THE KING'S SERVANTS
These fellows have some soul,
And such a one do I profess myself -- for, sir,
It is as sure as you are Roderigo,
Were I the Moor I would not be Iago.
In following him I follow but myself
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
But seeming so for my peculiar end.
For when my outward action cloth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In compliment extern, 'tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at. I am not what I am.
( Iago, Othello)
What, at the wheels of Caesar? Art thou led in triumph?
( Lucio, Measure for Measure)
Hamlet's success doubtless encouraged Shakespeare, and might have led his troupe to believe their solvency and prestige were assured. Yet their situation offered little ground for optimism in 1602. They had no representative at court, and if the ageing, irritable Queen died they could be closed down once and for all. Their patron was incapacitated ( Baron Howard of Walden carried out duties at the Lord Chamberlain's office) and actors were obliged to plan for a dark, worrisome future. A costly Spanish war dragged on, and extremes of wealth and poverty glared in London -- where inflation was as relentless as it had been in the 1590s. Troilus and Cressida itself suited a public mood of ennui and anxiety, and its somewhat coarse, cynical