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Title: Shakespeare Study Programs; The Comedies
Author: Porter, Charlotte Endymion, 1859-1942, Clarke, Helen Archibald, -1926
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Shakespeare Study Programs; The Comedies" ***

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Authors of _The Tragedies_
Editors of the _Pembroke Shakespeare_, the _First Folio Shakespeare_,
_Poet Lore_, etc.

Boston: Richard G. Badger
Toronto: The Copp Clark Co., Limited
The Gorham Press, Boston, U.S.A.

[Illustration: ARTI et VERITATI]


The Shakespeare Study Programs appeared originally in _Poet Lore_.
They have met with marked favor, and have been reprinted as the back
numbers went out of print. The steady demand for these programs
prompts the present issue in book-form. Several new programs have been
added, and those reprinted have been revised.

The references in this volume are to the "First Folio Edition" of
Shakespeare, edited by Charlotte Porter.

"Criticism is the endeavour to find, to know, to love, to recommend
not only the best, but all the good that has been known and thought
and written in the world. ... It shows how to grasp and how to
enjoy;... it helps the ear to listen when the horns of England blow."

--GEORGE SAINTSBURY, "History of Criticism."


The Comedie of Errors

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

The Taming of the Shrew

Love's Labour's Lost

Much Adoe About Nothing

A Midsommer Nights Dreame

The Merchant of Venice

The Merry Wives of Windsor

As You Like It

Twelfe Night

The Tempest

The Winter's Tale


In the Summer of 1594 a translation of a Latin Farce by the Roman
Dramatist, Plautus, was made ready for publication in London. It may
even have been published then, for, although the title page date is
1595, then, as often now, the issue was made in advance of date.
Circulation in MS., moreover, now unusual, was then common.

This translation was registered, at any rate, for publication, June
16, 1594, as "A Booke entitled Menæchmi, being a pleasant and fine
conceited comedy taken out of the most wittie poet Plautus, chosen
purposely from out the rest as being the least harmful and most

Six months later, Shakespeare had made an English Farce out of this
Latin one. He invented several new characters, arranged many new
situations, and put a good deal more life-likeness in the relations of
the characters, while yet it may be seen that, his new play, "The
Comedie of Errors," was directly drawn from the old one by Plautus.

The first record we have of Shakespeare as an actor before Queen
Elizabeth relates to the performance in Christmas week of this same
year of "twoe severall comedies." This record in the Accounts of the
Treasurer who paid out the money for the Plays acted before the Queen,
runs as follows:

"To William Kempe, William Shakespeare, and Richard Burbage, servaunts
to the Lord Chamberleyn upon the Councelles warrant dated at Whitehall
xv. die. Marcij 1594 [1595], for twoe severall comedies or enterludes,
shewed by them before her Majestie in Christmas tyme laste paste,
viz., upon St. Stephen daye, [Dec. 26,] and Innocente's day, [Dec.
28,] xiii^{li} vi^{s} viij^{d} and by way of her Majesties rewarde
vi^{li} xiij^{s} iv^{d} in all xx^{li}."

It is fair to infer that the "Comedie of Errors" was one of these two
comedies, for on the evening of the 28th of December, 1594, there
arose a sudden necessity to hire an entertainment to take the place at
Gray's Inn, one of the great Law Schools of London, of a Play by the
students which had gone to pieces. In lieu of this amateur play, for
which a great stage had been built in their Hall, it is recorded that
the great throng assembled were forced, first, to "content themselves
with ordinary dancing and revelling, and when that was over, with a
Comedy of Errors like to Plautus his Menoechmus, which was played by
the players." That these "players" were public players is shown in the
Gray's Inn account of these Christmas festivities by another reference
to this "company of base and common fellows" who were "foisted" in "to
make up our disorders with a play of Errors and Confusions."

Since this substitution of the "players" Play for the Play by the
young gentlemen students was unexpected, we can be sure it was not
made for this occasion. It seems obvious that whatever comedy was
specially designed by Shakespeare and his fellow actors for their
Christmas performances before the Queen at Greenwich, would be apt to
be chosen for a sudden repetition at Gray's Inn the same evening. And
of course for such an institution of scholarly gentlemen as Gray's
Inn, a farce based on Plautus would be likely to be thought

So Mrs. Charlotte Stopes argues, who brought into association these
facts and dates. She brings out also, another curious incident or two
concerning what we may take to be the earliest performances of "The
Comedie of Errors." One is that the mother of the Earl of
Southampton,--the young nobleman who was Shakespeare's patron and to
whom the Poet dedicated "Venus and Adonis" and "Lucrece,"--was then
acting officially for her late husband. Thus it fell to her care to
make up his accounts as Treasurer of the Chamber, and she it was who
wrote this particular notice of the acting of Shakespeare before Queen
Elizabeth. Others acting as Treasurer did not find it worth their
while to include the Actors' names in their accounts. This notice of
hers is the first and last to mention names in this way. Her son,
being a Gray's Inn man, would have been in a position to suggest the
substitution of Shakespeare's Play and as a friend of Shakespeare's
would desire to do so.

The other incident of biographical interest is that the Gray's Inn
students were much mortified by the uproar which caused the failure of
the program of their chief of Revels called "The Prince of Purpoole,"
and made it necessary for them to call in common players. The result
of their desire "to recover their lost honor with some graver
conceipt" was to give Jan. 3d, a learned Dialogue called "Divers Plots
and Devices." Bacon aided largely in this stately affair. In its
course six Councillors one after the other deliver speeches on
enrollment of Knights and Chivalry, the glory of War, the study of
Philosophy, etc. The scorn felt for Shakespeare's "Comedie" and the
contrast with this rival specimen of academic dramatics is

Out of the comparatively simple plot of Plautus, Shakespeare developed
an amusing complexity of situations. These appear upon studying the
progress of the story, Act by Act, as follows:



What has the arrest of the "Marchant" Egean to do with the rest of the
Story? How soon does any connection appear?

The reference in scene ii, to the occurrence taking place in scene i,
suggests a somewhat odd chance coincidence in the arrival from
Syracuse on the same day of both of these strangers. By this casual
reference the seemingly unrelated scenes are so innocently linked
together that it rather blinds than opens the eyes of the audience to
the deeper links of connection. It also acts at once as a warning to
Antipholus, and explains why he also is not arrested under the same
law from which Egean suffered.

The merchant who gives Antipholus this warning does not appear to be
at all an intimate friend. Yet he seems to have met the stranger upon
his arrival. Is this accounted for? What office does the scene show
that he bears toward him? How recent an institution is the Bank and
Letter of Credit for travellers? Was the lack of such facilities long
filled in the way here exemplified?

Do these two men keep the appointment they made to meet at five
o'clock? Why is it made? Does it serve any need of the Play?

The reference to Ephesus as a town given over to sorcery and
witchcraft assists in giving the impression that the time of the Play
falls within the Christian era, when the ancient customs of the Pagan
inhabitants gave the City a bad repute of this particular kind. Was it
derived from Plautus? Note whether sorcery and witchcraft are included
in his account of the discreditableness of Ephesus. What conclusions
may be gathered as to Shakespeare's account of it from a comparison
with the corresponding passage in Plautus (This extract is given in
Note on I, ii, 102-107 in the "First Folio" Edition of Shakespeare's
Play). Show how this statement is useful in throwing light upon the
character of Antipholus as well as on events.

The first complication in scene ii arises from mistaking Dromio of
Ephesus for Dromio of Syracuse; but notice that this error is
accounted for by the second source of the errors of the play--belief
in witchcraft.


Is the audience as much in the dark over the first mystification as
Antipholus is? Should it be? Is the play the better or worse for not
being clear? If both Dromios are made to look exactly alike how can
the audience know?



Notice how the last scene of the preceding Act is cleared up by the
first scene of the present Act.

Are the errors of Act II the results of those of Act I? The errors of
Act I affect but a very few characters, but in Act II how many? A new
source of complication is brought forward in this Act, also. Show what
it is, and how it both adds to the interest of the Play as a story and
to the confusion begun by the mistaken identity and the witchcraft
elements of the Plot.

The fooling dialogue of Scene ii gives the action pause. Is it
therefore useless, or a dramatic mistake? The ease with which the
right master and man fall into this talk after the earlier
cross-purposes with the wrong man, seems to betray the fact that they
do belong together. They are so readily familiar that the
cross-purposes making up the plot seem to be no longer troublesome
either to themselves or the audience. The interval of reassurance
makes the return of strangeness more unaccountable. Antipholus is also
now reassured about his gold, and the earlier cross-purpose seems only
a jest.

Why does the mention of Dromio's name (II, ii, 156) cause both master
and man to exclaim? Why should it not have led them to guess the

Would this scene with Adriana and Luciana have been equally mystifying
and skilful if the right master and man had not been together?


In the debate between the sisters upon patience in marriage is Adriana
or Luciana the more justifiable? Has their argument anything to do
with the plot? Is character interest or plot interest of the first
importance, and how are they apportioned in this play?

Is Adriana's argument that she is bound to share morally herself in
the infidelity of her husband sophistical? Or has it a core of sound
ethical value?



How far are the errors of Act III new? From which element of the plot,
mistaken identity, or the domestic difficulties of the native-born
Antipholus do they arise?

What effects are gained by bringing together in this Act the right
pairs of master and man?

The closed door between the two groups, one within the house, the
other without, is the only barrier to such an exhibition of the double
resemblances as would clear up all difficulties immediately. Is the
humor of the situation the better for this slightness of the barrier,
or is it rendered altogether too unlikely by it? Notice also the
narrow escapes from meeting and being seen together which masters and
men are constantly making and the skill of the stage movements so
that, for example, while one pair of twins is in the house, the other
pair is absolutely unable to come there, and make clear the main cause
of the errors.

What relation to the subordinate cause of the errors, i.e., the
domestic difficulties of Antipholus the Native--has the new source of
difficulty and bepuzzlement--the gold chain? Bring out the relation of
the dialogue (III, i, 23-35), between Antipholus and the friends he
invites, to the welcome they find and discuss later. The irony of his
confidence in welcome, at least, which is precisely what is lacking,
is peculiarly true to such disappointments in life. For the fun and
naturalness gained by it, therefore, the carefully planned arrangement
of the dialogue to lead up to it, does not seem to be artificial. What
would have happened to the plot if the plan proposed to force the door
with a crow-bar had been carried out? Since the dramatist was so
daring as to cause it to be suggested, it was incumbent upon him at
once to devise something to prevent it from being done. The way in
which he has accomplished this through Balthazar, puts both Antipholus
and his guest in an estimable light. Show its effect upon the present
scene and upon both the character-interest and the scenes to come in
which the Courtisan figures. What expense does Antipholus refer to
(III, i, 169)?

Is Luciana's advice so good that it accounts for the attraction she
has for Antipholus the Stranger? Or do you think she is attractive in
spite of it?

Is the dialogue in this Act between the right master and man as good
as that in Act II? Has it other excuse for being besides punning and
fooling? Examine its value as compared with the other in introducing a
new and amusing error, and educing puns that are suggested by this,
and therefore not independent of the plot.

This Act closes with two new incidents of use in the sequel: What are


Why has Shakespeare chosen to make Antipholus the Stranger abhor
Adriana, and be attracted to her sister instead? What is the result
for the plot? Is it a mistake that the promised match between Luciana
and the Stranger is not consummated at the close of the play? Is the
reference then made to it the best imaginable? How, if so, is it
reconcilable with the more rapid matches at the close of other plays,
e.g. Oliver and Celia in "As You Like It?"



The errors of the early Acts begin simply and proceed by begetting
other errors and beginning, also, with but one of the twin masters and
one of the twin men-servants proceed by involving every one in each of
the two Antipholus groups. In this Act others outside the main groups
are continually being interwoven in the net of complications. In which
Act did these larger social complications arise, and how are they
carried on in the present Act. Show how by means of these larger
circles of complication, e.g., the arrests, the visits of the
Courtisan to Adriana in the attempt to get back her ring, the
conjurring scenes, etc., the confusion becomes extreme. And then show,
also, how by the very means of these larger circles of complication
the clearing up process is brought forward. To whom is the suggestion
due that Antipholus the Native has gone mad? What fitness is there in
that, especially in its being broached by a minor character? Trace the
relation of the Goldsmith, his delays and his debts to the Plot. How
does it come about effectively that in this Act the wrong master and
man are together, the opposite of what has prevailed, earlier? Show
how in the eagerness of Adriana to send the gold and the grief over
what she jealously suspects to be the cause of it, a tragic situation
is reached. In which scene is the most complex confusion reached.


Is the confusion of identity, the domestic discord or the bewitchment
and supposed lunacy the most powerful factor in the plot of error.
Which is the most comical and which the most tragic moment in this



The climax of bewilderment being reached in the evidence that the same
man is both out of the Priory and in it, solutions follow. Trace the
steps by which this is accomplished.

Why is the attack upon Antipholus the Stranger assigned to the
Merchant who is the Goldsmith's creditor instead of to the Goldsmith?
Is it by chance or is there some reason for it? Why did not Antipholus
explain that he had the chain through no option of his own? By means
of the Merchant drawing his sword and detaining him, the scene with
Adriana at the close of the preceding Act when his flight prevented
her from having him bound as a mad man is carried on again, and refuge
in the Priory forced upon him.

Why does the Abbess blame Adriana first because she did not find fault
with her husband and then because she did? Is her sudden harsh turn
against her explicable not as personal inconsistency or womanly
prejudice, but as due to a gleam of insight? What clew to the case
does Adriana's meekness afford? Or else of the relationship of the
Abbess to the twins? Why does she so peremptorily keep the man from
his wife? Is not this conduct devised to mystify the audience rather
than the characters?

Notice that the Abbess is more of a surprise in her relation to the
plot than the condemned Egean is. The Abbess episode balances at the
close of the Play the Egean episode at the opening of the story. Trace
the links of connection with the main action of each and their
relation to each other, showing how they bind into an absolute unity a
peculiarly symmetrical plot. Why do the two Dromios end the Play
instead of the main characters?


Is this Play the better or worse farce for the serious domestic
situation and the pathos of the long separation of the shipwrecked



In what sense can there be said to be a development of character in
"The Comedie of Errors?" If no progress can be traced in the
standpoint of any one character of the Play, save possibly in that of
Adriana, is there yet not to be seen a gradual bringing forward of the
traits inwardly differentiating the two pairs of twins, and stamping
the personality of Adriana and Luciana and even in a slighter degree
of the Goldsmith, the Creditor Merchant, Egean, and the Abbess?

Show what you deem this to be in each character, and by what means the
result in each is effected.

Is Antipholus the Stranger of a gentler and more pious spirit than
Antipholus the Native? What signs of this impression can you cite? Was
Antipholus the Native popular in Ephesus? What calling had he
followed? Why do we learn more of Antipholus the Stranger at once than
of his brother? In what respects does this suit the plot and the

Which Dromio do you think the wittier? Is one more a house servant and
less of a personal attendant and professional fool than the other?
Why, do you think, is Antipholus the Stranger made to beat his man so
often? Is his quick temper, or a sort of horse-play fun at the bottom
of it? Or is the ancient custom as to body servants exemplified?

Which Antipholus has been the more independently reared and is this
signified in their characters? It has been supposed that Antipholus
the Native married at the Duke's bidding for money and not for love.
What reason does the Play give for this supposition? Is Adriana's
jealousy a reason, or is he fonder of her than she realizes? Which of
the Sisters do you like best, and why?

Why would Antipholus the Native be better mated with one than the
other? In what respects of character would Luciana be apt to attract
Antipholus the Stranger more than Adriana would? Are there signs to
show that Adriana and her husband are the more stalwart pair? Show how
admirably the riper characters of the father and mother set off the
qualities and relationships of the younger group.


The resemblances of the twins externally are counter-balanced by
diversities that are internal, so that the possibilities of confusion
may be said to be only skin deep. Does this add to the improbableness
of the plot sufficiently to make it a questionable quality of the plot
that the characters are so much differentiated, or does it serve
rather to enrich the Play and make it far more interesting? Are there
signs of character in Adriana and her husband going to show that they
are destined to be happier in their relation to each other than ever



The omissions and changes Shakespeare made from Plautus's plot are
almost as important in lending his Play a new effect as the additions
and entirely original inventions.

Notice the entire omission of the borrowed cloak taken from his wife,
Mulier, by Menaechmus and given to the Courtisan, Erotium; also, of
the character of the parasite, Peniculus, by means of whom as a
spiteful informer the wife is told of her husband's relations with
Erotium and the dinner he proposes to take with her. Instead of
Mulier's father, Senex, Shakespeare creates the noble Egean, the
father of the Twins. Introducing his plot with the incident of his
arrest, he closes it with the still more notable character of the
mother whom he gives an important part to play in the happy solution
of the difficulties and the re-union. The part of the Duke and the
trade relations of the two cities, the city in Sicily as in Plautus,
the other Ephesus, instead of Epidamnum, as in Plautus, are ingenious
changes of an external sort. What is effected by them? The different
treatment of the dinner incident which causes the husband to mean to
dine at home, until he finds he cannot, when with others he invites
the courtisan to dine with them at an Inn, lends a different color to
the story. What do you think it effects as to character, amusingness,
and unity with the plot of mistaken identity? The courtisan's open
visit to the wife and direct effect upon the plot is in strong
contrast to the intrigue of which the wife is informed by a third
person. Bring this out, and show what the influence is.

