Judith Dundas


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

The repetition of the same syllable in the Latin words amor and mors could, in the Renaissance, seem to confirm with lightning speed an essential relationship between these two apparent opposites, love and death. Amor, in short, contains mors.1 But whatever language was used in poems and the poetic drama of the sixteenth and seventeenth century, "love" often called for its opposite, "death." One fable in particular epitomized and dramatized the truth of this relationship. In a widely influential version, Alciati turned the story of the interchange of the arrows of Love and Death into an emblem.2 If its moral is somewhat ambiguous, or at least subject to a variety of possible interpretations, it captured in graphic terms a topos to which both masque and drama were drawn, whether as central theme or as metaphor. But the variations on the theme also provide an instructive instance of the generic difference between masque and drama.