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The First Quarto of Hamlet: Reforming Widow Gertred

Dorothea F. Kehler, San Diego State University

Critics who compare the First Quarto's Gertred with Gertrard of the Second Quarto and Gertrude of the Folio have for the most part found Gertred more "sympathetic."1 Once informed that her new husband is a murderer, she commits herself unequivocally to Hamlet's cause, promising to keep up connubial appearances only to deceive Claudius. Rather than another variation on the Shakespearean category "woman with divided loyalties," like King John's Blanche, Antony and Cleopatra's Octavia, or Hamlet's Gertrard/Gertrude, Gertred is now all mother. Moreover, throughout the play she has been pious, reserved, passive, unexceptional; who would not have his widow so? Although the First Quarto does not resolve questions about Gertred's sexual behavior or erase the story's inherent misogyny, it does present a queen who differs so significantly from her counterparts that she impresses critics as the site of greatest difference between the variant texts.2

Of the three texts, Ql, first discovered in the 1820s, is the most enigmatic, retaining its notorious distinction as the best known of the "bad" quartos, even as that term is challenged.3 To adumbrate the most problematic features of Ql: signs of proofreading are few and many passages are garbled; prose lines are capitalized, thus suggesting verse; verse lines are frequently mislineated (printing, e.g., two pentameter lines as a hexameter and a tetrameter); the quality of the writing is radically uneven; and plotting is inadequate and inconsistent. When Ql is compared with the other texts, additional problems appear: it is little more than half the length of F and Q2; names and titles are inconsistent (in the case of Polonius and Reynaldo, entirely different); several scenes differ in placement or content (for example, Hamlet ponders whether "To be, or not to be" and raves at Ophelia before rather than after he first encounters Gilderstone and Rossencraft or the players, and Laertes does not lead a rebellion against the king); and in a scene unique to Ql, the queen learns from Horatio, who trusts her loyalty to Hamlet, of Claudius's attempt on Hamlet's life.4

Despite these problematic features, the quarto's title page claims to offer the play "As it hath beene diuerse times acted by his Highnesse seruants in the Cittie of London: as also in the two Vniuersities of Cambridge and Oxford, and else-where." Granted that the title page may be no more than an advertising puff, unacceptable as hard evidence of Ql's performance history;5 that Hamlet on the page can only approximate individual Hamlets on the stage; and that theatrical researchers have yet to discover Ql's performance sites "else-where." Notwithstanding, even in our own time Ql has proven to be a playable text,6 and chances are that it was indeed played as the title page claims, not only before but also after publication. But where else besides "the Cittie of London" and the "Vniuersities"? Questions about playing venues for Ql are, I suggest, linked to the characterization of Gertred, the cultural production of a particular historical moment. To that end, my essay contextualizes Gertred's representation, seeing her as a quasi-allegorical object lesson in the consequences of rejecting celibate widowhood. Hers is a story, I argue, that validates the deeply rooted, lingering prejudice against remarrying widows. Where Ql was played enters into this story.

I. Widows and Remarriage

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Although some twenty-five to thirty-five percent of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English marriages were remarriages,7 censuring remarriage was tantamount to a convention for early modern writers. Pernicious clichés about widows (but not widowers) are found in polemics, and can be household manuals, and plays of the...

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period8 and can be explained politically, in that, of the socially endorsed roles available to women—maid, wife, widow9—the last is most perplexing for patriarchal theory. Solanio's quip in The Merchant of Venice about a hypocritical widow who "made her neighbors believe she wept for the death of a third husband" (3.1.9-10)10 reminds us that widowhood is problematic because the weaker vessel survives the stronger but because she may remarry, thus, some would say, cuckolding her former husband(s), albeit belatedly. In consequence, remarrying widows are liable to be figured as "lusty widows."

Of some thirty-one widows in Shakespeare, ten remarry—Elizabeth Woodville, Anne Neville, Tamora, Hortensio's wife, Hostess Quickly, Gertrude, Mistress Overdone, Cleopatra, Octavia, and Cymbeline's Queen; one might also include Lear's Regan, who intended to remarry. These, lusty or not, were more liable to wed calamity than joy. Six of them die—or seven, if we include Regan. Two of them are killed by their husbands (Anne by Richard III and Gertrude by Claudius), and two die by their own hands (Cleopatra and Cymbeline's Queen). For the survivors the future is less than reassuring: Elizabeth Woodville, widowed yet again, has also lost her sons and brother; Hortensio's wife, having publicly discomfited her new husband, has gotten the marriage off to an unpromising start; Mistress Overdone, nine times a bride but "Overdone by the last" (Measure for Measure, 2.1.202), remains in prison; and Octavia, deserted by Antony, is an object of pity in Rome. Little wonder that Paulina remains silent when Camillo is thrust upon her. Because remarrying widows consistently fare ill, genre as the determinant of their destinies seems less relevant than a residual ideology of revered celibacy which the widows have violated, even though both desire and economics encouraged the Elizabethan social practice of remarriage.

In Chaucer's "Merchant's Tale," while we are invited to scoff at January's wishes for his young wife, May, his words nevertheless voice a widespread medieval ideal of widowhood:

For neither after his deeth nor in his lyf Ne wolde he that she were love ne wyf, But evere lyve as wydwe in clothes blake, Soul as the turtle that lost hath hire make.11

These lines echo Catholic discourse on proper behavior for the devout. Following biblical, apocryphal, and patristic writings, the Church allowed but denigrated remarriage. In Leviticus 21:14 the widow is grouped with the divorced woman, the profane woman, and the harlot as an inappropriate wife. Paul honored pious matrons who were "widows indeed"; those over sixty who had been married only once were deemed fit to join the congregation (1 Timothy 5:3, 5, 9). Asserting that Jerome implied a similar binarism when he wrote "Fly the company of those widdowes, who are widdowes not in will, but of a kind of necessity," Father Fulvius Androtius, a Jesuit, describes "the Mantle and the Ring," a rite honoring the patristic view and celebrated in England from about 660 AD until the establishment of the Anglican Church.12 In this rite widows who had remained celibate for a number of years after the death of their first husbands knelt before the high alter during the Mass. After vowing never to remarry on pain of punishment by the Church, each widow was clothed by the bishop in a consecrated black mantle. On her fourth finger he placed a silver or gold wedding band, and over her head a veil. The bishop then blessed the widow as a sacred person, and Te Deum laudamus was sung before the widow was accompanied to her home by two pious matrons.13 It is note-worthy that her habitlike apparel did not signify the widow's mourning for the loss of her husband but rather her perpetual mourning for sin—her own and that of others. That the celibacy of a widow who had been unhappily married would be more an act of will than of sorrow presented no problem.14 Inclusivity promoted participation in the rite.