Compare the argument of Plautus (For this see "First Folio Edition" of
"Comedie of Errors," p. 76) with the opening scene wherein Shakespeare
causes Egean to tell the story out of which the Play grows. In what
respects is this an improvement? (See Extract from Ten Brink, p. 183).

What is accomplished by the addition of the twin servants?--the two
Dromios? (for special assistance in a comparative appreciation of
Shakespeare's farce and that of Plautus see Introduction also Sources
in the "First Folio Edition" of this Play).


Is the complexity of Shakespeare's plot over that of Plautus a
disadvantage? If not, how does this fact agree with the common saying
that simplicity in Art is the highest Art?

Are the farcical interest and the character interest carried on too
far not to be seen to be inconsistent interests? Or is the secret of
the Art of the Play the reconciliation and harmony of the farcical and
the serious?


The unusual in this Comedy is due to its reflection of the ideals and
manners of Chivalry in Love and Friendship as loyally professed by
Valentine and Silvia and outraged by Protheus.

The plot is extremely simple and is carried on by means of causing its
main characters successively to dominate in their influence upon the



Valentine's reasons for travel and those of Protheus for staying at
home separate the two friends. Compare Valentine's preference of
Honor, and that of Protheus for Love, with the opening of "Love's
Labour's Lost" and "Much Adoe."

Show how the rest of the action, after the separation of the friends
to suit this double thesis of life, depends upon illustrating the
effect of Protheus's love upon Julia's fortunes, and of Valentine's
quest of honor upon the fortunes of Protheus. Notice how it happens
that his own deception has a direct influence upon his father, so that
his departure to join Valentine is as much due to his own lack of
firmness in his desire to stay on Julia's account, as to Valentine's
initiative in going.


Is Valentine's or Protheus's the more influential character upon the
course of events thus far?



Tell the story of this Act.

Explain the courtship scene with which this Act opens as illustrating
the service of love in systems of Chivalry. (For hints on this see
Introduction to the Play in "First Folio Edition" also Note on II, i,

Contrast the earnestness of Valentine's nature in this devotion to
Silvia with the fickleness of Protheus.

The two servants, Speed and Launce, may be compared, their contrasts
to each other shown, and their general resemblance to a similarly
contrasted pair--the two Dromios in the "Comedie of Errors."


Is the love of Protheus for Silvia a reflex influence from Valentine's
extreme enthusiasm?

Why does Lucetta distrust Protheus?



What effect has the arrival of Protheus at the Milanese Court? How
does the new-comer manage to dominate this Act? Point out the skill of
Protheus in making his disclosure to the Duke seem to be reluctantly
wrung from him against the friendship he feels for Valentine and only
because of a sense of duty toward the Duke.

What does this delicacy accomplish toward his own courtship of Silvia?
If he had seemed eager to tell his friend's secrets would not the Duke
distrust him and suspect some self-interest on his part? What did his
mention of Thurio's suit do for himself?

Compare the nature of the two friends' talk; how that of Protheus
gives a better impression of himself than is true, that of Valentine,
a worse. Show the consistency in wile of Protheus in his conduct
toward the Duke, Thurio, Silvia, and Julia. Why does it succeed?
Wherein is it likely to fail?


Is Protheus impossibly false as a character? Or is his duplicity an
exemplification of the facility toward evil of this kind that is
natural to an extremely impressionable nature which lacks stability?

In what does Valentine's superiority consist? Are the maxims for the
treatment of women which he gives the Duke due to artificial system
learned from others or a part of his own experience?



Tell the story of the Act. All the main characters and one new one
have their parts in the next steps in the plot? What are those parts?

Valentine's fate and its result.

Silvia's determination and its effect. Notice how her call upon
Eglamoure for knightly service brings the action into the province of
Chivalry again.

Julia's office in the schemes of Protheus.

Is this Act dominated in its drift by the two women? How do they put
their impress upon events?

Show how the villain Protheus is instrumental in bringing these two
women together, and how this is equivalent to uniting against his evil
policy, the good forces of the Play. The loyalty of Silvia to Julia
considered as offsetting the falsity of Protheus to Valentine.


Is the most actively beneficial episode in this Act also the most



What are the results of Silvia's flight?

Why does outlawry bring out the superiority of Valentine?

Does it serve also to bring out the inferiority of Protheus?

How does outlawry serve to defeat the purposes of the Duke and Thurio
and bring about the conquest over them of Valentine?

How does Thurio's nature inure to the credit of Valentine's with the

Does outlawry here represent the injustices of civic life? To what
degree? Or the natural life beneficent and innocent of Arden Forest in
"As You Like It?" To what degree is this true?


Why did Julia swoon? Was the repentance of Protheus genuine?--and
natural? What does Valentine mean by his forgiveness of Protheus and
his proof of it--"All that was mine, in Silvia, I give thee?" could he
give her, personally, against her will, in Chivalry? Or in true love?
How could he mean anything then, but proving by this entrusting of her
to his friend his belief in his loyalty and purity?

Why is Silvia silent? (See Introduction to the Play in "First Folio
Edition," also Selected Criticism and Notes on V, iv, 91, for hints on
these latter queries).


A Play or mask within the Play is not uncommon in Shakespeare. A Play
outside the Play especially distinguishes the arrangement of this

Perhaps it serves to indicate that the theme of the taming of a wife
is crude and primitive folk-farce, particularly suited to the taste of
the drunken tinker before whom it is played.

Shakespeare's handling of the tinker's subject, however, like other
rude and homely matters taken up by an acute mind is such as to fasten
deeper attention and to overgo a tinker's appreciation.



The effect of the Induction in dramatic presentation is not easy to
estimate. Since there is no direct connection between it and the Play
itself what do you see that it could be made to do for the action? Is
it like a frame for a picture adapted to give the theme remoteness? Is
this appropriate? Is it otherwise a mere cause for confusion? Or is it
intended to add one more thread of amusement? Why does Shakespeare in
"The Shrew" drop the tinker interregnum dialogue recurring regularly
in "A Shrew?" May Shakespeare, therefore, be cited as finding only a
limited use for "the Play outside the Play," deeming it in the way
later? How has he arranged for its gradual disappearance from
attention? Is there a stage reason alone enough to account for it?
(See suggestions in Notes on I, i, 266, and IV, iii, i, "First Folio
Edition"). Compare the Tinker scenes in the version of 1594. (For
these see Extracts in Sources, pp. 105-110, in "First Folio Edition").
Do the Slie of "A Shrew" and Christophero Sly of "The Shrew" differ as
characters? As to their opinion of the Play: Are their between-the-act
dialogues materially different?

What is the relation to the source and what has been altered from the
old tale.

The local Warwickshire touches in the Induction and their explanation.
(For these see "Story of the Induction" in the Play).


Ought the Induction play to be left out? How might it be made more
effective by special treatment on the stage? Should the additional
scenes be interpolated as was the stage custom, or should
Shakespeare's diminishing notice of them be adopted to produce the
most artistic effect?



In "A Shrew" and "The Shrew": Show how the story, with respect to the
Taming scenes, is the same substantially, with comparatively minor
differences, except for the characterization. But with respect to the
Bianca scenes it has been expanded and altered. This suggests, most
naturally, that the part Shakespeare did not write or answer for in "A
Shrew" was merely the Bianca scenes, and that his task in "The Shrew"
was to cut out and rewrite the scenes that were not his so as to be
unhampered with the disharmony of the two parts of the plot as it
appears in the Quarto of 1594.

The story of the Play as it now stands consists of an interweaving of
the Taming story and the story of Bianca's Courtship in such a way
that while they keep their separateness of necessity, they balance
better in interest and are more continually brought to bear upon each
other from time to time. What are their points of contact in each Act?
The sisters with relation to their father and their suitors in Act I:
How does this initiate the action?

With relation to each other and the Music Master in Act II: How does
this separate the action into two lines of Courtship.

After Katherine's marriage in Act III the interest divides between the
Taming of Katherine and the Courtship of Bianca.

In Act IV two or three points of contact are arranged by means of the
journey and what two characters?

In Act V how is contact both objective and moral obtained?

Alternative interest in the Bianca Courtship after Kate's marriage and
taming is attained by the elaborate scheme to make Lucentio the most
successful suitor and the droll surprises and difficulties met with in
the process.


Is the lack of unity in the Play sufficiently remedied by enriching
the Bianca counterplot and arranging for alternate interest first in
the plot and then in the counterplot, or is the original difficulty

In which story is plot or else character the supreme interest?

Is the Bianca story or the Katherine story the more entertaining? Why?



Lucentio's errand in Padua, his breeding and relations to his servant
qualify him as quite the conventional hero of a romantic love-story.
How does he compare with the young noblemen of "Love's Labour's Lost?"
What part of the study of Philosophy does he specially desire to take
up and how does his temper toward learning fall in with theirs?

What light does Bianca on her appearance throw upon herself? Through
the testimony of her sister and her father and the two suitors what
else is to be gathered?

Her effect upon Lucentio: The parallelism with "A Midsommer Nights
Dreame" (I, i, 156, and see p. 134 in the First Folio Edition of "The
Shrew") not appearing in "A Shrew," considered as indicative of the
favorite method of Shakespearian lovers in falling in love at first

Katherine's effect upon Tranio, lost upon Lucentio, in his daze over
Bianca, leads to what plan of action? How does the part Hortensio and
Gremio play in this reinforce the plot, and combine them all to
instigate Petruchio to woo Katherine? How does the contest for the
best sale of Bianca when Katherine is out of the way lead to a new
plot? The money-contest of the suitors, judged by the father is
supplemented by the mock teaching-contest of the lovers of which
Bianca herself is the judge. Show how this constitutes the second step
in the action and what complications and simplifications it prepares.
Lucentio's studies in the hedonistic Philosophy he professes and its
victory over Music and Hortensio.

What is Bianca's contribution to the gossip excited by Katherine's
wedding, and what impression does Act III give you altogether of
Bianca's character? Is the bad report of it in Act IV, made by
Hortensio, as the Musician, Lisio, with Tranio, quite fair to her?

The abusive opinion and jealousy of Hortensio assisted by the supposed
Lucentio narrow down the uncertainties of the courtship so as to
concentrate interest on the new scheme of the supposed father. How is
this worked out? Explain the conflict with the arrival of the true
father, and the amusing counter-play.


Why does Lucentio's suit excel that of any other in interest?

Is Bianca wrong in acting independently of her father?



Does the Shrew justify her reputation on her first appearance? What is
said of her compared with what she does then and in Act II? Why is
Petruchio's first approach with a combat of wit and a great bluff of
compliment effective? Is Kate really impressed by it, or only fearful
that she is being fooled? How do you account for her denial of him and
his suit to her father in Act II and her mortification when he does
not arrive till late in Act III? Does Petruchio's speech to the others
and before them (II, i, 328-350) account for the change? His arrival
at the wedding in such shabby attire and with so wretched an
appearance as to retinue, with his sorry horse and man-servant
contrasts strongly with the promises held out in this speech. What is
the effect on Kate and why does it serve his purpose?

Is Kate's entreaty to stay, or her action in showing her bridegroom
the door the climax of the wedding scene? What is the point in the
stage business of Petruchio's speech warning others not to touch his
chattel? Is she really being befriended by the bystanders when she
declares they must go "forward to the bridall dinner" or is she so
entirely alone in her opposition to Petruchio's command to go, that
his speech is the keenest satire upon her defencelessness in every
direction but through him?

Is Petruchio's conduct at home and the servants' comment upon it such
as to make Kate's two entreaties explicable?

What light does Petruchio's own account (IV, i, 183-207) of his method
throw upon it?

In the eating and haberdasher scene (IV, iii) what is it Kate
learns--merely that she cannot command by force and can have what she
wants by another method? What is the secret of her tractableness in
Scene v?


Are Katherine and Petruchio the most interesting characters in the
Play? Why?

Is their prominence due to their personal attractiveness or to the
Dramatist's skill?



Why should the Play not end with Act IV?

What does Act V add?

Is the quality of the table-talk in keeping with the plot and

The husbands' talk and wager turns on what point, obedience to the
husband, or agreement of husband and wife as mutually to their

Show the drift of Kate's expression of the moral of the Play, and
state your own way of looking at it.


Did Petruchio and Kate give an impromptu performance of conjugal
felicity, or one decided upon beforehand?

Was Kate quick-witted enough to guess there was money in it, or was
she really, once of a different mind and reformed.



Trace the antiquity of this schooling of a wife, and the resemblances
and contrasts in the chief variants of the story (for help in this see
Sources in "First Folio Edition").

Is there any progress to be discerned in the degree of bodily force
deemed expedient?

Is any such scheme of the marriage-relation compatible with advanced
civilization, or is it peculiar to crude notions of life in a taming


Is the folk-legend indicative of an inherent relation in marriage of
the male and female natures, or is it merely an expression of
established custom and legalized institution upon gaining for each the
aims and line of conduct desired? If so, is the result of the process
to gain a ground of mutual compromise and accommodation and a division
of labor in joint life which will enable the process itself to fall
into disuse.

Is coercion of others consistent with a high grade of individuality?

Did Petruchio play the Tamer in a "Pickwickian sense" and the whole
thing being a bit of acting, did Kate see through it, finally, and
play her part too?

The use of finesse in the Play (see Introduction to the Play "First
Folio Edition").

Does Shakespeare's way of handling the characters and the process of
taming materially differ from the way prevailing both in the crude
folk tales and in "A Shrew?"

Does he suggest that in both Petruchio's and Kate's case they are
merely bent upon their own individual emotions until closer relation
makes them join forces?

What is the modern bearing of Shakespeare's way of putting the story?

Partnership and co-operation _versus_ autocratic rule: Are the
administrative advantages of the latter consonant with the good will
and continual psychical development furthered by the former?

Does the intellectual advantage rest with the user of force or with
the mind that accommodates itself to force by gaining its ends by
stratagem and other indirect policies?

Is coercion as wise as persuasion which has no such penalties to pay?


Shakespeare makes us laugh in "Love's Labour's Lost" at the futility
of the attempt of ascetic and academic men to shut out love and women
from their schemes of life and study.

His early work in putting the past history of England into dramatic
form may possibly have suggested to him to put more recent history on
the stage by means of this Comedy. Light as it is, the point of it is
to satirize the monastic and exclusive element in current educational
schemes. Fictitious as the story is, it touches upon names and
incidents belonging to actual history. So familiar were these actual
happenings of the day to his audience that it could especially enjoy
these veiled allusions to them.

The main idea of the plot of the Comedy--the "Academe," was one that
had a bearing upon various similarly named educational projects of
that time in England.

One such scheme was drawn up about 1570, by Sir Humphrey Gilbert, Sir
Walter Raleigh's half-brother, for the "education of her Majeste's
Wardes and others the youths of nobility and gentlemen." This plan
was, like Shakespeare's arranged for a "three yeeres terme" (I, i, 20)
and at the end of "every three years" some book was to be published
which would represent the fruit of the Academy's study during that
period. Merely the title of this scheme--"Queen Elizabethes Achademy"
may have suggested Shakespeare's "Achademe" (I, i, 17). Of course,
however, both Gilbert's and Shakespeare's adoption of the name are
examples of the appropriation by educational groups of the classic
academes of the Philosophers of Athens and their student followers.
Another educational plan "for the bringing up in vertue and learning
of the Queenes Majestis Wardes," was devised by Sir Nicholas Bacon, in
1561. Later, in the reign of James I, the establishment of the
"Academe Royal" by Bolton, is an example of the early vogue of the
name, which has since become familiar everywhere, for educational and
learned institutions.

A less important element in the formation of the plot is the allusion
to current French politics which the situation of the characters of
the Play suggests.

A King of Navarre and a Princess of France conferring in treaty over a
disputed province and a claim of allowance for services rendered is an
incident constituting a reference to a state of things in France then
closely concerning England. The succession to the throne of France of
Henry of Navarre, the champion of the Huguenots of France, was long
contested. England was friendly to Navarre, the object of her foreign
policy being to counterpoise the power of Spain and the Catholics of
France, with whom Queen Elizabeth's most formidable rival, Mary
Stuart, was allied in interest.

No king of Navarre was ever named Ferdinand. Yet by making an entirely
fictitious hero a king of Navarre and the suitor of a princess of
France, the relationship of Henry of Navarre to dominance in France
was suggested in an unobjectionable and amusing way. And the death of
the King of France introduced at the close of the Play, involving the
prospect as a probability that the hero might then succeed to the
throne of France, could scarcely fail to remind Shakespeare's audience
of the actual struggle of the King of Navarre for the French crown,
and also of the fact that on the death of the French King in August,
1589, Navarre then became heir presumptive, and after the battle of
Ivry in 1590 Spain delayed but could not long obstruct his complete

In 1593 the most important cities of the Kingdom yielded him
allegiance and in the Spring of 1594 Paris herself opened her gates to
him. These dates 1589-1594 indicate the time, also, when "Love's
Labour's Lost" is likely to have been timely in these references, and
yield a clew to its date of composition.

