1. Two of the three surviving manuscripts of the comedy Zelotypus (“The Jealous Man”) NOTE 1 (E and T — these mss. will be described and discussed later in this Introduction) contain lists of the actors who performed in the play, and by consulting university records it has been ascertained that this play was produced at St. John’s College, Cambridge, in either 1605 or 1606. The author's name is not preserved by any manuscript, and the play must be regarded as anonymous. To be sure, the suggestion has been made (by G. C. Moore Smith, College Plays Performed in the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, 1923, p. 102) that the author of Zelotypus was Francis Rollinson, who acted the lead role of Cassander (he had previously acted the lead role in the play Silvanus, performed at St John’s College in 1597). But a look at the facts shows how unconvincing this argument is. There are fifteen Cambridge plays by known authors that have preserved cast-lists. NOTE 2 These are Adelphe by Samuel Brook, Fraus Honesta by Edmund Stubbs, Fucus Histriomastix almost certainly by Robert Ward, (see the discussion of Ward's authorship here), Hispanus probably by either Roger Morell or William Pratt, Ignoramus by George Ruggle, Labyrinthus by Walter Hawkesworth, Leander by Hawkesworth, Loiola by John Hackett (with the possible collaboration of Edmund Stubbs), Melanthe by Samuel Brooke, Paria by Thomas Vincent, Ricardus Tertius by Thomas Legge (a set of three plays), Rival Friends by Peter Hausted, Scyros by Samuel Brooke, and Valetudinarium by William Johnson. Then too, it is not unattractive to attribute Hymenaeus to Abraham Fraunce (see the discussion here). Out of these sixteen plays, playwrights appeared as actors in only six: Stubbs played Callidamus in Fraus Honesta, Ward acted the title role in Fucus Histriomastix, Fraunce played Alphonsus in Hymenaeus, Hawkesworth performed the title role in Leander and a secondary role in Labyrinthus and Hausted played Anteros in Rival Friends, and it is noteworthy that not all of these roles were the leading ones. In slightly over two-thirds of these plays, therefore, their authors did not appear as actors, at least sometimes, one imagines, because they lacked the requisite acting ability. One can therefore readily see that it is impossible to make the easy assumption that the lead actor in any given anonymous play was necessarily its author.
3. In some but not all ways Zelotypus is a typical Cambridge comedy. In imitation of Roman comedy, it employs obsolete Latin linguistic forms and even some quotes or near-quotes of Plautus and Terence, it uses racy language, has plenty of physical activity, music and dance, and is copiously populated with some of the standard low-down characters of the Roman comic stage: prostitutes, parasites, panders, bawds, servants, a stern father and a contrasting genial old man (for Adrianus and Ferdinandus are suggested by Micio and Demea in Terence’s Adelphoe). Oxford comedies, on the other hand,, tended to be more restrained and to be written on bucolic themes (Robert Burton’s Philosophaster is a memorable exception to this generalization). On the other hand, unlike many Cambridge comedies, it is not written out in those ersatz poetic lines designed to provide the look of a Roman comedy on paper, even if the meters of Plautus were not understood until the eighteenth century. And, also unlike many Cambridge comedies, it has no academic element: it does not take place in a university setting, it does not contain some such character as a loquacious pedant spouting gems of bogus learning, and it does not make a game of quoting (or comically misquoting) the classics or the kind of didactic texts Renaissance university men were obliged to read. Rather, it handles a purely domestic story, set significantly (as we shall see) at Venice. The plot tells how Cassander, a naturally jealous man to begin with, is egged on to develop a positively insane jealousy for his virtuous wife Lavinia. The egging in question is done by the unprincipled and malevolent parasite Elenchio, who weaves one tissue of lies to convince Cassander of Lavinia's infidelity, going to the extreme of telling him that she has volunteered for work in a local bordello. With a second set of lies he convinces the Venetian authorities that Cassander has suborned a physician to poison the fathers of two young noblemen who have become infatuated with Lavinia, thus procuring Cassander's exile from the city.
