Half Title
 Title Page
 Introduction, by Norman N....
 Shakespeare in the rising middle...
 Aggression and the project of the...
 Sons and substitutions: Shakespeare's...
 Love, death, and patriarchy in...
 Shakespeare and the bonds of brotherhood,...
 Shakespeare's women: historical...
 Male bonding and the myth of women's...
 Bed tricks: on marriage as the...
 The personal shakespeare: three...
 The boy actor and femininity in...
 The Tempest: Shakespeare's ideal...
 Where is Shakespeare? by David...
 Misrecognizing Shakespeare, by...
 Notes on Contributors

Title: Shakespeare's personality
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00002860/00001
 Material Information
Title: Shakespeare's personality
Physical Description: vii, 284 p. : ; 24 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Holland, Norman Norwood, 1927-
Homan, Sidney, 1938-
Paris, Bernard J
Publisher: University of California Press
Place of Publication: Berkeley
Publication Date: 1989
Subject: Dramatists, English -- Psychology -- Congresses -- Early modern, 1500-1700   ( lcsh )
Personality in literature -- Congresses   ( lcsh )
Psychology and literature -- Congresses   ( lcsh )
Self in literature -- Congresses   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
conference publication   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 261-274) and index.
Funding: Psychological study of the arts.
Statement of Responsibility: edited by Norman N. Holland, Sidney Homan, and Bernard J. Paris.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00002860
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001492874
oclc - 18780241
notis - AHA5390
lccn - 88031500
isbn - 0520063171 (alk. paper)
 Related Items
Other version: Alternate version (PALMM)
PALMM Version

Table of Contents
    Half Title
        Half Title 1
        Half Title 2
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
        Unnumbered ( 5 )
        Unnumbered ( 6 )
    Introduction, by Norman N. Holland
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
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        Page 7
        Page 8
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    Shakespeare in the rising middle class, by C.L. Barber and Richard P. Wheeler
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
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    Aggression and the project of the histories, by Sherman Hawkins
        Page 41
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    Sons and substitutions: Shakespeare's phallic fantasy, by Norman N. Holland
        Page 66
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        Page 84
        Page 85
    Love, death, and patriarchy in Romeo and Juliet, by Kirby Farrell
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
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    Shakespeare and the bonds of brotherhood, by Marianne Novy
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
    Shakespeare's women: historical facts and dramatic representations, by carol Thomas Neely
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
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        Page 133
        Page 134
    Male bonding and the myth of women's deception in Shakespeare's plays, by Shirley Nelson Garner
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
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        Page 141
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        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
    Bed tricks: on marriage as the end of comedy in All's Well That Ends Well and Measure for Measure, by Janet Adelman
        Page 151
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    The personal shakespeare: three clues, by William Kerrigan
        Page 175
        Page 176
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        Page 178
        Page 179
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        Page 189
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    The boy actor and femininity in Antony and Cleopatra, by Madelon Sprengnether
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
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        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
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    The Tempest: Shakespeare's ideal solution, by Bernard J. Paris
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
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        Page 219
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        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
    Where is Shakespeare? by David Willbern
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
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        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
    Misrecognizing Shakespeare, by Barbara Freedman
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
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    Notes on Contributors
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
        Page 276
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        Page 278
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Full Text





University of California Press
Berkeley Los Angeles London

University of California Press
Berkeley and Los Angeles, California

University of California Press, Ltd.
London, England

0 1989 by
The Regents of the University of California

Printed in the United States of America
1 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Shakespeare's personality / edited by
and Bernard J. Paris.


N. Holland, Sidney


Bibliography: p.
Includes index.
ISBN o-5zo-o6317-1 (alk. paper)


Congresses. z. Shakesp


6. Self in literature-Congresses.



1564- 6 16-Knowledge-


3. Dramatists, English-Early

4. Personality in

5. Psychology and literature-Congresses.

I. Holland,

19z7- I. Homan, Sidney, 1938-
PRz909.S54 1989

Norman Norwood,

.III. Paris, BernardJ.

i. Shakespeare,


15oo- 7o0o-Psychology-Congresses.



by Norman N. Holland

Shakespeare in the Rising

by C. L. Barber and Richard P.

. ii


Wheeler. .. . 17

Aggression and the Project
by Sherman Hawkins .

of the


Sons and Substitutions:




by Norman N. Holland . .

Love, Death, and Patriarchy in Romeo and Juliet
by Kirby Farrell . . .

Shakespeare and the Bonds of Brotherhood
by Marianne Novy . .

Shakespeare's Women:


Facts and

Dramatic Representations
by Carol Thomas Neely .

Male Bonding and the Myth of
Shakespeare's Plays



by Shirley

Nelson Garner .

Bed Tricks:

On Marriage as the End

of Comedy

All's Well That Ends Well and
Measure for Measure
by Janet Adelman .

vi Contents

The Personal Shakespeare: Three Clues

by William Kerrigan

The Boy Actor and Femininity in
Antony and Cleopatra
by Madelon Sprengnether.

The Tempest: Shakespeare's
by Bernard J. Paris .

What Is Shakespeare?
by David Willbern .

S. 175

I I I I I IS 191


SI I I I I zo6

Il I S S S 22 6

Misrecognizing Shakespeare
by Barbara Freedman .


Notes on Contributors.

I I I S *1 2.73

. 75



The essays in this collection emerged from a conference, Shakespeare's
Personality, held on the University of Florida campus and at the univer-
sity's Whitney Conference Hall, Marineland, March 7-1o, 1985.
Funds were generously provided by the Department of English, the
Florida Endowment for the Humanities, and the Milbauer Endow-
ment. In addition to the essays here presented, Maurice Charney, Rob-
ert Egan, Dennis Huston, Robert Kimbrough, Marvin Rosenberg, and
Samuel Schoenbaum also gave papers, which because of limitations of
space we could not include here. Murray Schwartz provided incisive
commentary on the whole proceedings. We are grateful to all of these
people, as well as to our colleagues Ira Clark, William Logan, Jack
Perlette, James Sunwall, and Robert Thomson. Their participation
proved, as always, special.


Norman N. Holland

It is our fortune, good or bad, to complete this book on Shakespeare's
personality at a moment in literary criticism when its "subject" (in
several senses) has disappeared. Shakespeare is gone. So is his personal-
ity. Indeed, so is everybody's personality, yours and mine as well.
Some of today's most widely heeded literary critics proclaim that
the very idea of self, personality, identity, character, or "the subject"
has evaporated in the heat of recent theorizing. Ordinarily I would use
this introduction to suggest the content and rationale of the essays that
make up the book. In 1989, however, I shall probably do better to try
to meet some of the fire currently directed at the idea of "Shake-


's personality." On one flank an attack comes from the New

Historicism, on the other from a radical postmodern skepticism. Both
"problematize" (in current critical jargon) the very idea that we can

intelligibly write about such a being

William Shakespeare. Merely

to label some concept as problematic, however, does not quite seem to
me to carry the day-any concept worth talking about must be prob-
lematic. We need to be more precise about these challenges.
When critics today speak of "the disappearance of the subject" or

"the death of the author," wha
illusion" or "bourgeois fiction"

it they are rejecting is the "humanist
of "an individual endowed with the

freedom and capacity both to create himself and to shape his social
and political environment." "In an age of mass communications, ad-
vertising, and state propaganda," writes David Quint, "it is difficult to
speak of man shaping his own cultural identity or exercising an inde-

pendent political will." Alas,
no longer the author's, "the

yes. As a consequence, the literary text is
result of a personal selection among a

series of constituent stylistic and ideological choices-but rather the
product of choices that are largely made for him both by the literary

system itself and by the


of knowing, the 'epistemes' of the larger


culture." From a deconstructionist point of view
jectivity that was supposed to speak through the
the product of other texts and discursive codes
and coalesce under analysis" (Quint 1986, 5-7, 1
we propose to analyze is just as much a text, de


he indiv
xt [is] a
it both
.The Sh
mined b

idual sul
text itself
>y the su

rounding discourse and the vagaries of language, as are the poems and
plays we would use to analyze him.
If we believe that human beings are determined by their cultural
surround (and surely they are), then the idea of an author whose
unified personality shapes the style of what he or she writes becomes
an illusion. To say that, however, forces an either-or that may not be
necessary: either culture determines or the individual determines.
Wouldn't a both-and be truer to our experience, even in this day of
the mass media? The idea that texts determine the individual does not
exclude the idea that individuals determine texts. We are dealing with
a dialectic or with the feedback processes described by modern cogni-
tive psychology. This is not the place to try to develop a model that
would adequately describe both cultural and personal determinism
(see Holland 1985). We should not, however, embrace the fallacy of
saying that either the culture or the individual controls. To insist that a
certain play is either Shakespeare's or not Shakespeare's but his cul-
ture's forces a dichotomy that a stronger model of our situation in
culture would sidestep.
The deconstructionists' claim that Shakespeare is just as much a
text as the texts we use to understand Shakespeare also avoids this

dichotomy. Relying on th
Shakespeare just as Shake
narratives. That, however,
for rejecting the analysis o
Often critics attacking
recourse to a widely quo
aspects of an individual,
projections, in terms alwa
of handling texts: in the c
as pertinent, the continuity
tice" (I977, 127). Although

disappearance of the subje
himself is not so drastic,

e texts before us, we invent a text called
speare himself invented plays from earlier
is simply the human condition, not a reason
f "Shakespeare."
the humanist illusion of an author have

ted sentence

by Michel Foucault: "These

which we designate as an author
ys more or less psychological, of
comparisons we make, the traits w
ies we assign, or the exclusions
h some critics compress that idea i
ct" or "the death of the author,"

nor need we

I. are
ir way
o "the

be. He simply replaces "au-

thor" by "author-function," the latter being a construct by which we


read the author's texts. Because it is a construct, we can acknowledge
that an author-function has to do with our own wishes, feelings, and
culture as well as with the poems and plays we are reading. The
construct "author" (or author-function) is not a simple reality to be
simply described-there is no such thing. It is a way to read a text,
and psychology, Foucault points out, is the way to read our making
of this author-function.
It is also worth noting that this critique of the idea of an organically
unified personality has been a literary and philosophical move, not a
psychological, psychoanalytic, or neuroscientific one. Freud himself
wrote over and over again about the unifying function of the ego and of
libido, or Eros, and-before he invented ego psychology-of the dream,
the joke, the symptom, indeed the mind itself. Post-Freudian psychoana-

like Karen Homey, D.

Kohut, and Hans Loewald
unified psyche useful. To be
mented self, but his practice
lyzes Freud's Rat Man, he d
myth," which is not unlike I
(albeit one formed before

W. Winnicott, Heinz Lichtenstein, Hein

continue to find the idea of an organically
sure, Lacan speaks of a disorganized, frag-
somewhat belies his theory. When he reana-

oes so in term
iolland's or L
the Rat Man

psychologists find the idea of a perso
Neuroscientists like J. Z. Young, Richar
and Roger Sperry confirm the idea of a
the brain itself. Those who insist, for lite

on a frag
like the c
Be tha
of view.
or philos
from the
their dou

is of "the neurotic's individual
.ichtenstein's "identity theme"
's birth). Similarly, cognitive
nal "cognitive style" useful.
d L. Gregory, Ragnar Granit,
unified psyche from studies of
rary or philosophical reasons,

mented psyche may be creating a new scholasticism, divorced
ld one from the science of its day.
t as it may, our authors base their readings of Shakespeare on
orary psychoanalysis. This book therefore has a double point
What seems problematic, if looked at wholly from a literary
ophical position, may seem less so if looked at simultaneously
point of view of psychoanalysis and psychology. Because of
ble perspective, most of our authors envision a real, historical
ShakesDeare. Even those who accept Foucault's idea of an


see no inconsistency

between that belie

f and a psycho-

logical study of "William Shakes]
describe that author-function.
Moreover, most of our authors
that of the consulting room than to
gies in contemporary literary theo

peare." Psychology is one way to

tend to use a psychology closer to
the increasingly abstract psycholo-
ry. As a result, many (but not all)




treat Shakespeare or "Shakespeare" as if
traditional lines of ego psychology. We
Shakespeare and the "Shakespeare-functi
defenses and a coherent sexual nature or
"problematize" those assumptions. Most
felt the need to do so, even in the face of
literary theory, because they are close to
ally experience.
In addition to the deconstruction of

She were unified along the
tend to assume that both
on" have highly organized
bias. Obviously one could
of us, however, have not
the questioning of modern
what psychoanalysts actu-

the author, literary theory

cism (al
to use p
faces a

a second challenge to our enterprise,

from the New Histori-

so known as cultural poetics or cultural materialism). From the
:ive of Stephen Greenblatt (1986) a book like this, which tries
sychoanalysis to study Shakespeare-be he man or construct-
double impossibility. First, our idea of the self differs from
eare's (or more generally Renaissance thinkers') idea of the
subject. Second, psychoanalysis is a product of the Renais-

sance; hence psychoanalysis
were, to explain what gave r
In the Renaissance mind,
have convincingly shown, it
history to give a person iden
ual gained identity by being
plex community of kinship,
(by custom and by contract).
us) mercenary way Shakespe
up the beloved's estate. That

cannot step behind its own origins, as it
ise to itself.
as Greenblatt and other New Historicists

took more th
tity or selfho
granted and
We can see
are's lovers,
estate is part

of t

a mere psychic and bodily
The Renaissance individ-
ranteed a place in a com-
ies, privileges, and rights
kind of identity in the (to
n the most ardent, reckon
he essential Juliet, Portia,

Hero, or Desdemona. Greenblatt

is surely right when he claims that

this Renaissance concept is very different from the psychoanalytic idea
of self.
Or selves. Psychoanalysis does not have a single idea of the self. To
be sure, Freud almost always wrote about a unified self bounded by
that individual's skin. Since 1930, however, psychoanalysts have ar-
rived increasingly at a self more like the Renaissance concept in being
inextricably involved with its social surround. Lacan's alienated self
rests on the idea that culture and language determine the "individual
myth" of the self. Homey and subsequent object-relations theorists
and those who today are working to integrate the insights of psycho-
analysis with those of cognitive psychology have yet another idea of
the self. They see it as a process, part of a system, inseparable from and

Introduction 5

"always already" interacting with its human and physical environ-
ment. Even the much-maligned ego psychologists regard the self as
"always already" dealing, both actively and passively, with a reality
outside itself. Here again we probably should not state the issue as a
choice between either a cultural self or a personal, skin-bounded self.
For the Renaissance, as for us when we think carefully about it, the
issue is one of both-and, not either-or.
Nevertheless, Greenblatt is right when he says that the human sub-
ject that psychoanalysis seeks to understand is a relatively recent inven-
tion, even in these newer versions of psychoanalysis. Does that render a
psychoanalytic account of Shakespeare impossible? I think not. When
investigating fantasies of fatherhood in, say, the Trobriand Islands (as
happened in the early Freud-Malinowski controversy), psychoanalysts
are not bound to think only within the Trobrianders' fantasies. Rather,
psychoanalysts draw on what they know as psychoanalysts about fan-
tasies of fathering to explore what the Trobrianders think. Or what
patients think, or what people in the Renaissance thought. The psycho-
analyst studies an individual in the Renaissance as psychoanalysis de-
fines the individual, not as the Renaissance defines it. Our authors are
studying Shakespeare's personality as we understand personality, not
as he would have understood it. That is as it should be and has to be.
Possibly the opposite view comes about from failing to acknowl-
edge the claim that any psychology makes. A psychology, to be a
psychology, must claim that its generalizations apply not only to the
original evidence on which the generalization rests but also to all
other evidence and even to imaginary or impossible cases-"contra-
factuals." If there were a Santa Claus, he would have an Oedipus
complex. It takes contrary examples to defeat that claim of lawful-
ness; that Hamlet, Santa Claus, or even Shakespeare or Montaigne
could not themselves think in terms of an Oedipus complex is undeni-
able but not enough.
The psychoanalyst plays by different rules from the literary histo-
rian. A historian of Renaissance literature might feel it right, useful,
or necessary to think always within the Renaissance concept of the
self. Psychoanalysts feel just the opposite-that is the whole point of
their enterprise. The psychoanalyst tries to interpret individuals-
and, by extension, cultures-more fully than they can interpret them-
selves and (if dealing with patients) to pass that ability on to the
patients themselves.

6 Introduction

This is not to say that these scientific or interpretive claims ever
cease to be part of a particular history and culture. A discipline's
claims of universality do not gainsay its participation in the values of a
given moment in history. In the current jargon, the "historicization" of
a discipline goes side by side with its "scientization." Any adept player
in the game of psychology, psychoanalysis, or literary criticism will
claim a validity beyond the moment for what he or she asserts. Any
honest player will recognize that that claim is also framed by a particu-
lar moment in time.
Greenblatt's second argument concerns the chronology of psycho-


He says

that psychoana

certain characteristic Renaissance
therefore, in a paradoxical position
rather than a psychology that can
Renaissance. Greenblatt writes of
that functions as if the psychology
only simultaneous with but even
the very phenomena of which in
Psychoanalysis, Greenblatt says,
when it historicizes its own procedi
Has Greenblatt pointed to a tr

ilysis is the historical outcome of
strategies. Psychoanalysis stands,
n. It is a result of the Renaissance
explain the people or events of the
"the curious effect of a discourse
ical categories it invokes were not
prior to and themselves causes of
actual fact they were the results."
can "redeem its belatedness only
ures" (1986, zzi).
rue dichotomy or a real paradox?

Does the fact that
its being an explain
argument to other
ogy, and anthropo
yet we use modern
modern sociology
modern anthropol

psychoanalysis is a resu

It of the Renaissance rule out

ner of the Renaissance? Would we apply the same
sciences de I'homme? Modern economics, sociol-
logy are, of course, all products of the Renaissance,
economics to understand the enclosure movement,
to understand the results of primogeniture, and
ogy to understand the function of the drama (as

Greenblatt himself expertly does). The same applicability may not
extend to history, literary criticism, and philosophy, however. When

sociologists, economists, and
them even for contrafactuals.
phers rarely assert laws at all.
toricize" themselves, we may

psychoanalysts assert laws, they claim
Historians, literary critics, and philoso-
If we demand that psychologists "his-
simply be asking them to stop being

We could ramify indefinitely these arguments and counterarguments
about the self, understanding the self, and using psychologies to under-

Introduction 7

stand the self. The issues they raise are fascinating and complex but

not, it
thing e
see fit.
of an


seems to us,
ach of you w
That is wha

essential to our enterpri
ho reads these essays sh
t our fourteen authors

their inquiry to the historical Shakes
er, Paris, Hawkins, and Neely. Some
author-function. Others-Kerrigan

these two possibilities. Still
the radical skepticism of th

It is a bit surprising, therefi
approaches, that we agree so
Overall we see a Shakespear
which arises at least in part f
younger brother, perhaps, or
He justifies and defends his
social order, although not wit
able to pursue his destiny mor
actor) or by making himself i
He could both act out and d
impulses by idealizing father-s
the same time, he tried to inte
nurturing, qualities he identify
succeeded in doing this to a m
C. L. Barber and Richard
feature of Shakespeare's early
chal authority as a result of h
intensified the son's normal di
early childhood and led to "a
sought "a substitute for the
ture." Shakespeare sought to
imagining fictional characters

the idea
made it

Il Shakespeare
father's weakn
difficult for SI
ed with his fa
aggressively h

ess, acc
other's a
is own

e fr

others, lik
e postmod
given suc
irkedly ab

se. Rather, they are some-
ould and will apply as you
have done. Most have di-
!eare; they include Barber,
like myself, think in terms
for example-hover be-
:e Freedman and Willbern,
h a diversity of theoretical
out William Shakespeare.

tho deals with a
Shis family situati
father's financial
session by idealizi
t ambivalence. In
eely by being wha

invisible (as the
efend against hi,
on relations and
;rnalize feelings c
ed as feminine, a
arked degree.
P. Wheeler find
* history was his

lot of aggression,
on-the birth of a
and social failure.
ng the established
the theater he was
t he was not (as an

s aggre
)f trust
nd in h

or the director).
ssive and sexual
the feminine. At
generosity, and
is later career he

that the most striking
father's loss of patriar-

is financial decline. This loss might have
sillusionment with the idealized figure of
n intense form of object hunger" as he
missing segment of [his] psychic struc-
satisfy this hunger in a creative way by
, many of whom carry on the search for
had lost.
wording to Barber and Wheeler, not only
are to experience power in himself, but,
liability, also made it hard for him to
independent identity. Instead, he put his

aggression into his dramatic art, expressing it through the creation of
aggressive characters, through the mockery of comedy or "the ruthless
ironic knowledge" of tragedy. His mastery of the play as a whole,

v v

8 Introduction

moreover, provided a self-assertion that balanced his "giving himself

to the realization of other
Like Barber and Whec
which Shakespeare work
once exposing and display
that the major effect of his
dreams of restoring the far
task became the validatir
victories. Whether his fath
clearly had a lot of aggress
image of the 'sweet' and 'g
of social degree to which
that his commitment to c

defense again


"the turbu


identities "

er, Sherman Haw
, especially that ol
ing his own aggres
father's decline was
ily fortunes. For hi
g of his father's c
r's failure was its c
ve ambition that is
ntle' Will" and wit

)rder a
lent aj

overthrow them." Barber and W
his aggression. Hawkins thinks
history plays. These plays allowed
ously while preserving his sense
and amoral consequences. In H
redeem ambition by showing tha
and violence also makes for cou
can be directed to nobler ends.
indeed, idealized-by being put
nity. Shakespeare's ambivalence
solved, however, as the skeptical

kins sees the genres in

f the h
;to fill
m, as l
cause or
at od
h the t


iwkins sus,
r Prince Ha
rough his
ot, Shakes;
both with

traditional notions

to the sei

rvice of ethi
of directors

wkins feels
at least, a
aten[ed] to
re did with
t he wrote
sion vicari-
ect was to
uces wrath
for power

is legitimized-
cs and commu-
is not fully re-
, audiences, and

critics to Henry indicate, and it deepens as he approaches his tragic
In my own essay I also find Shakespeare's works to be based on an
idealized relation of father to son. The son does for the father what the
father does not or cannot do for himself, much as hawk, hound, and
horse (all favorite Shakespearean images) act for their gentleman mas-
ters in aggressive contexts. This pattern applies to king and subject,

master and serv
figures. It thus
known "Elizabe
sexual delegate
anxiety and the

ant, officer and sol
provides the basis
than world-picture
however, also ima
of the father figure
potential for betra

the Sonnets and the problem come

dier, and many other such pairs of
for Tillyard's and Spencer's well-

gines the son figure becoming the
--his phallus, as it were-and the
yal associated with this agency fuel
lies. Hence this father-son relation-


speare was committed. Ha
nd hierarchy was, in part
aggressive energies that there
heeler ask what Shakespea
one answer might be tha
d him to experience aggres
of order by exposing its
enry V, however, his proj
it the same drive that prod
rage and that the craving


Introduction 9

ship can fail in two ways, through aggressive rebellion or sexual be-
trayal. Rebellion outrages Shakespeare, but he does not seem to find it


as galling

as sexual be

In my view, Shakespeare
as a threat to this right relati
taming the shrew. Ideally wo
The tamed shrew in the final
dog or hawk to hunt and fetc
cally her own subordination.

began his career by
on of father to son,
,man should be to m
e of that early farce
h, to be bet on, and t
Other heroines in tl

treating the feminine

one best d
ian as son
acts as he
:o endorse
he early pl

ealt with by
is to father.
:r husband's
ays dress up

as boys to

tlnues to
comes to
woman a
provide a
Like H
speare of
as the ba
Farrell, w




like pc

serve their men. As Shakespeare matures, although he con-
fear and distrust women in military or aggressive roles, he
an accommodation, even a trust, of the feminine, allowing
sexual and generative power that comes to surpass and
foundation for male-male agency.
awkins, Kirby Farrell speculates about the impact on Shake-
his father's declining fortunes, and like me, he sees patriarchy
ckground against which Shakespeare reacts. According to
hat made patriarchy so valuable to the Elizabethans was its
as a defense against death. It invested the patriarch with
wers that could be shared by dependents through a worship-
acement that gave them a feeling of vitality and invulnerabil-

Against the reductive, unimaginative
d Juliet Farrell opposes the act of in
lovers attempt to escape their fath4
ariably, the metaphors and the the

world both within and outside the play. Th
worship. The lovers substitute the belove
"seek apotheosis in each other."
To Farrell, as to many of us, it appear
Shakespeare may have been his vocation a
could give his experience new and authority
earn fame and the rank of a gentleman. In
or guilt for turning his world's verities into
of equivocation that enabled him to hono
even as he demythified them.
The Dutch psychoanalyst Conrad van E
posed that Shakespeare compensated for

e patriarchal
ers' control,

society in Romeo
imagination. By it
even as they use,

logical assumptions of their

at is, they construe love as
d for father and God and

s that another defense for
s a playwright. Onstage he
native forms yet nevertheless
order to escape retaliation
fantasy, he adopted a style
r venerable cultural forms

mde Boas (1951) has pro-
his "dethronement" at the

birth of his younger brother Gilbert by renouncing his claims, denying
his hostility, and identifying instead with his mother's desire to satisfy



his rival. Van Emde Boas applies this model to the Sonnets. Barber and
Wheeler and Marianne Novy suggest that it also accounts for Shake-
speare's negative capability, his astonishing power to understand the
"other" and imagine stage characters at once like and unlike his real
In her essay Novy elaborates the van Emde Boas hypothesis. Shake-
speare, she points out, often alludes to the stories of Cain and Abel and



of the prodigal son, in both of w
favored younger son. She suggest

ment that older brothers reel at
younger, forgetting how they thi
though Shakespeare never wrote
for a mother's affection, Novy pc
about a husband or lover who
which she develops (following Dc
tionship. Themes of brotherhood
in a number of plays, often with
flict over a mother. The intensity
oldry comes from the infant's an
his whole world. Since the women

rhich an older brother is en'
ts that such stories reflect ti
the care and attention giv
emselves were treated as in
explicitly about brothers c
points out that he did write f
worries about a woman'
orothy Dinnerstein) as a par
1 and cuckoldry, she notes,

vious of a
he resent-
en to the
fants. Al-
s fidelity,
allel rela-

imagery that explicitly suggests con-
y of masculine anxiety about cuck-
xiety about losing the mother who is
n turn out to be faithful, Novy finds

that Shakespeare is not only expressing his anxiety but also defending
himself against it by blaming the male and identifying with the femi-
nine perspective.
Carol Neely ingeniously discovers how Shakespeare imagined
women by comparing his fictional women with the situations of real

women in Stratford. In Shakespeare's real
ity attached to ecclesiastical licenses and
marriage settlements, because marriages tr
The women in the plays, however, are not

any realistic, negoti
sexual lapses, and w
but also courtship,
plays, though, narr(
love and cuckoldry.
speare does show a
familial sexual roles

ated way. The real w
omen's sexual roles
pregnancy, childbea
wly define woman I
She is idealized or m
"masterless" womal
but as a witch, shrew,

environment much formal-
the lengthy negotiation of
ansferred money and lands.
associated with property in
rorld of Stratford tolerated
included not only marriage
ring, and remarriage. The
by two themes: Petrarchan
istrusted, and when Shake-
n he represents her not in
lunatic, whore, or wayward

wife. At its finale the play contains the power of such a woman by
marriage, madness, or death.
Neely's essay shows that again and again Shakespeare imagined


