The King And The Playwright: A Jacobean History (2012) s01e02 Episode Script

Equivocation

1 In November 1605, England's new monarch, King James I, survived the gunpowder plot.
An attempt by Catholic terrorists to destroy his fledgling Jacobean regime.
James was a contradictory figure.
Brilliant, but unpopular.
His three years on the throne had been a time of upheaval and uncertainty.
But also a time of unprecedented creativity for writers like William Shakespeare.
The significance of November 5th, 1605 had less to do with the plot than it had to do with the aftermath.
The English nation had entered a new world of conspiracy and anxiety.
Writers like Shakespeare struggled to capture this mood of turbulence.
And a new word entered the national vocabulary.
Shakespeare's, too.
Equivocation.
To equivocate.
To lie.
To deceive.
To appear to be what you are not.
From the secret manuscript, of a Jesuit priest to the lies and betrayals of Macbeth.
From Coriolanus, who cannot equivocate.
I'll fight with none, but thee.
To the king's own manipulations of the past.
Equivocation came to represent a new, dark, post-plot age.
An age given extraordinary voice by the greatest playwright of the day, William Shakespeare.
On a late January day in 1606, four men were drawn on wicker hurdles through the streets of London to the churchyard of St Paul's.
All were conspirators in the gunpowder plot.
And all had been brought here to die.
The crowd had been gathering since the early hours on that cold January morning.
A crowd that believed these men had come within an ace of blowing up Parliament, King James, England's ruling class and much of London besides.
But now, the tables had turned.
Sir Everard Digby mounted the scaffold knowing all too well the fate that awaited him.
To be dragged to the gallows and hanged.
To be pulled down while still alive.
Sliced open from the neck to the groin.
His organs ripped out.
His body finally cut into quarters.
Shakespeare lived just a few hundred yards from here.
We don't know whether he witnessed these gruesome events or heard the dying words of Sir Everard Digby.
When it was Digby's turn to die, the executioner, who had been cutting him up, reached into his chest, pulled out his heart, held it up to the crowd and cried, "Here is the heart of a traitor!" To which, it is said, Digby replied with his dying breath, "Thou liest!" Their exchange perfectly captures this post-gunpowder moment.
A world of plots and counterplots.
Of competing versions of the truth.
The following day, the last of January, 1606, the remaining plotters, Guy Fawkes among them, went to their grisly deaths.
The government designated November 5th as an annual day of thanksgiving to mark the nation's deliverance from a failed terrorist plot against the state.
Guy Fawkes, though, told another story.
Claiming that the plotters' motivation was to prevent Parliament from ratifying the union of England and Scotland.
Union was James' greatest political goal.
And it was deeply unpopular on both sides of the border.
Fawkes was keenly aware of tensions to be exploited in Jacobean England.
So, too, was Shakespeare.
In previous Jacobean plays, like Timon of Athens and King Lear, Shakespeare had brilliantly anatomised a greedy England led by an extravagant leader.
An England troubled, and uncertain about the nature of its ruler.
Now, the upheaval of the plot created rich new territory for England's playwrights.
The government couldn't believe that the plot was the work of a few disgruntled Catholic gentry.
There must have been a wider conspiracy at work.
And every conspiracy has an evil mastermind.
In Father Henry Garnet, they had found their man.
The 50-year-old Garnet was England's senior Jesuit, dedicated to keeping the faith alive in Protestant England.
He'd spent much of his life on the run, but now, England's most wanted man, he was taken into custody the same week the plotters were executed.
Linking Garnet to the plot would allow the government to create a bigger story for November 5th.
The story of a papal-backed terrorist conspiracy to overthrow James' regime.
Government agents searched hiding places for evidence.
Hidden in a lodging in London, they found a manuscript that sent their hearts racing.
This is one of the most extraordinary documents to survive from Shakespeare's day.
I'm looking at it in the comfort of a library in Oxford, but my mind is racing back to a scene in the Tower of London on 12th February, 1606, when this very document was thrust in the face of Father Henry Garnet by interrogators who demanded to know of him when he had last seen this document.
