221 , 2016-03-11 , 鳴門教育大学 , Naruto University of Education
Among the eight plays of John Lyly（1554－1606）, Gallathea（1584?）and Love’s Metamorphosis（1588－89?）have in common a pastoral setting, characters of Goddess, three nymphs and Cupids, and the theme of profanity and punishment. Love’s Metamorphosis has often been regarded as a sequel to Gallathea, and critics tend to interpret both plays from a feminist approach or allegorical approach in regards to the virgin queen. However, these two plays are very different in the treatment of Cupid as well as in their endings. Taking these differences into consideration, this paper examines the variation of the theme of love in Gallathea and Love’s Metamorphosis from the perspective of Renaissance iconography, and then suggests a new allegorical
approach to the latter play.
In Gallathea, Cupid is a mischievous child who sets three nymphs in love. For this he is punished by Diana, Goddess of Chastity. This is the staged image of “The Punishment of Cupid” or “The Triumph of Chastity” which prevailed in the Renaissance era since Petrarch. However, “The Triumph of Chastity” is not the only value in this play. Venus is an equally powerful goddess as Diana, and Cupid’s role seems to be transformed from a mischievous child into the God of Love. Besides this, the love between two girls, Gallathea and Phillida, is caused by cross-dressing and misunderstanding of gender identities, and yet it goes beyond the gender limit of love. Venus helps the fulfillment of their sacred love by changing one of them into a boy. Therefore, the theme of this play is the transformation and development of love, from chastity to love, and from secular love to sacred love. Renaissance iconography often represents this transformation and development of love, as we can see in Titian’s Amor Sacro e Amor Profano and Raffaello’s The Vision of Knight. Gallathea represents the possible transition of opposite values from one to the other.
In Love’s Metamorphosis, Cupid appears as the most authoritative God of Love from the beginning. He takes revenge on three nymphs who despise the love of three foresters by changing them into a stone, a rose and a bird. Adding to this, Cupid forces the nymphs by threat to marry foresters, and this ending caused much critical antipathy. On the one hand, the three nymphs represent the defeat of women by being incorporated into patriarchal society, and on the other hand, they represent the triumph of women by testing the loyalty of men and winning the right not to be blamed by husbands. The possibility of opposite interpretations is also typical in Renaissance iconography as we can see in Bronzino’s Allegory of Venus, Titian’s Venere benda Cupido and many other paintings. Moreover, the three nymphs in Love’s Metamorphosis represents chastity, beauty and love, and in total they represent “The Three Graces”. “The Three Graces” themselves connect the opposite values of chastity and love via beauty. Not only the three nymphs, but also other characters such as Ceres and Protea have opposite values in themselves. Therefore, the opposing elements in this play do not eliminate each other but can co-exist at the same time.
Both Gallathea and Love’s Metamorphosis are the plays of very Renaissance value in that a kind of concord can be produced from discords. Having said this, I would like to suggest in the end that Love’s Metamorphosis can be interpreted as an allegory of “love” between Lyly and Queen Elizabeth I. Lyly served and paid tribute to the queen by praising her with his plays. By 1588, Lyly was expecting rewards from her as his patron. Elizabeth is like the three nymphs in Love’s Metamorphosis in that she is beautiful, cruel/chaste and capricious/loving. Since the iconography of “The Three Graces” is often connected to “the three actions of benefit”（giving, taking, and rewarding）, we can say that the play reflects the allegory of Lyly’s expectation of reward from the queen for his dedication.