Introduction I

women as weaker in realistic ways and more powerful and dangerous
in fantastic, unreal ways than the women he actually knew. Hence
Neely can pose a disturbing question: granted that Elizabethan society
was pervasively masculinist, was not Shakespeare even more so? Subse-
quent essays dealing with Shakespeare's attitudes toward women
would seem to answer yes. Masculinist ideology, particularly the idea
that women are dangerous, runs all through the plays.
Shirley Nelson Garner examines the five Shakespearean plays that
deal with the actual or imagined infidelity of women. In all but one the
woman in question is unusually virtuous, but the man becomes jealous
quickly, at the merest suggestion of unfaithfulness. He rages at her and
humiliates her, finally deciding she must die. She, in contrast, forgives
him. As Shakespeare replays this drama from 1599 to 1611, suspicion
comes more and more out of the lover's own diseased imagination
without any evidence to support it. The men's haste shows how frail
their bonds with women are. By the end of the canon it is as though
Shakespeare's men need some woman to betray them.
These extreme reactions, Garner says, come from the men's idealiz-
ing of women (and Neely's essay confirms her theory). As Shakespeare
proceeds in his career, he reacts against this idealization, notably in
Hermione's stepping down from a pedestal to be a real woman instead
of a statue. He comes to accept a more realistic view of women's
sexuality (as Kerrigan's and my essays also suggest), but he never gives
up the image of woman as divinely forgiving.
Janet Adelman also focuses on the theme of sexual betrayal, closely
exploring the bed tricks in All's Well That Ends Well and Measure for
Measure, which substitute a legal wife for the woman a man illegiti-
mately desires. In these theatrical stratagems she finds a male desire to
separate procreation from the sin of the flesh. In All's Well the bed
trick separates the soiling of sexual intercourse from the sexual
woman (because the man does not sleep with that woman) and mother-
hood from the man's desire (because the man does not desire that
woman). By not fully imagining sex as sex, Shakespeare can relocate
sexuality in a sacred family. Helena almost becomes a virgin mother.
Helena's unborn child in All's Well reappears as Juliet's pregnancy
at the opening of Measure for Measure, where sexuality now leads to a
sentence of death. Government can banish sexuality to brothels in the
suburbs, but it returns to violate and pollute the inner space of both
city and woman. In the Duke's paternal role as actor-director the play

I 2 Introduction

brings sexuality back under the control of a
supplying a purely male creation. The Duke, h
audience when he proposes to Isabel. We cannot
in subsequent plays Shakespeare charts the viciss
a world in which the father has departed, not to

father figu
however, su
escape sexi
situdes of si
return unti

re, almost
rprises the
quality, and
sexuality in
I Prospero

orces of

The Duke in Measur
are like theatrical acto

ee aspects of these
. First, from Rich
characters actors
precisely by fash
h the idea of misr

sexual couples dra'
from the start anta
each other across a
nausea and disgust
of the bed tricks), t
avoided. Kerrigan
dimension to the th
In Antony and

ard III
or dire


wn inesc

at the g
thus ad
eme of



and aggression in The Tempest.
Measure is one of several characters who
r directors. William Kerrigan singles out
, all related to Shakespeare's sexual fanta-
on, Shakespeare makes his most fascinat-
ctors. For Shakespeare the self becomes a
a self. Second, Shakespeare seems taken
love. Again and again he portrays hetero-
apably to one another although they are
foreigners, or unequals, people who face
Third, Shakespeare frequently expresses
nitals of women (as in Adelman's reading
he vagina as a damnation that cannot be
s both a physiological and a theological

the danger of v
tra these there

man's damnation through woman's uncle
actress who dramatizes herself supremely
tology, in this tragedy Roman stoicism
mentality (like that of Shakespeare's own
ant sexuality. At her death Cleopatra's r
duces a "counter-epic" that overcomes di
femininity into motherhood.
Madelon SDrenenether also focuses or


e themes converge to undo
ean genitals. Cleopatra is an
. Instead of Christian escha-
and an imperial, masculine
time) confront her flamboy-
nagnificent self-staging pro-
sgust at sex by transforming

Sthe death scene in Antony

and Cleopatra. Just before her suicide Cleopatra imagine
played in some future theater by a squeaking boy. Shakespear
boy actors to impersonate females allowed him to consider
gender in a form not threatening to his male-dominated society
theater. The antitheatrical tracts of Shakespeare's day show
acting of the women's parts by boy actors made woman both
and "not other."
For Shakespeare woman represented a sexual difference

s herself
e's use of
issues of
y and its
that the

that was

alien, threatening, and untrustworthy. Antony submits to Cleopatra,
who robs him of his Roman valor so that others regard him as danger-

dominates the


---------- --

Introduction 13

ously effeminate. Yet, Sprengnether notes, the male hero portrays his

as fer

turn into a woman oi
does indeed playfully
As the tragedy ne
feminine otherness, w
fancy and illusion as
moment Shakespeare
boy, diminishing her
Cleopatra carries her
to fix the issue of gei
sexual difference and
equivocating on the i.
gender hierarchy with
For Bernard J. Par

own feeling

issue of
out fin
is, Pro

the boy actor, he is a man who can
who is really a man, and Cleopatra

ninine. Like
r a woman
dress Anton
ars its end,
which is thus
well as to d
reminds us
threat at th
;elf and Ant
under, staging
as an und

e very m
ony to th
g feminin

a more and more evokes

deception. At
)patra is being
oment he max
eir deaths. He
ity contradict
potential witl

own arts of
exactly this
played by a
imizes it, as
thus refuses
irily both as
in men. By

gender he can suspend the conventional
ally overturning it.
spero, Shakespeare's magician and play-

wright, acts out his author's own need to punish others without cor-
rupting himself, to release his aggression without violating his need to
be virtuous. Like many protagonists in the history plays and tragedies,
Prospero is enraged at those who have injured him. He craves a re-
venge that will assuage his anger and restore his self-esteem. He needs
to see himself as a powerful, masterful, dangerous man who cannot be
taken advantage of with impunity and who will strike back when he
has been injured. Yet he also needs to see himself as humane, benevo-
lent, and forgiving.
Through his magic Prospero is able to satisfy both these contradic-

tory needs, for it enables him to inflict te
without doing them physical harm and
ity. The Tempest is above all a fantasy

ge is Prospero's, b
flicts are similar to
kespeare had strong
inst those impulses
would be exposed ii
problem by creati:

In the
that our ii
We read

ng s

that permit justifi

he fantasy is
se of his prot
idictive impu
a fear of the g
acted them o
situations, lik
ed aeeression


spirit of reader-response 4
interpretation of the playw

rrible suffering on his enemies
thereby losing his own nobil-
of innocent revenge. The re-
SShakespeare's, whose inner
tagonist. Paris concludes that
Ises but even stronger taboos
'uilt and punishment to which
put. He imagined solutions to
e those in Henry V and The



innocent revenge.
David Willbern suggests

ght Shakespeare

is itself relative.

into him our own perfect artist and thus discover not the
figure but rather ourselves. Even as Shakespeare, blessed

y as a wo
linked to
eceit and
that Cleo






with a "dramatic ego," rewrote himself in his characters and thus
obscured his real self, so we, by duplicating his original act of self-
projection, imitate him in the very act of interpreting the plays. There-

fore, the man Shakespeare, I
not exist, is nowhere to be
appropriately maintains tha
itself, for language, that def
taken to its final perfection t
and outside the playhouse th
Willbern's analysis, the world
We know Shakespeare-this
language--only through our
dramatic mirrors.
Barbara Freedman's essay
theoretical issues involved in
She combines the poet that s
book) have described as hav
fishing of the subject to mak
Shakespeare's personality di
she goes on to describe that
self-presentation, she suggest
Rather, his theme is to be wl
presence. In this sense, Fre
critics who found in Shakesp
in an "out there." Through
courage us to misread, to
anamorphic mirrors popular
(commented on so often in tl

et alone the playwright Shakespeare, does
found. Willbern, a professor of English,
t his Shakespeare is the English language
initive quality of the human species, was
y Shakespeare. The protean nature inside
Lat our other authors describe becomes, in
d of the pun, the metaphor, and the trope.
Sman, this wordsmith, this symbol of our
selves, through our own reflections in his

goes even further than Willbern's into the
the concept of Shakespeare's personality.
o many critics (including the critics in this
ing no identity with the Foucaultian van-
:e, like a conjurer, the whole criticism of
appear. Then, with a postmodern turn,
very personality. Shakespeare's mode of
ts, is not simply to be absent or elusive.

hat he
'eare a
in the
his bo

is not, absence becoming a form of
n recuperates earlier psychological
need to locate selfhood in another,
not-Shakespeares, Shakespeare en-
er, to dislocate ourselves. Like the
SRenaissance, the characters' acting
ok) makes them people who cannot

be seen, so that acting itself subverts the supposedly stable place of the
critic. So too does the changing sense of self in the Renaissance-the
sense pointed to by the New Historicists that self is something to be
All this recapitulates the meconnaissance of Jacques Lacan's version
of psychoanalysis. The plays express the fictionalities by which the ego
is constructed and maintained. "Shakespeare's personality" in this
sense is just one more of the phantoms erected by our own desire,
which itself is necessarily displaced and dislocated from our deepest


Our essays move

sity, oi
ues of
cies, p

's historical
"out there'
ur story gro
his society,
possibly as a

from early plays to late, from analysis of Shake-
surroundings to abstract theory, from a Shake-

" to a Shak
ws to some
re we agree
possibly as
defense ag<

He found sexuality between ma
subject-dark, soiling, frightening
end of his career. He construed
female, parent and child, private
deed, theater and polity, play at
felt, harbored deep dangers.

a co


his resentm
i and woman

g-a feeling
his world as
and public,

for his father's deficien-
ent of father or brother.
in a far more troubling
he overcame only at the
split between male and
love and war, word and

Throughout, however, his verbal wit provided him a way of equivo-
cating, even disappearing, amid the profound dualities of his mind. He
could deal with the dangers and the differences by flowing easily from
one side of the chasm to the other, by being, as the occasion admitted,
male or female, parent or child, private man or public figure, lover or
soldier, talker or doer, skeptic or idealist, rebel or conservative, pres-
ence or absence.
Having read and thought about these essays, I conjecture the fol-
lowing center for Shakespeare's personality: a division crossed by
imaginatively being on both sides. Out of some such germ, Shake-
speare flourished as actor, director, playwright, and the elusive sub-
ject of such enterprises as this. He became the "gentle Shakespeare"
we take pleasure in admiring, studying, and imagining. "Having read
and thought about these essays, I conjecture"-that is their purpose,
and may it please you to do the same.

espeare "in here." Yet despite the diver-
thing of great constancy.
on shared the aggressive male-male val-

nd reality. These differences, deeply

Shakespeare in the Rising Middle Class

C. L. Barber and Richard P. Wheeler

Shakespeare was so perfect an artist, so completely engaged and ful-
filled by his creation, that it is notoriously difficult to talk about the
man apart from his work. His separate humanity seems invisible, a
transparent medium we see through but cannot see. His art is tactful:
it makes troubling things acceptable, indeed enjoyable (with a few
exceptions); it provides many kinds and levels of interest to hold atten-
tion. There is no necessity to look at what points to the author in the
individual play or in the succession of plays. Some feel that to do so
involves disrespect or a violation of privacy and buttress their objec-
tion with an "impersonal theory of poetry," as T. S. Eliot does in
"Tradition and the Individual Talent" (1950). But we can see in the
plays, and in patterns that emerge from them, something of the contri-
bution of the individual sensibility that gave them their distinctive
shape, hazardous as this attempt has often proved. Eliot himself effec-
tually abandoned the impersonal theory in his later criticism, when in
his own poetry he had become able to speak more directly in his own
voice, and when he became concerned with understanding the whole
oeuvre of various writers, notably Dante and Shakespeare.
Moreover, Shakespeare's supremely resonant adult works permit
inferences-some tentative, some highly speculative-about the way
the known circumstances of his early life shaped his sensibility. Here
the relative scarcity of information is less an impediment than it might
at first appear to be. We cannot know just how Shakespeare's working

This essay is adapted from chapter z of C. L. Barber and Richard P. Wheeler, The Whole
Journey: Shakespeare's Power of Development (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of
California Press, 1986). In completing this project, left unfinished when Barber died in
April 1980, I tried to produce a book that represents as closely as possible Barber's
working design for it. "Shakespeare in the Rising Middle Class," based primarily on a
draft chapter of that title by Barber, has been augmented with passages from other
fragmentary drafts and with additions I have provided.-R. P. W.

C. L. Barber and Richard P. Wheeler

life and the works he produced were conditioned by the experience of

infancy, childhood,
matters simply fror
than we have. As w
early situations and
recollections and as
cal information mu
use of the theatrical
The purpose of s
about his life is not,

and youth, but we could not derive such i
n external data even if we had far more of
'ith the psychoanalysis of adults, in which tl
Ithe events occasioning them emerge gradu;
reenactments, in the analytic situation biog
st be read inferentially, in terms of Shakesp
getting Shakespeare's works against what we
of course, to derive his creative achievement

f them
he key
ally as


or reduce it to, suc
that could be con
against any circurr

speare-s gemu
family where
(mayor) of a p
affluent yeom;
from civic life
pered in the s

s are
the f
an, a

company, the most
own theater, of wh
stances that clearly

h facts as we have. The bare facts suggest a pattern
sistent with many other outcomes, and the odds
stances having led to the development of Shake-
Sincalculable. But that Shakespeare came from a
father rose from humble origins to become bailiff
erous market town, having married the heiress of an
nd then when his eldest son was twelve withdrew
fell into debt; that Shakespeare worked and pros-
and financial situation of a booming joint stock
successful company of players, who possessed their
ich Shakespeare owned a share-these are circum-
helDed to shaDe the attitudes and values expressed

a S -

in his plays. The circumstances of
for the poet's role as a man among
of the burgher family he grew up
preoccupations visible in his works
stances of Shakespeare's early life
development as an artist, then cor

his working life provided support
Smen. The particular constellation
in is consistent with the thematic
. We shall look first at the circum-
in relation to some aspects of his
isider his adult working situation

and its implications about his temperament and its equilibrium.

"This Most Balmy Time"
Shakespeare's father was a considerable person in a considerable
world, a world all too frequently patronized by critics who adopt,
half-consciously, the aristocratic perspective for which Shakespeare
himself gave the cue in presenting such figures as Justice Shallow or the
merry wives. John Shakespeare was a leading citizen, faithfully attend-
ing the council as alderman, holding several civic offices, serving a
term as bailiff, buying two houses, dealing in wool and probably other

Shakespeare in the Rising Middle Class

commodities in his trade as a maker of soft leather goods. His fortunes
had been enhanced considerably when, at about the age of thirty, he
married the daughter of his father's landlord, a well-to-do farmer with

connections to the
The youngest ch
riage) and two son:
his will, made as 1
property, after mak
married late in life.
erty, of which Ma


established minor gentry.

ild among ten da
s, Mary Arden w
ie lay dying in i
ing modest prov
In Schoenbaum
ry Arden was or

painted cloths through ample furn

lughters (eight by an earlier mar-

as cl
we g
ne of


with wheat and barley, store of livestock
bacon in the roof" (Schoenbaum 1975, 1

father's death Mary Arden
ably older than she was.
living in the house that bec
1556 the adjacent house,
September 1558 the coup
other girl, Margaret, who
Then William Shakespeare

the eldest
be born, i
first Joan

male child,
n 1569, was
was dead, i

married his tenant'
John Shakespeare
:ame Shakespeare's
which became kno


and the


opened any time before 15
time of Shakespeare's bir
Shakespeare grows up
His hardworking, enter
citizens looked with adi
from the trusts he was g
sion, as is later made cl<
participate and got heav
have records, the role of
that all the surviving evi
tance, the christenings o0
tance by borrowing, and
was the youngest daugh
more opulent than your
exceptionally able older

arly her father's f
he left her all his
s for a widow wh
et the inventory of
the executors, fr
in the house to "a

. woo
s son,
was al
wn as

favorite. In
om he had
the prop-
om eleven
barn filled
yard and
ier elderly
i consider-
Buying in
olshop. In

had a girl, christened Joan; in 156z an-
:ords show was buried five months later.
'as christened on April 26, 1564. He was
eldest child to survive, for the next girl to
ned Joan like the first-born girl. Thus the

her death is unrecorded, and may have hap-
69; she may or may not have been alive at the
in a home that is also a prospering business.

A. I

rising tather is a man to
miration and confidence,
;iven by the community-a
ear by their forbearance w
ily into debt. In legal mat
women was so subordinate
dence about the mother co
f her children, the dissipati
her death in 1608. But as
ter of a father who gave
sisters' but virtually all
man of lower social oriai:


whom his fellow
which is obvious
nd with compas-
hen he ceased to
ters of which we
:e to that of men
ncerns her inheri-
on of her inheri-
we have seen, she
her not "a third
. She marries an
ns, and after the

disappointment of one girl-child's death (perhaps two),

she gives



10 C. L. Barber and Richard P. Wheeler

birth to her first son. For two years and five months, until the birth
of Gilbert in October 566, William Shakespeare is her only child, or
at least her only male child, at a time when her very successful, older
husband is extremely busy.
Shakespeare's enormous resonance to life, his great capacity for
play, and his set toward generous cherishing must have roots in this
very early experience. The sort of timeless, blissful moment some of
the Sonnets to the friend seek to recover would find an active, endur-
ing prototype in "this most balmy time":

Not mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul
Of the wide world, dreaming on things to come,
Can yet the lease of my true love control,
Supposed as forfeit to a confin'd doom.
The mortal moon hath her eclipse endur'd,
And the sad augurs mock their own presage,
Incertainties now crown themselves assured,
And peace proclaims olives of endless age.
Now with the drops of this most balmy time
My love looks fresh, and Death to me subscribes,
Since spite of him I'll live in this poor rhyme,
While he insults o'er dull and speechless tribes;
And thou in this shalt find thy monument,
When tyrants' crests and tombs of brass are spent.

One can certainly read Sonnet 107 without reference to infancy, as
the recovery of a private feeling of omnipotence through confident
love in an auspicious moment of renewed public confidence. The poem
swings around the experience of a threat overcome, which can be
understood as the threat of a sibling expected and feared, but not
ultimately decisive, because through the love of the young man the
original situation has been restored almost beyond belief, and whole
tribes of rivals can do nothing about it. To see this in the poem de-
pends on its exquisite generalization by concrete suggestion, its open-
ness to a multiplicity of readings. Through the cryptic reference to a
"time" in which it is being written, it is open to, or conveys feelings
from, an earlier time, like those adumbrated in the absences lamented
in Sonnets 97 ("How like a winter hath my absence been") and 98
("From you I have been absent in the spring"), when a child's fears are
animated "by the prophetic soul" of his whole "world," "dreaming"
not of him but of "things to come." Sonnet 107 evokes these "incer-
tainties" as overcome: the maternal moon, whose loss was presaged by

Shakespeare in the Rising Middle Class

the sad auguries, has only been eclipsed. Now, in this new time, moist

and "balmy,
As elsewh
rate the poet
love looks fi
made possib
loving and tl
"this poor rh
endless age,'
speechless tr

" wi
's lo
le b
he b

thout conflict, the "death"
in the Sonnets, it is imposs
ve as his act of loving from
, and Death to me subsci
y the poem, which holds,
eloved. The gesture abjuri
e," in keeping with the pea


lied by the aggression
while the poet will "live

couplet returns simply to t
returns with "monument.
which asserts victory for ti
mighty of this world.
The public event is mac
the sufficient cause of the
Quite probably the "mor
survived the "eclipse" of
danger. Shakespeare shar
vot'ress" (A Midsummer
29-87). Courtly worship

going b
tions ol
beth in


, often explicit
t I

nial adora


compares his loss
tionship was persi
was indeed "the
loves in Sonnet i
suffers not in sm
discontent." In S
occasion for the
poem turns from
quatrain, "Now.
In the earlier v
partly in compen
whelmed (Barber

's took
a" his
Irily los
to the
onal as
child o
24, by
iling p
)nnet i
. ./M M
vork id
and W




friend and the
but there is a

of separation is ov
ible in Sonnet 107
Shis love as his obje
ribes." The whole
out of ordinary ti
ng conflict, the mo
ce proclaimed by "
that "insults o'er d
e in this poor rhym
"rhyme"; the idea
final balancing agg

to sepa-
ct: "My
thing is
me, the
desty in
olives of
lull and
e." The
of death

he poetry of private love over the pride of the

le part of the private, but to assume that it is

exultant affirmation is utterly implausible.
tal moon" refers to Queen Elizabeth, who
a political or, more likely, an astrological
ed, of course, in the cult of "the imperial
Night's Dream, 2.1.103; see Yates r975,
of her obviously drew on roots of feeling
ly, to childhood; it included many adapta-
tion of the Virgin Mary, whose place Eliza-
ver. Sir Walter Raleigh, expressing in "The
nguish, insecurity and frustration after his
him the queen's favor and love, at one point
oss of a mother's breast. But Raleigh's rela-
veil as the whole basis of his career. His love
state"; Shakespeare describes such courtly
contrast with his disinterested love, "which
mo. nor falls / Under the blow of thralled

07, clearly, the
renewal and b
e to tenor with
y love looks fres
entification wit
for fear of aba
heeler 1986, cha

public situation is merely the
becomes a trope for it as the

Shakespeare's sensibility is deeply responsive to the "lines of life" that

some w
to Cynt
;e tempo

the new
i the mate
ip. i). The

surge of the third

rnal predominates,
or of being over-
whole structure of


2z C. L. Barber and Richard P. Wheeler

extend vertically across generations through the node of infancy and
childhood; horizontal relationships in the same generation are deci-
sively shaped by residues of the family constellation. The triumph of
Sonnet 107 over fears of isolation within a "confined doom" recapitu-
lates the recovery of the initial union with the mother as it opens out
onto riches of sensuous and verbal experience. This recovery can be
realized, in the period of the Sonnets, in poetry about adult human
relationships and about the power of his art. But the need to enact
such recovery conditions all phases of Shakespeare's work.
From first to last, Shakespeare in his art responds to life most deeply
according to patterns of relating grounded in the bond to a mother-
fulfillment through cherishing another, loss of self by abandonment or
betrayal. The cherishing sympathy is rooted in a rich narcissism that
extends outward by empathy, putting the self in others' places. But on
practical levels Shakespeare clearly has a firm sense of "mine" and
"thine," and the cherishing can move toward possessing others as
confirmation of an egoism. His temperament is richly sociable, cen-
tered in kinship extended outward by a high valuation of kindness;
evil is most intensely felt as a violation of kinship, as unkindness in the
sense of unnatural, where "natural" means kinship. This temperament
has its own type of selfishness and detachment: other people are exten-
sions of self, and all relationships are provisional or contingent be-
cause they replace other relationships. At the core is the original loss of
the parental objects and the possibility of its recurrence. When, in
Shakespeare's later work, this threat is fully explored, the "every-
thing" reached by a cherishing possession may suddenly become the
"nothing" that echoes in King Lear.
Keats, in exploring his own nature, illuminated the receptive side of
Shakespeare by speaking of him as the supreme example of "negative
capability." This power to be "in for" other beings accounts for Shake-
speare's being able, next after God or nature, to create most-to fill
even the wings of the theater with human spirits bursting with life, to
be the boy in act I and the old man in act 5, to be both Othello and
lago, as Stephen Dedalus says in Joyce's Ulysses. Keats also observed
in himself, and guessed in Shakespeare, that this poetic capacity for
"humility before life" went with a lack of self, with being almost
without a determinate identity-as we can see in those sonnets where
the poet's selfless cherishing of the friend leaves him in the lurch.
Genius, working with the resources of poetry and theater, was crucial

Shakespeare in the Rising Middle Class

in enabling Shakespeare to live so fully in this mode. But his root sense
of self and of self-enjoyment ("No, I am that I am"), together with his
"deepest sense, how hard true sorrow hits," must reach back to the
buoyant time when he was the only male child of a young mother, and
to the inevitable discovery that such a time, despite its infinite promise,
is "but a little moment" (Sonnets 121, Izo, I5).

