The Spanish Tragedy – Act One, Scenes 3-5: “They reck no laws that meditate revenge”

Scene Three: In the Portuguese Court, the Viceroy of Portugal mourns his son, Prince Baltazar, who he believes was killed in battle. Villuppo, a nobleman, sees an opportunity for gain and crafts a tale to implicate Alexandro, another nobleman, in the prince’s supposed death.

Scene Two ended with plans to feast Baltazar in the Spanish Court, but the opening of 1.3 is in stark contrast, focusing instead on the Viceroy of Portugal’s grief over his son’s supposed death in battle. Early on, the Viceroy flings himself to the ground (1.3.9 SD), lamenting his perceived loss. He then bemoans the fickleness of fortune and lack of redress for his pain (“What help can be expected at her hands, / Whose foot is standing on a rolling stone… / Why wail I, then, where’s hope of no redress?” [28-29, 31]). His grief over the supposed death, along with his lament that fortune is blind to his suffering and deaf to his cries (“And could she hear, yet is she willful mad” [25]), places him as a prologue to the grief and frustration Hieronimo will show after the actual death of his son Horatio. Where the Viceroy rails against fate, however, Hieronimo’s rage will be directed against the hierarchical powers he believes interfere with justice for his son.

Words pertaining to wealth, as well as the use of Latin, continue. References to wealth from 1.2 are picked up in the first lines of 1.3 as the Viceroy asks if “tribute payment” has been sent to Spain (1.3.3). Latin quotes are part of the Viceroy’s lament (15-17), adding pathos. Spoken as he grovels on the ground, they heighten the Viceroy’s bereft state. Later in the scene, when Villuppo decides to spin his tale, the focus returns to value and wealth through words such as “ransom,” (49), “fortune” (54), “guerdon” (55), “gold” (80), and “reward” (92).

In much of 1.3, the Viceroy’s character is reminiscent of the grieving King Alonso in Shakespeare’s much later The Tempest (c.1611). King Alonso, also inconsolable over the perceived loss of his son, responds to Francisco’s “Sir, he may live” with “No, no, he’s gone” (2.1.114, 123). Similarly, in The Spanish Tragedy, Alexandro tells the Viceroy, “No doubt, my liege, but still the prince survives” (1.3.43). The Viceroy, however, is convinced otherwise: “…they have slain him for his father’s fault” (46). When Alexandro disputes this as “a breach to common law of arms” (47), the Viceroy responds, “They reck no laws that meditate revenge” (48). This line, in essence, encapsulates the entire play.

In a short subplot, the nobleman Villuppo sees in the Viceroy’s determined grief an opportunity for gain. He devises a backstory for Baltazar’s supposed death that lays the blame squarely on Alexandro. The Viceroy is eager to believe the tale, and Alexandro is taken away under custody. Alone on the stage, Villuppo gloats that he “Deceived [him], betrayed mine enemy, / And hope for guerdon of my villainy” (94-95). In the coming scenes, these lines will loom over the action, prescient and apt.


Scene Four: Horatio tells Bel-Imperia the story of Andrea’s death; she decides Horatio will take Andrea’s place as her lover. Lorenzo arrives with Baltazar and presents him to
Bel-Imperia as a suitor, something she rejects immediately. The king puts on a celebratory feast with the Ambassador to Portugal in attendance. At the banquet, Hieronimo presents an entertainment much praised by the king.

The “envious forged tale” (1.3.93) wrought by Villuppo at the close of 1.3 is followed by one of truth and affection in the opening of 1.4. Bel-Imperia enters with Horatio and implores him to tell her the circumstances of Andrea’s death, “Who living was my garland’s sweetest flower” (1.4.4). This brings to mind a bower of blooming plants and gestures to the coming action in Hieronimo’s arbor. As before, Andrea’s story is recounted in the style of a Greek epic. Horatio states that “wrathful Nemesis, that wicked power, / Env[ied]…Andrea’s praise and worth” (16-17), suggesting that Andrea’s prowess in battle was such that even the gods were jealous and sought to end his life. Bel-Imperia learns that after Andrea was killed by Baltazar, Horatio carried his body to his tent, wept over him, and took a scarf from Andrea’s arm as a token, intending to “wear it in remembrance of [his] friend” (43). That scarf, Bel-Imperia tells Horatio, was her gift to Andrea as he left for battle and she urges Horatio “now wear thou it both for him and me” (47). They swear friendship and service to each other, and Horatio leaves Bel-Imperia to her thoughts.

Alone, Bel-Imperia muses “But how can love find harbor in my breast, / Till I revenge the death of my beloved?” (64-65). This, of course, echoes Revenge’s promise to Andrea, “…thou shalt see the author of thy death, / Don Baltazar… / Deprived of life by Bel-Imperia” (1.1.87-89). She decides that “second love shall further my revenge” (1.4.66); because Horatio was Andrea’s friend, and Baltazar Andrea’s killer, she will take Horatio as her lover. These few lines are intense and important. They reveal not only the workings of Bel-Imperia’s mind, but also show her to be a strong, intelligent, strategic woman. She feels she is the one who must avenge Andrea’s death and is ready to meet the challenge. In most early modern plays, the character taking revenge is a son or other male family member. Kyd, however, gives this role to Bel-Imperia, along with a strength and fortitude reminiscent of Greek heroines such as Dido and Electra. In this way, Bel-Imperia, like Andrea, is linked to epic poetry — albeit in a more subtle manner. Kyd also takes this opportunity to weaponize love, situating it as a tool of revenge.

Lorenzo and Baltazar approach Bel-Imperia, who greets them both with disdain. Baltazar attempts to flatter her, which falls flat and makes things worse. Notice the sharing of words between characters:

Bel Imperia: Your prison then belike is your conceit.
Balthazar: Ay, by conceit my freedom is enthralled.
Bel-Imperia: Then with conceit enlarge yourself again.
Baltazar: What if conceit have laid my heart to gage? (82-85, italics mine)

Kyd uses this device throughout the play to show connections of varying sorts (love, agreement, tension, opposition) between characters. Here, twisting the meaning of conceit (wit/desire/imagination/whim [Neill 20, nn.82-85]) reflects Bel-Imperia’s attempts to free herself from an undesirable suitor. She uses the word first; he picks up on it to protest his attachment to her; she contorts the meaning and flings it back at him; he then uses it to elicit pity. The sharing of words continues:

Bel-Imperia: A heartless man and live? A miracle!
Baltazar: Ay, lady, love can work such miracles. (88-89, italics mine)

Bel-Imperia: What boots complaint, when there’s no remedy?
Baltazar: Yes, to your gracious self must I complain,
In whose fair answer lies my remedy… (92-94, italics mine)

Each time, Baltazar seizes on a word used by Bel-Imperia (miracle, complaint, remedy), and turns it to flatter her or elicit pity.

Eventually, Bel-Imperia has had enough of the parrying and turns to leave. Seeing Horatio approaching, “she…lets fall her glove, which Horatio…takes up” (99 SD). In Baltazar’s previous exchange with Bel-Imperia, he claimed to “have laid [his] heart to gage” (85) for her love. By Bel-Imperia’s dropping a glove in front of Horatio, she throws down her own gage, challenging Horatio to be her lover and igniting the play’s love triangle (Bel-Imperia, Baltazar, and Horatio). “Throwing down your gage” or gauntlet) was a challenge to fight, usually to right a perceived insult to honor or station – in other words, to avenge a wrong. In Shakespeare’s 1597 play Richard II, Bolingbroke and Mowbray challenge each other by throwing down their gage, or glove (1.1.69, 146). Later in that same play, nearly every character on stage throws down a glove or gauntlet, creating a shortage (“Some honest Christian trust me with a gage, / That Norfolk lies” 4.1.83-84). Bel-Imperia’s action at first seems off-hand or unimportant, but it is a pivotal point in the play and a blow to both her brother and the prince. Kyd’s use of this simple gesture is masterful, suggesting Baltazar’s words are useless (“laid my heart to gage”) and contrasting Horatio as a man of action (“Signor Horatio stooped in happy time” [102]).

Lorenzo, Baltazar, and Horatio are called to a banquet that boasts a masque of sorts, or an entertainment, devised by Hieronimo. Masques were like plays but were more of a state or political event, and usually praised the king, his Court, or his reign in general. The banquet and masque in 1.4 do triple duty: display the wealth and bounty of the king and Spanish Court, demonstrate their fair treatment of their high-ranking prisoner Baltazar, and celebrate Spain’s victory over Portugal. Hieronimo’s masque is important in that it gestures to his play-within-a-play in the final scene. By showing Hieronimo in charge of presenting and narrating the banquet’s entertainment, his future offer of a self-written play as a diversion for the Court is not unexpected or out of place.


Scene Five: Andrea expresses impatience at the scenes of love and revelry he has seen.

This very short scene (9 lines) allows Andrea to vent his frustration. “Come we for this from depth of underground / To see… / Nothing but league, and love, and banqueting!” (1.5.1,4). Revenge calms him by promising the pleasures he has witnessed will be changed to “hate,” “despair,” and “misery” (7, 8, 9).

The scene is also a framing device. Act One began with Andrea and Revenge, and they close it. This is an example of how Kyd neatly layers the scenes and storylines of the play, nesting them like Russian dolls. As the action unfolds, these layers make what is actually a very intricate plot more accessible. Reading The Spanish Tragedy is a complement to watching it, since reading allows the chance to step back and recognize its many frames and scaffolds.

Why Live Theatre Matters (and Why I Mourn the Stratford Festival’s Season Being Postponed)

I posted this on social media yesterday, so you’ve probably seen it. If not, it’s the story of how live theatre changed my life. Please support the arts in through this terrible time. They have an importance beyond entertainment, and their value goes beyond mere ticket prices.

