October 31, 2006

shifts

devices; tricks

Both ‘a fraudulent or evasive device, a stratagem; a piece of sophistry, an evasion, subterfuge’ and ‘an entertaining or humorous device; a jest’. (www.oed.com )


toys

trifles. ‘Trivial excuses (by which Lorenzo keeps him from the King)’ (McIlwraith, fn l.4, p.192); ‘trivial business’ (Mulryne, fn l.4, p. 81) or ‘vain trifling. Hieronimo’s pleading is drowned out by maliciously intended court drivel.’ (Bevington, fn l.4, p. 90)


seld–seen

seldom-seen. Also ‘unusual, curious’ (cf. Boas, fn l.3, p. 405)


poniard

dagger


October 30, 2006

And here, ay here, there goes the hare away

‘And here, ay here, there goes the hare away.’ uttered from the position of commentator rather than active participant, Hieronimo’s words betray fear that he might miss the chance of talking to the King. They also betray dissatisfaction that the King comes accompanied by Ambassador, Castile and most importantly, by Lorenzo thus referring back to the court drivel and the ‘standers-by’ who try to ‘strike’ Hieronimo ‘mute’ (l. 4).

The phrase, with multiple meanings, constitutes one of the editorial disputes. Edwards points out that often the phrase refers ‘to losing something one has tried to achieve or hold’ (Edwards, fn l.24, p. 80) and that here it emphasises Hieronimo’s fear of losing his opportunity with the King (Bevington, fn l.24, p. 91), who passes by ‘preoccupied by business’ (Mulryne, fn l.24, p. 82). Boas, however, reads the proverb to mean ‘here the matter ends’ (Boas, fn l.24, p. 406) but points out that Schick, quoting Gosson’s Schole of Abuse, p. 70: ‘His labor, hoc opus est, there goeth the hare away,’ interprets the phrase as ‘there is the game I want to hunt; that’s where the game lies.’ (cf. Boas, p. 406). Cairncross reads it as ‘the quarry escapes’ (Cairncross, fn l.24, p. 131), while Eisaman reads it as ‘The hunt is underway’ (fn l.24, p. 343).


Nay, stay

‘nay, stay,’ the words suggest Hieronimo’s frustration with the fact that the King walks on occupied with other business and a company unpropitious to the plea he has to make.


Here's the King

‘Here’s the King’ functioning both as an aside (expressing Hieronimo’s surprise) and as stage directions, the words inform the audience that the King is about to enter.


Here I'll have a fling at him that's flat

‘Here I’ll have a fling at him that’s flat’: ‘here I’ll have a go at petitioning the King, that’s for certain’ (Bevington, fn l.21, p. 91). Hieronimo has already made up him mind: to see the king, whom he can hear/see coming, and plead for justice. As the soliloquy discloses in the following two lines, he has also decided to get even with the two murderers of his son Balthazar and Lorenzo at a later stage.


He takes them up again

He takes them up again.’ having finished his debating, Hieronimo takes up the rope and the poniard, the two props that were instrumental in his decision-making: they occasioned flashbacks to both Horatio’s death and flashforwards to potential courses of action for Hieronimo.


This way … and this way

‘This way … and this way’ – his words bring to an end the interruption occasioned by the soliloquy, returning to the beginning of the scene when Hieronimo was on his way to see the King (This way); his second ‘this way’ anticipates the King’s entrance.


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