"His Virtues Else"

The birth

of a new brother, with its inevitable dethronement of his

majesty the baby, is the initial shock

the t

suggested b


hical record; the second, much more striking shock is
re, obvious to all by the time the boy is twelve. The fai
's experiences of dethronement and fear of abandon
seem to have fused in Shakespeare's imagination
c preoccupation with his amiable father's failure, their
tendency to incorporate maternal qualities and power
of cherishing fatherhood. In the plays, especially tho
phases of Shakespeare's development as an artist,
for, and sympathy with, generous, vulnerable men
full understanding of their weakness and its capacity

peare's bio-
his father's
miliar eldest
ment in in-
vith sympa-
eby shaping
s toward an
se from the
we discover
to provoke

John Shakespeare's ri
riage; how his decline
certainty. But his young
feel deep resentment as
likable qualities her husl
the death of her affluent
tial man, the John Shak

se was obviously helped materially by his mar-


related to
etter-born w
saw her inh,
I possessed f<
er she had m;
are of 1556

prosperity and civic responsibility, turned

the later I57os he is repeatedly in finan
1578 on the security of his wife's inher
on time in 1580, and never recovers
despite repeated legal efforts. Other p
Mary Arden is rented or sold in the
appear in court results in a zo fine. Ar
John Shakespeare when a hatmaker f
failed to appear in court. Two other fo

Swe can never know wi
Fe can scarcely have failed
ritance dissipated, whatev
r the community. Soon aft
rried another older, substai
)r 1557, who, after years
1 into something else. Fro
trouble. He borrows 40
ice, allegedly fails to repay
e disputed house and lan
erty that came to him fro
: 1570s. In 1580 failure
ler 20o fine was imposed o
whom he had stood sure

,rfeits of



each for those for
each for those for

whom he had stood surety (a tinker and his brother Henry) suggest


C. L. Barber and Richard P. Wheeler

bad judgment and generosity-or need for ready cash, since by stand-

ing surety one could collect a small fee (Schoenbaum
After 1576 John Shakespeare abruptly stopped att
meetings and going to church. He was, however, kept
for ten years, despite attendance at only one recorded
period; fines for nonattendance were forgiven him, as w
tions toward relief of the poor. He was never ruined,
thanks to help from his successful son, who joined in t
breaking legal struggle to recover his mother's inheritan
the late i59os was still involved in legal action in Char
end of his life John Shakespeare was still living in the h
children were born. In the last year of his life, when
been in his early seventies" (Schoenbaum 1975, 40), he

petition to London as
difficulties Stratford w
It is almost certain t
at least briefly. There i

I975, 36-38).
ending council
on the council
session in that
ell as contribu-
quite possibly
he long, heart-
ce, and who in
cery. Near the
house where his
"he must have
was listed in a

one of those who could testify to the economic
as experiencing.
hat John Shakespeare had Catholic sympathies,
s strong evidence that he executed, presumably

under the influence of a secret Jesuit missionary, a
testament" (a translation of a formulary by Ca
which such missionaries carried to England in 15
ment was found in the roof of his house in the midd
century; maddeningly, only a transcript, lacking
survived, but Schoenbaum and other archival school

genuine. John Shakespeare may have

executed the

Catholic "spiritual
rdinal Borromeo),
8o-81. The docu-
le of the eighteenth
the first page, has
irs now regard it as
testament in a mo-

ment of enthusiasm and then hidden the little
when persecution intensified (Schoenbaum 197

manuscript booklet
41-46). But his fel-

low townsmen, among whom on the council there were Catholics, did
not regard him as one; in 1592, when commissioners ordered to ferret
out recusants filed two reports, John Shakespeare is listed among nine
nonattenders who "coom not to Churche for feare of process of
Debtte" (Schoenbaum 1975, 38).
Some inferences, speculative but consistent with the record, can be

made about
quences for
The British
with the fa
(Sonnet 29)

the poet's

relation to his father's

Shakespeare of the episode of
psychoanalyst John Padel (1975
g of the sonnets could have been
their when "in disgrace with fc
. Such "transference feeling" in

failure and about conse-
the Catholic testament.
) has suggested that the
shaped by identification
>rtune and men's eyes"
the relationship to the

young man would be natural in those moments when a different

Shakespeare in the Rising Middle Class

identity, maternally derived and based on the experience of being

cherished, does
his "outcast stat
ties subsist at de
us; their experie
tizes such intern
are also omens
consciously or u
inconsistency in
father. The "dec
active child." If
generous love, h
and a parent diff

not sustain the poet-when "all alone" he beweeps
e" (Sonnet 29). The degree to which parents' identi-

ep levels


nce or
for us

e must
icult to

the fluid,
all, often
ciously, to
father" of

have bee
reject wh

familiar to analysts than to most of
protected analytical process drama-
in the transference to them. Parents
ill omens from which we struggle,
disassociate ourselves. There is no
ire's having been also a cherishing
Sonnet 37 "takes delight" in "his
,re came to combine weakness and
n both a poor model for manhood

One of Shakespeare'
ishes his realm even as h

to pieces. Henry'
devotion, as in
superstitiously b
a fraud that his
connection betw
shaped by recoil

s credu
the scei
believes 1
een He

faith-though the "r
the chronicles) was
ment, and the religi
ness is also historic
The son's respon,
writ large, however

works, of religious re
tures at the moment
authority are dramatic
Arguments have been
ity that he was either
point of view his drar


s first great portraits is
is weakness lets his noble
lity is heavily stressed, a
ne, not required at all
the "miracle" of a poor
Gloucester handily exp
nry's weakness and his
of John Shakespeare's
cle" episode in 2 Henry
ulated as drama to app

Henry VI, who cher-
es and his queen tear it
long with his religious

by the

VI (
eal t

plot, where he

's sight restored-
.Conceivably the
ble piety is partly
olic profession of
which comes from
o Protestant senti-

ous preoccupation that goes with Henry's weak-
lly derived.
se to John Shakespeare's spiritual last will may be

in th
of de
c rend
a Cat
na ad

gious eschatology. Such a t
with the prohibition of relii
ban (which he frequently vic
in human beings and society

watched at sixteen

: almost complete absence, from
rns of central dynamic stresses. Pi
ath or in oaths and appeals to
lerings of behavior in a Christian
ted on the basis of Shakespeare's
holic or a devoted high Anglican.
)pts never, in our judgment, invol
:his-worldly perspective fitted, of
gious themes in the theater, inclu
plates) on using the Lord's name.
that Shakespeare invests himself.

or seventeen a precarious

father make a


ous ges-
But the
ves reli-
Jing the
But it is
To have
nd then

take back an extreme religious gesture might well have contributed to


C. L. Barber and Richard P. Wheeler

Shakespeare's resolute secularism, despite the religious need in his

exercised by
family-a dc
by them that
highly unlike
authority wi
authority, if
ter extreme
and early ch

Stone has described the extreme patriarchal authority

parents, especially fathers,
centuries, which accompany

are ofte
ely that
thin his
he had n

record after Shakespi

n over cnuaren
n astonishing tc
own house fri
ot already lost i
ncy between th
and the precar
eare was twelve


and a ri
our moc
ather ca
m the t
some til
ous figu

n h

me be
of Sh
re in

, an objective

sixteenth an
rise of the

ive maintain
he abdicate
before. So we
nplied by th
contrast mu

d earlier
e yielded
It seems
led such
d public
;e public
ch more

drastic, involving more for a son to deal with, than the us
ting of infantile overestimation, which is part of growing
Heinz Kohut (1971) stresses the importance of the chi
disillusionment in dealing with idealized figures on whom

self are patterned. "Under optimal circa
"child's evaluation of the idealized obj
tic"; a process of "gradual disappoint
nalization of parental objects as struct
intensification of the process of disillu
failure of the idealized figure can lead t
form of object hunger. The intensity
dependency on these objects is due to t
as a substitute for the missing segment
Of course, John Shakespeare's decline,
with his son's early adolescent years,

kind of

"very early traumatic disturbances

concerned, disturba
ders, as with persono
failure would have
cumstances," the so
leads into and bec
manhood-as ideal

nces that can lead to sev,
nalities who become add
corresponded to years i
n's gradually dismantled
omes the basis for a b
and identity.

:umstances," K
ect becomes inc



ures of the self
sionment force
o "what seems

that the

the s
d by
to b
y ar

ual disman-
Id's gradual
parts of the
t writes, the
ingly realis-
ecure inter-
). A sudden
the abrupt
e an intense
and of the
e striven for

ie psychic structure" (45).
h seems to have coincided
d not have presented the
with which Kohut is most
erely incapacitating disor-
icts" (46). But the father's
n which, in "optimal cir-
I idealization of the father
ioy's preoccupation with

There are, of course, difficulties with applying Kohut's account to
Shakespeare. Common sense (and common prejudice) rejects the idea
of making Shakespeare a "case." The process of taking new objects
for old needs is, after all, universal, or nearly so. An expression such

.I:....I_.~ ~1. II

Shakespeare in the Rising Middle Class

as "missing segment of the psychic structure

"assumes as a psycho-

logical norm what in fact m
there is surely evidence in the
need, along with exceptional
romantic imagination balance
ironic awareness about the h

ust be an achieve



consistent with the dominant
knew. In that culture the tensi
hierarchical society and the incr
loosening of earlier communal
gious reinforcements, place a n
toward patriarchal authority an
vival through generations.

Shakespeare puts to c
as Kohut describes: an
the dramatist's power to
carry on the search for

Sonnets conduct
cratic manhood
the heroic man

ts such a
Iof his fr

hood o

native achieve
mastery of it 1
by a sense
oic and roma
concerns of t
on between
easing social
structures at
ew emphasis


id on the nucle

ment of culture. Yet
nt for an exceptional
means of heroic and
reality that controls
c. That need is itself
culture Shakespeare
eived ideas of static,
ability, along with the
their traditional reli-
I reverential attitudes

ar family and its sur-

relative use potentially disruptive trends such
'intense form of object hunger" is fulfilled in
create others. Many of these created persons
ideal embodiment in art. The poet of the
search in his effort to live through the aristo-
iend. Hamlet's effort to identify himself with
his dead father launches a series of plays in

ch the protagonist's search for self-fulfillment in or through an-
er ends in tragedy.
The action in Hamlet is determined by the violent dethronement
death of a father. But this father is the first to be apprehended as
goodly king" (i.z. 86), strong, majestic. As Shakespeare moves up,
social terms, beyond caste difference, to invest his creative powers in
son (Hamlet) who might inherit from such a father, he moves back,

in terms o
Not lost, h


eof a
con f
and i
of a

f individual development, to
where such a figure would hav
however, as is Hamlet's father,
but lost behind the abruptly an
father whose failure makes him
rontation. That Hamlet is not
y, if we accept the gravedigger'
incomplete accomplishment in
nrocess that in simpler or diff

y situations, takes place earl

situation in Hamlet, centered on th

derivatives of the world of
e been known and then lost.
in the full vigor of his active
d unaccountably diminished
an object of pity rather than
an adolescent but a grown
s calendar) fits with the long
Shakespeare's own develop-
erent natures, and different
rhaps never completely. The
all-or-nothing struggle with

a beloved father who commands his loyalty and with a hated stepfa-

in s



8 C. L. Barber and Richard P. Wheeler

their who must be destroyed, seems to offer the son a second chance for
confrontation and internalization.
When we consider Shakespeare's long delay in turning to the tragic
exploration of such confrontation, it seems significant that his own
father was likely a man not easy for a son to hate. On this point, at
least with regard to John Shakespeare's social and civic relations, the
external evidence is very strong: his being kept on the town council
despite nonattendance, the forgiving of his fines and assessments for
relief of the poor, his standing surety for others even after extensive
losses had cut deeply into his wife's inheritance. It is hard to hit a man
who is down, to release into the filial bond the aggression by which a
son can assert his own independent identity, especially if the father is a
kind man and the son is understanding. It is harder still if the father's
failure has made him an object of disappointment-whether expressed
as hostility or as pity-for a mother whose fortune he has brought
down with him.
In the situation in Hamlet, however, there is the stepfather Claudius,
who is very much up, a thoroughly hateable figure and a mighty oppo-
site. The splitting of the father figure would seem to give license for the
passage through hatred that can lead to atonement. Shakespeare brings
Claudius, to the sound of cannon and of trumpets that "bray out / The
triumph of his pledge" (1.4.x1-1), into the beginning of the great
scene on the battlements in which Hamlet will finally encounter the
Ghost. Hamlet's clearheaded description, in the "nipping and .. eager
air" (1.4.1), of what is going on below is icy with scorn:

The King doth wake to-night and takes his rouse,
Keeps wassail, and the swagg'ring up-spring reels.

But as Claudius "drains his draughts of Rhenish down" (1.4.xo),
Hamlet feels himself involved in, even shamed by, the wassailing cus-
tom he regrets, though he is "to the manner born" (1.4. 5):

This heavy-headed revel east and west
Makes us traduc'd, and tax'd of other nations
They clip us drunkards, and with swinish phrase
Soil our addition, and indeed it takes
From our achievements, though pCrform'd at height,
The pith and marrow of our attribute,
So oft it chances in particular men,
That for some vicious mole of nature in them

Shakespeare in the Rising Middle Class

As in their birth wherein they are not guilty,
(Since nature cannot choose his origin)
By their o'ergrowth of some complexion
Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason,
Or by some habit, that too much o'er-leavens
The form of plausive manners, that these men
Carrying I say the stamp of one defect
Being nature's livery, or fortune's star,
His virtues else ..
(I.4.17-3 3)

As Hamlet

shifts from

scorn for tho

se w

ho perpetuate a national

disgrace to compassion for th
fect," Claudius is left behind
passage is often taken as a de
generally of Shakespeare's tr
breaking down the pales and fo
But the passage describes pr
particular men"-and the first
ture" is "in their birth where
cannot choose his origin)." No
Hamlet, is lowborn. "By their
scribes a developing character
in the tragedies; it is a long-ten
down rational control. "Or by
/ The form of plausive manne
social; the description would
alcoholic: plausivee" suggests
pith and become merely plausil
much ferment, in the word "
summary drink image: "the dra
of a doubt / To his own scandal

first meaning of "e
suggestion of "evil

of Rhenish


ult for

." T


(here re
ie smal
alar me

afflicted w

h an inescapable

as the object of his meditation. The
scription of Hamlet himself and more
magic heroes, with support from "Oft
rts of reason."
ivate persons-what often "chances in
Instance of a disabling "mole of na-
in they are not guilty, / (Since nature
ne of Shakespeare's heroes, least of all

o'ergrowth of some complexion" de-
defect, not a rapid crisis such as we get
m process that is spoken of as breaking
some habit, that too much o'er-leavens
rs" specifies a character defect that is
fit a social drinker who becomes an
manners that are pleasing but lose their
)le. A suggestion of too much yeast, too
o'er-leavens" is picked up in the final
im of eale / Doth all the noble substance
" (1.4.36-38). "Yeast" is probably the
;tained from Qz), with only a punning
I "dram" contrasts with the "draughts
," even as it develops the theme. The
n" is not final, tragic destruction but

"scandal": they "in the general censure take corruption / From that
particular fault" (1.4.35-36).

*The punctuation of the second quarto is here preserved to keep the huddled, sliding
quality of the movement of the thought, which is broken up by modern punctuation; the
comma after "attribute" (line zz) may not be a printer's error.


C. L. Barber and Richard P. Wheeler

The oblique language, hovering between technical terminology and
exquisitely suggestive metaphor, along with the poised enumeration of
alternatives, suggests an impulse to keep a distance. But despite the
emphatically objective tone, a gathering intensity of regret takes over
as the reflections accelerate (by means of a doubling syntax that mod-
ern punctuation spoils):

that these men
Carrying I say the stamp of one defect
Being nature's livery, or fortune's star,
His virtues else be they as pure as grace,
As infinite as man may undergo,
Shall in the general censure take corruption
From the particular fault: the dram of eale
Doth all the noble substance of a doubt
To his own scandal.
Enter Ghost.


Look my lord it comes.

Angels and ministers of grace defend

us: .


punctuation as in Qz)

The abruptness of the final lines of the long passage emphasizes the

finality of the result of the process. Even

as he recognizes sadly how

the virtues are vitiated, Hamlet's regret pays tribute to them in the
strongest terms. The subject shifts significantly from plural ("these
men") to singular as a new start is made; "His virtues else be they as

pure as grace" is high praise indeed, topped by

"as infinite as man may

undergo." The emphasis on "one"



what might have

been, what was promised and lost.
These lines serve the dramatic purpose of diverting the audience-

and Haml


that the sudden apparition of the Ghost takes them

by surprise




The omission of these lines

from the Folio version (and from the quite full version of the first act
in the first quarto) shows that they are not a necessary business of the

play. But in Shakespeare's

own development, if this way of reading

them is correct, they are a characteristically generous business of the
author. E. Nicholas Knight, in an exhaustive and moving account of
John Shakespeare's legal difficulties in his decline, takes the famous
generalizing lines beginning "So oft it chances in particular men" to

be a description of the dramatist's

own father (1973,

The idea

that the text moves into an account of men manque is very compel-
ling. Between Claudius, made present by ordnance and braying trum-

Shakespeare in the Rising Middle Class

pets, and the appearance of the awesome Ghost-two potent fathers
rooted in early childhood-Shakespeare puts Hamlet into relation-
ship with a third father, neither villainous nor majestic. As he moves

his hero toward an encount
ering, paternal presence, an
writes a poignant valedicti
father had become. In the
dom and resonance, the Pri
heroically evil stepfather, C
of a disabling weakness in
drink, to regret for the nob
the ghostly return of a father
he is robbed of life.
That Claudius's drunken
scorn for the usurper and
further reflect conditions in
evidence beyond congruence
anecdote about a merry-che
tain that John Shakespeare's
and his withdrawal from civ
common alcoholic pattern. i

: depend on that specific
)ut private men refer to
I censure." Such an asse
ikespeare's father was
st first written). John SI
is most scholars judge, C
are's "Lucrece, and hi
'e it in them to please
med not later than earl


with a most p

d thereby
on to the
process, v
nce moves
laudius, tl


powerful, indeed

nto high tragedy,

kind of flawed
rith marvelous a
from despising
rough reflection
life associated b

so vitiated. O

:r whose noble suE

ness provides the

his co
the St
with c
ic affai
3ut one

a decl
still ali
s trage
the wi
y 160o



figure his <
associative f
in his drink
s on the sh;
y imagery v
nly then co

)stance is intact,


link between Hamlet

passion for particular
:ratford home. Though
theirr circumstances and
Falstaffian old man to
em was drink, his econc
rs are remarkably consi
's sense of the whole sit
t is worth remarking th
ie ending not in death I
s consistent with the lik
e when Hamlet was wr

r men may
there is no
one belated

>mic d
at th,
)Ut in

buried in September 16oi
marginalia note that Shake

amlet, Prince

ser sort" (Harve
, then a version

Y 1974
of the

could command such respect must have been written a
1600. It is not the actual father who is dramatized as r
the grave; but the apparition of past greatness may have
do with half-buried recollections of the dramatist's fati
furred gown of Stratford's bailiff, escorted to church by
awesome a sight for a four-year-old son as, in heroic
"the fair and warlike form / In which the majesty of bur
Did sometimes march.. We do it wrong, being so m
offer it the show of violence" (1.I.47-49, 143-44).

of Denmark

, 1840) w
tragedy th
the latest
turningg fro
,r in the re

ied Denmark


31 C. L. Barber and Richard P. Wheeler

"An Absolute lohannes Fac Totum"

That Shakespeare at eighteen should have married a woman eight
years his senior accords with the dominance of the vertical axis of
family relationships in his sensibility. That it was something that hap-
pened rather than something planned seems evident, precontract or no
precontract, from the fact that the marriage was performed less than
six months before the birth of their first child. An ecclesiastical license
was sought and paid for to allow only one asking of the banns instead
of three on successive Sundays so that the ceremony could take place
before the Christmas season, when marriages were prohibited (Schoen-
baum 1975, 6z-65). The responses of commentators have varied,
from explanations making it all respectable for the nineteenth century,
to beating pots and pans in charivari, versions of that old ritual gesture
against the confusion of sexuality by verticality--citing such passages
from the plays as the following:

LYSANDER: Or else misgraffed in respect of years-
HERMIA: 0 spite! too old to be engaged to young.
(A Midsummer Night's Dream 1.1.137-38)

Stephen Dedalus's comment in Ulysses is exceptional in that Joyce,
controlling the whole, makes Stephen's own involvement part of his
He chose badly? He was chosen, it seems to me. If others have their will
Ann hath a way. By cock, she was to blame. She put the comether on
him, sweet and twenty-six. The greyeyed goddess who bends over the
boy Adonis, stooping to conquer, as prologue to the swelling act, is a
boldfaced Stratford wench who tumbles in a cornfield a lover younger
than herself.
And my turn? When?
(Joyce 1934, 189)

That Shakespeare left Stratford for London but did not leave the
marriage, begetting in its early years the first daughter and then twins,
a daughter and the son who was to die at eleven and a half years of
age-these are crucial facts, however bare. We do not know whether
he joined a company traveling through Stratford, was for a period a
schoolmaster in the country, or became a noverint, a legal secretary, as
E. Nicholas Knight (1973) has argued plausibly but not compellingly.
What is clear is that in making this move, as so many were doing, he
brought to London a rich local heritage shaped both by civic experi-

Shakespeare in the Rising Middle Class 33

ence and by the agricultural life surrounding his market town. What
he encountered in the professional theater of London was an institu-
tion in the process of establishing its economic independence, a voca-
tion that made it possible for a gifted writer to exist apart from aristo-
cratic patronage.
With his usual multiple ironies, Shakespeare addresses the prospect
of permanent financial patronage in A Midsummer Night's Dream,
where the artisans lament Bottom's absence just before their play is
scheduled to be put on:

O sweet bully Bottom! Thus hath he lost sixpence a day during his life;
he could not have scap'd sixpence a day. And the Duke had not given
him sixpence a day for playing Pyramus, I'll be hang'd. He would have
deserv'd it. Sixpence a day in Pyramus, or nothing.

The noble persons for whom Shakespeare's marriage play may have
first been written could scarcely miss this iteration. Though it can pass
off as a joke about the palpable-gross play that follows, Shakespeare at
this early stage of his career seems to be glancing at least at the possibil-
ity of steady financial patronage-though he may already be enjoying
a glance back at a situation from which his successes in the commercial
theater have released him, or promise to release him. A little earlier, in
1593 and 1594, there are the dedications of the poems to Southamp-
ton; though they are in the mode of devoted compliment customary in
the period, they seem to point hopefully toward acquiring patronage,
especially the second dedication: "What I have done is yours, what I
have to do is yours, being part in all I have, devoted yours." But by
about 1600, when Hamlet is written, the Prince, elated by the success
of the play within the play, exclaims:

Would not this, sir, and a forest of feathers-if the rest
of my fortunes turn Turk with me-with two Provincial roses
on my raz'd shoes, get me a fellowship in a cry of players?
HORATIO: Half a share.
HAMLET: A whole one, I.

For all his enthusiasm about the traveling company, Hamlet thinks of
them as self-supporting actors who share ownership won by their
This financial independence, along with aristocratic sponsorship

34 C. L. Barber and Richard P. Wheeler

and intermittent performances with rewards at court, provided a rela-
tively secure working situation and a measure of independence crucial
for Shakespeare's productivity and the critical perspectives of his pro-
ductions. Robert Greene's deathbed attack on Shakespeare in 1592
and its publisher Henry Chettle's subsequent apology speak volumes
here and are worth dwelling on despite their familiarity. Greene, one
of the University Wits who first gave educated voice to the burgeoning
acting profession, warns Marlowe, Nashe, and Peele, "those Gentle-
men his Quondom acquaintance, that spend their wits in making
places," to take a lesson from his own miserable state, brought on by
"those Puppets... that spake from our mouths, those Anticks gar-
nisht in our colours." If Greene, to whom such "burres" have sought
"to cleave," has been forsaken by actors turned base imitators, shall
not these three, "to home they all have been beholding," be for-
saken as well?

Yes trust them not: for there is an vpstart Crow, beautified with our
feathers, that with his Tygers hart wrapt in a Players hyde, supposes he
is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you: and
being an absolute Iohannes fac totum, is in his owne conceit the only
Shake-scene in a country. O that I might intreat your rare wits to be
imploied in more profitable courses: & let those Apes imitate your past
excellence, and neuer more acquaint them with your admired inuen-
tions. I know the best husband of you all will neuer proue an Vsurer,
and the kindest of them all will neuer proue a kind nurse: yet whilest
you may, seeke you better Maisters; for it is pittie men of such rare wits,
should be subject to the pleasure of such rude groomes.
(Greene [159z] 1974, 1835)

When one thinks of the stress to which the need for patronage
subjected even such a well-derived poet as John Donne, despite the
early recognition of his genius, once his marriage had alienated his
patron, one is grateful that Shakespeare could provide for his life by
"public means." He could feel, in relation to the world of his highborn
friend, uncomfortable about his profession: "almost thence my nature
is subdued / To what it works in, like the dyer's hand" (Sonnet I i).
But if Shakespeare is associated with "rude groomes," the rude
grooms have money-that is the root of the animus of poor Pierce
Penniless Greene. In a time before theatrical copyright, to be the play-
ers' in-house playmaker was a secure way to make a solid living.
Greene, at the end of the road of hand-to-mouth insecurity to which
the University Wits were subject, speaks with a dilapidated gentle-

Shakespeare in the Rising

man s


scorn of anyone who could "proue an Vsurer." To lend out

some of his money at interest was just what Shakespeare in fact did,

did many members of the rising mercantile class,
bers of the aristocracy.

as well as alert mem-

Before the year

i59z was

out, Henry Chettle responded to the stir

caused by his posthumous publication of Greene's letter "to diuers
play-makers," which had been "offensively by one or two of them

taken." After defending his own reputation

as a printer who had long

"hindred the bitter inueying against schollers," Chettle went on to
apologize for not deleting the remarks about Shakespeare:

With neither of them that take offence was I acquainted, and with one
of them [Marlowe] I care not if I neucr be: The other [Shakespeare],
home at that time I did not so much spare, as since I wish I had, for
that as I haue moderated the heate of liuing writers, and might haue
vsde my owne discretion (especially in such a case) the Author being
dead, that I did not, I am as sory, as if the original fault had been my

fault, because my selfe haue scene his demeanor no less

ciuill than he

excellent in the qualitie he professes: Besides, diuers of worship haue
reported, his vprightnes of dealing, which argues his honesty, and his
facetious grace in writing, that approoues his Art.


