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1966 Shakespeare's Use of . Tony Jason Stafford Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College

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Recommended Citation Stafford, Tony Jason, "Shakespeare's Use of the Sea." (1966). LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. 1138. https://digitalcommons.lsu.edu/gradschool_disstheses/1138

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Louisiana State University, Ph.D., 1966 Language and Literature, general

University Microfilms, Inc., Ann Arbor, Michigan Cop'/right by

Tony Jason Stafford


A Dissertation

Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in The Department of English

by Tony Jason Stafford B.A., Wake Forest College, 1957 January, 1966 TABLE OF CONTENTS


I. INTRODUCTION...... 5 I I. OCEANIC CONCEPTS ...... 26 I I I . THE SEA AS DRAMATIC DEVICE...... 48 Structuring P lo t ...... 48 ...... 6l S e t t i n g ...... 64 B ackground ...... 71 A tm osphere...... 79 E m o t i o n ...... 91 ...... 95 IV. IMAGISTIC PATTERNS OF THE S E A ...... 114 V. THEMATIC REINFORCEMENTS FROM THE SEA ...... 160 Groping fo r U n i t y ...... 162 A Progression in Development ...... 174 Unifying the ...... 197 VI. SEA AND THE LAST ROMANCES...... 228 BIBLIOGRAPHY...... 264


The sea constitutes one of the largest sources for the raw material of Shakespeare’s art. By isolating this one element of nature, one can gain an insight into his method of refining the raw materials of nature into rich artistic devices, learn something of his imagistic habits, discover some of his dramatic techniques, understand his means of ac-hieving unity of theme and image, observe his tendency toward symbolism in his last years, and trace his development as a craftsman, dramatist, and artist. Shakespeare drew upon various properties of the sea as a source for his many uses of it, some of which are in art, such as its enormous size, its rhythmical ebb and flow, and its sounds and colors. Other qualities, its potential for cleansing, its’ reflection of the order of the universe, and its possibilities of great wealth and treasure, seem to arise from a less universal view of it. An examination of the ideas suggested by the sea which are the most metaphorically productive leads to an understanding of certain imagistic patterns which evolve in his work as a whole. Sea images appear as a means of conveying ideas about human activities, dilemmas, relations,

1 2 and emotions. Sea images also occasionally express con­ ceptions of battles, fame, fate, or time.

The sea is vital to Shakespeare as a dramatic device.

In structuring plots, he uses it to separate persons, to remove a from the scene for a while until ensuing events have occurred and the is ready for the character to reappear, and to provide a means for the working of for­ tune and fate. As an instrument of suspense, the sea brings danger to English shores as in the history plays, or it threatens to take someone away by a sea departure. The sea provides settings, either for on-stage occurrences or for off-stage , or it furnishes a background to present action. In exploiting the sea for the atmosphere of a , Shakespeare sometimes used it merely to give a play a genuine atmosphere of the sea, while at other times he elicited from it an atmosphere of horror, at other times mystery, and at others yet tragedy and pathos. In using the sea for characterization, he depicted characters through a central sea image, through sea appropriate to the character using it, or through a person's attitude toward the sea.

As Shakespeare's art matured, he developed the tech­ nique of using a comprehensive, dominant, or recurrent central image as a means of elucidating themes, clarifying the major 3 forces and problems involved in a theme, enriching the con­ tent and implications within a play, and strengthening through visual and auditory suggestions the poetic effects of a play. The sea becomes one of the most sig n ific a n t of these central images. In the history plays, it is used to reinforce patriotic themes. In other plays, the sea and attendant associations with sailing, merchandizing, and riches becomes an effectiv e means of depicting love stories. His use of this image as he moves from one play to another through these years reveals his restless search for perfecting his craft, the type of experimentation he conducted, and the development he experienced as an artist.

In the final years, Shakespeare's use of the sea reveals his continuous search for the perfection of his art. From one play to another in the last years, he grad­ ually develops the sea as a symbol of the regeneration, restoration, and reconciliation available to man. The cli­ max of this development appears in , in which the poet concerns himself exclusively with regeneration and reconciliation and in which he places the action in the midst of the sea, begins the action with a storm and ends it with the promise of calm seas, permeates the essence of the play with the sound and atmosphere of the sea, and leaves the characters and convinced that "though the seas threaten, they are merciful." CHAPTER I


England Is a country whose every side is washed by the pounding seas and whose national consciousness has been per­ meated by the rhythms of the restless.sea, the beauty of boundless stretches of water, and the lure of navigable ship roads. Since pre-historlc Celtic days, the national psyche of England has been molded and Influenced by the varied moods of this overwhelming facet of nature. Moreover, the people of England have turned to the sea for many benefits: mili­ tarily, the encircling seas have provided an aquatic barrier for aggressive peoples who would vent their wills on the islanders; commercially, the oceans have provided food and avenues of trade with distant countries, as well as paths to undeveloped lands which were open for ex p lo itatio n ; p o l i t i ­ cally, the insulation caused by the surrounding waters helped early to establish a national identity and to intensify the patriotic zeal of the people. When the poets of England, therefore, desired to express the ideals, emotions, thoughts, and actions of the people, it was only natural that these artists should turn to the sea as a source for their poetic language and as settings for their action, as an influence on the people, as subject matter for their concerns, and as

5 6

atmosphere and for the impact of their statements. As Alfred Noyes points out, "the sea . . . has been used by almost all the English poets incidentally, as an image, a symbol, a means of 'representing much in little ,1"1 The oceans, with their tidal rhythms, their measured waves, and their immeasurable horizons, have been one of the chief sources of power by B ritish w riters in the exercise of th e ir a r t. The deep roots of the effect of the sea on English poets reach back as far as the writers of Anglo-Saxon . The sea passages of this early literature reflect the cold and misty northern sea, the grey bleak coastlines washed by the waves "that shoulder one a n o th e r,"2 and the screeching birds that skim the frothy surfaces. The moods are rather homogenous in character: There is the mood of dominance, when man struggles to subdue the sea and is pitted against an element; the mood of endurance combined with longing for the bright mead-hall and the giver of bracelets; and the mood of exaltation, when the poet enters into the w ildness of the wind over the sea, as i f he were breath of its breath.3 Cynewulf views life as a voyage on the raging seas and cre­ ates a portrait of the surging waves and the bobbing ships

Shakespeare and the Sea," Some Aspects of Modern Poetry (New York: A. Stokes Company, 19ST), p. 221. ^Anne Treneer, The Sea in English Literature from Beowulf to Donne (London: Hodder and Stoughton LimitecTT 1925), p. 1.

3Treneer, p. 1. 7 while painting word-pictures of the "stallions of the sound" and "old sea-steeds" anchored in Heaven. Othere and Wulfstan, who provide the earliest personal chronicle of sea-voyaging in English, offer insights into the nature of seafaring in their day. Beowulf. the finest early statement of the national ideals of the English people, also offers the clearest depic­ tion of the sea-spirit in Old English poetry. The poem is "framed" with the sea as it opens with an account of how Scyld came to his people as a gift from the sea and when he dies his people return him whence he came, and closes with the building of Beowulf’s barrow overlooking the sea. There is much cross­ ing and re-crossing of the northern seas by Beowulf and the characters in the , and the sound and mood of this cold sea permeates the poem. "The Seafarer" takes the sea as a major motif, vacillating between the harshness of the ocean and the magic of i t s appeal. The vivid impression of the sea on the early English people can be seen in the picture of its creation in "Genesis A" and in the story of the flood, while poems such as "Elene," 'buthlac," and "Andreas" are filled with graphic sea-pictures . In "Elene" the sea appears boisterous but good-tempered, and the ships bound gaily.

The whole description is one of the gayest in Old English, and may best be compared with the first sa ilin g of Beowulf, where there is the same eagerness. The pictorial element in the style is heightened, is increased by use of meatphor and 'kenning.

^Treneer, p. 31. 8

As long as Old English literature is at its height, the lines abound with kennings and compound su b stitu te words for sea and ships. The ship is a flood-horse, a water-rusher, a sea-goer, a ring-prowed vessel, while the sea is the whale’s path, the whale’s back, and the sail-road. And even though Old English poetry declines in its power and beauty toward the close of the period, those passages relating to the sea retain a freshness and pleasurableness to the very end. The sea-passages in Old English poetry always come with power and freshness, they capture and express the emotions of men in contact with the sea, and they reconstruct the sound of the waves with their surging words and rhythmical flow in a manner which can hardly be riv a lle d . Although during the Middle English Period the pres­ ence of the sea in the literature diminishes, occasional pictures and unexpected phrases pleasantly surprise the reader, and in the alliterative revival Ma definite attempt is made to revive the emotions associated with stormy s e a s .M5 Among the Latin writers of the first two centuries after the Con­ quest, Saewulf stands far above the others as a recreator of vigorous sea scenes. Layamon found it necessary to incorpor­ ate much of the sea into his Brut since it embraces the land he sought to glorify, and indeed the Brut reveals this physi­ cal picture of Britain with its land locked in by the

^Treneer, p. 45. 9 ever-present sea. But Layamon seems not to have felt its force as imaginatively as some of the Old English poets f e l t i t . But what he felt was England, the land with its naked sides exposed to wind and spray, and the long chain of heroes who took the land and caught its spirit, shaping it and being shaped by it.6 In the romances, generally, "the hero takes ship, the men draw up sail, they are in mid-ocean, the wind is at th eir> will, or merry, or scant,"7 or a storm arises and the cords break. In Sir Tristram, the sea references are numerous, owing of course to the fact that the action takes place in Ireland, Cornwall, Brittany, and the adjacent seas. Of the many enticing sea passages in the alliterative poems of the fourteenth century, perhaps "Patience" offers the most inter­ esting, for it is a story combining homily with a sea-tale. Many other unimaginative references to the sea are present in the Middle Ages, among these being those of Laurence Minot, who presents a painful reading of the sea battle off Sluys and hardly ever presents a fresh picture of the sea, and John of Trevlsa, who in his translation of Higden's Polychronicon gives the more "scientific" aspect of the ocean. The sea is present in the literature of the Middle Ages, but it is almost always the literal ocean which the reader gets. Perhaps the religious nature of the writing of

^Treneer, p. 57.

7Treneer, p. 6 3 . 10 this period discouraged or disallowed imaginative flights of the mind and decorative pleasures of poetic phrasing. The sea's influence is seen in a literal way, but poetic quali­ ties of the sea appear not to operate properly because of the restrictions and limitations of the Medieval period itself. Thus, the treatment of the sea in this period re­ flects something of the characteristics of the literature of the age. ' Although during the later part of the fifteenth century and the first half of the sixteenth the minds of English writers turned to the classics as a source of inspi­ ration, the sea's presence occasionally is felt. More provides an interesting concept in his of the sea as a means of defence for the country, a concept which becomes of in te re st in a study of Shakespeare, and as a medium for commerce, an idea which comes more into promi­ nence as the sixteenth century wears on into the second half. "The Bowge of Courte," by John Skelton, "The Ship of Fools," by Alexander Barclay, and the anonymous "Cooke Lorell's Bote" all make passing mention of the sea, mainly because of th e ir se ttin g s. Wyatt is ty p ical of this period in that he follows the older writers, in his case Petrarch, in the sonnets in his use of nautical images. But he appears to have been indifferent to sea and ships except as providing symbols for his unhappy heart. Surrey seems to have taken some pleasure in the sea's beauty, and the two poems in Tottel*3 Miscellany which treat most directly of the sea are by him. From Columbus1 voyage in 1492 to the completion of Hakluyt’s collection in 1600, a century of discovery and exploration took place, during which tales of adventure by sea must have been told and retold, so that there was plenty of new exciting material for poets if they cared to use it. Gradually, this new source for material, inspiration, and experience became increasingly important for the Renaissance writers whose minds and imaginations were constantly groping for new possibilities.

Several factors finally brought the ocean and its poetic possibilities into focus for the poets of the later half of the sixteenth century. The arrival of Elizabeth on the throne in 1558 brought a new era and new attitude toward marine matters, and in 1 5 8 8 the British navy in its defeat of the Spanish armada poignantly spelled out for the English the importance and national possibilities of the sea and catapulted the island nation into a position of supremacy on the waves. An increased tempo in exploration abroad also came in the reign of Elizabeth, and her support of the "Sea Dogs" (Drake, Frobisher, Howard, Raleigh, and G renville), although motivated by political and economic reasons, had the effect of attracting national attention. With this new em­ phasis came an extensive shipbuilding program to forestall Spanish retaliation as a result of the defeat, more efficient design for ships, improved theory of naval warfare, and the 12 foundations of the English naval tradition. As a result of the economic, as well as military, rivalry with Spain, oce­ anic merchandizing increased at an amazing rate so that by of the sixteenth century, England is a nation whose very vitality depends on the sea in all its aspects. It is a country where sea ta lk prevails in every tavern, where ships by the hundreds expose themselves to the fortunes of the sea's moods, and countries far across the seas are the topic of many conversations and essays. The increased interest in the sea appears finally in the English writers of Elizabeth's reign. In fact, one of the secrets of the power in the poetry of the Elizabethan age lies in the unique combination of two facts: "the fact that England was a small and solid island, and the fact that the sea surrounding her had suddenly assumed an aspect of almost daily deepening mystery."8 This combination had never existed for any other country in the history of the world. Discovery after discovery revealed mysterious seas and faraway lands. "Veil after veil was withdrawn, only to make more mysterious the veils beyond. It was as if men were sailing out into the vastness of the Eternal."9 In spite of this mystery and fascination with the sea, however, very few poets of the Elizabethan era approach the sea directly as a subject in itself. No contemporary work of importance, for

^Noyes, p. 219.

9N oyes, p. 219. 13

example, deals d ire c tly with the Spanish armada and, sur­

prisin g ly enough, few poems, tr e a t d ire c tly of the numerous seafaring adventures of the time.-1-® But the atmosphere, the mood, the image of the sea exists throughout the body of Elizabethan literature. Spenser, for example, seems to take great delight in the sea and has a sensitive response to its presence. He cap­ tures i t s moods, and his verse captures the q u ality of the smooth flow of w ater. Several long passages re la tin g to the sea exist, such as Guyon's voyage to the Bower of Bliss, in the last canto of the second book of the Faerie Queene; the beautiful fantasia of Florimell and Marinell which, begun in the third book of this poem and continued spasmodically, is not concluded until the beginning of the fifth book; and the passage depicting the terror of the sea in "Colin Clout's Come Home Again." The awareness of the English of their rise to maritime power is seen in Spenser's vivid portrayal of ships whose stately motion and swelling sails may come to him a t any moment as they "fly f a i r under s a il" and "skim like swallows."

Spenser's profound sense of the influence of the sea on the destinies of his country is constantly felt in his work. Cynthia's land is 'paysed' amid the waves and her throne is reared in wildest ocean.11 "

•^Noyes, pp. 220-221. llTreneer, p. 209, Hakluyt perhaps expresses most directly the English consciousness of the sea and the nature of this sensitivity, for he seems prim arily concerned with the labor which the British have expended on the sea. Hakluyt views the ocean as "unploughed,11 "unharvested," and "unvintaged," while he seeks to express the hope, the courage, and the toil bestowed upon it. He reveals the difficulties of Britishers when they first attempted to explore the cold northern seas while he also admires the "pleasant, prosperous, and golden voyages of the Spaniards and Portugals" and their "fortunate and fit gales of wind." Similar interest in England’s navy was shown by other contemporary poets. For example, the "Orchestra" of Sir John Davies reveals that the sea held some attraction for his poetic imagination. Moreover, poets such as Michael Dray­ ton, , William Browne, and Phineas F letcher a more than passing interest in the sea as a source for poetic expression. Of p a rtic u la r note is Samuel Daniel, who in his Civil Wars, conceives of the sea, like More in his Utopia, as a barrier to foreign aggression and a means of defence. Of Shakespeare's immediate predecessors and contemporaries in drama, Kyd, Peele, Greene, Lodge, and Nashe occasionally reveal to their enchanted glimpses of magical seas, while Marlowe uses the sea as one of the sources of power for his poetry. •» It comes as no surprise, then, that the most imagina­ tive, fertile, literary mind of the Elizabethan era seized upon this fascinating and ubiquitous facet of nature as one of his chief sources of poetic'power, and utilized it in a varied and meaningful way. An exhaustive collection of the references to and poetic usages of the sea and all its associations in Shakespeare reveals the large number and great variety of his sea impressions, thereby providing a deeper insight into the nature of the poet's art and mind. Throughout his work the sea is almost always within view, and the number of references to i t increases as one moves from the early plays to the middle and later plays. A quick comparison of the sea scenes in The Commedy of Errors with the rich depictions in Twelfth Night, or the "ragged, fear- full hanging rock" of The Two Gentlemen of Verona with Henry V's battered rock, "swill'd with the wild and waste­ ful ocean," immediately illustrates the change and increas­ ing awareness of the sea as a source for poetic colorings. The advancement arises p artly from an improvement in the handling of his craft and partly from a richer treasury of mental pictures, particularly of the sea, after several years in London.

Even the sonnets depict the growing utilization of the sea as a source for the enhancement of his art: [LoveD is an ever-fixed mark That looks on tempests and is never shaken; It is the star to every wandering bark.12

l2Hardin Craig, ed., The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Chicago: Scott, Poresman, and Company, 1 9 6 1), Sonnet cxvi. Unless otherwise indicated, all quotations are based on this edition of Shakespeare's works. As Alfred Noyes says, "With such music as this in our ears and with that great sea-mark towering before us, we under­ stand what V ictor Hugo meant by his elaborate comparison of Shakespeare with the sea, and by his conclusion: to look upon the soul of Shakespeare is to look upon the Ocean.nl3 Shakespeare was, of course, aware of his country's swift rise to maritime supremacy, and this interest seems to expand in his plays. When he came to London, perhaps in the last half of the 1580's, Englishmen were growing into a full acceptance of their country as a sea-power, Drake and Fro­ bisher had docked at Plymouth the f le e t which had swept the Spanish main, and the English navy by its defeat of the Spanish armada had stimulated the imagination of the Brit­ ishers to new concepts of sea-power. While in these years Shakespeare was learning his craft, absorbing the atmosphere of his new environment, and studying humanity, the sea gos­ sip that filled London was not upon him. Even in the early plays, sea references appear, but the number multiplies in later plays. For example, in , refer­ ences to the Indies and their wealth of "rubies, carbuncles, sapphires, declin[V] their rich aspect to the hot breath of Spain, who sent whole armadas of carracks to be ballast."I*1 Men are "lords of the wise world and wild watery seas" (Errors II.i.2l). A sense of sea adventure emerges throughout

13Noyes, p. 225. l^J. E. G. De Montmorency, "Shakespeare and Sea-Power, The Contemporary Review, CVIII (September, 1915)> 386. 17 in Romeo and Juliet, especially in such passages as that wherein Romeo says, "He, that hath the steerage of my course, / Direct my sailj" (I,iv.112-113), or;

I am no ; yet, wert thou as far As that vast shore wash’d with the farthest sea, I would adventure fo r such merchandise. IX .ii.80-84 or, as in the last scene of the play, More fierce and more inexorable far Than empty tigers or the roaring sea. V .iii.38-39 and a few lin es la te r , Thou desperate p ilo t, now a t once run on The dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary barkj V .iii.117-118 A sense of the possibilities of wealth and great fortune resulting from sea trade emanates from the Merchantof Venice as well as a competent understanding of merchandizing in Eng­ land. But a complete crystallization of the concept of sea-power has not yet come for Shakespeare in these early plays. Not until a play such as Henry V does Shakespeare disclose a full concept of England as a sea-power and its meaning in national life. The Chorus, for example, in the third suggests an awareness of the fact that England is not bound in by the raging sea:

behold Upon the hempen tackle ship-boys climbing; Hear the shrill whistle which doth order give To sounds confused; behold the threaden sails, Borne with the invisible and creeping wind, Draw the huge bottoms through the furrow’d seas, Breasting the lofty surge: 0, do but think You stand upon the rivage and behold A city on the inconstant billows dancing; 18

For so appears this fleet majestical, Holding due course to Harfleur. Follow, follow: Grapple your minds to sternage of th is navy, And leave your England. III.prol.8-19 The concept of England as a sea-power seems fin a lly to have become firmly planted in Shakespeare's mind. A hint of Shakespeare's realization of the necessity of sea-power appears in Julius Caesar when he says that Caesar w ill "wear h is crown by sea and land" ( l .i .8 b ) , but in Antony and Cleopatra the. whole doctrine of sea-power un­ folds. The sea struggle exists between Antony and Caesar. The extraordinary ra p id ity of movement, the sense of vastness and of world-wide struggle for a world-empire which this marvellous and unique play exhibits, is brought out by . . . the pres­ entation of sea-power over wide areas.15 J. E. G. De Montmorency believes that the sea struggle be­ tween England and Spain can be seen in all the implications in the play and that the empire of the world could be deter- mined nowhere but on the sea. One final presentation of the necessity for sea-power arises in Cymbeline where Britain, and Cymbeline, unprepared for defence at sea, are defeated by Roman sea-power. The question of Shakespeare's technical knowledge of the sea, the ships that sail it, and the nautical terminology used by the sailors of the ships is often raised by scholars. A vast amount of writing has been produced concerning his use

15De Montmorency, p. 388.

l6i)e Montmorency, pp. 3 8 8-3 8 9. i of technical language in maneuvering his ships. Captain Wball's Shakespeare's Sea Terms Explained, an old study of this topic, strongly implies that the poet himself must at one time have been a sailor. A. P. Falconer*s Shakespeare and the Sea, a more recent investigation of the poet’s knowl edge of ships and seas, merely accumulates and classifies passages relevant to the sea and notes the poet's seeming familiarity with it. Some have, of course, argued from the precision of his nautical language that Shakespeare served as a sailor, others have discovered flaws in his technical language and scoffed at the idea, while still others have merely appreciated the application of his nautical language without regard to how he acquired his knowledge. The least that can be said is that many of his references to the sea contain a typical Elizabethan shading. He knows, as would most Elizabethans, the names of various types of ships, argosies, carracks, galiasses, galleys, pinnaces, hoys, and crayers. He possesses a general knowledge of the merchandiz ing of England, as seen in the Merchant of Venice. And he has observed, as any landlubber could, bow the ships sail out in trim and return, weary from the journey: i How like a younker or a prodigal The scarfed bark puts from her native bay, Hugg'd and embraced by the strumpet wind I How like the prodigal doth she return With over-weather'd ribs and ragged sails, Lean, rent, and beggar'd by the strumpet wind I Mercb. II.v i.14-19 What is more important than the manner of acquisition of information about the sea and ships and the precision of 20 technical language is how the sea and the language associated with it serve the purposes of art in his plays. Several re­ cent critics have undertaken to study Shakespeare's poetic employment of various types of language, and some of them have observed his use of the sea in images and other devices, but none of them have yet fully realized the importance of the sea for Shakespeare as a source for his dramatic and poetic power.

Caroline Spurgeon, for example, has noted that the second largest group of images under the classification of "nature," after gardening and weather, is the sea.^7 Miss Spurgeon observes that the images, in comparison with Shakespeare's other nature images, are more general and that the aspects of the sea which interest him might be noted by any landsman: 1. storms and shipwrecks and rocky shores 2. the ebb and flow of tid es 3. the action of currents 4. a tide rushing through a breach 5- a ship being dashed on the rocks 6. the infinite size, depth, and capacity of the ocean (generally likened to love).!°

Miss Spurgeon goes on to point out that although they are generally a landsman's images, "a few of them drawn from the management of a ship show th at he had some knowledge of technical language and the sailor's craft," although they

^Shakespeare's Imagery. ,Wh.a.t.,i£. Telia. Jla (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1936), p. 47. •^Spurgeon, pp. 24-25. 21

could, of course, be equally true of a sailing boat on a river.19 Miss Spurgeon's treatment of Shakespeare's use of the sea is not exhaustive and in no way reduces the need for the present study. First, her concern lies only with the sea as an image. Second, the sea receives only a small part of her attention. Third, what treatment she does give to the sea concerns itself primarily with how Shakespeare arrived at his knowledge of the sea and what the sea images tell readers about Shakespeare the man. Finally, she only touches the surface in noting the types of sea images that Shakespeare has and fails to see the multiple other possi­ bilities and implications. G. Wilson Knight, in The Shakesperian Tempest, offers one view of the sea in Shakespeare. Knight concerns himself primarily with tempests, storms, weather conditions, and their associations and significances, and considers the sea only as it reflects these storms and tempests. Thus he observes only one aspect of the sea in Shakespeare, and this only incidentally as it relates to his larger concerns. This approach to a study of the sea, being extremely limited, has glaring omissions and leads Knight into a restricted study of the sea in Shakespeare. Knight begins with the assumption that tempestuousness is at the heart of existence for Shake- speare20 an(3 that tempests and music occur significantly

19spurgeon, p. kj. 20 The Shakesperian Tempest (London: Oxford U niversity Press, 1932), p. 16. throughout his plays, which "significance constitutes the only final unity in Shakespeare."21 Thus when Knight approaches the sea in Shakespeare, his primary concern i3 to discover the ways in which the sea depicts disorder, chaos, and tempests. Although he does admit to the exist­ ence of other aspects of the sea in Shakespeare, he hastens over these, noting only that calm seas are generally associ­ ated with happiness (which is again too limited and inflexi­ ble) and that seas sometimes are associated with tragedy, guilt or glory, nobility or savagery, and r i c h n e s s . 22 The limitations of Knight’s approach to a study of the sea become obvious when he addresses himself to the indi­ vidual plays. For example, Knight notices that no tempests appear in Antony and Cleopatra, yet he admits that "no play has more thought of sea, rivers, and ships."23 He has a difficult time with this play, because, as he points out, "the play as a whole has not a tragic significance at all."21* He advances his inconsistency even further by attempting to argue that even though the sea is calm, it still possesses tragic overtones. Concerning Pericles, he says that Shake­ speare now "allows him self an unhampered use of tempests and

22Knight, p. 14.

23Knight, p. 213. 2^Knight, p. 213. spheral music."^ The sea does, as Knight remarks, consti­ tute the very essence of this play, but, it must be observed, no tempests exist at all in Pericles, and only one or two images relate to tempests. Yet the sea comprises the vital poetry and dramatic meaning of the play. Regarding Cymbeline, he ventures so far as to assert that this play is one of "kind tem pests."2^ K night's work d iffe rs from the present study also in that he considers the associations in Shake­ speare's mind which certain images, evoke and the recurrence of certain image clu sters in the plays. He, lik e Spurgeon, offers little Insight into Shakespeare's ability to seize upon one aspect of nature and to convert i t in to a potent instrument in his poetic and dramatic expression. Wolfgang Clemen has contributed much toward under­ standing Shakespeare's craftsmanship and has unfolded new methods for approaching his poetry.27 Clemen concentrates primarily on how images function and reinforce other aspects of Shakespeare's plays, thereby lending organic unity to the individual works of art, and how they reveal Shakespeare's increasing mastery of poetic technique. Where the sea is predominant in individual plays, as in The Merchant of Venice. Antony and Cleopatra, and O thello, Clemen underscores the

25|Cnight, p. 229. 2^Knight, p. 2 1 3 . 2 7 w . H. Clemen, The Development of Shakespeare's Imagery (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 24 major sea images as they work into the plays or reinforce other aspects of the plays, but he does not at all attempt to isolate this one object of nature and give an exhaustive treatment of its enrichment of Shakespeare’s art. Several other critics have considered the sea in various ways. J. E. G. De Montmorency studied the evolving concept of sea-power in Shakespeare's plays, especially as it appears in Antony and Cleopatra. Anne Treneer, in her general study of the sea in English literature, acknowledged Shakespeare's references to the sea and noted various sea-scenes and concepts of sailing in Shakespeare, mention­ ing also something of Shakespeare's familiarity with the sea. Alfred Noyes, in a brief essay, observed the general presence of the sea and something of its influence, especially as the sea-rhytbms affect Shakespeare's verse. Harold Francis Watson28 has noted in a general way the sea-scenes in Shakespeare, discussing as well the use of the sailor's language. A few other critics have studied the artistic incorporation of the sea in individual plays, but no one has satisfied the need for an exhaustive study of the sea as it is used to enrich Shakespeare's art. The present study undertakes to isolate as many references to the sea as possible in Shakespeare and to exam­ ine the manner in which the dramatist has seized upon this part of nature and utilized it as a vital ingredient in his

2forhe S ailo r in English F iction and Drama. 1550-1800 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1931). 25 poetic portrayal of life. First, in order to learn something of the nature of Shakespeare's attempt to color, vitalize, and strengthen his poetic and dramatic statement, the study attempts to determine what qualities of the sea Impressed the poet most and what conceptions, original or common, he formulated about the sea. Second, the sea references which Shakespeare employed as a means of strengthening the dramatic impact are isolated in order to explore the sea's function as a dramatic device in portraying character, establishing atmosphere, providing settings, heightening emotion, and influencing action. Third, in order to understand better Shakespeare's use of poetic , how the sea is used imagistically to enrich the poetry, and what subjects Shakespeare chose to portray in his sea images are studied. Fourth, and most important of all, an explication of some select individual plays attempts to show how the sea is used to reinforce the total statement of the play and pro­ vide organic unity for certain themes. By this study it is hoped that a better understanding of the nature of Shakespeare's art may be attained. Seeing how he could take only one object of nature and utilize it in'*so many ways provides additional insight into the nature of the genius that was Shakespeare's. CHAPTER II


A study of Shakespeare’s technical knowledge of the sea, as well as the means by which he gained this knowledge and the unconscious associations he made with it, offers little to a comprehension of his art. But a study of the p o et's concepts of the sea and the q u a litie s which most impressed his mind must precede an endeavor at understanding the uses which Shakespeare made of it. Since Shakespeare incessantly utilized it for poetic images, for dramatic devices, for symbols, and for thematic reinforcements in Individual plays, an exact knowledge of his conception of its q u a litie s becomes invaluable. Although the importance of a study of oceanic concepts remains secondary to an in v estigation of his poetic and dramatic employments of i£, the present consideration, for the sake of completeness and exactness in appreciating fully the resources of Shake­ sp eare's a r t, becomes a v ita l p a rt of an examination of Shakespeare's use of the sea. The purpose of the present chapter, then, is to scrutinize the various qualities of the literal sea reflected in his references, whether the particular utilization appears as an image, a literal

26 27 dramatic usage, or a general reference, and to notice artistic ramifications of these allusions. The obvious characteristics of the sea, available to - any observer, appear In Shakespeare as well. But some quali­ ties of the sea affected the poet's processes more than others. Its enormity, its rhythmical ebb and flow, its sounds and colors did make an impression on him as he sought for means of expressing ideas or feelings which these qualities could aid in conveying. But of all these common character­ istics, its potential for danger, destructiveness, and death most influenced his mind. Some of the q u a litie s , however, which Shakespeare associates with the ocean are not those commonly assigned to it but appear to arise more from the poet's own subjective impression. For one, the sea.provides for Shakespeare a means of purgation, a concept which seems eventually to evolve into symbolic significance. Moreover, as a gigantic and powerful element of nature, the sea is seen as an impor­ tant part of the order of the universe. Most unusual of all from the modern viewpoint, however, is his conception of the sea as a source of great wealth and treasure. Shakespeare believed that the bottom of the ocean served as a great storehouse for jewels, gold, and precious stones and that the sea contained inconceivable wealth. Many references to its worth appear throughout the plays, typical ones being when Othello informs Iago that he would not his 28

unhoused free condition Put into circum scription and confine For the sea’s worth, Oth. I.ii.26-28 and when Valentinus asserts that he is "as rich in having

such a jewel / As twenty seas" (T. G. V. II.iv. 169- 1 7 0). The same implication appears in Florlzel's statement that not for all . . . the profound seas hide In unknown fathoms, will I break my To this my fair beloved. (Winter’s T. IV.iv.499-502) Tltania tries to lure Bottom into staying with her and tempts him, in a specific assertion of the sea’s wealth, by promising to give him fairies to attend on him, "And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep" (Dream III.i.160-161). The most vivid depiction of the wealth at the bottom of the sea belongs to Richard III In Clarence’s description to Brakenbury of his dream and the treasure therein viewed under the ocean: Methought I saw a thousand fearful wrecks; Ten thousand men that fishes gnaw'd upon; Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl, Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels, All scatter'd in the bottom of the sea; Some lay in dead men's skulls; and, In those holes Where eyes did once In h ab it, there were crept, As ’twere in scorn of eyes, reflecting gems, Which woo'd the slimy bottom of the deep, And mock'd the dead bones th a t lay s c a tte r'd by. I . i v . 24-33 A somewhat similar, though less detailed, description appears in ’s song in The Tempest. 29

An inspection of the wealth of the sea passages re­ veals that it conies by the treasures by various means. First, natural wealth, there by the operation of nature, endows the sea. Touchstone implies this in his statement that "rich honest dwells like a miser, sir, in a poor house as your pearl in your foul oyster" (A. Y. L. V.iv.62-64), as does Cerimon in his observation th a t "the s e a ’s stomach be o’ercharged with gold " (Per. III.li.56-57). Some of the wealth lying on the bottom of the ocean came there by means of sunken ships. The Archbishop of Canterbury in Henry V implies this when he speaks of England's actions making her "chronicles rich with praise / As is the ooze and bottom of the sea / With sunken wreck and sumless treasuries" (l.ii. 1 6 3 - 1 6 5). Sometimes, however, someone purposely deposits riches in it, as Pericles pre­ pares to do in burying Thaisa: Bid Nestor bring me spices, ink and paper, My casket and my jewels; and bid Nicander Bring me the satin coffer. Per. III.i.66-68

Not only does the sea contain a natural wealth or receivedeposits of wealth from sunken ships and rich cof­ fin s , but also I t seems to have some mysteriouspower to transmute common substances into objects of value, as

Ariel's song in The Tempest indicates: Full fathom five they father lies; Of his bones are coral made; Those are pearls that were his eyes: Nothing of him th a t doth fade But doth suffer a sea-change Into something rich and strange. I .ii.396-401 The sea also is associated with wealth in its usage as a means to riches through the p o s s ib ilitie s of commerce. This concept is, of course, implied in passages too numerous to list, but one explicit statement to this effect appears in the speech of Timon, who says in addressing gold, 'Tis thou that rigg'st the bark and plough!st the foam, Settlest admired reverence in a slave. V.1.53-54 The mystery and inconceivable depth of this vast body of water seems to have fascinated Shakespeare’s imagination and provided the potential for all sorts of possibilities other than wealth. Even Hotspur thinks of honor as possibly lying at the bottom of the ocean: Or dive into the bottom of the deep, Where fathom-line could never touch the ground, And pluck up drowned honour by the locks. 1 H. IT . I.iii.203-205 Thus the bottom of the sea provider almost unlimited pos­ sibilities for Shakespeare’s use of images, symbols, and thematic reinforcements.

The concept of the sea as full of riches, or as a means to riches, becomes particularly important in his devel­ opment as a dram atist as he begins to seek ways of re in fo rc ­ ing the theme of love.

When an Elizabethan launched his small bark out into the vast stretches of water which surrounded his small is­ land, he could not help being impressed by the enormity of 31 space that the ocean filled. Even standing on the shore, the Englishman could see nothing but water that seemed to stretch on forever, and his imagination must have boggled at its size. It is only natural then that its magnitude should impress the poet and that this quality should become a part of his poetic diction. When, therefore, he seeks to express the bounty of Juliet’s love, he turns to the sea as an image for such vastness: "My bounty is as boundless as the sea / as deep" (Romeo I I .li.133-134). The capacity of the ocean in Shakespeare’s mind seems overwhelming, for it could encompass all the clouds in the sky: And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house In the deep bosom of the ocean buried. R. III. I.i.3-4 Or the volume of the ocean appears so prodigious that the poet, to demonstrate the ridiculousness of a fool, can say, "What fool hath added water to the sea" (T it. III.i.68). Shakespeare, especially when depicting the capacity of love, found the sea’s enormity a convenient Image: But mine is all as hungry as the sea, And can digest as much. Twel. II.iv .103-104 Its capacity seems unlim ited: 0 spirit of love I how quick and fresh art thou That, notwithstanding thy capacity, Receiveth as the sea. Twel. I.i.9-11 The vastness of the sea appears also In its quantity of sand, a concept contained in Silvia’s words that her heart is "as full of sorrows as the sea of sands" (T. G. V. IV.iii.33). 32

The unfathomable depth of the ocean likewise pro­ foundly impressed Shakespeare’s mind, and he frequently thinks in terms of its being even bottomless, as when Rosalind declares that "my affection hath an unknown bottom, like the bay of Portugal" (A. Y. L. IV.i.214-215) or when Hotspur declares that he will dive into the bottom of the sea "where fathom-line could never touch the ground" (1 H. IV I.iii.204). This characteristic of the sea, of course, enables it to hide much, as shown by Florizel in her statement that she will not break her oath "for all . . . the profound seas hide / In unknown fathoms " (Winter IV.iv.499-501). It also causes to suspect that perhaps Lavinia hides in the ocean:

You, cousins, shall Go sound the ocean, and cast your nets; Happily you may catch her in the sea. Tit. IV.iii.6-8 When Shakespeare thinks of its depth and its ability to hide objects, he often visualizes its bottom as covered with slime or ooze. Sometimes this quality functions as a synonym for the ocean, as when Pericles addresses his dead wife and admits that he .-"must cast thee, scarcely coffin’d, in the ooze" (lll.i.6 l). When Alonzo considers his supposedly drowned son, he realizes the condition that he has undoubtedly fallen into:

Therefore my son i' the ooze is bedded, and I 'll seek him deeper than e'er plummet sounded And with him there lie mudded. Temp. III.iii.100-103 33

Clarence mentions "the slimy bottom of the deep" (R. Ill I.iii.32), talks of treading "the ooze / Of the salt deep" (Temp. I .ii.252-253)* while Canterbury thinks of making England’s fame "as rich with praise / As is the ooze and bottom of the sea" (H. V I.iii.163-164). Even when using the sea as a , Shakespeare seizes on this quality, comparing, for example, melancholy to the sea: Who ever yet could sound thy bottom? find The ooze, to show what coast thy sluggish crare Might e a s ilie s t harbour in? Cym. IV .ii.204-206

Generally, the vastness of the sea serves Shakespeare more in the way of a dramatic device than as anything else, but it is a quality that he regularly utilizes as poetic images and as a reinforcement of certain themes. The quality of the sea’s incessant ebbing and flow­ ing, or unceasing motion, struck heavily on Shakespeare's creative ppwers, manifesting to him as to most Elizabethans, that the moon, under which everything decayed and changed, influenced the seas and affected its motion, and presented a graphic example of fortune's character. Palstaff employs the idea of the sea as subject to the moon in his statement, . . . le t men say we be men of good government, being governed, as the sea is, by our and chaste mistress, the moon. 1 H. IV, I.ii.31-37 Prince Henry then joins this thought to that of fortune and ebb and flow in his reply that " of us that are the moon’s men doth ebb and flow like the sea, being governed, as the sea is, by the moon" (I.ii.42-43). Thus, Elizabethans lived constantly under the shadow of the idea that their sublunary world was decaying and changing, but this concept becomes p a rtic u la rly acute to Shakespeare when he remembers the sea. He even uses it in his metaphorical statements: This common body, Like to a vagabond fla g upon the stream Goes to and back, lackeying the varying tide, To rot itself with motion, Antony I , i v , 44-46 The sea*s motion appears to the poet as perhaps the most eternal part of nature, as implied in Florizel*s decla­ ratio n to P erdita th a t "when you do dance, I wish you / A wave o1 the sea, that you might ever do / Nothing but that," And when Biron seeks a metaphor to express the inevitable nature of things, he thinks of the interminable motion of the sea as the most intimate part of nature, for "the sea will ebb and flow." Change as seen partly in this statement, becomes so joined with the sea in Shakespearefs imagination that the poet even applies the ocean*s flowing as a synonym for mutability in man, Agamemnon, for example, orders to "watch / His pettish lunes, his ebbs, his flows" (Troi. III.iii,138-139). The sea thus becomes a persistent and appropriate metaphor for change, as displayed by Henry V in voicing the change which has transpired in him: The tide of blood in me Hath proudly flow!d in vanity till now: Now doth it turn and ebb back to the sea. 2 H. IV V .ii.129-131 G. Wilson Knight, so struck by the sea*s constant rhythm in Shakespeare, endeavors to associate the sea with music, venturing so far as to assert that they occur signifi­ 35 cantly together and that that "significance constitutes the only final unity in Shakespeare."1 It appears more logical and safe merely to conclude that Shakespeare observed the motion and rhythm of the sea and availed himself of music only as one facet, one adjunct, to the rhythmical ocean. Thus its motion becomes important for Shakespeare in wider realms than Knight observes, not only in the creation of his images and as affecting the action of the plays, but also as a central ingredient in his evolvement of certain themes relating to fortune, especially as they appear in the history plays.

