1. The idea of writing additional scenes for a classical play is scarcely unique. NOTE 1 As noted by Binns and Wills, NOTE 2 some of the English renditions of Seneca published in Seneca, His Tenne Tragedies, Translated in Englysh (London, 1581) variously contain altered choruses, expanded speeches, and extra scenes supplied by the individual translators. NOTE 3 Another conspicuous example of this practice is the Latin translation of Sophocles’ Antigone by Marlowe’s friend Thomas Watson, which contains a number of supplementary passages. Besides a Prologue and Epilogue, the alterations added by Gager consist of a dialogue between Megaera and Cupid identified as Act I, scene i, which must have been the first scene of the expanded play. The other elements consist of a monologue by Hippolytus, an interview between Hippolytus and Pandarus, a second monologue by Hippolytus, a dialogue between Hippolytus and a Naiad, and a monologue by the Naiad. These elements are collectively identified in the printed text as Act II, scene i. They stood at the beginning of Act II, NOTE 5 and flowed into each other without any break in the action. The setting of this sequence of scenes at the beginning of Act II is the forest in which Hippolytus hunts (cf. 98), while Seneca’s Act II is set before Theseus’ royal palace. So Gager’s additional scenes entail a shift of scene in the middle of this expanded Act, and were introduced in disregard of the conventional Unities.
2. If we ask why he elected to add extra scenes to Seneca’s play, a partial answer is supplied by Binns and Wills (p. 163): in comparison with all of Gager’s own plays save the hastily-written Dido, the Hippolytus is quite short, less than 1300 lines. He probably thought that this was insufficient for an evening’s entertainment (Dido’s performance length, it should be borne in mind, would have been extended by its heavy reliance on dumb-show, masquing, and similar elements). But what do these new scenes contribute? It has been written about the initial scene between Megaera and Cupid, that “the great University dramatist of the period, Gager, preparing a performance of Seneca’s Hippolytus, felt the original needed more distinctly theatrical attractions, and characteristically added to it an element already chosen by the people as their favourite Senecan stuff, a ghost scene.” NOTE 6 This short scene “serves to provide a clear motive for the disaster which overtook the house of Theseus, revenge for his attempt to aid Perithous when the latter tried to carry of Proserpine from the Lower World (Binns and Wills, p. 159).” NOTE 7 Never mind that Gager provides a far less cogent or convincing element of sinister divine intervention than does Aphrodite’s prologue to Euripides’ Hippolytus. This addition restores some element of divine machinery, all but eliminated by Seneca, and does so in a way that a contemporary theatergoer would find interesting and exciting. This is especially so because “This ‘induction’ probably gave an opportunity for impressive stage effects, as in the scenes introducing deities in Dido.” NOTE 8 But then, one is obliged to add, the Naiad’s curse also supplies supernatural motivation for the ensuing action, so that in this department Gager indulges in the same kind of overkill that he did in Meleager.
3. As Binns and Wills (p. 160) observed, the sequence of new scenes at the beginning of Act II has the collective effect of increasing the importance of Hippolytus’ role. But they went on to write that:
[Hippolytus] becomes a more spirited and admirable character. His soliloquy …helps establish him as a martial and valiant youth. His refutation of Pandarus’ slurs on Theseus show him to be noble minded and upright. His rejection, not only of Pandarus’ blandishments, but also of the proffered love in the anonymous love letter and of Naias’ advances, make it clear that he is really devoted to the ideal of chastity, since we see him rejecting not merely an incestuous but a legitimate love. …The main effect of these additional scenes is to increase the stature of Hippolytus within the play, especially in that he is shown to be resisting a mounting crescendo of temptation…
Many readers might choose to disagree with this appraisal. It could go unchallenged if Gager had only written the interview with Pandarus, who is a depraved sophist arguing a thoroughly wicked case. But it is palpably wrong when applied to the subsequent interview with the Naiad. She is winsome, wholesome, and thoroughly attractive, and Hippolytus’ abrupt and somewhat hysterical rejection of her suit shows him in a very unpleasant light. Gager, to be sure, was not a citizen of the twentieth century and did not necessarily subscribe to the belief that chastity is psychologically unhygenic. But, above and beyond Hippolytus’ general churlishness in this scene, he gives plenty of evidence that his rejection of the Naiad’s advances and his broad-bore misogyny are pathological. The way he manages to turn the Naiad’s love for him into hatred shows him as almost a monster. Even his rejection of Pandarus’ blandishments goes far beyond what the situation requires, and he lapses into rant in his blanket denunciation of womankind. In both the Prologue and Epilogue Gager encourages an attitude towards Hippolytus that is far from complimentary. In the former (23 - 7) his action is described as a culpa, he is called by the unadmiring adjectives protervus, durus, and trux; he is represented as a misogynist qui refugit odio faeminas omnes pari, and his end is termed a merita paena. In the latter (388) he is adjudged a horrible documentum to warn others away from similar misogyny. Since the scene with the Naiad bears out this diagnosis, it is hard to think that what is said about him in the Prologue and Epilogue was written with tongue in cheek.
