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Black Hamlet: battening on the moor.

 Could you on this faire mountaine leaue to feede,
 And batten on this Moore ...?


IN THE CLOSET SCENE of Hamlet, the prince of Denmark forces his mother to look upon the portraits of her husbands in lines that draw the familiar contrast between the two, the second declining or falling from the "grace" of the "faire" first:
 Looke heere vpon this Picture, and on this,
 The counterfeit presentment of two brothers,
 See what a grace was seated on this browe,
 Hiperions curies, the front of Ioue himselfe,
 An eye like Mars, to threaten and command,
 A station like the herald Mercury,
 New lighted on a heaue, a kissing hill,
 [F: heauen-kissing hill]
 A combination, and a forme indeede,
 Where euery God did seeme to set his seale
 To glue the world assurance of a man,
 This was your husband, looke you now what followes,
 Heere is your husband like a mildewed eare,
 Blasting his wholsome brother, haue you eyes,
 Could you on this faire mountaine leaue to feede,
 And batten on this Moore ...? (1) (Q2)


The passage foregrounds one of the many polarities constructed in this play, between an idealized old Hamlet and his usurping brother, who appears here as a "Moore" in the double sense commonplace in early modern England--familiar, for example, from the seal of Thomas More (or "Moore"), which juxtaposes the head of a black Moor with the moorfowl of wastelands, fens or "moors." (2)

Dover Wilson's suggestion in the first New Cambridge edition of the play (that "batten on this Moore" simultaneously evokes the figure of a black "Moor") is noted in the fine print of some modern editions. (3) But it has not yet penetrated the consciousness of most critics, readers, and audiences of this most canonical of plays--from a corpus in which Moors are assumed to belong only to Titus Andronicus, Antony and Cleopatra, The Merchant of Venice, or Othello. The appearance of a "Moore" in Hamlet's contrast of a "faire" dead father to his mother's present husband is underscored, however, as Harold Jenkins notes, by the corresponding lines of the First Quarto's version of this scene:
 Looke you now, here is your husband,
 With a face like Vulcan.
 A looke fit for a murder and a rape,
 A dull dead hanging loeke, and a hell-bred eie,
 To affright children and amaze the world:
 And this same haue you left to change with this.
 What Diuell thus hath cosoned you at hob-man blinde?
 (TTH, 166,168)


"Face like Vulcan" (with "hell-bred eie") explicitly invokes an infernal blackness for this second husband, in lines whose "dull dead hanging look" summons the combination of dullness, death, and Moors reflected in the "dull Moor" of Othello. (4) The identification of Vulcan with the "blackness" of devil and Moor was routinely applied to the blacksmith hurled from heaven, like Lucifer himself, transformed from angel of "light" to prince of darkness. "Black as Vulcan" is the comparison used for the blackened face of Antonio in Twelfth Night, "besmeared / As black as Vulcan in the smoke of war" (5.1.46-47), in a play that makes the traditional association of the sooty or "foul collier" with "Satan" (3.4.117). (5)

"Face like Vulcan," however, simultaneously evokes the darkening of a white actor's face with soot, cosmetic counterpart to the racialized figure of blackness as sullied, "besmear'd" or "smirch't." (6) The Clown chosen to play Vulcan in Dekker's Welsh Embassador complains that he has to "smutt" his "face," as well as "hire a hammer" and "buy a polt [or lame] foote" (5.3.227-29). (7) The "soot" or coal associated with blackface, colliers, and Vulcan produces the "coal-black" hue of Aaron the Moor in Titus Andronicus, joined by the "sooty bosom," "begrim'd" face, and "collied" judgment of Othello. (8) In his discussion of abjection in Othello, Michael Bristol argues that blackface simultaneously evoked carnival, an argument strengthened by the fact that Emilia's moronic or "dull Moor" appears in a scene that assigns to him the "coxcomb" of the "fool" (5.2.233). (9) Smearing, sullying, or blackening the face with soot to produce a "face like Vulcan" or a "Moore" was familiar from the mumming, morris dancing, and carnival that the early texts of Hamlet repeatedly invoke, associating the present king of Denmark with the black face not only of the collier but of carnival misrule--the "King of shreds and patches" (Q2 and F) that criticism has long linked to a carnival reversal or mundus inversus.

The sooty Vulcan and the black face associated with a carnival "Moore" is thus part of all three early texts of the Closet Scene. As in the case of the Lucifer who was once an angel of light, Hamlet's polarized contrast of "faire" and "Moore" posits an original white or light as the point of departure for his mother's decline, echoing the Ghost's "what a falling off was there" (Q2/F]. (10) What I want to argue here is that this summoning of a "Moore" enables us to reconsider these early texts of Hamlet, rereading their preoccupation with blackness, soiling, sullying, and dulling, in relation both to contemporary discourses of blackness and to the "tropical" reversibility or indistinguishability of white and black, angel and devil.
 such blacke and grained spots,
 As will not leave their Tinct.
 --Folio

 such blacke and greeued spots
 As will leave there their tin'ct.
 --Second Quarto


Blackness is evoked repeatedly in these early Hamlet texts--in the "night" watch of the opening scene; in Hamlet's "sable sute" and "inky cloak"; in "Thoughts blacke," "raven," and "mixture ranke, of Midnight Weeds collected"; in the "cursed hebenon" associated by some editors with ebony; in "let the Divel weare blacke, for Ile have a suite of Sables"; and in the "dread and blacke complexion" of "hellish Pyrrhus," whose "sable arms" ("Blacke as his purpose") evoke the bodily as well as heraldic sense of "arms" exploited in the graveyard scene. Even the "Nero" of Hamlet's "'Tis now the very witching time of night, / When Churchyards yawne, and hell it selfe breakes out / Contagion to this world" may resonate not just with the name of this famous matricide but with the Italian sense of "nero" as "black, darke, sable." (11) Hamlet's "inky cloak" adds (to the blackness that surrounds him) the "ink" that like "soot" provided another form of cosmetic blackening, associated with sexual and other blots or stains in the inky "blots" of Much Ado, the play with which it shares the "nothing" that lies between maids' legs. Both blackface and sexual "blackening" are evoked by the allusion in the play scene to the morris or "morisko" already connected with Moors, in the "Hobby-horse" that was a familiar term for a prostitute or "blackened" woman. (12)

In the closet scene itself, Hamlet's "Moore" or black-faced "Vulcan" for the present king is joined by the black "spots" of the queen whom Hamlet attempts to purify in this scene, counterpart in the Folio and Second Quarto to Q1's "I'le make your eyes looke downe into your heart, / And see how horride there and blacke it shews" (166). Maculation or spottedness is contrasted to the immaculate or pure as early in Shakespeare as the "maculate" Jacquenetta (LLL, 1.2.92). In Q2, Hamlet later speaks of himself as having not only "a father kild" but "a mother staind" (190). In the variant texts of the closet scene, the queen's "blacke and grained spots, / As will not leave their Tinct" (F)--a "leave" that suggests both a stain and its removal--appear in Q2 as "such blacke and greeued spots / As will leave there their tin'ct." "Greeued spots" suggests simultaneously the blackness of grieving and the graphic or engraved, as in the later figure of the blackened Desdemona as a "fair paper" inscribed or written on by a Moor. The fact that the Folio's "blacke and grained spots" appear in the Second Quarto as "blacke and greeued spots" suggests a logic of variants connecting both "greeued" and "grained" to the contemporary lexicon of blackening, soiling, or staining. Soiling and grieving are combined, for example, in ways we might not expect, as the "soile of griefe" in Marston's Antonio's Revenge. (13)

The contrast of black and "faire" in Hamlet's portraits of two brothers is thus joined by the adulterous declining of the queen--described in F and Q2 as an "act" that sets a "blister" or blemish on the "faire" forehead of an "innocent loue" (166-67). Q1's "Forbear the adulterous bed to night" (172) makes even clearer the attempt by her son to remove her from the adulterate mingling or mixture of coupling with this second husband. In the language of decline and Fall that is so much a part of this rhetoric, the blackness associated with Denmark's "spotted" queen simultaneously recalls the familiar black bride of the Song of Songs, introduced early in Shakespeare in the "grained" or engrained as well as "swart" bride of The Comedy of Errors (3.2.101-18), the Ethiope to be made "white" by baptism. The adulterate coupling of this queen raises the pollution danger associated by Douglas, Kristeva, and others with Leviticus, recalled in these early Hamlet texts by the unclean beasts of weasel, mole, and mouse. (14) Hamlet's mother--whose "spots" simultaneously recall the spotted leopard and "Moor" of Jeremiah 13:23, the biblical counterpart to the proverbial blanching of the Ethiope--is distinguished from the spotless or immaculate Virgin Mother evoked (as Janet Adelman observes) in the opening night watch, which summons the tradition of waiting for an apocalyptic dawning, the final separation of day and night that in this tragedy never comes. (15)
 Why say thy sinnes were blacker than is ieat,
 Yet may contrition make them as white as snowe
 --Q1


The "Moore" of the closet scene is there opposed to Hyperion or the God of Day, recalling Hamlet's earlier figure of his mother's decline from Hyperion to a satyr (Q2/F). The polarities join the Manichean contrast of "night" to the "God of Day" in all three texts of the opening scene, which itself sounds--in "dead wast and middle of the night"--one of the contemporary senses of wasteland or "moor." Even before the closet scene, these polarities are sounded in Hamlet's determination, at the sight of the praying king, to find a more appropriate time to "trip him," that his "Soule may be as damn'd and blacke / As Hell, whereto it goes." (16) The king and second husband soon to be compared to a black Vulcan or a "Moore" invokes for his own sin the proverbial impossibility of washing the Ethiope white, a connection made even clearer in these early texts. The Folio's "Oh bosome, blacke as death! / O limed soul," and "Is there not Raine enough in the sweet Heavens / To wash it white as Snow"--lines closely paralleled in Q2 evoke not only the blackness of death but the "lime" of the "whitelime" that masks a blackness beneath, familiar from the "white-limed walls" of Titus

Andronicus (4.2.98-100) or the "birdlime" attached to the white devil of Othello (2.1.126). Blanching an Ethiope (with baptismal washing) is even more explicit in the First Quarto here, where the king, for his "adulterous fault," prays "0 that this wet that falles vpon my face / Would wash the crime cleere from my conscience!" and observes of his "vnpardonable" crimes: "say thy sinnes were blacker than is ieat [jet], / Yet may contrition make them as white as snowe." (17)

In relation to the language of washing an Ethiope, in this context of maimed rites and adulterate mixtures, the most telling index may be the choice of the name "Baptista" for the wife of the play within the play. It is an unusual name choice here, as editors note, since it is almost never used for a woman, with the striking exception of Baptista Sforza, whose name juxtaposed a reminder of baptism with the black or schwarz. "Baptista"--which appears in all three early texts of the Mousetrap play, where names otherwise differ radically--evokes both baptism and John the Baptist (herald of another "God of Day"), part of the lexicon of blanching the black or stained to "white as snowe." It thus connects the maculate wife of the "Mousetrap" (and her ironic name) with the "spotted" queen.

The familiar biblical text on the "Moore," which corresponds to blanching the Ethiope ("Can the black Moor change his skin? or the leopard his spots?," Jeremiah 13:23), is related not only to the "spots" of this maculate queen but to the "curse placed on the adulterate offspring of Ham." (18) The king who invokes this blanching for his "black" or "adulterous" sin alludes in this same scene to the curse on Cain--the "primall eldest curse" (F/Q2) of a brother's murder, a "trespasse" for which the "earth doth still crie out" (Q1, 160). The "curse" on Cain was conflated by long tradition with the curse of blackness on Canaan or Ham, whose punishment for his own "adulterous" sin figured the origin of "black Moors" as well as the maculation of racial mixing. (19) Chus, son of Ham, identified with southern or "tropic climes," had mingled offspring both white and black. (20) Through his descendant Tubalcain (recalled in The Merchant of Venice), said to have founded Spain, Spenser's "most mingled" of nations, Cain was also associated with Vulcan. (21) The "primall eldest curse" (F/Q2) on fratricide thus recalls the curse that identified Cain with the "curse" on blackness itself.
 I am too much i' th' Sun.
 --Folio


Blackness likewise surrounds the prince of Denmark, as if he were a kind of memento mori, reminder of the Death or Mors already traditionally conflated with Moors. When the opening darkness of the night watch yields to the public court, the blackness of "night" becomes the color of Hamlet's grief, the "nighted colour" (Q2; Folio "nightly colour"), "Inky Cloake" (F), and "suites of solemne Blacke" (F) that the First Quarto (with its "sable sute") associates with the prince's "sad and melancholy moodes" (Q1) and Hamlet himself (in the Folio) with "shewes of Griefe."

