Doubling Love

Helen Ostovich

This essay outlines a probable casting of Three Ladies for eight players, and explains why this casting works for the physical doubling and theatrical thinking about how Love interacts with Conscience and Lucre on stage, specifically sorting out how the quick changes establish character in so few lines, thanks to Love’s vizard. This awareness of Wilson’s theatrical decisions sets the scene for the final ‘decision’ in court, a decision that is incomplete and basically indecisive, as the judge fails to give properly meaningful and legally consonant sentences. But then, that world is now a world too fully without love, money for good causes, or conscience to sit comfortably on those accused of crimes. ‘No one’ (Nemo) can give a verdict in a case where an oath and even law itself is rendered meaningless.

Touring companies often produced plays that used fewer than the ten to fifteen actors assigned in McMillin and MacLean’s casting charts.1 These casting decisions could not be standard for the many times when the Queen’s Men subdivided into touring troupes of about eight actors so that they could, for example, perform at court and in different parts of the country at the same time.2 Several early printed plays announce the variation in casting with the provocative ‘Fowre persons may easily play it’, as we see on the title page of George Wapull’s The Tyde taryeth no Man;3 that is, more than four actors may play, if conditions allow the relaxation of doubling conditions (figure 1). Similarly, A new and mery Enterlude, called the Triall of Treasure4 uses the title page to indicate how five players could perform the script (figure 2). So too for An excellent and pleasant Comedy, termed after the name of the Vice, Common Condicions,5 a play with twenty roles, but ‘Six may play this Comedie’ (figure 3).

Four persons may easily play it.
Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Collected in the part ‘The names of the (five) players.
Fig. 2

Fig. 2

Six may play this comedy.
Fig. 3

Fig. 3

Again, the caveat is ‘may’: presumably if more players are available or if one or more players replaced an actor who died or left the company, the parts would be divided in a different way. The cast list is simply a shorthand for companies to understand the minimum requirement for putting on the play: the most famous example being Thomas Preston's Cambises, for which the title-page6 lists the assignment of parts to eight players: quite frankly stating ‘The division of the partes’, without any ‘may’ about it:

Title page for Preston’s <em>Cambises</em>.
Fig. 4 Title page for Preston’s Cambises.

Fig. 4 Title page for Preston’s Cambises.

Nevertheless, we can assume that, were more actors available, they would divide the parts in other ways. My interest in this aspect of doubling is limited when it comes to The Three Ladies of London: if one were working out a casting chart, as I did and Peter Cockett did independent of each other; we both arrived at the number of actors minimally required as eight, although our assignment of roles differed. Of those eight, two of them are boys to play the women’s parts, and perhaps other boy-roles like two of the three singing beggars in scene 13.

What I really want to discuss in The Three Ladies of London7 is the casting of two boys to play three ladies. The entire company, including boys, has to double roles in any case, but the playwright’s choice seems to be to assign the two boys the parts of Conscience and Lucre, both requiring experienced boy-actors, and to co-assign the part of Love for both boys to share, letting the implications fall where they may. That is, if the audience is sophisticated enough to pierce the doubling and to recognize the actor playing the part, or if the actor drops hints by importing mannerisms from one role into the other, implications of Love’s internal conflicts might be greater than for audiences who accept the three characters as three separate actors. That said, Wilson seems to have been careful to prevent the audience from acquiring such an awareness. The main theatrical issue, however, is not whether the doubling is transparent or opaque; the question is how far the boys agree on a voice and certainly on a costume for Love – whether merely a distinctive headdress and sleeve changes, or a simple robe that would fit under the more elaborate overdress that establishes Lucre or Conscience beneath, easily enough done for the latter, who ends up wearing only a shift by mid-play, and then perhaps a simple housekeeper’s gown when she becomes a bawd. Why this doubling scheme? It is cost-effective, especially for a touring company: Love appears merely in four scenes, and doubling the boys seems obvious, provided both boys are of a height and weight that would work in the sharing of the role. Even then, Wilson forestall problems by having Love appear ‘in a vizard behind’ Lucre in scene 15, the only scene in which the ‘Conscience’ actor plays the part, so that her other identity as ‘Conscience’ is even more obscured, not only by her mask, but also by the figure of Lucre standing in front of her. But did Wilson have other objectives in obscuring Love? Love (charity, healthy sport or games, and toleration of flaws8) and Lucre (lust for wealth, but also lust for power over others, lust for sexual pleasure9) demonstrate the permeable border between what might seem to be opposites. Conscience10 and Love, not simply externalized attributes of an Everyman in a morality play, but emphatically social figures within the London community, reach and cross a border where righteousness joins hypocrisy.11 Love’s encounter with hypocrisy is obvious in her social and physical relationship with Dissimulation, Lucre’s ‘steward’ (2.245): it swells and distorts her head with pride (the first deadly sin), making the vizard a necessity. Conscience’s seduction by Lucre (10.51-120) lures Conscience into an even more complex spiritual, social, and sexual degradation. In both cases, the movement is gradual as the two ‘good’ ladies struggle to maintain their virtue, not just against temptation, but also against deprivation of the basic necessities of life – food, shelter, clothing, human warmth. Unlike a simple morality play, Wilson’s Three Ladies demonstrates the duality of vice and virtue, or rather the multivalence, the full spectrum, of the concepts the three ladies portray. Each lady develops the concept of her character by reacting to the influences around her – an unexpectedly relativist view of social behaviour.

With that spectrum in mind, I want to re-examine Love as a stage statement both in her appearances and in the way other characters refer to her. Love appears in scene 1 with Conscience, in scene 2 also with Conscience in the first half of the scene (these two scenes have the bulk of Love’s lines), in scene 15 ‘in a vizard behind’ Lucre, and in scene 17 with Conscience at the end of the play, the boy-actor who played Lucre having returned twenty lines later as Love. We know this action occurs because Wilson gives us the stage direction: ‘Ex[eun]t [LADY] LUCRE and DILIGENCE. Let [Lady] Lucre make ready for [Lady] Love quickly, and come with Diligence’ (17.62 sd). The main player of Love is obviously the boy who plays Lucre, itself a major role of eight scenes, comparable to Conscience’s seven scenes. Love may have a strong visual impact on stage, given her slide from gentle virtue into gross degradation, but she has a total of only thirty-five lines for the whole play, and all but nine are in the opening scenes. Conscience, on the other hand, has 201 lines12 that include an extensive musical solo in scene 10 (see Katrine Wong’s essay on the broom-song). Lucre has 195 lines, and can easily accommodate another twenty-eight for Love, spread over three scenes, just as Conscience can easily fit in another seven lines as Love in scene 15. It still allows both boys time for a costume change: Lucre has twenty-nine lines to change from Love into Lucre in scene 2, and thereafter she doesn’t change her costume until the end of scene 17, where she has only twenty lines to strip off whatever distinguishes her still as Lucre, to reveal the ‘deformity’ of Love, perhaps now in a shift, like Conscience in scene 10, instead of a flashy gown as Dissimulation’s wife, and perhaps pockmarked like Conscience from scene 10 on, but certainly still vizarded as in scene 15. In other words, her costume change may mostly be a costume removal.13

I have outlined a theatrical doubling that follows the play's movement and stage directions, and also synchronizes with various sources on touring and boy-actors,14 as well as our own Queen’s Men Editions practices based on the experience of doubling in ‘Shakespeare and the Queen’s Men’, and the Performing the Queen’s Men <> website and video archive. But why is Love needed at all, if she has so few lines? What does she add to an audience’s understanding of the play’s other two ladies? The rest of this paper will tackle those questions and substantiate my claim that Love wears a vizard in both scenes 15 and 17, thus reducing the time needed for a quick change.

Woodcut of Petrarch's Triumph of Fame by Bernard Salomon, Illustrateur Lyonnais, 1550.
Fig. 5 Woodcut of Petrarch's Triumph of Fame by Bernard Salomon, Illustrateur Lyonnais, 1550.

Fig. 5 Woodcut of Petrarch's Triumph of Fame by Bernard Salomon, Illustrateur Lyonnais, 1550.15

In scene 1, Love enters in the company of Conscience and following Fame (an emblem of good reputation), who is ‘sounding’ (0 sd), or drawing attention to the ladies by playing some kind of fanfare on her trumpet (Figure 5). The 1550 French woodcut shows Fame as a heavenly creature whose soundings outlast death. Love’s opening speech expresses her fear, not of death, but of falling into penury and disrespect because of Lucre’s greed, which she does not recognize as the sexual opposite to herself or as a threat to her virtue: she still believes that Love ‘causeth wealth and peace abound, and pleaseth God Almighty’ (29), despite Fame’s description of Lucre’s ‘lust lascivious’ (1.24) as inciting and overwhelming worldly men with desire for more and more profit. The fact that Lucre plays Love in this scene cannot be clear to the audience yet, but the corruption of the one by the greater power of the other starts to emerge in scene 2, after Love exits (2.170 sd), no longer led by Fame, and Lucre makes her first appearance (199 sd), accepting service agreements with the various vices who want to work for her (Dissimulation, Usury, Fraud, Simony). Just before Love’s exit, in a parallel action, she had hired Simplicity, a fool, in an act of charity which heralds her own weakness later when she marries Dissimulation and plays out the lust and pride invoked by Lucre. That is, Love becomes a hypocrite, degrading herself from the spiritual ideal of giving comfort to the carnal act alone, and being used as a mask of purity behind which Dissimulation may hide. At first, Simplicity misunderstands his job with her: he thinks that being her ‘man’ means he will marry her; and when she reduces his expectations to ‘serving’ only, he anticipates satisfying his appetite for fornication as well as food (see Lloyd Kermode’s essay on Simplicity). Love’s ‘simple’ mistake here echoes Conscience's earlier statement that the powers of ‘true Love and Conscience clear’ (1.9) no longer entice either the English or the foreigners who flock to London. Lucre has set a far lower standard.

Love does not reappear until scene 15, but we hear of her. Like Lucre’s openness to profiting in a free market, Love is open to giving innocent pleasure and receiving virtuous comfort. By the time that she and Conscience sell their house (4.46) to Usury, and must lease it back at four times the normal rate, Love has accepted invitations from Hospitality, who feeds her and other impoverished ‘honest neighbours’ (66, 77-8). By scene 7, Simplicity reports that the two ladies are ‘undone’ (7.6), and must sell their gowns in order to pay the rent (25-6). But Dissimulation rescues Love’s gown and sends it back with gold to provide for her – not charitably, as Love herself might have done, but with the deliberate purpose of separating her from Conscience, as the next step in Love’s downfall. Love is certainly nowhere nearby when Hospitality is murdered (8.34-7; see Daryl Palmer’s essay), nor is it clear that she attended his funeral, reported by Simony (85-95; see Paul White’s essay). The immediate consequence of the murder is that Dissimulation requests a job for Love as Lucre’s ‘waiting-maid, / For I think being brought so low, she will be well a-paid’ (72-3), and Lucre, ‘contented’, agrees to hire her, ‘if you can get Love's goodwill’ (96-7). Conscience, unaware of this employment opportunity, turns to the fool for advice on their dark future, something that, as a person of discernment and probity, she would never have asked for before: ‘What remedy, Simplicity? … But what shall we go do …?’ (134-5); the clown rejects her silently without qualms – sizing up broom-selling as not an easy enough or ‘sexy’ enough occupation, and foreseeing London’s abandonment of both Love and Conscience, with ‘No dwelling … no biding’ (178), for any of its merely virtuous, practical, or dull citizens like Artifex, or Sincerity.16

Conscience, without blaming Love, proceeds to do the right thing, as she thinks throughout scene 10, the scene that graphically records her change from being ‘clear’ to being ‘spotted’. The factor perhaps most affecting her judgment is her own isolation, what with the loss of supporters like Hospitality, her helplessness during the murder, and the defection of her housemate Love, as Lucre points out: ‘If thou hadst kept thy tongue, thou hadst kept thy friend … / But wottest thou who shall be married tomorrow? Love with my Dissimulation’ (10.58-9). If we look back from this juncture at scene 1, where Conscience and Love were co-dependent like two of the daughters of God, Justice and Mercy, each honest to herself and to others, we can see what their separation has cost them. Conscience cannot distinguish clearly between public approval of (corrupt) behaviour, and the private pious code that had always guided her behaviour, no matter how problematic the circumstances; and Love, who used to soften or complicate Conscience's rigid reactions, now cannot stop herself from accepting duplicity as the way of the world in which she must drift. She has no Conscience for her rudder, and Conscience cannot continue to steer by principles without the care of Love. They become Flotsam and Jetsam. In the context of the closeness of these two ladies and what happens when they fall apart, how should we then evaluate the debate between Mercadorus and Gerontus? Are both victims of a fallen moral order, or is Turkey there to remind the audience of what the Christian world lost? (See Pam Brown’s essay on Italian influences, and David Bevington’s on religious epiphany).

When Lucre purchases all of Conscience’s brooms in order to sweep up after the wedding – and sweep away Conscience’s compunctions – she pays, not the shilling requested, but a gold piece that changes Conscience's course, along with the offer to ‘pass her days with pleasure store of every kind of sport’ (68). Pleasure is normally the purview of Love, but now, with Love under Lucre's authority, Conscience – cowed and dazed by Lucre’s ‘free heart and great liberality’ (71) – agrees to the renovation of her cottage as a resort catering to friends who want their pleasure in privacy, without ‘deputy, constable, or spiteful neighbours’ (79) to stop them. With a promise of £15,000 almost immediately, Conscience responds to Lucre’s apparent affection by agreeing to manage the house, unable to realize that it will be a brothel. The signs of her submission are painted on her face from the box of abominations. While Lucre paints Conscience’s face to so seductive and diseased a sexual standard that Lucre is aroused and kisses her, Conscience, oblivious to Lucre but equally fascinated by the first £5,000 in gold coins, counts the money.17 By implication, Love has been absorbed into Lucre’s scheme, just as Conscience has, both eroticized and materialized into icons of profitable trade, one as a trophy wife and the other as a madam. Scene 11 bears this out in conversation, as Dissimulation agrees with Simony's challenge, ‘how darest thou marry with Love, bearing no love at all?’ (11.40), but the reason is clear to Dissimulation: she provides him with a ‘get out of jail free’ card, or perhaps a ‘vizard’, should Lucre lose her position and the righteous regain control of the city: ‘Then sure the people will think well of me, because she is my wife’ (50). The hypocrisy of this moment gets further emphasis in Wilson’s focus, not on the wedding itself, but on a view of the parasites going to the wedding, criminals who will prey on the guests, singing ‘To the wedding, to the wedding to the wedding go, / To the wedding a-begging, a-begging all three’ (13.1-2, 11-12); Fraud feeds them in order to hire their services as thieves to rob Mercadorus on his way back from Turkey.

By scene 15, Love has been married, and enters ‘behind’ Lucre, (giving precedence to her as a social superior, as well as for other reasons of obscuring the doubling), hiding her face ‘with a vizard’, because she fears her husband Dissimulation has infected her with either pride or (venereal?) disease that swells her head ‘in monstrous sort’, which she accepts as her ‘shame’ (15.7) and her ‘just reward’ (8) for her ‘bad intent’ in marrying as she did. The moment of revelation – the corruption defiling Love – is a satisfying disclosure to Lucre, but perhaps not literally to the audience, who see only Lucre’s reactions as she peers behind the mask, but do not see, or perhaps only briefly glimpse, what she sees. Lucre asks, ‘Is your head then swollen … I pray you, let me see. / Of troth, it is!’ (13-14). After ‘let me see’, Lucre pulls away the vizard briefly for a peek (here, another reason for keeping Love behind Lucre, to lessen, or make impossible, recognition of the Conscience-actor) and remarks at the difference between the beautiful vizard, ‘fair and well-favoured’, beside the ‘wonder’ of seeing ‘two faces in a hood’ (16), the vizard-face ‘with a countenance smooth and good’, and the real face swollen and deformed. Lucre suggests that Love just needs to ‘find some sports to spurn away such toys’ (17) – a claim Love accepts as a truth, believing that Lucre is her only source of ‘joys’ now (18) (see emblems of the ‘Seeming Lover’ and ‘Deformitie’ to understand Love’s current view of Dissimulation and herself). This occasion is the first time the doubling of Love is explicit, and aligns her with her lost Conscience. If, in fact, Love is spotted with the same abominations as Conscience, echoed by the Judge’s description of Love’s obsession with ‘cankered18 coin’ (17.97), and like Conscience, isolated and unhappy, the removal of the vizard demonstrates Lucre’s seductive lies. It also shows the audience the impact of ongoing corruption in the figure of Love as played by Conscience, the merging of the two figures in their lost roles as virtues. Love puts her faith in Lucre instead of in her own previous sensitivity to comfort and clarity of purpose, her former giving of comfort now twisted into terrible neediness. Her world is upside down, like the distorted world of Conscience. The case is the same with Simplicity, accused and assumed guilty of sheep-stealing, then stripped and whipped by the beadle (scene 16). The fact that we, as audience, cannot see Love’s face but can still respond to the horror of the change, makes the revelation real, engrained in our imagination, even though we may see nothing at all. The hood that is part of Love’s costume obscures whatever the figure of Lucre does not. We see the vizard – the false-face – not Love’s true face, now distorted and all but obliterated, impressed on the audience’s imagination, but not necessarily actual sight.

The ladies’ trial occurs immediately afterward, in scene 17, the final scene of the play, with all three ladies found guilty and sent to jail for sentencing. Those apparently charged with them – Dissimulation, Usury, Fraud, and Simony – have unaccountably disappeared. Unlike Simplicity, all of them really are guilty. Lucre, arraigned first, accused of adultery, robbery, and murder, pleads ‘Not guilty’ (21); and then Conscience, who has had fifty-seven lines since scene 10 to change out of Love’s costume and back into her own, stands accused of being Lucre’s bawd. Conscience’s quick change seems only to be the removal of Love’s hood and vizard, replaced with Conscience’s usual headdress. Much to Lucre’s dismay, Conscience, still ‘spotted with all abomination’ (33), admits to ‘our naughty living’ (34). Their guilt is confirmed by a letter Lucre had written to keep Conscience silent, but her guilt, arising from her natural reverence for good behaviour, not yet completely corrupted, made Conscience pass the letter on to Judge Nemo, because she wanted to be condemned in court. Lucre did not. Nevertheless Lucre exits, committed to ‘hell’, the poorest section of the jail. Conscience remains on stage to give her testimony on the murder and other crimes committed by Usury, and continues to remain onstage while Judge Nemo considers if she is repentant enough to deserve ‘judgement, mercy, and forgiveness’ (80) – on which words, he orders, ‘Bring Love to the bar’ (81).

Conscience’s story of her own corruption has given Lucre plenty of time to ‘make ready’ for her quick change into Love. She may change items of dress, but the key costumes are the hood and the vizard. We are prepared for this appearance when Diligence tells Judge Nemo that only three prisoners have appeared in court: ‘Lucre and Conscience, with a deformed creature much like Bifrons, the base daughter of Juno’ (17.4).19 Bifrons is a mythological figure of many monstrous shapes, demonic in origin: male or female, hunchbacked, a cloaked demon carrying a bloody scythe, obsessed with death and hiding corpses (Figures 6 and 7).20

Bifrons: Under the vizard.
Fig. 6 Bifrons: Under the vizard.

Fig. 6 Bifrons: Under the vizard.

Bifrons: In a hood.
Fig. 7 Bifrons: In a hood.

Fig. 7 Bifrons: In a hood.21

But Love's answers spurn demonic duplicity: she is direct and to the point. The cause was ‘Lady Lucre’ (83), and her reunion with Conscience means that she cannot speak in her own defence: she is ‘confounded by Conscience’ (89), shamed to her very core, a ‘monster’ who profited from the ‘lasciviousness of Lucre’ (86-7), including the murders and thefts. The reunion of these two ladies brings about Love’s collapse, as she sees no way out of her dilemma through confession. She will endure the same punishment as Lucre, suffering eternally for her crimes, whereas Conscience gets no immediate legal decision, but waits, remanded to prison (presumably to one of the two higher room-types, not ‘hell’, essentially a dungeon without privacy or comforts), for the verdict. The judge’s prayer at the play’s end penalizes ‘covetousness’, lust for money, another name for Lucre, sexual objectification for money and the ephemeral gratification money can buy. Lucre has destroyed Conscience, just as she has destroyed Love; further punishment seems unnecessary, given Conscience’s role in bringing the court’s attention to London’s corruption, a kind of whistle-blowing which implicitly incriminates herself.

In terms of the doubling process, Love is the weakest link of the three ladies, needing Conscience as a guide and Lucre as her living, but combining Love and Lucre without Conscience is the root of all the evil that the play illustrates through the vice characters. They all – Dissimulation, Simony, Fraud, and Usury – escape punishment for the worst of crimes, whether killing, despoiling, or degrading English artisans, professionals, and knights, who cannot maintain themselves with honest work because no one will pay for quality when they can get quantity cheaper elsewhere. They seem to be reduced to ‘nothing’, emptied of the virtues they once had, judging from the parish of St Nihil, Sir Nicholas Nemo, and even Judge Nemo (see White’s essay). It is not just money that is the root of all evil: love of money is the root of all evil. Love believes by scene 15 that Lucre is her only friend – Love loved Lucre in the same co-dependent way she had loved Conscience in scene 1, before Conscience and Love were separated and destroyed. But when Love stands beside Conscience again, in her final lines of the play, the reunion of the two ladies brings out just enough virtue to confess. The judge has no choice but to condemn Love and Lucre, and keep Conscience under guard. An apparently dire conclusion for the ladies, and an even grimmer depiction of the ‘soul’ of London.


See the loosely parallel case in the state emblem re-design that cost the cartoonist/illustrator Aseem Trivedi jail-time for sedition in 2012, and ask yourself how much has changed since the 1580s:

On the left-hand side, India's emblem: lions on guard. On the right-hand side, the cartoon version:  wolves ready to corrupt and destroy – are they in sheep's clothing?
Fig. 8 On the left-hand side, India's emblem: lions on guard. On the right-hand side, the cartoon version: wolves ready to corrupt and destroy – are they in sheep's clothing?

Fig. 8 On the left-hand side, India's emblem: lions on guard. On the right-hand side, the cartoon version: wolves ready to corrupt and destroy – are they in sheep's clothing?22


[1] Scott McMillin and Sally Beth MacLean, The Queen’s Men and their plays (Cambridge, 1998; rpt 2000), ch. 5, esp. 100, 104. Three Ladies was not counted as a Queen’s Men play, because Wilson wrote it while he worked for Leicester’s Men. But it was brought into the QM repertory.

[2] Ibid, ch. 3, esp. 52, 55, and describing the ‘branches’ of the Queen's Men touring in different areas: ‘six main actors and a few hired men and boys’, 61. See Peter Cockett’s more detailed discussion of casting and doubling on Performing the Queen's Men: ‘Doubling on tour’, especially his comments on ‘dodging’, a way of resolving the secondary problem of doubling when more actors are needed than are physically available: the character simply drops out. As Cockett remarks, ‘The tight doubling plots featuring actors “dodging” multiple roles would not have allowed for successful trial performances in the London repertory theatre due to the lack of ensemble rehearsal and the length of time between performances of each play but a touring company had more leisure to prepare and perfect each play they chose to perform and could perhaps pull off quick-change artistry not possible in the London theatres. While “dodging” might have been rare on the London stage, it could well have been common practice when on tour.’

[3] George Wapull, The Tyde taryeth no Man (London, 1576).

[4] A new and mery Enterlude, called the Triall of Treasure (London, 1567).

[5] An excellent and pleasant Comedy, termed after the name of the Vice, Common Condicions (London, [1576]).

[6] Taken from

[7] This essay uses Lloyd Edward Kermode's edition in Three Renaissance Usury Plays, the Revels Plays Companion Library (Manchester, 2009). When QME’s edition of the play is completed and uploaded, the references will link to that digital edition.

[8] The Lexicons of Early Modern English [LEME] also suggests love of virtue, goodness, delight, friendship and concord, as among the many concepts that distinguish love from lust.

