Late Renaissance Self-Address fashioning: scholarly orthodoxy versus evidence.
Of the three elements in speech-making--speaker, subject, and person addressed--it is the last one, the hearer, that determines the speech's end and object.(1)--Aristotle, Rhetoric [Helena' did communicate to herself her own words to her own ears; she thought. I dare vow for her, they toueh'd not any stranger sense.(2)-- The Steward to the Countess in All's Well That Ends Well
ONE of the most distinctive features of late Renaissance English drama is the prevalence of soliloquies. In no other period of English theatrical history do soliloquies occur nearly so frequently. Between the late 1580s and the closing of the theaters in 1642, a remarkably precise set of conventions governed soliloquies and asides. A soliloquy is defined herein as a dramatic passage with the distinguishing feature that the character portrayed by the actor who speaks the passage does not intend it to be heard by any other character. An aside is defined herein as a speech that a character guards from the hearing of at least one other character. These definitions were not devised a priori but were arrived at inductively on the basis of a systematic survey of the actual practices of late Renaissance dramatists.(3) Soliloquies and asides were not mutually exclusive. A character might guard a soliloquy in an aside from the hearing of another character.(4)
In late Renaissance drama soliloquies by characters engaged in the fictional action represented self-addressed speeches as a matter of course. Chorus characters who did not participate in the fictional action addressed playgoers, and on occasion a character who had participated in the action addressed playgoers in an epilogue after the fictional action had ended. Audience-addressed speeches by characters engaged in the action occurred frequently in medieval and early Renaissance drama, but by 1590 audience-addressed speech by a character in the midst of the action came to seem outmoded and amateurish. The evidence that soliloquies in late Renaissance drama represented self-addressed speeches as a matter of course is plentiful, conspicuous, diverse, and unambiguous and occurs with similar frequency in plays of all genres. This evidence is so plentiful and conspicuous that the author of the present essay could be accused of belaboring the obvious were it not for the startling fact that most current Renaissance scholars accept without question the notion that soliloquies by characters engaged in the action typically represented audience address. The difference between an oration by a character to playgoers and a speech intended by the character to be heard by no one other than himself has profound artistic implications and cultural ramifications.
The Current Scholarly Consensus
Here is a small but representative sampling of assertions made by some of the most distinguished and influential scholars of recent decades:
Janet Adelman: "In most [of Shakespeare's] tragedies, the protagonists confide in the audience."(5)
John Barton: "There are very few absolute rules with Shakespeare, but I personally believe that it's right ninety-nine times out of a hundred to share a soliloquy with the audience. I'm convinced it's a grave distortion of Shakespeare's intention to do it to oneself."(6)
Stephen Greenblatt: "Henry IV speaks in soliloquy, but as is so often the case in Shakespeare, his isolation only intensifies the sense that he is addressing a large audience: the audience of the theater."(7)
Brian Vickers: "Iago's confidences to us, either in soliloquy or aside, are illocutionary acts."(8)
Harold Bloom: "Shakespeare's greatest originality in Richard III . is the hero-villain's startlingly intimate relationship with the audience. We are on unnervingly confidential terms with him."(9)
David Bevington: "Flamineo [in The White Devil] ... entertains no doubt in an aside to the audience."(10)
Marjorie Garber: "Richard [of Gloucester] will often speak to the audience in soliloquy, confiding in us his real plans and thoughts."(11)
Margreta de Grazia: "Claudius .. . admits his deceit to the audience ... in an aside."(12)
Jonathan Bate: "Hamlet is as capable as violent action as any other revenger... . Nor does he delay nearly so much as he tells us he is delaying."(13)
None of these scholars presented substantive evidence to back up his or her assertion.
A small minority of scholars, including some who are no less distinguished than those quoted above, have dissented from scholarly orthodoxy:
Bernard Beckerman: "In none of the Globe plays is there any certain indication that the audience was directly addressed in the soliloquy."(14)
Anne Righter: "In the Elizabethan theatre the line dividing a world of shadows from reality came to separate the actors from their audiences"; "audience address ... tends to be relegated in its surviving forms to a position slightly outside the action of the play."(15)
Stephen Mullaney: "The drama of Kyd. Marlowe, and Shakespeare [outgrew the medieval] participatory tradition ... . The stage dissociated itself from the audience, establishing [in the words of M. C. Bradbrook] 'a firm degree of distance between the spectator and the play.(16)
Unfortunately, these dissenting scholars did not back up their assertions with a survey of the relevant evidence. I provided such a survey in Shakespeare and the History of Soliloquies," but the publication of that book has not stemmed the flood of unsubstantiated pronouncements by scholars that soliloquies commonly represented audience address. The present essay complements my prior scholarship by delineating several new categories of evidence, supplying literally hundreds of new individual pieces of evidence, and carrying the analysis in many new directions.
The evidence presented below raises a host of intriguing questions. Why did dramatists of the late Renaissance pervasively employ the distinctive device of self-addressed speech in their representations of human beings? What does the pervasive use of this dramatic device indicate about late Renaissance notions about psychology, selfhood, self-fashioning, decision-making, individuality, subjectivity, rhetoric, solitude, privacy, artistic representation, among other issues? Why have soliloquies of this particular kind, pervasive in late Renaissance drama, occurred so infrequently in post-Renaissance drama? Why have so many post-Renaissance scholars and performers expressed repugnance for self-addressed speeches in the dramatic representation of human beings? What does this repugnance suggest about differences between late Renaissance and post-Renaissance notions about the issues listed above?
The Evidence (1) .Stage directions. In the Folio text of Richard III, just before a soliloquy guarded in an aside by Richard occurs the direction "Speakes to himselfe."(18) This obviously refers to the character, not the actor (the latter speaks to be heard by playgoers). In the anonymous King Leir (c. 1590), Gonorill "Speakes to herself"(19) In Thomas Heywood's Four Premises of London (c. 1594). Guy speaks "private to himself" and later the Earl of Bulloigne speaks "apart to himself"(20)" Bassanio comments on the caskets to himseT. (Merchant of Venice, 3.2.62sd), not to auditors."
(2) Declarations by the speaker. In Thomas Kyd's Spanish Tragedy (c. 1587), Bel-Imperia says either to the departing Horatio or in an apostrophe after his departure, "Ay, go Horatio, leave me here alone, / For solitude best fits my cheerless mood"(21) (1.4.58-59, italics added). It would have been unintentionally laughable if her subsequent soliloquy had been an oration to playgoers. In Cymbeline. Cloten comments on something he has just said in a. soliloquy: "I dare speak it to. myself" (4.1.7), not "I dare speak it to you auditors." In Philip Massinger's Maid of Honour (c. 1621), just before speaking a soliloquy guarded in aside from the other characters on stage, Camiola tells them, "pray you stand off! / If I do not mutter treason to my selfe / My heart will breake"(22) (3.3.127-29). Other examples:
Anon. The Troublesome Raigne of John (c. 1589). Arthur: "Ay me poore Arthur, I am here alone."(23)
2GV Valentine:"Here can I sit alone, unseen by any" (5.4.4).
Richard II. Richard: "And here is not a creature but myself- (5.5.4).
Hamlet. Hamlet: "Now I am alone" (2.2.549). 1H4. Falstaff: "nobody sees me" (5.4.127). 12N Malvolio: "I do not now fool myself" (2.5.164).
Measure. Angelo: "let no man hear me- (2.4.10).
John Webster. The White Devil (c. 1612). Francisco:"being alone, I now flatter myself" (4.1.122).(24)
(3) Descriptions by other characters. Luciana asks Dromio (of Syracusa), "Why prat'st thou to thyself'?" (Comedy of Errors, 2.2.193), not "Why prat'st thou to these auditors'?" The Lady of France asks Guy, "can you... / Speake to your selfe so many words apart"? (Four Premises, p. 179). In The Broken Heart (c. 1629) by John Ford, when the eavesdropping Orgilus does not completely guard a soliloquy in an aside, Euphranea tells Prophilus, "Methinks./ I hear one talking to himself"(25) (1.3, p. 406).
(4-6) Three kinds of evidence often occur independently and often in combination: (4) a character addresses himself by name, title, alias, or epithet or addresses a feature of his own consciousness; (5) a character addresses himself by a second-person singular pronoun; (6) a character issues a command clearly directed at himself not at playgoers. Some examples:
The Spanish Tragedy. "Hieronimo beware, thou art betray'd"; "Then hazard not thine own, Hieronimo" (3.2, 37, 46). "Now, Pedringano, bid thy pistol hold" (3.3.1). "Here, Serberine, attend and stay thy pace" (3.3.23). Lorenzo: "yet once more try thy wits" (3.4.60). "Isabella, rent them up / And burn the roots" (4.2.8-9).
