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The Shakespeare Tarot - Costard

Page of Staffs - Costard

Dramatis Personae: Costard.

Text & Subtext: Costard is foil to the men of letters that crowd Love's Labors Lost. Caught copulating with Jaquenetta, he is sentenced to a week on bran and water in the custody of men themselves thin gruel and prisoners of their own fancy. 


 The word costard means both a dried apple used for cooking and a man's head; Costard's is either empty or full of apple custard. To Berowne he bemoans, "I suffer for the truth", and nothing could be truer  - both the conceptual contraption of "truth" and the reality of Nature. Incompetent messenger to the courtiers, incapable of keeping secrets, Costard gives off warmth in a court blinded by its own light. 

 Tellingly perhaps, the men of learning enlist Costard's talents as a player; if or how he is remunerated is never said. Unless it be in the atavistic song and dance which crowns the play, more befitting the bucolic clown than the etiolated pedants. 


Intertext: Crowns 3 Armado; Cups 7 Berowne.

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