Both Torquato Tasso and Juan Luis Vives wrote out of this Catholic tradition of celibacy for the widowed. Although unwilling to blame those who remarry, in "The Father of the Family" (1580) Tasso instructs widowers as well as widows that "the happiest are still those who have been bound by the marriage knot only once in their lives"; for Tasso "once the knot that binds a soul to a body is dissolved, that particular soul cannot be joined to any other body … and therefore it also seems fitting that the woman or man whose first marriage knot has been dissolved by death should not form a second."15 Writing under Catherine of Aragon for the edification of Mary, Vives, on this issue a doctrinal conservative, expresses similar sentiments. In his influential Instruction of a Christen Woman, written in 1523 and translated from the Latin some six years later, Vives, like Tasso, holds that marriage is a spiritual union continuing after death.16 A truly Christian widow sought no second husband but Christ. Approvingly, Vives quotes Jerome's advice to Furia "on the Duty of Remaining a Widow," agreeing that lust is the real motive of remarrying widows, whatever other reasons they may allege: "For none of you [widows] take a husband but to the intent that she will lie with him nor except her lust prick her."17 Unlike the lusty widow, the celibate widow was serviceable to the community both as a philanthropist (if wealthy) and as an intercessor. As Androtius wrote:

It was an ancient custome in our Hand (and the same continueth in some parts of Germany vntill this day) that in tyme of warre, plagues, famyne, or of any publicke necessity, there were in many Citties and Townes a certaine number of widdowes ordayned to watch & pray continually, night and day, in the Churches, by their turnes or courses, one or more togeather: because it was held, that their prayers were of more efficacy, and power with Almighty God, to asswage his wrath, then the prayers of other common people, as persons dedicated wholy to his seruice, by the obseruation of Continency, in their Chaste, and Holy widdowhood.18

The Epistle Dedicatory reminds readers that "Virginity, and Widdowhood, haue euer been accounted Sisters, and betroathed to the same Eternali Spouse Christ Iesus,"19 and Androtius himself, looking back over the past five hundred years, takes pride in the more than thirty widowed English queens who either became nuns or lived the remainder of their lives as secular chaste widows.20 It is the latter choice that Gertred seems to be gesturing toward once apprised of Claudius's crime.

Even after the Reformation stripped marriage of its status as a sacrament, many sixteenth-century English writers were loath to abandon earlier attitudes. John Webster, the probable author of the thirty-two New Characters appearing in the sixth edition of Overbury's Characters (1615), set "A vertuous Widdow" in opposition to "An ordinarie Widdow."21 Shunning remarriage, the "vertuous Widdow," whose celibacy is a second virginity, garners up her heart in her children and her Maker. Of particular importance to Hamlet, neither her children's persons nor their inheritance is at the mercy of a new husband or step-siblings. Several generations after the first edition of Vives's Instruction appeared, Middleton wrote More Dissemblers Besides Women (c. 1623), in which the Duke of Milan instructs his wife,

For once to marry Is honourable in woman, and her ignorance Stands for a virtue, coming new and fresh; But second marriage shows desire in flesh; Thence lust, and heat, and common custom   grows. …                                 (2.1.76-80)22

The Duke may have been self-serving, but he voices persistent conventional sentiments.

Most Protestant thinkers and polemicists, perhaps suspicious of celibacy as smacking of Catholicism, or fearing fornication, or desiring male control over the widow's wealth, knew in principle that they should feel differently. Even while urging remarriage, however, they could not escape its age-old coding as a betrayal of the deceased. The aporia between Sir Walter Ralegh's two statements on this point exemplifies an ineradicable ambivalence within the culture. In 1603, expecting to be executed and realizing that his wife would need protection from his enemies, he advised her to remarry, "for that will be best for you, both in respect of God and the world."23 But later he was to cringe at the prospect of a Ralegh widow's wedded bliss and counseled his son, as one testator to another, "if she [the son's wife] love again, let her not enjoy her second love in the same bed wherein she loved thee. … "24 Ambivalence toward remarriage was most apt to become condemnation when widows no longer young thought to love again. Their breach of a generational boundary might offend both Catholics and Protestants, but especially the former, taught to prize celibacy. Reformed preachers, on the other hand, devising a theology out of difference, were prone to foster Thomas Becon's belief "that second marriages were never disallowed 'tyl the Deuyl and the Pope began to beare rule, whiche enuye no State so much, as the holy state of honorable Matrimonye."'25

II. The Widow Gertred

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Significantly, whatever Ql's relationship to Q2 and F Hamlet—whether Ql was itself reformed from an early version of the play and precedes Q2 or is a later version of the Q2 or F texts—an early modern audience would find little in Gertred's onstage words or actions to substantiate the prejudice against remarriage. So dependent is Gertred, Claudius's pale accessory and echo, that she appears foreordained to remarry. Her precipitate second marriage casts her as a lusty widow, but despite the stereotype, her speeches and actions are characterized almost exclusively by meekness and silence. For one thing, Gertred is neutralized politically, being largely overlooked by Claudius and slighted by Corambis.26 Yet silence seems as much native to her as imposed by others' disregard. Gertrard/Gertrude's plea to Hamlet (Q2/F1TLN 248-53 and 255-56) to end his mourning does not appear in Ql;27 Gertred speaks only two lines in the entire scene, begging Hamlet to stay (Q1CLN 194-95). Her words follow and summarize two longer speeches by Claudius in which he entreats Hamlet to remain in Denmark as "the Ioy and halfe heart of your mother" (Q1CLN 176), this phrase itself underlining Gertred's domestic, maternal role. Welcoming Rossencraft and Gilderstone, Gertred speaks but one line of thanks (Q1CLN 734), echoing Claudius; she greets Corambis's announcement that he has discovered the cause of Hamlet's madness with "God graunt he hath" (Q1CLN 746), a sentiment both exemplary and concise. She urges the same concision on Corambis—"Good my Lord be briefe" (Q1CLN 781)—and exits at his request (Q1CLN 833). When Claudius promises lasting thanks to Rossencraft and Gilderstone, thinking them responsible for Hamlet's high spirits, Gertred again ventures no more than a two-line echo (Q1CLN 1182-83). In another two lines she agrees to see the play, saying "it ioyes me at the soule / He is inclin'd to any kinde of mirth" (Q1CLN 1186-87). At Corambis's and Claudius's request, she also agrees to summon Hamlet and question him while Corambis eavesdrops on his reply: "With all my heart, soone will I send for him" (Q1CLN 1202). No small part of why Gertred impresses us as "a relatively passive mirror of events, a surface without independent motives for action,"28 is her possessing in quantity the silence thought so proper to womankind: foremost among "The infallible markes of a vertuous woman," writes Barnabe Rich in 1613, are "bashfullnes, [and] silence … She must not bee a vaine talker."29

