1st Edition

Shakespeare’s Forgotten Allegory Vice, Virtue, and Spoilt Children

By Julian Real Copyright 2023
    282 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Shakespeare’s Forgotten Allegory posits three startling points: that we have today forgotten a cultural icon that helped to bring about the Renaissance; that this character, used to distil classical wisdom regarding how to raise children to become moral adults, consistently appeared in plays performed between 1350 and 1650; and that the character was often utilised by the likes of Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, and therefore adds a long-forgotten allegorical narrative to their works.

    This evidence-based reappraisal of some of the most iconic works in Western literature suggests that a core element of their content has been ‘lost’ for centuries.

    This text will appeal to anyone with an interest in late medieval and early modern drama, especially the works of Shakespeare; to those interested in the history of teaching and child-rearing; to anyone curious about the practical application of philosophy in society; to anyone that would like to know more about the crucial and defining period today known as the Renaissance, and how and why society was redesigned by those with influence; and to all those who would like to know more about how history, which though sometimes misplaced, continues to influenced our modern world.

    Chapter 1. The Cockered Child

    Chapter 2. “Thy Parentes Made Thee a Wanton”: The History and Cultural Significance of the Cockered Child

    Chapter 3. “In Godly Myrth”: The Pedagogical Role of Drama

    Chapter 4. “To Extoll Virtue Without Faile”: Moral Paradigms Found in Morality Drama

    Chapter 5. “A Prodigal Absurd Coxcomb”: The Cockered Child in Early Modern Comedy

    Chapter 6. “The Best Whore in England”: The Cockered Daughter

    Chapter 7. “Who So Choseth Me, Shall Fynde that God Hath Disposed for Hym:” Redemption and the Virtuous Wife

    Chapter 8. An “Ape in a Silken Coat”: The Cockered Child in Tragedy

    Chapter 9. “A very Fool and a Prodigal”: Moral Allegory in Twelfth Night

    Chapter 10. Conclusion


    Julian Real studied English at the University of Otago, earning an MA and Ph.D with theses on early modern drama, following careers in the Armed Forces, Ambulance Service, and Police in Britain and New Zealand. His special interest is in allegorical content and ideas around maturation, gender, and morality, and he has had two papers on these subjects published in peer-reviewed journals. Most recently, he has rejoined the activa vita, working with refugees, prison inmates, and at-risk youth. He and his wife live on a small yacht which they plan to sail around the South Pacific.

    "Shakespeare’s Forgotten Allegory reveals the importance and the evolution of the spoilt brat through 300 years of Renaissance drama. It identifies the moral paradigms that playwrights linked to the figure, and applies this insight to familiar characters with impressive results. His analysis of Sir Andrew Aguecheek is outstanding."

     --Ursula Potter, Sydney University


    "The prodigal son is a familiar paradigm, but I had never heard of the underlying idea of the cockered child before reading Julian Real’s original and careful book. He brings into creative focus a key cultural notion in Shakespeare’s world that we have forgotten."

    --Emma Smith, University of Oxford