4. Zelotypus seems to have been written in conformity with Sir Philip Sidney's famous defense of drama (Apologie for Poetrie III.14f. Fueillerat): NOTE 3
Let us but heare old Anchises, speaking in the middest of Troies flames, or see Ulisses in the fulnesse of all Calipsoes delights, bewaile his absence from barraine and beggerly Ithaca. Anger, the Stoikes said, was a short madnesse: let but Sophocles bring you Ajax on a stage, killing and whipping sheepe and oxen, thinking them the Army of Greekes, with their Cheiftaines Agamemnon and Menelaus: and tell me if you have not a more familiar insight into Anger then finding in the schoolmen his Genus and Difference. See whether wisdom and temperance in Ulisses and Diomedes, valure in Achilles, friendship in Nisus and Eurialas, even to an ignorant man carry not an apparent shining; and contrarily, the remorse of conscience in Oedipus; the soone repenting pride in Agamemnon; the selfe devouring crueltie in his father Atreus; the violence of ambition in the two Theban brothers; the sower sweetnesse of revenge in Medea; and to fall lower, the Terentian Gnatho, and our Chawcers Pander so exprest, that we now use their names to signifie their Trades. And finally, all vertues, vices, and passions, so in their owne naturall states, laide to the view, that we seeme not to heare of them, but clearly to see through them.
Plays, other words, exert an improving effect on the spectator insofar as they provide positive exempla for his imitation and negative ones for his avoidance, so that plays, if you will, can be regarded as a subordinate department of moral philosophy. Certainly Zelotypus abounds with exempla of both kinds, virtuous people and people who learn virtue in the course of the play, and also villains and rascals, but none makes a stronger impression than its protagonist, who exemplifies the dangers of excessive jealousy, a jealously which, all too easily fed by Elenchio's accusations against Lavinia, carries him to the point of madness .
5. The most memorable contemporary play which illustrates the dangers of this particular moral deficiency is of course Shakespeare’s Othello, and surely it is no accident that Zelotypus was written not long after the first performance of that play. An entry in a 1604 Revels Office account notes that on November 1 of that year a play entitled The Moor of Venis by “Shaxberd” was performed at the Banqueting House at Whitehall. In comparing Zelotypus with Othello one can readily appreciate that the fundamental dramatic situation in the Cambridge comedy replicates that of Shakespeare’s play: Cassander is a comic equivalent of Othello, Lavinia of Desdemona, and Elenchio of Iago. Other similarities easily come to mind. Lavinia's handmaid Smeralda provides a kind of counterpart to Othello’s Emilia (albeit Smeralda’s moral compass is much steadier than Emilia’s), Zelotypus feature minor characters named Ludovicus and Glorianus, whereas Othello has a Lodovico and a Gratiano, and, of course, both plays have a Venetian setting.
6. Although he is in no sense a victim of excessive prosperity, Cassander probably comes as close to being a tragic character as comedy admits. His irrational propensity to jealousy resembles a genuine tragic flaw and, precisely like Othello, this defect serves as a convenient handle for an enemy bent on his destruction who manages to convince him that his wife is a faithless whore. He indulges in ranting not entirely unlike that of a tragic character. This is true, for example in his protracted outburst at 1009ff., in the course of which (and also in his speech at 1053ff.) he oscillates back and forth between two competing attitudes towards Lavinia, a time-honored device in tragic soliloquies that can ultimately be traced back as far as Euripides’ Medea. He is ultimately reduced to becoming a typically stage madman in IV.iv, when he imagines himself to be commander of an army and in his deluded condition equates a raid on Cerberinus’ brothel with a new attack on Troy.
7. Elenchio is obviously a descendant of the kind of rascally slave in Roman comedy (the title character in Plautus’ Pseudolus, Tranio in Mostellaria and so forth). He shares quite a few characteristics with them: he is the most intelligent, articulate and dynamic character in the play, highly inventive in the manufacturing of schemes, and is able to manipulate everybody around him by spinning his falsehoods and because he is good with the use of words, and, like Elenchio, he takes great delight in doing so. But the differences between Elenchio and his Roman forebears are as striking as the similarities. Pseudolus, Tranio, and their ilk do no real harm to anybody, nor do they intend to. Indeed, the intentions of such characters are often benevolent, as they strive to do such things as outwit a stodgy father so that his son can enjoy his lady love. But Elenchio’s schemes and misrepresentations create genuine human suffering, and this is what he intends, with undisguised relish. He object is nothing less than the total destruction of Cassander. To be sure, in what they imagine to be their dying confessions in IV.x Ascanius and Valerius tell Rupertus that the schemes he puts in motion were their idea in the first place, and seek to minimize Elenchio’s responsibility by saying that he was only their chosen instrument for accomplishing it. But this does not suffice to explain or excuse the gleeful malice with which he goes about his job.