In addition, Rich counsels the virtuous woman to be "tractable to her husband."30 Her own subjectivity undeveloped, Gertred is scripted as tractable to everyone; she is a peacemaker as well. To placate Laertes, she tries to explain away Hamlet's behavior at Ofelia's grave; she concurs with Claudius's feigned desire that Laertes and Hamlet reconcile: "God grant they may" (Q1CLN 2082). She disobeys Claudius only as she attempts to protect him from Laertes. She does not disobey when she drinks from the poisoned cup; in Ql Gertred drinks before Claudius orders her not to:

Queene Here Hamlet, thy mother drinkes to  thee.Shee drinkes.King Do not drinke Gertred: O t'is the   poysned cup!(Q1CLN 2160-62)

Unlike Gertrard/Gertrude of Q2 and Fl, Gertred could never be construed as a conscious site of resistance to social expectations.31 She is not self-willed; she makes no suggestions; and she is quick to fall in with the plans of others. But so tractable a wife to her second husband logically must have been no less compliant as the widow of her first. The virtue of female submissiveness proves itself a two-edged sword when the ideological goal is marital fidelity undaunted by the husband's death. Gertred's behavior throughout the play beckons us to read her acquiescence to a questionable and sudden second marriage as the corollary of an otherwise praiseworthy habit of obedience to male authority.

Just as Gertred's actions are marked by compliance, so her language is informed by piety. She typically alludes to her prayers and her soul, invokes God and heaven, and makes sacred vows. Her protestation of innocence is an oath: "But as I haue a soule, I sweare by heauen, /I neuer knew of this most horride murder" (Q1CLN 1582-83). She calls on God (as Bel-imperia, from whom the lines are lifted, does not) to witness her loyalty to Hamlet:

Hamlet, I vow by that maiesty, That knowes our thoughts, and lookes into our  hearts, I will conceale, consent, and doe my best, What stratagem soe're thou shalt deuise.(Q1CLN 1594-97)

When Claudius hopes "to heare good newes from thence [England] ere long, / If euery thing fall out to our content" (Q1CLN 1678-79), Gertred devoutly observes, "God grant it may, heau'ns keep my Hamlet safe" (Q1CLN 1681). In fact, G. B. Shand observes that, "although her role is just over half the size of the Q2/F1 Gertrude, she has three times the number of references to God, heaven, her soul, and prayer, culminating in this vow to Hamlet [at CLN 1594-97]."32 All these iterations both sanitize Gertred and associate her with a comfit-maker's wife, making it difficult for an audience to believe that she would have committed adultery, and underscoring her innocence but for her misguided remarriage.

Silence, obedience, piety—such qualities become all Elizabethan women; when motherly concern and celibacy (a strong possibility for Gertred after the closet scene) are joined to these virtues, we confront the model Catholic widow, a "widow indeed." Gertred's bland words and actions are always decorous—she describes Ofelia's death with no unseemly references to "long Purples" or "liberall Shepheards" (Q2/F1TLN 3161-62)—and always maternal. Gertred stakes her only claim to importance on her position as Hamlet's mother. In her closet Gertred shows the first signs of self-regard when, in reply to Hamlet's stichomythic "Mother, you haue my father much offended," she demands, "How now boy?" (Q1CLN 1498-99). In other words, her sole demand for respect is for deference to her maternal authority. Again, while Gertred's account of the murder of Polonius is similar to that in Q2 and Fl, the unique lines "But then he throwes and tosses me about, / As one forgetting that I was his mother" (Q1CLN 1607-8) intimate astonishment that Hamlet could so disregard her parental status. When Hamlet returns to Denmark, she asks Horatio to "command me / A mothers care to him, bid him a while / Be wary of his presence, lest that he / Faile in that he goes about" (Q1CLN 1826-29).33 When Gertred learns of the fate of Gilderstone and Rossencraft, she thanks heaven for preserving Hamlet, sending him "thowsand mothers blessings" (Q1CLN 1843). Offering Hamlet her napkin to wipe his sweaty face is another gesture of concern. Gertred toasts her son, saying "Here Hamlet, thy mother drinkes to thee" (Q1CLN 2160)—"thy mother" rather than "The Queene" (Q2/F1TLN 3758). Overall Ql presents a cohesive enough but neutral character who is neither temptress nor villain; she does and says what is expected of her and little more. In this regard Ql seems less misogynistic than Q2/F1, but because the price of being more "sympathetic" than her counterparts is a lack of vitality and distinctiveness, one might more accurately conclude that Ql merely wears its misogyny with a difference.

Gertred's behavior may be well intentioned and in keeping with Elizabethan social codes, but it is not entirely appropriate to a queen regnant. Pitying the mad Ofelia, "poore maide" (Q1CLN 1684), Gertred does not at first refuse to see her, as in Q2/F1, or stop to consider the political wisdom of seeing her, as in Fl; Gertred is both less tortured and less politically sophisticated than her counterparts. A significant discrepancy between Ql and Q2/F1 is Ql's omission of the speech in which Claudius describes Gertrude as "Th'Imperiall Ioyntresse of this warlike State" (Q2/ F1TLN 179-203), a queen he married while still in mourning but—he claims—with the consent of his advisers. Gertred's rank seems secondary rather than integral to her role; compared with the business of Norway, Claudius's marriage to Gertred seems inconsequential since undeserving of comment. Again, in Ql's prayer scene Claudius does not speak of murdering for "My Crowne, mine owne Ambition, and my Queene" (Q2/F1TLN 2331). Ql's audience would not likely conclude that longing for Gertred led Claudius to kill his brother; rather, she becomes a benefit incidental to the crown. Neither is Ql's Gertred "so coniunctiue [Q2 concliue] to my life and soule; / That as the Starre moues not but in his Sphere, / I could not but by her" (Q2/F1TLN 3022-24). In place of Gertrard/Gertrude's power over Claudius, Ql Hamlet's description of Claudius's villainous appearance intimates Claudius's power over Gertred: "A looke fit for a murder and a rape, / A dull dead hanging looke, and a hell-bred eie, / To affright children and amaze the world" (Q1CLN 1528-30). Hamlet believes that his mother was cozened by a devil (Q1CLN 1532).