Returning to these lines from the closet scene's "Moore" or the prayer scene's black bosom, we might even revisit Hamlet's "I am too much i' th' Sun," lines that align his theatrically striking blackness with the putative origin of blackness, reflected in the "complexion" of Morocco in The Merchant of Venice ("shadowed livery of the burnish'd sun") and in Antony and Cleopatra's Egyptian queen ("Think on me, / That am with Phoebus' amorous pinches black"). (22) Though obscured by a critical tradition that has concentrated instead on Hamlet's sonship and the multiple fathers of this play, being too much in the "Sun" or "Sonne" (its Q2 and variant early modern spelling) is explicitly aligned with blackening in the later scene where the "excellent white" Ophelia is warned against being too much in the sun ("Let her not walke i' th' Sunne: Conception is a blessing, but not as your daughter may conceiue"). (23) Hamlet's punning "too much i' th' Sun" (or "Sonne") is thus strengthened in its overtones of blackening by its repetition in a context in which the danger to the purity of "white" Ophelia anticipates the blackening of Desdemona's sexual "wit" or "white" (2.1.129-49). Ophelia is described as "white" in both Q2 and F, in the letter from Hamlet read by Polonius before the king and queen: "To the Celestiall and my soules Idoll, the most beautified Ophelia, ... thus in her excellent white bosome, these & c." (24) The corresponding First Quarto text does not include the "excellent white bosome" of this letter's elaborate address; but it does feature the loosing that is so much a part of the language of such exposure.

Tainting, adulterating, or sullying is simultaneously part of the postlapsarian decline from "honesty," figured as the purity of an immaculate or unspotted "white," a decline evoked by the post-Edenic "vnweeded" garden of Q2 and F and distance from a definitive final Doom. The combination is underscored in the exchange on the "strumpet" Fortune (Q2) who reigns in that ambiguous interim: "What newes? / Ros. None my Lord, but the worlds growne honest / Ham. Then is Doomes day neer" (Q2). (25) Hamlet's "there is a kinde [Q2 'kind of'] confession in your lookes; which your modesties haue not craft enough to color" (F) joins the contrast between the "modesty" and whiteness of Ophelia and the maculate, "adulterate," or cosmetic. The cosmetic colorings of dissimulation and rhetoric are recalled in the king's "The Harlots Cheeke beautied with plaist'ring Art / Is not more vgly to the thing that helpes it, / Then is my deed, to my most painted word" (F, 123). In the lines of the Folio and Second Quarto where Polonius warns his daughter to be less "free and bounteous" (Q1 not "too prodigall") of her presence, Q2's "Not of that die which their inuestments showe" adds the "dye," tincture or taint later associated with the "tinct" or spots of the maculate queen, in a speech whose "plaine tearmes" (in Q2 and F) invoke once again the "plain" as opposed to the rhetorically colored, from the tradition of both kinds of cosmetic paintings. (26)

The metaphorics of staining "fairness" as well as "honesty" pervades Hamlet's challenge to Ophelia in the nunnery scene, where the "faire" of "honest and faire" registers in both of its contemporary senses, of "beautie" and of purity or whiteness (88, 124-25). The sullying of purity by an adulterating sexual "commerce" is iterated in a passage which has a counterpart in all three texts, including the First Quarto's "pure as snowe," sounded much earlier, before the Players' entrance:
 Ham. If thou doest Marry, Ile giue thee this Plague for thy Dowrie.
 Be thou as chast as Ice, as pure as Snow, thou shalt not escape
 Calumny. Get thee to a Nunnery. Go, Farewell.... (Folio, 127)


"As pure as Snow" here anticipates the king's hope in the prayer scene that his "bosome blacke as death" may be washed as "white as snowe," while the figure of plague or disease joins the lines of the closet scene that contrast the queen's "faire" first husband to a "Moore" described as "a Mildew'd eare / Blasting his wholsome breath" (F, Q2, "brother"). "Batten on this Moore" is usually glossed as grazing or feeding upon wastelands or moors. (27) But "Mildewed ear" simultaneously associates this "Moore" with the "murrian," pestilence, or plague identified in other contemporary texts with Moors (Heywood, for example, conflates a "Murrian" infection with the "black face" of a "Moorian" kissing the lips of his "fair" maid). (28) The connection between tainting a "white" and a "wholsome" that can be infected (staple of contemporary accounts of blackness itself as an infection) is suggested in the text in which Guildenstern demands of Hamlet "a wholsome aunswere," and the latter replies that he cannot because his "wits diseasd"--a "wit" collapsed with its homophone "white" in Othello (2.1.131-33). "Nunnery" itself is tainted with its apparent opposite, its inferred purity sullied by the sexual inverse this word simultaneously conveyed.

Coloring, tincturing, or sullying purity, honesty, and a "plain style" already aligned with whiteness are all part of the network of terms ranging from sallets and sallied to sullying and soiling in these early texts. In Hamlet's contrast of a play "set down with as much modestie, as cunning," with no "Sallets in the lines to make the matter savoury," the "honest" of this "honest method" (F, 109) resonates with the "honesty" Ophelia is warned not to permit to have "Commerce" with her "beauty," in the speech that invokes the sexual honesty whose sullying would taint her "white." The variants of "sallied" and "solid" in Hamlet's opening soliloquy produce the homophonic ghost effect of "sullied" that has since become the frequently remembered text, though it nowhere appears. The Q1 version of Hamlet's soliloquy, which has "grieu'd and sallied," may reflect the same combinatory logic as Marston's "soile of griefe." The glossing of "sallied flesh" as "sullied flesh" is famously enabled by the later lines in which Polonius instructs the spy on his son ("laying these slight sallies on my sonne / As t'were a thing a little soyld with working," Q2; "laying these slight sulleyes on my Sonne, / As 'twere a thing a little soil'd i' th' working," F), lines whose "sallies" (Q2) or "sulleyes" (F) are linked with the "soiled" (Q2, "soyld"; F, "soil'd"), in a passage that has to do (in both Q2 and F) with "taints." "Soiling" as "besmerching" appears in Laertes's reference to the "chaste vnsmirched brow" of his "true Mother" and his warning to his sister not to open her "chast Treasure" to the prince of Denmark ("Perhaps he loues you now, / And now no soyle nor cautell doth besmerch the vertue of his feare"). (29)

The early texts of Hamlet are filled with this emphasis on staining, sullying, or soiling, joining the iterated references to "ground," "earth," or "soil," including the "old Mole" described as a "pioner" working in the "earth" or "ground," the exploitation of "ground" itself as both soil and cause, and the description of the Courtier known in the Folio as "young Osricke" as "spacious" in the "possession of dirt" (Q2/F). The latter says in the Second Quarto, "me thinkes it is very sully and hot, or my complection" rather than the Folio's more familiar "soultry and hot," in lines whose "sully" may be influenced by "dirt" or the tropical sense of "hot" as well as by "complexion." In Laertes's advice to Ophelia, the association of the opening of her "chaste treasure" with soiling, fouling, or besmerching comes in a speech whose "weigh what losse your Honour may sustaine" (in Q2 and F) echoes the "stain" that is part of this pervasive network. The present king of Denmark is associated (in Q2) with a reputation that doth "Soyle our addition" and a "vicious mole of nature," a "mole" linked elsewhere in Shakespeare with bodily and other kinds of stains. (30)

The affinity between "sallies," "sullies," and "soiled" in the speech of Polonius used to justify hearing "sullied flesh" in Hamlet's opening soliloquy is followed (in Q2 and F) by allusion to "a house of sale, / Videlizet, a brothell," a term for the commerce of flesh that resonates with "sale" in the sense of dirtied or sullied. (31) Immediately following this exchange, there is another reminder (in Q2 and F) of the soiled or "foul'd," in Ophelia's description of Hamlet's appearance in her "closset" (Q2, 72), "his stockings fonl'd, / Vngartred, and dawne giued to his Anckle" (F). What the king in Q2 and F calls "Hamlets transformation" is termed in Q1 the "cause and ground of his distemperancie" (Q1, 76), the causal sense of "ground" that joins its meanings elsewhere of earth or soil, combined in the Gravedigger's equivocating "Vpon what ground?" (32)

The earthy or abject bodily sense of sullying as muddying is sounded both in Ophelia's "muddy" death (4.7.182) and in the variants of the soliloquy known as "O what a rogue and peasant slave am I," where Hamlet's "dull and muddy-mettled rascal" recalls the Ghost's "duller shouldst thou be" than the "fat weede" that "rootes [F: 'rots'] it selfe in ease on Lethe wharffe" (Q1, 2). Hamlet's reference to himself as a "dull and muddy-mettled rascal" (in Q2 and F) comes in a soliloquy whose Q1 counterpart begins "Why what a dunghill idiote slaue am I," suggesting in "dunghill" the excrement associated with muddiness or fouling in the lines from the Henriad on the "melancholy of Moorditch," which combine London's excremental waste with the "waste" and "black bile" associated with "Moores." (33) "Muddy"--synonymous in the period with muddled or confused--was used for the darkening (or collying) of the mind or spirit (as in the "collied" judgment or "puddled" spirit of Othello) as well as for a sexual or moral sullying. (34) "Reward not hospitality / With such black payment.... / Mud not the fountain that gave drink to thee," entreats the still-unviolated Lucrece (Lucrece, 577), invoking the muddying as well as the blackening of her purity by Tarquin's rape. The opposition of "pure" to "muddy" (as both sexualized and racialized terms) joins the parallel opposition of "white" and "black." "Christall is muddy," declares Demetrius in A Midsummer Night's Dream (3.2.139), searching for a contrast to the purity of Helena's eyes, in scenes that racialize the opposition of "Ethiope" and "tawny Tartar" to a contrasting "fair" (3.2.246-63).

Sander Gilman, Kim F. Hall, and others have examined the racialized metaphorics of blackness itself as a sullying, dirtying, or muddying. Othello's reference to Desdemona's "name" as "begrim'd, and black / As mine own face" (3.3.386-88) joins the description there of the "filthy bargain" of her marriage, to a Moor described by Emilia as "ignorant as dirt" (5.2.158, 164). In the case of Hamlet, evocation of a "Moore" (or blackened "Vulcan") within the scene that goes on to accuse the queen of coupling in a bed "stewed in corruption" (Q2/F) and "making loue" over the "nasty Stye" (F/Q2) connects a racialized blackness to the rhetoric elsewhere in these texts of soiling, muddying, and disease. Though it has all but lost this sense in modern usage, "nasty" had as its contemporary synonyms "filthie," "beastlie," "sluttish," "sullied," "soyled," and "uncleane." (35)
 stained with the obscure and dark spots
 of melancholy.
 --Timothy Bright, Treatise of Melancholie

 moody, muddy, Moorditch melancholy.
 --John Taylor, The Penniless Pilgrimage

 black-faced tragedy.
 --George Chapman, Bussy d'Ambois

 bosome, blacke as death!
 --Folio


Multiple forms of blackness might be expected in these early texts not just because of their preoccupation with sullying, soiling, or fouling but because of the explicit identification of melancholy, mourning, tragedy, and death with racialized figures of blackness in the period. Melancholy--identified with the "black" humor of atra bills or "black bile"--was aligned with "waste" and "Moors," not only in contemporary discourses but in the "sable-colored melancholy" of Loves Labours Lost and the Henriad's reference to "the melancholy of Moorditch," the phrase that conflates both kinds of "Moor" with the black bile of melancholy, muddying, and excrement. (36) The melancholic was frequently described as "black" or "swart"--from the predominance of black bile thought to impart to "the skin a 'swarthy' appearance." (37) An influential physiognomy text translated into English in 1571--which identifies the "black colour" of the "Melancholick" with "them which dwel farre South, like as the Indian," "Egyptians," and "Moores"--claims that a "swartishe" (or black) color "doth declare the dominion of the black choller," the root of blackness in "melancholia" that it shares with the pigment of blackness, or melanin. (38) Continental texts variously associate southerners with an excess of black bile, an identification of melancholia with blackness that persists whether that association is positively or negatively framed. (39) Timothy Bright's Treatise of Melancholie (1586)--which draws, among other sources, on Levinus Lemnius's Touchstone of Complexions (1576)--remarks of melancholics: "Of colour they be black, according to the humour whereof they are nourished, and the skinne alwayes receauing the blacke vapors, which insensibly do passe from the inward parts, taketh die and staine thereof." (40) Bright describes the process whereby even the "white" body of a melancholic ultimately "altereth" its "colour," turned by the "dye" and "staine" of this "earthie and darke humour" into the "blacke colour" that is "the nature of the humour." A "morphew" that "staineth melancholicke bodies, and bespeckleth their skinne" is combined with that humour's "blacke staines," "obscur[ing] the former beautie" and leaving the melancholic maculate or spotted ("stained with the obscure and dark spots of melancholy"). (41)