This is a stupidly long reaction to the Stratford Festival’s postponing their season. I had to mull over what I was feeling and why, and this is the result:

The Stratford Festival having to postpone their season broke my heart. Gutted me. Many of you probably wonder why I care so deeply for the Festival, why I’m such a champion of it over and above other venues. Well, it’s complicated, but here’s why. (Warning: this will be lengthy.)

My journey to scholar of Shakespeare/early modern drama has been convoluted. I left high school despising Shakespeare after a horrible encounter with Julius Caesar in my senior year and stayed away, certain that I would hate anything else Will had written. After a long stretch, I carefully dipped my toe into the Complete Works, more from a sense of obligation than anything else. I loved British literature and was afraid my ignorance of Shakespeare took away from my understanding of works by other British writers. I was surprised to find that I didn’t hate Shakespeare after all — in fact, I rather liked him. I enjoyed his plays as literature, but since I didn’t go to live theatre, my appreciation stopped there.

In London several years later (2008), I saw Dominic Dromgoole’s production of Lear at The Globe. My go-to description of that afternoon is “it was like scales dropped from my eyes.” Right then I understood that reading Shakespeare without seeing it is an incomplete experience. Things are going on in the plays that can’t be articulated, and if the plays aren’t seen, it’s impossible to grasp their true complexity. Unfortunately, where I live in Southwest Florida, Shakespeare on the stage is a rare commodity. I wanted to see the plays live, but it wasn’t going to happen at home.

In 2012, I took my parents to see a filmed version of the Stratford Festival’s The Tempest. They’ve gone to the Shaw Festival for decades and often make day trips to Stratford, so they had seen it live — they weren’t going to be three hours from Christopher Plummer and miss him! They loved seeing the production again, but it was my mind that was blown. I kept asking “This is what you go see?” “I don’t have to go to the UK or NYC to see this kind of thing?” As a live theatre newbie, I was amazed. I booked tickets to spend a weekend with them at Niagara on the Lake later that year, and planned my own overnight trip to Stratford to see Cymbeline and Henry V.

Reader, that 24 hours in Stratford changed my life. It took what was quickly becoming a passion for Shakespeare and made it an obsession. It made me want to take my knowledge to the next level, so within weeks of coming home, I decided to get my M.A. in English (and my PhD if life would let me).

Fast forward to December 2017… I graduated magna cum laude from FGCU with my Master’s, and my love for Shakespeare now included a love for early modern drama in general. I couldn’t possibly give up studying what I loved, so since I couldn’t give up my day job (due to house, husband, etc.) I became an independent scholar. Fast forward to today…I am set to become an adjunct instructor at FGCU this fall. If you had asked me only ten years ago if I’d be presenting at conferences, going to live theatre, and getting ready to teach my first semester at a university, I would have said you were nuts. But here we are.

The point of this ramble is that none of this would have happened without Stratford. The Festival literally changed my life, and I’m eternally grateful. It sounds sappy, but it helped me find myself, what I love, and who I want to be. On top of that, I fell in love with the town of Stratford, what it stands for, and the incredible people there. I feel at home there, like myself there, and my yearly visits (since 2012!) reconnect me to my dreams and goals. I’ve also made some amazing friends through my love of the Festival, people I feel close to and care about very much.

That, in quite a bit more than a nutshell, is why I’m so enthusiastic about Stratford. Not only does the Festival have some of the finest productions I’ve seen, it has an essence of outreach and welcome that encourages and challenges you. It’s truly a special place filled with special people. Not going this year will leave a huge hole in my heart, but you can bet I’ll be there in 2021.

Galatea – Act Four: “Nothing but that you love me not”

Scene One: The Augur announces it is time for the virgin sacrifice. Melibeus and Tityrus each accuse the other of attempting to deceive Neptune to the detriment of the village.

In contrast to the end of Act Three, where the nymphs mock Cupid and call him “a little god” (3.4.109), the Augur begins Act Four by reminding the villagers of the danger of not honoring a god – namely, Neptune. For the safety of the village, tradition holds that Neptune must be placated and honored, but Melibeus and Tityrus each accuse the other of having a “fair daughter” they are concealing from the sacrifice. Melibeus claims his daughter is dead, and Tityrus claims the girl Melibeus saw him with is his wife. Tityrus declares, “Oh Melibeus, dissemble you may with men; deceive the gods you cannot” 4.1.38-39). Both claim having their daughter selected as the sacrifice would be an honor and duty, but keep up their ruse just the same.

This is a fairly short scene (67 lines), but “cunning” or “cunningly” are used three times in the space of 20 lines. Melibeus accuses Tityrus of deception by saying to him, “It is…a simple father that can use no cunning” (46-47), and then observes “he must halt cunningly that will deceive a cripple” (53). This is unsettling for the audience or reader since Tityrus is guilty as charged, but Melibeus’s hypocrisy is blatant. Two villagers listening to the pair find their lack of concern for the city disturbing, and as they exit, one comments, “We must sift out their cunning and let them shift for themselves” (66-67). Separating the valid from the false, as with Rafe, the Alchemist, and the Astronomer, is a recurring theme in the play.


Scene Two: As part of his punishment, Diana’s nymphs make Cupid untie love knots. He protests that what has been done cannot be undone.

The nymphs lead Cupid in as their prisoner and task him with untying love knots. As in the last scene, the dialogue deals with deception, verity, and the ability to separate the two. It also deals with the different types of love. Cupid protests, “If they be true love-knots, ‘tis unpossible to unknit them; if false, I never tied them” (4.2.23-24). Cupid identifies and explains the knots, which range from “the true love-knot of a woman’s heart, [which] therefore cannot be undone” (35-36); one that unties itself (“made of a man’s thought, which will never hang together” [38-39]); and a knot “knit by faith, and must only be unknit of death” (50-51). The “fairest and falsest” he chuckles, was knit by “a man’s tongue” (53, 57), while another is simply “a woman’s heart” (61).

His task completed, Cupid bemoans his state and muses on his mother Venus’s response to seeing him captive — whether she would rage or laugh. The nymphs tell him he must now use a needle to remove all the tales of love from Diana’s tapestries and replace them with scenes of chastity. When Cupid shrugs this off, he is told by Telusa that Diana “conquers affection” (91), to which he replies, “Diana shall yield; she cannot conquer destiny” (92). The idea of love as destiny is suggested, but remembering the preceding lines discussing the love-knots’ meanings, and the ease or difficulty of untying them, the claim gives one pause. Is only true love destiny, or are false claims of affection also fated? If true love only is destiny, is it possible without Cupid’s intercession? (There is still no indication that Cupid has had Galatea and Phillida in his sights.) Telusa accuses him of tying the knots, but Cupid does not claim ownership of any; speaking of the “true love-knots,” he merely states they are “unpossible to unknit.”

When speaking of the virgin sacrifice in 1.1, Galatea told her father “Destiny may be deferred, not prevented” (76-77). Now Cupid indicates that destiny is associated with love, something chastity cannot conquer. These statements beg the question “Is there such thing as human agency, or are attempts at control an illusion?”


Scene Three: Neptune warns that it is perilous to attempt to deceive him.

This short scene (9 lines) consists entirely of Neptune stating that he knows fathers are attempting to deceive him, and if they do not act honestly, he will repay them with cruelty: “…well they shall know that Neptune should have been entreated, not cozened” (4.3.8-9). Here, the theme of “cozening,” or deception, is applied to those who are undutiful to the gods. Neptune makes clear that cozenage among men may succeed (which calls to mind the Alchemist and Astronomer), but gods and goddesses will not be fooled. They will punish those who attempt to deceive them.


Scene Four: Galatea and Phillida discuss the coming sacrifice and acknowledge their love for each other.

Act Four Scene Four is a turning point in the relationship between Galatea and Phillida. They begin by discussing the virgin sacrifice, which quickly leads to commenting on how fair each one finds the other. Phillida tells Galatea not to love her as a brother (4.4.12-13), and Galatea responds that she will love her better than that, as she “cannot love as a brother” (14-15). Phillida’s reply, “Seeing we are both boys, and both lovers, that our affection may have some show and seem as it were love, let me call thee mistress” (16-18), again shows she is the bolder of the two. Shakespeare uses a similar destabilization of gender in his Sonnet 20: “A woman’s face with nature’s own hand painted / Hast thou, the master-mistress of my passion.” The sonnets are thought to have been written in the 1590s, the decade after Galatea was entered in the Stationers’ Register.

Galatea and Phillida express their concerns that the other is so fair they would be picked for the sacrifice. When Phillida asks Galatea what she fears, Galatea answers, “Nothing but that you love me not” (38) and exits. Alone on stage, Phillida states that she will love Galatea, but is afraid Galatea is also a girl whose father has disguised her. She expresses her desperation and confusion, and closes the scene declaring, “I will after him or her, and lead a melancholy life, that look for a miserable death” (46-47). Phillida knows no remedy for her situation other than being with Galatea, regardless of gender. If Galatea is a girl, there is no future for them; if a boy, he may be untrue. Either way, Phillida sees only melancholy and misery.


Galatea – Act Three: “You shall see Ramia hath also bitten on a love-leaf”

Scene One: Cupid has been among Diana’s nymphs, who are all now besotted with either Galatea/Tityrus or Phillida/Melibeus. The nymphs argue over their choice of the “fair boys.”

