference between a proverb and a c l i c h e , and the long-winded, simile-laden, r e p e t i t i o u s development of t h i s simple thought by Agamemnon and Nestor helps to empty t h e i r speeches of whatever wisdom they contain. Moreover, they seem to be using a kind of argument, but i t amounts to a r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n for the stalemate at which the war action has a r r i v e d . By using moral wisdom i n t h i s way, they show the d i s j u n c t i o n between t h e i r i n a c t i v i t y and any reasonable explanation for i t . Whether Jove i s t e s t i n g t h e i r "mettle" or not, the r e s u l t i s the same: events have gone beyond t h e i r - 10? - power to manage them, and they are looking for a way not to bear i t with constancy but to act with e f f e c t i v e n e s s . Ulysses' speech on the importance of observing "the s p e c i a l t y of r u l e " or "degree" has a s i m i l a r e f f e c t . I t contains commonly accepted images and analogies (the general i s l i k e "the hive/ To whom the foragers s h a l l a l l r e p a i r " ; the commandment of a king i s l i k e the medicinable e f f e c t of the sun on e v i l planets) but these have only 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 to a r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n of the order that happens to e x i s t at the moment; they are not a cogent defense of an order that ought to e x i s t . I t i s true enough that without some accepted b a s i s for d i s t i n c t i o n , "Force should be r i g h t , or rather r i g h t and wrong — / Between whose endless j a r j u s t i c e resides — / Should lose t h e i r names, and so should j u s t i c e too" ( I . i i i . 1 1 6 - 1 1 8 ) . I t i s true that mere appetite, "seconded with w i l l and power,/ Must make perforce a uni v e r s a l prey/ And l a s t eat up i t s e l f " ( I.iii.122-124). But Ulysses' speech provides no c r i t e r i a for determining which person or which p r i n c i p l e s serve as the "authentic" basis of order. Rather, his speech amounts merely to an upholding of the present a u t h o r i t i e s with the implication that whatever i s , i s r i g h t . Moreover, his belonging to the inner c i r c l e of the order that e x i s t s creates a c o n f l i c t of i n t e r e s t which undercuts the force of h i s argument. Ulysses' arguments may be true i n the abstract, they may be proverbial or even a c l i c h e ; as such, they can provide a means for an audience attuned to these orthodoxies to i d e n t i f y momentarily with the wisdom of the a n a l y s i s . However, Ulysses' use of these arguments i s pragmatic: to bring A c h i l l e s to heel as an e f f e c t i v e instrument i n the hands of those who have a use for him. This speech on degree i s a set piece of orthodox Elizabethan theory, but because i t appears i n the mouth of the wily Ulysses, 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 to actual events i s questionable. I t i s l i k e Rosencrantz's applying to Claudius the orthodox teaching that: The cess of majesty Dies not alone; but, l i k e a gulf, doth draw What's near i t with i t : i t i s a massy wheel Fix'd on the summit of the highest mount, To whose huge spokes ten thousand lesser things Are mortis'd and adjoin'd; which, when i t f a l l s , Each small annexment, petty consequence, Attends the boist'rous r u i n . Never alone Did the King sigh, but with a general groan. (Hamlet I I I . i i i . 1 5 - 2 3 ) Since Claudius i s a usurper, the disturbing question a r i s e s : even i f t h i s doctrine i s true, how does i t apply? How can i t serve as a c r i t e r i o n f o r dis t i n g u i s h i n g a true symbol of order from a f a l s e one? The lengthy discussion of the generals establishes that the danger of others' i m i t a t i n g A c h i l l e s ' insubordination i s great and that t h e i r authority must be reasserted. At t h i s point, a trumpet cuts short the speech making, and the abrupt a r r i v a l of Aeneas further undercuts the c r e d i b i l i t y of the generals' authority and even the greatness of the danger. Aeneas, either pretending not to recognize Agamemnon or intending to i n s u l t him, c a l l s into question any i n t r i n s i c basis for h i s authority: "How," he asks, "may/ A stranger to those most imperial looks/ Know them from eyes of other mortals?" (I.iii.223-224). This i s a daring question, and one that r a i s e s again the problem of i d e n t i t y . Among r i v a l p ositions or claimants to power, how i s one to determine the difference between them and the p r i o r i t y of one over the other? Leaving t h i s question in the a i r , Aeneas issues a challenge from Hector which deflates the serious nature of the r i v a l r y between Greeks and Trojans. The c h i v a l r i c challenge i s over a lady who bears only a conventional resemblance to the r e a l woman in question. Hector boasts that "He hath a lady - 109 - wiser, f a i r e r , t r u e r , / Than ever Greek did compass in h i s arms" ( I . i i i . 2 7 5 - 276). This estimate of Andromache's character did not prevent Hector from chiding her on h i s return from b a t t l e , taking out on her h i s anger at Ajax, nor w i l l i t keep him from s i l e n c i n g her when she pleads with him not to go into b a t t l e i n Act V. Hector's challenge 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 only T r o i l u s ' s estimation of Cressida, but Helen h e r s e l f , the ostensible cause of the war. As Diomede and Hector himself w i l l argue, Helen's worth i s out of a l l proportion to the blood s p i l t on her behalf. There i s something unconvincing about the r i v a l r y of Greeks and Trojans i f they f i g h t for causes that cannot be substantiated. Aeneas*s challenge, then, demonstrates the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of applying Ulysses' philosophy on authority and degree with any ce r t i t u d e , at the same time that i t shows the hollowness of the Trojan a l t e r n a t i v e . At his e x i t , Ulysses and Nestor come together to plot how to use t h i s challenge to b u i l d up Ajax for the discomforting of A c h i l l e s . As they do so, they show how l i t t l e bearing the seeming-substance of Ulysses' previous arguments has on p r a c t i c a l p o l i c y . Nestor at f i r s t suggests the common sense response of waking A c h i l l e s to answer Hector; a f t e r a l l , he i s t h e i r best man and surest chance of winning. Ulysses, however, suggests the more devious approach of using Ajax whose success in the contest w i l l shame A c h i l l e s into action and whose f a i l u r e w i l l prove nothing against the Greeks. This rapid s h i f t from abstract philosophy to p r a c t i c a l p o l i c y makes Ulysses' moralizing on appetite seem a l l the more platitudinous and unable either to account for the actions he himself undertakes or to influence t h e i r d i r e c t i o n . In t h i s play, r i v a l p a r t i e s and r i v a l actions w i l l seek to a f f e c t the course of the war and to defeat opposing posit i o n s , but in the absence of c l e a r c r i t e r i a for d i s t i n g u i s h i n g t h e i r - 110 - worth, neither w i l l emerge as the undisputed way out of the chaos caused by t h e i r s t r i f e . Given the presentation of a l l the attitudes so f a r , Act One f i t t i n g l y closes with two d e f l a t i n g perspectives on the immediate action drawn from images of trade and eating which also recur throughout the play. Ulysses compares his scheme of entering Ajax into the l i s t s to sharp business pr a c t i c e s : ' Let us, l i k e merchants, F i r s t show f o u l wares, and think perchance t h e y ' l l s e l l ; I f not, the l u s t r e of the better s h a l l exceed By showing the worse f i r s t . (I.iii.358-361 ) And Nestor "digests" t h i s advice r e a d i l y : Now, Ulysses, I begin to r e l i s h thy advice, And I w i l l give a taste thereof forthwith To Agamemnon. (I.iii.386-388) According to Caroline Spurgeon, the images of food, drink and cooking i n t h i s play f a r exceed t h e i r use i n other p l a y s . 8 As Derek Traversi explains, these images, which include the act of t a s t i n g , f i t the play well because they express two sides of the digestive process: "Taste i s a sense at once luxuriant, d e l i c a t e , and t r a n s i t o r y ; also, i t can be connected, i n gross opposition to T r o i l u s ' s bodiless idealism, with digestion and the functioning of the body...In f a c t , the very sense which expresses the related i n t e n s i t y and lightness of Trojan passion becomes, i n the Greeks, a symbol of inaction and distemper out of which issue the b o i l s , 'the bothcy core,' of Thersites' disgust. Of course, Ulysses c l e a r l y knows that "Love, friendship, charity, are subjects a l l / To envious and calumniating time" (III.iii . 1 7 2 - 1 7 3 ) which puts the "scraps" of "good deeds past" into his wallet, "devoured/ As fast as they are made, forgot as soon/ As done" (II I . i i i . 1 4 8 - 1 5 0 ) . But taste serves well to show that a l l the transformations in t h i s play are from the refined to the vulgar, from (as Troilus says) "love's thrice-repured nectar" to the "orts," " 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 and V.ii.155-157). Obviously, cynicism, couched i n gastro-intestinal 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, i t w i l l be said, i s , i n fact, " b i t t e r " to her country. They w i l l become more al i k e one another in t h e i r rapacious r i v a l r y than they are different from one another in 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 A c h i l l e s : Two curs s h a l l tame each other; pride alone Must tarre the mastiffs 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 thyself? Thersites: Thy knower, Patroclus. (I I . i i i . 4 8 - 5 0 ) By Act II 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 in policy, 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 - I t i s beginning to emerge that one r i v a l attitude looks very much l i k e the other, both as i n t r i n s i c a l l y flawed and as powerless to control the flow of events. Neither T r o i l u s ' s visionary idealism nor Cressida's short-sighted pragmatism can recommend i t s e l f to an audience seeking a kind of s a l v a t i o n through s i g n i f i c a n t action in the teeth of devouring time. As Act II begins, the choric comments of Thersites voice a f e e l i n g of disgust as purpose i s reduced to appetite, action to motion, and man to beast. Thersites has only invective to o f f e r , but i t serves as an audience's outlet for nausea at what i s being "digested" in t h i s play. No sooner i s the council concluded and the p l o t t i n g of Ulysses begun than Thersites enters r a i l i n g : "Agamemnon, how i f he had b o i l s — f u l l , a l l over, generally?...And those b o i l s did run? — say so — did not the general run then? Were not that a botchy core? Then would some matter come from him. I see none now" ( I I . i . 1 - 9 ) . The generals have just decided that A c h i l l e s i s to blame for the "fever whereof a l l our power i s s i c k " ( I . i i i . 1 3 9 ) , and now Thersites suggests that the diagnosis i s not that simple. The disease i s "general," and, as the pun suggests, t h i s means that i t a f f e c t s the person of the "head and general," as Agamemnon describes himself ( I . i i i . 2 2 2 ) , and does so completely. Through him, of course, the e n t i r e Greek camp i s affected. There i s no "matter" i n t h e i r designs worth more than the matter of an erupted b o i l . From t h i s perspective, the Greeks at war lose a l l heroic stature and are reduced to sick men whose actions are symptomatic of disease, not of health and vigor. I f Thersites i s r i g h t , i t w i l l not work for Ulysses to make a scapegoat out of A c h i l l e s i n order to save the order of which Agamemnon i s the head. The order i t s e l f i s too "generally" far gone to be saved. This i s l i k e the state of Denmark i n which King Claudius c a l l s Hamlet (his "mighty opposite") the " h e c t i c " i n h i s blood and an ulcer, while he i s himself, - 113 - according to the Ghost, the one whose incestuous 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 several ways i n which the r a i l i n g of Thersites reduces the heroic action, however r a t i o n a l i z e d , to mere appetite or motion with only an ostensibly defensible purpose. Thersites also uses animal imagery to reduce the actions of men to a b e s t i a l counterpart. Combining animal with disease imagery, Thersites turns on Ajax who has struck him: "The plague of Greece upon thee, thou mongrel beef-witted l o r d ! " ( I I . i . 12-13) • Thersites' bestiary would make of Ajax and A c h i l l e s mongrel curs, Ulysses a dog-fox, T r o i l u s an ass, Diomede a hunting hound, and Menelaus a b u l l baited by the dog P a r i s . As t h i s l i s t makes c l e a r , Thersites' invective applies to a l l — no Greek or Trojan excepted. By taking a l l men to be beasts and by reducing a l l heroic action to the l e v e l of sensual appetite, Thersites makes clear that there i s no reasonable d i s t i n c t i o n between the r i v a l s and that therefore a v i c t o r y on either side w i l l gain nothing for anyone. There i s hardly a more troubling perspective in a l l of Shakespeare's plays. I f Thersites i s r i g h t , a l l action i s merely a r a t i o n a l i z e d l i c e n s e to slaughter. Neither the Greeks who seek to regain Helen nor the Trojans who have stolen her (in r e t a l i a t i o n for the theft of t h e i r aunt) "deserve" to win. "A plague on both your houses!", as Mercutio would say. Because Thersites t r i e s to debunk the heroic postures of men who are intent on destroying one another, Kenneth Burke c a l l s him Saint Thersites — an example of q u i z z i c a l i t y toward symbol structures which are erected or used for a deadly purpose: And what of Thersites, Despised of a l l his t r i b e Whipped by power, wisdom, and heroic love, a l l three: - 114 - (By Agamemnon, Ulysses, and A c h i l l e s ) , Loathed by the bard that made him, Ultimate f i l t h , speaking against epic war? What of Thersites? Salute — to Saint T h e r s i t e s . 1 0 T h e r s i t e s ' invective may serve a purgative purpose, but as mere r a i l i n g i t does not offer any way out through action. With a war on and with r i v a l s i n c o n f l i c t , man, the symbol-using animal, i s r a d i c a l l y f r ustrated i f he suspects that there i s no action he can take which i s not i l l u s o r y . Thersites, however, i s not obliged to provide answers. He t e l l s only what he knows and leaves others to make of his remarks what they w i l l . As A c h i l l e s explains to Patroclus, Thersites 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 the Fool who i s licensed to speak his mind for his betters' i n s t r u c t i o n and entertainment. The analogy explains much about Thersites, including the vehemence with which he i s made to speak out in t h i s play. As a bastard and as a s o l d i e r serving voluntary among the Greeks, Thersites i s an outsider, able to take a d i s i n t e r e s t e d perspective on the action. However, as a Fool, Thersites belongs to a household of sorts, obliged to share what he knows with his master. Like Lear's Fool, Thersites speaks out not only because i t i s h i s job, but, even more, because i n some sense he cares about his fellows. True, Lear's Fool speaks i n gentler, more r i d d l i n g ways, but h i s message i s a hard one for a l l that: Lear has made a mistake, and he w i l l pay a p r i c e . The Fool's astringent comments seek to cure Lear of the blinding pride which proves to be his undoing. In no way, however, does the Fool use what he knows to desert h i s master; he can advise Kent, according to common sense, that no one should follow a wheel as i t goes down h i l l , but he refuses to heed his own warning and follows a f t e r Lear into the storm. The perspective he o f f e r s , - 115 - then, i s a sympathetic c r i t i q u e of Lear's tragedy, not merely a s a t i r i c a l indictment of Lear's f o l l y . T hersites' b i t t e r s t y l e conceals his care about what i s happening to Ajax and to A c h i l l e s , h i s two masters. His concern i s not as evident as Lear's Fool's, but i t i s there, exasperated by the f o l l y which leads men to t h e i r own slaughter. Thersites' words to Ajax are harsh but true: "Thou hast no more brain than I have in my elbows; an asinico may tutor thee. Thou scurvy-valiant ass, thou art here but to thrash Troyans, and thou art bought and sold among those of any wit l i k e a barbarian slave" (II.i.45-50). I t does not sound l i k e a caring critque, but i t i s a true abstract of Ajax's condition and, to that extent, i t i s a service to say i t . Ajax beats Thersites, but in doing so he i s s i l e n c i n g the only one who can t e l l him who he i s . Thersites has s i m i l a r words for A c h i l l e s : "A great deal of your wit, too, l i e s i n your sinews, or else there be l i a r s . " Then, addressing both A c h i l l e s and Ajax, he says, "Hector s h a l l have a great catch i f he knock out either of your brains. 'A were as good crack a fusty nut with no kernel...There's Ulysses and old Nestor...yoke you l i k e d r a f t oxen and make you plow up the wars" (II.i.102-111). This i s p r e c i s e l y how Ulysses views A c h i l l e s — as the "sinew and the forehand of our host" ( I . i i i . 1 4 4 ) , who, along with " d u l l b r a i n l e s s Ajax" ( I . i i i . 3 8 0 ) should submit to those who w i l l guide his power l i k e a battering ram in the hands of those "that with the fineness of t h e i r souls/ By reason guide his execution" (I.iii.207-210). Thersites, then, o f f e r s a perspective which sounds r a d i c a l l y reductive but which i s also p a r t i a l l y true. I t i s even half-way to compassion through concern. Like other s a t i r i s t s such as V o l t a i r e and Mark Twain, Thersit e s ' r a i l i n g implies values he i s t r y i n g to protect, and - 116 - the s c u r r i l i t y of his invective indicates how desperate he has become when he i s not heeded. Even more than his verbal commentary, Thersites' functioning at two points serves to reenforce the awareness that in t h i s play r i v a l attitudes — both i n love and war — are more al i k e than different and equally have no effect on the flow of events. On the f i e l d of battle i n Act V, Thersites, surprised by Hector, admits that he i s "a ra 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 "for Hector's match" (V.v.27), and Hector's chivalry i n l e t t i n g him go seems easily to distinguish heroic from v i l e behavior. For the moment, Thersites, 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 price of diminshing his significance for anyone tr y i n g to identify a reason for l i v i n g . For the moment, Hector's code, which can distinguish man from man, stands out as the one attitude able to guide events in some si g n i f i c a n t way. However, the i l l u s i o n that this i s so i s short-lived. Two short scenes l a t e r , Hector, after 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 his hide. The result i s that Hector's courtesy seems arbitrary and his chivalry without reasonable motivation. I r o n i c a l l y , he refers to the cause of his own death when he addresses the corpse of his victim: "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 for his courtesy but contemptible for his st u p i d i t y . Perhaps Troilus i s right to c a l l Hector's standards "fool's play" even as Hector defends them as " f a i r play" ( V . i i i . 4 3 ) . - 117 - In any case, Thersites l i v e s to 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 Hector's pursuit of the armor and h i s return with i t . T hersites meets h i s opposite i n the bastard son of Priam: Bastard: Turn, slave, and f i g h t . T h e r s i t e s : What art thou? Bastard: A bastard son of Priam's. Th e r s i t e s : I am a bastard too; I love bastards. I am bastard begot, bastard instructed, bastard i n mind, bastard i n valor, 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 perspective, t h i s exchange confirms the e a r l i e r impression of Thersites as merely a coward i n order to l i v e ; from another perspective, t h i s meeting mirrors a l l the others. I f Thersites has met h i s exact double in the Bastard, has not Menelaus met his in P a r i s : "The cuckold and the cuckold-maker are at i t . Now, b u l l ! Now, dog!" (V.vii.9-10)? Has not T r o i l u s met his double i n Diomede: "Hold thy whore, Grecian! Now for thy whore,/ Troyan!" (V.iv.24-25)? Has not Hector met h i s exact double i n A c h i l l e s ? Ajax thinks so: Diomedes: The b r u i t i s , Hector's s l a i n , and by A c h i l l e s . Ajax: I f i t be so, yet bragless l e t i t be; Great Hector was as good a man as he. (V.ix.3-5) Hector may be more courteous than A c h i l l e s , and A c h i l l e s more ruthless than Hector, but they t a l k the same under b a t t l e conditions. After k i l l i n g his Greek, Hector says, "Rest, sword; thou hast thy f i l l of blood and death" ( V . v i i i . 1 ) , and, after k i l l i n g Hector, A c h i l l e s uses the same imagery of eating and sleeping to describe h i s action: "My half-supped sword, that - 118 - frankly would have fed,/ Pleased with t h i s dainty b a i t , thus goes to bed" (V.viii.19-20). Thersites' meeting with the Bastard, then, functions as a denigrating comment on the r i v a l s of the war p l o t . Like Thersites, they are a l l "bastards." E a r l i e r i n the play, his transfer from the service of Ajax to the tent of A c h i l l e s served as a d e f l a t i n g comment on the transfer of Helen from the Greeks to Troy and of Cressida from T r o l i l u s to Diomede. In a l l three cases there i s a transfer without a change, motion without progress, more s i m i l a r i t y than difference between one master and another, Ajax and A c h i l l e s , Paris and Menelaus, T r o i l u s and Diomede. In I I . i . Thersites i s i n Ajax's service; i n I I . i i the great debate i n the Trojan council seeks to determine whether to surrender Helen, and at the opening of I I . i i i , Thersites comments on the equally poor merits of 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 ' service. Like Launcelot Gobbo's debating with himself before leaving Shylock's service and entering Bassanio's, Thersites pauses to weigh the a l t e r n a t i v e s . Unlike Gobbo, however, Thersites sees nothing to di s t i n g u i s h one lout from another and therefore transfers from Ajax to A c h i l l e s without explanation. HELEN: A THEME OF HONOR AND RENOWN? Thersites ' reductive views i n which a l l are a l i k e and equally less-than- human i s confirmed by the Trojans i n council who are doubles of the Greeks for pursuing a p o l i c y that sounds honorable but which has no reasonable bas i s . T r o i l u s ' s defense for keeping Helen not only contradicts his e a r l i e r complaint ("I cannot f i g h t upon t h i s cause") but i s also unreasonable i n i t s e l f . After - 119 - d i s m i s s i n g reason as merely a check to h e r o i c a c t i o n , T r o i l u s overturns the moral h i e r a r c h y of reason, w i l l , and senses by l o c a t i n g the value of Helen i n an act of " w i l l enkindled by mine eyes and ears/ Two traded p i l o t s 'twixt the dangerous shores/ Of w i l l and judgment" ( I I . i i . 6 3 - 6 5 ) . He argues from the analogy t h a t i n e l e c t i n g to "take" a w i f e , one does not go back on the commitment, no matter, i t seems, what the commitment i s . "How may I avoid,/ Although 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?" ( I I . i i i . 6 5 - 6 7 ) . I r o n i c a l l y , i t i s Menelaus's wife who has been "taken," i n the sense of s t o l e n , and t h i s should suggest that the act i s i n d e f e n s i b l e from the outset. 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 having taken Helen and f o r keeping her i s that the Greeks keep t h e i r aunt, yet even t h i s reason i s spurious since T r o i l u s admits that there i s no comparison between an " o l d aunt" and "a Grecian queen, whose youth and freshness/ Wrinkles A p o l l o ' s and makes pale 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 only to s t o l e n goods but to s o i l e d s i l k s which are not to be returned and to the "remainder viands" of a meal which are not to be c a r e l e s s l y discarded. He makes the act of her " f a i r rape" l e s s h e r o i c by using m e r c a n t i l e imagery which a l t e r s Marlowe's famous l i n e s about Helen even while a l l u d i n g to them. Marlowe had s a i d t h a t Helen's "face" had launched above a thousand ships and had burnt the t o p l e s s towers of I l i u m . For Marlowe, tragedy f o l l o w s from a romantic cause at the same time that the 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 , the 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 ignored, while the a c t i o n i t s e l f i s l i k e n e d not to he r o i c but to m ercantile adventures: "Why 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 turned crowned kings to merchants" ( I I . i i . 