Representations of the Color Green in ?? 1 ) Representations of the Color Green...

download Representations of the Color Green in ?? 1 ) Representations of the Color Green in Shakespeare MATSUDA Misako The color symbolism in English Renaissance literature is no longer

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    RepresentationsoftheColorGreeninShakespeare

    MATSUDAMisako

    Thecolorsymbolism inEnglishRenaissance literature isno longerinnovating topic forstudentsof literaryhistory,1however, figurativemeaningof colors in literaryworks from theMiddleAges to thesixteenthcenturydeserves further research for theunderstandingofcomplicatedchangingsymbolismofcolors.AsDonCamerronAllenpointsout, theEnglishpoets learnedcontinentalcolorsymbolism,andappliedittotheirworks.HelistsfourtreatiseswhichservesasthemainstockofthecolorimageryfortheEnglishwriters:AlciatusEmblemata,GiovannideRinaldisIl mostruossimo mostro (1592),FulvioPellegrinosSignificato de Colori e di Mazzolli (1593),acommentaryonapopularsonnet;andaTrattato dei Colori di Sicille Araldo del Alfonso d Aragona.2Among these,SicilleAraldo isoneof themost influentialwritingsoncolors,whichCesareRipaconsultedwhenhecompiledIconologia.3JeanCourtoissLe Blason des Couleurs, theFrenchversionofSicilleAraldo,waswritteninFrenchin143558.Itwasfirstpublishedin1495inParis,and theenlargededitionwaspublished in thebeginningofsixteenthcentury.InFrancethebookwasreprintedatleastfourteentimesbytheendof thesixteenthcentury.4Thebookalsobecamepopular in Italyduring thesixteenthcenturywhere itwas reprintedsix times.TheseItalianandFrench treatisesdiscusscolors in termsof theirphysicalsubstance andpsychologicalef fect.Colors arenot just colors,butdifferentcolorswereassociatedwithdifferenthumansentiments.Eachcolorhashadseveralfigurativemeaningsfromclassicaltimes,andwasrelatedtoeachothertorepresentinwardpassions,virtuesandvices.Asphysicalsubstancecolorsweremadefromminerals,plantsandanimals

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    tobeused asdyestuf f and pigments in the sixteenth and earlyseventeenthcenturies,sotherangeofhuesavailableaswellasstabilityofdyeswerenaturallylimited.Toearlymoderneyes,colorwasunstableinbothhumanandnaturalworld.5Especially,shadesofgreensinthosedays,forexample,sap-greenandverdigrisderivedfromcoppersaltsareapttoturnbrown;verditernotonlylossesinsaturationbutchangesinhue.While thehumanisticconcern tomatchcolors tonatureplacedagreaterdemandongreenthanonanyothercolor,6therewasnostableandpuregreen.Itcannotbeascertained towhatextent thesewritingswereusedbytheElizabethanwriters,butthesymbolicusagesofcolors,especiallyofgreeninShakespeareisworthinvestigating.SincegreenischemicallyandsymbolicallymostunstableamongbasicsixcolorsasMichelPastoureaupointsout,7wecan find interestingmetaphoricalusageofthecolorcomparedwiththeContinentalexamples.Nowadays,green is themostpopularcolor formostpeople:green

    dial,greenparty,greenschool,greencard,green tourismandgreenlightetc.Associatedwithecologythecolorgreenhasoverwhelmedourdairylife.Greenhashealingpowerforeyes,andsurelygreenerycalmsourexhaustedminds.Greenplantisindispensableineveryofficesandhomes to supply oxygen. It is abundantly seen aroundus.Withincreasing concern toenvironmental issues,green alsogained animportantplace inShakespeareancriticism,andecocriticalanalysis,seen inGreen ShakespeareandEcocriticism and Shakespeare tries toapplyecocriticism toShakespeareanplays from thepolitical,oractivistviewpoints.8 In these recentscholarship,greenasacolor justmeansgreenery innature,and itssymbolicconnotationdoesnotbecome thefocusofargument.Ofcourse,greenprimarilysignifies thecoloroffoliageasOEDstates,andsohasnaturallybeenassociatedwithspring,youth, joy,beauty,wantonhumorand thusgaiety in love.9Citing theauthorityof IsidoreofSevillesseventh-centuryEtymologiae,GerardLegh, inhisThe Accedence of Armorie (1562,68,76,97,1612)sumsuptheopinionofallauthorsindeclaringthatgreenismuchcomfortabletothesightofman,andofallcoloursmostejoyfultothehurt(sig.B4)10