As the humor connected with earth or soil--as well as with "black" bile--melancholy thus had the power not only to turn white skin black but to "staine," "dye," or "spot." In Bright's description, its counter is "the expiatorie sacrifice of the vnspotted lambe" (194), capable of washing the Ethiope. The blackness associated by Bright and others with the blackness of the devil and melancholy's atra bills has been identified with the epilepsy or "failing" sickness of the "Moore" in Othello. (42) The association of "dullness" with Moors in Emilia's "dull Moor" and the "dull dead hanging looke" (Q1) of the closet scene is part of the lexicon of what Shakespeare and others called "dull melancholy" (CE, 5.1.79). (43) Malvolio protests that he is "Not black in my mind, though yellow in my legs," a "black" glossed as the "melancholy (thought to be caused by black bile)." In Much Ado, Don John ("born under Saturn") is "saturnine or morose," a morosus that was already a familiar homophone of Morus or Moor (opposed to the candidus, "candid" or "white" foregrounded in Titus Andronicus). The Spanish Armado of Loves Labours Lost describes how "beseiged with sable-colored melancholy, I did commend the black oppressing humor to the most wholesome physic of thy health-giving air" (1.1.231-44), in a passage whose "ebon-coloured ink" summons not only "ebony" but the black "ink" identified with melancholy. The connection with the excremental here is observed by the play's latest Arden editor, who glosses its "black oppressing humor" through the "jakes" of "the melancholy Jaques." (44)

The blackness of "Melancholie, or blacke choler caused by adustion [or burning] of the blood" was itself associated with "soot." (45) Timothy Bright's Treatise on Melancholy (1586) describes the soul as "smothered with this soote of melancholie" (21.123), making "natural actions ... weaker" (21.123). Melancholy "adust" was at the same time part of a developing lexicon of racial terms. Bright treats of the "soote of melancholie" in relation to the "complexion" of the melancholic, together with the "sootie and smokie excrementes, whereby the spirites become impure." (46) "Adust" connected the discourses of melancholia and racial darkness, signalling not only the tanning or scorching by the sun that turned the Ethiope black but a melancholic adustion or burning. The soot associated with Vulcan, blackness, and blackface as its cosmetic counterfeit, as well as with sin, was thus at the same time part of the humoral discourse of melancholia, already associated with blackness and Moors.

The emphasis on blackness in the early texts of Hamlet might also be expected from the association of a personified blackness or of Moors with tragedy, mourning, revenge, and death. The tragic stage was traditionally hung with black (the "sable garment" of Tourneur's The Atheist's Tragedy), assimiliating it to the blackness of night described in Marston's The Insatiate Countess ("The stage of heaven, is hung with solemn black, / A time best fitting to act tragedies"). "The stage is hung with black; and I perceive / The auditors prepared for tragedy," intones the Induction to Heywood's A Warning for Fair Women. Drayton's Peirs Gaveston invokes the "cole-black darknes" of "eternall night," and "black spirits" with "sable pens of direfull ebonie / To pen the process of my tragedie" (1-30). (47) Black was the color of tragedy and of revenge tragedy in particular. "Vengeance" is colored "black" in Othello ("Arise black vengeance, from thy hollow cell," a text that appears in the Folio as "hollow hell"). Racializing or personifying such figures of blackness was commonplace in the period. "Night" is personified as a "black-eyed Negro" in Daborne's A Christian Turn'd Turk (10:13-22) and as a "black Negro in an ebone Chair" in Mason's The Turk (2.2). Tragedy itself is given a Moorish or black face, in the "black-faced tragedy" of Bussy D'Ambois (4.1) and "black-visaged shows" of Marston's Antonio's Revenge, personified counterpart of "black tragedy" (5.3.177-78) and its "sullen tragic scene" (prologue, lines 7, 20).

Death--apostrophized in the Folio's "Oh proud death, / What feast is toward in thine eternall Cell. / That thou so many Princes, at a shoote, / So bloodily hast strooke" (267), by the Fortinbras (or Fortenbrasse) who looks upon the final "tragicke spectacle" (Q1, 266)--is similarly figured in the period as black or Moor. John Gillies has observed that on early modern maps "Africans seem to be interchangeable with skulls," an identification reflected in the "carrion Death" of the casket chosen by Morocco in The Merchant of Venice (2.7.63). In one of the many contemporary portraits that uses blackness as a contrasting foil for whiteness, a black attendant bears a memento mori, a mori whose Latin case ending simultaneously denotes "death" and "Moor." "Black" is the color of "Death" in Tambudaine (1 Tamb., 4.1.59-61), while in Romeo and Juliet, the conflation of Moors with Death or Mors is reflected in its description of "death" itself as a "black word" (3.3.27). In Hamlet, the king calls his "bosome" as "blacke as death." (48)

In these early texts, where Hamlet's own blackness suggests a memento mori, death is further embodied (and given a black name) in Q2's description of the mysterious "Lamord," in lines whose "Vpon my life Lamord" juxtapose "life" and death as the tragedy approaches its end. Described (in Q2 and F) as "incorps't" (in the combined senses of corpse, corporeal, and the Pauline "body of death" recalled elsewhere in Hamlet's "quintessence of dust"), this figure reminiscent of the horsemen of the Apocalypse or Doom bears in the Second Quarto a "French" name ("Lamord") that simultaneously evokes the homophones More/Moor and death or "Mort." The blackness associated with tragedy and revenge sounds within this mysterious Q2 name, enabling the compound resonances of "mordre," "murdre," and remords or remorse, embodying or incorpsing the multiple forms of blackness in this tragedy as it moves to the corpses of its final scene. Even the Folio text here (which prints "Lamound" instead of "Lamord") suggests the earth or "mound" heaped up as a sign of burial in the Gravediggers' scene, with the French "monde" or "globe" that provided a familiar memento mori. (49)

The Death that was traditionally "Antic" or fool as well as black ruler of the black carnival of danse macabre and memento mori--recalls the carnival misrule associated elsewhere in these early Hamlet texts with the king of Denmark described by his nephew as both a "Moore" and a King of Misrule. It may also influence what all three texts call Hamlet's "Anticke disposition." "Anticke measures" are likened to "cole black moores" in Mason's The Turke (2.1), where the Moor Muleasses is termed a "hellish Anticke" (3.4). "If black, why Nature, drawing of an antic, / Made a foul blot," in Much Ado (3.1.63-64), connects that play's blotting and fouling with this "antic" figure. The "antic" identified with grotesque masks in Romeo and Juliet (1.5.55-57) and "antic" entertainment in Loves Labours Lost (5.1.112, 147) suggest the blackface familiar from mumming, morris dancing and other theatricals, as well as the "antic" masks of carnival inversion. (50)
 if he doe not bleach, and change at that,
 It is a damned ghost that we have seene.
 --Q1

 the Lady shall say her minde freely:
 or the black verse shall hault for't.
 --Q2


The lexicon of "black" and "white" (or their counterparts, negro and blanco) may even affect--at a micro level--some of the curious variants of these early Hamlet texts. In the soliloquy following the Player's speech, Hamlet determines (in a line that is close in Q2 and F): "Ile tent him to the quicke; If he but blench / I know my course." (51) The First Quarto has nothing corresponding at this point, but has Hamlet utter a similar intention just before the play scene itself, in lines that have the king not "blench" but "bleach":
 Marke thou the King, doe but obserue his lookes,
 For I mine eies will riuet to his face:
 And if he doe not bleach, and change at that,
 It is a damned ghost that we haue seene.
 (Q1,136)


Harold Jenkins comments in the Arden Hamlet on the "blench" used in most modern texts: "blench ] flinch. The word is related to blink but not to blanch, with which it is sometimes confused." (52) In the early modern environment of homophones and exchangeable spellings, "not" is a firmly boundary-setting term. But--given that "blench" itself was scarcely fixed in the single meaning of "swerve, flinch, or turn aside" but could substitute for blanching or bleaching, or that a "blancher" was one who flinched or turned aside as well as one who bleached or whitened--we need to find an approach different from the traditional assumption of simple error or mistake.

Even in Shakespeare, "blench" can suggest blanching or turning white. David Bevington's Arden 3 edition of Troilus and Cressida glosses "lesser blench at sufferance than I do" (1.1.28) not only as "flinch" or "quail" but as potentially "turn pale." (53) In Macbeth ("keep the natural ruby of your cheeks, / When mine is blanch'd with fear," 3.4.116), "blanch'd" suggests "whitened" or made pale but simultaneously gestures in the direction of "blench" as "shrink, start back, give way." The boundaries between "blench" and "blanch," in other words, were easily elided. The early textual variants here (F's "If he but blench," Q2's "if a doe blench," and Q1's "If he doe not bleach and change at that") may therefore call not so much for a commentary that assumes fixed borders between blench, blanch, and bleach as for an awareness of the ways in which such terms--like the "sullied flesh" that appears nowhere in any early text--function as homophonic ghost effects, in this case part of the language of whitening important to all three.

Bleaching, blenching, and blanching were part of the sexual as well as cosmetic and racialized discourses of whitening in the period. The reference in Loves Labours Lost to "maidens" who "bleach their summer smocks" (5.2.916)--in a play that already contrasts the "maculate" to the "immaculate" (1.2.90-92)--invokes a washing of linens whose sexual inference is shared by Leontes's anxiety about what might "spot" or "sully" the "purity and whiteness" of his "sheets" (1.2.320 ft.), recalled by the "white sheet bleaching on the hedge" (4.3.5) in the song of Autolycus, whose "traffic" is in "sheets." Bleaching appears in suggestive relation to the blanching of sexual stains in Massinger's City Madam ("some chandler's daughters, / Bleaching linen in Moorfields," 4.4), in lines that summon the proverbially unblanchable blackness of Moors as well as the "moors." "Blanch" was employed for whitening in its multiple senses, including the counterpart in alchemy to "albification" (or "albation," from the alba or "white" that provides the name of Albion) and the familiar term for washing the Ethiope white, used for the English king's alleged power to "blanch an Ethiop" in Jonson's Masque of Blackness. (54)

"Bleaching" and "blanching" were simultaneously part of the contemporary cosmetic discourse of whitening, producing a "fair" complexion by disguising or covering over stains--one of the reasons, perhaps, for the choice of "Bianca" for the courtesan of Othello. Philemon Holland's translation of Pliny describes the white paint that "serveth to make an excellent blanch for women that desire a white complexion" and the "blanch of cerusse" (or white lead) used to create the heightened cosmetic effect of whitehess. (55) Lucretia calls for "blanching water" to whiten her face before applying the cosmetic "tincture" or "tinct" provided by her lover--in a play where the name of "Motticilla" suggests the covering of maculate "spots." (56) "Blanching" a harlot's cheek connects dyeing, laundering, and bleaching--including the stain to "honesty" reflected in Merry Wives (4.2.126) on "clothes" sent forth to "bleaching"--with cosmetic whitening. "Bleaching" house was a contemporary synonym for "brothel," not only because of the identification with stains but because "dying and bleaching houses were situated along the Thames at Bankside, amongst the brothels," (57) making bleaching, blanching, and blenching part of the antithetical rhetoric conveyed by "nunnery" in relation to this purifying. In King John--another Shakespearean play preoccupied with the stain of the adulterate--the name "Blanche" is iterated so frequently, in lines that underscore the link with "fair" and "pure," that it suggests the importance of being "Blanche" (or "white") in all senses. (58) The variants "If he but blench" and "If he doe not bleach" may therefore be part of this extended network of significations, within and beyond these early Hamlet texts.

Like "blanch," English "blank" was also part of the racialized lexicon of color, in which Spanish blanco or white (counterpart of Italian bianco or bianca and French blanc) figured the opposite of negro or black. Florio's Wodde of Wordes defines bianca in one of its senses as "a blanke," bianche as "blanks," bianco as "white, pale, blanke, wan" as well as "a blanke." Cotgrave translates French blanc as "A blanke, white, whitenesse, or white thing; the white, or marke of a paire of buts; a blanke of paper; a blanke in a lotterie; also, whitelime, or whiting for walls," the double-meaning "lime" evoked for the "birdlime" of Iago, the white devil of Othello, the "white-limed walls" of Titus Andronicus, and the "limed soul" of the king of Denmark later called a "Moore." (59)

We might, then, revisit the lines of Hamlet in which "blank verse" appears instead as "black verse." Greeting the newly-arrived players, Hamlet delivers the line familiar from the Folio: "the Lady shall say her minde freely; or the blanke Verse shall halt for't." In the Second Quarto, however, this "verse" is not "blank" but "black": "the Lady shall say her minde freely: or the black verse shall hault for't" (my emphasis). The difference in Q2 may be explained by the mistaking of "n" for "c" in secretary hand or as a manuscript--("black" for "blanck") ignored by a compositor. (60) "Blank," however, elsewhere in these early texts of Hamlet, is used explicitly in the sense of blanching or whitening. Both the Folio and the Second Quarto contain, for example, the speech of the Player Queen (in the Folio speech prefix "Baptista") in which she protests "Each opposite that blanks the face of ioy" (Q2,146), a "blanks" that here "blanches" or "makes pale" a personified "face." (61) As an explanation for "black verse," a compositorial or other error is certainly possible, but there may also be other possibilities that are worth considering, rather than foreclosing the matter from the outset by declaring Q2's "black" to be a simple mistake.

