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Zeal-of-the land Busy and Dame Purecraft of Bartholomew Fair, and the surly shepherds 'of The Sad Shepherd. But the Puritanism of Polish is not so pronounced as theirs ; she is an individual in whom an assumed Puritanism is one of a number of co-ordinate characteristics. A type, of course, is more simple : it is a personality with one predominant trait, or with one trait especially emphasized by the fact that it motivates a series of events. Ananias, Tribulation Wholesome, Busy, and Dame Purecraft are simply obvious types of the Puritan, as Jonson saw him. Although the satire upon the Puritans, or upon religious hypocrites in general, which Jonson made in creating the character of Polish, is not so obvious as this earlier satire, it is an important element in the play ; in portraying her, he re-echoed work already done, as well as produced a striking dramatic personality.
III. PROTOTYPES OF THE CHARACTERS IN
JONSON'S EARLIER PLAYS It is easy to discover likenesses between most of the characters of this play and those of Jonson's earlier comedies, but a closer comparison will detect equally striking differences. Professor Ward observed, in commenting upon Jonson's characterization 1 : ‘His characters are never more original than when they at first sight appear to resemble other characters, either created by himself or his contemporaries. If instead of pointing out where Jonson's characters . . . resemble Shakespeare's, a languid criticism would condescend to enquire where they differ from their supposed prototypes, a beginning would have been made towards an appreciation of his supreme merits. To label Jonson's characters as a mere series of types of general ideas is to shut one's eyes to
1 Hist. of Eng. Dram. Lit. II. 402.
the nicety with which they are distinguished from others to which they have a superficial likeness.'
In the following comparisons, I am merely noting typeresemblances, or isolated likenesses, and am ignoring the individuality and realism of the characters which make them vivid and interesting.
Compass recalls Macilente-Asper, of Every Man Out; Crites, of Cynthia's Revels; and Horace, of The Poetaster. In his character of expositor, he belongs to the same class as these, and also to that of Carlo Buffone, in Every Man Out; Truewit, Dauphine, and Clerimont, in The Silent Woman; Volpone, Mosca, and Sir Politic Would-be, in The Fox; and Arruntius, in Sejanus. Ironside is similar in some respects to Kastrill, of The Alchemist. He is the last of a list of captains or 'boys of the sword,' the literary descendants, or at least analogues, of Plautus' Miles Gloriosus ?; but, unlike them, he is a humor-study not drawn satirically; he is a boisterous, but likable, character, and in the end is rewarded with the hand of the rich widow. Palate, in his character of glutton, recalls Jonson's supreme portrayal of the type in Sir Epicure Mammon, of The Alchemist. For the rest, he is the unlearned and worldly pastor, resembling Chaucer's Friar. Dr. Rut, in his character as the sensual, unprincipled, and superstitious physician, is a much more forcible representative of the type than Almanac, of The Staple of News. Silkworm belongs with Fastidious Brisk, of Every Man Out, and Hedon, of Cynthia's Revels. As a boastful but timorous duelist he reminds one of Bobadill and Master Stephen, of Every Man In ; Shift, of Every Man Out; Tucca, of The Poetaster ; Sir John Daw and Sir Amorous La-Foole, of The Silent Woman; and Sir Glorious Tipto, of The New Inn. Practice, as a type of the ambitious lawyer, is less objectionable
1 Reinhardstoettner, Spätere Bearbeitungen Plautinischer Lustspiele, pp. 81, 103.
than Voltore, of The Fox, Sir Paul Eitherside, of The Devil is an Ass, and Picklock, of The Staple of News. Interest, as the typical usurer, or, in a broader sense, the typical miser, belongs with Sordido, of Every Man Out, Volpone and his expectant heirs, of The Fox, and Pennyboy, the usurer, of The Staple of News. Polish, as I have already noted, has an important trait in common with Ananias and Tribulation Wholesome, of The Alchemist, and Zeal-of-the-land Busy and Dame Purecraft, of Bartholomew Fair. Pleasance belongs to the same class of pleasant, but dependent and rather characterless women as Dame Pliant, of The Alchemist, Win Littlewit, of Bartholomew Fair, and Mrs. Fitzdottrell, of The Devil is an Ass. Finally Placentia, in her character of an heiress whose wealth attracts suitors, is similar to Pecunia, of The Staple of News.
As Ballman has pointed out, Jonson is largely indebted to Chaucer for the characterization of Parson Palate and Doctor Rut, the prototypes of these characters being the friar and the physician of The Canterbury Tales. Jonson also paraphrases a passage from The Canterbury Tales (3. 4. 22-6), and imitates Chaucer's rhyme and phrase in four other passages (1. I. 87; 1. 2. 39; 1. 2. 42; and 1. 6. 14). There is also another couplet, unnoticed by Ballman, in which Jonson seems to repeat Chaucer's thought and poetic form (1. 2. 27). Of this indebtedness it is not necessary to speak further at this point, as it is considered in the explanatory notes.
i Chaucer's Einfluss auf das Englische Drama (Strassburg, 1902). pp. 24-5.
II. GREEK PHILOSOPHY In the discussion of valor in Act 3, scene 5, Jonson repeats thoughts expressed in the speech of Lovel in Act 4, scene 4 of The New Inn. As the source of this speech has been investigated by Dr. Tennant in his edition of The New Inn, I shall merely indicate his conclusions.
The parallel passages of The Magnetic Lady and The New Inn are as follows :
M. L. 3. 5. 83–96. Pra. I think a cup of generous wine were better,
Then fighting i' your shirts. Dia. Sir, Sir, my valour,
Then to be mended by a cup of wine.
Differing in kind; who have knowne hitherto,
Is justly thought a Coward: And he is such.
Of Ionsons, that decries all other valour
3. 5. 111-14. Dia. ... I doe know all kinds
Of doing the busines, which the Towne cals valour. Com. . . . Your first ? Dia. Is a rash head-long unexperience.
N. I. 4. 4. 39–48. It is the greatest vertue, and the safety
Of all mankinde, the obiect of it is danger.
M. L. 3. 5. 118–19. Dia. The next, an indiscreet
Presumption, grounded upon often scapes.
N. 1. 4. 4. 206–7.
So he is valiant, That yeelds not unto wrongs; not he that scapes 'hem. M. L. 3. 5. 124–7. Com. ... Your third ? Dia. Is nought but
an excesse of choller, That raignes in testy old men-. Com. Noble mens Porters And selfe conceited Poets. Dia. And is rather
A peevishnesse, then any part of valour.
But in the stead of it.
Or liberall undertaking of a danger-.
Ought not to undergoe, or tempt a danger,
He undertakes with reason, not by chance.
In passion, more than action, Sir Diaphanous.
They are unseason'd without it. The waiting maids,
Touch him with foyle !