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    Especiallyearlyspring,verdurehasbeenthesymbolofhope;however,atthesametime,thecolorrepresentstheeventualdisappointmentsinceverduresoon fadesaway.Greencansignalboth fortunateandsinisteraspectsof the thing.Pastoreau, inhisDictionary of Colors lists thecomplicatedsymbolicmeaningsofgreen(vert)withtheemphasisonillaspectsofthiscolor:1.Couleurdedestin,delachanceetlamalchance,de la fortune,de largent,duhazard,de lesperance2.Couleurde ;lanature,de lecologie,de lhygiene,de la sant,de la fraicheur. 3.Couleurde la jeunesse,de la sevequi llamonte,de libertinage. 4.Couleurcoulddelapermission,delaliberte.5.CouleurduDiableetdeletrange.6.Couleurduacide,quipiqueetempoisonne.11Amongtheseclassifications,greenasacolorofpermissionhasappeared in the lastcentury,because it isbasedongreen lightof thegosignwhichweJapaneseoften sayblueinsteadofgreen.Greenwhich signifiesecology,hygiene,andhealthappearedandbecamepopularalso in thelast century.Green showingyouth andwantonhumor, andgreenassociatedwithsour taste (suchasgreenapple)hasnotchanged theirmeaningsthroughages.Furthermore,greenhasbeenaspecialcolorforyounglovers,andwasassociatedwithVenuswhichtheRomansgreatlyappreciated.12Thecolorwas thusassociatedwith thegoddesswhorepresentsyouth,spring time,beautyand joy in theWestern literatureandarts.Poetsoftenusegreenfigurativelytoexpresslove.Forexample,Italianpoet,AntoniodegliAlberti (1360?1415)describes awomanwearingthegreendress,implyingthatsheisespeciallydeartothepoet:

    QualdonnafugiamaipisottoilsoleChelucesse,appoquestasoraunombra,Unasecaerbapossainfralifiori:Quandellaapparfralaltredonneilgiorno,Vestitatuttadicolordiverde,MottraDianaesservenutainterra.13

    Also inEngland ,when Spenser appraisesEliza , the queen of

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    shepherdessinAprilinThe Shepheardes Calender,hemakeshersituponthegrassiegreene:

    See,whereshesitsuponthegrassiegreene,(Oseemlysight)YcladinScarlotlikeamaydenQueene,AndErminewhite.UponherheadaCremosincoronet,WithDamaskerosesandDaffadilliesset:Bayleavesbetweene,AndPrimrosesgreeneEmbellishthesweeteViolet.(ll.5564)

    ColinCloute, the persona ofSpenserhimself, isnot a for tunateshepherdall the time;however,heseems tobesuccessfulwhenhecreateshisown imageofElizaat thismoment.Alongwithothervividcolors,greentwiceused in theabove (one isanounrepresenting thecolorofgrass,andtheotherisanadjectiveforprimroseswhicharenotyetintheirfullbloom)intensifiesafresh,hopeful,andjoyfulsentiment,whichmightunitehisquest for literary fameandcourt favor.14Greenseems tohavebeen thoughtespeciallysuitable foryoungmaidens towhomaccording toNashe, itwascustomary togivegreengowns incelebrationof the comingof spring.The colorwas associated inEngland,as itwason theContinent,with loveandconsequentlywithjoy.15InThe Merry Wives of Winsor,MistressPageturndherdaughterintogreentodeceiveherhusbandandDr.Caius(V.v.201).16WhenAnnchanges thecolorofherdress, shecan finallymarryFenton.Thechoiceof thecolorof thedressmatches thehappyendingofyouthslove.Armade inLoves Labors Lost, tells thatGreen indeed is thecolorof lovers(I. ii.86).TheDoctor inThe Two Noble Kinsmen,who tries tocomfortJailersdaughter,advises theWooer,Sing tohersuchgreensongsof loveasshesaysPalamonhathsung inprison(IV. iii.86).AsHeywoodrecords,Allthingsisgaythatisgreen.17

