Staging the Henrician Court : KEY QUESTION - Is The Gentleman at home in the court?

This page last changed on Jan 20, 2010 by Eleanor Rycroft.

This question concerns what sort of nobility is being represented by The Gentleman.  While displaying an aristocratic lifestyle - notably in his hunting, a recreation particularly associated with Henry VIII - there is also a sense in the play that The Gentleman is perhaps not of the court, but rather represents a 'provincial' nobility as his noble status does not seem to be connected to the centre of power.  This raises the theatrical question of space, and the character's relationship to the Great Hall.  If The Gentleman can be seen to hail from the minor aristocracy, how might he interact differently with the space of the court compared to the courtier, as well as with the people that he finds there?

A few thoughts on this:

The boldness and rudeness with which Merry Report addresses the Gentleman together with the fact that he has already established himself in the play, clearly makes him feel to have the advantage over the Gentleman. Merry Report's performance in this production also aims at having the audience on-side. This all serves to alienate the Gentleman - to make him the outsider. I dare say this is at least partly down to format of the play and the fact that he is first to appear as we don't yet know how Merry Report will deal with the Jupiter's suitors (which also has the effect of placing his status above the other suitors).

If the Gentleman was of the court I feel he would be more dismissive of Merry Report. Also the Gentleman stands 'in yonder corner' while Merry Report speaks with Jupiter - if he was of sure or highly status wouldn't he me more forward?

Posted by sammyl at Jan 25, 2010 15:10

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