Copyright © (2009) JOHN HUDSON All Rights Reserved

AS YOU LIKE IT: A COMIC RELIGIOUS SATIRE by John Hudson email; darkladyplayers@aol.com This seeming comedy actually has more evil in intent and character than in any comedy before Measure for Measure.1 As You Like It contains a systematic allegory which accords with some of the latest New Testament scholarship. It describes how after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70CE, the Flavian Emperors co-opted the Hebrew messiah to create a pro-Roman pacifist Caesar cult— Christianity---so that the Jews would worship them in the guise of the literary figure of the gospels. In order to describe what the Romans did and to take literary revenge upon them, the playwright uses a double allegory—which requires many characters to have multiple allegorical identities. Overall, the Biblical allegory explicitly provides the ‘bookends’ for the play, starting by situating the play fairly clearly in Eden2, ending with the clear references to the Flood and Noah’s Ark. This sets the overall expectation that the play is about the fall from paradise, the evil world, and God’s punishment of a wicked generation. The question it then raises is how do the characters and subplots fit into this overall schema—and to what wicked generation is the playwright referring. The first major character we meet is Orlando who is given a triple allegory, firstly as an allegory for the heroic figure of Hercules, secondly as a Hebrew leader like Jacob-Israel or David, and thirdly as the gentle pacifist Jesus of the gospels. The plot of the play therefore poses a question of why Orlando—who we initially see as a strong wrestler able to defeat the champion Charles and then drawing his sword on Duke S.---is being made so “gentle”. Orlando, is initially “overthrown”
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Stuart A. Daley ’The Tyrant Duke in As You Like It’ Cahiers Elisabethains 34 (1981) 39-51. 2 Richard Knowles “Myth and Type in As You Like It’ ELH vol. 33, no.1, March (1966) 1-22 1

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(1,ii,248) by Rosalind, and soon after Adam asks him “O my gentle master…wherefore are you gentle?”. On entering the forest, the Duke counters Orlando by saying “your gentleness shall force/ More than your force move us to gentleness” (2,vii,103), and asks him to “sit down in gentleness” (2,vii,125). So it would appear that Rosalind and Duke S. are both engaged in persuading the Hebrew hero to renounce his strength and to become a pacifist ‘gentile’ Jesus. At the end of the play Orlando even quotes from Thomas a Kempis The Imitation of Christ. Although he is strong enough to defeat a lion—in an echo of the labor of Hercules, but possibly also renouncing his Judean identity--- he goes into a cave wounded, in an allusion to the cave in which Jesus was buried. There he faints, and awakes, sending out a piece of cloth. It is referred to in two contrasting ways, first as a bloody “napkin” (4,iii, 92, 137,153) and then as a “handkerchief’ (4,iii,96 & 5,ii.26). Only one other piece of clothing in the 17th century was widely known both as a ‘napkin’ and a ‘handkerchief’. This was one of the burial garments of Jesus, which the Geneva Bible translation called “the kerchief” and the Bishop’s Bible called the “napkin” (John 20;7). So the playwright is using the words from both contemporary Bible translations to indicate the precise Biblical allusion and to continue the allegory of Orlando to Jesus.3 It also makes sense of the name he is given—a version of Roland the famous Christian hero from the Song of Roland, who dies abandoned, outstretched under a tree in the form of a cross. All of this establishes, within the overall schema of the play, that it is allegorically set in the first century, and that it concerns how the literary character of Jesus was created by writers at the Court of the Flavian Caesars after the end of the Roman-Jewish war. It was part of their ‘good news of military victory’ or gospel,

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In Othello it becomes the handkerchief dyed with mummy. 2

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to take the Hebrew messiah and re-write it as a gentle pro-Roman literary messiah that would be a disguise for the worship of Titus and Domitian Caesar.4 The play starts in the golden age in Paradise, the Garden of Eden. The ruler of the garden, Duke F, will expel people----as God did in Genesis. He can also be allegorically identified as the god Saturn who, according to Hesiod, ruled during the Golden Age, and was associated with three of the key motifs in the play-manure, time and melancholy. We know this is Paradise because the maidservant is called Hisperia (2,ii,10), who was one of the nine daughters of Atlas who guarded the Garden of the Hesperides, an Elizabethan equivalent to Eden. That is why Adam Spencer has dropped his last name and become plain Adam, a gardener, and why he appears in an orchard. That is why rib-cracking is a sport for ladies because rib-cracking is how Eve was created as Adam’s broken consort, by being taken from his side. This is alluded to in the reference to broken music in his sides---since broken music was only played by the assembly of instruments known as a ‘broken consort’. In classical mythology, Hercules came to the Hesperides to steal the golden apples, so it is not surprising to find the strong wrestler Orlando being wished “Hercules be thy speed young man” (1,ii,222) in a passage that alludes to one of Hercules’ wrestling matches. He is also given a golden chain that is a weight upon his tongue since this accords with imagery of the French Hercules Gallus, while his lack of words for the princess after his wrestling comes from yet another history of the life of Hercules.5

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This is why for example in the gospels the 11 key events in the life of Jesus are each literary parodies of 11 events in Titus’ conquest of Judea, see Joseph Atwill Caesar’s Messiah (2005). 5 Jeff Shulman ‘The recuyell of the Histories of Troye’ and the Tongue-tied Orlando’ Shakespeare Quarterly, vol. 31, no. 3. Autumn, (1980), p. 390 3