Garnet knew the game was up.
His handwriting was all over it.
The authorities had withheld until this moment this crucial piece of incriminating evidence.
The title, in capital letters, A Treatise Of Equivocation.
But it's been crossed out, almost surely by Garnet himself.
He provides an alternative title on the previous page.
First writing, A Treatise Of Lying, before he catches himself and writes, A Treatise Against Lying And Fraudulent Dissimilation.
But there's no hiding what this book is really about.
It's a How To Guide for English Catholics torn in their loyalties between the King and the Pope on how to bend the truth when questioned by the authorities without actually committing the sin of lying.
My absolute favourite bit, "If one should be asked whether such a stranger "lodgeth in my house, then I should answer, "he lieth not in my house.
"Meaning that he doth not tell a lie there, "though he lodged there.
" To the authorities, this sort of advice was outrageous.
The devil's work.
Garnet's trial was an elaborate piece of government theatre staged at London's Guildhall.
A venue reserved for the most high-profile offences against the State.
He was brought in by coach, instead of on foot, to make him look more important.
The mastermind of a planned atrocity backed by England's Catholic enemies.
Hidden somewhere in this room that day was King James himself.
This was not a spectacle he would have missed.
If Shakespeare wasn't in the crowd, he would have heard it.
This was the talk of the town.
The trial lasted until 7:00 at night.
And Garnet was made to stand in a special pulpit.
The crowd loved it when the Lord Admiral mocked him, saying that Garnet had done more good from this pulpit that day than from any in his lifetime.
This was a show trial.
The outcome assured from the get-go, once the attorney general had accused Garnet of having had a hand in every treasonous plot, stretching back over 15 years.
At the heart of the prosecutor's case was equivocation.
They were obsessed by it.
Invoking it at every turn to trip up Garnet.
In his defence, Garnet offered an intellectual justification of equivocation, and went so far as to suggest that Jesus himself had equivocated.
These were not arguments that carried much weight that day in this room.
The jury took just 15 minutes to reach its verdict.
And a contemporary wrote just a few days later, "Garnet will equivocate at the gallows, "but he will be hanged, without equivocation.
" The regime had its scapegoat, and a chilling concept of equivocation had burnt into the national psyche.
Shakespeare caught the mood in a play he wrote that very year.
The bloody and harrowing tragedy of Macbeth.
"Faith, here's an equivocator "who committed treason enough for God's sake, "but could not equivocate to heaven.
"O! Come in, equivocator.
" Driven by ambition, by supernatural predictions and by his wife, Macbeth contemplates the worst crime Shakespeare's world can imagine.
The murder of a king.
The very crime the gunpowder plotters had attempted for real just months earlier.
Macbeth stabs to death his monarch, King Duncan, while he's asleep, then flees to his own bed as a loud knocking at one of the castle gates rouses the porter.
A porter who was part comic turn, part devilish commentary on the world of equivocation.
Knock, knock, knock! Who's there, in the name of Beelzebub?! Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha! Everybody, stay calm.
I suppose the first thing that struck me was the dramaturgical mischief of having such a scene after the despair, terrifying beauty of the scene that preceded it with Macbeth and Lady Macbeth around the murder.
They're going off as they hear the knocking.
Then you bring on a variety turn.
What is Shakespeare doing? He's being very disruptive and mischievous.
We decided to play quite a seditious game with this.
Almost threatening to blow up the play, as well as the audience, with an inappropriately anarchic, comic, playful moment.
Um I suppose there's also a bit of an uneasy frisson with suicide bombers today, strapping themselves up with explosives.
But this was a bomber with Brocks fireworks nicely, beautifully coloured, inside his jacket.
Ah! Faith, here's an equivocator! Who could swear in both the scales against either scale, who committed treason enough for God's sake.
Yet, could not equivocate to heaven.
O! Come in, equivocator.