The effect of these allusions to French political affairs, made more
piquant by the downfall of Spain in her political opposition both to
England and the party of Henry of Navarre, was intensified in
Shakespeare's Play by the names given to Navarre's lords. _Berowne_,
as the name appears in the Folio, is an English spelling of the French
name _Biron_, to which it is changed in modernized editions of
Shakespeare. _Longavill_ is an English equivalent of _Longueville_,
and _Dumaine_ or _Dumane_ of De Mayenne, names which also are changed
in the modernized editions, although not consistently. All these names
are associated with Navarre's struggles in France. The Maréchal de
Biron and the Duc de Longueville fought prominently on Navarre's side.
The Duc de Mayenne, brother of Henry of Guise, fought on the opposite
side. The Duc d'Alençon long a suitor for the hand of Queen Elizabeth,
is mentioned as the father of Rosaline.

Another veiled reference to a Russian suitor of the Queen's seems to
be made in the incident introduced in the last Act. This scene of the
wooing of the King and his lords when disguised as Russians makes fun,
perhaps, of an actual embassy of Russians to the Court of Elizabeth,
in 1583, when the Queen had arranged to put upon Lady Mary Hastings
the suit which the Czar Ivan had originally hoped to proffer to the
Queen herself. (For information upon these and other incidents of the
period that may be used in the plot see Sources, pp. 106-116 also
Notes in the "First Folio Edition" of this Play).



The theme of the Comedy--the exclusion of love for the sake of winning
fame for learning, is made clear by the first speaker. The opposition
Love will make to this is next expressed through another speaker, and
then embodied in a practical example. Bring out the argument, in full,
on both sides, as expressed by the King and his lords, on the one
side, and by one lord who is less subservient on the other side. What
does Berowne object to in the King's idea about study and fame? He
says, practically, that fame is a mere expression of opinion, and that
as anybody can give anyone the name of being learned or the name of
being anything, fame may be given by those who have very little notion
of any real knowledge. Superficial knowledge is knowledge of names but
real knowledge is that which names mean. In a word, we but dull our
minds and blind our eyes in poring over the outsides of things, unless
we study to understand life and act a beneficent part in it.

As children we are rightly put to task work in order to get the means
to go on independently using life and all the products of life
including books, in order to minister toward independent thought and
life. But to start in with rules and restrictions when we are older
and life itself is opening before us, is like climbing over a house to
unlock the gate before it. Their artificial arrangements are not
fitted to meet actual experience. Actual experience is bound to laugh
at their exclusion of life. How does the message brought by Costard
and Clowne bear on the argument? The fooling seems to be the dominant
interest in Scene ii. Is it, nevertheless, only the vehicle by which
the theme is developed? Show how also not alone by the confession
Armado makes but also by the words in which he expressed it, the theme
of the conflict of Love against the vow foreswearing it is made clear.
Notice, too, that the symptom, so to speak, of the labour of Love or
Cupid as opposed to the Herculean labor of "warre against your owne
affections" is at once made evident in Armando. This symptom is the
desire to write a Sonnet. In what way, then, does it appear from the
Story of Act I, that witness will be borne to the success of love's
labor over the vow of the _Achademe_?

Does the sprightliness of the second scene obscure the scheme of the
play advantageously or disadvantageously?



How is it made apparent that the effect of the Embassy of France to
Navarre will be on the side of Love against the Vow? The ladies'
remarks upon the students of the _Achademe_ throw light upon
themselves and the drift of the story as well as upon their subjects.
Show what may be gathered from their speeches? What does the Princess
gather from them?

The King does not invite the Princess to his Court, and declares he
will not violate his vow. Nevertheless he does do so. In what respect?
Boyet's observation of him goes still farther. What is this? And how
does it seem to be justified? Is Boyet's conclusion that "Navar is
affected," more a means of telling the Audience what is about to
happen, than comment on what is to be seen? Or is it of use to show
the Actor of the King's part how he must bear himself? How does it fit
with the name and scheme of the Play that Boyet who thinks the King
has already fallen in love should be called Cupid's grandfather?


Why does the Princess discount Boyet's remarks and accuse him of
joking? Does she give any clew to her own feelings?



Why is it in keeping with the Play that Berowne should be the first of
the Lords to be foresworn?

In making Armado the keeper of Costard, the Clown's breaking of the
vow has already been satirized by the King's own act. Armado now takes
his next turn at making Costard's sentence a hollow mockery by sending
him as a messenger to Jacquenetta. How is this first letter-carrying
made to lead to a second, doubling the mockery and promising new

Has Moth anything to do with the scheme of the Play?

Who is the "Boy" of whom Berowne speaks repeatedly in his speech
concluding this Act? What is the bearing of the reference to him upon
the Play?

How is the joke of the rhyme in which the Boy got the better of his
Master by selling him the "Goose" to be explained? It is commonly
supposed that the interpolation from the Quarto, i.e., the lines put
between brackets in the "First Folio Edition" (p. 31) are necessary.
It is better however, to leave them out, as they are left out in the
Folio text, if it is understood that the Boy Moth, repeats ll. 91-92,
after Armado has said them. Then Armado begins the "lenvoy" with the
intention that the Boy will also repeat that and that being the end,
turn the laugh on himself by calling himself the Goose. But the Boy is
too clever. He says it ends where it should. Costard declares the Boy
has sold him, and both laugh to the bewilderment of Armado. If the
Page added the "lenvoy" as the Quarto puts it the joke would already
have been turned against him. The explanation has to be very elaborate
and the poor little joke is too thin to stand it, if both texts be
followed. It is easy to see that the repetition by the Page of ll. 91
and 92, on the stage, confused the hearer who set it down for the
publisher of the Quarto, and also that the repetition would be a part
of the stage business and the lines might not appear twice therefore
in the MS. of the Play itself. The question growing out of this
is--Ought not the bracketed part of the text to be left out?


Why does Berowne say that he loves "the worst of all" (III, i, 193)?
Is this true? Does he think it true? Does it refer to her looks, or
her disposition, or her brain? Is it said of her because she is the
cleverest, and does Berowne really share the common prejudice of the
male against a superior woman or only pretend to?



Does the Princess guess the truth of the matter when Costard delivers
the wrong letter for Rosaline?

What relation has the second scene of Act IV to the Play? Of what use
to the preceding action, and to the present? Of what use are all these
new characters to the Plot? One has been before heard from, but is he
of the most or least use here? Are they of use to the story in any
other way, later? In what respects do their tricks of speech and
affectation of learning suit the aim of the Comedy? Show how the
Sonnet-writing is made the means of unmasking the lovers to each other
and all of them to Berowne. Are the sonnets suited to the characters
of the writers? Contrast the King's and Berowne's in this respect.
Does the King suspect Berowne before Jaquenetta brings her letter? Why
does Jaquenetta say it was treason? Would Berowne have confessed if he
were not forced to? After having so unmercifully followed the example
of the others in condemning them for doing what each was equally
involved in, the climax of forced confession from him is more amusing
than if any one of them had unmasked him, as Longaville did Dumain,
the King Longaville, and Berowne the King. What special fitness was
there in making Dumane find out that the torn letter was in Berowne's
hand and bore his signature?


Is Berowne's speech to "salve" their "perjury" (IV, iii, 309-383) the
moral of the piece? If so why should not the Play end here? How does
Berowne's final speech in this Act foreshadow the conclusion of the



What were the main events of the last Act and of this one, and how do
they bear upon one another? Why is the revenge planned by the Princess
both fair and prudent? Are the men more in earnest than they seem? Do
the women seem less in earnest than they are? Which man first draws a
lesson from being outwitted, and how is it justified? Show how this
lesson suits the trend of the Play, and advances upon the outcome of
the preceding Act. To whom is Berowne's line (V, ii, 477)--"Speake for
yourselves, my wit is at an end"--addressed? How is the King brought
to confusion? Is the Princess too hard upon him? Why does Berowne
scoff so fiercely at Boyet?

Is the presentation of the Nine Worthies too absurd in itself to mix
well with the courtliness, learning, and elaborate wit of the rest of
the Play? Note Berowne's defence of it (V, ii, 569-571) and his rebuke
to the King for despising it? The Princess's defence of it and its
correspondence with that of Theseus for the show of the "base
mechanicals" in the "Midsommer Nights Dreame." How does Berowne's
humility in accepting the parallel with their own wit-overthrown mask
agree with his boisterous jeering at the mask of the Nine Worthies
later? How does the attitude of the ladies toward it compare with that
of the men and what comment upon it does it constitute in your
opinion? How does it all prepare the way for the sudden sad message,
and also for the decision of the Ladies to rebuff love that is not
serious? What special point is there in the kind of trial Rosaline and
her mistress each specially propose for Berowne and the King? Has it
any relation to what has just been shown of each of them in their
attitude towards others with respect to the humble performers of the
Mask of the Nine Worthies? What makes wit an unalloyed pleasure?


Is the serious ending of this Comedy a disappointment? Is seriousness
an ending artistically called for by this plot, or only morally called
for? Compare with the serious strain in the "Comedie of Errors." What
does the contradictory little final dialogue between Winter and Spring
add to the significance of the Play?



This has been called by Armitage Brown, "A Comedy of Conversation";
and the quibbles in which the Play abounds have been supposed by Dr.
Johnson to give the Author "such delight, that he was content to
sacrifice reason propriety and truth" for their sake. How far do these
observations justly apply to the Play?

In what degree is the extravagant banter of the Play itself an
imitation of current fashions of speech and itself an object of

Its relations to Lyly and Euphuism. (See Extracts from Ward and from
Landmann in "Selected Criticism," in First Folio Edition of the Play).

Make a study of the lesser and larger wit of the play, showing how the
former is merely incidental to the latter.

In what respects is the whimsical talk of the Play suited to certain
groups and to special characters, so that there is more variety in it
than appears at first.


Does the master wit of the Play consist in any one class of fun, as
verbal conceits in the punning line; practical jokes; Euphuism,
so-called; banter in speech and retort, versemaking and sonneteering,
learned quips, or in the use of all these combined in a way to bring
out the point of the Play--the clash of natural with artificial

Is wit or purpose dominant in the Play?

Which is the wittiest scene? Is it also the most morally significant?



Three groups of characters appear in the play--the main group
belonging to the Court; the learned group, Armado, the, schoolmaster,
and the Curate; and the native group, Costard, Jaquenetta, Dull, and
Moth. The two latter subordinate groups add much to the Play. Show in
what respects: as to Plot interest what do they add? As to merriment
and significance? Is the morality and wit of the Play contributed to
by them? Are they of interest in themselves, apart from their relation
to the other characters? Are Costard and Jaquenetta the only happy
lovers in the Play? Why?

Is the King, kingly? In what respects, do you think, does he evince
youth and inexperience? When does he begin seriously to be in love? Is
the Princess justified in disciplining him? How much of her discipline
is due to the event that cuts short the Play? Judging from his
character, do you think he will stand the "twelvemonth" test?

Is Berowne the oldest as well as the deepest and wisest of the men?
How does he show all this?

Why does Rosaline discipline him? Is she in insight superior to him as
the Princess is to the King? Are the other court ladies equally wise
in the probation period they allot?

Are all the men--Costard included--so much a prey to a sort of foppery
of expression and love of animal spirits as to be properly subject to
the satire the play provides for them? Are the women more sane in this
respect, despite their wit, or not?

Is Shakespeare apparently on the women's side?


Is Costard the bumpkin the best actor in the Mask of the Worthies?
Why? Why is Jaquenetta the least and Moth the most discomfitted of the
third group of characters?

Dowden says the women of the Play "have not the entire advantage on
their side." What do they lack? He also says, to bear this out, that
"Berowne is yet a larger nature than the Princess or Rosaline." What
has this to do with their relative advantage in the Play itself, as
Shakespeare shows it?

Who are the critics of the falseness of artifice in the Play? Is
Berowne on the women's side in the criticism which gives them their



Is there a moral against the current educational methods and the
affectations social and literary of Shakespeare's time? The monastic
and aristocratic elements in education considered as opposed to the
progress of Women and the People. Show the general conditions of
education prevailing after the Middle Ages, and the new spirit of the
Renascence making itself felt, also the degree in which this appears
in this plot. If Shakespeare's spirit, as manifested in this Play, had
been more influential practically, do you think a different road would
have been taken? (For hints upon this line of thought see Introduction
in the "First Folio Edition"). How far is Berowne to be taken as the
spokesman of Shakespeare? Note what Pater says of him as "a reflex of
Shakespeare himself," and trace the truth of this as concerns the fact
that he is never "quite in touch" with the level of the understanding
shown by others of the Play, and state the bearing this has upon the
Moral of the Play. (See Pater's "Appreciations" or extract from same
in "Selected Criticism," pp. 242-248, "First Folio Edition").

Why does so frolicsome a Comedy end so seriously? Does that make it


Is there really a moral in the Play in favor of nature and sincerity
or is it merely read into it?

Is Dowden right, who says "there is a serious intention in the play,"
or Barrett Wendell who says: "like modern comic opera, such
essentially lyric work as this has no profound meaning; its object is
just to delight, to amuse; whoever searches for significance in such
literature misunderstands it."

In comparison with other comedies of Shakespeare, is a serious
undercurrent discernible in all of them, but none in this?



Summarize story and outcome of Play and Poem in comparison and in
contrast. Does Shakespeare's exposition of the contemporary view of
education account for the condition Tennyson criticises? If so, are
women to blame for it? If not, how much does this modify Tennyson's
criticism of the educational exclusion that is the scheme of the
College in "The Princess?" Shakespeare seems to point his moral
against his male characters for their exclusiveness, Tennyson against
his women characters? Which one goes the deeper? Wherein do they agree
and disagree? How may they be made to supplement each other? Has
Tennyson's poem presented any phase of the question touching upon
popular interest in exclusive educational schemes? Is Shakespeare,
considering his time, the more democratic in his views of life, as
shown by this Play, in comparison with those brought out in Tennyson's
Poem. Why does Shakespeare leave the women in moral and actual command
of the situation?


Is co-education the right conclusion to draw from the exposition by
the Poets of educational restraints and the relation of men and women
to life?

What ideals of life as to Nature and Education must be included in
educational schemes? Why does the Play not end with as many marriages
as there are lovers? Is it possibly because Shakespeare did not mean
to bring forward love between man and woman as if it were the only
thing in life but as the typical experience of life that should open
up the depths of knowledge not of love alone but of death and
suffering in relation to it.


The title of this Comedy broadly describes its character, and is based
upon the double meaning of "Nothing." The events that constitute the
plot are the result of "note-ing" or overhearing and so taking note of
events which are deceptive in some way. Hence, in all the "note-ing"
that takes place, there is, after all "nothing," and the whole amusing
plot constitutes much ado about nothing. The letter "h" in _Nothing_
was often silent in Elizabethan pronunciation. The "h" in "Moth" in
"Love's Labour's Lost" is another example.

Noting or overhearing as a factor of the plot is introduced also in
"Love's Labour's Lost." It is one of several links in workmanship with
that Play and its use there may have suggested the production of a
Play almost altogether built, as this is, on overhearing or taking
critical notice such as Benedicke and Beatrice take of each other.

The part of the plot that is based on an already existent story does
not develop this noteing element particularly. For that reason it is
the likelier that it is a device of Shakespeare's to make up his



The Story of Act I results, on the arrival of the Prince and his
suite, in making it known that Claudio has noted Hero as "the sweetest
Ladie" that ever he "lookt on." Show how it also comes out in Scene i
that a noting of a severer kind has passed between Benedicke and
Beatrice. The two kinds of special interest--the openly admiring
noting of Claudio, and the captious notice of each other shown by
Beatrice and Benedicke, initiate the two channels of action in which
the plot will run. The normal sex-agreement of the one pair of
characters is varied by contrast with the more unusual sex-warfare
that asserts itself humorously both in Beatrice and Benedicke. Bring
out pertinent examples of their defiance of love and marriage.  What
is to be gathered of Hero and her point of view from this Act? How
much from others, from little from herself? And how much from her of
others? Contrast with hers the witness given of herself by Beatrice.
Is Claudio taciturn, too, when compared with Benedicke?

What noting goes on in scene ii? Is it in accordance with what has
already taken place between Claudio and the Prince? What additional
noting comes out in Sc. iii. Is this in accordance with Scene i or
Scene ii? Act I closes with a sense of some confusion which Act II is
required to clear up. In addition to the inconsistency, notice Don
John's enmity to Claudio, and its menace of disaster.


Is the inconsistency of the last three scenes misleading and puzzling
rather than alluring to the curiosity of the reader?

Could it be made more interesting on the stage by the way of enacting
the part of Brother Anthony?



Tell the story of the masked ball. What new light is thrown, first, on
the characters and, then, on the plot by means of these fragmentary
bits of dialogue heard as the revellers pass on and off stage

Is Don John really misled as to his Brother's intentions toward Hero?

What does Hero herself think?