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When Orlando first appears moreover, he is associated with an ox and a horse, a stall and dunghills---which were not in Lodge’s original novel. They appear to have been inserted to suggest Hercules cleansing the Augean stables, by flushing a river through them. The wrestling scene also alludes to Orlando as Jacob who damaged his leg fighting the angel in the Book of Genesis, suggesting that he also has a Hebrew allegorical identity. So does his identity as Abel fighting the bloody brother Cain. Together with the change of his name from Rosader to Orlando---to match Roland in the medieval romance--his success in wrestling and throwing down Charles who represents Charlemagne,6 the “Emperor of the Romans”,7 all suggests he is a Hebrew hero like David. More problematically however, the alert reader will recall that the Augean stables only contained horses. The ox has been included to establish Orlando as an allegory for the nativity of Jesus, in the stable with the ox and the ass in accordance with conventional paintings and referring to the prophecy in Isaiah. This also makes sense since Hercules was regarded in the Renaissance as a kind of allegory for Christ.8 To confirm the point, Orlando is later identified as the Prodigal Son from Luke’s Gospel, and even quotes from Thomas a Kempis The Imitation of Christ (5,iv,3-4).

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Charles is associated with Denis in the play, as was Charlemagne in the romance. Joannes Turpini Historia de Vita Caroli Magni et Rolandi, printed under the title Germanicarum Rerum (1566) 8 Pierre de Ronsard Hercule Chrestein (1556) 4

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The photograph, above, from the production of the play by the Dark Lady Players at the Midtown International Theater Festival in New York City, in 2008, shows the entry of Orlando at left wearing the lion skin of Hercules, Adam is identified by his fig leaf, and the actors form a tableau of a nativity scene, playing an ox and an ass, and the infant Jesus. Touchstone is in the yellow Elizabethan dress. Hisperia is at right in the apron.

The playwright seems to be telling how an original strong Hebrew hero, like Hercules, became transformed into the gentle figure of Jesus! Certain characters in the play repeatedly make him ‘gentle’, put away his sword, and lead him to write poetry. By the end of the play they will have turned him into a “prisoner” of love, in a “cage” (3,ii,361), who wants to unite with the “heavenly” “magician” Rosalind who he worships as a god (3,ii,349 F2). The play begins in Paradise, but soon begins talking about the ‘fall’ and describes the fallen world. The first person to be expelled from the Garden, is Duke S, who we initially encounter talking about the bitterly cold wind. If the Garden was Eden, then the first person to be expelled was Lucifer, who according to St. Augustine was carried out by a cold wind. The forest is also dominated by hunting, although dogs and their kennels or other conventional infrastructure of Elizabethan hunting do not appear. Although hunting was

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thought to have been caused by original sin9 (and to have begun after the expulsion from Eden), hunting was also a conventional Elizabethan allegory for a battle. Moreover the deer are very strange deer since they weep like human beings, wear leather coats, make their wills, and are described as “burghers” and “greasy citizens” (2,i,22 and 2,ii,55), implying that they come from a city. But what is this battle and this city? The clue comes in the passage about horns of victory from Elyot’s Book of the Governor where it describes Roman hunting practices.10 The foresters also inexplicably refer to a “Roman Conqueror”(4,ii,3). Other references suggest the Duke and his followers are “mere usurpers, tyrants” (2,ii,61), “outlaws” (2,vii,0). This suggests that the play is not set in the Forest of the Ardennes, nor in Arden in Warwickshire, but another location where a diabolical and usurping Roman conqueror was fighting a battle. Further details of the forest suggest that it is an allegory for Judea during the Jewish war. The forest is described as a desert (2,vii,16)—since the Romans illegally cut down all the trees. It is surrounded by a circle—as Vespasian surrounded Jerusalem with a wall. Everyone is starving--as the Jews were because Vespasian was starving them into surrender. People are being hung on trees---as thousands of Jews were hung on crosses. The forest is a “temple” but full of devils11 ---as Jerusalem was when it was invaded by the Romans. All of this logically suggests that the satanic Duke S. is an allegory for Vespasian Caesar the Roman conqueror of Palestine. If so, are the other Flavian Caesars in this play and how are they disguised? Vespasian had two sons; Domitian, known for his fly-killing and Titus. In the play Domitian Caesar is represented by the Beautiful Rose/Rosalind--whose hand will not kill a fly---but who carries a sword
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Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa Of the Vanities and Uncertaintie of Artes and Sciences (1530) 10 Sir Thomas Elyot The Book Named the Governor (1531) 11 The foresters are identified as devils through their use of wording from Vaughan’s play Grim the Collier of Croydon (1600) 6