Anthony Munday. John a Kent and John a Cumber (c. 1587). "But lohn a Kent what talkest thou": "practice thou thy wits. / help, hinder, give, take back, turne, ouerturne, / deceiue, bestowe, breed pleasure, discontent, / yet cornickly conclude" (lines 130-36).(26)
Thomas Lodge and Robert Greene. A Looking Glass far London and England (c. 1588).. "Yet, Jonas, rest content"; "Ah, Jonas, wilt thou prove rebellious then?" (3.1.20, 50).(27)
Greene. Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay (c. 1589). "But, Peg, disclose not that thou art in love" (3.70); "Till when, Peggy, be blithe" (10.103). "Recant thee, Lacy!"; "darest thou wrong thy prince[?]"; "Lacy, thou lovest" (6.54-63).(28)
Marlowe. Tarnburlaine, Part I (c. 1587). "Now, Bajazeth, abridge thy baneful days / And beat thy brains out of thy conquered head" (5.2.223-24).(29)
The Jew of Malta (c. 1589). "Barabas, now search this secret out. / Summon thy senses; call thy wits together" (1.1.175-76); "what boots it thee, / Poor Barabas"; "No, Barabas"; "Slip not thine opportunity" (5.2.31-45). "0 wretched Abigail, what bast thou done?" (126.96.36.199).
Doctor Faustus (c. 1592). "Settle thy studies, Faustus, and begin / To sound the depth of that thou wilt profess"; "be a divine"; "live and die in Aristotle's works"; "read no more; thou hast attained that end"; "Be a physician. Faustus; heap up gold, / And be eternized"; "Why, Faustus, hast thou not attained that end?"; "Here try thy brains to get a deity!" (1.1.1-65). All these examples and numerous others occur just in Fau-stus's first soliloquy. Many others occur elsewhere in the play.
Edward II (c. 1592). Edmund: "why hast thou ... / Borne arms against thy brother and thy king'?"; "Edmund, calm this rage; / Dissemble or thou diest"; "Edmund, away" (4.5.14-25).
Shakespeare. Love's Labor's Lost. Armado: "Devise, wit" (1.2.184). Berowne: "well prov'cl, wit" (4.3.5-6).
2 Henry VI. York: "Tis thine they give away"; "Then, York, be still a while" (1.1.221, 248); "Now, York, or never, steel thy fearful thoughts" (3.1.331). "But how now. Sir John Hume? / Seal up your lips" (1.2.88-89).
3 Henry VI. Henry VI: "No Harry, Harry, 'tis no land of thine" (3.1.15). Richard of Gloucester: "Work thou the way" (5.7.25).
I Henry VI. Suffolk: "Fie, De la Pole, disable not thyself"; "Fond man, remember that thou hast a wife" (5.3.67, 81).
Richard III. "Withdraw thee, wretched Margaret" (4.4.8). Richard: "0 coward conscience, how dost thou afflict me!" (5.3.179). "Then fly" (185); "Fool, of thyself speak well; fool, do not flatter" (192).
Titus Andronicus. "Titus, when wert thou wont to walk alonerl" (1.1.339). "Then, Aaron, arm thy heart" (2.1.181). 'Marcus, attend him in his ecstasy" (4.1.125).
Taming. "here she comes, and now, Petruchio, speak- (2.1.181). 2GV. "Unkind Julia, / As in revenge of thy ingratitude, / I throw thy name against the bruising stones" (1.2.106-8). "Withdraw thee, Valentine" (5.4.18).
Romeo. Romeo: "Turn back, dull earth, and find thy centre out" (2.1.2); "Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on / The clashing rocks thy seasick weary bark" (5.3.117-18).
Midsummer. Puck: "Goblin, lead them up and clown" (3.2.399).
Merchant. "pause there, Morocco, / And weigh thy value" (2.7.24-25). Portia: "0 love, be moderate" (3.2.111).
AYLI. "0 poor Orlando! thou art overthrown" (1.2.259): "Run. run. Orlando" (3.2.9).
12N. Olivia: "Not too fast! soft. soft!" (1.5.293). "If this should be thee, Mal vol io?" (2.5. 101-2.).
Hamlet. Hamlet: "But break my heart" (1.2.159); "sit still my soul" (256); "hold., hold, my heart" (1.5.93); "About, my brains" (2.2.588); "0 heart, lose not thy nature!" (3.2.393). King: "Make assay"; "heart, with strings of steel, / Be soft as sinews of the new-born babe!" (3.3.69-71).Merry Wives. Pistol (encouraging himself to woo Mistress Quickly): "Clap on more sails, pursue; up with your fights; Give fire!" (2.2.136-37). Falstaff: "Say'st thou so, old Jack? go thy ways" (2.2.138). "Master Ford, awake! awake, Master Ford! There's a hole made in your best coat, Master Ford" (3.5.140-42).
Troilus. "How, now, Thersites'? What, lost in the labyrinth of thy fury?" (2.3.1-2).
All's Well. "ParoIles, live / Safest in shame!" (4.3.337-38).
Othello. lago: "Dull not device by coldness and delay" (2.3.388).
Measure. "What dost thou'? or what art thou, Angelo'?" (2.2.172). "Then, Isabel, live chaste" (2.4.184).
Lear. Cordelia: "Love, and be silent" (1.1.62). "Now, banish'd Kent, / If thou canst serve" (1.4.4-5). Edgar: "Tom, away!" (3.6.110).
Macbeth. Banquo: "But hush, no more" (3.1.10).
Antony. Antony: "Lie down and stray no farther" (4.14.47).
The Winter's Tale. Autolycus: "Aside, aside" (i.e., "step aside," "hide in order to eavesdrop," 4.4.684).
Shakespeare and John Fletcher. Two Noble Kinsmen. Jailor's Daughter: "Be bold to ring the bell" (3.2.20).
Thomas Dekker. The Shoemaker's Holiday (c. 1599). "Well, Simon Eyre, yet set a good face on it" (17.40) (30)
John Marston. Antonio and Mellida (c. 1599). "0 now, Antonio, press thy spirit forth" (11159); "Dull clod ... Away, away!" (4.1.206-8).(31)
The Dutch Courtesan (1605). "So proceed now, worshipful Cocledemoy!" (2.1.211-12). "Do not fear to be poor, Mulligrub. Thou hast a sure stock now" (4.5.64-65).
Ben Jonson. Sejanus (1603). "Thou hast the way, Sejanus, to work out / His secrets" (1.370-71). "Macro, thou art engaged"; "Therefore., strike" (4.81, 89).(32)
Epicoene (c. 1609). "Oh, Morose, thou art happy above mankind! Pray that thou mayst"contain thyself" (2.5.63-65).(33)
The Alchemist (1610). "Now, Epicure, / Heighten thy-self, talk to her" (4.1.24-25).
Thomas Middleton. A Mad World, My Masters (1605). Penitent: "Thou wretched unthrift" (4.1.4(34)
George Chapman. The Conspiracy of Charles, Duke of Byron (1608). Byron: "Respect revenge" (5.2.1).(35)
Middleton and Dekker. The Roaring Girl (c. 1611). Gallipot: "Steal--steal" (3.2.79).(36)
Webster. The White Devil. Francisco: "Remove this object, / Out of my brain with't" (4.1.109-11).
Fletcher and Philip Massinger. Sir John van Olden Barnavelt (1619). Bar-navel "Foole, remember not" (4.3.24).(37)
Massinger. The Roman Actor (1626). Caesar: "Whither have / These furies borne thee?" (5.1.182-83).(38)
The Maid of Honor "Camiola, if ever, now be constant" (1.2.60). "0 Sylli, fortunate SW/i" (2.2.150). "Containe thy joy, Adomi" (4.4.114).
William Heminge. The Jewes Tragedy (c. 1629). "0 Eleazer! Can thy tray-tor breast / Give harbor to a thought of Paricide?" (3.2.7-8); "0--Eleazer thou art lost for ever" (4.12.178). Josephus: "Canst thou desire to live, thou wretched Earth" (2.7.6); "Fye, Joseph, fie, / Art thou a soldier?" (4.4.9-10). "Doo't Miriam, doo't I say" (5.2.17).(39)
The Fatal Contract (c. 1634). Crotilda (disguised as the eunuch Castrato): "And now bethink thee Eunuch"; "Stay, Stay, Castrato" (3.3.249, 264).
Characters often command themselves to "see," "watch," "look," "mark," "listen," "hear," etc.:
Spanish Tragedy. "See, see, 0 see thy shame, Hieronimo" (3.13.95).
2H6. York: "Watch thou, and wake when others be asleep" (1.1.249).
LLL. The King (eavesdropping): "Listen, ear" (4.3.43).
Romeo. Romeo: "Eyes, look your last!" (5.3.112).
Merchant. In the speech in which "Bassanio comments on the caskets to himself" he tells himself, "Look on beauty, / And you shall see 'tis pur-chas"d by the weight" (3.2.88-89).
Lear Edgar:"Tom, away! / Mark the high noises" (3.6.110-11). Middleton and William Rowley. The Changeling (1622). Beatrice: "List, o my terrors!" (5.1.66).(40)
(7) Non-rhetorical questions. If a character had addressed a non-rhetorical question to playgoers, they would have shouted out answers, guesses, or preferences with unintentionally ludicrous results. When Romeo asks, "Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?" (2.2.37), he is not polling playgoers. A few other examples:
Spanish Tragedy. Hieronimo: "Who hath slain my son?" (2.5.18).
Dr. Faustus. Faustus: "Where is Justinian?" (1.1.27).
LLL. Longaville: "Am I the first that have been perjur'd so?" (4.3.49).
1H4. Falstaff asks a long series of questions and answers them himself (5.1.128-39).
Hamlet. Hamlet: "Am I a coward?" (2.2.571).
Measure. Angelo: "Is this her fault or mine?" (2.2.162).
Othello. Othello: "Shall she come in?": "What's best to do?" (5.2.94-95).
Lear. Edmund: "Which of them shall I take?" (5. 1.57).