"Blank" in early modern English had its own connections with cosmetic whitening. But even in the more familiar modern sense of empty or void, "blank" could denote a sexualized or racialized whiteness--as in the description of Desdemona as a fair "paper" to be written upon or the letters Falstaff writes to the wives of Merry Wives, described as "writ with blancke-space for different names," in preparation for an adulterous writing. (62) In the one other place in the early texts of Hamlet where blank appears--the king's "As leuell as the Cannon to his blanck, / Transports his poysened shot" (Q2)--"blank" suggests (as in Othello) the "white" of a target that can be "blackened" or "hit." (63)

"Blank" is hence another of the early modern English terms suggesting pallor or whiteness. If we return, then, to the Folio's "the Lady shall say her minde freely; or the blanke Verse shall halt for't" and the Second Quarto's "The Lady shall say her minde freely: or the black verse shall hault for it" (a "hault" that is routinely glossed as "limp"), the alternation of "black" verse for "blank" verse might be approached as itself caught within the network and (reversible) polarity of "black" and "white" that pervades these early texts. Coming from the variants of the closet scene, which evoke a blackened "Vulcan" as well as "Moore," I find myself unable to read the Second Quarto's "The black verse shall hault for't"--with its personification of a halting or limping as well as a "black" body--without thinking once again of the blackened and limping Vulcan.

The situation becomes even more complex when we consider that early modern English "black" and "blank" were not only polarities-like "white" and "black"--but synonyms, capable of turning "tropically" into one another, in a linguistic environment that includes the early Quarto text of Shakespeare's Sonnet 77, whose "waste blacks" editors routinely emend to "waste blanks." In the Quarto of Sonnet 77, "waste" is combined with "blacks" (and with the memento mori of "how thy present minutes waste")--as in the "wast [instead of 'vast'] ... middle of the night" (in the opening scene of Hamlet), or the waste or wasteland evoked by "batten on this Moore." Here again, we may have "moors" of different kinds--a "waste" that can be simultaneously empty or "blank" and "black," conflated with "waste" in this and other senses. (64) The tendency of such terms to turn into their apparent opposites might be demonstrated by "blankless," a contemporary term that could mean without "spot" or "blot," as if "blank" (or "white" in one of its senses) could simultaneously (through its meaning of target, perhaps) designate what blotted it. (65) Even "bleach" could be used in the sense of "blacken" as well as blanch or make "white," serving as a synonym for the "bleakness" of moors. (66)
 as a beautifull body is never more louely then when she is
 placed neer a Black-More, ...
 the Gem receives luster from the foile.
 --Alexander Ross, Alcoran (1649)

 I need no foile, nor shall I think me white only between two
 Moores.
 --Jasper Mayne, The City Match (1639)

 The King shall drinke ta Hamlets better breath,
 And in the cup an Onixe shall he throwe.
 --Second Quarto of Hamlet


From these multiple contexts for blackness and whiteness, we might now return to the contrasting portraits of "faire" and "Moore" with which we began. Kim F. Hall has described the ways in which such portraits contributed to the articulation of racial and class distinctions, in a period in which whiteness itself was defined through the differentiating blackness of the Moor. Roy Strong, Patricia Fumerton, and others have related the vogue for such representations to the increased supply of ivory, ebony, and other materials that enabled striking visual contrasts or foils. (67) The distinguishing "foil" (from foglio or feuille) is directly evoked within these early texts of Hamlet, in ways that connect the material creation of racial and other contrasts to the figure of opposition made explicit in the final duelling scene. Hamlet's "I'll be your foil Laertes; in mine ignorance / Your skill shall like a star i' th' darkest night / Stick fiery off indeed" (5.2.255-257), when he asks for the "foils" that are to distinguish between them in another sense, comes directly from this contemporary material discourse, as Richard II makes clear in "A foil wherein thou art to set / The precious jewell of thy home return" (1.3.266). Within the early texts of Hamlet, "foil" joins the description of Ophelia as "metal more attractive" or of Lamord as "the brooch indeed / And gem of all the nation." (68)

The epigraphs to this section employ this term central both to the early texts of Hamlet and to the contemporary visual representation of differentiation or distinction. (69) "Miniature jewels and portraits" (like "pendants and brooches") circulated, as Hall observes, "as racially coded signifiers of aristocratic identity in the late sixteenth century." The 1576 inventory of English goldsmith John Mabbe includes "a brouche of gold like a Mores-head, the ground being Mother of pearl ... a broache with a very fair Agott like a Blackamore enamelled all white about the said agott ... a jewell with an Agott having a woman cut on it like a More." The famous Gresley jewel features the cameo of a female Moor, whose black skin contrasts with the miniature portraits of the English aristocrats it encloses. (70) The cameo given by Elizabeth to Sir Francis Drake superimposes the profile of a black Moor on that of a white woman, in ways that not only provide a contrasting "foil" but evoke, as Hall suggests, the specter of racial mixture, adulteration, or mingling. The "vnion" or pearl of the Folio's duelling scene--the kind of white "pearl" frequently pictured, as a visual contrast, in the ear of a female Moor in the period--is itself (as Jenkins and other editors point out/ an explicit recall of a famous story about Antony and Cleopatra, a union that foregrounded an adulterate (as well as adulterous) mixture, of Roman Antony with his Egyptian queen. (71)

The vogue for black cameos in European courts was enabled by the "increased supply of black onyx" described by Strong and Fumerton. (72) In this regard--given the opposed "faire" and "Moore" of Hamlet's contrasting pictures--the other all but effaced variant we might revisit is the mysterious onyx that appears in the Second Quarto, where the other two texts have "vnion" or pearl. Following "Ile be your foile," the Q2 text has "The King shall drinke to Hamlets better breath, / And in the cup an Onixe shall he throwe," an onyx that reappears in Hamlet's "Drinke of this potion, is the Onixe heere?" instead of the familiar Folio "Drink off this Potion: Is thy Vnion heere?" (73) This "Onixe" is virtually effaced from conflated editions, as well as from Hamlet criticism. But as the material whose layering or mixture of white and black provided a contemporary basis for racialized contrasts or "foils," its appearance in the Second Quarto may warrant more serious attention than it has received.

Hamlet's "counterfeit presentment of two brothers" has frequently been assumed to involve miniature portraits, part of the vogue for "limning" already suggestive of the intimate private space or "Closet" of a queen. (74) That Hamlet's contrasting portraits may be such miniatures is suggested by his remark elsewhere that "my uncle is King of Denmark, and those that would make mows at him while my father lived, give twenty, forty, fifty, a hundred ducats a-piece for his picture in little" (2.2.363-66). (75) Miniature portraits were frequently used to contrast white and black, fair and Moor. Miniaturists kept "a stock of cards ready grounded for fair or dark complexions," while the vogue for "limning" reflected the new variety of pigments from "Inde or Afrike." (76)

In The Merchant of Venice, the Death's head associated with Africa and Moors, in the casket chosen by the Prince of Morocco, provides both a disappointing contrast and a foil for "fair" Portia's picture. Even more strikingly, such contrasts are directly evoked in the play that most clearly recalls Hamlet's portraits of two husbands--Two Noble Kinsmen, where Emilia enters (in the Quarto stage direction) "with 2. Pictures" usually assumed to be "miniatures, such as were often exchanged by lovers," comparing the portraits of Arcite and Palamon, the lovers between whom she must choose. (77) In lines that closely resemble Hamlet's opposition, Emilia contrasts the picture of Arcite (whose "Pelops" shoulder recalls the "ivory" or "white" of that Ovidian story) with Palamon's "swart" or dark "complexion" ("Palamon / Is but his foil; to him, a mere dull shadow; / He's swart and meagre, of an eye as heavy / As if he had lost his mother," 4.2.25-28). In lines whose praise of the ivory-white Arcite ("What a brow, / Of what a spacious majesty," 4.2.18-19) echo Hamlet's "See what a grace was seated on this brow," Emilia confesses a Gertrude-like weakness for the darker of the two. But the scene simultaneously suggests (as Lois Potter comments) that "the two men are meant to be indistinguishable." (78) Arcite is elsewhere called a "gypsy" (4.2.44), the "black-haired man" he is characterized as earlier in the play (3.3.31). Emilia ends her own comparison of these two pictures with "What a mere child is Fancy, / That, having two fair gauds of equal sweetness, / Cannot distinguish, but must cry for both" (4.2.52-54).
 So you mistake your husbands.
 (Q2)

 Marry how? Tropically.
 (F)


I quote this strikingly parallel passage on "2 Pictures," not only because it underscores the contrast of "faire" and "Moore" in the closet scene by its recall but because it presents the contrast itself as a rhetoric of distinction, the construction of polarity and difference where none may exist. The passage closest to Hamlet's "counterfeit presentment of two brothers" thus invokes the "foil" used to set off "fair" from "swart" and simultaneously draws attention to their indistinguishability. In the closet scene itself, Hamlet's contrast of "faire" and "Moore" is immediately followed in Q2 and F by "Haue you eyes?," a question posed to a mother who has mistaken husbands, in all of the senses these texts exploit. The Second Quarto adds lines that call even further attention to what might "serue in such a difference" (168). "How should I your true love know from another one?" (Q2 and F: "How should I your true loue know / From another man?," Q1)--the opening of the mad scene of Ophelia in all three texts--adds the problem of telling counterfeit from true, in texts filled with counterfeit presentments of all kinds. (79)

The early texts of Hamlet repeatedly construct such oppositions--of white and black, heaven and hell, angel and devil--and simultaneously undo these polarities. The "night" made "joint laborer" with the "day" (in all three texts) and the emphasis on poisoned unions or oxy-morons complicate or confound the Manichean rhetoric of "night" and "Day," blending even mighty opposites into one another. (80) "Black" Hamlet and the king called a "Moore" converge in the murderer Lucianus and the "Black" Pyrrhus of the Player's speech (TTH, 108-11). The "Cyclops hammers" of this "hellish Pyrrhus" anticipate not only Hamlet's presentation of his uncle as a hellish "Vulcan" but Hamlet's own "imaginations," described as "foule / As Vulcans stithy" (Q2,136). "Old Mole," applied to the Ghost (in the lines that assimilate him, as Jenkins observes, to the "foul collier" associated with the devil), recalls in Q2 the "vicious mole of nature" from the description of the present king, connecting the fathers and husbands Hamlet seeks to distinguish, even as they are joined within the closet scene itself, in the "King of shreds and patches" capable of reference to both at once. (81) Even Hamlet's "Anticke disposition" participates in this inversion of polarities, suggesting the carnival reversal shared by the king he calls a "Moore" and a king of Misrule.

The Ghost (with characteristic modesty) compares himself to a "radiant Angell" (Q2, "radiant Angle"), casting the "adulterate Beast" who won the "will" of his most virtuous-seeming queen as a contrasting devil. But angel and devil in these texts are not only reversible but indistinguishable. The lines themselves invoke the figure of the devil disguised as an angel of light (or "shape of heauen"), the Luciferic counterfeit or double recalled in Hamlet's soliloquy on the devil's power to "assume a pleasing shape" (Q2/F). (82) Hamlet's "counterfeit" representations (in the double sense of constructed or made and forged) summon the racialized counterpart of what has been called the "passion for differences," in the midst of the collapse of distinction itself. (83) The polarized rhetoric that Abdul JanMohamed has identified with the Manichean contrasts of a later imperial history is here confounded, in a crisis of undifferentiation in which opposites turn into one another, in the very mixture, mingling, or "union" Hamlet seeks to prevent.

Hamlet's contrasting portraits of "faire" and "Moore" are part of a scene that goes out of its way to call attention to empires and imperial histories. Jenkins notes an echo of Mercury's descent to Roman Aeneas in African Carthage, in the "herald Mercury" of the lines that introduce these portraits, evoking in the closet of the maculate or "spotted" Danish queen the figure of Dido, called in an influential contemporary translation "A Moore among the Moores." (84) The echo joins the unmistakable allusion to Cleopatra and Antony in the poisoned "union" of the final scene, routinely cited by editors but not yet an integral part of our apprehension of this play, though such allusions are familiar from other Shakespeare plays in which Moors or imperial conflicts prominently appear.