Mirroring the close of Act Two and Phillida’s bewilderment at her feelings for Galatea, Telusa opens Act Three with a soliloquy lamenting her own feelings of love. In the first lines, she rebukes herself by musing about “thy chaste thoughts turned to wanton looks, thy conquering modesty to a captive imagination” (3.1.3-4). Love, as Telusa describes it, is strong enough to overcome chastity and modesty, replacing them with confusion, unruliness, and distraction. In other words, Telusa’s experience of being in love reveals that Diana’s insistence on chastity’s triumph over love may be mistaken.

Eurota enters as Telusa muses, and the ensuing scene is very like 4.3 in Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost (written 1594-95, approximately ten years after Galatea). In both plays, one character enters and laments that they are in love. When another begins to enter, the first character hides, and the second starts their own lament. A third enters, and the second also hides. When the third begins their lament, the two hidden characters come out of hiding to chide the third for being in love. The stage business and monologues advance the plot while entertaining the audience or reader.

The nymphs’ distress at being in love mirrors Phillida’s and Galatea’s own distress at being attracted to each other. Lyly makes the realization of love a state of confusion and imbalance, where control is lost and fate (or something larger than the self), takes charge of the mind and emotions. The text, however, does not indicate that Phillida and Galatea are victims of Cupid’s arrows; his plans for sport mentioned only Diana’s nymphs. The nymphs’ and the girls’ symptoms are the same, though, gesturing toward an intertwining of love, fate, agency, and fortune.

Early modern belief was that love entered through the eyes and imprinted itself on the mind, and in Telusa’s lament, she states her eyes led her to love Phillida/Melibeus. (In 2.1.46 she calls Galatea either “wanton or a fool” – was she attracted to Phillida/Melibeus prior to Cupid’s arrows?) Eurota tells Telusa that love for Galatea/Titryus took her “By the ears” (66). When Ramia enters soon after, Eurota remarks to Telusa, “You shall see Ramia hath also bitten on a love-leaf” (72-73). Sight, sound, and taste are therefore all subject to the influence of love.


Scene Two: Galatea and Phillida begin to subtly question each other, as each is becoming suspicious that the other is also a girl.

Galatea and Phillida are both concerned that the other might be a disguised maiden, and they begin to gently and playfully ask questions to find out if this is true. Their remarks and retorts are witty and often cryptic; in response to Phillida’s complimenting Galatea on her looks and behavior, Galatea says “There is a tree in Tylos, whose nuts have shells like fire, and being cracked, the kernel is but water” (3.2.4-5). Her response suggests that the exterior does not always define the interior, but Phillida is not amused: “What a toy is it to tell me of that tree, being nothing to the purpose?” (6-7). In 3.1, Telusa made a similar allusion, stating, “Virgins’ hearts I perceive are not unlike cotton trees, whose fruit is so hard in the bud that it soundeth like steel, and being ripe, poureth forth nothing but wool” [20-22]. Both lines make the case for not judging a book by its cover, but also suggest that even the hardest heart can be cracked to reveal the softness, or liquidity, of love.

The girls’ sharp wit, male attire, and the resulting confusion of gender brings to mind Rosalind from Shakespeare’s As You Like It (1599), written about fifteen years after Galatea was entered into the Stationers’ Register. Viola in Twelfth Night (1601-1602) is a similar figure. Much like Rosalind and her admirer Phoebe, Viola is clad in boy’s clothing and loved by Olivia, who thinks Viola truly is a boy. Some of Phillida’s lines in 3.2 are echoed in Viola’s words to Oliva: Phillida tells Galatea, “For I have sworn never to love a woman” (3.2.11); compare Viola’s response to Olivia, “I have one heart, one bosom and one truth, / And that no woman has nor never none / Shall mistress be of it save I alone” (Twelfth 3.1.156-158). When Galatea asks several lines later if Phillida has a sister, Phillida replies “My father had but one daughter, and therefore I could have no sister” (3.2.42-43); compare Viola’s “I am all the daughters of my father’s house” (Twelfth 2.4.120).

As Galatea and Phillida realize they may both be girls, their words and phrases become more alike. Phillida’s aside, “What doubtful speeches be these! I fear me he is as I am, a maiden” (3.2.31-21) is followed by Galatea’s aside “What dread riseth in my mind! I fear the boy to be as I am, a maiden” (33-34). Their lines mirror and interlock through word choice and rhyme as the two grow in certainty that they are both maidens:
Galatea [aside]: “Tush, it cannot be. His voice shows the contrary.”
Phillida [aside]: “Yet I do not think it, for he would then have blushed” (35-38, italics mine)
Their conversation and asides share and trade words and phrases, rhyme, and syntax. Not only does this suggest their strong attraction to each other, it shows they are growing closer. Phillida, still the bolder of the two, ends the scene with “Come, let us into the grove, and make much of one another, that cannot tell what to think of one another” (62-63).


Scene Three: Rafe runs away from his new master the Alchemist and takes up with the Astronomer.

Rafe has figured out that the Alchemist is not all he claims to be. Act Three Scene Three, like 2.3, is full of the process of alchemy; the convoluted, complicated language helps the Alchemist to deceive, but as far as cunning and cozenage, he might have met his match in Rafe.

After leaving the Alchemist, Rafe takes up with the Astronomer. Both the Alchemist and the Astronomer are engaged in crafts that purport to advance fortune or control fate: alchemy through gain, astronomy by prediction. Where the Alchemist can make “nothing infinite” (2.3.103), the Astronomer claims “Nothing can happen which I forsee not; nothing shall” (3.3.49-50). Like the Alchemist’s words, these have a double meaning, proclaiming the Astronomer sees all, yet “nothing” shall happen. The Astronomer, like the Alchemist, speaks in a way meant to impress and bamboozle. His words turn Rafe’s head, and he becomes the Astronomer’s apprentice.


Scene Four: Diana is furious that her nymphs are all in love. She discovers Cupid in their midst and vows retribution.

Diana’s anger at her besotted nymphs puts the theme of love versus chastity front and center. She tells her nymphs to seek a stranger nymph she has seen in the forest, suspecting it is Medea, Calypso, or Cupid. In a lengthy monologue, Diana rails about love, her virgins’ lack of power to overcome their feelings of love, and demands to know if they are now “Venus’ wantons” (3.4.2). Her lines are filed with references to myth and the gods, and she condemns love while exhorting the virtues of chastity. Diana’s rant also includes several mentions of birds and feathers: “Eagles cast their evil feathers in the sun” (38), “The birds ibes” (39), “doves” (48), “owls” (49), and “The eagle’s feathers consume the feathers of all others” (51). She closes with the admonition, “Foolish girls, how willing you are to follow that which you should fly” (68-69). Birds do not have a place of note anywhere else in the play, so her references to them all build to this closing remark.

When Cupid is found and brought to Diana, she harangues him for his sport in the forest. She promises to punish him: “I will break thy bow and burn thine arrows, bind thy hands, clip thy wings, and fetter thy feet” (85-86). She also tells him “Venus’s rods are made of roses, Diana’s of briars” (89-90). This is a telling comparison of love and chastity, since both roses and briars have thorns: love and chastity, then, can both cause pain. Cupid responds by telling Diana “what I have done cannot be undone, but what you mean to do shall….Cupid shall have all” (98-100). In other words, he promises love will win the day.

At the close of the scene, Eurota tells Cupid “We will plague ye for a little god” (109), echoing the words of the unnamed nymph in 1.2 (“And so farewell, little god” [32]). Was this unnamed nymph Eurota? Either way, the phrase “little god” not only mocks Cupid’s powers (especially against Diana), it also plays on his usual representation as a toddler or small boy.

Galatea – Act One: “since my father will have it so, and fortune must”

Scene One: Galatea’s father explains to her why he’s dressed her as a boy; he’s attempting to keep her from being selected as Neptune’s sacrificial virgin. He recounts to her the history of the virgin sacrifice. Galatea is uncomfortable being disguised as a boy and protests that destiny cannot be changed or avoided.  

The 1.1 plot exposition not only provides the backstory for the virgin sacrifice and consequently, why Galatea is dressed as a boy, it situates the play in its forest setting. Galatea and her father Tityrus rest and talk under the same tree where every five years a virgin is bound and left for the sea monster Agar. Galatea protests being garbed as a boy and against attempts to avoid her destiny (“Destiny may be deferred, not prevented” 1.1.76-77), but the location is just as important as her disapproval. Galatea, although protesting her disguise, possesses an agency the virgins tied to the sacrificial tree did not/will not have: she can walk away from the tree at will.  As the plot unfolds, Galatea realizes this agency and proves more philosophical, and wiser, than her father (as does Phillida). This realization gives the girls’ eventual relationship a gravitas and solidity it might not have had if they been less thoughtful or mature.

The 1.2 exposition from The Tempest, written much later in 1610-11, is similar in many respects to Lyly’s opening scene. In Shakespeare’s play, Prospero (like Tityrus) tells his tale to his daughter Miranda, who (like Galatea) listens intently and exclaims in wonder as it unfolds. Prospero and Tityrus both employ forms of deception in their attempts to direct their daughters’ destinies, and both stories involve danger from the sea (Tempest has the titular storm; Galatea has a flood legend and a sea monster).


Scene Two: Cupid encounters one of Diana’s nymphs in the wood. She is less than impressed by him, and by love in general, which angers him and leads him to begin his mischief.

At the end of Scene One, Tityrus and Galatea remark on the gods “hav[ing] taken shapes of beasts” (1.1.97) in their quest for love. Five lines later, Cupid makes his entrance at the start of Scene Two. He encounters one of Diana’s nymphs, who has no interest in him or love. She brushes his hints and suggestions aside and exits the stage, calling him a “little god” (1.2.32). The antagonized and offended Cupid then vows to cause trouble among the nymphs so they will know he is a “great god” (34).