Macbeth. Macbeth: "Is this a dagger which I see before me [?]" (2.1.33).
(.8) Erroneous assertions by sympathetic characters. In many soliloquies sympathetic characters make assertions that playgoers know to he false. If such soliloquies had been overtly addressed to playgoers by the character,. playgoers would have shouted out corrections with the reasonable expectation that the character who had acknowledged their presence could hear their exclamations. If, instead of privately grieving for the death of Juliet in self-addressed speeches. Romeo had openly shared his grief with thousands of playgoers in his soliloquies in 5.1 and 5.3, some of those playgoers would have responded by informing him that Juliet was not in fact dead. That Romeo shows no sign of having heard such responses is evidence that he is unaware of the"presence of playgoers. If Othello had addressed to playgoers the assertion, "This honest creature, doubtless, / Sees and hears more, much more, than he unfolds" (3.3.242-43), it would have provoked groans and protests. That Othello's subsequent speeches show no sign of his having been aware of such responses is evidence that he is unaware that he is merely a character in a play. In each of these cases and in countless others, if the sympathetic character spoke to playgoers, it would have followed logically that he could also hear them.
(9) Apostrophes. On very rare occasions in late Renaissance drama a character addresses an apostrophe (in the sense of "an address to a purely imaginary audience") as a rhetorical device in the midst of a speech consciously directed at the hearing of another character or group of characters. Apostrophes are understandably very rare in speeches directed at other characters because it is incongruous to address an imaginary audience if one is addressing an actual audience other than oneself. In sharp contrast, apostrophes occur very frequently in soliloquies. Including a passage addressed to an imaginary listener was one of many ways dramatists conferred on self-address the dynamic quality of dialogue between characters. An apostrophe was one side of an imaginary dialogue. If soliloquies had commonly represented audience address, apostrophes in soliloquies would have been as incongruous and as rare as they are in speeches addressed by characters to actual on-stage listeners. In soliloquies guarded in asides, characters frequently apostrophize other characters on stage. Sonic examples of apostrophes in soliloquies from the plays of one late Renaissance dramatist:
LLL. Armado: "Adieu, valor, rust, 'rapier, be still, drum"; "write, pen" (1.2.181-84); Longaville: "0 sweet Maria" (4.3.54). Dumaine: "0 most divine Kate!" (81). Berowne: "0 most profane coxcomb!" (82).
2H6. Alexander Iden addresses a nine-line soliloquy to the corpse of Jack Cade (4.10.76-84). Young Clifford apostrophizes war and his dead father (5.2.33-63).
3H6. Clifford: "Plantagenet, I come, Plantagenet!" (1.3.49); in 2.6 Clifford apostrophizes Henry VI, Phoebus, York, Richard of Gloucester, and others for a total of sixteen lines (3-6, 11-20, 29-30). Father (to the corpse of his son): "thy father... hath bereft thee of thy life" (2.5.9293).
1H6. Somerset: "Perish, base prince, ignoble Duke of York!" (3.1.177). Talbot: "France, thou shalt rue this treason" (3.2.36). Bishop of Winchester: "Humphrey of Gloucester, thou shalt well perceive... . I'll either make thee stoop and bend thy knee, / Or sack this country with a mutiny" (5.1.57-62).
R3. Richard: "Simple plain Clarence. I do love thee so" (1.1.118); "Shine out, fair sun" (1.2.262). Margaret (to Queen Elizabeth): "Thy honor, state, and seat is due to me" (1.3.111).
Titus. Aaron: "And so repose, sweet gold" (2.3.8). Lucius: "Farewell, proud Rome"; "Farewell, Lavinia" (3.2.290-93). Tamora: "But, Titus, I have touch'd thee to the quick" (4.4.36). A Goth soldier reports that he has overheard Aaron's offstage soliloquy addressed to his infant son (5.1.25-36).
Taming. Hortensio: "Pedascule [i.e., tutor, i.e., "Cambio," i.e., Lucentio]. I'll watch you better yet" (3.1.50); "Yet if thy thoughts. Bianca, be so humble" (89).
2GV. Proteus apostrophizes Julia (1.1.66-69), Love (2.6.7-8, 42-43), and his own tongue (14-16). Julia apostrophizes her hands, Proteus's written name, the wind, shreds of Proteus's letter (1.2.101-26), Proteus (4.2.126, 4.4.91-92), a picture of Silvia for eight lines (198-205), and Thurio (5.2.18). Speed addresses Silvia: "And yet you will" (2.1.119). Silvia: "0 Valentine, this I endure for thee!" (5.3.15). Valentine apostrophizes Silvia (5.4.11-12).
R&J. Romeo apostrophizes his eyesight (1.5.52), Juliet (2.2.4-9, 26-27; 5.1.34: 5.3.91-96, 101-9), the poison (5.1.85-86; 5.3.116), the apothecary (119-20), the tomb (5.3.45-48), the corpse of Paris (81-83), Death (87), Tybalt (.97-101.), eyes (112), arms (113), and lips (113-15). In the balcony scene Juliet apostrophizes Romeo (2.2.33-36, 38-39, 47-49) and Romeo's name (42); her soliloquy at the beginning of 3.2 contains nineteen lines of apostrophes, to the sun god's steeds (1-4), night (5-7, 10-17, 19-22), and Romeo (17-19); in 3.5 she _apostrophizes "Fortune" for five lines (60-64) and the Nurse for two (239-40); in 4.3 she apostrophizes the vial, the dagger, and Tybalt (20, 23, 57). Just before she stabs herself, she apostrophizes Romeo (5.3.163-67) and the dagger (16970). Paris apostrophizes Juliet (5.3.12-17) and night (21).
R2. A seven-line soliloquy by Salisbury consists entirely of an apostrophe to Richard (2.4.18-24).
King John. Bastard: "Gain, be my lord, for I will worship thee" (2.1.598): "Austria's head lie there" (3.2.3). Arthur: "Good ground, be pitiful" (4.3.2).
Midsummer. Lysander: "Hermia, sleep thou there" (2.2.135). Helena: "0 long and tedious night, / Abate thy hours!" (3.2.431-32).
Merchant. Jessica: "0 Lorenzo, / If thou keep promise" (2.3.19-20); "I have a father, you a 'daughter, lost" (2.5.57). Bassanio: "thou gaudy gold"; "thou meager lead" (3.2.101-6).
1H4. Hotspur (to a lord who has sent him a letter declining an invitation to join the rebellion): "I tell you, my lord fool.... Say you so, say you so? I say unto you again, you are a shallow, cowardly hind; and you lie" (2.3.9, 14-16). Hal apostrophizes the corpse of Hotspur for eleven lines, ambition for one, and the apparent corpse of Falstaff for nine lines (5.4.87-110). After Hal exits, Falstaff apostro phizes Hal and the corpse of Hotspur (5.4.111-12, 127-29).
2H4. King Henry apostrophizes sleep for twenty-five lines and lowborn people for part of a line (3.1.5-30). Hal apostrophizes the crown, majesty, and his sleeping father for a total of fourteen lines (4.5.23-43).
H5. Henry apostrophizes "Ceremony" and "greatness" at length (4.1.240-68).
Much Ado. Claudio: "Farewell therefore Hero!" (2.1.182). Beatrice: "Contempt. farewell, and maiden pride, adieu!"; "Benedick, love on."(3.1.109-11).
Julius Caesar. Brutus apostrophizes Rome for three lines (2.1.56-58). Conspiracy for nine (77-85), and the sleeping Lucius for five (229-33). Artimedorus: "If thou read this, 0 Caesar, thou mayest live" (2.3.15). Antony: "Mischief, thou art afoot" (3.2.260).
As You Like It. Orlando apostrophizes his verse, night, and Rosalind for a total of eight lines (3.2.1-8).
/2N Viola: "Disguise, I see thou art a wickedness"; "0 time, thou must entangle this" (2.2.27, 40); "Prove true, imagination, 0, prove true, / That I, dear brother, be now ta'en for you!" (3.4.375-76). Malvolio.: "Cousin Toby ... You must amend your drunkenness."(2.5.69, 73); "By your leave, wax" (91-92).
Hamlet. Hamlet: "Frailty, thy name is woman!" (1.2.146); "And you, my sinows, grow not instant cold / But bear me stiffly up" (1.5.93.-94); "Remember thee! / Ay, thou poor ghost" (1.5.95-96); "So, uncle, there you are" (110); "Up, sword, and know thou a more horrid hent" (188.8.131.52); "This physic but prolongs thy sickly days" (96). Claudius: "Bow, stubborn knees" (3.3.70); in 4.3 Claudius apostrophizes the King of England for ten lines (58-67).
Merry Wives. Falstaff: "Good body, I thank thee" (2.2.142); "Mistress Ford and Mistress Page, have I encompass'd you?" (152-53); in 5.5 his apostrophes to Jove and love occupy thirteen lines (5.5.3-15).
Troihts. Troilus apostrophes clamors, Fools (1.1.89-91), and Diomedes (5.3.95-96). Thersites apostrophizes Patroclus for nine lines (2.3.2533), Achilles (3.3-.310-11), lechery (5.2.56-57), Cressida ("Well said, whetstone!" 5.2.75), Diomedes (5.2.102-3), and Hector (5.4.31-32). Unaware that Troilus is eavesdropping, Cressida 'addresses him in an apostrophe (5.2.107-8). Hector apostrophizes Achilles (5.-6.19-21) and a dead soldier (5.8.1-2).