Does Don Pedro himself show that he is acting for another--that the
god, Love, dwells beneath his visor? The modernized edition spoils one
of the references to this office in which the Prince labors for Love
and does a labor of love in whose disinterestedness some doubt is
expressed. By changing Love to Jove (in II, i, 92) a literal
correction is made in accord with the legend referred to, but in
entire destruction of the point made by the Prince, if Shakespeare
means to adapt the allusion to his special purpose. Note also
Benedicke's name for Claudio (II, iii, 34). What is your opinion of
this? (See Note on II, i, 91, in "First Folio Edition"). Compare
another instance where the Prince shows that he is acting for Cupid
(II, i, 358-367). Is Don Pedro the most active spirit in the plot?
Show how in Acts I and II, it is made clear that the plot will consist
in the prevalence of either a favorable or unfavorable influence upon
the happiness of the characters. Who represents each influence?

Notice that the favorable influence in its first action in favor of
Claudio's happiness is misunderstood, discounted and disbelieved in
several directions. Is Claudio led to distrust of the Prince by others
or by his own jealousy?

In the second action of the favorable influence initiated by the
Prince, which of the characters share? Does the unfavorable influence
work against Benedicke's happiness?

What is Borachio's place in the action of the unfavorable influence?


Noteing or overhearing is itself nothing or has a large element of the
deceptive in it. How is it made to work well in Benedicke's case? Is
the element of truth the only one that is effective?



Show that the action taking the Story on consists in the "note-ing"
already planned being enacted and being noted as true. How does this
work with Beatrice in Scene i?

In Scene ii the unfavorable influence makes its preparation to carry
on the plot disastrously by the same method. How is this made clear?

In Scene iii the "note-ing" is as effective for evil as that in scene
i, is for good. But a counter influence is brought to bear upon it
which consists in "noteing" the falsity of the first "noteing." Show
how this is arranged and promises to solve all difficulty. But the
marriage is shown next to be in active preparation, and then the
promise of intervention in time to frustrate Hero's disgrace is in
scene v itself frustrated by the bestowal of all Dogberry's
"tediousness" upon Leonato and by his own impatience. Show the place
in the action of the hurrying on of scene iv, and the tediousness of
scene v, and of both on the humor of the Play.


Are the Prince and Claudio justified in the action they propose?

Is the element of chance, which both destroys the falseness of the
evidence by means of Borachio's talk, and prevents it from being known
by Dogberry's, especially fitting? Why?



Does Claudio's demeanor in the repudiation scene betray the violence
of love?

What is to be inferred from the Prince's words and those of his
bastard brother Don John?

Is it natural for Leonato to be convinced and to know his daughter no

Why is the Friar on her side? Notice how the Friar represents the
Church as Dogberry does the Law. As institutional forces of civic
life, outside the circle of the central group of characters, they
intervene in the action of the drama when it is properly amenable to
outside influences and civic instrumentalities. And both are brought
into the sphere of the Play by a means in sympathy with the artistic
method belonging to it. Observe how Dogberry is made humorously to
desire to have everything noted down, and how the Friar has come to
the conclusion that Hero is innocent "by noting of the Ladie." With
the Friar on her side, Hero and her one staunch friend--Beatrice are
enabled to follow a policy of resistance to her disgrace and of
re-establishment, first, of her good fame and, then, of her happiness.
How is this brought about? The share of the Friar in rallying her
friends to be loyal, and the share of Beatrice in instituting a
counter-movement to the accusation combine to what effect? How does it
suit with the scheme of the action that the love of Benedicke and
Beatrice here attains its climax?

What does scene ii accomplish for the plot?


Is the injection of tragedy at this Fourth Act into the Comedy
effective? Does it change the character of the Comedy or merely
intensify it?

Does Beatrice ask an unreasonable deed of Benedicke when she says
"Kill Claudio"? Suppose it were to prove true, instead of to be
prevented as may be already guessed, by the defeat of Don John's false
witness and evil influence: Is Beatrice justified in refusing
Benedicke if he will not kill his friend because it shows "there is no
love" in him?



The valor and humor of the two old men against the two young ones has
especial value in restoring the comic vein. How does this somewhat
belated loyalty of Leonato act upon our sympathy with him? Does the
forbearance of Claudio and the Prince toward the two men raise our
esteem of them or lead to further dislike?

What effect has the mock heroics of their ineffective challenge on
Benedicke's earnest championship of Hero? Is the Prince's satiric
speech (V, i, 208-209) to be interpreted as complimentary to
Benedicke? Notice Claudio's next speech in comment upon it, and
explain the implications intended.

What does Leonato mean by blaming Borachio less than the three nobles?
How far do you think him justified--the relations of master to man at
the time being considered?

Was Margaret to blame? Why did she not make the cheat known? (Cf. V,
iv, 5-7 with V, i, 311-314). Is it worth while to spend much time on
making all minor details clear?

Is Claudio's consent to a second marriage creditable, natural, or a
clumsy expedient which only the entire hollowness of the whole plot of
false noting as to Hero renders endurable? Can you imagine any way of
acting the part of Claudio that would make it seem attractive?

Do you find it in character at the wedding that one couple says so
little, the other so much?


Is the ending of the Plot happily contrived in too forced and unreal a

Which is the most stirring scheme in the Play and why?

Which is the funniest, and is it possible to say why?


Does this Play succeed in giving so extremely definite and varied an
impression of the characters that it is chiefly notable for that? To
bring out this idea of the plot as successful less in itself than
because it illuminates the quality and humor of the characters,
compare with the "Comedie of Errors" or any of the Plays where events
figure more prominently. Show how the events of this Play may be said
to be created by the Characters. The Prince and his Brother (and their
tools on each side who lend themselves to their plans with Dogberry,
the highly unconscious, and the Friar, the highly conscious character)
by being what they are constitute the diverse means of influencing the
whole turn of events. These persons may all be considered with
reference to what they are themselves, in character, and through that,
in relation to the other characters of the Comedy.


These two loving couples reveal their special characters most vividly
by means of their contrasting and supplementary relations to each
other. Show how Benedicke and Beatrice do not throw Claudio and Hero
too much in the shade by their superior brilliancy, because through
the love of the minor couple their own love is enabled to ripen. Is
their character heightened or lessened in wit and individual interest
by love?

The minor characters: Show how the adversity of the family brings out
the heroic element lying unobserved in Brother Anthony of the "dry
hand," and kindles his philosophy into something martial.

The merry maids, Ursula and Margaret and their light-hearted parts in
the plot.


Beatrice "is a tarter,--and, if a natural woman, is not a pleasing
representative of her sex." She "will provoke her Benedicke to give
her much and just conjugal castigation," says Campbell. Is he right,
and will Benedicke feel so?--or is Swinburne right, who says she is "a
decidedly more perfect woman than could properly or permissibly have
trod the stage of Congreve or Molière" and who speaks of her "light
true heart"?

Is the superficial Claudio worthy of Hero?

Are the faults in the plot of the Play, such as are necessitated by
the design of using the characters themselves and their "noting" of
one another as the source of events, and, therefore, in the last
analysis not faults, a study of their relation to the design leading
us, as Hartley Coleridge puts it, never to censure Shakespeare without
finding reason to eat our words?


Having read "A Midsommer Nights Dreame" as a whole, if it be not
already fresh in the mind, or, if possible, having seen it acted, then
consider more carefully the characteristics of its dramatic structure,
studying the plot and progress of the story as it is unfolded act by
act, also the sources, the characters, and so forth, as suggested in
the following study.



Sum up the incidents and characters introduced in the first Act and
ascertain which are most important in influencing the rest of the

It may be noticed that Theseus and Hippolyta and their marriage
festivities are personages and events which make up a decorative
external sort of frame for the whole play, but that the centre of the
action takes its start, primarily, from the conflict of Hermia's love
for Lysander with her father's choice of Demetrius, and, secondarily,
from the clash of Helena's love for Demetrius with his suit for
Hermia. Show how the brisk bit of dialogue between Hermia and Lysander
(I. i. 141-166) implies the forthcoming plot. For example, it may be
shown that 'to be enthrall'd to love' (the first folio reading is
_love_ instead of _low_, which was an emendation of Theobald's,)
[Footnote: See foot note in First Folio edition.] and to have
'sympathy in choice' made as 'momentary as a sound, swift as a shadow,
short as any dream,' is to be the fate of all the lovers in the play,
except Theseus and Hippolyta, and to constitute the substance of the

Consider what relation the second scene has to the story. Is it more
extraneous to the movement than the scene presenting the Duke and his
bride? It is linked to the crossed lovers group, on the one side, by
the part the chief of the 'rude mechanicals,' Bottom, is to assume
with Titania, although this does not appear in the first Act, and
Shakespeare's intention to do something special with this character is
only shadowed forth here by its prominence. On the other side it is
linked to the ducal group still more superficially, merely by the
rehearsal of a piece to be played at the wedding. It may be contrasted
with the preparation in 'Hamlet' for a piece similarly played before
the Court, but which had a vital connection with the action and
characters which is lacking here. Can there be said to be an artistic
design, however, though of a more external sort, in the contrast
between the Court scene and the rehearsal scene, and the realistic
offset the latter scene supplies to the fairy fantasies that are to
follow in the next acts? For instance, it may be shown that the
merriment the clownish scene provides balances the dignity of the
ducal scene. His audience, having put a yoke upon the dramatists by
requiring a clown, his genius is betokened here by his making it an
artistic advantage.

POINTS  1. 'The ancient privilege of Athens,' I. i. 49. What was the
position of the father toward the family in Attica? 2. 'On Dian's
altar to protest,' i. 98. Did the service of Diana offer women a
respite from masculine dictation? Compare the myth of Iphigenia's
salvation by Diana. 3. 'To that place the sharp Athenian law cannot
pursue,' i. 172. What Grecian states had laws more lenient to women?
4. What traces can be found in history or legend of the victory of
Theseus over the Amazons, and the rise of a new civic order on the
ruins of a matriarchate? 5. The story of Pyramus and Thisbe (see
Chaucer's 'Legend of Good Women' for an early English use of the
story). 6. Explanation of allusions to Phoebe, Cupid, Ercles, etc.



Upon what does the interest centre in Act I? In the marriage of
Hippolyta and Theseus, or the love affairs of the four lovers?

Is Hermia, whose determination not to be forced to marry starts the
plot, the best-drawn character in the first Act?



Show how in this Act a new agency of a fairies' quarrel is devised and
set forth.

Point out how this is made to crystallize in Oberon's scheme for
revenge on Titania, and also how, in the course of disentangling their
own love-snarl, it is made to develop the conflict between the crossed
lovers. This, it may be emphasized, is the second step in the
movement, as Hermia's and Helena's love was the first, and these two
main factors of the action are taken up together in this act.

Are the other two groups which were introduced in the first act, the
Duke's party and Bottom's set, interwoven with the new fairy group in
any way in this Act? See if the new fairy element now shows any
disposition in the person of Oberon to smooth out the difficulties of
the mortals.

Oberon's intentions, however, were one thing, and his deeds another.
Through Puck as his instrument, his jealousy at once begins to make
matters worse instead of better for the lovers. Notice the delicate
appropriateness of Oberon's means of influence, namely Puck and the
two flowers, the first being 'Cupid's flower,'--Love in idleness--the
second 'Dian's bud,' introduced later to correct the influence of the
first. The first flower assists in the development of a plot which is
to enact the 'momentariness' of 'sympathy in choice.' The
cross-purpose, fostered by Puck's mistake, seems to provide the
comparatively grosser sort of merriment for this Act which Bottom and
his friends supplied for the first; and the dainty humor and sprightly
novelty attending the introduction of the fairies on the scene, the
description of their quarrel, and the foreshadowing of the influence
they are to have on the next stages of the story, may be shown to
occupy the chief place in the plot at this period, the crossed lovers,
who predominated in the first Act, now falling into a relatively
subordinate position.

POINTS 1. Robin Goodfellow and the traditions about him. 2. Fairies
and changelings. 3. The stories of Theseus's loves. 4. Explanation of
allusions to nine men's morris, old Hiems, etc. 5. Account of theories
as to meaning of references to _the imperiall votresse, a little
westerne flower, a mearemaide on a dolphins backe_, etc. Warburton
says the mermaid was meant for Mary Queen of Scots. N.H. Halpin thinks
that by Cynthia is meant Queen Elizabeth; by Tellus, Lady Douglas; by
the little 'western flower,' Lettice, wife of Walter, Earl of Essex,
while Cupid is Leicester. (See "First Folio Edition" for particulars).
6. Explain use of 'Lob,' II. i. 15; 'wodde,' 200. 7. 'The starres shot
madly from their Spheares,' i. 159. Look up Ptolemaic system of
astronomy for explanation of the idea. Compare "Merchant of Venice,"
V. i. 71-75, and notes on same in "First Folio Edition" of that play.
8. What is "Love in idleness"? (See Introduction to "First Folio
Edition" of "A Midsommer Nights Dreame" for references to this flower
in Chaucer's poem of "The Flower and the Leaf.") Compare "The Taming
of the Shrew," I. i. 156. 9. What are "Cankers" in the musk rosebuds?
II. ii. 4.


Is it probable that the various passages in this act said to allude to
current incidents were so intended? In that case what effect do they
have upon the beauty of a Play set in Athens?

Is the interest of this Act a divided one?



Analyze the scenes constituting this Act. Observe that scene i. takes
up Bottom and his fellows, the group not as yet brought into relation
with the fairy group, and initiates them in the magic of fairy land by
means of the new but appropriate head Puck bestows upon Bottom. Why is
Bottom picked out for this favor? The 'ass-head' as a symbolic piece
of stage furniture. Show how this transformation makes the mismating
of Titania with Bottom more gross and obvious to the audience; also
how this is the next direct effect of Oberon's revenge.

Notice that scene ii. takes up the cross-effect already worked upon
Lysander by Puck's mistake, instead of on Demetrius, as Oberon
intended, and sets forth its further effects upon Helena and Hermia.
The dialogues between the two pairs of lovers now overheard by Oberon
makes the error clear, and so enables him to take the first step in
clearing up the tangle. Meantime, the poet and his audience agree with
Puck that they are so far 'glad it so did sort, As this their
jangling' is esteemed 'a sport.'

POINTS 1. Explain 'It shall be written in eight and sixe,' III. i.
23-4. 2. The custom in Shakespeare's day as to the women's parts.
Would it have been as amusing to the audience then as it would be to
us when Quince says 'Robin Starveling, you play Thisbies mother'? 3.
Pyramus and Thisbe. This may have been derived from Ovid, or from
Chaucer's "Legend of Good Women," or C. Robinson's "Handful of
Pleasant Delights." (1504.) 4. Explain 'Two of the first like coats in
heraldry,' III. ii. 220. 5. Describe the personal appearance of the
heroines from the references made.


Is Puck or Bottom the presiding genius of this act?

Does the jangling between the two women belittle them as heroines, and
is it, therefore, a blot upon the beauty of the play?



Trace throughout this act the smoothing-out process.

Why does Oberon himself release Titania while Puck is made to minister
to the other victims of the charm? Is Oberon's explanation of the
Fairy Queen's sudden change of heart about the changeling quite
satisfactory, or does it simply appear so by a sort of artistic
sleight-of-hand characteristic of Shakespeare in small touches at the
close of a plot?

Show how poetically suitable as a stage effect the entry of Theseus
and his huntsmen is,--shedding the first rays of morning on the
night-enchanted lovers.

Why is Bottom made to waken last? Perhaps because he helps to denote
the prose of broad daylight. Show what relation scene ii. has to the
completion of the smoothing-out process.

POINTS. 1. 'I was with Hercules and Cadmus once,' IV. i. 126. What
relation had Hippolyta to these Greek heroes? 2. Account of May-day
rites. 3. Traditions of St. Valentine. 4. Rites of Midsummer Eve.


Why is the choice of Hermia's father for her no longer supported by
the Duke? Does this imply a criticism on the inconsistency of allowing
men their choice, and their brides none, with which Shakespeare was in
sympathy, or is this only apparent to some modern minds?



If the central action of the play be considered as virtually concluded
with the fourth Act, what office is performed by the fifth Act?

Notice that in it the three groups of characters constituting the
play--the court group with the lovers; the 'rude mechanicals' and
their 'tedious brief scene,' and the fairy train--are in this Act all
brought upon the stage, the whole spectacle being set in the palace at
Athens, in celebration of the wedding festivities of the ducal pair,
which, as before noticed, is used as a sort of decorative frame for
the play as a whole.

Examine the working-out of this unified presentation of all the
personages. How are we to account for the silence of the women who
were made to do so much towards the institution of the action? Show
the poetic reasons for the entrance of Puck and the fairies last of
all, and when the stage is empty.

POINTS. 1. Explanation of all mythical allusions. 2. Account of
theories as to meaning of 'The thrice three muses,' etc., V. i. 59. 3.
What is a 'Bergomask dance'? 4. The date and occasion of the play:
This play appears in Meres's list of 1598 and in the Quartos of 1600.
Titania's description of the unseasonable weather (II. i. 92, foll.)
may refer to the year 1594. Note that Chaucer in the 'Knight's Tale'
speaks of the tempest at Hippolyta's home-coming. Many critics have
believed that the play was written on the occasion of some marriage in
high life, but they do not agree as to whose it was.


Upon what does the interest of the last Act centre? How does the
ending suit the various threads of the Play?