But whether she was cozened or not, Hamlet's soliloquy over "this too much grieu'd and sallied flesh" (Q1CLN 202) and the Ghost's diatribe against his "most seeming vertuous Queene" (Q1CLN 516), although compressed, level every charge against Gertred that is found in the other Hamlet texts. Gertred was seduced not by Claudius's "wicked Wit" (Q2/F1TLN 731) but by his "wicked will," his desire—that "and gifts!" (Q1CLN 515). Yet what would a queen lack, what requirements of hers are we to imagine as having been in such short supply, that Claudius's gifts would so easily move her? Surely if we are to believe the Ghost's account of his brother's successful courtship, a courtship in which Claudius "bought" Gertred's love, it is important to note that the gifts in themselves could not matter except as signifiers of Claudius's desire, a reassurance to Gertred that she is not yet the "matron" (Q1CLN 1547; Q2/F1TLN 2458) that in all three texts Hamlet would have her be, whose "appetite … is in the waine," whose "blood runnes backeward now from whence it came" (Q1CLN 1544-45). But clinging to youth and marrying while newly bereft and most vulnerable to Claudius's will do not mitigate Gertred's fault. As in Q2 and Fl, she is likened to "Lust … [that would] prey on garbage" (Q1CLN 519-21). Only if Gertred assists Hamlet's vengeance can her "infamy" die with Claudius (Q1CLN 1593). Yet while the play's audience, familiar with the trope of the lusty widow and positioned to identify with the protagonist, may accede to the assessment of Gertred they hear from Hamlet and the Ghost, the queen they actually witness is apt to strike them as a basically decent, rather ordinary woman, able to accept guidance from her son and willing to mend her ways. In particular this latter response might well prevail with playgoers who—unlike us—do not already know the Gertrard/ Gertrude of Q2/F1 conflations.

Although the character of Gertred appears straightforwardly drawn when compared to the queens in Q2 and Fl, her representation is still complicated by underlying sexual issues. Was Gertred—however religious and domesticated—an adulteress? Although Ql's Ghost charges Claudius with "incestuous" acts (Q1CLN 514), he does not, like the Ghost in Q2/F1, immediately follow this adjective with "adulterate" (Q2/F1TLN 729). And yet in his soliloquy Claudius refers to "the adulterous fault I haue committed" (Q1CLN 1462). Does he mean that, as in Belleforest, he slept with the queen before killing his brother or that he merely wished to? Perhaps the king follows the notion of adultery expounded in Matthew 5:28: "But I say vnto you, yt hosoeuer loketh on a woma[n] to lust after her, hathe cõmitted adulterie wt her already in his heart."34 Hamlet also admonishes Gertred to "Forbeare the adulterous bed to night" (Q1CLN 1589). This evidence suggests that the Ql text may be using adulterous inter-changeably with incestuous, an incestuous union being adulterous in the sense defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "spurious, counterfeit, adulterate" or in any way reprehensible.35

There is also the question of whether Gertred sleeps with Claudius after the closet scene. Since the Hamlet texts don't provide a definitive answer, directors often signify their decisions through costuming; a high neck-line and somber gown make one point, décolletage another. Is Gertred, like Richard Ill's Anne, reluctantly flattered to think, whether rightly or not, that a man would kill her husband to gain her? Does Claudius please Gertred? Hamlet draws him as not only a moral but a physical monster yet insists that Gertred lives "in the incestuous pleasure of his bed" (Q1CLN 1535, my emphasis). The paradox is explicated by Steven Mullaney in his analysis of the mother/son dynamics of Q2/F1 Hamlet. Mullaney sees Hamlet as obsessively disgusted with "Gertrude's aging sexuality, conceived at times as a contradiction in terms, at times as a violation of [Gertrude's] own body akin in its unnaturalness to a rebellion in the body politic: hers is a passion that 'canst mutine in a matron's bones' … at once unimaginable and yet impossible not to imagine and visualize in graphic detail."36 For Hamlet, in all three texts of the play, his mother's sexuality is perverse, hence her perverse pleasure in his monstrous uncle.

Gertred's integrity is also under assault from Ql's unique plot twist. In order to "conceale, consent, and doe my best, / What stratagem soe're thou [Hamlet] shalt deuise" (Q1CLN 1596-97), she must "soothe and please him [Claudius] for a time" (Q1CLN 1820). Compelled to dissimulate, she recalls Titus Andronicus's "High-witted Tamora," resolved "to gloze with all" (4.4.35), thus deceiving Titus: "For I can smooth and fill his aged ears / With golden promises" (11.96-97). In fact, Tamora and Cymbeline's wicked Queen are also remarried widows, reprehensible not least for dissimulating with their husbands in a patriarchal society, with their sovereigns in a monarchical one. Gertred undeniably has need of guile once she knows Claudius to be the murderer of his brother and the potential murderer of her son, but the hypocrisy to which she pledges herself is an unstable indicator of moral fiber. The action of Ql may be more straightforward than that of the other versions, the queen's role a main cause of Ql's direct telling of the story, but Gertred herself is not represented as direct; the plot allows her repentance but denies her full integrity. The fact that, despite her passivity and blandness, Gertred contains traces of the ambiguity associated with Gertrard/Gertrude demonstrates that the reformed lusty widow is a slippery role. Ql refuses to negotiate the ramifications of that role, but the tension between the Gertreds of the play's surface and subtext also reminds us that Ql is a palimpsest in which Hamlet's sources are written over but never entirely obscured.

III. "Else-Where"

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III. "Else-Where"

From the characterization of Gertred, who behaves much like her counterpart in the play's sources, one might infer that Ql preceded the later printings of Hamlet—the assumption being that the more closely a particular version adheres to its sources, the earlier the text is apt to be.37 In any event, focusing on Gertred as a step toward unraveling the relationship between the various Hamlet texts suggests that wherever else besides "the Cittie of London" and the "Vniuersities" Ql may have been played, it especially lent itself to performance where ideas about the sacred nature of celibacy and the faithful widow lingered longest. Indisputably, on its surface Ql holds the queen to a very narrow standard of chastity. Although in all three texts the Dutchesse/Player Queen brands a remarrying widow a murderer—"A second time, I kill my Husband [Ql : Lord that's] dead, / When second Husband kisses me in Bed" (Q2/F1TLN 2052-53; Q1CLN 1327-28)—the Dutchesse's explicit death wish is unique to Ql: "When death takes you, let life from me depart" (CLN 1321).38 Subject to so demanding a code, Gertred's guilt does not lie in when she remarried or whom she remarried; that she remarried at all condemns her. By attempting to reform the lusty widow and prodigal mother, by presenting the audience with a good woman gone wrong—"her sex is weake" (Q1CLN 1566)— then showing her the error of remarriage and aligning her with her son, Ql depicts a queen well suited to audiences dedicated to the old religion and its values, one who could be considered a "Catholic" Gertred.