Shakespeare, taking into account the immense quan­ tity of water contained in the ocean, aptly conceives of the sea as possessing superior powers of purgation and cleansing, and exploits this quality as an appropriate image for purification. As the most powerful cleansing element in the world, the sea often intensifies the impression when someone speaks of the impossibility of cleansing himself of something. Aaron, in defence of his own color, announces that "all the water in the ocean / Can never turn the swan's black legs to white, / Although she lave them hourly in the flood" (T it. Tv.ii.101-103). Richard II, in proclaiming the permanence of the anointment of a king, avows that "not all the water in the rough rude sea / Can wash the balm off from

^•G. Wilson Knight, The Shakesperian Tempest (London: Oxford University Press, 1932), p. 17. 36

an anointed king" (R. II X II.ii.54-55). Finally, Macbeth, in disquietude over his guilt, contemplates the ocean's pur­ gative efficacy: Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather The multitudinous seas incarnadine, Making the green one re d . II.ii.60-63 Even in metaphor, Shakespeare imagines the sea in these terms, Macbeth, for example, cautioning that "we / Must lave our honours in these flattering streams" (Macb. III.ii.33-34). Although the purgative quality of the ocean is often used in scattered images, this characteristic assumes a real significance when his imagination gradually transforms the sea into a more meaningful symbolic quality in the more ad­ vanced stages of his art. But as early as Much Ado, some­ thing of this trend appears in Leonato's speech:

0, she is fallen Into a pit of ink, that the wide sea Hath drops too few to wash her clean again And salt too little which may season give To her foul-tainted flesh. IV .i.141-145 The hint is here that the sea may possess an ability to regenerate and preserve a person who has fallen. This sug­ gestion grows stronger in Richard II where Bolingbroke, at the end of the play, determines to seek purification and regeneration by turning to the sea and making a voyage to the Holy Land: I 'll make a voyage to the Holy Land, To wash this blood off from my guilty hand. V .v i.49-50 37

As Shakespeare progresses through the tragedies and

into the la s t romances, th is q u ality becomes more and more significant, resulting finally in a symbolic association with regeneration and restoration. An explicit example of this emerges in the last romance, The Tempest, where Ariel stresses "sea-change / Into something rich and strange" (l.ii.400-40l) which has taken place and reports to Prospero that his antag­ onists, after a soaking in the sea, have not suffered a blemish but that their garments are "fresher than before." The enemies themselves recognize that they have been restored by the washing: That our garments, being, as they were, drenched in the sea, hold notwithstanding their freshness and glosses, being rather new- dyed than stained with s a lt water. I I . i . 61-64

By this point, the regenerative power of the ocean has com­ pleted its evolvement from the purgative conception into symbolic implications. Even with Shakespeare's capacity for vigorous poetic statement, the sea does not stimulate bis imagination to distinctive usage of its color. Oddly enough, few references to i t s color ex ist in bis enormous body of work, and these enjoy little variety. It most frequently appears green to his eye, for a woman’s complexion may be "sea-water green" (ill I .ii.84), Antony may sail over "green Neptune's back" (Antony IV.ix.5&), or Macbeth may think of h is blood turning the green seas to red. Only one treatment of its color stands 38 as worthy of Shakespeare, and this appears when he visualizes its color as it receives the beams of the early morning sun: Even t i l l the eastern gate, a l l fiery -red , Opening on Neptune with fair blessed beams, Turns into yellow gold his salt green streams. Dream I II .ii.391-393 Thus, Shakespeare seldom envisages oceanic concepts of color, but when he does, he immortalizes the scene with a pageant of color and beauty, and offers "one of the very few instances in Elizabethan poetry of a feeling for the natural beauty of the sea, or of its treatment with so rich a sense of color. The sound of the sea functions as a more important quality than does color, for the sea owns many sounds in Shakespeare, especially those of great disturbance, which emerge as an intimate part of his poetic statement and utter­ ance of emotion. One type of marine noise is the sails of a ship, as in "such a noise arose / As the shrouds make at sea in a stiff tempest, / As loud, and to as many tunes" (H. VIII IV.I.71-73). Or the wind may create its raging sound: "Have I not beard the sea puff'd up with winds / Rage like an angry boar chafed with sweat?" ( I .ii.202-203). The wind, however, may occasionally provide a sigh rather than a roar— "the winds whose p ity , sighing back again" (Temp. I.il.1 5 0 ) —though th is seems ra re . But the fierceness and volume of i t s sound remain as the q u a litie s which affected Shakespeare

2Alfred Noyes, "Shakespeare and the Sea," Some Aspects of Modern Poetry (New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1924), p. 2 3 1 . most and provided regularly a source for poetic language. Troilus, in his heat, declares that: not the dreadful spout Which shipmen do the hurricane call, Constringed in mass by the almight sun, Shall dizzy with more clamour Neptune’s ear In his descent than shall my prompted sword P alling on Dlomed. V .ii.171-176 The sea's roar, more than any other sound that it produces, becomes an in te g ra l p a rt of Shakespeare's re fle c tio n : Prospero says that it is "the sea that roar'd to us" (Temp. I.ii.l49); Pistol, on hearing a noisy crowd, asserts, "there roar'd the sea" (2 H. IV V.v.42); and Pericles feels that if only he could "rage and roar / As doth the sea she lies in" (Per. III.iii.10-11) he might be equal to it. Because of this resounding clamor, deafness appropriately receives expres­ sion through this image: someone may be "in rage deaf as the sea" (R. II I.i.19), or the enraged sea may not be "quite so deaf" as someone in their rage (John II.1.451). As Shakespeare gradually masters his dramatic and poetic a r t, the sound of the sea becomes an important qual­ ity of the oceans, though usually i t becomes more useful as a device for reinforcing on a minor note the more significant themes in various plays. The sea, being an overwhelmingly enormous element of nature, appears to the Elizabethan mind as part of the univer­ sal order, and when Shakespeare considers universal order and seeks to express something about it, he turns naturally to the sea as representative of that order. But, as E. M. W. Tillyard 40

states, the Elizabethan "conception of order is so taken for granted, so much part of the collective mind of the people, that it is hardly mentioned except in explicitly didactic passages";3 so Shakespeare only occasionally discusses directly and explicitly the order of the universe, but many passages occur which demonstrate that this idea is inherent in his thinking, especially as it reflects itself in the sea. Northumberland, for example, makes an imprecation against order and discovers the sea as the most convenient means of expressing th is , crying out, "now le t not N ature’s hand / Keep the wild flood confine! let order die! (2 H. IV I.i.153-154). Biron, in order to show the natural order of things, says that "the sea will ebb and flow" (L. L. L. IV.iii.2l6), while Luciana describes the natural orderliness of the universe when she harangues on liberty: Why headstrong liberty is lash’d with woe, There's nothing situate under heaven's eye But hath his bound, in earth, in sea, in sky. Errors II.i.15-17 As evidence of how vividly the sea reflects universal order­ liness in Shakespeare's mind, he always asserts the impossi­ bility of upsetting the orderly operation of the sea as a means of expressing the impossibility of doing something. Camillo, for example, expresses this impossibility by saying that "you may as well / Forbid the sea for to obey the moon" (W. T. I .ii.426-427), and Antonio considers reasoning with

3e . M. W. Tillyard, The Elizabethan World Picture (New York: Random House, 1951), p. 9. Sbylock as impossible as preventing the natural functioning of the sea in, "You may as well go stand upon the beach / And bid the main flood bate his usual height" (Merch. IV*i. 70-71). So also King Edward proclaims that "it boots not to resist both wind and tide" (3 H. VI IV.iii.59). In order to communicate the degree of Lear’s madness, a gentleman de­ picts him as struggling to upset the order of the oceans, fo r he is :

. Contending with the fretful element; Bids the wind blow the earth in to the sea, Or swell the curled waters 'bove the main That things might change or cease. 111.1.4-7

Shakespeare consistently associates orderliness with the sea, but, conversely, when he strives to express disorder, he turns n atu ra lly to i t to portray what would happen in the absence of order. 0 God I that one might read the book of Pate And see the revolution of the times Make mountains level, and the continent Weary of solid firmness, melt itself Into the seai and, other times, to see The beachy girdle of the ocean Too wide fo r Neptune’s hips. 2 H. IV III.i.45-51 The literal sea, however, does not appear in a state of disorder in these passages; it is only in abstract specula­ tion of imaginary oceans that it takes on this characteristic, as in Ulysses' familiar speech on world order: Take but degree away, untune th at strin g And, hark, what discord followsJ each thing meets In mere oppugnancy: the bounded waters Should lift their bosoms higher than the shores And make a sop of all this solid globe. Troi. II.iii.109-113 42

Although G. Wilson Knight contends that Shakespeare associates the sea with disorder, obviously the dramatist con­ ceives of the sea as orderly, as in harmony with the universal plan. Knight's mistake, of course, arises from his looking only at the sea passages in which a tempest rages and in not isolating every sea reference in order to arrive at an accur­ ate judgment of Shakespeare's conceptions of the sea. An examination of Shakespeare's use of the sea as part of univer­ sal order in his images validates this conclusion and leads one in to a more accurate understanding of the poet. A study of the mere im agistic associations or image c lu ste rs, such as Knight has engaged in, may lead to distorted conclusions, whereas to look at one object from all sides, as in this study of the sea, gives a more exact picture of Shakespeare's to ta l range within one given area. Beyond all other qualities, the capacity of the sea for danger, destruction, and death appears to have influenced Shakespeare's conception most. Anne Treneer offers an accur­ ate assessment of Shakespeare in her statement asserting that he seems "to have been impressed by the p e rils and chances of a sailor's life, by the thought that 'ships are but boards, Saylers but men.'"2* The shoals and waves appear possessed with malignant purposes capable of destroying anything or any­ one within their bounds. The repeated usage of this characteristic

4 Anne Treneer, The Sea in English Literature from Beo­ wulf to Donne (London: Hodder and Stoughton Limited. l§2b). pT571rr 43

of the sea far surpasses any other single quality and it stands as an intimate part of Shakespeare’s poetic craftsman­ ship and dramatic purpose. The impression of the sea as fearful and emanates first from the epithets which the poet invokedin referring to it, for he calls it "dreadful Neptune," "the raging sea," the "dangerous seas," "a wild and violent sea," or "the rude se a ’s enraged and foamy mouth." A person may, like Pericles, be "by the rough seas reft of ships and men, / And after shipwreck driven upon this shore" (II.iii.84-85), or, again like Pericles, something may be by the "rough seas, that spare not any man" taken "in rage" (II.i.137). When Shakespeare seeks to describe the ferocity of a thing, he considers the sea the most powerful comparison: More fierce and more inexorable far Than empty tig e rs or the roaring sea. Romeo V .iii.38-39 So firmly stands this characteristic implanted in the drama­ tist's mind that he even employs the sea as a synonym for danger: Here's a large mouth, indeed, That spits forth death and mountains, rocks andseas. John I I . 1.457-458 To Shakespeare's mind, the sea teems with dangers of various kinds. Danger may issue from the wild waves which always threaten to swallow someone: Environ'd with a wilderness of sea. Who marks the waxing tid e grow wave by wave Expecting ever when some envious surge Will in his brinish bowels swallow him. Tit. III.i.94-97 Characters often receive threats from "the yesty waves" that "confound and swallow navigation up" (Macb. IV .i.53-54) or from "the surges t h r e a t," or from the "watery kingdom" which "spits in the face of heaven" (Merch. II.v ii.44-45). These dangerous waves often spring from a "roaring tempest on the flood" which can scatter and disjoin "a whole armado of con­ victed sail" (John III.iv.1-3). But waves and tempests exist as only a part of the danger, for the "thunder above and deeps below / Make such unquiet, that the ship / Should house him safe is wreck’d and split" (Per. II.prol.30-32). Equally dangerous with the waves and storms looms the sands and rocks which threaten to crack the sailing ves­ sels. "The splitting rocks cover’d in the sinking sands" may dash one with "their ragged sides" (2 H. VI III.ii.97- 9 8), as seen in several passages, for there be "shelves and rocks th a t threaten us with wreck," and "quicksand" and "a ragged fatal rock" (3 H. VI V.vi.23-27). The seas pose multiple th r e a ts :

Say you can swim; alas, 'tis but a while! Tread on the sand; why, there you quickly sink: Bestride the rock; the tide will wash you off, Or else you famish. 3 H. VI V.iv.29-32 And the Goodwin Sands offer "a very dangerous flat and fatal, where the carcases of many a tall ship lie buried" (Merch. III.i.3-5). The passage that perhaps best portrays something of the Elizabethan's, and Shakespeare's, terror of the sea appears in Salarino's speech in which he sympathizes with Antonio's troubled mind: 45

My wind cooling my broth Would blow me to an ague, when I thought What harm a wind too great at sea might do. I should not see the sandy hour-glass run, But I should think of shallows and of flats, And see my wealthy Andrew dock’d in sand, Vailing her high-top lower than her ribs To kiss her burial. Should I go to church And see the holy edifice of stone, And not bethink me straight of dangerous rocks, While touching but my gentle vessel's side, Would scatter all her spices on the stream, Enrobe the roaring waters with my ,silks. Merch. I .i.22-34 Living creatures inhabit the seas which also present a threat to man, for, as Imogen says, "the imperious seas breed monsters." (Cym. IV.ii.35). These sea-monsters epito­ mize horror, as Lear implies in his description of ingrati­ tude in children, which seems more "hideous" than "monsters of the deep," and Alonzo wonders, concerning , "what strange fish / Hath made his meal on" him (Temp. II.i.112-113), while the witches in Macbeth mention the "salt-sea shark" in connection with gruesome objects (XV.1.24). And other creatures exist which make the seas dangerous, one being mentioned in the description of Tamora who acts like a "siren th at w ill charm Rome's Saturnine, / And see his ship­ wreck." (Tit. II.i.23-24). Finally, destruction is a regular activity of the sea, and Shakespeare utilizes it in various ways. For example, Julia in Two Gentlemen, desiring to destroy her name which is written on a piece of paper, knows what object of nature can best do th is :

that some whirlwind bear Unto a ragged fearful-hanging rock And throw it thence into the raging sea! I .ii.120-122 Or Gloucester, who wants to purge his country of the clouds of civil war, wishes to destroy them "in the deep bosom of the ocean" (R. Ill I.ii.4). The sea, of course, possesses the capability of bring­ ing death, a deathwhich Shakespeare regards as most h o rrib le. Hints of this arise from lines such as "a death that I abhor," when P a ls ta ff remembers the drowning he has barely escaped in Merry Wives, and in 's "I would fain / die a dry death." Shakespeare's horror of the awfulness of a sea death materializes in one of the most vivid word pictures he has created, Clarencefs portrayal of his dream of drowning: what pain i t was to drown! What dreadful noise of waters in mine eare! What ugly sights of death within mine eyes! . . . and often did I strive To yield the ghost: but still the envious flood Kept in my soul, and would not let it forth To seek the empty, vast and wandering air; But smother'd it within my panting bulk, Which almost burst to belch it in the sea. R. Ill I.iv.21-23 This dangerous and destructive quality of the sea so deeply affected Shakespear^s faculties that duringhis moments of creation he responded frequently to it in providingmotiva­ tion for action, in arousing feeling of suspense and fear, in creating forceful poetic images, and in making statements on life and man's dilemma. The characteristics of the ocean which have been drawn from Shakespeare's plays would, of course, be of no consequence were it not that all these qualities become effective tools in 47 the hands of the poet and are utilized in his plays in varied and significant ways, whether as dramatic devices, as parts of poetic images, as symbols, or as reinforcements for theme§. A study of the progressive development of his art shows the increasing effectiveness in his use of these concepts of the sea and specifically increasing emphasis of the qualities of wealth, size, motion, purgation, color, sound, orderliness, and destruction in dramatic and poetic techniques. CHAPTER I I I


As an ubiquitous element of nature, the sea provided Shakespeare with perhaps the richest source for experimenta­ tion with various dramatic devices and the most versatile source of possible effects from these techniques. By isolating Shakespeare*s dramatic use of the sea, the methods he devel­ oped in dramatic technique, the various types of experimenta­ tion he conducted, and the growth he experienced as a result of searching for more effective means of dramatic expression—all come into clearer focus. Shakespeare exploited the sea in every important segment of dramatic construction— in structuring plot, in creating suspense, in providing set­ ting, in rendering background, in evoking atmosphere, and in producing characterization. An analysis of Shakespeare*s plays into these various dramatic parts as they rely on the sea leads to a deeper understanding of the dramatists art and development.


A study of Shakespeare*s reliance on the sea as a valu­ able tool in the creation of his plots reveals several differ­ ent usages which he made of the sea as well as some significant

48 49

facts concerning the development of the poet's art. Shake­ speare seemingly used the sea to function in three main ways in relation to plot. The sea often causes a separation of characters, an action which operates as p art of the ce n tral motivation of a play; second, sometimes the sea serves as a timing device in the p lo t by removing someone from the scene of action for a while until ensuing events have occurred and the plot is ready for the character to reappear third, the sea may function as an instrument of fortune or chance, affecting the plot development as a device of coinci­ dence. G. Wilson Knight generalizes that "seas in Shakespeare continually separate lovers,"-*- th a t "rough seas sever man from bis so u l's desire,and that "the ocean is the enemy . of love's desire."3 Knight, however, has formulated this generalization from an observation of only one play, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, for in every other play in which the sea effects an estrangement of main characters, it separates members of a family. Shakespeare obviously felt that separation by sea heightened the tragedy of the sever­ ance of a family relationship. In the early comedies and romances, the motivation of action through a sea separation operates as a fairly simple

3-The Shakesperian Tempest (London: Oxford U niversity Press, 19327/ p. £4.

2 p. 6 9. 3p. 1 1 5. 50

device with few complexities and innuendoes. In The Comedy of Errors, the sea cleavage occurs many years before the action of the play. Aegeon, in his report to the Duke of Ephesus, renders a vivid account of the shipwreck which sundered his wife and one twin son from himself and the other twin son, as well as two other twins who worked as servants. Interestingly enough, in the source for this play, P lautus's Menaechmi, the twins lose each other in the crowd at a fair, but Shakespeare alters this to a loss at sea and a spar rescue. Shakespeare seemingly regarded the sea's power of separation as somehow heightening the tragedy of such an event and utilized it to provide the basis for the construction of the e n tire p lo t for th is early comedy. Shakespeare repeats this simple device twice more before he attempts to develop any subtleties out of it in the last plays. In Twelfth Night, the family separation of brother and sister, Sebastian and Viola, directly establishes the whole motivation of action, causing Viola to seek her own means In the world, Sebastian to despair, and the whole play to assume complications in the confusion and happiness in the eventual re-u n itin g which occurs a t the end. In Measure for Measure, only one significant reference to the sea appears, but this one stands as essential to the action of the play, being also a division of fam ily members, Frederick and bis sister Marianna, by means of the sea. As a result of this estrangement, she also loses her betrothed through the loss of her dowry which Frederick carried with him. 51

In the tragedies, family sea separations appear, but they function differently in these plays. Hamlet goes to sea for a while and is separated from his mother, Othello is parted from his wife Desdemona when he has to report for duty at Cyprus, and Lear is severed from his favorite daughter after he rejects her and she crosses the sea with the King of Prance. But in these plays, in accordance with the tragic view of man, the sea divides these family relationships through the willful action of the characters and not by blind chance as in the comedies. A study of the increasing complexity and rareflcation of this simple sea separation device as Shakespeare entered the last phase of his career offers a deeper insight into the improving craftsmanship for which the poet steadily strove, for just as Shakespeare’s mastery of plot structuring advanced from a charming simplicity In the early plays into a highly complex, ..almost a r t i f i c i a l form in the la s t plays, so a scru ­ tiny of his handling of this simple device reveals this change. In Pericles, for example, the sea functions more complexly than merely to part members of a family. Pericles at first escapes by means of the sea from a dangerous situation cre­ ated by his truthfulness in his exposure of King Antiochus and his daughter. Ironically enough, this sea escape delivers him by a sea storm into Tarsus, where his fortunes rise and he eventually brings into existence his own family by his mar­ riage to Thaisa. Thus, at first the sea has brought together 52 a family. But while Pericles and Thaisa are returning by ship to Tyre, a sea storm arises: the grlsled north Disgorges such a tempest forth, That, as a duck for life that dives, So up and down the poor ship d rives: The lady shrieks, and well-a-near Does fall in travail with her fear. III.pr01.47-52 These lines imply that the sea has so frightened Thaisa that it causes her death, or seeming death, in childbirth and thus an estrangement from her family such as the sea had effected in the first place. Moreover, Pericles deposits her body in the sea, an act which further divides the husband and wife. But the sea cleaves the family in yet another way, for Pericles purposely leaves Marina, coincidentally born at sea, at Tarsus while he crosses the ocean back to Tyre to settle matters there. Although the sea separates Marina from her father by his own design at first, pirates, a human malevolent force of the sea, seize and carry her across the seas to Mytilene. Thus the sea serves in a complicated way to scatter this family. Pericles, deceived for the second time, thinks that a family member has died whom the seas in reality have carried away. As further complication of this device, the seas also accom­ plish the eventual re-unification of the family. This separation device appears similarly complex in the other final romances. Cymbeline involves the estrangement by sea of a devoted husband and wife, Posthumus and Imogen, when King Cynbeline, enraged over the marriage of th is daugh­ ter to Posthumus, forces the husband to absent himself from 53

Britain. Imogen removes herself even further from her husband, as well as from her father, when she travels to Milford-Haven in Wales. Although Imogen covers this distance by land, the others subsequently travel thence by sea. Moreover, Belarius absconds with the king’s two sons to that place, thus further scattering the family. A double family separation by sea also exists in The Winter’s Tale when Antigonus carries King Leontes’s daughter across the sea to "the sea coast of Bohe­ mia." The sea thus sunders Antigonus from his wife Paulina, never to return after meeting with a savage death near the sea, while Perdita eventually does return, by sea, to her father with her beloved Florizel. The logical conclusion to this gradual complication of the sea separation device appears in The Tempest. Here the divisions of the family have already occurred, or are occurring, as the play Opens. Before the time of the action of the beginning of the play, Antonio has committed his brother and niece, Prospero and , to the fortune of the sea, thus cleaving several family ties. As the play opens, a tempest conjured by Prospero is in the process of separating father and son, Alonso and Ferdinand. But the sea, in contrast with Its previous function of sepa­ rating families, serves to restore family ties within the con­ fines of the play itself. The sea achieves the reconciliation of everything and everybody. It seems as though Shakespeare's whole career of sea usage was slowly developing toward the cre­ ation of th is play. Thus The Tempest in i t s employment of the sea separation device, as in so many other sea uses, offers the most refined utilization of the sea which Shakespeare evolved. Shakespeare developed another from the possibilities of the sea. By this method, he utilizes the sea as a means of removing a main character from the on-stage events for a while in order to the action of the play and to allow certain developments in the plot, or in order to prepare a character for the final episode of the play. He experiments with this in Hamlet where first Laertes travels by sea to Prance, during which time his father Polonius med­ dles too much and receives his death wound from Hamlet, an action which might not have happened had Laertes been in court to watch after his father. But .more Important, Hamlet departs on a sea voyage and during his absence circumstances are readied for the and a passage of time intervenes for the development of certain events. Hamlet's sea journey allows Claudius and Laertes time to lay their plans for rid­ ding themselves of Hamlet while at the same time the tragedy of Ophelia's death occurs. Most significant of all, enables Hamlet to assume a resolution and a spirit of action which he had never possessed. He seems also to ­ cile himself with life and his responsibilities, offering a d iffe re n t hero from the one seen before the journey, where he began to engage in positive action: Ham. Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting, That would not let me sleep: methought I lay Worse than the mutines in the bilboes. Rashly, 55

And praised be rashness for it, let us know, Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well, When our deep plots do pall: and that should teach us There's a divinity that shapes our ends, Rough-hew them how we w i l l ,— Hor. That is most certain. Ham. Up from my cabin, My sea-gown scarf'd about me, in the dark Groped I to find out them: had my d esire, Finger'd their packet, and in fine withdrew To mine own room again; making so bold, My fears forgetting manners, to unseal Their grand commission. V .ii.4 -18 Although only a hint of the possibilities of this method appear in Hamlet, Shakespeare once again in the final romances takes an earlier used device and refines it into an effective instrument. Shakespeare attempts several different variations with this device. A rather complex handling of it adds to the density of Pericles. At the end of the third act, Pericles leaves Marina at Tarsus and puts to sea in order to rectify the situation in Tyre. But during his absence by sea, Marina gets embroiled in a complicated affair, Pericles's absence enabling this to happen and pacing the flow of action. When Pericles returns and discovers Marina's supposed death, he puts to sea again in blind helplessness and, by this sea journey, the preparation begins for the reconciliation and restoration of Pericles, Marina, and Thaisa which follows. The sea absence of Posthumus in Cymbeline allows fo r the devel­ opment of events leading up to his mistrust of Imogen and consequently the development of the rest of the plot. More significantly, after Imogen's journey to Milford Haven, everyone must undertake a sea trip for the final reconciliation which 56

comes at the end of the play. In The Winter fs Tale the many years of sea absence of Perdita provides some pacing of the drama, but she too must make a sea voyage for her eventual restoration wi*th her father. Significantly, King Polixenes finds the sea helpful in preparing himself for a reconcilia­ tion with his son and the actions he has performed: The king is not at the palace; he is gone aboard a new ship to purge melancholy and air himself: for . . . thou must know the king is full of grief. IV.iv.788-791 Finally, The Tempest reveals the most complex varia­ tion of sea removal as a timing device and character prepara­ tion. The Tempest has uniquely transported the characters to the sea before the action of the play actually begins, allowing the passage of time before the first scene opens. Moreover, the enemies of Prospero have set out on a sea journey which ends with a literal purgation arranged by Prospero himself. So consciously wrought by Shakespeare appears this drenching suffered by the that it seems even to possess symbolic implications. Since, however, all groups in the play have already completed their sea journeys to this island, the play itself actualizes the recon­ ciliation of the dispersed families. Even Prospero himself finally prepares for his own end: And thence retire me to my Milan, where Every third thought shall be my grave. V .i.310 - 3 U Thus The Tempest represents in the usage of this device, as with many others which Shakespeare developed, the culmination 5 7

of bis concern for the sea as a means of preparing for the climax of the play. In several plays, especially through the middle years of his career, Shakespeare found the sea a convenient device for the incidental or intrinsic operation of chance or fortune. In these plays, the operation of coincidence lies so heavily on the play th at the whole outcome depends on the fortunes of the sea. In King John, Shakespeare experiments with eliciting the operations and fickleness of fortune as one of the themes of the play. Several characters in different situations express something about the theme of fortune. Constance curses fortune as she watches her chance for revenge dis­ solve with the uniting of the English and French through the marriage of Lewis and Blanch. Pandulph, seeking to excite King Philip to go against the stronger King John, discusses the nature of fortune, saying that "when Fortune means to men most good, / She looks upon them with a threatening eye" (III.iv.119-120). At various places the "mighty heaven" and "you stars" receive apostrophes as the dispensers of men's fortunes, and the vicissitudes of fortune constantly echo through the play. The sea, as a plot device, affects the action and conclusion of the play by the workings of chance. Just as the determinative battle between the French and English is being prepared for, the fortunes of the sea change the entire direction of events. The Dauphin loses his forces at sea, 58

. . . for the great supply That was expected by the Dauphin here, Are wreck'd three nights ago on Goodwin Sands. V .iii.9 -1 1 As a result he misses his opportunity to take the English while they are losing their king by a poisoning. But the Bastard, who expected a supplementary force from across the seas and who could have taken the weakened Dauphin, also suffers at the fortune of the sea: For in a night the best part of my power, As I upon advantage did remove, Were in the washes all unwarily Devoured by the unexpected flood. V .v ii.61-64 As a result of the fortunes of the sea, both sides relin­ quish the fight and the play ends in a stalemate, all men succumbing finally to the overmastering chance of the fickle sea. In this play, the sea dictates the very conclusion of the play through coincidence. The opening conversation of The Merchant of Venice establishes the importance of fortune of the sea for the whole play and provides the motivation for the main plot. Antonio owns richly ladened ships which are traveling the seas; in fact, as Antonio calls it, "all my fortunes are at sea." But Bassanio, who needs finery for the wooing of Portia, allows Antonio to contract a loan with Shylock, knowing that when Antonio's ships land he will be able to repay the debt, the forfeit of which is a pound of flesh. Antonio's ships, however, fall prey to the fortune of the sea's 'fnerchant-marring rocks," the subsequent action of the play depending on this 59

coincidental operation of the sea. Thus, the sea as a plot device of coincidence stands central to this play, and re­ ceives reinforcement by much reference to "the fortune of the caskets," "fortune of this present year," "fortunes are at sea," "blind fortune," "Good fortune," "rare fortune," "if Fortune be a woman," "fortune be not crost," "unlock my fortunes here," "let me to my fortune," "this fortune falls to you," "bring me unto my chance," "chance as fair," "take your chance," and many others. The secondary plot of chance in choosing the caskets also thematically fits into the motif of the s e a ’s fortunes. The sea as chance operates incidentally in two other plots in the period of the tragedies. In Othello, the busi­ ness for which Othello journeys to Cyprus concludes shortly after he arrives there when the Turkish fleet endures "a grievous wreck and sufferance / On most part of their fleet." Thus, the sea's fortunes end Othello's mission, and the main plot line of the play can then develop unimpeded. In Antony and Cleopatra, Antony suffers defeat at sea, and his tragedy begins to develop from this misfortune at sea. The method of using of the sea to evolve the plot stands fully developed in Pericles. In the begin­

ning of this play, Pericles escapes by sea from the threat against his life offered by King Antiochus. But in this first venture on the sea, the sea takes him into its own hands and tosses him on the shore of Pentapolis. Gower, in a prologue, establishes the motif of fortune: And he, good prince, having all lost, By waves from coast to coast is to s t: All perishen of man, of pelf, Ne aught escapen but himself; Till fortune, tired with doing bad, Threw him ashore, to give him glad. II.prol.33-38 Pericles laments to the powers that be for having "bereft a prince of all his fortunes" and later the sea receives explicit address as a servant of chance: Sec. Pish. What a drunken knave was the sea to cast thee in our way! Per. A man whom both the waters and the wind In that vast tennis-court, have made the ball For them to play upon, en treats you p ity him. I I . i . 61-65 Thus, the theme of the workings of fortune are concretely estab lish ed . Prom here on, th is theme evolves out of the use of the sea. While on this shore, Pericles meets his wife and makes numerous references to the operation of for­ tune throughout the remainder of the act. After Thaisa dies at sea and receives a sea burial, she lands by the chance of the sea at Ephesus, a coincidence which enables Pericles to find her at the end when he by chance goes to Ephesus. Mean­ while Pericles loses by certain vicissitudes of fortune his daughter Marina, who comes finally to Mytilene where she "chances into an honest house" (V.prol.1-2). After Pericles resigns himself to her death, the sea drives him again by chance to Mytilene where "his daughter dwells," and there he finds her. Thus, Pericles reveals Shakespeare’s highest achievement in his use of the fortune and chances of the sea in developing plots. 61

An examination of Shakespeare's different methods of employing the sea while designing the action of his plays offers exciting insights into understanding the greatness of his genius and the unceasing experimentation which he conducted in arriving at the creation of his art. A study of these dif­ feren t methods shows th at he worked with the sea in various ways but attained his highest achievement in the last romances. It appears that the dramatist was still striving to journey beyond the possibilities of human limitations to attain a per­ fection in his art in his last phase.


Suspense functions as an aspect of plot which Shakespeare realized through his use of the sea. Because of the dangers present on the sea and because of its function as a means of travel, Shakespeare discovered several ways of utilizing it as a device for creating suspense. In one or two plays, the threatening sea departure of someone effects some anxious moments. In the h isto ry plays, the sea acts as a means for the arrival of danger, thus causing apprehensive moments, while in other plays the danger of the sea produces suspense.

The chief example of a sea departure's creating suspense occurs in The Comedy of Errors. Because of the confusion in Ephesus and because everyone seems to know them without their knowing anyone, Antipholus of Syracuse and his Dromio d e te r­ mine to set sail while the ship stands ready: 62

Master, there is a bark of Epidamnum That stays but till her owner comes aboard And then, sir, she bears away. Our fraughtage, sir, I have convey'd aboard and I have bought The o il, the balsamum and aqua-vitae. The ship is in her trim: the merry wind Blows fair from land: they stay for nought at all But for their owner, master, and yourself. IV .i.85-92 With his abandonment of Ephesus, Antipholus of Syracuse will, of course, miss his opportunity for finding his lost brother and mother; for a few minutes in the play, his threatening sea withdrawal produces anxiety. In the h isto ry plays, sea a rriv a ls which bring arms, men, and threats to the established order accomplish tension anduncertainty in the plots. In 3 Henry VI, the threat to Henry's power begins to materialize and become a reality when he receives notice th a t: Edward from Belgla, With hasty Germans and blunt Hollanders, Hath pass'd in safety through the narrow seas, And with h is troops doth march amain to London; And many giddy people flock to him. IV.viii.1-5 Once Edward has gained power and seems secure, however, the situation reverses and another anxious moment ensues when Margaret in turn threatens him with the landing of troops to fight for her: "those powers that the queen / Hath raised in Gallia have arrived our coast" (V .ill.7-8). This dramatic device of producing suspense by means of a sea threat appears again and again in the history plays: in Richard III Ratcliff informs Richard that "on the western coast / Rideth a puissant navy"; Chatillon in King John realizes that England has had 63

"time to Land his legions all as soon as I"; and Northumber­ land reports in Richard II that the enemy "with eight tall ships, three thousand men of war, / Are making hither with all due expedience / And shortly mean to touch our northern shore" (II.i. 287-289). In a non-history play, Cymbellne, a lord announces that: The Roman legions, all from Gallia drawn, Are landed on your coast, with a supply Of Roman gentlemen, by the senate sent. IV .ili.24-26 The perilous danger afforded by the seas proffers another source for suspense and apprehension in Shakespeare's plays. The Merchant of Venice utilizes this method probably more than any other Shakesperian play. The dramatic situa­ tion of the play depends almost exclusively upon the fate of Antonio's ships, and, with the realization that the sea can be fatal to merchants, uneasiness begins to appear. Shylock first calls this characteristic of the sea to the attention of the audience: But ships are but boards, sailors but men: there be land-rats and water-rats water-thieves and land-thieves, I mean pirates, and then there is the peril of waters, winds and rocks. I.ill.21-24 And then the hint appears that Antonio may be in danger of losing his life to Shylock: I reason'd with a Frenchman yesterday, Who told me, in the narrow seas that part The French and English, there miscarried A vessel of our country richly fraught: I thought upon Antonio when he told me; And wish'd in silence that it were not his. II.viil.27-32 64

Finally, the possibility of trouble actualizes by means of a report from the R ialto: yet it lives there unchecked that Antonio hath a ship of rich lading wrecked on the narrow seas, I I I .i.2-3 Much of the suspense in this play relies on the action of the sea, although the sea also relieves the apprehension when report comes that Antonio’s ships "are safely come to road." For a few minutes in the first act of Othello, the fact that Othello may be lost in a storm which rages off the coast of Cyprus generates much anxiety, but his safe arrival on shore also alleviates this tension. In Pericles, in The Tempest, and in several other plays, the sea appears as a suspense-making device when it threatens to destroy or ruin one person or another. Thus, Shakespeare drew on the sea as an effective instrument for the purpose of creating suspense in his plots, but he seemed not to utilize the sea as fully with this device as with many others, and he reveals almost no conscious devel­ opment or experimentation with the sea in this way.

I I I .

Although Shakespeare did not employ the sea often for actual stage settings, be did utilize it in some other types of settings. In addition to only a few scenes specifically located on the seas, he locates a number of scenes near a sea shore or port town, he places some action on the sea by means of a prologue, and he sometimes describes off-stage sea action by means of characters who report it on stage.

Anne Treneer2* asserts that "the only sea scenes actu­ ally staged are scenes of storm and ship-wreck," a statement which applies for Pericles and The Tempest, but which does not hold for all the scenes located on the sea. In Antony and Cleopatra, for example, II.vi opens with the stage directions M0n board Pompeyfs galley, off Misenum." Although this scene has little of the real sea flavor of the scenes in Pericles and The Tempest, i t does serve to move the drama toward the sea flight which occurs afterwards. In Pericles, as might be imagined, a few sea scenes obviously appear on stage. In Ill.i, in contrast to the Antony setting, the scene exudes the flavor of the sea, in this instance creating the treachery of a sea storm: Thou god of this great vast, rebuke these surges, Which wash both heaven and hell; and thou, that hast Upon the winds command, bind them in brass, Having call*d them from the deep! 0, s t i l l Thy deafening, dreadful thunders: gently quench Thy nimble, sulphurous flashes! 1-6 The next to the last scene in Pericles takes place aboard ship, which directs attention toward the reunion of Pericles and Marina, the sea setting being appropriate as a balance to the tragedies which the sea has wrought on Pericles. Finally, an actual sea scene opens The Tempest which captures the danger of a sea storm. It functions to set the location and situation

^The Sea in English Literature from Beowulf to Donne (London: Hodder and Stoughton iiimited, 1 ^ 6 ) , p. 2657 66

for the whole play as well as to attract attention of the audience through its spectacle and forcefulness. Numerous scenes in Shakespeare occur near the sea, either on the sea coast, on the bulwarks of a town beside the sea, or within a port town. In The Taming of the Shrew, where Padua appears as a coast town; in Twelfth Night, where first Viola and later Sebastian arrive at a coastal town in Illyria; in Hamlet, in which Horatio fears that the ghost will lure Hamlet over the cliff into the sea; in Cymbellne, where the last part of the play occurs near the sea at Milford Haven; and in The W inter's T ale, where Bohemia serves as a coastal country, lending atmosphere but little feeling of the sea to the play—in all these the sea operates incidentally as setting but achieves little by way of captur­ ing a real atmosphere of the sea. In other plays, however, some scenes located near the sea perform a vital role in their function as setting and reveal a genuine artistry in their handling. For example, the second act of Othello displays a skillful capturing of a coastal scene and relates significantly to the texture of the play. Two gentlemen report the sea's action which the audience cannot see: Methinks the wind hath spoke aloud a t land; A fuller blast ne'er shook our battlements: If it hath ruffian'd so upon the sea, What ribs of oak, when mountains melt on them, Can hold the mortise? I I . i . 5-9 In this scene the graphic portrayal of a fierce sea storm produces apprehension over the fate of Othello for whom those on shore are waiting, and also rids the Italian forces of

the Turkish naval threat. In Timon of Athens, the hero retires to the sea side, there to live out his life, where the sea assumes a significance beyond i t s mere l i t e r a l s e t­ ting. In several lines of this section of the play, a vividness of the sea emerges: Then, Timon, presently prepare thy grave; Lie where the lig h t foam of the sea may beat Thy grave-stone daily. IV .iii.378-380 Timon hath made his everlasting mansion Upon the beached verge of the salt flood; Who once a day with his embossed froth The turbulent surge shall cover. V .ii.218-221 Finally, Pericles embraces several scenes located near the sea, but one above all the others captures the very smell, fe e l, and sound of the s a lt sea a ir . In I I . i , P e ricle s, washed ashore by the storm, encounters the fishermen on the beach who live by the sea and who talk of porpoises and the weather they can prognosticate, of the fish hang­ ing in nets, of whales, and of the rough seas. This scene probably represents the epitome of Shakespeare's ability to depict these scenes placed by the sea. Aside from the scenes set either on or near the sea, Shakespeare sometimes established Important action on the sea through the use of a prologue, Henry V and Pericles utiliz­ ing this technique most often. One of the most vigorous set­ tings of this type appears in Henry V:

Suppose that you have seen The well-appointed king at Hampton pier Embark his royalty; and his brave fleet 68

With silken streamers the young Phoebus fanning: Play with your fancies, and in them behold Upon the hempen tackle ship-boys climbing; Hear the shrill whistle which doth order give To sounds confused; behold the threaden sails, Borne with the invisible and creeping wind, Draw the huge bottoms through the furrowfd sea, Breasting the lofty surge: 0, do but think You stand upon the rlvage and behold A city on the inconstant billows dancing; For so appears this fleet majestical, Holding due course to Harfleur. Follow, follow: Grapple your minds to sternage of this navy, And leave your England. III.prol.3-19 This, creating one of the most vivid sea settings in all literature, establishes well for its reader the feeling of the scene, the sounds, sights, and mood of it all. Shakespeare also develops in his plays the technique of reporting significant off-stage sea scenes by a character who has witnessed it. In the evolvement of this method, Shakespeare reveals a marked improvement through the progress of his craftsmanship. In 2_ Henry VI, Margaret narrates the occurrences on her sea trip to England, in which she was "nigh wreck*d upon the sea / And twice by awkward wind from England*s bank /Drove back" (ill.ii.82-84). In the remainder of this speech, Margaret uses the sea rather too self-con­ sciously as a means of contrasting its rocks and winds with the dangers of Henryk and thus does not concern herself with a vivid re-creation of the scene. As Clemen says, the speech in Othello in which Cassio re la te s the sto ry of Desdemona*s

5W. H. Clemen, The Development of Shakespeare fs Imagery (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1951;* P. 96. 69 miraculous rescue after the storm voyage appears finer than

the one by M argaret:6 Tempests themselves, high seas and howling winds The gutter'd rocks and congregated sands,— Traitors ensteep’d to clog the guiltless keel,— As having sense of beauty, do omit Their mortal natures, letting go safely by The divine Desdemona. I I . i . 68-73 The vivid account of this sea scene grows immediately out of the freshly experienced hazard of the voyage. In , Shakespeare achieves another dimension in the of sea scenes, here in the form of an imaginary sea c l i f f from which Gloucester wishes to leap. Edgar his son describes an imaginary scene in order to trick his father into jumping off a small height: The fishermen, that walk upon the beach, Appear like mice; and yond tall anchoring bark, Diminish'd to her cock; her cock, a buoy Almost too small for sight: the murmuring surge, That on the unnumber'd idle pebbles chafes, Cannot be heard so high. IV.vi.17-22 Having discovered the possibilities of perspective in view­ ing a sea setting by a creation of the imagination, the drama­ tist advances this skill even further in Cymbeline when he portrays another sea scene by a narrator and plctorializes distance in the scene. In this instance, Pisanio recounts for Posthumus's wife the scene as her husband departed the coasts of England:

6P. 96. 70

for so long As he could make me with this eye or ear Distinguish him from others, he did keep The deck, with glove, or hat, or handkerchief, Still waving, as the fits and stirs of's mind Could best express how slow h is soul s a i l fd on, How swift his ship. Imo. Thou shouldst have made him As little as a crow, or less. I . i l l . 8-15 Thus Shakespeare exhibits much progression and variety in the reproduction of sea settings by verbal on-stage narra­ tion. A more sure handling of the materials and artistry of such a technique seemingly develops. In sea settings, then, Shakespeare produces some on-stage settings, but the majority occur by the sea, while some come from prologues and others receive utterance by on-stage reporters.