8. At first sight, it would appear that the text supplies a reason for his extreme animus against Cassander. In II.v, the mss. text have the following statement by Elenchio (521f.):
Bene actum esset pro nequam, si eum intestatum dimississet Cassander. Is
me flocci fecit, solumque in summo pretio Curionem habuit.
[“ It would serve that good-for-nothing well if Cassander were to send him packing, unpaid. He hasn’t cared a groat for me, and has held Curio alone in high esteem.”]
It looks as if he bears a grudge against Cassander because he had previously been employed by him as a musician, but had been displaced in favor of Curio. But this interpretation is insupportable. In the first place, we have been told nothing about Cassander having used Elenchio for that purpose, or indeed about him hiring any musicians at all. The idea of Cassander employing Curio — i. e. himself in disguise — is absurd, and anyway Elenchio is well aware that Curio is actually the disguised Cassander (575f.) Far more likely, in the mss. the name of Cassander is wrongly substituted for that of Valerius, who indeed had replaced Elenchio with Curio as his musician, and the tenor of the scene is that Valerius’ representative Pantaleo is trying to mollify Elenchio's indignation for this dismissal and recruit him to aid Valerius by removing Cassander as an obstacle to his attempted seduction of Lavinia. In editing the play, therefore, I have not hesitated to replace the name of Cassander with that of Valerius in line 521. The only thing that is unclear is whether the insertion of his name was a straightforward copying mistake or somebody’s clumsy attempt to supply rational grounds for Elenchio’s hostility towards Cassander where none actually exists. In sum, if Cassander is as close to a tragic hero as comedy can contain, Elenchio is as close to a genuinely evil man as it can tolerate.
9. In no sense does Zelotypus invite reading as some kind of burlesque or parody of Othello, and we are never invited to have a laugh at Shakespeare’s expense. Rather, the anonymous author of our play seems to have had a more interesting and original purpose in mind: to demonstrate how it is possible to tell essentially the same story as either a tragedy or a comedy. Comedy, of course, has it is own rules, and due respect had to be observed for the invariable law that they must have happy endings, and that whatever suffering they depict can only be temporary. Therefore Cassander does no lasting harm to Lavinia, and does not actually go off into exile, and, whereas at the end of Othello Iago is about to be led off to a torture-chamber, Elenchio gets off with a light slap on the wrist in exchange for a promise that he will sin no more that is, perhaps, less than entirely convincing. An almost invariable rule of Renaissance comedy is that it must conclude, not just with a happy ending, but also with a marriage. In this case, the main plot concludes with a reconciliation and a marriage renewed, and a subplot ends with Aurelia and Talanta (who have been kidnapped from Ferrara and pressed into service in the bordello, virtually as slaves) being restored to their freedom and married to the two young Venetian knights Ascanius and Valerius. All these alterations are required in order to create a satisfactory play. Nevertheless, the nuclear dramatic situation is the same as in Othello, and the moral lesson about jealousy Zelotypus has to teach is essentially the same.