The word equivocation figures again and again in the porter's scene, and elsewhere in Macbeth.
I'm just curious about your thoughts about how that resonates in the play.
With Macbeth and the timing of the writing of Macbeth after the gunpowder plot, after the trial of Father Garnet, the Jesuit priest, it was well known that, er people were horrified and made much of what they saw as appalling, treasonous hypocrisy that was wrapped up in this.
I think it is interesting that Shakespeare has the porter, the devil talking, saying that Father Garnet would not be able to equivocate himself to heaven.
Typical Shakespeare piece of equivocation.
It is on the line, very satisfying for James, watching the play, or his officers, but it's the devil saying it.
It is So it's the deniability every which way is there.
Knock, knock, knock.
Never at quiet! WHAT ARE YOU?! Oh.
But this place is too cold for hell! I'll devil-porter it no further! I had thought to let in some of all professions that go the primrose way to the everlasting bonfire! Anon! Anon.
I pray you, remember the porter.
The theme of equivocation dominates the play.
Macbeth equivocates with his wife, she, with her guests.
Even the play's nobler characters like Lady Macduff are infected.
In the play's climactic moment, Macbeth realises that he himself has been the victim of the witches' lies.
"I pull in resolution "and begin to doubt the equivocation of the fiend "that lies like truth.
" It was a bold move on Shakespeare's part to write a play that so closely shadowed real events.
Other playwrights had been jailed for less.
But Shakespeare, the king's man, had balanced the play with care.
The plotters suffer and die.
And crucially, the rightful line to the throne seems to be restored.
As Shakespeare knew, this was a message King James loved to hear.
The issue of rightful succession is at the heart of this play.
There's a wonderful moment towards the end where Macbeth demands to know of the witches who will succeed him as king of Scotland after his death.
They respond by conjuring up a magnificent display.
And I'll read Shakespeare's stage direction.
"A shew of eight kings, and Banquo last, "with a glasse in his hand.
" It's at this point that Macbeth, horrified, discovers that Banquo, his friend, who he had killed, whose heirs will succeed in Scotland.
All the bloodshed, all the guilt, all the murders had been for naught.
It's at this moment that a magical mirror is held up before Macbeth, allowing him to see even further into the future.
And he sees a line of kings who three sceptres bear.
This, for Jacobean audiences, was an obvious elusion to their monarch, king of Britain, France and Ireland.
King James himself was making a cameo appearance in Shakespeare's play.
As Shakespeare was finishing Macbeth, a West Country gentleman named Thomas Lyte was already at work on one of the most remarkable achievements of this Jacobean moment.
One that also played to the king's preoccupation with succession and lineage.
This is the most extraordinary document I have ever examined.
The Lyte Genealogy, the labour of seven years' love.
Only five of the original nine panels exist, but the story it tells of British history and of British identity is unparalleled.
It's a difficult document to read.
Think of it as a kind of London Underground map with various lines circulating.
The Saxon line, the North Wales line, the Tudor line.
All leading to a final destination, King James himself.
It's a visual equivalent of Shakespeare's history plays.
With Cordelia and Lear, Richard II, Henry VIII, all here.
Shakespeare himself would have almost surely have seen this hanging in Whitehall Palace.
In a gorgeous, illuminated version that King James had hung there for display.
Lyte's remarkable genealogy includes a prophecy about a monarch destined to rule over an united Britain.
A overt reference to James's long-held dream of union between England and Scotland.
Like Shakespeare, Lyte understood how deeply genealogy mattered to a king anxious to secure his own succession.
Lyte's reward, befitting a king already known for his extravagance was a spectacular jewel, now one of the treasures of the British Museum.
We've seen the Lyte Genealogy, now we get to see the Lyte jewel.
It's really extraordinary.
Tell me what you know about this.
It's got 16 table-cut diamonds.
You can see the wonderful fire in them as I move the jewel in my hands.
But even more remarkable is this openwork cover, where further diamonds are used to form the letters Jacobus Rex, King James in Latin.
