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The next two chapters deal with William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream in terms of hypallage or, in Puttenham's irresistible locution, "The Changeling," and Ben Jonson's Epicoene in terms of enallage, or (again, Puttenham) "The Figure of Exchange.
For Moulton, this erotic subgenre in England moved from later sixteenth-century "disorderly effeminacy" to "masterful masculinity" (211) in the seventeenth, and one of the prime catalysts, of course, was the wildly popular Ben Jonson, whose character Dauphine in Epicoene "represents a dream of masculine authorial autonomy in which the feminine is utterly rejected--a dream that for Jonson can be fully realized only by an aristocratic homoerotic male in a homosocial male society" (218).
He might well have included Jonsonian characters such as Surly and Sir Epicure Mammon, whose scene of confrontation Hazlitt later praises as "the finest example I know of dramatic sophistry" (5:39, VI:45), the fortune hunters from Volpone, each "occupied with the ridiculousness of the other's pretensions" while "blind only to the absurdity of his own" (5:38, VI:44), and finally the central character Morose from Epicoene, identified by Jonson as "a gentleman that loves no noise.
Two doors and a concealment space: Ben Jonson's Epicoene
For this study the female characters from Ben Jonson's Epicoene and William Shakespeare's Love's Labours Lost will demonstrate the social gradation that questions the binary of virgin and whore.
Chapman, Jonson, Marston), Your Five Gallants (Middleton), and Epicoene (Jonson) used jokes to highlight the precariousness of social hierarchy, displaying a propensity for critique which set the Queen's Revels comedies apart from other examples of comedic theatre in the period.
Incorporating recent research on medical history and anthropology, he examines portrayals of five groups: drug sellers, women practitioners, surgical healers, including barbers and barber- surgeons, physicians, and patients in Romeo and Juliet, The Alchemist, All's Well That Ends Well, The Wise Woman of Hogsdon, Troilus and Cressida Epicoene, Twelfth Night, and others.
A full assessment of the surprise value of this scene would have to take into account the fact that many people seeing or reading Epicoene for the first time already know that a shock awaits them.
Jai Lynch as Morose in Epicoene by Ben Jonson, performed by final year students at Birmingham School of Acting at the Sanctuary nightclub last month.
But after his marriage to Epicoene, the "silent woman," a thunderous crowd of London's most pompous and frivolous personages descends upon his home.
Jonson's Epicoene shows women "[pitted] against one another along class lines" (109) and Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice and As You Like it allow women to pretend to be men briefly, while reinforcing male dominance, in the end playing on the audience's knowledge that even the crossdressing women are really little boys.
1) Zucker's approach allows him to locate, to use a favored term in this book, how plays like Jonson's Epicoene make use of their very carefully specified locations to explore the "material and social logic of wit" and at the same time how the aptitudes and dispositions called wit "cut across political and economic relationships bound to the sites reimagined on stage" (8).