The continuing influence of Romantic or psychologizing conceptions of Hamlet may still obscure the importance of empire within it--though it is repeatedly and variously underscored in these early texts, not just in "Imperiall Ioyntresse" or "Cutpurse of the Empire and the Rule," in the names of Horatio and Marcellus, or the invocation of Alexander, Brutus, Caesar, and Nero, whose relation with his mother and stepfather Claudius is recalled at the threshold of the closet scene, but in their allusions to more contemporary struggles: Norway, Denmark, England, and the Poland reflected in the "Polonius" of Q2 and F; reminders of the "Turke" not just in the lines that survive into modern editions ("if the rest of my Fortunes turne Turke") but in usually effaced lines from Q1 (on "Christian, Pagan, / Nor Turke"); evocations of contemporary piracy (a notorious part of imperial rivalry) in Q2 and F; and of the Diet of Worms (Q2/F, 182-85), which was preoccupied not just with the Lutheran schism routinely cited for these lines but with the threat from the Ottoman Turk, or Moor. (85)

One of the original contexts for the present study was a conference devoted to "Dislocating Shakespeare." (86) Hamlet itself has been dislocated in recent years--by its transportation to a South African setting in the debate over Wulf Sachs's Black Hamlet (1937) and by work on its first recorded performance in 1607-8, aboard an East India Company ship off the coast of Sierra Leone. (87) Readers who turn from the familiar conflated Hamlet to its earliest texts may find that experience dislocating in another sense, estranging a play we thought we knew. What awaits are not only the variants foregrounded in the last decade of "unediting" (radically changing even "To be or not to be") but other striking differences, including not only the "Moore" or blackened "Vulcan" of the closet scene but "guyana" rather than Vienna as the location of the Mousetrap murder in Q1, the quarto published in the same year as the trial of Raleigh, whose "Discoverie" of "Guiana" had already been invoked in Merry Wives. (88)

Hamlet's opposition of "faire" and "Moore" iterates the polarizations of its culture, foregrounding its material "foils," in a context in which empire itself is ironized, its triumphant Veni, Vidi, Vici replayed in the cadences of the Gravediggers' scene: "Alexander died: Alexander was buried: Alexander returneth into dust," stopping a "Beere-barrell" as "Imperious" or "Imperiall Caesar" is "turn'd to clay." (89) Returning to these early texts enables us to reexamine what has been lost in the conflation. It may also enable us to read them against the rhetoric of their time.

Notes

(1.) The Second Quarto (Q2) here is cited from The Three-Text Hamlet: Parallel Texts of the First and Second Quartos and First Folio, ed. Paul Bertram and Bernice W. Kliman (New York: AMS Press, 1991), 166,168 (hereafter TTH), the source of page references to Q1, Q2, and F in notes and text. Unless otherwise noted, all other Shakespeare citations are to The Riverside Shakespeare, ed. G. Blakemore Evans (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1974). This essay had its origins in talks delivered at a Folger Shakespeare Institute session on "Shakespeare and the Designs of Empire" directed by Michael Neill in 1993 and at the University of Pennsylvania in 1994. I am grateful to readers and audiences who responded to subsequent versions delivered at the 1998 School of Criticism and Theory, and in 1999-2000 at the London Renaissance Seminar, the University of Alabama, Oxford, and other universities in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Spain, and the "Dislocating Shakespeare" conference organized by Michael Neill and others at Auckland. I am also indebted to Bruce Boehrar, Michael Bristol, Karen Cunningham, Peter Donaldson, Catherine Gallagher, Jonathan Gil Harris, Sujata Iyengar, Evelyn Pox Keller, Bernice W. Kliman, Francois Laroque, Ania Loomba, Randall McLeod, Gail Kern Paster, Lois Potter, Shankar Raman, Virginia Mason Vaughan, Daniel Vitkus, Paul Yachnin, and others who provided insightful comments on its earlier versions.

(2.) For "moors" of both kinds in the iconography of Thomas More or "Moore" (whose Latin name Morus meant "black" as well as "fool"), see J. B. Trapp's exposition in Ephialte 2 (1990): 45-49, with Germain Marc'hadour, "A Name for All Seasons," Essential Articles for the Study of Thomas More, ed. R. S. Sylvester and G. P. Marc'hadour (Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1977).

(3.) John Dover Wilson, ed., Hamlet (1934; 2d ed. 1936; rpt., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1961), 85, 213. Subsequent editions vary as to whether they note the double-meaning "moor." Harold Jenkins's Arden 2 edition (London: Methuan, 1982), 322, notes that "a play on blackamoor" (suggested by the contrast with a "fair" mountain) "may be what prompts Q1 'With a face like Vulcan.'" Philip Edwards's New Cambridge edition (Cambridge University Press, 1985), 177, notes the suggested "undertone of 'blackamoor' in 'moor' "; Everyman Hamlet, ed. John F. Andrews (London: Dent, 1989), notes "moor" as both barren "wasteland" and "wet marshland" and the "pun on Blackamoor"; The Norton Shakespeare (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1997), 1721, glosses "batten on this moor" as "glut yourself on this poor pastureland (possibly punning on 'blackamoor')." G. R. Hibbard's edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987), David Bevington's Complete Works of Shakespeare (London: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1980), Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor's William Shakespeare: A Textual Companion (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987), the Riverside edition, and the new Pelican Tragical History of Hamlet Prince of Denmark, ed. A. R. Braunmuller (New York: Penguin Books, 2001) do not note the double-meaning "Moore."

(4.) On "dull Moor," see Michael Neill, Issues of Death: Mortality and Identity in English Renaissance Tragedy (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1997), 148; Marc'hadour, "Name," 544-54, on "Moor" and "moron" in Latin morus and oxy-moron as "sharp dull."

(5.) See Ulipian Fulwell's Like Will to Like, quote the Devil to the Collier (1568), cited in the Arden 2 edition of Twelfth Night, ed. J. M. Lothian and T. W. Craik (London: Methuan, 1975), 99-100; and "smirched complexion" of the "Prince of Fiends" in Henry V (3.3.15-18).

(6.) On this racializing, see the important comments in Kim F. Hall, Things of Darkness: Economies of Race and Gender in Early Modern England (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995), 259-60, with Sander L. Gilman, Difference and Pathology (Ithaca: Cornel] University Press, 1985), 30-31; and Winthrop D. Jordan, White Over Black (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1968), 15, 17, 248-49, 518-21.

(7.) See Thomas Dekker, The Welsh Embassador, 4:386. On soot, coal and other forms of face darkening, see Eldred Jones, Othello's Countrymen (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1965), esp. 66-68, 122; Antony Gerard Barthelemy, Black Face, Maligned Race (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1987); Hall, Darkness, 87-89, 116-17,130-31,179; Jack D'Amico, The Moor in English Renaissance Drama (Tampa: University of South Florida Press, 1991), esp. 53-58; Annette Drew-Bear, Painted Faces on the Renaissance Stage (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1994), esp. 32-34; William Carleton on the "Troop of leancheek'd Moors" in Jonson's The Masque of Blackness, cited in Ben Jonson: The Complete Masques, 1572-1637, ed. Stephen Orgel (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1969), 4; Francois Laroque, Shakespeare's Festive World, trans. Janet Lloyd (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), esp. 289-302.

(8.) See Janet Adelman, "Iago's Alter Ego: Race as Projection in Othello," Shakespeare Quarterly 48, no. 2 (summer 1997), 125-44,143, on Othello's "collied"; MND, 1.1.145 ("collied night"); Loves Labours Lost, 4.3.263 ("colliers counted bright"); Romeo and Juliet, 1.1.2; Twelfth Night, 3.4.117; and Othello, 3.3.387.

(9.) Michael D. Bristol, "Charivari and the Comedy of Abjection in Othello," Renaissance Drama, n.s., 21 (1990): 3-21, esp. 10.

(10.) TTH, 58-59. On the Fall in relation to Hamlet, see Janet Adelman, Suffocating Mothers (New York: Routledge, 1992), chapter 2. On its combination of decline and fall with grammatical declension (characterized elsewhere as a denigration or blackening), see my Shakespeare from the Margins (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1996), 179-80.

(11.) See TTH, 28-29, 58-59, 108-111, 148-49, 156-57, 226-27; nero in John Florio, A Worlde of Wordes (1598). Jenkins's Long Note (456) on the Folio's "iuyce of cursed Hebenon" points out that "The word is the same as ebony (L. ebenus or hebenus.., which the Elizabethans often spelt (h)eben(e) as well as ebon." I am very grateful to Bernice W. Kliman for sharing with me the accumulated variorum debate concerning F's "Hebenon," Q2's "iuyce of cursed Hebona" (58), Q1's "iuyce of Hebona" (58), the poisonous "juice of hebon" from The Jew of Malta (3.4.98), and Cotgrave's "Hebene: m. Heben, or Ebonie; the blaeke, and hard wood of a certaine tree growing in AEthyopia, and the East Indies." Even when arguing the inappropriateness of poison to "ebony," Nicholson's 1882 edition (for example) cites the appearance of "heben" in Spenser's Faerie Queene (including the "Heben sad" of Mammon's garden, in a description that starts with "direfull deadly black").

(12.) See TTH, 138-39; Jenkins, 501 and Edwards, 158 on morris dance allusions in Hamlet and the "hobby-horse" of Othello, 4.1.154; Wendy Wall, "Reading for the Blot: Textual Desire in Early Modern English Literature," in Reading and Writing in Shakespeare, ed. David M. Bergeron (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1996), 131-59, esp. 138-39 on inky blots and stains in Much Ado. The resonances of "Nothing" both in Q2 and F Hamlet and in Much Ado about Nothing (whose homophone "Noting" includes blotting or staining as well as observing) may include not only the already well-known "O" and "naught/nought" but Nothus as a term for bastard (or the son of an adulteress) in the period. In Illegimate Power: Bastards in Renaissance Drama (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 1994), 20-25, Alison Findlay cites William Clerke's Triall of Bastardie (1594, EIv) on spurius as the Latin for the son of a concubine and nothus for the son of an adulteress. Thomas Laqueur, in Making Sex (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990), 56, cites Isidore's argument that bastards are called spurius because they "spring from the mother alone" and the ancients "called the female genitalia the spurium." Laqueur (56) also cites Plutarch's report that "the adjective spurius derived from a Sabine word for the female genitalia and was applied to illegitimate children as a form of abuse." Latin "Nothus" is cited for "bastard" in John Minsheu's Ductor in Linguas, or Guide unto the Tongues (London, 1617) and in the "Nothus" (or "Bastard") emblem (of Hercules) in Alciati's widely-disseminated Emblemata. In Thomas Thomas, Dictionarium Linguae Latinae et Anglicanae (1587) (Menston, Eng.: The Scolar Press, 1972), "Nothus" is defined as "Base borne, or bastard, not lawful, counterfeit."

(13.) See respectively TTH, 168-69; Othello, 4.2.71; Antonio's Revenge, 1.2 (sig. Bv).

(14.) Weasel, mole, and mouse are cited together in Leviticus 11:29-30 as "vncleane" beasts (Geneva, 1560). See Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979); Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection trans. L. S. Roudiez (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982), 12, 105-31; "mouse" and "weasel" in Gordon Williams, A Dictionary of Sexual Language and Imagery in Shakespearean and Stuart Literature (London: Athlone Press, 1994), 2:916-18 and 3:1509; and Omnia Andreae Alciati V. C. Emblemata cam commentarius . . . per Clavdium Minoem (Antwerp, 1577), 293-94. On the combination of "swart," "in gain," "grime" and echoes of the black bride of the Song of Songs with a baptismal "Noah's flood" in CE, 3.2.101-18, see Parker, Shakespeare from the Margins, 65-68.

(15.) For the spotted "leopard," see Richard II (1.1.173-76); on Jeremiah 13:23 ("Can the black Moor change his skin? or the leopard his spots." Geneva Bible) and the proverb "To Wash an Ethiope White," see Geoffrey Whitney, A Choice of Emblemes (1586) ["Aethiopem Lavare"]; Karen Newman, Fashioning Femininity and English Renaissance Drama (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1991), chap. 5; and Hall, Darkness, 107-15. On the birth of Christ (evoked in all three texts)--from an immaculate Virgin Mother--contrasted with Denmark's Eve-like Queen, on "waste/waist," and adulterous/adulterate mixtures, see Adelman, Mothers, chap. 2.

(16.) Folio; similar in Q2 (162). Q1 has "trip him" that "his heeles may kick at heauen, / And fall as lowe as hel." Hamlet's speech in the Folio text of the prayer scene (2354 in the "Through Line Numbers" established by Charlton Hinman in The Norton Facsimile: The First Folio of Shakespeare (W. W. Norton & Co., 1968), has "A Villaine killes my Father, and for that / I his foule Sonne, do this same Villaine send / To heanen," where Q2 has "sole sonne." On Baptista, see A New Variorum Edition of Shakespeare: Hamlet, ed. Horace Howard Furness (New York: Dover Publications, 1963), 1:255.