4. A somewhat different attitude towards the Naiad scene (and towards the play is a whole) is ostensibly encouraged by Gager when he mentions it in his letter to John Rainolds:
No not the nwe Nymphe in Hippolytus whom you so muche note, was any wittye wanton, or any so dangerous a woman, as that she brought fewell inoughe to heate a harte or yse or snowe. The poore wenche I perceyve hathe byn hardely reported of to you, and worse a great deale then she deserved, as you and the worlde shall one day see. in whose person the devyse was, partly to sett oute the constant chastetye or rather virginytye of Hippolytus, whoe neyther with honest love made to hym in the woods, nor with vnhonest attempts in the cittye could be overcumme; partly to expresse the affection of honest, lawfyll, vertuous marriagemeaninge love; for no other did she profer, and therfore me thinkes she is not, vnharde, to be reproched withe the brode name of bawderye, whereof there is no one syllable in worde or sense to be founde in all ther speches…neyther doe I see what evill affections could be stirred vp by owre playes, but rather good…in Hippolytus what younge man did not wisshe hym selfe to be as chast as Hippolytus, if he weare not so allreadye? whoe did not detest the love of Phaedra? who dide not approve the grave counsayle of the Nurse to her in secrett? or whoe coulde be the worse for her wooinge Hippolytus, in so generall termes? the drifte whereof, it had byn to procure an honest honorable marriage, as it was covertly to allyre hym to inceste, he might very well have listned to it. Whoe wisshethe not that Theseus had not byn so credulus? qhoe was not sorrye for the crwell deathe of Hippolytus? thes and suche like, weare the passions that weare, or might be moved, in our Playes, withowte hurte, at the leste, to any man.
Here Gager downplays the extent to which this scene, as well as his judgmental remarks in the Prologue and Epilogue, make Hippolytus look bad. In fact, this disingenuously simplistic account of the play’s viewpoint was only possible because Rainolds had not seen or read the play, and based his attacks on hearsay accounts of its performance. At the moment Gager was interested in defending himself against a very particular form of criticism, not in providing a complete, or completely honest, explanation of his artistic intentions. It would be very dangerous to reject any reading of his additions on the grounds that it does not harmonize with this tendentious apologia. But even in this context of special pleading, Gager qualifies his appraisal with the words “…the drifte wherof, if it had byn to procure an honest honorable marriage, as it was covertly to allure hym to inceste, he might very well have listned to it.” Indeed, Gager had maneuvered himself into a position where he could not represent Hippolytus as a paragon even if he had wished to. When you add scenes to someone else’s play, you are obliged to work within the framework of the characterization laid down by the original playwright. Possibly you can modify it by writing scenes that invite the spectator to view the character in a somewhat different light, but you cannot ignore the original characterization, nor can you contradict it. Seneca had already portrayed Hippolytus as a rabid misogynist, even in speeches delivered before he learns of Phaedra’s criminal love for him (most notably in the long monologue at 482 - 564). So this returns us to a point already made in the General Introduction to Gager’s plays. Although Gager displays something approaching an obsessive interest in the theme of chastity, this does not entitle us to put him down as a straightforward misogynist, or as someone with a pathological fear of sex. If he were, he could scarcely create such an unflattering portrait of the type.
5. A further effect of Gager’s additions is to bring the play more firmly into the orbit of the Shrovetide trilogy by emphasizing the theme of wooing. The Naiad is a country girl, of the sort who we may imagine to have appeared in Rivales. In the absence of that comedy, we cannot be sure of the exact nature of the resonance between these plays, but it is reasonable to suspect that something of the sort was intended.