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and spear as Ganymede (Cup-Servant of Jove). Ganymede’s normal mythological companion, Tithonus, allegorically appears here as the Heavenly Stranger12 (ie. in Latin Celia Aliena), representing his namesake Titus, the conqueror of the Jews. The Heavenly Stranger conquers Oliver (the olive tree is a NT symbol for the Jews), in a way paralleling how Julius Caesar conquered Turkey. Rosalind even uses Caesar’s words ‘I came, I saw, I conquered” to confirm their allegorical identity. By making both of these characters ”heavenly”, the playwright is alluding to the fact that Domitian and Titus both had themselves written into the gospels so that they would be worshipped by the Jews in the literary guise of the heavenly Jesus. This is why Rosalind is described as being created by a Synod (a church council), having a body comprised of literary verses, and being made from many parts13 and having lame feet—as if crucified. That is why the verse bodies are hung up on thorny trees, and why they describe a god to shepherd turned (4,iii,40), who is worshipped as divine. It also explains why both characters so oddly ascend to and descend from heaven. This also suggests why Oliver is brought to life on the third occasion—as if from the dead—and Orlando goes into a cave, faints and also revives again. The rhetorical structure is mirrored by Rosalind---whose fainting is repeatedly described as a “counterfeit”, the parallelism suggesting that the playwright is commenting on the falseness of the resurrection story in the gospels. In some cases the Biblical allegory becomes a specific ecclesiastical parody. On entering the forest there are suggestions we are in an abbey—possibly

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Comically the pastor Corin does not recognize Celia as his master and refuses to give him food, thereby fulfilling the passage in the gospel, that every time you do not feed a stranger you do not feed Jesus. Stuart A.Daley ‘Shakespeare’s Corin’ English Language Notes vol 27, no.4 (1990) 4-21. 13 The many parts of the Jesus story were assembled from Jewish traditions and the conquests of Titus 7

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Gargantua’s abbey as described by Rabelais14, or possibly the abbey in which travellers sought refuge from a flood as described in Margaret of Navarre’s Heptameron. Several passages appear to be ecclesiastical parodies. Corin as a shepherd appears to be a pastor whose “philosophy” is of the simplest and most banal kind. Despite his hope of salvation, Touchstone says Corin will be damned because he does not have the right “manners” echoing the Homily On The Worthy Receiving Of The Sacrament which tells us to “behold our own manners and lives to amend them”.15 This is perhaps why Touchstone advices him to “mend the instance” (3,ii,65). Corin’s inability to feed the Heavenly Stranger echos a passage in the Gospels, about those who are unable to feed Christ when he appears as a stranger. But in his subsequent willingness in exchange for money to become the visitors’ “faithful feeder” (2,iv,98) Corin also parodies the Homily which states “every one of us must be guests, and not gazers, eaters, and not lookers, feeding our selves, and not hiring others to feed for us”. The sacramental imagery continues in Orlando’s speech with the Duke which refers to church bells, the feast, and being “ministered” with food—as in the Eucharist. Furthermore the repetition of language follows a liturgical pattern (2,vii,114-124) These Eucharistic allusions culminate in the disappearance of Adam. Jacques’ speech has concluded that the seventh age of man is “mere oblivion” and “sans everything” when Adam---the first Messiah—is brought in for a “banquet” (or ‘banket’ as the Homily calls it). The Duke welcomes him to “our table”, and ambiguously says “let him feed”. Both Orlando and Adam reply “thank you”, recalling the Greek word for the Eucharist as ‘thanksgiving’ which is mentioned several times in the Homily. Orlando however is dismissed from the feast, leaving the satanic Duke and his devils alone with Adam. To the words of a song about friendship being feigning, and references to a “bite” and “tooth”, Adam’s arm and
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Juliet Dusinberre (ed) As You Like It (London; Thomson, Arden Shakespeare, 2006). Ian Lancashire (ed.) Certaine Sermons Or Homilies appointed to be read in Churches, In the time of the late Queene Elizabeth of famous memory (London, 1623) 8

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his hand are mentioned. But Adam himself speaks no more and at this point mysteriously disappears from the play into oblivion. Where does he go? The obvious conclusion is that he is devoured by the devils----as a messianic feast.16 In other words the passage is another Biblical allegory. It comically refers to the last supper in the Gospels by presenting it as a literal act of cannibalism and situating it during the Jewish War---except that here it is the Romans17 rather than the Jews who are engaging in the cannibalism. Finally, in addition to the dunghills, and various references to excrement—which are not in Lodge’s novel-- the playwright has added two characters called Jakes, which was the Elizabethan for toilet. Touchstone even addresses one of them as “Master What-ye-call’t” (3,3,68) the standard euphemism for a privy. Touchstone himself can be identified by his most unusual pocket watch, as Sir John Harington, whose recent book announced the invention of the flush toilet.18

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Shylock (whose name Shiloh is a name of the messiah) also disappears halfway through The Merchant of Venice. It is implied that he leaves his corpse—all that he died of possessed—to the Christians, who are “starved” (5,i,294). They ironically wait for their messianic feast while cherubic choirs sing the Te Deum (5,i,63) whose words include ‘bless thine inheritance’ under a ceiling decorated with ‘patens’ or communion plates (5,i,59). 17 Duke S. is the “Roman Conqueror” of Judea, namely Vespasian Caesar. The Lords are identified as devils by their singing the horn song which derives from the devils in Houghton’s play Grim the Collier of Croydon. 18 Sir John Harington A New Discourse Upon a Stale Subject; The Metamorphoses of Ajax (1596) 9

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Underneath this however, is Touchstone’s second allegory, as a great poet like Ovid, who was expelled from Court, and whose work is not understood. Touchstone’s name in Greek is basanos, and he describes being put to his purgation—a kind of trial by ordeal which in Greek is also basanos. Evidently Touchstone is the true author, the Jewish poet Amelia Bassano, which is why he dislikes William (Shakespeare) so much and regards him as a clown.