(17.) See Drew-Bear, Faces, 64, with TTH, 160-61; Jenkins, ed., 314-15, on birdlime, limed soul, and echoes of Psalm 51:7 and Isaiah 1:18 in "white as snow."

(18.) See Neill, Issues, 145-46, who discusses the leopard's spots as sign of its adulterate nature, from "the adultery of a lioness with a pard." On the "adulterate" disobedience of Ham, see also Benjamin Braude, "The Sons of Noah and the Construction of Ethnic and Geographical Identities in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods," in William and Mary Quarterly 54 (1997): 103-42; Jordan, White Over Black, esp. 15, 17-20, 35-39, 41-42; Joseph R. Washington Jr., Anti-Blackness in English Religion, 1500-1800 (New York: The Edward Mellen Press, 1984), 6-21; Newman, Femininity, 79-80, 161; John Gillies, Shakespeare and the Geography of Difference (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 18-19, 25, and 172-73.

(19.) Tubalcain is associated with the blacksmith in the biblical genealogies in which he appears. On the conflation of Cain with Canaan/Ham, see Ruth Mellinkoff, Outcasts (Berkeley: University of Califonia Press, 1993); and The Mark of Cain (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981); John Black Friedman, The Monstrous Races in Medieval Art and Thought (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1981); and Washington Jr., Anti-Blackness, 465,470.

(20.) On the tropical location as well as troping/trapping evoked by the Mousetrap, see Graham Holderness and Bryan Loughrey, eds., The Tragical Historie of Hamlet Prince of Denmarke (London: Harvester, 1992), 75,122. On Ham, see Peter Fryer, Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain (London: Pluto Press, 1984), 143.

(21.) On Tubalcain, Tubal, and Spain, see Richard Lynche, An Historical Treatise of the Travels of Noah into Europe: Containing the first inhabitation and peopling thereof(London, 1601), e.g., sigs. Giv and Hiiiv. A brilliant paper by Janet Adelman on The Merchant of Venice (delivered in Auckland in July 2002) examines these connections.

(22.) Q2 (28): "I am too much in the sonne"; F (20): "I am too much i' th' Sun." See Song of Songs, 1:4-5; Antony and Cleopatra (1.5.27-28); The Merchant of Venice (2.1.1-17); Jordan, White Over Black, 11-15; Hall, Darkness, 66-69, 92107,110; Washington, Anti-Blackness, 70-101; James Walvin, The Black Presence: A Documentary History of the Negro in England, 1555-1860 (New York: Schocken, 1972), 32-47.

(23.) "Let her not walke i' th' Sunne" here is cited from Folio, but virtually identical in Q2 (92-93). This later exchange relies on the contemporary sense of "tanning" as a sexual blackening, sullying, or staining, exploited in Thomas Kyd's The Tragedye of Solyman and Perseda (1.4.13-14), ed. John J. Murray (New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1991), 22, where "fair" is used in its doubled sense of "white": "Faire Ladies should be coye to showe their faces, / Least that the sun should tan them with his beames."

(24.) Cited from Q2 (82); virtually identical in Folio (83). Q1's Corambis says "I haue a daughter, / Haue while shee's mone; for that we thinke / Is surest, we often loose" (82). Q2 and F (86-87) also have Polonius promise to "loose" his daughter to the prince.

(25.) F (97) is virtually identical. The variations on the names of "Rosencrantz" and "Guildenstern" suggest (among other possibilities) the association of "colors" and "craft."

(26.) See Q2 and F (48-49), with Shirley Nelson Garner, "'Let Her Paint an Inch Thick': Painted Ladies in Renaissance Drama and Society," Renaissance Drama, n.s., 20 (1989): 123-39; Frances E. Dolan, "Taking the Pencil Out of God's Hand: Art, Nature, and the Face-Painting Debate in Early Modern England," PMLA 108 (1993): 224-39.

(27.) Jenkins notes (322) the animal metaphors here ("directly or indirectly, from Belleforest and ultimately from Saxo"); Edwards (177) suggests animals' (difficult) feeding on barren moorlands. For "wholsom breath" (F),"wholsome brother" (Q2), see 166-67.

(28.) See Robert K. Turner Jr., ed. The Fair Maid of the West Parts I and II (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1967), 87, who glosses Heywood's "Moorian" in part I (5.2.80-81) as "a play on 'murrain'," "murrion," or "plague"; and the "monstrous murrian black-a-moore" of Anthony Munday's John a Kent and John a Cumber (1.1), with the note on "Murrian" and "morian, or moorish" in J. Payne Collier's edition (London: Shakespeare Society, 1851). "Murrion" (itself connected with spotting) could be used for any blight or pestilence, including with reference to the biblical texts cited by Hamlet editors here (Genesis 41:5-7, 22-4; 1 Kings 8:37; Amos 4:9; and Haggai 2:17). Infection is part of the complex metaphorics of tainting in other contemporary contexts. See Jonathan Gil Harris, "'With Spanish Gold, you all infected are': Taint and Transnational Usury in The Merchant of Venice," in his forthcoming Etiologies of the Economy: Dramas of Mercantilism and Disease in Shakespeare's England.

(29.) In relation to the soiling or blackening of Ophelia's whiteness by exposure to Denmark's Sun/Son, it is important to note that puns on "Sol" (Latin "sun") and "soil" are already part of the story of the origin of blackness--in Ovid's account of the Chariot of the Sun driven by the son of Hyperion or Apollo, scorching the originally white Ethiope, classical counterpart of the sunburnt bride of the Song of Songs. See Frederick Ahl, Metaformations: Soundplay and Wordplay in Ovid and Other Classical Poets (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985), 55-56, 169-91,180-81. For the variants above, see TTH, 32-33, 43-44, 70-71,198-99.

(30.) See TTH, 42-43, 50, 66-67, 234-35, 248-49; Laertes on Ophelia's "faire and vnpolluted flesh" (Q2,238) and "hold off the earth awhile" (Q2,238); Jenkins, 457-58 on "Old Mole" and "foul collier," with Margreta De Grazia, "Teleology, Delay, and the 'Old Mole,'" Shakespeare Quarterly 50, no. 3 (fall 1999): 251-67. For "mole" as stain or blot, see MND, 5.1.409-11, Cymbeline, 2.5.135-40.

(31.) See TTH, 72-73; John Minsheu, Ductor in Linguas (London, 1617), under "Soile or Land ... L. Solum, quia solidum... Vi. fundament. Vide etiam Ground"; John Florio, A Worlde of Wordes (1598), Salare, Salato, Sale, Saletta ; Randall Cotgrave, A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues (1611; Menston, Eng.: The Scolar Press, 1968), under Sale, Salir.

(32.) TTH, 234-35. Exploitation of the multiple senses of "ground" include "grounds/More Relatiue than this" (F, 119; Q2,118: "grounds / More relatiue then this").

(33.) See TTH, 114-15; 1H4, 1.2.78; "muddied . . . smell" in Ali's Well, 5.2.4. Jenkins, 270, links "dull and muddy-mettled rascal" to the "dull" of his 1.5.32. In the Folio, the king called a "Moore" appears in this same scene as "blunt" (synonym of "dull") rather than "bloat [or 'blowt'] King" of Q2 (174-75). For conflations of mud, excrement, waste, fens, moors, and Moors, see Edward H. Sugden, A Topographical Dictionary to the Works of Shakespeare and His Fellow Dramatists (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1925), under "Moorditch," "Moorfields," and "Moorgate." On Ophelia's "muddy" death, see TTH, 222-23, with OED, s.v. "muddy" ("Morally impure or 'dirty' "), below, and Parker, Shakespeare from the Margins, 255-56. I am grateful to Gall Kern Paster for allowing me to read her work on the "melancholy of Moor-ditch" in particular, in the course of a mutual sharing of work in progress of which the present essay has been part since it was presented in Auckland in July, 2000.

(34.) For muddied/muddled/puddle, see Othello (3.4.143: "puddled his clear spirit"); and Q2 and F, 196-97 ("the people muddied"). OED under "muddy" (a. and n. 2) cites Leontes's "muddy" (WT, 1.2.325), for 5.a., "Not clear in mind; confused, muddled"; H. CROSSE Vertues Commw. (1603) (1878 ed., 128), "She is a muddie queane, a filthy beast" for 7: "Morally impure or 'dirty'"; the combination of mud and dung under 1.a: "Wet and soft soil or earthy matter; mire, sludge"; the figurative sense of "what is worthless or polluting"; and for muddying a pure liquid, Rape of Lucrece (577). See also "mud," "morris," and "murrion" in MND, 2.1.97-98; "rude, raw, and muddy" morris dances in Two Noble Kinsmen (3.5.118-20); and chap. 4 of Sujata Iyengar, "Nutbrown Maids and 'Sunneburnt' Men: Rural Nostalgia and Racial Exchange in Early Modern England" (Ph.D. diss., Stanford University, 1998), on "mud."

(35.) See respectively Hall, Gilman, and Jordan in n. 6; Adelman, "Iago's Alter Ego," 143, on the projection/abjection of excremental "waste" in Othello; the Ghost on his queen as preying on "garbage" (TTH, 58-59). For "nasty," see Cotgrave Sale ("Foule, soyled, nastie, sluttish, uncleane, filthie, loathsome, beastlie"); Salet ("Sullied, slubbered soyled; somewhat nastie, sluttish, or uncleane'); Salir ("To foule, soyle, sullie, beray, begrime; pollute, make sluttish, defile, or fill with ordure").

(36.) See, for example, Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy (Oxford, 1521; New York: Dent, 1932), 12 ("black men"); 79, 87, 94 ("bogs, fens," "waste" lands, "barren heaths" and "fens, bogs, and moors"); 145 (mixed passions "like a chequer-table, black and white men"); 152 (on "black choler" and "excrement"); 169 (on the Greek root of melancholy's "black choler"); 172 ("swarthy, black" and "complexion"); 209 (on "black spots"); and 224 ("muddy" and "unclean" waters); Marc'hadour, "Name," 553-54, on melancholy, morosus or "morose," and Moors; Juliana Schiesari, The Gendering of Melancholia (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992), esp. chap. 2 ("Black Humor?") and 97 on black bile and "grief" (with Marston's "soile of griefe"); Mary Floyd-Wilson, "Temperature, Temperance, and Racial Difference in Ben Jonson's The Masque of Blackness," ELR 28 (1998): 183-209, and 1996 University of North Carolina doctoral dissertation, "'Clime, Complexion, and Degree': Racialism in Early Modern England." On humoral discourses and Hamlet, see Gail Kern Paster, "The Body and Its Passions," Shakespeare Studies 29 (2001), 44-50.

(37.) Albert Boime, Art of Exclusion: Representing Blacks in the Nineteenth Century (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990), 5.

(38.) See Thomas Hill, trans., The contemplation of mankinde, contayning a singuler discourse of phisiognomie (London, 1571), 16-18.

(39.) On Bodin and others, see Winfried Schleiner, Melancholy, Genius, and Utopia in the Renaissance (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1991), 14, 177, 197, 294; Floyd-Wilson, "Racial Difference," 205. Milton's II Penseroso ("divinest Melancholy," 12) and L'Allegro ("loathed Melancholy, / Of Cerberus and blackest midnight born," 1) attest to the continuation of both positive and negative representations of melancholy.

(40.) Timothy Bright, A Treatise of Melancholie (1586), ed. Hardin Craig (New York'. Columbia University Press, 1940), 128-29, the facsimile edition cited in all references here.

(41.) Bright, Treatise, 128-29, 148, 177-78, 196,214. The white and black morphew of Philemon Holland's 1601 translation of Pliny is argued by Macdonald P. Jackson and Michael Neill in Notes and Queries, n.s. 45, no. 3 (September 1998): 358-86 to have influenced Marston's Antonio and Mellida, and to date it as after Hamlet.

(42.) In Daniel J. Vitkus, "Turning Turk in Othello: The Conversion and Damnation of the Moor," Shakespeare Quarterly48, no. 2 (1997): 145-76, esp. 155; see also Bright, Treatise, 192 (on "the disadvantage of the melancholicke complexion: whose opportunity Sathan embraceth to vrge all terror against you to the fall"); Schleiner, Melancholy, 67, on Wittenberg and Luther's view that "the devil has particular insight into melancholic characters and uses them as instruments."

(43.) See The Faerie Queene (1590), 1.12.38 ("dull Melancholy"); Bright, Treatise, chap. 22, 129 ("melancholie causeth dulnesse of conceit"); Burton, Anatomy, 8 (on the "black fumes" of "melancholy" that "dull our senses"); Marc'hadour, "Name," on melancholy, Moors, and Moria or dullness; see also Robert Torte, Alba: The Months Minde of a Melancholy Lover (1598), where "tawny" and "black" are cited as the colors of melancholy and"Alba" evokes the white of both "fair" beloved and Albion or England.