1974, 1835-36)

It is striking that in many of the Sonnets, even as Shakespeare


his adulation of aristocratic heritage, he does so in pruden-

tial monetary and legal terms of middle-class provenance, terms used
in upright dealing-or sharp practice (compare Sonnet 134). He feels
his heritage as a stain in the situation of writing them, perhaps refer-

ring to his father

's trade

as a glover in "the dyer's hand." But from

within the nascent middle class, in the dipolar society of the time,
Chettle's praise defines Shakespeare's professional situation in compli-

mentary, positive terms. His "facetious


in writing Shakespeare

would have learned and polished in London, but the status Chettle
describes with middle-class admiration extended what the dramatist
brought with him from Stratford. If on one side Shakespeare's tough
business success reflects determination not to be like the father who
failed to carry through, the young playwright's model for "vprightnes

of dealing," which "diuers of worship haue reported,

" must also have

been that father and the firm-textured


in which he had earlier


belittling turns inside out as one thinks of what it implies

about Shakespeare's roles, besides what it says of his financial indepen-

C. L. Barber and Richard P. Wheeler

dence. The "fac totum," as he makes and "shakes" scenes and writes
parts for everybody, is in the position, if he has the sense of form that
Shakespeare had, to dominate the whole, to be dominus factotum-
not a mere jack-of-all-trades, but master. It is ironic that Greene's
attack on Shakespeare ("his Tygers hart wrapt in a Players hyde")
suggests this dominance by likening the enterprising playwright to one
of the domineering women prominent in his early work-Queen Mar-
garet, as she violently usurps the power of British royalty. Having
captured York, her great dynastic rival, Margaret taunts him fiend-
ishly by wiping his face with a napkin soaked in the blood of his
youngest son. York, about to die on her and Clifford's dagger, cries

O tiger's heart wrapped in a woman's hide!
How couldst thou drain the life-blood of the child,
To bid his father wipe his eyes withal....
(3 Henry VI 1.4.137-39)

But Shakespeare's actual role in the theater-to be constantly giving,
working within a team, creating parts to realize and nurture the talents

of his fel
role, the
trayed, a
with the

Ilows-is directly counter to Greene's jibe. It is a cherishing
very opposite of the dread maternal destructiveness por-
nd thereby distanced, in Margaret.
from Greene, Shakespeare's contemporaries speak of him as


nius as player
an inhibition
limiting, the
disabling adu

has a supremely generous
fishing role of the parents is
and playwright. In the Sonn
on the middle-class poet's
aristocratic young man. If
lation in the Sonnets, we mig

imagination. Identification
built into Shakespeare's ge-
ets such cherishing goes with
characterizing, and thereby
we considered only the self-
;ht well ask: what did Shake-

speare, in contrast with quarrelsome Marlowe and Jonson, do with his
aggression? How was he spared the destructive effects when aggres-
sion not directed outward turns inward, back against the self?
It seems clear that Shakespeare puts aggression fully in the service of
his dramatic art. He uses it in creating aggressive characters: Richard
III, in Shakespeare's first great public hit, is utterly captivating as he
plays ruthlessly and humorously for the crown. The dramatist also
crucially uses aggression to shape and limit the characters he creates,
subordinating each to the mastery of the whole production:

Shakespeare in the Rising Middle Class

And let those that play your clowns speak no more than is set down for
them, for there be some that will themselves laugh to set on some
quantity of barren spectators to laugh too, though in the mean time
some necessary question of the play be then to be considered.
(Hamlet, 3.2.38-45)

The royal amateur of the theater who makes this speech is about to use
a play from the repertory of the visiting common players for extremely

aggressive purposes, to si
speaks patronizingly of "a
whole situation suggests th
relationship to the world ol
Leo Salingar (1974) has
their special, new, undefined
"found the equivalent of a
inserting a play within the
(167). We can see Kyd d<
Spanish Tragedy, where a
the murder of his son, turn
on his royal audience, dest
Shakespeare, in his cored
real influence of the monarch
These polarized preoccup
novel situation, as a profess
theatre, writing for. and eve

depending first

nd las


w royal crime its own image.
ellowship in a cry of players,"
remarkable role the players had
ourt and kings.
ade the point that as a way of ex
status, the poets of the common

professional emblem in

going t
s the
ies, b*
:h") a
n in a

often w
his, with
play he is
g a whole
nd artist

ith royal
unable t
i staging
e dvnasti

but the
in their


the novel device of
or noble spectators
ive protest, in The
o obtain justice for
into a brutal attack
c line. Salingar sees

c ("the idea of

playwright in a main
sense creating, a natio

on aristocratic favour.

At o

political ("the
s "historically
ly commercial
nal public, but
ne pole of his

comic world is the actor-poet, at the other, his ultimate patron, the

prince" (156).
The two poles, with their class or


difference, are implicit in

the interplay betweci
well as in comedy.
most Englishmen of
only by the nobility
should be the pinnac
Windsor and other

1 admiration and
Shakespeare in h
the age that the i
and the gentry,
le. On occasion I
neighbors their

stage world gravitates to the gre

picts the gentry from outside, but

rony in h
art shar
illness of
vith the
could gi
ue, but
at house

they stand

es the
life co
royal f
ve the
as Sali
or the
at the

and tragedy as
assumption of
uld be realized
family at what
merry wives of
ngar observes,
court. He de-
centre" (255).

The stage itself, however, was a middle-class property and vantage
point. In the commercial theater Shakespeare could use the power ol

- -I



38 C. L. Barber and Richard P. Wheeler

dramatic form to develop an aggressive, ironic understanding of the
world of the court-its ideals and iconography, with the magical
expectations they could foster.
The Elizabethan theater was very much open to life shaped by
aristocratic expectations and values-generous in the sympathies it
extended toward that life, but also ruthless. The lesser dramatists
reveled in ruthlessness or sympathy as opportunity and convention
offered. Marlowe's plays are often, in effect, acts of aggression in
which the audience is invited to participate. But in Shakespeare the
range of sympathy and the range of ruthlessness are perfectly matched
and balanced, transforming aggression into dramatic irony. Irony is a
form of aggression wherein the ironist does nothing to his object ex-
cept as his audience joins with him. An ironic attack depends on
somebody else seeing the point. When dramatic irony is present, the
audience gives the aggression social validation, taking the burden off
the dramatist's shoulders. So the ironist's aggression is also the audi-
ence's and is validated by the audience. This is as true of the large,
tragic ironies implicit in King Lear as it is of a thrust of ironic wit or a
satiric sally. The art puts aggression in the service of a common recog-
nition of the ludicrous and tragic potentials of aristocratic values ac-
cepted, but only prima facie, by Shakespeare's art.
Shakespeare's remarkable unassertiveness in his own person as an
author fits, we think, with his ability to transform aggression into the
mirth of comedy or into the ruthless ironic knowledge that accompa-
nies the ruth of tragedy. Wyndham Lewis (1927) and, more exten-
sively, John Holloway (1961) have observed that in his tragedies
Shakespeare conducts something like a public execution; something
like a saturnalian public holiday is fundamental to his comedies (see
Barber 1959, chap. i). With the rhythms of comedy and tragedy he is
able to realize aristocratic and royal identities but at the same time to
limit them by dramatizing an understanding of them. In his role as
unseen judge and executioner--or as lord of misrule-Shakespeare
follows, in his most fully achieved works, the ironic logic of the very
motives he is liberating and cherishing; the audience, in recognizing
the irony, shares in the ruthlessness of his art. The whole play, not only
as a composition of utterances but also as an event in the theater,
provides a mode of self-assertion to balance Shakespeare's giving him-
self to the realization of other identities. Perhaps it was only possible
for Shakespeare's personality, with its intense responsiveness, its nega-

Shakespeare in the Rising Middle Class

tive capability, and its lack of ordinary self, to achieve domination in

sion until I
own fully
coming th
express in
with the p
tion that a
The shi

by the store
he has out
re could u
e ideal, o

the maj


:d p



ter I of The Whole Journey

this social way through his
We have argued in cha
Wheeler 1986) that Shak
tragic male-to-male confro
half of his plays have been
essay, we can add that by t
he has succeeded wonder
in a joint-stock company;
lier application for a coa
gentry; and has invested
Stratford, including the pu
make traedv. with its do

e his
to th

(Barber and

art to
s until n
e concern
s to writ
, by his

espeare does not us
rntation across gener
Written. In relation
he time Shakespeare
ully, in middle-class
has followed through
t of arms to make
a large part of his
irchase of New Place
minant concerns of
f Oedipal conflict, his
uis father in the rising
cc in the independent
drama to risk testing
)tcnt father of infan'
dies his longing for tl

d himse

is nat
of expr
I theat
ity of

II c


hat figure of authority,

1 rage, the immense anxiety, and the feared destruc-
ny it.
the preoccupations of the major tragedies can be

summarized by the chain
to such an investment
ago suggested, relates t
Sonnets relates to the
joyous externalization
one asks what happen
ence that in part anim
can perhaps see a furth
his origins and his wa
with the players or hi!
down, the Prince puts
of a sponge, what repli
(4.z.1 -13). Why is thi

ous enjoyment ma
the answer, in par


nge from a
in Hamlet
o Prince
iphhborn v

of self-c
d in Ha
ates the
er cont
y of ha
s old sc
them in

ere ni

at least


n sho
ot an
the se

. Falsta



ff, a

-al somewh
'oung man,
tempt" (Em
et to the gul
onnets and
ution made
ling them.
ol fellows,
eir place: "I
uld be mad
element of v
mental or sn
rnse of self
the whole


s W
at a
f of
to S
e by
of a

s t
n i


self in Falstaff

am Empson long
he speaker of the
th "a savage and
935, ioo). When
ste or class differ-
e of Falstaff, one
Lkespeare's art by
t can be gracious
hen the chips are
, to be demanded
e son of a king?"
Ifillment, a vicari-
distortion in the





the commercial theater, an independent place from which Shake-


h with his fat
his father an
earnings in I
. In short, he
heritage and
central form
middle class.
t, commercial
g the possibil
cy: he could


C. L. Barber and Richard P. Wheeler

speare can stand and look with his awesome ironic

understanding at

the great world and its secular magic? There is no such contr
Jacobean court masques, which dramatize "expressions
power," as Stephen Orgel observes, not ironic exploration
(1975, 45). The caste difference separating middle-class auth
f I

crs, and mucn o
Shakespearean t
authority and th
worshipful pane
the Sonnets. Bui
tough realities si
ity with which h
as such he does
dramatization ol
trix of the early
ment to kinship
middle-class Stra

ol in the
of royal
ns of it
or, play-

r me audience from the play s royal subject matter
ragedy contributes to the awe with which figures
ie struggle for it are invested, in agreement with t
rns of the secular hierarchy that shape expression
t Shakespeare's middle-class difference and sense
multaneously contribute to the increasing ironic cli
e makes us see that the social order, whose structu
not question, fails to work. Moreover, the who
F aristocratic heroic struggles is made within the m
-based, cherishing sensibility, with its deep comm
and kindness that was also shaped in the family


The London in which Shakespeare practiced his dramatic art was
the nerve and power center of England and was open to foreign influ-
ence by commerce, travel, and foreign residents, including the Hugue-
nots, among whom he lived for a time. The four great dramatists of
Athens all came from rural demes; in their work traditional attitudes,
beliefs, and values are articulated (and put to tragic or comic test) by
the cosmopolitan consciousness of a city that had become the cross-
roads of Greece and an imperial power. A great nascent moment seems
regularly to involve such interplay. The English Renaissance, espe-
cially in Shakespeare's supreme example, is not primarily the recovery
of classical resources so reborn-though it includes that. More funda-
mentally, it is the articulation of tradition-directed ways of living and
thinking as these are brought into the field of developing metropolitan
consciousness. The interplay of Stratford and London was crucial,
even though the Stratford kind of experience is not a major subject, as
such, in Shakespeare's works. The fact that he used his London earn-
ings to establish himself in Stratford by the purchase of New Place in
1598 and returned to live there when his London career came to an
end is in line with the characteristically English country-city polarity,
crossed by the polarity, fundamental in his achievement, between his
own middle-class heritage and his court-centered art.

Aggression and the Project
of the Histories

Sherman Hawkins

There are two
guish in the m

very natural propensities which we may distin-
ost virtuous and liberal dispositions, the love of

pleasure and the love of action. If the former be refined...,
improved ., and corrected it is productive of the great-
est part of the happiness of private life. The love of action is a
principle of a much stronger and more doubtful nature. It
often leads to anger, to ambition, and to revenge; but, when it
is guided by the sense of propriety and benevolence, it becomes
the parent of every virtue; and if those virtues are accompanied
with equal abilities, a family, a state, or an empire may be

indebted for th

eir sa

fety and prosperity to the undaunted cour-

age of a single man.




is an experiment in generic psychology.

imagination-and the personality that is

wish to explore

its source-not

in any individual play but in an entire dramatic genre, the chronicle
history. In contrast to one prevailing critical tendency, which stresses

the autonomy and independence of each history play,

see both

tetralogies as concerned with a single underlying psychological motive
and working out a common psychological project. Such an approach
must necessarily be general and schematic, both psychologically and
critically, but it is not without particular critical relevance and useful-
ness. The culmination of all these histories, Henry V, deserves at present
to be called a problem play as much as those that are usually termed so,

and its hero remains one of Shakespeare's

most controversial charac-

ters. Yet in the larger psychological context of the histories,


argue, only one interpretation of Henry V makes sense. The main thrust

42 Sherman Hawkins

of the play is toward the heroic, the ideal and exemplary. But the same

psychological con
counterstrains an
that we sense a
between what Sh
Though the hi5
objective world o
speare's personal

tragedy, th
new genre

e other
it is hi

to Elizabethan
apparently con
still come alive
What, then, is
interest us? Wh

text explains why
d countercurrents
tension, a discrep
akespeare sets out

stories deal
f history, he
and private
r major Shal
:edented in

drama. With
genre would


with t
re we

, in
to d
he p

impulse encounters resistance,
Shakespeare's imagination, so
between purpose and result,

o ai


:e imagination.
kespearean "kil
classical drama
achievement, h
)ut him-despi
be negligible.

cerned with the history an
in the theater-and somet
the deeper subject of the
iat prompted Shakespeare 1

impels audiences to go
cal critic like E.M.W.

boundless Elizabetha
such an answer does
readers, who do not
think, be psychology
time, cannot be for
own. For the appea
primitive. I am irresi

sober Elizabethan
Romeo and uliet,

fall line-up


to see th

n appetite
not explain
share this
cal. And t
a particul
I of these

em, in his
1 would pr
for reading
n the hold
he psychol
ar age, wh
plays is, I

stibly reminded of a
itrons shaking their h(
ng Lear, and Macbet?

sex and violence,

sex and

d what he does.
world of politics and the
particularly close to Shake-
For unlike comedy and
nds," the history play is a
. If it is not Shakespeare's
is distinctive contribution
te Edward II and Perkin
But Shakespeare's plays,

Id politics of a by
times even in the cl
se plays, and wh
to write histories,
day and our own?
obably cite the a
About the English
such plays have oi
n taste. Our answ4
ogy involved, if n
ether Shakespeare
suspect, primary
recent cartoon sho
heads over advertise
7: "I'm sick of it..


gone era,
y does it
and what
A histori-
past. But
n modern
er must, I
ot for all
's or our
and even
wing two
ments for
-but are

not sex and violence what most of Shakespeare's plays
mary level are all about?

at some prn-

It may seem odd to begin a discussion of Shakespeare's histories with
The Tempest. But that final generic synthesis blends not only comedy
and tragedy; in its action of usurpation and conspiracy and its themes
of true authority and the just commonwealth The Tempest echoes the
history plays as well. Prospero, Shakespeare's last and greatest image


Aggression and the Histories

of the poet-dramatist, is also an image
the play Prospero surrenders his art
though every third thought is now his g
to rule. His sense of consummation an
as much from power regained as from

of the governor. At the
but not his sovereignty
rave, Prospcro returns to
d release in the epilogue
pardon conferred:

end of

Let me not,
Since I have my dukedom got,
And pardon'd the deceiver, dwell
In this bare island by your spell.
(The Tempest, Epi. 5-7)

This concluding


on power and rule, the "dukedom got,"

answers to a strain we may find puzzling in Shakespeare's plays a
their author. Even though Shakespeare virtually abandons the hi
play after 1600, all his great tragedies are profoundly politi
Othello being the deliberate variant that proves the generic rule.
is a poet so absorbed in politics? Though at least one critic o
histories maintains that Shakespeare wrote political plays only be
the Elizabethans expected to find princes and generals on the
(Palmer 1948, i), I think we must conclude that Shakespeare sl
his audience's relish for these charismatic figures that he found s

thing dramatic ab
tics" never appeal
very titles imply,
speare-and still,
A .i "



t politics. But much that we i

at all
ese ar

Ana this supremacy, this
of profound desire.
Generic contrast helps
striking and suggestive s
career as a playwright. In
speare produces exactly ti
nine of each-plus one
personage of the histories,
dies, The Merry Wives of
of course not literally an
speare as producing con
through the I 59os until h

understand b

nd in
f the

y "poli-

in Shakespeare's histories. Rather, as their
e plays about kings. Kings fascinate Shake-
, fascinate us-as embodiments of power.
power, symbolized by the crown, is an object

us grasp the nature of this desire.

ymmetry to the first ha
the dozen or so years be
he same number of come
experiment that thrusts
Falstaff, into the most re
Windsor. It would be syr
d chronologically-true
nedies and histories in
ie subsumes and synthesi

both in tragedy. Titus Andronicus is an early attempt

There is a

If of Shakespeare's
fore Hamlet Shake-

Sand histories-
Sleast historical
stic of the come-
think of Shake-
ular alternation
the concerns of
it such a synthe-

sis, but the other tragedies Shakespeare writes in this period conform

"'~' ''' ''"'"~

Sherman Hawkins

to the two dominant genres: Romeo and Juliet is a romantic comedy
with an unhappy ending, and Julius Caesar offers us a tragic perspec-
tive on politics and history.
Comedy and history are thus antithetical but complementary in the
evolving dialectic of Shakespeare's dramatic imagination. Appropri-

ately, each genre
masculine world
male antagonists.
ers in this world
resses, or mannis

nor, or

has its archetypal gender
of politics and war, dor
Even in the first tetralo|
: they are mostly pathei
h viragoes like the warri

Margaret herself, a qu
Hall declares, "more I
:ioz). But in the second

een who w;
ike to a ma
d tetralogy,

r. The histories deal w
ninated by the hero a
gy, women are felt as
tic victims, seductive
or Joan, the ambitious
as in "stomack and cc
n, then a woman" (Bu
, especially in the there

ith the
nd his
s Elea-
e plays

that are our main concern, women have almost disappeared. The come-
dies, on the other hand, deal with the feminine world of romantic love,
dominated increasingly by the heroine. Here too we see an evolution.
In his early comedies Shakespeare shifts the sexual focus back and
forth, even experimenting with a dominant male in The Taming of the
Shrew. But in the later and greater plays charismatic and enchanting
women are wooed by such comparatively pallid figures as Bassanio
and Orlando-Benedick, the exception, is of interest precisely as a
refuser of love-until in Twelfth Night male lovers come as close to
disappearing as possible, given their comic function.
In accordance with this symbolic opposition of the sexes, each genre
centers on a contrasted psychological motive and dramatizes the varia-
tions on a basic human drive. These are the paired energies described
by Gibbon as "the love of pleasure" and "the love of action" (quoted
in Storr 1968, Introduction). I cite the great eighteenth-century histo-
rian precisely because his terminology-standing as he does midway
between Shakespeare and ourselves-is neither Elizabethan nor mod-
em. Rather, it suggests a psychology that is perennial, even archetypal.
Gibbon's love of pleasure and action looks forward to the libidinal
and aggressive instincts of Freud and back to the concupiscible and
irascible passions of the Elizabethans, which in turn derive from the
appetitive and spirited parts of the Platonic soul. The contrast between
these drives is everywhere in Shakespeare: it creates the tragic conflict
in Romeo and Juliet, distinguishes the double plot in King Lear, and
underlies the symbolic hierarchy of The Tempest. In i Henry IV these
rival powers of appetite and ire actually appear before us, personified

Aggression and the Histories

in Falstaff and Hotspur. It is not surprising that the dualism which
thus shapes individual plays should also inform the larger difference
between dramatic genres.

Clearly these twin energies are central to Shakespea
tion. Whether we use the Platonic, the Elizabethan, or

names for them may dej
predilection: I am not s

be the b
and the
Orsino a
world of

any of t
est: they

nd th

eating, and dr

t t

hese syst
were rea
. Platoni


is a

tites, Detwe
ie below-sta
s and ale. TI
* Ia


as W

are included in the freed
conflicts of the histories
bitter rivalries and feuds a
plays war is an extension
war. Thus, when we tur
combats replacing masqu
stead of jests and wooing
suggests that for Shakespe
are motives as strong and
and, we may add, quite a
be as fascinating as sex,
spectacularly direct as the
the histories. Their drama
proves compelling to audi
of order and obedience. E'


the Fr

pend on our critical approach or pe
ure that Shakespeare's psychology e
ematic distinctions. The Platonic term
idily accessible to Shakespeare and th
c appetite encompasses all forms of
are not limited to wrath and coura
aspiration for glory and honor. Th
connection between erotic love and
en the high, romantic realm of Oliv
lirs realm of Sir Toby and Sir Andre
he festive release of comedy includes j
II I I II .I "

ell as
om o
it couJ

of p
n fro
es an
s. Thr

*are ri

s may
ley are
ge but
us, in
ia and
w, the

making love: all me energies or desire
f its holiday. Similarly, the turbulent
a release of aggression ranging from
rt to the brutal shock of battle. In these
politics and politics is a covert form of
m comedy to history, we find armed
d revels, quarrels and conspiracies in-
e very balance between the two genres
valry, aspiration, and the will to power
as the yearning for sexual fulfillment-
natic. In theatrical terms violence may
nothing in the erotic comedies is as
dshed-murders, executions, duels-of
on of the aggressive drive to power still
who care nothing for Tudor doctrines
hen monarchy has all but disappeared,

the struggle to

become king remains a perennial human theme.

What of Shakespeare himself? The exclusive emphasis of Tillyard and
his school on order and hierarchy is misleading because it fails to
recognize Shakespeare's imaginative involvement in the aggressive en-


Sherman Hawkins

ergies that threaten them. Indeed, this involvement helps explain why



of the need for order was

so strong. My own


on aggressi
"sweet" an
for his prol
ine, but th
ways of dea
in his art.
"What did
Jonson, do
would answ
But swee
the world:
word. The
with the so
some of his
teasing epig

on, however, may seem contra
d "gentle" Will Shakespeare wh
ity and civil demeanor. These
ey may also have served as de
iling with the more turbulent ft

Citing his re
with his aggi
ter that he wr



and honest

ation for
contrast m
ion?" (Bai
history ph
y may also

Shakespeare intended
soaring ambition of t
lid bourgeois success
contemporaries glimp


ram John Davies of Here


by o
or co
hat f(

ur image of t
poraries praise
no doubt ger
found express
L. Barber as]

ith quarrelsome Marlowe and
ber and Wheeler 1986, 61). 1
have seemed ways of rising in

be "gentle" in both
history plays may
Shakespeare's actu
the fantasy behind
ford writes:

senses of the
seem at odds
al career, yet
the facts. In a

Some say (good Will) which I, in sport, do sing,
Had'st thou not plaid some Kingly parts in sport,
Thou hadst bin a companion for a King;
And, been a King among the meaner sort.
Some others raile; but, rail as they think fit,
Thou hast no rayling, but, a reigning Wit.
(Chambers 1930, z:.14)

The connections on which Davies touches between playing a king and

wanting to be one are full of suggestion
player, Shakespeare, like Falstaff, is a
panion for royalty; at the same time
Hal, a prince among the meaner sor
colleagues and competitors. Perhaps i
playing, rather than in the larger socia

speare pursued his king
ideal ruler, it matters tha
on his lineage than on
Bolingbroke might be s
career open to talent. An
allusion to Shakespeare i
ist, a mere actor assume

y an


n for the
n enterta
his reigni
t of acto
t was in
I and poli
S.-' S

histories. As a common
ining but dubious com-
ng wit makes him, like

rs and pl
this world
itical wor

itinons. Certainly it Hal is bhakespeare's
right to the crown ultimately is based less
own abilities. The rise of the house of
as a much displaced metaphor for the
happens that our very first contemporary
an "upstart," a pushing, conceited career-
a playwright's power and privilege-in

aywrights, his
d of plays and
Id, that Shake-

short, a usurper. Greene's famous gibe at the "Tygers hart wrapt in a

I -

Aggression and the Histories

Players hyde"

aligns Shakespeare

with the ambitious York, who utters

the line
of Shak
But the
by their
one of
true tha
bition a

Greene parodies, and with th
s. It was this attack that prodi
espeare's civility and honesty
plays themselves show how Yo
own ambitions. If the upstart
Greene's plumes-"the men t
Greene's admirers, "Purloyned
(z: 190)-and seizing upon Ma
it usurpers do not fare well
roke, who holds on to power
ice inconceivable in Marlowe's
nd ability do not suffice to ma
ting sanction. We find what is

e ferocious Margar
uced Chettle's apol
(Chambers 1930,
rk and Margaret ar
player was a liter;
hat so Eclipst his fa
his Plumes, can th
rlowe's crown, it is
in Shakespeare's
to the last, suffers
Tamburlaine. It see
ke a king without s
needed in the Prin

et, whom it

re c

tic praise
e," wrote
deny the
iys. Even


ms that am-
ome further
ce who pur-

loins Hotspur's plum<
have earned the right
Thus the conflict b
is deep and real becau

and steals his father's crown-and yet is felt to
ween aspiration and order in the history plays
it is rooted in Shakespeare's personality. In the

perfect balance of Richard II he c
Richard and at the same time show
were psychic sources for this confli
by the facts of Shakespeare's family
father's rise from low estate to ma
Arden" and election to the highest
ing in the coat of arms that would
"the register of the gentle and no
Thus, the initial image and model
his little son was the kind of Tudo
playwright might translate into gi
arms that would have made John S

though diminish
king. But the c
John Shakespe
times. His final
early adolescent
of rising in the
success was des
the youth with


nalogue of
arms was
' !