With the introduction of Cupid and the nymph, Lyly introduces puns and wordplay. In the previous scene, the discussion between Galatea and Tityrus was straightforward, reflecting their simple pastoral (read: non-courtly) life. The nymph’s first lines in Scene Two launch the wordplay (“There is none of Diana’s train that any can train” [1.2.6-7]) and it picks up twenty lines later (“I will follow Diana in the chase, whose virgins are all chaste, delighting in the bow that wounds the swift hart in the forest, not fearing the bow that strikes the soft heart in the chamber” 25-28). This punning, twisting, and turning of words will be a staple of the text from this point on. Note that wordplay enters the text with Cupid, and therefore with the idea of love and physical attraction. It also implies that the appearance of a god signals a portal or threshold between the rustic and the courtly (or, the simple and the wittily deceptive).


Scene Three: Phillida’s father Melibeus explains to her that he’s dressed her as a boy to protect her from Neptune’s sacrifice. She, like Galatea, is not comfortable with the disguise.

The difference in the girls’ responses to their fathers’ disguising them is worthy of note. In Scene One, Galatea’s protestations were premised on her belief that destiny cannot be avoided or delayed. In Scene Three, Phillida’s argument is that it is not becoming, or virtuous, for her to wear male clothing. She argues that she “must keep company with boys and commit follies unseemly for my sex…and be thought more wanton than becometh me” (1.3.18-21). Phillida is the first character to use the word “wanton,” which as mentioned before, is used frequently throughout the play. Does this connect to the wearing of gendered clothing and its perceived effect on behavior and virtue? The recurrence of “wanton” is an interesting detail to keep in mind.

It is also helpful to consider the manner of the girls’ responses. Both are obedient to their fathers’ wishes, but it can be argued that Galatea pushes back more forcefully against her father’s directive. Her stance on destiny and virtue relies on reason, and her appeal is longer in length and more direct than that of Phillida. Phillida’s response is more submissive, her few lines of argument based on others’ perception of her honor, behavior, and appearance. Galatea’s reply to her father is three times longer than Phillida’s (fifteen lines vs five), and Scene One closes without a clear resolution to Galatea and Tityrus’s disagreement. Phillida, by contrast, states “I agree, since my father will have it so, and fortune must” (26-27), and the scene ends almost immediately. The glimpse into their personalities situates them for growth and change as the plot unfolds.


Scene Four: Three brothers, Rafe, Robin, and Dick, are cast ashore after being shipwrecked. They begin quests to find employment or new masters.

With the entrance of Rafe, Robin, and Dick, Lyly introduces more blatant sexual innuendo and punning along with themes of cunning and cozenage. The brothers are clown figures, and revel in making saucy, sarcastic remarks. One of the recurring puns is on the word “points,” which were the “tag ends of the laces that held upper and lower garments together” (Hunter and Bevington 42, n.44-5). “For you see betwixt us three there is not two good points” (1.4.44-5); “Well, begin with your points, for I lack only points in this world” (53-54). As the scene ends, the three sing a song about shipwreck and fate that includes the verse “For being well manned / We can cry ‘Stand!’” (94-95). For the audience, these bawdy lines might gesture to Galatea and Phillida, dressed as boys but not “well-manned” in any sense of the word.

Once more, the sea is shown to be important to the action of the play. Here, rather than flooding the village, it casts the brothers and the Mariner ashore after a shipwreck. Traditionally, the sea and sea voyages were associated with fortune (the rise, fall, and ebb of tides corresponding with its fickleness) and the fact that the three brothers are shipwrecked hints that fortune is not on their side. Their first attempt at a new master is with the Mariner, but they cannot grasp the basics of navigation, so he leaves them to shift for themselves. Their inability to understand the secrets of navigating the sea also suggests their poor fortune: the Mariner has the knowledge and canniness to ply the sea (fortune), but the brothers do not. They must now scheme, cozen, and use cunning to get ahead.

Galatea and John Lyly: Introduction and Overview

In short (very short), John Lyly (c.1554-1606) was one of the star playwrights of the late 1500s. Nearly all his plays were written for the Children of Paul’s, perhaps the most important boy theatre company in early modern London. Many of his characters are women, nymphs, or fairies; at the time, these were roles for young men and boys. Lyly appealed to Queen Elizabeth for patronage for many years but was never rewarded. He died relatively poor and unknown. (More information on Lyly can be found here and here.)

Galatea was entered into the Stationers’ Register in 1585. Like Lyly’s other plays, it is heavily influenced by Greek mythology. Its forest setting is important, as it brings together humans and gods in a space often considered a threshold between two worlds. In many early modern plays, a pastoral or forest setting signals a place of transition or freedom, especially from the strictures and hierarchy of the Court — think of Rosalind and Celia in Shakespeare’s As You Like It, or the lovers in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As with AYLI, Galatea’s setting is pastoral, but Lyly’s realm is more liminal than Shakespeare’s: not-quite-human, but not-quite-myth. Much like Dream, this brings the people who enter it face-to-face with gods/goddesses, nymphs, and fairies.

The main plot involves two girls disguised as boys by their fathers. In their fathers’ minds, the male attire will help their daughters escape being selected as a virgin sacrifice. The girls each hide in the forest, and when they meet, things get interesting. A subplot has Cupid dallying in the same wood and deciding to have some sport with Diana’s nymphs, who live and hunt in the forest. Another subplot is the story of three shipwrecked brothers who end up in the vicinity and attempt to find a way to easy fortune. All three plot lines converge in the final scene.

Here are the characters, with a short explanation of who (and what) they are:

  • AUGUR: An oracle who warns the citizens of their debt to Neptune and interprets the outcome of the sacrifice.
  • ALCHEMIST: The first of Rafe’s new masters.
  • ASTRONOMER: The second of Rafe’s new masters.
  • CUPID: Venus’s son. Likes to wander about in disguise and cause trouble with his arrows of love.
  • DIANA: Goddess of the hunt. She places a high value on chastity, both for herself and the retinue of nymphs who accompany her. Diana has no time for the silliness of love.
  • DICK: One of three shipwrecked brothers attempting to improve their situation either by finding a sympathetic master or by cunning and cozenage.
  • ERICTHINIS: Accompanies the sacrificial virgin to the fateful tree.
  • EUROTA: One of Diana’s nymphs, and a victim of Cupid’s tricks.
  • GALATEA: A fair maiden. Her father Tityrus disguises her as a boy so she will not be selected as the sacrificial virgin, causing confusion and unexpected results.
  • HEBE: The maiden selected to be the sacrificial virgin.
  • LARISSA: Another of Diana’s nymphs. She also gets caught up in Cupid’s mischief.
  • MARINER: Comes to shore with the three brothers but doesn’t put up with them for long.
  • MELIBEUS: Phillida’s father. He decides dressing her in boy’s clothes is a way to keep her safe from Neptune’s sacrifice.
  • NEPTUNE: The god of the sea. Requires a virgin be sacrificed to him every five years to make up for the citizens’ previous neglect of him and the destruction of his temple.
  • PETER: Apprentice to the Alchemist, and just as crafty.
  • PHILLIDA: Melibeus’s maiden daughter. Like Galatea, her father disguises her as a boy so she will not be sacrificed to Neptune (again, with unforeseen consequences).
  • RAFE: Another of the shipwrecked brothers. We follow him in his attempts to find a master that will improve his fortune.
  • RAMIA: Another of Diana’s nymphs who feels the effect of Cupid’s fun.
  • ROBIN: The last of the three shipwrecked brothers.
  • TELUSA: Another of Diana’s nymphs on the receiving end of Cupid’s sport.
  • TITYRUS: Galatea’s father. Like Melibeus, he decides dressing Galatea as a boy will save her from the virgin sacrifice.
  • VENUS: Goddess of love and Cupid’s mom.

Lyly’s afore-mentioned debt to myth is obvious from these characters, and the forest setting has been discussed. What else is notable? Cross-dressing, disguise, and mistaken identities are extremely important. These devices are the play’s lifeblood, and many characters are garbed as, or attempt to pass themselves off as, something they are not. “Cozenage” or “cheating, deception, fraud” (per the Oxford English Dictionary) is another type of disguise seen throughout. Who is being authentic? Is anyone? Are they doing it of their own accord, or do they have no choice? What is their agenda? How does disguise allow (or hinder) the idea of self? Finally, there’s the question of fate. Can it be controlled, directed, or avoided? Are you fated to love? To live a certain way?

Looking at the text from a literary standpoint, Galatea is filled with repetition and wordplay. There are the requisite dirty jokes and double entendres (mostly from the three brothers), but there are also words and phrases that appear frequently. “Wanton” is one example. “Wanton,” sometimes defined as “unchaste,” (or “undisciplined, ungoverned; unmanageable, rebellious” per the OED) is used no less than ten times, mostly by Telusa and Diana. It’s apparent Lyly found this word especially useful, or descriptive, for this particular tale. Other intriguing structural aspects of Galatea are its heavy use of asides and direct addresses to the audience. Lyly uses them to show interiority, but they also engage the audience and create dramatic impact. The soliloquies and lengthy monologues Lyly gives many of the characters are used to similar effect.

There aren’t a lot of clips of Galatea online, but Rider University posted their 2016 production on YouTube. Before Shakespeare did a wonderful blog on a workshopping of the play and is an excellent resource on early modern drama in general. There’s also a rather different Lego version available, if that’s your thing.

