Notes on Act II, scene iii

dark lantern: lantern which could be shuttered to hide the light

list: listen, hark

stratagem: deceptive plan

several wards: separate rooms

part: I must find out about it

intelligence: information

freeze: stop coming in

mole: someone who digs or mines underneath

setting a figure: In the previous scene Antonio says he will work out the horoscope for his son. Now to excuse his actions he says he is using astrology to determine where the jewels are hidden (or how much they are worth)..

radical: can their whereabouts (value?) be determined by astrology?

sooth: truth

Spanish fig: an obscene gesture, with thumb between the first two fingers

imputation: accusation

conceit: opinion

ruin: if Antonio pulls this "tree" (Bosola) up by the roots, it may fall on him and crush him instead

scarce warm: a snake barely out of hibernation would be too weak to strike

set my hand to't: I'll swear to what I've said in writing

letters: either two letters that he was carrying, or a handkerchief with his initials embroidered on it.

safe: I'll make sure you are under arrest

colour: disguise; a cover story for the duchess' keeping to her room

quit: acquitted yourself of any wrongdoing

base: lowly

false friend: referring to his dark lantern, used in underhanded dealings at night

Anno Dom[ini].: "in the year of our Lord" (A. D.)

decimo nono Decembris: December 19

lord of the first house: the planet that controls the boy's destiny

combust: burned up, being too close to the sun

short life: ironically, this oldest son is the only family member who survives at the end of the play

human sign: the human zodiac signs are Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Aquarius

Caetera non scrutantur: the rest is obscure.

precise: particular

bawd: pimp, procurer of her lovers; Bosola does not yet suspect that Antonio is actually her husband, probably assuming that she would not stoop to a relationship with someone lower than herself in social status.

cas'd: locked up; this is the reason why everyone was confined to their rooms.

posts: hastens

galls: bitterness will overcome their feelings (emotions were thought to reside in the liver--much like we think of the heart)

wise: lust tries to disguise itself in many ways, but seldom succeeds


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