And then there are five rose-cut diamonds even more splendid, which are set in petal-like collets to look like little flowers, diamond flowers, around the initials of the king, the royal cipher.
And if I open it, you can see how the openwork frame on the front reveals the wonderful miniature by Hilliard inside.
Which is in splendid condition with this wonderful red silk background.
And you can see how the inside of the lid is enamelled in red, white and blue, echoing the colours of Hilliard's miniature of the king.
On the back, just as sophisticated, if I turn it over for you, is this really beautiful enamel decoration.
With the red, the white and the blue picked up from the miniature again.
So it's a beautifully-designed jewel.
Every element has been very carefully thought out, as well as executed, in precious materials.
What do you think this says about King James at this moment? Well, I do think it's the gratitude of a very needy, anxious king at the beginning of his reign, who's desperate to persuade his subjects that he has a right to be King of England.
I think it's also very much intended to be a spontaneous gesture, although it must have been quite a studied one, of magnificence, of princely magnificence.
If it's part of a very carefully stage-managed, very carefully orchestrated court handover, at which all the ambassadors and other important dignitaries are supposed to actually look at the genealogy and take in its political message, then it's worth paying all these diamonds, it's worth all this gold, and it's worth the wonderful miniature.
Yes.
The Lyte jewel expresses in perfect miniature the king's desire to use wealth and extravagance to express himself and his ideas.
So, in a world dominated by theatre, it was inevitable that James would find ways of using a court spectacle to express that desire on a grand scale.
The spectacular banqueting house, beautifully rebuilt in 1619, had been the scene of some of Shakespeare's plays for James's Court.
But the one-off performance that played here in early January 1606 was about as far from Shakespeare as you can imagine.
It was written by his great rival, Ben Jonson, who'd been jailed a year earlier for mocking the king's fellow Scots in a play called Eastward Ho.
But tonight's production was designed to please, and to show that the regime had bounced back after the gunpowder plot.
It was a masque, and its title was Hymenaei.
Because their splendour and majesty were so hard to record, it's difficult to grasp today what it felt like to attend a Jacobean court masque.
Imagine Olympic opening ceremony combined with royal wedding.
Persuade the finest artists, composers, choreographers and writers to collaborate.
Give the best seats to the royal family.
Everyone else, 1,000 or so, are crammed into this space.
And to make things more interesting, there were no tickets.
You had to dress up, show up and hope for the best.
Hymenaei was one of the most expensive theatre extravaganzas England had ever seen.
Its dazzling design created by Inigo Jones, the greatest architect and designer of the age.
Jones was also responsible for the rebuilt banqueting house and collaborated on many of the great Jacobean masques.
His costume designs capture their lavishness.
Even the late Queen Elisabeth's wardrobe was raided for the masque.
Some of her 3,000 dresses cut up and recycled.
She'd have turned in her grave.
We're in a world of fantastic spectacle.
And heavy-handed allegory.
Hymenaei celebrated a real wedding of two highborn teenagers.
The Earl of Essex and Frances Howard.
But even the wedding was an allegory.
The symbolic union of two great families whose factional differences, James wanted to bring to an end.
The masque was a great spectacle, along with a bit of propaganda and some nasty political manoeuvring.
The marriage of the young lovers was no story of Romeo and Juliet, but real politic at its most crass.
The day after the masque came a symbolic indoor foot combat between knights representing the two families.
The Essex faction had always been less supportive of the king, and their side lost.
Their defeat reveals another layer of symbolism in Hymenaei.
Because they were represented by the goddess of virginity.
A reminder to all those watching that the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth, was gone and that the world now belonged to a married monarch.
King James.
1606 was shaping up to be a great year for the king.
The plotters were dead.
Hymenaei had been glorious.
Symbolically laying the ghost of Elizabeth to rest.
That summer, there were more opportunities for symbolism and glory.
Crowds came out to see great Danish warships anchored in the Thames.
Surrounded by ships of James's navy.