In many of Shakespeare!s plays, the sea composes part of the action which stands apart from the actual on-stage happenings, being known as the background in a play. The background embraces events, settings, and deploy­ ment of characters against which the play functions but which lie outside the confines of the actual stage events. This background relates intimately to the stage situation and indeed affects and explains the present in terms of past happenings or related occurrences. Shakespeare, of course, recognized the importance of background in a play and seemingly devoted much attention to the manipulation of it for the best results, 71

exploiting it in various ways to evoke from it a wide range of effects. He also utilized the sea as a source for striking background effects, eliciting from it a variety of usages and experimenting at different periods in his career with various methods. He does, however, seem to adhere to certain practices within each type of play, choosing one method for comedies, another for histories, and so on with the tragedies and romances. In many of Shakespeare!s comedies, even into his middle years of creativity, the sea serves in the background to cast a tragic gloom over events and to provide much of the motivation for plot and its tragedy. The effect of this tragic sea background in the comedies depends on the movement of events from the depths of tragedy and despair to eventual unification and delight at the end of the plays. These plays seem to stand among his most successful comedies, for he has secured from this arrangement the effects of a stark contrast between a background of sea tragedy and the on-stage delights of the comic characters and final happiness. In The Comedy of Errors, the sea storm tragically severs a family and provides this gloomy event as a basis for the main action of the play. Against this tragic background, Shakespeare spins out a sprightly comedy which rushes always toward the joyful conclusion of re-unification. But the sea provides the tragic backdrop for the unfolding of the plot and intensifies by contrast the delight in the confusion over the twins and the attendant comic e ffe c t of such a situ a tio n . 72

The sea background in The Merchant of Venice functions as a s lig h tly more complex device. Here the sea performs as a backdrop of uncertainty and threatening tragedy, revealing the extent of Antonio's friendship for Bassanio through the chance that he assumes in securing a debt for his friend in spite of the sea's insecurity. This uncertainty of the sea acts as a contrast with the eventual certainty of love as reflected in Bassanio and Portia, Lorenzo and Jessica, and Gratlano and Nerissa, and its tragedy provides a contrast with the happy ending of the play, its misfortune with the eventual good fortune. Moreover, the sea offers a contrast of backgrounds. Antonio’s misfortunes at sea contrast with the hopes of the "renown*d" su ito rs whom "the four winds blow in from every coast" seeking Portia and with the happi­ ness of Bassanio secured by his sea voyage to Portia. Thus Shakespeare has wrought a more complex contrast out of the background of the sea in this later play. Shakespeare, however, returns in later comedies to the simple contrasts of the sea as background. The opening scenes of Twelfth Night narrate a tragedy which has occurred before the play opens during a storm at sea, separating brother and sister and producing a tragic backdrop for a play th a t proceeds to ro llic k with good humor, confusion, and m irth. The reunion of Viola and Sebastian at the end of the play appears even more ecstatic in terms that stress the former sorrow: Seb. I had a s is te r , whom the blind waves and surges have devour'd. • • • Vio. Such a Sebastian was my brother too, So went he suited to his watery tomb. V .i.235-237 ! 240-241 Mariana in Measure for Measure suffers many desperate moments in her hopes of bliss with Angelo, which comes eventually at the end of the play. The conclusion of the play contrasts with all her trials, one of the most cruel being the loss during a sea storm of her brother Frederick, "in his love toward her most kind and natural; with him, the portion and sinew of her fortune, her marriage-dowry; with both, her com- binate husband, this well-seeming Angelo" (III.i.229-232). This bit of sea background functions to set off Mariana's con­ cluding joy, and, as in many of Shakespeare's comedies, prof­ fers an even more pleasant sensation in the final happiness by means of this contrast. Midsummer-Night's Dream, by com­ parison with these other comedies, reflects the extent of Shakespeare's variety and experimentation with the sea as back­ ground, for in this comedy the dramatist educes from the sea the memory of a background that is harmonious with the texture of the drama. Here the fairies recall background sea events which possess a l l the magic and charm th at the play i t s e l f con­ tains. Titania remembers dancing "in the beached margent of the sea," and sitting "on Neptune's yellow sands, / Marking the embarked traders on the flo o d ," while Oberon re c a lls hear­ ing "a mermaid on a dolphin's back / Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath / That the rude sea grew civil at her song." 74

In the history plays Shakespeare has yet another use of the sea as background, for a literal sea, specifically the English Channel, underscores the division which exists between England and Prance and functions as a vast backdrop against which much action of the history plays occurs. The necessity for frequent crossings, and occurrences during the crossings, underscores in one way this division, or as King Edward points out, "well have we pass'd and now repass’d the seas" (3 H.VI IV .y ii.6 ). This background of ocean cross­ ings discharges an opportunity for much activity. Englishmen may quarrel among themselves during the crossing, as Basset and Vernon do. Basset reports this sea quarrel to the king: Crossing the sea from England into Prance, This fellow here, with envious carping tongue, Upbraided me about the rose I wear. 1 H. VI IV .i.89-91 And Vernon addresses Basset, reminding him of their relation during the crossing, "Now, sir, to you, that were so hot at sea" (lll.iv.28). This oceanic background provides Suffolk with an opportunity to rehearse his treachery while cross­ ing the channel fo r the purpose of s o lic itin g "Henry with Margaret's praise: / Bethink thee on her virtues that sur­ mount" and "repeat their semblance often on the seas" (1 H.VI V .iii.192-194). Margaret herself emphasizes this division between the countries in her description of her voyage when she was "nigh wreck'd upon the sea / And twice by awkward wind from England's bank / Drove back again unto my native clime" (2 H. VI III.ii.82-84). The ocean background of the histories accentuates the division between the two countries by becoming part of the movement of troops, the battle strategy, and the landing tech­ niques. Chatillon informs King Philip that King John has had time to "land his legions" and that "the English bottoms have waft o’er" "dauntless spirits." Edward sees that "those powers that the queen / Hath raised in Gallia have arrived our coast" (3 H. VI V.iii.8-9) while Ratcliff in Richard III warns the king that "on the western coast / Rideth a puissant navy." Ross in Richard II notes that "three thousand men of war"

shortly mean to "touch our northern shore" (R. II II.I. 2 8 9), Green observes that Bolingbroke has arrived on shore with his powers (II.ii.42-30), and Lewis intends to deploy five thousand men across the seas to do battle with Edward. By contrast, any attempts at unification between these two powers must contend with the sea which separates the two. In th is way, the sea looms in the background in Henry's attempt at solidarity between the two nations: Take, therefore, shipping; post, my lord to Prance; Agree to any covenants, and procure That Lady Margaret do vouchsafe to come To cross the seas to England and be crown’d King Henry's faithful and anointed queen. 1 H. VI V.v.87-91 Warwick, desiring also to bridge the gulf between the two nations, lays his plans for joining the nations across the seas and poses the necessity of crossing the seas to effect this jointure: And now to London with triumphant march, There to be crowned England's royal king: 76

From whence sh a ll Warwick cut the sea to France, And ask the Lady Bona fo r thy queen: So shalt thou sinew both these lands together,* • • • And then to Brittany I'll cross the sea, To effect this marriage, so it please my lord. 3 H. VI I I . v i . 8 7-91; 97-98 Thus the sea, in supplying a literal background in the history plays, emphasizes the division and struggling between England and France. The sea furnishes a backdrop for several of the trag­ edies, and although no significantly conscious or consistent purpose seems to have emerged in Shakespeare's mind, it does incidentally function in the plays in which it appears to offer some sort of relief. For example, Hamlet makes a sea voyage toward England; and during his absence, as previously mentioned, some relief is provided for the reader before the final tragedy befalls. In the beginning of Othello, Turkish ships hover in the background, threatening Othello and his forces on the island of Cyprus. But a sea storm dis­ perses the fleet, thus alleviating the suspense before the real tragedy begins. Although in King Lear the sea does not actually appear in the last scene, it does proffer a back­ ground for the final events at Dover. Here, Cordelia jour­ neys across the sea from France to Dover, assuaging Lear's agony and the audience's anxiety by her advent. Finally, the sea equips the entire play of Antony and Cleopatra with a backdrop. Much tension and suspense mount over Antony's endeavors against Pompey at sea, but the apprehension begins to subside for the audience as it realizes Antony's fate in 77

the battle. Although In these tragedies mentioned the sea background furnishes r e lie f , I t seems to re s u lt more from coincidence than from a conscious purpose worked out by Shakespeare. The sea looms ubiquitously as background in the last romances and possesses a complexity of applications. The sea as background, however, primarily seems to behave consistently as a means of intensifying love. In Pericles, whose hero's misfortunes as well as his good fortune emanates from the sea, the ocean supplies the backdrop for the whole play. But through the sea loss first of Pericles's wife and then of his daughter and then through their eventual reunion by means of the sea, an ardent heightening of love betides at the end: This, this: no more, you gods! your present kindness Makes my past miseries sports: you shall do well That on the touching of her lips I may Melt and no more be seen. 0, come, be buried A second time within these arms. V .iii.40-44 In Cymbeline, Posthumus, in a sea voyage which serves as background, must go to Italy and absent himself from his beloved Imogen. Pisanio n arrates to Imogen the sorrow and magnification of love which Posthumus suffered. And upon hearing a description of this sea scene, Imogen herself experiences a fervid enhancement of her own feelings: Imo. Thou shouldst have madehim As little as a crow, or less, ere left To after-eye him. I.iii.l4-l6 Perdita travels across the seas to Bohemia in The Winter's 78

Tale before she finally returns to re-unite with her father

and mother after an absence which has brought about an aggran­ dizement of familial love. In addition, Perdlta and Florlzel together come back to her country on a sea voyage which strengthens the determination of their devotion. Finally, the sea co n stitu tes the primary backdrop for The Tempest in which play old family wounds heal and love strengthens as a result of the sea separation. Thus, Shakespeare attained a variety of applications for the sea in its functions as background. In the comedies he employed it as a tragic backdrop to contrast with the comic and concluding joy in these plays. In the h is ­ tories, he availed himself of the sea as a literal, background against which the wars between England and France were fought, and which accented the division between these two countries. In some of the tragedies, he exploited the sea as a back­ ground to furnish relief from the intensity of the tragic moments and increasing suspense, while in the la s t romance he realized an intensity and accentuation of both romantic and familial love from the sea background. In the early comedies and histories, the sea as background affords little complexity in Shakespeare's art, although the usage is effect­ ive and appropriate in the plays. In the romances, the sea operates more complexly as background and, therefore, reflects some development in his craftsmanship, but not as much as do some of his other dramatic uses of the sea. 79


Shakespeare found the sea an extremely effective dramatic device as a means of endowing his plays with a prevailing mood or emotional aura known as atmosphere. In this respect, perhaps above all other dramatic uses which Shakespeare made of the sea, it yielded the greatest number of possibilities because of the seemingly varied moods which the sea assumes. Although Shakespeare seldom engaged in the pathetic fallacy in his treatment of the sea, one of the few instances appearing in Henry VIII where "even the billows of the sea, / Hung their heads," the poet capitalized on the variety of countenances which the sea wears. In some cases, he desired nothing more than to give the play a genuine atmos­ phere of the sea, while at other times he elicited from the sea an atmosphere of horror, at other times mystery, and at others tragedy and pathos. At times, Shakespeare attempted to effect an atmosphere of the sea to harmonize with certain sea motifs in the plays. The Merchant of Venice deals with tra d e rs, merchants, commerce, and the activities of the trading mart, and the plot of the playdepends on the turns of fortune which these things often suffer. As an introduction to the whole play, Salarino in the first lines tries to guess the cause of Antonio's despon­ dency: Your mind is tossing on the ocean; There, where your argosies with portly sail, Like signiors and rich burghers on the flood, Or, as it were, the pageants of the sea, 80

Do overpeer the petty traffickers, That c u r t’sy to them, do them reverence, As they fly by them with their woven wings. I . i . 9-15 These sea images immediately produce the atmosphere of the sea, ships, and wealthy merchants which permeates the whole play. Salanio continues the suggestions of Salarlno’s speech: Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth The better part of my affections would Be with my hopes abroad. I should be still Plucking the grass, to know where sits the wind, Peering in maps for ports and piers and roads; And every object that might make me fear Misfortune to my ventures, out of doubt Would make me sad . I . i . 16-23 This speech introduces the hazard of the sea and strikes the keynote of the play. Shakespeare thus manipulates the sea in the opening lines to produce for the audience a feeling for all the subsequent occurrences in the play. But, as Clemen s ta te s : . . . these few seconds have sufficed for Shakespeare to attain his aim; the audience has pricked up its ears; upon the imagination a very definite image has impressed itself for a b rie f moment, and th is w ill come to life again later on when reality demands it. . . . By means of such delicate touches and hints . . . he succeeds in gradually preparing for something to come.7 In Henry V the chorus enjoys the task of wafting the audience from place to place and of commenting on the action and educing the appropriate atmosphere for the play. Since the war between England and Prance must be fought across the sea, the chorus has the task of conveying the audience across the channel. The chorus establishes this situation

7ciemen, pp. 2-3. in the first prologue when it introduces the "two mighty monarchies, / Whose high upreared and abutting fronts / The perilous narrow ocean parts asunder." In order to render to the audience a feeling for the time lapse in voyaging from England to Prance and to afford it a view and feeling for what the soldiers saw, felt, and heard during their transportation across, a passage containing the very sea air ensues in the third act in which the chorus depicts for the audience a view of the king boarding his ship, and of the streams and hempen tackle, of ship boys climbing, of the treaden sails, the surge, and of the fleet majestical. The audience hears the shrill whistle, feels the invisible and creeping wind, and sees the furrow'd sea and inconstant billows. This brief indulgence in the sea atmosphere seems also to have another purpose. By this point in the play, tension and suspense have mounted over the anxiety of the approaching battle of the English with the French, and this oceanic atmosphere bestows a brief relief from the increasing apprehension. After the battle concludes, the chorus returns the king and his soldiers across the channel amid the sounds and sights of the very sea air: Behold, the English beach Pales in the flood with men, with wives and boys, Whose shouts and claps out-voice the deep-mouth'd sea, Which like a mighty whiffler 'fore the king Seems to prepare h is way. V.prol.9-13 The sea constitutes an integral part of the scenery in Antony and C leopatra. The sea lie s between the two main 82

countries in the action, Rome and Egypt; it furnishes the setting for one of the most important battles in the play; and it affords a distance for Antony and Caesar to cross con tinually. The sea functions as an intimate part of the play Shakespeare, therefore, had the task of somehow evoking an atmosphere which would provide the audience with a feeling for the sea. In this play, the dramatist meets this chal­ lenge by means of sea imagery. As Clemens says, he "height­ ens the omnipresence of this peculiar sea-atmosphere even further by drawing to express abstract issues

from the sea and the terminology of navigation ." 8 Caesar, voicing his feelings about the fickleness of the crowd, utilizes sea imagery:

And the ebb'd man, ne'er loved till ne'er worth love Comes dear by being lacked. This common body, Like to a vagabond flag upon the stream, Goes to and back, lackeying the varying tide, To rot itself with motion. I. iv.43-^7 For this same dramatic reason, Enobarbus says, "My reason

sits in the wind against me" (III.x. 3 6 ), and he informs Antony, "Sir, sir, thou art so leaky, / That we must leave thee to thy sinking, for / Thy dearest quit thee" (ill.xiii.

6 3 - 6 5 ). Enobarbus also associates Cleopatra with sea images in his words concerning her tears: "we cannot call her winds and waters sighs and tears; they are greater storms and tem­ pests than almanacs can report" ( i.il.152-154), while Antoay describes her nature in sea terms:

3 Clemen, p. 159. 83

Her tongue will not obey her heart, nor can Her heart inform her tongue,—the swan’s down-feather, That stands upon the swell at full of tide, And neither way inclines. III.ii.47-50 In the same scene, Antony again applies the sea terminology to Cleopatra when he says, Egypt, thou knew1st too well My heart was to thy rudder tied by the strings, And thou shouldst tow me after. III.ii.56-58 This sea atmosphere exudes from many other images in the play, in such images as "would he anchor his aspect" and "darkling stand the varying shore o’ the world," but at the end, even in words spoken after Antony's death, the sea atmosphere arises: A rarer spirit never Did steer humanity! V .i.32-33 Because the sea seemed to hold a dreadful threat for Elizabethans and because Shakespeare, as shown in the chapter on "Oceanic Concepts," often conceived of the sea as danger­ ous and foreboding, the dramatist found the sea useful at appropriate points in various plays, in creating an atmos­ phere of horror, terror, or fright. In Richard III. Gloucester arranges to have Clarence murdered. In the scene In which Clarence meets his death, Clarence, ignorant of the fact that he is to die, feels terror strike his heart when he re c a lls a dream of the sea he has had and, in te llin g i t to Brakenbury, casts over the whole scene and the approaching event a dreadful aura of horror: Lord, Lord I methought, what pain it was to drown! What dreadful noise of waters in mine ears! What ugly sights of death w ithin mine eyes! Methought I saw a thousand fearful wrecks; Ten thousand men that fishes gnaw’d upon; • • • Some jewels lay in dead men’s sk u lls; and, in those holes Where eyes did once inhabit, there were crept, As 'twere in scorn of eyes, reflecting gems, Which woo'd the slimy bottom of the deep, And mock'd the dead bones th a t lay s c a tte r'd by. I . i v . 21-33 Alfred Noyes observes that Shakespeare here opens a magic window in the "solid walls of the world" and peers into the "mysteries of the sea, as into some wizard's crystal,"9 a statement which explains the power of the sea here to elicit the sp e ll of te rro r which i t c a sts. In some of the tragedies, the sea serves in a small way to add to the terror of a particular moment. In Julius Caesar, for example, as the time for the horrendous crime approaches and the elements lapse into chaos the night before, Casca, in remembering the fright of the seas, induces a similar feeling for the audience: "i have seen / The ambitious and rage and foam, / To be exalted with the threatening clouds" (l.iii. 5 -7); while in Hamlet Horatio fears, causing the audience to fear as well, that the ghost will tempt Hamlet "toward the flood" or "to the dreadful summit of the cliff / That beetles o'er his base into the sea" (i.iv. 6 9-7 1), for

9Alfred Noyes, "Shakespeare and the Sea," Some Aspects of Modern Poetry (New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1924), p. 23l. 85

The very place puts toys of desperation, Without more motive, Into every brain That looks so many fathoms to the sea And hears it roar beneath. I.iv.75-78 Thus the sea lends an atmosphere of even greater horror to the fanciful activities of the ghost. In Macbeth, above all the other tragedies, the sea renders an atmosphere of horror. Shakespeare wishes the audi­ ence to develop a feeling of terror toward the evil working witches in order that it might perceive the kind of power in to whose hands Macbeth has committed his lif e and in order to intensify the apprehension for Macbeth’s fate. The witches stand as personifications of those wild tempests which wreck the soul, and the audience notes the first witch plotting malice with all her force, never doubting that she can and will haunt the sailor, keep sleep from him, and wear him down to the last stage of misery. And the witch's plans to work at sea, where most Elizabethan sailors found themselves at the mercy of the wild storms which seemed possessed by malevolent forces, deepens the horror of her evil power. This se cret and in v isib le s p i r i t of e v il combines with "the lo n e li­ ness of the sea to break down resistance . 11 I w ill drain him dry as hay: Sleep shall neither night nor day Hang upon his pent-house lid; He shall live a man forbid: Weary se'n nights nine times nine Shall he dwindle, peak and pine:

■*-°Treneer, p . 2 7 5 . 86

Though his bark cannot be lost, Yet it shall be tempest-tost. As Alfred Noyes sa y s:

Into the hands of these fleeting, incon­ sistent powers Macbeth delivers himself, and thenceforward he has no pilot, no certainty, no repose. At the very climax of the murder scene, beyond the knocking a t the gate, and infinitely more menacing to the soul, we hear as it were the deep baying of the bloodhound of that sea from which there is no escape: Whence is that knocking? What hands are here? Ha! They pluck out mine eyes. Will all great Neptune's Ocean wa 3 h this blood Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather The multitudinous seas incarnadine, Making the green one re d . The thumb of the pilot had been cast into the cauldron, and henceforward Macbeth is at the mercy of the elem ents.H In the romances, Shakespeare applies the sea in sev­ eral places to heighten the atmosphere of terror. In The Winter's Tale, the dramatist intensifies the horror of the death of Antigonus, who has absconded with Perdita, the king's daughter, by setting it, even at the expense of putting a sea coast in Bohemia, in an atmosphere of a horrifying sea, evok­ ing for the audience the worst possible fear and terror from the sea setting. The clown reconstructs the scene for the shepherd:

I have seen two such sig h ts, by sea and by land! but I am not to say it is a sea, for it is now the sky: betwixt the firmament and it you cannot thrust a bodkin's point. Shep. Why, boy, how is it?

n P. 2 3 5 . 87

Clo. I would you did but see how I t chafes, how it rages, how It takes up the shore I . . . 0 , the most piteous cry of the poor souls* sometimes to see'em, and not to see'em; now the ship boring the moon with her main-mast, and anon swallowed with yest and fro th . . . . to see how the sea flap-dragoned the ship : but, first, how the poor souls oared, and the sea mocked them; and how the poor gentle­ man roared and the bear mocked him, both roaring louder than the sea or weather. 1 1 1 .1 1 1 . 83 - 10^ In Pericles, the sea operates as such an intimate part of the play that the difficulty lies in extracting a few pas­ sages which invoke the atm< ore of terror for Pericles's fate, but many of the scenes and descriptions do serve this purpose; one brief example appears in a prologue: He, doing so, put fo rth to seas, Where when men been, there's seldom ease; For now the wind begins to blow; Thunder above and deeps below Make such unquiet, that the ship Should house him safe is wreck'd and split. II.prol.27-32 Perhaps as a result of the fascinating mystery of the ocean, Shakespeare also discovered the possibilities of the sea for eliciting an atmosphere of magic and supernatural charm. In two plays especially this atmosphere harmonizes with the primary motif of the plays. In Midsummer-Night's Dream, a play possessed by the magic of an enchanted night, young romance, and playful fairies, Shakespeare infuses a good portion of the atmosphere of magical wonderment into the play by his utilization of the sea, as will be seen below on the discussion of characterization as created by the sea usage. The employment of the sea to produce an atmos­ phere of magical enchantment and mysterious operations appears 88

again in The Tempest, in which play Prospero, a student of magic and supernatural powers, transforms the sea in to an instrument for his powers. But the mysterious actions of the sea greatly augment the enchanted quality which pervades the whole play. Even though a storm rages and threatens the men in it, the men not only survive the storm, but, as Ariel promises, "Not a hair perish’d; / On their sustaining garments not a blemish, / But fresher than before" (I.ii.217-219). Later the men themselves recognize this mysterious power of the sea, for as Gonzalo remarks, "our garments, being, as they were, drenched in the sea, hold notwithstanding their freshness and glosses, being rather new-dyed than stained with salt water" (II.i.61-64). Ariel engenders this atmos­ phere in the songin which he incorporates the sea for this e ffe c t: Come unto these yellow sands, And then take hands: Courtsied when you have and kiss'd The wild waves w hist, Foot i t fe a tly here and there; And sweet sprites, the burthen bear. I.ii.376-381 Ferdinand enhances this feeling when he hears the song and endows the water with some type of supernatural power. He reports that he was sitting on a bank, weeping his father's wreck, and "this music crept by me upon the water" (i.ii. 376-381). All this magical and mysterious atmosphere which the sea generates reinforces the atmosphere stimulated by the events on an enchanted island and the miraculous results of Prospero’s efforts. 89

One other instance of atmosphere engenderedby the possibilities of the sea appears as tragic, perhapsagain as a result of the Elizabethan’s and Shakespeare’s associa­ tion of the sea with tragic destruction and fatality. In the comedies, the tragic mood of the sea is used sparingly, and only then as a counterpoint to the comic situations and joyous conclusions. Antipholus of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors expresses his tragic situation in a sea image which for a moment in the comedy casts a gloom over the scene: I to the world am like a drop of water That in the ocean seeks another drop, Who, falling thereto find his fellow forth, Unseen, inquisitive, confounds himself: So I, to find a mother and a brother, In quest of them, unhappy, lose myself. I . i l . 35-^0 Also in Twelfth Night, the description of the sea wreck, as well as the one in Errors, lends a tragic atmosphere to the ensuing action. In several of the tragedies, especially the earlier, less great ones, Shakespeare exploits the sea for enhancing the tragic atmosphere of the plays. In Titus Andronicus the sea works constantly as a means of breeding this atmosphere. Titus compares himself at one point to one who stands upon a rock surrounded by a "wilderness of sea," marking the approach­ ing tide, "Expecting ever when some envious surge / Will in his brinish bowels swallow him" (ill.i.9^-97). Several lines later Titus invents an extended metaphor of himself and his daughter in comparison with the sea in order to heighten the tragic tone: 90

I am the sea; hark, how her sighs do blow* She is the weeping welkin, I the earth: Then must my sea be moved with her sig h s; Then must my earth with her continual tears Become a deluge, overflow*d and drown’d; For why my bowels cannot bide her woes, But like a drunkard must I vomit them; III.i.226-232

Finally, the pathos of Titus’s situation after Lavinia’s death issues from his d irectio n s to his sons to go "sound the ocean, and cast your nets," for she may be caught in the sea. Several passages in Romeo and Juliet also capture the mood of the tragedy through the use of the sea. When Juliet cries over her Romeo, the real mood of her sorrow emanates ironically from the words of her father, who employs sea imagery to express the way his daughter’s sadness seems to him: In one l i t t l e body Thou counterfeit'st a bark, a sea, a wind; For still thy eyes, which I may call the sea, Do ebb and flow with tears; the bark thy body is, Sailing in this salt flood; the winds, thy sighs; Who, raging with thy tears, and they with them, Without a sudden calm, will overset Thy tempest-tossed body. III.v .131-137 Many other references to the sea in this play strike the tragic mood, but a final one uttered by Romeo immediately before his death conveys all the tragic atmosphere needed to portray the depths of the pathos of his situation: Thou desperate p ilo t, now a t once run on The dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary barkj V .iii.117-118 Finally, a literal sea infuses the proper atmosphere into Timon of Athens to depict the pathetic plight of the human 91

situation. To the loneliness of the raging sea Timon retreats from the fickleness and in f id e lity of mankind and in th is gloomy and bleak environment seeks death and a grave "upon the beached verge of the salt flood" where the "light foam may beat / Thy grave-stone daily." The tragedy of Timon's circumstances receives intensification by this appearance of the sea. Shakespeare, recognizing the importance of nature in establishing the mood or atmosphere of a play, exploited the sea in a variety of ways to achieve a number of effects. Realizing the mystery and terror which the sea possessed for Elizabethans, he utilized these qualities primarily in the creation of mood, capitalizing on a well-established emotion associated with the sea.


Apart from the creation of an atmosphere by means of the sea, Shakespeare used the sea to heighten the emotions of his audience in their response to certain events of the plays. The sea becomes the ideal image fo r expressing sorrow and sadness, thereby evoking pity from the audience. The audience, for example, cannot resist responding compassionately to a king's lament of the cares that weigh upon him, as it must when Henry IV expresses the heaviness of his heart in nautical terms: Wilt thou upon the high and giddy mast Seal up the ship-boy’s eyes, and rock his brains In cradle of the rude imperious surge 92

And in the visitation of the winds, Who take the ruffian billows by the top, Curling their monstrous heads and hanging them With deafening clamour in the slippery clouds, That, with the hurly, death itself awakes? Canst thou, 0 partial sleep, give thy repose To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude, And in the calmest and most stillest night, With all appliances and means to boot, Deny i t to a king? 2 H. IV III.i.18-29 The pity which the audience feels for Lear becomes even more agonizing when his condition is described by means of sea Images: The sea, with such a storm as his bare head In h ell-b lack night endured, would have buoyfd up, And quench'd the stelled fires: Yet, poor old heart,-he holp the heavens to rain. Ill.v ii.59-62 P e ric le s 's sorrow also becomes in ten sified for the audience in sea terms when it learns that "he bears / a tempest, which his mortal vessel tears, / And yet he rides it out" (iV.iv. 29-31). Finally, Othello educes the deepest compassion after his own action has hurled down tragic blackness on his head: Here is my journey's end, here is my butt, And very sea-mark of my utmost sail. . . . Blow me about in winds! roast me in sulphur! Wash me in steep-down gulfs of liquid fire! V.ii.267-268; 279-280 In these and countless other passages, Shakespeare found the sea an effective dramatic device for heightening the emotions of pity, sadness, or sorrow for the characters in their pathetic circumstances. Shakespeare, realizing as all Elizabethans did that England stood as an island unto itself surrounded and pro­ tected by the raging sea, capitalized on this natural circumstance 93 and effectively utilized the sea to elicit another kind of emotion—patriotism. The poet seems to delight in England's island position, picturing her as "clipped in Neptune's arms" and "bound in with the triumphant seas." As Anne Treneer says, "many sea speeches are direct appeals to the patriotic feelings of the audience, "12 especially in the history plays, although such a usage of the sea does often unexpectedly appear in other plays. Cloten in Cymbe- line, who presents an odious and impudent figure, responds to Augustus Caesar's demand for tribute by saying.that "Brit­ ain is a world by itself"; his poisonous mother, an equally repulsive person, continues this idea in the following speech and b ea u tifu lly sp e lls out in an emotion-charged manner the blessing which the sea has begotten on England as a nation: Remember, s i r , my lieg e, The kings your ancestors, together with The natural bravery of your isle, which stands As Neptune's park, ribbed and paled in With rocks unscaleable and roaring w aters, With sands that will not bear your enemies' boats, But suck them up to the topmast. A kind of conquest Caesar made here; but made not here his brag Of 'Came* and 'saw' and 'overcame:' with shame— The first that ever touch'd him —he was carried Prom off our coast, twice beaten; and his shipping— Poor ignorant baubles!—on our terrible seas, Like egg-shells moved upon their surges, crack'd As easily 'gainst our rocks: for joy whereof The famed Cassibeland, who was once a t p o in t— 0 giglot fortune!—to master Caesar's sword, Made Lud's town with rejoicing fires’bright And Britons strut with courage. III.i.16-33 In Richard II, the gardener's servant speaks of England as

■^Treneer, p. 264 94

"our sea-walled garden" while Austria calls it a "water-walled bulwark." Although Gaunt is "a greedy adventurer of history,"^ he appears as a noble Englishman in the play in order that he might render the effective speech in which he describes England as: This precious stone set in the silver sea, Which serves it in the office of a wall Or as a moat defensive to a house, Against the envy of less happier lands. I I . i . 46-49 Later in the same speech he employs the sea again for its patriotic effect: England, bound in with the triumphant sea, Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame, With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds. 61-64

Hastings, in ^ Henry VI. draws on the sea in his argument for England to stand alone without the help of a marriage to France, and effectively punctuates his argument with patriotic emotion through his application of the sea: Let us be back'd with God and with the seas Which He hath given for fence impregnable, And with their helps only defend ourselves; In them and in ourselves our safety lie s . IV .i.43-46 And Canterbury, seeking to charge zeal for England's name into his speech, avails himself of an effective sea metaphor in desiring to "make England's chronicle as rich with praise / As is the ooze and bottom of the sea / With sunken wreck and sumless treasuries" (H. V I.ii.l63-l65). In King. John, Salisbury,

•^Treneer, p. 263. 95

with the aid of a sea image, makes an emotional appeal for the cleansing of England’s blots:

0 nation, th a t thou couldst remove! That Neptune’s arms, who clippeth thee about, Would bear thee from the knowledge of thyself, And grapple thee unto a pagan shore. V .ii.33-36 Thus, Shakespeare utilizes the sea as a device for heightening the emotion of the audience, particularly when the emotion involves pity or patriotism.


Shakespeare’s utilization of the sea in character por­ tra y a l becomes one of the most enlightening and in trig u in g studies in all his applications of the sea, for an examination of the complexity, subtlety, and progress of this technique offers deep insights into the workings of his genius. It reveals, for example, a view of the richness of Shakespeare’s creative faculties through an observation of the various ways in which the dramatist could employ this one facet in nature in depicting characters. It shows, in addition, how vitally the sea functions as one of his chief tools in the creation of his great art. More important, a study of Shakespeare’s varied use of the sea lends a better comprehension of the different methods Shakespeare developed in effectively por­ traying character. And finally, a pursuit such as this one divulges the evolution of Shakespeare’s art throughout his career. 96

In the early days of his career when he was laboring over the comedies and attempting to discover his own dramatic art form, Shakespeare made some weak efforts at capturing the sea as a useful tool and a t exp lo itin g i t s power as a means of gaining impact of character, but these efforts pro­ duced relatively unimpressive results. He reveals in The Comedy of Errors Luciana's more rational approach to situations and her acceptance of the way the universe operates; the sea, however, does not function as a separate entity of the universe, but only as part of the whole: Why, headstrong liberty is lash'd with woe. There's nothing situate under heaven's eye But hath his bound, in earth, in sea, in sky. I I . i . 15-17 Shakespeare had not as yet learned the puissance available to him in extracting the sea out of its natural context and exploiting it alone. Shortly afterwards in The Two Gentlemen of Verona a slightly more conscious effort at using the sea as part of character portrayal emerges. Julia, for example, invokes the sea several times as part of her speech. She reveals in the first act her self-effacing attitude in her unselfish devotion to her beloved by begging the wind to seize her name which appears in a love letter and "throw it thence into the raging sea" (l.il.122). Silvia produces a simple sea metaphor to express the sorrow and emotion of her condition when she speaks of her "heart / As full of sorrows as the sea of sands" (IV .iii.32-33). But yet these efforts do not offer any particularly important or artistic achievement in applying the sea to character depiction. 97

A significant advancement in characterization by sea arises in The Taming of the Shrew, In this play, Petruchio has the task of subduing Katharine's wildness and shrewishness, and he must himself therefore possess rugged­ ness and a capacity for endurance. For this part, then, Shakespeare conceives of him as having been a sailor. Because the sea has accustomed him to great noise, Katharine's ha­ ranguing will not disturb him: Think you a l i t t l e din can daunt mine ears? Have I not in my time heard lion's roar? Have I not heard the sea puff'd up with winds? I.ii.200-202 He punctuates much of his speech with nautical talk, mention­ ing the "swelling Adriatic seas" and talking of "boarding her." Hortensio asks him, "what happy gale / Blows you to Padua here from old Verona" and Katharine calls him a "mad-cap ruffian and a swearing Jack" (II.i.290). Gremio, in describing the wedding ceremony and Petruchio's actions, says: He calls for wine! 'A health!* quoth he, as if He had been aboard, carousing to his mates After a storm. III.ii.172-17^ Thus, Petruchio's character becomes more clear through under­ standing Shakespeare's use of the sea in regard to him in his role of tamer, and his qualifications for such a task seem more acceptable through this realization. Moreover, his mad­ cap, aggressive manners become more appropriate in this light. It does not stand as a significant artistic achievement, but it does represent an advancement in Shakespeare's recognition of the need for developing credible characters. 98

A real artistic improvement in characterization evolves by the time of Midsummer-Nightfs Dream. The primary usage of the sea in this play is for the purposes of characterization. Shakespeare held the exacting duty of presenting fairies on stage, here a task aggravated by the fact that this had to be accomplished mainly by the language they employed rath e r than by props and costumes. Thus, a certain fairyland quality and enchanted atmosphere had to be bestowed on the poetry. Shake­ speare, faced with this challenge, turned as he does time and again when trying to execute new advances in his art, to the sea as a source for the enrichment of his craft. Titania, remembering past fairy activities, talks to Oberon of not having met "in the beached margent of the sea, / To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind" (II.i. 8 5-8 6). And she speaks further of the supernatural actions of nature: Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain, As in revenge, have suck'd up from the sea Contagious fogs; which falling in the land Have every pelting river made so proud That they have overborne their continents. I I . i . 88-92 Later, Titania, in a description embued with the charm and magic of an e lfin character, remembers a pleasant, fa iry pas­ time in a far-away land: And, in the spiced Indian air, by night, Full often hath she gossip'd by my side, And sat with me on Neptune's yellow sands, Marking the embarked trad ers on the flood, When we have laugh'd to see the sails conceive And grow big-b ellied with the wanton wind; Which she, with p re tty and with swimming g ait Following—her womb then rich with my young squire,— Would imitate, and sail upon the land, 99

To fetch me trifles, and return again, As from a voyage, rich with merchandize. IX .i.124-134

With her magical powers she en tices Bottom with an offer to grant him fairies to attend on him who ’’shall fetch thee jewels from the deep” (Ill.i.l 6 l). The sea also lends charac­ terization to Oberon, for he too recalls the enchanted activi­ ties of the ocean, and in speeches ladened with a fairy-like quality, his personality actualizes: My gentle Puck, come hither. Thou rememberest Since once I sa t upon a promontory, And heard a mermaid on a dolphin's back Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath That the rude sea grew c iv il a t her song And certain stars shot madly from their spheres, To hear the sea-maid's music. II.i.148-154 And In one of the most charming passages in all of Shakespeare, the dramatist effects the elfish characterization of Oberon as he describes the sea ab sunrise: Even till the eastern gate, all fiery-red, Opening on Neptune with fair blessed beams, Turns Into yellow gold his salt green streams. I I I .i i .391-393 Thus, Shakespeare, in realizing characterization through the quality of the poetry of certain sea passages, closes out his apprenticeship of the early comedies and marks a sizable advancement in bis a r t in a manner more subtle and abstract than appeared In the other early comedies. Signifi­ cantly, he turned to the sea in his attempt to generate this quality in his poetry. In the early h isto ry plays, the HenryVI plays, Shake­ speare achieved a different method of characterization through 100

the use of the sea. By means of a central image associated with the main characters, Shakespeare arrived a t a manner of depicting something of their character and the circumstances in which they found themselves. Specifically, the imagery of shipping terms and the sea attaches itself to the primary figures, Henry VI and his queen, Margaret, but in ways appro­ priate to each. In the early scenes of 1 Henry VI, Joan La Pucelle asserts her position and determination by means of sea imagery: Glory is like a circle in the water, Which never ceaseth to enlarge itself Till by broad spreading it disperse to nought. With Henry's death the English circle ends; Dispersed are the glories it included. Now am I like that proud insulting ship Which Caesar and his fortune bare at once. I .ii.133-139 Many thematic and imagistic ramifications of character exist in this passage. First, the appropriateness of glory dis­ persing like circ les in water becomes obvious as the weak Henry VI takes on marine associations. It also relates to Joan's reference to herself as a ship that can make new circles of glory. The nature of her character, full of determination, confidence, and aggressiveness, crystalizes immediately in comparing herself with Caesar's confidence that his ship would not sink. But more important, it affords a poignant contrast with Henry's ship which is always associated with shipwreck. When Henry first hears Suffolk's description of Margaret, the king perceives that her charm: like as rigour of tempestuous gusts Provokes the mightiest hulk against the tide, 101

So am I driven by breath of her renown Either to suffer shipwreck or arrive Where I may have fruition of her love. V.v.5-9 The implications of this passage, through imagistic fore­ shadowing, later become manifest when Henry does suffer per­ sonal shipwreck because of Margaret. The shipwreck image reappears in Edward's words in 3 Henry VI after Margaret has worked her havoc on Henry: Some troops pursue the bloody-minded queen, That led calm Henry, though he were a king, As doth a sail, fill’d with a fretting gust, Command an argosy to stem the waves. II.vi.33-36 Suffolk describes Margaret, when he first sees this woman who functions as the sea threat to the king, in sea terms: As plays the sun upon the glassy streams, Twinkling another counterfeited beam, So seems th is gorgeous beauty to mine ey es. 1 H. VI V .iii.6 2 -64 Margaret elucidates Henry's propensity for shipwreck, as a result of his timidity, weakness, and lack of aggressive ness, through an extended use of sea imagery: Yet lives your pilot still. Is't meet that he Should leave the helm and like a fearful lad With te a rfu l eyes add water to the sea And give more strength to that which hath too much, Whiles, in his mean, the ship splits on the rock, Which industry and courage might have saved? 3 H. VI V.iv.6-11 Henry himself applies ship-disaster imagery in recognition of his own character. After he has squelched Cade and then receives a threat from York, he asserts that Thus stands my state, 'twixt Cade and York distress'd; Like to a ship that, having 'scaped a tempest, Is straightway calm'd and boarded with a pirate. 2 H. VI IV .ix .31-33 102

And even when York's head sits impaled on the town gates, Henry, instead of being gleeful over York's downfall when confronted by Margaret's question if the sight of York's head cheers him, responds only: Ay, as the rocks cheer them that fear their wreck. 3 H. VI II.ii.5 One final passage in the Henry VI plays discloses Shakespeare's refined usage of the central sea image method in portraying character and also reflects the degree to which the complexity of his art had advanced. Margaret, in striving to shame Henry into action and responsiveness, employs in a speech in which she accuses Henry of attempting to wreck her bark: The pretty-vaulting sea refused to drown me, Knowing that thou wouldst have me drown'd on shore, With tears as salt as sea, through thy unkindness: The splitting rocks cower'd in the sinking sands And would not dash me with their ragged sides, Because thy flinty heart, more hard than they, Might in thy palace perish Margaret. III.ii.94-100 An ironic contrast emanates here from its inverted association of Henry, who is usually associated with shipwreck images, as causing someone else's shipwreck, thus reinforcing the irony of Margaret's speech.