All's Well. Parolles: "thou [Lafew] hast a son shall take this disgrace off me, scurvy, old, filthy, scurvy lord!" (2.3.235-36). Helena: "Thou shalt have none, RossiIlion" (3.2.101); "Come, night, end day!" (128). Diana: "You [Bertram] may so in the end" (4.2.68).
Measure. Angelo: "From thee [Isabella]: even from thy virtue" (2.2.161). The Duke addresses an entire six-line"soliloquy to "place and greatness" (4.1.59-64).
Othello. lago: "Ay, smile upon her, do: 1 will gyve thee in thine own courtship"; "If such tricks as these strip you out of your lieutenantry, it had been better you had not kiss'd your three fingers so oft"; "Yet again, your fingers to your lips?" (2.1.169-77). "0, you are well-tun'd now!" (199); "Not poppy, nor mandragora ... / Shall ever medicine thee" (3.3.330-33); "Work on, / My medicine" (4.1.44-45). Othello: "Do you triumph, Roman?" (4.1.118); "Have you scor'd me?" (126.); "0, I see that nose of yours, but not that dog I shall throw it to" (141-43); "Minion, your dear lies dead"; "Strumpet, I come" (5.1.33-36); in 5.2 Othello apostrophizes "you chaste stars," "thou flaming minister," and Desdemona (5.2.2-19).
King Lear. Edmund: "Thou, Nature, art my goddess" (1.2.1); "Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land" (15-16); "Well, my legitimate" (19); "Briefness and fortune, work!" (2.1.18). Kent apostrophizes Lear, the sun, his own eyes, and fortune for a total of ten lines (2.2.160-65, 17073). Edgar: "Welcome then, / Thou insubstantial air"; "World, world, 0 world! / But that thy strange mutations make us hate thee" (4.1.6-12). Goneril: "To thee a woman's services are due" (4.2.27). Cordelia: "0 dear father, / It is thy business that .1 go about" (4.4.23-24).
Macbeth. Macbeth apostrophizes stars (1.4.50-51), the dagger for twelve lines (2.1.34-42, 45-47), Earth (56-57), Duncan (6.3-64), Time (4.1.144), and the corpse of Young Siward (5.7.11). Lady Macbeth apostrophizes Macbeth for sixteen lines (1.5.15-30) and "night" for five (50-54). A scene opens with a soliloquy in which Banquo apostrophizes Macbeth for ten lines and ends with a soliloquy in which Macbeth apostrophizes Banquo for two (3.1). In the sleepwalking scene Lady Macbeth addresses figments of her own dreaming imagination: "Out, damn'd spot! out, I say!" (-5.1.35); "No more o' that, my lord ... you mar all with this starting" (43-45). The Porter apostrophizes an equivocator and a tailor (2.3.11, 14-15).
Antony. Menas: "Thy father, Pompey, would ne'er have made this treaty" (2.5.82-83); "For this, / I'll never follow thy pall'd fortunes more" Enobarbus: "Caesar., thou hast subdu'd / His judgment, too" (3.13.36-37); "0 Antony, / Thou mine of bounty, how wouldst thou have paid / My better service"; "I fight against thee?" (4.6.30-33, 36). In 4.9 Enobarbus apostrophizes the moon for eleven lines (7-10, 12-18) and Antony for three (18-20). Charmian apostrophizes Cleopatra, death, Phoebus, and Cleopatra's eyes (5.2.314-18).
Coriolanus. Coriolanus (to Antium): "City, / Tis I that made thy widows" (4.4.1-2); "0 world, thy slippery turns!" (12).
Tinzon of Athens (with Middleton?). Timon's soliloquy in 4.1 is a torrent of 31 (!) angry apostrophes: to the walls of Athens, matrons, obedience, slaves and fools, young people ("Do't in your parents' eyes!" ), etc. He later apostrophizes the sun (4.3.1-3), "feasts, societies, and throngs of men," (20-21), the earth (23, 42-45), a drum (45), gold (46-47; 5.1.50-53), "mother" earth for twenty lines (4.3.177-96), the Painter, and the Poet (5.1.31-32, 37-39).
Pericles (with George Wilkins?). Pericles apostrophizes Antiochus (1.1.125-28, 141), the city of Antioch (134), stars, wind, rain, thunder (2.1.1-4, 8-11), and storm (3.1.7-8). Simonides apostrophizes Thaisa (2.5.18).
Cymbeline. A soliloquy by the Second Lord contains a ten-line apostrophe to Imogen (2.1.56-65). lachimo apostrophizes Imogen (as "'Cytherea"), sleep, Imogen's bracelet, and "you dragons of the night" (2.2.14-16, 31-33, 48-49). Imogen: "0 Posthumous, alas, / Where is thy head?" (4.2.320-21). Posthumus: "Yea, bloody cloth, keep thee" (5.1.1).
The Winter's Tale. Leontes apostrophizes "Affection" for six lines (1.2.138-43). Antigonus apostrophizes the infant Perdita for thirteen lines (3.3.15-18, 46-51, 53-55). Autolycus apostrophizes the Clown (4.3.118-20, 4.4.314) and Camillo (638-39).
Tempest. Prospero apostrophizes Ferdinand (1.2.439-41), Miranda (3.1.31-32). and Gonzalo (3.3.34-36). Miranda:"0 my father. I have broke your hest" (3.1.36-37).
H8 (with Fletcher). Henry: "Cranmer, / Prithee return" (2.4.239-40). Wolsey: "Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye!- (3.2.365).
2NK (with Fletcher). Palamon apostrophizes a window (2.2.274), Emilia (275-77), and Arcite (3.6.7-10). Arcite addresses Palamon for six lines (2.3.7-12) and Emilia for ten (3.1.4-13). The Jailor's Daughter apostrophizes Love (2.6.8-9), her father (37-38), her life (3.2.29), nature (3132), and sailors (3.4.9-11). Emilia addresses apostrophes to Palamon, Love, Arcite, pictures of Palamon and Arcite, her brother, and her sister (4.2.36-51), and Arcite again (5.3.72-73).
Although Bernard Beckerman noted the profusion of apostrophes in soliloquies in Shakespeare's plays, he did not provide a catalogue like that above to substantiate the point.' Even this catalogue is selective. Most of the plays catalogued here contain other examples; some contain many other examples. As this evidence indicates, some individual soliloquies in Shakespeare's plays contain lengthy apostrophes; some contain numerous apostrophes; and many apostrophes take the form of commands.
Apostrophes occur in soliloquies in plays by other dramatists with similar frequency. There are, for example, thirteen in The Jew of Malta; eight in Jon-son's Volpone; ten in Webster's Duchess of Ma/fl (c. 1614); and over thirty in The Jewes Tragedy. Some soliloquies in non-Shakespearean drama contain lengthy apostrophes, and some contain long series of apostrophes. A soliloquy by Sejanus begins with an eighteen-line apostrophe to Tiberius (2.586603). In Antonio's first soliloquy in Antonio and Mellida he apostrophizes his heart, life, veins, sinews, arteries, and blood, as well as mischief and disguise (1.1.1-34).
(10) Conspicuous absence of evidence of audience address. None of the Shakespearean characters most famous for their soliloquies (Richard III, Hamlet, lago, Othello, and Macbeth) ever explicitly acknowledges the presence of playgoers. Soliloquies by these characters do, on the other hand, contain numerous discrete unambiguous markers of self-address of the kinds catalogued above and below (individual pronouns, commands, etc.). Richard's soliloquies contain twenty-two such markers; Hamlet's, forty-nine; Macbeth's, thirty-four; lago's, twenty; and Othello's, thirty-seven.
(11) Strict segregation of speeches addressed to playgoers from the dramatized action. With very rare exceptions, instances of audience address in late Renaissance drama were limited to (1) speeches by choral characters who do not interact with characters engaged in the action, (2) epilogues after the dramatized action has concluded.42 Some plays emphatically highlight the distinction between audience-addressed choral monologues and soliloquies by characters engaged in the action. Doctor Faustus begins with a long choral speech explicitly addressed to playgoers. This speech is immediately followed by a soliloquy in which Faustus addresses himself by name five times and which contains twenty-eight other unambiguous markers of self-address. In some ancient, medieval, and early Renaissance plays, a character who went on to participate in the fictional action explicitly addressed playgoers in a prologue. Performed when some playgoers would have recalled performances of mystery and morality plays, Richard III begins with a soliloquy by the title character. But the similarity between this speech and an audience-addressed prologue by a character who would go on to participate in the action in a play of an earlier era turns into a sharp contrast. The opening soliloquy by Richard of Gloucester contains two explicit and unambiguous markers of self-address: "Dire, thoughts, down to my soul- ( 1.1.41 ).