For this blog and my other work on the play, I relied on the excellent Revels series version edited by George K. Hunter and David Bevington (Manchester UP, 2000). For all Shakespeare references, I used the Arden editions (the Third Series when available). The text of Galatea can also be found (free) on The Folger’s Early Modern English Drama (EMED) website:

So, off we go into Lyly’s world of gods and goddesses, disguise, and realization…

New Year, New Direction…or, Welcome to the Absolute Rebirth of My Blog

During a recent conversation, the topic turned to how the presence of Shakespeare seems to swallow up and overwhelm other early modern dramatists. This wasn’t about bashing the man; it was about the importance of reading or seeing Shakespeare’s plays alongside those of his contemporaries. Doing this reveals how early modern plays interconnect, share, and blatantly steal from one another, and it shows how the spirit of collaboration was alive and well. It also suggests Shakespeare’s influences (and vice versa): from whom he borrowed ideas, and in turn, who borrowed from him. It also introduces the reader or playgoer to some exceptionally good drama.

So where does the average playgoer start if they want to learn more about these plays? A good portion of the information on the web pertaining to Shakespeare’s contemporaries is for scholars and academics, which can be off-putting for the casual reader. Here’s where the new direction for my blog comes in. I want to help fill the void for those who’d like to discover plays like The Spanish Tragedy or ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore but don’t have the time or inclination to peruse a thesis or scholarly journal. I do, of course, hope my blog will be of some use to scholars and teachers. I also hope to reach those who want to better engage with Shakespeare, since knowing what Will’s contemporaries wrote about, and how the plays cross-pollenate, can enhance the reader’s or playgoer’s experience. In sum, I’d like my blog to be a resource.

My goal is an instructive close reading that is both engaging and thought-provoking. Here’s the plan: for each play, my first post will be about what to look for as far as overarching themes and concepts. Next, I’ll do more focused posts, act by act, pointing out anything interesting or important that might enhance the experience of seeing or reading the play. Since interpretations and productions vary, my posts will cleave to the spirit of the texts, but I will incorporate links to online videos where available. Finally, in hopes of making the unfamiliar more familiar, I’ll note any similarities to Shakespeare plays. If something in Galatea, for instance, is like something in The Tempest, that connection might be key to concepts otherwise missed.

This new direction isn’t meant to be an exhaustive analysis. I’m not going to state a thesis or make any claims. I’m simply going to point out things I find interesting and unusual in the hope it will help others discover and enjoy non-Shakespeare drama. I’m proselytizing for Shakespeare’s contemporaries, but I’m not the only one; check out the Read Not Dead project in the UK and the Rarely Played play-reading series at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, if you haven’t before. There’s also been an uptick in productions of plays such as Middleton’s The Changeling and Webster’s Duchess of Malfi. Even John Lyly is experiencing a bit of a revival, and if you’ve been following my blog, you know that I’ve previously done some work on his Galatea (ergo, it’s the first play I’ll feature).

This new direction is a work in progress, so I encourage feedback. How can I make this better? What else needs to be addressed? What plays should I include? Last of all, please share and spread the word. More readers mean more feedback and more potential fans of Middleton, Ford, Webster, Beaumont, Fletcher, Heywood…etc, etc, etc.

So there you have it. New year, new direction for my blog (and I hope you enjoyed the Spinal Tap reference in the title). Check back next week for my overview of Galatea.



What I’m reading: why, another Shakespeare book, of course! “The New Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare”

I just finished The New Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare (Margreta DeGrazia & Stanley Wells, eds.; Cambridge UP, 2010). This medium-sized companion is a good overview of the basics, and would definitely be useful for a school/uni library or on the shelf of any Shakespeare enthusiast. The chapters include a biography of the man by Stephen Greenblatt and a look at the theatres of early modern London by Tiffany Stern, as well as discussions of textual theories and other literary concerns such as Shakespeare’s writing process and how his works came to print. There are chapters on the various genres of the plays, including one on the comedies by Stanley Wells. Discussions of how race, religion, and gender resonate through Shakespeare’s plays are included, as are chapters on Shakespeare and the media, popular culture, global Shakespeare, and Shakespeare in performance. The final chapter is filled with suggestions for further reading and online exploration of Shakespeare in general.

By way of example, in Claire McEachern’s chapter, “Shakespeare, religion and politics,” one section addresses questions of interiority, transformation, and individual action (194-195). The entire chapter is interesting, but I found her short examination of these particular questions especially thought-provoking. When interiority differs from practice, how is this presented on stage? Does performance affect interiority? Do words? Her answers look at Hamlet, Prince Hal, boy actors in female roles, and the dynamic between Iago/Othello, Claudio/Hero, and Rosalind/Orlando. For me, these few paragraphs considering of depth of character as opposed to visual array stood out from the rest of the piece.

The following complete chapters were also standouts (in my humble opinion):

Anthony Dawson, “Shakespeare on the stage” – an interesting look at the physicality inherent in Shakespeare’s texts, such as directed movement, gesture, and stance. He also discusses staging and scenery and how they intersect with the actor and character, as well as how the architecture of the stage contributes to performance.

Jonathan Gil Harris, “Shakespeare and race” – Harris looks at the complexities of race in the texts, how “race” as a word has variable meanings, and its use. His chapter explores “race” in not just Othello, but also examines how it runs through Anthony and Cleopatra, Titus Andronicus, and The Merchant of Venice. (I highly recommend this chapter.)

Stephen Orgel, “Shakespeare, sexuality and gender” – Orgel examines sexuality as it pertains to maturity, gender identity, and marriage in early modern England and Shakespeare’s plays in particular. His findings are intriguing and surprising, and the chapter is an excellent read. Plays treated by Orgel include Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet; he also presents cultural and medical beliefs from the period, as well as historical anecdote and legend. (This is another I highly recommend.)

Last but not least, the final chapter on further reading is impressive. Page after page is filled with suggestions for further research on everything from the complete works to stage history to music, including books, journals, and online sources. This catalog of information, along with the bibliography provided at the end of each chapter, gives the student or Shakespeare enthusiast a plethora of ways to increase their knowledge (or just skim around for the enjoyment of it). This overall abundance of sources alone is worth the price of the volume.



Let’s do this. I give you Shakespeare & James Fenimore Cooper.

Time to get this blog rolling! Here’s a paper I wrote for one of my MA classes. It needs more work to be publishable by an academic journal, but the scope of my research as an independent scholar doesn’t include Shakespeare in America or 18th century politics. (Apologies for any strange formatting. I’m still trying to figure out the mechanics of WordPress.)

Shakespeare and American Citizenship in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans

     Throughout The Last of the Mohicans, James Fenimore Cooper weaves ideas and situations associated with the works of William Shakespeare into the text, adding unexpected complexity. Cooper begins twenty of the novel’s thirty-three chapters with epigraphs from Shakespeare, referencing eleven different plays: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Othello, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Julius Caesar, Much Ado About Nothing, King Lear, Richard II, Twelfth Night, Henry V, and Henry VI, Part 1.[1] This alone is reason enough for a thorough investigation of Cooper’s appropriation of Shakespeare’s works. Such an examination becomes even more imperative, however, with the realization that Merchant and Dream lead the count with five mentions each.[2] (Next comes the interestingly named but unrelated The Bard by Thomas Gray III, standing at three.) At first glance, Merchant and Dream seem unlikely selections; aside from Dream’s lovers in a forest, there appears to be no real confluence with Mohicans. Why then, of all the works Cooper chose, do these two plays hold such preference?

Shakespeare’s importance to early America is well known and well documented, making Cooper’s incorporation of the poet not entirely surprising. There is evidence in Mohicans, however, of a resonance between plays and novel running much deeper than simply plot line and characterization. This makes the Shakespeare verses more than merely introductions to and reflections of the action in Cooper’s tale of the American frontier; his interweaving these works, familiar to those living in the new Republic, encourages a closer and more thoughtful consideration of both novel and purpose. The epigraphs and references direct the reader to ideals and concepts blended throughout Cooper’s narrative, subtly highlighting what are possibly his own beliefs regarding the structuring of the new nation and who should constitute its citizenry.

At the time Cooper wrote Mohicans in the 1820s, ideas of citizenship and what it meant to be fully American were only starting to form. Nationalism, born of the feelings of patriotism that fired the American Revolution, was beginning its slow transition into the kind of movement needed to unite and strengthen the young country. In this paper, I discuss how Cooper’s references to Shakespeare inform and reflect ideas of American citizenship during this period. In particular, I argue Cooper’s allusions to The Merchant of Venice and A Midsummer Night’s Dream do more than simply incorporate familiar plots and characters: they address topics of concern regarding citizenship and provide clues as to Cooper’s thoughts on the matter. Examination of Cooper’s use of Merchant and Dream encourages a discussion concerning the type of individual he considered an ideal candidate for citizenship and that individual’s particular qualifications. This, in turn, invites a closer look at the process of inclusion and exclusion that ultimately decided who was acceptable and who was Other,[3] as well as an exploration of the controversy regarding Native American peoples, their lands, and early conversations about citizenship, birthright, and immigration — concerns and disputes both historic and timely.

At their most basic level, Cooper’s verse epigraphs introduce the action associated with each chapter. The novel opens with a quote from Richard II, “Mine ear is open, and my heart prepared…” (Mohicans 45; RII 3.2.93), situating the story as one requiring both close attention and a desire to understand.[4] Chapter 1.10 begins with “I fear we shall outsleep the coming morn, / As much as we this night have overwatched” (Mohicans 127; MSND 5.1.359-60), lines from Dream that help Cooper depict the wary travelers keeping alert and awake for fear they may be discovered by their hostile pursuers. Chapters 2.5, 2.8, and 2.9, in which Hawk-Eye and his companions disguise themselves in order to rescue Alice and Cora, are all ushered in by lines from the “rude mechanicals” of Dream rehearsing their play for the Duke. Cooper’s epigraphs also offer hints and insight on a specific character: “Sola, sola, wo ha, ho, sola!” opens Mohicans 1.2 (55; Merchant 5.1.39), a line from Merchant’s clown figure Launcelot Gobbo as he arrives with news. In Cooper’s chapter, his own clown figure David Gamut gallops up to join the traveling group and features in several paragraphs, giving the reader time and information enough to realize he is not to be taken seriously (58-62).

