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Seeing What Shakespeare Means

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"I could find in my heart to disgrace my man's apparel and to cry like/ a woman, but I must comfort the weaker vessel, as doublet and hose/ ought to show itself courgeous to petticoat." As You Like It (2.4.4-7)

Doublet and hose, typical male attire consisting of a close-fitting jacket and breeches, here stands for the male as petticoat stands for the female.





"I could be sad. This does make some obstruction in the blood, this/ cross-gartering, but what of that?" Twelfth Night (3.4.21-23)

Cross-gartering, the fashion of wearing ribbons tied round the knees, is mentioned nine times in Twelfth Night, all in relation to the duping of Malvolio, whose normal attire is sober and unadorned. After looking at the picture, one can see why Malvolio speaks of the style's potential for causing discomfort.

Robert Greene. A quip for an upstart courtier. London, 1620 (Detail)

Abraham de Bruyn. Omnium pene Europae, Asiae, Aphricae . . . gentium habitus. Antwerp, ca. 1581 (Detail).

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