6. A word must be said about Hippolytus’ dialogue with Pandarus. Boas (p. 200) was undeniably correct to write “Dramatically, this episode is far from being an improvement to the Senecan play. It anticipates in cruder form the dialogue between Hippolytus and the Nutrix in Act II of the tragedy.” He adds that one function of this scene was to allow Gager a chance to vent his feelings about a private family matter (see the note on 245ff.), but surely our poet had a more cogent reason than that. The real motive for this scene’s inclusion has to do with Gager’s general program of adding elements to his plays calculated to appeal to popular taste. Astonishingly, neither Boas nor Binns responded to the obvious hint of Pandarus’ name. In one sense, of course, this invented character’s name is punningly derived from the word “pander,” as is driven home by 216 turpisque lenonum fides. But something else is of course at stake: Gager must have been familiar with the story of Troilus and Cressida in one of those Elizabethan versions that represent Pandarus as a pander or pimp, NOTE 9 for Pandarus’ characterization and function are obviously patterned on that figure, and so are meant to remind the spectator (or at least the reader) of that enormously popular tale. NOTE 10 Especially because Pandarus and the Naiad are characters of Gager’s own invention, one might not think that these added scenes are based on a literary model. But, while Binns noted in passing verbal echoes of the letter Phaedra writes to Hippolytus in Ovid’s Heroides i, he failed to appreciate how systematically Gager has ransacked this poem for ideas. The basic idea of Phaedra’s letter, if not its contents, is taken from Ovid (see the note on lines 197ff.), and many of its sentiments, often very similarly phrased, are expressed by the speakers in these new scenes. Thus, most importantly, Pandarus becomes a mouthpiece for the expression of the Ovidian Phaedra’s depraved sophistries and innuendoes.
7. The expanded Hippolytus concludes with a usual Epilogue. When this has been delivered, and the desired applause has been given by the audience, it seems as if the three nights’ entertainment is concluded. But the applause is interrupted by the arrival of a strange apparition, Momus, who proceeds to berate Gager and supply a caustic critique of all three plays in the Shrovetide trilogy. This leads to yet a third epilogue, in which the speaker rebuts Momus on each point, while at the same time heaping abuse on him and, at the end, appealing to the audience for aid, which is to say, to the general opinion of the University. Momus suffers complete discomfiture. Momus was the ancient god of captiousness, NOTE 11 about whom Gager wrote in his letter to Dr. John Rainolds “…what is the disciplyne of Momus, but the schoole of carpinge, nippinge, depravinge, and reprehendinge, of every good thinge?” At least in the main, although not in every point this Momus is contrived as a parody, either of Rainolds, or at least of a theater-hater of the Rainolds type. His indignation at having young men dressed up as girls, and his pious claim that the money expended on the productions could have better been given to the poor, repeat points made by Rainolds. I shall return to this pair of Epilogues and the controvery they engendered in the Introduction to Gager’s letter to Rainolds.
8. If the premise is correct that Gager contrived his Shrovetide plays so as to comprise something the spectator would experience as an interrelated trilogy, then it might not be entirely fanciful to advance the argument a step further. Classical Greek trilogies were presented in the context of an even larger overall dramatic unit, the tetralogy, consisting of three tragedies followed by a satyr play. The satyr play was a farcical afterpiece (in this sense, not entirely unlike the Tudor jig) added to provide a note of comic relief after the serious business of the preceding tragedies. The exchange between Momus and the speaker of the Responsive Epilogue, obviously a spokesman for the author himself, cannot be compared to a satyr play since it is non-dramatic, and it certainly contains no satyrs. But the in his letter to Rainolds, Gager claimed he added this passage for a very satyr play-like purpose:
And to speake Coram Deo, my meaninge only was, if I had any meaninge or pur-pose at all, partely to move delight in the audytorye, with the noveltye of the invention and the person, being now foreweryed and tyred with the tediusnes of the Tragedye…
The commonest type of satyric plot is found in Euripides’ Cyclops, to which he alludes in his prose preface to Ulysses Redux: the defeat of monsters and ogres, and the business that gets transacted in the paired epilogues in question is the discomfiture of the distinctly ogreish Momus. And so the way in which Momus’ monstrous physical appearance is described may have a more serious literary purpose.
9. The extra scenes written by Gager for Seneca’s Hippolytus were included as a sort of appendix in the printed Meleager (sigs. E 8r - F 5v). A prologue and epilogue that pertain to this same performance were likewise added to the folio printing of the Ulysses Redux (sigs. F 2v - F 3r). NOTE 13 This material has been edited and translated by J. W. Binns and J. Wills. NOTE 14 Also printed with Ulysses Redux is Momus’ epilogue and the Epilogus Responsivus (sigs. F 3v - F 6v). A transcript of these passages was printed by Karl Young in 1916. NOTE 15 Since they refer to all three plays, Boas (p. 197 n. 1) correctly appreciated that these passages must have been written to be spoken to the audience on the third night, immediately after the performance of the augmented Hippolytus. They were not included in the edition of Binns and Wills, presumably on the grounds that they do not organically belong to that work. But they did form a part of the third evening’s entertainment, and so are returned to their rightful place here with a continuous lineation that begins with Panniculus and carries through Momus and the Epilogus.