     Shakespeare’s characters, as well as his plot lines, would have been familiar to Cooper’s readers, since as historian Lawrence W. Levine puts it, nineteenth-century American culture “swallowed Shakespeare, digested him and his plays, and made them part of the cultural body” (1988, 24). Levine, whose studies endeavor to incorporate the experience of the Other, acknowledges the poet’s influence on American statesmen and the education of schoolchildren. He notes “[t]he affinity between Shakespeare and the American people…extended to the basic ideological underpinnings” (40) of the young Republic, but he does not in any definite way discuss the poet’s influence on developing ideas of citizenship. Indeed, American citizenship was not universally defined in the years after the Revolution, with the individual states making their own choices as to the matter (Kettner 1978, 219). In the decade preceding Mohicans, questions as to the definition of “natural-born citizen” remained, yet “[t]he Indians were perhaps the most easily isolated group excluded from the privileges and immunities of citizenship” (287, 288). Clearly, even though the lawmakers of the new Republic were still uncertain as to who did naturally fit into the category of American Citizen, they had decided who did not. Although during the 1800s citizenship and land grants were at times offered to Native Americans, abandoning their tribal affiliation in exchange for the boon was a requirement. An entire tribe becoming citizens therefore “generally entailed the destruction of the tribal organization and government” (292, 293). It is evident then, fluid as they were, ideas of American citizenship during these years were not conducive to welcoming those perceived as Other, irrespective of concerns for the rights of the individual and the greater good (Cananau 2015, 147). Interestingly enough, however, those deemed different or alien remained of great importance for the crafting of the framework of American citizenship. A necessary evil, they became the boundaries and margins defining areas of inclusion and exclusion.


     In Merchant, notions of alterity are central. Even though the Jewish Shylock’s lending of money plays an important role in Venice’s economy, he is reviled and vilified: “You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog, / And spet upon my Jewish gabardine, /…You that did void your rheum upon my beard, / And foot me as you spurn a stranger cur / Over your threshold” (1.3.109-110, 115-117). These lines reveal Shylock’s place as a hated outsider, and describe an absolute difference similarly found in Mohicans’ portrayal of Native Americans. Not only are words such as “savage” and “barbarous” used liberally and repeatedly to refer to the hostile tribes, they are even at times associated with Hawk-eye’s friends Chingachgook and Uncas (Mohicans 91, 151). Deirdre Dallas Hall’s compelling argument that Mohicans character David Gamut is “a hybridized construction around which signs not only of the Puritan but also of the Indian and the Jew gather” establishes a further correspondence with Merchant (2012, 38). In her opinion, with Gamut, Cooper pushes the envelope as to “the limits of our race” and “demands that we consider the ‘ordinary limits’ not only of humanity in general but also of whiteness in particular (emphasis added)” (40). Hall’s paper theorizes that ideas of Otherness found in Mohicans reflect nineteenth-century concerns regarding citizenship and nationality, as well as questions regarding acceptable candidates and where associated boundaries and margins should lie.

     Concerns with limits and Otherness incorporate fears of intermarriage and love across racial bounds in both Cooper and Shakespeare. In Merchant, Portia ridicules and mocks the varying ethnicities of her failed suitors with lines such as “Let all of his complexion choose me so” (2.7.79) and “God made him, and therefore let him pass for a man” (1.2.54-55). Her implied concerns as to intermarriage are alleviated when the Venetian Bassanio wins her hand, but the subject is also addressed through Shylock’s daughter, Jessica, eloping with the Christian Lorenzo. This mixed marriage is reconciled through Jessica’s conversion (“I shall be sav’d by my husband, – he hath made me a Christian!” [3.5.18-19]). The happiness and solidity of the union is brought into question, however, in Act 5, Scene 1 as the couple muse on and compare themselves to tragic lovers such as Troilus & Cressida, Thisbe, and Dido. In Mohicans, Cora’s refusal of Magua’s demand of marriage is portrayed as virtuous and righteous, her scornful words worthy of Portia: “He is a savage, a barbarous and ignorant savage, and knows not what he does” (Mohicans 147). Furthermore, Cooper keeps any hint of attraction between Cora and Uncas intentionally vague, with the possibility only fully addressed after their deaths (“A hunter would be her companion, who knew how to provide for her smallest wants…who was able to protect her against every danger” [390]). This device both resolves the problem of intermarriage and serves as a moral admonishment on the mixing of cultures. Only Duncan and Alice, properly vetted and matched in race, are allowed to survive and, it is implied, marry.

     Both Cora, who is of mixed birth (201), and Hawk-eye, who chooses to live with the Native Americans, “signal a progressive degradation of categories” (Hall 2012,  62), representing types of individuals who would have faced careful scrutinization at the time Mohicans was written. With this “degradation of categories” in mind, Cooper’s scenes relating to intermarriage offer subtle commentaries as to desirable candidates for citizenship alongside concerns about keeping citizens of the young nation “without a cross,” and giving this phrase, repeated so many times throughout the novel, much greater import. Hawk-eye, in calling attention to and boasting of his pure blood, blurs lines by living as and with his Native American companions — yet he defines himself by contrasting white and Native identities (116, 117, 228-229, 254).[5] Hawk-eye embodies a type of character held up as evidence of America’s perceived selection, the “frontier hero” (more often than not of Anglo-Saxon descent) bearing “innate national traits” (Sturgess 125). This type of individual both confronts and answers nineteenth-century concerns regarding citizenship. Although by nature separate from the Other, these guardians/heroes retain the capacity to understand and successfully defend against any perceived Outsider aggression.

     Hawk-eye’s initial identification of Magua as a threat helps to solidify him in this particular role. His later offer of his own life in exchange for Cora’s release (Mohicans 76, 362) is therefore completely in character, confirming his status as hero and calling to mind Antonio’s “pound of flesh” bond with Shylock (Merchant 4.1.114-118). Hawk-eye’s offer takes place after Uncas and his companions are brought before Tamenund, the ancient sage and arbiter of Native justice, in Mohicans’ own trial scene. The chapter begins with an epigraph from the trial scene in Merchant: Shylock demands justice from the duke, calling for the pound of flesh he sees as rightfully his (Last 354, MV 4.1.101-103). Cooper echoes this action as Uncas stands before Tamenund (arguably the Duke figure), Magua calling for his death. As Shakespeare’s scene progresses, it appears Shylock may have won the day, and Antonio is told “prepare your bosom for his knife” (4.1.244 – emphasis added). Similarly, in Mohicans, it seems Magua may get his wish, but Uncas is spared when one of his would-be-executioners finds the mark of the tortoise on the young Mohican: “Raising his hand with a slow and regulated motion, he pointed with a finger to the bosom of the captive” (356 – emphasis added). Cooper’s chapter, however, inverts the Shakespeare scene. Tamenund’s justice does not work the way the main characters, and the reader, would like. Magua’s claim to Cora is quietly affirmed by Uncas, and although Hawk-eye offers himself in exchange, Magua’s desire for revenge against Munro is stronger than his hatred of the frontiersman (361). Triumphant, Magua leaves the group, taking Cora — a Shylock absconding with his “pound of flesh…dearly bought” (Merchant 4.1.99-100). Cooper’s reasoning for this inversion may only be posited, but in light of additional hints regarding intermarriage, it is telling that the villain is awarded the mixed-blood girl, with the validity of his claim affirmed by her would-be rescuer.

     The trial scenes are one of the strongest parallels between Merchant and Mohicans, especially in their use of argument and oration. In Mohicans, Magua’s command of rhetoric and ability to speak with the flair and fluidity of a politician are important aspects of his character, allowing him to sway the minds of his people and lead them as he crafts his revenge (144-146, 296-297, 328-329). The root of his enmity is outlined in 1.11, a chapter appropriately headed by an epigraph reiterating Shylock’s deep hatred of Antonio (“cursed be my tribe / If I forgive him” 1.3.48-49 – emphasis added). Prior to making an offer to release Alice, Duncan, and David if Cora will marry him, Magua recounts his fall from grace, blaming this transit and his subsequent humiliation (a beating at the hands of Munro) on the Europeans’ providing him with alcohol (141-142). Magua’s physical attraction to Cora is implied throughout the novel (143, 220, 384, 363), and her disgust for him and complete rejection of his offer is made clear (143, 147-148). For Magua, however, taking Cora as wife is the ultimate revenge. The pain and horror Magua envisions causing Munro, the suffering Munro would endure knowing his daughter is in Magua’s power, are his primary goals. Much like Shylock’s deep-seeded and intense detestation of Antonio, the “ancient grudge” (MV 1.3.45) Magua holds against Munro is all-consuming.