Ke tf

ncial decline
ce and mav
world or in
erved and ri


an side with
the defects

ct, but
v situa






Both Bolingi
of each. No d<
ist have been
Everyone will
"a daughter a
in Stratford,
,d the farmer'
enbaum 1977



at John Shakespeare pre'
success story that an im;
nder political terms: the
akespeare a gentleman is
crown that makes Bolin
conferred-at least not
ig Bolingbroke, fell on
o have coincided with
ressed Shakespeare with t

bts that hi
effect was

s fath

roke and
ubt there
recall his
d heir of
son into
rented to
Scoat of
the real,
broke a
his son's
he perils
her's early
bly to fill

r's aid by restoring

family fortunes. For Shakespeare, as for Prince Hal, aspiration became

It im


e usurpi
e seems
have imp
stilled in
ght. But

him dou
its major

coming to his father

48 Sherman Hawkins

duty: his task was likewise to redeem the time, validating his father's

ents f
tasy is
any ot
act ou

ain claims by greater achievements of his own. The financial
of "redeem" is pertinent here, for Freud explains how a child,
ng for independence, wants to repay the debt he owes his par-
or the gift of life. This impulse becomes a dream of actually
his father's life on some dangerous occasion, "and this phan-
s commonly enough displaced on to the Emperor, the King, or
her great man, after which it can enter consciousness and is even
use of by the poets" (Freud I963b, 56). Shakespeare was able to
t this rescue fantasy both in life and in art. In 1596 John Shake-
at last became a gentleman, thanks to his son's success. Almost
:aneously Shakespeare composed the scene, based on four lines

in Daniel's Civil Wars, where P
their's life at Shrewsbury.
If aggression is here raised to

not entirely simple. The desire
quits with him, according to
rescue fantasy may be more de
establish one's independence

impulse to replace
the crown while
have surpassed ti
Freud also ackni
having got so far
have got further
were still someth

e h

im. We re
king is sti
fathers, ar

rince Hal dramatically saves his fa-

heroism, the psychological issues are

to pay back the father is a way of being
Freud, and the impulse underlying the
fiant than tender. Ultimately the wish to
by rescuing one's father becomes the
call that other scene in which Hal seizes
ill alive. Both Shakespeare and his hero
nd both may be touched by the guilt that
e guilt "attached to the satisfaction of

S... It seems as though the essence of success were to
than one's father, and as though to excel one's father

ing forbidden" (Fr

On the whole, both his father's
probably encouraged Shakespeare's
his own gifts and merits. Relations
have strengthened more traditional i
of primogeniture. Shakespeare was
younger brothers. The second, Gilbe
way of life as a respectable haber
become a common player. The fou
be William's son and, significantly
liam to London and likewise became
both Gilbert and Edmund may hai
elder brother. Of the third son we

.ud 1963a, 3.0).
example and the wish to aid him
Ambition to rise in the world by
with his siblings, however, may
notions of hierarchy and the rights
himself an eldest son with three
.rt, followed his father's bourgeois
lasher while William went off to
rth son-almost young enough to
Named Edmund-followed Wil-

e an actor. In quite opposite ways
re been threats and rivals to their
know almost nothing except the

fact-again perhaps significant-that he was christened Richard.


Aggression and the Histories

Shakespeare's plays are, of

ecure status
ore glamorol
recall his own
water? Certain
spirit yet ev

course, full of fratricidal struggle: the

drive to overgo the father is matched by strugj
among brothers. The romance pattern of As You
youngest son is oppressed by his tyrannical elder
normal Shakespearean situation. Ordinarily an
son and heir is threatened by a younger or illegitin
times this relation is literal, as with Don Pedro an
and Edmund, and Prospero and Antonio; someti

as with Hamlet and Laertes. Both
involved in these fratricidal rivalri
a third son-climbs to the throne
ers; Hal proves himself the son "
crown by slaying Hotspur. Note,
on Hotspur's terms: it is valor, no
of Wales. We can aDDreciate the

brother the s
embracing b;
larger and m
speare here r
and the the
"mounting sl



key fig


Cs: Richard of (

over the bodies of
nearest his father"
however, that Hal
t birthright, that pr
full significance (
surrenders to his
perty he inherits a
Ie Richard!-to cai

rorld I
ce in a
is an(

ere Shakes1

gles for supremacy
Like It, where the
brother, inverts the
older or legitimate
iate brother. Some-
d Don John, Edgar
mes it is figurative,
in the histories are

and heir
defeats hi
roves him
of the chc
pallid yc

to the
s rival
iice of

s the eldest son,
rve a career in a

own talents. Does Shake-
oning Stratford for London
sympathies are with this
,eare keeps the scales very

evenly balanced: the bastard rises fast and far, but he can never
become king.
I conclude that Shakespeare's attitude toward aggression is deeply

ambivalent. But
order in his play
their author. Eve
tion a profound
geois theatrical
suggest, but a ri
Elizabethans bor
Anthony Essler
eration of aspiri

the birth, the fort

the persistence of the struggle of aspiration against

shows how strong were the aggressive instincts of
STillyard recognizes in the great dramatist of ambi-
ambitious dramatist. Shakespeare was not a bour-
usinessman, as the outer facts of his career might
ng spirit typical of his contemporaries, the younger
in the 1 56os, such as Raleigh, Essex, and Bacon. As
ows in his fascinating study (1966), this was a gen-
; minds. Unlike some of them, Shakespeare had not
une. the education, or the great connections needed

for a career in public
earl or duke Falstaff d
them, exercising in th
unattainable in fact.

life. But if he

reams of b


could not be a king-or even the
ming-he could write plays about

e collective fantasies of drama the sovereignty
One thinks again of Prospero, that image of

in King John, wh


50 Sherman Hawkins

absolute power attained through the poet's control over the imagina-
tion of others. The realm Shakespeare ruled was the great Globe itself.


At least in literature, the universal monarchy of wit, high ambitions
were encouraged rather than proscribed. Indeed, the poet's career, like
Virgil's, was supposed to scale a gradus ad Parnassum, rising from the
lowest to the highest genres. Renaissance imitation of literary models,
ancient or modern, regularly included the impulse to outdo or overgo
them. So Ben Jonson, who himself clearly strove to surpass Shake-
speare, praised him for surpassing others, for outshining Kyd and Lyly
and even Marlowe's mighty line.
To a young dramatist coming up to London just before 1590, Chris-
topher Marlowe-Shakespeare's exact contemporary and the spokes-
man for the aspiring mind of their generation-might have seemed the
literary model both to imitate and to overgo. His immediate and sensa-
tional success with Tamburlaine promised that a career in the theater
was indeed open to talent. In this play there is no slow evolution
through the disciplines of lesser genres: doffing his shepherd's weeds
to become an emperor, Tamburlaine moves in one leap from pastoral
to epic. He is plainly a heroic projection of Marlowe himself, the base-
born genius out to subdue his world. But Tamburlaine's triumphant
career is more than the private fantasy of an individual. Such a hero's
attainment of titles, riches, and power, observes David Riggs, reflects
"the most important social phenomenon of the later sixteenth century,
the rapid rise in social status of one whose claim to high worldly
station is based on ability rather than birth" (1971, 63).
No wonder Tamburlaine was copied by so many dramatists: it
articulated and enacted for its age a social myth at once deeply
compelling and dangerously iconoclastic. We understand at once the
fascination of Marlowe's play for the youthful Shakespeare. But it
matters to my argument that Tamburlaine also embodies the very
constellation of psychological drives so central to the histories. He is
the incarnation of the will to power; his whole career is a display of
unleashed aggression. Moreover, the world he conquers is made in
his own image: the foes Tamburlaine conquers, like Cosroe and
Bajazeth, are lesser Tamburlaines. In his most famous lines he in-
vokes a "world picture" in which the very elements struggle for su-

Aggression and

the Histories

premacy in men, and nature itself teaches them to have aspiring
minds. This is hardly traditional doctrine. Indeed, much of the excite-
ment of Tamburlaine derives less from the conflict on stage than
from the play's resistless assault on the minds of the audience-it is

we whom

Tamburlaine must ultimately


This is drama

designed to challenge, and one way of understanding Shakespeare's
histories is as a response to the challenge of Tamburlaine.

In this view it


no accident that the first scene of i Henry VI

echoes in its opening lines the last scene of Tamburlaine:


Weep, heavens, and vanish into liquid
Fall, stars that govern his nativity,



And summon all the shining lamps of heaven
To cast their bootless fires to the earth.
(z Tamburlaine, 5.3.1-4)
Hung be the heavens with black, yield day to night!
Comets, importing change of times and states,
Brandish your crystal tresses in the sky.

(i Henry VI. .1.1-3)

It is as if Shakespeare is carrying on where Marlowe leaves off. His
aspiration to outdo his predecessor can be measured by the scale of his
own undertaking. The conquests of Marlowe's hero override the struc-

tural limits of the five-act play just

as they override the geographical

and political boundaries of his world. It matters little for our present

purpose whether part

z of Tamburlaine was an unpremeditated addi-

tion to part i; what Shakespeare had before him as a model both to

imitate and to


was a vast historical drama in two parts. Hence

his own Henry VI expands into three plays, and with the addition of
Richard III this trilogy becomes a tetralogy, which is then matched by
a second tetralogy to create a connected pattern of eight plays. The
structure Shakespeare finally completes in Henry V is unmatched in

Western secular drama. Essler


that just such gigantic projects

characterize the aspirations of Shakespeare's contemporaries: one

thinks of Magna Instauratio or The

Faerie Queene



Unlike Bacon and Spenser, however, Shakespeare finishes his heroic


we shall

without cost.

Thus, the expansive scope of the early histories expresses in literary
terms the spirit of ambitious rivalry that is their political subject. But it

was possible to outshine Marlowe by refuting

as well as by outdoing

him. If the form of these early histories emulates Tamburlaine, their

Sherman Hawkins

argument contradicts its basic premises. Riggs convincingly demon-

ing all

the "continuing allusion" to Tamburlaine that runs through
VI, beginning with outrageous parody in Shakespeare's treat-
fthe shepherdess turned conqueror, Joan of Arc. But this continu-
usion is also a running argument. Joan's demonic inspiration
Tamburlaine's divine pretensions. In contrast, Talbot's example
des us that true glory belongs to loyalty and service rather than to

ambition and can be achieved in defeat no less than victory. Yet even
Joan is less dangerous than her captor, York, who turns his sword
against his countrymen. The big wars that make Tamburlaine's ambi-
tion virtue lose their glamor when fathers and sons must slay each other.
The expansive, outer-directed aggression of Tamburlaine turns inward
in Henry VI as England rends itself. Of this divisive civil strife Richard
of Gloucester is the emblem and the embodiment.
Richard is Shakespeare's anti-Tamburlaine. Already in 3 Henry VI
Shakespeare gives his Richard lines that evoke the Marlovian ethos:

And, father, do but think
How sweet a thing it is to wear a crown,
Within whose circuit is Elysium
And all that poets feign of bliss and joy.
(3 Henry VI, 1.2.18-31)

This eloquence and enthusiasm are not characteristic: in Richard's
soliloquies Marlovian energy is edged with quite un-Marlovian irony

and bitterness. Richard here plays the orator to
and psychologically "feign" is a key word-Rich
in "bliss and joy" than he believes in Elysium. If
to dream upon the crown, it is as a displacement
he is denied. The aspiration that seems so natural
Richard a symptom of profound distortion. Rich
crooked shadow; his character exposes the dark

persuade his father,
ard no more believes
he makes his heaven
of other satisfactions
in Tamburlaine is in
ard is Tamburlaine's
side of heroic aggres-

sion, suggesting that such ambition to attain masks a compulsion to
destroy. Richard goes on after the lines just quoted:

Why do we linger thus? I cannot rest
Until the white rose that I wear be dy'd
Even in the lukewarm blood of Henry's heart!
(3 Henry VI. 1.z.32-34)

Both Richard and Tamburlaine seek to win crowns against what
seem insuperable odds. But whereas Richard is twisted and deformed,

Aggression and the Histories

Tamburlaine is "Of stature tall and straightly fashioned, / Like his
desire lift upwards and divine" (i Tamburlaine, z.1.7-8). This physi-

cal contrast marks the difference in their relations to others and in
their sense of self. Tamburlaine is the godlike hero who other men
would wish to be, surrounded by followers who seek to imitate him
and share his glory; Richard is the diabolic villain, marked off by the

if his deformity from ot
d then discards. Both
:ause he so desires bea
iness. Whereas wooing
, for Richard it is war
Tamburlaine hardly sei

stigma o
ham, an
line be
own ugl

regards wi
one. Thou
this univer
is where it
burlaine fi
because he
as if in rep
Richard fig
"to comma
myself" (3
to them. V

aspiration as
pulse to destr


contemptuous scorn,
he claims, pathetical

men, whom he uses, like Bud
sexual love as a threat-Tan
Richard because he so loathe
another form of conquest for -
the death: he seduces in ord
to hate even his enemies, who
but Richard comes to hate e
ly, that "Richard loves Rich

.s his
er to
m he

hatred extends to hatred of himself-rather, self-hatred

e grounds the will to power in an innate superiority. Tam-
ghts to assert his natural right: he wants to rule others



grounds the
s to avenge hi
i, to check, to
enry VI, 3.z.
h this demon
vengeful and
oy, Shakespea

will to
s sense

and noble
power in
of wrong:
r such / As
of the wi

compensatory, an

r than they. Shakespeare,
a sense of radical defect.
he needs to rule others-
are of better person than
e he feels himself inferior
ill to power as paranoia,
d competition as the im-

re would seem to have completed his demo-

lition of the Marlovian dream. If the histories are only a refutation of

But Shakes]
nates in a here
In Henry VSh
epic part of
mighty protag
butes and dee
marriage and
lame, one is s
burlaine is als
Marlowe and

they shou
peare goes
who offe
'onist; the
ds, and th

Id stop here.
on to write a second tetralogy, one that culmi-
rs a different kind of contrast to Tamburlaine.
again produces a play that alludes to the first,
Tamburlaine. Both plays focus on a single


r episode
e action

a peace. But when
truck by its sense
o a historic figure,
his Elizabethan a

f military
ne compa
limit and
is career o
lience the

displays h
res Henry
f Asian co

is heroic attri-
concludes in a
V to Tambur-
Though Tam-
nquest has for
possibility of

romance. In contrast, Henry is an English monarch; the facts of his





54 Sherman lawkins

story are already familiar and its meaning is largely determined. Tam-

burlaine is a shepherd who becomes an

emperor, Henry

gains another crown; Tamburlaine sets out to conq
world, Henry to recover France. Tamburlaine wins a sc
ing victories-a series which, as part 2 demonstrate
indefinitely-whereas Henry wins just one. For Henry
is peace, and he concludes his conquests with his marr
line's marriage, in contrast, marks only a temporary tr
his self-defining way of life, and nothing but death can
any corner of his world remains unconquered. Henry
limits to aggression. It is an irony of history that his de
peace at which he aims a truce as brief as Tamburlaine
The comparative restraint of Shakespeare's drama
careful moralization of its hero. Tamburlaine seems a pag
ist, a being of passionate and tameless energies, where
Christian king "Unto whose grace our passion is as sub
wretches fett'red in our prisons" (Henry V, i .z.z4-43
is the transethical conqueror whose matchless force I

conventional limits

and constraints as


as political

tier the
iries of e
es, can
the end
iage. Ta
ruce, for

stop him while
, in short, sets
:ath makes the


to the

anor a panthe-
eas Henry is a
>ject / As is our
). Tamburlaine
reaks through
I boundaries, a

hero whose virtue is to go beyond morality. But Henry's virtues are the
cardinal four-temperance, fortitude, justice, and wisdom-which, to-
gether with Christian piety, form the traditional qualities of the good
king. Whereas Tamburlaine's claim to other realms is simply his power
to subdue them, Henry scrupulously bases his right to France on heredi-
tary and legal title. In contrast to Tamburlainc's impulsive and romantic
challenge to Cosroe, Henry's declaration of war on France obeys all the
protocol of formal diplomacy. When Tamburlaine finds Agydas plead-
ing against him to Zenocrate, he sends the hapless courtier a dagger

with which to destroy himself; when Henry
against his life, he punishes them as the la
require, but he also forgives and strives to I
Henry's lurid threats against Harfleur paral
to terrify Damascus into submission. Both
Tamburlaine carries out his threats to slay th
sack the town, Shakespeare's Henry, unlike
Harfleur. Tamburlaine's courage-if that is I

;covers trail
and safety
ng them to
ties yield, i
'irgins of Da

tors plotting
of his land
new's attempt
but whereas
imascus and

the historical king, spares
the right word-goes with

absolute certainty of success, and he delights in battle. Henry fights his
greatest battle reluctantly, facing what seems certain defeat and death.


Aggression and the Histories

His only act of cruelty-slaying the

French prisoners-is a necessary

tie. B
the fa
ate to
his co
The fi
time t

lity committed under dangerous circum
ut Tamburlaine, not content with conq
lien emperor to torments that drive him
ess. Henry attributes the glory of his
urlaine, making Bajazeth his footstool
g his followers, all but claims divinity
indeed something both more and less t
but Henry is a king who knows himself
ese contrasts seem too systematic not to
Henry's advantage but not always to S
nation, in part i, seems as expansive an
s, whereas Shakespeare's is as subject
If. Tamburlaine has no need to appeal t4
nquests, no need to forgive a traitor bef
erce and silent frown he turns upon Agy
parably more dramatic than Henry's h
iplices. To compare the two plays is t<
the task he sets himself in Henry V no e
o recognize what that task is. ShakesDea

-I --.

stances in
juering Ba
to suicide
victory to
and distr
for himself

the heat of bat-
jazeth, subjects
and his wife to
God, whereas
ibuting crowns
f. Tamburlaine

han human, an avatar of
f to be a man.
be deliberate. They oper-
hakespeare's. Marlowe's
id unchecked as Tambur-

o an
3 se
re is

constraint as Henry
archbishop to justify
putting him to death.
is more eloquent and
lies to Scroop and his
nse that Shakespeare
one, and at the same
s reconciling morality

and the will to power
villain become in Henr
The triangulation ol
a key to the overall pa
For these plays, in whi
Marlovian aggression,
tetralogies. I have argi
can be seen as contain
ambitious scope, in th

and in the w
but at the sa
of the amor
rects, modifi
Henry V he


of thE

ars ai
me ti
es, r

nd cc
me a

seeks to
e Marlo'


: th

aggressive drives that make Richard Ill a

y V attributes of the ethical hero.
f Tamburlaine, Richard III, and Henry V offers
ittern and argument of Shakespeare's histories.
ch Shakespeare presents such opposed views of
are the logical and dramatic termini of the two
led that the histories leading up to Richard III
uations or extensions of Tamburlaine in their
eir central concern with aggressive aspiration,
)nquests that make up so much of their action,
s refutations of Tamburlaine in their exposure
destructive consequences of aggression. Yet
totally reject what he thus criticizes: he cor-
nulates. Thus in the plays that lead up to
give moral and political sanction to his own
ian dream. Shakespeare's project is to redeem

ambition; his final exemplar of the will to power is the mirror of all
Christian kings.

Sherman Hawkins

between the t
second. This s
two series. Ed
the first tetral
The second, I
tetralogy moi


ment, evol
of empire
regularly c
causes for
into decay
(Philippe d
ogy exhibi


ambivalent attitude toward aggression seems divided
wo tetralogies, negative in the first and positive in the
imple contrast matches the antithetical patterning of the
ward Berry (1975) has convincingly demonstrated that
ogy traces the systematic decay of political community.
suggest, is planned to show its gradual restoration. One
'es steadily downward from loss of emDire in France


civil war to tyranny at home;

in F

from despotism at home
rance. The double series
in the Renaissance to ju
rise and fall of nations,

the other
stify the
"the mea


reverses th
civil war to
one of th
:udy of his
s whereby

us move-
e lessons
tory: the
they fall

and again whereby they are re-established and restored"

Le Com
ts one

history play. The
warn against the
ond is hortatory,
and noble deeds.
accordingly, the
becomes heroic i
This contrast
genre. The first
scends to tragedy
Richard II and

lines, quoted in Campbell 1968, 46). Thus each tetral-
of the recognized didactic purposes of the Elizabethan
e first is cautionary, employing negative examples to
evils of conspiracy, rebellion, and civil war; the sec-
using positive examples to inspire loyalty, patriotism,
One teaches what to shun, the other what to imitate;
aggression that was so appalling in the first tetralogy
n the second.

of n


ogy begin

y in Richard III.
rises to epic in

symmetrically opposed. That H
from its opening invocation of a
this epic analogy backward to in
ing a trilogy whose counterpart
three plays about Henry of Mo

well as a c
usually but
epic title "H
That we
Henry V as
classical ped

common hero

and I

and positive extends from structure to

s with epic in I Henry V
The second opens with a
Henry V-even the kingly
enry V is meant as epic i
S"Muse of fire." But I wou
Include both parts of Henry
in the first tetralogy is Hen
mouth share a common
would reserve for them

I and de-
rragedy in
titles are
s obvious
ld extend
IV, form-
ry VI. All
action as
the name

less logically applied to the whole second tetralogy, the
do not customarily think of any of these plays except
epic may be in part because we do not recognize their
ligree. Given the confusion in Elizabethan literary theory

and practice-which blurs, for instance, any distinction between the


Aggression and the Histories

historicall" and the "heroicall"-the clearest mark of epic intent is

resemblance to earlier epics.
conscious of such classical pr
his earliest experiments in cor
and Titus Andronicus, set ou
135-41). The generic triad is
speare's earliest histories like
Pharsalia of Lucan. The Pha

epic; it
epic pre
tive and
and his
prose, S
model c
what St
such as
that rev
than an
as Dani
on stage
him. Si
epic pre


the decl

ine of

cedent for the Henria
exemplary, showing
subsequent career of

The youthful
ecedents. Tillya
nedy and tragec
it to emulate PI
s completed wh
wise have an ad
rrsalia is that g
Rome through
d, the Cyropae
the education o
f foreign conqu

idney considers the Cyropaedia a
Sin Cyrus it presents "effigiem
f the good governor (1904, 1: 16
lakespeare tries to do in the Henr
der, or "admiration," is the em<
not only by supernatural machi
the devils who appear to Joan o
eals God's hand at Agincourt. Ad
Id the modern sense, centers on
. The wonder in Henry Vis Henr
el calls him (5.14.2). Such admir
e and in the audience: the epic h
dney's most striking example of
on our present argument, for Hal
cedent in the rescue of Anchises I

n "

Shakespeare was acutely
rd notes how ambitiously
ly, The Comedy of Errors
lautus and Seneca (1964,
en we realize that Shake-
mired classical model, the
eneric oddity, a negative
civil war. In contrast, the
dia of Xenophon, is posi-
f a young prince in virtue
est. Even though it is in
absolute heroicall poem,"
ti imperii," an image or

o). Th
f Arc


is, I beli

eve, is precisely

proper to epic. This is
and miraculous events,
or the amazing victory

miration, in both

the epic pi
y V, that "i


atnon inspires
ero makes us
This way of
's rescue of his
)y Aeneas. Wh


the Eli:
nist an
e of wo
nt to b4
ching I

father finds its
o reads of that

heroic deed, asks Sidney, "that wisheth not it were his fortune to
perfourme so excellent an acte?" (1:173). Shakespeare's fantasy be-
comes ours-if indeed it ends in mere fantasy. For by inciting others to
imitation, Sidney argues, the poet's imaginings may be realized in fact:
the maker of a Cyrus thus has the power to make many Cyruses
We begin to sense the scope of Shakespeare's aspiration, as well as
its moral justification. To attempt an epic was the highest reach of
poetic ambition; as Dryden says, epic is the greatest work the soul of
man is capable of performing, the only kind the Renaissance, in
defiance of Aristotle, placed higher than tragedy. Yet such ambition
was not purely selfish or merely personal. An epic conferred glory on


Sherman Hawkins

the nation and the tongue as

well as on the poet who produced it. So

it was that in the
Armada other Eliza
seen, such an achieve
virtuous character
energies find their e
doctrinal and exempt
There is, then,
Shakespeare and thi
men is to renew in
at Agincourt the gl
seeks to revive the

possible, each must
pels imitation-Sha
see why epic in the
play of the series,
genre fully declare i

flush o
ement i
and ins

lary t
ose th
the pri
spirit <

is Henry
itself. Sha

patriotism following the defeat of the
poets-Shakespeare's models, rivals, and
o produce an English epic. As we have
s more than literary in its power to shape
>ire mighty deeds: the poet's aggressive
n in a form that is, in Milton's phrase,
a nation.
lalogy between the tasks that confront
confront his hero. The problem of both
ent a heroic past: Henry seeks to recreate
Cr&cy and Poitiers, just as Shakespeare
Agincourt in his own day. To make this
an image of human greatness that com-
in his drama, and Henry in himself. We
is an evolving form, for only in the last



"brightest heaven of invention"
sorry critic who failed to respond

ns his true royal identity, does the
eare at last feels ready to ascend the
(Henry V, Pro. z). It would be a
to his heroic purpose. But we must

still ask ourselves: does Shakespeare succeed?