Why otherwise is William in this play for just such a short piece? He is completely redundant. Why call him William? What does this William born in the forest of Arden represent. Why is he a clown? Why does Touchstone hate him, mock him, and steal his girl? Why do the two passages in the play about mustard and about William both have similar fool quotations? This parallelism links them together. It also links them both to Ben Jonson’s parody of William Shakespeare in Every Man Out of His Humour. If this clown William, is William Shakespeare, a fool--then the reason Touchstone hates him is because Touchstone is the true author. 10

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This was illustrated in the production by the Dark Lady Players in New York in 2008, by having William as a cardboard cutout of William Shakespeare, shown here in a publicity photograph. Similarly with the Martext character, who also is redundant to the play and comes on for a few lines and then goes off. The appearance of the oddly named vicar Sir Oliver Martext, who makes only a strange fleeting appearance in As You Like It has never been explained. There is no reason why there should be this attempt at a marriage that doesn’t happen and that brings on this extra character. He has been given the first name Oliver. The reason is so that Touchstone can refer to him in the words of the jig or ballad O Sweet Oliver “I will not to wedding with thee”, even though Touchstone had said a moment before “I were better to be married of him than another” (3, 3,82-82). If Touchstone is an allegory for Amelia Bassano, then (as has long been suspected), Mar-text is a contemporary allegory for the trainee vicar Christopher Marlowe. The song Sweet Oliver is about a man who leaves behind the girl who wants to marry him, which is precisely what happened when Marlowe was killed, leaving Amelia behind. She wrote the evidently autobiographical poem A Lover’s Complaint complaining about the man who left her. (The references to his youth, holy vows (line 179), his irreligious behavior, his poetic ability (line 86), and brown hair, narrow down the number of possible candidates). In As You Like It, Amelia is again complaining, through her counterpart Touchstone, that she could not go to a wedding with Marlowe. The literary structure of four surrounding allusions to Marlowe help set up the association, specifically to his poem about the untimely death of the young lover Leander, and the two parallel but not symmetrical references to Marlowe’s death that exist either side of the central theme.
• the reference to ladies being young and fair and having the gift to know it, echoes a passage in Marlowe’s Hero and Leander in which Hero is glad she has such loveliness and beauty to provoke his liking (2,7,37-9)

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Copyright © (2009) JOHN HUDSON All Rights Reserved • a man being struck dead and the great reckoning in a little room, which allude to Marlowe’s murder supposedly over the ‘reckoning’ or bill (3,3,12-13) ‘I WERE BETTER TO BE MARRIED OF HIM THAN ANOTHER’ (3, 3,82-82) a quote from Hero and Leander, ‘who ever loved that loved not at first sight’ combined with a reference to him as a dead shepherd---since Marlowe was the author of The Passionate Shepherd to His Love (3,5,81-82) a comic inaccurate summary of Hero and Leander and their deaths (4,1,90-95)

• •

At the end of the play however, Touchstone orchestrates his revenge. He sets up a ‘partition’ by an extended use of the rhetorical figure ‘partitio’, that is associated with seven justices, seven lies, and seven causes---parodying the catalogues of sevens that mark the Apocalypse in the Book of Revelation. This is the ‘partition’ between heaven and earth that comes down at the end of the world, when Jesus returns from heaven. And no sooner has he erected it, than Celia and Rosalind both return from heaven. There are references to “measure” (a term for judgment), and it is announced that the flood is coming. Jacques states that Touchstone and Audrey are on their way to the Ark, so one may assume that they both survive the coming flood---as will the Jacques who hides in a cave, like the Jews described in the Book of Revelation. So the toilet and its inventor will both escape, because they know what is about to happen. However, paralleling the allusion to the cleansing of the Augean stables in the beginning, everyone else in the play will be washed clean away. Or to echo the first allegorical production of this play in New York, by the Dark Lady Players, directed by Stephen Wisker, the play ends with Noah’s flood and a “big flush” which may be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8aekCFV7qo The Flavian Caesars, their Jesus, the church and its sheep-like followers and the Clown William, all disappear—most comically—down the toilet, while Amelia Bassano (Touchstone the basanos) and Audrey (the woman who was saved from a flood) escape in the Ark.

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This allegorical production of As You Like It by the Dark Lady Players in 2008, was discussed in a television interview by John Hudson, Kirsta Peterson who played Touchstone, and Alexandra Cohen-Spiegler who played Adam. This interview is available at http://blip.tv/file/1254195/ and contains several extracts from rehearsal footage.