Interestingly enough, after this speech in which Margaret becomes associated with ships, she assumes nautical imagery in order to reveal the changing nature of her condition. When, for example, she must flee to Prance to beg assistance, she says that "now Margaret / Must strike her sail and learn awhile to serve / Where kings command" (3 H. VI 111.111.4-6), 103

and when Warwick enters, she, as a ship, encounters a new storm and reflects her changing condition again in marine terms by fearing that "now begins a second storm to rise; / For this is he that moves both wind and tide" (ill.iii.47-48). Shakespeare employed th is device of character depiction through an appropriate central sea image another time in these early history plays when he attempted to divulge the wicked character of Richard III. In the last of the Henry VI plays, Richard exposes his private thoughts when, in wishing on the crown, he declares: Why, then, but dream on sovereignty; Like one that stands upon a promontory, And spies a far-off shore where he would tread. III.ii.134-136 The remainder of the passage effectively communicates in sea terms Richard's ambition and the ruthlessness of his intention, and when he determines that he will "drown more sailors than

the mermaid shall" (Ill.ii.l 8 6), he furthers his role as a dangerous rocky shore. Margaret's speech organically picks up the idea of Richard's association with a rock when she says that Richard is "a ragged fatal rock" (lll.iv.127). Finally, in Richard III, Elizabeth appropriately delineates Richard's character by this same type of sea imagery association: And I, in such a desperate bay of death, Like a poor bark, of sails and tackling reft, Rush a l l to pieces on thy rocky bosom. IV.iv.232-234 Shakespeare, then, In his early history plays, uncovers the possibilities of his art and finally masters the dramatic device of choosing a central sea image and spinning out the 104

portrayal of a person's character by the interplay of this image. This method marks a significant advancement in his art and prepares him for later experimentation and development. In the second period of comedies, Shakespeare experi­ ments further with this sea-image method in characterization and discovers a variation of the sea motif. In The Merchant of Venice, he conceives of Portia as a jewel, a treasure to be valued, and thus associates wealth imagery with her. The casketsof gold, silver, and lead, an obvious irony existing in the last one, were bequeathed by Portia's father as the key to securing her hand in marriage. Bassanio envisions her as a lady "richly left," "nothing undervalued," and of great 'Worth." Her hair he compares to the "" and "a golden mesh to entrap the hearts of men." Other suitors speak of her as "so rich a gem," "an angel {the English coin] in a golden bed," and as a "prize." Since Portia appears, therefore, as an object of much worth, much of the depiction of her character springs from sea and merchandizing references, for The watery kingdom, whose ambitious head Spits in the face of heaven, is no bar To stop the foreign spirits, but they come, As o'er a brook, to see fair Portia. II.v ii.44-47 Bassanio, too, recognizes that much sea-traveling and shipping befall as a result of her value: Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth, For the four winds blow in from every coast Renowned s u ito rs . I.i.I67-I69 105

Actually, the revelation of Portia's character through mer­ chandizing and sea images operates subserviently to the broader aspects of the sea theme in the play, and the d is ­ closure of Portia's character through sea references exists as only one part of a total organic unity in the play. Thus Shakespeare, in uniting the device into the whole of the play, adds another dimension in his use of the sea in character depiction. In the period of the great tragedies, Shakespeare's art assumes even greater complexity and refinement, a fact revealed by the way in which he employs the sea as a means of depicting character. The method which he has perfected by the time of Othello seeks to portray something of the characters by the manner in which they u tiliz e sea images, as well as the types of sea images used. Othello and Iago possess entirely different attitudes toward, as well as methods of usage of, sea images. Othello, a warm, emotional, and impulsive individual, avails himself of sea images as they come to him naturally, "for on each 1 Ji occasion they mark a moment of intense emotion." At the height of his happiness, when he rejoins Desdemona at Cyprus, he employs an image which endures as "one of the most poig­ nant and moving in the p la y n*^5

^^Caroline P. E. Spurgeon, Shakespeare's Imagery and What I t Tells Us (New York: The Macmillan Company, l93o), PTT37. ^Spurgeon, p. 337. 106

0 my soul's joyI If after every tempest come such calms May the winds blow till they have waken'd death! And let the labouring bark climb hills of seas Olympus-high and duck again as low As hell's from heaven. II.i.186-191 Othello next evokes sea-imagery when his suspicion has hardened into conviction by Iago's evidence of the handker­ chief. But when lago urges patience and suggests that he may change his mind about his vengeance, Othello gives vent to his wrath by means of an image which portrays the coldness of his vengeance:

Like to the Pontic sea, Whose icy current and compulsive course Ne'er feels retiring ebb, and keeps due on To the Propontic and the Hellespont, Even so my bloody thoughts, with violent pace, Shall ne*er look back, n e 'e r ebb to humble love, Till that a capable and wide revenge Swallow them up. III.iii.453-^60 This passage, taken in the context of the preceding events of the play, effectually aids in understanding the real nature of Othello's emotional and natural character. As Clemen says: Here, in a simile, the tempestuousness and absolute nature of Othello's character finds clear expression, a nature, which, when once seized by a real suspicion, rushes violently along this new path, Incapable of every half-heartedness, of a retu rn , or of any compromise.^-® And after it is all over and Othello has executed the full measure of his revenge and come again to the full recognition of Desdemona's worth and his own error, he seizes again on sea

■^Clemen, p. 130 . 107 imagery to convey the intense impact of his feeling and determination to follow Desdemona:^ Here is my journey's end, here is my butt, And very sea-mark of my utmost sail. V.ii.267-268 Othello's sea images therefore yield genuine self-revelation. In Othello's imagination, the whole scope and power of the sea appears as he gropes for images, in which it appears as a potent force of nature.Clemen suggests that "again and again it occurs to Othello for the expression of his inner emotions through vivid, connected images."^-9 By contrast, Iago, although he uses sea terms with ease, employs sea images drawn more from the practical, lowly, technical language of ships When complaining that Othello had passed him over for Casslo, he describes himself as "be-lee'd and calm'd" (l.i.30); that Brabantio will take action against Othello to what extent the law "will give him cable" (l.ii.17); later he commonly depicts Othello's mar­ riage as a pirate taking a prize galleon; and he asserts to Roderigo that he is knot to his deserving "with cables of perdurable toughness" (l.ii.3^3). In his scheming, he declares that "I must show out a flag and sign of love, / Which is indeed but sign" (i.i.157-158)* and, when he sees

■^Spurgeon, p. 338. ■^Clemen, p. 1 2 6 .

^ p . 1 2 6 .

^Clemen, p. 126. 108

his plans shaping well he murmurs with satisfaction, "My boat s a ils fre e ly , both wind and stream" (11.111.64). Iago usually sc a tte rs s a i l o r ’s jargon In his Images and looks at the sea "only from a professional point of view."2-1- The broad scope of the sea as it appears in Othello's imagery is absent from Iago's sea references, and be regards the sea

only in a practical w a y .22

The sea images used In characterization in Othello, as in The Merchant of Venice, stand as only one part of a broader theme of the sea in the play, but Shakespeare has by this point arrived at the perfection of his art in creating organic, unified plays. His method of characterization has, of course, become more subtle and abstract, and a scrutiny of his sea images in characterization poignantly reveals the degree of advancement of his art. Shakespeare, however, was not content to continue to the end of bis career in the same path which be had dis­ covered, for by the time he arrives at The Tempest, he is applying the sea in a different manner to portray something of the characters of this play. In The Tempest Shakespeare divulges something about each of the characters by the manner in which they look at the sea or by the way they describe the sea.

^Clemen, p. 126.

2 2 Clemen, p. 126. 109

In the early part of the play, Prospero's lack of concern over the sea storm, in sharp contrast to Miranda, immediately establishes his calmness and rational attitudes which re s u lt from knowledge and understanding of the events taking place at sea. Even when he informs Miranda of their own sea adventure of many years preceding, Prospero discloses an attitude toward the sea which lacks cynicism, even in the face of the storms which threatened them, but one of sanity and acceptance of the operation of the universe, even refer­ ring to the action of winds which menaced them in oxymoronic terms as "loving wrong" (l.ii.151). His faith in life and the operation of things becomes even more lucid as he speaks of "Providence divine" that brought them to shore. When Prospero talks to Ariel about the sea, his attitude of prac­ ticality appears. The sea to him functions as an instrument by which he may effect the just ends he seeks. Finally, the sea reveals his competence and ability, not only in the tasks which he performs in the play, but also in the promise he makes to a l l : I'll deliver all; And promise you calm seas, auspicious gales And sail so expeditious that shall catch Your royal fleet far off. V .i.313-316 In Miranda's few references to the sea, the main character­ istic which emerges is her sensitivity and concern for others: 0, I have su ffe r'd With those that I saw suffer: a brave vessel, Who had, no doubt, some noble creature in her, Dash'd all to pieces, 0, the cry did knock Against my very heart. Poor souls, they perish'd. Had I been any god of power, I would Have sunk the sea within the earth or ere It should the good ship so have swallow’d and The fraughting souls within her. I.ii.5 -1 3 In one other sea passage, Miranda shadows forth a hint of her innocence and desire to gain some knowledge of the sea events when she asks her father the "reason / For raising

this seastorm"(I.ii. 1 7 6- 1 7 7). Ariel, in accordance with his role as a fairy, per­ ceives magic in the sea and the possibility for performing wondrous deeds. The sea primarily to him operates as a source for accomplishing his supernatural deeds and for dis­ charging the tasks assigned him by Prospero. His attitude betrays no emotion, but rather an objectivity in viewing the operation of the sea as it has responded to his command: the fire and cracks Of sulphurous roaring the most mighty Neptune Seem to besiege and make his bold waves tremble, Yea, his dread trident shake. I .ii.203-206 Ariel also exploits the sea in his verse to lend an enchanted quality to the lines, creating for his song something strange and magical: Full fathom five thy father lies; Of his bones are coral made; Those are pearls th a t were his eyes: Nothing of him that doth fade But doth suffer a sea-change Into something rich and strange. Sea nymphs hourly ring his knell. I .ii.396-402 Although Ferdinand makes only several references to the sea, one of these passages stands as the central concept of the sea for the entire play and renders good insight into the I l l

nature of Ferdinand’s character. At the end of the play,

after having gained knowledge of what has been occurring, he

recognizes that

Though the seas threaten, they are merciful; I have cursed them without cause. V . i . 178-179

In these two lines something of his youthful acceptance of

things and his untainted, uncynical, even blessed innocent

attitude toward life appears. The passage also reveals his

arrival at a comprehension of the events which have occurred.

Alonzo, Ferdinand's father, makes five references to the sea

in the play, and in all five references, he expresses his

concern over the loss of his son at sea, a fact which aids in

understanding the nature of his sorrow. Finally, the Boat­

swain discloses his professional attitude through references

to the sea. In the opening scene when the sea storm threatens

the ship, the Boatswain displays a seaman's respect for the

danger and power of the sea, and in the last scene he shows

his delight in the condition of his ship, "tight and yare

and bravely rigg'd as when / We first put out to sea" (V.i. 224-225).

The sea in The Tempest, the central object of nature

In the play, functions variously to reflect different aspects

of the characters in the play and serves to unify the play as

a whole since it provides the setting, the motivation of action,

the atmosphere, and much of the imagery. Thus, Shakespeare c li­ maxes his career with this significant utilization of the sea in

character portrayal. The isolating of the sea as it serves to portray character variously throughout the dramatist's career leads into significant insights into the developing richness and complexity of his art. When he first began to make some attempt at improving his craft in the comedies he utilized the sea to lend a quality to the poetry which would give the audience a feeling of something of the characters. In the early history plays, he experimented with creating a central sea image which would describe the nature of the character and, through the interplay of images, would reveal the characters and action. In the tragedies he discovered the method of depicting something about the characters by the manner in which they employed sea images and by the types of images they exploited. Finally, he found that the characters could be given other dimensions through appro­ priate attitudes toward the sea. The sea stands as a sig­ nificant characterizating device for Shakespeare throughout his career and reveals for the reader some of the methods and some of the progress which the dramatist developed. The sea served Shakespeare well as a dramatic device, offering him a vast supply of possibilities for his plots, his settings, backgrounds, and atmospheres, and above all his . For in character depiction, the sea ap­ pears to function the most variedly, complexly, and effectively, revealing a conscious striving on the dramatist's part to enrich his work. The sea serves well in atmosphere, also, rendering a vast number of possibilities to the dramatist 113 from its varied appearances. Finally, the sea functions most s ig n ific a n tly in the la s t romances where Shakespeare seems to be reaching beyond h is own g reat achievements and turning to the sea as a means of attaining this rarefied performance. CHAPTER IV


Shakespeare drew upon numerous activities of life around him, nature, games, occupations, and so on,, as a source for his images, but since the present study has already limited the source of his imagery to the sea, the need now is for a study of the ideas expressed by sea imagery, of the various objects, thoughts, conceptions, activities, rela tio n sh ip s, and feelings which he most read ily expresses through this type of figurative language. An examination of the ideas which are the most metaphorically productive of the sea for him leads to an understanding of certain imagistic patterns which evolve in his work as a whole. Furthermore, such a study reveals the importance of the sea as a source for imagery in his poetry, as well as revealing the frequency with which he employed poetic images drawn from i t , the ver­ satility which he possessed in utilizing these for the expres­ sion of various ideas, and the significance of the ideas which he portrayed with sea images. Finally, something of Shake­ speare’s artistic development appears through an observation of the changing patterns and the increasing refinement within each pattern.

114 115

So vital are sea images to Shakespeare's poetry that they are used continually to convey ideas about personal human concerns. Frequently sea Images communicate concepts about human qualities, reveal characteristics of particular groups of mankind, or depict human activities, dilemmas, relations, and emotions. Sometimes sea images also express ideas about less personal concepts such as battles, fame and praise, fate, and tim e.

Battles often become a significant element of in Shakespeare's dramas, but the staging of battles presents many difficult production problems to a dramatist as well as to the actors who must perform the plays. Although Shake­ speare did on occasion incorporate stage battles in a scene, he discovered that the most practical, and perhaps effective, manner of dram atically portraying them and giving a graphic impression of them to the audience, came from having such scenes reported on stage in forceful, poetic language which offered the audience a vivid picture. He also found that in reporting battles, the sea, with its various associations, provided a versatile and appropriate source for powerful images, and i t therefore becomes one of the most recurrent images in battle accounts. In the great variety of battle images, such aspects as retreat, the uncertainty of the out­ come of a battle, the charge of troops, the surprise of new forces in the battle, the changing advantage of battle, the sound, and even the gathering of spoils are represented in sea images. Probably a greater variety in use of such images occurs In accounts of battle than in any of the other sub­

jects for which they are used. The motion of the sea, its storms, its tide rushing into a breach, its sound, its dangers, its swallowing flood, and its threat to ships—all appear in speeches which attempt to re-create off-stage battle action. Quite naturally, most of these sea images appear in the his­ tory plays where most of the battles of Shakespeare occur, while a few appear in tragedies in which wars are prominent such as Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, and Coriolanus. Retreat from battle is most often expressed by means of sea storms, for the nature of storms causes helpless ob­ jects to seem to flee from their ferocity. An echo of this quality rings in the lines in 1 Henry IV when Glendower boasts that three times he has sent Bolingbroke "bootless home and weather-beaten back" ( ill.i. 6 8). A fuller develop­ ment of this association of battle emerges earlier in York's complaint in 3, Henry VI that all my followers to the eager foe Turn back and fly , lik e ships before the wind. I .iv .3 -4 Sea imagery appropriately conveys to the audience a feeling of the power which has sent certain troops helplessly into r e tr e a t.

The storms of the sea may, however, describe in a general way the danger and threat of war rather than retreat specifically. Pandolph, in King John, assumes the blame for starting the war, for having blown "this tempest up," but he asserts that now his "tongue shall hush again this storm of 117

war / And make fair weather in your blustering land” (V.i. 21-22). In the second scene in Macbeth, the Sergeant re­ hearses the events of the battle in which Macbeth has dis­ played his bravery, and also recounts the entrance into the battle of a new threat from the Norwegian forces, which arose lik e an unexpected storm from the sea: As whence the sun 'gins his reflection Shipwrecking storms and direful thunders break, So from that spring whence comfort seem'd to come Discomfort swells. I . i . 25-28 The appropriateness in the shift to sea imagery here arises from the fact that these are Norwegian forces who have obvi­ ously come to England from the sea. The word "swells," although intended in another sense here, is also on another level an extension of the sea imagery. Antony too compares the puissance of his own navy to a storm threat "most sea-like" (Antony I I I .x iii.1 7 1 ) . Stormy sea imagery seems to depict something of the feeling of the awfulness and destructiveness of b a ttle .

As the prospect of victory shifts from side to side with the outcome uncertain, Shakespeare finds the s h iftin g sea an apt image. I t may be, as the Sergeant in Macbeth states, as doubtful "as two spent swimmers," who struggle to survive in the sea and cling to and therefore jeopardize each other. But the changing tide of battle resembles more the swaying motion of the sea, which is how Henry VI describes it in one of the most graphic depictions of battle in all of Shakespeare: 118

Now sways i t th is way, lik e a mighty sea Forced to retire by fury of the wind: Sometime the flood p rev ails, and then the wind; Now one the better, then another best; Both tugging to be victors, breast to breast, Yet neither conqueror nor conquered: So is the equal poise of this fell war. 3 H. VI I I . v . 5-13 A vast body of so ld ie rs, immense, flowing, is rep­ resented by analogy with the tide of the sea or the swallow­ ing flood of the ocean. Aufidius in Coriolanus speaks of "pouring war / Into the bowels of ungrateful Rome, / Like a bold flood o 'er-b ear" (IV .v.135-137)• Henry V remembers that when his grandfather ventured with his troops to France, then the Scots came pouring into England "like the tide into a breach" (H. V I . i i . l 4 9 ) , while York in 3 Henry VI pictures his own troops in the face of the tide of opposing soldiers as a pitiful object at the mercy of the powerful ocean tide: "as I have seen a swan / With bootless labour swim against the tide / And spend her strength with over-matching waves" ( i . i v .20-22). The sea in th is image ap tly lends an impres­ sion of the enormous stretches of a body of soldiers and the te rro r which such a sig h t would s trik e . So much noise arises from a battle field that the con­ cept of clamor has almost become synonymous with war itself. This element of war also compares with the sea, specifically with its roaring surges. The fury which the citizens of Angiers threaten to the French and English will vent itself in battle and the "sea enraged" will not be as deafening as the sound of battle which they will create in defending their 119

city. Troilus too makes lucid the clamor of battle which he intends against :

not the dreadful spout Which shipment do the hurricane call, Constringed in mass by the almightysun, Shall dizzy with more clamour Neptune’s ear In his descent than shall my prompted sword P allin g on Diomed. (Troilus V .ii.171-176) Finally, even the activity of the soldiers in gather­ ing the spoils after battle is associated with the sea by Henry V when he realizes that it is as futile to command "the enraged soldiers in their spoil / As send precepts to the leviathan / To come ashore" (III.iii. 2 5-2 7). While Shakespeare does employ some sea imagery in por­ traying battles in a few tragedies, it appears from the pre­ ceding observations that his primary triumph in battle-sea images occur in the history plays, where he was more con­ cerned with presenting a vigorous account of the battles of English history, of communicating to the audience the very sound, sight, and smell of battle scenes. By the time of the tragedies, the poet was focusing his attention on more significant concerns. A small group of miscellaneous ideas expressed through sea images also appears in Shakespeare. He occasionally availed himself of images based on sea associations to portray various concepts of fame, fate, and time, and while these are not extremely numerous, he did utilize the sea in a consciously consistent and significant way in order to vitalize these con­ cepts . 120

Shakespeare employed sea imagery as a means of making statements on the concept of fame, praise, glory, honor, or renown, all these terms being loosely synonymous for wide­ spread reputations of admirable deeds. More specifically, he used sea images to express something about the transitoriness and danger of fame.

In 1_ Henry VI, Joan of Arc, determined to end the glory which the English attained under the leadership of Henry V, casts her thinking on the transitoriness of glory intoterms which, although not strictly oceanic, echo the seamotifs of the play: Glory is like a circle in the water, Which never ceaseth to enlarge itself Till by broad spreading it disperse to nought. I .ii.133-135 More important than its transitory aspect, praise threatens individuals by the many dangers which it may con­ tain. This quality of praise is reinforced by Shakespeare's recurrent feelings about the danger of the sea. Desire for fame and glory may cause an individual to venture carelessly

..I . forth beyond the limits of safety: I have ventured, Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders, This many summers in a sea of glory, But fa r beyond my depth. H. VIII III.iii.358-361 The dangers of glory may also be pictured as the dangers that lie hidden as one voyages on the sea of life: Say, Wolsey, that once trod the ways of glory, And sounded all the depths and shoals of honour, Pound thee a way, out of his wreck, to ris e in . H. VIII III.ii.435-437 This way of viewing glory comes about as a logical extension of the notion that life is analogous to a sea voyage, a man­ ner in which, as will appear later, Shakespeare constantly viewed human existence. Thus, even the reputation of another person may cause an individual to be driven into reckless sailing, as Henry VI determines upon hearing the praise of Margaret: So am I driven by breath of her renown Either to suffer shipwreck or arrive Where I may have fruition of her love. 1 H. VI V.v.7-9 The one sea image which does not stre s s the dangers of fame states the poet's desire for England's glory: . . . make England's chronicle as rich with praise As is the ooze and bottom of the sea With sunken wreck and sumless treasuries. H. V I . i i . 163-165 Shakespeare here of course draws not upon the destructive quality of the sea but upon its incredible capacity for wealth and riches. The: inevitability and the irresistibility of fate often compares with the overpowering force of the sea's opera­ tion in such images as "the fortune of the sea" (1 H. VI V .i.50) "flood of fortune" (Twel. IV .ill.11), "the fortune of us that are the moon's men doth ebb and flow lik e the sea" (1 H. IV I.ii.35-36), and "it boots not to resist" the wind and tide of what fates impose (3 H. VI IV .iii.58-59). But Shakespeare also uses sailing imagery to picture fate as in some manner driving man's bark on his sea voyage. Romeo twice conceives of fate as the pilot of his ship: 122

. . .he, that hath the steerage of my course, Direct my sail! I.iv .112-113

In the last act, Romeo explicitly addresses fate as his pilot:

Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on The dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary bark! V .iii.117-118 Several other passages also echo sailing associations. Rosa­ lind says that she knows "into what straits of fortune she

is driven" (A. Y. L. V.ii. 7 1), and Candidus announces to Antony that "our fortune on the sea is out of breath / And sinks most lamentably" (Antony III.x.25-26). Good fortune may also be the objective of a sailing venture, as implied in Brutus's familiar statement that "there is a tide in the affairs of men, / Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune" (Caesar IV .iii.218-219). One other minor group of sea images expresses some­ thing about time. Antony talks about living "in the tide of times" (Caesar III. i . 2 5 7), Macbeth imagines man as standing

"upon this bank and shoal of time" (l.vii. 6 ), and the Arch­ bishop in £ Henry IV reflects on "which way the stream of time doth run" (lV.i. 7 0), which image may not be s t r i c t l y an oceanic conception. The purgative quality of the sea is em­ ployed to express a characteristic of time in Twelfth Night when Fabian informs Sir Toby that "the double gilt of this opportunity you let time wash off" (lll.ii. 2 7), an image which in itself does not associate with the sea but in the light of the warning to Sir Toby in the same sentence that "you are now sailed into the north of my lady's opinion" it 123 does have this connection. The importance of sea imagery to Shakespeare is seen in his utilization of it to express those concepts, qualities, emotions, actions, situations, and relationships which belong to mankind. The sea, in its imagistic appearance in his plays, rolls an infinite horizon around human conduct and the psychic life as it receives expression in his poetry and appears inti­ mately associated with man. Thus an analysis of its operation in its artistic application to human concepts provides a better appreciation and understanding of the development of his craftsmanship. Since human emotion functions as an indispensable element in every drama, Shakespeare's depiction of it through sea imagery reflects the importance of the sea in his poetic creations. He found time and again that sea imagery appro­ priately supplied the power for an emotion at necessary moments in a play. Since emotion comes most often as an impetuously violent feeling, the sea, through its associations with violent strength, aptly describes the quality of most emotions. In the poet's mind emotion comes as an on-rushing tide, swelling, overflowing, swallowing, or filling. G. Wilson Knight, in studying the sea only as it reflects tempests, concludes that emotions appear exclusively as a storm or tempest and that the primary emotion is grief.Shakespeare, however, does not restrict sea imagery so narrowly in revealing

3-The Shakesperian Tempest (London: Oxford U niversity Press, 1932), p. 31. 124

emotion. Rather, he utilizesvarious elements of the sea to express a variety of emotions in their rising and swelling in man. He communicates the overwhelming sweep of fear by call­

ing it "the tide of fearful faction 11 (1 H. IV IV .i.6 7); he portrays the awfulness of hatred by labeling it "this louring

tempest of your home-bred hate" (R. II I.iii. 1 8 7); or he dis­ closes the overpowering rush of joy in an extended metaphor by describing it as "this great sea of joys rushing upon me / O’erbear the shores of my mortality, / And drown me with their sweetness" (Per. V .i.194-196). As Knight points out, sorrow does emerge as an emotion depicted by sea imagery, but, the sea in a state of storm does not always appear, as he says, as an expression of sorrow. The poet may convey the pain of a saddened heart by describ­ ing it "as full of sorrow as the sea of sands" (T. G. V. IV.iii.33); or he may launch into an of the nature of melancholy by visualizing it as a sea itself:

0 melancholy! Who ever yet could sound thy bottom? find The ooze, to show what coast thy sluggish cares Might easiliest harbour in? Cym. IV .ii.203-206 The sorrow may not be personal, but one that threatens to possess a whole nation: "what a tide of woes / Comes rushing on this woeful land at once" (R. II II.ii.98-99). Grief may be a rising thing, threatening to drown everything else: "Know that our griefs are risen to the top, / And now at length they overflow their banks" (Per. II.iv.23-24); "for my par­ ticular grief / Is of so flood-gate and oferbearing nature / 125

That it engluts and swallows other sorrows / And it is still

itself" (Oth. I.lii.55-58). When, however, Shakespeare does cast sorrow in to tempest sea imagery, i t becomes very poig­ nant. In utilizing his standard concept of life as a sea voyage, the poet represents the emotion of sorrow as one of its great storms: He bears A tempest, which his mortal vessel tears, And yet he rides it out. Per. IV.iv.29-31 Sea imagery portrays human rage and anger more often than it does sorrow. Shakespeare expresses anger often in this way: Shylock mocks Antonio by saying "why look you, how you storm" (Merch. I .iil.1 3 8 ) ; King Lewis te lls Margaret to "calm the stornJ' of anger that rages within her (3 H. VI

I I I . i i i . 3 8 ); and Aaron expresses the violence of his anger when he declares that "the ocean swells not so as Aaron

storms" (Titus IV.ii.139). King Richard describes Bolingbroke and Mowbray as "full of ire, / In rage deaf as the sea" (R. II I . i . 18-19); th is comparison u tiliz e s i t s raging sound as a means of depicting the degree of anger possessed bythese men. Henry V’s rage, revealed in his assaults on Prance, has the fierceness of the "sucking of a gulf." A rather extended com­ parison with the ocean bespeaks the violence of Laertes’s anger in Hamlet:

The ocean , overpow ering o f h is l i s t , Eats not the flats with more impetuous haste Than your L a e r te s , in a r io to u s head, O'erbears your officers. IV.v.99-102 126

Bolingbroke's rage swells above its limits, "covering your fearful land / With hard bright steel and hearts harder than ste e l" (R. II I I I . 11.110-111). Thus sea imagery vividly expresses the nature of human . emotion, revealing its violence, its power, and its impetu­ ous and continuous rising in man's soul. Although the poet draws upon various elements of the sea to express emotion imagistically, primarily he thinks of human feeling as a ris­ ing tide, flood, or swell, while on occasion human emotion is so powerful that tempest imagery best represents it. Love, one of the central themes of Shakespeare's plays, is often expressed through the use of sea imagery. Throughout his plays in trying to define love, express some­ thing about its nature, or convey its impact on a character, he uses the sea as one of the primary vehicles for such expressions. Specifically, the intensity of love, its dan­ gers, its value to an individual, its sometime violence, and above all its infinity of passion are expressed through sea imagery. Sometimes shipping and merchandizing terminology help in creating metaphors to express something about the nature of love; sometimes the sea's worth, the sea's violence, and, above all, the boundlessness or infinite capacity of the sea are drawn upon to portray the quality of personal love. Merchandizing and shipping terminology provide an important source for making statements about love, supplying appropriate and versatile images for the poetry. Not only do the associations of riches and treasure help to reinforce a 127

feeling about the value of love, but also an idea of the relationships and characteristics of the love are expressed. Romeo, for example, describes the intensity of his love in shipping imagery, revealing as well the value of such a thing to him: I am no pilot; yet, wert thou as far As that vast shore wash'd with the farthest sea, I would adventure for such merchandise. II.ii.82-84 Troilus employs such imagery several times to give the audi­ ence an insight into the nature of his love. In a rather elaborate image, be establishes, in metaphysical fashion, a metaphorical equation and conclusion. He declares that the bed whereon Cressid lies represents India and that she within it is a pearl (Troilus I.i.103-107). The distance between their houses serves as the sea, he functions as the merchant that desires to trade with this eastern country, and Pandar, the liaison, acts as the ship that transports his hope. Again, the merchandizing imagery expresses the nature of the three-way relationship as well as the value of the thing in which he deals. Later he alters the metaphor and represents his eyes and ears as pilots in the business of love that trade "'twixt the dangerous shores / Of will and judgement" (Troilus II.ii.64-63). Gratiano in The Merchant of Venice makes an observation on the nature of love's desire by compar­ ing it to a ship. In this speech be asserts that everything, including love, in pursuit is eager and passionate, but once satiated appears unenthusiastic and indifferent, for all things "are with more spirit chased than enjoy'd": How like a younker or a prodigal The scarfed bark puts from her native bay, Hugg'd and embraced by the strumpet wind! How like the prodigal doth she return, With over-weather'd ribs and ragged sails, Lean, rent, and beggar’d by the strumpet wind! II.v i.13-19 Love usually consists of pleasantry and tenderness, but it may possess violence and rage when the affair does not go smoothly. Julia in Two Gentlemen describes what happens to thwarted love. "The more thou damn’st it up, the more it burns." She then compares it to a current that glides smoothly but which when stopped, "impatiently doth rage" (ll.vii.26). Romeo also recognizes this quality of love in his definition of it in sea terms: "Being vex'd [it

i s J a sea nourish'd with lovers' tears" (l.i. 1 9 8). And Othello's infinite sea of love, when frustrated turns into vengeance "like to the Pontic sea, / Whose icy current and compulsive course / Ne'er feels retiring ebb, but keeps due on / To the Propontic and the Hellespont" (111.111.453-456). But above all else, love is infinite, boundless, and inconceivably vast, characteristics almost invariably associ­ ated with the sea. Early in his career, Shakespeare vaguely associated the sea with love in this manner: A thousand oaths, an ocean of his tears, And instances of infinite of love, Warrant me welcome to my Proteus. T. G. V. I l . v i i .69-71

By the tim e o f Romeo and J u l i e t , the a s s o c ia t io n o f sea and

love has crystallized into a permanent relationship for express­

ing the bounty of love. Juliet asserts that her "bounty is as boundless as the sea, / My love as deep; the more I give to 129 thee, / The more I have, for both are Infinite" (II.ii.133-135). Later in As_ You Like I t , i t becomes a common means of express­ ing the deepness of one's love, as Rosalind says:

0 coz, , . , that thou didst know how many fathom deep I am in love 1 But it cannot be sounded: my affection hath an unknown bottom, like the bay of Portugal. IV .i.212-215 This standard comparison gains in variety and dimension in Twelfth Night when Orsino acknowledges that the spirit of love in its capacity "receiveth as the sea," but that also like the sea, anything which enters i t loses in value when compared with its richness and vastness (I.i.9-1*0. Later in the same play, the Duke, rather than overtly stating the boundlessness of his love by comparing it with the sea, implies the analogy by saying that his love "is all as hungry as the sea, / And can digest as much" (lI.iv.103-104). Celia turns the concept towards the waste of unlimited love on an unworthy or unre­ sponsive object, when she answers:

0 rather, bottomless; that as fast as you pour affection in, it runs out. Troilus lends another variation to this recurring concept when he tells Pandarus that "there my hopes lie drown'd, / Reply not in how many fathoms deep / They lie indrench*d" (i.i.49-50). Finally, Othello implies a comparison between his love's value and the infinity of the sea's riches when he makes it clear that his love for the gentle Desdemona is worth more than all "the sea's worth" (l.ii. 2 8). Significantly, sea imagery as it expresses something about the nature, of love appears in Shakespeare's greatest 130

tragic love stories, Romeo and Juliet, Troilus and Cresslda, and Othello, and, as is seen below In the discussion of sea themes, constitutes the major motif of these plays. In order to intensify the tragedy which accompanies love, the poet sought to impress the audience by means of vivid sea imagery which would remain with the audience and echo all through the play, thereby heightening the ensuing tragedy. The importance of the sea as an image is seen in his reliance on it as a source for intensifying his poetry. Not only does Shakespeare express emotions by means of sea imagery, but he also at times imaglstically conceives of one of the physical manifestations of emotion, tears, in sea terms. G. Wilson Knight asserts that Shakespeare always

associates grief and tears with sea tempests 2 and thereby restricts the poet too greatly in the association. But the poet uses a variety of relationships between sea and tears. For one thing, the tears may be tears of either joy or sorrow, and not just of sorrow as Knight says. In addition, a variety of elements of the sea are used to portray tears metaphorically and a variety of combinations of sea and tears exists through­ out the plays. While sometimes Shakespeare does employ tem­ pests as images for tears, at other times he associates the eyes as a source for tears with the sea, or he relates tears with various characteristics of the sea. In some places when the poet compares the eyes with the sea, the tears serve as the ebbing and flowing tide. An

2Knight, p. 31 extended metaphor of this appears in Romeo and Juliet when Capulet vividly sketches the picture of Juliet's sorrow: For still thy eyes, which I may call the sea, Do ebb and flow with tears; the bark thy body is, Sailing in this salt flood; the winds, thy sighs; Who, raging with thy tears, and they with them, Without a sudden calm, will overset Thy tempest-tossed body. III.v .133-138 In Titus Andronicus, Titus compares his own eyes to the sea and implies that his tears are tributaries which fill them (III.i.268-270), while Portia refers to her eye as a "watery death-bed for him" (Merch. III.ii.46-48). In The Winter's Tale the shepherd conceives of Florizel's looking into Perdita's eyes as the moon looking upon the sea. Shakespeare, drawing upon the conventional Petrarchan conceit of the Sonneteers, uses the sea to depict tears, be they tears of joy or sorrow. In one of his very earliest plays, he offers a rather artificial picture of the King's tears of love and the resulting beauty of the Princess's fa c e : Nor shines the silver moon one half so bright Through the transparent bosom of the deep, As doth thy face through tears of mine give light; Thou shinest in every tear that I do weep. L. L. L. IV .iii.30-33 In another early play, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, tears are depicted in several places by means of sea imagery. Proteus, in a contrived association, tells Julia that the tide stands ready for his departure, but then quibbles on the concept by telling her, "not thy tide of tears; / That tide will stay me longer than I should" (II.ii.14-15), while Julia talks of 132

the tears of joy of Proteus as "an ocean of his tears"

( l l . v i i . 6 9). In the same play, Proteus refers to Silvia's tears as a "sea of melting pearl" (111.1.224). In still other early plays the ocean provides much imagery for tears: "Upon his face an ocean of salt tears" (2 H. VI

I I I . i i . 143)1 "seas of tears" (3 H. VI II.v. 6 ); and "sea-salt tears" (Titus III.il.20). Knight is correct, however, in pointing out that Shakespeare does use tempest imagery to portray human tears. One slightly elaborate metaphor he uses several times pic­ tures the Soul as providing the wind, as a result of sighs, for blowing up the tempest in the eyes. The father that has accidentally killed his own son in 3. Henry VI says, "see what showers arise, / Blown with the windy tempestof my heart"

(I I . v . 8 5- 8 6), while King Lewis, after observing Salisbury's weeping over the condition of his island nation, refers to his tears as "this shower, blown up by tempest of the soul" (John V .li.50). Hermia answers Lysander's question as to why her own cheeks were so pale by saying "belikefor want of rain, which I could w ell / Beteem them from the tempest of my eyes" (Dream I.i.1 3 0 -1 3 1 ). Enobarbus goes beyond the mere associa­ tion of tears with tempests and declares that Cleopatra's are greater than that: . . . we cannot call her winds and waters sighs and tears; they are greater storms and tempests than almanacs can rep o rt. Antony I .ii.152-154 Interestingly enough, except for two incidental refer­ ences in the later plays, one in Antony and Cleopatra and one 133

in The Winter *3 Tale, all of the sea and tear associations appear in plays before the period of the great tragedies, and all of these belong to the earliest period, except for one incidental reference in The Merchant of Venice. No such association appears in any of the great tragedies nor in plays which are of superior a r tis tr y . What seems even more curious is the fact that with all the emphasis on the sea and an abundant utilization of it in the last romances, the better works and tragedies do not contain this association. Obviously then the sea and tear association is a very early, a r t i f i c i a l image which Shakespeare soon a f te r he developed more artistic images and more subtle ways of con­ veying emotion. F in ally , th is realiz a tio n seems to reduce the importance which Knight has given to the tempest-grief association in Shakespeare*s plays. In addition to human emotion, Shakespeare used the sea to make statements directly about man and his activities. One way in which oceanic imagery operates is by conveying feelings, attitudes, and qualities about various groups of people. Although miscellaneous sea images appear for many groups, various elements of the sea are used to express a variety of concepts about women, kings, and mobs. The value and beauty of the sea provide appropriate sources for poetic statem ents about women, the power and vastness of the sea aptly bespeak the quality of kings, while other characteristics of the sea reveal the baseness of mobs and the populace. Shakespeare sometimes utilized sea imagery to express man's feelings about femininity and the female nature. Usually the beauty and richness of the sea best provide a source for statements about women. The Taming of the Shrew, however, pre­ sents a different type of woman and a different type of male- female relationship. Thus, the crueler qualities of the sea provide Petruchio with images to express his feelings about Katbarina. He thinks of Katharina's shrewish tongue and, determining that it will not disturb him, makes an implied comparison between it and the sea: "Have I not heard the sea puff'd up with winds / Rage like an angry boar chafed with sweat?" (I.ii.202-203). He also decides that she will not extinguish his affection for her, "were she as rough / As are the swelling Adriatic seas" (l.ii.73-74). Also woman's indecision is expressed in sea terms by Antony when he speaks of Octavia as being like a swan's down-featber, "that stands upon the swell at full of tide, / And neither way inclines" (Antony III.ii.49-50). Usually, however, Shakespeare's men conceive of women in sea images as charming and beautiful. The beauty of the sea comes to Suffolk as the best comparison to make with Margaret's beauty wherein he visualizes the sun's playing on the glassy sea, "twinkling another counterfeited beam, /

So seems this gorgeous beauty to mine eyes" (1 H. VI V .iii. 63-64). Perdita's charm and grace cause Plorizel to think of the ocean's constant rhythm and tells her that "when you dance, I wish you / A wave o' the sea, that you might ever do / 135

Nothing but that" (W. Tale IV.iv.l40-l42). Shakespeare's peculiar concept of the ocean as containing great wealth renders an appropriate association for the images by which men seek to express the value of women. Valentinus feels that he is: . . . as rich in having such a jewel As twenty seas, if all their sand were pearl, The water nectar and the rocks pure gold. T. G. V. I I . i v . 169-171 The sea also provides the means to wealth through merchandiz­ ing and when Desdemona arrives by ship, Cassio says that "the riches of the ship is come to shore" (Oth. II.i.84-85). Finally, this concept of woman appears in Troilus and Cresslda in a passage in which the poet elaborated upon Marlowe's famous l in e :

. . . why, she is a pearl Whose price hath launch'd above a thousand ships, And turn’d crown'd kings to merchants. II.ii.81-83 Another human group which Shakespeare visualizes in sea terms is kings. The appropriateness of the sea as an image for kings arise s prim arily from i ts incredible size which overwhelmed the p o et's imagination. Henry V, in speaking of the king's burdens, aptly conceives in oceanic terms of "the tide of pomp / That beats upon the high shore of this world" (H. V IV.i.281-282). The enormity of the sea also associates it with the greatness of the king himself. Portia, in speaking of the nature of kings,says that a substi­ tute king appears competent until a true king be by, "and then his state / Empties itself, as doth an inland brook / 136

Into the main of waters" (Merch. V .i.95-97). Richard ridi­ cules Margaret about the pretensions of her father’s being a king, "as if a channel should be call’d the sea" (3 H. VI II.ii.l4 l). Wolsey also Informs Katharine that when kings meet with stubborn s p ir its "they sw ell, and grow as te rrib le as storms" (H. VIII III.i.163-164). Sometimes, however, the poet in v erts the image and compares a king surrounded by his loving citizens to "his island girt with the ocean" (3 H. VI IV.viii.20). A king's right, a divine right, which flows to the king, must not be impeded or I t w ill "leave his native channel and o'erswell / With course disturb'd even thy con­ fining shores, / Unless thou let his silver water keep / A peaceful progress to the ocean" (John II.i.337-340). But if a king is thought of in the ty p ic al image of man on an ocean voyage, then he must, as Henry V says, "Be like a king and show his sail of greatness" (H. V I.ii.274).