(12) Mockery of audience address. In the rehearsals and the performance of "Pyramus and Thisbe" in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare pokes fun at audience address by characters in the midst of the action as nave, amateurish, and undramatic (an act of telling rather than depicting). Moonshine helpfully informs playgoers:
All that 1 have to say is to tell you that the lanthorn is the moon. I the man th' moon, this thorn-bush my thorn-bush, and this dog my dog."(MND. 5.1.257-59)
(13) Characterization. Richard III is vividly dramatized as an antisocial loner. In his soliloquies, he makes jokes for his own amusement about the gullibility and suffering of other characters. If his soliloquies had been orations to playgoers, this would have made him a sociable fellow. Instead of making jokes for his own amusement, he would have made jokes for the amusement of others. It would not have made psychological sense for Romeo to inform thousands of strangers about his love for Juliet while keeping this momentous news a secret from his closest friends Benvolio and Mercutio. When Falstaff says of Hal, "0, you shall see him laugh till his face be like a wet cloak ill laid up" (2H4, 5.1.84-85), he is not informing playgoers about a future episode in the play. No such episode occurs. Instead, he is desperately trying to convince himself that he has become indispensable to Hal and will reap the benefits after Hal becomes king. The play dramatizes this as wishful thinking. Malvolio's soliloquies in Twelfth Night 2.5, which include unambiguous markers of self-address, depict him making a strenuous effort to convince himself that Olivia is in love with him. If Malvolio had perceived the presence of playgoers. their laughter would have undermined his confidence. In his soliloquies Hamlet raises disturbing questions about himself that he does not raise even with his closest confidant Horatio. He asks, for example, "Am I a coward?" (2.2.571). In his harangue to the players Hamlet expresses contempt for "the groundlings" (3.2.10-11). It would not have made psychological sense for this character to have asked the grotmdlings whom he despises whether he is a coward. Hamlet frequently engages in self-manipulation. In 2.2 he tries to whip himself into a state of singleminded vengefulness ("Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!- 581) and then catches himself doing so ("Why what an ass am I!" 582). Like many other moments in soliloquies in Shakespeare's plays, this highlights the curious fact that a human being might play a role, might put on a disposition, even when he has only himself for an audience. In the prayer scene Claudius is not depicted as reporting his situation to strangers; he is depicted as undergoing an intense struggle with himself. In his soliloquies lago attempts to convince himself that he has a rational motive for ruining the lives of others. In his long soliloquy at the beginning of 1.7 Macbeth attempts to talk himself out of murdering Duncan. He is not depicted as trying to convince playgoers that murdering Duncan is a bad idea. This would have been a pointless activity since most playgoers do not need to be persuaded that murder is wrong.
Many editors and commentators assume that the Fool's speech at the end of 3.2 of Lear was designed to be addressed by the character to playgoers. The Fool says, "I'll speak a prophecy before I go" (80), recites a poem, and then says, "This prophecy Merlin shall make, for I live before his time" (9494). The common assumption is that the Fool's reference to Merlin is a simple factual statement and therefore an indication that he has stepped out of the fictional time period in which the play is set. In fact, the Fool's assertion makes sense only as a continuation of the characterization of the Fool entirely within the fictional world. Accompanying the outcast, mad Lear in the storm, the Fool is in a desperate situation. In desperate situations, human beings sometimes desperately try to recapture a sense of normality by engaging in familiar activities. The Fool is a professional entertainer. What he presumably spends most of his solitary time doing is devising and rehearsing his comedy routines. That is what he is doing here. The "prophecy" he recites here, "When priests are more in word than matter" (81-94) resembles the "speech" (1.4.115), "Have more than thou showest" (118-27), that he taught Lear as part of an earlier comedy routine. The so-called "prophecy" does not, in fact, prophesy any actual event that took place between the fictional time setting of the play and the date of its first performance. When the Fool says, "This prophecy Merlin shall make, for I live before his time," he is not transcending the fictional setting of the play to make a flat-footed factual statement but posing a riddle similar to riddles previously posed by this Fool and often posed by other fools in plays by Shakespeare. The Fool is rehearsing the lead-in to an exchange like the following:
Fool: This prophecy Merlin shall make. :for I live before his time.
Lear: Why no. boy. thou liv'st after Merlin's time.
Fool: Merlin will return when Arthur, king once and king to be, returns, so I live before his time. (Compare 1.4.148-50.)
Shakespeare depicted other characters who, when faced with traumatic situations, resort to familiar patterns of behavior. For example, when Marcus first encounters the horrifically maimed Lavinia in Titus Andronicus 2.4, he inflicts on his poor niece a long, rhetorically elaborate speech that has often been disparaged by critics. In response to a shocking circumstance, Marcus falls back on what he knows how to do. The experienced orator orates. Similarly, in response to a traumatic situation over which he has no control, the Fool, a professional comedian, practices his comedy routine.
(14) The themes of privacy and self-fashioning. Aristotle pointed out the obvious fact that the intended audience for a speech really matters:
of the three elements in speech-ma:king--speaker, subject, and person ad-dressed--it is the last one, the hearer, that determines the speech's end and object.(43)
A self-addressed speech by a character in a play is the representation of the most private form of speech possible. An audience-addressed speech by a character in a play performed in a late Renaissance public theater, on the other hand, would have been a representation of the most public form of speech possible in that period of history. If a dramatist wanted to show how a character behaved in public, the dramatist could depict the character in the company of any number of other characters onstage.
The notion of a metaphorical (or even literal) dialogue with oneself was well-established in European culture by the late sixteenth century. As Janette Dillon has argued,
[During the Middle Ages.I solitude had been associated with the search for God through contemplation... . But Petrarch now secularized that contemplative solitude and offered self-examination not as a means to a higher end, but as an alternative, as an end in itself (44)
Injunctions to conduct secular self-examinations eventually led to what Dillon has termed a"cult of solitude."(45) Montaigne described this solitary self-examination as literal or metaphorical self-addressed speech.
We must reserve a back shop all our own, entirely free, in which to establish our real liberty and our principal retreat and solitude. Here our ordinary conversation must be between us and ourselves, and so private that no outside association or communication can find a place. .. . Seek no longer that the world should speak of you, but how you should speak [parliez] to yourse1f.(46)
Late Renaissance playwrights vividly and pervasively brought to life the familiar metaphor of a dialogue with oneself by creating countless situations in which a character literally talks to himself. This artistic practice resembles the inclusion of ghosts as characters by which late Renaissance dramatists vividly brought to life the metaphorical notion that the past haunts the present. Soliloquies portray characters engaged in a vast array of self-directed actions: making up their minds, fashioning or refashioning themselves, struggling with parts of themselves, interrogating themselves, manipulating themselves, deceiving themselves, devising plans, obsessively reliving traumatic events, and so on. Each of these intensely private processes is radically different from the social act of reporting on such matters to a large audience of strangers.
Many of the self-addressed soliloquies guarded in asides in late Renaissance drama dramatized the notion that one might be alone, isolated, alienated even in the presence of others. If soliloquies guarded in asides had represented audience-address, they would have illustrated a radically different dramatic situation: one in which a character, even though alienated from other characters on stage, had a confidential relationship with a large group of people.
(15) Overheard soliloquies. The theme of privacy is most vividly dramatized when a character's privacy is violated within the fictional world. Late Renaissance plays contain an astounding number of episodes in which one or more eavesdroppers overhear a character's soliloquy. Such episodes occur in 3 Henry VI (2.5), I Henry VI (5.3), Love's Labor's Lost (4.3), Romeo (1.5, 2.2, 2.3, 5..3), I Henry IV (5.4), Julius Caesar (2.4), Twelfth Night (2.5), Troilus (5.2), All's Well (4.1), King Lear (4.1), Macbeth (2.2, 5.1), Antony (4.9), The Winter's Tale (4.3), and Cynzbeline (4.2). If the soliloquies in these episodes had been orations to playgoers, the onstage eavesdroppers would have witnessed a very public form of behavior rather than the character's most private moment. In the balcony scene Romeo overhears Juliet secretly speak of her love for him. The episode does not depict Romeo's eavesdropping on Juliet's oration to thousands of strangers. Overheard soliloquies occur with similar frequency plays by other late Renaissance dramatists. Every soliloquy in The Spanish Tragedy is overheard by the onstage audience of Andrea and Revenge. Other characters are clearly unaware of the presence of Andrea and Revenge and do not direct their soliloquies at those characters. Like Romeo, Andrea, and Revenge, late Renaissance playgoers were eavesdroppers on the soliloquies, the self-addressed speeches, of characters.
(16) Offstage soliloquies. Late Renaissance plays contain episodes in which a character says that he spoke to himself offstage or that he overheard another character speaking to himself. These accounts would have reinforced the assumption, which was reinforced in many other ways, that onstage soliloquies represented self-addressed speeches as a matter of course. In the proc-ess of describing, an offstage incident to the Countess in All's Well, the Steward describes the convention that governed onstage soliloquies in late Renaissance drama. He says that he eavesdropped upon Helena, who "did communicate to herself her own words to her own ears; she thought, I dare vow for her, they touch'd not any stranger sense- (1.3.107-10).
Similar accounts occur in Titus Andromeus (5.1), Romeo (5.1), / Henry IV (2.3), Julius Caesar (2.2), As You Like It (2.1, 2.3), and The Tempest (2.2).