Keith Wrightson, discussing the general survival of Catholic beliefs and practices in the 1580s and '90s, quotes a Puritan estimate that three out of four English subjects were '"wedded to their old superstition still."'39 However exaggerated, given Puritan animosities, that ratio may offer some leads to the locations of "elsewhere," both before and after the publication of Ql. Whether one favored formal Catholic doctrine or simply craved familiar rites and rituals, nostalgia for the past lent itself to antireform sentiments prepetuating the esteem in which the ideal of celibate widowhood was held. Such sentiments, though shared by people of many shades of Christian belief, were inevitably Catholic in origin, and most likely to appeal to Catholics. Between 1594 and 1603 the Lord Chamberlain's Men are known to have traveled no further north than Cambridge;40 thus a conservative surmise as to Ql's possible prepublication enactment sites would be confined to those counties in the south and midlands most closely tied to their Catholic past. According to Roland G. Usher, Hereford, Gloucester, Worcester, Cornwall, and southern Wales (Monmouth and Glamorgan) were all heavily Catholic (thirty to forty percent) in 1603.41

Candidates for "else-where" would include the first four counties, all accessible from London and Oxford, where the the title page claims Q1 had been performed.42 Within those counties, the towns of Gloucester, Worcester, and Leominster had hosted theatrical performances by the Queen's Men between 1583 and 1603. In the last decade of the century, Worcester's Men had also played at Gloucester and Leominster.43 Could not the Chamberlain's Men have played at one or more of these towns as well?

Also, not without interest is Ql's postpublication history. If the travels of the play were to a marked extent dictated by its affinity with audiences favoring traditional ways of thinking, it would appear likely that Ql was played in the north, the area of England historically most reluctant to abandon Catholicism. Durham and York were important sites of the 1536 Pilgrimage of Grace; a generation later the peasantry supported the rising of the northern earls—Thomas Percy, seventh earl of Northumberland, and Charles Neville, sixth earl of Westmorland—in another attempt to restore Catholicism. During Elizabeth's reign York could claim more of its sons ordained abroad as priests than any other county; Lancashire, the runner-up, harbored the most recusants.44 The Corpus Christi play lingered until the 1580s in Newcastle-upon-Tyne,45 until the end of the century in the Lake District and Lancashire,46 and until 1605 in Kendal, Westmorland.47 Westmorland and Cumberland border one of the ecclesiastical divisions of Lancashire, the deanery of Furness; in these counties, as in nearby Durham and Northumberland, many remained if not strongly recusant—a choice that by 1581 nominally entailed impoverishment and imprisonment—minimally Anglican, privately Catholic.48

Of course, whether Ql was acted in the north and, if so, by whom are matters for speculation.49 Even so, it may be helpful to explore one possibility regarding Ql's provenance by juxtaposing our knowledge of attitudes toward widows against some facts and theories concerning provincial performance. Most companies traveled at least during the summers; outbreaks of plague between 1603 and 1609 compelled the King's Men to travel in 1606, perhaps for as long as half the year. In August of 1606 and again in 1619, the King's Men toured as far afield as Leicester. Between 1609 and 1612 three records attest to their touring further north and west to Shrewsbury, and twice they continued north to Stafford. In 1615 they played at Nottingham and Congleton.50 While we might expect that, as Shakespeare's company grew measurably more successful, they would have been spared arduous tours to remote locations, the reverse is true. Or rather, as Alan Somerset proposes, touring may have been something of a vacation, and not just a summer one, that paid for itself, as well as a service to the realm which King James expected of "his" players and which the provinces keenly anticipated.51 REED editor Sally-Beth MacLean concurs: "The appearance, for the first time, of Congleton in Cheshire on the 1615 circuit underlines the addition of a northwestern route through Shrewsbury, which figures frequently in the schedule of the King's Men from 1603 onwards.'"52 Regrettably, the titles of the plays the King's Men Performed in the north have not survived, and we have no record of any northern productions of Hamlet. Yet its performance is not precluded: records are scant, and frequently either the names of the acting companies or the names of the plays performed or both are missing from the municipalities' records.53 If "strowling" was not necessarily a risky, unpleasant experience that obliged players "to trauel vpon the hard hoofe from village to village for chees & buttermilke,"54 the King's Men themselves might have taken Ql Hamlet north.

What northern audiences and authorities, by no means monolithic, would have expected of strollers and whether the First Quarto would have succeeded remain subjects for inquiry, but we can be reasonably assured that for nonconformists who remained attached to Catholicism, as opposed to nonconformists of the Puritan persuasion, playgoing was no sin;55 northern venues inhospitable to Puritan reform persisted in welcoming players well into the 1630s.56 Thanks to data from the Records of Early English Drama project, we are aware of players traveling north to Carlisle in Cumberland—some thirty-four troupes between 1602 and 1639—and performing at York, Kendal, Durham, Newcastle, and numerous towns and manors in Lancashire, tours in part made possible by the patronage of various noble households (Lowther, Curwen, Howard, and Clifford) that supplemented the payments of town officials.57 For example, unidentified plays were performed for Richard Shuttleworth in Lancashire's Gawthorpe Hall by Lord Derby's Men in 1609; by Lord Dudley's Men and Lord Mounteagle's Men in 1610, 1612, and 1616; by Lord Stafford's Men (twice), Derby's, and an unknown company in 1617; and by Queen Anne's Men and an unknown company in 1618. The Clifford-family accounts from 1607 to 1639 show the fourth earl of Cumberland and his son Henry, Lord Clifford, being visited by these and other troops of strolling players at their three family seats in the north: Londes-borough, slightly east of York; Skipton Castle, not far from Gawthorpe Hall; and Hazelwood Castle, midway between Londesborough and Gawthorpe. Aside from providing room and board, the earl paid £1-£2 to hear a play, and his guests may have added tips; even when he declined performances, he tipped 10s-13s.58 Gratuities such as these produced further impetus for northern touring. It is true that we have no record of the King's Men going north. But after publication, once in the public domain, Ql need not have been performed by the King's Men. Rather, any number of companies that customarily toured the north could have played it. Furthermore, the publication of Q2 would not have abrogated the usefulness of Ql to the King's Men or to any other acting company. The First Quarto is still praised for its theatrical energy despite its pedestrian and often mangled verse; if nothing else, this version of Hamlet is fast-moving.

Janis Lull, who accepts the memorial-reconstruction theory, finds that Ql's reporter/author(s), preferring an earlier feudal ethic, were capable of "selectively forgetting parts of Hamlet that allude to Protestant ideology."59 Catholic references common to all the Hamlet texts are less problematic in Ql, which seems theologically more of a piece than the other versions of the play. Most Ql spectators are less bound to feel a Reformation sensibility at war with so important an element as the purgatorial Catholic Ghost, in part because the depiction of the reformed Gertred that an audience most immediately apprehends, the Gertred of the text's surface, is one more aspect of a version of Hamlet endorsing an older order of things: the soundness of Pauline doctrine, the wisdom of widowed celibacy. Admittedly, some Catholic playgoers might have preferred a more ambiguous queen on whom they could project the utmost moral deformity, that is, a Gertrard/ Gertrude; moreover, to entertain a hypothesis privileging the representation of a single character in order to solve the mystery of an unsupported claim, "acted … else-where," requires an act of faith. Nevertheless, if only for lack of sufficient external evidence about Ql, textual critics may find these conjectures useful, Gertred being a focal point of Hamlet's psychic life, and the title-page claim having yet to be disproved. Alan Somerset submits that an important benefit of traveling may have been to free the actors from taking chances on the success of new plays. Instead the actors needed to perform only those plays sure to please.60 To go a step further, I submit that just as actors may have been typecast, or roles created to suit the talents of specific actors, so playtexts may have been chosen or adapted to "fit" specific audiences. Of course, reforming the lusty widow may not have been a deliberate ploy but rather the inadvertent result of cuts meant to achieve dramatic economy. In such a case we might conclude that if a Catholic audience liked Ql, the (un)reformed Gertred is a prominent part of why they liked it. On the other hand, in light of Gertred's construction and emplotment, together with the selective exercise of forgetting Protestant concepts, it is worth considering the hypothesis that the ideology of Ql Hamlet was strategically finetuned for performance before a particular audience in particular regions.