Shakespeare chooses various appropriate qualities of the sea to express a consistently low opinion about the common mobs. The fickleness of the masses aptly compares with the eternal ebbing and flowing of the oceans, as Caesar realizes in Antony and Cleopatra; . . . This common body, Like to a vagabond flag upon the stream, Goes to and back, lackeying the varying tide, To rot itself with motion. I . i v . 44-47 When Buckingham thinks on th is q u ality of the mob and how the people turn away from someone whose fortunes are In decline, they appear to him to "fall away like water from ye" (H. VIII 137

II.i.129-130). The crowd's envy of those who have attained outstanding achievements causes them to criticize, but they

are only like "ravenous fishes" which ' 6 o a vessel follow / That is new-trimmed, but benefit no further / Than vainly longing" (H. VIII I.ii.79-81). The instability of the masses appears in Antony’s speech in Julius Caesar when he says that he desires not to stir up the crowd to a "sudden flood of mutiny" (III.ii.2l4). Timon, more than any other Shakespearian hero, is victimized by the ignoble crowds which pursue him for their own advantage, and, in his developing cynicism, he calls them a "tide of knaves." The poet in Timon also perceives something of their nature and refers to these despicable exploiters as "this confluence, this great flood of visitors" (l.i.42). The populace also produces much noise in accordance with its crude manners. When Pistol hears the shouts, he announces in a sea metaphor that "there roar'd the sea" (2 H. IV

V. v . 42), while a gentleman in Henry VIII utilizes a different type of sea image to report the actions of the crowd: . . . such a noise arose As the shrouds make at sea in a stiff tempest, As loud, and to as many tunes. IV .i.71-73 Although he primarily used it to depict the populace unfavorably, the poet also elicited sea imagery as a device to vitalize certain pictures of the people as they constitute a nation. The courtly crowd is referred to as a "rich stream of lords and ladies" (H. VIII IV.i.63-64). The troubles of a nation may also be thought of in sea terms and appear as the 1 3 8 "storms of state." Aaron seeks to "calm this tempest whirling in the court," for he realizes, as Suffolk says, that "the commonwealth does daily run to wreck" (2 H. VI I.iii.127). Finally, the people as followers of their king are portrayed in a metaphor in King John which logically extends the previously noted concept of the king as a mighty ocean: We will untread the steps of damned flight, And like a bated and retired flood, Leaving our rankness and irregular course, Stoop low within those bounds we have o'erlooked And calmly run on in obedience Even to our ocean, to our great King John. V .iv .52-58 Of these groups which Shakespeare has chosen to depict through sea images, the sea imagery of females appears pri­ marily in the romantic type of dramas, early ones as well as late, while the sea portraits of the kings exist naturally enough in the history plays. Mob portrayals reveal little consistency of usage, appearing in all types of plays, early and late. The depiction of human groups through this type of metaphor seems not to have been a conscious or habitual effort on the poet's part but rather a natural result of his attempt to render vivid and appropriate images of mankind. Shakespeare, concerned about human qualities and human values in his plays, turned frequently to the sea as one of the chief means of stressing the importance of these things through poetic language. When portraying man's strength or weakness, man's mental condition or activity, man's cruelty, ingratitude, pride, and many other qualities, Shakespeare drew 139 upon sea imagery to make clear and forceful his statements. He also drew upon various parts of the sea to create his statement, sometimes employing sailing terminology, some­ times using the various activities and appearances of the sea itself. Miss Caroline Spurgeon generalizes that man in Shake­ speare "is a ’fragile vessel’ in ’life’s uncertain voyage,' and each human being launched into this world is as a frail bark set afloat on the great and stormy ocean of his own passions"3 While it is true that Shakespeare constantly conceives of man's life as an ocean voyage and that he often depicts man in his tragedies as being in great peril on this , the poet more accurately states that many differ­ ent boats perform differently in the sea, for "light boats sail swift, though great hulks draw deep" (Troi. II.iii. 2 7 7). Also storms serve to reveal the true qualities of an individual. The statement in Coriolanus that "when the sea was calm all boats alike / Show'd mastership in floating," derives from an earlier, more elaborately developed statement about the revelation of human qualities: In the reproof of chance Lies the true proof of men: the sea being smooth, How many shallow bauble boats dare sail Upon her patient breast, making their way With those of nobler bulk! But le t the ru ffian Boreas once enrage The gentle Thetis, and anon behold The strong ribb'd bark through liquid mountains cut, Bounding between the two moist elements, Like Perseus' horse: where’s then the saucy boat Whose weak untim ber’d sides but even now Co-rivall'd greatness? Either to harbour fled,

^Shakespeare's Imagery and What it Tells Us (New York: The Macmillan"Company, 193b), p. 2 5 . 140 Or made a toast for Neptune. Even so Doth valour’s show and valour's worth divide In storms of fortune; for in her ray and brightness The herd hath more annoyance by the breese Than by the tiger; but when the splitting wind Makes flexible the knees of knotted oaks, And flies fled under shade, why, then the thing of courage As roused with rage with rage doth sympathize, And with an accent tuned in selfsame key Retorts to chiding fortune. Troi. I.iii.33-54 The opposite, of course, is logically true: if a man is weak, he appears as "a bark to brook no mighty sea" (R. I l l I l l . v i i . 162). An incidental image of man as a ship and the quality of his ship appear in Cymbeline where Imogen, upon viewing a headless corpse, which she thinks is Posthumus, refers to her husband as the "most bravest vessel of the world" from which she thinks someone has "struck the main-top" (IV.ii. 320 -3 2 1 ). Shakespeare often turned to the sea itself as a power­ fu l image to give impressions about man's nature, and not just the meeker qualities of the sea, but to the violent, raging, stormy, and powerful phases. If a man possesses stren g th , greatness, and a b ility , he cannot be pictured as a 'fragile vessel,' as Miss Spurgeon says, but may even appear like Warwick who is pictured as a storm itself and "moves both wind and tide" (3 H. VI III.ill.47-48). Coriolanus also has proved his strength and courage in war and as "his pupil age / Man-entered thus, he waxed like a sea" (II.ii.102-103). Antony's greatness and strength appear appropriately in a powerful sea image which sta te s th at he was once so mighty th at "his legs bestrid the ocean: his rear'd arm / Crested the world" 141

(V .ii.82-83). In The Tempest a conversation concerning the nature of courage and the need for it, as well as the nature of weakness and fear, is conducted almost exclusively in sea jargon: Sebastian declares that he is "standing water," meaning that he is ready to listen to what Antonio has to say, while Antonio declares that he will teach him how "to flow," how to delve into action. Sebastian answers that his hereditary slothfulness has only taught him "to ebb," to decline. Antonio then responds that "ebbing men, indeed, / Most often do so near the bottom run/ By their own fear or sloth" (II.i.221-228). The imagistic associations for stat­ ing weakness in this manner seem to have first been made in 2_ Henry IV when Lancaster accuses Hastings, "You are too shallow, Hastings, much too shallow" (IV .ii.50-51). A man may also become weak by being "given line and scope, / Till th a t his passions, lik e a whale on ground, / Confound them­ selves with working" (2 H. IV IV.iv.39-41). The violent nature of the sea also expresses the condi­ tion of man's mind, especially his more insane moments. Ger­ trude thinks of this quality of the sea when the king asks her about Hamlet and she replies that he is "mad as the sea and wind, when both contend / Which is mightier" (IV.1.7-8) and Cordelia realizes that her father is "as mad as the vex'd sea" (Lear IV.iv.2). Earlier in Lear Gloucester presents a rather extended metaphor describing Lear's state of mind in the same terms: 142

The sea, with such a storm as his bare head In hell-black night endured, would have buoy’d up, And quench’d the stelled fires. III.vii.59-61 Alcibiades also casts Timon’s madness in lik e terms when he reports to Timandra that "his wits are drown'd and lost in

his calamaties" (Timon IV .iii. 8 8-8 9). Othello's mental con- 1 dltion has not reached the degree of insanityof theseothers, but his type of madness is painted v ividly in sea images which reveal his "bloody thought":

Like to the Pontic sea, Whose icy current and compulsive course Ne'er feels retiring ebb, but keeps due on To the Propontic and the Hellespont Even so my bloody thought, with violent pace, Shall n e 'e r look back, n e 'e r ebb to humble love, T ill th a t a capable and wide revenge Swallow them up. III.iii.453-460 Further, Romeo pictures the "intents" of his mind as "savage- wild, / More fierce and more inexorable far / Than . . . the

roaring sea" (V .iii.37-39). Mental activity in sea images, however, does not always appear insane or savage, but it may nevertheless be a powerful activity. Rationality and understanding may grow with a puissance like the sea's, as Prospero indicates about his enemies:

Their understanding Begins to swell, and the approaching tide Will shortly fill the reasonable shore That now lie s foul and muddy. Temp. V .i.79-82 The undecided state of one's mind also finds adequate expression by means of a sea condition: 143

’Tis with my mind As with the tide swell'd up unto his height, That makes a still-stand, running neither way, 2 H. VI II.iii.61-63 while the changing of one’s mind may behave like a ship when "like a shifted wind unto a sail," something may cause the "course of thoughts to fetch about" (John IV .ii.23-24). Although not precisely a mental state, one’s conscience some­ times behaves like a tempestuous sea; Henry VIII has battle with his as doth a ship’s pilot: Thus hulling in The wild sea of my conscience, I did steer Toward th is remedy. II.iv .199-201 Man’s cruelty appears as a natural human quality to express by means of a violent sea. In an implied reference to the deadly characteristic of the sea, Lodovico depicts Iago’s inhumanity as "more fell than anguish, hunger, or the sea" (Oth. V.11.363)* while Antonio in The Merchant of Venice compares the cruelty of Shylock with the unrelenting rage of the sea: I pray you, think you question with the Jew: You may as well go stand upon the beach And bid the main flood bate bis usual height. IV .i.70-72 Other undesirable qualities of man receive their best expression by means of the rage and danger of the sea. Ingrat­ itude, for example, Lear finds to be a "marble-hearted fiend," "more hideous when thou show’st thee in a child / Than the sea-moster" ( I . i v . 282-283). Man’s pride, which Joan of Arc boasts of in herself as being like "that proud insulting ship / 144

Which Caesar and his fortune bare at once" (1 H. VI I.ii. 138-139 )» is compared with the sea by Jacques who asks, "Doth it not flow as hugely as the sea, / Till that the weary very

means do ebb" (A. Y. L. I I . v i i . 7 2-7 3 ). Finally, the perti­ nacity of man's folly receives vivid expression by Camillo who realizes that

. . . you may as well Forbid the sea for to obey the moon As or by oath remove or counsel shake The fabric of his folly. W. Tale I .ii.425-428 Shakespeare seems not to have found the sea as useful for expressing the nobler qualities of man as be did for ex­ pressing his baser characteristics, primarily perhaps because the baser qualities of man more nearly resemble the poet's conception of the sea as destructive, violent, and over-powering. And when he did turn to the sea for an image fo r man's b e tte r self, he drew upon its other characteristics. Man's strength of determination, for example, compares with the more stable p art of the sea, as when Buckingham declares that he w ill "make my vouch as strong / As shore of rock" (H. VIII I.i. 157-158). Florizel associates his determination and devotion in love with the richness of the sea when he asserts that not "for all . . . the profound seas hide / In unknown fathoms, will I break my oath / To this my fair beloved" (W. Tale IV.iv.

4 9 9- 5 0 2). Man's honesty dwells like "your pearl in your foul oyster" (A. Y. L. V.iv.64), while his modesty is expressed by Escalus as "the extremest shore of my modesty" (Meas. Ill.ii. 264). Although Shakespeare imagistically conceives of man's life as a sea voyage and reflects man's strength or weakness in these terms, he seems h ab itu ally to draw upon the destructive and violent characteristics of the sea itself to portray the evil nature in man. It is these basic qualities also that receive more attention in sea terms than the nobler qualities of man. No particular pattern in these usages of the sea seems to emerge, and the poet u tiliz e s these conceptions throughout his career. Since man's whole life constantly appears as a sea adventure and man himself as the ship afloat on the sea of life, human affairs, undertakings, and activities are logi­ cally cast into shipping imagery, especially his ventures into military conquest. One of the most forceful images of man's adventure in shipping terms occurs in Julius Caesar when Brutus realizes the need for action in their venture. He says that there is a tide in the affairs of men which must be taken at the right moment, but which Omitted, all the voyage of their life Is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat; And we must take the current when it serves, Or lose our ventures. IV .iii.218-224 Therefore when an individual speaks of the affairs that he must undertake, he often employs shipping imagery, as does Diomed when he says that "I have important business, / The tide whereof is now" (Troi. V .i.89-90), while the Duke in Measure for Measure, referring to past activity, talks about "the very stream of his life and the business he hath helmed" 146

(III.ii.149-150). Bolingbroke, realizing that he must go into exile, conceives of his banishment and subsequent activities in terms of an ocean voyage: Must I not serve a long apprenticehood To foreign passages, and in the end, Having my freedom, boast of nothing else But that I was a journey man to grief? Gaunt. All places that the eye of heaven visits Are to a wise man ports and happy havens. R. II I . i i i . 271-276 A poet, in his activity of writing, may be thought of as moving "in a wide sea of wax" (Tim. I .i.4 7 ) . Sometimes a person’s actions may be conceived in terms of the sea itself rather than in nautical imagery. Agamemnon warns Patroclus to watch Achilles’s behavior, his "ebbs, his flows, as if / The passage and whole carriage of this action / Rode on his tide" (Troi. II.iii.139-141). In this image, however, the undertaking of the Greek faction is still thought of as an ocean voyage. Although the activities of human life In general often appear as sea voyages, Shakespeare found man's attempts at military conquest particularly apt for imagery of sailing. After the rebels attempt their usurpation of Henry IV and just as defeat appears eminent, Lord Bardolph reminds them that "we all that are engaged to this loss / Knew that we ventured on such dangerous seas" (I.i.l80-l8l). Antony visualizes his own attempts at conquest as having voyaged "o'er green Neptune's back / With ships" (Antony IV.xiv.58-59) and Troilus reminds the Trojans of their earlier adventure into conquest against the Greeks: I t was thought meet should do some vengeance on the Greeks Your breath of full consent bellied his sails; The seas and winds, old wranglers, took a truce And did him service: he touch’d the ports desired. II.ii.72-76 Finally, Titus, upon his triumphant return to Rome, paints an elaborate picture of his conquest in an extended sailing image: Lo, as the bark, that hath discharged her fraught, Returns with precious lading to the bay From whence at first she weigh'd her anchorage, Cometh Andronicus, bound with laurel boughs. I.i.7 1 -7 4 While no obvious development of a r t or conscious pattern emerges from an observation of Shakespeare's use of sea and shipping to portray human activity, it does appear that whenever the poet sought to convey an impression of the perils of a human action or undertaking he frequently expressed i t in th is way. Much of the significance of drama arises from its por­ trayal of man's involvement in a complicated or tragic situa­ tion from which he seeks to extricate himself. Shakespeare, realizing the importance of making forceful and lucid the individual's dilemma in a play, employed imagery as one of the means of achieving this impact. The importance of sea imagery for Shakespeare's poetic effects can be seen in the fact that he turned time and again to it as a means of expressing the dire circumstances in which man gets ensnared. From simple situations in the comedies, to dangerous, desperate, and even fatal circumstances in the tragedies and histories, sea and shipping imagery frequently express something about the nature 148

of man's position. The poet utilizes sea associations in two ways to express man's condition, either in shipping terms or in phraseology of the sea itself. Employing nautical imagery as a means of expressing an individual's situation is another logical extension of the ubiquitous concept of man's life as a sea voyage. Although on one occasion the situation is not extremely significant, when Maria asks Viola "will you hoist sail" and Viola returns with "no, good swabber; I am to hull here a little longer" (Twel. I.v .117-119) » all other instances expressed by sailing imagery portray dilemmas of great importance in the plays. Henry VI, for example, uses nautical imagery to explain his position of being caught between two forces when he says that his status is "like to a ship that, having 'scaped a tempest, / Is straightway calm'd and boarded with a pirate" (2 H. VI IV.ix.31-34). When one's fortunes turn from good to bad, the situation resembles a ship's condition that wrecks or sinks. Queen Katharine, thinking of her women's plight, pictures their fortunes as "shipwreck'd upon a kingdom" (H. VIII III.i.149), and Candidus in Antony and Cleopatra realizes that his faction's "fortune on the sea is out of breath, / And sinks most lamentably" (Antony III.x.25-26). Timon's ser­ vants also realize that their condition has worsened when their master loses all his fortunes and they express it as "leak'd is our bark, / And we, poor mates, stand on the dying deck, / Hearing the surges threat: we must all part / Into this sea of air" (IV .ii.19-22). 149

But nautical imagery usually portrays circumstances extremely more desperate than these. Sometimes it represents the uncertainty of one's p o sitio n . When Macbeth te rro rizes Scotland and causes patriotic nobles to feel that they are traitors, Ross, in trying to console Macduff's wife, ex­ plains to her that they "float upon a wild and violent sea" (Macb. IV.ii.23). Camillo explains to Florizel and Perdita that love places man on an uncertain voyage of "unpath'd waters, undream’d shores, most certain / To miseries enough, who / Do their best office, if they can but stay you" (W. Tale IV.iv.577-58l). But sailing imagery usually describes a situation which is more than merely uncertain. Cassius, in Julius Caesar, realizing that his faction has journeyed into a desperate and dangerous position, prepares for the final tragedy with the image, "why, now blow wind, swellbillow and swim bark! / The storm is up, and all is on the hazard"

(V .i.6 8- 6 9). Richard II's indiscretion has created a situa­ tion of danger for England and certain of the nobility per­ ceive this perilous circumstance: North. But, lords, we hear this fearful tempest sing, Yet seek no shelter to avoid the storm; We see the wind s i t sore upon our s a ils , And yet we strike not, but securely perish. Ross. We see the very wreck th at we must su ffer; And unavoided is thedanger now, For suffering so the causes of our wreck. R. II. II.i.263-269 Finally, the direness of a person's condition receives its fullest expression by Queen Margaret in 3 Henry VI when she creates an elaborate ship image to explain in detail her faction's position. Margaret begins by pointing out that 150 although the mast of their ship be blown overboard, the cable broke, the anchor lost, and half the sailors drowned, still the pilot, Henry, lives. And even though Warwick, Montague, and friends, who served as the anchor, topmast, and tackles, are gone, there are others who can play these parts. She con­ tinues the metaphor even further: We will not from the helm to sit and weep, But keep our course, though the rough wind say no, Prom shelves and rocks that threaten us with wreck. As good to chide the waves as speak them f a i r . And what is Edward but a ruthless sea? What Clarence but a quicksand of deceit? And Richard bub a ragged fatal rock? All these the enemies to our poor bark. 3 H. VI V .iv .21-28 Perhaps the most desperate situation described by marine imagery is depicted in Enobarbus's words to Antony who has nearly met defeat: "Sir, sir, thou art so leaky, / That we must leave thee to thy sinking, for / Thy dearest quit thee"

(Antony I I I . x i i i . 6 3 - 6 5 ). Upon occasion, ship images express more than merely a desperate circumstance, being used even to portray the agony of final pain. When Othello recognizes that his error has brought him to final ruin, he turns naturally to sea voyage imagery, stating that "here is my journey's end, here is my butt, / And very sea-mark of my utmost sail" (V.ii. 2 6 7-

268). And the tragedy of man's fin a l condition becomes in ten ­ sified by means of ship imagery in King John as the king nears his death: The tackle of my heart is crack'd and burn'd, And all the shrouds wherewith my life should sail 151

Are turned to one thread, one little hair: My heart hath one poor string to stay it by, Which holds but till thy news be uttered. V .v ii. 5 2 -5 6 Although nautical imagery usually expresses a dangerous or fatal condition for man, it may occasionally portray a situation of opportunity, as when Iago says that if all goes as planned, his "boat sails freely, both with wind and stream"

(Oth. II.iii.64-65). Brutus urges his cohorts to take the tide at the right moment, and it will lead on

Richard III, in expressing the intensity of his ambition, visualizes his position as upon a promontory by the sea. He is like one that "spies a far-off shore" and "chides the sea 152

that sunders him from thence, / Saying, he'll lade it dry to

have his way" (3 H. VI III.ii.136-139). Much of the sea imagery utilizes the concept of drown­ ing or sinking beneath the ocean to depict a dangerous or troublesome situation. Sometimes it reveals a worsening of conditions, as when Lucentio tells Tranio that he has left Pisa and come to Padua, as one that leaves "a shallow plash to plunge him in the deep" (Shrew I .i .2 3 ) , or as Proteus says that he has avoided the fire for fear of burning and "drenched me in the sea, where I am drown'd" (T. G. V. I.iii.79). But when one is merely in a dangerous position, he is so near the gulf that he "needs must be englutted" (H. V IV.iii.82-83), or he has stepped too fa r in to trouble "which is past depth / To those that, without heed, do plunge into't" (Tim. III.v. 12-13). If one survives a desperate condition, as King John does, it might be said that he was once "amazed under the tide," but now can "breathe again / Aloft the flood" (John IV .ii.137-138). The importance of sea and ship imagery to Shakespeare's poetry truly reveals itself in a study of his usage of it in depicting climactic situations in the histories and tragedies. The significance of th is imagery becomes p a rtic u la rly clear through a recognition of the fact that the majority of these images appear in the last half of the plays in which they occur, in that part of the play where a character's position or condi­ tion is of great importance. It is precisely at these moments 153

that the poet seemed to turn to this type of imagery, con­ sciously or unconsciously, to endow his poetry with the necessary impact. The importance of sea imagery to Shakespeare’s poetry also is revealed by the fact that he frequently depicted significant human relationships in this way. As with many other types of images dealing with man and his values, the poet conceived of a variety of human relations in terms of the sea itself or in nautical terms, the latter being another logical expansion of the imagistic concept of man's life as an ocean voyage. He portrays the relationships between lead­ ers andfollowers, males and females, father and daughter, and others by this means, revealing various qualities in these relations and lending vividness to their portrayal. For example, to express the intensity of the emotion between father and daughter and the father's sympathetic love for his daughter, Titus employs an extended image of the sea: I am the sea; hark, how her sighs do blow! She is the weeping welkin, I the earth: Then must my sea be moved with her sighs; Then must my earth with her continual tears Become a deluge, overflow'd and drown'd. Titus III.i.226-230 If one person offends another, it might be said that he has "sailed into the north of his lady's opinion" (Twel. Ill.ii.

2 8), thereby forcefully stating that he has displeased the lady. If a friend leans on the advice and counsel of another, as Polixenes depends on Camillo, he may ask the friend to "be pilot to me" (W. Tale I.ii.448). When Iago plots his deception 154 of Othello, he must travel on the sea of the relationship, while showing "out a flag and sign of love" (l.i.157). In Timon's relations with his friends, he believes that his fortunes among his friends can never "sink," and Leontes, in trying to make his friend Polixenes stay with him, "had much ado to make his anchor hold" (W. Tale I.ii.213). In addition to these general instances, Shakespeare habitually utilized sea imagery in certain recurrent situations. One specific application occurs when he intends to make some statement about the relationship between leaders and followers. A follower must submit to the command of a leader, a concept which Shakespeare often expresses as "striking sa il," a term borrowed from the naval practice of saluting with the sail as a token of submission. Warwick perceives the danger of a noble's submitting to a lesser person and of the need for the nobleman to hold him self above the baser people: "How many nobles then should hold their places, / That must strike sail to spirits of vile sort" (2 H. IV V .ii.17-18). Margaret, too, once she has found her exalted position re­ duced to th at of a le sse r one, informs King Lewis th a t "now Margaret / Must strike her sail and learn awhile to serve / Where kings command" (3 H. VI I I I . i i i . 4 - 6 ) . Warwick, in 3 Henry VI, refuses to accept King Edward as his leader and asserts this determination through a vivid image, declaring that he had rather chop off his hand and fling it in the king's face "than bear so low a sail, to strike to thee" (V.i.52). Other types of leader-follower relationships also find expression 1.55

through shipping imagery, as when Cominius describes the quality of Corlolanus’s leadership on the field of battle which causes even the cowards to obey, turn, and fight: "as weeds before / A vessel under sail, so men obey’d / And fell belowhis stem" (II.ii.109-111). Aside from the ship­ ping imagery, the sea itself provides many images for por­ traying the leader-follow er re la tio n . As king, Macbeth believes it unsafe to lave his honor in "these flattering streams." The smallness of the follower in comparison with the greatness of the leader becomes v ita liz e d in an image by Euphronius when he says:

% Such as I am, I come from Antony: I was of late as petty to his ends As is the morn-dew on the m yrtle-leaf To his grand sea. Antony III.x ii.7-10 Edward, in order to express his superiority as a leader over Henry, addresses Henry as the "fount that makes small brooks to flow: / Now stops thy spring; my sea shall suck them dry, / And swell so much the higher by their ebb" (3 H. VI IV.viii.

55-57). Although not precisely a sea image, the terminology and associations of fishing continually supply the means of expressing the trickery involved in human relationships. As Maria lays her plans to trick Malvolio and then sees him as he approaches, she announces that "here comes the trout that / must be caught with tickling" (II.v.25-26), while in Much Ado Ursula reveals the deception which she and Hero have planned for Beatrice by describing it in fishing terms: 156

The pleasant’st angling Is to see the fish Cut with her golden oars the silver stream, And greedily devour the treacherous bait: So angle we for Beatrice. III.i.27-30 Leonatus in The Winter's Tale, wrongfully suspecting Polixenes and his own wife Hermione and endeavoring to tric k them into some type of exposure of their relationship, whis­ pers aside to the audience that "I am angling now, / Though you perceive me. now how I give line" (I.ii.l80-l8l). The relationship between man and woman, of all other human relationships, probably receives most attention through sea imagery. Shakespeare found it appropriate and forceful, partly as an expansion of the concept of life as a sea voyage, to depict male-female relations in shipping terms and associa­ tions. Nautical language may express a male-female relation which is far from a happy one, as seen in Queen Elizabeth's expression of her feelings about Richard III when she desires to anchor her nails in his eyes till she, like a poor bark bereft of sails and tackling in a bay of death, "rush all to pieces on thy rocky bosom" (R. Ill IV.iv.23*0. Moreover, when man and woman are separated, they may be as a "splitted bark" (2 H. VI III.il.4ll).

Palstaff, in pursuing the two wives of Windsor, uses an image of merchandizing to express the relationship between man and woman. He says th at they w ill be his "East and West

Indies and . . . w ill trade to them both" (Wives I . i i l . 8o). This merchandizing image appears in a more expanded form in 157

Troilus's description of the relationship which he plans for himself and Cressida: Her bed is India; there she lies, a pearl: Between our Ilium and where she resid es, Let it be call'd the wild and wandering flood, Ourself the merchant, and this sailing Pandar Our doubtful hope, our convoy and our bark. I .i.103-107 Sailing imagery appears commonly in Shakespeare as a means of expressing the physical element in man and woman's relationship. In a conversation about Falstaff, Mrs. Page asserts that "he would never have boarded me in this fury" and Mrs. Ford responds by swearing that she will "be sure to keep him above her deck." Mrs. Page, extending the image further, vows that "if he comes under my hatches, I'll never to sea again" (II.i.91-96). Mr. Page is aware that Falstaff intends a "voyage towards my wife" (ll.i.188) while Falstaff himself instructs Robin to "sail like my pinnace to these golden shores" (l.lii. 8 9). Such a means of stating the male-female physical relationship appears again in Othello when Iago advertises that Othello "to-?night hath boarded a land carack"^ (l.ii.50) as well as in Cymbeline when Posthumus challenges Iachimo to "make your voyage upon her " (l.iv . 1 7 0), i. e_., to seduce Imogen. In the relationship between man and woman, often the man falls victim to the charms of the female. Pompey expresses his physical attraction for Cleopatra's charm as anchoring

^A large merchant ship. 158

his aspect on her while Posthumus's deep affection for Imogen

is portrayed when he "anchors upon Imogen" (Cym. V.v.393). But other more vigorous descriptions of man's subservience to woman's power e x is t. Twice the rela tio n sh ip between Margaret and Henry V is described in this manner. Henry himself declares that the description of Margaret's charm breeds passions in his heart, and, like the forces of a tem­ pestuous gust provoking "the mightiest hulk against the tide," So am I driven by breath of her renown Either to suffer shipwreck or arrive Where I may have fruition of her love. 1 H. VI V. v .6-9 Later Edward asserts that Margaret led "calm Henry, though he were a king / As doth a sail, fill'd with a fretting gust, / Command an argosy to stem the waves" (3 H. VI II.v i.3^-37). Aaron perceives the danger that awaits Saturninus in his affection for Tamora and portrays her as a siren "that will charm Rome's Saturnine, / And see his shipwreck and his com­ monwealth's" (Titus II.i.23-2^). Antony too says his "heart was to thy rudder tied by the strings, / And thou shouldst tow me after" (Antony III.x i.57-58). Thus sea imagery, and especially shipping imagery, proves to be a vital and appropriate means of expressing the most important element in drama, the various types of human relationships. Shakespeare uses it particularly to depict male-female relations. The importance of sea imagery to the development of Shakespeare's art appears from several conclusions. First, the mere quantity of sea and shipping imagery is impressive and reveals how greatly the poet relied on it as a means of enriching and vitalizing his poetic and dramatic statement. Second, the poet turned to the sea to express not incidental concerns but the significant element of drama, man and his affairs. Sea imagery aids in communicating concepts of human emotions, qualities, actions, relations, characteristics, and circumstances. It also is used to make statements on weighty topics such as fame, fate, and time. And in the his­ tory plays, the sea as an image helps to portray important battle scenes, which are an intimate part of these dramas. Finally, an examination of his use of sea imagery reveals something of his increasing ability as a dramatist and poet. CHAPTER V


The use of a comprehensive, dominant, or recurrent central image as a means of elucidating themes, clarifying the major forces and problems involved in a theme, enriching the content and implications within a play, and strengthen­ ing through visual and auditory suggestions the poetic effects of a play has grown to be recognized as one of the most prom­ inent features of Shakespeare’s style. If Shakespeare’s use of the sea is to be worthy of a study, there must then be some such significant use of it as a comprehensive image. A close study of his plays discloses that such a utilization of the sea does appear and develops over a span of several plays, culminating in several superior artistic productions. Caroline Spurgeon defines an image as . . . the little word-picture used by a poet or prose writer to illustrate, illuminate and embellish his thought. It is a description or an idea, which by comparison or analogy, stated or understood, with something else, transmits to us through the emotions and associations it arouses, something of the ’wholeness’, the depth and richness of the way the writer views, conceives or has felt what he is telling us.l

•^-Shakespeare *s Imagery and What it Tells Us (New York: Ma c mi 1 laHlTompany7-T^3By™p7~9. 160 l 6 l Dominant images in a play, however, are not necessarily those 2 which are most numerous. In studying Shakespeare's artistic use of images, the statistical method of approach, as Wolfgang Clemen points out, is misleading because a set of statistics gives the illusion that all the "phenomena encompassed by it are equal among themselves."3 A dominant image is one that is comprehensive, stands at important points in the play, and has a great significance for the whole of the drama. While some of the statem ents in preceding chapters have em­ phasized in one way the ubiquity of the sea in the poet's work, and thus the enormous quantity of sea references, i t s value as a recurrent cen tral image in certain plays illu s tr a te s another dimension of the sea's importance for the dramatist. Aside from the symbolic exploitation of the sea in the last phase of his career, an examination of which is reserved for the next chapter, Shakespeare appears to have used the sea significantly in two distinct ways during his early and middle years. When he was still experimenting in the history plays and learning techniques of his craft, he tried several uses of the sea as a comprehensive image. Al­ though his efforts in the histories never assumed definite, meaningful imagistic form, as he advanced into the middle years and the tragedies, he conceived of and'perfected one

2Carl Pehrman, "The Study of Shakespeare's Imagery," Moderna Sprak, LI (February, 1957 )» 12. 3The Development of Shakespeare's Imagery (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1951), p. 8. 162

particular sea image as an appropriate and effective device for communicating the action, emotions, attitudes and themes of certain plays. This sea image becomes associated with love stories and develops into a means of depicting different types of love in several different plays, revealing in each successive drama an advancement in his ability to formulate and integrate sea images as a part of a theme. Through all the experimentation and development with the sea as a dominant image, the primary concern of the poet is to use it as a means of unifying, elucidating, reinforcing, and communicating com­ pletely the themes of certain plays.


In the early history plays, Shakespeare seems to have experimented somewhat with developing thematic reinforcements out of his sea usage, but such experimentation never pro­ duces here, as it does in later plays, a useful, reliable, and ubiquitous pattern of comprehensive images. In the history plays, the sea, as studied in the chapter on its use as a dramatic device, functions more for specific needs. The drama­ t i s t often employed i t e ffe c tiv e ly in the h isto ry plays as a setting for the wars between England and France, as in Henry V. He also discovered its imagistic usefulness in character portrayal in some of the history plays, as well as in estab­ lishing mood, atmosphere, and plot structure. But as far as a comprehensive, consistent, and recurrent thematic association 163 is concerned, only a few scattered attempts at such an involve­ ment appear, and these attain only partial success in two plays, 3. Henry VI and King John. In the first two Henry VI plays, there is very little consistent development of a theme through sea images. But an extremely faint, early hinting at a concept is suggested which becomes more completely formulated in la te r h isto ry plays. Lord Clifford, in attempting to quell the revolt of Jack Cade and his followers and to elicit a feeling of patriotism from the populace, and thus support for the king, says to them: Were't not a shame, that whilst you live at jar The fearful French, whom you late vanquished, Should make a start o'er seas and vanquish you? IV .viii.43-45 He continues later by hinting vaguely at the same concept: Spare England, for it is your native coast. IV .v iii.5 2 In this appeal to patriotism and conscious evoking of chau­ vinism, Shakespeare acknowledges England's position as an ocean country by referring to it as "your native coast" and by reminding Englishmen that France is across the seas. Al­ though this in itself is only vaguely implied here and is nothing of a fully realized association of the sea, the lines present the seed of an idea which later evolves into a useful, expanded image. With this discovery, Shakespeare appears more and more to delight in England's island position and begins to make a conscious association between patriotism and England's protection by a natural moat. When he desires to appeal directly 164

to the national feeling of the audience, he repeatedly Invokes this concept of Island position and connects it with patriotic emotion.

In 3 Henry VI, a play filled with sea references, a conversation ensues which expands this concept of a sea-moat protection for England. Montague, in response to the king's question as to the wisdom of the king's marriage to Lady Grey, says:

Yet, to have join'd with Prance in such alliance Would more have strengthen'd th is our commonwealth 'Gainst foreign storms than any home-bred marriage. Hastings replies:

Why, knows not Montague th a t of i t s e l f England is safe, if true within itself? Montague. But the safer when 'tis backed with Prance. Hastings. 'Tis better using Prance than trusting Prance: Let us be back'd with God and with the seas Which He hath given for fence impregnable, And with their helps only defend ourselves; In them and In ourselves our safety lies. IV .i.36-56 This passage, which makes explicit references to the sea as a God-given defense, contains many of the implications of the whole play while providing ironic contrast with Its primary meaning. As pointed out by E. M. W. Tillyard, the theme of the play focuses on the chaos of the civil wars which England suffered.^ In th is passage, Montague mentions "foreign storms" as the source of possible danger, yet throughout the play,

^Shakespeare »s History Plays (New York: Collier Books, 19b£), p. 21ti. 165

except for here, sea storms express the chaos of the Internal wars. Moreover, Hastings here asserts that England is safe "if true within itself," a statement which brings to mind the turmoil within England and underscores the fact that England is not safe because of these internal struggles. The patriotic sense is especially strong here, and Shakespeare uses prac­ tically the same words at the end of King John. Finally, Hastings states that England is safe because of the sea, which statement presents an ironic contrast to the fact that the sea in 3 Henry VI is a constant storm and thus a ubiqui­ tous symbol of England's grave danger and its state of chaos. Since the theme of 3 Henry VI presents the chaos of England's c iv il wars, the sea becomes the appropriate object for expressing the storms of state, the rise and fall of cir­ cumstances, and the danger of shipwreck to the fortunes of the kings and followers, as well as providing the proper atmos­ phere for the entire play. As mentioned in the chapter on the sea as a dramatic device, much character portrayal is achieved by means of sea Images. The felicity of these in character rev elatio n now becomes evident in the lig h t of the theme of the play as it is developed through sea imagery. The regular recurrence of the sea image at crucial points in the action, its appearance in contexts where it is irrelevant without reference to the pattern as a whole, and the fact that jl pro­ vides the deepest insight into the fundamental nature of the 166 subject, all suggest how close It lies to the heart of the p la y .5

The sea often poetically depicts the sway of battle, as well as the rise and fall of the fortunes of the char­ acters in battle, while endowing the descriptions of such action with the appropriate feeling. York, his son murdered, his army beaten and dispersed, laments: The army of the queen hath got the field: My uncles both are slain in rescuing me; And all my followers to the eager foe Turn back and fly, like ships before the wind. I.iv .1 -4 A few lines later, in describing the battle, he says: With this, we charged again: but, out, alas I We bodged again; as I have seen a swan With bootless labour swim against the tide And spend her strength with over-matching waves. I . i v . 18-21 These two passages echo the chaos and danger of the sea and the civil wars, but their real significance comes into focus in the next act where the metaphor expands into a significant statement. King Henry enters alone on the battlefield and gives a description of the battle: Now sways i t th is way, lik e a mighty sea Forced by the tid e to combat with the wind; Now sways i t th a t way, lik e the selfsame sea Forced to retire by fury of the wind: Sometime the flood prevails, and then the wind; Now one the better, then another best; Both tugging to be victors, breast to breast,

^Alvin B. Kerman, "A Comparison of the Imagery in 3 Henry VI and The True Tragedie of Richard Duke of York, " Studies In Philology, LI (July, 1^4J, 433. 167

Yet neither conqueror nor conquered: So is the equal poise of this fell war. II. v .5-12

In addition to depicting aptly the character of the battle,

this sea image also suggests to the audience the real meaning

of the play. The relentless and elemental nature of the storm at sea, the weariness which such a never-ending sway evokes, and the equal strength of the two factions all communicate to the audience the meaninglessness of the violent effort of both sides in the war.