Both the structural pattern of the two tetralogies and their analogy

epic support, indeed aemana, a positive reading or
their psychological argument, which demonstrates t
aggression in the early plays and its rightful use in
what justifies this radical reversal? The ambivalence
speare's attitude seems grounded in the very nature
As the British psychoanalyst Anthony Storr reminds

nenry v.

So does

he wrongful use of
the later ones. But
we sense in Shake-
of aggression itself.
us, aggression can

lead to cruelty, war, and murder; I
dence so essential to growing up,
master one's world, and the asp
Introduction). In short, the same
Gloucester or a Prince Hal, and
both psychologically and political

but it a
the w
the lac
ly. In F

ilso fuels the drive to indepen-
ill to overcome obstacles and
to all high endeavor (1968,
ies can produce a Richard of
:k of them can be disastrous,
lenry VI the first tetralogy has

a Mycetes to match its many Tamburlaines. The


king is

much a psychological extreme as his hunchbacked nemesis: all but



1' _~t r....... tt

Aggression and the H


devoid of aggression an
And no English monarc

his people and h
show us that a k
essential quality
The problem,
with energies at
noticed the stores
Henry V, discipli

is land.
ing wit
that ma
no less
once sc
s on et
ne and

d ambition,
h, not even
Thus, from
hout the wil
kes a king.
Political th


Shakespeare's psychopol
of passion versus reason.
tory is useful. Certainly S
aggressive drives can be s
would say, until eating ar
do not teach orthodox le
they celebrate an unleash

Henry can neither fight nor rule.
Richard III, causes more harm to
their very inception the histories
I to power lacks the primary and

an psychological,

is how to deal

necessary and so perilous. Though we have
hical restraint in Shakespeare's portrayal of
control alone are not enough: there is more to
itical argument than the familiar opposition
Here the analogy between comedy and his-
hakespeare never suggests that the erotic and
uppressed or eradicated-at least, as Pompey
id drinking are put down. But if the comedies
ssons of chastity and self-control, neither do
led eroticism. Festive release of the libidinal

permits its evolution and refinement, unti
it becomes a love we feel to be both roma
a human possibility. A similar process
suggest, is at work in the later histories.
ideal of romantic love that fulfills and legit
these plays develop an ideal of heroism a
and legitimates the energies of aggression.
Neither project was easy. Despite the
thans placed on beauty, love, and marria
and honor, the cultural prohibitions aga
mained very strong. So, I believe, were the
in Shakespeare's imagination. His is an ess
it affirms the sexual and aggressive drives
the guess that he found the forces of aggr
ing. Though the comedies reveal every nu
ity, the attitude toward sex in these p

joyously-affirmative. In
have seen, is an extended
does Shakespeare seek to
to power and by directing
What are these higher


order or power? Again the



I in the hero and the heroine
ntic and real, an ideal that is
of release and refinement, I
As the comedies evolve an

timates the erotic impulse,

nd virt



uous rule that fulfills

il values the Elizabe-

ge and on patriotism
inst desire and ambit

corresponding proh


entially ethical vision
by idealizing them. I
session more deeply th
since of inhibition and
lays seems essentiallI
hole first tetralogy,
gression. Only in the
king out an ethic for t
ird higher ends.
als do politics have I
ay be our guide. Th

, fame,
ion re-
of life;
as we
he will

ere the

sexual impulse in the individual leads to mutuality and relationship,


Sherman Hawkins

and these in turn lead to a larger, more inclusive sense of community.

Eros, Freud
larger uniti
comedies ar

center o
their gre

Tells us, strives to connect, to draw

es. This is why the marriages at the
e so often multiple and why the lovers
society renewed in charity. At the sa
hero and especially the heroine fror
r intensity and refinement of feeling, a

ife together in



f Shakespeare'
united form thi

e time what disti
other characters
ve that manages

be at once ardent and intelligent, self-giving and self-aware. This dis-
tinction implies what we may call an erotic ethic, which informs the
symbolic hierarchy of couples in such comedies as The Merchant of
Venice, Twelfth Night, and As You Like It. For our purposes it is
important that this ethic turns not on self-control or self-restraint but
on a notion of human excellence, a kind of erotic arete.
We find both these values, the communal and the ethical, as politi-
cal goals in the history plays. At this point we can no longer associate
politics exclusively with aggression and the will to power. That side of
political behavior was as obvious in Shakespeare's day as it is in our
own; there is little need to ground it in political theory with citations

from Machiavelli.
community means
to a conception o

But to understand
turning back to a
f politics the Ren

Aristotle, and Plato. For
nity that Freud sees as er
aspects of the innate soci
state and ultimately em
thus by nature a political
to community, Aristotle
exchange-but at the go

Aristotle an

the political ideal!
tradition older tha
aissance inherited
d Cicero the impu

otic is also political: indeed, the.
al instinct that evolves from th
braces all humanity. The hum
I, no less than a sexual, animal.
insists, aims not just at life-s
od life, which is the life of virt

politics thus share a single purpose: to make the ind
whole state "good and capable of noble acts" (194 1, 0o

s of virtue and
n Machiavelli,
from Cicero,
Ise to commu-
se are differing
e family to the
an creature is
But this drive
security, order,
ue. Ethics and
ividual or the
o9b). Thus, we

arrive back at Plato's simple and astonishing definition of political
science as "the knowledge by which we are to make other men good"
(1937, :z29zb).
To make others good is the task of a king. Here politics and litera-
ture converge, for kings, like epic heroes, were thought to inspire
imitation. It is above all by his own example that a ruler makes his
people good: hence the political import of the ethical development that
is Hal's princely education in Henry IV. The pattern in Part I reflects
the dual psychology with which we are by now so familiar. In leaving

Aggression and the Histories

Falstaff's tavern Hal abandons the pleasures of appetite; in conquering
Hotspur he overcomes the aggressive impulses toward wrath and
violence-or, rather, he shows their proper use, for what began as
personal rivalry takes on higher meaning for the prince. Whereas Hot-
spur fights for himself, for his house, and for fame, Hal fights for his
father, for England, and for the honor of the deed itself. This is aggres-
sion in the service of community as well as of ethics.
But in Part II there remains a test harder for one born to command
and rule. Aggression here is the will to power typified by King Henry
and symbolized by his crown. When Hal takes the crown, he svmboli-

cally repeats his
ders his father's
in the other dies
ing the Pauline
instinctively clai
tells us, seeks h
subjects. Hal ha
but he has bee
Henry V become
political commur


father's usurpation; when he surrend
personal ambition. And as one Henry
too. Thus, when Hal banishes Falstaf
"old man" that is his former self,
ms pleasure, honor, and power. The
is own good; the true king seeks th
s not been dehumanized, as so many
n in this sense depersonalized. In
es the man for others, the potential
nity, the robed monarch who tells his a

ers it, he surren-
dies, something
f, he is renounc-
the egoism that
tyrant, Aristotle
e welfare of his


critics contend,
'coming king,
nter of a new



sellers and kin, "I'll be your father and your brother too" (2 Henry IV,
Henry's epic task in Henry V is to create this new community and to
bring about some likeness of his own conversion on a national scale.

For the Eli
mary and
history pla
inward or
itly, shows
denied out
humors by
sion in the
that for su
Gaunt and

zabethans, as we have seen, the irascib
indestructible element in human natur

ys the choice is whether thi
outward, against fellow Eng
e implicitly, and Samuel Dar
the Wars of the Roses as caus
let after peace with France.
and explicitly, see Henry V
turning them against the Fren
service of community. If this
ich different reasons haunts
his heirs, then it demonstrate

the ethical. The

justice of Henry

s war

both Shakespeare and Henry question

s aggression

ed i
is a
es a
is c

nen or
(in his
n part
once m
just w;
pen to

it-but the

le instinct is a pri-
e. Throughout the
n is to be directed
against foreigners.
Civil Wars) explic-
by factious energies
both poets, again
ng these turbulent
ore we have aggres-
ar, like the crusade
nation of John of
)n in the service of
issue is decided by

an authority higher than the Archbishop of Canterbury. Agincourt is

__ _



6z Sherman Hawkins

the last of the trials by combat ti
beginning with the abortive duel
In Henry V, as in Richard II, th
thou pleasest, God, dispose the d
outcome, the divine verdict is cle;
Henry V creates his new Enghl
his quarreling international army
ing in others a courage like his i
Lancaster speaks eloquently to or

portend in the first tetralogy. But
fighting, just as we do not watch th
witness the king's hand-to-hand c
tory is of the spirit, and virtually
speech. But what a speech it is!
language that both aristocrat and
his peers to rivalry for honor and p
his common soldiers. But the nobil
status, even as the honor to which
has become what the French king
Shakespeare and Henry, each for
heroic England. This vision is patri
more than that: the band of broti

hat run through the
between Mowbray
re appeal is to divi
lay!"-and in the a

whole tetralogy,
and Bolingbroke.
ne justice-"how
Most miraculous

Id on the fields of France. He turns
nto a brotherhood of blood, inspir-
wn. That York and Suffolk die for
; who remembers what those names
we do not see these nobles actually
ie archers sharpening their stakes or
:ombat with Alencon. Henry's vic-
all he does at Agincourt is make a
The king talks to his followers in
yeoman can understand. He incites
promises to "gentle" the condition of
ity they do achieve is no mere social
Henry aspires is not for himself: he
calls him, "Harry England." Thus,
his own time, renew the vision of a
otic, but we may feel it is something
iers united in their courage against

overwhelming oc




ids remains an image of the heroic

"this day to the ending o

valid al

the world"

ways and

(Henry V,

I think, is Shakespeare's intention. That it does not quite
I have no need to demonstrate: the strains, uncertainties, and
countercurrents in the play have been exposed by many a

more expert hand. One illustration will suffice: the
French prisoners. It occurs in Hall and Holinshed b
speare's dramatic source, The Famous Victories. Sha
have to include the massacre, but he did. It is as if
imagination requires Henry's epic triumph to be sp
The reason should by now be clear: Shakespeare's

massacre of
ut not in Sha
kespeare did
something in
lashed in blo

ward aggression, so neatly divided between the two tetralogies, has
not been thereby dissipated. Indeed, it deepens as he approaches his
tragic period, and this change is reflected, almost against his will, in
Henry V.
I have argued that Henry V is not a play that springs into being de


Aggression and the Histories

novo at the time of its composition; rather, it is the culmination of a

long-laid plan. Just
to say. Nothing in r
tion of Richard II,
the first tetralogy, u
I suspect, however,
he intended a cont

antitype, the
still. I like to
dream of gre
someday dra


when that plan wa
ny argument requil
when Shakespeare
undertook a second
that already when
rating drama on t
tian conqueror wh

.Indeed, such an
think that it is nat
at works yet to be.


genitor? The Famo
speare's model for t
history still extant t
trilogy is haunted b]
(1 Henry VI, 4.3.5
composition, begin
from the start Shak
the king whose spirit
the figure of perfect
beginning and endi
typifies the contrast
To Shakespeare i
victories of England
must have seemed g
Wars the ghost of H
deeds: "O what eter

did no
the yo
of his

might pro
ly produce
t turn out
ruthful aut
seemed an
heroic virtue
lius Caesar


to aggressi
tted Shake

ral fo

Is first conceived it is impossible
res a date earlier than the incep-
, having successfully completed
that would be its reverse image.
Shakespeare wrote Richard III,
he ideal king who is Richard's
o offers a moral corrective to
on may have developed earlier
r young and ambitious poets to

s it unlil


of Henry VI, Shakesp
ig the very different
us Victories of Henr
ie Henriad, is almost t
:hat antedates Henry
y the figure of "That
i). Indeed, the eight
and end with Henry \
espeare intended to c
t is ritually invoked in
tion, not of accident
ng, Henry's funeral
Shakespeare draws
n the early or even th
l's hero king was an
guaranteed. It seemed
enry himself appears


nan matter nere is

ceed!" (5.5.I-z). It al
d a brief epic entitled
to be so for Shakespe
hor of i Henry VI:
Englishman's natural
je. Other plays written
, Hamlet-take quite
ion. But the whole pa
speare to produce a


ely that a
care alre
:areer of
y V, wh
he only v
VI. And
major hi
, and I t
-1 J

their firs
, and thi
and his
ie middle
epic sub
so to Da
to demand
nd / Wh
seemed s
e Battle
in 1599
ing the
ght, nor k
withinn abe
rn of his


s he dramatized the
ady had the idea of
Henry's great pro-
ich became Shake-
ernacular chronicle
Shakespeare's first
g man of memory"
stories, in order of
think it possible that
these histories with
t scene. The circle is
e contrast between
marriage, perfectly
his two tetralogies.
! o5 90s the famous

d an
ence I
~o to
of Ag
. He
)Ut a
Nic, n

whose validity
in whose Civil
epic about his
new immortal
Drayton, who
incourt. But it
was no longer
:h perhaps no
Them a proof
year of Henry
of all our im-
eding histories
ot a riddle of

multiple perspectives or balanced ambiguities. It

s much for Shake-




64 Sherman Hawkins

speare's honesty that he included so many of his doubts and questions.

It says even more
true to his major
epics; to finish su
the epic poet to h
comes so many re,
Like his embattled
least of which is
conceivable to an
Yet even today-
drama in the thea
speech is meant

:h a
is he

artistic tenacity and

is a

courage that he remained

Literary history is littered wit


project requires a power of aspirati
ro. Precisely because it acknowledge
tions, Henry V achieves a heroism
g, Shakespeare wins against great o
own view of war and conquest, a
ish contemporary of Essex, Drake,

on that allies
ges and over-
of statement.
dds-not the
view hardly
and Raleigh.

and even without cuts-Henry V works as heroic
ter. Can anyone suppose that Henry's Saint Crispin
to inspire only Westmoreland and Salisbury? He

speaks it to his audience on stage, but Shakespeare directs it to us. We
find ourselves included in Henry's heroic brotherhood and capable-if
only in imagination-of "noble acts." At the play's end the actors put
off their splendid costumes, and we of the audience shuffle out into the
common streets and back to our average lives. But perhaps we have
learned how heroism feels.

Let me end as I began, with Prospero. He is the image of absolute
power; he is also by common consent an image of Shakespeare him-

self. The magic he
mastery of theatric
dream dreams. We
instincts so fatally a
type of wisdom, it
because he is finally
ogy of Shakespeare
cible drives of com
clowns and courtly
surrender these imp
give up his revenge
raises a storm to w
wrath in age. Thro
emerges in different

exerts over the other characters is the dramatist's
al illusion, the ability to make us see visions and
have observed his will to power: the aggressive
absent in Henry VI are strong in Prospero. If he is a
is not because he is without desire or anger but
able to govern these unruly passions. The psychol-
's final romance includes the concupiscent and iras-
edy and history, which are figured in the drunken
conspirators and joined in Caliban. Prospero must
'ulses in himself, but it seems even harder for him to
than to give away his daughter. The Prospero who
rreck his enemies is initially, like Lear, a figure of
ugh the long scene that follows, this stormy anger
it forms against Ariel, Caliban, and Ferdinand-

even, at moments, against Miranda: "Thou attend'st not!" (The Tem-
pest, i.z.87). It is easy to see why Caliban or Ferdinand should mis-

Aggression and the Histories 65

take him for a tyrant. But in fact Prospero is-or becomes-the true
prince. Thus, he exhibits with special clarity the paradox of aggression

redirected to the communal and the
The tempest that gives the play it
destroy his enemies, but the very act
transcend and move beyond it. In
through his anger by Shakespeare's

s title expresses Prospero's wish to
of expression enables Prospero to
the scenes that follow, he works
dramatic method, acting out his

enemies in
Never has
at first the
But gradua
a desire to
at the pla)
sufferings c

a touch of h
tenderness in
ancient ener
further motive
vengeance" (

impulse in ficti
the process of
1 -

ospero consci(
:ed to punish s
y anger yields t
ach and chang
moral crisis
Gonzalo and
human feeling,
himself. This


ies and unite


form, overpowering
inging them to knov
sly intended anything

-ms stronger than a
a sense of mastery,

'e. What finally enabl
is of course Ariel's
his companions. Find

is the sense
s Naples a


is moved t
of commu
nd Milan.

for forgiveness: "The rarer
I.27-z8). Prospero forgives




and tormenting his
pledge of their sins.
Sbut their good, yet
purpose to forgive.
which in turn leads to
Prospero to forgive
eech describing the
g in this spirit of air
find an answering
ity which reconciles
But Prospero has a
is / In virtue than in
o not because Anto-

rns for

giveness by repentance or a change of heart but because it
action." Prospero has not ceased to aspire, but the object

of his aspiration is now higher and more difficult: it is the "virtue" he
has taught by learning and attaining it.
Prospero's transforming art is not entirely illusion, for by its drama-

turgic working Alonso repents, Ferdinand I
impelled to seek for grace. But it is not
violate the inner freedom of those it rule
omnipotence it imitates. Antonio chooses t
changed. So we may do, as well. For of
Prospero would effect includes the audien
rectly in the epilogue. Never is his real powe
as he surrenders its last fictive vestiges and
of those who have been so long his willing
need for forgiveness by asking it himself. By

the power Prospero
so that rule becomes
the good and wise n
how to be wise and

learns, and even Caliban is
limitless, either: it cannot
s any more than can the
o resist it and remains un-
course the transformation
ce whom he addresses di-
r over us greater than here,
places himself at the mercy
g subjects, teaching us our
now it should be clear that

has so desired is exercised for the good of others,
a form of service. It is a final political lesson from
magician who would teach us, could we but learn,



Sons and Substitutions: Shakespeare's
Phallic Fantasy

Norman N. Holland

The theme

shall dev

clop in this


risks being embarrassingly

obvious. I see a pattern in Shakespeare's fathers and sons: the father is
the social and moral superior, the son the lower and lesser being. But
the son acts on behalf of the father as his agent or deputy-his locum


to be precise. He does for the father something that the father,

for whatever reason, does not or cannot do for himself. He substitutes

for the father, a word to which

shall return.

In a way, I am simply restating an aspect of such classic ideas about

Shakespeare as Tillyard's and Spencer's

"Elizabethan world-picture"

and Lovejoy's "great chain of being." Because the pattern

so closely

coincides with the general principles of Elizabethan hierarchy, you
could even read "father" here in Lacanian terms as the superior law-
the nom, or non, a cultural given.
Surely this father-son relationship is quite obvious, yet Shakespeare
complicates the relation so as to make it richly his own. First, the
fathers are of the old-fashioned kind, individual, like the actual father
that we might confront on the couch or in the clinic. (Hence I do not

read Shakespeare's

"father" as a Lacanian abstraction.) Second, this

father-son pattern serves only as
paints more detailed plots. More
worked out against Shakespeare's

a frame within which Shakespeare
over, I find this masculine pattern
gradual and literally mysterious ac-

commodation to the feminine. The creative power of woman grows

quantitatively and qualitatively more important for him

as the psycho-

logical vassalage of son to father becomes less so.

That is the ending. At the beginning, though, come "brave Talbot, the

terror of the French,

" and his son John, who may be Shakespeare's

Sons and Substitutions 67

first fully drawn portraits of a father and son. Talbot spells the pattern
out as he mourns his son in the last scene. The doughty father had
begged and ordered the boy to flee the battle, but his son stayed. Then
the father was downed, and his son stood over him and guarded him.

Dizzy-ey'd fury and great rage of heart
Suddenly made him from my side to start
Into the clust'ring battle of the French;
And in that sea of blood my boy did drench
His overmounting spirit; and there died
My Icarus, my blossom, in his pride.
(i Henry VI, 4.7.11-16)

Then Talbot himself dies.
The pattern is as follows: the father leads; the son is loyal; the son
acts outward from the father, assuming the risk of action (as Icarus
flew away from Daedalus). I visualize it as an L-shaped pattern, in
which the father's power extends downward from the top, like God's,
along the vertical bar of the L, and the son acts outward along the
horizontal bar.
Once 1 begin looking for it, I find this L-shaped father-son pattern
pervasive, most strongly and clearly so in the early plays. In I Henry
VI, besides the various Yorkist and Lancastrian dynasties, there is the
example of the master gunner of Orleans, who aims his cannon but
then leaves, putting his young son in charge of the gun. It is the boy
who fires it and kills the mighty Earl of Salisbury.
The Henry VI plays offer a cluster of father-son relationships-the
Talbots, the Cliffords, and the Yorks. Lord Clifford, for example, in
2 Henry VI vows to spare none of his enemies once his father has been
killed. In The Comedy of Errors Egeus's son acts outward for him,
going in search of his missing brother. The four Lancastrian histories
provide further variations on the theme. Prince John, the good son, is
of course true to his father, King Henry IV, throughout the drama, as
his father had been to John of Gaunt when he was Henry Bolingbroke,
in Richard II. By contrast, Hal, in r Henry IV, images right and wrong
versions of the son's vassalage to a father-right to his kingly father,
wrong to Falstaff.
Hamlet works out this L-shaped pattern, or its violation, in its many
father-son relations. The Ghost wants his son to act on his behalf
against his enemies, as young Fortinbras does. Even Claudius says,

68 Norman N. Holland

"Think of us / As of a father" (I.z.107-8), but then he parodies the
pattern when he insists that Laertes show himself his father's son by
acting outward against Hamlet in the treacherous duel.
The pattern occurs again in Macbeth with old Siward and young
Siward, the son risking himself in single combat with the villain. Old
Siward mourns him by saying he was fighting not only for his real
father but for the Father in heaven:

Why then, God's soldier be he!
Had I as many sons as I have hairs,
I would not wish them to a fairer death.

The son has simply exchanged fathers. Moreover, Siward's imagined
sons (heirs?) grow like hairs from their father's body, as Talbot's son
started from his father's side.

We could go on ti
throughout the cano
figures and son figu
Richard III Henry
himself may have be
God, on the model o
asks Hal to bestride
done his father. In 2
son agencies continue
Windsor show what
Henry V Shakespea
Henry gathers all th

racing the pattern between literal fathers and sons
n, but if we allow our category to include father
res as well, we can see many more versions. In
rudor emerges as the agent of God, as Richard
en in the first four acts the aggressive scourge of
f Marlowe's Tamburlaine. In I Henry IV Falstaff
him if he falls in the battle, as young Talbot had
Henry IV the imaging of right and wrong father-
es, and Falstaff's followers in The Merry Wives of
it is like to be vassals of a preposterous lord. In
re trumpets the father-son relationship, as King
e different peoples and accents of Great Britain as

vassals to himself, at the same time as he acknowledges his own vassal-
age to God.
The pattern frames the action of Julius Caesar; it appears at the
opening when Antony touches Calpurnia for Caesar and at the end
when he has revenged Caesar's murder. It opens Macbeth, when Mac-
beth and Banquo, the psychological sons of Duncan, act for him
against those who rebel against the father figure. It informs Othello as
long as lago remains Othello's loyal ensign. Indeed, the L-shaped pat-
tern admits any relationship between a loyal retainer and a ruler-
Falconbridge and King John, for example, or Kent and Lear; and on
the side of evil, Buckingham and Richard, or the murderers and Suf-
folk, Richard, and Macbeth. Titus Andronicus acts on behalf of Sat-

Sons and Substitutions

urninus the same way, but the reversal of the old-young pattern signals
something is amiss.

The L-shaped fathe;
master psychologicall
servant (who would
Cesario or Timon and
(the good son) and Ca
puts it, servants "wer
were subsumed by the
and Stone 1977). As Y
when the Duke acts thi
mer Night's Dream,

r-son pattern also images the relation between a

y a father)
be psycho
Flavius, O
liban (the
e subsume
ir fathers"
'ou Like I
rough his
when Obe


a servant, particularly a

logically a so
'beron and Puc
bad, rebellion
d in exactly th
(1971, 20-zI
t opens with a
wrestler or Oli

ron acts thr

n): Orsino and
k or Prospero an
s son). As Peter
ie way that all c
; see also Pearsol
series of these m
/er. So does A M

d Ariel
n 1957
iale Ls,

ough Puck and Theseus

through co
natural and
Romeo a
the servants
thrust and
chy. In the
for whom
figure, Aufi

urtiers; it
the other
ndJuliet d
who are
parry at th
same way,
dius, acts

does not matter to the pattern t
oubles the pattern. One L faces an
the lower members of the Montag
te servants at the bottom of the C
Rome and Menenius are the fath
acts outward aggressively, while
outward for his paternal figures

hat one L is

opposite L, as
;ue hierarchy
apulet hierar-
ers at the top
the rival son
, the city of

In co
the mas
ples of
piece, a
in Marl


and its elders.
mbining the prince and the general, the general and his soldiers,
ter and his servants, the father and his sons, into one L-shaped
of vassalage, I am pointing to commonplace Elizabethan princi-
social organization. Primogeniture kept noble estates in one
nd in many other ways this kind of father-son loyalty warded off
. Even so, I do not find the same preoccupation with this theme
owe, Jonson, or even Webster. Kyd and Heywood do more with

although not, I think, as much as Shakespeare. He, moreover, gives it
special coloring.
Socially and psychologically the Shakespearean son is the father's

vassal. He is to
More precisely
hawk does for
loyalty of the
exactly what ti
himself. Whate,

e loyal, he is
e could say h
could say th
hunter. The
ast. The bea
gentleman h
Sthe beast wi

to obey, and he is to act for the father.
e is the father's right hand or his sword.
e son acts for his father as a hound or a
gentleman hunter claims the absolute
st acts outward on the world, doing
unter would do if he were acting for
ns belongs to its master.