My thanks to Professors Alan Dessen, Guy Hamel, and especially Paul Werstine for their responses to an early draft of this paper, written for the session chaired by Kathleen Irace, "Revision and Adaptation in Shakespeare's Two- and Three-Text Plays," at the 1994 annual meeting of the Shakespeare Association of America, Albuquerque, New Mexico. I am also indebted to my friends Professors Thomas Moisan and Susan Baker for reading my revisions and adaptations.

1 See, for example, Kathleen Irace, "Origins and Agents Ql Hamlet" in The Hamlet First Published (Ql, 1603): Origins, Form, Intertextualities, Thomas Clayton, ed. (Netwark: U of Delaware P; London and Toronto: Associated University Presses, 1992), 90-122, esp. 106. Steven Urkowitz finds a more harmonious and trusting relationship between the queen and Hamlet in Ql than in the alternative texts; see '"Well-sayd olde Mole': Burying Three Hamlets in Modern Editions" in Shakespeare Study Today: The Horace Howard Furness Memorial Lectures, Georgianna Ziegler, ed. (New York: AMS Press, 1986), 37-70, esp. 48-49.

2 See, for example, Giorgio Melchiori, "Hamlet: The Acting Version and the Wiser Sort" in Clayton, ed., 195-210, esp. 201; Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor with John Jowett and William Montgomery, "Hamlet" in William Shakespeare: A Textual Companion (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987), 396-423, esp. 398; and Grace Ioppolo, Revising Shakespeare (Cambridge, MA, and London: Harvard UP, 1991), 136.

3 Philip Edwards, editor of the New Cambridge Hamlet (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1985), describes Ql as a "bad" quarto: "a corrupt, unauthorised version of an abridged version of Shakespeare's play" (9) and claims, more specifically, that Ql "inherits the cuts and changes made in the early playhouse transcript, and demonstrates that the transcript was in progress towards the Globe's official promptbook. … [Perhaps] it reflects the shortened acting version of Shakespeare's own theatre" (30). In his "Narratives About Printed Shakespearean Texts: 'Foul Papers' and 'Bad' Quartos" (Shakespeare Quarterly 41 [1990]: 65-86), Paul Werstine argues against just such a practice of textual constructivism by which scholars mistake dubious hypotheses of origin for historical fact.

4 G. R. Hibbard mentions all but the omission of the rebellious mob in the introduction to his Oxford edition of Hamlet (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987), 1-130, esp. 67-74.

5 The fact that the Privy Council reprimanded Cambridge in 1593 for the ineffectuality of its efforts to suppress dramatic performances within five miles of the university bespeaks play production despite the Council's decree (Alan H. Nelson, ed., Records of Early English Drama: Cambridge, 2 vols. [Toronto, Buffalo, and London: U of Toronto P, 1989], 1:348). Moreover, Hibbard's persuasive explanation of the unsuitability of the names Polonius and Reynaldo for performance at Oxford goes some way toward affirming the title-page performance claims for that university as well (74-75). But see Ioppolo's suggestion to the contrary (135-36). Certainly a play about students on leave from their university who intrigue to catch a murderer before he catches them could hardly fail to appeal to a student audience.

6 See Bryan Loughrey, "Ql in Recent Performance: An Interview" in Clayton, ed., 123-36; and Michael Muller, "Director's Notes [on Hamlet, Quarto 1]" in the program for the Shakespeare in the Park 1992 production, Fort Worth, Texas, 12.

7 Vivien Brodsky claims that widows comprised a little over a third of brides marrying by license as opposed to banns in late Elizabethan London (fewer widows may have married by banns); see "Widows in Late Elizabethan London: Remarriage, Economic Opportunity and Family Orientations" in The World We Have Gained: Histories of Population and Social Structure, Lloyd Bonfield, Richard M. Smith, and Keith Wrightson, eds. (Oxford and New York: Basil Blackwell, 1986), 122-54, esp. 128. E. A. Wrigley and R. S. Schofield, studying marriage records for both sexes, determined that about thirty percent of mid-sixteenth-century English marriages were remarriages; see The Population History of England 1541-1871: A Reconstruction (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1981), 258. Richard L. Greaves, surveying Elizabethan society overall, estimates death in the first fifteen years of marriage at thirty percent and remarriages of bride or groom at twenty-five percent; see Society and Religion in Elizabethan England (Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1981), 191.

8 For the most recent study of this extensive body of material, see the first three chapters of Elizabeth Thompson Oakes's 1990 Vanderbilt University dissertation, "Heiress, Beggar, Saint, or Strumpet: The Widow in Society and on the Stage in Early Modern England." Three earlier dissertations treat widowlore: Linda Bensel-Meyers, "A 'Figure Cut in Alabaster': The Paradoxical Widow of Renaissance Drama" (University of Oregon, 1985); Roger Alfred MacDonald, "The Widow: A Recurring Figure in Jacobean and Caroline Comedy" (University of New Brunswick, Canada, 1978); and Katherine Harriett James, "The Widow in Jacobean Drama" (University of Tennessee, 1973). Also see Lu Emily Pearson, Elizabethans at Home (Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 1957), 498-516; Ruth Kelso, Doctrine for the Lady of the Renaissance (Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1956), 121-32 and 257-58; and Carroll Camden, The Elizabethan Woman: A Panorama of English Womanhood, 1540 to 1640 (London, New York, and Houston: Elsevier Press, 1952), passim.

9 This classification scheme is best known from Measure for Measure (1604), but Morris Palmer Tilley cites its appearance both earlier and later in Peele's Old Wives' Tale (c. 1590) and Rowley's All's Lost by Lust (1633); see A Dictionary of the Proverbs in England in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries: A Collection of the Proverbs Found in English Literature and the Dictionaries of the Period (Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1950), 404, M26.