From their masts flew a new flag by proclamation of the king, soon to be known as the Union Jack, emblem of the union dream that James still clung to.
The Danish flagship carried James' brother-in-law King Christian of Denmark, in England on a state visit.
The new flag, the visiting king, were all meant to impress, to show that this was a new regime that had found its footing.
But appearances can be deceptive, and the visit went on to prove another old saying friends you can choose, family you're stuck with.
It probably doesn't get worse than a self-confident brother-in-law who is taller than you, more handsome, and can drink you under the table.
In the course of one lavish entertainment, the kings were presented with a mask entitled The Queen of Sheba.
The Queen of Sheba show before the two kings got a little out of hand.
"The Lady who did play the Queen's part, "did carry most precious gifts to both their Majesties.
"But, forgetting the steps arising to the canopy, "overset her caskets into his Danish Majesty's lap, "and fell at his feet, tho' I rather think it was in his face.
"His Majesty then got up and would dance with the Queen of Sheba.
" Well, who wouldn't? "But he fell down and humbled himself before her, "and was carried to an inner chamber and laid on a bed.
" The account of this virtual orgy is by Sir John Harrington, courtier, writer and wit.
Harrington goes on, "The bed was defiled with all the wine, "cream, jellies, cake and spices "that King Christian had got all over him in the commotion.
" Harrington was clearly appalled, and he concludes, "I have much marvelled at these strange pageantries, "and they do bring to my remembrance "what passed of this sort in our Queen's days.
" It's a searing indictment of James' decadent regime, and in invoking Queen Elizabeth's ghost, Harrington reminds us of how good things had been back then.
Many a modern leader would sympathise with James.
The popular predecessor is never easy to kill off.
It didn't help that the contrast was so marked.
"The old Queen," wrote the Venetian ambassador, "had been much-loved and knew how to caress the people," while King James was "despised and almost hated.
" Playwright Thomas Dekker quickly jumped on the bandwagon of nostalgia for Elizabeth.
His colourfully titled Whore Of Babylon is a dramatic fantasy that nostalgically plays out Elizabethan England's war with Catholic Europe.
It replays the battle between "the purple whore of Rome," the papacy, and Titania, the Fairie Queene, who Dekker explicitly aligns with Queen Elizabeth.
Shakespeare is never so explicit, but he too was sifting this moment of Elizabethan nostalgia when he brought to the stage another great queen of the past in his Roman tragedy, Antony and Cleopatra.
Shakespeare's Egypt is a decadent place, full of temptations.
Echoes of the sordid bacchanalia of King Christian's visit are unmistakeable when Antony, getting drunk at a feast, urges Octavius to do the same.
"Be a child of the time," he says.
"Enjoy the conquering wine.
" The wine conquers both duty and reason, and to be the child of that time is to choose pleasure over good governance.
This could be John Harrington writing.
Now, it's dangerous to read Shakespeare as a topical writer.
His works are too subtle and nuanced for that, but the image of a British and a Danish king drinking health to each other aboard ship as King Christian prepares to depart, would have been fresh in the memory of London's playgoers.
Cleopatra is a much subtler, more ambiguous creation than Dekker's Titania.
Even to Antony, she is both an enchanting queen and a "triple-turned whore.
" In the character of Antony, Shakespeare plays out the tensions between the play's two competing worlds Rome, macho and tough, and Egypt, decadent and soft.
But there's a third key character in the play - Octavius, whose ambitions to rule over the whole Empire seem to resonate with James' regime.
In Antony and Cleopatra, one thing that leaps out at you immediately is this three-pillared world of the Roman Empire.
And you become aware of James' aspiration to be Emperor and, indeed, to talk of himself as Augustus, of a three-pillared new Britain.
There's no question that the audience at the time would, to some extent, identify Octavius with James, and I think that's quite a dangerous bit of sailing close to the wind on Shakespeare's part.
And if they hadn't made that association, James would have made sure they had by minting a coin that shows him as Augustus Caesar, quite literally, in 1603.
