Hercules, Parts 1 and 2

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Historical Records

Performance Records

Playlists in Philip Henslowe's diary


Fol. 11v (Greg I.22)
ye 7 of maye 1595 . . . . . . . . . ne . . Rd at the firste ꝑte of herculous . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iijl xiijs


Fol. 12v (Greg I.24)
ye 20 of maye 1595 Rd at hercolas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iijl ixs
ye 23 of maye 1595 . . . . . ne . . Rd at 2 ꝑ of hercolas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iijl xs
ye 27 of maye 1595 Rd at j ꝑte of herculos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iil
ye 28 of maye 1595 Rd at 2 ꝑte of herculas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iijl ijs
ye 12 of June 1595 Rd at the j ꝑt of herculos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iijl js
ye 13 of June 1595 Rd at the 2 ꝑt of herculos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iijl ijs
ye 1 of septmbʒ 1595 ————— Rd at j ꝑte of hercvlos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iijl iiijs
ye 2 of septmbʒ 1595 Rd at 2 ꝑte of hercvlos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iijl


Fol. 13 (Greg I.25)
ye 22 of septmbʒ 1595 ————— Rd at j ꝑte of herculos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxxjs
ye 23 of septmbʒ 1595 Rd at 2 ꝑt of herculos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxiijs
ye 12 of octobʒ 1595 ————— Rd at j ꝑte of herculos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxixs
ye 13 of octobʒ 1595 ————— Rd at 2 ꝑte of herculus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxvs
ye 25 of octobʒ 1595 ————— Rd at j ꝑte of herculos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxxijs
ye 2 of novmbʒ 1595 ————— Rd at the 2 ꝑt of hercolas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxviijs


Fol. 14 (Greg, I. 27)
ye 24 of novmbʒ 1595 ———— Rd at j herculos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxs
ye 25 of novmbʒ 1595 Rd at 2 ꝑt of herculos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xvjs
ye 18 of desembʒ 1595 . . mr pd . . Rd at j ꝑt of herculos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xiijs
ye 6 of Jenewary 1595 Rd at hurculos the j ꝑte . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxs

Theatrical Provenance

The Admiral's men offered the two parts of "Hercules" in serial fashion at the Rose playhouse over a nine-month period beginning in May 1595.

Probable Genre(s)

Classical legend Harbage

Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues

No doubt the traditional resources for stories of ancient mythology and heroic legend provided the narrative material for both parts of the "Hercules" plays.



References to the Play

It is a good guess that Thomas Heywood was remembering one or more commercial plays featuring Hercules when he referred in "An Apology for Actors" to actions he had seen dramatized. This pair is the only one known now, but of course there could have been others, given the popularity of the Herculean character.

Critical Commentary

Malone asserted without identifying his evidence that "Hercules" was "written by Martin Slaughter" (p.297, n.7).


Collier also attributed the authorship of both parts to Martin Slaughter (p. 51, n.3). He claimed that the authorship was confirmed "[i]n another part of the Diary" but did not specify which part. Nonetheless, he was most probably thinking of the bulk purchase by the Admiral's men from Martin Slaughter on 16 May 1598 that included "v boocks of martine slather," two of which were "ij ꝑtes of hercolus" (Fol. 45v Greg, I.86). Collier, commenting on that bulk purchase, did not claim explicitly that Slaughter was the original author of the "Hercules" pair (or the others), but he attributed authorial activity by asserting that Slaughter "must again have had them in his hands, perhaps for alteration and addition" (p. 123, n.2).


Fleay, BCED had a different opinion of Martin Slaughter's relationship to the "Hercules" plays. Using the bulk purchase moment as his focus, he declared that Slaughter "had been a sharer with Alleyn in the properties and plays" of the Admiral's men, and he had a "right to plays acted before then [sic.?], but he was certainly not the author of them" (2.303, #166). Stepping thus on Collier's supposition, Fleay offered another:, identifying the first part of "Hercules" as "probably [Thomas] Heywood's Silver Age and the second part as "[p]robably Heywood's 'Brazen Age'" (2.304, #167). In his Chronicle History (p. 114), Fleay assigned the following properties in Henslowe's inventory lists to the "Hercules" plays:

for "1 Hercules" (which he considered a forerunner of Heywood's Silver Age):
Iris's head and rainbow ("Ierosses head, & raynbowe" Greg, Papers, APX. I, art. 1, p. 117, l. 70)
Cerberus's three heads ("Serberosse iii heades" Greg, Papers, APX. I, art. 1, p. 117, l. 73)
the Caduceus ("j Cadeseus" Greg, Papers, APX. I, art. 1., p. 117, l. 74)
Mercury's wings ("Mercures wings" Greg, Papers, APX. I, art. 1., p. 117, l. 80)
for "2 Hercules" (which he considered a forerunner of Heywood's Brazen Age):
the Golden Fleece ("j golden fleece" (Greg, Papers, APX. I, art. 1, p. 116, l. 63)
the boar's head ("j bores heade" Greg, Papers, APX. I, art. 1, p. 117, l. 73)
Hercules's limbs ("Hercules limes" Greg, Papers, APX. I, art. 1, p. 114, l. 25)
the chain of dragons ("j chain of dragons" Greg, Papers, APX. I, art. 1, p. 118, l. 82)

Greg II


Gurr



Wiggins, Catalogue



For What It's Worth

Works Cited




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