8 1 - 8 3 ) . F i n a l l y , T r o i l u s argues that the d e c i s i o n to take Helen cannot be reversed without impugning that d e c i s i o n . In other words, l o s s of face w i l l - 120 - ensue, even i f the o r i g i n a l deed was a theft. "0 theft most base," he concludes, "That we have stol'n what we do fear to keep!" (II . i i . 9 2 - 9 2 ) . A speech of 34 lines could hardly contain more i l l o g i c a l arguments and s e l f - damaging allusions, proving that Troilus and Paris, too, are, as Hector says, "not much/ Unlike young men, whom A r i s t o t l e thought/ Unfit to hear moral philosophy" (II .ii.165-167). The apt comment on t h i s speech and, in fact, the entire situation immediately follows i n the wailing of Cassandra: Cry, Troyans, cry! Practice your eyes with tears! Troy must not be, nor goodly I l i o n stand; Our firebrand brother, Paris, burns us a l l . Cry, Troyans, cry! 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 Troilus and Paris whose honors are engaged to make the quarrel gracious, and Priam — the nominal authority of Troy — i s too weak to do more than issue a mild protest: Paris, you speak Like one besotted on your sweet delights. You have the honey s t i l l , but these the g a l l ; So to be valiant i s no praise at a l l . (II.ii.142-145) Hector knows better than Troilus; he knows, for example, about the "law i n each well-ordered nation/ To curb those raging appetites that are/ Most disobedient and refractory." He argues: I f Helen, then, be wife to Sparta's king, As i t i s known she i s , these moral laws Of nature and of nations speak aloud To have her back returned. (II.ii.180-186) Despite his knowing t h i s , Hector agrees to follow a policy that has no reasonable basis. Because of that, his reversal of his stand shows less constancy than T r o i l u s ' s reversal and leaves an audience with l i t t l e to choose between Greeks and Trojans. Both camps know t h e i r orthodox philosophy, and both camps leave i t hanging i n the a i r i n order to pursue p o l i c i e s that are calculated to bring v i c t o r y and fame. The proof that the Trojans are mistaken rather than noble i d e a l i s t s i s not only the commentary of Cassandra within the debate and the commentary of Thersites after i t , but also the presentation of Helen h e r s e l f . Just as Cressida's entrance had deflated T r o i l u s ' s references to her as a " p e a r l , " Helen's entrance with Paris does the same for her. Pandarus i s waiting for them and jokes with them, just as he does with Cressida and T r o i l u s . Both women are t r i v i a l i z e d by being compared with one another i n t h i s scene while Helen t e l l s bawdy jokes, d a l l i e s with Paris to the soft sounds of music, and encourages Pandarus's lewd love song. The constant r e p e t i t i o n of the epithets " f a i r " and "sweet" throughout the scene not only reduces the conversation to a banal l e v e l but also a f f e c t s an audience with nausea at too much sweetness. As F r i a r Lawrence counselled Romeo, "The sweetest honey/ Is loathsome i n h i s own deliciousness/ And in the taste confounds the appetite" (Romeo and J u l i e t II.vi.11-13); and, as Orsino knows, excess of any food causes the appetite to sicken and so die (Twelfth Night I . i . 1 - 3 ) . Some productions, l i k e Ashland's i n 1984, w i l l make Helen not only nauseating but also obviously corrupt by showing her s u f f e r i n g the symptoms of venereal disease. As a r e s u l t , she, the occasion i f not the cause of the war, appears as the " p u t r i f i e d core" at the heart of the action of which the Grecian's armor i n Act V Is only another emblem. Helen, as she i s presented, d i f f e r s , then, from the Helen of T r o i l u s ' s defense before the council just as surely as his estimate of Cressida d i f f e r e d from the presented woman. I f the women are to be blamed for f i c k l e and even - 122 - adulterous behavior — and t h i s had become the conventional appraisal of both by Shakespeare's time — the men are no better for t h e i r wishful thinking i n the guise of heroic r h e t o r i c . Throughout t h i s play, Shakespeare allows no attitude to win out over the other. The Trojans and the Greeks f i g h t each other over a worthless Helen; T r o i l u s and Diomede f i g h t over a worthless Cressida, but neither r i v a l deserves the woman more than the other nor i s she worth deserving. And, to repeat, the woman who i s not worth deserving i s also no less despicable than the brutes who f i g h t over her. A GORY EMULATION Thersites ' body i s as good as Ajax' When neither i s a l i v e . Cymbeline ( I V . i i . 252-253) Throughout t h i s play, Shakespeare empties every attitude and action of si g n i f i c a n c e ; by arousing an audience's expectations only to f r u s t r a t e them, he teaches i t to expect only disappointment. He forces i t to share in a rhythm which arouses f r u s t r a t i o n when "The ample proposition that hope makes/ In a l l designs begun on earth below/ F a i l s i n the promised largeness" ( I . i i i . 3 - 5 ) . An audience i s forced to experience the f a i l u r e of any symbolic action to achieve a s i g n i f i c a n t ordering of mere motion. In t h i s play, Shakespeare i s exploring to the f u l l that dramatizing of opposites and that scepticism about scapegoats which he began with 1 Henry VI. It i s Hector's f i g h t with Ajax that shows the true state of the r i v a l s in t h i s play: they are so much a l i k e , so rela t e d i n f a c t , that the only reasonable issue of t h e i r quarrel i s "embracement." In no way can Hector dissect Ajax so that i t would be possible to say "This hand i s Grecian a l l , / And t h i s i s Troyan; the sinews of t h i s l e g / A l l Greek, and t h i s a l l Troy; my - 123 - mother's blood/ 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 bui l d up to t h i s match, which began with Aeneas's challenge to Agamemnon i n I . i i i , i s f r u s t r a t e d by Hector's r e f u s a l to bring i t to any conclusion. Like a l l the other f r u s t r a t i o n s of progressive form, t h i s disapppoints an audience's expectation of an outcome to the combat. In doing so, i t educates the audience into the state of i r o n i c contemplation of opposing stands or r i v a l attitudes i n which action i s f r u s t r a t e d while the range of opinion i s also recognized. Hector's r e f u s a l to defeat Ajax, whom he might have k i l l e d , i s the r h e t o r i c a l equivalent of recognizing the opposite term's i n a l i e n a b l e existence. Throughout the canon of his works, Shakespeare's way with an opposing or dissenting attitude i s highly r e a l i s t i c : the term i s not to be k i l l e d o f f , but i s to survive either i n opposition to the dominant order or in an uneasy truce with i t . Shylock i s not k i l l e d but offered conversion; Malvolio i s entreated to a peace; Jaques' melancholy u n f i t s him for the company's f e s t i v e mood and so, with reluctance, he i s allowed to seek the society of Duke Frederick somewhere on the fringes of Arden; in Much Ado, Don John i s returned to Messina under guard and survives to threaten h i s brother's authority as he has from the beginning. In these plays, the dominant attitude accommodates the subordinate one with some sense of i t s r i g h t to be heard but with no recognition of i t s r i g h t to dominate. In T r o i l u s and Cressida, the attitudes clash more equally, f r u s t r a t i n g an audience's need for a symbolic action that 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 teeth of chaos, some durable s i g n i f i c a n c e against the destructive flow of time. After the match between Ajax and Hector, and an amicable exchange between them and among Agamemnon, Ulysses and Nestor, A c h i l l e s demonstrates - 124 - the usual attitude of a r i v a l by refusing to recognize any d i s t i n c t i o n i n Hector's parts. 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 boast, which he admits i s f o o l i s h even as he says i t . The contrast cannot be clearer between the issue of embracement because 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 issue of death because one r i v a l refuses to recognize i n the other the mirror image of himself. The imagery of eating returns in order to emphasize that the desire for slaughter i s more appetitive and i n s a t i a b l e than reasonable, and would reduce the protagonists to "orts and b i t s " of themselves as soon as they have tasted and digested one another: A c h i l l e s : Now, Hector, I have fed mine eyes on thee, I have with exact view perused thee, Hector, 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 already. (IV.v.230-235) The imagery of eating also l i n k s the actions of both the war and the love pl o t s , suggesting not only that the slaughter can be sensual and that love can be a b a t t l e , but that both are appetites which cannot make d i s t i n c t i o n s in what they do because of the mere movement of t h e i r desire to be s a t i s f i e d . A c h i l l e s , enraged by Hector's k i l l i n g of Patroclus, w i l l reenter the b a t t l e and slaughter Hector, but, as I have implied e a r l i e r , the action w i l l prove nothing for either side. Granted, Hector w i l l get a eulogy from T r o i l u s , and his loss w i l l be f e l t because he was, for the most part, courteous i n an anachronistic way. But he was also as v i o l e n t as A c h i l l e s in b a t t l e (Nestor c a l l s him a "belching whale") and also apt to seek "bad success i n a bad cause" (II.ii.117) against h i s own reason and against the warnings of Andromache, Cassandra, and Priam. - 125 - Troilus, l i k e Hector, holds to b e l i e f s which are endearing for the 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 said, bears no resemblance to the Cressida an audience knows from legend and from t h i s play. As a r e s u l t , Troilus's disillusionment with her i n V . i i . i s simultaneously a sorry shock for him, a source of wonderment for Ulysses ("May worthy Troilus be half attached/ With that which here his 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). Troilus's idealism i s , i n fact, no more a constant and trustworthy attitude than i s Cressida's accommodating pragmatism, the proof of which i s Troilus's desertion of Cressida i n Act I , when he follows Aeneas to battle, his s l i n k i n g away from her house i n Act I I I , and his refusal to read her l e t t e r s after witnessing her t r y s t with Diomede. Troilus i s hardly as "true as truth's s i m p l i c i t y " ( I I I . i i . 1 7 0 ) , and his r i v a l r y with Diomede i s , as a r e s u l t , without a basis. Troilus becomes as fierce as A c h i l l e s over a cause which was misconceived from the s t a r t , pursued with only indifferent l o y a l t y , and deserted i n fact while fight i n g i n i t s name. In t h i s play, Shakespeare leaves an audience no way out of a situation c l e a r l y presented as corrupted and corrupting. Neither Greek nor Trojan, Ac h i l l e s nor Hector, Troilus nor Diomede, characterizes an attitude which i s superior to another and able to wrest significance from the' flow of events. 1 1 Instead, t h i s play i s a q u i z z i c a l analysis of the attitudes which arise in the attempt to grapple with devouring time i n the guise of war, and, at the same time i t i s a refusal to argue for any one of them. Rhetorically, then, t h i s explains the darkness of Troilus and Cressida: an audience i s kept from finding i n the drama a " r i t u a l of r e b i r t h " or a "salvation device," i n Burke's terms, which w i l l point to the way out of i t s burden through i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with a surviving term. - 126 - In place of a symbolic action with purpose and hope of success, T r o i l u s e x i t s a f t e r Hector's death with the promise of motiveless motion that proves nothing: "Hope of revenge s h a l l hide our inward woe" (V.x .31), and Pandarus e x p l i c i t l y bequeaths to the audience the corruption of diseases which i t has already 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 with brutal Greeks and s e l f - d e c e i v i n g Trojans. The enactment of ina c t i o n through a q u i z z i c a l study of r i v a l attitudes could hardly be more complete than i t i s in T r o i l u s and Cressida. As Ellis-Fermor suggests, the "way out" cannot be found i n t h i s play but can only be suggested l a t e r , i n the tragedies and romances. 1 2 - 127 - V. MEASURE FOR MEASURE Rhe t o r i c a l l y , Measure for Measure i s a dist u r b i n g play because i t presents corruption or lawlessness i n terms of l u s t but does not show any "property of government," any law of j u s t i c e or mercy, that can ext i r p i t from the l i f e of a c i t y or from the heart of a man. Corruption i s i n t o l e r a b l e since i t cannot provide the basis for p o s i t i v e action; i t fr u s t r a t e s the symbol-using animal who orders the lawless world of motion through terms which i d e n t i f y his purposes for action and which allow him to jo i n with others i n achieving those 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 of order, a person faces s o c i a l and even personal d i s i n t e g r a t i o n . Measure for Measure begins as the Duke's co n t r o l l e d experiment to solve a problem of government and to test h i s deputy Angelo. The problem, simply put, i s whether lawlessness or corruption can best be co n t r o l l e d by j u s t i c e or mercy. These c o n f l i c t i n g attitudes q u a l i f y one another in heated debate but leave the corruption of Vienna as unreformed as ever. In the course of the debate, the problem of the c i t y becomes the problem of one person: Angelo discovers i n himself a war between the c o n f l i c t i n g a t t i t u d e s of sense and honor which lead him to conclude "We are a l l f r a i l " ; no one i n Vienna can t r u s t that h i s adherence to one a t t i t u d e w i l l prevent him from espousing i t s opposite. More troubling, no one can be ce r t a i n that one attitude i s virtuous and the other v i c i o u s , since vir t u e and vice often appear as t h e i r opposites. The play concludes with the Duke's o f f e r of pardon to a l l and an a l l o c a t i o n of marriages which conventionally betoken that obstacles have been overcome and that d e s t i n i e s have been achieved. A closer look at the Duke's judgment* however, w i l l show that the issues raised e a r l i e r i n the play have not been solved but sidestepped. Having seen "corruption b o i l and bubble/ - 128 - T i l l 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. He covers the dilemma over with the appearance of m e r c i f u l judgement and by t o l e r a t i n g a l l attitudes prevents a r e s o l u t i o n i n terms of any one of them. ANGELO AND ISABELLA: A FIERCE DISPUTE The problem of t h i s play and the problem of government begins and ends with what to do about Claudio. This young man has gotten his fiancee, J u l i e t , with c h i l d — a natural act which, i n t h i s case, f a l l s outside the law governing i t s exercise. Theirs i s not a lawful marriage because i t lacks the outward form of public r i t e s . Of some importance to the themes of t h i s play, the union appears to be f o r n i c a t i o n i n the eyes of the c i v i l law no matter how t r u l y married the couple may be i n t h e i r own eyes and according to commonly acknowledged conditions for clandestine marriages. 1 Angelo, who has been given the Duke's own scope of authority to correct the abuses of l i b e r t y i n Vienna, has drawn the l i n e i n such a way that the law applies to Claudio's case. Escalus, h i s vice regent, may protest that the l i n e i s drawn too widely, and Lucio, Claudio's f a s t t a l k i n g f r i e n d , may dismiss the offense as a game of " t i c k tack" and of no l e g a l importance. But Claudio himself, while a l l e g i n g the extenuating circumstances of his case, while protesting that the law has been so neglected as to be almost dead, while insinuating that Angelo has enforced the law for the sake of gaining a reputation as a s t r i c t governor, even Claudio admits that h i s offense can be c a l l e d "lechery" and that i t comes within the compass of the law. Wryly, he suggests that the r e s t r a i n t to which he i s subjected comes from too much l i b e r t y , j ust 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 . With t h i s analogy, Claudio describes a movement of "measure for measure" which w i l l characterize many actions of t h i s play. Attitudes of one kind necessarily provoke t h e i r - 129 - opposites, and the two compete as equally p l a u s i b l e motives for ac t i o n . Liberty and r e s t r a i n t have t h e i r counterparts i n j u s t i c e and mercy, sense and honour, f r a i l t y and grace. 2 Claudio's i s a good test case f o r arguing the ordering of the commonwealth. On the one hand, he i s g u i l t y of a crime which, f i g u r a t i v e l y , represents w i l l f u l appetite at war with the ri g h t reason of law. Lechery or l u s t i n a l l of i t s forms, i f given too much " l i b e r t y , " would dissolve 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 represented by marriage. On the other hand, Claudio's g u i l t i s s l i g h t and much closer to impetuosity than malice. He respects the law regarding marriage but has been caught i n a t e c h n i c a l i t y on the way to assuming that r e l a t i o n s h i p . For Claudio, as for everyman, the law only serves to point out how impossible i t i s to act p e r f e c t l y . In Claudio, then, an audience can see i t s e l f i n i t s f r a i l humanity, wanting the good but f a i l i n g to achieve i t completely. The Provost i s the spokesman for an audience's common sense perspective when he laments, " A l l sects, a l l ages smack of t h i s vice, and he/ To die f o r ' t ! " (II.i.5-6).3 The way out of his predicament, i t seems, i s through mercy rather than j u s t i c e , and so he appeals through Lucio to h i s s i s t e r I s a b e l l a that she intercede for him with Angelo. Before he meets with her, however, Angelo's precise views on j u s t i c e and the law are made clear i n an interview with Escalus. For Angelo, the law i s not a "scarecrow," standing s t i l l while "birds of prey" perch as they please; to be e f f e c t i v e , i t must be put into execution. Escalus's s p e c i a l pleading on Claudio's behalf — that he had a noble father — i s c l e a r l y beside the point, and his more subtle argument, that Angelo, too, could e a s i l y become subject to the law and should therefore show mercy, receives a most just and severe response: "You may not so extenuate his offense/ For I have had such f a u l t s ; but rather t e l l me/ When I - 130 - that censure him do so offend,/ Let mine own judgement pattern out my death/ And nothing come i n p a r t i a l . S i r , he must die" (II.i.27-31). The response, of course, i s i r o n i c i n view of Angelo's subsequent f a l l , but i t shows his impartial commitment to j u s t i c e . I f f a u l t s are to be extirpated from the commonwealth, they must f i r s t be "open made to j u s t i c e " and then "seized," not ignored. I t makes no difference who has committed the f a u l t . Angelo's thinking on t h i s matter, i n f a c t , echoes the Duke's, who has explained the condition of Vienna in s i m i l a r terms: Now, as fond fathers, Having bound up the threatening twigs of b i r c h , Only to s t i c k i t in t h e i r children's sight For t e r r o r , not to use, i n time the rod Becomes more mock'd than fear'd so our decrees, Dead to i n f l i c t i o n , to themselves are dead, And l i b e r t y plucks J u s t i c e by the nose, The baby beats the nurse, and quite athwart Goes a l l decorum. ( I . i i i . 2 3 - 3 D Much l i k e Ulysses' speech on degree in T r o i l u s and Cressida, these words present an image of society turned upside down for lack of r i g h t r e l a t i o n s . In the b a t t l e between mercy and 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 s to be retained. I f Angelo's views are severe and precise, they are also just and, for that reason, represent an a t t i t u d e which i s desirable for the ordering of society which i t can e f f e c t . Of course, t h i s a t t i t u d e , however desirable, has only a l i m i t e d scope; despite t h e i r rightness, the " b i t i n g laws" can never coerce a l l behavior. So, for example, Vienna's bawdiness w i l l l i v e on i n the person of Pompey the tapster despite any l i t i g a t i o n against i t . In an episode that follows immediately upon Angelo's apologia for j u s t i c e , the audience finds t h i s out in comic terms. Escalus, interrogating Pompey, asks him: Pompey, you are p a r t l y a bawd, Pompey, howsoever you colour i t i n being a - 131 - tapster, are you not? Come, t e l l me, i t s h a l l be the better for you. Pompey: Truly, s i r , I am a poor fellow that would l i v e . Escalus: How would you l i v e , Pompey? By being a bawd? What do you think of the trade, Pompey? Is i t a lawful trade? Pompey: I f the law would allow i t , s i r . Escalus: 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 Vienna. Pompey: Does your worship mean to geld and splay a l l the youth of the c i t y ? Escalus: No, Pompey. Pompey: Truly, s i r , in my poor opinion, they w i l l t o 't then. (II.i.216-230) The value of j u s t i c e , then, i s admittedly l i m i t e d . Nevertheless, i t s value must be recognized in order to appreciate the dramatic c o n f l i c t that occurs when the claims of j u s t i c e as a p r i n c i p l e for the ordering of society clash with the claims of mercy. The question i s t h i s : i f j u s t i c e cannot e x t i r p lawlessness, w i l l mercy do any better? i I t i s during Isabella's plea before Angelo that Shakespeare sets up t h i s -clash of attitudes — one of the most absolute and famous confrontations i n a l l of h i s drama — and in t h i s debate Angelo i s not a straw man. What emerges from the scene i s no clear v i c t o r y for either a t t i t u d e but a keen appreciation by the audience of the reasonableness and the l i m i t s of each. I s a b e l l a h e r s e l f , at the beginning of her plea, admits that her -brother's f a u l t should "meet the blow of j u s t i c e , " but asks that the f a u l t be condemned and not her brother. Angelo responds, r e c a l l i n g his e a r l i e r scarecrow analogy: "Mine were the very cipher of a function/ To fine the f a u l t s , whose f i n e stands in record,/ And l e t go by the actor." "0 just but severe law!," concedes Isabel, "I had a brother then" ( I I . i i . 3 9 - 4 2 ) . The case seems closed u n t i l prompting from Lucio causes Isabel to plead for 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 . In e f f e c t , since - 132 - 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 offers no argument that would mitigate the justice of Angelo's r u l i n g . Cassandra, for example, had argued for her brother: Weigh his yong' yeares, the force of love, which forced his amis Weigh, weigh, that Mariage works amends for what committed i s . He hath defilde no nuptial 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." ^ Isabella, however, speaks completely beside the point of what j u s t i c e requires and suggests, instead, that mercy i s possible, that i t i s a becoming attitude for rulers, 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 forgiving 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 indi v i d u a l Christian; however, i t provides no guidance for a l e g a l system which must function according to norms of j u s t i c e interpreted impartially for a l l . Angelo seems to acknowledge the force of Isabel's argument for himself as a person at the same time that he rules 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 die tomorrow" (I I . i i . 