Yes, it was part of James' self-image, that there was a new, peaceful Pax Romana.
Pax, a Jacobite Pax, that James was pursuing both on the continent and in Britain by unifying Britain.
At the end of the play, Cleopatra mourns the death of Antony and kills herself soon after.
The future belongs to Octavius now, and he orders the lovers to be symbolically buried together.
"No grave upon the earth shall clip in it "A pair so famous.
" But if the King's man could use the stage to revive the ghost of Elizabeth the King could use Westminster Abbey to lay it to rest.
When she died in 1603, Elizabeth was buried beside the spectacular memorial to her Tudor grandfather, Henry VII.
But, in 1606, the same year Shakespeare wrote Antony and Cleopatra, her remains were dug up on the orders of King James.
In a narrow side-chapel nearby, rested the remains of Mary, England's last Catholic monarch.
Bloody Mary, who had burned Protestants at the stake, and, at one time, imprisoned her Protestant half-sister, Elizabeth.
This was Queen Elizabeth's new home, just a few yards from her old one.
But, her sister Mary was already resting here.
No matter.
Queen Elizabeth's remains were unceremoniously dumped on top of her sister's, and this tomb erected above her.
But this magnificent monument to England's Virgin Queen could not disguise the slight of this relocation, and, to add insult to injury, King James, who commissioned this monument, had inscribed the following words in Latin.
I'll translate.
"Here lie we.
"Elizabeth and Mary, two sisters in the hope of one resurrection.
" It's hard to imagine who would have resented that more the staunchly Catholic Mary or the mainstream Protestant Elizabeth.
James might have added, "Two childless sisters, "whose failure to reproduce led to the extinction of the Tudor line.
" Soon, two more sad sisters joined the pair.
James' baby daughter Sophia died in 1606 two year old Mary, the following year.
But the king had other children, including an heir and a spare, Henry and Charles.
So, the future of the Stuarts was secure, just as Shakespeare had shown in Macbeth.
James had now completed part one of his grand scheme to rewrite the past.
Part two, the most satisfying part for him, was yet to come.
James' mother, Mary, Queen of Scots, had been executed by Queen Elizabeth 20 years earlier, and had lain in a humble grave in Peterborough ever since.
Now, it was her turn to be dug up and delivered to a new home.
While Elizabeth's relocation was designed to marginalise her, the grand new tomb James commissioned for his mother symbolised her resurrection.
In comparison, this was a lavish tomb.
Grander, taller, it took six years longer to build.
It cost three times as much as Elizabeth's.
James dedicated it "To our late, dearest mother of famous memory.
" This, a mother he had not seen since he was nine months old.
So, it's less about a son's devotion to a mother he barely knew, and more about James' determination to realign his dynastic story.
It wasn't only the grand new tomb that gave James' mother new status.
She shares the space with Henry VII's much-loved mother, Margaret Beaufort, origin of the Tudor line, creating a new association for his own lineage.
By placing his mother here, James locates the Stuarts in a line originating with the Tudors, thereby asserting that he and his descendants are England's true future.
At the same time, he relegates Elizabeth to the ranks of the sterile and childless, those who had no future.
It's a brilliant piece of both stagecraft and statecraft.
Controlling the past by rewriting it was one thing.
Soon, though, King James was facing a present crisis You have great experience one that would involve Shakespeare as well.
And we want to take this argument and this movement, and keep it going, keep it building and getting it stronger.
We are with you.
We are on your side.
In spring 1607, Jacobean England was gripped by its first serious economic protests.
A new phenomenon, inflation, was driving up food prices widening the gap between rich and poor.
Shakespeare's contemporary, the philosopher Sir Francis Bacon, summed it up when he wrote, "The rebellions of the belly are the worst.
" keeping it building and getting it stronger.
We want all England's countryfolk increasingly faced what those in authority considered progress.
These were the first stirrings of capitalism, and capitalism, then, as now, meant that the 1% owned much, the 99%, little.
