Staging the Henrician Court : KEY QUESTION - Does Merry Report perform his office?

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

This question relates to the function of Merry Report within The Play of the Weather and whether he can be seen primarily as a fool or as Jupiter's reliable officer.  Despite taking money from The Gentleman and The Merchant this does not seem to bias the report he makes to Jupiter, and he extends an equal consideration to all of the suitors when he summarises their petitions.  Is this a courtly act?  And how does his performance of his office change audience conception of the character, particularly in light of his nomination as a Vice?

Watching this scene it seems certain that Merry Report not only performs his office well but understands it.  He is suitably deferent and even sets up Jupiter's verdict by telling the audience how hard a decision it will be.  I don't get the impression from this scene that he really thinks it a difficult dilemma, or in fact that he really cares at all - he's just doing his job as he sees fit.  He plays the fool more to the court, less to Jupiter.

Posted by sammyl at Jan 25, 2010 13:13

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