8 0 - 8 2 ) . Angelo stands for j u s t i c e , as he says, because i t ends present e v i l s in order to prevent future ones. With justice he shows pity both to society, whose t h i r s t for j u s t i c e must be s a t i s f i e d , and to the criminal, who not only gets what he deserves (which i s a kind of satisfaction) but i s also prevented from committing further wrongs. - 133 - Justice, then, has many arguments on i t s side at the same time that Isabella's plea for mercy seems right because i t would save Claudio, a person whom no one i n the audience wants to die. Shakespeare has done well to make Claudio his proving ground for contending attitudes. I f Isabella 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 th 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 requires, r e t a i n some cogency because they would effect 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 attitudes. Angelo draws i t i n such a way that Claudio's death i s required i n the name of j u s t i c e ; Isabella has drawn i t so that Claudio's death i s excluded i n the name of mercy. THE FRAILTY OF OUR POWERS Isabella's arguments, however convincing they may be to an audience, do not reach their most cogent pitch 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). Isabella 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 criminal. E a r l i e r , Angelo had offered an alternative to t h i s position: that impartial 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 (II.i.27-31). 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 " (II.ii.143-144). 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 attitude because i t w i l l save Claudio. But for Angelo, t h i s moment i s c l e a r l y a temptation. I t means the abandoning of his e a r l i e r conviction that even thieves recognize a kind of law among themselves and the taking up of an e n t i r e l y different proposition: that "Thieves for thei r robbery have authority, / When judges steal themselves" (II.ii.176-177). "Quite athwart goes a l l decorum" i f Angelo's sharing of Claudio's condition means that justice must be jettisoned. "0, l e t her brother l i v e ! " i s not the impartial judgement of a just 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/ Shall we desire to raze the sanctuary/ And pitch our e v i l s there?" (II.ii.170-172). His agony i s deepened by the conclusion to which t h i s l u s t leads him — the abandoning of a s t r i c t adherence to justice.5 Shakespeare has so set up the terms of t h i s dilemma that each attitude i s an extreme exclusive of the other. Pure" ju 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 position leads, by an equal and opposite reaction, to the adoption of the other. Isabella's arguments, then, have meant the victory of sense in two ways. For the audience, the sparing of Claudio makes reasonable sense; for Angelo, however, i t means the victory of appetite. His sense "breeds," but i t i s with - 135 - "the strong and swelling e v i l / Of my conception" (II.iv . 6 - 7 ) . He feels in himself the force of blood leading to lawless ends and, at the same time, abandons a view of impartial j u s t i c e that would regulate t h i s appetite with deadly force. Claudio had, i r o n i c a l l y , anticipated t h i s effect of his s i s t e r on the Deputy when he told Lucio of her talents 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 well she can persuade" (I.ii.172-176),° With keen insight, Shakespeare presents Angelo's l u s t for Isabella — not the Tightness of her reasons — as the cause of his abandoning a commitment to impartial j u s t i c e . Moreover, the playwright has so structured the f i r s t interview with Angelo that Lucio's presence and his promptings against Isabella's coldness seem much l i k e pimping for a pro s t i t u t i o n of ju s t i c e . 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 victory of "sense," and Angelo soon shows what th i s means by tyrannically giving his "sensual race the r e i n " and commanding Isabel to " F i t thy consent to my sharp appetite...Redeem thy brother/ By yielding up thy body to my w i l l " (II.iv.159- 163). Even as he pursues his own l u s t f u l intentions, Angelo shows Isabella the l i m i t s of her own merciful attitude. When Isabel refuses to act as Claudio has done and as Angelo i s trying to do, Angelo points out: "Were you not then as cruel 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 jus t i c e would? Isabel's answer corroborates Angelo's point: "Ignomy i n ransom and free pardon/ Are of two houses: lawful mercy/ Is nothing kin to foul - 136 - redemption" (II.iv.111-113). She i m p l i c i t l y admits that mercy i s limited to actions that are lawful 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 his advantage that I dearly love" (II.iv.119-120). Clearly, i t i s as unhelpful for mercy to excuse e v i l for the sake of private feelings 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 for his own predicament but for what he sees as Isabel's struggle too: "We are a l l f r a i l " (II.iv.121). He sees before Isabel does, and he sees with tragic awareness, that neither perfect j u s t i c e nor perfect mercy i s possible. At the same time, he sees that the "affection that now guides [him] most" makes him false and tyrannical. From the f i r s t moments of his temptation, he has seen that his identity i s at stake: "What dost thou, or what art thou, Angelo?," he asks ( I I . i i . 1 7 3 ) . 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 least 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 his 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: Isabella 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 entire temptation of Isabella has taken place within the context of the Duke's testing of him. This i s made clear by a direct verbal p a r a l l e l between Isabella's situation and Angelo's. She presents herself for their 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, learning 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 likewise shown Isabella that, given the power to save her brother, she herself would prove to be unmerciful. I t i s disturbing, moreover, to notice that both tests are " w i l l f u l , " not reasonable. Neither the Duke nor Angelo can appeal to "right reason" as the basis for their actions. In t h i s play, a l l people — especially the authorities — proceed w i l l f u l l y and create confusion, a process whose disturbing implications for order are enacted in the frustrations of formal expectations at the close of the play. Isabella 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 prison, seeking his support for her decision. She i s frightened and shaken by Angelo's loss of honor and by the proud man of authority who has bid "the law make curtsy to [his] w i l l / Hooking both right 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 his s i s t e r should her body stoop/ To such abhorr'd pol l u t i o n " (II.iv.174-182). Claudio's w i l l i n g death would vindicate Isabel's position — that, i f lawful 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 . I t has damaged Isabella's position 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 chastity. After a l l , the heroine of Shakespeare's source, Cassandra, consents to lose her chastity 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 point? One obvious reason i s that Shakespeare i s writing a d i f f e r e n t play. I f I s a b e l l a were to consent to Angelo, and i f , further, he were to go back on h i s promise and k i l l Claudio anyway, as Whetstone t o l d the story, the issue to be resolved would be simply that of how to get j u s t i c e against a t y r a n n i c a l judge. Isabella's r e f u s a l to surrender her c h a s t i t y r a i s e s the question of whether l i f e should continue at the cost of any p r i n c i p l e . I s a b e l l a has pleaded against Angelo's " J u s t i c e " in order to save Claudio; must she also surrender the p r i n c i p l e for the sake of which she i s "giving up" (or at l e a s t dedicating) her own l i f e ? Should she be merciful at any cost or would not l i f e lose i t s meaning for her i f i t were l i v e d for no purpose? When Isabel seeks out Claudio i n prison, she finds that he i s already prepared to die, thanks to the Duke's "consolation," delivered in the guise of F r i a r Lodowick. Claudio, i n f a c t , i s "absolute" for death, a dangerous pos i t i o n as we have seen, since absolute attitudes tend to provoke t h e i r opposites. This, i n f a c t , i s what happens. At the l e a s t glimmer of hope for l i f e , Claudio surrenders his willingness to die for the sake of h i s s i s t e r ' s c h a s t i t y and pleads that he be allowed to l i v e . He gives up h i s brave speech about encountering darkness as a bride and, l i k e Pompey the bawd, shows himself to be "a poor fellow that would l i v e " ( I I . i . 2 2 0 ) . Claudio acts on Angelo's example, taking courage from his conviction that a wise man l i k e Angelo must know what he i s doing, and i s w i l l i n g to c a l l the s i n that would save him a v i r t u e . I t i s his desperate pleading for l i f e at any cost, i t i s h i s Angelo-like willingness to do anything for the sake of w i l l or appetite, h i s juggling of names for v i r t u e and v i c e , that cause Isabel to turn on her brother with a loathing proportionate to her fear: - 139 - 0, you beast! 0 f a i t h l e s s coward! 0 dishonest wretch! Wilt thou then be made a man out of my vice?" (III.i.135-137) Her reaction i s as extreme as her fear of unbridled appetite. She sees i n Claudio's attitude 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 action. That i s why she says, "Thy sin's not accidental but a trade." Claudio's impetuous fornication with J u l i e t was but a hint of more unrestrained appetite to come. 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 diest quickly" (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 die; he i s not so innocent that he deserves to l i v e . He i s the natural ground on which two contending attitudes meet and debate the merits of their claims to decide his fate. A sensitive response to the 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. An audience at t h i s point cannot i d e n t i f y with either position represented by Angelo or Isabella, 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 finding 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 central act of deception (or deceiving act), of course, i s Angelo's appearing to be a just judge and a "precise" person while actually being less innocent than Claudio. With Shakespearean irony, his d e c e i t f u l intention i s c l e a r l y stated to Isabel: - 140 - "...on mine honour,/ My words express my purpose." To which she r e p l i e s , "Ha? L i t t l e honour, to be much be l i e v ' d / And most pernicious purpose! Seeming, seeming!" (II .iv.146-149). Angelo's r e a l i t y i s clear enough, at l e a s t to Isabel, but the troublesome question a r i s e s , how often does the appearance of authority based on impartial j u s t i c e (including the Duke's?) hide a r e a l i t y grounded in w i l l or appetite. 0 place, 0 form, How often dost thou with thy case, thy habit, Wrench awe from f o o l s , and t i e the wiser souls To thy f a l s e seeming! (II.iv.12-15) How often i s apparent mercy nothing of the kind? J u s t i c e : Lord Angelo i s severe. Escalus: I t i s but needful Mercy i s not i t s e l f , that o f t looks 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 i t s e l f a kind of death and death i t s e l f a kind of l i f e ? Duke: Thou hast nor youth, nor age, But as i t were an after-dinner's sleep Dreaming on both... What's yet in t h i s That bears the name of l i f e ? Yet i n t h i s l i f e L i e hid moe thousand deaths; yet death we fear That makes these odds a l l even. III.i.32-41) In such a world, where tr u t h i s hard enough to determine, slander of authority i s e s p e c i a l l y fearsome and detestable because i t complicates an already complicated task. Concern with slander runs as a motif throughout t h i s play, and culminates in the t r i a l of Act V, where i t w i l l be analyzed more f u l l y . - 141 - THE COMIC SUB-PLOT: I HOPE HERE BE TRUTHS The themes which a r i s e over the case of Claudio are repeated by Shakespeare i n the sub-plot so that a study of that action w i l l serve to sum up and to f i l l out what has been said so f a r . Most obviously, the brothel l i f e of Vienna i s a diseased world, unreformable by "grace," however grace i s to be defined and even i f i t i s personified i n his Grace the Duke himself. Like Pompey, i t s spokesman, the underworld may suffer the checks of law, but i t w i l l f i n d some means to l i v e . When the proclamation for p u l l i n g down houses of p r o s t i t u t i o n goes into e f f e c t , Pompey counsels Mistress Overdone to take courage: "Though you change place, you need not change your trade" (I.ii.99-100). After Escalus warns him of a whipping unless he ceases to be a tapster, Pompey boasts: "Whip me? No, no, l e t carman whip his jade;/ The v a l i a n t heart's not whipt out of h i s trade" (II.i.252-253). And when he i s f i n a l l y thrown into prison, he finds that i t i s very much l i k e a house of p r o s t i t u t i o n once again; a l l the regulars are there, and the "mysteries" of hangman and bawd are much the same: they both t h r i v e on "dying" and "beheading." In a daring pun, Shakespeare associates the forces of law and lawlessness as workmen toward a common end: death and disease i n the name of order and l i f e . Pompey the bawd w i l l j o i n Abhorson the hangman i n c a l l i n g Barnardine to " r i s e and be put to death" ( I V , i i i . 2 8 ) , an action required by the state and also, through the puns on " r i s e " and "death," suggestive of the bawd's profession.7 The h i s t o r y of Pompey suggests that the disease of sexual li c e n s e can never be eradicated from the state, not only because i t i s a highly adaptable v i r u s , but because no one i s exempt from catching i t . Even ministers of state whose purpose i s j u s t judgement can have that purpose changed by power. Their "heading and hanging" may serve no s o c i a l purpose at a l l but only appetite, as - 142 - the history of Angelo has shown. He was a man who saw himself as "precise" and a just judge, but who soon discovered "blood thou art blood" (II . i v . 1 5 ) . His appetite had been restrained easily enough before he met Isabel, but i t had been piqued by her because in two ways she represented a challenge worthy of his e f f o r t s . As a "saint" and a v i r g i n , Isabella i s Angelo's equal, and, l i k e him, i s keeping powerful sexual feelings under s t r i c t control. Deep i s c a l l i n g to deep i n their encounter, a l l the more powerfully because the feelings are i m p l i c i t and a mutual union i s ostensibly unattainable. On another l e v e l , Isabella i s defending an example of lawlessness that had become known to Justice; she represents v i r g i n t e r r i t o r y into which the absolute application of Justice might be extended. Angelo's appetite, then, takes the form f i r s t of trying to "behead" Isabella 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 his authority. Through punning, then, and through the sub-plot action, Shakespeare raises disturbing questions about authority and order i n society. Angelo's appetite for order i s shown to be as unruly and destructive as lust can be in 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 for order that can be deadly. This creates a dilemma. On the one hand, authority i s needed to prevent disorder in 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 limited and f a l l i b l e ; i t cannot extirp the l i f e of dissident attitudes, and i t cannot keep from acting i n a way inconsistent 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 for what to do, and he i s a good choice because an audience w i l l want - 143 - authority to save him. He i s too much the ordinary person and his offense i s too common to be s a c r i f i c e d to any rigorous reason. On the other hand, i f Claudio i s to be spared, what grounds w i l l authority provide consistent with a public order with which an audience also needs to i d e n t i f y ? The problem authority faces i s where to draw the l i n e : how to name the action i n such a way that an attitud e can be taken toward i t . For Pompey and the bawds, Claudio's offense presents no problem, and t h e i r word play suggests both how natural i t i s and how d i f f i c u l t to i d e n t i f y in l e g a l terms: Mistress Overdone: Well! What has he done? Pompey: A woman. Mistress Overdone: But what's his offense? Pompey: Groping for trouts i n a peculiar r i v e r . Mistress Overdone: What? Is there a maid with c h i l d by him? Pompey: No: but there's a woman with maid by him. (I.ii.80-85) But human society requires names for actions and r e l a t i o n s h i p s . I t i s f u l l of "thou shalt nots" i n order to preserve the order i t wants. Only i f thieves ignore the injunction "thou shalt not s t e a l " can they have warrant for what they do ( I . i i . 7 - 1 6 ) , but even as outlaws to established order, thieves w i l l make some law to govern themselves, because no society can e x i s t without i t . "What knows the laws/ That thieves do pass on thieves?," says Angelo (I I . i . 2 2 - 23). Claudio's fate has to be decided i n some way; hence the inconclusive debate between j u s t i c e and mercy, Angelo and I s a b e l l a i n Act I I , scenes 2 and 4. Shakespeare takes another perspective on the problem of Claudio by presenting Elbow's arrest of Froth and Pompey and t h e i r t r i a l before Escalus in I I . i i i . Elbow's misplacings (a curious defect shared with fellow constables D u l l and Dogberry) are e s p e c i a l l y appropriate to the themes of t h i s - 144 - play. Once again they show how s l i p p e r y language can be; i t s naming of an offense i s not always accurate. "Notorious benefactors" are, of course, malefactors, and an "honourable" man i s c l e a r l y dishonourable (an i r o n i c glancing at h i s "honour" Angelo). "Respected" means "suspected" as Elbow uses the term, but as Pompey uses i t r e f e r r i n g to Elbow's wife, "respected" means "respected" i n two senses of the word, allowing him t o . i n s u l t Elbow and to keep clear of slander at the same time. The misplacings of Elbow, the man who leans on J u s t i c e , are laughably correctable, but they echo the more p a i n f u l ' d i f f i c u l t y of symbolic action i n the main pl o t where authority's naming of Claudio's action i s a matter of l i f e or death. In the course of the t r i a l , Pompey's defense of Froth rests upon t r u s t i n g to appearances: "Doth your honour see any harm i n h i s face?...I'11 be supposed upon a book, his face i s the worst thing about him" (II.i.151-155). Of course, such a c r i t e r i o n i s dangerous; i t would condemn Claudio because his offense i s "writ large" upon J u l i e t and would preserve Angelo because he seems innocent up u n t i l the t r i a l scene. Yet, as the Duke implies in a sententious s o l i l o q u y , Angelo's and Claudio's crimes are the same: Shame to him whose cr 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 vice, and l e t his grow! (III.ii.260-263) Given a choice between Elbow's misplacing of names and Pompey's s o p h i s t i c reasonings, no wonder Escalus asks, "Which i s the wiser here, J u s t i c e or I n i q u i t y ? " ( I I . i . 169). Once again, the workings of the law and the bawd prove to be s t r i k i n g l y s i m i l a r . In the course of the t r i a l the concern with slander i s also raised, a subject of some concern to authority. When the Duke appointed Angelo as Deputy, i t was, in part, to avoid being slandered for a tyrant i f he were to - 145 - enforce laws whose transgression he had seemed to tolerate ( I . i i i . 39-43) . Slander w i l l be something of which the Duke disguised as Friar 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 i t s authority, and authority is a l l that mediates between a society's yearning for order and the "disease" of lawlessness. As the t r i a l before Escalus makes clear, 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 is "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* th' 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 ina l ly , 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 le f t everything as i t i s . Escalus warns Froth not to frequent tapsters; he warns Pompey of a whipping i f he is caught at his trade again, and he seeks to replace Elbow as constable since i t both pains him and leaves justice 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 Fr iar Peter, his giving the"people scope was a "fault" and is to be remedied now by whatever means Angelo can devise ( I . i i i . 3 5 ) . The t r i a l of Froth and Pompey, l ike the case of Claudio, presents the irreformable fact of lust along with the conviction that something must be - 146 - done about i t . Authority i s provoked to act for the sake of order, but how i t should act by heading or hanging or by kindly warning, i s hard to t e l l . The dilemma i s made a l l the more d i f f i c u l t by law enforcers who misname the crime and merely bumble t h e i r way to whatever j u s t i c e i s to be found. HIS GRACE THE DUKE: LIKE PROVIDENCE DIVINE? For some c r i t i c s , the Duke represents the so l u t i o n to t h i s dilemma. He i s , for example, the Disguised Ruler of f o l k l o r e , l i k e King Severus, who seeks out abuses i n disguise in order to bring them to j u s t i c e . He i s l i k e King Corvinus of Promos and Cassandra, the all-powerful and f i n a l court of appeal who d e l i v e r s the innocent and renders j u s t judgement. For others, Duke Vincentio represents a t h i r d "term" that can transcend and so mediate the claims of Ju s t i c e and Mercy. He i s Temperance, for example, l i k e the kind enjoined upon r u l e r s in James I's Bas 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 my s t i c a l l y , he represents Providence i t s e l f ; he i s l i k e the Lord of the C h r i s t i a n parable who went away leaving his servants in charge of 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 well u n t i l h i s return. The Duke i s "Grace" i n contrast to Angelo's "honour"; he represents a divine deliverance for f r a i l humanity based on a mercy beyond any j u s t i c e of human devising.^ These f o l k l o r i c and b i b l i c a l motifs are reenforced by the q u a l i t y of the verse in the second h a l f of the play — the Duke's sphere of action. At times, sententious couplets point the moral; at other times, a brisk expository prose serves the n e c e s s i t i e s of p l o t manipulation. We are in a world where r e a l i s t i c dilemmas, presented e a r l i e r i n powerful blank verse, are now to be viewed p a r t l y from that perspective and p a r t l y from a perspective conventionally romantic and mystical. - 147 - In various ways, c r i t i c s have argued the success of the Duke's devious methods, the wisdom of h i s supposed point of view, and the d i g n i t y of h i s divine i d e n t i t y . They say that he educates Angelo to repentance of h i s crime, I s a b e l l a to worldly respect for the claims of the world against her w e l l - defended honor, and Claudio to the recognition that "That l i f e i s better l i f e , past fearing death,/ Than that which l i v e s to fear" (V.i.395-396).9 However, even those who defend the Duke remain troubled by the sense of some f r u s t r a t i o n which remains at the end of the a c t i o n . Robert Ornstein, for example, who claims that the Duke succeeds i n " r e h a b i l i t a t i n g " Angelo's character and provides a "comic r e s o l u t i o n " adds immediately, "This does not mean that the many readers who f i n d the ending of Measure for Measure unsatisfactory are i n s e n s i t i v e or mistaken. The ending of the play i s unsatisfactory i n that i t disappoints our longing for a more perfect j u s t i c e than the world affords and because i t avoids the very moral problems which lend r e a l i t y and meaning to a contrived novella f a b l e . " 1 0 In r h e t o r i c a l terms, formal expectations have been f r u s t r a t e d . The s y l l o g i s t i c development of the c o n f l i c t between j u s t i c e and mercy h a l t s with Isabella's r e f u s a l to give in 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 to another perspective which i s beside the point of what to do about lawlessness, and the conventional ending of marriage i s provided only to be r e s i s t e d . The Duke's character as supreme authority, buttressed as i t i s by a l l u s i o n s to f o l k l o r e and the b i b l e , seems to o f f e r hope of a r e s o l u t i o n to a troublesome human dilemma: the ordering of personal and s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s . But the darkness of t h i s play stems from the f a c t that the Duke's authority orders a s o l u t i o n which o r i g i n a t e s merely with h i s w i l l to provide i t (he o f f e r s no reasonable motive for his proceeding) and which proves i n e f f e c t i v e upon examination. It i s the Duke's kind of r u l e which has allowed the dilemma - 148 - of Claudio to arise i n the f i r s t place, and i t i s the Duke's kind of solution which leaves that dilemma just where i t i s . Vincentio, l i k e Angelo, begins the play believing that the laws of Vienna have been neglected: We have s t r i c t statutes and most b i t i n g laws, The needful b i t s and curbs to headstrong jades, Which for fourteen years we have l e t s l i p . ( I . i i i . 