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Copyright © (2009) JOHN HUDSON All Rights Reserved

AN ALLEGORICAL PRODUCTION OF AS YOU LIKE IT IN NEW YORK CITY The latest alternative Shakespeare research claims that the plays were not written by the man from Stratford, nor by any of the other 65 candidates---but by someone else. Overlooked for 400 years, because of her gender and skin color, her name is Amelia Bassano Lanier (1569-1645). She was a major experimental poet, the first woman to publish a book of original poetry, and also was mistress to the man in charge of the English theater. She was a member of the Bassano family, dark skinned Venetian Jews, of Moorish ancestry, who had moved to England to be the Court Recorder troupe. She has long been known as the so-called 'dark lady' of the Sonnets—which it now appears she wrote in the third person. Not only does this explain the plays' unusual interest in Venice and Moors and recorder music—it also explains their Hebrew puns and the author's familiarity with Maimonides, the Talmud, and the original Hebrew text of Genesis. Amelia's authorship would also explain the recent startling discovery that many of the plays contain hidden Jewish allegories—several of them about the Roman-Jewish war. The allegory in A Midsummer Night's Dream was performed last year by the experimental New York Shakespeare company, the Dark Lady Players and was reviewed in NJJN in the February 28, 2008 article titled 'Kosher Bard'. This summer, the Dark Lady Players put on another production, at the Midtown International Theatre Festival, showing that an allegory about the Roman-Jewish war also underlies As You Like It. The classically trained cast of the Dark Lady Players, comprising 10 women actors, faced the unique challenge of playing not only the 24 normal characters, but a dozen allegorical characters as well, in an adaptation that was squeezed into 90 minutes. It was a credit to them and to Shakespeare director Stephen Wisker, that the production managed to demonstrate the underlying allegory on stage through clowning, costuming, physical movement and other framing devices which made the hidden literary structures in the play concrete and visible, so they could be untangled from the surface plot. It was, as John Chatterton, the Festival founder, and publisher of the Off Off Broadway Review (OOBR) puts it "an enjoyable romp through some of the more impenetrable thickets of Shakespeare scholarship." The work being done by the Dark Lady Players changes the meaning of the plays and how they are to be understood and performed. For instance in As You Like It, the character Touchstone has a pocket watch and is a fool, indicating that he represents the informal Court fool Sir John Harrington, the inventor of the flush

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toilet, which ends up becoming an important underlying theme of the play. But in addition, Touchstone is a brilliant poet whose work is not understood, who has been expelled from Court, who hates the clown William (Shakespeare), and whose name in Greek is basanos. All this suggests he is also an allegory for Amelia Bassano —who wrote herself into some of the plays. So the actress playing Touchstone, Kirsta Peterson, needed all her training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) for the unusual challenge of playing the surface character and two allegorical characters all at once. She also had to depict Bassano on stage as the author, for the first time ever, and she rose to the challenge—being nominated for the Festival Award for Best Supporting Actress. "It is exciting to take the text and turn it on its head" said Peterson, "after two years working with the Dark Lady Players, I absolutely believe that Amelia wrote these plays." As You Like It: A Biblical allegory Superficially As You Like It is a pastoral, a genre of literature designed to deceive, to say one thing on the surface, and mean something quite different underneath. So allegorically the play is not about romantic love at all, but a Biblical story which starts in paradise, then covers the Fall from paradise, the wicked fallen world, and finishes with Noah's Flood. In the Hebrew Bible, paradise was the Garden of Eden, while the equivalent in Classical mythology was the Garden of the Hesperides. The identity as Eden is clear from the orchard and the character called Adam. Alexandra Cohen-Spiegler, who brings to the role her training at RADA and the LeCoq theater school in Paris—plays him comically as an old, wheezing man, wearing a fig leaf, shown here talking to Orlando/ Hercules. The Classical identity of the Garden as the Hesperides is indicated by the existence of the character Hisperia who was one of the guardians of the Hesperides. So the play begins in a converged Hebrew and Classical paradise. Then, almost immediately, it turns into a Nativity scene. We know Orlando represents not just Hercules in his lion's skin, but also the Hebrew messiah, because we are told he is growing up in a stable in between an ox and a horse—as in typical Nativity scenes. In order to communicate his identity to the

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audience, in this production all the cast form a stylized tableau to greet him. Two of the youngest cast members, Lindsay Tanner and Sarah Jadin, who are recent RADA and LAMDA graduates, make their first appearance as an animal and the baby in the manger. The use of such innovative techniques throughout the play led Philip Langner, director of the Theatre Guild, to call this production "the best piece of creative theatre I have seen in many years." Then, after a brilliantly executed "wrestling match" introduces the idea of a fall from grace, Rosalind and Celia are thrown out, in a version of the Fall from Paradise. We see them crawling on-stage, at Touchstone's feet, encountering the thorns and thistles on the paths outside paradise in the working day world. They have been preceded by Rosalind's father Duke Senior, who was the first person to be expelled from Paradise, and therefore represents Satan. This is why he appears with a broken umbrella—and in a freezing wind, which is one of the traditional depictions of Satan being carried out of Paradise. The fallen world was associated with original sin and hunting, the latter being a typical Elizabethan metaphor for battle. We are also told that the forest, originally a temple, has been surrounded by a circle, and turned into a desert where people are hung on trees, are starving, and the greasy citizens and native burghers of the city are being massacred—like deer—by tyrants and usurpers. The hidden story here is that the outlaw satanic Duke is like a "Roman Conqueror" as he is described. These events fit only one historic situation-- the Roman-Jewish war. The Roman conqueror Vespasian Caesar, surrounded Jerusalem and the temple with a circular wall, starved and slaughtered the Jewish citizens, and illegally cut down all the trees for crosses, turning the country into a desert. So we start to comprehend that the hunting is an allegory for the Roman-Jewish war, and the deer are the Jews, who wear tallits and are slaughtered onstage. If Duke Senior's two allegorical identities are Satan and Vespasian, then Rosalind and Celia are allegories for his children Titus and Domitian Caesar. This is why Julius Caesar's maxim "I came, I saw, I conquered" is used to describe how Celia eventually conquers 'Oliver'—the olive tree being a traditional Jewish symbol. So in this production Duke Senior wears a pair of horns like Satan but also wears a purple toga like those worn by Rosalind and