Part of Shakespeare's special coloring of the theme is that the son's


Norman N. Holland

aggression outward on behalf of the father often takes specifically oral

forms, like Orl
master gunner's
Orleance" (1.4.
lion" (i Henry
seem ready to bi
Further, the
orally (in the ps:
that a kind ma
relationship can
devotes two wh
Timon err in se
comes obedient

ando's demanding food for
son fires just at the moment
59). Talbot describes his sol
VI, 4.7.6-7). Like a hawk o

te or eat on behalf of thE
good Shakespearean fa
ychoanalytic sense) by gi
ster gives his hawk or

fail if the
ole plays
instead o
gives ano

as hawk or hound, agent

father neglects
Precisely to su
both give their
if after.
their special qua
or vassal to the


eir fa

ihen "i
as acti
their m
him th

g old Adam. The
t is supper-time in
ng like a "hungry
, these vassal sons
his son's loyalty
e food and shelter

hound. This oral father-son
to give correctly. Shakespeare
ch errors in giving. Lear and
bounty before the hawk be-

lity to this pattern of the son
father. The task of the son-

of maleness itself-is to go ou
Shakespeare develops a recurri
is to go out into the world. Th
of Verona contrast Valentine
"dully sluggardiz'd at home" (
homely wits" (.i.z). Proteus

It along t
ng motif:
ie opening
setting o
i.1.7): "I
looks at

ce horizo
leaving h,
lines of
it in the
his frien,

of the L. Hence
The young man
Two Gentlemen
Id with Proteus
youth have ever
d remarks, "He

after honor hu
motif of leaving
father speeds I
man's destiny
the father who
way, and she
out" [z.7.541)
stay in Denm
contrasts with
In the first
brother's negle

der this
of my

is t
) se

, I

me w
n his
go ou
ds hir
go w

love" (1.1.63), and the word "hunts" sets th
within the hawk-hound symbolism. Valentine'
way, as Proteus's father will later. The younj



into the world and win fortune on behalf of
Even Julia must go forth in this male-male
h a horizontally projecting codpiece ("Out,

. Conversely, in Hamlet Claudius insists that the prince
ark and not return to Wittenberg, and that behavior
proper fatherhood.
scene of As You Like It Orlando complains of his



keeps me rustically at home" (1.i
Most as favored by Shakespeare a
e of males in the hierarchy-horses
nd to that end riders dearly hir'd
under him but growth" (I.i. z-144
,tion Orlando wants to spring free:
rong in me, and I will no longer

.7), and he
s hawks or
: "They are
; but I (his
). From un-
"The spirit
endure it"

(I.I.70-7I). He wants to leave home, as Hamlet and Lacrtes want to

to an emblem
for the right rc
their manage,
) gain nothing
; vertical domin
father grows s

Sons and Substitutions

leave the court in the openi
realm Rosalind has to leave,
Cymbeline's missing sons
tern. They are sons who hav
which therefore is

ng scene of Hamlet. In another usurped
and she dresses as a boy to do so.
also demonstrate this Shakespearean pat-
e been (they think) kept at home, a home

A cell of ignorance, travelling a-bed,
A prison, or a debtor that not dares
To stride a limit.
(3..33-3 5)

On hearing this, their foster father comments,

the sparks of nature! .. Their thoughts do hit / T
(3.3.79-84). He says that when he sits and tells h
boy's "spirits fly out / Into my story" (3.3.90-91).
side, like young Talbot; like Icarus, they fly.
I have mentioned the oral failures in this father
admits also, of course, a phallic (aggressive, stri
seems to have been a particularly important kind
trayal for Shakespeare. For example, when he v
horror of civil war in 3 Henry VI, he shows a father
ingly killed his son and a son who has unknown
Lord Clifford in 2 Henry VI vows to spare none
his father has been killed. The two Henry IV plays
idea of a son who is failing his father as a warrior
wrong father, Falstaff, and who finally betrays
Particularly outrageous are Northumberland's fa
son Hotspur and King John's attacks on little Art!
Another kind of failure in the male-male patt
ineffectual, impotent king-father fails to rule stroi
an obvious example, as are Richard II and King
work out Yeats's statement of a personal myth
wise man who was blind from very wisdom, and
thrust him from his place, and saw all that could
emptiness." Yeats gives Hamlet and Fortinbras as
ard II and Bolingbroke might serve even better
occurs in King John, where John is like Bolingbr
Richard II. In Richard III little Prince Edward is

"How hard it is to hide

he roofs of palaces"
is warlike feats, the
SThey start from his

-son relationship. It

gly 1
of h

failure, wh
outrage and
to convey
io has unkno
illed his fath
s enemies oi
I entirely on
s acting for

father a

s w

ilure to support
ern occurs when
ig sons. Henry V
John. Such figu



I is

for Shakespeare, "a
an empty man who
d be seen from very
examples, but Rich-
. The same pattern
oke and Arthur like
the ineffectual, true

monarch to that rampaging boa

Ir, Richard. Edward

is a prototype

other witty boys whom the plays threaten, torment, or kill. These sons,


Norman N. Holland

who fail by giving out words instead of acting for their fathers, or who
are witty and suffer (for it?), suggest some of Shakespeare's feelings
about writing plays, but that would be a different and much larger

topic th;
and Hal
to be ge
I606. b


r e

order to
key wor
a father

has a


an this essay's.
Ilion is my present theme. Sons or son figures directly atta
or kings in the first two of the major tragedies (Julius Cae
mlet) and in the histories of 1590-1600, which are call
s in the quartos (Richard III and Richard II). Failures of sc
iod vassals continue to be central for all the tragedies up
ut the tone of the plays changes. Henry Ebel writes that "Jul
:liminates or qualifies heterosexual or familial relationships
channel all emotional intensity into the particular drama
rebellion with which it deals" (I975, ii8). "Oedipal" is t
d here. As Shakespeare moves from Brutus's rebellion agaii
figure to Hamlet's and those in the later tragedies, villai
more sexual, and the issues between "fathers" and "son
more sexually colored. Claudius's attack on the king-fath
sexual element, but the ghost-father has to caution Ham
extending his revenge to his mother in the very sexual bedroom
hamlet's nonaction suggests an ambivalence in his action
f his father, a covert rebellion. The tragedies after Hamlet ha


Sways of attacking the king or father. lago betrays his general-
by the play of language. In this same way in King Lear Edmund

betrays his father, Gloucester, who has in turn betrayed his son Edgar.
Macbeth secretly murders his king-father.
In these phallic or oedipal rivalries good sons (and often the bad ones,
before they go bad) are their fathers' right hands, their swords, their
hawks, their horses, their hounds-all symbols for the father's phallic
power. I think, for example, of the extended equation in 2 Henry VI of
the "Lord Protector" and his ambition to his hawk and its "climbing
high" (2.1.7). The Dauphin in Henry V boasts of his horse, "When I
bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk," and goes on to equate his horse's to
his mistress's bearing him (3.7.15, 46). Read Sonnet 91, and listen with
a psychoanalyst's third ear. The speaker notes that others take pride in

hawks, hounds, or horse,

"a joy above the rest," but to him

Thy love is...
Of more delight than hawks or horses be
And having thee, of all men's pride I boast:
Wretched in this alone, that thou mayst take
All this away, and me most wretched make.


Sons and Substitutions

The loved young man is like

"a joy above the rest." He is "all men's

pride," whose loss would make the one who


him (it) most

wretched. In Lucrece the symbolism becomes even more explicit. Be-
fore the rape Tarquin threatens his victim:

he shakes aloft his Roman blade,
Which like a falcon towering in the skies,
Coucheth the fowl below with his wings' shade,
Whose crooked beak threats, if he mount, he dies.
Nicely ambiguous. If he (the falcon) rise, he (the fowl)

dies, but in

another sense, he (the falcon) does too. Be that as it may, after the rape
Tarquin is "the full-fed hound or gorged hawk" (694).
In this symbolism, hound, sword, and phallus act sexually and
aggressively outward from and for their male owner. Indeed, in the

famous Sonnet

zo Shakespeare spells this motif out still more explic-

itly, defining masculinity purely by the presence of a penis. Nature
"prick'd thee out" with the horizontal, outgoing member in the L-
shaped pattern. In the same way, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, like

the other earl

comedies, contains lots of phallic jokes,

as when Julia

dresses up as a boy-again, the horizontal member defines
and male-male relations.



am describing in the father-son pattern are Shakespeare's phal-

lic fantasies, in which, it seems to me, the son becomes almost literally
the father's genital. That transformation perhaps is not surprising in a
man's fantasy about serving another man. What is surprising to me is
that the son is sometimes the sexual as well as the aggressive agent for
the father figure. That is indeed unusual vassalage.

The Sonnets make the most obvious example of a son's

sexually for a father figure. In Sonnet
father-son pattern quite explicit:

As a decrepit father takes delight


37 Shakespeare makes the

To see his active child do deeds of youth ...

He goes on to say that in the son's


virility the father's

lameness and other lacks will be cured by "my

to this store" so that "I in thy abundance am suffic'd"
receives what hawk or hound captures).

restored. The
ove ingrafted
(as a hunter


N. Holland

The older poet urges his young friend to go out into the world, to
have sex, and to become a father himself. The youth of the Sonnets is

like Bassanio in The Merchant

of Venice,

who is sent off by the older

Antonio to woo Portia (to bring back the golden fleece and the power
of mercy); like Fleance in Macbeth, who will supply the offspring for
the line of Banquo to become kings of Scotland; or like Antony in

ulius Caesar,

who is to touch Calpurnia and thus trigger her fertility.

The complicated


at the beginning of Much Ado About Noth-

in which the prince woos Hero for himself and then gives her to

his loyal vassal Claudio,

sets up a situation in which Claudio is to act

sexually for his general-father. That substitution contrasts with the
feared substitution of a midnight lover for the legitimate betrothed.
Consider again Talbot's eulogy of his son in i Henry VI: "Fury and
great rage of heart [desire?] / Suddenly made him from my side to start
[to spring out]." He rushed into "the clust'ring battle of the French,"
who are associated in this play and in later plays with women and
effeminacy; then "in" a sea of blood he drenched his "overmounting"
spirit, and he died in his pride. Recall Mercutio's phallic puns on



on "dying,"

and Shakespeare's in


"pride." The

sea of blood might thus hint at an enclosing, feminine-

and deadly-container.

grant that I am reading the



and with sexual meanings in mind (like those elaborated in early psy-
choanalysis), but I hear a very deep level in the Shakespearean father-
son relation: the son is the father's phallus. Talbot wants his son to
escape so that the Talbot line ("our household's name") will survive;

that is, for generative ends.

"In thee thy mother dies"

you die, your mother dies.
The son substitutes for the father. The etymology of substitute fits

this phallic fantasy:

sub- (under) + stature (to cause to stand). A

substitute is one that is caused to stand under-here, to stand under
the father. Interestingly, the other word I have been using, vassal,

comes from the Celtic equivalent:


(one that stands under).

There may be a similar fantasy involved in the word deputy. The verb
depute comes from de (off) + putare (to prune or cut, as in amputate).
To make Angelo in Measure for Measure a deputy is perhaps (in
fantasy) to start a phallus off on its own.
I hesitate to offer so crudely Freudian a reading, but it does enable

me to guess why the Lovejoy-Tillyard-Spcncer


of Elizabethan

hierarchy occupies so central a place in the psychology of Shake-

Sons and Substitutions 75

spare's plays and poems. To question the great chain of being is to
threaten castration. To restore it is to restore virility itself.

More than any other plays, the problem comedies test this sexual
vassalage. Troilus and Cressida works out the pattern in both military
and sexual spheres. The fathers-Agamemnon, Ulysses, and Nestor-
try to get a reluctant Achilles to do their fighting for them, as Hector
fights on Priam's behalf and as others fight on Hector's behalf. At the
same time, Pandarus urges Troilus on to sex, trying to get him to act
out the older man's sexual wishes. The younger man would then sexu-
ally parallel Hector's military vassalage to their father, Priam. Ulysses
is trying to bring Ajax and Hector together, and Pandarus is trying to
bring Troilus and Cressida together. She escapes Troilus's and
Pandarus's control, as Achilles escapes Ulysses's, with shameful re-
sults. The shame comes about because of substitution-exactly the
relationship that the normal father-son agency established. The Myrmi-
dons substitute for Achilles, making him a bully and a coward, and
Diomede substitutes for Troilus, making him a cully.
All's Well That Ends Well and Measure for Measure are likewise
plays where key substitutions produce startling, if not shameful, re-
sults. It is as though Shakespeare wanted to test the world-view that
had sustained him up to the 16oos. All's Well again tries the agency
of son for father. The cure of the king comes in erotic terms: "Your
dolphin is not lustier" (2.3.z6). "Lustick, as the Dutchman says. .
He's able to lead her a coranto" (2.3.41-43). Sexually restored, the
king orders his vassal Bertram to marry Helen. To keep his word, he
makes Bertram his sexual agent. Bertram refuses that relationship
and chooses to be a martial agent instead, leaving to fight for the
Duke of Florence. In this pattern it is all right for a son to act for
a father figure aggressively, but the father's delegating him as a sex-
ual agent leads to trouble. Later, when Bertram chooses for himself
in a sexual situation-it does not seem to matter that he chooses
wrongly-the plot can work itself out.
Measure for Measure begins with Shakespeare's usual father-son
pattern: the Duke appoints Angelo a political deputy to act aggres-
sively for him. Angelo, however, makes himself his sexual deputy as
well, attempting to seduce the very woman whom the Duke, at the end
of the play, somewhat improbably singles out as his own. The trouble

Norman N. Holland

in the comedy begins when the son figure begins to act sexually in the
father figure's stead.
In short, I can read the problem comedies as Shakespeare's distrust

: sexual
test the
gh sons?
in this b

the subject of
class father. I
working out g
reason Troilu
spoken by a r

by both

possibilities in a father-s
gically until he ceased I
father-son ideal: Wha
I am echoing Barber anc
ook, that Shakespeare di
tragedy until he had hin
n my reading of the p

s anc

the circums
ng the tragic
y as do the
stems from

on pattern that had serv
to have a father. The p


ror some earner sexual r
SCressida contains the
Elizabethan conception
ng, scheming, Polonius-li
;tance and manner of its
dies only Othello tests
problem comedies. lag
his imagining permutati

authority w
eeler's obser
t make the fa
surpassed hi
em comedies
i 1

rivalry. 'oss

ith its
s own


ed him
in their
n crisis

he would be
bly this is the

finitive speech on the
degree-definitive, yet
old man and undercut
s sexual delegation as
famous confusion of
s of the play's possible

sexual substitutions. None of these erotic imaginings

ever, compared to I
of command, agaix
"Why is it," asks
dined to trust the
198z, 164). Becau
trust in male-male

seem real, how-

the solid delegations of authority, the military chain

ist whici
word of
se, I wo


tion works when the Veneti;
Othello, and indeed that a
father's claims. Delegation
Cassio and through lago an
William Kerrigan notes in
Othello, whose relationship
riage, subordinate the heter
mona to the marriage of a

the tragedy pla
lago than that
Id answer, the
, and lago acts
an senate entru
action allows hi
continues with
d even with lag
his essay, the
has long been r
sexual marria
senior to a jun

ys its sexual uncertainties.
"that Othello is more in-
of Desdemona?" (Gohlke
masculinist norm dictates
within that norm. Delega-
sts its aggressive power to
m to evade Desdemona's
Othello's agency through

'o's thro
shared v
ge of O
ior male

ugh Roderigo. As
'ows of lago and
as a kind of mar-
thello and Desde-
. Othello's tragic

mistake is that the danger comes, not from the feminine sexuality he
fears, but from the theatrics of a son figure.

What I find most surprising about this pattern of the son as substitute
for the father is that Shakespeare uses the L-shaped male-male relation


Sons and Substitutions

as the paradigm for woman. At least he does so at the beginning of his
career, before he has started the long accommodation to the feminine
that seems to me the keynote of his psychological growth.

Central to my reading of Shakespeare's

transfer of the L-shaped

father-son pattern to the relation of man to woman is The Taming of
the Shrew. Consider the Induction, which makes The Taming an ex-
tended play within a play. In it a dominant man acts through his
hounds, hawks, servants, and a "son"-the beggar Sly. A lord comes
in with his hounds, finds Sly asleep, and has the idea of playing a joke
on this drunken tinker. He will dress him up, wine him, dine him, and
have his servants persuade him that he is the lord himself. In effect, Sly
the beggar will be fed and housed in the father-son "oral" pattern, and
he will act for the lord as the hounds do. The lord makes almost as
much a point of feeding his hounds as of feeding Sly. He even supplies
Sly with a wife, in the person of his page dressed as a lady, an action

that contains that odd Shakespearean hint that the

for the lord sexually as well

substitute is to act

as aggressively.

This "Lord"-he is not otherwise named-rules a world,

as Petru-

chio does in the main play, which the Induction frames. If Petruchio
says the sun is the moon or an old man is a young virgin, Katherine

agrees, as

dutifully as any servant of the lord of the Induction would.

Petruchio announces,

"It shall be what a'clock I say it is" (4.3.195).

Petruchio controls what she shall eat, how she shall dress, and when
she shall sleep. He acts out with Kate the lord's business of feeding

someone who substitutes for you, making just the comparison


My falcon now is sharp and passing empty,
And till she stoop, she must not be full-gorg'd,
For then she never looks upon her lure.

He goes on to say that another way "to man my haggard" is
her awake as one does with hawks that "bate and beat and wi

to keep
II not be

obedient" (4.1.193, 196).
Because of this training, by the end of the comedy Kate is behaving
just like a hawk or a hound. In the finale Petruchio bets on her in a
contest of wits with the widow that seems very much like a dogfight;

then he bets again in a contest of obedience in which Kate
the other two wives, as a retriever would fetch a duck:

to fetch

Norman N. Holland

Twenty crowns!
I'll venture so much of my hawk or hound,
But twenty times so much upon my wife.

It is in these terms that I understand Kate's speech about the proper
role of a wife. The wife Kate idealizes (and Shakespeare, too, I am
sorry to say) is like a hawk or a hound--or, strangely, a son to a
We are touching here on a more interesting theme than the obvious

one of the father-son r
use Shakespeare's owr
is for his one unquesi
images of Petruchio eil

relationship: the suppression of the feminine or, to
Phrase, the taming of the shrew. Interestingly, it
tionably false woman that he revives the harsh
;ht years before. Pandarus says to Cressida, "You

must b
the fills
a horse
early w
ing fem
say) an
tures ol
him, Sh
I could
man's 1

e watched ere you be made tame" (3.2.43), as though he
g a hawk, and adds, "[if] you draw backward, we'll put yi
," that is, the shafts of a wagon (3.1.45), as though Cressida
That had to be trained to obedience.
h Cressida, as with Katherine and many of the women ii
orks, I see Shakespeare trying to convert a rebellious or te
lininity into the relationship of a loyal, obedient son to a
or a favorite hawk or hound to its master, or even (I hesita
obedient phallus to its owner. As Sprengnether suggests, s
f male domination and control serve to allay anxieties for SI
about treachery or betrayal by women, particularly in
n as procreators or mothers (Gohlke i98ob). Hence, as I
hakespeare avoids the danger by making woman over into
I, in the manner of Freud, state, and perhaps overstate
I surmise: women do not dangerously lack penises if the
. At the beginning of The Taming of the Shrew Katheri

ng lik

and that sor
That par
permitted t
lind, Julia, a

:e a man, and that is bad. At th
or hound. She becomes a me
rt of masculinity is permissible
tly obedient, partly rebellious n
he maidens in the early and mid
nd Portia can dress up as boys

e end she is beha
re appendage of
for a woman.
nasculinity is the
Idle comedies. Vi
and go out into

n the
ite to
, the
y are
ne is

ving like

only kind
ola, Rosa-
the world,

either away from the father figure or acting on his behalf, because they
exemplify a femininity reduced to obedient boyishness. While they are
in the world as men or boys, they have to follow the male ethic of

obedience to a master. Conversely, the young

women in A Midsummer

Sons and Substitutions 79

Night's Dream do not dress up as men, and the ensuing Green World
of mad mistakings in the woods images what happens when the female
principle is not controlled by a father or male ruler, or even a male
In general, the romantic comedies play with the sharp division of
male from female, undoing the division and restoring it, in the fantasy



in her


in this book. These women (acted

by boys) both are and

are not women. In As You Like It Rosalind

begins dressed feminine but soon dresses masculine; later she partially
undoes her masculinity by pretending to be Orlando's beloved. In this


recall that Shakespeare's favorite defenses are splitting, isola-

tion, and projection (Holland

I966, 135,

338), all ways of making one

thing into two. In

Twelfth Night Orsino treats the masculinized

Viola-Cesario-in the usual way a master treats a servant or a father
treats a son, but Shakespeare has the girl-boy act as Orsino's sexual
agent as well, in order to attract Olivia. Shakespeare solves the prob-
lem by psychologically splitting Viola into male and female. Then he
can allow the male Sebastian his prerogative as husband, but subordi-
nate the female Viola to her mate Orsino.
The history plays broach yet another feminine complication of


delegations. Henry V, for example,


on his troops this

Dishonor not your mothers;

now attest

That those whom you called fathers did beget you.


3. 1.2-2

When Talbot tried to dissuade his son from staying for the fatal battle,
the son replied:

Is my name Talbot? and am I

And shall

I fly? O, if you love

your son?
my mother,

Dishonor not her honorable name
To make a bastard and a slave of me!
The world will say he is not Talbot's blood
That basely fled when noble Talbot stood.

(r I enry VI,


y, both King Henry and young Talbot are saying that the

proper relation of father to son, the right vassalage of brave subordi-
nate to superior, ensures that the son is indeed the father's son and
therefore guarantees the honor and chastity of the mother.



80 Norman N. Holland

In effect, the father-son bond controls the sexuality of women. King
Lear illustrates the opposite: the failure of a son's fealty or a father's
care leads to unchastity, the freedom of women, and the untaming of
the shrew. This release of the sexual can work itself out tragically (as
in Titus Andronicus or King Lear), comically (as in A Midsummer
Night's Dream), sourly (as in Troilus and Cressida), or violently (as in
Henry V with the king's threats of rape).

Because of this li
subject against fath
sexual. Cuckoldry,
points out, becomes
in Othello (1981, i
man, is trustworthy,
tution is the decepl
Shakespeare's develk
I think we can re
beginning Shakespe
tion that will bear fi
Shakespeare's fashion
moves "from a brut

or the
a them
23). In
and th

the straightfor
Yields, around
possibility of
e--in Hamlet,
That pivotal t
e male pattern

ward phallic rivalry of son-
d 1600, to something more
cuckoldry, Coppelia Kahn
for example, or, most of all,
ragedy the woman, not the
of subordination and substi-

tion. The turnabout marks for me a change in
ad the group of tragedies that follows Hamlet as
are's reconciliation to the feminine, a reconcilia-
ull fruit in the romances. Peter Erickson writes of
rning, in the late plays, "a benign patriarchy." He
al, crude, tyrannical version to a benevolent one

capable of including and v
In King Lear two of th
earlier fear of the feminine
however, suggests a new v
father opens up a transce
Shakespeare, allying her to
invoking in the main body
like the Abbess in The Con
recuperation, or Hero in

e daugl
and hi!
iew of
of the I
:edy of

death and rebirth. Shakespeare i


(I985a, 148).

hters amply justify all Shakespeare's
s need to tame the shrews. The third,
woman. Her final reunion with her
vista, as does no previous death in
gods whom Lear has so vainly been
lay. We have come back to someone
Errors, with supernatural powers of
Ado About Nothing, with magical
s complicating his allegiance to the

father-son principle. He is about to retreat from controlling the femi-
nine and instead begin worshipping it, enclosing king- or fatherpower
in womanpower. A father's love for and from a daughter will replace a
father's pride in a son.
In many ways Macbeth would seem to be the purest statement of
Shakespeare's masculine ideal, echoing the male-male relationships of
the Henry VI trilogy. At the opening of the play we have Macbeth and
Banquo, good son figures, fighting on behalf of the father figure Dun-
can against bad sons who rebel against the king-father. Woman, in the

Sons and Substitutions 81

person of Lady Macbeth, disturbs this all-male arrangement. Later,
when crime yields to punishment, the male-male pattern reimposes
itself. Malcolm, the good son, rebels against Macbeth, the bad father.
Once Macduff's wife and babies have been killed, Macduff and Mal-
colm are completely separated from woman, whereas Macbeth, still
tied to his mad and sinister wife, despairs and dies.
What I find different in the male-male battles of Macbeth from
those in Richard III or the Henry VI plays is the dominating presence
of the witches. Shakespeare has introduced supernatural influences
into plays before, but because he presents the witches apart from their
prophecies to Banquo and Macbeth, they seem to have powers above
and beyond their tempting Macbeth and fulfilling their prophecies
through him. Banquo's sons will be kings, even though Banquo does
nothing about it. An ambiguously female supernature surrounds the
main (male) events, influencing them, surely, but perhaps also govern-
ing and dominating them. Being womanly but also partly male, the
witches are for Shakespeare doubly duplicitous. We cannot tell the
extent of their dangerous power, both male and female, but the visions
they conjure up have to do with birth and death and the cycling of
generations, as well as with the traditional Shakespearean concern,
kingship. This mysterious duplicity of woman is both inside and out-
side the L of male hierarchy.
I imagine Shakespeare's patterns in geometric terms-the father-
son, master-servant, falconer-hawk, or hunter-hound L that frames the
action. Sometimes, as in Macbeth, what is thus framed is the disturb-
ing doubleness of woman. In the early plays supernature took the form
of prophecies and curses, some of them by women, notably the three
cursing queens in Richard III (Kahn 1981, 55). Such women were
inside the action, however, impotent to change the events being cre-
ated by the dominant men. Supernature took the form of the conven-
tional male god of the final dreams in Richard III, an avenging god of
justice. Later, in Macbeth, a womanly aura (not Lady Macbeth's, but
the witches') also surrounds the L.
Cleopatra has that same mysterious quality. In the male world she
disrupts Antony's Roman valor. Like Cordelia or Lady Macbeth, her
ranking alongside Antony means defeat in military matters. In another
mode, outside the male-male L, she surrounds the action with celestial
music and strange, fertile gods; in the transcendent ending she and
Antony become stars and gods, and death itself is birth. Like the

Norman N. Holland

witches in Macbeth Cleopatra seems charged with the glories of fertil-
ity and the generations-birth, death, and rebirth.

reveals a
are not the
(as in Cyt
male virtu
her virgin
of healing


to f

'es further toward the transformation of
the romances' version by changing the
ather-daughter. As in all the late plays
funding supernatural order. However, tl

nbeline) o
e in painful
ty against
power as

litating on vi
, like Cordeli
r. Her sexual
res Pericles's
rides risks hi



ather-gods of Shylock or

r mother-goddesses,
I detail. Because Ma
every kind of press
does Helen in All'
inity" (i.i.ito): sh
she allies herself v

even in



relation from
, a theophany
these new gods

t but f
a brot

re, she acquires the
s Well That Ends
e can heal the fat

es tests fe-
hel, retains
same kind
Well, after
her figure.

ith the gods to nurture that

restraint evokes Diana, who with her maiden priests
s daughter by separating from her, and she richly

rewards his venture. An
him through incest. He
like those fathers in th
themselves in the world
Cymbeline does not
The first and last lines
in the most traditional

tiochus, by contrast, has bound his daughter to
fails to risk her or send her away from home,
e early plays who will not let their sons risk
at large.
go so far as Pericles in giving women power.