(44.) See H. Woudhuysen, ed., Love's Labour's Lost (Walton-on-Thames, Eng.: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1998), 127; the gloss on 3.4.24-25 in Roger Warren and Stanley Wells, eds., Twelfth Night (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 170; Wall, "Blot," 140; Much Ado, ed. A. R. Humphreys (London: Methuen, 1981), 1.2.10-12 and 2.1.221; Titus Andronicus, 1.1.185 (with its Saturn[inus]/Moor); 1 Henry/V, 1.2.83-88; melancholy and "ink" in The Revenger's Tragedy, 4.2.47-50.

(45.) See Minsheu, Ductor ("Melancholie, or blacke choler caused by adustion of the blood"); homophonic "soots" and "suits" in Hamlet's "suites" (TTH, 28-29), above.

(46.) Treatise, 127 ("this soote of melancholie"), and 159 ("sootie and smokie excrementes, whereby the spirites become impure"). See also 32 (on adust). Iyengar examines the use of "adust" for "black-skinned Moor or Indian" in her forthcoming Changing Color: Mythologies of Race and Skin-Color, 1549-1668. FloydWilson, Racialism, 80, notes the "adust" or "burning kind" of melancholy which (according to Ficino) "makes you dull and stupid" (8).

(47.) See 1H6 (1.1.1: "Hung be the heavens with black! yield, day, to night!"); Cyril Tourneur, The Atheist's Tragedy (2.4.30-33); John Marston, The Insatiate Countess (3.65); Thomas Heywood, A Warning for Fair Women (Induction, 82-83); The Works of Michael Drayton, ed. J. William Hebel, 4 vols. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1961), 1:158; George Chapman's BussyD'Ambois (4.1.110-12); Neill, Issues, 30-32, 210, 274, 277-79, 282, 284-85, 292; E. K. Chambers, The Elizabethan Stage, 4 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1923), 3:79.

(48.) F, 161 (virtually identical in Q2, 160). See Gillies, Geography, 161; William E. Engel, Mapping Mortality (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1995), 14, on Moors-Mors and Death as "der schwarze Mann"; Neill, Issues, 89 and 147; Marc'hadour, "Name," 554-55, on Mors, memento mori, moriens, and "Morians" or Moors; Philip Ziegler, The BlackDeath (London: Collins, 1969), 17-18, on atra Mors; Hall, Darkness, 5,227-29, on the portrait of Lord Willoughby d'Eresby and its memento mori.

(49.) See TTH, 216, 218 (Q2: "incorp'st, and demy natur'd"; "Vppon my life Lamord), 217 (F: "encorp'st and demy-Natur'd'), 219 (Fl's "Vpon my life Lamound," whose emendation to "Lamode" is cited in The New Variorum Hamlet, ed. H. H. Furness, 1:383); Margaret W. Ferguson, "Hamlet: Letters and Spirits," in Shakespeare and the Question of Theory (London: Methuen, 1985), 292-309, 301-5 (who relates this "Brooch indeed,/And Iemme of all our Nation" in Q2 and F here to Hamlet as "the glass of fashion and the mould of form"); Richard Helgerson, "What Hamlet Remembers," Shakespeare Studies 10 (1977): 67-97, esp. 85-93; Marjorie Garber, "'Remember me': Memento Mori Figures in Shakespeare's Plays," Renaissance Drama 12 (1981): 3-25; John Kerrigan, "Hieronimo, Hamlet, and Remembrance," Essays in Criticism 31 (1981): 105-26; for the "biter bit," see Neill, Issues, 239, 244-46, with 4,237.

(50.) On "Antic" Death and Hamlet the "antic," see Neill, Issues, 5, 62-88, 225, 235; Helgerson, "What Hamlet Remembers," 85-93; with Talbot on "antic Death, which laugh'st us here to scorn" (1H6, 4.7.18), Death the "antic" in Richard II (3.2.162). For "antic" in contexts suggesting blackface or carnival, see also Two Noble Kinsmen (4.1.75); Antony and Cleopatra (2.7.132); Michael Drayton, Ide (1594), 424; F. Quarles, Jonah (1620; 1638), 41: "Your mimick mouthes, your antick faces"; Robert Greene's "Anticks garnisht in our colours" in Shaks. Cent. Praise (1592), 2; Bishop Joseph Hall, Sermons, 5.113 ("Are they Christians, or Antics in some Carnival?"); Milton, Samson Agonistes (line 1325): "Jugglers and dancers, antics, mummers, mimics."

(51.) Cited here from the Folio, 119, Q2 (118) has "Ile tent him to the quicke, if a doe blench / I know my course." Both appear in the soliloquy that begins in Q2 and F with some version of "Oh what a Rogue and Pesant slaue am I?" (F, 115); but in Q1 with "Why what a dunghill idiote slane am I?" (114). 52. Jenkins gloss (273) here continues "(Hence Q1 bleach at M.ii.80-81)." He argues (118) for Q1's "bleach" as an intermediary between Q2 and the German Tragoedia der Bestrafte Brudermord oder Prinz Hamlet aus Ddnnemark, which has "entfarbt" ("turned pale or changed color").

(53.) David Bevington, ed., Troilus and Cressida (Walton-on-Thames, Eng.: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1998), 133. See also Massinger and Fletcher's Fat. Dowry 2.1 ("soldiers? Blanch not!"), where "blanch" is used in the sense of "blench" or flinch.

(54.) See Dekker's "Patience has blancht thy soul as white as snow," in Sir Thomas Wyatt (1607), 126; the King's power to "blanch an Ethiope" in Jonson's Masque of Blackness (lines 223-25). As Floyd-Wilson observes in "Racial Difference," his power to "blanch" included transforming "a subject's material debt to the crown into a merely ceremonial display of allegiance," since "blanching" was the Scottish legal term for transforming "black-ward" (or "tenure by military service") into "blanch" ("rent paid in silver, instead of service, labour, or produce").

(55.) See Philemon Holland's 1601 translation of Pliny ]].520, 529; with Garner, "Paint," 132; Drew-Bear, Faces, 1-52, esp. 21-22; Dympna Callaghan, "'Othello was a white man': properties of race on Shakespeare's stage," in Alternative Shakespeares 2, ed. Terence Hawkes (London: Routledge, 1996), 192-215. For important studies of whiteness, see Kim F. Hall, "'These bastard signs of fair': Literary whiteness in Shakespeare's sonnets," in Post-Colonial Shakespeares, ed. Ania Loomba and Martin Orkin (London: Routledge, 1998), 64-83; Peter Erickson's "Profiles in Whiteness," Stanford Humanities Review 3 (1993)'. 98-111; Erickson, "Seeing White," Transition (1996): 166-85; Erickson, "'God for Harry, England, and Saint George': British National Identity and the Emergence of White Self-Fashioning," in Early Modern Visual Culture: Representation, Race, and Empire in Renaissance England, ed. Peter Erickson and Clark Hulse (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000); and Barbara Bowen, "Amelia Lanyer and the Invention of White Womanhood," in Maids and Mistresses, Cousins and Queens: Women's Alliances in Early Modern England, ed. Susan Frye and Karen Robertson (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998). For surveys of major work on race in the period, see Peter Erickson, "Representations of Blacks and Blackness in the Renaissance," Criticism 3 (1993): 499-528; Erickson, "The Moment of Race in Renaissance Studies," Shakespeare Studies 26 (1998): 27-36; Erickson, "Representations of Race in Renaissance Art," The Upstart Crow: A Shakespeare Journal 18 (1998): 2-9; and his reviews in The Art Bulletin 78 (1996): 736-38 and Shake speare Quarterly 48 (1997): 363-66; Race, Ethnicity, and Power in the Renasisance, ed. Joyce Green MacDonald (Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1997); the special issue on "Constructing Race: Differentiating Peoples in the Early Modern World," The William and Mary Quarterly, 3d series, 54, no. 1 (1997); and the forum on "Race and the Study of Shakespeare" in Shakespeare Studies 26 (1998), as well as the important individual studies by scholars such as Margo Hendricks, Ania Loomba, Emily Bartels, Jyotsna Singh, Arthur Little Jr., Ian Smith, Virginian Mason Vaughan, Shankar Raman, and others over the past decade, cited in these surveys.

(56.) Cited in Drew-Bear, Faces, 52. In Warner's Albion's England (1592), 7.39.193, "blanch" is also already a synonym for "deceive" or "cheat."

(57.) Williams, Dictionary, s.v. "bleaking house" (1:112), includes Middleton's No Wit (c. 1613), 4.2.129, and the "blanch'd harlot" of Middleton's Mad World (1604-7), 3.3.42. Callaghan ("Othello," 206) observes that the cosmetic whiteness of "Bianca" in Cyprus may have the racial implication "that she is 'passing' as a white Venetian beauty." As Margreta de Grazia's analysis in the same volume (79) of the blank as "unstruck metal" in relation to Blanches, Biancas, and Hamlet's "here's metal more attractive" (3.2.108) makes clear, the material discourses of coining and metallurgy were readily combined with adulteration in the cosmetic and other senses.

(58.) See the rhetoric of the adulterate and unclean analyzed in Joseph Candido, "Blots, Stains, and Adulteries: The Impurities of King John," in King John: New Perspectives, ed. Deborah T. Curren-Aquino (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1996), 114-27.

(59.) See Florio, A Worlde of Wordes (1598) and Queen Anna's World of Words (1611) under bianco, bianche. See also Cotgrave under blanehissage, blanch&seur. On negro and blanco as aesthetic terms naturalized as racial signifiers, see Boime, Exclusions, 5.

(60.) See TTH, 102-3; Jenkins, 255. With other editors, Edwards glosses "halt" as "limp" (132). Variorum--citing "black" from Q2 and Q3--records Johnson and others on the implied "lameness" of the verse (162).

(61.) See TTH, 146-47; Jenkins (301) on "blanks" here as "blanches"; Bevington (1098), on "blanks" as "causes to blanch or grow pale"; Hibbard (260), "blanches, makes pale."

(62.) Cotgrave's entries for blanc include "whitelime" as well as other forms of whitening; blanc de plomb as "Ceruse, or white Lead, wherewith women paint." Early modern English "blank" retains the sense of white. OED, s.v. "blank" (adj.) cites French blanc, Pr. blanc, blanca, Sp. blanco, Pg. branco, Ital. bianco, med. L. blancus, as well as OHG blanch and the meaning of "white... pale, colourless" in examples from c. 1325 to 1821; "paper" that is "left white or 'fair'; not written upon, free from written or printed characters, 'empty of all marks'" (including Merry Wives's letters "with blancke-space for different names"). For "blank" as verb, OED cites for "to make white, whiten; to make pale" 1483 Caxton G. de la Tour liv on a "baronnesse" who "blanked and popped or peynted her self." The infamous "blank" charters of Richard II suggest both empty (carte blanche) and "white," translating Latin alba charta (French blanke chartre). "Blank" could also designate "blench" (as flinch or turn aside).

(63.) See Othello, 2.1.131-32, with TTH, 180, for this Q2 text. OED and Jenkins differ on this "blank." OED glosses the noun as the "white spot in middle of target" (as in Othello, 3.4.129), but Jenkins argues that "blank" here means "in the line of direct, or level, aim (i.e. point-blank)." In Othello itself, however, it is impossible to isolate the meanings.

(64.) See Katherine Duncan-Jones's Arden 3 Shakespeare's Sonnets (Walton-on-Thames, Eng.: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1997), 264-65, which emends "waste blacks" to "waste blanks" reluctantly: "The conventional emendation of Q's 'blacks', based on a plausible supposition that the MS used a contraction sign for 'n', has been adopted with some reluctance. Reading (b) of 1.3 permits the description of pages of Son, though marked with black lines (63.13), as waste, containing nothing of value until they bear the impress of the youth's reflections on his own image" (264-65 of her edition).

(65.) See OED, s.v. "blankless" ("without spot or blemish"), which cites 1589 R. ROBINSON Gold. Mitt. (1851) 4 "No blotte of blame Their banners blanckles, of any euill part."