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Celia (played respectively by Kate Murray and Emily Moment) shown here giving Roman salutes as they set out for the forest. After various comic satires about hanging on trees and counterfeit resurrection, Rosalind and Celia oddly ascend to heaven. Touchstone begins a dynamic monologue exemplifying the Partition between Earth and Heaven which comes down on the Last Day. The moment he finishes, the Partition—namely the curtain--opens and Rosalind and Celia descend from heaven, in a parody of the Last Day. But the dances and marriages keep being interrupted, because we are told Noah’s Flood is coming. The two Jaques or ‘Jakes’ characters (representing two toilets)—come on stage to interrupt the festivities by reciting an ironic and distracting announcement of ‘fair tidings’. Meanwhile their inventor, Touchstone, steals William (Shakespeare’s) girl and goes off to the Ark for a "loving voyage". The Jakes hide in a cave—like the Jews do in the New Testament on the Last Day—while Touchstone and Audrey sail off, as the flood or "flush" wipes away the corrupted world. In the final scene in this production which can be seen online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8aekCFV7qo Touchstone recites the alternative Epilogue from the Ark, above a sea of floating heads, to the loud background noise of a flushing Jakes. As dramaturge to the Dark Lady Players it took nine months of research to create this adaptation. It was then passed on to Shakespeare director Stephen Wisker and the cast to take on stage. Sitting watching their performance at the Midtown International Theater Festival this summer, I think Amelia Bassano would have been proud of how they were at last able to reveal the underlying play-within-theplay, a Jewish comedy, that has remained concealed for the last 400 years.

JOHN HUDSON Summer 2008 www.darkladyplayers.com

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THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ALLEGORY IN AS YOU LIKE IT By John Hudson As You Like It is a good example of the pastoral genre, which always alludes to hidden content, and signals that the play contains deeper allegorical meanings. However Richard Knowles, the editor of the New Variorum edition of As You Like It, concluded that he could not detect the overall allegorical pattern because the play kept changing.19 The allegorical elements as he put it, “occur intermittently” and are not “continuous”. What Knowles did not appreciate however, is that the playwright is deliberately using discontinuity as a technique in order to make the allegory harder to solve. The playwright keeps changing how the underlying allegorical pattern is being expressed. It begins as a straightforward Biblical allegory, turns into a simile to church liturgy, transforms into a series of meta-theatrical parodies, and then highlights the allegorical meanings using rhetorical structures. The reader has to track the Biblical allegory through its various transformations to unlock the complete meaning. Finally that meaning has also to be related to the contemporary allegory. The Biblical Allegory Overall, the Biblical allegory explicitly provides the ‘bookends’ for the play, starting by situating the play fairly clearly in Eden, ending with the clear references to the Flood and Noah’s Ark. This sets the overall expectation that the play is about the fall from paradise, the evil world, and God’s punishment of a wicked generation. The question it then raises is how do the characters and subplots fit into this overall schema—and to what wicked generation is the playwright referring. The first major character we meet is Orlando who is given a triple allegory, firstly as an allegory for the heroic figure of Hercules, secondly as a Hebrew leader like Jacob-Israel or David, and thirdly as the gentle pacifist Jesus of the gospels. The plot of the play therefore poses a question of why Orlando—who we initially see as a strong wrestler able to defeat the champion Charles and then drawing his sword on Duke S.---is being made so “gentle”. Orlando, is initially “overthrown” (1,ii,248) by Rosalind, and soon after Adam asks him “O my gentle master…wherefore are you gentle?”. On entering the forest, the Duke counters Orlando by saying “your gentleness shall force/ More than your force move us to gentleness” (2,vii,103), and asks him to “sit down in gentleness” (2,vii,125). So it would appear that Rosalind and Duke S. are both engaged in persuading the Hebrew hero to renounce his strength and to become
19

Richard Knowles “Myth and Type in As You Like It’ ELH vol. 33, no.1, March (1966) 1-22