10 Quotations of Shakespeare plays other than Hamlet follow The Riverside Shakespeare, e d. G. Blakemore Evans (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1974). Quotations of Hamlet follow The Three-Text Hamlet: Parallel Texts of the First and Second Quartos and First Folio, ed. Paul Bertram and Bernice W. Kliman (New York: AMS Press, 1991).

11The Riverside Chaucer, ed. Larry D. Benson, 3d ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987), 164 (11. 2077-80). Upon My Husband's Death: Widows in the Literature and Histories of Medieval Europe, Louise Mirrer, ed. (Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1992), demonstrates the continuity of attitudes towards widows between the medieval and early modern periods.

12 Fulvius Androtius, S.J., The Widdowes Glasse, trans. I.W.P. (London, 1621), esp. 290. Androtius's tract is appended to a tract by Leonard Lessius, S.J., The Treasure of Vowed Chastity in Secular Persons, reprinted in vol. 214 of English Recusant Literature 1558-1640, ed. D. M. Rogers (Ilkley and Yorkshire: Scolar Press, 1974).

13 The ceremony of the mantle and the ring is described by Androtius on pages 341-48. According to Roger Alfred MacDonald, the ceremony is also alluded to in an anonymous 1525 play titled The Twelve Merry Jests of the Widow Edyth (65).

Androtius finds parallel practices honoring chaste widows in pagan Rome:

… when a widdow died, her head was adorned with a Crowne of Continency, and to [i.e., so] caryed in solemne triumph to her graue.

The said Romans did also attribute another honour to the Continency of Widdowhood, which was, That on the wedding day, there were no women suffered to come neere, much lesse to touch the Bride, but only such as had beene the wiues of one husband, to wit, such as had beene but once marryed; comanding all that had beene twice marryed (yea though they were Widdowes) to keep aloofe of, as prophane, impure, and fortelling of an euill fortune to the happynes of marriage.


14 In The Treasure of Vowed Chastity in Secular Persons, Lessius, expounding Paul's dictum that to marry is to have "trouble in the flesh" (1 Corinthians 7:28), depicts marriage as an inevitable disaster for both sexes (94-130).

15Tasso's Dialogues: A Selection, with the "Discourse on the Art of the Dialogue, " trans. Carnes Lord and Dain A. Trafton (Berkeley: U of California P, 1982), 81. Also see Margaret Lael Mikesell's "Catholic and Protestant Widows in The Duchess of Malfl," Renaissance and Reformation 19 (1983): 265-79, esp. 266-67.

16Daughters, Wives, and Widows: Writings by Men about Women and Marriage in England, 1500-1640, ed. Joan Larsen Klein (Urbana and Chicago: U of Illinois P, 1992), xi. Klein notes that this much-reprinted treatise was also translated into French, German, Italian, and Castilian.

17 Quoted in Klein, ed., 97-122, esp. 120 and 121, n. 110.

18 Androtius, 336-37.

19 From "The Epistle Dedicatory" to The Treasure of Vowed Chastity in Secular Persons by the translator, I.W.P.

20 Androtius, 332.

21The Complete Works of John Webster, ed. F. L. Lucas, 4 vols. (London: Chatto and Windus, 1927), 4:38-39.

22The Works of Thomas Middleton, ed. A. H. Bullen, 8 vols. (London: John C. Nimmo, 1885), 6:404.

23 "Letter to Lady Ralegh, the night before he expected to be put to death, 1603" in Sir Walter Ralegh: Selected Writings, ed. Gerald Hammond (Manchester, UK: Carcanet Press, 1984), 276.

24Sir Walter Raleigh's Instructions to His Son and to Posterity, 2d ed. (London, 1632); rpt. in Advice to a Son: Precepts of Lord Burghley, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Francis Osborne, ed. Louis B. Wright (Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 1962), 22.

25 Quoted in Mikesell, 268.

26 G. B. Shand makes this point in an unpublished paper he kindly shared with me, "Queen of the First Quarto," delivered at the 1991 annual meeting of the Shakespeare Association of America, Vancouver, Canada.

27 I conflate Q2 and F thus (Q2/F1) when they duplicate each other aside from differences in line arrangement, capitalization, or spelling.

28 Steven Urkowitz, "Five Women Eleven Ways: Changing Images of Shakespearean Characters in the Earliest Texts" in Images of Shakespeare: Proceedingsof the Third Congress of the International Shakespeare Association, 1986, Werner Habicht, D. J. Palmer, and Roger Pringle, eds. (Newark: U of Delaware P, 1988), 292-304, esp. 300.

29 Quoted in Suzanne W. Hull, Chaste, Silent, and Obedient: English Books for Women 1475-1640 (San Marino, CA: Huntington Library, 1982), 196.

30 Hull, 196.

31 Recall that for Carolyn G. Heilbrun, writing in the 1950s, Gertrude is "strongminded, intelligent, succinct, and, apart from this passion [her refusal to abjure sexuality], sensible" ("The Character of Hamlet's Mother," SQ 8 [1957]: 201-6; rpt. in Heilbrun's Hamlet's Mother and Other Women [New York: Columbia UP, 1990], 9-17). Leslie A. Fiedler categorizes Gertrude as one of Shakespeare's "'antiwomen,' subverters of the role assigned to them by men who seek to naturalize their strangeness to a patriarchal world" (The Stranger in Shakespeare [New York: Stein and Day, 1972], 74); and Lisa Jardine calls Gertrude one of Shakespeare's "strong" women, a congener of Desdemona, Cleopatra, and Webster's Duchess of Malfi (Still Harping on Daughters: Women and Drama in the Age of Shakespeare [Sussex: The Harvester Press; Totowa, NJ: Barnes and Noble Books, 1983], 69).

32 Shand, 12.

33 If Ql's Hamlet is still in his teens, Gertred's protectiveness toward a son new to adulthood is all the more understandable. In Ql, Yoricke's skull "hath bin here this dozen [not twenty-three] yeare, / … euer since our last king Hamlet / Slew Fortenbrasse in combat" (Q1CLN 1987-89, my emphasis); however, the gravedigger says nothing about his length of service as sexton or the day of Hamlet's birth.

34 The Geneva Bible: A facsimile of the 1560 edition (Madison, Milwaukee, and London: U of Wisconsin P, 1969), AAiii.

35 For an early refutation of Gertrude's adultery, see John W. Draper, The Hamlet of Shakespeare's Audience (Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1938), 109-26, esp. 112-14.

36 Mullaney, "Mourning and Misogyny: Hamlet, The Revenger's Tragedy, and the Final Progress of Elizabeth I, 1600-1607," SQ 45 (1994): 139-62, esp. 151. In the First Quarto, Hamlet expresses horror that "lust shall dwell within a matrons breast" (Q1CLN 1547), a sentiment that, like its Q2/F1 counterpart, invites Mullaney's reading of an obscene maternal desire thwarting filial mourning.