In the Midlands, Shakespeare's home turf, some of the 99% decided they had had enough.
The Midlands Uprising began with protests in Haselbech, Pytchley and Rushton in Northamptonshire, then spread when 3,000 marched in Hillmorton in neighbouring Warwickshire.
Another 5,000 took to the streets and fields in Cotesbach in Leicestershire.
These were huge numbers for the time.
The king acted decisively, issuing a proclamation in May 1607 that the riots were to be suppressed.
If necessary, by force.
The landowners of Newton in Northamptonshire were a little overzealous.
Their armed men left over 40 protesters dead.
For good measure, the protest leaders were hanged, drawn and quartered.
A sort of grisly re-run of the Gunpowder executions only a year or so earlier.
The trigger for this explosion of violence was a practice that had been causing tension in England for decades.
Enclosure.
It allowed landlords to hedge in land that for hundreds of years had been used by all, a process captured in this late-Elizabethan map of a Suffolk estate.
Peter, we're looking at a really extraordinary map, and I'm hoping that it might help us understand how enclosure worked in Shakespeare's day.
If you look at the centre of the map, you'll see that there's a really, really big field whereas all around it are small fields.
And that is the basic difference between the open field system and enclosure.
But let's look at it in more detail, because when you look within this big field, you'll see that there's any number of individual strips.
Now, these strips were owned by individual peasants.
If you move away from these big fields, you'll see that there are small fields.
Most of these had been recently created.
And represented a more efficient way of utilising the land.
And if you look carefully, you will see that many, if not most of these enclosed fields, are coloured green.
Now, they're coloured green because it means that they were for pasture.
And so, the peasant was hit by a double whammy.
On the one hand, he lost his strips in the fields.
Secondly, he no longer needed to be employed by the landlord to cultivate his strips.
Instead, the landlord put sheep in, and here you have some sheep.
And these sheep needed only one shepherd.
So, instead of 30 people you might get reduced to just one.
The remaining 29 would basically have lost any means of sustenance.
They would have faced starvation.
To ram the point home, there is the victim.
That's terrific.
It's a wandering beggar with a monkey on his shoulder.
What you've got is a power map.
It's a map commissioned by an extremely wealthy individual who wants to flaunt his wealth.
He didn't live on this estate.
This map was made for his home in London, and it shows just how wealthy he was.
But more than that, it shows that he's a modern man, because this is one of the very first maps to be drawn to scale.
So it can be used mathematically.
And the mindset that produced a map that was drawn to scale also produced a mind that wanted to use this estate as efficiently as possible.
The two go together.
Yes.
Unexpectedly, Shakespeare found himself at the heart of the dispute.
In the Welcombe Hills just outside his hometown.
We're only a mile from the centre of Stratford.
But you won't find this site on any tourist map of Shakespeare country.
In 1605, Shakespeare bought a half-interest in a lease of over 100 acres of arable land around here, for which he paid £440.
That's a spectacular sum.
It would take a Jacobean schoolmaster 20 years to earn that much.
But when enclosure battles heated up around Stratford, Shakespeare found himself caught between the interests of wealthy landowners, the 1%, on the one side, and on the other, the needs of his fellow townspeople, who had tilled this land for generations and depended upon it for their economic survival.
When the rapacious landowner went ahead with enclosing these fields, Stratford experienced its own enclosure confrontation.
A couple of men were sent from town to stop the action, but they were beat up as the landowner looked on from horseback and laughed.
At this point, Stratford's women and children came out in force, and filled in 285 yards of ditches that had been dug for new hedges.
As for Shakespeare, the landowners had assured him that any losses he would incur through enclosure would be covered.
He seems to have temporised with both sides, and was quoted as saying, "I was not able to bear the enclosure at Welcombe.
" This feels like a bit of equivocating.
Either he found the whole subject unbearable or he was unable to support the venture.
Through his investments, he was deeply implicated in the most pressing and volatile economic controversy of his day.