)f the play speak

deals with the disobedient daughter on
Anne Page. Imogen disguises herself as
plays, a woman who disguises herself a
in the male world, adopt male values,

of obedience to male powers
terms, and much of the play
he model of Hermia, Juliet, or
boy, and here, as in the early
a man shows she can function
nd submit to the male hierar-

chy. She is Fidele-faithful as a dog, and she says of her disguise:

This attempt
I am soldier to, and will abide it with
A prince's courage.
(3.4.18 -84)

Cymbeline wants to keep Imogen home. Like other rulers in the late
plays, he acts the part of an evil or misguided father: Leontes, Antio-
chus, the rebels in The Tempest and even Prospero himself, Henry
VIII, or Creon. Now, however, Imogen's womanliness supports the
male hierarchy, even as she gets outside it. Only the queen represents
the earlier duplicitous femininity, threatening from within the male



Sons and Substitutions 83

order. Once she is exposed, traditional male hierarchy returns. In
effect, the chastity of Imogen guarantees the justice of Jupiter.
In The Winter's Tale Leontes's failure to believe in his wife's chas-
tity costs him all his male loyalties. Eventually he reconciles himself to
the feminine, even to being ruled by a woman, Paulina. Magically,
through "th'adventure of her person" (5..1156), Perdita brings back
substitutes for those lost male relationships, and the powerful crone
Paulina brings back the almost divine feminine principle embodied in
Hermione's statue.
With Prospero in The Tempest we come full circle to the man of
great power, whose words order a world into being, as do Petruchio's
or the lord's in The Taming of the Shrew. The symbol of Prospero's
power is, as in the early plays, hounds and hunting: "A noise of
hunters heard. Enter divers SPIRITS in shape of dogs and hounds,
hunting them ithe rebels] about; Prospero and Ariel setting them on"
(4.1.255, stage direction). At the end of Shakespeare's career, how-
ever, the finale is not the victory of one male over another or the
taming of femininity in marriage but forgiveness and the cycling of the
generations. It is not a son whom Prospero sends outward but a daugh-
ter, "this my rich gift" (4.1.8). In cautioning against breaking "her
virgin-knot" before the marriage ceremony, he repeats the old Shake-
spearean worry that feminine chastity is needed to guarantee what
Ferdinand calls "quiet days, fair issue, and long life" (4.1 .4). One can
read Prospero's freeing of Ariel as a sign of Shakespeare's release from
the old pattern of father acting through son-and one can read the fact
that he only reluctantly lets Ariel go by fits and starts as Shakespeare's
ambivalence at writing finis to this pattern that had guided his writing
and, perhaps, his life.

At the end, as at the beginning, I think we can see pervading Shake-
speare's works a relationship between a father figure and a son figure
like that between a gentleman and his hawk or hound. The father
trains the son by artfully meeting the son's needs, though not too much
and not too soon. The father figure then sends the son figure out into a
risky world. The son is supposed to do the father's business, typically
to achieve and bring back some prize-riches, a wife, revenge, glory on
the battlefield, a child.
The pattern changes in tone and feel as Shakespeare ages. In the

Norman N. Holland

early histories and the first tragedies, h

e tests the pattern by having

sons rebel against fathers. Father figures and so
aggression and the hierarchy of men. In the earl
made to submit to these values, often by dressir
In the middle tragedies and the problem c
explores more and more the fears and distas
father's delegating sexual functions to the son o
manipulating the father's sexual prerogatives.
for the father in sexual ways, but Shakespeare

n figures I
y comedic
ng up as b
comedies ,
te associa
r the son'
At first the

relate around
:s women are
ted with the
s usurping or
e son can act

Becomes increasingly

uneasy with this option.
At the same time, this father-son relation colors Shakespeare's writ-
ing about women. Initially the ideal woman is like a son, playing a
tamed hawk or hound to a dominant male. Gradually Shakespeare
discovers other ways of coping with a femininity he finds duplicitous
and dangerous. The woman can be the loyal son without being so
demeaned: she can be a Cordelia, a Perdita, a Miranda.
Gradually, too, the balance changes between the male and female
patterns. At first males guarantee the chastity of female hv Iaillv

acting out this
prove the incor
the chastity of
world's order a

father-son pattern. Failures in the father-son relation

nd the I

of women. Gradually this pattern is reversed:
in an almost supernatural way guarantees the
oyalty of sons to fathers.

Where in the earlier plays supernature takes the form of a powerful,
revenging male god of law, justice, and revenge, in the late plays deity

takes the form of gods or goddi

rhythm of the sexes and the get
is the business of the kings and
justice, in the late plays the kin
to nature, procreation, and the
the mercy and forgiveness that
At the deepest level, we are
kind of sexual substitute, vassal
speare's phallic fantasy a son
sometimes amplifying it, some
late form of that fantasy a da
masculinity. In a sense Shakesp
great fear of losing his manho

absence as a

esses of life, who guarantee the natur
operations. Whereas in the early plays
fathers to make themselves like gods <
gs and fathers must attune themselves
feminine. In the late plays men act oi
had earlier been woman's province.
seeing in the late plays quite another
,or deputy. In the early form of Shak'
acted as the father's phallic power-
times destroying its originator. In tF
ughter can substitute for, or amplif
care, who in this reading began with
'od, learns to accept, indeed love, a

substitute for a presence. The final substitution is of a

woman for a man.




Sons and Substitutions

I imagine a Shakespeare who began his writing career with a need to
become-ultimately to be-an extension of his father. This trait curi-
ously combines passivity with activity-the passivity of total submis-
sion with the activity (both aggressive and, more ambiguously, sexual)
that that submission authorizes. Such a person could be bisexual. Such a
person could act in an assertive, even macho, way toward others but
lapse into abject obedience to the father figure. He could be cruel if
authorized (as Prospero is with Caliban, as Bernard Paris shows in his
essay in this collection). Mostly, though, he would be a "gentle" man, in
the one adjective for Shakespeare his contemporaries bequeathed us.
The passive (if you will, homosexual) possibilities at the beginning of
Shakespeare's career made possible the feminine substitution at the end.

"I imagine a man.
to do for many p

Sonnets: "We can turn
fact, and read the poems
man's experience. When
tell a story, they do expr

ince the early days
1 the plays in term
play of language"
irean critics find t
popular. Indeed,
doing something t


" Is that what I am doing? Not quite. I am trying
rs what C. L. Barber so eloquently did for the

our backs on the unanswerable questions of
not as tantalizing clues but as expression of a
Swe do so, we find that, though they do not
ess a personality" (1960, 8).
f the New Criticism it has been traditional to
of ideas or themes (and, more recently, "the
r signifiers signifying signifieds). Many Shake-
Sconcentration on language valid, satisfying,
reading the works for a father-son pattern I


e, in that I am looking for consistencies

and contrasts in the language.
I am also doing something different, though, in that I am myself

substituting (which is no
ing abstract meaning wi
son. I am construing wh
pret a conversation with
"Shakespeare" becomes
thus of evoking a human

It without its element of fantasy). I am
th traits, which collect into an imagine
at Shakespeare wrote, much as I migh
you by imagining the kind of person y
a way of representing his works to mys
truth rather than a quasi-metaphysical

ed per-
t inter-
ou are.
elf and

ing. I imagine such a Shakespeare, but he is not the Shakespeare, who
never was available to us anyway. He is a Shakespeare, my Shake-
speare, Shakespeare as I realize him, a gambit, a try-finally, the open-
ing to a conversation.

Love, Death, and Patriarchy
in Romeo and Juliet

Kirby Farrell

Recent criticism has tended to depict patriarchy primarily as an au-
thoritarian institution for the regulation of society. Where Elizabethan

theorists praised the system for its order,
beyond its flagrant injustices and limita
Yet repression is not the whole picture.
ble, even valuable, to so many Elizabeth
Verona, for example, openly rebels aga
Juliet blames fate that she "must love a I


now have di
, especially
t made patr
No one in
ed enemy"

fficulty seeing
its misogyny.
iarchv tolera-
Like Romeo,
(1.5.141); she

desperately tries to placate
For all their touchiness abo

are willing to 1
tently subordin
The answer
provides crucia
imagine that th
Romeo and Jul
than in any ot



Yet ev

"untimely death"
tous" dread, I sha

fight for thei

ate their desires t
I read from the
I symbols which
ey can transcend
iet. The word "d
her work in the
less than in th
'en before his first

will overtake h
[I be arguing, d

her father with "4
ut being thought sl
r houses. Why wo

chopt-logic" (3.5.149).
aves, even the servants
uld individuals consis-

o the will of a patriarch?
play is that like religion, patriarchy
validate the self and enable people to
death. Anxiety about death pervades
eath" itself shows up more often here
canon. In the lyrical balcony scene
e ominous Prologue, love is "death-
t glimpse of Juliet, Romeo worries that
rim (1.4.1 x1 ). This "black and porten-
ramatizes the breakdown in Verona of

patriarchy's ability to control anxiety about death and unconsciously
anticipates the dangerous consequences of that breakdown.

From Play, Death, and Heroism in Shakespeare, by Kirby Farrell. 1989 The Univer-
stry of North Carolna Press. Reprinted by permission.


Love, Death, and Patriarchy

Patriarchy itself evolved from ancient systems of social order based

on heroic leadership and strength. Insofar

as he became a symbol of

personal vitality and mythologically the progenitor of his people, the
hero objectified the will to life and its opposition to death. As the term
hero-worship itself implies, such a figure was usually invested with
supernatural powers. Renaissance patriarchy combined ancient heroic

models with

forms drawn

from Christianity,

which revered

Lord" and projected a heroic drama in which the heavenly father and
his son triumph over a rebellious servant, Lucifer, and confer eternal
life on the obedient children who identify with them.
Like Christianity, in which priestly fathers commonly exercised


as well

as spiritual influence, patriarchy gave a loca


superhuman sanction. Elizabethan theorists associated the father with

the king and with God himself: it

was he who created, defined, and

validated his child's personality. He granted and guaranteed the psychic
life of all who depended on him. The faithful servant or child could
share in the father's righteous potency with a heightened sense of vital-

ity and invulnerability tantamount,

as Ernest Becker would

conviction of immortality (Becker 1973). Tasso reveals the underlying

premise in reporting that he confided in his patron "not

as we trust in

man, but as we trust in God. It appeared to me that, so long
under his protection, fortune and death had no power over me


" (Brad-

brook 1980, 73).
In early modern England "no one in a position of


was an

independent member of


... Such men and women, boys and

girls, were caught up, so to speak,

'subsumed' is

the ugly word we

shall use, into the personalities of their fathers and masters" (Laslett



Dependents necessarily cultivated the worshipful self-

effacement psychologists call transference: living vicarious


a master who


lived through his house.

The father's

strength energized the entire family. In this perspective patriarchy


a process that consolidated diverse wills into one extraordinary will
and generated a communal feeling-in effect, a spell-of immortality.

At the same time, like God's
powers of annihilation as well

majesty, patriarchal potency included
as of love. The prince seeks to control

"rebellious subjects

" by threatening their lives


Capulet roars a murderous curse at the uncooperative Juliet:


beg, starve, die in the streets

" (3.5.19Z).

More than mere discipline is

involved here, for he who commands death seems to transcend it. In

to a

Kirby Farrell

Otto Rank's words, "the death fear of the ego is lessened by the
killing, the sacrifice, of the other; through the death of the other, one

buys ones(
Verona the
less, even a
must have

:If free fi
child's u

In such a system
power. Autonomy
mount to death. In

rom the penalty of dying" (Becker 1973, 99). In
command over death remains symbolic. Neverthe-
nconscious anxiety about a rejection akin to death
d identification with the father.
only self-effacement brought a share in the father's
equalled rebellion and meant a rejection tanta-
theory, either one identified with one's master and

vicariously shared his power by lording
and Gregory would dominate rival serve
dominated. Dreading to be thought slav

slave, for
nullity of
and prod
"The qua
not merely
In seek
their masi
to defend

the weakest goes to the wall" (
aggression on behalf of their
servitude. Yet their inferiority
uces volatile ambivalence in
with an ambiguity too dange
rrel is between our masters, an
y between houses but between
ing to dominate, the servants a
ters. Since patriarchy is found
lents such as women. Samosor

kewise, h

emy by violating his women. Li
role of godlike judge when he f
maids-I will cut off their head,
ing rape with execution. By c
benevolent generativity when h
an identity (the sun) and con
rightful place in the order of th

one of the crucial paradoxes of the

it over inferiors (as Sampson
'ants and women) or one was
es-"That shows thee a weak
I.I.x 3)-the Capulet servants
master with escape from the
is the creation of their masters
them. They summarize their
rous to be consciously faced:
d us their men" (I.i.19-to)--
masters and servants.

ct out th
d upon t
n imagine
ie appro


s" or maiden
contrast, Rom
te first approa
imanding her
ings (2.2.3-9


he "w
eo ac
ches J
to a

submerged values of
promise of security
humiliating his en-
ates the patriarch's
,ill be civil with the
1.1.24-25), equat-

ts out patri
uliet, assign
rise and cla



imaginative world: th

those who seemingly oppose patriarchy internalize patriarcha

ing her
im her
at even

The marriage old Capulet would make for his daughter helps to
explain the willing self-effacement of dependents. By meekly wedding
the paternally sanctioned Paris, thereby making him a patriarch in his
own right, Juliet would fulfill her father's will and also transform
herself. Lady Capulet fetishizes Paris as a book of spellbinding value
that "in many's eyes doth share the glory" (1.3.91). By marrying him,
Juliet too would be glorified and would share in "all that he doth

possess, /

By having him, making herselff no less"

(i.3.93-94). With

Love, Death, and Patriarchy

its connotations of worship, "glory" exactly expresses the religious
assumptions underlying the patriarchal system. By compelling admira-
tion from others, Juliet's marriage would exalt her and by extension
her parents. For a dependent deference can be a means to vicarious
In Verona, however, patriarchy is under stress. The prince envisions

himself protecting the city's declining
moil of "rebellious subjects" (I..8z,
has begun to rival patriarchy as an alte
ance. As a result, the fathers' demand
the most for total self-sacrifice or d
events. Social patterns and preoccupa
system create conflicts that make rebe
In patriarchy the conviction of well
since in the end a master's strength i
die. Any threat to that spell jeopart
security. The principal threat, howev
87-93). Sooner or later a son must ta
an aging father may become appreh

their, weaken
Since the s
submissive id


97). /
at the
death sc
tions i
Ilion ir
s finite
lizes t
'er, is
ke his

and rebellious. Withdrawing
ng their shared identity, the ch

system p

may be terrifying.

subject to
of pattern
nounce d
make the


King Lea
al retalia
oom on ;
child's Ic

One solution to the
power. The father becc
figure or judge who c(
directing his powers o
and executions. By co
heroic mastery of deat
followers. In this way
Since Verona has n

t I
e m

citizens" from the tur-
the same time romance
ode of love and deliver-
ast for deference and at
off a violent chain of
erent in the patriarchal

depends on mystification,
and people do helplessly
he community's sense of
succession (Farrell 1984,
father's place. As a result
y tyrannical, or his child
his strength from the fa-
ild cannot help hut evoke

olarizes roles into extremes of dominance and
on, the moment when those roles at last reverse
ving made mothers of his daughters, as the Fool
addenly becomes as powerless as a child who is
id utter effacement. Hence the potential violence
i. Acting the righteous judge, a father can pro-
unruly child and thereby-however painfully-
onfirm his own vitality.
problem of succession splits the conception of
9mes an unmoved mover, as it were, a conscience-
:ntrols a seemingly static house or kingdom by
f life and death inward in the form of blessings
ntrast, the annihilation of enemies acts out the
h, and that power may be delegated to sons and
the potency of the father remains incontestable.
o outside enemy, however, heroic aggression is

turned inward. When old Capulet calls for his broadsword, for exam-

Kirby Farrell

pie, he is about to assault old Montague, who is tacitiv his


in rel
and e:

xt the
to se
ach hc

to the patriarch who governs them, the prince. In this
otherwise peculiarly gratuitous feud is a device that allows
ek forbidden self-aggrandizement by scapegoating rivals,
)use kills in the name of righteousness. Although the feud

ps to preserve the i
vival by providing
sters, it only postpo
Hence the need to gl
father to "be as a
e model for that su
ion is the atonemcen

resists Satan'
unmoved mo

a safe


s temptation
earns eternal
iver, his son

faithful death a resurrect
shepherd, from victimize

warrior who will
this arrangement

s the i
fy the
d" (A
f the s
to pc
life f6
on tha
d mo

harrow Hell
the shepherd/

f immorta
valve for

ity essential to patr
aggressive feelings


inevitable crisis of succession.
submission of the child while elevating
Midsummer Night's Dream, 1.1.47).
n is Christianity, in which the central
1on with the omnipotent Father. Christ
rsonal dominion over the earth and by
or humankind. While God remains the
les in the world and earns through his
it transforms him from lamb to fatherly
,ck-King of the Jews to the militant
and rout Antichrist in the last days. In
warrior ambiguously shares in the iden-

tity of the Father without threatening his preeminence as everlasting
In a fallen world, however, as Renaissance sectarianism made plain,
the urge to rebellion remained strong. Reformers repudiated the patri-

hal po
:r's "f
sm is
s, "I h
: terms
ns of


and feuded with each other,
" god and win the eternal life a
typically, construed their own

from Antichrist.
Verona's feud. Lik<
of righteousness.
iate hell, all Monta
s fanaticism such as
suppressing one's

e riva

I dispense;


devilish enemy of authority one might
In Verona as in Christianity the p

incontestable control and heroic
of roles is repeatedly subverted. P
and judge, commanding obedient
the prince seems weak, and his
although they profess obedience,

d thee
oo in

seeking to
fforded by t
rebellion a'
al analogu
nations, each
)lio, for ex
" (1.1.71).
sts a reaction
pulses by


dethrone each
he true Father.
s the rescue of
e to religious
house kills in
ample, Tybalt
In psychoana-
n formation, a
killing off the

role is split between
yet the reconciliation

Escalus functions as conscience
n pain of death" (1.1.103). But
ly "sons" deviously aggressive;
repeatedly maneuver for power.




Love, Death, and Patriarchy

Instead of st
which every
The rivalry
favor with tl
to the prince
edge over h
mentality of

supreme sour

context tnese -"s
Within his ow
ened conscience,
surrogate sons, s
Tybalt, after all,
assault Romeo ai
the limits, provoke
As a potential

.-r I

offering abuse,
little indignity

f ambii
lord. C;
ival, M
feud b
of stren

as Christ did, they perpetuate a
contributes to a rising spiral o

ialently allows "sons"
apulet, for example, in:
I, Paris, which presum1
ontague. His scheme
,ut also signifies an eff
gth in Verona. Not sur


rivalry in
f violence.

and c

lict's marri
d give him
ntify with
for in a lar

ns" are themselves fathers covertly challenged from

n house a lord such as ol
his role as warrior bein
uch as Tvbalt, and belo
boldly usurps the role i
t the ball, he tests his su
ing old Capulet to roar:

Capulet is himself a weak-
appropriated by actual or
v them by unruly servants.
f warrior lord. Wishing to
ogate father's authority to
Am I master here, or you?"

son-in-law Romeo himself is tacitly a rival son with

I yvait, competing to inherit
Montague, Tybalt and Ron
authority onto one another. 1
orchard wall to steal his daut
he denies all hostility in him
thine eye / Than twenty [Cap
Verona's sons destroy one ai
and Paris in the graveyard.
As the means of producing
child's eventual appropriate
comes the object of intense
"[all] my care hath been /
Ideally, such intimate control
his will even as it guarantee
tragic nature of the parental
ing Tybalt's death and prey
comfort in the usual fanta
keenly feels his own mortal

Promptly h

makes a "despera
For a moment he

Capulet's power.
ico displace their
Furthermore, Ro
ghter's heart and
self and others:
ulet] swords" (z

Like old Capulet and old
r resentment of superior
meo scales the patriarch's
thereby his posterity, yet
"There lies more peril in
.2.71-72). Eventually, as

other, Romeo will join Mercutio, Tybalt,

g new

life and one means of mediating the

on of the pare
parental cont
Fo have [Julie
I compensates
s an undying I
dread that spu
vented by the
sies of trium
itv: "Well, we


tl r
rs J

tender / Of
ses faith in hi


As o


Id Capulet insists,
ed" (3.5.177-78).

father by c
of posterit
uliet's defia
once's edict
Il revenge,
*re born to
ny child's h
is own orda

. Hence the
ce. Lament-
rom taking
)d Capulet
lie" (3.4.4).
ve" to Paris
ned mastery

and tries to secure the future by force. Bullying his daughter to wed



Kirby Farrell

Paris and thereby fatally alienating her, the old man brings on the


he seeks
me emr
ut impu
Sit shou
1 power


Id be

fathers, he can exei
"maintain his postu
night of the ball at
distressing competit
The feud presup
identify with the fat

t and M
the ope
ays out

Machiavellian motives to
noted that the feud actua

expansive ambiti
rcise his threat to
re as a decisive rul
least, the fathers
:ion between feisty
,poses, then, that
I t

their's s
re virtu
I, the o
I rivalry

acter, patriarchal conflicts

)ns from
execute t
er" (Bren
have sim

Prince Esc
llv serves t
below. By
ner 1980,
ilarly profit
patient for
i" may kil

alus, for
o protect
ers and t
5o). Until
ted from


strength as warrior-hero. With the ci
lolds, both alike in dignity" (Pro. 1)
al alter egos, as are Tybalt and Rom
opposed servants. Externalized, the d
y. Fully internalized in a vulnerab
may produce self-murder. And that,



her to
o and,

tain, is what finally destroys Romeo and Juliet.


For all their lyrical tenderness,

Romeo and Juliet create their love out

of the tragically conflicting materials
changing desires, for instance, the c
father's position: "Now old desire
young affection gapes to be his heir"
to evade the world of the feud, yet in
out patriarchal and Christian forms.
substituting the beloved for father a
each other. Out of the resulting turm

of their own

horus see
doth in
(z.Pro. i
making I
nd God,
oil comes

culture. In Romeo's
struggle to inherit a
deathbed lie, / And
). The lovers attempt
they unwittingly act
love as worship and
y seek apotheosis in

peace" (5.3.305): an equivocal vision of redeem
resists any ready evaluation.
In an imaginative world where children gro'
aura of a protective lord or else face terrifying
be surprised that love may reproduce in a belo
giving power of godlike parents. Insofar as the
in Verona requires either continual submission
cidal assertiveness of the feud, love's mutual
found needs. For if individuals become disenc

iptive destruction that

w up transfixed in the
nullity, we should not
ved the engulfing, life-
polarization of power
or the devious homi-
worship answers pro-
hanted with absolute

to dispel.
hasize that

we are looking at a system of behavior.

of "Two
ontague a
ning braw

death and

"a glooming




Love, Death, and Patriarchy

security and heroic aggression, as Romeo and Juliet do, they need
alternative convictions to sustain them. Love is therefore counterpho-

bic not only
against the
wholly effic
Romeo e
angel" and
struck "mo
31). At the
be chosen b
gender of th

as any system of immortality must be but also as a defense
anxious demands of an ideology whose spell is no longer
nvisions Juliet as a supernatural being, a masculine "bright
"t --

so that they
time, Romeo
identified wit
l. His imagine
effacement at
s in Romeo's



winged messenger



"fall back and gaze o
's vision expresses the
th, a majestic father, a:
action finds fulfillment i
the heart of patriarch
dream that Juliet ha



n him"
s is sho'
in the p
ly. The
s awak

ters awe-
le wish to
wn by the
aradox of
ened him

from death and ordained him an emperor, the paramount patriarchal
role (5.1.9).
Juliet participates in the same fantasy when she equates orgasm and
immortality in her cry,

Give me my Romeo; and when I shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night.

"all the world,"

Juliet will be subsumed as

a worshiper in Ro-

meo's ape
to Romec
death to
happy mo
a woman
this fanta
angel, hov
heaven als

as a

If his

fning st


(Gibbons 1980, 170), then
)'s dream that sexual love
become an emperor. By
others made" (i.z.1z). By th
make a youth an immortal
sy is profoundly patriarch
ever, this celebration of all
;o suggests a worshipful inf;

on ini
rre" i
1e sam
al. Li
the w


stars allu
Ovid, as
ss) can re
means, re
its imagir

des to Caesar's
one editor has
ng an analogue
:vive him from
sexuality "are
ciprocally, may


tion of power
vision of the

absorbed in the face of

concentration upon the all-

important, life-giving face of a parent.
The lovers' mutual worship expresses a generosity, subverted or
repressed elsewhere in Verona, that balances their self-destructiveness.
In their lovemaking, for example, Romeo and Juliet repeatedly fanta-
size that deathlike self-effacement can lead to apotheosis. Repudiating


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