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a pacifist ‘gentile’ Jesus. At the end of the play Orlando even quotes from Thomas a Kempis The Imitation of Christ. Although he is strong enough to defeat a lion—in an echo of the labor of Hercules, but possibly also renouncing his Judean identity--- he goes into a cave wounded, in an allusion to the cave in which Jesus was buried. There he faints, and awakes, sending out a piece of cloth. It is referred to in two contrasting ways, first as a bloody “napkin” (4,iii, 92, 137,153) and then as a “handkerchief’ (4,iii,96 & 5,ii.26). Only one other piece of clothing in the 17th century was widely known both as a ‘napkin’ and a ‘handkerchief’. This was one of the burial garments of Jesus, which the Geneva Bible translation called “the kerchief” and the Bishop’s Bible called the “napkin” (John 20;7). So the playwright is using the words from both contemporary Bible translations to indicate the precise Biblical allusion and to continue the allegory of Orlando to Jesus.20 It also makes sense of the name he is given—a version of Roland the famous Christian hero from the Song of Roland, who dies abandoned, outstretched under a tree in the form of a cross. All of this establishes, within the overall schema of the play, that it is allegorically set in the first century, and that it concerns how the literary character of Jesus was created by writers at the Court of the Flavian Caesars after the end of the Roman-Jewish war. It was part of their ‘good news of military victory’ or gospel, to take the Hebrew messiah and re-write it as a gentle pro-Roman literary messiah that would be a disguise for the worship of Titus and Domitian Caesar.21 This focuses attention on the two disguised ‘heavenly’ figures, Celia Aliena the ‘heavenly stranger’ and the divine heavenly Rosalind, and whether they might represent these Caesars. The Ecclesiastical/Liturgical Analogy The Biblical allegory then continues, but is harder to recognize because it appears in a transformed fashion as a parody of Christian practice. On entering the forest there are suggestions we are in an abbey—possibly Gargantua’s abbey as described by Rabelais22, or possibly the abbey in which travellers sought refuge from a flood as described in Margaret of Navarre’s Heptameron. Several passages appear to be ecclesiastical parodies. Corin as a shepherd appears to be a pastor whose “philosophy” is of the simplest and most banal kind. Despite his hope of salvation, Touchstone says Corin will be damned because he does not have the right “manners” echoing the Homily On The Worthy Receiving Of The Sacrament which tells us to “behold our own manners and lives to amend them”.23 This is perhaps why Touchstone advices him to “mend the instance” (3,ii,65).
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In Othello it becomes the handkerchief dyed with mummy. This is why for example in the gospels the 11 key events in the life of Jesus are each literary parodies of 11 events in Titus’ conquest of Judea, see Joseph Atwill Caesar’s Messiah (2005). 22 Juliet Dusinberre (ed) As You Like It (London; Thomson, Arden Shakespeare, 2006). 23 Ian Lancashire (ed.) Certaine Sermons Or Homilies appointed to be read in Churches, In the time of the late Queene Elizabeth of famous memory (London, 1623)
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Corin’s inability to feed the Heavenly Stranger echos a passage in the Gospels, about those who are unable to feed Christ when he appears as a stranger. But in his subsequent willingness in exchange for money to become the visitors’ “faithful feeder” (2,iv,98) Corin also parodies the Homily which states “every one of us must be guests, and not gazers, eaters, and not lookers, feeding our selves, and not hiring others to feed for us”. The sacramental imagery continues in Orlando’s speech with the Duke which refers to church bells, the feast, and being “ministered” with food—as in the Eucharist. Furthermore the repetition of language follows a liturgical pattern (2,vii,114-124) These Eucharistic allusions culminate in the disappearance of Adam. Jacques’ speech has concluded that the seventh age of man is “mere oblivion” and “sans everything” when Adam---the first Messiah—is brought in for a “banquet” (or ‘banket’ as the Homily calls it). The Duke welcomes him to “our table”, and ambiguously says “let him feed”. Both Orlando and Adam reply “thank you”, recalling the Greek word for the Eucharist as ‘thanksgiving’ which is mentioned several times in the Homily. Orlando however is dismissed from the feast, leaving the satanic Duke and his devils alone with Adam. To the words of a song about friendship being feigning, and references to a “bite” and “tooth”, Adam’s arm and his hand are mentioned. But Adam himself speaks no more and at this point mysteriously disappears from the play into oblivion. Where does he go? The obvious conclusion is that he is devoured by the devils----as a messianic feast.24 In other words the passage is another Biblical allegory. It comically refers to the last supper in the Gospels by presenting it as a literal act of cannibalism and situating it during the Jewish War---except that here it is the Romans25 rather than the Jews who are engaging in the cannibalism. The Rhetorical Allegory Elsewhere in the play the allegorical clues are provided by the rhetorical structures which give covert meanings to the text. Take for instance, the two passages (5,i,1-4 and 31-38) that use the rhetorical construction known as ‘staircase’, gradatio in Latin or climax in Greek. The surface meaning of the play does not explain why these constructions are situated either side of a central passage---Rosalind’s quotation of Julius Caesar’s words “I came, I saw, I overcame”---to which they give prominence. They also invite the reader to compare this central passage, about how Caesar conquered Turkey, with the staircase passages either side that are about how Celia overcame Oliver
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Shylock (whose name Shiloh is a name of the messiah) also disappears halfway through The Merchant of Venice. It is implied that he leaves his corpse—all that he died of possessed—to the Christians, who are “starved” (5,i,294). They ironically wait for their messianic feast while cherubic choirs sing the Te Deum (5,i,63) whose words include ‘bless thine inheritance’ under a ceiling decorated with ‘patens’ or communion plates (5,i,59). 25 Duke S. is the “Roman Conqueror” of Judea, namely Vespasian Caesar. The Lords are identified as devils by their singing the horn song which derives from the devils in Houghton’s play Grim the Collier of Croydon.

