Distraught, Amintor confides in his close friend Melantius, who is also Evadne's brother.
Nonetheless, she manages to highlight the complexity of Evadne's position vis--vis revenge--that is, that Evadne enacts revenge whilst 'fully owning the role', despite the fact that she is also merely the 'agent' of her brother Melantius; that the audience might feel both 'disbelief and horror, but also pity' for her; and that her 'refus[al] to suffer her shame quietly' is hugely powerful.
Wooding has intriguing material to go at, including the fascinatingly uninformative print pamphlet Conclusions upon Dances, written by Lowin around 1605; and The Maid's Tragedy, in which Lowin is known to have played the part of Melantius
. Wooding mixes this together with what is known of Lowin's life story, and with the history of the period and the cultural history of the stage.
At this time, the role of Melantius
in The Maid's Tragedy appears to be Lowin's creation, and he also participated in the pageant for the inauguration of London's Lord Mayor, Sir James Pemberton.
For instance, after Melantius
, brother to Evadne, the bride, identifies himself through the closed door, Diagoras's next concern is to enforce the exclusivity of admittance: "I hope your lordship brings no troop with you, for if you do, I must return them" (1.2.25-26).
, a stalwart soldier, Amintor's closest friend, and Evadne's brother, returns from the wars to celebrate the occasion.
This note will propose a new reading of Calianax's challenge to Melantius
in Beaumont and Fletcher's The Maid's Tragedy:
Act One, scene one opens with the return from battle of Evadne's brother, Melantius
. When he is told that Amintor has just been married, the pleasure he expresses illustrates that male bonding, erotically invested, sustains patrilineal interests.
By order of the king, Amintor is forced to renounce his beloved Aspatia and marry Evadne, sister of his closest friend, Melantius
, who has just returned a hero from the wars.
In Beaumont and Fletcher's The Maid's Tragedy, the argument between Calianax and Melantius
dramatizes the use of spectator placement as a gauge of status (1.2.64-8).
, who has instigated the revenge against the king, is pardoned by the new king, Lysippus, Beaumont and Fletcher do not allow him to flourish or even survive; his pagan code that has justified instigating the revenge also leads him to starve himself to death after the death of his best friend.
Downes includes a King's Company cast for early productions of The Maid's Tragedy, which Hume dates from 1663-64 to 1677.(43) These productions featured William Wintersel as the King, Major Mohun as Melantius
, Charles Hart as Amintor, William Shatterel as Calianax, Rebecca Marshall as Evadne, and Elizabeth Davenport Boutel as Aspatia.