The Lady Of Pleasure (Annotated): A Comedie, As It Was Acted By Her Majesties Servants, At The Private House In Drury Lane

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• Includes a short biography of the authorThe play is structured in the three-level plot format that Shirley exploits for other comedies, like Hyde Park and The Ball. The main plot concerns the married couple of Sir Thomas and Lady Bornwell. Here, Shirley rings a significant change on the formulas of English Renaissance comedy: Lady Bornwell is a philandering female, the "lady of pleasure" of the ...

File Size: 686 KB
Print Length: 76 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1496162846
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Publisher: 1400 Road Marketing (March 1, 2014)
Publication Date: March 1, 2014
Language: English
ASIN: B00IQRJQA4
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e, while Sir Thomas's goal is to reform his wife's conduct. Aretina is devoted to the pastimes and vices of courtly aristocrats, notably in spending her husband's money. Sir Thomas tries to frighten his wife into restraint by pretending to pursue Celestina, a sixteen-year-old widow. His strategy fails at first. Yet Aretina is brought up short by the prospect of actual bankruptcy, and by the shock of learning that her partner in a casual tryst in the dark does not know her name and thinks she's a succubus, a "she-devil."The second-level plot involves Celestina's attempts to reform the otherwise-unnamed Lord A from his perceived misogyny. Here again, the play departs from the standard pattern, in that the heroine of the second-level plot is presented as more admirable and morally serious than the female character on the first level. (Their contrasting names are clues to meaning: Celestina is "heavenly," while Aretina is a female form of Aretino, the Italian pornographer.) Celestina, is can be noted, is not an ascetic or a prig; she herself pursues pleasure, but in a moderate way that is in keeping with the mores of her society and class. Aretina is to be faulted, and needs to be reformed, because she goes too far.The play also has a more purely comic third-level plot, involving the character Master Frederick, who descends from scholarship to drunkenness; and it contains the comic features typical of Shirleian comedy, like the clownish suitors Littleworth and Kickshaw (a "kickshaw" is a trinket, a flashy object of little intrinsic value), plus Madame Decoy the bawd, Sir William Scentlove the worthless dandy, and Haircut the barber.Aphra Behn would later borrow plot elements from Shirley's play for her own The Lucky Chance (1686).