(17) The operation of a dominant convention. Soliloquies in plays by Kyd, Marlowe, and Shakespeare written in the late 1580s and early 1590s, are densely packed with discrete unambiguous markers of self-address. Soliloquies in The Spanish Tragedy, one of the most popular and influential English plays of the late Renaissance, contain over 160 markers of self-address of the various kinds catalogued above. Soliloquies in Irving Ribner's conflated text of Doctor Faustus contain over 120. Kyd and Marlowe knew that some playgoers still had memories of mystery and morality plays, in which characters engaged in the action explicitly addressed playgoers, and evidently sought to establish in no uncertain terms that in their plays soliloquies by characters engaged in the action represented self-addressed speeches as a matter of course. In their initial eagerness to establish the convention of self-address in no uncertain terms, Kyd and Marlowe could be a bit heavy-handed: Hiero-nimo addresses himself by name nine times; Faustus, fifteen. Shakespeare's early plays also contain conspicuously plentiful discrete unambiguous markers of self-address. Love's Labor's Lost, for example, has forty-one markers; I Henry VI, fifty-three; Richard III, forty-three; Romeo, 155. Plays with fewer soliloquies had fewer markers of self-address, but the density of such markers (the ratio of the total number of markers to the total number of lines spoken in soliloquies) in most such plays was similar to the density in plays with more soliloquies. The exciting new convention whereby playgoers became eavesdroppers on the most private speeches of characters was quickly adopted by other dramatists. It soon went without saying that soliloquies by characters engaged in the action represented self-address. Even though by the mid-1590s it was no longer necessary to combat the thoroughly vanquished convention of audience address, evidence of self-address continued to occur frequently in soliloquies simply because self-addressed speeches are bound to contain evidence of self-address. Soliloquies in Ham/et contain seventy-five unambiguous markers of self-address; those in Othello, seventy-one; and in Macbeth, eighty-seven. Over the long term Shakespeare did more to maintain the overwhelming dominance of the convention than any other dramatist. Once firmly established, self-address remained the overwhelmingly dominant convention governing soliloquies until the closing of the theaters.
Confronted with plentiful. conspicuous, and unambiguous evidence in almost every play they attended that soliloquies by characters engaged in the action represented self-address and confronted rarely if ever with examples of unambiguous audience address by such characters, experienced playgoers would have assumed that soliloquies represented self-address as a matter of course. The overwhelmingly dominant convention, the default setting in the period for soliloquies by characters engaged in the action, was self-address. Such a firmly established convention could be overridden in a given instance only by an explicit and unambiguous signal. This particular convention was very rarely overridden for the obvious reason that it served a variety of very important dramatic purposes, some of which have been mentioned above.
The notion that in their soliloquies characters frequently went back and forth between self-address and audience-address is untenable. First, if characters had gone back and forth between self-address and audience-address, playwrights would have had to establish explicitly in each case which of these radically different dramatic situations (one depicting the most private form of speech possible; the other depicting the most public form of speech possible in the period, an oration to hundreds or thousands of strangers) was in effect. By freeing dramatists from this requirement, strict adherence to the convention of self-address allowed for the implicit and efficient depiction of characters engaged in one or more of a variety of self-directed actions. Strict adherence to the convention thus paradoxically increased the artistic freedom of dramatists. Rigorous adherence to the convention did not make a dramatist conventional in the pejorative sense as long as dramatist used the convention to serve worthwhile artistic purposes, such as those described elsewhere in this essay. Second, if during one soliloquy a character had addressed playgoers. it would not have made psychological sense for the same character to address only himself in a later soliloquy. He could not have forgotten about the thousands of strangers whose presence he had acknowledged earlier. Third, if characters had regularly gone back and forth between self-address and audience address, there should be plenty of unambiguous evidence of this, but in fact, while unambiguous evidence of self-address is conspicuous and pervasive, unambiguous evidence of audience address in soliloquies by characters engaged in the action is exceedingly rare.
Taken out of context, a command in a soliloquy without an explicit addressee might be mistaken by post-Renaissance readers for an audience-addressed command. But experienced late Renaissance playgoers--having encountered countless soliloquies in which a character gives himself a command or in which a character gives a command to an imaginary listener--would have assumed as a matter of course that any command in a soliloquy was addressed either to the speaker himself or to an imaginary addressee. When Claudius says. "Try what repentance can" (3.3.65). it would not have occurred to late Renaissance playgoers to imagine that the character was telling them to repent.
Having heard countless soliloquies in which the speaker uses a second-person pronoun to address himself or an imaginary listener, experienced late Renaissance playgoers would have assumed as a matter of course that a second-person pronoun in a soliloquy was being used in one of these ways even when the speech did not include an antecedent for the pronoun. When Hamlet says in a soliloquy guarded in an aside, "Nay then, I have an eye of you" (2.2.290) without specifying an antecedent for the pronoun "you," late Renaissance playgoers would have been in no doubt that Hamlet was apostrophizing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and that he was saying that he sees them for what they are, agents of his enemy. It would not have occurred to late Renaissance playgoers that Hamlet was telling playgoers that he could see them. Here are a few examples in which a second-person pronoun occurs in a soliloquy unaccompanied by an antecedent and in which the implied antecedent is certainly not the theater audience:
3H6. Henry VI: "If you [clans1 contend, a thousand lives must wither" (2.5.102).
1H4. Prince: "I know you all [denizens of the tavern], and will a while uphold / The unyok'd humor of your idleness" (1.2.195-96).
AYLI. Oliver: "I will physic your [Orlando's] rankness" (1.1.86).
12N Toby: "Marry, ride your horse as well as I ride you [Sir Andrewl" (3.4.290-91).
WT. Leontes: "I am angling now, / Though you [Hermione and Polixenes] perceive me not howl give line" (1.2.180-81).
A second-person pronoun was sometimes used colloquially as a verbal ruler without a particular referent. When the First Gravedigger tells Hamlet, "your water is a sore decayer of your whoreson dead body" (5.1.171-72), he is not describing a characteristic of a dead body that happens to be in the possession of his interlocutor. Similar uses of "your" occur in soliloquies.
2H4. Falstaff: "The second property of your excellent sherris" (4.3.102-3). Jonson. Volpone. Mosca: "Your parasite / Is a most precious thing".47 (3.1.7-8).
Having encountered countless soliloquies that explicitly and unambiguously represented self-address, experienced late Renaissance playgoers would not have assumed that, when a character used a first-person plural pronoun without an explicit antecedent, the character meant "you playgoers and I." They would have assumed that the character meant "another person and I," "a group of which I am a member," or "human beings in general" or that the character was using the royal "we."
R3. Richard: "Now is the winter of our [the York clan's] discontent" (1.1.1).
Romeo. Juliet: "God knows when we [herself and the Nurse] shall meet again" (4.3.14).
Julius Caesar. Cassius: "And after this let Caesar seat him sure, / For we [members of the anti-Caesar faction] will shake him, or worse days endure" (1.2.321-22).
King Lear Edmund: "Why brand they us [bastards] / With base?" (1.2.9--.10).
The White Devil. Flamineo: "We [Bracciano and 1] are engaged to mischief and must on" (1.2.339).
In one passage Henry V uses second-person pronouns with two different referents without specifying the referent in either case, and in neither case is the referent himself and playgoers. When he says, "let us our lives, our souls, / Our debts, our careful wives, / Our children, and our sins lay on the King!" (4.1.230-32), he is sarcastically putting words in the mouths of the common soldiers with whom he debated earlier in the scene. In the very next line he employs the royal "we": "We must bear all" (233).
Sonic soliloquies include forms of address that post-Renaissance readers might mistakenly assume were directed at a playgoer or at playgoers but that late Renaissance playgoers would have recognized as apostrophes. When Enobarbus says, "Sir, sir. thou art so leaky" (3.13.63), he is addressing Antony in an apostrophe, not an incontinent playgoer. Alone onstage in 1.5 of I H6, Talbot says, "Hark, countrymen" (1.5.27). As his subsequent words make explicit, he is not addressing Englishmen in the theater audience but is instead addressing an apostrophe to his off-stage comrades-in-arms: "Hark, countrymen, either renew the fight, / Or tear the lions out of England's coat."
The massive evidence presented here demonstrates that late Renaissance dramatists and playgoers were fascinated by what a character might say if he thought he had only himself for audience and were not interested in what a character engaged in the action of a play might say to them if he knew he was merely a character in a play.
Fallacies of Post-Renaissance Scholarship
In some cases a question about a past culture cannot be answered because the surviving evidence is inadequate or ambiguous. This is not one of those cases. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a case in which the evidence were more conclusive. It is therefore incongruous and disappointing that most current literary critics, cultural theorists, and theater historians simply take for granted that in late Renaissance drama soliloquies by characters engaged in the action were commonly meant to represent audience address. This orthodox opinion is widely and unquestioningly accepted by scholars even though it is contradicted by conspicuous and plentiful evidence merely because (1) it accords with modern aesthetic tastes and cultural theories; (2) it has been declared to be true in no uncertain terms by countless scholars (such as those cited at the beginning of this essay), teachers, and other commentators; and (3) it has become the conventional way of performing soliloquies in contemporary productions of Shakespeare's plays. This opinion is so strongly held that many particular soliloquies that contain unambiguous markers of self-address are nevertheless regularly described and performed as audience address.
Some adherents of the belief that soliloquies in late Renaissance drama were commonly performed as audience address rest their case on the mere possibility that this occurred. The fallacy of this reasoning, which relieves the scholar of any responsibility to provide evidence from the historical period in question, is made clear by an analogous case. Plentiful evidence indicates that in late Renaissance public theaters in London female characters were played by male (mostly boy) actors as a matter of course. But such evidence is not available in the case of each and every female character. It is possible that some woman who yearned to act on stage convinced members of a company to allow her surreptitiously to play a female character in performances of a particular play. It is illogical to move from this supposed possibility to the assertion that female characters were commonly played by women or that a particular female character was played by a woman. There is actually much more evidence from the late Renaissance to support the assertion that soliloquies represented self-address as a matter of course (the hundreds of pieces of evidence supplied above from plays written in the period) than to support the notion that female characters were portrayed by male actors as a matter of course. But many scholars have moved illogically from the fact that not every single soliloquy contains evidence of self-address to the notion that soliloquies were commonly staged as audience address.