In the immediate aftermath of the uprising, Shakespeare wrote a new play that captured the anger of the rioters, the failures of leadership, and the ambiguity of his own position.
It was the last tragedy he would ever write.
Coriolanus.
Ralph Fiennes' film transposes the action to the present, beginning, as the play does, with a furious crowd rioting for food.
Stop! Stop! Coriolanus faces them down.
Tough, warlike, he is an enforcer for the elite.
What's the matter? You dissentious rogues, that rubbing the poor itch of your opinion, make yourselves scabs? We have ever your good word.
He that will give good words to thee will flatter, beneath abhorring.
What would you have, you curs, that like nor peace nor war? The one affrights you, the other makes you proud.
He that trusts to you, where he should find you lions, finds you hares.
Where foxes, geese.
He cannot negotiate, and he cannot equivocate, or certainly the other the problem is the other person.
That's why as a soldier, you receive orders or give orders, and you go into battle as a sort of very clear line.
So, the kind of grey area of how you and I agree to sit in a room, have a conversation and listen to each other is hard.
He that retires, I'll take him for a Volsce, and he shall feel mine edge! Go! The unambiguous world of war is the world Coriolanus understands.
"Before him he carries noise," we're told.
"And behind him, he leaves tears.
" Away! R-r-rgh! It is the ambiguous world of politics that is his undoing.
What is it? Coriolanus must I call thee? He cannot equivocate, cannot adopt the role leadership requires.
"It is a part that I shall blush in acting," he says.
Most fatally of all, and it's hard not to think of James here, he does not love the people, and they do not love him.
When he dies, it is to the sound of the mob screaming, "Kill, kill, kill him!" We should feel a sense of waste and loss and a degree of pity.
Um but I think, I think the tragic protagonist should make us feel ambivalent.
But I think we should go through a point where we feel a sense of pity and a cathartic sense of desolation, on which we're meant to contemplate and reflect.
An evisceration, I mean, that's what's going on and that's what's in the film.
He's a Pieta after an evisceration is what's at the end of this, and you reflect on that.
Coriolanus is perhaps the most ambiguous of Shakespeare's tragic heroes.
And that ambiguity says much about the times, where easy distinctions between right and wrong seem to have vanished.
Coriolanus is both villain and victim.
High-handed and dismissive, an enforcer for the elite, who ruthlessly suppresses his own people.
Yet he is also clearly a wronged man, one who cannot and will not equivocate, whose insistence on appearing as he is proves fatal.
The Jacobean moment was an extraordinary time of innovation.
When Sir Francis Bacon wrote his essay on Seditions and Troubles in the wake of the Midlands Uprising, the essay itself was a new form, a new way of analysing and anatomising the times.
Francis Bacon's great line, "the rebellions of the belly "are the worst," could have been lifted straight out of Coriolanus.
Like Shakespeare, Bacon recognised that when the hungry and desperate take to the streets and fields, it's a reflection not on them, but on those in charge.
He puts it beautifully.
"When discords and quarrels and factions are carried openly "and audaciously, it is a sign the reverence of government is lost.
" Maintaining that reverence requires a ruler to play a part.
Queen Elizabeth had learned how to play hers, but King James, like Coriolanus, struggled with the role.
James, though big on ideas, lacked many of the fundamental qualities of leadership.
Like Coriolanus, though for different reasons, he could not or would not foster the love of the people.
So it was inevitable that the English would turn their minds back to their much-loved queen.
To an Elizabethan world that seemed simpler and more straightforward.
A world of war with Spain, of great battles deciding the nation's fate.
A world where the identity of the English seemed stable and secure.
In its place, a world of hidden dangers and intrigue, in which the new and ambiguous world of equivocation held sway.
Shakespeare's drama had become the touchstone for the gathering storm that was James' reign.
Next, cracks begin to show in the Royal Family, as the king's eye wanders and tongues wag.
A new theatre opens up new possibilities for Shakespeare.
And the nation is sent reeling when real life tragedy strikes.