37 Steven Urkowitz advances this argument ('"Well-sayd olde Mole'" in Ziegler, ed., 48). Recognizing the early quality of Gertred, though not of Ql as a whole, Philip Edwards agrees with George Duthie that Gertred may well be "a recollection of the old play of Hamlet" (25).

38 Juliet actively and Richard II's Duchess of Gloucester passively enact the widow's suicide, a European version of sati.

39 Keith Wrightson, English Society 1580-1680 (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 1982), 200. He explains that what these traditionalists, particularly the poor, missed most were protective rituals, without which they felt vulnerable and frightened (201). Q2 and F, but not Ql, remind their audiences of such rituals when the Ghost deplores having died "Vnhuzled, disappointed, vnanueld" (Q2/F1TLN 762), i.e., without the Eucharist or the annointing essential to extreme unction. If the average person felt the loss of these rituals—communion in its Roman Catholic form and extreme unction—more than the loss of purgatory, a theological abstraction, it is conceivable that a censor or adapter alert to predictable social irritants may have cut this line from a text apt to be played for an audience dominated by Catholic sympathizers while allowing the Ghost's allusion to his abode, an integral part of the play, to stand. By the same token, could not state- or self-censorship explain the omission of Laertes's insurrection from a text to be played in an area known for its history of Catholic rebellion?

40 See "Map 6" in Sally-Beth MacLean's "Tour Routes: 'Provincial Wanderings' or Traditional Circuits?" Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England 6 (1993): 1-14, esp. 6-7.

41 See Ronald G. Usher's "Map of the Distribution of Catholic Laymen, 1603" in The Reconstruction of the English Church, 2 vols. (New York and London: D. Appleton and Company, 1910), 1:135; and "Note B—Number of Catholic Laity, 1600," which includes the official report of the Anglican bishops in 1603 on Catholic recusants (157-59). Although Usher's conclusions have been questioned (see John Bossy, The English Catholic Community 1570-1850 [New York: Oxford UP, 1976], 96, n. 36), they have not been superseded.

42 Although to date REED has found no evidence of the Lord Chamberlain's Men having played in any of these four counties, or, indeed, in any county that Usher estimates as more than fifteen percent Catholic, it should be noted that the REED project is ongoing and that MacLean's maps are part of a progress report rather than a definitive statement.

43 See "Map 4" and "Map 5" in MacLean, "Tour Routes," 6-7.

44 Christopher Haigh, Reformation and Resistance in Tudor Lancashire (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1975), 279 and 275. Bossy notes that William Allen's family belonged to the Lancashire gentry and that under Allen's direction the English college at Douai dedicated itself to educating missionary priests (12).

45Records of Early English Drama: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, ed. J. J. Anderson (Toronto, Buffalo, London: U of Toronto P, 1982), xi.

46 Sally-Beth MacLean, "Players on Tour: New Evidence from Records of Early English Drama," The Elizabethan Theatre 10 (1988): 55-72, esp. 62.

47Records of Early English Drama: Cumberland, Westmorland, Gloucestershire, ed. Audrey Douglas and Peter Greenfield (Toronto, Buffalo, London: U of Toronto P, 1986), 18-19.

48 In The English Catholic Community 1570-1850 Bossy provides a map showing the distribution of Catholics in 1641-42, in which recusant households exceed twenty percent only in the Welsh county of Monmouth and in the two northern counties of Lancashire and Durham (404).

49 Such speculations are complicated by the lack of any evidence for specific performances of Ql, despite the general claims of its title page. Additionally, Janette Dillon reminds us that if Ql is the memorial reconstruction of a performance, "it may in fact be further removed from performance than either the Second Quarto or the Folio texts by virtue of being subject to two degrees of intervention (memory and print) rather than one" ("Is There a Performance in this Text?" SQ 45 [1994]: 74-86, esp. 82).

50 Chambers, 1:78; and Yoshiko Kawachi, Calendar of English Renaissance Drama 1558-1642 (New York and London: Garland Publishing, 1986), passim. Kawachi charts the travels of the King's Men further: in 1624 they were at Skipton Castle in Craven District; in 1629 and 1631 in York; in 1634 in York and Doncaster; in 1635 in Newcastle; and in 1636 and 1638 again in York. The reference to Congleton is from MacLean, "Tour Routes."

51 Alan Somerset, '"How Chances it they Travel?': Provincial Touring, Playing Places, and the King's Men," Shakespeare Survey 47 (1994): 45-60, esp. 60 and 53-54. Somerset corrects Gerald Eades Bentley's contrary statistics in The Profession of Player in Shakespeare's Time, 1590-1642 ([Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1984], 177-84), finding that players were welcomed over ninety-five percent of the time (50).

52 MacLean, "Tour Routes," 10.

53 MacLean, "Players," 66.

54 From Thomas Dekker's Lanthorne and Candlelight (1608), quoted in E. K. Chambers, The Elizabethan Stage, 4 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1923), 1:332.

55 The propriety of playgoing for priests has, however, been questioned. In his discussion of the theatergoing habits of London Catholics, Alfred Harbage quotes an interchange between Father Harrison and Father Thomas Leke, the one ordering the other to desist from attending the theater (though not necessarily from seeing plays at more respectable venues such as the court). Leke wrote in his own defense, '"Wee knowe, that most of the principal Catholicks about London doe goe to playes, and all for ye most part of my ghostly children do knowe that I sometimes goe, and are not scandalised.' To which Harrison rejoined: t̀he Catholicks that use to playes are the young of both sexes, and neither matrons, nor graue, or sage man is there seen'" (Shakespeare's Audience [New York and London: Columbia UP, 1941], 72). Harbage doubts the validity of Harrison's observations; in any case, to insist on a distinction between playgoing juniors and stay-at-home seniors would seem less feasible in counties where theater's chief association was religious and where sources of entertainment were few. More likely, then as now, the whole community turned out when the Royal Nonsuch came to town.

56 MacLean, "Tour Routes," 10-11.

57 MacLean, "Players," 63-64.

58 Kawachi, passim; and Lawrence Stone, ed., "Companies of Players entertained by the Earl of Cumber-land and Lord Clifford, 1607-39" in Collections V (Oxford: The University Press for the Malone Society, 1959 [1960]), 17-28, esp. 19-20. Stone reprints the Bolton Abbey manuscripts in which the play's titles are not recorded.

59 Lull, "Forgetting Hamlet: The First Quarto and the Folio," in Clayton, ed., 137-50, esp. 149.

60 Somerset, 59-60.

Source: "The First Quarto of Hamlet: Reforming Widow Gertred," in Shakespeare Quarterly, Vol. 46, No. 4, Winter, 1995, pp. 398-413.


The 'Heart of My Mystery': Hamlet and Secrets


The Last Mystery