The argument that late Renaissance soliloquies must have represented audience address by characters simply because these speeches were intended by actors to be heard by playgoers derives from a naive confusion of characters and actors. In every performance of every play, actors are aware of the presence of playgoers and speak to be heard by them, but this does not mean that every character in every play is represented as being aware of playgoers. The notion that a given soliloquy was designed to be ambiguous, designed to. depict the character speaking only to himself and at the very same time also to playgoers does not make logical or psychological sense. Such a character would suffer from multiple personality disorder. According to this supposition, one of Hamlet's personalities whole-heartedly believes he is a prince while another of his personalities knows that he is only a character in a play.
While most scholars simply assert that late Renaissance soliloquies represented audience address as if the matter were indisputable, Robert Weimann at least recognized the obligation to mount a case and did so in his very influential book Shakespeare and the Popular Tradition in the Theater.(48)Wei-mann cited numerous instances of unambiguous audience address in soliloquies in medieval and early Renaissance drama as evidence that soliloquies in late Renaissance drama typically represented audience address. In fact, the frequency of unambiguous audience address in soliloquies in medieval and early Renaissance drama followed in late Renaissance drama by the combination of plentiful evidence of unambiguous self-address in soliloquies and the conspicuous absence of unambiguous audience address in soliloquies by prominent soliloquizing characters is clear evidence that the conventions governing soliloquies had profoundly changed. The present essay has documented over seven hundred discrete unambiguous markers of self-address in soliloquies in late Renaissance drama, including over five hundred markers in soliloquies in the plays of Shakespeare alone. And this is only a selection of the evidence. In sharp contrast, as indicated above, Bernard Beckerman was unable to locate a single example of unambiguous audience address by a character in the midst of the action in any Globe play performed between 1599 and 1609. Throughout the entire period of late Renaissance drama, instances in which the overwhelmingly dominant convention of self-address was unambiguously overridden are extremely rare.
According to Weimann, the passage in Hamlet's soliloquy at the end of 2.2 in which Hamlet compares himself to a player shows Hamlet's "full awareness of the effect he would like his speech to have on the spectators in the theater."(49) The passage shows nothing of the sort. The mere fact that a dramatic character alludes to the theater is not an indication that the character is aware that he is only a character in a play. It is a dramatic irony that, unbeknownst to Hamlet, at the moment he compares himself to a player, he is being portrayed by a player. The fact that Richard of Gloucester compares himself to a Vice character (R3, 3.1.82) does not mean that Richard is aware that he is merely a character in a play. Real human beings sometimes compare themselves to literary characters. A radical difference between Richard and Vice characters in earlier drama is that Vice characters explicitly acknowledged the presence of playgoers, something Richard never does. Metadramatic elements occur in a great many late Renaissance plays, as well as post-Renaissance plays such as Chekhov's The Sea Gull, without any suggestion that the characters realize that they are merely characters in a play. If Shakespeare's characters had known they were merely characters in a play, it would have considerably lowered the stakes of their situations.
Weirnann treats an imperative in a soliloquy as ipso facto evidence of audience address.(50) He ignores the huge number of commands in soliloquies that are unambiguously directed either at the speaker herself or at an imaginary audience in an apostrophe. An experienced late Renaissance playgoer would have assumed that any command in a soliloquy was directed either at the speaker himself or at an imaginary listener. See especially sections 4-6, 9, and 17 of the catalogue of evidence above.
Weimann simply ignores the vast and unambiguous evidence that soliloquies represented self-address, evidence that established the convention so firmly that it could have been overridden only by an explicit signal. That the argument put 'forward by such a distinguished theorist can so easily be refuted is telling.
In some soliloquies a character reviews his or her situation. This does not imply that the character is speaking with the intention of informing, playgoers. As in the case of metadramatic episodes, one should not confuse the dramatist's purpose with that of the character. A dramatist intends every speech of every play to inform playgoers about something. This does not mean that every character in every play is aware that she is only a character in a play. Unaware of playgoers, a character in a late Renaissance play might review her situation in a soliloquy for any of a variety of implied motives. She might do so in order to give coherence to her raw perceptions or to establish a sense of control over the difficulties she faces by capturing those difficulties in words. In some cases a character compulsively reviews an occurrence in a soliloquy because the occurrence was traumatic, ecstatic, or bewildering. That soliloquies in which characters review their situations were not meant to represent audience address is demonstrated by the fact that many of these speeches contain *explicit and unambiguous evidence of self-address. In his opening soliloquy (1.1.1-64) Faustus reviews his situation. As indicated above, this speech contains thirty-three explicit markers of self-address. Rather than an oration in which Faustus tells playgoers about his decision making, the speech actually shows a character engaged in the process of choosing. In a soliloquy in Marlowe's Massacre of Paris, Guise reviews his situation in great detail. The opening words of the speech establish it explicitly as self-address: "Now, Guise, ..."(2.34), and the speech contains other markers of self-address. Soliloquies in which Hieronimo repeatedly reviews the horror of his situation are dense with such markers. As noted above, when Richard of Gloucester reviews his situation in the opening speech of Richard III, he shows no awareness of playgoers. and the speech contains two explicit and unambiguous markers of self-address. In a soliloquy in which Edgar reviews his situation, he addresses himself by his alias and commands himself: "Torn, away!" (King Lear, 3.6.102-15). That soliloquies in which characters review their situations represented self-address rather than audience address is also demonstrated by an analogy. Late Renaissance plays contain many conversations between or among characters in which the speakers review situations already familiar to all the characters present. Faustus gives Mephistophilis a detailed account of their journey around Europe (3.1). Horatio reviews Danish history with which his onstage listeners are already familiar: "our last King ... / Was, as you know ..."(Hamlet 1.1.80-107). In Cymbeline Belarius notes that Guidarius and Arviragus are already familiar with the events that he nevertheless recounts to them: "as I have told you oft" (3.3.65).The mere fact that a character recounts to other characters information already known to them is not a sign that the speaker addresses playgoers rather than those characters. Similarly, the mere fact that in a soliloquy a character reviews his situation is not evidence that the speaker is addressing playgoers rather than himself.
Soliloquies have been performed as audience address in countless successful post-Renaissance productions of Shakespeare's plays. This has no bearing on the case. There have also been countless successful post-Renaissance productions of Shakespeare's plays in which the roles of women characters have been portrayed by actresses, but that does not change the fact that in Shakespeare's theater those roles were played by male actors. Similarly, post-Renaissance performances of soliloquies as audience address cannot retroactively change the fact, demonstrated by overwhelming evidence, that those speeches were designed by Shakespeare to be self-addressed speeches. That Shakespeare designed soliloquies by characters in the midst of the action to be self-addressed speeches does not obligate a modern acting company to stage soliloquies in this way. Most of Shakespeare's own works are themselves adaptations of earlier works, and we do not condemn him for departing from his sources, so we should not condemn modern performers simply for altering a feature of a play by Shakespeare. Each production should be judged on its own merits as a work of art. But the artistic freedom to change a feature of a play to suit a new artistic vision should not be confused with a freedom to make false assertions about the original staging of the play. A social historian would not use evidence about twenty-first-century marriage customs as the basis for assertions about late sixteenth-century marriage customs. Similarly, a theater historian should not use evidence about post-Renaissance performance practices as the basis for assertions about performance practices in the age of Shakespeare.
The evidence presented here demonstrates that one of the most distinctive features of late Renaissance drama was the proliferation of self-addressed speeches by characters engaged in the action, a device that now seems alien to most performers and scholars. If historicist scholarship has taught us anything, it is that we should recognize and acknowledge evidence from an earlier age indicating that people of that age had different tastes than we do. We should not project our own tastes onto people of other cultures, nor should we assume that artistic conventions of our age have been operative in all times and places. The failure to recognize the fact, supported by plentiful and conspicuous evidence of many different sorts, that soliloquies in late Renaissance drama represented self-addressed speeches as a matter of course rather than addresses to playgoers has resulted in widespread misconceptions about late Renaissance drama and culture, misconceptions not merely about countless particular episodes and characters, but about late Renaissance attitudes in regard to such important issues as selfhood, individuality, subjectivity, solitude, privacy, and artistic representation.
We have passed through a very fruitful period of theorizing about cultural history. We should not lose sight, however, of the responsibility to test theories rigorously against evidence. Fulfilling the responsibility to discard theories that fail such a test is what qualifies a field of study as a self-correcting discipline. Richard Strier has expressed skepticism about the ability of researchers in the humanities to exercise such discipline: data that does not fit an established scheme, even when there is a lot of it, is simply invisible."(51) If we wish the field of cultural history to be recognized as a genuine discipline by practitioners in other fields, then we must exercise discipline. We must discard theories--no matter how appealing, no matter how convenient, no matter how deeply entrenched--that are refuted by plentiful, conspicuous, diverse, and unambiguous evidence located in cultural artifacts of the period of history in question.