     Magua’s fall from grace is just one way the novel makes clear the Native Americans live in the young country, but are not considered its countrymen. They are a race apart, much as Shylock lives in Venice but is not considered to be of the city. Like the Native tribes, Shylock is portrayed as marginal and not citizen material, and like the tribes, he is treated with distrust and contempt. Shylock’s alien status is invoked repeatedly during the Merchant trial scene: “if thou dost shed / One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods / Are (by the laws of Venice) confiscate” (4.1.307-309), “Now infidel I have you on the hip” (4.1.332), and “If it be proved against an alien, / That by direct, or indirect attempts / He seek the life of any citizen” (4.1.347-349 – all emphasis added). Found guilty of seeking Antonio’s life, Shylock’s money and property is confiscated and divided (with a portion going to the state); he is also forced to convert to Christianity (4.1.368-369, 385). Through this loss of property, belief system, and by extension, loss of self, Shylock’s situation mirrors that of the Native Americans as evolving ideas of American identity shuttled them to the very margins of the defining process.[6] In a surprising example of the correspondence between Merchant and the Native Americans’ situation, during an 1830 hearing regarding Cherokee land US Senator John Forsyth declared “I will have my bond, I will have my pound of flesh” (“Speech of Mr. Sprague,” 1830). While not a direct quote from Merchant (“I would have my bond!” [4.1.87], “The pound of flesh which I demand of him / Is dearly bought, ’tis mine and I will have it” [4.1.99-100]), there is no mistaking the origin and sentiment of the comment. In the heat of the moment, however, Senator Forsyth seems to have overlooked the fact that the lines he crowed belong to Shylock, the hated Outsider.


     The relevance of Merchant to discussions of citizenship and the alien is apparent, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream offers just as important a contribution. The two plays share certain themes, and Cooper’s interleaving allows further, more subtle, threads to appear. Perhaps the most obvious, the mixing of races (and classes), is gestured to in Dream through the fairy queen Titania’s liaison with Bottom the Weaver (Act 3, Scene 1). Magic, not natural attraction, is the cause of Titania’s passion for the similarly bewitched, donkey-headed weaver (2.1.177-184), and her response when released from the spell is one of disgust (“How came these things to pass? / O how mine eyes do loathe his visage now!” [4.1.77-78]). Dream is arguably best known for this dalliance between Titania and Bottom, and when Cooper’s references to the play are considered in light of Mohicans’ apparent concerns regarding intermarriage and pure blood, the implication is clear: not only is the crossing of races immoral, it is unnatural.

     Additional aspects of Dream encouraging an exploration of Cooper’s thoughts on nineteenth-century citizenship are the characters’ acts of defiance and the assertion of the rights of the individual. In the first scene, Hermia’s declaration that she will not obey her father and marry Demetrius (“My soul consents not to give sovereignty” [1.1.82]), calls to mind the American rebellion against British rule, but here, agency and personal choice are also in play. Both the rights of the individual (ironically, based on English common law) and “representative democracy” are ingrained in the concept of American citizenship (Cananau 2015, 147, 148). Similarly, resistance in the face of tyranny or misguided authority underpins the stories and legends surrounding the fight for independence. Hermia’s act of noncompliance, along with Titania’s refusal to relinquish an Indian boy to her husband and king, Oberon (2.1.137), helps drive the plot in Dream.[7] The refusal of these women to acquiesce to male authority shows a strength of spirit and fortitude that in the early 1800s could only have been acceptable when viewed as a symbol of the new Republic. In light of this, the obedient and shrinking Alice becomes Cooper’s vetted representative of her gender, as she alone survives to marry an appropriate, chosen suitor. Ultimately, however, the strong feminine in Shakespeare’s play undergoes a corrective as Oberon wins the boy from Titania through the use of magic (4.1.45-59), and Hyppolita, an Amazon queen previously mastered by masculine power and superiority, is presented as being wedded to her conqueror. Making her a fitting metaphor for the newly-won Republic and the American frontier, Hyppolita’s groom-to-be Theseus declares “I woo’d thee with my sword, / And won thy love doing thee injuries” (1.1.16-17), both asserting his claim on her as property and justifying the violence committed in the process.

     Cooper gestures to the acts of non-compliance in Dream in his selection of epigraph for 1.4, Oberon’s threat of revenge on Titania: “Well, go thy way; thou shalt not from this grove / Till I torment thee for this injury” (2.1.146-147). In this chapter, the action centers on Magua’s pretense of becoming lost in the forest as he guides the group of travelers, a ruse he hopes will allow him to kidnap Munro’s daughters. Oberon’s words could be those of Magua to Munro; Magua will not cease to work for revenge against Munro as long as the commander is within his reach. The chapter also introduces Hawk-eye into the group, making Cooper’s use of lines from Dream even more apropos. Arguably the novel’s star non-compliant, Hawk-eye’s appearance with the group drives the plot. As it unfolds he becomes a Puck figure, delivering wry commentary and wit while acting as the bridge between two cultures. Much as the character of Magua links to that of Shylock and Merchant, Cooper’s frontiersman becomes an Americanized reflection of the trickster fairy from Dream.

     The surface plot of Shakespeare’s play, with its trickery, disguise, and forest setting, meshes seamlessly with Volume II of Mohicans. Cooper’s four travelers, two women and two men lost in a thickly wooded forest country, are brought sharply up against what is to them a very different world. In order to rescue Cora and Alice, Uncas, Hawk-eye, and Duncan must each pretend to be something they are not. Hawk-eye and Uncas both don the skin of a bear, and Duncan’s face is painted by Chingachgook (Mohicans 304, 319, 275). Hawk-eye, the Puck figure, shows a more light-hearted approach to disguise and has no problem testing the boundaries of reality and fantasy (267, 301, 314-315), much as he inhabits the liminal space between the civilized and the savage. Duncan, arguably Cooper’s ideal citizen by virtue of his gender, whiteness, bravery, and concern for his companions, cannot join Hawk-eye in this space and remain an exemplar. Before he can come face to face with and rescue Alice, Duncan must wash the Indian paint from his face, for “young women of white blood give preference to their own colour” (305) or, to put it plainly, like should be with like. (This is especially interesting when considering the implied attraction between Cora and Uncas.) This rejection of crossed boundaries expands to include dress and outward appearance when David’s captors attempt to disguise him in Native clothing, but fail wretchedly: “Altogether, the appearance of the individual was forlorn and miserable” (266). If Hall’s argument is correct, and Cooper intended David Gamut to be a “pseudo-Jewish character” (2012, 38), the scene becomes decidedly more poignant. Not only considered aberrant and Other from the standpoint of his white companions (Mohicans 51-52), David is considered insane by his captor tribe and made marginal in their camp (270, 313-314). Wholly unable to assimilate, he remains alien and an Outsider.

     Although the disguises and tricks are by and large momentary, the idea of transformation looms large when considering both Mohicans and Dream. In discussions of Shakespeare’s plays, it is sometimes bruited that forests are spaces of transformation and change, and the one in Dream is no exception. Bottom’s experience as the donkey-headed lover of a fairy queen is one he cannot quite grasp or articulate (4.1.199-215); the four lovers separate, exchange partners, but in the end marry appropriately (4.1.174-180). The forest in Mohicans is no different — those who enter are changed forever. By dint of his existing in the liminal space between civilization and savagery, Hawk-eye serves as guide for this transition, which ultimately winnows the group and finds those deemed acceptable for citizenship in the new Republic. Cora, with her mixed blood and attraction to Uncas, does not survive the transformation. It is significant that the fair-skinned Alice does not appear at her sister’s funeral until its end; even then, she is set apart as a non-participant in the blended rites, kept from sight in a curtained litter (Mohicans 395). The Native mourners celebrate Uncas as Cora’s mate and protector in the afterlife much to the chagrin of Hawk-eye, who finds their sentiment misguided and is thankful Duncan and Munro cannot understand their chants (391). Once more, Cooper’s implication is strong: races should not mingle.

     Of the four companions only Duncan and Alice come through the forest transition intact, emerging as perhaps Cooper’s ideal American couple: the brave, adaptable military man and his obedient, child-like wife. It is true the marginal David does weather the transition, but Deirdre Dallas Hall points out that in Cooper’s 1848 novel The Oak Openings, a similarly “hybridized” character does not fare as well, calling this a “clear corrective” (2012, 38). Of Uncas and his father Chingachgook, a pair presented throughout the novel as the last best hope for respectable Native American leaders, only Chingachgook survives. Cooper portrays the other tribes as savage and ignoble, a view echoed in court hearings a few years later, just prior to and at the time of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Native Americans were “of that class who are said by jurists not to be citizens, but perpetual inhabitants, with diminutive rights” and an “inferior race of people, without the privileges of citizens” (Kettner 1978, 295). Cooper supported Andrew Jackson’s policies towards the Native Americans (Mohicans 19), and based on this and his allusions to Merchant, it can be assumed Cooper’s opinion regarding Native Americans becoming citizens was not positive. The evidence indicates he too found them marginal and not acceptable citizen material.

     Cooper’s references to Merchant and Dream imply he also felt the mixing of races to be inconsistent with ideal citizenship. Hawk-eye, the most multi-cultural of the novel’s characters, protests throughout the book to be “without a cross” and makes comments such as “’Twould have been a cruel and an unhuman act for a white-skin; but ‘tis the gift and natur of an Indian, and I suppose it should not be denied!” (Mohicans 177) — in this case speaking of his friend, Chingachgook. Even though Hawk-eye fancies himself assimilated to Native American life, in truth he considers his pure blood to be of the utmost importance. Cooper underscores this prohibition against the crossing of races through the fates of Cora and Uncas, as well as Munro’s first wife (Cora’s deceased mother, who was descended from slaves [201]). A corrective is shown through the survival and vetted marriage of Duncan and Alice. Although Bradley J. Birzer and John Willson remark that Cooper felt “Americanness” to be “based on virtue and merit,” “transcend[ing]…narrow biological categories and confines of race” (Cooper Democrat 2000, xii, xiii), Cooper’s juxtaposition of Merchant and Dream with the novel’s subtle observations on the alien and Outsider suggest differently. Clearly, not only must his ideal citizens be “without a cross,” they should also marry in that fashion.