Is Theseus or Hippolyta the wiser critic of 'the story of the night';
and which of them is the wiser critic of the play of Pyramus and



In Plutarch's 'Life of Theseus' will be found passages which furnished
Shakespeare with some points for his drama. Chaucer's 'Knight's Tale'
is also said to have given him material. The editor of the "First
Folio Edition" suggests in the introduction that a reading by
Shakespeare of a poem in his day supposed to be Chaucer's, 'The Flower
and the Leaf,' gave him an important hint for his plot. Examine for
yourself, and state what indebtedness you find in any of these
sources. In I. i. 20, Theseus says to Hippolyta, 'I woo'd thee with my
sword.' Compare this with the account given in Chaucer. According to
another version of the story Hercules gave Hippolyta to his kinsman
Theseus in marriage. Compare 'The Two Noble Kinsmen' and the 'Knight's
Tale' with Shakespeare's 'Dreame.'


The models in literature from which Shakespeare drew may have been
'Huon of Bordeaux,' where he got little, however, but the name Oberon.
The name Titania may have been derived from Ovid's 'Metamorphoses.'
The Fairy Queen in Shakespeare's day usually went by the name of Queen
Mab. Puck's characteristics seem to have been derived from the little
tract of 'Robin Goodfellow, His Mad Pranks and Merry Jests.' Rolfe, in
the notes to his edition of the play, says that White argues that this
was probably written after "A Midsommer Nights Dreame." Ward thinks
that the entire machinery of Oberon and his court may have been
derived from Greene's 'Scottish History of James IV,' and that Titania
may have been suggested by Chaucer's 'Wife of Bath's Tale.' He
probably owed his fairies in great measure to tradition or folk-lore.
The folk-lore of England was originally made up of Teutonic elements,
which have been modified by Danish and Norman invasions, by remnants
of old Keltic belief, and by the introduction of Christianity, which
last degraded the good fairies into mischievous elves. (See Hazlitt,
'Fairy Mythology of Shakespeare,' Halliwell's 'Illustrations of the
Fairy Mythology of Midsummer Night's Dream,' also _Poet-Lore_, April,
1891, 'Fairy-lore in Midsummer Night's Dream.')


According to some authorities the Teutonic mythology was of cosmic
origin. In the fairies may be seen many reflections of cosmic
characteristics. Oberon and Titania are fairies of the night, and the
old battle between light and darkness shows itself in the mad pranks
which they play on unsuspecting mortals. But as the daylight comes
they are obliged to flee. Puck reflects the characteristics of a wind
god. (See Cox, 'Myths of the Aryan Nations;' also Korner, 'Solar Myths
in Midsummer Night's Dream,' _Poet-Lore_, Jan., 1891). Compare his
character with that of Hermes in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes (Shelley's




1. Hermia and Helena are hardly worth considering, but if anything
Helena is to be preferred to Hermia because she is so humble, and
shows no sign of jealousy of Hermia. 2. If Hermia had been more
dignified when she found that both the lovers had turned their
attention to Helena, she would better have carried out the promise of
her character in the first Act when she declared she would rather die
than wed the man chosen by her father.



1. The only indication we have of the character of Hippolyta is in the
last act, where she is so bored by the play of 'Pyramus and Thisbe.'
Does this show stupidity on her part or exceptional development? 2. Do
you agree with Dowden that there is no figure in the early drama of
Shakespeare so magnificent as Theseus? His insistence in Act I. that
Hermia should obey her father against her own inclinations is
certainly not very praiseworthy, but might be excused on the score of
the times in which he lived. 3. His complaisance toward Quince and his
companions has been considered an indication that he was a most
perfect gentleman; does he not rather conceitedly patronize them?



1. Have the Fairies any idea of morality? 2. Oberon was perfectly
justified in wishing to get the changeling from his wife, and shows
himself worthy of becoming a mortal for insisting on his rights as a
husband. 3. Titania is the most developed woman character in the play,
because she insists on her individual right to the changeling. 4. Is
Puck a more developed fairy than Ariel in 'The Tempest'?



1. Is Shakespeare making fun of the stupidity of Quince and his
companions, or is he gently satirizing the stage and the exaggerated
style of writing for the stage which prevailed at this time? 2. If the
last is true, is not Shakespeare in the last act making fun of the
audience, as well as of the players, who with a superior air pass
judgment upon the play and indulge in very lame wit, while the real
meaning of it quite escapes them.


Every member of the class or club should bring in a short paper giving
his favorite passage in the play and why he likes it, including his
criticism of the metre, of the metaphors and similes, and the thought


1. Which characters in the play are original with Shakespeare? 2. What
is to be thought of Shakespeare for bringing together in one play
Greek mythology, English folk-lore, and English workmen of his own
age? Does this commixture of elements make the Play seem unnatural or
incongruous? Has he skilfully harmonised these diverse elements by
giving the Play its dream-like character? 3. That this play is
charming cannot be disputed. Is its chief charm its humor, its fancy,
its dramatic construction, or subtle developments of character?


Sufficiently indirect use of contemporary political events in a Play
was a cause of popularity without seeming dangerous to the State.

As "Love's Labour's Lost" is an early example of a plot woven out of
masked allusions to current topics, so even as definitely plotted a
comedy as "The Merchant of Venice" here and there worked in an
animating shred of contemporary reference.

After Dr. Roderigo Lopez, the Queen's physician, was accused by Don
Antonio of Portugal, and executed June 7, 1594, on the charge of being
bribed by the King of Spain to poison Queen Elizabeth, the story of a
Shylock's defeat and the rescue from his clutches of an Anthonio had
just enough relevance to be popular without definiteness enough to be



Why is Anthonio sad? Is it presentiment? Is it, despite his unselfish
willingness to furnish forth Bassanio to sue at Belmont for Portia,
some sense of loss in friendship through this love? Anthonio and
Bassanio may be considered as examples of that devoted friendship
illustrated by Valentine's feelings towards Protheus in "The Two
Gentlemen of Verona."

The group of young and gay courtiers circling about the two friends
bring them into brighter relief.

Unlike Protheus, though perhaps younger and less wrapped up in the
sense of friendship than Anthonio is, Bassanio is worthy of such
regard. Do the "faire speechless messages" he has received from
Portia's eyes and his praise of her as "nothing undervalued to
Brutus's Portia" tell the cause of his quest better than what is said
of her wealth? Notice that even what he says of that is as a mere
grace of her person: "her sunny locks Hang on her temples," etc. (I.
i. 177-181).

What reasons had Shylock for hating Anthonio?

Does Anthonio's demand that he lend the money to him as an enemy
justify the terms of the bond?

Is Bassanio right in distrusting, and wrong in accepting such a bond?

The long pedigree of Jewish and Christian antipathy and its
illustration in this bond by the characters that are its exemplars.

What is to be gathered of Portia in this Act before she meets again
with Bassanio?


Are Anthonio and Shylock more individual than typical?

Does the Act close with assurance of good luck or foreboding of bad?

Is Bassanio a fortune hunter?

Is he to blame for what follows?



Why is Jessica's story intertwined with Portia's? What dramatic
purposes does it serve? Are Jessica and Launce alike justified in
leaving Shylock? Why? (See Introduction to the Play in First Folio
Edition for suggestion). Is the Jew's lament for his daughter although
piteous, inadequate.

Is the choice of the gold and the silver by the Moor and Spaniard
significant of their natures?

What reason is there to find in the symbolism and the persuasion to
choice each suitor employs that Portia's father has used the wisdom of
a seer in prescribing the choice from the three caskets?


Do you like Jessica? Why? In what ways are Portia and Jessica alike in
the generousness of love though opposite in circumstances?

Is Jessica's elopement to blame for her father's joy in the wreckage
of Anthonio's ships and his final exaction of the bond? Was it
introduced in the Plot for this purpose?



Shakespeare's creed of love as engendered in the eyes may be
illustrated by passages in many other plays as well as this. What is
meant by it?

Is Bassanio's daring in venturing so much for his chance with Portia
itself a sign of his fitness, or the reverse? How is his casket
significant of this test-stone--i.e., adventurousness?

Is the match of Nerissa and Gratiano an irrelevance to Portia's and
Bassanio's courtship or an enhancement of their happiness? Show how
the two points of climax in event and feeling balance absolutely but
do not sacrifice each other? Are Shakespeare's experiments in bold
juxtaposition of extreme fortune and happiness and utterly
irretrievable devastation anywhere so poignant as the arrival of
Anthonio's letter at the betrothal of Bassanio and Portia?


Is the secret of Bassanio's adventurousness the supreme honor in which
he holds love? Nothing else being of so much consequence, he yields
everything to love. Does Jessica, also?

The "manners" of Portia, according to Gildon, "are not always
agreeable or convenient to her Sex and Quality; particularly where she
scarce preserves her modesty in the expression." What is to be thought
of this?

Is Anthonio's letter characteristic of his nobleness as a friend, or
is it too insistent upon bringing Bassanio to him, since to send such
a letter was equivalent to fetching him?

Is it Portia's best warrant as a noble bride and wife that she
appreciates Anthonio's message and friendship?



By means of Bassanio's luck in winning Portia's love and hand Shylock
is finally defeated of his malicious purpose. Portia considered as the
embodiment of Bassanio's luck and the instrument bringing Shylock to

Does it matter whether the law-point is disputable or not since the
traditional stories on which the Play is built up afford the
opportunity for its use?

Does Shylock get Justice, since he had refused mercy?

Illustrate the legal knowledge and studies of Italian women of the
Renaissance affording a parallel for Portia's sagacity and leadership.
(For hints see pp. 256-260 in "First Folio Edition.")


Do you think Shylock is wronged?

Does Shylock so preponderate the Play as to destroy its balance, and
outweighing all other characters make them insignificant?

Are Actors justified in acting the Play so as to dwarf the Love plot
and cut out Act V as needless?

Is Portia the proper counterpart in consummate character creation to
Shylock? To whom does, if properly played, the ultimate interest of
the Play belong?

Why does this position belong to no other character's part?



What is the business of Act V?

How is it linked to the preceding Act? Since reunion and rejoicing are
not alone the business of the plot; since recognition and declaration
to the two husbands, and to Anthonio, especially, are needed, as well
as to the others, of the part played by the wives in solving the
difficulties of the plot, the Ring scenes constitute the due dramatic
conclusion of the Play. Note that the threat of quarrel over the
reluctant but requisite giving away of the rings in the preceding Act
makes a deceptively serious difficulty. It is happily to be solved as
a result of the wives' preceding action. This difficulty and this
solution at this final stage of the plot constitute a little character
play that is an epitome of the action. The whole is the more happily
and amusingly solved that the Audience is wise and the characters
still in the dark are really perplexed.

Point out the value of the exchange of Rings as made clear in these
two ways, by bringing out the characters of Gratiano, Bassanio, and
especially of Anthonio as peace-maker; and by bringing out to them the
fact that to the wives' love and skill the victory over the
difficulties they suffered is due.

Are the rings the sole test of this?

What other news adds to the general denouement of all difficulties?

Is the summing up of the Play a victory of love and intelligence over
hate and narrow-mindedness?

Show how the rings symbolize this, and music and moonlight provide the
proper atmosphere for its operation. The appropriateness of the
moonlight for a calm out of strife, brought about by women, is matched
by the fitness of music and the reference to the harmony of the
spheres to suggest that earth-harmony to which Portia was presiding


Is any incident of Act V without relevance to the plot?

Is the Play the nobler or the weaker dramatically for the poetic and
symbolic influence shed upon it by Act V?


If this Comedy was written, as tradition reports at the bidding of
Queen Elizabeth in order to show Falstaffe in love, it is interesting
to see that Shakespeare confines his love-making to mercenary motives,
and by causing him to make love to two at once renders him as a lover
merely a cheat.

So keeping the word of promise to the ear, he obeys by breaking it to
the sense. To show Falstaffe as a lover amounts to showing him as no
lover at all.

In this sense, the Play might be called a courteous satire upon the
Queen's request.



How Falstaffe falls into trouble, turns away his followers and begins
a new enterprise: How do his followers take revenge? What light upon
this opening of the story do scenes i. and iii. show?

What is the underplot as shown in scenes ii. and iv and a part of
scene i?

Do they appear to have anything to do with each other?


Which of her suitors does Anne prefer? Which is to be preferred?

Is the grievance of Shallow against Falstaffe a necessity of the plot
to show the fat knight in love, or an episode introduced out of
Shakespeare's grudge towards Sir Thomas Lucy? (See pp. 117-119,
138-141, etc., "First Folio Edition.")



In Act II a third under-intrigue that of Ford with Falstaffe is added
to the two before introduced.

Show how the Merry Wives reveal their separate personalities in their
reception of the duplicate letters, and their plot to dupe Falstaffe.

Contrast their two husbands as their natures and marital relations are
shown by their different manner of taking the information given them
by Nym and Pistol. Ford, considered as Shakespeare's first study of
jealousy. How does he compare with Leontes?

How does Ford assist in the plot of the Play?

What pertinence to Ford's jealousy is there in the allusion to Queen
Elizabeth's Sonnet? (II, ii, 199-200).

The Sources of the Merry Wives' intrigue and what Shakespeare has done
with them. (See "Sources," First Folio Edition). How is the Duel scene
related to the underplot?

What characters belong in common to plot and counterplot?


Does Falstaffe show any material differences in character as he
appears in this Play, in comparison with the way he appears in "Henry



Contrast the feelings of Falstaffe before and after the Buckbasket

In which scene is Ford the worst duped?

Give an account of Dame Quickly's relations to the intrigues, and show
how her multitudinous offices as go-between interfere with each other
so that she is "slacke" in one of her errands. What is the effect of
her slackness on the contradictions in the time of the action. (See
Duration of the Action, in "First Folio Edition"). Are they only
seeming contradictions? The Sources of the Ford intrigue and what
Shakespeare has done with them.

Anne and her father and mother as characterized in this act, with
relation to the suitors.


Is Anne the only character one can thoroughly sympathize with?

Are the situations such as owe their fun largely to coincidence, like
those in the "Comedie of Errors," or to a teeming variousness in the
human naturalness of all the characters?



Why is the Old Woman of Brentford trick a climax upon that of the

Falstaffe's wish that all the world might be cheated is true to the
method of the Play. Show in exemplification of this, how a fourth
intrigue grows out of the third, and is introduced as late as this
fourth Act. How is the joke of the Host against Dr. Caius and Sir Hugh
Evans avenged? Is this reference to the "three Cozen Jermans" that are
said to run away with the Host's horses, liklier to be an allusion
seriously made to a real event or to make use of it as an entirely
fictitious intrigue and practical joke in the Play? Is this mock
happening such as could be clear by the method of enacting it and one
entirely consonant with this Comedy as a farce-mosaic of laughable
tricks? (See pp. 120-121, 179-180, also Note on IV. iii. 6). Discuss
probabilities. The turn taken in the plot: Show how all combine
against Falstaffe; also the place of this intrigue in making material
for Act V.


Has the "Merry Wives" any serious or tragic moments such as belong
usually to Shakespeare's Comedies?

Compare the jealousy of Ford with the jealousy of Adriana in the
"Comedie of Errors." Which exemplifies the riper treatment and why?



Make clear the ins and outs of the Fairy trap, first for its actors,
then for the dupes? Can the apparent inconsistencies in the wearing of
green or white and the mention of "Quickly" for "Queene" be accounted
for on the supposition that everybody is deceived except Nan and
Fenton? (See Notes on V. v. 421, 205-209).

The compliments to Queen Elizabeth in the Play: What are they and how
is their appropriateness to the Plot made good?

Consider the "humors" of the Welsh and French speeches and episodes as
exploitations and developments of the similar humors of Fluellen and
the Frenchmen of "Henry V."

The fairy scenes and effects of this Play compared with those of the
wedding night feast at the end of "A Midsommer Nights Dreame."

What indications are there in the Falstaffe of "Henry IV." that he is
superficially affected by the Puritanism about him? Is he any more
deeply affected by it in the present Play? What is the difference in
his appearance in this Play with respect to Puritanic morals: Is he
more affected by them, at the last, when he is so grossly their
victim, or have they grown, and put him out of date in England except
as an atavism?

Have Page and his Wife any loftier standpoint as to mercenary love
than Falstaffe himself? Is Fenton's speech (V. v. 225-235) the moral
of the last Act or is Ford's (237-238)?


Is the main design of the Play to "cure Ford of his unreasonable
jealousy," as Rowe says, or to dupe and reform Falstaffe? Is the total
aim sport to laugh over "by a Countrie fire?" Is it a Comedy of irony
turned against all mercenary motives in love?




How much of the situation existing in the play comes out in Act I. i.?
And what action takes place?

The strained relation existing between the brothers Orlando and Oliver
is revealed through Orlando's conversation with Adam and with his
brother Oliver. The situation at court is also revealed through the
conversation of Oliver with the wrestler Charles, and also the loving
relation existing between Celia and Rosalind; thus we are at once put
into the possession of three emotional or passional causes for
action--Oliver's hatred of his younger brother, the younger Duke's
hatred of his older brother, and the love of Celia for Rosalind. Of
these causes for action only one bears any fruit in this scene,
namely, Oliver arranges with the wrestler to kill Orlando. What are
the connections existing between sc. ii. and sc. i.? First there is a
picture of the loving relationship existing between Rosalind and Celia
(already mentioned by Oliver in sc. i.) which reveals very subtly
differences in their natures. The action set going by Oliver in sc. i.
is consummated in the wrestling match, but with a result different
from that hoped for by Oliver, thus leaving Oliver's hatred still
present as a cause of action. Out of the wrestling match what further
passional and emotional causes of action are set up? Duke Frederick's
hatred for Orlando is aroused because he learns he is the son of a man
he had considered his enemy, and action against him is the immediate
result. Orlando is warned by Le Beau that he is not safe at the court.
The Duke's hatred of his brother bears further fruit in its extension
to Rosalind. The meeting of Rosalind and Orlando brought about by the
wrestling match gives rise to a fresh emotional force in their budding
love for each other. In Sc. iii., the state of Rosalind's heart as to
Orlando, hinted at in sc. ii., is fully revealed; the Duke's hatred
takes shape in his sentence of banishment or death, giving rise to a
new direction for action, and the emotion of Celia's love for Rosalind
bears fruit in her determination to go with Rosalind into banishment.



In Act II. how are the elements of action, character delineation and
emotion intermingled?

Sc. i. gives us a picture of the banished Duke and his followers in
the Forest of Arden, already prepared for in Act I., introduces us to
the personality of the Duke, and in the conversation with the lords
prepares us for coming delights in the personality of Jaques. It does
not advance the action, at all. In sc. ii., the result of Celia's act
in going with Rosalind is shown in the bad Duke's consternation, who
determines that they shall be found, thus starting another thread of
action to be developed later. Sc. iii. the passional cause of action
in Oliver's hatred of Orlando reaches a crisis; Orlando is obliged to
flee to save himself from death. Sc. iv. shows Celia and Rosalind
arrived at their journey's end in the Forest of Arden, and making
arrangements with a shepherd for a comfortable little house to
rusticate in; thus is closed the thread of action started by the Duke
in banishing Rosalind. In the conversation of their new companions,
Corin and Silvius, we learn of the love of Silvius for the scornful
Phebe, which is another emotional impulse to action, later blending
itself with the plot. In sc. v. we meet Jaques, already mentioned, and
get another glimpse of the pleasant company in the forest, but they
are still quite detached from the active elements of the play. Sc. vi.
shows us how far Orlando and Adam have gone in their flight, and sc.
vii. presents again the good Duke's court, develops further the
personality of Jaques, and prepares us, through his conversation about
the fool whom he had met in the forest, for the contact of one of the
threads of action with the element of inaction represented by this
good Duke's forest court, while in the sudden breaking in upon them of
Orlando it is brought into contact with another of the threads of



At the opening of Act III. what results have been brought about by the
action so far? Everybody in the play except Oliver and the bad Duke
has arrived in the Forest of Arden. In sc. i. of Act III. the hatred
of the Duke is still active as a force, and Oliver through this means
is also sent off to finally bring up in the Forest of Arden. The
Duke's attitude as a motive force having worked itself out in its
relation to Orlando and Rosalind, the emotional cause of action in the
love of Rosalind and Orlando is free to develop, and the remainder of
Act III. is devoted chiefly to the presentation of the situation
between the lovers, which, owing to the disguise assumed by Rosalind,
gives rise to the charming inconsistencies attending the wooing of a
proxy Rosalind who is in reality Rosalind herself. Around these
central lovers, whose characters Shakespeare unfolds, revolve other
interesting personalities. Touchstone meets his fate in Audrey. Phebe
still scorns Corin and perversely falls in love with Ganymede. The
action is only advanced to the extent that Rosalind learns the state
of Orlando's mind while he still remains in ignorance as to hers.



Are there any fresh elements or developments in Act IV.?

Sc. i. merely continues the love-making of Act III. Sc. ii. gives
another glimpse of the good Duke's court; in sc. iii. the love of
Phebe bears fruit in a letter to Ganymede, and Oliver finds his way to
the forest. The bad Duke's intentions toward Orlando in sending Oliver
after him are, however, frustrated by the sudden change of heart
against a bad Duke is a good Duke. Contrast their actions throughout
the play. Contrast also the two brothers, Orlando and Oliver. What are
the resemblances between the characters of Oliver and Duke
Frederick?--between Orlando and the banished Duke? Is Orlando's
rebellion against his brother's injustice or the banished Duke's
acceptance of _his_ brother's injustice the more to be praised?
Compare his attitude with that of Prospero under similar
circumstances. Whose repentance is the more sincere, Oliver's or Duke
Frederick's? Note that Oliver has lost all when he repents, while the
Duke gives up everything just as he is about to realize his aim. Is
the repentance of the usurping Duke merely a _ruse_ of Shakespeare's
to bring the play to a happy ending? In Lodge's story he does not
repent, but is proceeded against by his brother. Contrast Jaques and
Touchstone. Is Jaques's melancholy affected? What is the main
difference between Rosalind and Celia? Which is the more the friend of
the other? (For valuable suggestions on these points see 'Characters
in "As You Like It,"' _Poet-lore_, Vol. IV. pp. 31 and 81, Jan. and
Feb., 1892.)


Which is the better philosopher, Jaques or Touchstone, and which is
more closely related to the philosophy of the play?

The characters of the two Dukes are not developed; they are merely
walking gentlemen, whose office it is to keep the play in motion.

2. The Lovers of the Play.

The Different Kinds of Love in 'As You Like It.' Examples of love at
first sight in Shakespeare. Note Orlando's surprise at the suddenness
of Oliver's and Celia's love. Was his own less sudden? Consider
Hymen's song and Jaques's remarks in the last scene as descriptive of
the various couples. Does the comic element of the play, as
represented by Touchstone, discredit sentiment in the play? Notice the
madrigal in Lodge's novel (given in _Poet-lore_, Vol. III., in the
article on Lodge, Dec, 1891), and consider whether Shakespeare has
borrowed anything from it in characterizing Rosalind's wooing?
Contrast Lodge's Montanus as a lover with Shakespeare's Silvius. Is
Montanus too much of a "tame snake" to be natural? Or does this
constancy in love make him a superior figure? Is it a sign of
Silvius's inferiority that love has its own way with him? Can love be
true that changes if it is unrequited?

Are those actors right, do you think, who play Oliver as guessing who
Ganymede is when she swoons? Is Rosalind's conduct unwomanly? Is her
disguise unlikely?


It is best for the man to love the most; and therefore has Silvius and
Phebe's unequal love-match a better chance for happiness than
Rosalind's and Orlando's?



The Rise of Pastoral Poetry, and Shakespeare's Use of it in 'As You
Like It.'

Compare Spenser's 'Shepherd's Calendar,' Fletcher's 'Faithful
Shepherdess,' etc. Point out any differences you find between
Shakespeare's and Spenser's pastoral poetry. Modern literary use of
the pastoral element, Wordsworth's 'Michael.' Is the pastoral life of
literature always artificial? Can a progress toward realism be shown?
The humor of the play. Discuss in particular the humorous comments on
contrasts between court and country life. Compare modern instances of
the refinements and artifices of city life and the crudeness of work
and pleasure in the country.

_Special Points_.--1. The Forest of Arden: Is it in England, France,
or Shakespeare's imagination? 2. "Old Robin Hood of England." What are
the legends concerning him? 3. The archaic words in the play. (See
Prof. Sinclair Korner's 'Shakespeare's Inheritance from the Fourteenth
Century,' in _Poet-lore_, Vol. II., p. 410, Aug., 1890.)


Is the opposition shown in the play between life at court and in the
country truly shown to be to the advantage of the country.



The moral side of the Play consists, according to the Introduction in
the First Folio Edition, in its persuasion toward an Arden of the
disposition, or a spirit of happy good will toward all men. How far
does this cover the lesson of the Play?

What is to be thought of the idea in the 'Ethics of "As You Like It"'
(_Poet-lore_, Vol. III., p. 498, Oct., 1891), that Touchstone's
opinion of a shepherd's life (III. ii.) is the key-note of the play?
Are the references to fortune in the play significant? Dr. F.J.
Furnivall says: "What we most prize is misfortune borne with cheery
mind, the sun of man's spirit shining through and dispersing the
clouds which try to shade it. This is the spirit of the play." Of this
Dr. Ingleby says: "The moral of the play is much more concrete than
this. It is not how to bear misfortune with a cheery mind, but _how to
read_ the lessons in the vicissitudes of physical nature." C.A.
Wurtzburg says: "The deep truths that may be gathered from the play
are the innate dignity of the human spirit, before which every
conventionality of birth, rank, education, even of natural ties, must
give way." Give arguments drawn from the play in favor of or against
all of these suggestions. Is it an evidence of Shakespeare's intention
to be a moral teacher that he altered the fate of Duke Frederick?


Has the play any moral that is not gently satirized in it?



Shakespeare's Variations from Lodge.

Compare Lodge's 'Rosalind' with 'As You Like It.'

(For this story, see "Shakespeare's Library" or Extracts in Notes and
Comment in Sources in "First Folio Edition").

Is the story better without the parts Shakespeare leaves out (_e. g._,
Adam's proposal to Rosader to cut his veins and suck the blood; his
nose-bleed; the incident of the robbers accounting for Aliena's sudden
love, etc.)? Why is the "Green and gilded snake" added? Isn't the
"lioness" enough? Is Rosader or Orlando the finer character, and why?
The new characters introduced--Audrey and William--considered as
embodying real instead of ideal pastoral life. Do Shakespeare's
changes affect the plot, the characters, or the moral of the story?
(For an examination of the plot of the play, see 'An Inductive Study
of "As You Like It,"' in _Poet-lore_, Vol. III., p. 341.)

A Sketch of Lodge's Life and Work. (See 'An Elizabethan Lyrist: Thomas
Lodge,' in _Poet-lore_, Vol. III., p. 593, Dec, 1891.)


Is Shakespeare's framing of the plot of 'As You Like It' not to be
admired, because it is borrowed?



This may consist of a brief paper on the subject illustrated by a
program of the songs with the old and more modern settings. (See New
Shakespeare Society's Papers, on this subject; 'Shakespeare and
Music,' by E.W. Naylor.)


The winsomeness of this poetic comedy rightly makes the reader or the
hearer hesitate to count its petals or scrutinize the stages of its
growth, which are marked by its acts as symmetrically as leaf buds are
ranged about a stalk. And yet, one may find that to take note of such
beautiful orderliness in the delicate structure and sprightly
blossoming of the poet's design enhances the appreciation of its
artistic quality. Regarding it first as a whole, sum up the stages of
the action, first; then the caprices its allusions denote; then the
characters; and finally the poetic fancy and wit exhaled by the whole
play like a fragrance.



Act I. scene i. puts us in possession of what facts concerning the
Duke and Olivia? What do we learn from the conversation of Viola and
the Captain in scene ii., and what course does Viola decide upon? What
do we discover from scene iii. in regard to the state of things in
Olivia's household? In scene iv., what relation has been established
between the Duke and Viola? What three new characters are introduced
in scene v., and what is the event of the scene? Act II. scene i.:
What is learned of Sebastian and his intentions? In scene ii., what
are shown to be the feelings of Olivia? In what previous scene was
this prepared for? Does scene iii. advance the story at all? What is
it taken up with? Does scene iv. advance the story? Of what scene is
it almost a repetition? If it does not advance the action, what does
it do? Of what previous scene is scene v. the result? What previous
scene leads up to scene i. of Act III? and of what scene is it in
purpose a repetition? What new turn is given to affairs in scene ii.,
and through whom is it brought about? Whose doings do we get a glimpse
of in scene iii? Of whose plot do we see further developments in scene
iv? What other issues in the progress of events come to a climax in
this Act? Act IV. scene i.: Describe the complication of affairs which
arises in this scene. What previous scenes do we see the result of in
scene ii? and what happens that will bring about a change in the
situation? What important event occurs in this scene iii? Act V. scene
i.: Describe how in this scene all the complications are unravelled,
and by what means all the characters are brought upon the stage. What
do you think of the device to call Malvolio upon the stage? Does it
not seem rather clumsy, or do you think it a further humorous touch
that Viola should have to depend on Malvolio to find her 'woman's
weeds again'?

What becomes evident after tracing the events of the play through in
this way? That the interest of the play does not depend so much upon
the story itself, as, first, upon the amusing situations resultant
from the story, and, second, upon the scenes which introduce the
characters in Olivia's household who are really not at all concerned
in the development of the plot, but who are the occasion of many added
amusing situations.

What constitutes the real interest of the two short scenes between
Sebastian and Antonio? Their bearing, mainly, on scene iv. of Act III.
By means of them we are shown that Antonio has an enemy in Orsino, and
thus his arrest is prepared for, also how Antonio gives his purse to
Sebastian, the real purpose of the arrest being to bring about a
reason for Antonio's requiring his purse again from Cesario, whom he
takes for Sebastian, and so to add complication to the situation
arising from the resemblance between the brother and sister.

What are the situations which the story gives Shakespeare a chance to
develop? On the one hand, is the Duke pouring out his love for another
woman to his supposed page, who is in love with him, and thus giving
rise to the series of scenes between the Duke and Viola. On the other
hand, is the supposed page pressing his master's suit to a woman who
loves the supposed page, and thus giving rise to the series of scenes
between Viola and Olivia. Out of this love of Olivia for Viola grows
the absurd situation of Viola's being obliged to fight a duel, which
is made still more ridiculous through the circumstance of her
challenger being a fool. Out of Viola's resemblance to her brother and
her disguise grows the absurd situation of Olivia's claiming her as a
husband, and that of Sir Andrew taking for his unwilling duellist the
all-too-willing Sebastian.

To these situations which naturally result from the story, Shakespeare
has added in Olivia's household a set of characters whose personality
is such that amusing situations are multiplied. Thus we may say that
the play is one of situation rather than of action, since whatever of
action there is in it leads to situation, and whatever of character
there is in it leads also to situation.


1. If attention is constantly given to creating humorous situations,
will character-development necessarily suffer? 2. Do you agree with
the Shakespearian critic Verplanck that this play bears no indication
either of an original groundwork of incident, afterwards enriched by
the additions of a fuller mind, or of thoughts, situations, and
characters accidentally suggested, or growing unexpectedly out of the
story, as the author proceeded?



Pick out and explain the curious allusions in the play, noticing that
these may be classed as geographical, mythological, astrological, or
referable to persons or customs of the time, or books of the day. For
examples of the latter class, note Sir Toby's 'diluculo surgere' (II.
iii.), for 'Saluberrimum est dilucolu surgere,' an adage from Lilly's
Grammar, doubtless one of Shakespeare's text-books at the Edward VI.
School in Stratford; and Viola's 'Some Mollification for your giant
sweet lady' (I. v.),--an allusion to the innumerable romances whose
fair ladies are guarded by giants; for Maria, being very small, Viola
ironically calls her giant, and asks Olivia to pacify her because she
has opposed her message. (For Shakespeare's education and
school-books, see Bayne's remarks on this subject in Brit. Encyc. art.
Shakespeare.) The whole incident of the 'possession' of Malvolio, and
the visit of Sir Topas, probably alludes to a tract published in 1599
by Dr. Harsnett,--'A Discovery of the Fraudulent Practices of John
Darrel,'--in which is narrated how the Starkeys' children were
possessed by a demon, and how the Puritan minister, Mr. Darrel, was
concerned in it. For examples of allusions to contemporary customs,
see Sir Toby's mention of dances no longer known,--'Galliard,'
'Coranto,' etc. As an example of allusions to persons of that time,
Sir Toby's reference to 'Mistress Mall's picture,'--Mary Frith, born
in 1584, died in 1659, a notorious woman who used to go about in man's
clothing and was the target for much abuse. Astrological allusions:
'Were we not born under Taurus?' 'That's sides and hearts,' which
refers to the medical astrology still preserved in patent-medicine
almanacs, where the figure of a man has his various parts named by the
signs of the Zodiac. 'Diana's lip' (I. iv.), ('Arion on the Dolphin's
back' I. ii.), are examples of mythological allusions. Of the
geographical allusions there are two kinds, the real and the
sportive,--Illyria, an example of the one, the 'Vapians' and the
'Equinoctial of Queubus,' of the other. Go on through the play
classifying and commenting on the allusions. What was a 'catch'? Give
an example.


Are the odd allusions in the play a result of the corrupt text,
ignorance, ridicule of learning? Or are they introduced to give a
lively and contemporaneous effect?



How does the play set off these two lovers against each other? Which
has the more constant nature? Note the evidences of the Duke's
restlessness and changeableness; how soon he tires of the music he
calls for, of the clown's song (II. iv.). Is his first speech to
Viola, on woman's constancy before the song, consistent with his
second, after it? Is his own report of himself true,--'Unstaid and
skittish in all motions else Save in the constant image of the one
beloved'? Is Olivia's unattainableness the main source of her
desirableness for him? How is it with Sebastian? Does his loyalty in
love seem to be of the sort that suffers impairment when he can win
love easily? The Duke craves excess in music in order that his
'appetite may sicken and so die;' Sebastian wishes 'to steep his soul
in Lethe.' Do you think Sebastian and Viola alike in more than
appearance? Which is the quicker-witted? Is the Duke's amicable
acceptance of the inevitable and transference of his love to Viola in
keeping with his character? Do you think Viola shows promise of
special facility for preventing the moody Duke from tiring of her?
Note that he calls her his 'fancy's queen.'


Is the Duke important chiefly as the inspirer of Viola's devoted love?



In what respects are the situations of Viola and Olivia alike? When
the play opens, both are mourning the loss of a brother, and while
this is made to point out the individuality of Olivia, after the first
few lines we hear little more of Viola's grief. Can you suggest any
reason for this? Does Viola's love for the Duke absorb her any more
than Olivia's love absorbs her when she comes to feel the same? Viola
and Olivia are also alike in giving their love without solicitation;
but Olivia woos directly, Viola, in disguise, implies her love, and
though her innuendoes are all understood by the audience, they are
unappreciated by the Duke. What justification can be made for the
unblushing love-making of Olivia? It could be justified by her rank,
which was so much higher than that of the supposed page that advances
should come from her. What signs are there that Viola's love was
superior to Olivia's? Olivia's seems to have been founded on external
liking, else she would not have been as satisfied with Sebastian as
with Cesario; while Viola's, though it may have had no deeper
foundation, was signalized by unselfishness, for she used every
eloquent art of which she was capable to urge her master's suit.
Notice in the first scene between Viola and the Duke how she tries to
get out of going to Olivia, doubting her own ability, etc. Do you
think she really doubted it, or that it was difficult for her on
account of her own love for the Duke? Notice in the scene with Olivia
her woman's anxiety to see her rival's face. What do you think
instigated her remark, 'Excellently done, if God did all.' Was it a
sudden touch of jealousy? It was clearly not the proper thing for an
ambassador pressing his master's suit to say. How is it with the rest
of the interview? Is her sarcastic tone judicious? Does it pique the
nonchalant Olivia? Does her eloquence later, when she is assured of
Olivia's obstinacy, reflect her own feelings for the Duke? What effect
does it have on Olivia? Is it well-calculated to arouse her interest?
In Act II. scene iv., which do you think had the right conception of
woman's love,--the Duke or Cesario? What do you think of Olivia's
saying that 'Love sought is good, but given unsought is better'? Which
of the two characters show the more humor? Notice Viola's readiness in
parrying questions that trench upon her sex. Olivia, on the other
hand, can hold her own in a bout of wit with the fool, but she is
perhaps not so quick-witted as Viola. We can imagine Viola at once
seeing through Malvolio's attempt at pleasing Olivia, instead of
taking him for mad, as Olivia did.


Which is the best lover, the Duke, Sebastian, Olivia, or Viola?



Show how the droll situations of the play are mainly contrived by some
of the characters in order to make others their laughing-stocks. Who
are Sir Toby's butts? Is Sir Toby attached to Sir Andrew, or does he
only make use of him for profit as well as fun? (See Sir Toby's reply
to Fabian (III. iii.)). Other instances to the same effect? Why does
Maria join forces with Sir Toby? Is she in fact the leader of the
scheme, or is Fabian's story of its origin true? What part does the
fool play in the game, and why? Note his private grudge against
Malvolio. Is it a dramatic mistake that even the heroine is made the
butt of these merry-makers? Trace Fabian's part in the duelling plot
against Sir Andrew and Viola. Do these plots recoil in any way against
the plotters? Sir Toby and Sir Andrew both get some home-truths from
Malvolio while they are eavesdropping, while for Fabian and Maria
these thrusts of Malvolio's are just as good fun as that which the
knights enjoy better. How does some of the later fun recoil against
Toby and Sir Andrew? Are the Puritans made fun of in Malvolio's


Are the characters least scathed by the fun for that reason superior
to the others?



The fun of the play is capped by the presence of a particularly clever
fool whose function of making every one the butt of his wit makes one
of the least important of the characters represent the special
drollery of the whole play. The only grudge he bears is against the
man who does not appreciate fun--who calls him a 'barren rascal.'
Describe the passages in which he particularly shines. Of the minor
characters the fool is minor only through his station and unimportance
in the plot; he really occupies much space in the play and in fact
pervades it. How is Antonio connected with the plot? What traits of
his does the play bring out? Is his fondness for Sebastian unnatural?
How is he concerned in the foolery of the play? Is he necessary to the
plot? As the fool represents the merry-making spirit of the play, so
Malvolio stands for the dupes of it. Does any one sympathize with him?
Who shows the clearest understanding of his faults? (I. v.). What
signs are there in the play of Malvolio's being a Puritan? Is there
any evidence against it? Is Maria right, for example, when she says,
'The Devil a Puritan he is or anything constantly but a time-server,'
etc.? That the character of Malvolio was generally taken on the stage
as a portrait of the Puritan, and that Shakespeare must have known it
would borrow some of its popularity from being so considered, seems
not to be denied; on the other hand, it may hardly seem to be proven
that Shakespeare thought he was drawing a genuine Puritan. Show
Malvolio's character, his connection with the other characters and
with the plot and the foolery of the play, and state the argument for
and against Shakespeare's meaning to make fun of him as a Puritan.


Is it a defect in the play that the fool, who has less to do with the
plot, is more important than Antonio, who has somewhat more to do with
it? Does it show that the main interest of the play is in comic
situation rather than in character or dramatic motive?



Observe the various figures used throughout the play, as to whether
they are drawn from nature or from other sources; for example, the
first speech of the Duke bristles with metaphor. Note that he speaks
of music as the _food_ of love, and bids the musicians play on that
the _appetite_ may have a _surfeit_, images drawn from physical
nature; then that the music came o'er his ear _like_ the _sweet sound_
that _breathes_ upon a bank of violets, _stealing_ and _giving_ odor.
We should expect here some continuation in the language of sound; but
the Duke continues as if he had said _wind_ instead of sound, and then
wind is personified, for it _breathes_ instead of _blows_ on the bank
of violets, and it steals their odor and gives it to him,--the music
is so sweet that it seems as if its sounds came laden with the scent
of violets to his ear. Here sound is personified at first as merely
breathing, then it takes on moral attributes and steals and gives.
Pick out and explain other figures in the same way. Which of the
characters use the most beautiful imagery? Are there any who use none
at all?


Is there any special fitness in the imagery used to the character
using it? Does the imagery used help you to form an opinion of the



What are the main causes of amusement in the play? The audience,
notice, is not kept in the dark one instant about any of the
characters. Thus one of the sources of amusement lies in the fact that
while the audience occupies somewhat the attitude of omnipotence, it
has the pleasure of observing the characters of the play living their
lives in the purblind way usual to mortals. Lessing said that a comedy
should make us laugh at vices, but the vices must be those of
characters who have good qualities also. Does 'Twelfe Night' answer to
this description? Analyze the causes why the fun of the play is funny.


Which of the characters cause amusement as the result of circumstances
over which they have no control? How do each of these cause amusement
unconsciously? Which of the characters cause amusement through a
conscious intention of making fun?


Until a few years ago no one had succeeded in finding the Play or
Novel on which the European part of the plot of "The Tempest" was

An early German Play, "The Fair Sidea" had been brought forward on
account of some resemblances to "The Tempest." Yet it is obviously not
its source but rather an imitation or variant indirectly drawn from a
similar foundation story.

Edmund Dorer, a special student of Spanish Literature first called
attention (Jan. 31, 1885,) to the story more closely resembling "The
Tempest" than any other, as it occurs in a collection of tales by
Antonio de Eslava, called _Las Noches de Invierno_, or "Winter
Nights," published in Madrid in 1609.

Like other such collections of stories, such as the Italian collection
of Bandello, and the French of Belleforest, used by Shakespeare,
Eslava's collection was translated, and, in default of the original
from one of the later editions, as translated into German in 1683
(_Noches de Invierno Winternachte aus dem Spanischen in die Deutsche
sprach versetzet_) a summary of this story was given in English for
the first time as a satisfactory source of "The Tempest" in the "First
Folio Edition" of the Play (see pp. 85-93 and Introduction; also for
an extract and summary of "The Fair Sidea," pp. 94-95).

What may be called the American half of the plot evidently owes
suggestions to pamphlet accounts of the storm and wreck and other
experiences met with by Sir Thomas Gates, Sir George Sommers and
others during their voyage of discovery to the Bermudas in 1610 (see
pp. 92, 99, and Notes pp. 114, 125-127, etc., for extracts.)

Gonzalo's speech, too, follows pretty closely a passage in Florio's
Montaigue. (For this passage see Note on II. i. 153-160).



The first scene shows the storm in progress. Is there any clew given
to the reader that it is a magic tempest? What is Prospero's main
object in having the ship's crew and passengers cast upon his island?
Is it to wreak vengeance on his enemies, to work the charm of love
between Ferdinand and Miranda, or by means of that to reinstate
himself? In what way would this love work to his advantage? Notice the
natural way in which the reader is put in possession of the necessary
information about the past of Prospero and Miranda. Warburton says of
this that it is the finest example he knows of retrospective narration
for the sake of informing the audience of the plot. How much of the
plot is permitted to come out in this act? Why does Prospero so
repeatedly urge Miranda's attention? Is she abstracted, is he, or is
she already beginning to be drowsy? Why was Ferdinand the first to
quit the ship? Since Prospero already knows, why does he ask Ariel
what time it is?

POINTS. 1. Explain the nautical terms. 'Master's whistle.' In
Shakespeare's time naval commanders wore great whistles of gold. A
modern boatswain's badge is a silver whistle suspended to the neck by
a lanyard. Holt extols the excellence of Shakespeare's sea-terms, but
makes an exception of Gonzalo's 'cable,' which he says is of no use
unless the ship is at anchor, and here it is plainly sailing; to which
Furness replies, Shakespeare anchors Gonzalo's hopes on the
boatswain's 'gallows complexion,' and the cable of that anchor was the
hangman's rope. 2. 'Washing of ten tides.' An allusion to the custom
of hanging pirates at low-water mark. (See Notes I. i. 67 First Folio
Edition). 3. Compare this storm with that in 'Pericles,'--'Do not
assist the storm,' etc., with 'Per.' III. i. 51-60. 4. Explain 'To
trash for over-topping,' I. ii. 98, which is a blending of two
metaphors. Trash refers to the habit of hanging a weight round the
neck of the fleetest of a pack of hounds, to keep him from getting
ahead of the rest; and 'overtopping' to trees shooting up above the
others in a grove, which have to be lopped to keep them even. 5. What
does Prospero mean by saying, 'Now I arise'? Simply, now I get up, and
now my fortunes change? 6. 'Still vex'd Bermoothes.' Bermudas, spelled
in several ways in Shakespeare's time, and called 'still vex'd,' from
accounts of tempests prevailing there. 7. 'Argier.' The name of
Algiers till after the Restoration. 8. 'One thing she did.' What? Are
we anywhere told what?


Does the long monologue of Prospero in this act detract from its
dramatic force? Did the arrangement of Shakespeare's stage make this
convenient. (See description of the threefold stage of the Globe
Theatre in "Anthonie and Cleopatra," pp. 172-173). Is the monologue
rightly disused in modern plays? Why? Compare Ibsen's plays in this



Tell the story of Act II, showing how its main event is the conspiracy
of Antonio and Sebastian against Alonzo and Gonzalo. Is the issue left
undecided long, so that it threatens the result? How and why does
Ariel prevent the success of it? Might it not have been to Prospero's
advantage to have the King killed, since Ferdinand would then succeed
to the throne of Naples? Did Ariel's intervention kill the plot? What
light is thrown on the characters by scene i. of this act? Do you
think it is intended to be shown that Gonzalo is prosy and tiresome,
although good, or only that the lower and more frivolous characters
find him so? Which is the likelier, that Shakespeare intended the
dialogue about Gonzalo's ideal commonwealth to be a satire upon it, or
favorable to Utopian schemes? Which comes out the better at last in
the wit-combat,--the quick Antonio and Sebastian, or the thoughtful
Gonzalo? Is Sebastian's solicitude about Claribel a sign of a kindlier
nature than Antonio's? Are there any indications that Antonio's mind
is more alert than Sebastian's? What purposes of the action or plot
are served by the introduction of Claribel? Is the King's grief as
great for the daughter as for the son? How does his paternal affection
compare with Prospero's? Compare Antonio's speech, suggesting the
murder to Sebastian, with similar speeches in Shakespeare (Macbeth's,
King John's, Oliver's in 'As You Like It,' Claudius' in 'Hamlet'). In
the second scene of this act, how far is a second counter-plot

POINTS. 1. The jokes of Act II: their explanation (_i.e._, 'dollar'
and 'dolour,' the 'eye of green,' etc.). 2. When were watches first
used in Europe? 3. Tell the story of Æneas and Dido. 4. What myth is
alluded to in 'his word is more than the miraculous harp'? 5.
Gonzalo's Commonwealth--its origin from Montaigne. It is commonly
supposed that Shakespeare must have borrowed this reference from the
translation. He may have taken it directly from the French. 6. Show
the bearing of Sebastian's phrase, 'I am standing water,' with its
context. (That is, at the turn of the tide between ebb and full.) 7.
'The man i' the moon,' and the folk-lore about it. 8. Natural history
on the island. (_Poet-Lore_, April, 1894. Notes and News).


Is it a defect in the action of the play that the danger arising from
the most important counter-plot is allayed so soon?



What new turns are given events in Act III? Scene i continues
Ferdinand's love-making, and shows no hinddrances there to Prospero's
plans; but scene ii develops Caliban's plot, and scene iii shows
Sebastian and Antonio making ready to carry out the purpose which had
at first been defeated. Give an account of the scene in Act II which
leads up to this plot in connection with its sequel in this act. Ariel
is baffled in his attempts to breed contention between the
conspirators by Trinculo's good nature, but finally he leads them off
with his music. Scene iii represents Alonzo and his courtiers
bewildered and tired by their fruitless tramps through the island, and
in just the temper to be confused by the dumb-show and the harpies.
Note the dependence placed, throughout 'The Tempest,' on the effect of
'solemn and strange music.' Antonio's plot, being resumed, is blocked
by Ariel's magic show and his accusation. Note how the supernatural
quality of the scene makes his speech affect their consciences as if
they were themselves accusing themselves, and how it drives them into
mental disorder. Dr. Bucknill, a specialist in brain disease, who has
commented on Shakespeare's knowledge of such maladies, explains that
Alonzo's frenzy leads him by an imaginative melancholy to the idea of
suicide, while the madness of Antonio and Sebastian expresses itself
in the idea of desperate fight.

POINTS. 1. What is a 'catch,' a 'tabor'? Give an account  of the music
in the play, and show the fitness of its different effects on the
different characters. 2. Explain the allusions, 'unicorns,' 'one tree,
the Phoenix throne,' 'mountaineers,' with 'wallets of flesh,' etc. 3.
What is a harpy? Give an account of the mention of harpies in Virgil
(Æneid, Book III), and 'Paradise Regained' (Book II). What
appropriateness to the purpose in this 'quaint device'?


Do the counter-plots introduced in this act mainly affect events or



Show how the story of Act IV consists in the smoothing down of all
that disturbs Prospero's designs, and foreshadows the complete
reconciliation of the last act. The lovers, whose readiness to fall in
with Prospero's plan has made his task light so far as they are
concerned, could only imperil his and their future by a premature
union; and Ferdinand, having stood the test of hard work, is now
induced, by an awed and holy mood, produced by art, to keep his good
resolutions. Describe the mask, and show its meaning and fitness for
Prospero's purposes. Why is Prospero so disturbed at the reminder of
so paltry a plot as that of Caliban and his associates? Is it likely
that these drunken fellows could frame any plot that would be but as
gossamer before his art? Is it natural that so low a creature as
Caliban should show more intelligence than Stephano and Trinculo in
disregarding Ariel's 'stale' set to catch them? How do you explain his
superior caution? Describe the device employed by Prospero and Ariel
to rout these plotters. Would it be effective on an English stage?

POINTS. 1. Explanation of classical allusions. 'Hymen's lamps,'
'Phoebus' steeds,' Ceres, Iris, Juno, etc.; 'dusky Dis,' 'Paphos,'
etc. 2. The botany of Act IV. What is 'stover,' 'furze,' gorse? 3. Was
Prospero's 'line' a lime-tree or a clothes-line? 4. Explanation of the
jokes of the act. 5. Natural history on the island again: the 'blind
mole,' 'barnacles,' 'apes,' 'pard,' etc.


Why is the punishment devised for the lesser plotters corporal and for
the greater ones psychical?



Sum up the results consummated by Prospero's magic. Note Gonzalo's
account of the play, and show the ethical results, and Ariel's part in
Prospero's course of reconciliation. Explain how, if Prospero had
regained his dukedom, and yet, if 'all of us,' as Gonzalo says, had
not _found ourselves_, the triumph would have been material, not
ethical. Show how this effect is enhanced by the plan to awaken dismay
and remorse in the minds of the evil-doers and how the climax in
Prospero's triumph is reached by the victory wrought in his own mind
when he determines to take part with his 'nobler reason 'gainst his
fury' in order to restore his enemies to themselves. What indications
are there in the play that Prospero was high-strung and spirited,--a
revenge-loving Italian? Trace the effects of remorse on each of the
ill-doers. Is there any reason to suppose that Antonio, Stephano, or
Trinculo are repentant? Is it out of character for Caliban to be?

POINTS. 1. The 'Faerie' of the play. Compare with that of 'Midsummer
Night's Dream.' (See 'Fairy-lore of Midsummer Night's Dream,' _Poet
Lore_, Vol. III, p. 177, April, 1891.) Victor Hugo notes the contrast
as follows: '"Midsummer Night's Dream" depicts the action of the
invisible world on man; "The Tempest" symbolizes the action of man on
the invisible world.' (See also the 'Supernatural in Shakespeare's
"Midsummer Night's Dream."' in _Poet Lore_, Vol. V, p. 490, October,
1893; in Shakespeare's 'Tempest,' p. 557, November, 1893.)

2. The duration of the play. Explain how it follows the 'unities'; and
in this connection show the probable equality of 'three glasses' to
three hours, and Shakespeare's mistake. (Shakespeare's use of nautical
terms, approved by all seamen, seems to be here at fault in supposing
a 'glass' equal to one, instead of to a half, hour.)

3. The game of chess and its pertinence here: Because so wise a father
would have taught his daughter so intellectual a game; because Queen
Elizabeth was fond of it, and it was _par excellence_ a 'royal game';
or because Naples was the source and center of the chess _furore_ at
just this time?

4. Where is the scene of the 'Tempest' laid? Is the island real or
unreal? (The main conjectures for a known place are Hunter's that it
was Lampedusa, and Elze's that it was Pantelaria. Both argue that each
island was so situated in the Mediterranean, between Milan or its port
and Algiers, whence the sailors landed Sycorax, as to suit the
requirements. Elze further urges the name of a town on the opposite
African coast, Calibia, as suggesting Caliban's name. For an argument
that the island is vaguely placed in the Mediterranean to suit the Old
World plot and yet by many details made suggestive of the New World,
see Introduction to 'The Tempest' in First Folio Edition.)

5. The influence of the New World on the writing of 'The Tempest,' and
all allusions traceable to it. (See Notes of same edition for extracts
from pamphlets on America, etc.)


What constitutes the interest in 'The Tempest,'--character, dramatic
situations, movements, plot, poetry, or moral purpose?




With the first word Shakespeare introduces Prospero as one who can
raise and calm such a tempest as scene i describes, and the magician
admits the power Miranda ascribes to him. Show from the story what his
plans and motives were likely to prove. Would a sense of his own
former neglect of duty be likely to embitter him against his brother
or make him excuse him? Does he show signs of either? Prospero's
magic, his garment, books, staff. How far is his magic in accord with
the popular notions of such art? (See 'Prospero and Magic,' _Poet
Lore_, Vol. III, p. 144, March, 1891.)

Show Ariel's qualities. What caused his first impatience? Is Prospero
unnecessarily harsh and imperious with him? Aside from the popular
supposition that spirits or familiars obeying magicians were always
reluctant to serve longer than one hour (and, therefore, says Scot's
'Discovery of Witchcraft,' 'the magician must be careful to dismiss
him'), how can you explain this quarrel,--as a dramatic expedient
giving occasion for telling Ariel's story, or revealing the characters
of both Prospero and Ariel? Note, also, its further use in introducing
Prospero's second servant, Caliban, and his story. How do you explain
Ariel's irrelevant rejoinder: 'Yes, Caliban, her son'; and Prospero's
angry, 'Dull thing, I say so,' etc.? Do you think Moulton right in
supposing that Prospero governs 'this incarnation of caprice by
outcapricing him'; Rolfe, in supposing that Prospero is irritable
because under the strain and suspense of conducting affairs within
three hours perfectly, and upon which accuracy hangs his future and
the happiness of his daughter? This was also his only chance of
retrieving his own past error.

Contrast Ariel with Caliban. Show the skill of Caliban's first
appearance as some slow-moving thing, half of water, half of earth, in
contrast with Ariel's second appearance as a nymph. What may be
learned of Caliban's traits from Miranda's speech (as in the Folio,
but by various editors given to Prospero): 'Abhorred slave,' etc.? Do
you think this speech should be given to Prospero? What signs are
there of Caliban's having a good mind? Do you think Prospero's tyranny
over Caliban altogether justified? Is Caliban's penitence consistent
with his nature? How far does Ariel proceed independently of Prospero?
Is he really fond of him?


Is there any bond of love between Prospero and his servants? Do the
relations between them illustrate the impossibility of gratitude?


Is the love of Ferdinand and Miranda an enchantment caused by
Prospero, or an emotion he can help, but not cause? If not caused by
him, does Shakespeare depart from magic to the detriment of the play?
Would it be better, for example, if a love philter was introduced for
consistency's sake? (For literary use of the love philter, see
Tennyson's 'Lucretius.') Does it reflect against Ferdinand's courage
that he was first to quit the ship? Are Miranda's speeches about her
grandmother (I, ii, 140) and to Caliban inconsistent with the maidenly
innocence assumed to be characteristic of her? Do you consider her
talk with Ferdinand (III, i) in character? Is she undutiful to her
father? Unmaidenly in her speedy declaration of love (III, i, 67, 89,
94-106, 110)? Should she be represented as ignorant or innocent of the
world, or as in love? Describe the characters and relations to each
other of the lovers from all that is given about them. Compare with
Florizel and Perdita in 'The Winter's Tale.'


Are Miranda and Ferdinand undeveloped characters whose relation to
each other is more important to the play than they themselves are?


Which is the most important of the lesser characters and why? Is
Gonzalo blamable at all under the circumstances for following the
command to turn Prospero and Miranda adrift? Why is Gonzalo of better
cheer than his companions? What do you think of his philosophy in
itself and as an index to his character? Is his knowledge superior to
that of his companions? Does he suspect the evil intent of Antonio and
Sebastian? Show how his frankness and loyalty came out in Act III, and
how his uprightness is rewarded in Act V. Do you think it significant
that he closes the play? Francisco considered as the least important
personage in the play: should his speech describing Ferdinand's
swimming be given to Gonzalo? The sailors considered as examples of
Shakespeare's skill in outline portraits. Are Stephano and Trinculo
more highly developed types than Caliban? Would the play be better if
they were left out?


Is Gonzalo more like Polonius in 'Hamlet' or Rent in 'Lear'?




Did Shakespeare typify himself as Prospero? Prospero (says Montégut)
alludes to his own age, and intimates that the time has come for
retirement to private life. What indications can you find that
Prospero images Shakespeare? If he is so interpreted, what parts may
Ariel and Caliban be supposed to play? Is the history of the Enchanted
Island and the transformation wrought a parallel with the history of
the Stage and the transformation Shakespeare wrought? According to
Montégut, Caliban stands for Marlowe, Ariel for the English Genius
which Shakespeare frees from its barbaric prison. Dowden ('Mind and
Art of Shakespeare') fancies Prospero as the great artist lacking at
first in practical faculty, cast out therefore from practical worldly
success; but bearing with him Art in her infancy, the child Miranda,
finds at last an enchanted country where his arts can work their
magic, subduing the grosser appetites and passions (Caliban), and
commanding the offices of the imaginative genius of poetry (Ariel). He
supposes Ferdinand to be Shakespeare's heir as a playwright
(Fletcher). Lowell ('Among my Books') considers that the characters do
not illustrate a class of persons, but belong to universal
nature,--Imagination embodied in Prospero; Fancy in Ariel; brute
understanding in Caliban, who, with his wits liquor-warmed, plots
against his natural lord, the higher reason; Miranda, abstract
Womanhood; Ferdinand, Youth, compelled to drudge till sacrifice of
will and self win him the ideal in Miranda. Browning makes an
incidentally interesting contribution to this subject by symbolizing
in Caliban rudimentary theologizing man, in his poem 'Caliban.' (See
_Poet Lore_, Vol. V, p. 562, November, 1893.)


Is 'The Tempest' an allegory? Is it in any sense an autobiographical
play? Does its symbolism have much in common with that of modern
symbolistic plays, such as Maeterlinck's 'Joyzelle,' for example? In
what respects may it be said, do you think, as Maeterlinck himself has
informed us, that 'Joyzelle' grew from 'The Tempest?'





The story of 'Pandosto' falls into two distinct divisions; first, the
story of Pandosto and Bellaria; second, the story of Dorastus and
Fawnia. Compare each of these two stories with the two stories
interwoven in the play, noting all the analogous passages and the use
Shakespeare has made of them. (For Greene's 'Pandosto' or 'History of
Dorastus and Fawnia' see 'Shakespeare's Library,' or pp. 118-125 and
Notes in First Folio Edition.)


Do Shakespeare's borrowed and additional archaisms and his confusion
of names and places show carelessness? Is his continuation of the
story merely a playwright's device to join the two parts of the plot
and make a good stage piece end happily? (As to Coast of Bohemia see
_Poet Lore_, April, 1894), also in "First Folio Edition," pp. 176-177.



In Greene and in Shakespeare the King wishes the Queen's death because
he is uncomfortable so long as she lives, and he prefers his comfort
to aught else, taking it as his conjugal right and royal prerogative.
(See ii. 3, 1 and 204.) The Queen, understanding this, says, "My life
stands in the level of your dreams, which I'll lay down." To her she
says, "can life be no commodity" when love, "the crown and comfort of
her life," is gone. So Alkestis (see any translation of Euripides, in
Bohn edition, literal prose translation, vol. i. p. 223) says she "was
not willing to live bereft" of Admetos, therefore she did not spare
herself to die for him, "though possessing the gifts of bloomy youth
wherein" she "delighted." This point of correspondence may have
occurred to Shakespeare and suggested his continuation of Greene's
novel. Admetos' image of his wife, that he would have made by the
cunning hands of artists, is possibly a prototype of the statue of the
Queen in 'The Winter's Tale,' the piece "newly performed by that rare
Italian master, Julio Romano." Compare also, Herakles' trial of
Admetos with Paulina's trial of Leontes (v. i); and Herakles'
restoration of the unknown Alkestis to her husband with Paulina's
bringing the statue of the Queen to life.


Is Shakespeare's use of a striking incident from the 'Alkestis' too
close not to have been suggested by it? Does it show his intention to
portray in Hermione a new Alkestis?



Note Shakespeare's departures from Greene and their significance. Do
they serve two ends,--make the play more effective for stage
representation, make the characters stronger? Does he make Leontes
more attractive than Greene does in the first part of the play? Does
he make him worse or better than Pandosto in the second part? What is
the sole trace left in Shakespeare of the father's guilty passion for
his daughter? Garinter, in Greene, dies without any cause. See
Shakespeare's explanation of this, also his use of the news of
Mamillius' death to strike shame to the king's heart. Greene makes the
king relent as soon as he hears the oracle. Contrast Shakespeare's
conduct of the scene at this point.

Notice the difference in his treatment of the character of the
cup-bearer. Does he make it his chief care to enhance the character of
the Queen? Note the new characters introduced,--Paulina, Antigonus,
Autolycus, the clown (in place of the wife in Greene). Conjecture any
reason for his different names. The introduction of Autolycus makes
the play more amusing on the stage, but is his part as well planned as
Capnio's for leading up to the _dénouement_? Greene lets his mariners
off alive after they set Fawnia afloat. Shakespeare wrecks his, and
makes a bear eat Antigonus, to what end? What does Shakespeare gain by
prolonging the life of Hermione?


Does Shakespeare's remodelling of Greene's story show chiefly a higher
ideal than Greene's of womanhood and of love?



The sacrifice of the Queen to ease her husband, and the final
restoration, being the two main points of contact with Euripides'
version of the story, compare with these the stories of Alkestis told
by William Morris in 'The Earthly Paradise,'--'June'; 'The Love of
Alcestis,' by Emma Lazarus, in 'Admetos,'--'Poems,' vol. i.; by Robert
Browning in 'Balustion's Adventure;' by Longfellow in 'The Golden
Legend.' See also articles in _Poet-lore_,--'The Alkestis of Euripides
and of Browning,' July, 1890; 'Old and New Ideals of Womanhood'; 'The
Iphigenia' and 'Alkestis Stories,' May, 1891; 'Longfellow's Golden
Legend and its Analogues,' February, 1892. In comparing, note first
general resemblances, then slighter points of resemblance and of


Is development in literature of the ideal of womanhood away from
self-sacrifice and toward self-development?

Is woman's task for the future a reconciliation of them?



A few of the outcast children in culture-lore are Krishna, Zeus,
Paris, Oedipus, King Arthur, Claribel's child in the 'Faerie Queene'
(canto xii.), etc. For the stories in folk-lore, see the English
_Folk-lore Journal_. For the solar theory of the origin of this story,
see Cox, 'Mythology of the Aryan Nations.'


Collier says that Shakespeare changed Greene's pretty description of
turning Fawnia adrift in a boat because he had used much the same
incident in "The Tempest." Does Shakespeare's new treatment of
Greene's "pretty incident" add dramatic force and moral purpose to the




Note Paulina's likeness to Emilia in "Othello." Jealousy in
Shakespeare: Resemblances in Leontes to Posthumus ("Cymbeline") and to
Othello. "The jealousy of Leontes," says Dowden, "is not a detailed
dramatic study like the love and jealousy of Othello. It is a gross
madness, which mounts to the brain and turns his whole nature into
unreasoning passion." Is Hermione more highly developed than others of
Shakespeare's suspected wives,--Desdemona, Imogen? Likeness or
superiority to Alkestis, Compare with Queen Katharine in 'Henry VIII.'
Is she hard, having made her husband do penance for sixteen years?
"Deep and even quick feeling never renders Hermione incapable of an
admirable justice," writes Dowden, "nor deprives her of a true sense
of pity for him who so gravely wrongs both her and himself."


Notice the high and pure character of their love as shown in the facts
that Florizel did not find it fitting to buy pedler's "knacks" for
Perdita,--a trait not in Greene. Her independent and uncringing nature
as shown in another little touch of Shakespeare (see IV. iv. 492-497).
Compare these two lovers with Ferdinand and Miranda in "The Tempest."


For suggestions see _Poet-lore_, April, 1891. ('Notes and News.')
Compare the Hermes of the Homeric Hymn with the Autolycus and Sisyphos
of mythology, also the folk-lore tales of the master-thief (Cox). To
discuss the probable originality with Shakespeare of a conception
which is one of the universal inheritances of the Aryan race is
futile; the type existed, and Shakespeare's part was to make an
individual of the type.


Is Leontes' jealousy too gross and unfounded to be likely?

Is Hermione, not hard, but slow to be satisfied, because her love is

Is Mamillus not too precocious to be natural?



Has Shakespeare welded the two parts of the story together in such a
way as to unify the plot? Does Autolycus contribute anything to the
development of the plot? How does it compare with "Julius Cæsar" or
"Macbeth," for example, in the construction of the plot? Is the
movement more rapid in the last half of the play or in the first? Note
the expedient introduced by Shakespeare to bridge over the lapse of
time between the first part and the last part; compare with other
examples of the same sort in Shakespeare.


Does the dramatic interest of 'The Winter's Tale' suffer because the
plot is of less importance than the incidents and characters.



The versification is that of Shakespeare's latest group of plays.
Dowden says, "No five-measure lines are rhymed and run on lines, and
double endings are numerous." Give examples of the construction of the
lines from "Love's Labour's Lost" as an earlier play, "Merchant of
Venice" as a riper play. It has been said that the difficulties of
style in the play are accounted for by the endeavor of the author to
reflect the changing moods of Leontes. Compare with Prospero's diction
and construction in "The Tempest." Give examples of these.


Does the lawlessness of poetic workmanship in "The Winter's Tale,"
together with the looseness of the dramatic construction, show a
deterioration from the ripe power of Shakespeare's middle period, or
that practised artistic mastery which is free from art by means of
perfect art?



The flower-imagery of "The Winter's Tale" compared with other
flower-scenes in Shakespeare,--in "A Midsommer Nights Dreame" and
"Hamlet." The classic and folk-lore allusions. The pastoral element in
"As you Like It" and "Winter's Tale."


The rustic scenes have little bearing on the play; are they necessary
to Shakespeare's art in order to throw a clear light on the character
of his protagonists?



"The Winter's Tale" gives examples of meritorious actions losing their
virtue with the progress of ideas; for example, the civic virtue,
allegiance to the king, is what Leontes depends upon in his talk with
Camillo, with Antigonus, and the other lords. Note Camillo's reason
for not poisoning Polixenes to order,--that it is risky to kill a king
even at command of a king. That such a reason would be considered
small moral support to-day appears, for example, in the indignation or
amusement expressed in the newspapers on the German Emperor's address
to his army on the soldier's duty of obedience. In Shakespeare's day a
king had taken matters in his own hands in the trial of his wife, much
as Leontes did (see "Henry VIII".). The moral significance of
Hermione's patience under accusation appears in the long reparation
she requires. Paulina is made to speak for her during her seclusion.

What are the "secret purposes" which Shakespeare makes her subserve?
Observe that, if the fulfilment of the oracle and the restoration of
the child were all Paulina anticipates, there would be no use in her
remonstrances against a second marriage and in her goading the king to


Does Shakespeare's ideal of love and constancy, as revealed in 'The
Winter's Tale,' imply that second marriages are offences against the
first. Has the objection Paulina makes to his re-marriage such a cause
or is it a necessity of the plot?

Does the way of telling "The Winter's Tale" indicate the passing away
of aristocratic and the formation of democratic ideals, and the
dawning change in the _status_ both of woman and the commoner?

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