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Steve Sohmer

Olivia as an imaguncula of Queen Elizabeth, the most conspicuous being Feste’s nickname for his mistress, ‘Madonna’. The word is Italian, and means ‘lady’ or ‘my lady’. But to the ears of Elizabethans (and us) it recalls the Madonna, Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus and Virgin Queen of Heaven. As noted, Elizabeth was styled ‘the Virgin Queen’. Though Shakespeare could have

in Reading Shakespeare’s mind
Steve Sohmer

. Shakespeare’s play features a young woman nicknamed ‘Madonna’ – a name associated with the Virgin Queen of Heaven – who is courted by a duke named Orsino. And Elizabeth did style herself the ‘Virgin Queen’. But had Virginio Orsini really travelled to London with flirtation in mind? Virginio was married, and a play implying a liaison with Elizabeth would have given offence to both

in Reading Shakespeare’s mind
Rachel E. Hile

suggested the possibility that Thomas Nashe’s madam, associated with Venus, may have glanced at Queen Elizabeth and her famous jealousy of courtier-favorites who fell for (and married) ladies-in-waiting. In this section and the “coda” that follows, I continue to explore the satirical potential for mocking the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth, by associating her—more or less circuitously—with Venus. I will look at two poems, Spenser’s Muiopotmos; or, The Fate of the Butterflie, which, though part of the recalled Complaints volume, has never been perceived as the target of the

in Spenserian satire