     The Last of the Mohicans was written and published during a time of discussion and argument over who was, and what it meant to be, an American citizen. Twelve years later, Cooper penned The American Democrat, a work on America and Americans that is now a resource for those looking to intuit the author’s personal thoughts on politics and policy. Political writer and lecturer Iulian Cananau observes that Cooper’s definition of “the word ‘people’ in the Preamble [of the Constitution] actually means a much more restrictive community of citizens, or people vested with political rights” (2015, 105) than generally accepted, and quotes him as saying “All men are not ‘created equal’, in a physical, or even in a moral sense, unless we limit the signification to one of political rights” (107). This suggests that at the time of Democrat, Cooper’s idea of citizenship was not one of inclusion and acceptance, and it can be posited that this was his stance while writing Mohicans. With this supposition in mind, Cooper’s incorporation of The Merchant of Venice and A Midsummer Night’s Dream informs and enlightens the nineteenth-century discussion regarding American citizenship in a revealing manner, and bears up my assertion that Cooper’s references to Shakespeare’s plays run much deeper than simple plot similarities and attempts at light-hearted humor. Although the two plays seem different in tone, close examination discloses not only their similarities, but also a confluence with the themes of citizenship and ideas of inclusion and exclusion found in Mohicans. This makes clear Cooper found Merchant and Dream strongly resonant with his novel as a whole, and is arguably the very reason for their preference among Mohicans’ epigraphs.

     Allusions and references to Merchant and Dream woven into the fabric of The Last of the Mohicans suggest Cooper considered the process of finding ideal American citizens to be based on more than simply what an individual may have had to offer the young country. The candidate’s race was just as important as survival of the rigorous, demanding, and transforming process of living in an early, evolving America. Perhaps Cooper, like many of his countrymen, saw the demands of being a qualified, appropriate member of the new Republic as daunting, rightly feeling this called for exceptional human beings ready to sacrifice in order to reap the privilege of being part of the new political experiment. Their inability to see the Other as capable of rising to the occasion is an unfortunate and misguided mindset that continues to this day.

     Cooper’s use of Shakespeare plays to illustrate the citizenship process reveals “both an ideal picture of Man and a series of illustrations of what happens when one fails to live up to the proper ideals” (Bristol 1898, 163), a statement which in this case applies to both Selector and Selected. Identifying those qualified to be citizens of the new Republic was surely an exacting task, but more often than not, the apparent choice was simply “a rich, successful, educated man” (Cananau 2015, 148), with the alien or different rejected. Those displaying these difficult traits (such as the Native Americans and David Gamut) were often deemed unsuitable, with any positive strength of purpose or resolve brushed aside or overlooked. These individuals remained of great importance, however, as Outsiders were necessary to the creation of boundaries and demarcation lines for those ultimately found acceptable. Cooper reflects this process in Mohicans; his portrayal of Native Americans, soldiers from a different country, and those of mixed blood as sources of conflict helps him illustrate and define the mettle he felt could uniquely withstand the transformative journey to American citizenship. The final touch, his use of Shakespeare to background the tale, not only gives a feel of familiarity to both characters and plot but also infuses a sense of authenticity and moral value, important for his statement on citizenship to be taken seriously. Through his appropriation of Shakespeare’s plays, James Fenimore Cooper exposes his complex views on the nature of American citizenship: exclusionary, even as it beckons all into its forest of transformation.


Synopsis of action in Mohicans chapters with Merchant and Dream epigraphs (as printed in the Broadview edition). The James Fenimore Cooper Society website indicates Cooper possessed a set of Shakespeare volumes published in 1811 by J. Nichols and Son et al (, but it is not known which edition he used for his epigraphs. Line references are from the Arden Shakespeare.

1.2: David Gamut (arguably Cooper’s clown figure) gallops up and joins the travelers MV 5.1.39: Sola, sola, wo ha, ho, sola! (Launcelot [clown figure] arrives at Belmont with news for Lorenzo)
1.4: Magua’s treachery suspected/discovered, he flees the traveling group MSND 2.1.146-147: “Well, go thy way; thou shalt not from this grove, / Till I torment thee for this injury.”
(Oberon declares to torment/seek revenge on Titania)
1.5: The group fears ambush by Magua and his warriors MV 5.1.7-9: –In such a night, / Did Thisbe fearfully o’ertrip the dew; / And saw the lion’s shadow ere himself.”

(Jessica muses on Thisbe frightened by the lion’s shadow)

1.10: The travelers are captured; they are wary of their situation and watchful for any chance to escape MSND 5.1.359-60: “I fear we shall outsleep the coming morn, / As much as we this night have overwatched!”
(Thesus observes they have stayed awake all night)
1.11: Magua’s plan for vengeance against Munro by marrying Cora MV 1.3.48-49: —“Cursed be my tribe, / If I forgive him.”
(Shylock reiterates his hate for Antonio)
2.2: During discussion and planning of how to rescue Cora, Alice, & David, Uncas scalps an Oneida spy MV 3.1.47-50: Salar. “Why, I am sure, if he forfeit, thou wilt not take his flesh; what’s that good for?
Shy. “To bait fish withal: if it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge.”(Shylock states a pound of flesh is really of no use to him besides feeding his revenge)
2.5: Hawk-eye et al locate where the captives are held; they begin to devise a rescue that includes disguise and role-playing MSND 3.1.1-3: Bot: “Are we all met?”
Qui: “Pat-pat; and here’s a marvelous
Convenient place for our rehearsal.”(The “rude mechanicals” meet and begin rehearsing their play for the Duke)
2.8: Hawk-eye disguised as bear/Native conjuror MSND 1.2.63-66: Snug. “Have you the lion’s part written? Pray you, if it be, give it me, for I am slow of study.
Quince. You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but roaring.”(“Rude mechanical” Snug asks about his part as the lion)
2.9: Uncas is now disguised as the bear/conjuror in order to escape MSND 1.2.67: Bot. “Let me play the lion too.”

(“Rude mechanical” Bottom asks to play the lion as well)

2.13: Uncas’s trial before Tamenund – Cora is confirmed to be Magua’s prisoner, he will not allow her to be ransomed MV 4.1.101-103: “If you deny me, fie upon your law! / There is no force in the decrees of Venice: / I stand for judgement: answer, shall I have it?”

(Trial scene – Shylock will not bargain or give mercy, demands his judgment/pound of flesh)


[1] Literary critic W. B. Gates acknowledges this and notes that Cooper’s daughter Susan recounted her father’s love of the poet (716-717), but Gates’ paper goes no further than exploring surface parallels.
[2] See the appendix for short summaries of these ten Mohicans chapters and their associated epigraphs.
[3] Throughout, I have employed words such as Other and Otherness to signify individuals or groups whose right to citizenship was questioned, disputed, or denied by government and civilian leaders of the new country. As per OED entry 9b: “A person other than oneself; a person or group that is outside or excluded from one’s own group.” (OED Online. June 2017. Oxford University Press.)
[4] All Mohicans references are from the 2009 Broadview edition, which retains the novel’s original two-volume structure. Shakespeare references are from The Arden Shakespeare Complete Works (2011).
[5] This sort of distinction, important to the creation of a citizenry, was a process seen in the evolution of America following the Revolution (Sturgess 2004, 24).
[6] In another interesting Merchant/Mohicans confluence, during the late sixteenth century there was some belief in a connection between Native Americans and the Lost Tribes of Israel (Hall 2012, 44). It is unknown if Cooper had knowledge of this theory.
[7] In his book Shakespeare and America, published years after Mohicans, Frank Bristol puts forth the argument that this boy is indeed an American Indian, as opposed to one from the east (1898, 38-42). An interesting hypothesis, but one Cooper would not necessarily have known.


Bristol, Frank Milton. 1898. Shakespeare and America. Chicago: Wm. C. Hollister & Bro.
Bristol, Michael D. 1990. Shakespeare’s America, America’s Shakespeare. London and New York: Routledge.
Cananau, Iulian. 2015. Constituting Americanness: A History of the Concept and Its       Representations in Antebellum American Literature.  Frankfurt, GE: Peter Lang GmbH,   Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften.
Cooper, James Fenimore. 2000. The American Democrat and Other Political Writings.         Edited by Bradley J. Birzer and John Willson. Washington D.C.: Regnery Publishing,       Inc.
—. The Last of the Mohicans. 2009. Edited by Paul C. Gutjahr. Peterborough, Ontario, CN: Broadview  Editions.
Gates, W.B. 1952. “Cooper’s Indebtedness to Shakespeare.” PMLA 67.5: 716-731.
Hall, Deirdre Dallas. 2012. “Remarkable Particulars: David Gamut and the Alchemy of Race in The Last of the Mohicans.ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance 58.1: 36-70.
Kettner, James H. 1978. The Development of American Citizenship, 1608-1870. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina UP.
Levine, Lawrence W. 1988. Highbrow / Lowbrow: The Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP.
Proudfoot, Richard, Ann Thomas, and David Scott Kastan, eds. 2011. The Arden Shakespeare Complete Works. London and New York: Bloomsbury.
“Speech of Mr. Sprague of Maine.” 1830. Cherokee Phoenix and Indian’s Advocate 3.11: Page 1 Col 1a-5b, Page 4 Col. 1a-5b. Available online at:  [Accessed 8 Jan. 2017]
Sturgess, Kim C. 2004. Shakespeare and the American Nation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP.