Thereby Hangs a Tail: Jonson’s The Devil Is an Ass and Stage Representations of Devil-Servants
This article considers an ambiguity concerning the stage presentation of Pug, the inept devil-servant of Ben Jonson’s The Devil Is an Ass, and explores the implications that ‘complete’ or ‘partial’ costume changes have for how an audience interprets the character, and how this apparent visual ambiguity may have been resolved by cosmetics and/or through the performance of a specific King’s Men actor. The article concludes with a comparison of ‘devilish servant-types’ in Othello and The Changeling and argues that these three plays articulate early modern insecurities about the servant through an explicit association between the servile and the demonic.
Contributors to Early Theatre retain full copyright to their content. All published authors are required to grant a limited exclusive license to the journal. According to the terms of this license, authors agree that for one year following publication in Early Theatre, they will not publish their submission elsewhere in the same form, in any language, without the consent of the journal, and without acknowledgment of its initial publication in the journal thereafter.