Royal courts. In tribute to Queen Elizabeth of England, George Chapman has France’s King Henry III contrast the French and English courts. A place of dignity, decorum, and respect, the English court exposes the deficiencies of the French court, whose rooms of state are a rude marketplace, its lords and ladies rural bumpkins. Chapman uses location to satirize the people at the royal courts, who include unprincipled sycophants who exchange insults, seduce married ladies, fawn at banquets, and, in private chambers, formulate plots. The satiric spirit of the play calls for luxury, excess, and signs of decadence and corruption. Reports to the king visually depict offstage violence in Homeric epithets.
Count of Montsurry’s home
Count of Montsurry’s home. Multiroomed mansion with secret passageways, and, near the countess’s bedchamber, a secret vault. On stage, the main action occurs in or near the vault. There a friar and Bussy d’Ambois enter secretly at the lady’s request; d’Ambois beds Tamyra, the count of Montsurry’s wife; Montsurry sets a trap for d’Ambois and kills him. Montsurry’s house contains a room filled with instruments of torture, including a rack on which Montsurry has his faithless wife stretched.