(1.) Aristotle, Rhetoric, trans. W. Rhys Roberts, in The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation, ed. Jonathan Barnes. 2 vols. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984), 2: 2159.
(2.) All's Well That Ends Well, 1.3.107-10. Except where otherwise noted, quotations from plays written or co-authored by Shakespeare are based on The Riverside Shakespeare, ed. G. Blakemore Evans. 2nd ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1997).
(3.) Many post-Renaissance commentators have adopted the quick and easy method of defining "soliloquy" on the basis of the etymology of the word, as a "passage spoken when a character is alone onstage."But it is nonsensical to suppose that dramatists fashioned their practices to conform to the etymology of a word.
(4.) In some episodes a character in the presence of other characters is so carried away by emotion that he becomes momentarily oblivious of the presence of those characters. The speeches of such a character are soliloquies because the character is not speaking to the other characters. A character is particularly prone to lose consciousness of the presence of other characters when she apostrophizes an imaginary listener. After Brutus leaves to participate in the assassination of Caesar. Portia. expresses trepidation in a soliloquy initially guarded in an aside from her servant boy Lucius. She goes on to address her absent husband in an apostrophe ("0 Brutus. / The heavens speed thee in thine enterprise!" 2.4.40-41). She then realizes that, in her preoccupation with her imaginary listener, she became oblivious of the presence of Lucius, and in a soliloquy now fully guarded in an aside she says to herself, "Sure, the boy heard me" (42).
(5.) Janet Adelman, The Common Liar: An Essay on Antony and Cleopatra (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1973), 50.
(6.) John Barton, Playing Shakespeare (London: Methuen, 1984), 94.
(7.) Stephen Greenblatt, Shakespearean Negotiations (Berkeley: University of California Press. 1988), 54.
(8.) Brian Vickers, Appropriating Shakespeare: Contemporary Critical Quarrels (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1993), 79.
(9.) Harold Bloom, Shakespeare and the Invention of the Human (New York: Riverhead, 1998). 70.
(10.) David Bevington. Introduction to The White Devil by John Webster, in English Renaissance Drama.: A Norton Anthology, ed. Bevington, et al. (New York: Norton, 2002), 1659.
(11.) Marjorie Garber, Shakespeare After All (New York: Anchor, 2004). 133.
(12.) Margreta de Grazia, "Hamlet's Smile," in From Performance to Print in Shakespeare's England, ed. Peter Holland and Stephen Orgel (Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan. 2006). 234.
(13.) Jonathan Bate, Introduction to Hamlet, in The Complete Works of Shakespeare, ed. Bate and Eric Rasmussen (New York: Modern Library, 2007), 1920.
(14.) Bernard Beckerman, Shakespeare at the Globe 1599-1609 (London: Collier-Macmillan, 1962). 186.
(15.) Anne Righter, Shakespeare and the Idea of the Play (New York: Barnes and Noble. 1962), 20, 56.
(16.) Steven Mullaney, The Place of the Stage: License, Play, and Power in Renaissance England (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 1988), 52. M. C. Brad-brook, The Living Monument: Shakespeare and the Theatre o f His Time (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1976). 51.
(17.) James Hirsh, Shakespeare and the HistOry Of Soliloquies (Madison, NJ: Fair-leigh Dickinson University Press. 2003).
(18.) The Fiat Folio of Shakespeare: The Norton Facsimile, ed. Charlton Hinman, 2nd ed. (New York: Norton, 1996). TLN 792 (1.3.311sd). That Richard "speakes to himselfe" is also one of countless pieces of evidence that soliloquies in late Renaissance drama represented words spoken by characters rather than their unspoken thoughts. The post-Renaissance cliche that late Renaissance soliloquies represented the utterly reliable "innermost thoughts" of characters is belied by plentiful and conspicuous evidence to the contrary. In the prayer scene Claudius earnestly and eloquently expresses a desire to repent. and yet some unvoiced and more powerful part of his mind prevents him from doing so. He eventually acknowledges to himself that his soliloquy was composed of "Words without thoughts" (3.3.98). Frequently. a character attempts to talk himself into believing something that some part of him suspects or knows to be false. Examples discussed elsewhere in this essay also refute the cliche. For extensive catalogues of further evidence, see Hirsh. History, chapters 4 and 5.
(19.) King Leir, in Vol. 7 of Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare. ed. Geoffrey Bullough (London: Routledge, 1973). line 1425sd.
(20.) Thomas Heywood, Four Premises of London. in vol. 2 of Dramatic. Works, ed. R. H. Shepherd, 6 vols (1874; repr., New York: Russell. 1964. 179. 187.
(21.) Thomas Kyd, The Spanish Tragedy, ed. Philip Edwards (1959; repr., Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1981).
(22.) Philip Massinger. The Maid of thmour, in Plays and Poems, ed. Philip Edwards and Colin Gibson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997).
(23.) The Troublesome Raigne of John, King of England, ed. J. W. Sider (New York: Garland. 1980), 112.
(24.) John Webster, The White Devil, in The Duchess of Magi and Other Plays, ed. Rene Weis (Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1993).
(25.) John Ford. The Broken Heart, in Six Elizabethan Plays. ed. R. C. Bald (Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1963).
(26.) Anthony Munday, John a Kent and John a Cumber, ed. Arthur E. Pennell (New York: Garland, 1980).
(27.) Thomas Lodge and Robert Greene, A Looking Glass for London and England. in The Tudor Period, Vol. 1 of Drama of the English Renaissance, ed. Russell A. Fraser and Norman Rabkin (New York: Macmillan, 1976).
(28.) Robert Greene. Friar Bacon and Friar Bun gay, in The Tudor Period. ed. Fraser and Rabkin.
(29.) Christopher Marlowe. The Complete Plays, ed. Irving Rihner (Indianapolis: Odyssey. 1963).
(30.) Thomas Dekker, The Shoemaker's Holiday. in English Renaissance Drama. ed. Bevington.
(31.) John Marston, The Malcontent and Other Plays, ed. Keith Sturgess (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997).
(32.) Ben Jonson, Five Plays, ed. G. A. Wilkes (Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1988).
(33.) Ben Jonson, Epicoene. or The Silent Woman, ed. Roger Holdsworth (1979: repr., New York: Norton, 1999).
(34.) Thomas Middleton, A Mad World, My Masters. ed. Standish Henning (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1965).
(35.) George Chapman, The Conspiracy and Tragedy of Charles. Duke of Byron, ed. John Margeson (Manchester: Manchester University Press. 1988).
(36.) Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker. The Roaring Girl. in Five Plays by Middleton. ed. Bryan Loughrey and Neil Taylor (London: Penguin. 1988).
(37.) John Fletcher and Philip Massinger. Sir John van Olden Barnavelt, in vol. 8 of The Dramatic Works in the Beaumont and Fletcher Canon, ed. Fredson Bowers (repr.. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992).
(38.) Philip Massinger. The Roman Actor. in The Stuart Period, vol. II of Drama of the English Renaissance, ed. Fraser and Rabkin.
(39.) William Heminge. The Plays and Poems, ed. Carol A. Morley (Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. 2006).
(40.) Thomas Middleton and William Rowley, The Changeling, in Five Plays by Middleton.
(41.) Beckerman. Globe, 184.
(42.) 1 have encountered only two unambiguous exceptions in Shakespeare's plays, and both occur in very early farces. Petruchio: "He that knows a better way how to tame a shrew, / Now let him speak; 'tis charity to show" (Taming 4.1.210-11). Launce: "You shall judge" (2GV4.4.16).
(43.) Aristotle. Rhetoric, 2:2159.
(44.) Janette Dillon, Shakespeare and the Solitary Man (Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield. 1981), 19.
(45.) Dillon, Solitary Man, chapter 2, "The Cult of Solitude," 14-31.
(46.) Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays, trans. Donald M. Frame (Stanford. CA: Stanford University Press, 1958), Bk I. Chap. 39, "Of Solitude,"177, 182. "II se faut reserver rune arriere boutique toute nostre, toute"franche. en laquelle nous establissons nostre vraye liberte et principale retraicte et solitude. En cette-cy faut-il prendre nostre ordinaire entretien de nous a nous mesmes, et si prive que nulle acoin-tance ou communication estrangiere y trouve place... . Ce &est plus cc qu'il vous faut chercher. que le monde park de vous, mais comme il faut que vous parliez a vous mesmes." "De la Solitude," Essais, ed. Albert Thibaudet (Paris: Gallimard, 1950), 278, 286.
(47.) Jonson, Volpone, in Five Plays.
(48.) Robert Weimann, Shakespeare and the Popular Tradition in the Theater: Studies in the Social Dimension of Dramatic Form and Function, ed. Robert Schwartz (Baltimore. MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978).
(49.) Weimann, Popular Tradition, 222.
(50.) "In Hamlet there are still signs of direct address (IV, 4. 47. but these are admittedly quite rare- (222). In line 47, unquoted by Weimann, Hamlet issues the command "Witness." This command is similar to Bassanio's command "Look" in a soliloquy guarded in an aside explicitly and unambiguously designated as self-address in a stage direction: "Bassanio's comments on the caskets to himself" As abundantly documented above, characters frequently give themselves commands in soliloquies.
(51.)) Richard Strier, Resistant Structures: Particularity, Radicalism, and Renaissance Texts (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995). in "Part Two: Against Received Opinion," 216.
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|Publication:||Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2014|
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