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(representing the Olive tree, a symbol for the Jews). This rhetorical construction therefore poses the allegorical question, what is the relationship of Celia to Caesar? A more complex example is the passage about Jane Smile. The reason for the character’s peculiar name is that this is rather a simile. Jane is a version of Johanan meaning in Hebrew ‘the Lord is gracious’. The Jane passage concludes with a chiasmus---a rhetorical cross—formed by the lines “as all is mortal in nature, so is all nature in love mortal in folly” (2,iv.51-52). Even more important the entire Jane Smile passage is framed by an inclusio or ‘envelope’ of two identical mentions of the word ‘passion’, the term for the death of Jesus (2,iv, 38 and 56). 26 Inside the ‘envelope’ we find a reference to drawing a sword against a man who is a stone, while another man who is a ‘batler’—fighting a battle— kisses ‘the Lord is gracious’. Both of these echo the gospel account in the garden of Gethsemane where Peter the Stone drew his sword to defend Jesus and where his betrayer Judas gave him a kiss. Other aspects of the story refer to how the Romans treated the Jewish Messianic leader they captured during the Jewish war.27 The rhetorical constructions of the inclusio and the chiasmus point out that this passage is a comic allegory of the Gethsemane story, which is later returned to when Oliver appears from his sleep at the “tuft” (3,v,76) or tuffet of olives, namely the Mount of Olives. So this is yet another comic Biblical allegory. The playwright is creating a comic parody of the crucifixion account, and is also linking it to a real, if obscure, historical incident during the Jewish war. The Theatrical Metaphor and Literary Conventions In As You Like It, the poetic convention of a man’s love for his mistress is parodied and signaled as an artificial literary form. Firstly, the use is excessive— even alluding to a French poet’s love poem to his mistress’ eyebrow. Secondly, some of the passages are clearly signaled not as realism, but as a kind of poetic convention and meta-theatrical performance. In other words just as hunting was an allegory for battle, the military metaphors in the pastoral love talk signal that the love fights are allegories for real battles. One of the earliest play-within-the-play sequences is between Phoebe and Silvius, which is explicitly referred to as a “pageant” and a “play” which includes an “actor”. Phoebe is described as a “proud disdainful shepherdess” indicating she is possibly playing the part of a character from a medieval mystery play. Their dialogue about “love’s keen arrows” is full of language such as executioner, the axe falling on the neck, dying by bloody drops, the sight of death, being injured, murder in the eyes, butchers, murderers, killing, wounding, scratching, wounds, darts, and hurt (3,v,1-30). This is excessive for any poetic love
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A Midsummer Night’s Dream uses an identical ‘envelope’ structure of two mentions of the ‘passion’, to surround the death of Bottom/Pyramus, which is another comic crucifixion parody. 27 they chopped off his limbs, and Jane Smile has ‘chopped’ hands.

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convention. Together with the theatrical distance of being explicitly shown as a performance, this play-within-the play signals that the use of love imagery functions as an allegory for real warfare. Similarly when Rosalind threatens Orlando as a prisoner, and talks of him being put in a cage. Equally, the passages in the play that appear as letters and poems establish a theatrical distance—by being the written equivalent of a play-within-the-play. Their artificial status is highlighted when they are being delivered by improbable characters. It is unlikely that Phoebe as a shepherd girl would be able to write. In addition, we are specifically told at the beginning of the play that Orlando was not schooled but kept rustically at home, so it is odd for him to recite a dizain (3,ii,110) and to write the poems that are hung on the trees. The inappropriateness of such letters and poems creates an alienation effect which shows they are not commentaries by the character, but are a form of direct address by the author to the audience without the constraints of the character. Taken together they describe Rosalind as having been created by a Church synod (3,ii,147), as an entity that exists as a body of verses, made up of many parts, who is a “quintessence of every sprite” (3,ii,136), who has his “godhead laid apart” (4,iii,44), is “god to shepherd turned” (4,iii,40) and makes people madly love him. Because the literary body of Rosalind was created by the Church, has a godhead, lame feet and is hung on thorny trees, it is pretty clear that this is referring to the figure in the gospels. In other words these passages describe how a Caesar took on the disguise of Christ—the local divinity--so that he would be worshipped by the Jews as divine. The Contemporary Allegory Once the other allegorical systems have been solved this one also falls into place. It appears from his pocket watch that Touchstone is an allegory for Sir John Harington, the inventor of the flush toilet. But there is also a second allegory---describing a great poet like Ovid. His work is not understood, and he is called Touchstone (in Greek basanos) and put to his purgation, a trial by ordeal (in Greek also basanos). So this suggests that Touchstone is the true author, the poet, Amelia Bassano, which would explain why he hates and wishes to kill the clown William (Shakespeare) who gets all the credit for his work. It also gives us the final plot, since Touchstone—as the inventor of the flush toilet—works with Jacques (the Elizabethan for toilet) to take Jewish revenge upon the Roman creators of Christianity. He erects a rhetorical ‘partitio’ symbolizing the partition between earth and heaven, which comes down when Celia and Rosalind return from heaven on the day of Apocalypse to judge the world. It also makes sense of the story of how a Hebrew hero was gentled into the literary figure of Jesus, and then united with the divine “heavenly Rosalind”--who turns out to be an allegory for one of the Caesars. However the two Jacques characters interrupt the Duke’s planned marriage festivities, and one of them announces that the Flood is coming. Touchstone

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takes his girl (named after a saint who escaped from a flood) and escapes in the Ark while the Flood, like a gigantic toilet, will flush away the Caesars, Corin, the Jesus figures, the dunghills and everyone else on stage.

John Hudson darkladyplayers@aol.com

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