1 9 - 2 1 ) Moreover, his f i r s t act upon donning his disguise i s to urge Claudio to be absolute for death. He gives no hint to the audience that he has any u l t e r i o r and beneficent purpose for t h i s advice. He seems, rather, to be cooperating with his Deputy i n the act of extirpating 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 public. Only after overhearing Isabella's report of Angelo's i n j u s t i c e and Claudio's pleading for his l i f e does the Duke spring into action. 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 his f u l l energy to fr 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 resolution of a debate over lawlessness to the engineering of an ending in which everyone l i v e s , including those who want to die. A study of the Duke's methods w i l l show that, as usual, he i s avoiding a resolution rather that providing one. Since Isabella refuses to give in to Angelo, the Duke must find a substitute who w i l l s a t i s f y Angelo's conditions for saving Claudio's l i f e . Conveniently, Mariana l i e s ready to hand, and the Duke explains to Isabel in business-like prose the fourfold benefit of her going to Angelo: "...by th 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 solution has always caused problems for c r i t i c s . Admitedly, i t i s a "deceit" and, as such, ta i n t s the Duke's character and the act of his 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 soliloquy of III.ii.270-275: Craft against vice I must apply, With Angelo tonight s h a l l l i e His old betrothed but despised: So disguise s h a l l by th'disguised Pay with falsehood false exacting, And perform an old contracting. and to Mariana in 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 deceit. 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 establish what the Duke regards as the true relationship of Angelo and Mariana). The bed t r i c k could, for 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 for his own benevolent purposes and whose results should prove the wisdom of his actions. We w i l l return to t h i s point momentarily. Meanwhile, i t i s clear that the Duke intends to save Claudio by substituting one head for another: - 150 - Mariana's maidenhead for I s a b e l l a ' s . When Angelo, however, reneges on h i s agreement with I s a b e l l a and decides to behead Claudio anyway, the Duke of dark corners i s cornered again. Once more he seeks to get out by a s u b s t i t u t i o n : to submit someone else's head for Claudio's. This time, however, he meets a greater challenge than the one I s a b e l l a posed for him. He wants to use Barnardine, but the man, l i k e Isabel, refuses to "d i e . " Like Pompey and Claudio, Barnardine i s a poor man who would l i v e . He has no s p e c i f i c purpose, just a brute, 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 . He i s " f i t " neither to l i v e nor to die. Since h i s very presence i n the prison i s the r e s u l t of the Duke's e a r l i e r , l e n i e n t decision to l i v e and l e t l i v e , Barnardine i s a comic reminder that the Duke has been unable to do anything about him before and cannot do anything now. The Duke i s delivered from the impasse which his own in a c t i o n has caused by an "accident that heaven provides." Thanks to the death of Ragozine the p i r a t e , the Duke now has another head to send to Angelo, and, with danger averted, he i s free to proceed to unmask Angelo for what he has done and to wrap up the ending by assigning rewards and punishments. This deliverance, welcome as i t i s , shows that the Duke i s as helpless as Angelo or Escalus before the lawlessness of Vienna. He i s as incompetent as he ever was, and an audience's laughter at t h i s point stems from i t s r u e f u l awareness that the best of supposedly a u t h o r i t a t i v e wisdom i s a patchwork a f f a i r ; that, at bottom, even the Duke cannot decide i f Barnardine i s f i t for l i f e or death; and that i f anything i s to be done to move on, i t w i l l have to depend on an "accident that heaven provides." This i s a dark indictment of human incapacity, i f looked into too curiously, and i t i s compounded by the question, do the Duke's substitutions even accomplish the purpose he intends for them? C e r t a i n l y Ragozine's head saves Claudio's, and no one, I think, objects to that. For reasons i t may never be able to explain (and which i t i s never required to understand) the audience wants Claudio to l i v e . But does Mariana's head s u b s i t i t u t e for Isabella's? The Duke thinks so, but does Angelo? More importantly, does the audience? Does not Harriet Hawkins speak for many when she asks, "...one may well wonder j u s t what might have happened in the bed of Angelo. How would [Isabella] have responded? Could he be r i g h t i n a t t r i b u t i n g to her a latent sensuality equal to h i s own? Who wouldn't l i k e to f i n d that out?...In ce r t a i n works, the author arouses a desire, on the part of h i s audience for climax, not anticlimax. Thus — sometimes — for the audience, as well as for ce r t a i n dramatic heroes and heroines, there can be no contentment but in going a l l the way. Indeed, f i c t i o n a l characters of various kinds may serve as surrogates for our own desires to 'try the utmost,' to experience whatever i t i s we most desire, or f e a r . " 1 1 The objection to the bed t r i c k , then, i s not so much on moral as on formal grounds. I t prevents Angelo and I s a b e l l a from resolving t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p i n the terms that they have set up. Angelo's act of l u s t from which he has already learned so much about his f r a i l t y , i s countered with a forced commitment from which he gains nothing except a love he does not want. The Duke, who cannot decide what to do about Barnardine, seems to have no problem deciding about Angelo. In e f f e c t , he "beheads" him with Mariana. It i s no accident that immediately a f t e r the Duke explains to Mariana the rightness of her action and his deceit, the Provost asks Pompey, "Can you cut o f f a man's head?" ( I V . i i . 1 ) . The Duke i s l i k e Pompey, then, who also comes to the prison and there takes upon himself the dual r o l e of hangman and bawd (IV.ii.14-16). The Duke may defend his actions as best he can, and an audience may yearn to accept them for the sake of the desired ending. Both the Duke's - 152 - authority and the authority of the conventional form of a tragi-comic ending may work to persuade the audience to applaud the saving of Claudio. But Elbow's entrance immediately af t e r the Duke's explaining the bed t r i c k to I s a b e l l a , l i k e the Provost's comment, casts an oblique but damaging perspective on what has just transpired. The Duke has just presented his "remedy" to I s a b e l l a (III.i.198) when Elbow enters, chiding Pompey: "Nay, i f there be no remedy for i t , but that you w i l l needs buy and s e l l men and women l i k e beasts, we s h a l l have a l l the world drink brown and white bastard" ( I I I . i i . 1 - 4 ) . L o g i c a l l y , Elbow's " i t " r e f e r s to something l i k e concupiscence or sexual appetite for which Pompey would provide a remedy through pimping. On the open Elizabethan stage, however, with no break i n the action, Elbow's " i t " can r e f e r semantically i f not l o g i c a l l y to Claudio's s i t u a t i o n . The Duke's authority, then, comes under severe s c r u t i n y . I t i s the p r i n c i p l e of order on the one hand; from t h i s authority we expect the power to provide a happy ending — just as Oberon and Prospero are able to provide in t h e i r plays. On the other hand, t h i s authority has l i m i t s to what i t can do, and moreover uses methods which make i t , at times, i n d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e from actions l i k e pimping which i t would c o n t r o l . This troubling, ambivalent view of "the properties of government" i s brought to " l i g h t " e s p e c i a l l y through the r o l e of Lucio. LUCIO: AN "INWARD" OF THE DUKE Lucio i s Shakespeare's most d i s t i n c t i v e addition to h i s source and i s therefore a sure clue not only to his intended emphases but also to the troubled response of the audience at the end of the play. Through Lucio's r o l e we can see Shakespeare working both to provide a happy ending and to - 153 - f r u s t r a t e i t , and i t i s t h i s dual e f f o r t of authority — the Duke's and the author's — which prevents an audience from i d e n t i f y i n g with a symbol of order and which troubles them. Lucio i s not only the scapegoat the Duke would l i k e to make of him; he i s also a r e f l e c t o r of the Duke's attitudes and, as such, creates for the audience two perspectives on the r o l e of authority: i t i s the only hope for order; i t also f a i l s to coordinate competing attitudes s u c c e s s f u l l y in the order i t would e s t a b l i s h . Lucio i s f i t for his r o l e by being the only character who acts and speaks so much l i k e the Duke. Only Lucio goes about as much as the Duke does into the dark corners of Vienna, v i s i t i n g with each of the c i t i z e n s , commenting on t h e i r fates, and urging them to action. His thoughts on several subjects also mirror the Duke's. Both, for example, think that Angelo's attitud e i s too severe; both believe that Claudio should be spared; each i n his way encourages I s a b e l l a to work toward that end, and each o f f e r s the same advice to her when these e f f o r t s seem i n vain: the Duke's "Show your wisdom, daughter,/ In your close patience" (IV.iii.117-118) i s echoed soon af t e r by Lucio's "0 pretty I s a b e l l a , I am pale at mine heart to see thine eyes so red: thou must be patient" ( I V . i i i . 150-151). It i s because the audience wants Claudio to l i v e that i t sides with Lucio and the Duke in t h e i r e f f o r t s to save him. I t never r a i s e s the question, as Angelo and I s a b e l l a do, on what grounds he should l i v e . For Lucio, the question i s absurd: "Why should a man lose h i s l i f e for a game of t i c k tack?" He assumes that the Duke shares his thinking on t h i s and says so to his disguised face: "Why, what a ruthless thing i s t h i s i n [the Deputy], for the r e b e l l i o n of a codpiece to take away the l i f e of a man! Would the Duke that i s absent have done t h i s ? Ere he would have hanged a man for the - 154 - getting a hundred bastards, he would have paid for the nursing a thousand. He had some feeling of the sport; he knew the service; and that instructed him to mercy" (III.ii.110-117). The Duke's defensiveness ("I have never heard the absent Duke much detected for women; he was not inclined that way") i s laughable because he shows such Elbow-like resistance to an intended compliment. He also presents the very image of repression as he struggles under his monk's cowl to beat back Lucio's suggestion of sexual license and his own r i s i n g anger at the charge. Clearly, he does not want his compassion for Claudio to be misconstrued as complicity with his crime. He i s sensitive to the "slander" which suggests that his authority winks at lawless behaviour. Yet he offers no explanation for his decision to free Claudio consistent with his opposition to promiscuity . That opposition was shown most strongly i n the Duke's stinging rebuke to Pompey as he was escorted to prison: "Fie, 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 stin k i n g l y depending?...Take him to prison, o f f i c e r : / Correction and instruction must both work/ Ere t h i s rude beast w i l l p r o f i t " ( I I I . i i . 1 8 - 3 2 ) . And these admonitions are echoed by Lucio who turns on Pompey i n mock triumph just as he has (we learn l a t e r ) betrayed Mistress Overdone to the authorities: "Art going to prison, Pompey?...Why, ' t i s not amiss, Pompey. Farewell: go, say I sent thee th i t h e r " ( I I I . i i . 5 9 - 6 1 ) . Lucio's dramatic function i s largely 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 Isabella's side, urging her to ever more' impassioned pleas for mercy. When t h i s means condemning fornication as a crime, Lucio even betrays his friends 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 n o t i c i n g and f e e l i n g the Duke's own contradictory attitudes so keenly. The Duke not only has an inconsistent p o l i c y toward the examples of lechery which he sees a l t e r n a t e l y i n Claudio and i n Pompey, he i s also far from understanding the p u l l toward lechery i n himself. I t i s Lucio's function, again, to show how much Vincentio's l o f t y intentions of bringing order to Vienna are bound to f a i l because they seek to repress — both i n the c i t y and in the man — attitudes which are lawless and yet would l i v e . The Duke t e l l s Lucio that he i s "not i n c l i n e d that way" as he has t o l d F r i a r Peter that he has a "complete bosom"; but one recognizes i n t h i s an absolute s e l f - assurance which i s bound to crumble as surely as Claudio's and Angelo's have. Lucio i s l i k e the Duke's shadow s e l f , throwing l i g h t i n L u c i f e r i a n fashion on the neglected a t t i t u d e , the forbidden f r u i t . The Duke's response i s to repress any suggestion of acquiescence i n such an attitude at the same time that he t o l e r a t e s i t i n the case of Claudio. Lucio w i l l be made a scapegoat for supposedly slandering the Duke's character. But, i n h i s antic fashion, he a c t u a l l y throws l i g h t on the Duke's twofold e f f o r t s : to provide a happy ending for Claudio and, at the same time, to extirpate the lawlessness of which Claudio's offense i s an example. By making a scapegoat of Lucio, the Duke and Shakespeare preserve the image of the Duke as a mean between extremes and d i s t r a c t from the d i s t u r b i n g fact that the Duke, l i k e Lucio, i s also patently inconsistent. Moreover, Lucio helps to r a i s e more than a suspicion that the Duke's au t h o r i t a t i v e conclusion w i l l be l i t t l e better than a whitewash, since the Duke shows more signs of repressing lawless l u s t than of accommodating i t with any wisdom or patience. - 156 - 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 in which Angelo w i l l be called to account, the audience expects him to provide the happy ending which he has been preparing. In the conventional sense, he does. No one dies, and multiple marriages are provided. But a closer look at the Duke's arrangements has caused many audiences to respond with only rueful 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 fr u s t r a t i o n of formal expectations and in his f a i l u r e to provide a symbol of authority 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 truth and with punishing those who slander authority. However, i t begins most i n d i r e c t l y to find these directions out. Isabella, under instructions 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 ("This i s most l i k e l y ! " ) and arrests Isabella for slander. The Duke's judgement, of course, i s technically correct; Angelo has never violated Isabel, and one wonders why she has been advised to proceed t h i s way. At t h i s point, F r i a r Peter produces the veiled Mariana as a witness against Isabella. 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 after some puzzled questioning to determine her identity and only at Angelo's command — "Let's see thy face" — does she say, "My husband bids me; now I w i l l unmask" (V.i.204-205). - 157 - The unveiling has a dramatic effect; i t "reveals" the truth of Angelo's relationship 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 unveilings at the t r i a l in which the revealing of someone's head seems to contribute to the resolution. 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 ir 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 build ups lead to l e t downs. Progressive form i s frustrated and the dramatic moment i s wasted. At t h i s point, for example, Angelo has no reason to acknowledge Mariana as his wife, since he thinks that he has violated Isabella. He therefore dismisses the revelation and i s given leave to find out who i s behind these seemingly false accusations. The Duke leaves him to his o f f i c e with the injunction " s t i r not u n t i l you have well determined/ Upon these slanderers" (V.i.257-258). With the discovery of the truth delayed and frustrated, the tension mounts toward a second revelation. When the Duke, disguised as the Friar i s brought in 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 for 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 Isabella, he says: The Duke's unjust Thus to retort 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 in Vienna, Where I have seen corruption b o i l and bubble T i l l i t o'errun the stew: laws for a l l f a u l t s , - 158 - But f a u l t s so countenanc'd that the strong statutes Stand l i k e the f o r f e i t s in a barber's shop, As much in mock as mark. To which accusations the shocked Escalus r e p l i e s : Slander to th' state! Away with him to prison! (V.i.298-321) I f the Duke's indictments of Vienna and Angelo are true, 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 affirmatively 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 in his absence, whereas i t i s clear 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 figurative contest between Falsehood and Truth, Lucio forces the hood from the F r i a r ' s face. A second revelation of a head occurs as the Duke shows himself for who he i s and Lucio starts to s l i n k away. Surely, now, t h i s w i l l be the promised end. I t begins to look that way. The Duke pardons Escalus and i m p l i c i t l y establishes the truth of his own recent indictments against Vienna; Angelo confesses his crime and i s married to Mariana; and even Isabella i s pardoned for having "employ'd and pain'd" the Duke's sovereignty. However, the Duke has further plans for f r u s t r a t i n g the expected ending. F i r s t , he l i e s to Isabella and t e l l s her that Claudio i s dead; then he orders Angelo to die for i t , setting up the tense scene of Mariana's begging with Isabel to j o i n with her in 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." Some see i n Isabella's plea - 159 - the high point of her moral development and the true test of her doctrine of mercy. Her speech i s a beautiful moment of s e l f l e s s love, however qualif i e d i t may be by the suggestion of sadism in the Duke's forcing i t upon her. I t i s b e a u t i f u l , indeed, but i n e f f e c t i v e . The Duke allows Isabella's ingenious defense of Angelo to proceed, only to announce: "Your suit's unprofitable. 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 for 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 for yet another dramatic climax. As the Provost leaves to fetch Barnardine and Claudio, Angelo's words show that he has accepted his fate and looks forward to death as the tr i b u t e he owes to j u s t i c e . Responding to Escalus's offer of sympathy, he says: "I am sorry that such sorrow I procure,/ And so deep st 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 tragic history. Rhetorically speaking, he i s trying to transform himself by dying for the sake of j u s t i c e . He i s trying to resolve the inconsistency in his i d e n t i t y caused by the act of tyranny into which his l u s t led him. For th i s reason, marriage and a happy ending are furthest from his mind. 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 in two prisoners. One i s Barnardine who, of course, i s promptly forgiven. The other i s disguised; however, a dramatic unmuffling soon takes place for the th i r d time and reveals the truth that Claudio i s a l i v e . In terms of t h i s play, Claudio's "head" has been spared. The visual pun reenforces the verbal punning on t h i s subject and enacts the fact that - 160 - l i f e i s i r r e p r e s s i b l e , or, i n other words, that the heads of f o r n i c a t o r s who should "die" for taking maidenheads are not so e a s i l y put down. Angelo i s then pardoned for Claudio's sake and the Duke o f f e r s marriage to I s a b e l l a for the same reason. I t seems, then, that a l l the machinery of j u s t i c e has been erected to no a v a i l . A l l of the tortuous groping for truth in Act V has been unnecessary. The Duke has known what he would do since Act I I I , and when he does i t he f i n a l l y f r u s t r a t e s the progression toward a knowledge of what to do about Claudio i n i t i a t e d by the grand debate between Angelo and I s a b e l l a . At f i r s t glance, the s o l u t i o n the Duke o f f e r s seems humane and desirable to the audience; a f t e r a l l , Claudio i s to l i v e . But h i s s o l u t i o n i s offered by the same authority which has fulminated against Vienna's corruption. The Duke wants i t both ways; he has commanded a solution to the problem of lawlessness and, at the same time, has frustrated the only e f f o r t s taken to solve i t . He o f f e r s no solution of his own, just the same tolerance and pardon for a l l which he has shown for fourteen years. Besides f r u s t r a t i n g a progressive development that would have led to t r a g i c s u f f e r i n g but also perhaps to t r a g i c wisdom, the Duke supplies his own ending which looks conventionally comic but i s nothing of the kind. Every marriage, except Claudio's and J u l i e t ' s , i s commanded, and every marriage i s r e s i s t e d to some degree. The Duke acknowledges Isabella's possible 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 of h i s hand: "Dear Isabel,/ I have a motion much imparts 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. 5 3 1 - 5 3 4 ) . Angelo has said that he would rather die, and i t may be only the Duke's wishful thinking that spies a "quickening in his eye" upon the revelation of Claudio. But, as usual, the loudest and most e x p l i c i t comments come from - 161 - Lucio. Like Angelo, Lucio has been exposed for his crime, forced to be married, then threatened with "The n u p t i a l f i n i s h ' d , / Let him be whipp'd and hang'd" (V.i.510-511). Just as quickly, he i s forgiven his slanders but forced into marriage anyway. Lucio wails i n protest, "Marrying a punk, my Lord i s pressing to death,/ Whipping and hanging." To which the Duke's f i n a l response i s , "Slandering a prince deserves i t " (V.i.520-521). Lucio i s the intended scapegoat, then, the one whose punishment helps to define what the v i c t o r i o u s order stands f o r . However, his howls of protest carry more than a hint that truth i s on his side as much as on the Duke's. This seems not l i k e a n u p t i a l , nor do the other marriages which the Duke i s arranging to remedy the lawless f o r n i c a t i o n of Vienna. Lucio's slanders may be f a l s e or true, but they have raised the suspicion that the order the Duke intends to e s t a b l i s h has not r e a l l y worked out a cooperative a l l i a n c e with the attitudes represented by Pompey and the bawds at one extreme and Angelo's Justice at the other. The commands to obey the arrangements are not enough to s t i l l the suspicion that t h i s authority does not know what he i s doing. The haunting question returns, "Who i s the wiser here, Ju s t i c e or I n i q u i t y ? " And when an audience asks t h i s , i t goes home troubled, not only f a i l i n g to i d e n t i f y with the proposed symbol of order in t h i s play, but also made to wonder i f the "properties of government" may not be such that no authority can coerce contending at t i t u d e s into a cooperative commonwealth. - 162 - VI.LOOKING BEFORE AND AFTER " Truth 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 Ellis-Fermor suggested that T r o i l u s and Cressida i s a play which t e s t s one of the " f r o n t i e r s of drama" and succeeds in crossing i t . Drama, she says, can e a s i l y encompass only c e r t a i n moods, forms and thoughts; i t reaches i t s l i m i t s i n the portrayal of r e l i g i o u s emotion, the scope of action more f i t l y t o l d i n epic, and c e r t a i n complex ideas which challenge coherent development. In T r o i l u s and Cressida, she maintains, Shakespeare challenges the l i m i t s of what dramatic form can express and enacts the very "idea of d i s j u n c t i o n . " Paradoxically, he achieves "the triumphant r e v e l a t i o n of disjunction, of the negation of a l l order, within the ordered concentration of dramatic shape." 