In this same scene which Henry introduces with his ex­ tended metaphor on the nature of the battle, two other passages echo, and therefore help unify, the theme of the storm of civil war which begins to come more into prominence in the play. The son who has slain his father by mistake says,

"ill blows the wind that profits nobody" (ll.v.55). The intention of this line as a storm and sea reference becomes more clear as the father who has murdered his son by accident enters and says, "Throw up thine eyes I see, see what showers arise, / Blown by the windy tempest of my heart" (II.v.8 5- 8 6), and a few lines later when he laments, "How w ill my wife for slaughter of my son / Shed seas of tears and nefer be satis­ fie d " ( I I . v .105-106). In such images as these, which also operate appropriately in the specific action of the scene, the meaningless tempest of the wars is powerfully indicated.

The sea image has no specific meaning except as It serves as a common denominator of civil war as political chaos. 168

Often the victims of this political turmoil are important characters in the play, and numerous references depict these characters’ situation as a ship at the mercy of a storm at sea. Henry sees York’s head and says that such a sight cheers him "as the rocks cheer them that fear their wreck" (ll.ii. 5 ). Edward observes that Queen Margaret led Henry as doth a sail "fill’d with a fretting gust, / Command an argosy to stem the waves" (II.v i.35-36). Richard, who uses sea imagery to express the nature of his ambition, says that he’ll drown more sailors than the mermaid shall" (H I.ii.l 8 6) . Lewis te lls Margaret to "calm the storm" ( l l l . i i i . 3 8 ); Margaret in turn refers to Warwick as a storm, fo r "this is he th a t moves both wind and tide" (lll.iii.48), while her own heart is "drown’d in cares" (Ill.iii.l4 ). The culmination of sea storm and ship wreck imagery is Margaret’s elaborate metaphor which portrays her desperate situation. For almost forty lines she makes elab­ orate comparisons between her condition and misfortunes with the condition of a ship beset by various storms, rocks, waves, sand, and a "ruthless sea" (V.iv.l- 3 8 ). Thus the sea, storms, winds, tides as they reflect the sway of battles, the chaos of the state of England, and the need for patriotism provide a unity and continuity to a formless succession of gory events.

The formlessness of the action is partly the point Shakespeare is making in its illumination of the nature of civil war which has no more structure than a storm at se a .6

^Kerman, p . 441, 169

Kins John offers more evidence of the fact that in the history plays Shakespeare was working toward the technique of the recurrent central image but that he had not yet perfected its use. Some of the same elements that operate in 3, Henry VI appear here, but his consistent and skillful use of a compre­ hensive sea image which emerges later is missing here. Although King John contains numerous references to the sea and even de­ pends on the sea for much of the plot development, no conscious development of a dominant sea metaphor integrates with the theme of the play. Several experiments with the potential of the sea as a metaphoric device exist, but little develops from such ex­ perimentation. Shakespeare draws upon the concept of the sea*s pro­ viding a protection for England and employs it as a means of evoking patriotism. But in King John, an inverted use of it exists. The speech in which the metaphor makes its appearance is delivered by an enemy, A ustria, who plots to defeat the English. This usage serves of course to rally the audience against this foreign faction which would seek to destroy their country. A ustria te l l s the boy Arthur, who would be king, th a t he will no more.return home Till Anglers and the right thou hast in Prance, Together with that pale, that white-faced shore, Whose foot spurns back the ocean*s roaring tides And coops from other lands her islanders, Even till that England, hedged in with the main, That water-walled bulwark, still secure And confident from foreign purposes, Even till that utmost corner of the west Salute thee for her king. I I . i . 22-30 170

England's advantageous island position, in addition to pro­ viding material for the poet as a source for patriotic meta­ phors, affects the literal action as well and thus integrates with the metaphorical visualization of the sea as a protective moat for the island country. For example, Chatlllon, attempt­ ing to allow his country time to prepare for battle by bringing the message back to King Phillip that the English are arming against France, informs Phillip that the adverse winds, Whose leisure I have stay'd, have given him time To land his legions all as soon as Ij His marches are expedient to this town, His forces strong, his soldiers confident. I I . i . 57-61 Again, the Dauphin, who has attacked England and waits rein­ forcements in order to defeat the English, receives word that his "great supply" has been "wreck'd," "cast away," and "sunk on Goodwin Sands" (V.iil and v). And ironically, Salisbury, who turns traitor to the English cause, importunes the sea to provide a benefit for the island:

0 natio n , th a t thou couldst remove! That Neptune's arms, who clippeth thee about, Would bear thee from the knowledge of thyself, And grapple thee unto a pagan shore. V .i i .33-36 This employment of the sea by Salisbury provides some imagistic continuity, for the sea also associates with Salis­ bury and his faction in another way. Since the theme of the play is sedition and rebellion,7 the sea serves in a way to

^Tillyard, p. 25^. 171

amplify and characterize the nature of this subject. In this way the imagery functions as in 3. Henry VI, for just as chaos is partially defined through sea images in that play, so the storms of state, foreign invasion, and internal sedition are p a rtia lly communicated through the same images here. The ocean is repeatedly pictured as an object of destruction and danger. The citizen spokesman for the town of Anglers, in order to express his threat, says that “the sea enraged is not quite so deaf" (II.i.437)* Once when the English defeat the French in battle, King Phillip, in retiring from the fight, compares his destruction to a fleet of ships battered by a sea storm: So, by a roaring tempest on the flood, A whole armado of convicted s a il Is scatter'd and disjoin'd from fellowship. I I I . i v . 1-3 There is often talk of the seamen "fearing wreck" (lll.i.92); of oceans stifling "such a villain up" (lV.iii.133)J and of the tide devouring fleets of ships (V.vi.37-^2). These mis­ cellaneous references, in creating the feeling of danger and discord on the ocean, unite with the depiction of the storms of sta te in sea terms to express the theme of the chaos of rebellion and wars. Salisbury introduces the association of the ocean with the sedition which he plans when, upon expressing his defection to France's side and the treasonous thoughts which he has, he compares the event which has produced his change to "a shifted wind unto a sail, / makes the course of thoughts to fetch about" (IV.ii.23-24). King John, upon receiving the 172

news that the French have arrived on his coast, says that at first he "was amazed / Under the tide; but now I breathe again

/ Aloft the flood" (IV .ii.137-139). But just when the king thinks he is "aloft the flood," more news comes that his own subjects are defecting, thus bringing more storms to sink him "under the tide" again. Immediately after the Bastard Faulcon- bridge learns from Salisbury and his faction that they are joining sides with France, the Bastard contemplates the division which has come to England and sees the approaching "storm:" Now happy he whose cloak and cincture can Hold out th is tempest. IV .iii.156-157 Pandulph assumes the responsibility of France’s invasion of England, saying "it was my breath that blew this tempest up" (V.i.17)* and he refers to the upheaval as the "storm of war" (V.i.21). As the situation worsens Salisbury weeps over the condition of his England and expresses his love of his country, using in this speech the protective sea concept to express his patriotism. In immediate response to Salisbury's sorrow, the Dauphin associates this Englishman with sea images. Upon seeing the te a rs , Lewis ca lls them "this shower, blown up by tempest of the soul" (V.ii.50), which on the literal level refers to Salisbury's tears. But a double meaning lies in the fact that Salisbury's soul has blown up another type of tempest, and this one is the storm of sedition which rages in the land . In this way, the two motifs are unified and amplified. Finally, to complete the metaphor, Salisbury uses an appropriate simile to express his return to loyalty to his king: 173 like a bated and retired flood, Leaving our rankness and irregular course, Stoop low within those bounds we have o'erlook'd And calmly run on in obedience Even to our ocean, to our great King John. V .iv .53-57 Although a great number of sea images appear in the play and although some organic unity arises from their employment, the complete integration of a comprehensive sea image as appears in later plays is never achieved. The dramatist utilizes several more times in his history plays the sea-moat concept as a direct appeal to the patriotic feelings of the audience. Glendower sees the country as "clipp'd in with the sea" (1 H. IV III.1.44), and the gardener's servant in Richard II speaks of England as "our sea-walled garden" ( i l l . iv .4 3 ). But perhaps the most effectiv e , most beautifully a r tic ­ ulated statement of this concept appears in John of Gaunt's famous paeon to England, which speaks in part of the country as This precious stone set in the silver sea, Which serves It in the office of a wall Or as a moat defensive to a house, Against the envy of less happier lands. I I .1.46-49 This idea makes an appearance much later in Shakespeare's career in a play which, though not strictly classified as a history play, evokes nationalistic feelings from an English audience. In Cymbelinej Cloten, perhaps the most unlikely candidate for such a speech, informs the Roman Cauis Lucius th at "Britain is / A world by its e l f " and th a t "you sh a ll find us in our salt-water girdle" (lll.i.12,80). And his poisonous queen mother continues in the same strain: 174

Remember, sir, my liege, The kings your ancestors, together with The natural bravery of your isle, which stands As Neptune’s park, ribbed and paled in With rocks unscaleable and roaring waters, With sands that w ill not bear your enemies’ boats, But suck them up to the topmast. A kind of conquest Caesar made h ere; but made n ot here b is brag Of ’Came’ and ’saw* and ’overcam e:’ w ith shame— The first that ever touch'd him—he was carried Prom o f f our c o a s t , tw ice b eaten ; and h is s h ip p in g -- Poor ignorant baubles!—on our terrible seas, Like egg-shells moved upon their surges, crack'd As easily 'gainst our rocks. III.i.16-29

The history plays seem primarily to underscore and

capitalize on the chauvinistic feelings of an English audience

one of the major sea metaphors which seems to recur to Shake­

speare throughout the history plays as a reinforcement to the

patriotic themes is the figurative depiction of the sea as a

protective moat to the island nation. This, however, is not

an artistically complex or elaborate device which tightly

integrates motifs and themes in the early history plays.

Shakespeare, as far as the sea was concerned, was already

working on another central metaphor which would serve to

express some of the world's most famous love stories. Thus,

he had to wait for the creation of dramas like Troilus and

Cressida and Othello to develop completely the sea as a compre­

hensive image in reinforcing dramatic themes.


Simultaneously with the development of one type of sea imagery in the history plays, Shakespeare seems to have been evolving another type of sea association. In this new pattern, 175

the poet thinks of love in merchandizing and trading terms while the sea serves as a supporting image. As early as The Taming of the Shrew a h in t of th is association appears. After Kate has been matched with Petruchio, Baptista thinks of Bianca, his other daughter, and says, "Faith, gentlemen, now I play a merchant's part, / And venture on a desperate mart." Tranio responds in terms which become typical of this

image, associating merchandizing with the sea: "'Twas a com­ modity lay fretting by you: / 'Twill bring you gain, or perish on the seas" (I I .i.328-331). As a casual completion of this image, Biondello, after Bianca weds Lucentio, says, "I have seen them in the church together: God send 'em good shipping" (V .i.42-43). In the embryo stages here of a la te r develop­ ment, courting, love, and marriage appear as a trading venture on the sea of love. Somewhat later, after the poet had already begun arriving at a clear concept of the association, he makes some in cid en tal use of i t in a humorous way in The Merry Wives of Windsor, although he does not attempt to use it as a central image. In Act I of that play, Falstaff, in speaking about the two wives, declares that "they shall be my East and West Indies, and I will trade to them both" (l.iii.79-80), and a few lines later, he commands Robin, "bear you these letters tightly; /

Sail like my pinnace to these golden shores" (l.iii. 8 9). In keeping with these figures of speech, Page speaks of Falstaff's

intending "this voyage towards my wife" ( ll.i. 1 8 8). 176

In the metaphorical equation which evolves out of this association of love and trading, the female serves as a valu­ able object for which the lover, being the trader, ventures.

As the pattern achieves its crystallized form, merchandizing, trading, and riches imagery operate in close union with ship­ ping, sailing, and sea images, and together they depict the merchant lover in pursuit of his precious merchandize. But before the poet accomplished his more artistically complete usage of this comprehensive image in the period of the tragedies, he experimented with it in several earlier plays. In Romeo and

Juliet this figure appears, but it becomes a more fully devel­ oped idea in The Merchant of Venice. In Troilus and Cressida, the dramatist arrives at his most successful utilization of this image cluster, although he does attempt it again in

Othello where it assumes new qualities, associations, and im­ plications. In addition to the cultivation of this vivid image, Shakespeare is at all times aware of the need for organic unity, and he seeks always to integrate these images into the dramas and make them appropriate to the nature of the love stories. But it is only when he succeeds in adapting these images to the proper stories that he succeeds in creating complete imagistic expressions.

Wolfgang Clemen declares that Romeo and Juliet in its usage of imagery is transitional but a slight advance over previous attempts. He also asserts that the imagery is more natural, more spontaneous, and more closely adapted to the 177 situation and moment in which it exists.^ But an advance is also evident in its employment of imagery as an integrating and unifying device. Some of the imagery becomes intimately related to the primary concerns of the play. Clemen also acknowledges that "in the development of imagery the garden scene and the balcony scene are of importance."9 Recognizing this, however, Clemen still fails to perceive the significance of one of the central images of the play. He says that "there are still many themes of imagery which appear unoriginal, culled perhaps from the stock-motifs of Elizabethan poetry.As one of these, he cites Romeo’s wert thou as far As that vast shore wash'd with the farthest sea. While the idea may be conventional, i t takes i t s power from the fact that it is an integral part of the major motif of the play. On commenting on the same scene, Clemen also observes that although the scene pulsates with tenderness and intensity, there occurs an occasional lapse into "so worn a comparison as that of love to the deepest ocean,by which he means Juliet's statement: My bounty is as boundless as the sea, My love as deep; the more I give to thee, The more I have, for both are infinite.

8 P. 68.

9P. 71. iOfp 67-68.

n P. 68. 178

Clemen fails completely, however, to recognize the connection

between the two sea Images in this scene which he has condemned

as conventional. It is striking, nevertheless, that at the

most s i g n i f i c a n t and ten d er moment in the p la y , and a scen e

which Clemen admits is important "in the development of imagery,"

Romeo employs sailing imagery which hints at trading. The pur­

pose of this merchandizing image here, of course, Is to reveal

the value of Juliet to Romeo and the intensity of Romeo's feel­

ings. But Shakespeare does not pursue’ this concept further in

portraying this love. While this particular image has a special

function at this particular moment in the play, Shakespeare

disregards it as a complete imagistic theme because it is not

appropriate to any themes in the play or to the type of love

possessed by Romeo and Juliet. Thus, while abandoning it here,

the poet does fit it into another sea image pattern which is

revelant to the major concerns of the play. Since the love of

Romeo and J u l i e t i s " s t a r - c r o s s 'd " and su b jected to the f o r ­

tunes of chance and since the play is built more or less on

the foundation of the operations of fate, the sailing and sea imagery becomes an intimate part of the play in its relation­ ship to this major concern. Moreover, the sailing imagery and the treachery of the sea, which every Elizabethan was aware of, help to create the atmosphere of uncertainty which character­ izes this youthful love.

The sailing and sea imagery is appropriate primarily because Shakespeare unites the concept of the stars as guides

"to metaphorical navigators with the belief current in his 179 time that the stars have a mysterious connection with the destiny of the individual.Shakespeare makes clear that the lovers are guided by fate, "a pair of star-cross’d lovers"; he refers to "misadventured piteous overthrows," to the "vaga­ ries of fortune," and to the "inauspicious stars." Friar

Lawrence, in interpreting at the end the events which have occurred, implies that these events, "these accidents," resulted from "unhappy fortune."

Joined with these references to the operation of fortune are phrases and speeches which make clear that Shakespeare con­ ceives of Romeo, and perhaps Juliet, as a ship tossing on the sea of love, and that his labor in love is a sailing venture.

In the Prologue the Chorus anticipates their "fearful passage of their death-mark'd love," "passage" here being equivalent to the word "voyage." Near the end of the play, Prince Escalus refers to "their course of love," "course" also being a word associated with the path of a ship. Such terms as "mutiny,"

"sounding," and Mercutio’s "healths five-fathom deep," while having other connotations, clearly become significant in the direction of sea terms as part of the general pattern of sea motifs. Other passages also contribute to the general devel­ opment of this thesis. Love, for example, is described as "a sea nourish’d with lovers’ tears" ( l.i. 1 9 8). In this passage, the sea takes on metaphorical associations and renders the

^Robert W. Walts, "The Felicity of the Marine Imagery in Romeo and J u liet," The South-Central Bulletin, XXII (Winter, 1 9 6 2), 16. Much of the analysis whichfollows is indebted to W a lts. 180

threat of the sea to the sailing lover as a vivid thing. Paris is metaphorically described as a pirate "that would fain lay knife aboard [juliejbJ " (II.iv.212-214). Romeo, in seeking to depict the savagery of his purpose, recalls the cruelty of his metaphorical sea journey and finds the sea an appropriate metaphor when he says that his intents are "more fierce and more inexorable far / than . . . the

roaring sea" (V .iii.38-39). The pattern of sea imagery and sailing presents Romeo upon this vexed sea of lover's tears, voyaging to unknown and far-away ports. This cycle is complete in that it con­ tains a journey that has a beginning, a middle, and an end; "in that the pattern fits beautifully into the motivational astrology; and finally in that the pattern, tense and lovely, adds to the emotional impact of the play; thus the marine ,.13 imagery becomes organic and a r ti s ti c a l ly v alid . The f i r s t stage of the voyage begins in Act I where Romeo, brooding over his affair with Rosaline, prepares for the ball at the Capulet house. He fears, however, that "some consequence yet hanging in the stars / Shall bitterly begin his fearful date / With this night's revels," and that it will end "by some vile forfeit of untimely death" (i.iv. 107- 1 1 1 ). But in spite of this feeling, the sailor journeys forth, rely­ ing on Providence, the pilot of the lover's fortunes and the governor of the stars:

•^walts, p. 17. 181

But He, that hath the steerage of my course, Direct my sail! I.iv .112-113 "Romeo's lif e is compared to a voyage under the control of a celestial helmsman and impelled by a sail; Romeo himself is ambiguously a ship or of the ship."-^ In the second phase of the voyage, or the central phase, which ensues at the Capulet ball (where incidentally a small storm is created for Romeo's bark, as pointed out by Capulet's rebuke of Tybalt in which he says, "Why, how now, kinsman, wherefore storm you so") (l.v.62), Romeo sights the goal of his sailing venture and expresses his feelings in the garden scene in merchandizing terms. Moreover, Romeo denies any proficiency in sailing, implying that his ship's fate is in the hands of another pilot: I am no pilot; yet, wert thou as far As that vast shore wash'd with the farthest sea, I would adventure for such merchandise. II.ii.80-84 Although he recognizes his deficiency in sailing, before his journey is finished Romeo w ill assume the helm. In order to add some unity of tone and subject matter to the garden scene, Shakespeare has Juliet describe her love also in sea language:

My bounty is as boundless as the sea-. . . . II.ii.1 3 3 Thus, the worth of her love, for which valuable merchandize

Romeo is sailing, is expressed in sea terms, an action which

l 2fW alts, p . 17. 182 provides some unity in the scene as well as the play as a whole. This idea, however, is not pursued any further, but it is consistent with the sailing and fate of the play. It does, on the other hand, reveal a concern on the dramatist’s part with this idea which later becomes more fully d e v e lo p e d .

In the unfolding of the events and the sailing imagery some inconsistencies appear. Although the marine imagery con­ tinues to develop as the affair develops, some comparisons within the general pattern shift in their basis. Thus, Juliet, who previously was viewed as the merchandize for which Romeo was shipping, later becomes part of the ship herself; Romeo, in planning to visit Juliet's chamber above, sees her as the top-gallant above the head of the topmast:

Within this hour my man shall be with thee, And bring thee cords made like a tackled stair; Which to the high top-gallant of my joy, Must be my convoy in the secret night. II.iv .200-203

The furtherance of the marine imagery proceeds here with the focus on the terminology of a ship's rigging. "Convoy," traditionally associated with the sea and ships, here stands as a means of conveyance, "in this case the shrouds with rat­ lines, which lead to the top-gallant and constitute Romeo's

' tackled s ta ir.'

Some attempt is made by Shakespeare in Act III to develop further the shipping Imagery, but the pattern is still

15walts, p. 17 183

inconsistent, for here Juliet performs several roles in sea terms, as described by her father: In one l i t t l e body Thou counterfeit'st a bark, a sea, a wind; For still thy eyes, which I may call the sea, Do ebb and flow with te ars; the bark thy body i s , Sailing in this salt flood; the winds, thy sighs; Who, raging with thy tears, and they with them, Without a sudden calm, will overset Thy tempest-tossed body. III.v .131-138 Although the image is discrepant with the o rig in al concept of marine imagery in the play, it does serve the purpose of echoing the other motifs and maintaining harmonious tone and atmosphere.

While the leitm o tif is continued in Acts I I I and IV through the use of such phrases as "what storm is this that blows so contrary" ( l l l . i i . 6 5 ), "the bottom of my grief"

( i l l . v . 199)* and "uneven is the course, I lik e i t not" (IV .i.

5 ), the final phase of the voyage begins in the last scene of the play with Romeo declaring that he will ignore the tradi­ tional sailors* guides: "then I defy you, stars" (V.i.24). Romeo, here having been shocked by the false news of Juliet's death attempts to achieve, as Captain Ahab does, independence from heavenly guides. Before the final shipwreck comes several passages in the last scene greatly enrich the marine imagery. First, Romeo speaks of the times and his purposes as being more fierce than the "roaring sea" (V .iii.38-39). Upon approaching the Capulet tomb with Paris in his arms, Romeo discovers Juliet in the grave: 184

I'll bury thee In a triumphant grave; A grave? 0, noj a lantern, slaughter'd youth, For here lies Juliet, and her beauty makes This vault a feasting presence full of light. V .ili.83-86

The aptness of this beautiful image of Juliet giving light

to the tomb becomes evident when it is realized that by the

seventeenth century the term "lantern" had a denotation of

"." "How fitting it is that the death-seeking ship

of this 'betossed soul' (V .iii. 7 6) should plunge toward the

lovely light which w ill guide the way to that desired extinc­

tion I"16 Also how ironic it is that the sailor's beacon

emanates from a tomb, the universal symbol of death.

As Romeo prepares for his ship's wreck on "the shoals

of death, he rejects again the guides of the mariners:

0 , here Will I set up my everlasting rest, And shake the yoke of Inauspicious stars From t h is w orld-w earied f l e s h . V .ill.109-112

He then addresses his means of conveyance to death, the dram of poison, as the "bitter conduct" the "unsavory guide" which leads him on: Thou desperate p ilo t, now a t once run on The dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary barkl V .iii.117-118

The youth has come o f age and to d eath : he who had denied earlier his identity as a pilot now with mature judgement and expert handling of the helm brings his voyage to an end. His cargo, his top-gallant of joy, his convoying bark, his

Awaits, p. 1 8.

17W alts, p. 18. 185

lighthouse, she whose "bounty is as boundless as the sea, / My love as deep," his Juliet of many similitudes, also casts off the influence of the stars and follows in his wake.l°

In Romeo and J u l i e t Shakespeare began to make some

attempt at imagistic unification of a drama by means of sea

metaphors. As an early effort, it does of course contain

inconsistencies. Moreover he had not yet achieved the tech­

nical mastery of imagery achieved in later plays. In addition,

he still had not arrived at a full conception of sea and sail­

ing imagery as it relates to merchandizing as a means of

expressing a love story. Nevertheless, in the larger pattern

of images in this early tragedy and love story, the images

form into an elaborate multiple , unified and

coherent, extremely beautiful.

The Merchant of Venice exploits the sea probably more

than any other Shakespearean play as a means of achieving

unity of imagery, theme, and atmosphere. The sea is the common

denominator in the play, applicable to all the motifs therein

and indispensable in poetry, plot, and suspense. In the plot

alone, Antonio’s fortunes and fate depend on the sea; the

threat to his life and thus Shylock's suit against him (and

therefore the basic technique for suspense in the action)

result from the activity of the sea and ships; Portia’s suitors cross the seas to hazard for her love; Bassanio must

travel by sea to take his chances with her; and Lorenzo and

l^walts, p. 18 186

Jessica elope by means of a gondola. The sea provides mate­

rial for much of the atmosphere, the metaphors and sim iles,

and the factual concerns and literal speeches in the play.

But of particular significance is the manner in which the sea

is used as part of an expanded metaphor in portraying the love

affair between Bassanio and Portia.

The main plot of The Merchant of Venice is, of course,

the plot in which the Jew Shylock attempts to gain revenge

against a Christian merchant who abuses him and lowers the

interest rates on the Rialto. Shakespeare unites the Bassanio

and Portia plot with the Shylock-Antonio plot by letting

Bassanio's need for money to pursue Portia provide the motiva­

tion for Antonio's incurring the debt to Shylock. But Shake­

speare achieves another type of unity in the plots by expressing

the love affair plot in the same terms as are predominant in the

main plot; specifically, he depicts Bassanio's pursuit of Portia

as a merchant's sailing venture for a valuable piece of mer­

chandize and applies merchants' concepts and terminology in

portraying the love affair. Thus the elaborate image of the

love merchant becomes functional in the play as a reinforcement

and unification device.

Moreover, a parallelism of action between the fate of

Antonio's merchant's ships at sea and Bassanio's merchant ship

sailing on the sea of love operates in the play. As proof of

the validity of this concept, all the images and statements which carry out this merchant motif in the love affair occur

before Bassanio takes his chances with the caskets; at that 187

point his ship has safely come to harbor. After that, inter­ est in Bassanio and Portia, as well as merchandizing imagery applicable to their love, diminishes and attention shifts to the Shylock-Antonio plot. The merchandizing imagery thus serves also to produce a small measure of suspense in the fortunes of Bassanio*s efforts in love. In addition, Bassanio's means of possessing Portia, by choosing the correct casket, are based completely on chance. This too is appropriate in the merchant imagery, for a merchant's success depends greatly on chance or fate, especially in Elizabethan days. Whether

Antonio's ships arrive on time depends on fate and is of the greatest importance in the play. Finally, since merchandizing and sailing imagery become associated with Bassanio and Portia, all literal statements made concerning the fate of ships and sea ventures carry a secondary implication for the fate of the lovers.

In the very opening lines of the play, Shakespeare establishes an atmosphere and mood for the whole play, for the merchandizing adventure of Antonio as well as for Bassanio's sailing venture into love. Salarino attempts to offer an explanation for Antonio's dejection:

Your mind is tossing on the ocean; There, where your argosies with portly sail Like signiors and rich burghers on the flood, Or, as it were, the pageants of the sea, Do overpeer the petty traffickers, That c u r tsy to them, do them r e v e r e n c e , As they fly by them with their woven wings. I . i . 8-14 188

Thus these Images, in introducing the play, serve to generate an atmosphere of sea, ships, and rich merchants which permeates the whole play. The references to the hazards of the sea establishes the motivation for the primary action. In his next speech, Salarino expands the central theme of the p lo t:

My wind cooling my broth Would blow me to an ague, when I thought What harm a wind too great at sea might do. I should think of shallows and of flats, And see my wealthy Andrew dock*d in sand, Vailing her high-top lower than her ribs To kiss her burial. I . i . 22-29 The dramatic irony of these lines is striking. Salarino, first calling to mind the breath with which he cools his soup, moves on to think of what the breath of the wind would do to his ships on the high seas. Clemen explicates the passage accurately: This is spoken in passing, the picture is half-playfully executed, almost for its own sake; in the conversation it is just casually mentioned like a not to be taken seriously. For indeed the very next verses would refute i t : Antonio (and i t is he who is re a lly con­ cerned) declares that he is unworried and the sub­ ject is quickly changed. But these few seconds have sufficed for Shakespeare to attain bis aim; the audience has pricked up its ears; upon the imagination a very d e fin ite image has impressed itself for a brief moment, and this will come to life again later on when reality demands it . . . By means of such delicate touches and hints . . . he succeeds in gradually preparing for something to come.*9

^Pp. 2-3 189

Although the suspense effected by these lines applies primarily to Antonio’s fortunes, it also establishes an anxiety applicable to Bassanio's and Portia’s love as a mer­ chandizing venture. A few lines later in the same scene,

Bassanio describes to Antonio his desire to embark on a trading venture in love, in which description he depicts the whole affair in merchant's terms. Bassanio informs

Antonio that in Belmont there lives a lady "richly" left who has encouraged him in his desires. She is nothing

"undervalued" and the whole world is aware of "her worth,"

For the four winds blow in from every coast Renowned suitors. I .i.168-169

Even her hair seems like a priceless object, for it hangs on her temples like a "golden fleece." Bassanio continues explaining his situation to Antonio by saying that if he had the "means" to engage in such a trading venture, he is confi­ dent that "such thrift" would prove to be "fortunate." He also makes reference to Jason— "many Jasons come in quest of her"

—who also entered upon a sailing venture for a valuable object.

By way of unification, after Bassanio has won Portia, Gratiano says that "we are the Jasons; we have won the fleece" (ill.ii. 244).

In Bassanio's speech a basic metaphorical equation is given which operates centrally in the merchant of love motif.

Portia is an object of great value for which men come over the seas in pursuit of her as merchants do who sail for valuable merchandize. She becomes identified with wealth, riches, 190

jewelry, and valuable objects. Later the Prince of Morocco

speaks of Portia's "golden mind," her "value," and her "estima­

tion." He says that "never so rich a gem / Was set in worse

than gold," by which image he associates her explicitly with a

gem of great value. He continues the metaphor:

They have in England A coin that bears the figure of an angel Stamped in gold, but that's insculp'd upon; But here an angel in a golden bed Lies all within. II.vi.55-59 The second reference to an angel in these lines of course

suggests a heavenly angel as well as a merchandizing implica­

tion of the angel coin of value. In this same speech, Morocco

completes the other half of the metaphorical equation by stat­

ing that men come across the seas in pursuit of her. As a

valuable piece of merchandize, "all the world desires her; /

Prom the fou r corn ers o f the ea rth th ey come" ( I I . v i . 38-39).

As with merchants in search of wealth, so:

The watery kingdom, whose ambitious head Spits in the face of heaven, is no bar To stop the foreign spirits, but they come, As o’er a brook, to see fair Portia. I l.x v i.44-47

In Act II, after many references to Antonio's ships on the

seas and numerous mentionings of money, gold, jewels, usuances,

and ducats, begins the complete development of the love and

merchandizing imagery. It starts with a casual street conversa­

tion between Gratiano and Salarino, who discuss the transitori­ ness of love which, once achieved, is less ardently sought a

second time. Gratiano produces a simile to express this idea on

the nature of love's desires: 191

All things that are, Are with more spirit chased than enjoy’d How like a younker or a prodigal The scarfed bark puts from her native bay, Hugg’d and embraced by the strumpet wind! How like the prodigal doth she return, With over-weather’d ribs and ragged sails, Lean, rent, and beggar’d by the strumpet wind! II.v i.12-19

The simile operates in two directions. On the main plot level, as suggested by Clemen, the audience feels the real relationship between this image of a ship proudly putting out to sea and returning as a wreck and the action of the play.

The audience thinks of Antonio's ships on the ocean and then learns in the next act that Antonio's ships have met with dis­ aster. Through this the poet has inserted a vivid image in a casual way to evoke from the audience anxieties over Antonio's fate. Even though it is most casual, "somehow or other that vivid image of the ship upon the high seas w ill make us pause a moment; we w i l l remember A n to n io 's sh ip s out th ere on the ocean, and thus we retain a slight premonition, a trace of ,,20 anxiety, as to what will happen. On another level, however, the image is there for the express purpose of making a state­ ment about love. Although the immediate context for the image is a discussion of Lorenzo and Jessica's love merchandizing activity, viz., taking money from Shylock and making plans to ship off and elope, it applies also to Bassanio's preparations for sailing to Portia, and in the same scene Antonio tells

Gratiano and Salarino that "the wind is come about; / Bassanio

20Clemen, p. 84. 192 presently will go aboard" (II.v i.63-64), to which Gratiano says that he desires nothing more "than to be under sail and go tonight" ( 6 6 - 6 7). Here the metaphor explicitly unfolds as Bassanio prepares to sail like a merchant to his love. His sailing venture, however, rather than being meta­ phorical, is a literal voyage, but the dramatist achieves a rich mixture of literal and metaphorical activity in this way. The very next scene which contains the exchange between Portia and the Prince of Morocco, further extends this elaborate metaphor of Portia as the priceless object of sailing ventures by merchants of love. The following scene opens then with the statement by Salarino that he saw "Bassanio under sail;" the thought solidifies at this point the love and merchandizing metaphor. In the last scene of this second act, word comes to Portia and Nerissa that Bassanio is coming; with this announce­ ment suspense concerning his success begins to build. As the scene closes, the servant praises Bassanio as far surpassing all other suitors and mentions that this suitor too brings "g ifts of rich value," as would a merchant who has come to buy. With these associations firmly established, Act III opens with a statement that carries implications for both plots. Salarino announces that

. . . yet it lives there £on the Rialti^ unchecked that Antonio hath a ship of rich lading wrecked on the narrow seas; the Goodwins, I think they call the place; a very dangerous f l a t and f a ta l, where the carcases of many a tall ship lie buried, as they say, if my gossip Report be an honest woman of her word. I I I .i.2-8 193

While the announcement serves primarily to create anxiety over the fate of Antonio, the audience is aware that Bassanio has ventured forth on a sailing venture in love and that he too stands to wreck on the dangerous shores of love and fail to achieve his Portia. Perhaps the audience fears that Bassanio too will be deceived by ornament as are the other merchants who have sailed to try for Portia’s worth. In the next scene, Bassanio arrives at the point of making his choice. The means to Portia is by choice of the proper casket, a type of container interesting enough, in which merchants often transport their merchandize of value. Two of the caskets, made of gold and silver, are of great value, while the third, base lead, is ironically enough the proper one. The other merchants who have sought Portia’s love, as with literal merchants, chose the chests which seemingly were of greatest value. But Bassanio is a merchant who realizes th at Ornament is but the gilded shore To a most dangerous sea. I I I .ii.97-98 As a merchant who has the gift of judging merchandize by its in trin s ic worth rath er than by fa lse , external show, he is capable of appreciating the real value of Portia rather than her external wealth. Thus, the merchandizing imagery also serves' to create suspense through the fact that as a merchant Bassanio could have been deceived by the financial value of the chests rather than their internal worth. But he proves to be a merchant with a skillful eye. 194

When Bassanio subsequently learns that Antonio has fallen into trouble, Portia gives Bassanio money to help Antonio escape his creditor. At this point a slight incon­ sistency in the merchandizing imagery occurs, though it is consistent with the basic imagery of love as being bought in a trading venture, Portia seems to assume the role of mer­ chant when she tells Bassanio that '’since you are dear bought, I will love you dear" .(ill.ii.316), and again when she says: How little is the cost I have bestow'd In purchasing the semblance of my soul From out the state of hellish miseiyj III.iv.19-20 In Acts IV and V, a new disturbance in Bassanio's and Portia's love follows when Bassanio gives away the ring which Portia gave him as a keepsake. This thing of value causes trouble in the merchandizing venture, but the issue is finally resolved. As it is, there is a parallel action in the Antonio plot, for a message comes that Antonio's "ships are safely come to road" (V.i.287-288). The announcement at this partic­ ular point seems applicable to Portia and Bassanio also, who have weathered the final bit of trouble in their voyage on the sea of love. Although the conception of love as something bought and sold is a degraded concept, i t seems th at Shakespeare at this stage in his career was using this metaphor to express the Inestimable worth of love. A little while later in Troilus and Cressida, his thinking has changed and he uses the idea to express an entirely different conception. 195

Since the primary concerns of the play relate to the safety of Antonio's sailing vessels and the successful voyage of Bassanio on the sea of love, Shakespeare also chose to utilize the sea in many of his metaphors and similes in order to integrate and amplify the major motifs and thereby to achieve a tight organic unity. Thus, Gratiano, in counseling Antonio in his sadness, employs a figure of speech which draws upon the sea: "fish not, with this melancholy bait, / For this fool gudgeon, this opinion" (I .i.101-102); Shylock points out Antonio's anger by saying "why, look you, how you storm" (l.iii. 138); Portia, in anticipating Bassanio's failure in his attempt to select the proper casket, says that "my eye shall be the stream / And watery death-bed for him" ( ill.ii.47-48); Antonio, expressing Shylock's obstinacy, says that "you may as well go stand upon the beach / And bid the main flood batebis usual height"(IV.i.71-72) as to try to get a proper answer from the Jew; and Portia, in stating the nature of kings, uses the se a : A substitute shines brightly as a king Until a king be by, and then his state Empties itself, as doth an inland brook Into the main of w aters. V .i.94-97 Many casual images are also made in the course of the drama which suggest sea images: "drown my manly spirit," "some ill a-brewing," "raise the waters," "sand-blind," to mention a few, all of which serve to unite the diverse elements of the play and to reinforce the major themes. 196

Some uncertainty exists as to the exact dates of Romeo and Juliet and The Merchant of Venice, although It Is generally agreed that both were written sometime around 1595.^ Aside from the other evidence used for dating each of the plays, the foregoing imagistic study may help somewhat in determining a more precise chronology. In The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare had arrived at the technique of tying two plots together by means of casting the sub-plot into the same terms as the main plot, thereby achieving a greater unity between the two. In addition, he has integrated the whole play by echoing sea metaphors which relate to the concerns of the main plots. There is also in The Merchant of Venice a more skillful handling of the images themselves rather than a clumsy insertion of the images into the play. Moreover, the sea images are aptly suited to the main concerns of the play, thereby offering an appropriateness not as clearly seen in Romeo and Juliet. Finally, a fuller development appears in The Merchant of Venice of the merchandizing and sailing images as used to express love, an image which becomes even more devel­ oped in later plays. This figure is only touched upon in Romeo and Juliet. Thus, Shakespeare’s use of sea imagery and his artistic development in applying it in the two plays would seem to indicate, along with other available evidence, that The Merchant of Venice is a slightly later play than Romeo and Juliet.

^Ipeter Alexander, Shakespeare *s Life and Art, (New York: New York University Press, 1961), pp. 110-116. 197


Toward the end of The Merchant of Venice, a reference to the love story of Troilus and Cressida is made: The moon shines bright: in such a night as this, When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees And they did make no noise, in such a night Troilus methinks mounted the Troyan walls And sigh'd his soul toward the Grecian tents, Where Cressid lay that night. V .i.1-6 While i t seems impossible to connect the two plays together in time, it appears as most strange that the poet should men­ tion Troilus in a play in which he also employs the merchandiz­ ing and s a ilin g imagery to develop a love sto ry . While the final version of Troilus and Cressida seems to have come into existence somewhere between 1601 and 1603 , 22 Hardin Craig's belief that Shakespeare was connected "with the subject of Troilus and Cressida before the end of the century" appears to have validity. If The Merchant of Venice is moved back to i t s la te s t possible date, somewhere around I 5 9 6-I 5 9 8, then it is possible that he was already thinking about Troilus and Cressida. and the two plays may be more closely connected than is generally thought. If Shakespeare saw that the merchandizing and sailing imagery was effective in portraying a love story, and also saw that it could help to depict a particular type of of love as in Troilus and Cressida, then it may be that he began thinking along these lines while composing Merchant.

