sumptuary excesses under Elizabeth took place in the summer of 1597, one should be forgiven for
speculating on a possible connection between that attempt and the revision of Love's Labor's
Lostthat was performed before the Queen that same Christmas season. The scenes or passages
emphasizing apparel as the source of social confusion all appear to belong to the portions of
Love's Labor's Lostthat appear to be the result of the revision. Possibly, it is that emphasis
that represented the topical focus chosen for a performance before Elizabethin 1597.
Having coerced Armado into challenging Costard by appealing to the former's sense of honor,
the clown announces his intention of fighting him "in my shirt," a seemingly innocuous resolution
for which he is, nevertheless, praised much by Dumaine. We quickly come to discover the true
reason for the courtier's enthusiastic support of Costard, as with that resolution Don Armado's de-
flation becomes inevitable:
Moth: Master, let me take you a buttonhole lower.
Do you not see, Pompey is uncasing for the combat.
What mean you? You will lose your reputation.
Armado: Gentlemen and soldiers, pardon me. I will
not combat in my shirt.
Dumaine:You may not deny it. Pompey hath made the
Armado: Sweet bloods, I both may and will.
Berowne: What reason have you for't?
Armado: The naked truth of it is, I have no shirt. I
go woolward for penance.
Boyet: True and it was enjoined him in Rome for want
of linen; since when, I'll be sworn he wore none but a
dishclout of Jaquenetta's, and that 'a wears next his
heart for a favor.26
The lack of a shirt proves that Armado is clearly not a gentleman. His gentlemanly exterior is fake.
Armado may possibly not have come from Spain at all. Hence his choice of Jaquenettaand the life
he is willing to lead for her sake may be anything but incongruous. His true identity is being ex-
posed by Costard, and unlike the courtiers, Armado finds the consequence liberating: is is finally
able to be himself and express his true fwwlings for Jaquenetta.
While we are likely to feel compassion for the would-be pretender to knightly status and revealed
lover of the lowly wench Jaquenetta, being convinced that his humiliation is both cruel and unwar-
ranted, as he has been the source of nothing worse than laughter at his own expense for his betters,
we should by no means assume that Queen Elizabeth would have shared and commended our
modern bias. Given the Elizabethan view that the end of all art is to teach and delight, i.e., that art
should offer delightful lessons designed to move the spectators to virtuous action in life, the Queen
203]; No. 542[II,278-83]; No. 601[II, 381-6]; No. 623[II,417]; No. 646[II,454-62]No. 697[III,3-8], and No.
firstname.lastname@example.org: CRC 98 Paper7January, 1998