1 In my analysis of the problem plays, I have, in e f f e c t , accepted t h i s verdict about T r o i l u s and Cressida and have extended i t s a p p l i c a t i o n to A l l ' s Well and Measure for Measure, while corroborating Ellis-Fermor*s i n s i g h t with, an examination along the l i n e s of Burkean r h e t o r i c . As we have seen, c e n t r a l to Burke's r h e t o r i c i s his d e f i n i t i o n of man as the symbol-using animal and his d e f i n i t i o n of r h e t o r i c as persuasion to change through " i d e n t i f i c a t i o n " with a symbol of order. "Rhetoric," he says, " i s rooted in an e s s e n t i a l function of language i t s e l f , a function that i s wholly r e a l i s t i c , and i s c o n t i n u a l l y born anew; the use of language as a symbolic means of inducing cooperation in beings that by nature respond to symbols." As Burke maintains, the dramatist persuades by his use of several forms, each of which, alone and in combination, causes a c o l l a b o r a t i v e e f f o r t between him and the audience which leads i t to see the order and the attitude he i s - 163 - defining. An audience i s free to accept or to r e j e c t the dramatist's persuasion, of course, but o r d i n a r i l y i t i s obvious what kind of order i t i s ostensibly persuaded to accept. It i s possible, for example, that some w i l l s e c r e t l y cheer on Macbeth despite h i s v i l l a i n y , and I believe that Shakespeare provides them with s u f f i c i e n t reason to do so. Meanwhile, however, others are seeking revenge for Macduff's children and with a "blessed rage for order" are piously awaiting the v i c t o r y of Malcolm. The dramatist's use of forms i s only an attempt to persuade; i t i s not a guarantee that the persuasion w i l l succeed. He establishes the order, but not without f i r s t having established dramatic i r o n i e s which make the verdict on the order more or l e s s problematic. In Macbeth, the ostensible order i s c l e a r . In the problem plays, however, Shakespeare completely f r u s t r a t e s i n several ways the need to i d e n t i f y which i s deeply rooted i n the symbol-using audience. F i r s t , he f r u s t r a t e s i t s expectations for a d e f i n i t e ending through death or marriage — states of d i v i s i o n or merger re s p e c t i v e l y which show that the "terms" of the play (the characters) have undergone a clear transformation. Secondly, he provides no "scapegoat" who can carry off the perceived " p o l l u t i o n " or block to r e s o l u t i o n . F i n a l l y , he supplies no symbol of order which c r e d i b l y demonstrates i t s power to win assent and to e s t a b l i s h the renewed soc i e t y . So, for example, A l l ' s Well and Measure for Measure end with the clear reluctance of the groom to take up his bride. Even Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado are able to convince themselves that they r e a l l y must love one another after a l l , deep down, somewhere. But Angelo and Bertram are, at best, only resigned to t h e i r l o t . I t i s imposed on them and they accept. In T r o i l u s and Cressida the p r i n c i p a l s are neither destined for marriage nor allowed to d i e . T r o i l u s maintains his attit u d e of naive and savage dedication, f i r s t to love and then to war; Cressida p e r s i s t s in her attitude of reluctant accommodation. Neither i s able to act upon the scene of war i n a - 164 - 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 disjunction." Appropriately enough, each of the plays either closes or pivots on "if" — a sure sign that the dramatist has intended an ambiguity, that the frustration of forms has been deliberate. Troi lus 's argument in front of Calchas's tent shows how much depends on his resolving the identity of Cressida: This she? No, this is Diomed's Cressida. If beauty have a soul, this is not she; If souls guide vows, i f vows be sanctimonies, If sanctimony be the gods' delight, If there be rule in unity i t s e l f , This was not she. . . This i s , and is not, Cressid. (V.ii.134-143) Two perceptions of Cressida remain; "bifold authority" cannot reconcile her behavior and the comforting axioms Troilus l ives by. Therefore, not only is there "madness of discourse" but, for the audience, unrelieved shift ing between Cressida as she is and Cressida as Troilus would have her be — her attitude and his . In Measure for Measure, the Duke says cautiously to Isabella, "I have a motion much imports your good,/ Whereto i f you ' l l a wi l l ing ear i n c l i n e , / What's mine is yours, and what is yours i s mine" (V.i.538-540). He seems rightly aware of the possible resistance to his suggestion which his earlier 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: "Al l yet seems well, and i f i t end so meet,/ The bitter past, more welcome is the sweet" ( V . i i i . 3 3 3 - 334). The endings of these plays, then, are not clearly resolved by "worthy" deaths or happy marriages. - 165 - Moreover, i n each play there i s a concerted but f u t i l e e f f o r t to find a scapegoat whose punishment w i l l end the r i v a l r y of attitudes and c l e a r l y e s t a b l i s h which are to be expelled and which to be revered. As Rene Girard has s u c c i n c t l y observed, "Even the most banal scapegoat e f f e c t i s an unconscious s t r u c t u r i n g process."3 With the scapegoat expelled, a society can come together with a renewed sense of what i t stands f o r . Girard's theory coincides with much of Burke's thinking on the necessity of the scapegoat's function for e s t a b l i s h i n g an order, but as Girard also suggests, Shakespeare seemed to understand the dishonesty of such a device. For Shakespeare, a l l attitudes belong i n "cooperative competition" (Burke's phrase) for the well being of society or for the defining of an issue. I f h i s t o r y were not written by the winners, and i f people were not usually conscious only of the recent past, i t would be clearer that many attitudes have always coexisted i n any order. So, i n Girard's analysis, the scapegoat device i n the deaths of Romeo and J u l i e t i s parodied i n the ludicrous deaths of Pyramus and Thisbe in Midsummer Night's Dream. The audience so much wants i t s "order" at the end that i t w i l l swallow almost anything to get i t , including the nagging doubt that these deaths need not have happened. "Shakespeare," says Girard, "knows that f i c t i o n i s and must be a l i e . The audience i s looking for i t s pharmakos, as Northrop Frye t e l l s us, and even the t i n i e s t l i t t l e sign i n one d i r e c t i o n or another w i l l send everybody charging l i k e raving buffaloes, so long as someone i s there to be trampled to death. The doubles w i l l be t i l t e d one way or the other; better give them a strong and obvious t i l t , i n order not to be trampled oneself, or completely ignored, which i s the same thing, r e a l l y , for a playwright." - 166 - However, even i f Shakespeare knows that he must please his audience in the end, 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 at l a s t , he always manages to dramatize the best that can be said for diverse a t t i t u d e s . Through Helena i n A l l 1 s Well for example, he shows that v i r g i n i t y i s a much respected value; through P a r o l l e s , he also argues that i f everyone were a v i r g i n , where would v i r g i n s come from? Unless contrasted attitudes l i k e these can be sorted out, with one expelled and the other preserved, no re s o l u t i o n can occur. This f a i l u r e to provide a scapegoat, I have suggested, helps to explain the problem of the problem plays. In T r o i l u s and Cressida, the obvious candidate for scapegoat i s Thersites; his reductive views on love and war would, in another play, cause him to excuse himself from the f e s t i v e conclusion, as Jaques does, or suffer imprisonment and s e l f - e x i l e l i k e Malvolio. There would be a c l e a r attempt to place his a t t i t u d e on the bottom rung of a scale of values. In h i s own play, however, his voice shares equally with those of an i d e a l i s t i c lover ( T r o i l u s ) , an i d e a l i s t i c s o l d i e r (Hector), and the pragmatic p o l i c i e s of men of action (Ulysses and A c h i l l e s ) . Thersites 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 kinds from a perspective so v i l e that i t reduces a l l actions to the motive of b l i n d l u s t — of mere motion without purpose. Although his cynicism and invective d i r t i e s him even as he speaks i t , some of h i s judgment also besmears those at whom i t i s d i r e c t e d . 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 balance, constantly reminding i t that i t s desire for action with credible purpose and i t s desire for "perfect" consummation through love or war i s i l l u s o r y . In T r o i l u s and Cressida, then, there i s no scapegoat, no one to blame more than another, and therefore no way of e s t a b l i s h i n g an order in which one a t t i t u d e i s to be preferred over another. Likewise, but i n more subtle ways, Parolles and Lucio survive attempts to blame them and to cast them out for attitudes which block the way of a - 167 - desired resolution. Each, of course, i s kept a l i v e , forgiven, and invited to join the comic procession of the close. But each does so without having changed his wry point of view toward the turns of the p l o t . Therefore, they cast suspicions on the motives of those characters whose fates resemble their own. Parolles' determination to remain what he i s casts a qualifying 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 willingness to "die" after his marriage to Mariana. To the extent that the scapegoat has not carried off the qualifying attitude, to the extent an audience i s invited to have reservations even to the end, to that extent the order can retain only a shaky hold. I have implied in my analysis that the problem plays d i f f e r from others in the canon not for having c o n f l i c t i n g attitudes but for keeping them so much in 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 plays. Since the protest i s not "carried 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 for 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, for example, the lengthy debate i n the Trojan council demonstrates that the Trojans keep Helen because they want to, with no regard for the "moral laws/ Of nature and of nations" (II.ii.184-185). 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 his Myrmidons, not with explanations but with a weak expletive ("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 stroke, but keep yourselves i n breath. And when I have the bloody Hector found, Empale him with your weapons round about; In f e l l e s t manner execute your arms. Follow me, s i r s , and my proceedings eye; It i s decreed Hector the great must die. (V.vii.1-8) An audience needs to know more than the w i l l of the protagonist i n order to i d e n t i f y with the r e s u l t s of his actions. Some explanation must be obvious, even i f only the conventional one that t h i s action has brought about an order desired by the more reasonable characters. Comedy succeeds when i t i s obvious that a "saner" society replaces an i r r a t i o n a l one; tragedy succeeds when i t i s obvious that something has been learned by s u f f e r i n g the response to an assertive action. In T r o i l u s and Cressida, the action i s not only without reasonable explanation, but also without any desirable r e s u l t s . The brute facts of death and disease remain after w i l l f u l attempts to wage war and love. Therefore, "Hector i s dead, there i s no more to say" (V.x.22). As I have analyzed them, the same w i l l f u l n e s s characterizes the decisions of the King i n A l l ' s Well and of the Duke i n Measure for Measure. When the King attempts to marry o f f Helena to the man of her choice, h i s anger at Bertram's r e f u s a l of t h i s arrangement and his equivocal use of "honor" to mean " w i l l " show that h i s motives are at best s e l f - i n t e r e s t e d ; they merely cooperate with Helena's plan to marry Bertram because she has effected a cure. Bertram's i n t e r e s t s are i n no way consulted. Although the conventions of fo l k t a l e would suppress such considerations for the sake of the story, Shakespeare, I believe, has raised them d e l i b e r a t e l y , thus throwing into question the reasonableness of the King's actions and preventing i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with them. In the same way, the Duke's decisions to t e s t Angelo and then to test I s a b e l l a are made without reasonable explanations i n either case. Even i f the - 169 - testings could 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 to educate them to a more humane understanding, for example — why should the rewards of v i r t u e be made to look 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 Lucio and offered to I s a b e l l a without preparation, i t cannot s a t i s f y even i n a conventional way. The s y l l o g i s t i c progression up to Act III.i.152 pointed the arrows of expectation toward the issue of Angelo's getting I s a b e l l a ; with the Duke's p l o t t i n g from III.i.153 onward, the audience learns that he i s to get Mariana. In both cases, h i s getting of the woman i s to be the r e s u l t of an unexplained w i l l that i t be so. To see Angelo trapped into accepting Mariana takes away the f e e l i n g of a "saner" conclusion, even i f marrying her means that he w i l l l i v e . An audience cannot be expected to i d e n t i f y with Angelo's attempt to rape I s a b e l l a i n exchange for her brother's l i f e ; t h i s i s w i l l f u l v i l l a i n y . It can accept only a l i t t l e more e a s i l y the Duke's w i l l f u l imposition of a marriage on Angelo i n order to s a t i s f y the desires of Mariana. I have e n t i t l e d my r h e t o r i c a l analysis of these plays "A Dancing of At t i t u d e s " because they dramatize more than Shakespeare's other plays an active weaving i n and out of divergent attitudes while f a i l i n g to provide a reasonable basis for sorting out which should be preferred over the other. As i t s f i r s t benefit, t h i s r h e t o r i c a l method provides a way of understanding in formal terms why A l l ' s Well, Measure for Measure, and T r o i l u s and Cressida have puzzled c r i t i c s and audiences a l i k e . - 170 - THIS, THEN, IS THE PRAISE OF SHAKESPEARE A further use of Burkean r h e t o r i c a l analysis w i l l help to explain three features of Shakespeare's s t y l e which Dr.Johnson also noticed but which he labeled f a u l t s : punning, counteracting, and lack of poetic j u s t i c e . According to Johnson, Shakespeare interrupts the straightforward t e l l i n g of h i s " f a b l e " by turning aside for a pun. I t exerts a "malevolent" influence over him; i t i s l i k e "luminous vapors" to a t r a v e l l e r or, worse, i t i s the " f a t a l Cleopatra for which he l o s t the world and was content to lose i t . " ^ R hetorical c r i t i c i s m would reply that instead of l o s i n g one world, Shakespeare has gained two, by fusing i n one word two perspectives on the same subject. So, for example, Helena i s both "grace" and "grass"; Angelo's "sense" breeds at Isabella's words; and Cressida i s kissed in "general." The pun shows in l i t t l e what Shakespeare i s doing throughout a play: combining "perspectives by incongruity," arguing opposites, and including a "parliament" of attitudes on the subject he i s contemplating. Several decades af t e r Johnson, Coleridge defended the pun by c a l l i n g i t "one of the most e f f e c t u a l intensives of p a s s i o n . B u r k e would agree, noting how a pun allows an a r t i s t to admit even the "thinking of the body" (through s c a t o l o g i c a l meanings, for example) into a thoroughgoing presentation of a subject. Commenting on Gaunt's death bed scene (Richard II I I . i ) and Richard's question, "Can s i c k men play so n i c e l y with t h e i r names?," Coleridge r e p l i e s , "Yes! on a death bed there i s a f e e l i n g which may make a l l things appear but as puns and equivocation...it i s profoundly true that there i s a natural, an almost i r r e s i s t i b l e tendency in the mind, when immersed in one strong f e e l i n g , to connect that f e e l i n g with every sight and object around i t ; e s p e c i a l l y i f there be opposition, and the words addressed to i t are i n any - 171 - way repugnant to the f e e l i n g i t s e l f , as here i n the instance of Richard's unkind language: 'Misery makes sport to mock i t s e l f . "'7 For Coleridge, i t seems, a pun serves to r e i n f o r c e a passion by merging i t , when provoked, with ideas and images that help give the passion "presence" and extent. Gaunt's name suggests, e a s i l y enough, "gaunt" images, and such i s his state on the way to death. But Gaunt's purpose i n punning i s also important, and Coleridge seems to miss i t even though he i s , i n Biographia L i t e r a r i a , the best explicator of poetry's function as a r e c o n c i l e r of opposites. "Misery makes sport to mock i t s e l f . " That i s , Gaunt momentarily takes Richard's a t t i t u d e toward h i s dying and, i n doing so, makes sport of i t , for thus his death appears to Richard. The pun, then, has served as a way not only of expressing Gaunt's passion more intensely but also of conveying Richard's a t t i t u d e of mockery at Gaunt's gaunt condition. Perhaps the play on words serves to r e l i e v e Gaunt of h i s misery momentarily by giving him an incongruous perspective on i t , but, i f so, i t serves another purpose as well. By taking Richard's a t t i t u d e , i t f l a t t e r s him, and so i t surprises him into asking: "Should dying men f l a t t e r with those who l i v e ? " "No, no," Gaunt admits, "men l i v i n g f l a t t e r those who d i e . " Richard i s puzzled: "Thou, now a - dying sayest thou f l a t t e r e s t me." And Gaunt can now turn the tables on Richard by reversing the terms with 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 sicker be/...Thy death-bed i s no lesser than thy land/ Wherein thou l i e s t i n reputation s i c k " (Richard II II.i.83-96). Here, then, i s an argument of att i t u d e s which began with a pun that contained them both. It i s the r h e t o r i c a l usefulness of a pun which led Kenneth Burke to declare that "[Shakespeare] had to indulge i n h i s more atrocious puns not only for the sake of the crowd but for his own sake as w e l l . I t gave him the basis - 172 - for r e f i n i n g them into the more subtle metaphorical leaps of which he i s capable."8 Empson suggests even further that "...one source of the unity of a Shakespearean play, however brusque i t s handling of character, i s t h i s coherence of i t s subdued puns."9 I t i s Shakespeare's genius, then, and not his Antony-like turpitude which woos the word that w i l l beget a twin understanding of any issue he dramatizes, any story he t e l l s . As Stephen Booth points out, i t i s the pun which exemplifies i n l i t t l e what makes a Shakespearean drama as a whole so troubling or awesome i n i t s complexity. "A pun," says Booth, " i s the commonest and smallest p r a c t i c a l manifestation of the f r a g i l i t y of d e f i n i t i o n s . Since a word i s a definer — exi s t s to f i x quasi-physical l i m i t s to an idea — the experience of perceiving a pun i s a r e a l , though admittedly petty, experience of c o l l a p s i n g l i m i t s . " 1 u The pun i s , as Nietzsche c a l l e d i t and as Burke concurs, a "perspective by incongruity." As such, i t i s a most f i t r h e t o r i c a l form for use i n a dramatic d e f i n i t i o n of terms. Shakespeare's second f a u l t , according to Johnson, i s his tendency to "counteract" himself, of which turning aside f or a pun i s only one example. As Johnson puts i t , "What he does best, he soon ceases to do. He i s not long s o f t and pathetic without some i d l e conceit or contemptible equivocation. He no sooner begins to move than he counteracts himself; 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 blasted by sudden f r i g i d i t y . " 1 1 Johnson, i n thus describing Shakespeare's tendency to q u a l i f y one argument by the i n j e c t i o n of i t s opposite, f e l i c i t o u s l y suggests a resemblance to Burke's idea of drama as an i n t e r - a c t i o n of terms, or the "comic contemplation" of "cooperative competition" among c o n f l i c t i n g a t t i t u d e s . As I noted in my analysis, t h i s tendency to " s e l f i n terference," as Burke c a l l s i t , shows e s p e c i a l l y i n the endings of the problem plays where an - 173 - audience i s most eager for some order to be established. I t i s as i f Shakespeare i s deliberately f r u s t r a t i n g an easy solution either because he does not believe i n i t or because he knows that he could continue the debate i n d e f i n i t e l y . His "sense of an ending" i s that i t i s pot e n t i a l l y endless — that "every exit ( i s ) an entrance somewhere else." 13 Shakespeare's f a i l u r e to end neatly relates, 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 virtue to convenience and i s so much more careful to please than to instruct that he seems to write without 1 4 any moral purpose." , n Johnson was especially offended, as we know, by the fate of Cordelia. Shakespeare, he acknowledged, may not have violated probability by showing "the wicked prosper and the virtuous miscarry," because i t i s , after a l l , a "just representation of the common events of human l i f e . " But insofar 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 rests his 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 relate that I was many years ago so shocked by Cordelia's death that I know not whether I ever endured to read again the la s t scenes of the play t i l l I undertook to revise 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 for 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 willingness 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 fi e r c e dispute betwixt damnation and impassioned clay," 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 "nature" and "kind" encapsulate divergent perspectives on the human condition. We know that neither Lear's view nor Edmund's i s s e l f - e v i d e n t l y j u s t , and that therefore the honest course for the playwright i s the one that Shakespeare has taken: to present the issues and to t r u s t the audience to decide the merits of each. Shakespeare's morality, then, i s what Burke would c a l l " l i n g u i s t i c scepticism, which we synonymize with l i n g u i s t i c appreciation, on the grounds that an attit u d e of methodical q u i z z i c a l i t y towards language may best equip us to perceive the f u l l scope of i t s r e s o u r c e f u l n e s s . " ^ Given the human tendency to "perfect" any one symbol or a t t i t u d e to the exclusion of others, Burke sees l i n g u i s t i c scepticism as a strategy for s u r v i v a l . Any method which shows the l i m i t s or ambiguities of one symbol (Lear's "nature," for example, or Edmund's) also assures a place for the other i n the unending conversation of the "human barnyard." Stalemate does not s a t i s f y those who would perfect an ideology at the expense of a scapegoat, but at l e a s t i t ensures the s u r v i v a l of a l l at t i t u d e s , honestly recognizing the t r u t h of each perspective. Coleridge, I think, inadvertently explained the "morality" of Shakespeare's plays by noting one of the s a l i e n t features of h i s l i f e - l i k e character p o r t r a y a l : " s i g n a l adherence to the great law of nature, that a l l opposites tend to a t t r a c t and temper each other" and, again, "In Shakespeare the heterogeneous i s united, as i t i s in n a t u r e . " ^ The plays, l i k e l i f e i t s e l f , show the i n t e r a c t i o n of many attitudes and, by doing so, convey whatever truth we are prepared to accept, and whatever d e f i n i t i o n of j u s t i c e we are prepared to agree upon. To use the terms of renaissance r h e t o r i c , Shakespeare's imagination has found the "a v a i l a b l e arguments" touching the subject he i s contemplating; i t i s up to us, the audience, to assent to what we believe i s most probably the case. - 175 - I r o n i c a l l y , Johnson himself i s the best defender of Shakespeare's morality when he praises Shakespeare for having, above a l l poets, "the largest and most comprehensive soul." Moreover, he says, "This i s the praise of Shakespeare, that h i s drama i s the mirror of l i f e , that he who has mazed his imagination in following the phantoms which other writers r a i s e up before him, may here be cured of h i s d e l i r i o u s ecstasies by reading human sentiments in human language, by scenes from which a hermit may estimate the transactions of the world and a confessor predict the progress of 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 contrasting Shakespeare with writers of sentimental comedy for whom "the universal agent i s love." Shakespeare, by contrast, knew that "love i s only one of many passions; and as i t has no great influence upon the sum of l i f e , i t has l i t t l e operation i n the dramas of a poet who caught his ideas from the l i v i n g world and exhibited only what he saw before him. He knew that any other passion, as i t was regular or exorbitant, was a cause of happiness or c a l a m i t y . J o h n s o n praises Shakespeare, then, for dramatizing a variety of passions or at t i t u d e s operating in l i f e ; furthermore, Shakespeare's dramaturgy i s natural i n that "His persons act and speak by the influence of those general passions and p r i n c i p l e s by which a l l minds are agitated and the whole system of l i f e continued i n motion." Shakespeare's plays are " j u s t representations of general nature," then, i n t h e i r mirroring both of the variety of passions and of the way these passions o p e r a t e . 