^Alexander, p. 193. 198

As far as sheer Is concerned, Troilus and Cressida probably has fewer sea Images in it than many plays, but in this play Shakespeare arrived at the technique of letting the images grow out of the impulses, literal and emotional, of the drama. Sea imagery here finds its significance in its positions in the play, its usage, and association with the basic motif of the play. The dramatist, moreover, has outgrown the usage of the sea to express tears and storms of rage and the many con­ ventional metaphors and similes for which it previously was mainly used. There seems to be a two-fold appropriateness of sea Imagery in the play. First, the prologue furnishes the back­ ground for the action: From isles of Greece The princes orgulous, their high blood chafed, Have to the port of Athens sent their ships, Fraught with the ministers and instruments Of cruel war. P rol.1-5 Thus, a literal launching of ships in pursuit of this love makes all the Greeks, in a way, merchants of love. They sail for the same object as Paris, who sails on the sea of love. Though the theme is at this point undeveloped, the implications of the passage soon come into focus. An ironic contrast also appears in the prologue:

And the deep-drawing barks do there disgorge Their warlike fraughtage. P ro l.12-13 Although the Greeks go in pursuit of a precious female, they carry "warlike fraughtage"; this cargo, then, which they ship 199 to contrasts with the jewel which they hope to trade for in Troy and transport back with them to Greece. But the real appropriateness of sea imagery evolves out of the merchandizing and sailing imagery which expresses the debased and cynical view of love as it appears in the play. G. Wilson Knight has accurately noted some of the passages in Troilus and Cressida which associate love with sailing and as OO "set beyond the sea." D He mistakenly, however, sees these love-journeys as metaphorically suggesting "the richness of finer consciousness, the difficult love vision, both immediately present and infinitely far: thus Cressida, who in one sense lives next door, in another has to be placed in India."^ But Knight fails to follow the sailing imagery through to comple­ tion and therefore fails to see its real significance. It seems absurd for anyone to assert that the love portrayed in Troilus and Cressida is a noble, pure, beautiful, and reward­ ing type of love, either as depicted in the two main characters or in the love of Paris for Helen. The expressions of love which appear in Troilus and Cressida reveal not a noble and healthy view of love but a debased, degenerate, and depraved view. Paris, for example, steals Helen from the Greeks rather than wooing and winning her in true love fashion. He gives, in fact, a very debased definition of love:

^ The Shakesperian Tempest (London: Oxford U niversity Press, 193^77 P. 172.

24 Knight, p. 173. 200

He eats nothing but doves, love, and that breeds hot blood, and hot blood begets hot thoughts, and hot thoughts beget hot deeds, and hot deeds is love. III.i.140-143 In addition, the major conflict of the play centers around Paris’s ignoble action, for two nations, Troy and Greece, rush into conflict and thousands of lives perish because of this love. It can only be a cynical view of love. Hector, in * trying to delineate the right way, focuses on the situation from a moral viewpoint and helps the audience see the wrong: If Helen then be wife to Sparta's king, As it is known she is, these moral laws Of nature and of nations speak aloud To have her back returned: thus to persist In doing wrong extenuates not wrong, But makes i t much more heavy. II.ii.183-188 Moreover, Pandar promotes the affair between Troilus and Cressida and even arranges for the fulfillment of their sen­ sual gratification. In addition, although Troilus seems truly smitten by Cressida, a rather unhealthy obsession and pursuit of her pervades the action. Finally, Cressida's rapid disen­ chantment and her betrayal of her love for Troilus emphatically underscore the ignoble quality of the whole affair. The de­ piction, therefore, of this love through the depraving imagery of merchandizing and riches, reinforced by sailing, ships, and sea, renders an accurate account of the type of love depicted in this play. The basic imagistic concern of the play, then, becomes the expression of a cynical and debased view of love through, appropriately, merchandizing imagery. 201

In the first scene of the play, Troilus establishes the basic metaphor of his love for Cressida and creates the central imagistic concept of love in the play. In his private meditations he reasons out their metaphorical roles: Tell me, Apollo, for thy Daphne's love, What Cressida is, what Pandar, and what we? Her bed is India; there she lies, a pearl: Between our Ilium and where she resid es, Let it be call'd the wild and wandering flood, Ourself the merchant, and this sailing Pandar Our doubtful hope, our convoy and our bark. I .i.101-107 Thus, Cressida, the beloved, is to be theijewel or object of value which Troilus, the lover, seeks as a merchant. The dis­ tance between them, the literal distance as well as the dangers which confront the lover, is the rough sea which the lover must cross. Troilus makes the metaphorical equation slightly more elaborate by assigning Pandar the role of the ship which pro­ vides the means for the merchant of love to his valuable com­ modity. This leitmotif, which echoes throughout the play, extends into other relationships and threads its way through all the action of the play, meanwhile receiving reinforcement and inte­ gration from related images of sea, ships, and trading. Many passages serve to echo and amplify this motif. A few lines earlier in this opening scene, Troilus describes his love to Pandarus in oceanic terms which prepare the audience for the central image: When I do tell thee, there my hopes lie drown'd, Reply not in how many fathoms deep They lie indrench'd. •1.1.47-51 202

In the second scene of the first act, the expression of love through merchandizing imagery does not appear, per­ haps primarily because no love is expressed in the scene. Some passages, however, faintly echo the merchandizing idea. Pandarus, in attempting to explain to Cressida the intensity of Troilus's love, tells her in hyperbolical language that if Troilus is not beside himself with love then it is he him self (Pandarus) who has gone to India ( l . i i . 8 o ) . Towards the end of the scene, Pandarus asks Cressida if the good qualities which Troilus possesses are not "the spice and salt that season a man," these objects being commodities gen­ erally associated, in Elizabethan England, with Oriental trading. A few lines later, Pandarus tells her that he will return with a "token from Troilus," a statement that also relates to trading. After Pandarus’s departure, Cressida re­ veals that all the while she wants to do business with Troilus, but she understands, as a shrewd merchant should, that "men prize the thing ungain’d more than it is" (l.ii.315). Immediately following these two opening scenes which concern themselves primarily with the love of Troilus for Cressida, especially as depicted through merchandizing meta­ phor, the scene shifts to the Greek camp where several Greeks are discussing the nature of man’s worth, courage, and char­ a c te r. Agamemnon asserts th a t man’s worth is proved "in the wind and tempest" of fortune’s frown. Nestor agrees, picking up the sea image and developing it more extensively and effect­ ively: 203

In the reproof of chance Lies the true proof of men: the sea being smooth, How many shallow bauble boats dare sail Upon her p atien t breasi> making th e ir way With those of nobler bulkI But let the ruffian Boreas once enrage The gentle Thetis, and anon behold The strong-ribb'd bark through liquid mountains cut, Bounding between the two moist elements Like Perseus1 horse: where’s then the saucy boat Whose weak untimber’d sides but even now Co-rivail'd greatness? Either to harbour fled, Or made a toast for Neptune. Even so Doth valour's show and valour's worth divide In storms of fortune; for in bar ray and brightness The herd hath more annoyance by the breese Than by the tiger; but when the splitting wind Makes flexible the knees of knotted oaks, And flies fled under shade, why, then the thing of courage As roused with rage with rage doth sympathize, And with an accent tuned in selfsame key Retorts to chiding fortune. I . i i i .33-54- F ir s t, th is elaborate image serves to re la te im ag istically this secondary plot to the Troilus and Cressida plot and to provide some continuity of action. Moreover, since the statements here have no specific application but are general­ izations on the nature of man and since the audience up to this point in the play has been concerned with Troilus's pur­ suit of Cressida which has been cast in shipping terminology, naturally enough Troilus's original metaphoric depiction of his love rings faintly in the audience's ear, and later it will see the real significance of this statement on man as it relates to Troilus's determination to sail to gain Cressida. It serves, in addition, as a of the adversities and final which are to confront Troilus in his sailing venture. 204

Merchandizing imagery is further expanded toward the close of this same scene where Ulysses, in plotting the response that the Greeks should make to the challenge issued by Hector to fig h t, decides th a t i t would be b e tte r i f Ajax responded to the challenge rather than Achilles. Shrewd reasoning lies behind his plan: Let us, like merchants, show our foulest wares, And think, perchance they*11 sell; if not, The lu stre of the b e tte r yet to show, Shall show the better. I.iii.359-362 This metaphor becomes very sig n ific a n t in the unfolding of the themes and action of the play. On one level, of course, it too serves to join the Greek-Trojan plot to the Troilus and Cressida plot by expressing this activity in the same im agistic language. But i t must also be remembered that Hector’s challenge was based on a defense of Greek women and their lovers. He said in his statement that he had a lady, "wiser, fairer, truer, / Than ever Greek did compass in his arms" and that if no one answered his challenge then he would assume that "the Grecian dames are sunburnt and not worth / The splinter of a lance" (I.iii.275-283). To connect the courtly love ideal expressed in this action with merchandizing imagery is to reveal the debased and hollow nature of this false idea of love. It provides a reminder also that the whole Trojan battle is over a female and a lover who has meanly acted in pursuit of her. But the main point here lies -in the fact that Ulysses determines that they, like Troilus, behave as merchants in the defense of love. In addition, It expands the 205 concept introduced in the prologue that the Greeks have crossed the seas in barks transporting a warlike freight; here they extend this idea by planning their activities like merchants. Finally, it integrates the totality of the play with the Troilus activity of sailing for his love like a true merchant. In Act II, and his sons Hector and Helenus, in a debate with Paris and Troilus concerning the war and their possession of Helen, assert that she has caused the war, the hardships, and the loss of the lives of many Trojans, and declare that she should be returned. Paris and Troilus argue on the other hand that she now belongs to the Trojans and that they should retain her and defeat their enemy the Greeks for her. Gradually the discussion assumes echoes of merchandiz­ ing language; Hector says that "she is not worth what she doth cost / The holding" (II.ii.51-52) jjLtalics supplied]. Troilus converts his response into a question by asking what is any­ thing except as it is "valued." Hector answers that "value" rests not alone in what a person thinks a thing is, for the object "holds his estimate and dignity / As well wherein ' tis precious of itself" (ll.ii.5^-55). These merchandizing terms function as a preface to another extended metaphor by Troilus in which he expands the basic imagistic leitmotif of his own love and unites his own concern with that of Paris and Helen; for he, / as Paris's spokesman at this point, also states his own credo about love. As spokesman for both lovers, Troilus casts both into merchandizing terminology and thus reveals something of the cynical and debased form of love which pervades the whole 206

play. In so doing, he also joins together the two main motifs and plots of the play. He achieves an even greater unity by applying the same imagistic pattern to both. He begins his speech by saying that he is taking a wife and that his selection is "led on in the conduct of my will": My will enkindled by mine eyes and ears, Two traded pilots 'twixt the dangerous shores Of w ill and judgement. II.ii.63-64 He uses sailing imagery here to depict his eyes and ears as the pilots in sailing to his love. He continues to develop the image by saying th a t once these p ilo ts have been followed there can be no turning back. In the same way, "we turn not back the silks upon the merchant, / When we have soil'd them" (69-70). Here Troilus makes an explicit comparison with the elaborate metaphor that unfolds in the course of the play to express the predominant view of love. He then turns to supplying the shipping background on Paris's merchandizing v enture: I t was thought meet Paris should do some vengeance on the Greeks; Your breath of full consent bellied his sails; The seas and winds, old wranglers, took a truce And did him service: he touch'd the ports desired, And for an old aunt whom the Greeks held captive He brought a Grecian queen. II.ii.72-78

As evidence that he is thinking of Paris's activity explicitly in merchandizing and sailing imagery, he then asks the question as to whether Helen is "worth" keeping and answers his own rhetorical question with: 207 why, she is a p e a rl, Whose price hath launch’d above a thousand ships, And turn’d crown’d kings to merchants. II.ii.81-83 Although the line echoes Marlowe’s famous "was this the face that launched a thousand ships" Shakespeare’s echo shows his superiority to Marlowe by the fact that he is weaving the sail­ ing imagery into an elaborate imagistic pattern which is central to understanding Shakespeare's view of the love expressed in this play. It is part of a unified, concentrated, and fully integrated leitmotif. Moreover, these lines serve to connect the activities of the Greeks with the battle which is to ensue over Greek women. The trading images are thereby associated here with merchants, and later applications of merchandizing imagery to them become appropriate and useful. In the remainder of this speech he continues to recount the activity of the Trojans in trading terms. Since the Trojans brought home "noble price," which they all described as "inestimable," then why, asks Troilus, "beggar the estimation which you prized / Richer than sea and land" (II.Ii.91-92). In the rest of this scene, the argument continues with Troilus supporting Paris completely, unwisely, and inflexibly, in the latter*s tainted view of love. Paris even recognizes the attachment of defilement to his love, for he says that he desires to "have the soil of her fair rape / Wiped off, In honourable keeping her" (II.Ii.148-149). Hector finally makes clear the degeneracy of the love which Troilus and Paris defend. He says to them th at 208

The reasons you allege do more conduce To the hot passion of distemper'd blood Than to make up a free determination 'Twixt right and wrong. II.ii.168-171 In the third scene of Act II, the merchandizing-sailing imagery shifts to another character in another plot, but it remains appropriate in its application. Agamemnon warns Patroclus about Achilles in terms which associate him with sea images: yea, watch His pettish lunes, his ebbs, his flows, as if The passage and whole carriage of this action Rode on his tide. Go tell him this, and add, That if he overhold his price too much, We'll none of him. II.iii.138-143 At the end of the same scene, Agamemnon further associates Achilles with marine imagery: Let Achilles sleep: Light boats sail swift, though greater hulks draw deep. II.iii.276-277 Finally, in Act III, Achilles makes even more precise the nature of sea and sailing imagery which is to be associated with himself, for he contemplates his situation in explicit merchandizing terminology. He first asks himself, "What, am I poor of late?" (ill.iii.74). He thinks that man has no honor except those external things such as "riches" and "prices of accident." But he feels that his own position is different, that he and fortune are friends, and that "i do enjoy / At ample point all that I did possess" ( 8 9- 9 0). But men now "metbinks, find out / Something not worth in me such rich beholding / As 209

they have often given" (90-92). Though not diligently pur­

sued, m erchandizing-sailing imagery becomes associated with Achilles in three steps, first as sea in general, then in specific marine imagery, and finally in explicit merchandizing terminology. The association of these images with Achilles is felicitous. First, it serves to unite imagistically the Achilles plot with the Troilus and Cressida concerns and with the Greek-Trojan plot, both of which have been associated with merchandizing-sailing imagery. Second, its appropriateness arises from the fact that Achilles lives life in a very degen­ erate, ignoble condition at the moment that these images are connected with his activity (interestingly enough they are soon dropped because he later arouses himself from his lethargic state). Third, and most significantly of all, Achilles is in the process of becoming the victim of the same thievery which later robs Troilus and Cressida. A new element is injected into the merchandizing imagery when Ulysses informs Achilles in their discussion of Achilles’s failing fame that time is a thief which steals fame. He casts this statement into some very interesting images beginning with mercantile overtones: Time hath my lord, a wallet at his back Wherein he puts alms fo r oblivion, A great-sized monster of ingratitudes. I I I .iii.145-147 He completes his speech with a sea echo by asserting that unless each chance for honor is taken then all chances will rush by "like to an enter'd tide" (ill.iii. 1 5 9). In the same speech, riches and trading terms are associated with time's 210 thievery. Ulysses says that virtue should not "seek remunera­ tion for the thing it was" and that the whole world is content with things "gilt." The significant point of his speech, how­ ever, in terms of the association of Achilles with Troilus and Cressida in merchandizing imagery, is Ulysses’s assertion that everything, including love and honor, are "subjects all / To envious and calumniating time ’1 (III.iii.173-174). The explicit application of time’s thievery of love appears laterin a speech by Troilus where he again reflects on their love in merchandiz­ ing term s: We two, that with so many thousand sighs Did buy each other, must poorly s e ll ourselves With the rude brevity and discharge of one. Injurious time now with a robber’s haste Crams his rich thievery up, he knows not how. IV.iv.41-45 So also Achilles, in his depraved condition, becomes aptly associated with merchandizing imagery because his honor is stolen by the pirate, time. The explicit statement that time also robs love connects this motif then with the Troilus and Cressida theme as well as with the merchandizing and sailing imagery. When Troilus realizes that they have bought and sold like true merchants, an activity which further paints their love with cynicism, he naturally extends this thought into a portrayal of time as a thief, a concept which in turn echoes the earlier association of the time-wallet speech and foreshadows the fate of Troilus’s and Cressida's love. The achievement here of Shakespeare’s intense concentration and unity of motifs through the merchandizing-sailing-thievery images is satisfying in its complexity, appropriateness, and richness. 211

In Act IV, Diomedes becomes connected with the mer­

chandizing and sailing imagery, for now he pursues the depraved so rt of love which is associated with Cressida. Diomedes expresses his feelings about the tainted love which Paris and Helen possess and condemns it because of the lives it has cost: She’s bitter to her country: hear me, Paris: For every false drop in her bawdy veins A Grecian's life hath sunk; for every scruple Of her contaminated carrion weight, A Trojan hath been slain: since she could speak, She hath not given so many good words breath As for her Greeks and Trojans suffer'd death. IV .i.68-74 (The italics are added to emphasize the association with weight, measurement, and therefore merchandizing.) In res­ ponding to his statements, Paris immediately applies the mer­ chant label to Diomedes: F air Diomed, you do as chapmen do, Dispraise the things that you desire to buy: But we in silence hold this virtue well, We'll but commend what we intend to sell.

In one way this combination simile and metaphor is sweeping enough to include a l l the Trojans and Greeks who have been engaged in this battle over a stained love. Moreover, it associates Paris with merchandizing action in love and there­ fore with a debased view of love. Yet it also specifically joins Diomedes with merchandizing concerns, for i t is he now who w ill s a il lik e a merchant to obtain Cressida, th is commodity of love. In Act V the linking of Diomedes with sailing-m erchandizing imagery brings into focus his depraved and degenerate form of 212

love. Diomedes himself says in the f i r s t scene, "I have

important business, / The tide whereof is now" (V.i. 8 9- 9 0). Immediately following, Thersites, who acts as a commentator on the action to clarify the theme of the debasement of those around him, whose own deformity symbolically qualifies him as such a spokesman and who ties together the two plots of Achilles and Troilus-Cressida-Diomedes, says that Diomedes is "a false-hearted rogue, a most unjust knave; I will no more trust him when he leers than I will a serpent when he kisses. . . . they say he keeps a Trojan drab, and uses the traitor Calchas's tent; I’ll after. Nothing but lechery! all incontinent varlets" (V.i.9^-106). Thus Diomedes in being overtly referred to as lecherous and falsehearted, is further associated with that form of love which prevails in the play. He is defiled by the falseness of Cressida and his own lecher­ ous pursuit of her. In the next scene, there is a confirma­ tion of the fact that Troilus has lost the role of merchant of C ressid a’s love and th at Diomedes has become the new Ship­ man. Troilus expresses his anger upon realizing that Diomedes has outbidden him: Hark, Greek: as much as I do Cressid love, So much by weight hate I her Diomed: That sleeve is mine that he’ll bear on his helm; Were it a casque composed by Vulcan's skill, My sword should bite it: not the dreadful spout Which shipmen do the hurricano call, Constringed in mass by the almighty sun, Shall dizzy with more clamour Neptune's ear In his descent than shall my prompted sword F alling on Diomed. V . i i . 167-176 213

The basic metaphorical equation here is clear: what the hur­ ricane is to merchants, Troilus will be to Diomedes. Since Troilus no longer functions as a merchant of love and since Diomedes has assumed the role of shipman of love, the mer­ chandizing-sailing terms' become applicable to him. Again, Thersites immediately draws into focus the depravity of the love pursued by these merchants: Would I could meet th at rogue Diomedi . . . Patroclus will give me anything for the intelligence of this whore. . . . lechery, lechery; still, wars and lechery, nothing else holds fashion: a burning devil take them! V .ii.190-196 Thersites, establishing the theme of the play as wars and lechery, or rather wars based on lechery, also elucidates the motives and the depravity of these merchants of love. In the last scene of the play, Pandarus cysically recognizes the role he has played in the merchandizing ven­

ture and says, "thus is the poor agent despised" (V.ix. 3 8 ), "agent" here being loosely synonymous with the word "merchant." And finally this great cynic turns to the audience and addresses them as "good traders in the flesh"; thus by considering every­ one as merchants of love, Pandarus reveals the depth of the depravity and degeneracy of his view of love. Troilus and Cressida marks a great advance in Shake­ speare 's developing skill with images as they work into the fab ric of a drama. They do not lie on the external surface of the play nor appear so obvious and conventional in design. In this play the dramatist has advanced to the point where 214 the merchandizing-sailing-sea-riches-thievery images are born of the emotions of the theme, and are subtle, complex, varied, unified, but intensely vivid and meaningful in the artistic intent of the drama. Although Troilus and Cressida represents Shakespeare's greatest achievement in merchandizing, sailing, and sea imagery, he experimented once more in Othello with the sea in th is way, and with these related images attained a remarkable but dif­ ferent type of accomplishment. The merchandizing and sailing imagery in Othello is not for the purpose of reinforcing or creating an atmosphere for the type of love which is viewed, as in Troilus and Cressida. Rather it is appropriate in the play by the way it fits into the setting, portrays character­ ization, and describes imagistically the activity of the char­ acters. Caroline Spurgeon noted that "as is fitting, with a se ttin g of two famous seaports, the sea, its images and lan­ guage, play an important part throughout. "25 There is concern with a possible sea battle, a sea storm, crossing of the sea, and a general sea atmosphere in some of the scenes which justi­ fies a casting of love into sea images. Moreover, the atmos­ phere associated with Othello’s character, one possessing the magic of d ista n t and mysterious lands and exotic things and of one who has traveled far, calls for an emphasis on the sea. Finally, Iago’s activity of destroying Othello’s love for Desdemona requires merchandizing, riches, and sailing images to

25P. 337. i 215

depict Iago as a pirate who destroys this trading venture on the sea of love. Desdemona assumes explicit associations with jewelry, riches, or wealth images throughout the play, and she is clearly conceived of in this way by various people. In the first scene of the play, Iago, seeking to alert Brabantio to the fact that his daughter has been abducted, shouts out "ThievesI thieves! thieves! / Look to your house, your daughter and your bags! / Thieves!'thieves!" (I.1.79-81). Here Iago, who calls someone else a thief and who ironically turns out to be the thief in the end, implicitly equates Desdemona with Brabantio's other possessions, thereby placing her metaphor­ ically on the level with merchandize. In the second scene of the play, Othello, uniting the two motifs of sea and riches in one image, describes Desdemona*s value by saying: But th at I love the gentle Desdemona, I would not my unhoused free condition Put into circumscription and confine For the sea's worth. I . i i . 26-29 In the third scene of the first act, even Desdemona*s father, Brabantio, addresses his daughter as "jewel": "For your sake, jewel, / I am glad at soul I have no other child" (I.iii.195- 196). This explicit reference to Desdemona as a jewel, though bitterly ironic, takes on a deep significance at the end of the play when Othello finally realizes that be has thrown away a pearl of great price. In Act II, Cassio, after a storm has threatened to sink Desdemona*s ship and a f te r the ship has arrived safely at Cyprus, says of her in a beautiful combination 216

of literal account of sailing and the sea storm with a fig­ urative account of her safe arrival:

0 , behold, The riches of the ship is come on shore! I I . i . 83-84 Again Desdemona appears as the valuable merchandize of a sailing vessel. The logical extension of Desdemona's portrayal as a jewel of merchandize of great value is the depiction of Othello as a sailing merchant venturing for such a valuable commodity. Such associations attach to Othello early in the play and con­ sistently appear all the way through to the last lines of the play. A fter, fo r example, Othello has eloped with Desdemona, Iago, who has already associated the worthy Desdemona with riches in his announcement to her father, connects merchandiz­ ing and sailing imagery with Othello when he says: fFaith, he to-night hath boarded a land carack: If it prove lawful prize, he*s made for ever. I . i i . 50-51 When Iago speaks of boarding a land carack, which is a large merchant ship, on one level he is playing with words to imply th a t Othello has seduced Desdemona; on another level he is employing terminology related to sailing, merchandizing, and piracy with irony arising from the fact that it is Iago him­ self who turns out to be the pirate. Echoing this association a few lines later, Brabantio calls Othello "thief," and then

"0 thou fool thief, where hast thou stow1d my daughter" (i.ii. 62). The Oxford English Dictionary gives two very interesting 217 entries for the word "stow’d." From 1440 to 1 7 6 2 "stowed" had the meaning of Invested money, but by1 6 0 2 , as used by Marston and again by Shakespeare in The Tempest, i t had the meaning also of "to fasten down (persons) under the hatches for confinement or safety." While the second meaning of the word is the one most likely intended by Shakespeare, here clearly amplifying the merchandizing imagery associated with Othello, it is interesting that it also carried the connotation that Brabantio is asking Othello, as a merchant, where he has invested his priceless possession which Othello has taken away. The opening scene of Act II, while employing almost no metaphorical language, especially as related to the merchandiz­ ing and sailing motif, is nevertheless an extremely vivid, literal sea scene. Desdemona arrives safely on shore while concern increases over the fate of Othello’s ship in the treacherous sea storm. Thus there is an almost literal acting out of the metaphorical equation of Othello as a sea merchant sa ilin g through dangerous sea to his valuable commodity already on shore, referred to upon her arrival as "the riches of the ship." Although on the lite r a l level this is not what is intended by the scene, a heavy implication and loud echo is present of the sea merchant image by which the love and activity of Othello and Desdemona are portrayed. In this way, of course, a ll the sea descriptions and anxieties which permeate the scene serve to create the proper atmosphere for the merchandizing and sailing motif. 218

The significance of this sea scene, incidentally one of the few on-stage sea scenes in Shakespeare, becomes more clear in the light of several statements which follow it. Othello, sounding like a merchant about to bargain for a commodity, tells Iago, "Go to the bay and disembark my coffers" (II.i.210). Once everyone is safely in the castle and the trials of winning a priceless possession seem to be over, Othello turns to Desde­ mona and, in addressing her, mentions in merchandizing terms the adversity they have endured: Come, my dear love, The purchase made, the fruits are to ensue; The profit's yet to come 'tween me and you. II.iii.8-10 Although Othello and Desdemona are already married and the pursuit of love is over, the troubles and hardships that have intervened in their relationship are still viewed in sea merchant terms, as expressly pointed out in this passage. The fulfillment of the merchandizing and sailing imagery occurs in the last scene of the play where in three significant passages the metaphor is completed. Othello realizes that Desdemona was an object of great value and if she had proved to be as "true" an object as he first thought she was, he would not have "traded" her fo r any price: Nay, had she been tru e , If heaven would make me such another world Of one entire and perfect chrysolite, I'Id not have sold her for it. V .ii.143-1^6 Emilia, a few lines later, turns the merchandizing around when she says that Desdemona "was too fond of her most filthy bargain" 219

to be untrue to Othello. Though the direct application of the metaphor is inconsistent, it does serve to echo the basic metaphor of their love. As the scene moves along to its con­ clusion and after Othello has realized the mistake he has made and that his trading venture is over, his sailing journey completed, he says in appropriate nautical language, Here is my journey's end, here is my butt, And very sea-mark of my utmost s a il. V .ii.267-268 In keeping with the elaborate sea merchant metaphor which depicts Othello's and Desdemona's love, the la st reference by Othello to his prized possession is made in terms of riches and wealth. He requests that whenever after this anyone speaks of him, speak Of one that loved not wisely but too well; Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought, Perplex'd in the extreme; of one whose hand, Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away Richer than a ll his trib e. V .ii.343-3^8 Although much speculation ex ists as to the exact meaning of these lines and the specific jewel being referred to here, to see it as the culminating image in the merchant-sailing pattern as used to portray this love story is to see the true significance of the reference. It becomes the final state­ ment of Othello's tragedy and appears as a consistent, rele­ vant, and appropriate expression of the merchant of love who realizes too late his misjudgment of the most valuable object he has ever owned. Interestingly enough, the image which 220

Othello creates for the enactment of his suicide relies also on the merchant motif which has been developed. in Aleppo once, Where a malignant and a turban’d Turk Beat a Venetian and traduced the state, I took by the throat the circumcised dog, And smote him, thus. [Stabs himself V .i i . 352-357 U He refers to the Turk that beat a Venetian in Aleppo, which was a city known for it s business ventures and dependence on mercantilism and which even granted special trading privileges to Venetians. Thus as a trader, Othello is justified in his in portraying himself as being in that trading city defending a Venetian. The appropriateness of the sea merchant pattern as an expression of O thello’s and Desdemona’s tragic love becomes even more clear, in addition to those mentioned ea rlier, in this la st metaphor of the jewel which has been thrown away. First, it is appropriate because Othello, as a merchant in love, literally discards a jewel of great value. The quality and value of a jewel, moreover, does not change with one person’s evaluation of it. It is still beautiful within i t s e l f , has unsurpassed q u a lities, and remains p riceless. So it is with Desdemona. She retains her unspeakable qualities throughout the play, never losing anything in value. But Othello turns out to be a merchant who has misjudged his mer­ chandize and in underevaluating it has foolishly thrown it away. This final image, in its appropriateness to Othello’s action and Desdemona's worth, stands as the basic image of 221

the play and as the metaphor toward which the whole extended image of the merchandizing-sailing pattern was building. As a counterpart of the merchandizing pattern used to express Othello*s pu rsu it of Desdemona, a sim ilar, though less fully developed, image cluster attaches itself to Rodhrigo's attempts to purchase, in a corrupted fashion, the love of Desdemona. Although the money is gained dishonestly by Iago for his own selfish ends, the merchandizing imagery becomes an essential part of Roderigo's activity. First, when Roderigo confides to Iago his sorrow over the loss of Desdemona to Othello, Iago advises him in language punctuated with trading terminology. He informs Roderigo to "put money in thy purse" and, s t i l l in reference to securing Desdemona, he says to "make money" (I.iii.339-368). In Act II, Roderigo begins to

complain that th is commodity is costing him too much money and that "my money is almost spent" (ll.ii.370). Towards the end of the play, as he despairs of ever obtaining this valuable object, he informs Iago who serves as his trading agent that "I have wasted myself out of my means. The jewels you have had from me to deliver to Desdemona would half have corrupted a votarist" (l\T.ii.l87-190). This, of course, relates to Othello*s fin a l statem ent th at Desdemona is a jewel beyond the worth of all other jewels, for here Roderigo seeks to trade his jewels of lesser value for this priceless pearl. Iago in the last act, realizing the fortune Roderigo has spent in attempting to pur­ chase Desdemona, knows th a t i f Roderigo lives he sh all c a ll "me to a restitution large / Of gold and jewels that I bobb'd from 222

him, / As g if ts to Desdemona" (V .i.15-17). In one way, then, the Roderigo plot serves to echo the merchandizing pattern which expresses the activity of the main characters. Iago, naturally, has an important position jn his relatio n sh ip with Othello and Desdemona, in the plot, and in the development of the action, for it is through his activi­ ties that Othello loses his priceless merchandize. First, consistency of characterization is achieved through the sail­ ing imagery which attaches itself to Iago and his activities. As pointed out above in the chapter on the sea as a dramatic device, Caroline Spurgeon and Wolfgang Clemen have both noted that Iago's use of sailing jargon helps to reveal his practical approach to situations. He employs "technical maritime terms, and colours some of his images with sailor's jargon. But the sea as a whole does not appear in his imagery. He looks at the sea only from a professional point of view. He is at home on the sea, but only in a practical way." When he realizes that Othello has passed over him for Cassio, Iago complains that he is "Be-lee'd and calm'd" (l.i.30); he knows that Venice has not another of Othello's "fathom" (l.i.153); he schemes to "show out a flag and sign of love" in order to deceive Othello (l.i. 1 5 7); he realizes that Brabantio will take action against Othello to whatever extent the law "will give him cable" (l.ii. 1 7); be declares to Roderigo that he is knit to bis deserving "with cables of perdurable toughness"

26ciemen, p. 126. 223

(l.iii.343); and when be sees that his plans are sailing well, he whispers to himself: If consequence do but approve my dreams, My boat sails freely, both with wind and stream. I I . i i i . 64-65 On one level, his peculiar usage of sailing imagery serves to show the distinctive qualities of his character. But on another, and in a way which seems even more sig n ific an t fo r the poetry and organic unity of the dramatist's art, his usage of sailing imagery relates him thematically to the basic meta­ phor of the main p lo t. In yet another way, the combination of Iago's sailing imagery with another type of imagery associated with him, the imagery of thievery, serves metaphorically to depict bis rela­ tionship with Othello and Desdemona. Iago expresses his motiva­ tion and action with an image which is central to understanding his character: Good name in man and woman, dear my lord, Is the immediate jewel of their souls: Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing; 'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands; But he th a t filc h e s from me my good name Robs me of that which not enriches him And makes me poor indeed. I I I . i i i . 155-161 Robert B. Heilman has previously noted that Iago's "thiefhood is woven tightly into the poetic and dramatic fabric."27 Iago^ for one thing, makes several references to thievery and robbery.

27"Tbe Economics of Iago and Others" Publications of the Modern Language Association of America. LXVIII (June, T 9 5 3). 224

He Is the first to suggest to Brabantio that Othello is a thief. He later reflects on the nature of thievery: The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief; He robs himself that spends a bootless grief. I.iii.208-209 Othello also informs Iago of the same conclusion at which Iago has already arrived, something that he as a thief has long recognized: He that is robb'd, not wanting what issbol!n Let him not know't, and he’s not robb'd at all. III.iii.342-343 Emilia also tells the other Venetians, as well as Othello, that Iago often "begg’d of me to steal the handkerchief" (lV.ii.229). Robbing, stealing, and filching are connected with Iago in action as well as imagery; he himself engages in much stealing from the other characters: he steals Roderigo's money for no motive at all; he filches Cassio's good name from him, tries to steal his place from him, and makes Gassio himself look like a thief; he robs Desdemona of her v irtu e , her good name, and her beloved; he makes Othello into a thief at the beginning and then robs the Moor of his love for Desdemona and therefore of his happiness; and he tries to make his own wife into a thief over the handkerchief. To cast Iago, therefore, into associations with thievery becomes appropriate in the light of the metaphor which expresses Othello's and Desdemona's relationship as that of merchant and priceless commodity. Appropriately, Iago functions as the thief who robs the merchant of the purchase he has already made. Thus, 225 the linkage of sailing and thievery in Iago reveals felicit­ ously his relationship to the merchant and his jewel. As Shakespeare entered into the middle years of his career, it appears that he was searching for new techniques and extending the boundaries of his artistic accomplishments, A study of his handling of the sea as only one of the sources for his experimentation with imagery reveals the steady devel­ opment which he made through these middle years. The uncertain but slighter achievement of imagistic unity by means of the sea in Romeo and Juliet contrasts with the more advanced use ,of it in The Merchant of Venice. These first two experiments provide the ground work for the mature unity and cohesion attained through the use of fully developed, appropriate, and integrated sea imagery in Troilus and Gressida. A similar type of imagis­ tic expression is developed in Othello, but with different rami* fic a tio n s .

Another technique which he experiments with in these four plays reveals a similar progression. He seems to devise the technique of stating a central imagistic passage in a play around which all the other related images can build and coa­ lesce. In Romeo and Juliet, the central passage appears in the imagistically important garden scene where Romeo says that I am no pilot; yet, wert thou as far As that vast shore wash'd with the farthest sea, I would adventure fo r such merchandise. II.ii.82-84 In the play, however, the related imagery, though extensive, never really coheres around this seemingly central image but 226

rather takes another course of development. In The Merchant of Venice, the poet turns to a new technique of the central sea passage by opening the play with lines which generate an atmosphere and mood for the entire drama. Instead of meta­ phoric utilization of the sea, a literal discussion of it ensues here which dictates the emotional theme of the play. By the time of the composition of Troilus and Cressida. Shakespeare was experimenting again with establishing a com­ prehensive metaphor by which the theme, imagery, and action of the whole play could be integrated. In the first act the poet establishes the image, as expressed by Troilus, that Cressida is a jewel, her bed India, he a merchant, and Pandar his sa ilin g bark. While he places th is image at the beginning of the play in order to establish the main image for the other images to build around, in Othello he experiments again, this time by placing the central metaphor at the end where it can stand as the culmination of all the imagistic impulses of the play. The two statements by Othello that "here is my journey's end, here is my butt / And very sea-mark of my utmost sail," and that he is "one whose hand, / Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away, / Richer than all his tribe" serve as the ful­ fillment of the imagistic expression in this tragedy. In the progressive refinement of this particular imagistic usage of the sea, Troilus and Cressida seems to stand as the epitome, for the images are more fully integrated into the theme, the emotions, and the various plots of the play, while Othello appears to show perhaps a negligible dwindling of possibilities. 227

The image is s lig h tly more self-consciously contrived and super­ imposed on the emotions of the play. It appears that by the time of Othello Shakespeare had exploited the sea as completely as he could in imagistic usage. Years later, as he enters into the final phase of his career and reaches toward new possibili­ ties in his art, he turns to the sea again for even more compli­ cated, refined, and abstract poetic expression. CHAPTER VI


Nowhere in the course of Shakespeare's dramatic career does so glaring a change take place as happened upon his entrance into the period of his romances. The development of his a b ility , ideas, and poetic techniques seems n atu ral enough in the transition from comedies and histories to the writing of tragedies. But the change which Shakespeare undergoes in moving from his tragedies into the final phase of his career is so sharp and so distinctive that for many it appears almost incomprehensible. Some critics agree that all the last plays are con­ nected as a group: . . . with an intimacy different from that connecting any three either of the earlier comedies or of the tragedies. . . . The prospect of understanding Cymbellne without The Winter's Tale, and The Tempest is poor indeed. And even The Tempest, usua1ly thought the most successful of the three, gains much in lucidity when supported by the others . 1 But differences of opinion begin to appear among these critics when an attempt is made to answer the questions of what had hap­ pened to the dramatist, or what he was trying to do.

^E. M. T illy ard . Shakespeare's Last Plays (London: Chatto and Windus, 195!) > P.

228 229

Until more recent time^ most critics agreed that

Shakespeare's art in some way or other had degenerated or broken away from the development which had been evolving through­ out his career. Some of these critics felt that Shakespeare had fallen victim to the consequences of the shifting of the setting from the open-air theater to an indoor theater, of the shifting

from the Globe to B la c k fria rs . 2 A. H. Thorndike argues that since Shakespeare is shamelessly creating melodramatic situa­ tions just for their own sake, a practice in which he had never before indulged, and since such a practice was habitual with dra­ m atists such as Beaumont and F letch er, then the conclusion must be th a t Shakespeare had succumbed to th e ir sig n ific an t influence on Jacobean drama.3 Another of the older scholars, Lytton

Strachey, asserts that the dramatist was "bored," "bored with people, bored with real life, bored with drama, bored, in fact, with everything except poetry and poetical dreams."2* H. G. Granville-Barker echoes this belief in his speculation that "when you are exhausted with hammering great tragic themes into shape it is a relief to find a subject you can play with."3 Finally, E. K. Chambers conjectures that Shakespeare suffered

2Tillyard, p. 4.

3The Influence of Beaumont and F ietcher on Shakespeare (Worcester, Massachusetts O. fe. Wood, 1901J, p.

^Tillyard, p. 2.

3Prefaces to Shakespeare (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 194b-47), I, 469. 230 some great psychological experience of the nature of either a religious conversion or a nervous breakdown.® In more recent times, a new group of critics composed of such scholars as Derek Traversi, G. Wilson Knight, E. M. W. Tillyard, and S. L. Bethell, have viewed the last romances in a different way. Generally, these critics feel that Shake­ speare in the last plays was reaching out toward new dramatic forms, toward a more purely "poetic drama." Sir Arthur Quilier-Couch, who anticipated the recent scholars, felt that Shakespeare realized th a t his aim in the la s t phase had brought him up against the limitation of his art, a circumstance which commonly occurs at the end of the career of men of great genius who have "mastered their craft within its technical limits."? He felt that Shakespeare should be honored the more because "at the height of his skill, seeking to present a noble thing in life which the rules of his craft seemed to disallow, he turned his back upon past success, defied the technical bars, and risked a made reputation,"® to face the challenge of rep­ resenting life in an even more artistically complicated way. This attempt at a more poetic, symbolic, refined, and complex form of art explains the different appearance of these last plays. Thus, in an approach to these plays their greater

^Shakespeare: A Survey (New York: Hill and Wang, 1959), P. 293. ^Shakespeare»s Workmanship (Cambridge, England: The University Press, 1931), p. 155.