(66.) See OED, s.v. "bleach" (noun 2), as "any substance used for blacking; e.g. ink, soot, lamp-black, and esp. shoemakers' or curriers' black used for leather," citing 1580 Baret's Alvearie (B794) on "Courriors bleach ... atramentum sutorium" and Cotgrave on "Attrament, inke; or bleach for Shoomakers. Ibid., Suye, soot of a chimney; any bleach" and its application to "a company of sutors" (or sooters). See also OED, s.v. "bleach" (verb 2) "to blacken, make black," citing Cotgrave, "Poisle ... smeered, bleached, begrymed with soote. Ibid., Noircir, to blacke, blacen, bleach, darken," opposite of "bleach" (verb) 1, "to free from stain" and "to blanch or make white." See also "a bleach barren place," cited from 1655 FULLER Ch. Hist. I.vi; with Neill, Issues, on the "undifferentiating blankness" of "death," figured as "pale" as well as "black." Like "black" and "blank" (in relation to "waste"), the polarities of "bleach" could turn tropically into one another. Randall McLeod has suggested to me the relevance of the common Indo-European root of "bleach," "blank," and "black" as strengthening the meeting of apparent opposites here.

(67.) On these and "advantageous use of the layers of an oynx," see Roy Strong, Princely Magnificence: Court Jewels of the Renaissance, 1500-1630 (London: Debrett's Peerage, 1980), 62; Patricia Fumerton, Cultural Aesthetics: Renaissance Literature and the Practice of Social Ornament (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), esp. 75, 94; Hall, Darkness, esp. 211-26; Nicholas Hilliard, A Treatise Concerning the Arte of Limning bound with Edward Norgate, A More Compendious Discourse Concerning ye Art of Limning, ed. R. K. R. Thornton and T. G. S. Cain (Ashington, Eng.: Carcanet New Press, 1981), 43, 91; Alfred Maskell, Ivories (Rutland, VT: Charles E. Tuttle, 1966), 25; Jim Murrell, The Waye Howe to Lymne: Tudor Miniatures Observed (London: Victoria & Albert Museum, 1983), 67-70.

(68.) See TTH 258-9, 138-39; Jenkins, 409: "foil] background against which a jewel shows more brightly"; Edwards, 236: "foil material used to set off or display some richer thing, as a jewel"; Hibbard, 346: "Originally the setting of a jewel, a foil came to mean anything that sets off another thing to advantage (OED sb. 1 5b and 6)." Rayna Kalas provides insightful observations on the "foyle of contraries" in relation to George Gascoigne's The Steele Glass in "The Technology of Reflection: Renaissance Mirrors of Steel and Glass," in the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 32, no. 3 (fall 2002).

(69.) See Jasper Mayne, The Citye Match (1639), 2.2. On blackness as a foil for whiteness, see Lorne Campbell, Renaissance Portraits (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990), 134, with Hall, Darkness, 211, 213, 227-29.

(70.) See respectively Hall, Darkness, 222, with figure 12; 213, and 215, citing Joan Evans, English Jewellery from the Fifth Century A.D. to 1800 (London: Methuen, 1921), 98. On the Drake jewel, see Roy Strong, The English Renaissance Miniature (London: Thames and Hudson, 1983), 85; Karen C. C. Dalton, "Art for the Sake of Dynasty: The Black Emperor in the Drake Jewel and Elizabethan Imperial Imagery," in Early Modern Visual Culture, ed. Peter Erickson and Clark Hulse (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000), 178-214; Hall's comment (222) that this jewel is "featured in a Gheeraerts portrait of Drake done in 1594 (figure 14)," where Drake's hand "rests on a globe that is turned to display the continent of Africa." On the Gresley jewel, see Strong, Magnificence, 62; Fumerton, Aesthetics, 74-75; Hall, 218-21.

(71.) Jenkins, 568; Hibbard, 347: "The business of drinking a pearl dissolved in wine goes back as far as Pliny, who tells how Cleopatra made a bet with Antony that she could spend a hundred million sesterces on a single meal. She won it by putting a priceless pearl in her wine and then drinking it off (Natural History ix. 120-1). Ben Jonson refers to the story in Volpone 3.7.191-3, where Volpone says to Celia: 'See, here a rope of pearl; and each more orient / Than the brave Egyptian queen caroused: / Dissolve and drink 'em.'"

(72.) See Strong, Magnificence, 70; Fumerton, Aesthetics, 74-75. OED defines onyx (from the Greek for "nail, claw, onyx-stone") as "A variety of quartz allied to agate, consisting of plane layers of different colours: much used for cameos," citing among other examples 1601 HOLLAND Pliny II.615 ("The Indian Onyx hath certaine sparkes in it.... As for the Arabian Onyches, there bee found of them blacke, with white circles") and biblical instances including Ezekiel 28:13 and Job 28:16, the latter of which combines reference to the "precious Onix" with "the golde of Ophir" (1611 Bible translation), the Solomonic treasure that played a major role in James's imperial vision.

(73.) See TTH, 258-59. "Onixe" also appears in Q3-4 (Q1 has for the second instance "Come drinke, here lies thy vnion here"). For one explanation, see Edwards (236): "Q2 printed first 'Vnice', which could be a misreading of 'Vnio'; the press-corrector, using his wits rather than the MS., changed this to 'Onixe'. When F again has 'Vnion', at 305, Q2 again prints 'Onixe.'" See also New Variorum Hamlet for Pope's printing of "onyx" and the tradition of commentary here.

(74.) On this vogue, see Roy C. Strong, The English Icon: Elizabethan and Jacobean Portraiture (London: Routledge and K. Paul, 1969), 13-15, 17-21 (with melancholy and the colors black and tawny, on 34); The English Miniature, ed. John Murdoch et al. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981); Graham Reynolds, "The Painter Plays the Spider," Apollo 79 (April 1964): 279-84; Fumerton, Aesthetics, chap. 3.

(75.) Q2 and F have "picture in little" (F with caps); Q1 has "picture" (TTH, 104-5). On the portraits as miniatures, and Burbage as limner and painter, see Reynolds, "Painter," 280, 283, with Hibbard, 280. The "faire"/"Moore" contrast does not depend on their being miniatures, since blackness was used as a foil in multiple representational forms.

(76.) See Fumerton, Aesthetics, 94, citing Hilliard's use of colors (including from "Inde or Afrike"), and the best "velvet black" in relation to African ivory.

(77.) For this gloss and the Quarto text, see Lois Potter's Arden 3 edition of John Fletcher and William Shakespeare, The Two Noble Kinsmen (Walton-on-Thames, Eng.: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1997), 271, with Reynolds, "Spider," 280.

(78.) Potter (272) cites "Pelops' shoulder" as "ivory" from Metamorphoses (6.403-11), comparing Marlowe's Hero and Leander on "the white of Pelops' shoulder." See also her gloss (272) for "What a brow" as "Cf. 'See what a grace was seated on this brow' (Ham. 3.4.55-62)" and Emilia's "Oh, who can find the bent of women's fancy?" (4.2.33).

(79.) TTH, 192-93. See Stephen Orgel, "'Counterfeit Presentments". Shakespeare's Ekphrasis," in England and the Continental Renaissance, ed. Edward Chaney and Peter Mack (Rochester, NY: Boydell Press, 1990), 177-84, esp. 177; Michael Neill, "'In Everything Illegitimate': Imagining the Bastard in Renaissance Drama," Yearbook of English Studies 23 (1993). 271-72, on Hamlet's uncertain paternity, in relation to counterfeiting and adulteration; for the play on mis-taking (and mistaking) husbands, in lines that echo the Ceremony of Matrimony, TTH, 148-49. "Tropical" turning is introduced in the Mousetrap's "tropically/trapically" (TTH, 146-47), which includes "trope/trap" and the "Tropick" that was the geographical and solstitial point of turning.

(80.) On the role of this rhetoric in later discourses of racial distinction, see Abdul JanMohamed, Manichean Aesthetics: The Politics of Literature in Colonial Africa (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1983).

(81.) On "old Mole," see Jenkins, 457-58. For the texts cited here, see TTH, 50, 66-67, 170-71. For the variant descriptions of Pyrrhus above, see TTH, 108-11.

(82.) See respectively TTH, 58-59; 118-19.

(83.) On the "crisis of differentiation" in Hamlet, see Neill, Issues, esp. 9-14, 24-25, 234, 241, 248, quoting Richard D. Fly, "Accommodating Death: The Ending of Hamlet," Studies in English Literature 24 (1984): 257-74, on Hamlet's "passion for differences" as a counter to the "relentless force operating ... to erode hierarchies of value and collapse systems of differentiation" (261, 263); Adelman's discussion in Suffocating Mothers.

(84.) For this citation from "Thomas Phaer's highly influential translation of the Aeneid" (1573), and the identification of Dido's African suitor as a contemporary Turk or Moor, see Jerry Brotton, "'This Tunis, sir, was Carthage': Contesting Colonialism in The Tempest," in Post-Colonial Shakespeares, 23-42, 41. Brotton stresses the importance of ancient imperial allusions (and the Aeneid in particular) in early modern contexts.

(85.) On this aspect of the Diet of Worms, see Dorothy M. Vaughan, Europe and the Turk: A Pattern of Alliances, 1350-1700 (Liverpool University Press, [1954]), 108. See TTH, 148-49, where Q1 has "neither the gate of Christian, Pagan, / Nor Turke" (132) while Q2 has "Christian, Pagan, nor man" (132) and F has "Christian, Pagan, or Norman" (133). Jenkins (289) and Edwards (153) print "nor the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man" (289); Hibbard (248-49) Prints "Christian, pagan, nor no man." Both F and Q2 have "If the rest of my Fortunes turne Turke with me" (F 149) and "if the rest of my fortunes turne Turk with me" (Q2 148), where there is no corresponding "Turk" in Q1. For a fascinating account of early modern piracy in relation to the plays of Shakespeare and others--beginning with Hamlet--see Lois Potter, "Pirates and 'turning Turk' in Renaissance drama," in Travel and Drama in Shakespeare's Time, ed. Jean-Pierre Maquerlot and Michele Willems (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 125-40. Though there is not space to do so here, it is important to trace the differences as well as the similarities among these three early texts, which draw in differing proportions on reminders of empire and the contemporary lexicon of blackness, suggested more elliptically in the parenthetical references of the present essay.

(86.) Title of the Sixth Biennial Conference of the Australia and New Zealand Shakespeare Association, held in Auckland in July 2000, featured on the cover and in articles published in Shakespeare Quarterly 52, no. 4 (2001), under Michael Neill as guest editor.

(87.) See Andreas Bertoldi, "Shakespeare, psychoanalysis, and the colonial encounter: The case of Wulf Sachs' Black Hamlet," in Post-Colonial Shakespeares, 235-58; Black Hamlet, ed. Saul Dubow and Jacqueline Rose (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996); and Phillip Armstrong's Shakespeare in Psychoanalysis (London and New York: Routledge, 2001). On the reported 1607 shipboard performance of "Hamlet" enroute from England to India, see Ania Loomba, "Shakespearean transformations," in Shakespeare and the National Culture, ed. John J. Joughlin (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1997), esp. 111-13; Michael Neill, "Post-colonial Shakespeare," in Post-Colonial Shakespeares, 164-85, esp. 171-72; Gary Taylor, "Hamlet in Africa 1607," in Travel/Knowledge: European "Discoveries" in the Early Modern Period (New York: Palgrave, 2001), including materials on 211-22. Jonathan Crewe, in "Out of the Matrix: Shakespeare and Race-Writing," The Yale Journal of Criticism 8, no. 2 (1995): 13-29, also cites the importance of recognizing that what he calls "race-writing" in Shakespeare is "not confined to overtly racialized characters and situations in a handful of plays" (13). For pioneering treatments of the issue of reading in texts where race does not seem to matter (or has been minimized or ignored), see Margo Hendricks, "'Obscured by dreams': Race, Empire, and Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream," Shakespeare Quarterly 47, no. 1 (Spring 1996): 37-60; and Kim F. Hall, "Reading What Isn't There: 'Black' Studies in Early Modern England," Stanford Humanities Review 3, no. 1 (1993): 23-33, with her more recent "Object into Object? Some Thoughts on the Presence of Black Women in Early Modern Culture," in Early Modern Visual Culture: Representation, Race, and Empire in Renaissance England, ed. Peter Erickson and Clark Hulse (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000).

(88.) On Q1's "guyana," which does not appear in the collations of most modern editions, see my "Murder in Guyana," Shakespeare Studies 28 (2000): 169-75. For death as an undiscovered country (in all three texts), see TTH, 123-24.

(89.) The three early texts here have the following (TTH, 236-37): Folio: "Alexander died: Alexander was buried: Alexander returneth into dust," with "stopp a Beere-barrell" and "Imperiall Caesar, dead and turn'd to clay"; Q2: "Alexander dyed, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth to dust," with "stoppe a Beare-barrell" and "Imperious Caesar dead, and turn'd to Clay"; Q1: "Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander became earth," with "stoppe the boung hole of a beere barrell? and "Imperious Casar dead and turnd to clay."

PATRICIA PARKER is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Stanford University. She has published most recently Shakespeare from the Margins (1996), and is currently at work on a new Arden edition of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
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