[9] Ibid, suggesting gain, profit, advantage, passion for or hooked on winning personal wealth, possession leading to vainglory, preferring commodity or benefit to reason and community.

[10] Ibid, the soul, with no blemish or spot (John Baret, 1574); a person of piety, devotion, probity, and reverent care of others.

[11] See Ashley Streeter, ‘The Beleaguered Virtue: Robert Wilson’s The Three Ladies of London and the Problem of Conscience’, Exemplaria: A Journal of Theory in Medieval and Renaissance Studies 24.1-2 (2012): 78-94. She argues that it’s too easy to discuss these characters as morality figures, because they have an active external social life recognized by and impacting on other characters in the play, whose virtue-or-vice names should not distract us from the satiric views of citizens behaving badly as personal choices (see Roderick McKeown on City Comedy).

[12] These numbers are approximate as some lines are prose, and some verse lines take up two or three lines of print.

[13] In Jean MacIntyre’s otherwise excellent book, Costumes, and Scripts in the Elizabethan Theatres (Edmonton, 1992), her assumption is that the doubling causes several costume changes: multiple costumes for the ladies are unlikely, as the gowns of Love and Conscience have to be recognizable throughout, especially when they are carried in Simplicity’s basket for pawning. Love gets her gown back, and subsequently wears a vizard and a hood, items MacIntyre incorrectly conflates as ‘a “two-faced hood”’ (35). She sees Lucre's donning of Love’s ‘two-faced cloak and hood’ as the costume, without recognizing the role of the vizard as the key prop that supports the costume (36).

[14] See for example McMillin and MacLean’s The Queen’s Men and Their Plays, cited above; Helen Ostovich, Holger Schott Syme, and Andrew Griffin (eds), Locating the Queen's Men, 1583-1603: Material Practices and Conditions of Playing (Farnham, 2009); David Kathman, ‘The Seven Deadly Sins and Theatrical Apprenticeship’, Early Theatre 14.1 (2011), 121-39.; Kathman, ‘Reconsidering The Seven Deadly Sins’, Early Theatre 7.1 (2004), 1-37 DOI:; and Andrew Gurr, ‘The Work of Elizabethan Plotters, and 2 The Seven Deadly Sins’, Early Theatre 10.1(2007), 67-87. DOI:

[15] This emblem was copied from Wikipedia's stub on Bernard Saloman, in the right side-bar.

[16] See the emblem of Conscience and the Fool choosing material wealth over the wisdom of the soul, in Christopher Harvey, The school of the heart, or, The heart of it self gone away from God, brought back again to him, and instructed by him in 47 emblems (3ed edn 1676), 21.

[17] For interpretations of the spots applied from the box of abominations, see Jonathan Gil Harris, ‘(Po)X Marks the Spot: How to “Read” “Early Modern” “Syphilis”’, in The Three Ladies of London’, Kevin Siena (ed.), Sins of the Flesh: Responding to Sexual Disease in Early Modern Europe (Toronto, 2005), 109-132. See also Andrea Stevens’s essay on this website, and the emblem of the ‘Seeming Lover’.

[18] Specifically Oxford English Dictionary (OED), 1. ‘Of a wound, sore, part of the body, etc.: affected with canker or a canker; of the nature of or relating to (a) canker; infected, festering; gangrenous’ and 3. fig. ‘Infected with evil; corrupt, depraved. Very common in the 16th cent’.

[19] For one depiction of Bifrons, a type of Janus, see and this image of male and female, essentially a two-faced figure:

[20] See ‘Bifrons’ on; and this description in Johann Wier’s Pseudomonarchia daemonum (1583)

Bifrons is seene in the similitude of a monster, when he taketh the image of a man, he maketh one woonderfull cunning in astrologie, absolutelie declaring the mansions of the planets, he dooth the like in geometrie, and other admesurements, he perfectlie understandeth the strength and vertue of hearbs, pretious stones, and woods, he changeth dead bodies from place to place, he seemeth to light candles upon the sepulchres of the dead, and hath under him six and twentie legions.

[21] Image taken from here.