^Quiller-Couch, p. 1 8 5. 231

complexity suggests that a different path be taken in looking at the sea images. The chief criticism usually aimed against the last romances is that their plots, characters, and setting are unrealistic, too melodramatic, and too artificial. The more recent thinking on these plays is that Shakespeare was attempt­ ing to move into some type of symbolic or complete poetic drama. What is happening in these last plays, as Derek Traversi points out, is that the plays are becoming so tightly organized th at the elements in to which a drama is usually div ­ ided, character, motivation, poetry, or plot, have become so intimately blended that they cannot be considered as existing in their own right.9 So interdependent and so unified have the elements of drama become that they achieve something of a symbolic quality. Although the plays still retain a high degree of concreteness, they have suffered a slight abandon­ ment of realism, and the characters and situations . . . are more exclusively conditioned than ever before by the poetic emotion, the plays themselves are to be regarded accordingly as expanded images, and these images in turn attain their full expression by moulding to their purposes the convention of the stag e. 10 The means by which the elements of the dramas have become so poetically and intimately unified is the use of related imagery.

9Shakespeare: The Last Phase (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and Company, 1953,)* p. 17.

l°Traversi, p. 18. 232 But the imagery differs from the imagery of earlier plays, for, as Knight observes, in the last plays the "poetic image tends not only to blend with, but actually to become the plot"-^ and to assume symbolic q u a lities. Caroline Spurgeon noted also that the "symbolism of the imagery in the romances is more sub­ tle and less concrete than in the earlier plays; and tends to illustrate and reiterate an idea rather than a concrete picture."^ Thus, much of the imagery assumes q u alities which strike the reader as possessing associations beyond its mere presence. To look at the sea in this manner in the last dramas is to acquire a good understanding of the method which Shakespeare was devel­ oping at the end of his career. A striking homogenousness of pattern and theme ex ists among the fin a l romances, P ericles, CymbeLine, The Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest. Most critics agree that Shakespeare in these la st plays is sh iftin g the emphasis of action away from the tragic to the regenerative process. G. Wilson Knight says that the theme of all of the final plays is the thought of miraculous resurrection. 13 J Tillyard says that the "latest plays aim at a complete regeneration; at a melting down of the old vessel and a recasting of it into something new";^ while Traversi explains the theme as an expression of "the conception

llTraversi, p. 218.

•^Shakespeare fs Imagery and What it Tells Us (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1936}* P. 291. 13The Shakesperian Tempest (London: Oxford University Press, 193277 P. 2bb. lifP. 14. 233 of an organic relationship between breakdown and reconcilia­

tio n . "^5 a remarkable similarity of plot also exists among the plays. Each plot contains the same general scheme of moving from prosperity to suffering and destruction and finally to re-creation and restoration. As Tillyard explains it: . . . the main character is a King. At the beginning he is in prosperity. He then does an evil or mis­ guided deed. Great suffering follows, but during the suffering or at its height the seeds of something new to issue from it are germinating, usually in secret. In the end th is new element assim ilates and transforms the old evil. The King overcomes his evil instincts, joins himself to the new order by an act of forgive­ ness or repentance; and the play issues into a fairer prosperity than had first existed .1 6

As Traversi notices, the contrasts between tempests and suc­ ceeding calm, birth and death, mortality and healing, consti­ tute the symbolic unity and provide "a framework for the pattern of interdependent imagery by which the play attains its full poetic life."^ The physical object most intimately associated with these contrasts and patterns is the sea, which in itself takes on meaning beyond its mere physical presence, for in each la s t romance there is a turning to the sea before the f in a l res­ toration comes. The sea in these last plays begins to assume an association, in the light of their symbolic quality, with regenerative or restorative properties, and thus adds another dimension to their richness.

15p. 2. l6 P. 26.

17 P. 26. 234

The quality and quantity of the sea’s appearances in the last plays is singular. In the sheer number of times it is employed, in its intimacy with the action, in its imagistic functions, and in the use of i t fo r se ttin g and atmosphere, the sea constitutes the very essence of the last romances. The ubiquitousness of the sea in all these plays, but especially in Pericles and The Tempest, the manner in which i t is woven into the fabric of the plays and the significance of its loca­ tion in the action and the , all alert the reader to the possibility of its being a symbol of consequence in the total meaning of the plays. An analysis of the sea's appearance in each of the final plays reveals that it operates in the same manner in the recurrent pattern of these plays. In each the sea serves as a means to the final regeneration. Repeatedly, a sea voyage is responsible for the suffering, for the growth, and for the final reconciliation which comes to the hero. The sea becomes an agent in the process of rebirth. Thus, the sea, although one should not insist arbitrarily on too rigid a pat­ tern, seems to be at least vaguely associated in Shakespeare’s mind with some type of purgative and regenerative quality con­ tributing to the moral growth of the main character. And although the general pattern is the same, each play possesses its own individual amplification and its own application of the theme to i t s sp ecific d e ta ils . I t is in noting the in d i­ vidual variatio n s in the theme and the experimentation and artistic development in the dramatist’s handling of it in each separate play that an insight is gained into the artistic 235

growth that Shakespeare was experiencing even at the end of a great career. He did not arrive suddenly at his concept of the sea as a regenerative force. Some faint hints of this idea appear early in his career, although they amount to little in their context. For example, at the end of Richard II, Bolinghroke, desiring to cleanse himself of the stain which may be on his hands, turns to a sea voyage as a means of penitence and rehabil ita tio n : I 'll make a voyage to the Holy Land, To wash this blood off from my guilty hand. V .v i.49-50 This idea is picked up in la te r plays and becomes a more i n t i ­ mate part of the action, rather than being merely attached at the end. In Hamlet the hero makes a sea voyage toward the end of the play. It is upon this ocean journey that he finally can determine to act and th at he becomes reconciled to his destiny. But here also, the sea had not achieved the power, as a symbol, to integrate the theme of the play. In King Lear, an extremely interesting development appears. Traversi notes that the ten­ dency of the direction which the poet took in the last phase began to show faintly in the tragedies and became increasingly predominant as time passed . ^8 In this light, the familiar pattern of the later plays makes an interesting appearance in Lear. There is In this play a misguided action by a king In the beginning of the play which results in much suffering to

l 8P. 5 236

himself and separation from a daughter who travels across the ocean. After great suffering, the king journeys to the seaside where his daughter has returned from over the seas, and there follows a reconciliation and restoration between the two. The main plot difference between this tragedy and the pattern of the last romances is that the emphasis here is on the tragedy while in the final plays the emphasis is shifted to the recon­ c ilia tio n . But the p attern i t s e l f is sim ilar and seems to have already existed in Shakespeare's mind, as well as the possibili­ ties of the sea as a symbol within this pattern. Although Timon of Athens does not present the same gen­ eral pattern of action and although it does not contain a sea voyage, a very curious use of the sea appears as part of the action and theme of the play. Pew references to the sea exist throughout most of the play and little figurative language is drawn from it. Yet, after Timon makeshis discovery about man's selfishness and greed, and after he arrives at a very cynical and misanthropic attitude, he withdraws from society and retires to the seaside as though he will become regenerated or recon­ ciled to bis tragedy. G. Wilson Knight perceives some very interesting symbolic implications for the sea as Shakespeare incorporates it into this play. Its particular location in the play as the place for Timon*s last days has wide symbolic sig­ nificances and makes the final part of the play a "rich conceit."^9

■^Knight, p. 206. 237

Knight continues by pointing out that Timon has retraced backward the process of creation from chaos to man's civilization: . . . and this sea is chaos, the weltering chaos of the absolute negation to which he returns. And yet it is "vast": a weltering "nothing," yet infinity. And its undying requiem is sweet, the "light foam" gently lapping the grave, wavelets softly whispering a deathless sympathy; but, again, it is as a solemn monotone of death, unending, sobbing above the "ever­ lasting mansion" of eternity; and, again, the grand passion-heart of Timon has here no final Mass for his soul but one as grandly turbulent as man's passionate aspiration: "the turbulent surge." Finally, the vast sea's infinity, the grief itself of ocean which over­ floods the greater part of earth, shall "weep for aye 20 on the b reast of Timon, prince-hearted, lo v e -c ru c ified ." Timon seems then to seek a return to beginnings, in the hope that such a return will enable him to become reconciled to the knowledge which he has acquired about man. But the sea here does not regenerate or restore him, and he dies at the seaside in his cynical state, unreconciled to the realities of life. The sea here of course is not successful as a symbol for regeneration, but there does seem to exist in the manipu- t lation of it an attempt for what later evolves. Pericles contains as i ts main idea the theme of regenera­ tion through tragic suffering, and it also holds the sea at its very heart. The two concepts fuse so intimately in the play that they are almost impossible to separate, for they together constitute the basic image and plot. In the opening of the play, Pericles discovers moral degeneracy existing in the world,

20p. 206 238 specifically at the court of Antiochus, Through his own mis­ guided action, he must escape by sea from danger. Traversi views these early sea journeys as symbolic pilgrimages, sym- bolic quests for self-knowledge. Pericles is exposed to the pain of the sea, as pointed out several times: "so puts himself unto the shipman's toil, / With whom each minute threatens life or death" (l.iii.24-25); "He, doing so, put forth to seas, / Where when men been, there's seldom ease" (II.prol.27-28). After Pericles arrives on shore from this f lig h t by sea, he implies in a monologue th a t his voyage can pp be interpreted in terms of moral trials. He placates the "angry stars of heaven" by declaring that he does obey them. Then, as a result of his frightening sea venture, he reflects upon his moral nature..

Pericles learns another moral lesson from the action of the sea when his father's armor washes ashore. Although the rough seas "spare not any man," they can in due course "give again" and thus offer a restoring unction. Later when Peri­ cles introduces himself to Simonides, he says that he is one who has been sailing the seas "looking for adventure in the world," which seems another way of saying that he has been seek­ ing experience, and therefore knowledge.

2 1 P. 21.

22i|raversi, p. 2 3 . 239

In Act III, Pericles suffers further adversity from the sea, for he loses Thaisa through a sea death and then is sepa­ rated from Marina by the sea. Pericles learns even more fully the need for acceptance and resignation, for he says that “the end / Must be as ’tis " and "we cannot but obey / The powers above us" (III.iii.9-12). As Traversi points out, The need for acceptance, conformity to purposes still only dimly apprehended in the course of exposure to tragic experience is an essential part of the concep­ tion on which each of Shakespeare’s last plays is built. Such resignation, however, is not final. It is rather a necessary prelude to the restoration of a harmony made potentially richer by exposure to adver­ s i t y . 23

Tragedy upon tragedy comes to P ericles and h is family at the caprice of the ocean, and they arrive finally at their lowest ebb as a re su lt of the s e a ’s actio n . Thaisa commits h e rse lf to live as a vestal and to "never more have joy" (ill.iv.ll), while Marina, whose very name is drawn from the sea, laments her condition in oceanic terms: Ay me! poor maid, Born in a tempest, when my mother died, This world to me is like a lasting storm, Whirring me from my friends. IV. i . 18-21 Thus the sea surrounds the tragedy of Pericles and his family and even directly produces the suffering which they experience. As indicated in the chapter on the sea as dramatic device, the theme of chance or fortune as reflected in the action of the sea on the lives of Pericles and his family is a major concern in this play.

23p. 32 2kO

By the end of Act IV, everyone has endured the extrem­ es t sufferings at the whim of the sea. Thaisa has long since resigned herself to her husband’s death and is completely ignorant of the fate of her child; Marina has assumed that she and her father are separated forever; and Pericles has given up both his wife and daughter as dead. The sea’s action here appears as an element in a symbolic structure of human suffer­ ing and eventual resurrection to which interrelated Images will eventually give new life. In this way, the plot exists as a function of image and symbol, and these two in turn serve to express the human qualities forged from the tortures of human suffering and to offer a re-birth for man who has discovered the humility demanded by the action of chance and fortune.. By the beginning of Act V, the conditions are ready for the re-birth, regeneration, and reconciliation which must triumph at the end of the play. This regeneration comes by means of the sea and its fortunes. In the prologue by Gower, the audience’s attention is directed again to Pericles and the sea where We there him lost; Whence, driven before the winds, he is arrived Here where h is daughter dwells; and on th is coast Suppose him now at anchor. V.prol.13-16 At the coast of Mytilene Pericles meets Marina, who tells him that she was born at sea. By this statement concerning her origins, Marina, as Traversi says, assumes her proper position 2k in the symbolic pattern.

24 P. 39. 241

Connected by her birth *at sea’ with the tempest that bore Pericles apart from Thaisa and confirmed their separation in her supposed death, Marina, having passed unscathed through the trials to which her early separation from her father exposed her, now returns to him as the harbinger of harmony restored. With the response aroused in Pericles by the contemplation of her transfigured humanity, the necessary conditions for the final reconciliation are at last established,25

In the rush of happiness which he feels over the recovery of his daughter, Pericles tells Helicanus to "strike him," give him "a gash " Lest this great sea of joys rushing upon us 0 *erbear the shores of my mortality, And drown me with th e ir sweetness. V .i.194-196 Although the sea in the first part of the play produces and represents tragic suffering, the emotional context has now become transformed, for it is the sea which has now brought Pericles to this point, has restored him to his daughter, and has taught him much about humility and the need for accept­ ance of the operations of fortune. In this context, Pericles beckons Marina to him in words which explicitly express the

symbolic essence of the entire p l a y : 2 ^

0 , come hither, Thou that beget*st him that did thee beget; Thou that wast born at sea, buried at Tarsus, And found at sea againJ V .i.196-199 Although Pericles speaks to Marina as if he were begotten by his own daughter, the obvious implication is that he has

2 5Traversi, p. 39.

S^Traversi, p. 40. 242

experienced a spiritual rebirth and resurrection. The lan­ guage of these lines is unmistakable, for Pericles speaks in terms of being born, being buried, and rediscovered. The same type of association is made at the end of the play when Thaisa asks, "did you not name a tempest, / A birth, and death?" (V .iii.33-34). Traversi again expresses most forcefully the significance of these lines and this last scene: Marina, recently described in terms that confer a certain status of divinity upon the human, has brought her father the intuition of a new and deeper life; and this she has been able to do as a result of her own experience, the pattern of which involved her birth in tempest, her death and burial, her exposure to human malevolence, and finally her tri­ umphant resu rre ctio n —once more a t sea—as symbol of a re-integrated and regenerated humanity.27 The intimacy of the sea with the whole pattern and its close involvement with the resolution, re-birth, reconciliation, and restoration endow it with a significance beyond its mere physical presence. In this first of the romances, Shakespeare seems to conceive of the sea as a symbol of regeneration, or possibility of regeneration, because of the purgative powers which it has gained through its capacity for inflicting suffer­ ing and misfortune, and through the strength attained from the endurance and humility acquired from such an experience. In the remaining romances, the pattern of the symbolic significance of the sea as a means of regeneration persists, although the specific attitude toward its ability to serve in this role seems to undergo some change and development.

27P. 40 243

The plot of Cymbeline adheres in a general way to the plot pattern of all the last romances, though it too has its own variations and experimentations in symbolic structuring. In Cymbeline, instead of beginning in prosperity and then suffering a reversal of fortune because of a misguided action, the king has already, before the play opens, committed his fool­ ish deed, that of separating his daughter Imogen from her hus­ band Posthumus, and the seeds fo r suffering and pain have already begun to grow when the play opens. The pattern is complicated in Cymbeline by the fact that several different types of separation exist and different types of suffering are endured by various persons. Many years preceding the time of the opening of the play, the king has been separated from his sons by Belarius, who stole them in revenge for his banish­ ment. Cymbeline, later in the play, is separated from his daughter who goes to Milford Haven, the same location as that of his long lost sons. Imogen is in turn estranged from her husband by his long sea voyage to Rome. As in all the other romances, a sea voyage is undertaken to effect the reconcilia­ tion which terminates the play, for although Milford Haven can be reached by land, which was in fact Imogen's method of getting there, Posthumus, Cymbeline, and all the others journey there by sea. And, as in the other romances, reconciliation comes at the end of a sea separation. In handling the sea in Cymbeline, Shakespeare engaged in obvious experimentation in attempting to endow the sea with symbolic significance and to use it as a means of expanding the 244 poetic statement of the drama. In Pericles the literal sea is ubiquitous, embracing the very essence of the play. But in Cymbeline the poet tries another approach and, instead of using its literal presence, he saturates the poetic expressions with the power and beauty of the sea. Alfred Noyes2^ anc3 Wilson Knight2^ have both acknowledged that, even though the literal sea is not present here, navigation and sea imagery is strong and that some of the poet’s most beautiful sea passages are con­ tained within this play. It seems as though Shakespeare felt that the symbolism in Pericles was not successful because of too much literalness; therefore he turned in Cymbeline to a more poetic, abstract, and imagistic employment of the sea in expectation th a t i t would function more sig n ific a n tly as a symbol. The very sig h t and sound of the sea seems to be always before the eyes and ears of the audience. One excellent example ofrthis appears in Pisanio's vivid report to Imogen of Posthumus’s sea farew ell. The passage Is one of the most memorable sea pas­ sages in Shakespeare, and the poet seems to have devoted special attention to its creation, for as Alfred Noyes observes, it is one of the very few instances of the use of "perspective In English poetry, or, indeed, In any poetry, before the romantic revival":30

23"shakespeare and the Sea," Some Aspects of Modern Poetry (New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1924), p. 227. ^ K n ig h t, p. 235 and p. 238. 3 0 p. 2 2 6 . 245

. . . for so long As he could make me with this eye or ear Distinguish him from others, he did keep The deck; with glove, or hat, or handkerchief, Still waving, as the fits and stirs of's mind Could best express how slow his soul s a il'd on, How swift his ship. Imo. Thou shouldst have made him As little as a crow, or less, ere left To after-eye him. I . i i i . 8- l 6 This passage marks the beginning of several literal sea cros­ sings. Iachimo informs Imogen that he "cross’d the seas on purpose and on promise / To see your grace” (l.vi.202-203)# while Imogen informs her brothers that she has a kinsman who is sailing for Italy (III.vi.61-62). A Roman captain tells Lucius that the legions stationed in Gallia "have cross'd the sea" (lV.ii.334) as Cymbeline himself is informed that the Roman legions "landed on your coast" (lV.iii.25). Often the navigation passages are cast into pleasingly vivid language as when Posthumus says: The swiftest harts have posted you by land; And winds of all the corners kiss'd your sails, To make your vessel nimble. II.iv.27-29 The sea also serves as an apt and convenient source for much of the poetic language, describing a variety of subjects and activities. Sometimes it communicates deep emotion, as when Belarius employs it to project a depressed state of mind:

0 melancholy! Who ever yet could sound thy bottom? find The ooze, to show what coast thy sluggish crare Might e a s ilie s t harbour in? IV .ii.203-206 246

On the other hand, Guiderius conveys anger with a sea figure when he describes Cloten’s "language that would make me spurn the sea, / If it could so roar to me" (V.v.294-295). When Imogen discovers what she supposes to be her husband’s head­ less body lying beside her, she views it as "this most bravest vessel of the world" from which Pisanio has "struck the main-top" (IV .ii.319-320), and at the end, more sailing imagery is appro­ p ria te ly applied to Posthumus by Cymbeline when he sees how "Posthumus anchors upon Imogen" (V.v.393). Many other examples of the pervasive influence of the sea exist in the play, but one other sample passage stands above a l l the others. Shakespeare seems to attempt to go beyond the familial implications of these last romances and to include national activity, for the sea also carries the Romans to Milford Haven, and, as a result, a reconciliation between the Romans and Britons is accomplished. This action contrasts with the contents of a speech which appears earlier in the play. In this speech Cloten and his mother the queen describe the defense of the island nation. After Cloten's statement that "Britain is / A world by itself" (III.i.12-13), the queen delivers one of the most beautiful and powerful statements in all of Shakespeare of the sea’s protection to England, in which she recalls the natural protection the ancient Britons had because of the sea. Britain is "Neptune’s park, ribbed and paled in / With rocks unscaleable and roaring waters, / With sands that will not bear your enemies’ boats, / But suck them up to the topmast" (II.i.19-22). Although 247

Caesar conquered England after a fashion, he could not boast about it because the ships crashed on the "terrible seas" and roclcs "like egg-shells" (ill.1.22-27). Much ironic con­ trast exists between this central idea and the final reconcili­ ation which is effected a fte r a sea crossing, thereby making even more meaningful this international reconciliation. The audience sees very little of tragic suffering in Cymbeline, and therefore little of moral development, for atten­ tion is never really focused on the king as in Pericles. Shake­ speare^ concern here seems to be directed more than ever toward the reconciliation which comes at the end and which occurs by the sea at Milford Haven. One evidence of his serious concern with the reconciliation here lies in the fact that he has created one of the finest denouements he ever devised. As Hardin Craig points out, "the last scene of the play has been praised as Shakespeare!s greatest achievement in the untangling of complications. A score of issues are there.met and a score of dangerous possibilities avoided happily."31

Thus, Cymbeline follows the plot pattern of the last romances in its presentation of the movement from prosperity to adversity and suffering back to regeneration and reconciliation a fte r a sea voyage. Although Shakespeare seems to have vaguely in his mind some conception of the sea as a means of purgation and a way to restoration, he never succeeds in presenting it

33-The Complete Works of Shakespeare, ed. Hardin Craig (Chicago: Scott, Foresman and Company, 19bl), p. 1 1 8 1 . 248

as anything like a crystalized symbol. He utilizes the sea as a source for much imagery and expression, he has the char­ acters make journeys across the sea to meaningful experiences, and he even effects the reconciliation by means of the sea, yet he never endows the sea with sufficient associations or handles it in such a way that it communicates an identifiable emotion or idea as it does in Pericles. Complete success of manipula­ tion of the sea in this manner lay in the near future for him. The Winter*s Tale presents the same general pattern as the other romances in depicting a king who moves from prosper­ ity to suffering as a result of his own misguided actions and, after a sea voyage of some type, back to reconciliation and some type of growth or development. Unlike Cymbeline, and in this way more like Pericles, there is more concentration on Leontes, his error, his suffering, and his change and recon­ ciliation. Perhaps for this reason, the sea operates here as a more effective symbol of the means to a regeneration and moral development. Moreover, the sea has a more direct influence on the action, and thereby on the moral development of Leontes, and functions as a more natural part of the play. In addition, the sea also assumes more explicit associations than it did in Cymbeline, which in turn adds to its effectiveness as a symbol. Finally, as in all the romances, countless references to the sea are made, literal and figurative, so that the sea is kept before the mind of the audience throughout, and it is covertly endowed with an added predominance and significance. One 249 advancement in craftsmanship appears in the fact that The Winter’s Tale achieves a judicious mixture of literal and sym­ bolic sea uses, an accomplishment which Shakespeare had not attained in Pericles and Cymbeline. Leontes, because of his unfounded jealousy against his friend Polixenes and his own wife Hermione, sets the wheels in motion for the suffering that he is to endure. This misguided action by Leontes begins many sea separations which eventually effect his rehabilitation. First he is separated from his friend Polixenes and his follower Camillo when they escape by sea to Bohemia. Meanwhile the truth about himself comes to Leontes from the sea in the form of the oracle of Delphi. The sea is brought into focus in this way and emphasized at the beginning of Act II which opens with a scene at a seaport in Sicilia where Cleomenes and Dion have returned with the truth from a sea voyage to Delphi. Later in Act III Leontes sends his own daughter away from himself on a sea separation which becomes the d ire c t cause for a l l his suffering and therefore the means to his moral growth, for as a result of this cruel action Hermione falls into a deathlike swoon and his only son Mamillius dies because of grief over his mother's sufferings. Thus the sea becomes the means by which Leontes experiences suf­ fering, grief, and regeneration. In Act III, in which Antigonus and Perdita arrive at the seacoast of Bohemia, Shakespeare achieves a beautiful adjustment of realism and symbolism in the storm scene. On the literal level, the storm precludes any return of Perdita to Sicilia, a fact which makes the storm significant by its participation in Leontes*s suffering. On the other hand, the storm is a symbolic foreshadowing of the emotional storm which Leontes must endure before his restoration can be effected. On yet another level, the storm symbolizes the destruction of the old life, which action Tillyard asserts constitutes the first half of the p l a y ,32 an(j contains the seeds of the rebirth and new lif e which w ill re s u lt from Perdita and the love which she discovers in Florizel. Thus the sea, as well as its storm, leads to "the new life into which the old horrors are to be transmuted."33 As reinforcement to these assertions, the fact that Shakespeare strains to place a seacoast on Bohemia and then proceeds to have the clown give an extremely vivid account of the storm and the horror which he has observed at sea seems consciously to invest the sea scene with an e x p lic it statement that "thou mettest with things dying, I with things newborn" (I I I . i i i . 1 1 5- 1 1 6 ). Shakespeare in The W inter!s Tale seems to have moved closer to a more completely realized conception of the res­ toration attained by a father through a daughter. Although Leontes and Hermione are not capable of engendering a feelin g of rebirth through their reconciliation in the last part of the

32Tillyard, p. 42

33 Tillyard, p. 43 251

play, Perdita and Florizel create the new life in their fresh, youthful and tender relationship.Not only has the sea provided them with th is opportunity by bringing them together, but also it becomes explicitly associated with them in their re-creative existence, especially with Perdita. Soon after Perdita and Florizel make their first appearance as symbols of the new hope, Florizel tells her that . . . when you do dance, I wish you A wave o 1 the sea, that you might ever do Nothing but that; move still, still so, And own no other function. IV.iv.140-143 The association is clear, but the symbolic ramifications for the passage extend far into the very essence of the play, as S. L. Bethell points out. It has long been recognized that the association of Perdita's dance with the sea is rhythmically enforced by the poetry of the line. ^ Bethell asserts that the unconscious effect of this rhythm is . . . to associate not only Perdita's dancing but the whole spring festival with the sea, so that Perdita in her dual relationship to the sea and the spring season grows p o etically into a symbol of live and creative energy—a compound of Flora as Florizel has already named her, with an Aphrodite chastened by prayer and alm sgiving.36

Although the "whole spring fe s tiv a l" need not be associated with the sea as Bethell believes, it is clear that the sea has at least become connected with Perdita and the new life which will provide the restoration and reconciliation of Leontes.

3^Tillyard, p. 43. 35s. L. Bethell, The Winter*s Tale: A Study (London: Staples Press, Limited, no datej, p. 24“

36 P. 2 4 . 252

And this is only the beginning of explicit associations of Florizel and Perdita with the sea. The old Shepherd who has reared Perdita, in observing the new love which exists between the two, describes the beauty of this love in terms which directly associate Perdita with the sea: for never gazed the moon Upon the water as he'll stand and read As 'twere my daughter's eyes. IV.iv.172-174 When Camillo attempts to dissuade Florizel from persisting in his love for the country lass, Florizel answers in terms that equate Perdita with the sea's value, for not for all "the profound seas hide / In unknown fathoms, will I break my oath / To this my fair beloved" (IV.iv.497-502). And a few lines later, in declaring his determination to escape with Perdita, Florizel defines Perdita in language which reveals the almost predetermined necessity of her returning to the sea: . . . I am put to sea With her whom here I cannot hold on shore; And most opportune to our need I have A vessel rides fast by. IV.iv.508-511 Although Camillo warns the lovers of "unpath'd waters, undream'd shores, most certain to miseries enough" and "nothing so certain as your anchors" (IV.iv.577-580), the pair make the sea voyage with a "prosperous south-wind friendly" in order to effect the regeneration of the suffering king. Thus the sea, in its speci­ fic association with Perdita, her life, her situation, her char­ acter, and her function in the play, and with the new life afforded through the re-creative relationship of the two youths, 253

takes on symbolic properties of re-birth and the power of restoration and regeneration. Toward the end of Act IV, in which act the sea has assumed its f u ll symbolic value, F lo riz e l and Perdita face toward the sea—"thus we set on, Camillo, to the sea-side" (IV.iv.680-681)—and begin their sea voyage to Sicilia. In the scene immediately following their decision to depart, Autolycus announces that King Polixenes has gone to the sea to "purge melancholy" from himself because of the heavy grief he bears. Although this is not directly applied to Leontes, the property of the sea’s purgative power is asserted and its symbolic value is reinforced. Moreover, this passage comes just before the beginning of Act V and the scene in which Leontes acknowledges his wrong and is f in a lly prepared fo r his reconciliation which will begin with Perdita’s arrival from the sea. That the suffering which Leontes has brought upon him­ self through his sin, and which was accomplished by means of the sea's literal and symbolic action, has wrought a change in the king is evident in the opening lines of Act V. Cleomenes provides the background to the king’s moral development and active engagement in sorrow and penitence: S ir, you have done enough, and have perform’d A sa in t-lik e sorrow: no f a u lt could you make, Which you have not redeem’d; indeed, paid down More penitence than done tresp ass: a t the la s t, Do as the heavens have done, forget your evil; With them forgive yourself. V .i.1-6 The last line seems to imply that Leontes has arrived at the farthest point in repentance where all that remains for him to do is to forgive himself. He is then prepared for the regeneration which comes to him from the sea. When Florizel and Perdita enter, Leontes asks if Polixenes exposed Perdita also "to the dreadful Neptune, / To greet a man not worth her pains, much less / The adventure of her person" (V.1.15^-156). At this moment, of course, Leontes does not realize the benefit that he has received from the sea; he can think only of the pain that he has endured as the result of the sea separation. A few lines later, Florizel defends Neptune against Leontes's attitude by saying that they were befriended by a "prosperous

south-wind" (V .i.l 6 l ) . Soon others begin to arrive from across the sea and Leontes is eventually reconciled to Polixenes and Camillo. The truth comes to him also about Perdita, and finally he is even reconciled to Hermione a fte r he has arrived a t th a t stage of recognition of his own wrong, suffered "saint-like sorrow," done penitence for his evil, and arrived at a regen­ erated condition and is prepared to be reconciled with his wife and daughter. In the development of Leontes’s moral condition, the activity of the sea is evident. It has also become so suf­ ficiently associated with Perdita and the new life, as well as the means to a re-birth, that it has become during the course of the play a symbol of the p o te n tia l fo r regeneration and re s ­ toration. This seems to be the goal toward which Shakespeare 255 had been striving in his first two romances, for the sea here has finally attained a fusion of earlier attempts and its full symbolic value for the poet. The Tempest, probably Shakespeare's last play but one, reflects the results of all his experimentation in plot, theme, and sea symbolism in the other romances. The plot is essentially the same, th at of moving from prosperity through adversity to a final reconciliation. But The Tempest accomplishes this in a different way. Since reconciliation and regeneration are the primary concerns of the dramatist in these last plays, in The Tempest he focuses on the reconciliation only, giving the preceding events through and re-enactment. As Tillyard suggests, "he began his action at a point in the story so late that the story was virtually over; and he in­ cluded the total story either by narrating the past or by re-enacting samples of i t ."37 Prospero, because of his casual attitude toward ruling his kingdom, is overthrown by bis brother Sebastian and with Miranda is set on the seas in "a rotten carcass of a boat." But the action of this play begins at that point which comes toward the end in the other romances. Thus this play contains even less concen­ tration on the destructive element of the tragic pattern. "By keeping this destructive portion largely in the background and dealing mainly with regeneration, The Tempest avoids the

37p. 50. 3®Tillyard, p. 48 256

.juxtaposition of the two themes which some people . . . find

awkward in The W inter’s T a l e . 11^ The sea separation, which precludes reconciliation in the other romances, has already occurred in The Tempest. In the light of what has been hap­ pening in the other romances, it does not seem coincidental that he is here dealing with the reconciliation part of the tragic pattern and that the play begins in a storm and is throughout surrounded by the sea. The fact that the play begins with a storm is of essential importance, for the poet repeats and improves upon a device first used in The Winter*s Tale. The storm signifies many things. First, it represents in a way the storms of state and tragic suffering of Prospero which have occurred before the play begins. In this regard, Dover Wilsom writes, "it is as if Shakespeare had packed his whole tragic vision of life into one brief scene before bestowing his new vision upon us."^® More­ over, the tempest serves as a symbolic destruction of the old life and the suffering necessary to enter into the new life. In addition, as a result of the storm Ferdinand is able to meet and fall in love with Miranda, through which union a new life can be created. Thus here, as in The Winter’s Tale, the seeds of the new life which come to fruition later are sown in the storm. It Is thus in the hope offered by the young in all

39THlyard, p. 48. 40T illyard, p. 49, c itin g J . Dover Wilson, The Meaning of The Tempest. 257 these romances that new life is possible, and it is by means of the sea, and in the last two romances a sea storm, that new hope and restoration become possible. Prom this consistency of usage of the sea and its central role in the regenerative cycle, as well as the association attached to it, it seems clear that Shakespeare is consciously using the sea as a symbol for the possibilities of reconciliation. And it is in his deliberate and effectiv e use of the storm th at The Tempest acquires an even greater significance. Aside from the use of the sea at the beginning of the play as a prelude to reconciliation, Shakespeare continues to attach meanings to the sea throughout the play so that it assumes a definite value as a symbol in its functions in the play itself. Interestingly enough, he seems to minimize it as a source for figurative language. Perhaps he learned from his experimentation in Cymbeline» where he used the sea exclusively as a figurative image, that the literal sea is necessary for symbolic effects. Thus, it is the real sea, vivid, moving, pulsating through the play that gives its real substance and runs as an overtone through the five acts. Prospero, through his supernatural powers, accomplishes the regeneration and reconciliation of his enemies. He finds the sea, through its potential for storms, drenchings, and enchantment, one of the most effective tools for achieving his ends. As a result, the sea,, assumes a significant place in the actio n , and references to i t communicate meanings beyond their literalness. Prospero, in recounting for Miranda the 258

sto ry of th e ir abandonment a t sea, seems to view i t , though threatening and dangerous, as not completely malevolent: . . . there they hoist us, To cry to the sea that roar'd to us, to sigh To the winds whose pity, sighing back again, Did us but loving wrong. I .ii.148-151 Traversi has noticed that in these lines, beneath the violence of the storm, which seems to reveal in its apparent pitiless­ ness the inhumanity of man, there exists a feeling of spiritual affinity, "a correspondence with the situation, tragic indeed but not beyond redemption, of its human victim s."^ The sea roars back in answer to their cries, sighs back to their sighs, and "responds with an action which, though merciless, is finally „liO 'lo v in g , 1 open to compassion. The sea seems consciously to be endowed with a destructive potential which destroys the old life, with a pity and compassion which Prospero and Miranda need to make reconciliation possible, and with a supernatural power which Prospero uses for the miracle of restoration. The audience, as well as all of Prospero*s enemies, becomes aware of the fa c t th at th is sea is somehow unnatural, possessing qualities and properties which an ordinary sea does not own. After the enemies have been drenched in the storm and have had to swim ashore, Ariel first reports to Prospero that not only has not a hair perished, but also "on

^ P . 3.

^Traversi, p. 4 259 their sustaining garments not a blemish, / But fresher than b efore11 ( i . i i . 217-218). The audience becomes a le r t to the fact that some type of change has taken place as a result of the action of the sea. Later in' the play, this idea is repeated several times for emphasis. Gonzalo points out to Sebastian that "our garments, being, as they were, drenched in the sea, hold notwithstanding their freshness and glosses, being rather new-dyed than stained with salt water" (il.i. 61-64). Gonzalo repeats the same idea to Alonso upon his entrance: "Sir, we were talking that our garments seem now as fresh as when we were at Tunis at the marriage of your daughter" (II.i.95-97). The reiteration and focusing of attention on the idea serves at least to remindthe audience that the symbol is vitally instrumental in the movement toward reconciliation. Another significant association with the sea is made when Ariel leads Ferdinand toward Prospero's cave with his enchanting song. Ferdinand, unsure as to whether the song came from the air or the earth, recounts that while he sat upon a bank, "this music crept by me upon the waters" (i.ii.

3 9 1 )# and the sea even reacts to the music, allaying its fury. Then Ariel’s song comes again, explicitly spelling out the restorative power of the sea: Full fathom five thy father lies; Of his bones are coral made; These are pearls that were his eyes; Nothing of him that doth fade But doth suffer a sea-change Into something rich and strange. I .ii.396-401 260

Ferdinand thinks that his father lies drowned in the sea and Ariel encourages him in this belief as he entices him. But on another level, a double meaning may exist in the song, for Alonso does begin to experience a change by the end of the third act. In one sense, the Msea-change" may result from the suffering which Alonso experiences from thinking that Ferdinand is drowned. This is another way in which the sea effects jts reconciliation. On another level, the implication appears in the song that the sea, in its role as restorer and reconciler, has changed the essence of Alonso's person, his "bones" having become "coral" and his "eyes" "pearls." And yet a rather obvious implication is that the idea of continuity, rather than death, in nature, relates to the idea of continuity in generation, which Ferdinand and Miranda hold promise of and which will result from the final reconciliation. The song seems to be an attempt on Shakespeare's part to translate the sea into a symbol of regeneration. A fter Prospero has worked his magic and sees the begin­ ning of a reconciliation, he uses one of the few sea metaphors in the play to describe appropriately the change that has occurred and is occurring. Aptly, the approaching knowledge is described in sea terms: Their understanding Begins to swell, and the approaching tide Will shortly fill the reasonable shore That now lie s foul and muddy. V .i.79-82

A few lines later in the same scene, Ferdinand gives utterance 261

to the real quality of the sea in the play, stating the primary theme of the sea: Though the seas threaten, they are merciful; I have cursed the?1, without cause. V .i.178-179 Ferdinand, recognizing that the sea has effected the recon­ ciliation between his own father and the father of his beloved, realizing that the sea has brought about a "brave new world" for him through his love for Miranda, and knowing that a "sea- change" has come to all, acknowledges the mercy of the seas. Prospero, who began the action of the play with a storm created for the purpose of reconciling old animosities, ends the play with the prom ise'of "calm seas," knowing th at the sea has served him throughout by its ability to destroy the old, ster­ ile patterns of existence, to bring together in a new physical environment the hostile elements, to effect a rebirth through the union of the young members of the factions, and to breed from all this a regeneration and reconciliation. In all of the last romances, Shakespeare seems primarily concerned with the reconciliation which comes after the opera­ tion of man's s e lf- in f lic te d tragedy. From one romance to another, the poet seems to be struggling fo r the best means of vividly portraying the reconciliation rather than the destruct­ ive qualities of the tragic pattern. He never really succeeds in focusing properly on the re-birth until he completely elim­ inates the destructive portion from the plot, as he does in The Tempest. In each romance also , the dram atist seems to fe e l that 262 a daughter must be a vital part of a foolish man's regenera­ tion. This eventually evolves into the concept that -regenera­ tion and re-birth cannot be accomplished by the old members of the destructive portion but by the promise of new life as made possible through the creative union of the young. In Cymbeline, Imogen and Posthumus are married, but this occurs before the action even begins, and it therefore appears ineffective because it does not emphasize the transition from destruction of old into something new. In The Winter's Tale and The Tempest, the dramatist discovers the technique of placing the marriage at the end, or at least after the destructive portion has been pre­ sented, so that it strengthens the impression of new life begin­ ning. Moreover, in both cases, the marriage in this way is brought about as a result of the sea's action. Finally, a continuity of treatment of the sea exists through all the last romances. The sea serves in the same manner in all of them. The differences arise from the fact that there is a progressive improvement in the handling of the sea as a vital factor in the regenerative pattern. In Pericles and Cymbeline, it never really assumes the proper associations and significances for it to take on full symbolic value. Beginning with The Winter's Tale, however, the treatment of the sea shows a definite advance in the direction of symbolic force. It functions vitally in the meaning of the action. But it is The Tempest which reveals the f in a l stage of Shakespeare's process, for here where the poet is concerning himself exclu­ sively with regeneration and reconciliation he places the 263 action in the midst of the sea, begins the action with a storm and ends it with the promise of calm seas, permeates the essence of the play with the sound and atmosphere of the sea, and leaves the characters and audience convinced that "though the seas threaten, they are merciful" (V.i.178). It is The Tempest» then, which stands as the product of all of Shakespeare’s experimentation with the sea as a symbol of man’s hope for a re-birth and restoration after the suffering he has endured as a result of his own weaknesses as a human being. BIBLIOGRAPHY


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Tony Jason Stafford was born in Belmont, North Car­ olina on October 9, 1935. After receiving his education in the public school system there, he attended Mars Hill Junior College, after which he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wake Forest College with a major in philosophy and minors in English literature and Latin. After a two year tour of duty with the Army he attended Texas Western College, from which he received his Master of Arts degree in English literature in 1961. Upon completing three years of doctoral work at Louisiana State University, he returned to Texas Western College as a member of the Department of English.


Candidate: Tony Jason Stafford

Major Field: English

Title of Thesis: Shakespeare's Use of the Sea


>r ProfoesorProfessor and and Chairman ChairmaMajor

* Dean of the Graduate School


Date of Examination:

______January 8, 1966