10. Shakespeare appears to have been familiar to at least some academic playwrights, and such playwrights obviously expected him to be familiar to at least some theatergoers. This is why we find echoes and imitations of specific Shakespearian bits and pieces in some academic plays.But, other than Zelotypus, these Shakespearian imitations appear to be limited to individual scenes. Some examples are the off-color language lesson at George Ruggle's 1615 Cambridge comedy Ignoramus (V.i), which copies the similar one in Henry V III.iv; the scenes between the forlorn and abandoned Prince and the Fool in the anonymous 1608 Oxford comedy Ira Fortunae (one of the plays of the St. John’s College Christmas Prince cycle) parody King Lear, which is also parodied in another play of the cycle, the vernacular Periander (III.xi - xii); and in the Introduction to her John Rickets, Byrsa Basilica sive Regale Excambium, Thomas Sparrowe, Confessor, Prepared with an Introduction by Sabine U. Bückmann-de Villegas (Renaissance Latin Drama in England series II.12, Hildesheim, 1991), the editor observed that in Sparrowe’s undated Cambridge comedy Confessor IV.i, “Under the pretense of teaching Homer’s Iliad, Fidelio reveals, through a finely adjusted translation of some verses, his knowledge of the relationship between Clarinda and Antonio. The mock lesson represents a close parallel to Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew III.1, a scene in which Lucent, one of Bank’s disguised lovers, makes use of a Latin lesson to tell her of his love. Sparrow could not have got this idea from Shakespeare’s source, George Gascoigne's Supposes, since this play does not contain any comparable episode.” Further examples could be given, but of all the plays in the English academic repertoire that have thus far been edited and published, Zelotypus is the one that engages with Shakespeare in the most sustained and thoughtful way.he play would of course have remained an amusing and interesting one for spectators unfamiliar with Othello. Nevertheless, the play would only fulfill its author’s intentions if a reasonable percentage of the audience possessed such familiarity. I leave it to theater historians to decide whether Zelotypus should provoke a significant recalibration of the way we understand the relationship of academic drama to the London popular theater. It is striking, for example, that Zelotypus was produced at just about the same time that the university authorities issued the latest in a series of edicts intended to forbid performances by professional troupes withn a five-mile radius of Great St. Mary’s Church, in 1605/6. NOTE 5 It might seem that the issue was that such troupes were professional, and therefore in the minds of the authorities somehow objectionable, while at the same time university men were interested in, and receptive to, the plays these troupes performed. All in all, Zelotypus seems a play of uncommon historical importance.
11. We must now consider some problems concerning specific characters in the play. The first is the identity of the character called by the mss. marescallus. In the dramatis personae list of ms. T he is designated as iudex (“judge”), but this is clearly wrong since he repeatedly speaks of a iudex in the third person. Rather, he appears to perform the functions of someone like a police prefect. But why call him a Marshal? It is true that Renaissance Venice had an official called the Marescalo, but this was the Master of the Horse, presumably a military position with no police responsibilities. At a few points mss. E and T substitute the word praetor for marescellus, which may reflect the puzzlement of some early readers who appreciated this difficulty. But a superior solution is to identify the title marescallus with another civic office that originally had to do with horses, and to call this character the Constable.
12. The second problem concerns the name of Ascanius’ manservant. The facts are as follows (since these are given here, they are not repeated in the Textual Notes page accompanying this edition). In the initial list of dramatis personae in D he is called Florio, but the copyists of E and T acknowledge their confusion by identifying him as PHANIO ALIAS FLORIO. He appears in four scenes of the play. In I.ii he is included in the initial list of participants in the scene, although he speaks no lines. There D and E call him FLORIO, but T calls him PHANIO. In II.vi he is uniformly identified as FLORIO in all three mss. In the initial lists of participants in IV.viii he is identified as FLORIO in E and T (D only has RUPERTUS ET RELIQUI), but as PH<ANIO> in the marginal indications of speakers of individual lines. The situation is the exact reverse in IV.ix, where E and T have him as PHANIO in their initial lists (again, D does not spell out all the participants in this scene), but as FL<ORIO> in their marginal notations. Additionally, in T’s initial character-list for I.i FLORIO is written but then deleted, and he appears in the problematic list of participants in IV.vii (discussed here) in D and E as FLORIO but as PHANIO SEU FLORIO in T. Then too, he is twice named in the text: at 1227 he is addressed as Phanio in E and T but as Florio in D, and at 1248 as Florio in D and as Phanio in T (E omits his name altogether). It is difficult to understand the source of this remarkable confusion. Perhaps the play originally contained a scene, subsequently omitted for brevity’s sake, in which Phanio appeared disguised as Florio (or vice versa). Or at some point the author may have changed his mind about this character’s name. In any event, the essential point is to avoid confusing the modern reader. Therefore, quite arbitrarily, for the purposes of the present edition this character is called Phanio.
