I have myself added to the tendency to view the play as a Marstonian creation, even though I do not consider the play to be a late work; I argued that the comic underplot
involving the efforts of two Venetian gentlemen to cuckold one another reflects the rivalry between Marston and Jonson that climaxed in Satiromastix and Poetaster.
As a complement to the underplot
, rather a tragic one, Iran grants a "Nobel Prize," in the form of citizenship to those mercenaries fighting for the expansionist projects of Iran.
To a certain extent, The Third Man remains deliberately agnostic with respect to its own meaning as anything other than pure melodrama, but the agnostic cast of mind in the text argues for the possibility of a Christian underplot
. Both Lime's speech atop the Wheel and Winkler's dismissal of the relics point the reader toward the same interpretive enigma: bodies are nothing more than charnel or they are significant spiritual "clues" that point toward the highly narrative work of engaging life with a profound awareness of human freedom and responsibility, God's unfathomable grace, and the possibility of salvation irrespective of our complicity in terror and death.
Noyes would never have said that "the underplot
of the Englishmen is practically the same as in Jonson" (1928: 112.
Yet Fossile's struggle to convert profligate practices into decipherable documents arguably comes to its dramatic (and comedic) climax in an earlier scene, when Fossile and his fellow scholars come upon the disguised rakes Plotwell and Underplot
, and proceed doggedly to pursue hieroglyphic meanings in what are, in fact, the very embodiments of theatricality.
Reynolds' footnote draws attention to the "underplot
" of the play, which in the The Critic has "as little connection with your main plot as possible" (11.ii.172).
The mystery was his name and his face, both Jewish, indicating a possible sinister underplot
. But no one seemed to get it but me, so I guess Feldman is from one of the more obscure shtetls.