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    Greenwhichsymbolizes joyful love,however,connotes theanotheraspectofloveintheEnglishliterarytradition;lechery,inconstancyandinf idel i ty . Following the Frenchmodels . Chaucer visual izeshisinconstantwomeningreenclothing:

    Madame,foryournewfangelnesseManyaservaunthaveyeputoutofgrace.Itakemyleveofyourunstedfastnesse,Yecannotlovefulhalfyeerinaplace,In stedeofblew, thusmayyewere algrene. (AgainstWomenInconstant,ll.17)

    The ficklenessofwomen is shown ingreen,not inblue.Blue isrelatedtojealousyinthemedievalcolorsymbolism,andwasconsideredas amean color.These two colorshad a special function in colorsymbolismasHuizingadiscusses inhisHerfsttij der Middeleeuwen.18Bothcolorshaveshownambivalentaspects in theEuropeanculturalhistory, though theyareprimarilyconcernedwith love.As forblue,Pastoreauprovesthatbluegraduallyestablisheditsstatusasthenoblestcolorby the lateMiddleAges. It representsMary,KingArthurandFrenchkings,and so symbolizes fidelity,peace,andothervirtuousaspectsof love.19InShakespeare,blue isalsoacolorofnoblenessandcelestialsky.Forexample,Prosperousesazure(blightbleu)forthesky,andgreenfortheocean:Andtwixtthegreenseaandtheazurdvault/Setroaringwar:(The Tempest,V.i.4344)SpenserdescribesLecherydressedingreen(The Faerie Queene,I,iv,25.1),whilehisSperanzaisinblue:

    Heryoungersister,thatSperanzahightWascladinblue,thatherbeseemedwell.(F.Q.I.x.14,12)

    WhileSpenser retains thevirtuousmeaningofblue,greenwhichsuggests the ficklenatureof thecharacterskeepsappearing in the

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    EnglishRenaissanceliterature.IquotedthepassagefromLoves Labors Lost to showhowgreen representedhappy love;however, it alsosuggests thebetrayalofawomanat thesame time.Jestinghis foolishmaster,Armado,MosslistsgreatmeninlovesuchasSampson:

    Arm:Owell-knitSampson,strong-jointedSamson!.Iaminlovetoo.WhowasSampsonslove,mydearMoth?

    Moth:Awoman,master.Arm:Ofwhatcomplexion?Moth:Ofallthefour,orthethre,orthetwo,oroneofthefour.Arm:Tellmepreciselyofwhatcomplexion.Moth:Ofthesea-watergreen,sir.Arm:IsthatOneofthefourcomplexion?Moth:AsIhaveread,sir,andthebestofthem,too.Arm:Green indeed is thecolorof lovers;but tohavea loveof that

    color,methinksSampsonhadsmall reason for it.Hesurelyaffectedherforherwit.

    Moth:Itwasso,sir,forshehadagreenwit.(I.ii.7289)

    Moths speechabove indicatesDelilahsdisloyaltyusing thecolorgreen.Wecanseebothsidesofthesymbolicmeaningsofgreenhere.According to the Rivers ide Shakespeare , the note ongreenwitsaysimmature intelligence(183);however, fickle,disloyalcharacterofthewomancouldbesuggestedintheusageofgreen.AsIshallseelater, theEnglishpoetsdescribe thecolorof theseaasgreen.Everchangingwateroftheseasuggestsunstable,inconstantnature,andtherepetitionofgreen reflects the ficklenessof thewoman.There isanother famousexampleofgreenwhichsignifiesa forlorn love:anEnglishballadGreensleeves.The ladywhohad receivedmanygiftsbeforeshereceivedgreensleevesfinallyleavesthesinger.Theballadsentry