13. Finally, we have the issue of Congrio, Palinurus, and the lorarii. NOTE 7 Again, the difficulties are created by manuscript confusion. Now, the word lorarius had two meanings, being used to designate a harness-maker or leather-worker and a torturer, or more specifically a whipper. The connection between the two definitions is presumably that whips were made out of strips of leather. Nothing could be clearer than the fact that the lorarii who go around with Gripus fit neither of these descriptions: Gripus is a fisherman (he gets his name from the similar character in Plautus’ Rudens), and surely these individuals are his crewmen. I cannot imagine any explanation how they came to receive this designation. Possibly over the time the word had acquired new meanings (this one of those occasions when one is stymied by the lack of a Neo-Latin lexicon), although the possibility that fishing nets were ever made out of leather, so that the word came to mean “net-men,” can surely be excluded, since it is very difficult to imagine any such thing as a leather net. Maybe our playwright was simply mistaken about the word’s meaning, albeit this is a little difficult to imagine since the most conspicuous feature of his Latin style is that he had such a large and wide-ranging vocabulary which is otherwise used correctly. At any rate, it is tolerably clear that Congrio and Palinurus are two of these individuals (I phrase it this way because nothing excludes the possibility that the onstage number of Gripus’ crew was increased by the presence of a couple of non-speaking extras).
14. The issue is that in the initial dramatis personae list D includes Congrio and Palinuro [sic], categorizing both as lorarii, E has Congrio and a single lorarius as characters, and T lists Congrio, Lorarius, and Palinourus [sic] as servants of Gripus, as if lorarius is a proper noun. Turning to the scenes in which these characters appear as speaking parts — they may also accompany Gripus as silent companions in other scenes, as is implied by the initial mss. character-list of V.ii, which in the mss. has LORARII — IV.xi, V.iii, and V.vii, neither Congrio nor Palinurus is ever mentioned by name in a character-list. Often in marginal speaker indications, a speaker will be identified as a lorarius or, once, as a lorarius alter, but in V.iii and V.vii such marginal notes in T specify Congrio. Furthermore, in V.vii, at line 1517, whether he is marginally identified as Congrio or as a lorarius, this individual is addressed by name as Congrio. (Again, since this evidence is reported here, it is not repeated in the Textual Notes page.) My interpretation of this contradictory evidence is that Congrio is the lorarius and Palinurus the lorarius alter, or, perhaps more accurately, that these are the only members of Gripus’ crew who speak lines. Presumably the problem originated with a misunderstanding of the dramatis personae list of some early ms., which, like that of E, had CONGRIO, PALINURUS LORARII, where somebody misunderstood LORARII, or that of T, which treats LORARIUS as a proper noun. Therefore, even at the expense of misrepresenting the mss. evidence a trifle in the present text, in order to avoid reader confusion these two speaking lorarii are identified by their proper names and the generic word lorarius / -ii is suppressed.
D Durham Cathedral, Dean and Chapter Library, ms. Hunter 76, item 6. Written in a “secretary” hand.
E Emmanuel College, Cambridge, ms. 185 (3.1.17), Art. 2; contains a cast list.
T Trinity College, Cambridge, ms. R.3.9, fols 55 - 78v; contains a cast list. Act V is written in a different hand.
All three of these mss. are descended from a single source, which was a defective copy ms. itself. This is shown by the fact that some of the textual problems discussed in this Introduction are common to all three: the substitution of Cassander for Valerius at 521f., the Phanio/Florio confusion, and the lorarius difficulties. Furthermore, in all three a speech by Talanta has dropped out of the text after 1765, and the way their speaker-lists are drafted shows that an original single scene has been rather clumsily divided into our IV.vii and IV.viii (as explained here). Moreover, a couple of wrong text readings are found in all three manuscripts: 140 cancros for canceres, 440 quaestibus for questibus, and the seemingly meaningless Alcimanicam / Alcimonicam at 1474. All mss. regularly have tuor and compound forms of that verb for tueor and its compounds, but it cannot be determined whether this is an orthographic idiosyncracy of the playwright or a feature of this common ancestor ms.