2 0 Johnson, l i k e Coleridge, has recognized the t r u t h - t o - l i f e i n Shakespeare's drama, and, in doing so, has located the s a l i e n t p r i n c i p l e of hi s morality. The praise of Shakespeare as the poet of nature means, i n r h e t o r i c a l terms, that he has shown a var i e t y of passions or at t i t u d e s i n t e r a c t i n g i n h i s " f a b l e " and has traced t h e i r progress i n such a way that they impress an audience as true to the movement of i t s own s p i r i t . From the knowledge of i t s e l f which an audience gains by such a "comic contemplation," - 176 - i t i s more ready to accept an i r o n i c juxtaposition of c o n f l i c t i n g terms as the necessary condition for any d e f i n i t i o n of order. I f t h i s , then, i s the praise of Shakesperare, i t should be enough not only to explain why h i s plays reward attention, but also why he excels so many other playwrights including the brightest candidates. Bernard Shaw, for example, granted Shakespeare h i s "word music" and p i t i e d the person who could not enjoy Shakespeare on that account, but he scoffed at Shakespeare's ideas. "Shakespear's morality i s a mere reach-me-down," he says, f u l l of accepted ideas against which some characters, l i k e Hamlet, struggle only f i t f u l l y and unsuccessfully. Shakespeare had no o r i g i n a l contributions to make to morality and r e l i g i o n and was therefore i n f e r i o r to Ibsen — and, of course, to Shaw h i m s e l f . 2 1 Shaw, l i k e Johnson, seems to think that Shakespeare's morality should be i d e n t i f i a b l e with paraphrasable sententiae or a comforting ideology. That i s why he says: "We have got so f a r beyond Shakespeare as a man of ideas that there i s by t h i s time hardly a famous passage i n h i s works that i s considered f i n e on any other ground than that i t sounds b e a u t i f u l l y , and awakens i n us the emotion that o r i g i n a l l y expressed i t s e l f by i t s beauty. S t r i p i t of that beauty of sound by prosaic paraphrase, and you have nothing l e f t but a p l a t i t u d e that even an American professor of ethi c s would blush to off e r to his d i s c i p l e s " (my emphases). 2 2 The answer to t h i s , of course, i s that Shakespeare, unlike Shaw, i s able to contemplate more than one great idea at a time — e s p e c i a l l y those attitudes which are part of l i f e even i f they seem repugnant to a r e a l i s t i c philosophy: l i k e Henry V s p a t r i o t i c speeches and Cleopatra's immortal longings. Therefore, what seems to Shaw a muddle i s act u a l l y a complex network of meaning, too " i n t r i n s e t'unloose" (King Lear I I . i i . 8 1 ) . As an example of his own dramatic method, Shaw f e l t compelled to t i d y up the ending of Cymbeline by omitting the r e l i g i o u s references to Jupiter's - 177 - intervention and by putting into Imogen's mouth an e x p l i c i t and s t r i d e n t i n s t r u c t i o n on the proper way to tr e a t a woman. Shakespeare worked otherwise, and i t i s his contemplation of the i n t e r a c t i o n of several a t t i t u d e s , h i s arguing of opposites, h i s methodical q u i z z i c a l i t y toward a l l symbolic actions which constitute his morality. After a l l , i t i s a t r u t h f u l man, as well as a j u s t and brave man, who w i l l t r y to hear every argument that can be heard and to give every reason that can be given, even i f he proposes to "vote" for one over the other in the end. IS THIS THE PROMISED END? As I have discussed them, the problem plays show Shakespeare's morality at i t s most scrupulous, o f f e r i n g several perspectives i n an act of "pure persuasion" which i s so evenly argued that no attitu d e emerges as the one the audience i s c l e a r l y asked to accept. The arguments i n these plays are more unrelieved by a persuasion to order at the end than those in other plays of the canon. With the tragedies, Shakespeare once again returns to res o l v i n g the c o n f l i c t of attitudes as he has done i n his e a r l i e r plays, at l e a s t i n t h i s sense: he brings his characters or terms through the t o t a l transformation 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 of a "eulogy"; he praises t h e i r worth as the "vessels of meaning" or scapegoats that have helped us — the audience — reach an understanding through t h e i r act and s u f f e r i n g . Of course, i t i s not possible to put t h i s understanding e a s i l y into the words of a theme. What we learn from Hamlet's pained predicament, Lear's rashness, and Othello's jealousy comes from years of contemplating the i n t e r a c t i o n of attitudes which have made the deaths of these characters surely p i t i f u l and somehow necessary. I t would take another thesis to put my own paraphrase into - 178 - decent order, and I would, at that, only be adding a small contribution to the understanding of so many others. Nevertheless, I should emphasize that my understanding would be r h e t o r i c a l ; i t would assume that I am "consubstantial" with these heroes and with t h e i r antagonists, that I can see i n them attitudes I have i n myself and that I therefore can learn from them. In t h i s I would d i f f e r from those who are persuaded otherwise. I remember two undergraduates, for example, to whom Lear's rashness seemed " u n r e a l i s t i c , " his r e f u s a l to accommodate himself to changing times impractical, and h i s choice of Cordelia sentimental. Therefore, they l o s t i n t e r e s t i n Lear and transferred i t to Edmund because his 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 and coming man of "nature" who gets shortchanged by an outdated society and who, despite a sentimental death-bed conversion, survives 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 Albany-like order into question. I believe that most people are persuaded as I am — that Lear i s the "vessel of meaning" i n t h i s play — but I am also convinced that Shakespeare has presented Edmund's at t i t u d e so well that latter-day Machiavels and neo- Nietzschean supermen ( c e r t a i n l y the two undergraduates) w i l l i d e n t i f y with h i s attitud e and h i s tragedy, even to the extent of downplaying Lear's. What could become for a few the tragedy of Edmund does become, for many, the tragedy of Macbeth. His death i s also a "transformation." Granted, his heroic e v i l gets no eulogy; instead, i t i s made "immortal." By dying for the p r i n c i p l e of self-determination, as a rebel to Malcolm's order, Macbeth, i n r h e t o r i c a l terms, shows that such a p r i n c i p l e i s worth dying f o r . For that reason, I would q u a l i f y s l i g h t l y Stephen Booth's recent and excellent analysis of t h i s play. For Booth, Macbeth, l i k e any formal tragedy, i s the attempt to define an indefinable experience. The audience f e e l s a c o n f l i c t between i t s customary, neat moral judgments and how i t r e a l l y experiences the character of Macbeth. The clash between what i t f e e l s and what i t ought to say goes - 179 - unrecognized consciously, but since i t i s sensed sublirninally and endured, the audience feels good for having survived t h i s grave threat to i t s cosy, everyday assumptions. Macbeth's lawless attitude threatens every attempt to define a moral order, but his death expels that threat at least within the confines of the play. 2^ Booth assumes, then, that the audience retains some measure of comfort; a r h e t o r i c a l analysis would not be so sure. Many in the audience, no doubt, believe that the surviving order i s well r i d of the "dead butcher and his fiend 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 victory of Malcolm, a mere act of wishful thinking that his coronation at Scone w i l l unite his subjects and s a t i s f y t h e i r ambitions. In his f i l m of Macbeth (1971), Roman Polanski has tinkered with the text to give more weight to t h i s pessimistic view. As Jack Jorgens describes i t : The time i s not free at the end of Polanski's melodrama, for there w i l l be no end to the chain of ambitious k i l l i n g s , repression, and fear. In the concluding scene a rider approaches the ruins 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 shelter from the rain under the ruins as Macbeth and Banquo did. Hearing the witches' chanting, he goes to investigate. The film's f i n a l image i s a sustained long shot of the ruin i n the r a i n with the horse outside awaiting i t s master. e- Of course, Polanski need not have strayed far from the text to make t h i s point. An attentive audience w i l l hear again i n Malcolm's promise t& plant "newly with the time" whatever needs to be done (V.viii.66) an echo of his father Duncan's sim 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 after a storm i s also heard the sequel of disappointed ambition and of a r a d i c a l refusal 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 his Lady have been i m p l i c i t l y - 180 - compared. Since, r h e t o r i c a l l y speaking, every "god term" needs a " d e v i l term" i n order to define i t s e l f , an audience cannot help but suspect any promise of pure grace and peace. In the tragedy of Macbeth, the audience has, i n a sense, witnessed the d e v i l being given h i s due, and some may even be persuaded that the d e v i l has only l o s t a b a t t l e , not the war. For Burke, Macbeth i s Shakespeare's way of expressing "outlaw" attitudes while g i v i n g proper deference to the order that commands for the moment. He represents a mounting middle c l a s s ambition which t r i e s to grasp the "golden round" for i t s e l f i n order to e s t a b l i s h a new order based on i t s p r i n c i p l e s . 2 ^ One need not accept Burke's s o c i a l l y weighted analysis i n order to accept h i s p r i n c i p a l point: that Macbeth, l i k e every drama, enacts attitudes that w i l l appeal i n d i f f e r e n t ways to several constituencies i n the audience. According to William Empson, who i s discussing irony i n the novel, "double irony i s somehow natural to the stage" where a dramatist can appeal to d i f f e r e n t p a r t i e s i n the audience i n order to help him argue a complex matter of concern. I t i s when the i r o n i s t himself begins to doubt...that the f a r - reaching i r o n i e s [of a novel] appear; and by then the thing i s l i k e a dramatic appeal to an audience, because both partie s i n the audience could swallow i t . The e s s e n t i a l i s for the author to repeat the audience i n himself, and he may saf e l y seem to do nothing more. No doubt he has cover t l y , i f i t i s a good irony, to rec o n c i l e the opposites into a larger unity, or suggest a balanced p o s i t i o n by s e t t i n g out two extreme views, or accept a l i e (more or less consciously) to find energy to accept a truth...I think i t must be conceived as l i k e a full-blown "dramatic ambiguity," i n which d i f f e r e n t parts of the audience are meant to i n t e r p r e t the thing 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 ensue over whether the order f i n a l l y proferred i s adequate or not, desirable or not. As I have said, the tragedies move away from the problem plays by c l e a r l y presenting an order for acceptance or r e j e c t i o n . In the same way, the romances provide a clear pointer to a comic kind of acceptance: to the deep joy that comes when the - 181 - l o s t are found, i d e n t i t i e s are c l a r i f i e d and accepted, and the s i n f u l are forgiven. The conventions of romance are used with less formal q u a l i f i c a t i o n ; they are not f e l t to be an imposition on a plot struggling to go elsewhere. The characters are also drawn with less inherent ambiguity. Imogen, for example, not only loves Posthumus but i s c l e a r l y lovable i n return. I t i s wrong to doubt her and to harm her while i t i s not as obviously wrong for Bertram to r e s i s t Helena. Also, Imogen's search for Posthumus i s not presented as a scheme to win him back. No one would c a l l Imogen a "clever wench" of f o l k t a l e , much less defend her on those grounds which W.W.Lawrence chose i n order to defend Helena's apparently "predatory monogamy." Of course, even i n the romances, Shakespeare does not e n t i r e l y give up contrasting attitudes and including 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 construction i s more of a piece than in the problem plays. The q u a l i f i c a t i o n s come, instead, from reminders within the play of i t s f i c t i v e and i l l u s o r y nature and of the loose ends that have not been included within the charmed c i r c l e of the r e s o l u t i o n . For example, the loose bones of Antigonus r a t t l e against the f i n a l harmony of The Winter's Tale and, i n The Tempest, i t i s clear both that Antonio w i l l never accept forgiveness from Prospero and that Caliban i s one upon whose nature the nurture of a r t w i l l never s t i c k . These are r e c a l c i t r a n t materials, not to be wrestled, i t seems, to any r e s o l u t i o n . Moreover, the f i c t i v e nature of the play i t s e l f i s r e l e n t l e s s l y pointed out as i f to q u a l i f y i t s claim to serious a t t e n t i o n . P e r i c l e s i s a "song that old was sung," t o l d by "ancient" Gower; the reunion of Hermione, Leontes and Perdita "were i t but t o l d you, should be hooted at/ Like an old t a l e " (Winter's Tale V.iii.116-117); and the pageants of Prospero, l i k e those of the a r t i s t generally and of nature i t s e l f , are but a "baseless f a b r i c " (Tempest IV.i.151). - 182 - Let Autolycus, the thieving s e l l e r of i n c r e d i b l e ballads, stand in for the playwright himself. Let him t e s t your c r e d u l i t y with a story about "a f i s h , that appeared upon the coast on Wednesday the fourscore of A p r i l , forty thousand fathoms above water, and sang t h i s b a l l a d against the hard hearts of maids; i t was thought she was a woman and was turned into a cold f i s h for she would not exchange f l e s h with one that loved her." Let him convince you that "the ballad i s very p i t i f u l and true," and you w i l l be ready for anything — even for a statue that moves (Winter's Tale IV.iv.279-287). "There are cozeners abroad; therefore i t behooves men to be wary" (IV.iv.256-257). We have been warned, but, i f we stay i n our seats, i t i s because we have solved for ourselves the r e l a t i o n s h i p between art and nature; we have come to know how "what i s so" about us can reach us through "what i s not so," how we can be persuaded to a truth through a f i c t i o n . The argument of attitudes, then, has moved to another l e v e l of abstraction. Within the romance, the order i s c l e a r l y established, and the playwright has used every formal means to move us to accept i t . The preferable order, then, i s not i n doubt; what remains i n doubt i s the possible relevance of t h i s order to anything we know i n nature. IMAGINARY GARDENS AND REAL TOADS The strength of Burke's r h e t o r i c a l method, which attends c l o s e l y to the use of form for s p e c i f i c e f f e c t s on an audience, can best be appreciated by comparing i t with the s t r u c t u r a l c r i t i c i s m of Northrop Frye. As I mentioned i n the Introduction, Frye sees no problem with how to interpret the problem plays. For him, the question i s s e t t l e d by detecting the convention or mythic - 183 - structure which serves as the general framework of the na r r a t i v e . I f i t s mythos i s comic rather than t r a g i c , i t s genre and the response to i t are obvious. Frye asks the question baldly: "Does anything that exhibits the structure of a comedy have to be taken as a comedy, regardless of i t s content or our attitu d e to that content?" And h i s response? "The answer i s c l e a r l y yes. A comedy i s not a play which ends happily. I t i s a play i n which a c e r t a i n structure i s present and works through to i t s own l o g i c a l end, whether we or the cast or the author f e e l happy about i t or not." 2? According to Frye, the problem with the problem plays i s the clash between the convention used and "the unacceptable behavior" i t imposes on the characters as they are developed. So, " I f the hero of a t h r i l l e r miraculously gets out of his scrape, that i s convention: but i f he had to be i n v i n c i b l y stupid to have got into the scrape in the f i r s t place, we may become impatient with the convention." 2 8 Therefore, the problem with A l l ' s Well i s how Helena w i l l accomplish her tasks; the problem with Measure for Measure i s how Isabella's c h a s t i t y w i l l e f f e c t the r e s o l u t i o n . For Frye, Cymbeline i s the "apotheosis of the problem comedies"; i t i s "much ado about everything." 2^ In i t Shakespeare r e c a p i t u l a t e s e a r l i e r concerns and motifs, in c l u d i n g the theme of r e c o n c i l i a t i o n , and moves his scaled down characters inexorably through myriad disguisings, disclosures and t e a r f u l reunions u n t i l the promised end a r r i v e s . According to Frye, "The difference between Cymbeline and the e a r l i e r problem comedies, then, i s that the counter-problem force, so to speak, which brings a f e s t i v e conclusion out of a l l the mistakes of the characters, i s e x p l i c i t l y associated with the working of a divine providence, here c a l l e d J u p i t e r . Jupiter i s as much a projection of the author's craftsmanship as the Duke i n Measure for Measure; that i s , the difference between Cymbeline and the problem comedies i s not that Cymbeline i s adding a r e l i g i o u s allegory to the dramatic action. What i t i s - 184 - adding...is the primitive mythical dimension which i s only i m p l i c i t in the problem comedies. Cymbeline i s not a more r e l i g i o u s play than Much Ado, i t i s a more academic play, with a greater t e c h n i c a l i n t e r e s t i n dramatic structure."3° The elevating of Much Ado, A l l ' s Well, and Measure for Measure and the f l a t t e n i n g of Cymbeline would make these plays resemble one another as more or less e x p l i c i t and successful attempts to use romance conventions; they are not "dark comedies," therefore, but rather plays within the penumbra of romance. However, i f my analysis has any merit, i t has shown that the problem of the problem plays cannot be resolved by i s o l a t i n g the "narrative framework" alone and making that the sole c r i t e r i o n for the audience's p r i n c i p a l response. I say " p r i n c i p a l " because Frye acknowledges that responses to a play vary — one may view the f e s t i v e ending through the eyes of Orlando or Jaques. Nevertheless, he maintains that i f the play i s a comedy or i n c i p i e n t romance according to i t s structure, i t must be taken to be such regardless of one's responses otherwise. This procrustean determination of the genre of a Shakespearean play should be contrasted, however, with the views of others who have sensed something "sui generis" i n Shakespeare's dramas, l i k e Kenneth Muir who argues that Shakespeare wrote tragedies, not tragedy, and l i k e Ralph Berry, who argues the same for the comedies. Frye i s led to his conclusion, I believe, by h i s emphasis on mythos or conventional form. Rhetorical c r i t i c i s m , however, takes a broader approach. It places the primary focus on communication between author and audience, and then recognizes progressive, r e p e t i t i v e , and minor forms i n addition to conventional forms as means of persuasion. These forms may overlap and complement one another, or they may c o l l i d e , but i n any case they subserve the - 185 - primary purpose of persuading the audience to i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with the a r t i s t ' s contemplation of a matter which concerns them both.^ 1 One of the p r i n c i p a l concerns of Cymbeline, for example, i s to d i s t i n g u i s h true n o b i l i t y from that which i s merely i n h e r i t e d . Cloten and h i s mother are k i l l e d o f f while Posthumus and Imogen are married p a r t l y to s a t i s f y an audience's sense of the kind of n o b i l i t y which belongs to a desirable public order. Unlike the problem plays, Cymbeline does not confuse the issues. The terms are c l e a r l y defined through the conventional form of a romance or f a i r y t a l e (wicked stepmother seeks to poison b e a u t i f u l daughter of the King), and the ending i s , for a l l the complexity of i t s unr a v e l l i n g , "the more delayed, delighted." In the s p i r i t of r e c o n c i l i a t i o n which p r e v a i l s at the close ("Pardon's the word to a l l " ) , both the claims of natural vigor coupled with a generous s p i r i t and the claims of in h e r i t e d t i t l e are recognized. Not only does the brave Leonatus Posthumus marry the princess Imogen, but the King's sons are recognized to be such both by t h e i r brave behavior in b a t t l e as well as by Guiderius's d i s t i n c t i v e birthmark. Unlike the endings of A l l ' s Well and Measure for Measure, no one i n t h i s play f i n a l l y r e s i s t s the progressive movement to mercy and marriage. True, King Cymbeline, through whom a l l the r e c o n c i l i a t i o n s are effected, refuses to grant complete forgiveness at f i r s t to h i s own son and to his Roman enemies. However, t h i s i s because he possesses only p a r t i a l knowledge of who i s before him and p a r t l y because he i s s t i l l under the e v i l influence of h i s queen. Once she i s " k i l l e d o f f , " Cymbeline comes to learn the f u l l extent of her wickedness, i s told the i d e n t i t y of his sons, and i s shown an example of noble forgiveness through Posthumus's pardoning of Iachimo. As a r e s u l t , he i s educated to the point where he can e f f e c t the f i n a l ' and f u l l e s t r e c o n c i l i a t i o n of enemies as he says: "Although the v i c t o r , we submit to - 186 - Caesar,/ And to the Roman empire, promising/ To pay our wonted t r i b u t e , from the which/ We were dissuaded by our wicked queen." (Cymbeline V.v.460-463). Cymbeline does more than add "a r e l i g i o u s allegory to the dramatic a c t i o n . " I t uses conventional, r e p e t i t i v e , and progressive forms for the sake of persuading the audience to the kind of n o b i l i t y which i s celebrated at the close. Unlike the problem plays, t h i s play has made up i t s mind about what attitude i s desirable and argues for i t to the end. As my analysis i l l u s t r a t e s , then, the difference 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 the difference between emphasizing the use of form for the sake of persuasion to an at t i t u d e and the use of form for i t s own sake.^ 2 In his introduction to A Natural Perspective, Northrop Frye suggests that there are two kinds of c r i t i c : one i s either an " I l i a d " or an "Odyssey" c r i t i c , depending upon whether one prefers either the d i d a c t i c or the pleasing function of l i t e r a t u r e ; whether one looks p r i m a r i l y for l i f e - l i k e c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n and high seriousness of theme ( l i t e r a t u r e as allegory of "the nonl i t e r a r y center of experience") or whether one studies and responds to the story i t s e l f (the acceptance of conventions and the tour de force required to overcome them). The I l i a d c r i t i c prefers tragedy and realism; the Odyssey c r i t i c , comedy and romance. Shakespeare, says Frye, i s an Odyssey writer, unlike Jonson who respected too much an audience's " s u b c r i t i c a l " tendency to equate stage action and r e a l l i f e and who consciously appealed to i t . Frye casts i n his l o t with the Odyssey writers and c r i t i c s ; hence, his analysis of mythoi i n Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m which he constructs with consummate s k i l l and involuted complexity. In the s p i r i t of Frye's analogy, I would suggest that i t i s possible to be an "Aeneid" c r i t i c : one who, l i k e V e r g i l , combines both the I l i a d and the Odyssey — communication of attitudes and s k i l l of craftsmanship — i n a commentary on art and l i f e . I assume, with Sidney and other Renaissance c r i t i c s , that a r t "imitates" l i f e i n such a way that through the poet's f i c t i o n one can learn truths more phi l o s o p h i c a l than hi s t o r y and more l i v e l y than philosophy. At the same time, I assume that only through h i s formal construction of an a r t i f a c t can the poet communicate his insight and, in doing so, r i s k success or f a i l u r e depending upon the response of the audience to his equations for terms and to the conventional, progressive, and r e p e t i t i v e movements i n t h e i r exposition. I believe, then, that Shakespeare i s an Aeneid writer, whose a r t f u l constructions and arguing of attitudes draw us in t o a never-ending contemplation of humanity i n action and contrive i n so doing to give us the pleasure and the wisdom of imaginary gardens with r e a l toads i n them.33 - 188 - VII. ENDNOTES INTRODUCTION 1. Frederick S. Boas, Shakespeare and his Predecessors, (1896; rpt. New York: Greenwood, 1969) pp. 345 and 357-358. 2. W.W. Lawrence, Shakespeare's Problem Comedies, 2nd. ed. (1931; rpt. 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; rpt. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1968), pp. 3-5; A.P. Rossiter, Angel With Horns: Fifteen 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 Art: A study of Form i n Elizabethan Drama (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1954), pp.366-367. 4. Lawrence, p.206: "There appears to be no va l i d reason for 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 rea l ambiguities as to which characters are good and which are bad. Heroism and virtue s t i l l shine c l e a r l y forth, though sometimes in ways which appear to us strange. To t h i s point we must hold fast, forgetting 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 for Measure i s how Isabell's chastity, always a magical force in romance, i s going to rescue both - 189 - the violated J u l i e t t a and the j i l t e d Mariana as a result of being exposed to 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 Ju l i u s Caesar, Measure for Measure, Antony and Cleopatra (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1963), p.6. 6. Patrick 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 Felperin, Shakespearean Romance (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972), p.77. 9. E.C. Pettet, Shakespeare and the Romance Tradition (London: Staples Press, 1949), p.160. 10. R.S. White, Shakespeare and the Romance Ending (Newcastle upon Tyne: privately printed, 1981), p.47. 11. Paul de Man, Blindness and Insight: Essays in the Rhetoric of Contemporary C r i t i c i s m 2nd. ed. Theory and History of Literature, Vol.7 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983), pp. 220-226. 12. Wilbur Samuel Howell, "The Arts of Lite 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 in the Basic Discip l i n e s of C r i t i c i s m (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1975), p.86. 13. Howell, i b i d . p. 119, chides Vickers for his 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 for content and form as well as for tropes and figures. "Vickers's willingness to follow Ramus and to isolate rhetoric from i t s c l a s s i c a l concern for content and form leaves him in the position 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 his book [ C l a s s i c a l Rhetoric i n English Poetry]. In short, t h i s rhetoric i s not c l a s s i c a l rhetoric, but only a part of i t . " - 190 - 14. "Longinus refers to that kind of elation wherein the audience feels as though i t were not merely receiving, but were i t s e l f creatively p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n the poet's or speaker's assertion. Could we not say that, in such cases, the audience i s exalted by the assertion because i t has the f e e l of collaborating in the assertion?" Kenneth Burke, Rhetoric of Motives (Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1969), pp.57-58. 15. "For to say truely, what else i s man but his mind?...He therefore that hath vanquished the minde of man [by using the figures] hath made the greatest and most glorious conquest." George Puttenham, The Arte of English Poesie, ed. Gladys Doidge Willock and Al i c e Walker (Cambridge: Cambridge University 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 didacticism in poetry, on the one hand, and delight and didacticism i n oratory, on the other, was that the poem accomplished these ends by f i c t i o n s , the oration by statements." The in f i g h t i n g among rhetoricians about the "proper" matter for t h e i r study (whether "discourse" alone [spoken or written] or any persuasive use of a symbol system) should not obscure thei r agreement that a rhetorician examines the pragmatic and humanizing effects of communication. To that end, he or she continues the A r i s t o t e l i a n analysis of speaker, audience, and message, of ethos, pathos, and logos in order to evaluate how effec t i v e and how excellent the use of rhetoric has been. Most rhetoricians (with academic domiciles usually i n the Speech Department) have t r a d i t i o n a l l y limited their studies to h i s t o r i c a l orations or to speeches embedded in the context of l i t e r a t u r e (see Donald C. Bryant, Rhetorical Dimensions i n C r i t i c i s m [Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 1973], pp.27-28). Some, l i k e Wayne C. Booth i n The Rhetoric of F i c t i o n (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961) have studied the strategies in novels by which the implied author seeks to convince his implied audience of a moral stance toward the action. Kenneth Burke stands almost - 191 - alone both for examining the rhetoric of every "symbolic action" and for using a l l that there i s to use (psychology, sociology, biography, formal analysis) in order to explain to what effect the communication i s couched i n the way i t i s (a process of analysis which he c a l l s "prophesying after the event"). 17. Brian Vickers, review of Shakespeare and the Rhetoricians, by Marion Trousdale, Times Lit e r a r y Supplement, 8 October, 1982, p.1110. 18. Tuve, p.387 and p.397: "Poetry's concern with universals i s thus ' i n t e l l e c t u a l ' contemplation. One cannot confine the 'ra t i o n a l ' to the a c t i v i t i e s of the i n t e l l e c t u s ; i t cannot do anything alone. The pursuit of truth requires the interaction of a l l these f a c u l t i e s , and f a l s i t y or lack of d i s c i p l i n e in any of them w i l l hinder that pursuit." 19. Tuve, pp.389-390. 20. Philosophy of Literary Form; Studies i n Symbolic Action, 3rd. ed. (Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1973), p.31. BURKE 1. In t h i s chapter, the works of Burke w i l l be cited as follows: ATH (Attitudes Toward History. 2nd. ed. Los Altos: Hermes, 1959); CS (Counterstatement. 1931; rpt. Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1968); GM (Grammar of Motives. 1945; rpt. Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1969); LSA (Language as Symbolic Action. Berkeley: University of Ca l i f o r n i a Press, 1968); Othello ("Othello: An Essay to I l l u s t r a t e a Method." Hudson Review. 4 (1951), pp. 165-203); PLF (Philosophy of L i t e r a r y Form. 1941. rpt. Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1973); RM (A Rhetoric of Motives. 1950; rpt. Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1969). 2. Unless otherwise indicated, a l l quotations are from The Complete Works of Shakespeare, ed. Hardin Craig and David Bevington, rev.ed. (Glenview: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1973). - 192 - 3. Blindness and Insight: Essays i n the Rhetoric of Contemporary C r i t i c i s m (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983), pp. 240-241. 4. Theodore Spencer, Shakespeare and the Nature of Man (1942; rpt. Toronto: Macmillan, 1969), p.45. 5. On Directing Shakespeare (London: Crown Helm, 1977), p.77 (Kahn); p.42 (Swinarski); p.92 ( P h i l i p s ) . 6. Shakespeare Quarterly, 32 (1981), p.272. 7. Shakespeare Quarterly, 17 (1966), p.206. 8. I b i d . , p.208. 9. Ibid., pp. 208 and 211 . 10. "Othello: An Essay to I l l u s t r a t e a Method," Hudson Review, 4 (1951), p.202. 11. Frank Lentricchia, C r i t i c i s m and Social Change (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), p.86. 12. C r i t i c a l Responses to Kenneth Burke, ed. William H. Rueckert (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1969), pp. 190-191. 13. Stephen Booth, King Lear, Macbeth, I n d e f i n i t i o n , and Tragedy, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983), pp. 61-78. ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL 1. G.K. Hunter, ed., A l l ' s Well That Ends Well (New York: Methuen, 1959), p . x l v i i . 2. G. Wilson Knight, "The Third Eye" i n his The Sovereign Flower (London: Methuen, 1958), pp. 95-160. 3. Drama, Spring 1968, p.27. 4. A l l quotations are from the Signet edition of A l l ' s Well That Ends Well, ed. Sylvan Barnet (New York: New American Library, 1965). - 193 - 5. Geoffrey Bullough, ed., Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1968), Vol. 2, p.392. 6. Rene Girard has studied extensively the theme of the "double" i n l i t e r a t u r e , especially as i t appears i n myths about brothers i n the Greek legends and the Hebrew scriptures. He examines the "mimetic desire" of these r i v a l s , which escalates v i o l e n t l y u n t i l a scapegoat or " s a c r i f i c i a l outlet" establishes a new order based on the sense that some issue has been settled in a f i n a l way. See especially Violence and the Sacred, trans. Patrick Gregory (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977). Girard i n s i s t s as well that only opinion or be l i e f can decide between i l l e g i t i m a t e and j u d i c i a l forms of violence. In other words, only a rhetorician's arguments can create a consensus i n which people agree to accept some act as a " f i n a l " decision. See Violence and the Sacred, p.24. 7. Kenneth Burke studies such images of catharsis i n "The Thinking of the Body"; see LSA, pp.308-343. 8. W.W. Lawrence, Shakespeare's Problem Comedies (New York: Frederick Unger, 2nd.ed., 1960), pp. 32-77. 9. Bertrand Evans, Shakespeare's Comedies (London: Oxford University Press, 1967), pp. v i i - x i . 10. Bullough, p.393. 11. Evans, p.164. 12. Bullough, p.393. 13. Bullough, p.394. 14. Muriel C. Bradbrook surveys the literature.on the discussion of honor in "Virtue i s the True N o b i l i t y : A Study of the Structure of A l l ' s Well That Ends Well," Review of English Studies, NS 1 (1950), pp. 289-301. 15. Bradbrook, quoted i n A l l ' s Well That Ends Well, Signet Edition, p.183. - 194 - 16. See Richard A. Levin, " A l l ' s Well That Ends Well and ' A l l seems Well'," Shakespeare Survey, 13 (1980), p.142: "A society so w i l l f u l l y s e l f - ignorant as the one pictured here needs a scapegoat, and i t has one in Parolles. He alone suffers, though many are as corrupt as he...As c r i t i c s have shown, Bertram i s wrongly exculpated by those who would say that Parolles leads him astray." 17. Lawrence, pp.65-66. 18. Shakespeare r e a l i s t i c a l l y touches upon the l i m i t s of art's power in Lafew's words to the Countess about Helena's father: "He was s k i l l f u l enough to have lived s t i l l , i f knowledge could be set up against mortality" (I.i . 3 2 - 33). 19. Johnson on Shakespeare, R.W. Desai, ed. (New Delhi: Orient Longman, 1979), p.135. 20. I t seems that deliberate fru s t r a t i o n of expectations i s a signature of this play. That i s how I would explain the changes to Shakespeare's source which make no sense dramatically but which are perfectly consistent i f fru s t r a t i o n i s a theme. The f i r s t i s i n I I I . v , the so l d i e r s ' entrance into Florence. Why does Shakespeare build up their entry only to have the Widow say, "We have l o s t our labor; they are gone a contrary way" (III.v.7-8)? Why, secondly, does he have Helena seek the King at Marseilles i n V . i , only to discover that he has departed for Rousillon ? This might have been prevented by a messenger. I think i t gives him the chance for more fru s t r a t i o n of expectation and the sowing of a l i t t l e more hope for a happy ending. When the Widow says, "Lord, how we lose our pains!", Helena has her chance to say, " A l l ' s well that ends well yet,/ Though time seem so adverse and means u n f i t " (V.i.24-26). The sense of an "endless ending" i s created by these o s c i l l a t i n g rhythms of expectation and disappointment. 21. Robert Y. Turner, "Dramatic Conventions in A l l ' s Well That Ends Well," PMLA, 75 (1960), p.499. - 195 - 22. See Walter F. Eggers, J r . , "'Bring Forth a Wonder': Presentation in Shakespeare's Romances," Texas Studies i n Language and Li t e r a t u r e , 21 (1979), pp. 454-475 for a study of Shakespeare's presentation of wonder with the intended effect of engaging an audience to wonder at a marvel and then to wonder about i t . 23. Turner, p.502. 24. Howard Felperin, Shakespearean Romance (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972), p.94. 25. Anthony B. Dawson, Indirections (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1978), p.xiv. 26. A.P. Rossiter, Angel With Horns (New York: Theatre Arts Books, 1974), p.100. 27. C l i f f o r d Leech, "The Theme of Ambition in A l l ' s Well That Ends Well," English L i t e r a r y History 21 (1954), p.29. 28. E.M.W. T i l l y a r d , Shakespeare's Problem Plays (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1968), p.117. 29. Hunter, p . x l . 30. "Directing Problem Plays: John Barton Talks to Gareth Lloyd Evans," Shakespeare Survey 25 (1972), p.63. 31. The Magus: Revised Version (New York: D e l l , 1978), p.657. - 196 - TROILUS AND CRESSIDA 1. N e v i l l C o ghill sums up the Troy legend i n England i n his Shakespeare's Professional S k i l l s (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965), pp. 86-88. 2. Geoffrey Bullough, ed. Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1977), Vol. 6, pp.93, 95, and 100. 3. G. Wilson Knight, The Wheel of F i r e , 4th. ed. (London: Methuen, 1965), pp. 47 and 70. According to Bullough, p.108, "The difference between them [Greeks and Trojans] i s not, as Professor G.W. Knight has argued, between 'reason' and ' i n t u i t i o n ' , but between pride veiled with policy and pride openly admitted and g l o r i f i e d . " 4. Una Ellis-Fermor, "Discord in the Spheres" from her The Frontiers of Drama, 2nd.ed. (London: Methuen, 1964), pp.56-76; Katherine Stockholder, "Power and Pleasure in Troilus and Cressida, or Rhetoric and Structure of the Anti-Tragic," College English, 30 (1968/9), pp. 539-555; Rosalie L. Colie, Shakespeare's Li v i n g Art (Princeton: University of Princeton Press, 1974), pp. 317-349. 5. A l l quotations from Troilus and Cressida are from the Signet edition of the play, ed. Daniel Seltzer (New York: New American Library, 1963). 6. "Daphne," The Oxford C l a s s i c a l Dictionary, 2nd.ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978). 7. I am indebted to Richard D. Fly for an excellent analysis of t h i s episode and others i n which he relates the "radical i n s t a b i l i t y i n the play's formal elements" to "the devastating and form-denying visio n informing i t . " See his "'Suited i n Like Conditions as our Argument': Imitative Form in Shakespeare's Tr o i l u s and Cressida," Studies i n English Lit e r a t u r e , 15 (1975), pp. 273-292. - 197 - 8. Caroline Spurgeon, Shakespeare's Imagery and What I t T e l l s Us (1935; rpt. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971), Chart VII. 9. Derek A. Traversi, An Approach to Shakespeare, 2nd.ed. (1938; rpt. Garden Ci t y : Doubleday Anchor, 1956), pp. 70-71. 10. Language As Symbolic Action (Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1966), p.110. 11. Ashland's 1984 production enforced t h i s theme of r i v a l s enmeshed in Time by costuming Greeks and Trojans a l i k e in rusty armor and tattered clothing, while the stage i t s e l f was set over a mound containing the skeletons from battles of previous times. 12. Ellis-Fermor, p.75: "In Lear, the indications of t h i s [the emergence from destructive to constructive experience] are more frequent and the conversions that flow i n r i s i n g and cumulative waves through the l a s t two acts of the play a l l set towards a positive, though undefined, interpretation, resting upon this foundation [of an order p o s i t i v e l y perceived]." MEASURE FOR MEASURE 1. I accept Harriet Hawkins's judgment that i t makes no difference to the play whether Claudio's marriage i s a "de praesenti" or a "de futuro" contract. These fine d i s t i n c t i o n s are not drawn out for the audience and, in fact, i t makes better dramatic sense i f Claudio's contract and Angelo's seem to be the same. In t h i s way, they both f a l l equally under the law. See Harriet Hawkins, "What Kind of Contract had Angelo? A Note on Some Non- Problems i n Elizabethan Drama," College English, 36 (1974), pp. 173-179. 2. Burke describes t h i s process as "The Paradox of Purity": the more one seeks a "pure d e f i n i t i o n " of a substance, the more one requires an opposite i n order to define what i t i s not. See A Grammar of Motives, pp. 35-38. - 198 - 3. A l l quotations are from the New Arden edition of Measure for Measure, ed. J.W. Lever (New York: Methuen, 1965). 4. Promos and Cassandra i s reprinted in Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare, ed. Geoffrey Bullough, Vol.2 (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1958). 5. This view of Angelo's tragedy i s admirably set out i n an a r t i c l e by W.M.T. Dodds, "The Character of Angelo in 'Measure for Measure'," Modern Language Review, 41 (1946), pp.246-255. 6. Empson analyses the innuendo of Claudio's speech i n Seven Types of Ambiguity (London: Chatto and Windus, 1947), pp. 202-203. 7. I am indebted for t h e i r analyses of the punning on "heads" i n t h i s play to Charles Frey, "Shakespearean Interpretation: Promising Problems," Shakespeare Studies 10 (1977), pp.1-8 and to Meredith Skura, "New Interpretations for Interpretation in Measure for Measure," Boundary 2 7, No.2 (Winter, 1979), pp.39-59. 8. For the Duke as King Severus, see Mary Lascelles, " S i r Thomas Elyot and the Legend of Alexander Severus," Review of English Studies N.S. I I , No.8 (1951), pp.305-318; as Moderation, see J.W. Lever,ed., Measure for Measure (London: Methuen, 1967), p p . x l i v - l i and passim; as Providence, see G. Wilson Knight, "Measure for Measure and the Gospels," i n his The Wheel of F i r e : Interpretations of Shakespearian Tragedy (1949; rpt. London: Methuen, 1961),pp. 73-96; also, Frank McCombie, "Measure for Measure and the E p i s t l e to the Romans," New B l a c k f r i a r s 61 (1980), pp. 276-285. 9. See J.W. Lever, Measure for Measure, pp. l x x x i - l x x x i i i ; Patrick Murray, The Shakespearian Scene: Some Twentieth-Century Perspectives (Longmans: London, 1969), p.138; R.W. Chambers, Man's Unconquerable Mind, cited in Measure for Measure, ed. S. Nagarajan (Signet Edition; New York: The New American Library, 1964), pp. 213-214. - 199 - 10. Robert Ornstein, The Moral Vision of Jacobean Tragedy (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1960), p.258. 11. '"The Devil's Party': Virtues and Vices in 'Measure for Measure'," Shakespeare Survey, 31 (1978), pp. 109-110. 12. John Barton's landmark production of Measure for Measure at Stratford-upon-Avon i n 1970 departed from customary stagings of the ending i n order to emphasize the d i v i s i o n of c r i t i c a l opinion about the Duke and Isabella's puzzlement over his behavior and his proposal (see "Directing Problem Plays: John Barton Talks to Gareth Lloyd Evans," Shakespeare Survey 25 [1972], pp. 64-66). Influenced by t h i s darker view of the Duke's movements, Jerry Turner's Ashland production of 1978 set the play i n Vienna (to give a Freudian perspective) and r e l e n t l e s s l y emphasized the Duke as inept and even "kinky" (see Alan Dessen's review i n Shakespeare Quarterly 29 [1978], pp.279- 280). At t h i s writing (1985), the Shakespeare F e s t i v a l i n Stratford, Ontario i s staging a "punk" version of Measure in which "the duke, with his f l a t , spreading face and maleficent voice, derives an almost obscene, and curiously sexual, pleasure in f i n a l l y releasing [his subjects] from t h e i r t o i l s " (reviewed by Ray Conlogue in The Toronto Globe and Mail, May 31, 1985, p.12). Although they achieve consistency of a kind at the expense of subtlety, these productions merely emphasize e x p l i c i t l y and strongly a sense of that "shiftingness" of character (Rossiter's word) which i s f u l l y warranted by the text. CONCLUSION 1. The Frontiers of Drama (London: Methuen, 1964), p.15. 2. Rhetoric of Motives (Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1969), p.43. - 200 - 3. "To Double Business Bound": Essays on Literature, Mimesis, and Anthropology (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978), p.218. 4. "Levi-Strauss, Frye, Derrida and Shakespearean C r i t i c i s m , " D i a c r i t i c s , 3 ( F a l l , 1973), p.37. 5. "Preface" to Johnson's edition of The Plays of William Shakespeare, 1765 from R.W. Desai, ed., Johnson on Shakespeare (New Delhi: Orient Longman, 1979), para. 44. 6. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lectures and Notes on Shakespere and Other English Poets, ed. T. Ashe (1884; rpt. Freeport: Books for L i b r a r i e s Press, 1972), p.263. 7. I b i d . , p.262. 8. Attitudes Toward History, 2nd.ed. (Los Altos: Hermes, 1959), p.239. 9. Some Versions of Pastoral (Norfolk: New Directions, n.d.), p.39. 10. King Lear, Macbeth, I n d e f i n i t i o n , and Tragedy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983), p.71. 11. "Preface," para.43. Johnson gives an example of such counteraction in his comment on Othello V.2.20-21 (Desai, p.171): "'I must weep,/ But they are cruel tears. This sorrow's heavenly;/ I t strikes where i t doth love. She wakes.'...I wish these two lines could be honestly ejected. I t i s the fate of Shakespeare to counteract his own pathos." 12. Burke c i t e s "self-interference" as a signal of delight in the act of persuasion for i t s own sake and not for the sake of an u l t e r i o r advantage to be gained. Such "pure persuasion" i s only r e l a t i v e l y attained, but i t i s l i k e l y to be found most of a l l i n those who delight in the way language works: "...the indication of pure persuasion in any a c t i v i t y i s in an element of 'standoffishness,' or perhaps better, self-interference, as judged by the tests of acquisition...Pure persuasion involves the saying of something, not for an extra-verbal advantage to be got by the saying, but because of a s a t i s f a c t i o n i n t r i n s i c to the saying. I t summons because i t l i k e s the feel of - 201 - a summons. I t would be nonplused i f the summons were answered. I t attacks because i t revels in the sheer syllables of vituperation." Rhetoric of Motives, p.269. 13. Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (New York: Grove Press, 1967), p.28. 14. "Preface," para. 33. 15. Desai, p.155. 16. A Grammar of Motives (Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1969), p.442. 17. Lectures and. Notes on Shakespere, pp. 237 and 241. 18. "Preface," paras. 160 and 14. 19. I b i d . , para. 11. 20. I b i d . , para. 8. 21. Bernard Shaw, The I r r a t i o n a l Knot: A Novel (1880; rpt. London: Constable, 1950), p . x v i i . 22. Bernard Shaw, Our Theatres i n the Nineties, Vol.XXV of The Collected Works of Bernard Shaw (New York: Wise, 1931),p.80. 23. I n d e f i n i t i o n , p.115: "For the length of Macbeth we are l i k e superhuman beings, creatures capable of being mentally comfortable with i n f i n i t e p o s s i b i l i t y . No wonder we enjoy ourselves. I said e a r l i e r that an audience to Macbeth cannot keep i t s e l f within the category dictated by i t s own morality, even though i t s moral judgments are dictated e n t i r e l y by that morality. The achievement of the play i s that i t enables i t s audience to endure the experience of such potential in i t s e l f . " 24. Shakespeare on Film (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1977), p.168. 25. Attitudes Toward History, pp. 24 and 29. 26. Some Versions of Pastoral, pp. 62-63. - 202 - 27. A Natural Perspective: The Development of Shakespearean Comedy and Romance (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1965), p.46. 28. I b i d . , p.45. 29. I b i d . , p.65. 30. Ib i d . , pp. 69-70. 31. Urging the case for r h e t o r i c a l c r i t i c i s m as comprehensive, as ready to use a l l that there i s to use, William J . Kennedy presses the point home: "S t r u c t u r a l i s t c r i t i c s forget that each l i t e r a r y utterance adds up to more than the sum of i t s l i n g u i s t i c parts; the study of those parts at whatever l e v e l of abstraction represents only a fraction of the whole. Beyond the binary oppositions and equivalences favored by these c r i t i c s , there are other r h e t o r i c a l dimensions that originate metalinguistically i n the interaction between speaker and audience, and that furthermore participate i n the h i s t o r i c a l unfolding of the text. The t o t a l l i t e r a r y work balances a l l these rh e t o r i c a l aspects i n subtly nuanced relationships which surpass the s t r u c t u r a l i s t method of analysis." Rhetorical Norms in Renaissance Literature (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1978), p.15. 32. In one br i e f mention of the play, Kenneth Burke sees Cymbeline as Shakespeare's successful integration of two attitudes belonging to two classes in his audience. Following Empson, Burke sees different languages as signs of different class interests, and he credits Shakespeare with "two triumphs. F i r s t , by interweaving country imagery with the new imagery of trade, he integrates for himself the feudal and mercantile worlds... and then tests the depth with which he has accepted the new coordinates by interweaving the imagery of trade into the texture of his play" (ATH, p.281). I f Burke's analysis i s correct, i t would explain why Cymbeline might have been powerfully moving for i t s o r i g i n a l audience. The movement of r e c o n c i l i a t i o n between a l l parties (and languages) within the play s a t i s f i e s a need for re c o n c i l i a t i o n between the classes watching the play. 0 - 203 - 33. Marianne Moore, "Poetry" in her Collected Poems (New York: Macmillan, 1952), p.41. - 204 - VIII, BIBLIOGRAPHY RHETORIC Baldwin, T.W. William Shakspere's Small Latine and Lesse Greeke. 2 Vols. Urbana: University of I l l i n o i s Press, 1944. Bewley, Marius. "Kenneth Burke as Literary C r i t i c . " In his The Complex Fate: Hawthorne, Henry James and Some Other American Writers. London: Chatto and Windus, 1952. Black, Edwin. Rhetorical C r i t i c i s m : A Study i n Method. New York: Macmillan, 1965. Booth, Wayne. C r i t i c a l Understanding: The Powers and Limits of Pluralism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979. Brown, Merle E. Kenneth Burke. University of Minnesota Pamphlets on American Writers, 75. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1969. Bryant, Donald C. Rhetorical Dimensions i n C r i t i c i s m . Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 1973. Burke, Kenneth. "As I was Saying." Michigan Quarterly Review, 11 (1972), pp. 9-27. . Attitudes Toward History. 2nd.ed. Los Altos: Hermes, 1959. . Counterstatement. 1931; rpt. Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1968. — . A Grammar of Motives. 1945; rpt. Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1969. . Language as Symbolic Action: Essays on L i f e , Literature, and Method. 1968; rpt. Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1973. "Othello: An Essay to I l l u s t r a t e a Method." Hudson Review. 4 (1951), pp. 165-203. - 205 - . The Philosophy of Li t e r a r y Form. 1941; rpt. 3rd. ed. Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1973. . A Rhetoric of Motives. 1950; rpt. Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1969. Cooper, Lane, ed. The Rhetoric of A r i s t o t l e . 1932; rpt. London: Prentice- H a l l , n.d. Frank, Armin Paul. Kenneth Burke. New York: Twayne, 1969. Girard, Rene. "Generative Violence and the Extinction of S o c i a l Order." Trans. Thomas Wieser. Salmagundi, 63-64 (1984), pp. 204-237. . "To Double Business Bound": Essays on Literature, Mimesis, and Anthropology. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978. . Violence and the Sacred. Trans. Patrick Gregory. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977. Howell, Wilbur Samuel. Poetics, Rhetoric, and Logic: Studies in the Basic Disciplines of C r i t i c i s m . Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1975. . Logic and Rhetoric in England, 1500-1700. New York: Russell and Russell, 1961. Hyman, Stanley Edgar. "Kenneth Burke and the C r i t i c i s m of Symbolic Action." In his The Armed Vision: A Study in the Methods of Modern Li t e r a r y C r i t i c i s m , rev.ed. New York: Vintage, 1955. Kennedy, William J. Rhetorical Norms in Renaissance Literature. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1978. Knox, George. C r i t i c a l Moments: Kenneth Burke's Categories and C r i t i q u i e s . Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1957. Krentz, Arthur A. "Dramatic "Form and Philosophical Content i n Plato's Dialogues." Philosophy and Literature. 7, No.1 (1983), pp. 32-47. Lentricchia, Frank. C r i t i c i s m and S o c i a l Change. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984. - 206 - Man, Paul de. Blindness and Insight: Essays i n the Rhetoric of Contemporary C r i t i c i s m . 2nd.ed. Theory and History of Lit e r a t u r e , Vol.7. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983. Norris, Christopher. Deconstruction: Theory and Practice. London: Methuen, 1982. Ong, Walter J . Ramus: Method and the Decay of Dialogue; From the Art of Discourse to the Art of Reason. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1958. Puttenham, George. The Arte of English Poesie. Ed. Galdys Doidge Willock and Ali c e Walker. 1936; rpt. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970. Richards, I.A. The Philosophy of Rhetoric. 1936; rpt. London: Oxford University Press, 1981. Rueckert, William H., ed. C r i t i c a l Responses to Kenneth Burke: 1924-1966. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1969. . Kenneth Burke and the Drama of Human Relations. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1963. Sloane, Thomas 0. and Chaim Perelman. "Rhetoric." Encyclopedia Britannica: Macropedia. 1974 ed. Trousdale, Marion. Shakespeare and the Rhetoricians. Chapel H i l l : University of North Carolina Press, 1982. Tuve, Rosemond. Elizabethan and Metaphysical Imagery: Renaissance Poetic and Twentieth Century C r i t i c s . Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1947. Vickers, Brian. C l a s s i c a l Rhetoric i n English Poetry. London: Macmillan, 1970. - 207 - SHAKESPEARE: GENERAL WORKS Altman, Joel B. The Tudor Play of Mind: Rhetorical Inquiry and the Development of Elizabethan Drama. Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1978. Berry, Ralph. On Directing Shakespeare: Interviews With Contemporary Directors. London: Croom Helm, 1977. . The Shakespearean Metaphor: Studies i n Language and Form. Totowa: Rowman and L i t t l e f i e l d , 1978. Shakespearean Structures. London: Macmillan, 1981. Booth, Stephen. King Lear, Macbeth, I n d e f i n i t i o n , and Tragedy. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983. , ed. Shakespeare's Sonnets ..New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977. \i Brown, John Russell. "The Interpretation of Shakespeare's Comedies: 1900- 1953." Shakespeare Survey, 7 (1955), pp. 1-13. . Shakespeare and his Comedies. 2nd. ed. 1962; rpt. London: Methuen, 1968. Bullough, Geoffrey,ed. Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare. Vol. I I . London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1968. . Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare. Vol VI. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1977. Champion, Larry S. The Evolution of Shakespeare's Comedy: A Study i n Dramatic Perspective. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1970. Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. Lectures and Notes on Shakespere and Other English Poets. Ed. T. Ashe. 1884; rpt. Freeport: Books For Libra r i e s Press, 1972. Colie, Rosalie L. Shakespeare's L i v i n g Art. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974. Council, Norman. When Honour's at the Stake: Ideas of Honour in Shakespeare's Plays. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1973. - 208 - Craig, Hardin and David Bevington, eds. The Complete Works of Shakespeare. Rev.ed. Glenview: Scott Foresman, 1973. Dawson, Anthony B. Indirections: Shakespeare and the Art of I l l u s i o n . Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1978. Desai, R.W., ed. Johnson on Shakespeare. New Delhi: Orient Longman, 1979. "Directing Problem Plays: John Barton Talks to Gareth Lloyd Evans." Shakespeare Survey. 25 (1972), pp. 63-71. Doran, Madeleine. Endeavors of Art: A Study of Form i n Elizabethan Drama. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1954. Edwards, P h i l i p . Shakespeare and the Confines of Art. London: Methuen, 1968. "Shakespeare and the Healing Power of Deceit." Shakespeare Survey. 31 (1978), pp. 115-125. Eggers, Walter F., J r . "'Bring Forth a Wonder': Presentation i n Shakespeare's Romances." Texas Studies in Literature and Language, 21, No.4 (Winter, 1979), pp. 455-474. Ellis-Fermor, Una. The Frontiers of Drama. 2nd.ed. London: Methuen, 1946. . The Jacobean Drama. 4th.ed. London: Methuen, 1958. . Shakespeare the Dramatist, ed. Kenneth Muir. 1961; rpt. London: Methuen, 1962. Empson, William. Seven Types of Ambiguity. London: Chatto and Windus, 1947. Some Versions of Pastoral. Norfolk: New Directions, n.d. Evans, Bertrand. Shakespeare's Comedies. London: Oxford University Press, 1967. Felperin, Howard. Shakespearean Romance. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973. - 209 - Fergusson, Francis. The Human Image i n Drama; Essays by Francis Fergusson. Garden C i t y : Doubleday, 1957. . The Idea of a Theater: A Study of Ten Plays: The Art of Drama in Changing Perspective. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972. Foakes, R.A. Shakespeare: The Dark Comedies to the Last Plays: From Satire to Celebration. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1971. Frey, Charles. "Shakespearean Interpretation: Promising Problems." Shakespeare Studies, 10 (1977), pp. 1-8. Frye, Northrop. A Natural Perspective: The Development of Shakespearean Comedy and Romance. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1965. Girard, Rene. "Levi-Strauss, Frye, Derrida and Shakespearean C r i t i c i s m . " D i a c r i t i c s , 3 ( F a l l , 1973), pp.34-38. Grudin, Robert. Mighty Opposites: Shakespeare and Renaissance Contrariety. Berkeley: University of Ca l i f o r n i a Press, 1979. Hawkins, H a r r i e t t . Likenesses of Truth i n Elizabethan and Restoration Drama. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972. Jamieson, Jean. "The Problem Plays, 1920-1970: A Retrospect." Shakespeare Survey, 25 (1972), pp. 1-10. Jorgens, Jack J . Shakespeare on Film. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1977. Knight, G. Wilson. The Sovereign Flower. London: Methuen, 1958. . The Wheel of F i r e : Interpretations of Shakespearian Tragedy With Three New Essays. 1930; rpt. London: Methuen, 1965. Lawrence, W.W. Shakespeare's Problem Comedies. 2nd.ed. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1960. Leech, C l i f f o r d and J.M.R. Margeson, eds. Shakespeare 1971: Proceedings of the World Shakespeare Congress Vancouver, August 1971. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1972. - 210 - Levin, Richard. The Multiple Plot i n English Renaissance Drama. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971. "The Relation of External Evidence to the A l l e g o r i c a l and Thematic Interpretation of Shakespeare." Shakespeare Survey, 13 (1960), pp. 1- 29. "Shakespeare or the Ideas of his Time." Mosaic, 10 (1977), pp. 129-137. Mack, Maynard. King Lear i n our Time. Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1972. McAlindon, T. Shakespeare and Decorum. London: Macmillan, 1973. Melchiori, Giorgio. "The Rhetoric of Character Construction: Othello." Shakespeare Survey, 34 (1981), pp. 61-72. M e r r i l l , Robert. "The Generic Approach i n Recent C r i t i c i s m of Shakespeare's Comedies and Romances: A Review Essay." Texas Studies i n Language and Literature. 20 (1978), pp. 474-487. Muir, Kenneth and S. Schoenbaum, eds. A New Companion to Shakespeare Studies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971. Muir, Kenneth. "The Pursuit of Relevance." Essays and Studies, N.S. 26 (1973), pp. 20-34. . "Shakespeare's Open Secret." Shakespeare Survey, 34 (1981), pp. 1-9. . The Singularity of Shakespeare and Other Essays. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1977. Murray, Patrick. The Shakespearian Scene: Some Twentieth-Century Perspectives. London: Longmans, 1969. Ornstein, Robert. The Moral Vision of Jacobean Tragedy. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1960. Pettet, E. C. Shakespeare and the Romance Tradition. London: Staples Press, 1949. - 211 - P h i l i a s , Peter G. Shakespeare's Romantic Comedies; The Development of Their Form and Meaning. Chapel H i l l : University of North Carolina Press, 1965. Rabkin, Norman. "Coriolanus: The Tragedy of P o l i t i c s . " Shakespeare Quarterly. 17 (1966), pp. 195-212. . Shakespeare and the Common Understanding. New York: The Free Press, 1968. . Shakespeare and the Problem of Meaning. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981. Rebhorn, Wayne A. "After Frye: A Review A r t i c l e on the Interpretation of Shakespearean Comedy and Romance." Texas Studies i n Literature and Language, 21 (1979), pp. 553-582. Rossiter, A.P. Angel With Horns: Fifteen Lectures on Shakespeare. Ed. Graham Storey. 1961; rpt. New York: Theatre Arts Books, 1974. Rubinstein, Frankie. A Dictionary of Shakespeare's Sexual Puns and Their Significance. London: Macmillan, 1984. Schanzer, Ernest. The Problem Plays of Shakespeare. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1963. Spencer, Theodore. Shakespeare and the Nature of Man. 1942; rpt. Toronto: Macmillan, 1969. T i l l y a r d , E.M.W. Shakespeare's Problem Plays. 1950; rpt. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1968. Trewin, J.C. Shakespeare on the English Stage: 1900-1964. London: Barrie and R o c k l i f f , 1964. Ure, Peter. Shakespeare: The Problem Plays. Writers and Their Work, No. 140. n.p.: Longmans, Greenland Co., 1961. Vickers, Brian. The A r t i s t r y of Shakespeare's Prose. London: Methuen, 1968. Weil, Herbert, S.,Jr. "On Expectation and Surprise: Shakespeare's Construction of Character." Shakespeare Survey, 34 (1981), pp. 39-50. - 212 - White, R.S. Shakespeare and the Romance Ending. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: n.p., 1981. Wilson, Edwin, ed. Shaw on Shakespeare. New York: Dutton, 1961. ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL Bradbrook, Muriel C. "Virtue i s the True N o b i l i t y . " Review of English Studies. NS 1 (1950), pp. 289-301. Brooke, Nicholas. " A l l ' s Well That End Well." Shakespeare Survey, 30 (1977), pp. 73-84. Cole, Howard C. The A l l ' s Well Story From Boccacio to Shakespeare. Urbana: University of I l l i n o i s Press, 1981. Donaldson, Ian. " A l l ' s Well That Ends Well: Shakespeare's Play of Endings." Essays i n C r i t i c i s m , 27 (1977), pp. 34-55. Godshalk, William L. " A l l ' s Well That Ends Well and the Morality Play." Shakespeare Quarterly, 25 (1974), pp. 61-70. Halio, Jay L. " A l l ' s Well That Ends Well." Shakespeare Quarterly. 15 (1964), pp. 33-43. Hunter, G.K., ed. A l l ' s Well That Ends Well New York, Methuen, 1959. Leech, C l i f f o r d . "The Theme of Ambition i n A l l ' s Well That Ends Well." Journal of English Li t e r a r y History, 21 (1954), pp. 17-29. Leggatt, Alexander. " A l l ' s Well That Ends Well: The Testing of Romance." Modern Language Quarterly, 32 (1971), pp. 21-41. Levin, Richard. " A l l ' s Well That Ends Well and A l l Seems Well." Shakespeare Studies, 13 (1980), pp. 131-144. Pearce, Frances M. "In Quest of Unity: A Study of Failure and Redemption in A l l ' s Well That Ends Well." Shakespeare Quarterly, 25 (1974), pp. 71-88. P r i c e , Joseph G. The Unfortunate Comedy: A Study of A l l ' s Well That Ends Well and i t s C r i t i c s . Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1968. Silverman, J.M. "Two Types of Comedy in A l l ' s Well That Ends Well." Shakespeare Quarterly, 24 (1973), pp. 25-34. Smallwood, R. L. "The Design of A l l ' s Well That Ends Well." Shakespeare Survey, 25 (1972), pp. 45-61. Turner, Robert Y. "Dramatic Conventions in A l l ' s Well That Ends Well." PMLA, 75 (1960), pp. 497-502. Welsh, Alexander. "The Loss of Men and Getting of Children: A l l ' s Well That Ends Well and Measure for Measure." Modern Language Review, 73 (1978), pp. 17-28. TROILUS AND CRESSIDA Asp, Carolyn. "In Defense of Cressida." Studies i n Philology, 74 (1977), pp. 406-417. Berry, Ralph. The Shakespearean Metaphor. London: Macmillan, 1978. Bradbrook, Muriel C. "What Shakespeare did to Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde." Shakespeare Quarterly, 9 (1958), pp. 311-319. Burns, M.M. "Troilus and Cressida: the Worst of Both Worlds." Shakespeare Studies, 13 (1980), pp. 105-130. Co g h i l l , N e v i l l e . Shakespeare's Professional S k i l l s . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965. Cole, Douglas. "Myth and Anti-Myth: The Case of Troilus and Cressida." Shakespeare Quarterly, 31 (1980), pp. 76-84. Dollimore, Jonathan. "Marston's 'Antonio' Plays and Shakespeare's 'Troilus and Cressida': The B i r t h of a Radical Drama." Essays And Studies, NS 33 (1980), pp. 48-69. Ellis-Fermor, Una. The Frontiers of Drama. 2nd. ed. London: Methuen, 1964. - 214 - Elton, W.R. "Shakespeare's Ulysses and the Problem of Value." Shakespeare Studies, 2 (1966), pp. 95-111. Farnham, Willard. "Troilus in Shapes of I n f i n i t e Desire." Shakespeare Quarterly, 15 (1964), pp. 257-264. Fly, Richard D. "*I cannot come to Cressid but by Pandar 1: Mediation in the Theme and Structure of Troilus and Cressida." English L i t e r a r y Renaissance, 3 (1973), pp. 145-165. "'Suited in Like Conditions as our Argument': Imitative Form in Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida." Studies i n English Lit e r a t u r e , 15 (1975), pp. 273-292. Knowland, A.S. "Troilus and Cressida." Shakespeare Quarterly, 10 (1959), pp. 353-365. McAlindon, T. "Language, Style and Meaning i n Troilus and Cressida." PMLA, 84 (1969), pp. 29-43. Morris, Brian. "The Tragic Structure of Troilus and Cressida." Shakespeare Quarterly, 10 (1959), pp. 481-491. Muir, Kenneth. "Troilus and Cressida." Shakespeare Survey, 8 (1955), pp. 96-107. •,ed. Troilus and Cressida. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982. Oates, J.C. "The Ambiguity of Troilus and Cressida." Shakespeare Quarterly, 17 (1966), pp. 141-150. Okerlund, Arlene N. "In Defense of Cressida: Character as Metaphor." Women's Studies, 7 (1980), pp. 1-17. Presson, Robert K. Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida and the Legends of Troy. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1953. Rabkin, Norman. "Troilus and Cressida: The Uses of the Double P l o t . " Shakespeare Studies 1 (1965), pp. 265-282. Sl i g h t s , Camilla. "The P a r a l l e l Structure of Troilus and Cressida." Shakespeare Quarterly, 25 (1974), pp. 42-51. - 215. - Soellner, Rolf. "Providence and the Price of Helen: The Debate of the Trojans in Troilus and Cressida." Shakespeare Quarterly, 20 (1969), pp. 255-263. Stockholder, Katherine. "Power and Pleasure i n Troilus and Cressida: Or, Rhetoric and Structure of the Anti-Tragic." College English. 30 (1969), pp. 539-554. Thomson, P a t r i c i a . "Rant and Cant in Troilus and Cressida." Essays and Studies. NS 22 (1969), pp. 33-65. Voth, Grant L. and Oliver H. Evans. "Cressida and the World of the Play." Shakespeare Studies, 8 (1975), pp. 231-239. Walker, Alice,ed. Troilus and Cressida. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1957. Yoder, R.A. "'Sons and Daughters of the Game': An Essay on Shakespeare's 'Troilus and Cressida'." Shakespeare Survey, 25 (1972), pp. 11-25. MEASURE FOR MEASURE A l t i e r i , Joanne. "Style and S o c i a l Disorder in Measure for Measure." Shakespeare Quarterly, 25 (1974), pp. 7-16. Eccles, Mark,ed. Measure for Measure. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1980. Chambers, R.W. "Measure for Measure." In his Man's Unconquerable Mind. London: Jonathan Cape, 1952. Dodds, W.M.T. "The Character of Angelo in 'Measure for Measure'." Modern Language Review, 41 (1946), pp. 246-255. Fergusson, Francis. The Human Image in Dramatic Literature:Essays by Francis Fergusson. Garden City: Doubleday, 1957. Geckle, George L. "Shakespeare's I s a b e l l a . " Shakespeare Quarterly, 2 (1971), pp. 163-168. Gelb, Hal. "Duke Vincentio and the I l l u s i o n of Comedy or A l l ' s not Well That Ends Well." Shakespeare Quarterly, 22 (1971), pp. 25-34. - 216 - Hawkins, H a r r i e t t . "'The Devil's Party*: Virtues and Vices i n Measure for Measure." Shakespeare Survey, 31 (1978), pp. 105-113. . Likenesses of Truth i n Elizabethan and Restoration Drama. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972. "What Kind of Pre-Contract had Angelo? A Note on Some Non- Problems i n Elizabethan Drama." College English, 36 (1974), pp. 173-179. Hyman, Lawrence W. "The Unity of Measure for Measure." Modern Language Quarterly, 36 (1975), pp. 3-20. Kirsch, Arthur C. The Integrity of Measure for Measure." Shakespeare Survey, 28 (1975), pp. 89-105. Kliman, Bernice W. "Isabella in Measure for Measure." Shakespeare Studies, 15 (1982), pp. 137-148. Murray, Patrick. The Shakespearian Scene: Some Twentieth Century Perspectives. London: Longmans, 1969. N u t t a l l , A.D. "Measure for Measure: The Bed Trick." Shakespeare Survey, 28 (1975), pp.51-56. . "Measure for Measure: Quid Pro Quo?" Shakespeare Studies, 4 (1968), pp. 231-251. Owen, Lucy. "Mode and Character in Measure for Measure." Shakespeare Quarterly, 25 (1974), pp. 17-32. Pope, Elizabeth Marie. "The Renaissance Background of Measure for Measure." Shakespeare Survey, 2 (1949), pp. 66-82. Price, Jonathan R. "Measure for Measure and the C r i t i c s : Towards a New Approach." Shakespeare Quarterly, 20 (1969), pp. 179-204. Prouty, Charles T. "George Whetstone and the Sources of Measure for Measure." Shakespeare Quarterly, 15 (1964), pp. 131-145. Skura, Meredith. "New Interpretations for Interpretation in Measure for Measure." Boundary 2, 7 No.2 (1979), pp. 39-59. - 217 - Weil, Herbert, J r . "Form and Contexts i n Measure for Measure." C r i t i c a l Quarterly 12 (1970), pp. 55-72. . "The Options of the Audience: Theory and Practice in Peter Brook's Measure for Measure." Shakespeare Survey 25 (1972), pp. 27-35. - 218 -

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