16. E is appreciably inferior to the other two mss., since it contains a large number of foolish mistakes. This, however, does not mean that it does not occasionally offer valuable textual evidence. A glance at the Textual Notes page will suffice to show the reader how frequently D and T share textual features not found in E. This provokes the strong suspicion that these two manuscripts share a common ancestor that does not stand behind E. One would therefore naturally expect that when either D or T is in agreement with E and the other member of the DT pair has something else, the reading shared with E ought to be regarded as superior. Very often this indeed is the case, but there are times when it is not. Consider, for example, 1612, where ET present a meaningless En amplexum venio, whereas D has the correct In amplexum veni (there are plenty of other examples, such as 5 siet vs. ET sit, 9 emollivit vs. ET emolluit, 28 vomitorum vs. ET vomiterium, 63 prout vs. ET praeut, 83 ceu vs. ET seu, 150 agerent vs. ET agent, and so on throughout the play). The most spectacular example of this phenomenon is in III.iii, where D preserves Cassander's French lines, whereas ET can only manage to insert the phrase Gallice loquitur. On the other hand, only T is able to identify the play’s final speech as its Epilogue, and there are times when a T reading is superior to a DE one: 116 abire omitted DE, 149 quocum omitted DE, 185 complexu vs. DE complexum, 238 dedit vs. DE dat, and so forth passim. For a prospective editor, the lesson is clear: one cannot mechanically adopt the practice of preferring a shared DE or ET reading to an isolated T or D alternative. Rather, iudicium needs to be exercised in evaluating choices in individual cases.
17. I owe much thanks to Dr. Martin Wiggins of The Shakespeare for drawing Zelotypus to my attention, providing me with photographs of the two Cambridge manuscripts, and offering suggestions for improvement once this edition had been completed; and also to Catherine Turner, Library Assistant of Durham Cathedral Library, for her friendly help in expediting the photocopying of the one in her library with unusual speed and facility. and to Prof. Mark Riley for pointing out some ways in which this edition could be improved.
NOTE 1 Besides C. G. Moore Smith’s authorship suggestion mentioned below, the only discussion of Zelotypus appears to be the introductory remarks in John C. Coldewey and Brian F. Copenhaver, William Mewe, Pseudomagia, Aquila Cruso, Euribates Pseudomagus, John Chappell (?), Susenbrotus, or Fortuna, Zelotypus, Prepared with an Introduction (Renaissance Latin Drama in England series II.14, Hildesheim, 1991).
NOTE 2 The extant cast lists of Cambridge plays are collected by Alan H. Nelson, Cambridge (Records of Early English Drama Series, Toronto, 1989) II.942 - 962. The list for Zelotypus is given on II.950f.
NOTE 3 A similar point was made by the Oxford poet-playwright William Gager in his well-known 1592 open letter, in which he defended the academic drama against the attack of the puritanical Dr. John Rainolds, for example when he discusses his play Ulysses Redux:
Neyther doe I see what evill affections could be stirred up by owre playes, but rather good, for in Vlysse Reduce, whoe did not love the fidelyte of Eumaeus and Philoetius towardes their Master; and hate the contrary in Melanthius? Whoe was not moved to compassion to see Vlysses a great Lorde dryvne so hardly as that he was fayne too be a begger in his owne house? Whoe did not wisshe hym well, and all ill to the wooers, and thinke them wortheley slayne, for their bluddye purpose agaynst Telemachus and other dissolute behaviour, not so muche expressed on the Stage as imagined to be done within? Whoe did not admyre the constancye of Penelope, and disprayse the lytenes, and bad nature in Melantho, and thinke her justly hanged for it? Whoe did not prayse the patience, wisdome, and secrecye of Vlysses and Telemachus his sonne? Lastly whoe was not glad to see Vlysses restored to his wife and his goods, and his mortall enemyes overthrowne and punished? …as in other Tragedyes, whoe dothe not hate the furye of Medea, the revenge of Atreus, the treason of Clytemnestra and Aegisthus, and the cruelty of Nero? Contraryewise, whoe doth not pittye the rage and the death of Hercules, the calamytie of Hecuba and her children, the infortunate valure of Oedipus, the murder of Agamemnon, the bannishment of Octavia, and such like? And yet no man is to be reproched for eyther affection.
NOTE 4 See further D. F. Sutton, "Shakespeare and the Academics," Neulateinisches Jahrbuch, Journal of Neo-Latin Language and Literature 3 (2001), 177 - 186. What I wrote there about the resemblance of Matthew Gwinne's 1603 Nero to the beginning of Lear, however, requires correction: see here.
NOTE 5 For such edicts cf. Nelson II.984ff. I have never seen any attempt to address the question of why the universities’ either banning professional troupes or at least compelling them to perform in such demeaning venues as the courtyards of inns was not considered intolerably insulting to the grandees who served as the patrons of these troupes, particularly in Shakespeare’s case, where the patron in question was the sovereign himself.